Dragonfly Clothespins



Symbolism

Dragonflies symbolize connection between elements: water and air. They are born underwater and soon grow wings to fly over bodies of water, becoming a bridge between worlds. They are thought to be messengers between the elemental world and heavens above. My favorite piece of dragonfly magic is that they are reflectors of light. Their thin wings and body shine iridescent when sunlight hits them, changing and shifting colors in the light. They reflect the divinity above and bring it down to earthly planes.


This is how I view children. The children are dragonflies, reflecting and shining their little lights on us all, gifting us with their presence as they fly about. It is because of this that I named my class of 1.5-2.5 year olds the “Dragonflies”.


Craft

Of course children may not understand the full symbolism of a dragonfly until they are older, but in the meantime we can do some fun crafts! This craft uses common materials to make a clothespin dragonfly and is meant to do withyour little one. Some of the steps children will need assistance with, like the gluing. Other steps are completely up to the child’s creativity! Together you can create and explore the magic of the dragonfly!


Materials

Tablecloth or something to paint on

Paint tray table

Acrylic paint

Watercolor paint

Paintbrushes

Dropper

Clothespins

Elmer’s glue

Hot glue gun

Glitter (optional)

Small googly eyes

Coffee filters


Directions

1) Set up your paint station. Put your place setting down so no paint gets on the surface you are working on. Lay down the paint tray table. This is where the coffee filter will go. It will be very wet and we need it to dry without ripping, which is why a tray table is used. Mix together watercolor paint into water and gather other materials.


2) Watercolor takes longest to dry, so we start with prepping the wings. There are two ways to paint with watercolors. Wetting the paper or coffee filter you are working with allows the paint to spread more easily and is fun for the kids to watch. Using watercolor on a dry surface makes cleaner, straighter lines. It’s really about preference. Take either your wet or dry coffee filter and place it on the painting tray table. Use the droppers to collect mixed watercolor paint and drop it down onto the coffee filter. Allow to completely dry before removing so it doesn’t rip.





3) While the watercolor paint is drying, paint the clothespins with acrylic paint. Acrylic sticks best to the wood and often times is washable incase little ones get it on their hands/clothes. Allow drying completely.


4) GLITTER! The glitter adds a beautiful shimmery touch to the dragonflies, but can sometimes be hard to clean up and stick around for WEEKS, so this part is optional. After the paint has dried, let the kids either drizzle or paint glue onto the clothespin. While it is still wet, sprinkle glitter over the glue. Some will fall off and not stick, this is ok. Shake the rest of the glitter from your workstation either back into the glitter container or into the trash. Allow it to dry completely.


5) This part is for the adults: heat up your hot glue gun and glue two googly eyes onto the end of the clothespin that opens. This will be the head. Allow it to dry.


6) Back to the wings! Now that the coffee filter has dried, trace two separate dragonfly wings either of the same size or different sizes. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Either trace the wings with the filter flat on a table, or fold the filter in half and just trace one side of the wing. Once you open up the filter you will have a full wingspan.


7) You can choose to keep the wings flat or fold them back and forth like a fan so they have more texture. Hot glue the top of the wing in a line right down the middle, open the clothespin, and stick the wing into the clothespin as far back as it will go, closest to the metal fastener. Press up on the wing from the bottom so that the top of the wing sticks to the inside of the clothespin. Repeat with wing 2, just slightly above where you put the last one.


**The placement of the glue is important so when you open the clothespin, the wings stay together and it can be used as a functional pin while still looking like a dragonfly.



8) Voila! You have yourself a dragonfly!


Developmental milestones within this activity:

Combining shapes/objects to make a different shape/object

Follow simple instructions

Collaborate with adult to finish a product

Use different art mediums (different kinds of paints, brushes, droppers, etc)

For older ones: cutting, folding, gluing

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