Here fishy, fishy, fishy, fishy!

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I have the honor to teach the Sunbeam class at church.  The first great thing about Sunbeams is that they are three and four years old.  Absolutely one of the craziest ages of childhood!  We have dancing, fighting, spontaneous hugging, weeping, wiggling and giggling every week; never, ever a dull moment.  The second great thing is the lesson subject matter.  While it is lovely to teach deep doctrinal topics to adults, or simplified versions to teens and older children, nothing - NOTHING beats Sunbeam lessons for opening my eyes to the power of the profoundly simple.  Life is richer when I am weekly preparing topics like, "I am thankful for water."  As I find pictures of water in different forms, rain & snow, river & lake, I find myself noticing the beauty and necessity of water that I would be otherwise taking for granted.  (Plus I get the fringe benefits of belly-laughs that come from moments like when one of my little pupils ran to his parents after the lesson yelling at the top of his lungs, "MOM! GUESS WHAT?! IF WE DON'T HAVE WATER, WE DIE!!")

With that intro taken care of, I've decided to start posting some of our fun projects on my blog - mostly as a reference for myself, but also to share ideas.  This past week the lesson was, "I am thankful for fish."  Having recently seen a craft blog extolling the joys of contact paper projects, I decided to give that idea my own twist.  I found a basic fish pattern online, fit two onto a sheet of cardstock, printed them out  and cut them out.  I free-hand cut out the center of the fish in a kind of oval shape.

I purchased contact paper and three colors of flat sequins. (Lily picked out the colors for me.  She has a great artistic eye for color combinations.) 

Cutting a strip of contact paper the width of the fish, then folding the strip in half lengthwise, I peeled off the backing of one half and stuck down the cardstock fish cutout.

Here's where it gets fun!  The kids stick the sequins all over the fish "body" to give him "scales."  Some kids are random, others have a plan, so all of them come out unique.  I'm sure that when I do this with my own kids, the older kids will come up with stripes and patterns.  My Sunbeam class favored the random approach.  (FYI - for a half sheet of paper-sized fish, it took about 40-45 scales to cover nicely.  I gave each child 15 of each color.  I always separate projects into individual units of supplies so that each child has his or her own stickers, pieces, whatever we're using that week.  The first time I did a project, I had foam stickers and just dumped them out in the middle for the kids to choose from.  It was just like a shark feeding frenzy on a Nature show!!  Since then, supplies are always pre-prepared in ziplock baggies :-)  )

Once the body was covered with scales,  I peeled the backing off of the other half of the contact paper strip and folded the whole thing closed (CAREFULLY or it wrinkles) - sticky sides together.  I pressed it flat and cut around the fish, leaving a little bit of an edge to seal it.

That's it - happy little fish. They look good on both sides, so would make a fun mobile, and when the kids were playing with them by swimming them around on the window, they surprised my by looking like stained glass.  Totally makes my mind spin with future possibilities!

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