I have the best memories of catching fireflies on summer evenings. We would often put them in a jar and fall asleep to their flashing code. Now my kids run around with the neighborhood kids catching fireflies. All their squabbles and differences of the day are forgotten and everyone is friends again–all due to the magic of lightning bugs. Here is an easy, inexpensive, and fun project which will allow your kids to fall asleep to the glow of fireflies long after summer is over.
You will need: a cotton T-shirt (oversize is cozy for a night-shirt), paper, permanent black marker (Sharpie), and Glow in the Dark Fabric Paint (Tulip), tape.
First put a protective layer in the shirt to prevent the permanent marker from bleeding through onto the back. We used pressboard (from off the back of a large drawing tablet.)Fabric markers don’t tend to bleed through, but I haven’t found them to be as permanent as Sharpies.
Draw your jar and lightning bugs on a sheet of paper (with Sharpie so that it is bold) and work out the size and details you want. Eloise drew her own jar with bugs. She is very independent. Scout traced a model I had drawn. She likes things to look “real”. (Both of these drawings are Eloise’s.)
It is helpful to tape your shirt down so that the fabric doesn’t move when you are drawing.
You can now either place your drawing underneath your T-shirt and trace it with Sharpie onto your T-shirt, or you can just re-draw your jar and bugs.
Add glow in the dark fabric paint to just the back half of the lightning bug body.
Allow your shirt to dry overnight.
Snuggle up in your night-shirt with the magic glow of fire flies to keep you company. (If you expose your T-shirt to direct light before putting it on, it will glow longer.)
P.S. You can also make Lightening Bug Jars. Get a clean plastic jar. With a Q-tip add globs of glow in the dark paint. Allow to dry overnight before putting on the lid. Keep beside your bed for a soft, comforting, good night.