Arts and Crafts from The Mailbox 2001-2002 Yearbook Gr. 1-3 by The Education Center TEC4526

“Thumb”Apples! Activity

These apple trees are truly “thumb-thing” special! To begin, tear a tree trunk shape from brown paper and glue it on a 9″ x 12″ sheet of white construction paper. Use green tempera paint and a sponge to paint the tree’s foliage. When the green paint is dry, pour a mixture of liquid soap and red tempera paint into a shallow pan. Use the paint to make a desired number of red thumbprint apples on and near the tree. Allow drying time. Then use crayons or markers to add colorful details and a background scene that would make Johnny Appleseed proud!

adapted from an idea by Jane Manuel
Wellington, TX

Arts and Crafts Activities for Grades 1-3

WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity

Sample PDF Activity

Venus Flytrap Activity

Incorporate this snappy project into a plant unit. Or use it in conjunction with Judy Moody, a delightful chapter book by Megan McDonald.

Materials for one project:
two 4″ circles of green construction paper
two 4″ circles of red construction paper
3″ x 12″ piece of green construction paper
4″ x 7″ piece of construction paper (Colors may vary.)
9″ x 12″ sheet of construction paper (Colors may vary.)
1″ square of black tissue paper
flat wooden toothpicks
small white coffee filter
clear tape


  1. Fold the four paper circles in half and then unfold each one.
  2. Glue toothpicks around the edge of each green circle.
  3. Glue a red circle atop each green circle, matching up the fold lines. Fold each resulting trap in half (keeping the red paper to the inside) and then set it aside to dry.
  4. Trim the 4″ x 7″ paper to resemble a planter. Add desired decorations.
  5. Cut one long stem and two shorter stems from the green paper.
  6. Position the long stem between the shorter stems. Glue the stems and the planter on the 9″ x 12″ construction paper sheet.
  7. Glue a trap to the top of each short stem. Wad up the black tissue paper square and glue it inside one trap.
  8. Fold the coffee filter in half and then fold it in half again. Trim one inch from the open end. To form a flower, pinch the point and scrunch the sides of the filter. Tape the point to the top of the long stem. Gently open the blossom and glue the bottom edge of the bloom to the construction paper.

adapted from an idea by Stacy Confer
Jefferson Elementary, Emmaus, PA

Open House Desk Topper Activity

Extend a warm and “class-y” welcome to your open house guests! To make a desktop project, fold a 12-inch square of white construction paper in half diagonally and then fold the folded paper in half. Unfold the paper and position it so the fold lines form a t. Draw and color your school on the top half of the paper, making sure the school sits on the fold line. Next, cut the bottom half of the paper in half, using the fold line as a guide. Overlap the two pieces to form the bottom of the project. Use a pencil to lightly sketch a sidewalk leading away from the school. Then lay the project flat and color the sidewalk and desired landscaping. Reassemble the project and glue the overlapping pieces. On a 4″ x 5″ piece of white construction paper, illustrate yourself. Cut out the picture, leaving a tab (for gluing) at the bottom. Fold back the tab and glue it on the sidewalk. Welcome!

Jo Fryer—Gr. 1
Kildeer Countryside School
Long Grove, IL

Squirrel Sighting Activity

In a nutshell, these bushy-tailed critters are simply too cute to pass up!

Materials for one project:
4″ x 12″ piece of gray construction paper
2″ x 4″ piece of gray construction paper
4″ x 8″ piece of gray construction paper
4″ square of gray construction paper construction paper scraps
4″ leaf template six 4″ squares of construction paper in fall colors


  1. To make the body, roll the 4″ x 12″ piece of gray paper into a cylinder and glue the overlapping edges together. Set aside to dry.
  2. For the head, trim the four-inch square of gray paper into a desired shape and decorate. Keeping the seam at the back of the cylinder, glue the head to the front of the body.
  3. For the tail, trim the 4″ x 8″ piece of gray paper into a desired shape. If desired, gently curl the tail before gluing it to the back of the body.
  4. For the feet, fold in half the 2″ x 4″ piece of gray paper and cut out two matching feet. Add desired details and glue the feet to the body.
  5. For the bed of leaves, trace the leaf template onto the remaining construction paper squares. Cut out. Arrange the leaves as desired and glue the overlapping surfaces. Glue the squirrel atop the leaves.

Rita Arnold—Gr. 1
Alden Hebron Grade School
Hebron, IL

About The Education Center, aka the The MAILBOX®

The Education Center, aka the The MAILBOX®, was founded in 1973 by Marge and Jake Michel. Like many other educators, they were frustrated by the lack of practical, ready-to-use materials for the classroom. So they created several products in their spare time, and the company grew from there. Countless teachers have contributed to The MAILBOX® for more than 30 plus years. Some teachers are so excited about the opportunity to create ideas for other teachers that they join our staff in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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