A week after the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook, Brian and I decided to talk to the kids about it. We did our best to keep it from them at first, but we had a few hints that Anna at least was paying attention. The day after the shooting, we stopped listening to the news around them, and made sure the kids knew to ask us if they ever had any questions or concerns about anything they heard on the news. But we couldn’t completely keep it from them, and somehow we felt like Anna knew something but didn’t want to ask about it.
When we got the notice from our PTA about the Snowflakes for Sandy Hook initiative (welcome the kids to their new building with a winter wonderland of snowflakes sent from all over the world), we thought this would be a good way to brooch the subject with the kids. My kids make snowflakes all the time (the little scraps of paper all over the house!), so I knew they would be in to this.
Also, when I heard Emilie’s dad speaking last week about how his daughter was so creative and empathetic, I couldn’t help but think of Anna. He said if Emilie ever thought someone was sad, she was always quick to draw a picture or write a note to cheer them up. This made me bawl my eyes out, not only for the loss of this little soul, but also because that description fits Anna to a T.
Anna making snowflakes and hearts for Sandy Hook
Sure enough, when we talked about these kids going back to a new school, sad because their friends weren’t coming back, she immediately got to work. We were already making the snowflakes as we talked about it, but she decided to make all these hearts for the kids and teachers who were gone. It was Eric’s idea to put their names on the hearts.
Then, and this really gets me, Anna made some bigger hearts, and drew smiley faces on them, and put them in an envelope with the little hearts:
Such a sweetie.
We’ll mail these off later this week, but in the meantime, I thought it would be helpful to show how to properly make a snowflake. It’s not immediately intuitive to get a proper 6-sided snowflake. Real snowflakes always have 6 sides, and if you just fold a paper in quarters, you won’t get the right number of sides.
How to make a proper snowflake:
1. Start with a square piece of paper. If you have a rectangle, fold the short edge to line up with the long edge and trim the extra off.
start with a square piece of paper.
2. fold into a triangle.
3. fold into a triangle again.
4. Fold into thirds (Anna calls this the “rocketship” shape)
I drew fold lines to make it easier to see.
5. Trim the tails so you have an isosceles triangle.
Snip the tails off after folding in thirds
6. Cut your design! Note if you cut off most of one side, you end up with a more open snowflake:
Snowflake, cut away most of one side for a more open snowflake.
The finished “Open” style snowflake
But if you leave the sides mostly intact, you get more of a round-ish snowflake.
both sides are left mostly intact…
See the difference between cutting away most of one side vs. leaving the sides intact?
Cut out the center, and get this fun look:
Maybe you think I’m obsessive about these snowflakes – shouldn’t they just be free-form and creative? Well yes, of course they can be. But there is something really pleasing about making them as they appear in nature: with six perfect sides. The ice crystals form that way for a reason, so I’m happy to try to imitate nature.
Let me know if you are also making snowflakes for Sandy Hook. I know the kids there won’t care if they are 6-sided or not!