With the year winding down, there are moments when I want to do a “filler” but also continue to teach good things.  Two fun and easy end-of-the-year crafts that my students have done recently are these ancient jars and rainbow stars.  These projects help fill the time and create a lovely display, which brings me to another problem I face during the winding down time at school: It seems the hallways can become ugly and neglected, giving the impression that everyone has already checked out. I want my last weeks to look as bright and refreshing as my first weeks.

Jars and Rainbow Stars Crafts

Ancient Jars

Making the jars is quite easy. I have students bring in bottles of every shape and size, asking them to clean off all the labels at home to save on time. If you do this project, you may have to collect some bottles yourself in case there are a few students who forget to bring theirs in.

Make Ancient Looking Jars

Once everyone has a clean and dry bottle, I give them each a roll of inexpensive masking tape. Their instructions are to tear off small pieces – no longer than their thumbs – and put them on the jars in all directions, overlapping other pieces. I do not let them use scissors because jagged edges look better. It is important to ensure that the entire bottle is covered, including the bottom and inside of the upper lip.

Then using a rag, I have students rub brown men’s shoe polish (the kind that comes in round cans) on their jars in circular motions, just like they would if they were polishing shoes. Kids have to be taught how to do this, as they don’t polish their shoes much anymore.

Rainbow Stars

For the rainbow stars, I used a project shared in The MailboxAug/Sept 1996.

rainbow stars

Each student gets five copies of the diamond patterns, which is 10 diamonds.  The coloring directions are on each page.  I allow my students to select their own colors for each number, but once a color is set, they must stay with it.  I find using color pencils is best, as it’s easier for students to stay within the lines. At the end, they cut out their diamonds, but I am the one to mount them on colored paper and cut them out the second time. They certainly brighten any room they are hung in.