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Category: Crafts

Chapter Five from Story of the World covered Sumer and King Sargon – the first Sumerian dictator. Some of the Sumerians inventions include the wheel, mathematics based on the number 60, kilns, the plow, and the first superhero, Gilgamesh.

Today we tackled the Sumerian Seal activity outlined in SOTW Activity Guide. This is to demonstrate the fact that in ancient times, most people couldn’t write. So they made their own special seals with their names on it, so they could stamp their “name” when needed.

We did this as a family activity. Here’s Satori rolling flat her piece of clay.

We all carved a pattern in our clay. Satori made a hawk, Dad made a cat, and Mom made a wolf.

Here they are laying out to dry. This is only the first part, but I’m not sure we’ll do the next part. We’re supposed to take wet clay, and press it into this dried seal to make an impression. Then make it into a pendant by making a hole in the top.

If we finish this project, I’ll of course post the results. But somehow, I have a feeling that our wet clay won’t make a very good impression into the above dry seals… I may however, want to redo this as a cool scarab as the project shown in another craft book.

One of my homeschooling online groups had the great idea to send each other Valentine’s Day cards! There were so many who wanted to participate, that we got filed into groups so we wouldn’t have to send out bazillions. This was a 3-4 hour process anyway, with the whole family participating – a family craft night.

Satori did almost all the work, and I cannot believe she persevered through it all. She wrote all the names and signed the cards. She stuck on all the stickers and items, and stamped the  hieroglyphs.

Yep, since Satori memorized her hieroglyphs, she stamped each child’s name in hieroglyphs! She knew all the letters except some rare ones.

We did this assembly line, with Satori doing the writing/sticking/stamping, and daddy doing the gluing and glittering, and mama organizing and addressing the envelopes.

And once we were done, Satori sealed them with a kiss.

Aw heck, I was feeling lazy tonight and thought I would make this post a Wordless Wednesday, but I just couldn’t. It’s been such a crazy day. A winter storm hit us last night and while the snow wasn’t so bad, it makes it almost impossible to drive on steep slippery mountain roads like where we live. (We live on top of a hill on top of a mountain.) I thought a Family Craft Night to make Christmas tree ornaments would be fun, so I needed to get to Boulder which is all the way down the mountain from us.

I got in the car and proceeded inch by inch down our steep driveway. Sure enough, the car starts to slide. Anti-lock brakes and letting off on the brakes now and then does not help on this slippery slope. The left side of our driveway is a little cliff. As I was sliding towards that cliff, I find myself eyeing the spindly lodgepole pine trees hoping desperately they would be enough to hold back a large SUV. I stopped just in time. Second try and then the car starts sliding sideways down the hill and at the final moment, again towards the cliff side.  Stopped again just inches from certain death. That’s it, maybe I should give up. I burst into the house and David came to the rescue! He goes down the hill faster than me and the wheels get more traction, and the car made it safe and sound down our driveway! I was able to get the craft items, because that was oh so important you know.

Once at home, I laid out all the craft items along with some print-outs of instructions to make about a dozen ornaments. We all picked a few and chugged away at our masterpieces!

David chose the two coolest ornaments, a gift-wrapped present and sleds.

I made sure Satori got the easy ones – mostly the chenille stem and pony bead type. 🙂 I was pretty busy managing it all, but I did finish a pair of skis and the reindeer head.

It was a great family activity and a very memorable night. We’ve put a few on our tree and may give a few as gifts. Click the link below if you want to check out how to make these ornaments and more.

Links to making these ornaments

We started making this Hot Air Balloon probably two months ago back when we studied Air for science. This drove the point home that everything, including air and helium balloons that rise – all weigh something. Helium and hot air are gases that simply weigh less than normal air, so they rise.

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To make this, blow up a balloon. Then, paste small squares of white paper to it, layering it with a few layers. Wait for it to dry. You do not have to wait two months like we did. 😉 After dry, cut out the bottom of the balloon and take the balloon out. It will retain its shape.

Then paint away!

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Don’t tell Daddy, but Mama put yet another hole in the wall, this time a ceiling hook. He hates it when I put up holes in the walls, but sometimes it is worth it! 🙂 The above photo is my perspective looking down on Satori painting while I was trying to get the hole in the ceiling. Once she was done, we attached a little basket I got from a craft store. You can also use an empty matchbox or make your own.

Then, the finished Hot Air Balloon, floating from our ceiling! The girl is almost falling out, Grandpa, pull her back!

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Now, we have to cuddle up, the locals tell me it is supposed to reach negative 34 degrees tonight!

While preparing lessons for Artistic Pursuit “The Way They See It”, I realized that Satori could probably use some basic art skill practice. She doesn’t hold her scissors right and she’s never done extensive folding, pasting, taping, etc… So early this morning, as soon as she woke up, we set to work on these Kumon workbooks. We are not a workbooky family, but I couldn’t resist these cute, small-size workbooks. They’re for 2 and up, but a good review for my 4.75  year old.

Kumon little workbooks

Kumon little workbooks

Here’s a sample page of what we did this morning. Satori had to cut into the paper, but stop at a specific point. Then she had to fold up a little “cage” for the tiger.

Caged Tiger

Caged Tiger

Enough of that, let’s get to the fun stuff! Here is the first of our “slides”, a cutting activity recommended in Artistic Pursuits. She cut the line in the strip, then taped the end, and then walked the fairy girl to her friend. We had 4 other types, the others were wavy lines (fish to mermaid), curves, zig-zigs and more.

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For this activity, I had used our fantabulous Magic Cabin catalog that I drool over every time we get it. Maybe we can’t afford all their cool, natural toys, but we can cut out their super adorable, whimsical drawings they use in their catalog! We had cute fish, mermaid, bouncy, swinging, playing children in no time.

Magic Cabin - catalog

Magic Cabin - catalog

Then, on to our “heart of love” activity, also suggested by Artistic Pursuits as cutting practice. (By the way, I placed all these activities in separate workboxes, so they were all set to go. We haven’t started the workbox system  quite yet, but I see it’s benefits and hope to get into this one day.)

Heart of Love workbox

Heart of Love workbox

Satori practicing her snipping…

Cutting pink strip of paper

Cutting pink strip of paper

We elaborated by dusting heart and glitter sparkles over the glue that we used to glue the two wax paper hearts together. Satori then ran up to a still-sleeping Daddy to give him his “Heart of Love”! It now hangs in his office.

Good morning Daddy, I love you!

Good morning Daddy, I love you!

I told Satori we’ll practice cutting, taping, folding, pasting a lot more now. 🙂 She’ll soon be an expert in no time!

After spending much of the spring cutting and pasting with lapbooks and various crafts, it was a relief to find this little project. I had gathered scissors and glue, but we didn’t need them!

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I was out shopping yesterday, and as I’m always looking for things to build our craft resource center, I came across this Foam Creations set. I realized today it only makes 3 animals in a specific way, but you can make several of each, although we only needed one.

Foam Creations

Foam Creations

In just a few minutes, we had these 3 cute little creature puppets!

Elephant, Monkey and Lion puppets

Elephant, Monkey and Lion puppets

Makes me feel a wee bit guilty, using something so obviously commercial. I promise we will do some more “crafty” crafts soon! 🙂

One of the things I love to do is to see who visits our little blog, which apparently has pretty good search engine rankings on obscure terms. One person landed on our blog today by searching for “prehistoric land plant craft”. Satori Smiles ranks second. We’ve never done a prehistoric land plant craft! Yet… How did Google know that we were planning on making such a craft this week? I do not know, but it is tres cool. 😉

Cooksonia

Cooksonia

The Cooksonia is the best known prehistoric plants that first inhabited land, living more than 400 million years ago. Only a few centimeters tall, the Cooksonia had no leaves, flowers or even roots. Just a simple stalk, that branched dichotomously a few times. It’s branches ended in a rounded thingie (sporangia) that gave off its spores. It’s simplicity compelled me to design a simple craft out of it. And it only took two minutes!

Cooksonia – Prehistoric Land Plant Craft

Prehistoric Plant craft

You’ll need:

  • Green chenille stems (now don’t try to get fancy and used shaped pipe cleaner stems, these plants had no leaves!)
  • Orange or Yellow pom-poms
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • “Vase” (we made one out of a toilet paper roll)

No sooner had I set these items on the table, when Satori independently made her very own Cooksonia plant! I suppose it isn’t too hard, but I was impressed that my 4 year old knew what I was up to when I said we were going to make a Cooksonia plant! We had seen a few photos of this plant. To make yours, simply glue the puffs (your sporangia) to the end of the stem. If you can, try to branch dichotomously, two branches sprouting off at the same point.

Cooksonia craft

Cooksonia craft

Here’s our first Cooksonia, you can still see the white glue.

Cooksonia - first land plant

Cooksonia - first land plant

I think we’ve covered early plant life pretty well, last week we walked in our forest and saw examples of the first plants – mosses, lichens, ferns, and horsetails.

More about Cooksonia