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 ISSUE 02   •   23  JULY 2006  
   This week's theme: the night sky


1. Editorial: Desperate times require desperate measures
2. MAKE: a night sky scape
3. MAKE: a daytime telescope
4. COOK: a starry fruit and cheese platter
5. MORE: night sky ideas

1. Editorial: Desperate times require desperate measures

Do things ever get completely crazy at your place?

Our most feral time is usually towards the end of the day when the kids are hungry and tired, but dinner is still 30 minutes off.

I recently came across a great idea that has helped to restore calm to even our most desperate times. It's called the crazy container and it's a very simple concept.

All you have to do is sit down and think of some fun activities and crafts that can be done with very little preparation. Then, write down the name of each of the activities on individual cards and put them into a small basket or box.

When things are going downhill fast, avert impending disaster by having your little one select an activity from the crazy container.

It's a simple but brilliant idea that has saved many late afternoons in these parts.

If you're interested in starting your own crazy container you might want to check out my list of no fuss craft ideas. Choose the ideas that appeal most to you and you're well on your way to having your very own disaster aversion device.

If you have your own no fuss craft ideas please email me and let me know. I'm always on the lookout for new ideas to throw into the creative mix.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy the 'night sky' ideas in this issue of kids craft weekly.

Happy crafting and see you next week!

Amber Carvan

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2. MAKE: a night sky scape

Kids crafting

You will need:

•  a sheet of black cardboard
•  star stickers for young kids
•  art supplies that work well on black paper such as glitter glue, gold and silver pens, white pencil or crayon, holographic paper, sequins etc

This is a simple and fun craft for kids of all ages.

Provide your little one with a sheet of black cardboard and suitable craft supplies to make a picture of the night sky. If you don't have any black cardboard on hand you can get your little one to paint a dark background on a sheet on cardboard.

Young children will probably get plenty of joy from simply sticking stickers on the cardboard. Older children may want to try to cut out their own star shapes from aluminium foil, or to draw in details such as shooting stars, rockets and planets.

My three year old particularly enjoyed shaking glitter onto her star scape and cutting moon shapes from holographic paper. If you hang the completed picture in a prominent place (like on the fridge) it can provide a great reference point for any other 'night sky' activities during the week.

Arky's sky scape (age 15 months)

Arky's sky scape

Ella's sky scape (age 3)

Ella's sky scape

3. MAKE: a daytime telescope

Ella and the telescope

You will need:

•  a sheet of thin black cardboard
•  star stickers or glitter glue or silver and gold pens
•  scissors
•  pencil
•  sticky tape
•  pin and or toothpick

Roll a small sheet of black cardboard to form a cylinder and tape it securely. This cylinder will form your daytime telescope.

Then, cover one end of the telescope with black cardboard. We did this by tracing around the outer edge of the cylinder, cutting out the exact shape and taping it securely to the end. Try to ensure that no gaps are left around the edge because you need to block out all light for maximum effect.

Hand the telescope over to your little one for some thorough decorating.

Once the decorating is complete, show your child how to prick holes into the cardboard at the very end of the telescope. For best results use a pin and a toothpick so that the holes are of different sizes.

Retrieve pin and toothpick from your child before they get completely carried away. Then, have them point their telescope to a source of light (window, lamp etc) and they will be able to see the stars!

Coincidentally I just saw a new episode of Play School where they did a similar thing but in reverse. Instead of using a black cylinder they used a torch so that you could switch it on and off to see the stars.

4. COOK: a starry fruit and cheese platter

Starry platter

You will need:

•  star shaped cookie cutters (or a sharp knife and steady hand)
•  a selection of fruit suitable for cutting into shapes eg, melon, apple, pear
•  skewers or toothpicks for older kids
•  slices of cheese

I've started making the kids a 2.30pm fruit and cheese platter to tide them over till dinnertime and so far it's been a tremendous success.

You can make this healthy afternoon treat even more fun by cutting the fruit into slices and then cutting them into star shapes with a cookie cutter. Older kids will enjoy helping you to cut the shapes and can then use skewers to make starry fruit kebabs or star fruit piles.

To complement the theme, cut out slices of cheese in the shapes of crescent and full moons.

But a word of warning, your child may insist on star-shaped fruit every day from this point onwards!

5. More night sky ideas

•  Make star or moon shaped biscuits
•  Step outside after dinner for a ten minute family star gazing expedition
•  See if you can buy a star fruit at the green grocers
•  Make star and moon shaped potato prints
•  Visit an observatory or planetarium

For more ideas read my article on how to get great mileage from a weekly theme.

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