Seeds of Love

It’s a simple project bursting with love…a mama tree hugging her baby seed!

We read The Little Tree, written by Muon Van, and illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi.The smallest tree in the forest watches time pass, the land change, and wonders what will happen to her little seed. Finally, with the help of a world-traveling brown bird, she releases her little seed to the skies. Then she waits and worries about her little seed. Then one day, a gift arrives…a leaf that belongs to the tallest, strongest, and brightest tree the brown bird has ever seen. Yes, it’s the Little Tree’s precious seed, grown up strong and beautiful!

You’ll need:

  • 1 small box
  • 1 paper towel tube
  • Brown poster board
  • Green poster board
  • Tree decorating supplies (more on this below!)
  • Scissors and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

First, cut 2″ off a paper towel tube, then hot glue it to the top of a small box. Glue 2 circles of green poster board to 2 sets of brown poster board branches (our branch template is here), then hot glue everything to the top of the paper towel tube. Add a pair of brown construction paper arms to your tree, and tuck a green poster board “seed” into them. Finally, decorate your tree with markers, or use green construction paper, embossed foil paper, fabric flowers, gold mirror board, and shimmer ribbon like we did. Done!

The Little Tree is a very touching book. In fact, Katie and I had a bet that I wouldn’t be able  read it aloud without crying (it was a draw – I did choke up at one point!). Even more touching, however, is the author’s note at the end…

The book is a tribute to Muon Van’s mother, who fled the post Vietnamese-American war regime with her two children. In America, she gave birth to five more children. Even though she only had a third grade education, she put them all through college, and in some cases, grad school. Van lovingly praises her mother who, like the Little Tree, was brave enough to override her fears, doubts, and limitations and provide her children with a life she could not imagine for herself.

Far Out Friend

far out friend

Meet your new companion from a galaxy far, far away…and all it takes is two cups!

We read Your Alien, written by Tammi Sauer, and illustrated by Goro Fujita (Sterling, 2015). When an alien crash lands on earth, a boy adopts him. They have a total blast until bedtime, when the alien starts to cry for his parents. So the boy brings out ALL the holidays lights and decks out the house. It works! The relieved parents spot the signal in space, and the family is soon reunited.

You’ll need:

  • 1 paper cup
  • 1 plastic cocktail cup
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating

First, wrap a paper cup with construction paper, then flip the cup upside down. Use markers to draw a face (or use an eye sticker, like we did). Drop a plastic cocktail cup helmet in place, and add an (optional) snippet of sparkle stem.

You and your new friend are ready to hang out!

El Esqueleto

el esqueleto

Celebrate Día de Muertos with this jolly paper clip skeleton ornament! All it takes is 15 paperclips, paper, and a little glue!

You’ll need:

  • 15 paperclips
  • 1 rectangle of black poster board (approximately 4.75″ x 7.75″)
  • A number of yellow and gold tissue paper squares (approximately 3″ x 3″)
  • 1 snippet of ribbon (ours was 8″ long)
  • Scissors and squeeze glue for construction
  • Hole punch

The most important thing about this project is to use squeeze (i.e. liquid) glue. Glue sticks, alas, do not work! You’ll really have to glop the glue on to anchor the paper clips, but the good news is that everything dries clear and muy bueno!

First, punch a hole in the top of the black poster board rectangle. Next, glue crumbled yellow and gold tissue paper squares around the rectangle, making sure NOT to cover the hole you just punched.

Glop glue inside the rectangle, then arrange 14 paper clips to create your skeleton. The 15th paper clip gets unfolded and rounded to form the skeleton’s skull. Use hole punch remnants to make eyes, and a little snippet of paper to make the mouth.

Allow the frame to dry completely, then thread the ribbon through the hole. Done!