The holidays are a great time of year, and a lot of fun for the kids too.
It typically means that winter break is coming, the possibility of snow, family time, and probably presents…
…but it doesn’t need to be the chaotic, classroom-party having, squeeze-it-all-in-before-break planning fun that us teachers get to have. It CAN be fun for us too!
I saw a picture somewhere on a makeshift fireplace, and I knew that I had to create my own.
Because there weren’t any directions, I just kind of winged it… wung it… made up my own dimensions. #therewego
As I was building this DIY fireplace, my students were a huge help and motivation for getting it finished in time.
They were also really excited to get “presents in their socks”. HA!
I grabbed 5 empty copy paper boxes from the copy room. You could certainly use any size of box.
Tape them all together. One of my paraprofessionals helped me with this part! I’m a perfectionist and this would have taken me hours to get right.
Notice how the sides, we taped them opposite ends… because the lids are obviously bigger and we wanted it to all be even.
Now you’ve got to wrap your boxes up with white butcher paper.
I started by wrapping up the sides first. Then I wrapped up the top, making sure that most of the seams of the white paper (where it met) was in the back.
You’ll want it to be smoothly wrapped around the boxes, but the seams where you’ve taped the pieces together isn’t too big of a deal.
Before the next step, I cut out a brick-sized piece of construction paper and traced bricks onto the white paper with a pencil. This part took the longest, but really helped when it came to painting.
I started out using a small paintbrush. BIG mistake!
It took me at least 10 minutes to finish 4 bricks. I did some digging in my classroom cabinets and found a 2-3″ wide sponge. Saved so much time!
I did a vertical sort of decor look around the top, just to make it look more realistic. And I didn’t do the brick look all the way around. Just the parts that would be seen.
This is what this beauty looked like after I finished painting it.
I needed to make some logs and flames to make it more realistic. I grabbed some red, yellow, and brown butcher paper.
To make the logs, you crumble up some brown paper first. You’ll have to un-crumble it, then loosely roll it up to create a log-like look.
To create the flames, I cut out shapes like the picture above.
To get it to stay straight up, I glued popsicle sticks to the back. I cut small slits into the “logs” and stuck the popsicle sticks into the slits. And that’s it!
I had 4 total logs (2 larger ones and 2 smaller ones) and 3 flames.
I, also, cut out a half circle on black paper, to make it look like a floor. I ran this black paper up behind the back of the fireplace too, so that you can’t see the wall.
The fireplace looks great sitting in the classroom on it’s own, and it gets a lot of compliments from parents, admin, and other teachers.
The kids love it too because, since we are a Life Skills classroom, every Friday we do Fun Food Friday. Thursday is the day we sequence the recipe, and then Friday morning is when we actually make our no bake recipe.
December is themed all around holiday foods and drinks. The kids get so excited for Fun Food Friday and really look forward to it. They do awesome with following the steps of the recipe and making the actual food.
The best part is getting to eat or drink the food we’ve made! Yesterday we made snowman hot cocoa and next Friday we are going to make chocolate covered pretzels during out holiday party with the parents.
I’m excited for the parents to be participating with us this coming Friday. They’re going to be so proud of their children!
While the fireplace is up, we read books around the fireplace. I do need to find a good auditory clip of a fire crackling and burning… ya know, to really get the true fireplace feeling.
Luckily, I have a lot of storage in my classroom… and a rather large shower in the classroom bathroom that holds a lot of stuff between you and me. So I store this in there for 10 1/2 months out of the year.
What is something unique and fun that you do in your classroom for your students?