Monday, August 11, 2014

Vacation Bible School Crafts: Day 5

This is it! We made it to the end of the week of VBS. Catch up on the previous four days of treasure chests, popsicle stick boats, seashell wind chimes and ornaments, and regrouping.

Day 5: Leis

The final requirement for VBS crafts was Friday’s craft needed to be quick (no more than 15 minutes) and couldn’t require drying or setting time. This was the last day and the kids and their crafts were going home. Friday had a shortened schedule as well..

Spending the week on ‘the island,’ of course we were making leis. This was the second idea for crafts to gel after the treasure boxes. However, for being the quickest craft to make, the leis required the most preparation time. Here’s how the craft went down.

The leis were made with lengths of plastic lacing (also known as gimp, scoubidou, boondoggle), artificial flower heads, and drinking straw “beads”. The plastic lacing was cut to 36” lengths. I choose plastic lacing for stringing because it was sturdy enough for the younger kids to easily hold and string the flowers on without needing a needle and without unravelling on them. Cutting and prepping the plastic laces was the easiest and quickest. The drinking straw beads were cut from drinking straws. That was also easily accomplished, but took a bit longer to do—there were a lot of straws to cut.

Sparkly rainbow plastic lacing cut and ready for counting

Big bowl of plastic straw beads

Finally, there were the flowers. The cost-effective way to do this in bulk was to get flowers by the bush—not individual stems. The more flowers per bush, the better. It was also important to make sure the disassembled flowers were suitable for stringing. Some flowers, like roses and carnations were made of multiple pieces, effectively doubling or tripling the available flowers for stringing. Likewise, where possible, the flowers’ leaves were used. Getting the flowers off their stems was easy, and quite fun—they just pop right off. The job was so fun, in fact, I was able to convince my two sons to do this work for me. For the leis, I only needed the petals for stringing. The second step was to remove the centers from the flowers. This job was not nearly as fun and was quite tedious. It’s a good activity for binge-watching one’s favorite shows, but does tear up the fingernails after a bit. It took a few weeks to get all the flowers taken apart and the straws cut.

This was about a third of the flowers prepped.

Flower centers

Flowers de-centered and ready for crafting

The day of the craft arrived. For set up, we split the flowers between the three rooms. I chose to have the flowers strewn along the table for the kids to select from for their leis. Each child received a plastic lacing cord and we showed them how to make a ‘locker’ bead with one of the straw beads to keep the beads and flowers from falling off at the bottom.

In retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have made all the flowers available all at once. Doling them out over the course of the day would have been a better idea. The flowers were the one material we ran into the risk of running out of. Fortunately, it worked out and we had just enough for everyone. When the kids finished stringing their leis, we tied the ends together and they had the option of wearing their craft for the rest of the day at VBS.

Finished lei

C models his lei

And that’s a wrap on the week with VBS crafts. After all that making, it was time to clean up and go home. I received a lot of positive feedback from parents and kids. Many said it was their favorite part of the day. This is what makes all the planning and preparation worthwhile. If there were kids who discovered joy in making or were inspired to continue making, then that is a week’s worth of work well-done.

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