Family Time Calendar: Get Crafty - iVillage

Winter's winds have left yards and parks littered with twigs, branches, dead leaves and other natural debris. But don't start spring yard cleanup yet. Gather the kids and collect as many twigs as you can find. Twigs are some of nature's free materials for clever crafts.

Try to find straight twigs with bark that's not peeling off. They should be no fatter than a carrot but not thinner than a pencil. If twigs are damp, let them dry before beginning these projects.

  • To make a twig frame, cut a piece of cardboard at least three or four inches wider than your photograph. Attach the photograph to the cardboard with double-sided tape. Kids can arrange similarly sized twigs around the photograph, snapping the twigs to fit each concentric row. When twigs are arranged tightly, glue them to the cardboard and let them dry thoroughly. Glue small acorns and pinecones on top of the twigs, if desired.

  • Kids can make a twig sign by arranging twigs to form a name or favorite word. Use hemp cord or unbleached twine to tie the twigs together. An adult can hot-glue the twig letters to a wood board, if desired.

  • Similarly, kids can arrange twigs into a star shape. Tie together with twine or hold together with hot glue. If desired, they can decorate the star with acrylic or tempera paints.

  • For a neat lesson, kids can arrange six equal-length twigs into a grid and tie the corners together with twine. Push this miniature trellis into a small houseplant (preferably one with trailing vines) and show kids how to train the vines to crawl up the trellis.
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