People throughout the world associate art such as mosaic and stained glass, artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci and cuisine such as pasta and pizza with Italy. Italy also offers the world a number of architecture marvels such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Colosseum and the Pantheon. Introduce children to some of Italy's artistic traditions using child-friendly crafts that allow them to create long-lasting mementos of their study of Italy.
Commemorate Italy's glass art tradition by using broken bits of tile and pottery, marbles, shells and charms to turn a terracotta flower pot into a personalised gift. Before starting the project, look through your gathered "treasures" and discard any pieces with broken or jagged edges.
Use a plastic knife to spread a thick layer of ceramic tile grout (available at most home improvement stores) onto a terracotta pot. Press objects into the pot---you can make designs or arrange them randomly. Cover any broken edges with a bit more grout. Let your flowerpot dry and then wipe off excess grout with a damp sponge.
Tissue Paper "Cathedral" Window
Churches throughout Italy such as Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) are famous for their antique stained glass windows. Show children images of famous Italian windows and let them create their own using tissue paper squares and contact paper. Contact paper is a type of self-adhesive vinyl readily available at most home improvement or craft stores.
Draw a hollow shape onto a piece of black construction paper. The "stained glass" will go in the centre of the shape---ideas include a heart, flower shape, butterfly or sun. Cut around the shape until you have a hollow outline.
Tear or cut sheets of colourful tissue paper into small squares and place them in a bowl. Remove the adhesive backing from a sheet of contact paper. Position your hollow shape onto the sheet of contact paper and gently press it into place. Fill the centre of your shape with small squares of tissue paper. Use a mix of colours or choose only one colour. Make sure you allow them to slightly overlap, but do not position them too thick or they will block out the light. Cut the edges of your window to mirror the outline of your design, but leave enough sticky edges to allow your stained glass to adhere to the window.
Position your stained glass creation in a sunny window with the sticky side facing the glass. Gently press down on it to help it stay in position.
Combine two symbols of Italy---pasta and the Italian flag in this child-friendly craft. Add two to four tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to several zip-lock bags. Vary this amount depending on how much macaroni you plan on adding to the bags; you want the pasta covered, but not drenched in alcohol. Add drops of red food colouring to one bag and green food colouring to the other. Pour in the desired amount of macaroni and shake the bags to mix up the colours. Lay the macaroni on waxed paper to dry.
Give children a large sheet of white construction paper. Turn it out to form a rectangle and divide it into three sections. Glue green macaroni to the first section, leave the middle one bare (it is white) and glue red macaroni to the third section.