Sanity-Saving Rainy Day Craft

Craft for Kids

Try this cute educational project for young kids—to keep their minds occupied, without using the computers or iPads!

Summer vacation is around the corner, which—if you’re like me—inspires a bit of panic in parents everywhere. If you’re thinking of ways to occupy your kids (in my case, three of them!) during the long summer months ahead, try this rainy day craft from education.com. (My kids love it when I ring the doorbell and call myself “Miss V”, a summertime teacher whom their “mom” [aka me!] hired to come teach them for the summer. This craft will be on “Miss V’s” summertime to-do list.)

Phonics Eel

Learning the double “ee” is a big project. It’s pretty strange, if you think about it: double a “t” or an “l” and the sound doesn’t change … but doubling an “e” is a bit more difficult. I’ll be doing this with my kindergartener and my fourth grader; they can work together on this.

What You Need

  • 4-5 cardboard toilet paper tubes
  • Tempera glitter paint and paintbrush
  • 2 wiggly eyes
  • 2 cardboard egg cups, cut from an egg carton
  • 1 24″ strip of elastic, 1/2″ wide
  • Black sharpie pen
  • Small strip of red felt
  • Craft glue
  • Round stickers in a coordinating color (optional; available at office supply stores)

What You Do

  1. Start by painting the toilet paper tubes and egg cups with the glitter paint. If you want to go with a “realistic” look, you might try black, brown, or green paint, but feel free to branch out, perhaps even to hot pink, or purple, or both. While you’re at it, your child might even choose a name for this eel creature.
  2. While the toilet paper tubes are drying, cut a “tongue” from red felt, about ½” x 2” long. If the felt seems thin, go ahead and make two layers, and glue them securely onto the end of the elastic.
  3. Put a small hole in the bottom of each egg cup, large enough so that the elastic can fit through it.
  4. Once the tubes are dry, cut each one in half, leaving 8-10 tubes, each about 3” long. Explain that these are your “ee” tubes, and brainstorm these words with your child. Help him write a different “ee” word on each tube, making sure that one of the tubes, which will go in the front, says “eel.” (Hint: try green, keep, deep, seep, creep, feel, reel, heel, wheel, tree…) If you also want to add stickers, now is a good time, too.
  5. Now it’s time to string your eel together. Start by running the elastic through the bottom of one egg cup until it hits the edge of the red tongue, facing out. This will be the eel’s head; glue on two googly eyes to complete the effect.
  6. Then string the tubes, starting with the one that says “eel.” Go all the way to the end of the tubes, and then poke the elastic through the other egg cup. Keep it straight but not taut, and knot it off or staple it securely.
  7. Want to make the eel “slither”? Grab the tongue, pull the elastic to tighten the eel, and then let go…

Good luck! And Happy Summer!

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Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.