(I created this post mid-October and never got around to publishing it. Tuck this away for next year or adapt it for Thanksgiving/Advent/Christmas :)
In our house, stocking up on art supplies every few months (usually about once each season) is a must. Usually I go by myself on these excursions so i can wander and look for inspiration for materials and projects. On one such trip a few weeks ago, I found these great little globe-shaped tea light holders for $1/each and got an idea. (This could easily be adapted to all seasons and shapes of tea light holders.)
How to make glitter jack-o-lanterns
For a more calm and peaceful crafting experience, I recommend setting out all materials ahead of time. (In this instance, I let them watch an episode of Wild Kratts while I did so.) Also I find that if I work with them individually or in twos (instead of all three at once), I am much less likely to lose my cool in the process. Finally, for open-ended art making, I just set out materials and let them go at it, but when we make "crafts," I make an example project ahead of time so they know what we are making. While art-making is great for creativity, craft-making is good for following directions and I find they often expand on the activity or use it as a spin-off into more art-making.
Materials: tea light holder, glue, water, paint or foam brush, black construction paper, glitter, tea light
1. Paint the inside of your tea light holder with glue-water (only add a very small amount of water)
2. Affix the black construction paper eyes, nose, and mouth to the inside of the globe. I then painted more glue water over the outside of the face pieces to help them stay.
3. Shake some glitter inside the globe. I turned the globe around to get it to cover all over.
4. Let dry and place tea light inside. (I recommend the electric ones for little ones)
My boys loved this project. Jude and Felix carried their jack-o-lanterns everywhere (inside the house) with them for 2 or 3 days! It led to some mini-science "lessons" about light reflection and refraction, as well as vocabulary like the word "opaque" :)