Teresa’s latest assignment at school was to decorate a shoebox. They’re going to use it to store their decodables (tiny books used to teach kids to read). The assignment was given two weeks before they needed it. The teacher’s instruction was to take time with your child to decorate the box. The box will mostly stay at home until they are instructed to bring it in on an assigned day. But for the most part, the box stays at home. According to Tia, this will be in about 10 weeks.
I pulled out our boxes of stickers and my daughter started decorating her shoebox picking out her favorites to put right in front.
As I was watching her, it all seemed kind of random. She didn’t really seem to group them in any way. She just picked the ones she liked and stuck them every which way. Not that this is bad. She IS just 6 years old. This is always how we’ve decorated boxes.
But still, it got me thinking …. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for me to teach her to organize and plan her arts and crafts projects — not just arts and crafts … any project.
So we had a discussion on how she wanted her shoebox craft to look like. Her checklist included
- It has to be pink
- There has to be flowers, hearts or butterflies
- I want my picture on it
- I want my favorite stickers on it
So off I went to JoAnn’s Fabrics the next day. I would have taken her with me but our last trip to Jo-Ann’s ended up costing me a lot more than intended because “everything’s so cute” — her words.
My first plan was to gather up some scrap booking papers to wrap the box with. But as it turned out, they’re also very expensive and they don’t sell a big piece to wrap the box without any breaks in the paper. Sure gift wrap would work but I didn’t want to make another trip to a different store.
As I walked around, I discovered quilting squares. They were $1.50 each and just the right size to wrap a shoebox with. I picked flowers and a plain pink one and that was it.
Her shoe box will take the shape of a …. well … a shoebox. The reason I mentioned this is because before we started on her box, I ggld some shoebox decorations. Bravo to some parents to have managed to turn their shoe boxes into castles or wagons or trucks … wow! I am much too much of a beginner for that.
She experimented with stamps, stickers, cutting papers and gluing them.
She decided to use a double-sided mounting tape so her picture pops out. She also picked her favorite animals and paired it with the sounds they made wherever possible. She decorated the insides of the shoebox as well.
The first set of decodables were sent home early this week so this box is actually now being used. She takes very good care of it and puts it away in her shelf every night. So this simple project has given her many lessons more than just “art”. It taught her how to plan, to organize and most of all, to take care of her things! Of course, all these didn’t occur to me until I started typing this post. But it really did.
As for me, I realized that class assignments are not just things the kids need to get done and turn in … it could be a great opportunity to learn together!