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Elementary Art Adventures: 8 Fun and Educational Projects for Kids

8 hands-on ways to get students engaged in their learning that are focused on fun 

As we begin our spring season the energy and excitement that students naturally have at this time of the year can be put to good use by creating fun, engaging and educational experiences through these 8 projects. Taking time to create hands-on experiences for kids is a way to keep them active in their own learning.

1. Sight Word Sundaes

If you are blessed enough to work with scholars who are preschool age-2nd grade or if you work with students who are needing to continue working to master sight words this is an amazing project to work on during your small group reading time. You will need your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine you will also need to use the Ice Cream Sundae #2 Die Cut. You will also need to use either a letter die cut set of your choice or you can use markers to add letters to the scoops for your sundaes.  Prepare for this project by making the dishes and writing the sight words you want students to practice on the front of the dish. Then use brightly colored cardstock paper to make different scoops. You will also have scoops with letters prepped for students to pull and glue. Students will then take turns saying-spelling-saying their sight word for the group.

2. Puzzle Piece Math Problems

This activity is a great opportunity for students to really engage themselves with their math work. You can use this exercise to practice adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. To prepare you will need to get out your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine and you will also want to use the Puzzle #8 Die Cut for this project. Once you cut out your puzzle pieces you will need to add numbers and symbols to your pieces. You can then give students the answer to their addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problem and they will need to create an equation that the answer will work for correctly. You can also set this up as a partner activity and have students walk around with a number and you can have operation signs on desks throughout the room. Ask students to stop and find a partner- they need to find a nearby operation piece and create a problem with a partner and then solve the problem. 

3. Grammar Candy Corn

This project is a super fun way for students to dissect grammar into different parts. This can be done in small groups or as a whole class activity. You will start with using your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine and the Candy Corn Die Cut to cut out the shapes for your candy corn. You can pass out each part to the students and have them write different types of grammatical words. For example on the top part of the candy corn you can have students write different types of verbs. Then pass out the middle section and have students write different types of nouns and then pass out the bottom section and have them write out some adjectives. Then have students glue the 3 parts together to create their final product. You can then extend this and have students work as individuals or pairs to write sentences that involve one of each of the sections from their candy corns. This is a simple way to take a task and make it hands-on and fun which will encourage effort, organization and creativity.  

4. Counting Beads with Spring Flowers

If you work in primary this is a clever way to have students connect numbers to a visual representation. Finding ways to build a solid foundation for number sense is essential to a young child's learning. This project allows students to gain more concrete understanding of numbers while also having a chance to showcase their originality and personality. Begin by using your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine to cut out Flowers & Leaves #4 Die Cut, you do not need to worry about cutting out stems for this project but you will want to cut out flowers with many different colors for students to select for their numbers. Put out these flowers for students to select. You can have them create many of these number flowers in one day or you can have them make one as you teach the number to your scholars. Have students select a flower, they will then write the number they will be representing on the flower. You will then help the students tape or glue their pipe cleaner to the back of the flower. They will then need to select the correct number of beads to add to the stem that represents the number they wrote on the flower. 

5. Vowel Pattern Dog Bones

This is a super creative way to get kids writing, using and reading words with vowel patterns that you are practicing in the classroom. Teaching students complex vowel patterns can be very challenging, one of the best ways to really solidify students' understanding of these patterns is with applied practice. Allowing students many opportunities to interact with the patterns is a great way to help them remember and apply these patterns to real words.  You will once again use your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine. You will then need to cut out the Animal Maker-Dog Die Cut for each vowel pattern you are wanting to teach and practice. You will also use the Basket #9 Die Cut to attach each dog to. You will also use the Animal Maker-Dog Die Cut  to cut out 3-5 bones for each student that will be doing the activity. They will each need 3-5 bones for each vowel pattern. Scholars will then write words on the bone to put in the Dog Basket that follow the correct vowel pattern, this would be used at the end of explicit instruction where you had taught the pattern, shown examples and the students had practiced different words that follow this pattern. Students will then read their word, ask if the group agrees on the word matching the pattern and then set the bone in the basket. These baskets can be brought out again at any time to reteach or practice the pattern as needed in the future. 

6. Spring Story Starter Booklets

This is a seasonal idea that will get kids excited about writing a spring story. As students begin to write stories it is important for them to find helpful ways to organize the elements of their story and this booklet is a great way to help guide them into writing a beginning, middle and end to a story. Each part of the story allows scholars to write 1-2 sentences which helps them to not become too repetitive and keeps their stories clear and concise. Begin by using your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine and then use the Egg Folded Die Cut and then Chick and Egg Die Cut to create your booklet. You will use the Egg Folded Die Cut to cut out the pages that students will write their story on and then cut out and attach the Chick Die Cut to the back of the pages. Make a booklet for each student in your class. Give students a graphic organizer to plan their story and use the booklet for them to create their final draft.  

7. Hippo Time Teller

Telling time is a very challenging  skill for students to master so finding ways to make this concept fun and exciting is well worth the investment. For this project you will use your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine as well as the Hippopotamus #2 Die Cut. You will utilize both sides of the Hippo.  These can be used as random time checks throughout the day when you are teaching scholars how to tell time on an analog clock. You glue a clock fact to the front of the hippo, use a clock that does not have the minute and hour hand on the image so students can draw on their own. You will pass out the hippos to the class, ask them to read the time on the class's analog clock and they will write this on the blank back side of the hippo. Then students will turn the hippopotamus over and they will draw in the hour and minute hands to show the time on the clock as well. This practices reading the clock and showing the time also.

8. After Reading Wheel

This last activity will create fun ways for students to engage with the reading they are doing in class. You will use your MARK 5 Die Cutting Machine to create their wheels. You will also need the Practice Wheel-Wedge (2-Die Set). You will start by using any color of construction paper to cut out the wheel-wedges. Then you will use a fastener to connect the bottom wheel to the top wheel. To finish up you will write "After Reading Wheel" on the top wheel and also write questions or statements for the students to answer about the book they just read. Questions like where was the setting, what is the theme, or what was the problem and solution in the story? These questions will cause students to think critically about what they are reading and could also be used as a way to keep scholars accountable for reading more independently. 

These 8 activities are exciting, engaging and fun ways to get kids involved in their own learning. When scholars have opportunities to be a participant in their own learning, that learning becomes stronger and more solidified which allows us as educators to reach the goal of making lifelong learners.  Seeking out ways to bring the joy, creativity and laughter into learning will always be a great use of time.