Craft Roll Toy Soldiers
An Activity for School-Age Children:
This cute seasonal craft transforms recycled materials into miniature toy soldiers similar to those in the cherished holiday story of "The Nutcracker."

Before You Begin:
Have children collect empty, clean cardboard egg cartons (or provide for those who may not have any) and bring from home for this craft. Provide recycled craft rolls, and pre-cut small sections of blue construction paper to cover rolls (this will be the soldiers' uniforms). Prepare small bowls BioColor® paint for the "hats" you will be making from the individual egg carton sections. Set out paintbrushes, Colorations® markers and crayons, scissors, glue and a variety of buttons to decorate soldiers' "uniforms". The teacher may also want to draw circles on the white paper for the faces beforehand to make it easier for the children to cut out.

Activity Goals:
  • To create a festive springtime craft
  • To develop fine motor skills

    Gather children at circle time and have them share their soldiers with the class. This is a great opportunity to tell or read a version of the Nutcracker. Children can also use their soldiers for dramatic and imaginative play.

  • Step 1.
    Help the children cut out their soldiers' faces and individual egg carton sections/"hats".
    Step 2.
    Have them paint the egg carton "hats" and set aside to dry.
    Step 3.
    While the "hats" dry, have children glue the blue construction paper around the cardboard roll for the soldiers' uniforms.
    Step 4.
    Have the children draw their soldiers' faces on the white paper (or templates), cut out and glue to roll.
    Step 5.
    Allow children to decorate the bodies of their soldiers any way they like. They can add arms and legs and use the buttons to decorate the fronts of the uniforms if they wish. Encourage the children to experiment when designing the uniforms.
    Step 6.
    Show children how to glue a painted egg carton "hat" on top of their soldiers. Help them do the same as needed.
    Step 7.
    Help the child write his or her name on the backs of the rolls, so they know which one is theirs. Line their original creations up on a counter and display for the holidays in the classroom.
    Step 1.
    Distribute supplies and have children choose their wooden shapes. Let them be creative in their choice, but be sure that they have petals, a center portion of the flower and a leaf or two.
    Step 2.
    Draw a line with the crayon to divide the construction paper into above-ground and below-ground sections.
    Step 3.
    Spread a substantial amount of glue around the brown construction paper and add your chosen supplies to create a nest.
    Step 4.
    Optional for letter reinforcement: Cut a letter N out of paper or craft foam and glue it onto the construction paper for the nest. Additional options include using the letter B for birds.
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