Crafty McGee

It has been a while since I’ve posted about my job at the Firefighters Museum of Calgary, but that’s only because I’ve been waiting until this particular topic had enough images and information to truly convey how amazing my job is. What topic you (probably don’t) ask?? CRAFTS!

I’ve always considered myself mildly crafty in my own right (making cards and taking art in grade 12 high-school, of course), but this job made me bring my crafting skills to a new level. My co-worker Megan and I really put our artistic skills to the test.

For a little background, I should maybe mention we are an extremely child-friendly museum and have an amazing play area and “education station” for the little ankle-biters who frequent our establishment. Along with this, we offer a 1-hour program for children ages 3-5 every Wednesday called “Wee Wednesdays“. Some kids refer to it as “firefighter school” because we teach them a different thing every week in a three week cycle. If the children sign up and complete all three weeks, they “graduate” with a badge and a certificate. It’s all very cute.

The education develops as follows:

Week one: Be a Firefighter

Week two: Stay low and go

Week three: Fire Trucks and More!

Intrigued? Many Calgarian parents seem to be because we’ve had kids signed up for every week so far! Our first cycle of “firefighters” just graduated last Wednesday, much to our pleasure.

Now. To relate this back to the important topic of crafts: every week, along with teaching them about a firefighter’s gear, fire safety and the different types of trucks, we also have them do a craft. Which means WE (Megan and I) do the crafts in preparation. Win.

When brainstorming, we decided each craft should be something interactive the children can play with or wear, etc. We also knew the crafts should relate back to something learned during the program and should be different and exciting.

Okay. Enough with the background information no one really cares about! Moving on to what I promised from the very beginning: CRAFTS.

Week one: Be a Firefighter.


A “fire helmet”! Maybe not the safest, but definitely adorable. Mine is the pink one- I really worked on my capital letters for it.

So their first Wednesday of “firefighter school”, the kids walked into the museum to see the tables set up like this:


After our activities, they all came and sat down to decorate their foam badges and the headbands with markers and sticky foam pieces. We then used a hot glue-gun to glue the badge to the headband and give it back to the children. First step towards being a firefighter COMPLETE!

Week two: Stay low and go.

This week emphasized fire safety and what to do if there’s a fire in the home. Rather than “stop, drop and roll”, children are being told to “stay low and go”, which means they crawl as low to the ground as possible to the nearest exit.

Not the easiest thing to create a craft for (if you, fellow readers, have any ideas, please feel free to share!). However, we also have “story time” each week and the story for this week is “No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids and Dragons”, by Jean Pendziwol. A fun and educational story about a child who brings a dragon home for tea.

So. After Megan finishes the book, I ask the kids: Would you like to create your OWN dragons to bring for tea?” and that leads into our craft of paper bag dragons:



Hopefully a little safer than a real dragon…

Megan and I also created this “pet” for our pug-loving supervisor, Rebecca:



Fun times at work!

And finally, we come to Week Three: Fire Trucks and More!

This craft for this one seems obvious, no? Airplanes!

Just kidding, we made fire trucks. Out of egg cartons – recycling AND creative! Here’s the creative process broken down for ya’ll:

Our egg cartons lids...

Our pile of egg cartons lids…

Our pile of PAINTED egg carton lids...

Our pile of PAINTED egg carton lids…

The assorted bits of paper soon to be made into fire truck parts...

The assorted bits of paper soon to be made into fire truck parts…

A fire truck! Almost... Just needs a fewwww adjustments...

A fire truck! Almost… Just needs a fewwww adjustments…

Presto! Fire trucks!

Presto! Fire trucks!

And that was our creative process. Pretty creative. And! You may not be able to see in this picture, but Megan and I took pictures of ourselves wearing fire helmets and then put them on the computer and cropped them so it looks like we’re driving or co-driving the trucks!

We also did this for the kids, having them line up in front of a blank wall before the program started and taking a quick head shot of each of them. Then, while the kids did a different activity, one of us printed and cut out the images to give the kids so they could glue them onto their own firetrucks and personalize them.

We also cut out a series of images, words and faces from magazines and let the kids glue these onto their trucks to make up the rest of their “crew”. My personal favourite was the boy who had a squirrel driving his truck.

And there you have it! Another exciting update on the life of a museum assistant! To learn more… COME VISIT!


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