Painting Cranes: Family Dinner Book Club Craft inspired by Grandfather's Dream

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Even though we made our Family Dinner Book Club list nearly a year ago, this month's book choice has proven to be really poignant. My husband and I have been watching Ken Burns' film The Vietnam War and it's been eye opening to a number of details that I hadn't learned from history class. Having a book set in post war Vietnam for our Family Dinner Book Club has been very timely, and it is a wonderful story of family and healing that I think you will love too.

Create a sky filled with painted cranes with this easy kids craft inspired by Grandfather's Dream. Perfect for Family Dinner Book Club!

About Family Dinner Book Club

Family Dinner Book Club is one of my favorite projects, and I look forward to it all month long. If you're new to the idea, it is very simple. Every month, my co-hosts and I choose a children's book and give you everything you need to turn it into a complete family event.

Jodie from Growing Book by Book brings you conversation starters and service projects tied to the book, Sarah from Chef Sarah Elizabeth creates a delicious themed menu, while I give you a simple craft or activity. This year, we are going "around the world" and each month's book features a different country.

Grandfather's Dream

This month's Family Dinner Book Club pick is Grandfather's Dream by Holly Keller. Set in post war Vietnam, the story follows young Nam and his Grandfather. Grandfather is hopeful that the cranes who left his country during the war will return now that the wetlands have been restored, while others in the village want to use the land to plant rice.

The story is filled with lovely images and a message of hope after the devastation of war.

Since the cranes were such a central focus of Grandfather's Dream, I wanted to create a simple crane themed craft. My first thought was to attempt to make origami cranes, but as origami is more of a Japanese art I didn't think it was a good fit for this project (but if you would like to try it there is a great origami crane tutorial here).

The angular look of a traditional origami crane did inspire our craft - but instead of folding, we decided to paint cranes - and create a sky full of them just like our favorite page in the book.

 Painting Cranes

This is a very simple process art project that works for all ages. The idea is not to create a perfect crane, but to practice with arranging shapes to create the look of a sky full of cranes, just like the end of Grandfather's Dream.

For this craft, you'll need:

After reading Grandfather's Dream, set out your materials. Pour your white paint onto a small plate, and use the sponges to create crane shapes on the paper. 

You can experiment with different angles to create the body and wings. This is a great process for kids to practice spatial relations skills, planning, and visualizing patterns.

Once you have a shape you like, you can create an entire sky filled with cranes, just like in the book.

You can even laminate your finished project and use it as a placemat for your family dinner book club meal time.

Complete Your Family Dinner Book Club Experience

Experience the entire Family Dinner Book Club project for this month by heading over to Growing Book by Book for your conversation starters, and to Chef Sarah Elizabeth for a themed menu. And share your dinner with us on Facebook - we love to see your photos.

Be sure to check out our other Family Dinner Book Club crafts for more inspiration!

Love Children's Books? Check this out!

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