We’ve officially hit the red zone of the school year. Most of the standardized testing is over. Summer is in sight. Five full weeks plus two and a half days. Not that I’m counting.
It is time to pull out those lesson plans to keep little fingers and minds BUSY!
Here is one of my favorites for 4th grade: twistable yarn bracelets. They don’t require braiding, which to some minds (like mine) is as complex as nuclear physics. This project does require a partner and an idea of a friend you might want to give one to. A nice idea to promote, friendship, at a time of the school year when everyone’s nerves are frayed and small spats can turn into big fights in a hurry.
Start with three equal lengths of yarn. I have six foot tables in my room, so for a convenient measuring tool I have them measure their yarn the length of the table. This produces a bracelet that will go around most fourth grade wrists three times.
One person gathers the ends of the yarn so that they are even and ties a knot in that end. How to tie the knot? Wrap the tied yarn around two fingers. Pull it off your fingers, it makes a hole. Put the ends through the hole and pull.
Hand the other end of the yarn to your partner. They twist one way, while you twist the opposite way. Twist until you feel the tension of the yarn get tight. It won’t twist anymore.
Stop twisting. The person with the knotted end reaches out to the middle of the length of yarn and holds it, while handing their knotted end to their partner. The partner holds both the knotted end and the unknotted end together in one hand. Hold tight.
The other partner releases their end. The strings will twist themselves in a beautiful braid. Magic!
Smooth out any knots by pulling down the length of the braid. I call this “milking the cow”. They never forget this.
Tie the loose ends and the knotted ends together.
Wrap around your friend’s wrist. Open up the twisted end and slip the knotted end through. The left-over braid can hang down or can be tucked under.
These also make great soft bookmarks, or key chains and I have some students that tie them to their belt loops or in their hair.