Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Welcome to Camp Mommy. Whether you’re playing counselor and activity director this summer, or just looking for ways to occupy young minds on the weekends, for the next eight weeks, our plan is to provide you with interesting arts and crafts ideas.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and see pictures of your projects. You can reach me at magazine@jewishpress.com.

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Ru Friedman

 

Popsicle Stick Bracelets

Ru 062317 Bracelets

If you need a great excuse to buy ice cream bars or popsicles this summer (and who doesn’t?), get ready to whip up a batch of popsicle stick bracelets. Sure, you could purchase a package of clean, saliva-free popsicle sticks, but where’s the fun in that? Just don’t forget to save them, lest you find yourself needing to buy another package.

 

Supplies:

Popsicle sticks (wide or narrow)
Saucepan (or slow cooker)
A cup with a circumference slightly larger than a wrist
Decorations: for example, paint, washi tape, gems/beads, colorful paper, etc.
Ribbon or string for straps (optional)

 

Washi Tape
Washi Tape

Place popsicle sticks into a saucepan and boil for approximately ½ hour. My sticks were particularly thick and required additional time to soften. I opted to place them in the slow cooker and checked on them periodically to gauge if they were soft enough to bend. I recommend boiling more than you plan to decorate, as several will crack during the bending stage.

When soft, remove sticks from the water and let them sit until they are cool enough to handle (a couple of seconds).

Popsicle Sticks
Popsicle Sticks

Slowly and carefully bend the sticks to form a half circle, and place into prepared cup to hold the shape. Alternatively, you can wrap the sticks around a thick tube and secure with rubber bands or zip ties. I found that the latter method produced a smoother angle, which held better on the wrist.

Allow sticks to set overnight.

Decorate your bracelets, adding additional straps if desired.

 * * * * *

Whirligigs

Ru 062317 Whirligig SpinningWatching a bored, restless child always calls to mind the proverb, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” It’s amazing what little minds can transform into playthings when the need for entertainment arises. During American colonial times, children fashioned buttons and string into portable little spinners called Whirligigs – the original fidget spinners, if you may. These made a reappearance during the thrifty days of the Great Depression, and are still as addictive as ever.

Ru 062317 Square whirligigs total

Supplies:

Heavy cardboard
36” of string or twine
A skewer or thick needle
Markers or decorative paper
Glue (if using paper)

Ru 062317 Square whirligigs total

Trace a circle on your cardboard and cut it out.

If using decorative paper, cut two equivalently sized circles and glue to your cardboard cutout. Otherwise, decorate your circle as you wish. Brightly colored shapes and squiggles are fun to watch when the spinner is in action.

Make two small holes using a skewer or needle in the center of your circle, approximately ⅜ inch apart.

Thread the string through each hole and knot both ends together.

Ru 062317 Square Diamond WhirligigHolding the two ends of the string loosely, twirl the whirligig in wide circles until the string is twisted and taut.

Stretch the string back out and watch the whirligig colors spin and fade.

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