Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!
That’s what my Crafternoon kids and I did not too long ago, and we had a great time doing it.
We didn’t have to worry about treacherous traffic conditions, slipping on the ice, frozen fingers, having to shovel, or even wear our coats. There wasn’t any mud or nasty black slush involved, either.
All we needed was computer/printer paper, scissors, rulers, pencils, tape, and staplers.
To make the craft a bit more fun, I bought several reams of mixed color printer paper. I found that the heavier 24 lb. paper worked better, although we also used 20 lb. paper without any trouble. Since I wanted the kids to choose their own color combinations, I didn’t do any more preparation than getting the supplies together and laying the paper out on the table in piles according to color. Of course, I’d also made several examples so they’d see what the finished product would look like.
We started our craft by selecting the colors to be used for each snowflake. The participants each picked six sheets of paper according to their own preferences. When everyone had their paper selected, we had to make the rectangles into squares. That was a great opportunity to discuss the differences between the two shapes and methods of creating a square from a rectangle. For those who aren’t familiar with the technique, here is the one I use:
|1.||Position a rectangular piece of paper vertically on a flat surface.|
|2.||Fold one top corner down to meet the opposite edge, forming a triangle.|
|3.||Cut the excess paper below the triangle.|
To speed things up a bit, after teaching the crafters how to do it, I had a paper cutter handy to do the rest of their sheets. For safety’s sake, I was the one who used the paper cutter, of course.
The next step was to fold each sheet of paper in half diagonally twice to form a triangle. Once all the sheets were folded, I passed out rulers to the older participants and showed them how to divide the edge that is a single fold into fourths. As I show them how to measure and mark their paper, I make stencils for the younger children to use on their paper. The adjacent side that has two folds also needs to be marked the same way. On that side, the paper also needs to be marked inwards from the edge. We made a line one inch inward from the edge for our snowflakes. Using the rulers, we connected our marks, making 3 lines across each triangle of paper.
Now comes the part that requires manual dexterity. I encouraged the participants to give it a try themselves, but to also work in pairs to manipulate the paper into snowflakes. The cut triangles need to be unfolded and flattened out somewhat. Then starting in the center, the cut bits need to be curled towards one another and taped together with a small overlap. After the center is taped, the sheet should be turned over and the next set of cuts curled in the same manner. The sheet should be turned over again for the third curl and tape. Finally, the sheet should be turned over one last time for the final set of cuts to be taped together. This should be done with each of the six pieces of paper.
There’s just one more step in creating the snowflake, which is really a lot easier to do in teams – putting the pieces together. The six pieces of paper need to be held together by one pointed end and stapled securely. This can be done in one step or two, stapling three together twice, then the two sets of three together into one piece.
Finally, pairs of pieces need to be stapled together where the curls touch to hold the snowflake together.
All of the participants had fun learning to fold, measure, cut, and staple plain paper to create some amazing snowflakes. They also encountered several aspects of math, learned teamwork skills, improved manual dexterity, used creativity, and had fun in the library. What could be better than that!