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Monday Morning Ready03.06.2020
Jumpstart Your Week!

Introduced in 1973, Shrinky Dinks had kids (and crafty adults) creating artwork on flexible sheets of plastic that, when popped in the oven, would magically shrink down to approximately 1/3 their original size. You were then supposed to play with whatever it was you made, but frankly, the entertainment value was all in coloring pictures...... < read more >
Grade 3-4

What is your favorite type of craft project to make? Why?

Grade 5-6

Do you think Shrinky Dinks would have become such a popular children's toy if they hadn't been marketed as a magical product? Why or why not?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, the "magic" behind Shrinky Dinks is a mere marketing ploy. Think of another type of craft. What marketing ploy can you think of that would turn it into a best-selling children's toy?

Grade 9-10

Think about a type of craft you like to make. Now think about how it's done-like the article explained the science behind Shrinky Dinks. How would you explain the science behind your favorite craft to a friend?

Make and Trade a Crafty Creation


  1. Display the Smithsonian video "Welcome to the Smithsonian Craft Show." As students watch, instruct them to make a list of all the different types of arts and crafts they see. After watching, discuss the list and encourage students to share their own experiences in making different types of craft projects.
  2. Instruct students to select a type of craft they would like to make. If you like, invite them to explore the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Handi-hour Videos to find ideas and watch tutorials explaining how to create different types of crafts.
  3. Provide supplies and give students time to create simple crafts, or instruct them to create their crafts at home. If you have enough time and supplies, you may want to have students make multiple copies of their chosen crafts. Set a deadline for all crafts to be finished.
  4. Have students create a display to showcase their crafty creations. Then organize the displays into a classroom arts and crafts show. Encourage students visit each display and barter with each other to get the items they want.


After the arts and crafts show, encourage students to discuss the experience. What did they learn about making crafts? What did they learn about bartering? What type of craft would they like to learn how to make next?


Grades 3-4:
Divide the class into small groups. Have each group select one type of craft to make. Encourage groups to share supplies and help each other along as each group member makes their own craft of that type. Walk among the groups and provide helpful tips as needed.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into pairs. Have each pair select one type of craft to make. Encourage partners to work together as they make multiple copies of their chosen craft.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Have each pair select one type of craft to make. Encourage partners to work together as they make multiple copies of their chosen craft. As part of their displays for the arts and crafts show, encourage partners to create a brief informational video explaining how they made their crafty products.
Grades 9-10:
Encourage each student to select one type of craft to make. Give students time to make several copies of their craft as well as an attractive display for the arts and crafts show. As a class, establish guidelines for the bartering exchange. Have students browse the available items, decide which ones they want and write a goal. Complete the bartering exchange and then check to see if students were able to achieve their goals or not.
Protect Yourself! Amulets Made from Recycled Materials
Our world is increasingly becoming filled with disposal paper items filling landfills and polluting our environment. In this lesson from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, high school students will create an amulet constructed with recycled magazines and newspapers.

Masters of the Building Arts Activity Guide
This Smithsonian Center for Folklife & Cultural Heritage educational activity guide for young people explores the artistry and skill of master crafts-workers in the building trades and their important contributions to our architectural heritage. It features hands-on activities to do at school or at home.

Totally Cool Toys
Today, there are so many types of careers for people to choose from, including those where people design or create something that is functional or decorative in nature. In this project from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will imagine that they have just been hired as a designer at the Totally Cool Toy Company to design a very cool toy using a variety of materials in whatever way they think will create the most interesting toy.

Mosque Lamps: The Beauty of Light
Help students discover how works of art reflect and support religious beliefs with this lesson plan from the National Museum of Asian Art. Students in incorporate patterns, letterforms and calligraphy to create structures resembling Islamic mosque lamps.

National Quilt Collection
The National Quilt Collection incorporates quilts from various ethnic groups and social classes, for quilts are not the domain of a specific race or class, but can be part of anyone’s heritage and treasured as such. Explore this National Museum of American History site to learn more about quilts and the crafters who create them.

Meet the Woman Fighting for the Survival of India’s Traditional Crafts Culture
Jaya Jaitly aims to protect India’s cultural heritage from the threat of globalized marketplaces. Find out how in this article from Smithsonian magazine.