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Thursday, 23 July 2015

School Holiday Project 5: Making a clock

Making a clock with smaller kids is a really valuable exercise and great learning opportunity. They will also revel in the attention you pay them and the interest you take in them. During the process you can talk about shapes and colors and they can count the triangles to 12, etc. Afterwards, they can even learn to tell time! Let me show you how to make this clock and how to adjust your preparations for different age levels.

We buy pizza bases on these round Styrofoam plates and have taken to saving them with the intention of doing some kids crafts with them.

It is very easy to simply write the numbers on the plates with markers. You could also punch shapes out with paper punches. I prefer to cut triangles, because it is necessary that young children practice the skill of cutting with scissors. I use a craft knife and metal ruler for my illustration, but be sure to let the kids use scissors. I cut a length of paper 3 cm wide. It should be about 20 cm long.

I mark the bottom of the paper strip at 3 cm intervals. The top is marked at 1,5 cm and then at 3 cm intervals. School aged kids can do this for themselves. Preschoolers need you to do this for them.

Connect the top and bottom dots with cutting lines. I drew the lines for the 3 year old. The five year old drew his own lines, connecting the dots I made for him.

I cut my triangles with a craft knife and metal ruler. Again, I can not stress enough how important it is that the kids cut these themselves with scissors.

I used wood glue to attach the triangles, but they came off as soon as the glue dried and I had to affix them with double-sided tape. This worked marvelously. I cut the tape and they picked the cuttings off my fingers and stuck it to their papers.

First mark your four anchor spots, top, bottom, then left and right.

Now fill each gap with two more triangle, spacing them equally around the face of the clock.

Use a compass to describe a circle for the inside of the clock. This adds another shape and color to the project. I cut the circle for the 3 year old. The five year old had seen me use a compass before and insisted that he wanted to give it a try. I allowed him to do so. He was a little clumsy and I had to help him stabilize the compass, but in the end he managed it beautifully. He also cut out his own circle.

Glue the circle to the center of the clock.

I cut two clock hands, each 4 cm wide.

The shorter hand was 11 cm long and the longer hand was 14 cm long.

Turn the clock hands over so you can draw lines on the back. Find the center at 2 cm. Mark 3 cm down from the top. Connect the marks in a triangle. draw a cut line 1 cm in on each side so that you have a paper arrow for the clock hands.

The hands will be attached with a split pin to the clock so they can rotate.

Lay the two hands on top of each other and make a small cross with a craft knife where the split pin must be pushed through.

Turn the pin when you push it through to allow the hands to move freely.

Mark the center of the clock with a cross as well.

Push the split pins through and split the legs open at the back securing the hands to the face of the clock.

I used a metallic marker to write the hours on the triangles.

It is extremely important that you have an example of what the kids will be making available. You can print this photo if you are not going to make your own clock. The finished product should be available before they start so that they know what is expected of them and so they have an example of what they need to do. It is very difficult to follow verbal instructions without visual cues.

The prepared pieces for the five year old included a pair of scissors with a sharper nose, a piece of paper to cut the circle from, the paper strips with the marks for the triangles and the two hands of the clock with the cutting lines drawn in.

The prepared pieces for the three year old included round nosed scissors, a pre-cut circle, the triangles with the lines drawn in and simpler clock hands to cut out. For both sets provision had been made for extra triangles, in case of mishap.

Dire concentration in connecting the dots for the lines of the triangle.

We are still very clumsy at handling scissors at 3 years old and it takes all of our concentration.

These imperfect triangles are marvelous for a three year old. Refrain from cutting them straight and use them as is. It is extremely necessary to build their confidence. If you are going to improve everything they do, they will get the message that what they do is not good enough, even without you verbalizing the words.

The circle proves a challenge to cut at five and we again see the concentration.

Double-sided tape is applied by small clumsy fingers and it is an imperfect job, but it will stick and again we refrain from correcting it. In time they will grow in skill and confidence and then it is the right time to start insisting on correcting errors. At this age we simply dish out high fives and revel in their limited abilities.

This is an extensive project for a little one and soon we loose interest. Let this go and try to force the child back to the project. She stuck around and it did not take long for her to return to the task at hand. Try to accommodate the nature of the child as well. This little girl is much more easily distracted than her older brother who has been able to focus from an early age. No problem. Just roll with it. The last thing you want to do is to turn these creative times into stressful situations where you insist they behave contrary to their nature.

The little brother learning about split pins is completely transfixed.

If we insist on writing our own numbers on the clock face, even though we can't write, it is allowed. What does it matter if they are not real numbers? The idea is to learn and have fun at the same time. At least she now learns how to hold a pen! This is all good.

The five year old has learned to write a few numbers in his music class and he wrote those. It was difficult to figure out which side was up or down in a round clock and the numbers ended up upside-down and sideways, but that's okay. He took great pride in the fact that he could add at least some of his own numbers.

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Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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