Craft Spotlight: Farm Animal Masks

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Dress up, learn facts, exercise and play farm with Farm Animal Masks! These pre-printed, coated masks are the perfect tools for encouraging students to participate in dramatic play and physical education!

There are 8 different animals to choose from, so your students get quite a bit of variety! Choose between a cow, duck, goat, rabbit, horse, pig, sheep and chicken.

kids crafts barnyard masksTo wear the masks, attach a pipe cleaner to either side. Join the pipe cleaner at the back. The masks are pre-punched with holes to allow pipe cleaner or string to be threaded through. We find that pipe cleaner works best for adjustments, as you can always twist it tighter to hold it in place.

kids crafts barnyard masksWe played several fun games while wearing the masks. Sing “Old McDonald Had a Farm” and get students to call out their animal’s signature sound!

kids crafts barnyard masksWe set up a miniature tent (made of Color Diffusing Paper sheets and Newspaper Builders) to make a “playpen” for these duckies!

kids crafts barnyard masksPlay hop-scotch on the grass! Use grass marking spray or form square boxes from our Straws and Connectors to get your hoppity friends moving.

kids crafts barnyard masksWe gave our funny friends some crafts to work on while wearing their Barnyard Masks. This helped some of our shy kids open up, as wearing a mask made them feel more confident.

kids crafts barnyard masksLook at that hop! This bunny’s ready to take off!

kids crafts barnyard masksThanks for hanging out, everybody!

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Craft Spotlight: Mix and Match Emotion Masks®

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How are you feeling today? Pretty good or what?! Our art campers were feeling their very best while playing with our hilarious R4959 Mix and Match Emotion Masks®! 

The Mix and Match Emotion Masks are a unique set of masks that are divided between upper and lower face images. The upper face masks typically show the eyes in a variety of emotions (in the cover photo above, the camper is showing her eye mask that features surprise)–sad, happy, angry, surprised, for instance! The lower face masks show the mouth adjusted to reflect other emotions as well–such as contempt, interest, fear and so on.

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Using individual mask pieces, you can talk with your students about existing emotions, and how they affect us and people around us.

By “mixing and matching” emotions, you can make up your own!

_DSC0262Regardless, children will have lots of fun changing their appearances with one of these ingenious masks. The material is tear-resistant and coated with protection for years of re-use! This will benefit you in pre-K classrooms as you can use them to teach young children about self-awareness and how feelings are important to our interactions with other human beings.

_DSC0302You can see by the picture above that it’s easy to inspire children to experience a range of different emotions with external things (such as masks). In a way, this is how regular emotions are experienced. There are multiple external things every day that happen to us. Each of these things–whether it be another person, an event, object, entertainment, etc–can cause us to react or respond in certain ways. Sometimes, certain persons experience different emotions simply because they can (don’t you wake up some days and feel happy that you are alive?)

_DSC0265All in all, learning about emotions is a great experience!

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Craft Spotlight: Yoga Cards

2014-06-02-FeatureImageGet outside and STRETCH! R62011 Yoga Cards feature printed images of recognizable things, such as a hot air balloon or a tree and an accompanying yoga position. Our Art Campers exercised with a ton of different poses. Check out more below!

Full instructions for Yoga Cards can be found here. Access breathing tips, detailed descriptions about each pose and more! There are 3 challenge levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Difficult. Each are color coded by a border surrounding each card: Green – Easy, Yellow – Intermediate, and Red – Challenging.

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The back of each card shows detailed illustrations on how each pose is performed. For instance, the picture above shows our campers performing the “Wooden Bridge” pose.

This pose requires that you straighten your arms outwards from your body and spread your feet apart. Carefully inhale as you lean on one knee and hold for several seconds. Exhale as you straighten your knee out. Repeat for the opposite leg.

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A bit too easy? Okay! Let’s try something new!

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Now let’s try the “Swaying Sunflower” pose. This one requires you to raise one arm up and over your head to the other side, inhaling as you do so. Stretch your body in the direction that your hand is pointing. Exhale as you lower your arm. Repeat for the other arm.

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Yoga Cards not only visually stimulate your students, but help them connect an action to a recognizable object. This helps generate image association and engages various muscles in the body.

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You can add your own twist to each action by introducing song or rhythm, like a dance session! Otherwise, get students to focus on their breathing and learning new vocabulary words such as inhale (to breathe in) or exhale (to breathe out).

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This one’s pretty challenging! See if you can do it right now. If not, why not get a set of Yoga Cards and start with the Easy Difficulty to loosen up those muscles!

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Yoga in the Classroom

Yoga in the Classroom!

Classroom exercise can be a source of joy for both students and teachers, but to fit exercise into an already stressed schedule, it needs to have clear objectives and measurable results. Many teachers feel uncomfortable about implementing an exercise program because they don’t have sufficient confidence in their own knowledge and skills. The benefits far out weigh the challenges—the trick is to find the right program that works for you and your classroom. Let’s start off by looking at the benefits of classroom exercise.

We’ve all heard about the epidemic of obesity. Besides just the physical and social problems of overweight children, there are significant learning challenges. Exercise helps stimulate the mind as it stimulates the body. Short sessions of physical activity will improve alertness, focus attention and raise self esteem. Those benefits are good for all students! The challenge is to develop a program that you can do easily in the classroom and meets your comfort level as an instructor. Let’s review your options.

Yoga is a wonderful exercise program. People who aren’t familiar with yoga can still introduce it to students at a basic and introductory level. Even at that level, it produces excellent results in the right classroom environment.

If you ever feel that your class is too rambunctious or unfocused, turn to yoga as a way to increase attention and build calmness. You won’t need a lot of space or any extra supplies. You can learn more by visiting a local yoga studio or go on-line to read about yoga practices or you can jump right in and buy Roylco’s R62011 Body Poetry: Yoga Cards for children 4 years and older.

Body Poetry Cards

The kit contains a complete guide to implementing yoga in your classroom. Each session starts with breathing exercises and stretches that help children build an awareness of their body while focusing the attention. Once they reach a calm mental place, they can start recreating the yoga poses. Roylco has produced large, vibrant cards that you can use to show students how to create each pose. When students see the children pictured on the cards in the poses, they naturally want to try them on their own.

Roylco has produced three challenge levels of poses: easy is framed with a green border; intermediate is framed with a yellow border; challenging is framed with a red border. Children love challenging themselves to higher and higher levels of poses. Arrange the cards in different configurations to keep the exercise routines fresh and fun. Roylco has provided suggested routines to get your started. Each session should be 10-20 minutes long. When your students have mastered the poses, let them create their own routines. They can sort through the cards and arrange them with special themes in mind based on the illustrations pictured with the children on the front of each card. To help you feel more comfortable teaching yoga, Roylco has printed instructions for each pose on the back of the card. As you display the card to your students, you can describe how to recreate the poses.

After each session, you should see results. Your students should be more focused, calmer and yet invigorated. Although it’s great to have a routine time of day for your exercise sessions, try different times so you can evaluate the best time to have a session. Some teachers find mid morning or mid afternoon to be the best time to use yoga to reinvigorate their students. Other teachers use it to start the day. There are some teachers who have second sessions right before tests or assemblies to help focus their students’ minds.

Although yoga is a great exercise activity that doesn’t need a lot of space or any extra supplies, it is not your only option. If you find that your students are already calm and maybe even sedate, get them up and moving with Roylco’s R62010 Animal Action Cards. The intent of this exercise program is to get the heart thumbing and the mind racing! Each of the 16 picture cards features a photograph of an active child along with a beautiful animal illustration. Children in your class assume the pose of the child pictured on the card and then carry out the action of the animal. Students can flap their arms to represent a bird or jump like a frog. Three challenge levels will keep kids entertained and motivated.

Although yoga is a great exercise activity that doesn’t need a lot of space or any extra supplies, it is not your only option. If you find that your students are already calm and maybe even sedate, get theAnimal Action Cardsm up and moving with Roylco’s R62010 Animal Action Cards. The intent of this exercise program is to get the heart thumbing and the mind racing! Each of the 16 picture cards features a photograph of an active child along with a beautiful animal illustration. Children in your class assume the pose of the child pictured on the card and then carry out the action of the animal. Students can flap their arms to represent a bird or jump like a frog. Three challenge levels will keep kids entertained and motivated.

If you are looking for something to Laugh Track Cardsreally inspire mental well being, try Roylco’s R62015 The Laugh Track. This system is based on Laughter Yoga and come with hilarious pictures of students doing funny activities AND a CD filled with music featuring human laughter. Your students won’t be able to resist laughing when they see the pictures and hear the tunes. More importantly, laughter builds core strength while producing endorphins. Just think how wonderful it will be to spend 15 minutes doing hilarious activities on a dreary day! You and your students will end the session refreshed and ready to learn. All you’ll need is a CD player.

If time is tight but you still want to integrate a physical activity program, combine it with another subject area. Teach letter recognition, the alphabet and spelling with Roylco’s R62017 Twist and Spell Exercise Cards. The 48 cards show happy children posed to resemble letters. Popular letters are repeated. Once children learn how to make each of the letter shapes with their bodies, organize the cards into words and start spelling with the students’ whole bodies! It’s fun and perfect for kinesthetic learners.

Twist and Spell

Exercise has many benefits beyond controlling weight. In the classroom, it can help focus the mind, increase self discipline and promote higher self esteem. Roylco makes it easy for teachers at every level to conduct short, daily exercise routines. Just pick the one that you think is most closely aligned to your needs and get started. Enjoy this time with your students. It can be a wonderful bonding experience!

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Craft Spotlight: Straws and Connectors

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Looking for a last-minute kids’ Christmas gift? Stimulate your children’s cognitive abilities with this perfect building kit. In this post, we’ll show you some ideas to make from Straws and Connectors!

The Straws and Connectors come in 4 intriguing packages:

 R60901 Straws and Connectors™ Creative Building Set (390 Straws, 315 Connectors)

 R60990 Straws and Connectors™ Structure Pack (100 Straws, 84 Connectors, 1 Big Blue Veil)

 R6085 Straws and Connectors® (230/pkg)

 R6090 Straws and Connectors® (705/pkg)

You can even order replacement straws (R6084 Replacement Straws) to replenish your classroom supply!

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Straws and Connectors come in a brilliant array of colors, so you can use them for sorting projects! Ask children to sort by color and by type–such as separating Straws from Connectors.

You can even introduce angles with the Straws and Connectors! Even though it seems like a tough subject to teach, using actual concrete objects helps to reinforce certain concepts in children’s minds, especially if they can manipulate the object into different possibilities. Attach one of the Straws to a Connector and describe the Connector as the vertex of an angle. Attach another Straw to the opposite side of the Connector to make a 180 degree angle.

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Next, align two Straws with the Connector at a 90 degree angle. Once you have made a 90 degree angle, demonstrate how to make a 45 degree angle by placing another Straw directly in the middle of the L.

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These concepts will help children grasp how to make simple shapes with combinations of Straws and Connectors. Make squares, rectangles and triangles! You can even make circular objects!

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Here, our Art Campers worked together to make their very own sculpture with bends and curves!

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In another group, the Art Campers constructed a rectangular structure from the Straws and Connectors. They used dried painted Color Diffusing Paper that they had made previously with pipettes and watercolor paint to decorate the interior and exterior of the sculpture.

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They consulted with each other how they would cover their sculpture with the Color Diffusing art and worked out a system of ‘waving’ the art through the Straws.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow04SYfL5_E]

Watch the video above to see just why YOU need a box of these versatile construction materials!

Line-10Thanks for sticking around! We love to hear your feedback. If you’ve ever used Straws and Connectors and have photos of your structures, send us your pictures to get published in an upcoming post. Send to subscriber@roylco.ca!

Art Propellor uses our Straws and Connectors!

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One Sunday a month, our local Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery hosts a family drop-in night, which brings in a large group of children of all ages! The programs are organized to help children explore a range of art materials and activities. A popular feature of these art programs is our very own Straws and Connectors!

Our local art gallery maintains its own blog at Art Propellor, also a WordPress site. Check out the artistic posts here!

The KWAG is a great place to be–whether you are gallery-viewing or dropping in for one of the many hosted art programs (ranging from audiences of children to adults), the gallery features a variety of inspirational activities.

Our Straws and Connectors made a big impact at the KWAG Family Sundays events. A post was made entitled: “Family Sundays are Back!” which not only highlighted the success of the event, but also featured images of our Straws and Connectors! The post was published on October 22, 2012.

KWFamilySunday-(9-of-21)The Straws and Connectors are versatile enough for a variety of projects. Build sculptures, structures, and more!

KWFamilySunday-(11-of-21)Connect the colorful straws together with 5-pointed connectors to make a variety of three-dimensional shapes.

Thanks to the KWAG for this post!

Images and original post © Propelart – KWAG

This post was not sponsored for a review. At LittleFingersBigArt, our mission is to present to our readers and viewers the newest and most creative craft ideas that fans of Roylco have made on their own. Our goal is to allow you and other educators and parents to reuse our products in fun ways so that children always get the best educational experience from them!

We’d love to see more ideas like this one! If you’ve got a brilliant craft idea or have made a version of one of our crafts that you would like to share with us, send an email to subscriber@roylco.ca with photos, descriptions or a link to your work. We will create a feature post and link back to you with full credit. We’d love to hear from you!

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Craft Spotlight: Touch and Match Animal Cards

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A good way to encourage sensory interplay is through games! Try our fun-tastic R76530 Touch and Match Animal Cards, which features colorful cartoon playing cards and animal-shaped buttons. Read on and learn how to play!!The Touch and Match Animal Cards are a great way to get groups of students together to play, especially if you are trying to break the ice!

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The Touch and Match Animal Cards feature several types of playing cards. The playing cards are printed with illustrations of colorful cartoon animal and come in 4 sets. Each set represents a difficulty (easy–medium–intermediate–difficult).

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The objective of the game is to match the buttons to the cards! Choose one of the decks to play. Shuffle the cards and turn the cards face down. Take one card from the top and lay it on the table. Examine the card. What animal is printed on the card? Match a button to the face depicted in the card.

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However, to make full use of your students’ sensory abilities, drop a handful of Animal Face Buttons into the provided blue bag (we recommend about 3-5 buttons at a time). Ask children to place their hands into the bag and feel around for the appropriate button.

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This game is great for encouraging visual and tactile skills!

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The best way to distinguish the different decks is by the colors printed on the backs of the cards. The features of each deck is as follows:

Green deck – Easy – Find the face of the animal in the picture!

Yellow deck – Intermediate – Find the faces of both animals in the picture!

Red deck – Difficult – Find the correct face out of four provided faces for the animal body in the image!

Blue deck – Challenging – Find the Animal Face Button corresponding to the animal’s face in the image. There are no other clues provided so think hard about your selection!

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Show us your students’ playtime sessions using the Touch and Match Animal Cards! Send photos to subscriber@roylco.ca for a chance to be featured in our next post!

Craft Spotlight: Exercise Animals!

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Exercise Animals get children up and moving! First decorate the animals with paint, and color in the printed paper with crayons or markers. Assemble the animals in three easy steps. Watch a video below to see how it’s done, then check out our Art Campers taking off in an animal stampede!

Try out various fun activities with the R62030 Exercise Animals. Use our guide and the ideas provided to help get your students’ bodies moving and hearts pumping!

R62030 Exercise Animals are a great way to segue between different educational subjects, such as science, art AND physical education!

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The Exercise Animals feature 10 different animal designs. Choose from a cheetah, horse, lion, kangaroo, bunny, eagle, monkey, elephant, bear and giraffe! Talk about the different types of animals as students paint in the details of their Exercise Animals.

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Our campers loved picking out their favorite animals! Here, one of our campers finds herself a rare one–a purple horse!

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Once students have finished painting their animals, color in the printed paper sheets. The sheets come with two small tubes that can each be pasted onto either end of the sheet as reinforcements. Roll up the sheet with the tubes inside and secure with tape. Finally, join either end of the barber pole with the tab at the bottom of the Exercise Animal head.

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Go on an animal stampede outside your school building!

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Let us know how your students’ animals turned out by sending photos to subscriber@roylco.ca! We’d love to see your classroom artwork!