I have been wanting to do a 365 day project for a while now but have been falling short of time, supplies, in reality everything but subjects. If you are wondering what a 365 project is, it is a photo a day for entire year. Some people pick a street corner or a tree and photograph it every day, sometimes at the same time. Mine has to do with kids, especially since they are 4 now and they will be going to school in year and a half. This is almost a chronicle of our days together before dreadful things like school work starts. God knows I can barely remember the blur that was called their toddler years so I wanted to remember something out of the preschool ones.
This time around I started of well on October 27 and continued faithfully till November 29, and then I took a break till Dec 14th from which date I have been faithful, I hope.
Here are some of my favorites:
Favorite of my daughter, swinging on the swing on a crisp Virginia fall day on a friends farm
Favorite of my son. right after “hiking” in Charlottesville.
Favorite of my older daughter, who is 13 and hides from the camera, unless she is posing with friends of course. This is from her French Club Cooking Class.
Favorite action shot at Art Institute of Chicago, my son confused my daughter (the artist) understand what music is.
This was taken right after security guard fallowed us for 20 minutes since my kids wanted to sit on some of the “chairs” that were displayed. Note to self AI not appropriate for preschoolers however artsy you want them to be.
Favorite Artwork: Penguin playing on the jump rope of course.
Since it is still January I will not bore you with more, they will however be a link on the right side linking it to the gallery, which may explain why we have not been sitting at home much.
The one above is from yesterday. My son attending his sisters ballet class in the pool of pink girls, someday he will appreciate it a lot more.
Since it is December 2 you can say that I am officially behind on my Advent Calendar, at least it is not Dec 22, right? This year I have decided to make an activity calendar instead when each day is filled with ways to celebrate the season. I have used some set dates like the day we will see the Christmas Carol or the Nutcracker as well as some flexible dates when we will bake cookies and make Christmas ornaments.
I used old wrapping paper that is lingering in my storage space. It was either too old, too wrinkled or too short to wrap anything in.
I used a 2″ petal pusher template that I found on HomeSpun Threads (download at the end of the post) since it did not involve any gluing and traced the edges onto wrapping paper
Cut out the shapes making sure make some extras. You never know what may happen. For us any cooking date can be easily replaced by a sledding day, building a snowman or a snowball fight provided we are graced with snow. You may be invited to a play date, recital or anything holidayish and may need to be a bit flexible.
Fold the edges inside
I had the packages wait folded as I made the others just so they can get used to being folded in
Now it is time to thing of activities and give each day a number. I wrote it in but if you want to make them fancier you can use scrapbooking letters that my daughter loves so much.
First check your calendar, local library activity calendar, bookstore calendar and everywhere else you frequent. Place the dates set in stone in their coordinating boxes. We are going to a pajama Polar Express reading at local Barnes and Noble, local Christmas Bazars and numerous activities in the library.
Second fill in the family time or activities around activity time like baking cookies for grandma, or a gingerbread house before the family comes over for dinner.
Include some of our or your own Christmas Crafts (ours are here) like decorating the tree, making your own ornaments, watching Christmas theme movie, or reading Christmas theme books.
Thirdly remember kids are off school right before the holidays and could get restless so ice skating, going for winter walk or for us going to feed the ducks on the lake.
When you run out of ideas of finished all of the days tie the bundles up. I used small cuticle scissors to punch holes in the boxes and tied them with thread.
If you want to be more exact you can use a hole puncher and tie holiday themed ribbon around instead.
Once tied you can show them in many ways like:
Putting them on a Christmas tree, provided yours is up, if it is not then tree shopping could be one of the activities
Hanging them of a branch, on placing flat around Christmas greenery
Make them smaller and tie to your wreath
Hide around the house and have the kids search for each morning
Hanging from the ceiling at different lengths along with color coordinated tree ornaments
Stick on the doors or walls which is what we did… Now it is time to unwrap and see what the day brings.
Kids can be picky eaters and I always try to find fun ways for them to enjoy their food. Raspberries are our family favorite and they disappear in a matter of minutes, even if I buy multiple boxes. Why do my kids like raspberries so much and yours will not try them? Maybe because we play a little game to eat them.
My son places washed raspberries on his fingers and calls them claws.
Then he asks me to count them, as I count he eats one making my number no longer right. This results in giggles and of course the more theatrical I make it the more he loves it.
This is a shy version, maybe because I did not want to scream into the camera or maybe because he was a wee bit camera shy. Either way the box of raspberries was gone and his sister did not even get a chance to do her counting.
Thank you to Fooz Kids for providing me with an All-In-One pack to review. The opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint.
What is FoozKids you may ask? It is an application that provides secure and entertaining way for your children to surf internet. The best part is that you can choose which games, videos and content you are ok for your child to play with as well as monitor their activity.
What content can there be?
Anything on the web and much more, neatly organized to categories such as web, games, crafts etc.
First they can make their experience very personal with creator button by making their own avatar
Then they can creating their own virtual room with toys and furniture which I hope they will keep tidy.
They can dress their avatar up in funky gear from uniforms to mohawks and leprechaun suits by visiting the mall button.
Your kids can also write emails and video conference.
They can go to University tab and learn skills from Pre-K to 5th grade.
But that’s just the icing on the cake the Coolest thing ever is the web-surfing known as Games, Crafts and Video Buttons. When you click any of these three you will receive long list of your kids favorite characters they can watch, play with and remake.
Of course that is where we were stuck all day. At least I did not have to worry about Dora having a potty mouth. I have no idea when was the last time I was able to find a proper speaking Spongebob Squarepants on the internet.
Plus the organization is what really impressed me since I no longer need to look for crafts all over the web now they are in a specific place under exact character. The next theme birthday party will be a breeze with all decorations and cooking ideas in one place. There are lots of characters on this site from kiddie ones to teen ones.
Thanks to the Parental Dashboard those are all the characters you will find. No ads promoting stuffed pillows or sugar loaded cereals. You can even monitor the age group and films you want your kids to watch either by setting up their own channel or age guidelines. You can also check out their room and closet even though I am not sure how much pull you will have in trying to influence them.
The kiddos can not exit the program without the parent’s code so no sneaky surfing when you are not looking.
So what did the kiddos think? At first they were taking it all in and their bigger sister was helping them out with the mouse. It did not take long however for the teen to loose interest and for the blond preschooler to take over and not let me have my computer. I had to set timers and ask too many times.
Are you done yet? (I asked)
Yes, well NO… I am done with World Word but not Dinosaur Train. (she answered)
That is a lot nicer answer then I would have gotten if I ever let her watch Youtube unattended for hours.
Fooz Kids is available in many languages and is compatible for both Windows, Mac and Android tablets.
You may however rethink that if you want to use that device in a near future.
But don’t take my word for it GET YOUR FREE ACCOUNT HERE and let your kids surf worry free.
Summer is slowly coming to an end and some of your kids may have returned to school already. This is however a way for them to preserve some of their summer memories in a little hanging token. Yes I should have told you about this craft when you visited sandy beaches this summer but you will be there again I promise.
What you will need is some beach sand (or maybe one from the playground), shells or other interesting finds from your day at the beach, some lids and my favorite Plaster of Paris.
Originally I was planning to make this craft on the beach with no containers but since our beach trips where day long there was not much time. So I was stuck using container lids, God knows I have a lot of them that do not match any bottom.
Mix Plaster of Paris with Water (2/1 plaster/water ratio)
With one container I actually mixed the plaster with sand. With the others I placed a layer of plaster in between a layers of sand and pressed it down, which was more sturdy and less messy.
Meaning I sprinkled the bottom of the lid with sand and placed a thick layer of plaster then again heavily sprinkled with sand pushing it into the plaster.
I pushed some found shells around the plaster and with a stick wrote summer ’11 on it. Too bad I can’t spell summer with space constraints.
Place a couple of holes on top to hang, or don’t if you will be laying it flat
Wait till they dry. Plaster of Paris becomes warm when it sets and it will be hard yet sandy when finished.
and brittle too, so if it falls down it will break. Next time I will make sure it is hanging on a nail not a push pin. You know just in case we have another earthquake.
The smaller ones survived the earthquake and are our reminder of days spend on Virginia Beaches. Now it is time to travel to more exotic places, sands and seashells (at least in my dreams).
Note: Keep in mind that the tokens will be a bit sandy until the loose sand comes off, we used a wax paper to keep it tidy at home.
It has been a while since I posted in this category. It is not like we have not been busy but it seems like my computer likes to eat photos from this category the most. Even with this puppet show half of them disappeared. I don’t blame him I think these little kiddos are scrumptious too.
There are however times when they are a handful and there is not much you can do to entertain them. This craft is perfect when you are stuck at home because it is too hot outside or stuck in a hotel on vacation because it is raining.
All you need is paper, printer, crayons (anything really) and some sticks could be driftwood or popsicle sticks (we seem to have a lot around in the summer).
We went here and printed few Littlest Pet Shop Characters
If your kids are over cute animals or do not like Pet Shops they have a choice of many others like:
and many more here, just click the next button (on the bottom) to get more. We stayed away from Angry Birds since I did not want them to fly all over my living room, especially on the days I feel like a pig.
Print your favorites, color them, paint them and cut them out.
We attached ours to popsicle sticks with tape. Keep in mind that each character may need more then one pop stick for support.
We then went back on line and printed some trees that we colored for background.
Keep in mind that if you use the characters your children know it will be easier for them to make up a story, or repeat it again. That will a perfect way for you to sit back relax and listen to it for the fifty thousand time.
Now that it is spring, even though it is supposed to be summer you may find yourself looking for vases and containers which you will use for numerous wild flowers you are planning to pick, once it stops raining, snowing etc.
If you are do not plan to pick any flowers you can make them too:
All you need is some tissue paper and pipe cleaners for flowers and toilet rolls and fabric/paper scraps for the vase. A little glue may help too.
Roll up a few pieces of tissue paper and tie them with pipe cleaners
In the meantime using fabric scraps, ribbons or fun paper glue designs onto the toilet paper roll
If you are planning to use them with real flowers you can fold a mini cup into the opening. The mini cups are like the ones available at your dentist office, only for kids, available at the grocery store. Kids love them, or at least mine do.
The great thing about these is that you can barely see them and the trim adds a nice dimension to the “vase”
You could also use some spice containers, especially the McCormick spices work well, leaving a little glass detail to the design. At least this way you will know when you run out of water.
Use your paper flowers, fake plastic flower pens or real flowers to put inside vases. These were 3 year old made but I am sure with some nicer fabric and maybe some demure colors maybe you can make some adult worthy containers.
Either way now go and pick some flowers, run through the meadow even if you will still get wet.
It is spring, on some days even summer here in Virginia. One day it could be 50 degrees another 90. The trees are blooming, the birds are building nests and there is even one in a plant on our front porch. So we figured we will give the mama of 4 eggs some treats, since she has been nice enough to let us peek daily, not even counting the numerous times we scare her by opening the front door. At times we even leave the front porch lights on confusing the bejesus out of her. To make it even more confusing we have painted our front porch moving the tree back and forth on daily bases, making sure not to touch the nest. I am sure the only reason she has not ditched her eggs is because she is too confused to know what is going on. Welcome to motherhood Mama Bird.
So I took an easy fast craft and spread it out to last for at least 2 hours.
Yeah I am that good.
No it did not include tying my kids down to the couch and making them watch Milo and Otis, again.
It did however start with tying my kids up to their car seats and heading to the local Tractor Supply store to get some bird food. I remembered that at this time of the year agricultural stores sell chicks, ducks, bunnies and other super cutie animals. The great part is that you can’t buy less then 6 chicks, for agricultural purposes only.
If like me, you are thinking of buying a duckling, nursing it in your tiny house, and then letting it loose when it grows up, the answer is NO. No matter how much you beg. I know they are SO CUTE.
After we got home with the seeds we had to go for a walk looking for pine cones.
We didn’t go really far since my kids could find plenty in our front yard, even without the digging.
We brought the pine cones home and shmeared them with peanut butter.
Then we rolled them in birdseed
Until they were all covered. I pressed more seed into the pinecones
and tied a piece of string around it
while my kids stared at me and ate peanut butter
After the peanut butter jar was empty we went to hang the bird feeders up.
Spending the day indoors we decided to draw on windows and make some fun designs.
First I had to wash the windows, unfortunately. Then I took clear plastic wrap and stuck them to it. I figured all I need to do is give my daughter some pens and she will love it. Not so fast, I guess 3 is still a little young for that.
She was however not too young to decided to write on the window itself.
I needed something more focused, so I took her favorite character and traced it with a sharpie.
She loved it.
Unfortunately we did not have good red sharpie so Strawberry Shortcake quickly became Lemonade.
Then we also made some sun catchers and of course a Spring Bunny.
Since we are slowing getting used to the idea of Spring and Easter being right around the corner.
At any given day in my kitchen you can find cookie cutters in different shapes and sizes. Most of the time they sit and wait for their respected holidays when they can be dusted off and put to work. If they ever make it that far since I am not the best of taking care of cookie cutters. I am not really good at taking care of anything that can’t be thrown into a dishwasher.
And what happens when you throw cookie cutters in a washer? They get rusty. Not so good when making cookies but perfectly fine when making potato stamps.
All you need is cookie cutters and potatoes and you will soon have a fun filled stamping afternoon. Cut the potato in half and press the cookie cutter into it.
When it is all the way down take a knife and slice into the potato until you reach the cookie cutter. Continue all the way around.
When finished gently remove the cutter
get ready to stamp. In our house today Pink Shamrocks. Who knew
Since Pink and Purple where the colors of choice I decided to make a spring flower too.
What a cool flower it was. In this craft you are only limited by your cookie cutter collection and kids can make up elaborate stories or stamp interesting landscapes using this technique
So next time your potatoes are starting to sprout and you do not want to grow them, use them for stamps.
Now that we have gotten over Mardi Gras and gotten our ashes are calendars tell us that whole week after our lent resolutions we will be tempted with St. Patty’s Day. A day of joy, fun, lots of eating and drinks. Which made me always wonder why Irish have their big celebration during lent but the only answer I can think of is to make it more bearable. You know just in case you give up something really important. I on the other have given up green beer the minute I left college but do miss Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. So in honor of the patron saint of Ireland I made some shamrocks, pots of gold and leprechauns.
I made salt dough following our basic step by step recipe here. Salt dough is a mixture of salt, flour, water and oil which is easily workable like play dough but it hardens when baked.
I rolled it out with a rolling pin
and using my shamrock cookie cutter decided to make some… well shamrocks
But shamrock is not really a shamrock without the rainbow
and rainbow is not really a rainbow without a pot of gold at the end of it
and unfortunately that pot of gold is guarded by a really angry little green man
He was the most fun to make
Using play dough presses for hair, but you can just as well use a garlic presser or a grader with large openings
With one of the small hair strings you can make little shamrocks
or four leaf clovers, whatever is the difference… do you know? I guess I am telling you that I am not Irish, red hair and all. My kids are half Irish but me, oh no…
I thought that these would make fun earrings
Then I baked it all in 350 degree oven. Keeping in mind that some little things would bake faster then a big-o leprechaun and a pot of gold. You always have to work harder for those big things.
So here they are… The top of the morning to you crew… waiting for to be painted.
It is not quite spring, but we all wish it was Right? So just in case you are wondering what to do with your garden or if you do not have one how to get your toddlers and preschoolers to understand gardening with no soil around… I present you a Potato.
Yes a simple potato is all you need to teach your kids about gardening and food. It would help if it was an older potato or few, with some bumps coming out of it. Enough bumps that may make you skip it in your next mashed potato recipe.
All you have to do is place it in a glass container, preferably helped up by some toothpicks. Unless you have other contraptions.
Well technically it does not even need to be glass. Anything you have that can hold water, recyclable or not will do.
Place in a water and wait
or more. In all reality all these were placed in water at the same time, meaning 5 weeks ago. I am not sure what made some grow faster then others. I think our indoor cat had something to do with it, but that is another story after all.
Before putting them in a soil we will have a little discussion about potatoes, roots and stems. What do you think?
My tween came home with a Science Project. Something about dropping an egg from 20 feet (6 meters) without breaking it. So we thought about it, well to be honest she thought and what else to spark childs imagination then balloons and flying. We have all seen UP, right?
So we took some balloons, packaging and string
Since it seems that we do not have any paper or other packaging at home we used felt and cheese cloth. I am sure that the cheese cloth is what made all the difference.
We tied it up in a one neat package
and then we weighed it.
Helium lifts 1 gram per liter. On average 1 baloon contains 14 liters of helium (being 15 cm round).
Meaning: about 30 grams is 1 oz, the package weighted 1 lbs (12 oz)… so 30 x 12 = 360 grams or liters needed.
360 needed/ 14 in each balloon= 25.71 balloons. My daughter wanted to make them float so 25 would be perfect
Except we didn’t have any helium balloons, only lung air ones, hardly considered hot air.
Dropping it off 10 ft at home did not break it.
Just to be certain it will not happen she tied 7 to the top and 2 on the bottom as buffers. Then placed the experiment in her warm 70 deg room for few days. Finally it arrived at school, where it has been waiting to be tested for over a week. The balloons have deflated, and I sure hope the teacher decides to skip it this time since I would not want to be around when that month old egg breaks the fall.
Sometimes you have those days when you run out of fun ideas. When you no longer have the energy to run to the store for more crayons, coloring pages, paint or whatever else you may need for the next craft. Whatever you need must be found in your cupboards right now.
Two stirring spoons and a little plastic strawberry
Or a ball was enough to provide the kids with an hour of entertainment
each defending their own imaginary goal
and trying to score on one another
and when the fun of the game wore off
they moved it to the dining room table
and when that became too tiring
We were left with the old chase around the house without dropping the ball game. Ready, Set, Go !!!
Yes here is your host, all ready to teach you a cooking technique better known as breading.
She does not start of this messy and as they say you have to break some eggs to make an omelet. In this case you will have sprinkle some flour all over the kitchen floor to teach your preschooler to cook. We have to be flexible right.
What’s that noise outside we are trying to do a cooking show here
Let’s get going ok?
Set up a breading station allowing your kids to put the shrimp in starch, then in egg mixture and later in panko breadcrumb mixture. What we are making is Bang Bang Shrimp or Chicken for kids, or you can just opt for Parmesan Chicken for kids.
Make sure you teach your kids all the fun names and textures they are playing with. Of course regular flour would be fine but cornstarch has specific texture that will make it even more fun and messy for the kids.
Be prepared that they will want to try everything they cook, even though they may not like it. Perfect way to teach your kiddos not to like foods politely.
There was a lot of tasting going on. Or maybe just licking her fingers.
Either way she made a total mess, and a great dinner both of which were highly enjoyed by her twin brother.
Who even though did not fully participate
Did get a chance to play with corn starch and its textural effects
We did try to make up a song but decided to leave it instead to the wonderful kids music on Kiboomu.
Just to get kids in a Shrimp mood we read:
A silly story about Giovanni and how he started his Scampi truck filled with shrimp all because of an unlikely friendship with one. You can see some pages and print few coloring pages here on Amazon.
During this time of the year the stores fill with Valentine candy and paper supplies. You can get cards in every shape and size but you can not get them like these. By these I mean homemade. The ones you will send to grandmas and aunts but would not necessarily give them out to your school peers, unless you are a an amazing artist, which of course I am not.
To make these fun heart notes and cards you will need some scrap material. I used folder dividers that I have gotten for a 1$ at Target, or you can reuse some wrapping paper, or if you want to get really crazy even foil.
Fold a piece of paper in half
Draw or trace a heart on a tracking paper, ours had a 7 inch diameter. Does a heart have a diameter? I know human heart does and it is about 32 cm. But is that what it is called in a Mathematical Heart?
Place the tracing paper on the paper you will use, cut out
Now it is time to fold. Fold the two heart sides into the center
Fold the top of the heart down
making sure it touches the base of the triangle
Fold the bottom flop over
Use a sticker or tape to seal the flap
Now imagined if you used your kids drawings as a background. Here is one by my 3 year old
Hers on the left, his on the right. You can tell that she takes after her daddy, he after me.
Now let’s see if you remember
Blast Off !!!
My daughter was actually surprised that there was nothing in it, since you could easily attach a piece of flat candy or stickers. She did however enjoy the entire process:
If you are still looking for more traditional prints here are some free ones I was able to find. Keep in mind that some of these links go straight to the pdf file and may take a few minutes to load:
Whether you are preparing for Chinese New Year, Superbowl, Valentines Day, Carnival or Birthday Bash here are some easy ways to decorate with the help of your kids.
Depending on the theme you can use newspaper ads, wrapping paper, kids drawings or even photos.
To make lanterns trim the ends of the paper
fold in half, cut strips of paper 2/3 way, leaving a top border
open the page up and glue the outside edges together, making a tubular lantern.
In order to make a star or a flower take another piece of paper
fold the paper backwards and forward
just like an accordion
until it folded into one strip
fold in half again
Cut the corner at an angle in order to make a star
unfold taping one side then the other together
Ta Da !!!!
To make a flower round the edge a bit when cutting
Here is your flower
and the rest of stars
These decorations only take a few minutes and you can use all kids of different paper to match your party theme. Who said Chinese Lanterns need to be for New Years only, I am think they would look great sporting my favorite Superbowl team. Now if only my team can deliver this Sunday.
Just in case you are one of these people organizing this week or you are waiting till actual spring or time for school to be out this is a perfect way to recycle your old crayons. By old crayons I mean these broken pieces you find in the couch cushions, under beds and maybe even in the fridge. Yes these can be reused just by being melted. Wax crayons are nothing more then wax, hardening agent and pigment therefore can be reused often. You can even mold them into fun shapes, but be certain to read the rest of this post to do it correctly.
First you will need to take all your crayon pieces and clean them from paper, stickers or whatever else you may find stuck to them
You can use up your nails and hours of time trying to peel them or you can use a sharp object to cut a line through and remove with ease
Choose muffin tins or silicone baking tins, preheat oven to 250 deg. These really cute ones I got from IKEA for a buck each. Fun right?
Place the broken pieces in the tins and bake
You can certainly tell that today Mama run out of coffee, or in the words of Forrest Gump “stupid is as stupid does”.
I totally forgot that these were ice cube trays not silicone baking molds, like these. It didn’t take long to realize that something other then wax was also melting. If I drank a pot of coffee before 9 am like I usually do, I would have melted the wax on the stove top and pour them into molds, definately not put plastic in an oven like a doo doo bird. I guess I could have also used fun candy molds.
Once they cooled off they looked really great and were fun to use. They can be made in every shape possible, even graduation caps. Not that a graduate needs crayons, unless you are graduating from preschool. Anyway, I am on my way to buy some coffee, before anything else happens.
Its is winter and since it has been slightly warm out here, therefore the weather is not cold enough to go skiing/sledding and it is too cold and muddy to go to the park. Therefore we decided to make some rainy day fun inside. Enter paratroopers, parasailers, paraskiers or any variations of parachute users.
We gathered plastic garbage bags and miniature animals
Somehow in my family there are no miniature soldiers, skiers or princesses only bugs, farm animals and dinosaurs. In other words just the things you want airlifted into your land. These airborne units look more like seven plagues then trained soldiers.
Attached the bag handles to a rope, string, or pipe cleaner
Tie it around the animal
Drop from heights. I can imagine what my dog is thinking “from all those things she could be airlifting to me why is it a plastic toy, I would much more prefer a steak” or “this woman is really crazy what will she think of next. I surely hope a walk is next”
This can be so easily taken outside maybe to mini parachuting Olympics, or an excuse to have kids run down the hill. Just like ski jumping position your troops on top of a hill and see which one takes it the furthest. You can try it with a small boat in the summer provided a wind is blowing across the pond. Either way it is fun.
I know that for most the concept of actually making icicles is strange to say the least. You don’t make icicles you avoid them, maybe pick them and use as popsicles but you don’t need to make them they are everywhere. Well not here below the Mason- Dixon Line. We do not get icicles and have to make them, and only if the temperature drops below freezing at night. This way the kids can experience them or and learn how they are formed.
Take an empty milk or cream container and poke a hole (or few on the bottom), so the water can drip from it
We tied a string around it so we hang it on a post
and wait for the cold weather to do their job.
You could make them more fun by adding some flavor or color to it. Make sure to check them first thing in the morning right after the freezing night since they can melt pretty quickly and don’t forget to enjoy other winter crafts.
I love my kids preschool and just wanted to share some amazing things my kids have brought home for the Holidays. First me have this fun hand wreath on white felt, perfect to hang and decorate with red dots and bows.
How about these adorable cards made with foot and hand prints. Apparently when making this card the kids were asked “What do the Reindeer use to see” and my eager son answered “eyes and nose”, “nose?”, “to light up the way”… silly boy
They painted beautiful trees and decorated with glitter and decorations. Talking about decorations my daughter found a White House Christmas ornament and her older sister told her the President resides at the White House to which he answered: “I want to go to the White House, that is where the presents reside, I want to tell Santa to give me presents.” Oh Boy
So maybe from now on I should just hang these ornaments on the Christmas Tree.
Holiday break has officially started which gives parents ample time to figure out what to do with their kids for the next two weeks, maybe even longer if you have been snowed in for the past few days. If you decide to stay inside other then braving the cold you can make your own ornaments or if you are more adventurous a Nativity Scene.
Salt Dough (recipe here) is very popular in Poland since it is inexpensive, durable and versatile. You can purchase amazing ornaments and pieces from notable artists. The ones above where a gift from an artist friend of mine, beautiful right?
Since I am not that skilled I tend to focus on children crafts instead.
This way I can make my semi attractive artwork and say they were made by a toddler or tween. Just don’t ask me to draw since at this moment I am certain that my very talented 3 year old can draw better then I.
She can also make her own ornaments by using a cookie cutter and rolling balls for ornaments.
My son on the other hand is more like me, not an artist
more like a bulldozer, but since this dough works like play dough it is fun either way
We dig up our play dough set and used some of the containers to measure perfect circles
or rollers to give our snowman a nice even snow cap print
or just roll it in place staring in the distance
we made some ornament balls
some reindeer, don’t forget to make holes for string, sorry in case of the reindeer that was my only choice. Make sure to make the hole a little larger since it will close up a bit during baking.
Then free formed by hand another Santa and Snowman.
Bake in 350 degree oven until slightly golden (about 20 min). You can store the dough in wrapped in plastic for over a week in a fridge so no need to use it all at once.
When cooled paint with acrylic paints. My daughter however used Crayola washable paints (for obvious reasons) and they did start to crack a little on the surface when dried. You can always use markers to draw on them, whatever works for you. When finished hang on the tree, the walls, fridge, wherever you feel festive.
The winter has started all over the nation, snow coming down heavily in the north even have reached places like Virginia and we are able to enjoy some winter wonderland. So as long as it is freezing and I don’t have to use my no space left freezer we made fun Christmas Ice Lanterns.
You will need some holiday greenery trimmings, a plastic or cardboard container (milk box), cup and tape.
Rinse the large container and trim the greenery
Next place the greenery in the container
and place the cup inside it. In actuality it is easier to place the cup inside first and then maneuver the greenery by squeezing it between the two walls.
This way you can place your berries in exact places
other then having them float on top or sink to the bottom
tape the cup to the container and pour water between the two containers
there is this funny thing called pressure so if you do not tape them, or don’t tape them well, the cup will be pushed up
place outside and wait till they freeze.
You are on your own with time lengh.
Run hot water over the container and loosen it up. Pour some water in the cup and remove when loose.
Now that they are ready place in your favorite spot, hoping that it will not warm up enough to melt it.
place candle tealights inside the ice structures and light up
They will look even more beautiful in the night. One thing to keep in mind is that they will melt a bit between days and nights especially in the south so place them where you want them because moving may not be an option later.
It is officially the Angel Season. I am talking about real Angels the ones in heaven singing Hallelujah. What ones where you thinking about? So we decided to make some angels around here. They can work as Christmas ornaments with addition of some string. Candle holders without the match, or figurines.
There are few ways to make an Angel. First you make about 3.5 inch circle and cut it out.
Somewhere above the center of it you try to draw a symmetrical head, and if you are like me you don’t succeed. No worries the kids are still young and if they are older they can do it on their own.
Draw a little loop for a neck and straight line to the top. Make two lines from the middle to the center about 3/4 of the way in.
Cut around the head. I left that it in one piece so I can use it as a stencil. I am not really good at drawing so unless you have a good free hand drawing coordination this trick may be helpful.
Fold the two side pieces together to create a skirt.
Glue of staple the two skirt pieces together.
Before or after the assembly you can have your kiddos decorate them with fabric pieces, old Christmas paper, candy wrappers, glitter, anything and everything really.
Since my kiddos are really small we kept ours simple. Even with the simplicity of cupcake liners we have gotten ourselves a fallen angel, or maybe a ballerina doing a dip.
So instead we made some from paper plates with funky design.
When using harder material make sure to make the wings big, about half of the circle.
Here they are next to each other.
or if you don’t like print, here is one turned around.
Finally we decided to recycle our old cereal boxes and use those instead, just in case we need plates for entertaining.
Therefore ending up with a cute Angel that is ready to say hi and maybe even become a finger puppet. I am sure you can do a much better job decorating then a 3 year old.
It is time for Saint Nicholas and we have been listening to stories and carols from all around the world just to get into the Holiday Spirit.
Story Nory has some amazing free stories to download from traditional ones to fables. Our favorite at this time of the year is Christmas in Iceland. Did you know there is no Santa Claus in Iceland? Yule lads called Jolasveinar (say that three times) come baring gifts throughout the 12 days of Christmas. Here is a little clip to learn more.
In Netherlands Sinerklass is accompanied by helpers with black faces and traditional Moorish costumes, they are called ‘Zwarte Pieten’ (Black Peters). Zwarte Piet lets Santa know if a child has been good or bad. Sometimes, it is Zwarte Piet’s job to discipline the naughty children. They arrives from Spain by steamboat in the middle of November. Here is a beautiful animated film from Netherlands.
It is so hard to find books about different Holiday Traditions. Therefore I was really excited to see this book that just published about Polish Christmas Traditions:
It is a Charming Story Polish- American Children and their Christmas Celebration and it is written in English for everyone to enjoy. For more information click here.
And as you search the internet about other Clauses, you may be able to find them under these names:
It is Holiday Season and we live in Virginia, which pretty much means no white Christmas for us. It can also mean that there will be no snow till spring, and rarely enough to build a snowball, not even a miniature snowman. Luckily for us we can drive for two hours to beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and enjoy fake snow there. So to make me feel a little bit more like Christmas or to feel better about eating 50 holiday treats yesterday with no signs of Holidays outside we made these super cute Crystal Trees.
All you need is Liquid Bluing, Ammonia and Salt. I found liquid bluing in Kroger laundry isle next to the pre-treater, starches and bleach. It is small so you may need stare at the shelf for a bit. PersonallyI don’t know what it is but my husband the architect looked up the chemical structure of it. You know just in case. Apparently mixing ammonia and bleach is not a good idea, so he just wanted to make sure I was safe. Don’t ask me I’m not a chemist, but if you want to revisit your high school chemistry class here it is.
Mix 2 tbs of each in a jar: bluing, salt, water and ammonia. Shake well
On a cereal box, or other cardboard box draw two trees. Didn’t I tell you I can’t draw?
Cut them out and make a slit half way through, one going bottom-up and one going top-down.
Slit one inside the other so they resemble a tree
or forget the entire step and use a pine cone, sponge or whatever your heart desires
Pour the liquid in a saucer place the trees on it and pour the liquid. The liquid was really nice and blue when poured but after about 12 hours (overnight) the crystals where created but the blue turned, well not so blue.
My kids loved it, tried it touch it over and over. Unfortunately they did not call it snow since it has been a while since they saw it. They called it whipped cream. Mountains here we come.
I have been wanting to start this Cook and Book idea for quite some time but have been stuck in Holiday cooking and crafting instead, plus I was worried that my kiddos may not be quite ready yet to start cooking with me. But now they are 3 years old and have been lingering around the kitchen table too long not to help out. Therefore finally I present to you Cook and Book where we read books on a specific cooking subject and then kids and I cook. No we do not read cook books, just stories. Let’s have a look shell we?
We decided to make soup since it is getting cold outside
The kiddos cut all the soft vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini with a plastic knife
No worries about any nicks and cuts instead a great way to teach your kids what side of a knife to use
They also tasted veggies they may not otherwise try.
Soup Day by Mellissa Iwai- a cute book ab0ut young girl going grocery shopping and cooking vegetable soup with her mom.
You can also add a stone into your soup or just read few varieties of Stone Soup:
A classic tale by Marcia Brown tells a story of Soldiers traveling through the village and making a soup out of stones, with an addition of a little bit of this or that.
A Chinese take on the European tale, the soldiers have turned into Buddhist Monks to teach us all the value of sharing.
Mexican Variation of the Stone Soup calls for single Cactus Thorn to be thrown at the base. Just in case you want to forget the entire veggie soup idea and go for Tortilla Soup instead.
Whatever soup you decide to make there is a Stone Soup book just for that. Soups made with nails , buttons or for Halloween bones. Soups from Brazil , China or really anywhere else. Heck there is even a guide on how to use this book in the classroom if you need more ideas.
Personally I made “clean up my fridge” soup. Diced 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks and sauteed in 1 tbs olive oil added 6 cups of veggie stock and all the vegetables found in my fridge. Meaning: potatoes, sugar peas, zucchini, mushrooms and some left over chicken. Once the soup boils, lower the heat to simmer and cook for about 15 min or until the potatoes are tender. You can add your favorite pasta, herbs like parsley or thyme but I left it plain.
So get yourself a library card and join us for Cook and Book sessions.
Since the big Turkey is being served soon the last thing we want to think about is how to occupy our kids when we cook, clean, prepare. Yes they can help out but we all know what that really means:
A. Taking twice or three times as much longer then it should
B. Ending up with much more dirtier house and kids which then will need a bath or at least a hose down
So here are some great ideas from local preschool on how to entertain kids with things you most likely have in our household:
They used trays and storage containers to set up a fun play station
My daughters favorite was moving the pasta wheels with a cute “spoon” to their containers. These are tiny spice spoons but use any spoon your children are not used to. The more festive the better and since this is the time to dust off your silverware you may find something interesting.
Use rubber bands and pasta spoon to move “spaghetti” from one side to the other
Use tweezers to move fuzz balls from one container to the other. If you do not have colorful balls use cotton balls
Marbles and soap suction cups. This may be tough since I do not know anyone who uses those soap mats anymore and you do need marbles but you can use round cereal. As long as you are using the ice cube thongs the kids will enjoy moving anything.
Place buttons in the slot. Empty an old yogurt container, clean, make a slot and give kids buttons different shape and sizes to place in there.
Make sand from small cereal (like rice crispies) or grain like rice or barley. Have kids use paint brushes and sandbox shovels to move it onto designated circle.
Take old bottle caps in different colors and have the kiddos sort them out based on color.
My little Turkeys came home wearing head gear and signing a song to the tune Pop Goes the Weasle:
A Turkey is a Funny Bird,
His Head goes Wobble Wobble,
And all he is knows is one word how to say,
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.
Then we read this silly book (I’m a Turkey by Jim Arnosky) and walked around pretending to be Turkeys. Fat Turkeys, Small Turkeys, Skinny Turkeys and Big Turkeys all wobbling along. Not that it took that much to pretend.
Then finished off our turkey hat day with a finger play THE BIG TURKEY:
The big turkey on the farm is so very proud (make a fist)
He spreads his tail like a fan (fan out your fingers)
And struts throught the animal crowd.(move two fingers in the fist and pretend you are walking)
If you talk to him as he wobbles along;
He will answer back with gobbling song
“gobble gobble gobble gobble” (open and close your hand)
It is November and I am still not in Thanksgiving mood. At least not in craft Thanksgiving mood. To be honest I am having a hard time thinking of Thanksgiving crafts that do not look like Turkeys or Puritans. Seriously what else is in there? I guess I could go back to pumpkins but that would be too Halloweeney. So I am doing what most parents do with kids when they run out of ideas, we paint color and read.
We started off by doing some finger painting.
Trying to make them to look like turkeys
But just in case it did not work out too well. I went to Craft Jr. to get these printables.
Then I sat back and relaxed and tried to have an interesting conversation with my kids, or just listen to them.
This adorable story told in rhyme introduces the young readers not only to Thanksgiving traditions like Turkey, Stuffing and Mashed Potatoes but also to untold Thanksgiving traditions like helping out, getting nicely dressed, learning how to properly greet and thank everyone for all their hard work. It is recommended for 5-9 year old kids but even my 3 year olds can benefit from some Thanksgiving Rules.
In two days my kiddos are going to be three years old. I have no idea where the time went and in all honesty still have no idea of what I will do for their birthday party. You see I went totally overboard last year and am failing miserably this year. My house is too small to host any quality kids party where a play room would be needed so last year I had a petting zoo come to my house.
They were amazing. They brought clean animals, food and grooming supplies
Each animal could be fed
Washed or more like groomed
and of course squeezed
“I’m gonna hug you and kiss you and love you forever (and never use you up)”. When did Elmyra Duff come into picture?
The petting zoo specializes in wild animals so I could have gone that route but the kids are a little bit small still to appreciate a lemur.
So we got back to sheep and weird looking chickens
For weeks after the party my 2 year old boy was asking what happened to the bunnies. He loved them so much and if I didn’t have a house full of pets I may have considered getting one. So now I am in trouble because I can’t come up with a clever idea. I guess for a 3 year olds everything is clever if you put them together with their friends.
Halloween is here, you see ghost, princesses, cute and scary creatures everywhere. You have most likely spent way to much for a costume that will be used once, this year only and then neatly put away for the rest of the year. Well don’t do it just yet. There is nothing that is more fun then dress up and why not keep those costumes around for just a little bit longer.
My daughter was monkey 2 years ago, when barely one
My son was a lion, and I believe the costumes were for 12 month olds
Here they are again 6 months ago, when both kids decided to pull each other tails
and again yesterday, almost 2 years later. This time however the monkey is a different creature, it makes sounds and tells you it is a monkey. It may even tell you that it eats bananas and swings from the vines in the jungle, which is a lot different then when it was one.
Last year, at almost two, my kids where ducks. They did end up playing in some ponds but they never made sentances that sounded like this:
“I’m a duck and I’m marching….. Would you like to run ducky?…. Quack Quack”
Of course they have it a bit easier having company,but what fun would it be to have a old halloween costume dress up party.
Reusing your old costumes can give your kids amazing creative play time. You will be so surprised what what comes out of 2 year old’s mouth.*
*it may be the last time I say 2 year old since they will be 3 next week.
These are easy and fun to make shriveled apples that can resemble shrunken heads. The waiting time for them can make you a bit more patient, or show how impatient you are. But I did find a slight trick and had these ready in just 4 days. Which is a lot less since I guess they usually take about 2 weeks, who has the patience for that?
“My Friend the Witch Doctor, he taught me what to say. My Friend the Witch Doctor, he taught me what to do.
He said that…. Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang Walla walla, bing bang Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang Walla walla, bing bang… Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang Walla walla, bing bang Lyrics David Saville
Sorry couldn’t help myself. In all reality I just cranked up the oven. Every time I baked something and I was preheating or cooling I would just stick those guys in there and since we bake a lot, well they came earlier.
All you need is apples, lemon juice and salt. I thought I was smart and used older apples but they were by far too mushy so just use fresh ones. Also I don’t think you need to take the skin off. I did but I guess it can be done with skin too.
Into about 2 cups of water pour in 1 tbs of salt
and 1 tbs of lemon juice
Cut up the apples to desired shapes, make sure to go deep.
Give your apples a bath and leave in a dry place, or oven.
Personally I think they would make a great addition to a Harry Potter Party (since the movie is coming out soon), all you need is some dreads (yarn) and you are back on the Night Bus in the Prisoner of Azkaban. Oh don’t tell me you don’t remember.
If you are thinking of fun decorative idea that takes kids all ages mixes in some recycled paper and some waiting time (science), this is perfect. The creations are as great as your imagination so you can start basic or go all the way. I used our paper bowls as a backdrop which you can make super small or humongous (my son’s favorite word)
I took two bowls one with a leg to stand on, one without and acrylic paints
I decided to make one without leg as a cat, painted it black and made whiskers out of pipe cleaners
Since I had no black I painted the whiskers and pinned them into the bowl.
Just to be certain that no one gets poked I duck taped the pin into the side
Then to make it even nicer I decided to line with felt, by gluing it with rubber cement. You can make it so much easier by leaving the inside the way it was and just gluing on paper whiskers.
Then it was time to make eyes, ears and fangs
I cut them out of cereal boxes and just to be certain they were the same size I cut out the first one and used it as a form for the second one.
I painted all the pieces black before gluing them on which was not smart since I had to touch up anyway.
It is so much more time efficient to glue then paint all
This is the cat I ended up with. It could be used as Trick or Treating bag/container, if you do not want your kids to walk around with pillow covers or garbage bags. To do this just attach a ribbon to both sides of the bowl. Make a hole by cutting, weave ribbon through and tie on the sides.
You can take a cookie or bread crumb container
Paint it black and use it for a neck
It almost looks like Halloween in Ancient Egypt
Or you can also just opt for the stand. Or make an easy pumpkin by painting orange and drawing on it with permanent markers.
Whatever you decide to make your kids will get a total kick out of it. I know mine did, but wait it may have been the instant avalabilty of chocolate that got them so excited… not so sure anymore.
Here is a little fall fun play with Pumpkins. The great thing about pumpkins is that they represent everything great in the fall that is food, Halloween and Thanksgiving therefore you can make this form now till the end of November.
I took felt and cut out pumpkins using cookie cutter shape as a form.
Then I had to fight a two year old since she wanted eyes, she needed her eyes. At least her brother was more understanding: “OK, you make the game Mommy and I make gabagaskar game on the puzzle.”
So I cut out the pumpkins and gave each of them googly eyes and each pair a different expression.
I placed them on sandpaper and let my little girlie do some pumpkin sequencing… which pumpkin comes next?
and pumpkin matching. Can you find the pairs?
She liked it but to be honest her entire attention was focused on the eyes and how to get them off the pumpkins so she can then cook them on her play stove. I guess it is Halloween after all.
After apple picking we decided to do some printing. You cut the apple in half, or quarter then paint the inside with paint (acrylic works the best but washible crayola one works good too). Press the apple on the paper and wait till it dries.
While they dry try these silly finger plays:
Way up high in the apple tree (stretch arm up high)
Two little apples smiled at me (hold up 2 fingers)
I shoot that tree as hard as I could (make shaking motion)
Down came the apples (make downward motion or squat)
Mmm- they were good (smile and rub tummy)
Here’s a little apple tree (left arm up, fingers spread)
I look up and I can see (look at fingers)
Big red apples, rip and sweet (cup hands to hold apple)
Big red apples, good to eat! (raise hands to the mouth)
Shake the little apple tree (shake tree with hands)
See the apples fall on me (raise cupped hands and let fall)
Here’s a basket, big and round (make circle with arms)
Pick the apples from the ground (pick and put in the basket)
Here’s an apple I can see (look up at the tree)
I’ll reach up. It’s rip and sweet (reach up to upper hand)
That’s the apple I will eat ! (hands to mouth)
After making apple prints I cut them out and hid them all over the house. The kids were sent to find them while singing this silly song by Philip Jackman:
Apples, apples, everywhere Lots of apples for us to share.
Let’s go find an apple tree Fiddle-dee-dum and fiddle-dee-dee.
There’s a nice one, let me see Fiddle-dee-dum and fiddle-dee-dee.
Lots of apples, let’s pick some Fiddle-dee-dee and fiddle-dee-dum.
I’ll pick and apple and you pick one Fiddle-dee-dee and fiddle-dee-dum.
Let’s pick more how about two? Fiddle-dee-dum and fiddle-dee-doo.
That’s not enough how about three? Fiddle-dee-dum and fiddle-dee-dee.
Now we’ve enough for you and me, Fiddle-dee-dum and fiddle-dee-de
It’s October and Halloween is quickly approaching, even though I still have no idea what all of us will dress up as. But I am however thinking about crafts and fun. I would not be me if I didn’t incorporate Recycled Milk Boxes into one of the crafts. God knows I am swimming in them even though lately my husband is trying to prove to me that there is no difference between regular and organic when it comes to milk and he is doing a good job (please help). In anycase there are bunch of cartons still laying around and even more ideas floating in my little noggin. For now lets get back to Halloween.
I took some already painted milk boxes and printables that I found on oneprettything. They were however too big for a milk box so I had to copy them and minimize by 50%. There are a lot of different free templates on line so look around you may find something better.
I cut out the witch from the template
and traced her into Milk Box. You see I have no artistic talent at all. I may be creative but you ask me to draw a witch and it will look like a horse. Really, well maybe a donkey carrying a broom.
But if you do have talent you can always draw your own one. Don’t forget to get creative, and rub it in my face you talented person, you.
I cut out the witch with little cuticle scissors and realized I did it all wrong. I should have traced and cut first then painted since some of the paint chips off with cutting. I did have the painted milkboxes waiting for something to do so I used them.
After the witch is done there are a few ways you can proceed. You can buy an LED light and place it inside leaving it the way it is
You can cut the top off, glue colored paper (orange of course) into the inside and place a cheap tealight (apparently a name for the little lights you put inside the pumpkin).
I do the ladder, its cheaper and makes it a fire hazard adding a little excitement to Halloween, you know not much different then the real Christmas tree.
So apparently I did not use enough paint on the left one. It is so much easier to use darker colors.
Another great thing about these is that they are really light and you can duck tape them to outside walls, or even on the trees leading to your property.
If you do make sure to use the light since those tealights burn out really fast and could cause fire when and if a falling leaf traveling north with the speed of 2.5 miles and hour would be pulled by the earths gravitational pull and just happen to land inside the box and not extinquish the tiny itsy bitsy flame.
Note: You don’t have to use milk boxes for any of these milk box crafts look in your fridge other things will work as well. Right now in my fridge cream, stock and orange juice all come in a nifty cardboard container.
While camping this past weekend we decided to use nature and play dough together.
First we used acorns, leaves, tree barks and everything we can find to make prints.
Then my boy decided to show me why he is a son of an architect
He thought of and made this tree all by himself
Which in fact prompted an entirely new way of looking at trees. We attached acorns and leaves and were ready for fall.
Here is a list of more things we did while Camping including Cooking on a stick.
These are the toddler friendly books we read:
Cute book geared to preschoolers or early readers about camping dogs that rarely like the same things. For more information click on the image.
Adorable story about Pam, Sam, Will and Jill who are get prepared to go on a camping trip that goes all wrong. This book is cute and easy to read perfect for early reader and preschooler. For more information click on the image above.
So I decided to make another craft from Plaster of Paris. It turned out wonderful and I took pictures of every step just in case. When ready to load into my computer I realized that I did not put in the memory card. So now you will have to rely on my words alone. Yes no step by step, but don’t worry I will write in English and the craft is super easy.
All you have to do is pick some leaves from outside, don’t worry if they are wet, actually wet ones may work a little better. The more different leaves you pick the more fun you will have with little ones deciding the color and name of each tree.
Make plaster of paris according to the directions on the box. For me that means that I mix it with enough water and plaster that it resembles yogurt or oatmeal and is not so watery. Place the leaves on paper and brush a thick layer of plaster on top of them leaving the stem alone. The thicker the layer the more sturdy the leaves will be if you shmear it too thin they will be very delicate and brittle.
Let the plaster set. If the kids are too anxious you can let them know that the plaster will release heat when setting and call them back when they become warm. When the plaster has set gently peel of the leaf, which would be easy if you start with the stem.
To color I used Acrylic Paints making sure they are really diluted and adding more colors on top of each other.
You can use these leaves just for this project or keep them as place mats during your fall or Thanksgiving Dinner. If you are really creative you can use them to decorate your house.
Personally I think these would be the best to use for fall scavenger hunt, and you can write the clue on the leaf itself, now that would be tough.
For Smaller kids here are some reading suggestions to use for inspiration:
From Caldecott Award winner Lois Ehlert beautiful stories about fall leaves, colors and leaf collecting. For more in depth information and to look inside each book click on the images above.
And who can forget about the Old Lady that has a tendency to overeat. No I am not talking about myself this time:
For a super comprehensive field guide that your child will enjoy for years to come click on this:
Its September the school is back in session the seasons are changing and I am thinking about all these beautiful bugs and beetles that we encountered throughout the summer. On a rainy day I decided to make these fun beetles out of plaster of paris. My kids went buggy over these creations my tween could not wait to decorate one to her liking and my toddlers were fighting over the ladybugs as they call them.
“one for you one for me” I heard them say
“mommy she take 1 2 3 4 5 6″
“what you doing here guys”
To make these all you need is Plaster of Paris and some spoons, perfect for cleaning up your pantry from summer “silverware”, tempera paints for decorations.
Mix about 1 cup of plaster of Paris with water following the directions on the box, this will make about 15 regular spoon beetles
Pour the mix into disposable spoons and dry overnight. I placed some magnets at the ends of some to use as fridge magnets. If you do so make sure they are larger magnets since the bugs can be a bit heavy, you can always put in a clothing pin and use them as fashion accessories.
After they dry remove form the spoon. All you have to do is push on the plaster at the navel (handle part) and it will pop right out, plus the bugs are nice and smooth, perfect.
now all you need is tempera paints and fun is ready. The best part about the paint is that it dries super fast and you can mix colors easily.
Ta da, now all you need is imagination. They can become fashion accessories, fridge magnets, speeding bugs, you can build cages for them or do whatever your heart desires
The only downfall, is the down fall, since they can break or chip easily. For me that’s a plus or excuse to make more the next time.
For inspirations about bugs and beetles check out these fun books from our favorite authors:
Denise Fleming is an author of a Caldecott Honor book in a Small, Small Pond. In Beetle Bop she talks about beetles all different shapes and sizes in a rythmic read out loud book. For inside lookclick here.
Who else would you turn to when it comes to bugs if not Eric Carle the author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other very buggy themed books. The Very Clumsy Click Beetle has no trouble with clicking and flipping but it does have a problem with landing on his feet. He tries again and again encouraged by other animals he finally learns how to click and flip, making the message of not giving up click with us. Click here to look inside.
For inspiration on Beetle design and culture open this A-Z book including fun facts and differences on what makes beetle a beetle. Look inside here.
Lastly the Welcome Books series introduces young readers to beetles their worlds and habitats. For inside look into this text click here.
How is that for bugging out? Now excuse me as I go listen to some Beatles and link up to these amazing parties. Disclaimer: I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission on products purchased through Amazon links.
This is a fun experiment and craft to do with a kids (older preschoolers). The Plaster of Paris is such a great product that I have added separate category for it on the side. It is available in your hardware store and can make any project a breeze. The kids will also be thrilled to see that the dough hardens and as it does it creates heat so be prepared for some science questions. Here we place the mixture in a bag and mold the bag into whatever shape is desired. Keep in mind that it is not the dough inside the bag that you are manipulating but the bag itself.
You will need Plaster of Paris and ziplock bag. I opted to color the dough with leftover Tempera paint that I had from making colored Play Dough.
Into a ziplock bag pour about 1/3 of plaster
If you choose add some coloring
and enough water to form a soft dough, make sure you close the bag tightly and let out the air
Squeeze the bag with hands to mix the water and plaster, form to your desired shapes. When the bag becomes warm to the touch the plaster is beginning to set so you will have to work quickly. The plaster will harden within minutes.
Have fun enjoy your ziplock bag will harden and stay in that shape forever and ever, well at least until it breaks. You can also add rice, sparkles and sand to make it more fun.
I had so much fun playing with our recycle Milk Box Dice that I wanted to use this concept to make something else. This time I decided to use juice boxes. I know most people us pouches right now but you can really use anything from Milk, Cream or anything else cardboard and rectangular you find in your fridge.
Cut thejuice box so the side is the same lenght as the base
place one inside the other with the open sections facing the inside
I used wripped out book pages and covers of coloring books for images but you again can play around with this idea. Why not use yor kids artwork, postcards, holiday cards or pictures
I placed the glue on paper and on juice boxes and wated for it to dry
Cut the edges off and separate the boxes
Continue will all sides, they will not be perfect but so much fun
My kids could barely wait for the blocks to dry. Mommy I want to make Thomas, Mommy I want to make Dora. Ok you can both play with the blocks when they are dry.
I have been wanted to explore water and colored ice for some time now. I have seen a lot of blocks used to build doll houses in the winter and ice cubes one can dive for in the swimming pool but I wanted to just play out right, in the summer.
I decided to make this sensory play in two ways. I took an empty salad big, loose toys, balloons, food coloring and water.
I placed the toys in a bin
mixed water and food coloring
poured over the animals
left some of them to stick slightly out. Almost like a archeological excavation site, or waiting for the ice cap to melt
The other way I did it is to place a few drops inside the balloon
attach to the faucet, fill with water and tie up. Do not by any chance try to fill it with a pouring cup since you will not really get anywhere, unless you want the ice balls to be the size of a small not inflated balloon.
When you are all done place them in the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight
the next morning you can greet your kids with their own ice sculptures, dinosaur eggs or whatever you want to call them.
if you have more time or dinosaurs you may even place them inside the balloon before inflating and give kids chances to crack the egg.
Heck you may even make up some games to go with that like relay as to who first cracks, defrosts and takes out the baby dino (perfect for dinosaur theme party).
We used it more as fun sensory game
touched it, played with it
Drew with it
Did everything to get out hands dirty and then painted with our hands
One of my twins loved it the other could not wait to get herself cleaned. Twins I tell you (could not be less alike)
Finally you could use them as color study as they melt by placing two primary colors in the same bowl, bag and waiting till them melt partially to see what happens, you could also add another color. What happens then?
They are really so much fun for summer, birthday parties, winter play and Easter decorations where it is cold. Not that I am thinking of Easter in September, but since they have Christmas in July I may be approaching that mark shortly.
Most kids can’t get enough of stickers. With this easy recipe you can make stickers with just about anything from magazines, gift wrap, books etc. It is made with a secret ingredient you have in your kitchen: jello.
All you need is Gelatin (or jello), scraps of paper or your kiddos drawing, scissors and brush
Dissolve 2 tsp of gelatin with 5 tsp of hot water. If you are using jello dissolve 0.3 oz (small box) in 5 tbs water
mix well. You can use it right away or you can wait a few minutes until it becomes slightly gluey. I made it both ways with jello and with gelatin and both acted the same as glue. The jello however tasted better but it was also colored.
Cut bunch of pictures out, these could include pictures of your own kiddos
With a paintbrush coat the back of the pictures. After experimenting a bit it is better to let the gelatin mixture get gooey a bit since you do not want to soak the pictures or they will stick to the surface you are drying them on. Alternately you can dry them on a cookie cooling rack.
Once dry the stickers are ready to lick and stick. Your kiddo can become a fashion or interior designer if you choose to use clothing or home catalog.
You can also unlock your inner Emily Post and teach your kids how to set a table. The possibilities are endless
Welcome to our Art History posts. In these posts we will try to create famous masterpieces using different art techniques sometime similar to the ones that the artist used himself. We love art and in case you missed our previous collections you can find them here.
Personally I believe that it is never too early to teach kids about art, art techniques or doodling. If all fails at least your children will be able to identify mayor art works and their authors.
This time we will tackle Georges Seurat who was a French Post-Impressionist painter and draftsman (1859-1891). He is one of the most know painters of the 19 century specifically known for his pointillist paintings. What does that mean? Well see for yourself:
He studied color, optical effects and perception to bring us these incredible works of art. Above Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884-1886, The Art Institute of Chicago.
or this wonderful detail from La Parade de Cirque (1889) showing pointillism, or the technique of painting small dots of pattern that from a far make a full image.
So now lets go back to kids. I wanted to recreate the idea of pointillism without the time consuming technique of actually doing it. I know you can call it lazy but in all honestly I really do not think that my tween is artsy enough, or patient enough to get through this. God knows I’m not.
You will need sandpaper, wax crayons, iron and blank piece of paper.
Draw your favorite subject, place or object. As you can tell I was thinking this may turn out more like another famous artist.
Take a blank piece of paper, place the drawn part on the paper
Iron the blank side of the sand paper. This will melt the wax and create points or dots
wait a few seconds and remove the sand paper, cool
Here you go. You have your own Georges Seurat painting. If you want to make it more detailed you can add more layers of melted wax on top by repeating the process.
As for the sand paper it did start to resemble Monet’s Haystacks, so maybe not all was lost. Two art history lessons in one? Nah, I think next time I will stick with more Seurat worthy subject, like myself.
Disclaimer: The images above are from Wikipedia, Art Institute of Chicago. All rights are registered to above mentioned companies, these are not my works/photos nor do I claim them to be. The watermark placement is automatic and does not prove any rights or ownership of the above mentioned images.
The problem with toddlers is that they drink a lot of milk. The problem with toddler twins that are kinda skinny is that they drink a lot of whole milk. Which means we also have to have skim at home. Which means that by the time the week is over I am swimming in milk boxes. This could pose a problem or force make me think about creative things to do with this stuff.
This craft is great since it gets rid of A LOT of cartons at once and you will never be worried that you forgot playing dice or blocks.
Take two milk boxes the same size. Measure the base, mark the same distance on the side of the box and cut. You are making a cube.
Cut the other carton the same way, discard the tops (or wait till I think of what to do with them). You now have 2 cubes, both missing a side.
Push one cube into the other the open side down
Now you have a cube. You can tape the edge together and use it this way.
We painter ours but you can cover yours in wrapping paper and use as present box, cover with contract or construction paper and draw on it, even cover in different textured fabrics and give a toddler to explore.
If you decide to use any paper make sure to glue or cover to make it more durable
These could become fun blocks to build with
or you can step it up a notch and make them into throwing dice. The one on the right is a traditional one and the one on the left is garden themed.
I have been trying to think of a craft that would recycle toilet paper rolls since I seem to find them everywhere in the house lately. I swear they have feet and magically move from the bathroom all over the house. I also wanted to recycle some of my kids favorite books, like Clifford, since there was a time when they became human shredding machines and I am still unwilling to part with the ripped pages.
All you really need is a toilet paper roll, thin paper such as wax paper (newspaper works well), glue (rubber band does the trick also). We however decided to decorate ours in ripped up book pages, or paint.
take the roll and make a hole in it using a hole puncher or like I did a pair of scissors
glue the top of the roll as well as the paper
place one top of the other (glue sides together) wait till it dries
You can at this point paint them, color them, sticker them all over, fold the paper over or just leave it and use it the way it is
Nothing is ever that easy in my household so I took one ripped page from a really really cute book and spread the glue all over it.
I then pressed it to the tube and waited till it dried
trimmed the top
Don’t they look so much better with your favorite character on them. Plus next time you may skip the party favor isle and make these to go along with your character themed birthday party.
Trim the bottom
continue wrapping the rest
Aren’t they cute…
So cute. You can use everything and anything like old gift wraps, newspapers, favorite advertisements etc. There is no need to ruin a perfectly good Clifford book for it.
Now last but not least use a pen to poke a whole in it. Since the bottom layer is already hallow it will make it so much easier, plus a pen will make it look nice and even
Now give these to the kids, sit yourself on the couch or lock in your room and relax. Don’t worry no matter where they are you will be able to hear them. Oh almost forgot to mention that to play the kazoo place your mouth at the open end and hum. Now please give it back to your child.
My daughter has always loved buckles. She is not too good with unbuckling stuff yet (thank goodness) but loves to put them together. I looked and looked for buckle toys that she can become occupied with and I would not be summoned every 5-10 seconds to unbuckle the one on her doll’s stroller.
So I went on line and purchased 15 different sized buckles. The cost was approximately 2$. I did look at Home Depot and some fabric stores but did not find anything. If you know of a place that you can buy them other then on line leave a comment please. Purchasing on line was fast and painless.
Once they arrived I tied each pair with a different colored yarn (ribbon).
This way the kids can put the buckles together not only based on its size, or color (they come in 3 colors at most: white, black or clear) but also based on the color of the string.
There is no need to tie them together sooner or later they will become all tangled up
My son also loves to play with the buckles. You can take this “buckle toy” along, use it in the car, on the plane and even under water.
In case you are looking for the website where I purchased the buckles here it is.
We have over the past couple of years accumulated nice set of thomas/brio tracks, trains and accessories which my kids love to play with. We have however not yet purchase a train table. You see I am not sure if I am fully sold on the train table idea.
I love how the tables in some bookstores are neatly displayed and the child can walk around and play, but there is something extraordinary when you walk into a room and your 2 year old has set his own train without any of your help.
Yes he has seen me do it. Yes his daddy is an architect which may count for something.
This is not the first time he has set one up and each time it looks different and more intricate than I ever made.
He makes it work, I follow the directions on the box to make sure the loop goes through the bridge I do actually count 6 pieces each time.
He gets creative and does not mind broken tracks and unfinished rails.
Sometimes his sister helps, sometimes she just enjoys the rails. Anyway you look at it this is where the creativity shines,this is when you child learns how to fit the pieces together to create an entire piece, different each time. Even though it is nice to have the trains confided into one small area please do me a favor and spread it out once, just for me. Then you can decide how to use or not use your train table. Personally I am still fully undecided.
We spent our afternoon on Friday walking through the Botanical Garden. We love to smell and discover new flowers, herbs and animals lurking or more like flying around them. This time we decided to make a nature bracelet to bring home with us from this trip. The nature bracelet will work for any walk, even if it is just down the street. You never know what you can find, especially with a curious toddler.
Take a piece of duck tape and attach it on your toddlers arm sticky side up
as you are going through your walk let them pick whatever they deem interesting
and attach it to their bracelet
It could be anything flowers, fruit, seeds, feathers, grass, rocks etc
my daughter enjoyed the finds but gave the bracelet to me while my son proudly wore his
mine consisted of a lot of flowers and a fruit, otherwise known as conversation starters. From what color is this? Could you get me a blue flower? To Fruit comes from the plant…. What other fruits do you know?
But mostly our walk was still a walk/run and not a botany class, they are 2.5 after all.
When done with your walk you can just snip the bracelet off and attach to your bulletin board or wall. Heck you can even mark it and see how many different interesting bracelets you can display. I can only imagine what you can find on the beach, campground or grandma’s back yard, provided she has one.
This is an easy creative fun for kids all ages. The best thing is that it travels well so you can put string and sand paper in the ziploc bag and hopefully your kids will enjoy it enough to stay quiet for a few minutes. Plus it is relatively clean so you can be sure to arrive at grandma’s house clean and proper without pen marks all over your face.
You will need very coarse sand paper and yarn in various colors and sizes. The best way is to go to a home store with a piece of yarn and see which sand paper works the best. By no means send your husband unless you give him a piece of yarn too.
Our sand paper came package came with 3 sheets, perfect for multiple kids
Show your child how the yarn sticks to the sandpaper. They will enjoy putting it on and pulling it off and creating new designs. This activity is perfect for any age, even for mommy.
I have been trying to think of creative ways to recycle milk boxes in our house. God know that with two milk drinking toddlers we go through a lot of milk, this summer specifically. Lately it seems that my kids have replaced all their meals with milk. I don’t blame them who wants to eat in a 100 deg heat.
You will need an empty cleaned milk box. Not that I need to tell you what happens to milk when it stands in room temperature. It is not a happy sight. I painted my milk box white just so it is nicer and maybe the kids can decorate it with paint or markers.
I also used a piece of plywood or in this case yard stick, fishing line or transite. I have no idea what transite is but I found it in a craft store which was much easier to find then fishing store.
There are also those hook an eye screws that I got at home depot fasteners isle. I will spare you the embarrassment and tell you they are called hook and eye so you do not have to walk up to an associate and ask for twisty screwy things and be stuck drawing them in case he has no clue what you are talking about. He should know better?
make a slot/hole on both sides of the milk box
that will fit the ruler/yard stick
screw the hook an eyes in
You can use the scissors to make small holes first which will make it a lot easier. Also screw one side on the table (hum) before you push it through the milk box
make 3 notches on the top of the milk box (or more if you used a thicker ruler)
Pull the fishing line through the slots
and tie them on both sides of the ruler into the hooks
My husband has been cleaning up his office from unused pieces of equipment. He is an architect and he had these massive non working plotters in his office. Two of them, taking over at least a quarter of the room. None of them working since I met him, and we have been married for almost 6 years. In any case this week these beastly clunkers were eliminated but we found a roll of paper in one of them, which I salvaged before it ended up in the dump.
We used this paper to trace ourselves, but you can use any paper you have laying around.
It was fun for the kids to see the different sizes of our feet
Some of the traces became peanuts
and hand accessories
What I really wanted to do was to trace my kids so they would know what size they were, but they refused to lay down. Sometimes I forget how small they still are, only 2.5
But with all the other body tracing and trying on shoes one of them finally caved in
So I traced my daughter, not doing a terribly good job since she was moving a bit
Then I cut her out. I called her my daughters shadow but also continued to call her by my daughters name
We have colored her, giving her hair, eyes lips and even a shirt. I bet an older child can have an absolute ball with it or you can even use some fabric scraps and allow a 4-6 year old to design a dress for her shadow self.
Our interaction was really basic just drawing and giving a hug but I can foresee that in the next few years we will be able to take this craft/fun into a whole different level.
This is the final installment of this years tadpole saga. There have been some heartbreaks, some serious back stabbing, maybe even murder. So if you have missed any of it you can always refer to Part I and Part II. In this episode however we needed to deal with a major intervention.
You see the tadpoles where slowly developing their back legs. I mean really slowly. The biggest one took about 3 weeks from the moment the back legs looked like, well quite frankly poop to them resembling back flappers. Once however the hind legs came within hours (definetly less then 24) the front legs appeared and the tail began to dissapear.
I really do not know anything about amphibians but it seems like the front legs were just hiding underneath the belly flap ready to come out when the back ones were developed. Once that happened entered me at some wee hour of the night finding the almost frog speciment floating lifeless on top of the container.
I knew I had to act quickly so I built this contraption out of an empty milk box (we have a lot of those around) and figured that the frog can make a better choice of water or land then I would. It seemed as if the frog wanted nothing to do with water and stayed on “land” (cardboard really) for the rest of the night.
In the morning I introduced the kids to their new friend no longer a tadpole
and actually let them hold it
my daughter was enamoured my son not so much
We let the frog out near the creek where we brought its water from and said our goodbyes
I love summer fun hair accessories. Pinwheels are fun and easy to make. You can put them into hair bands, rings or just leave them blowing in the wind. You can make them twirl of be lazy like me and let them sit there as decorations, unless you get a hurricane and everything will be spinning.
Since I have a large box filled with torn out children book pages I decided to reuse them here. If you have not been blessed with page rippers your book shelve and library will thank you but you will need to use some sort of thicker cards. You could recycle old Birthday, Holiday and Thank You cards if you are like me and keep at least 5 seasons of Holiday cards hidden in nooks and crannies around the house you will not have to go to a store to buy any. You will also need a piece of ribbon, needle, thread and scissors. If you want your pinwheels to move you will also need small beads. Mine were strictly for decoration.
I made two different sized pinwheels one was 2 inch square big
the smaller ones were 1 inch big
cut out squares of desired size out of paper
cut diagonal lines with scissors making sure you leave at least 1/3 of an inch in the center. Do not cut all the way through.
Thread the needle, tie a knot at the end and sew through the ribbon
Sew through the center of the pinwheel. If you want the pinwheels to move bead one bead onto the threat before you needle through the square.
Sew through the corner (1/2 of the corner really leave the other 1/2 alone)
continue with another corner
until all the corners have been sewn through.
Tie a knot, bead another bead if you want them to spin and you are done. You can also make them into rings by sewing them around a pipe cleaner and wrapping around your finger.
Either way you choose they are so much fun to make and play with. You can call this Christmas in July by recycling all your old Holiday cards into Pinwheels. Now how about that wind?
This craft is more for parents or older kids. This is an easy way to update your basic hair bands into beautiful hair accessories. The younger kids can help by picking the fabric, drawing the circles and if parents feel comfortable cutting the fabric. This is also a cute craft to do with the whole family.
I took cotton American themed fabric as well as sateen fabric. I used nail polish container to trace circles from
I cut the circles out
I singed the edges of the sateen with lighter or candle.
you can’t do that with natural fabrics or you will burn them, believe me I tried
Stack the petals on top of each other. I had between 6-10 petals of each color
Take needle, thread and rubber band
thread the center of the “flower” and continue to loop around the rubber band
keep threading the center of the flower and rubber band until the flower is tighter and to your liking
Tie a knot at the end
That’s it !!!! Now you have beautiful flowers. You can make these with any fabric at any time
the sateen are my favorite ones of course
But even the cotton ones are beautiful. Personally I think these would represent any occasion, team spirit so much nicer then a scrunchy and you don’t need a sewing machine.
Independence day is fast approaching and this is a cute craft to do with kids. It can teach them about recycling, history and decor. For centuries people have been decorating their houses by hanging plates on the walls. They were special plates that were often deemed too special for actual use. Remember wonderful Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and her wonderful kitten plate collection? This time we skipped the cats (you can do that craft on your harry potter themed bday instead) and decided to stick with more American theme.
Trying to get organized for the holiday I found that my collection of plastic and paper plates have reached gigantic proportions and needs to be stopped. I guess I could throw out all the extra plates or make Lacing Cards.
Instead we took some brushes, acrylic paints and started painting.
You can create anything you wish from fireworks
to date specific plates
Making plates that copy the American flag are especially fun for older kids since you can discuss the importance of stars (50, one for each state) in a blue square (representing the union), stripes (13 representing original 13 states of the union). A little History in Crafting never hurt anyone.
Hopefully by the end of the day the kids will at least know how to spell Independence day and what is the significance of 4th of July and will have cool wall decorations to show for it.
This is a fun simple game to play with your toddlers. You can play it at home or make it even more fun outside. Kids will enjoy trying to find their stuffed animal by following a string.
Tie one end of a long string (we use knitting yarn) to a favorite plush toy such as monkey or teddy bear. Trail the string around the room, back yard that leads to the monkeys final hiding spot.
Weave the string around the room, over and under the furniture, outdoors, in out of rooms. You can make it as easy or as hard as you wish. You can also expand it to the back yard or to final hang out area. The kids can be following the monkey trail to lunch or bath or nap time.
When finished with the set up give the other end of the rope to a toddler and have them follow the animal, track the animal or just look for monkey or teddy. They may need some help with rolling up the yard and may have to rely on a parent to help.
Our monkey was taking a nap in the bedroom but others often hide behind closet doors.
I am not sure if my kids had more fun finding the monkey or doing tricks with the monkey holding on to a string.
They were pulling and giggling.
the monkey looked like a little home made puppet
or a silly version of Cirque du Soleil
My daughter is still trying to get this silly monkey off her back.
It is officially summer and unless you belong to a pool which allows your toddler for constant gratification you are probably thinking of ways of entertaining your young ones at home. Maybe your school aged kids are looking forward to sleeping in for a week or two before starting their summer camps and that interferes with your toddlers activity/nap schedule. Maybe you want to have an easy day when you do not need to pack everyone and head somewhere for once. Well this is a perfect activity for all of those days.
You will need a blow up pool or even a bathtub. We have purchased our pool this year for 10$ and it is large enough to fit all the kids in. For this larger pool I used 6 packages of spaghetti (total cost 2$), 2/3 cup of oil and food coloring (optional).
Cook the noodles until just softened, you do not want them too mushy
When cooked toss in about 1/3 cup of oil per 2-3 packages of spaghetti. I am using canola but you can use whatever you have on hand
I have added optional food coloring into mine just for fun. It does not stain your clothes or fingers (I was pleasantly surprised) and it is so much fun to play with
Now the great part about this game is that it is lunch at the same time. All these noodles are edible
The kids will have a blast and they will also get very oiled moisturized so you can think of this as toddler skin/hair spa.
You have to try it your little one will thank you. To see what we did with our noodle pool click here.
In case you are looking for a fun project to do with the kids after spending day in the amusement park or Disney this is perfect. Why not build a roller coaster? Hey why not? Pick a theme, take a drill and lets get going, shell we.
You will need a MDF board, wooden dowels, and metal wire, paint and play dough for design. Cut the wooden dowels to desired various sizes. Drill in holes in the MDF to support the dowels. Attach short pieces of wire into the dowels and twist around to support the rail.
Use pliers to attach the rail tighter
Continue with the rest of the wire making sure it has a nice even slope
Now this is the right side of the roller coaster
this is the view from above
Now it is time to add the ponds (play dough) and the greenery
Now all you need is some extra tweaking to make sure the cart can actually roll on it. As a part of this assignment my daughter had to work on other projects also.
Here is a list of amusement park projects options she had to choose from:
-making a map of the amusement park
-making promotional poster
-making a promotional tshirt
-making a monopoly game based on the amusement park
-making a video commercial
-making a bingo game including elements from the park
If you can think of other projects or crafts based on amusement park experience leave me a comment.
Object match up is an easy, fun game that can be ready in minutes. It is fun to play and just in case you are running out of ideas there is no special equipment needed. So if you find yourself rained/snowed or sunned out you can make this anywhere anytime. I am sure that if you really need to you can make it with all the objects found in your car; and if your car is as toddler infested as mine I am sure there are a lot of napkins to use as tracing paper.
Just see for yourself.
Gather several toys, common household objects, cookie cutters, keys, animals etc. Other then that all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. I have cut my paper into smaller pieces just because they are two trouble makers in my house and I did not want them to fight for one piece of paper.
On the other hand this can become a fun game for older kids. Give each child a piece of paper with 10 items traced a bucket filled with stuff and see who can match it the fastest.
Since my kiddos are not even in preschool yet I placed each item on a separate piece of paper and traced around them.
I made some pieces easily recognizable and some really tough to recognize
Once finished the kids were ready to match. Well actually they were ready way before and one was spying on me.
The fun started and it was interesting to see how fast the kiddos found some items
and how long it took them to find others.
This is also a great time to discuss the objects with kids. You can put all the items in the box and have kids search one at a time to be more focused
Some items were very tough and rhinoceros’ feet looked indeed like a butterfly and the fish could look like an airplane. Why knew?
I decided to eliminate the cards with the items found just to make it a little bit easier
At the end with a little help from each other
and a lot of pondering we matched every object to its outline.
You can store the objects and their outlines in a box when not in use, or you can just make some when needed. You can always use recycled brown bags, birthday paper etc.
Our Tadpoles were surviving nicely until about two days ago when I found one lifeless flowing on top of the glass container. Yes the tadpoles have moved on from the martini shaker to a larger glass flower vase. Just in case you want to know the tadpoles do not swim belly up instead they just float there stiff. I know this is the exact information you were missing all day long. You were not able to fall asleep last night until you figure out what happens to tadpoles when they croak. Or to be exact what happens to tadpoles when they never ever will get a chance to croak. So now that this question is answered lets move on.
The next day a couple more have passed and that send me into depressed state. I must feed them more. I must give them fresh water. I must take them away from these dead waters since maybe the idea of loosing their friends is what causing them to take their own lives.
So I packed the kids up and headed to the closest creek.
Armed with kitchen measuring cups and an old milk bottle we gathered enough water to clean and refresh any water container found at our house.
My daughter is so animated she was signing and making faces in every turn
What do you think you are doing buddy? Don’t you even dare splash around here
Yeah that’s right…. go over there
Survival Man, the toddler years
or more like Here comes Trouble
The water did arrive safely at home and the tadpoles were refreshed.
The water on the right is really nasty looking. It did make sure that the creek water stayed at room temperature for at least an hour. Then I removed 1/2 cup from the dirty water and replaced it with a fresh one. I repeated the process two more times by removing more and more water each time. Finally I fished tadpoles out with a spoon into a different container, rinsed this one, filled with new water and then place the tadpoles back in. So far, day after the transplant they are doing great. We loved the creek so much we may go there even if we don’t need anymore water.
For the Final Chapter in Tadpole Trilogy click here.
Have you ever seen a black rose or a green/blue carnation for St. Patty’s Day. Have you wondered how do they do that? It is easy since petals have little veins that carry the water through them. If you just color the water the flower will change colors and your children will discover the function of stems and/or roots. Either that or they can spend the rest of the afternoon wondering why you colored all the petals with markers or like my toddlers keep asking for blue flowers not realizing that there is anything particular or interesting about them. Aren’t all flowers amazing after all?
You can use any colored flower but white ones are the best since they are like a blank canvas after all. Carnation work well but save your money and send your children hunting for daisies in the nearby fields it is almost summer after all. If your kids are toddlers be prepared for broken stems and mushed up flowers. Don’t worry this is what we are working with here. If all fails you can use a celery stalk with some leaves on it and it will do a trick. Not as pretty though but definitely just as cool.
Just for the sake of experiment I kept one batch of flowers in clear water while the other two were placed in water tainted with food coloring.
red, white and blue… umm I wonder where I got that idea?
The reds were incredible also. Thank goodness I did not have to choose between the two. The white on the other hand has been discarded a long time ago. Who needs a white daisy?
I am actually thinking of printing this photo and hanging it somewhere not sure where. It also makes me think of buying a better lens so I can get even sharper detail. We are 6 months away from Christmas.
Check… Check… Is this Mike on? Hubby are you reading this?
Even the buds changed their respected colors. Beautiful.. well now I have to run. Need to go get myself a bucket full of Daisies, nice ones not mushed up by chubby dirty fingers, and color myself some flowers. I think a red bucket filled with red colored daisies would make a splendid addition to any summer.
Just in case you were wondering what in the world is a Polwig, here it is. Yes that is it. You most likely know it by another name such as Tadpole, Pollwog, Pollywog, Polliwig, Purwiggy, Pollywiggle… well you get the point.
We have gotten lucky since a friend of mine had few too many of these critters hanging around her pool and figure it was just about time to have them move somewhere else. But if you are in the mood for tadpoles you can do it three ways.
-You can buy a Pet Frog Kit on line for 20-40$. It even comes in a Star Wars Edition. Why? Doesn’t everything come in a Star Wars Edition? If interested click here.
-You can go buy tadpoles in the store. They are usually sold at your local pet store or a pond store
-Get a net, a jar, or in my friends case a kitchen strainer and spend an afternoon with your kiddos at the creek, pond, swamp. Turn over a couple of rocks, look around algea and you should be able to find them. Make sure to bring the water and some weeds with the tadpoles so they will feel at home. Do not add any tap water.
So we spent the day observing. My daughter who is not feeling well loved them and how they open their little mouths to eat. She thought they were sending her kisses. Every time I would put them away I would hear “Mommy I want the frog. I want to kiss”. I wonder if that is where the kissing of the frog came from?
We do have tadpoles in various sizes ranging from one little itsy bitsy one to one HUGE one. I hope the little one does not become lunch since it is so cute. It reminds me of pictures from a human reproductive cycle, even though it is large enough to see. It is even smaller then the little one captured below.
My daughter absolutely loves them. As for my son I am not sure if he even saw them since she was hording them so much.
It takes about 6-12 weeks for tadpoles to turn into frogs and I understand that tomorrow I will need to move these guys into a bigger container with more pond water. I know that just like me you love the martini shaker in which they reside but I am worried they will run out of space soon.
So far these are the coolest pets ever so much cuter then fish and it is great to know that once they turn into frogs they are going back to the pond. As for their growth cycle continue to Part II by clicking here.
In the Art History posts we will try to create masterpieces using different art techniques sometime similar to the ones that the artist used himself. We love art and in case you missed our previous collections you can find them here.
Personally I believe that it is never too early to teach kids about art, art techniques or doodling. If all fails at least your children will be able to identify mayor art works and their authors.
So today we are tackling Paul Klee and to be more specific his fish. Paul Klee was a Swiss German painter that experimented with color theory and eventually wrote about them in Paul Klee Notebooks, a book that became one of the most influential books in modern art. Color theory is an art of mixing colors to achieve the best visual impact in other words how to make your browns, greens and oranges like you want them to or to make them pop.
Isn’t this cool. I just love this painting and have used a fun technique to recreate a similar effect. Of course I am not an artist, far far far from it and I do not think my 2.5 year olds qualify as such either so please bear with us. For this art you will need:
-watercolor paper, thick- do not use thin one or it will buckle and you will have to do it again, I know this from not so distant experience
-watercolor paints, preferably black and blue
Draw an outline of your fish on the paper with a pencil
add squiggles for waves, flowers, seaweed
Color your fish with as much crayon as possible adding scales in different colors and colored eyes, make sure to cover the area evenly.
Now cover the area with dark watercolor paper.
Just because I know what color theory is does not mean I know what Watercolor paper looks like and instead used white paper, most likely taken from my husbands printer for this project. Well it did not work. The paper was way too thin and absorbed all the water starting to rip like thin toilet paper. So just in case like me you had no idea, watercolor paper is thick and porous. The crayons will fill the pores and block the water and if you use the right one you will get something beautiful like this:
I can only imagine how wonderful was this play dough was 20 years ago when we had no worries about peanut butter allergies. You could give it to your 1 year old to play with and not worry about it being eaten. You could even promote eating since it is very nutritious. Now a days we are told not to give our kiddos nuts till at least 2 years in fear of severe allergic reaction. It does not mean that you should refrain from this fun dough if your child is too young or has allergies just use soynut butter or sunflower seed butter (sunbutter). Personally I used White Chocolate Peanut Butter because as you guessed, there was no normal peanut butter in my house. What is going on here? Only strange things: Chocolate, Honey or Almond Butter. I think the real one is the first one eaten therefore I am stuck with gourmet kinds. They do work just as well though.
You will need: 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/2 cup of non fat dry milk, 2/3 tbs. honey (optional).
Place it all together in a bowl and knead until it comes together into dough consistency
Mold, model and experiment as any playdough. I love this dough,even though it was a little bit more moist and sticky then regular playdough.
“Umm that’s a good owl mommy” he says. Do you think it is bad for me to promote eating owls? Will the EPA come knocking on my door few minutes after posting this? I think I need to let you know that no REAL OWLS were harmed in making this experiment. You know just in case you were wondering.
First of all I wanted to say that this would be a cool experiment if I could actually spell or spell check before I write something. This way I will be forever reminded that I should not be publishing anything without double or triple checking. I could just redo the experiment but really who has time. The twins will wake up anytime from their nap and start asking for some food.
This is an experiment that can be done just for fun or be a part of a scavenger hunt or science birthday party. The secret message could be for something small like “please come downstairs for breakfast” or “the treasure (see I can spell) is under your bed.” You can send these secret messages to anyone and the color change will allow your friend to see what is hidden on paper.
You will need: lemon juice, paper, iodine and a brush.
Get the lemon juice by squeezing out the lemon, or one of those fake plastic lemon containers.
Using a paint brush to write your secret message or code on the paper, let dry
Put a few drops of iodine into water.
Now dip a brush in a mixture and reveal the hidden message. Make sure not to make the brush to wet and the paper watery or the original message may start running, like my mascara in the rain. Which does not look good.
If you do want to get into the Science aspect of this, for all you mad scientists out there, the iodine makes the starch in the paper turn purple while lemon juice stops the color change from happening. So the writing appears white. You can use this trick to test for starch by adding drop of iodine to foods. If they turn purple you have starch. Try it on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta. Make sure not to eat the food after, just throw it away.
This is a cute cooking and crafting at the same time. I have decided to make the same dough as for the Bunny Bread since it is so good and cheddar cheesy. In case you do not want to make your own dough you can buy a frozen bread dough, just thaw it out if frozen the night before using. The larger you will make the breads the more chewy they will be like the heart that we made. The smaller the petals are they more they taste like pretzels with crusty outside and small amount of soft inside.
You will need bread dough, food coloring. I used green, purple, red and pink.
Spread the dough into 4 equal parts
Add a lot of food coloring into the down or else it will look more tie die. You can make tie die hearts and circles too but here we are making flowers.
make sure you work the dough until everything is well incorporated
Roll a green ball for the center of the flower, roll colored dough into a log and cut into small slices to use as petals. No need to glue the sides to each other with egg whites just press them gently and they will become one when rising.
You can use cookie cutters to make shapes but to be honest they do not look really good when risen
place your creations on a greased sheet.
Now I am not very artistic so I am sure that if you are you can make these look so much better
cover them with a cloth and let rise for 1 hour
Bake in a 400 deg oven till slightly browned. Once cooled your kiddos will really enjoy it.
Since I have not posted anything in the science category in a while I decided to show you this quick and cute science experiment that can be done at your own home. No gloves or eye gear required unless you are trying to teach your children how to be prepared for the worst when entering a lab. Meaning how to become a mad scientist and not get hurt, which I’m sure is a viable lesson in itself.
This is a basic color test to show your almost school aged child how things can suddenly change colors.We are not talking about people changing colos like you best friend or husband. This is about things. Things change colors with addition of acid or base (alkali) and as long as your child can understand the difference they are old enough to conduct this experiment.
You will need a red cabbage, acid, base, 3 glasses, one large continer.
Base options are: Baking Powder, Soap (cut into small pieces), bleach (wear gloves), Toothpaste (baking soda), Drano
Acid options are: Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Apple Juice, Grapefruit Juice
Chop up the red cabbage
Place the cabbage in a container and cover with hot water
Let sit for about 5 minutes. Cabbage is great at coloring and you can use it to color cloth, easter eggs etc.
Pour the mixture into 3 containers
To the left glass add acid (vinegar) and see how it turns the juice red. To the right glass add base (baking powder) and see how it turns the juice blue or green. The center glass is the original cabbage juice.
Hydrangeas are a great example of color change in nature. They are plant chameleons since they have blue flowers in acidic soil but pink flowers in alkeline soil. Adding base or acid into the soil can make the flowers change from one color to the other.
Picture of Hydrangeas is from Wikimedia. For more pictures click here.
If you are looking for small storage containers you can use your old bread crumb, cookie, peanut containers. You can use them to give away cookies or supplies to teachers or to store endless minature animals and bugs that your kids like to play with. The possibilities are endless the craft easy and fun.
You will need empty containers, glue and cool paper. This is the time to get creative. For your kids or preschool teachers you can use old ripped out book pages, craft paper. For older kids or middle school teachers use things that are more topic specific.
I got this cute paper in scrap booking store but I am sure you can find a fun print or fabric print on the internet and print it out at home. Cut the print into a desired size.
Spread it with glue. I used white glue but you can really use any kind of glue available in your house. If you still have any wallpaper paste left you can use that.
Glue it to the side of the container. Keep in mind that if you are using a metal container use rubber cement to glue the print on.
For my daughters French teacher we made copies of French Asterix Comic book that I had laying around the house. For English teacher you can copy pages from Webster Dictionary or a textbook used.
You can also go to your local library and copy pages from a book like My First Word Book that come in other language editions.
You can use maps and nautical charts for Social Studies or Georgraphy teachers. Or if you traveled to some exotic places you can use those maps to store little memories or nick nacks that you have gathered there. Like seashells in florida with a map of the city on the container.
We cut little uneven strips to make bows.
There are so cute that you can even use them as gift containers for birthday presents. For your good friends you can post them with pictures or collages. Be Creative and Enjoy !!!
I have all of a sudden found yourself surrounded by easter eggs with no chocolate hidden all over the house. The chocolate have been long time gone but the eggs keep poping up. I found mysef being too stingy to just throw them out. I know I will be using them next year. The problem arises from the fact that I live in a small house, well maybe the house is not too small but there in no storage, none. So if there is going to be anything lingering around my house for another year it better have some sort of purpose. I looked and search and now I found a purpose, for the empty egg containers at least.
You will need: liquid starch (available in the laundry portion of the grocery store), white glue, food coloring, plastic egg containers and corn starch (not pictured).
Into a bowl add 1tbs liquid starch
and 2tbs glue, mix
add 3 squeezes of desired food coloring,
mix and wait for 5 min
At that moment nothing happened to my silly putty. I am not sure if the glue was too runny, the starch not shacken enough (honestly I did not shake the bottle at all)
So I ended up adding 1tbs of corn starch and mixing it continously.
All said and done I ended up adding about 3 tbs of corn starch to get to the consistency that I wanted. I am sure it all had to do with the type of a glue I used, my altitude and my attitude. I am just saying.
Since I already made you buy all this wallpapaper paste to make our Paper Bowls I decided to show you another craft that you can use it for. These String Balls or Yarn Balls are fun to make and you can make them with any type of string yarn you have at home. Of couse if you decide to make it with thread it make take a bit more time then expected.
You will need: sting/yarn, wallpaper paste, balloon and vaseline
Put the paste in a bowl and start dipping the string in it, moving around until the string is moist.
Blow up the balloon to a desired size and cover with a thick coat of vaseline. You can make these small, you can make them egg shaped, you can make them huge it all depends on the balloon.
Start covering the balloon with string
when it is covered to your liking hang it somewhere for at least 24 hours or until dry. The time will again will depend on the amount of the string used.
Now take a big knife and jab the balloon… well you can use something small but it would not look as good on the picture.
here you go…. now you got yourself some string balls… it almost sounds like a food post… would you like french fries with that?
They are fun to play with since you can shape them in different sizes
In case you are wondering of another way to recycle newspaper here it is. I understand that most likely we are no longer talking about newspapers per say since most people get their news on line, but magazines, ads and whatever other form of print that still comes through the mail box. This is a fun craft and great for older kids, meaning school age not toddlers.
You will need balloons, vaseline, paper and wallpaper paste. It is available in your home improvement shop. I believe I bought something called trim paste.
Blow up the balloon to whatever size you want your bowl to be and cover it with vaseline.
next cover it with walpaper paste. I think you can also buy the paste dried and mix it with water which may be easier for storage later
cover with the first layer of newspaper scraps
add more paste, and another layer of newspaper
continue for about 10 layers… I know that I lost count and just kept going and going…. I guess you can keep a tick sheet
let it dry for 24 hours or however long it takes based on the amount of layers. Pop or remove from the ballon and trim the edge with scissors
make a hoop from thicker material and cover with paste. I think I used one of those subscription cards from a magazine.
cover with strips and paste,
Now here is your final product. Of course this is the basic version and you can make it a basket, or a bunny by adding ears and whiskers. You can make the last layer white and let the kids paint on it, or black and make kids draw with chalk. You can glue your favorite candy wrappers on top of it or even better pictures of your friends that are coming to dinner. Then you will have a very special and silly bowl to put mints in.
Since Earth Day is approaching I decided to work on things we can make from all these recyclables that lay around the house. I read this post and it got me thinking: what else? what can I cut from aluminum cans to make them more fun. And then it came to me, well kinda. I have the idea but not enough time to truly implement it since there are kids and husbands and pets. So here is the idea:
Take a washed aluminum can and cut the top and bottom off.
Using a paper puncher cut out a shape. The great thing is that these paper punches come in huge variety of shapes and sizes. They also make the edges dull therefore you do not need to worry about getting cut.
We cut out medium sized stars.
I used a pin tag to make holes. Place the stars on a cutting board and push through, that’s it. Then I used a fishing line to tie these pieces together but again the possibilities are endless. You can use a thin rubber band, or fasteners like in earrings.
I think these could make very interesting earrings or a pendant.
This is a pair of earrings that my daughter purchased. With a few different size hole punchers and few jewelry fasteners an hook you could have your favorite soda or beer earrings in a flash.
Again I am very creative but definitely not artistic, meaning my mind can think of things but I have two left hands and things do not look good made by them. So please take this post and play around yourself. If you make something nice please tell me about it or attach a photo. I would love to see it.
In the Art History posts we will try to create mastepieces using different art techniques sometime similar to the ones that the artist used himself. If all failes at least our children will be able to spot the works of Giacometti, Monet, Warhol, Pollock and others. I personally love Art and grew up surrounded by it. My parents where always avid collectors of art and antiques since that was the only for of “investment” in communist Poland. Even now in our younger marriage my husband and I collected some incredible Primitive Art. It is important to me that my kids understand and like Art because they will be forced to go to every museum that will be availble to us and it will be so much easier if they do not dread it.
Going back to Vincent va Gogh, a Dutch post-Impressionist painter whoes bright colored and emotionally charged painting which had profound effect on 20th centry art. To recreate his painting we will need acrylic paints, white glue and brushes, forks etc.
Skatch your handscape onto a piece of paper. I made a mistake here by using really thin watercolor paper. Don’t do that. Make sure you use beefy paper almost cardboard or else it will buckle when wet like in this experiment.
Pour the acrylics onto a plate or palette and mix with white glue until thick. Approximately 50/50 ratio.
Now take your paint brush, fork and whatever else you are planing to use and lets get started.
Paint the clouds in blue swirls
Add white swirls around it, as well as a yellow/orange sun
Use the back of your paint blush to make it rougher
Use a fork to make the clouds more like Van Goghs
a stormy sky
Continue by making the trees.
Grass and sooner or later you will have your own masterpiece. If you want to recreate specific Van Gogh art in this project I recommend: The Starry Night or Wheatfield with Crows if you want less known paintings try The Sower, Olive Trees with the Alpilles in the Background.
I love this experiment. Not because I do not know what happens to germs or greese when touched by liquid soap. Not because I think my 2 not yet 2 1/2 year old toddlers will understand anything from this science experiment, but because those “germ” pieces scatter so fast that I know it will make my 2 year old boy laugh with excitment maybe she will laugh also.
All you need is a pan filled half way with water, black pepper and dish or hand soap.
Sprinkle some black pepper unto the dish.
This is too much pepper. This way the pepper has no where to run to, no where to hide.
Put a drop of soap onto yours or toddlers finger.
Place the finger in the center of the pepper and watch as it flies away from the soapy finger. Make sure that you tell your toddlers that germs just like pepper fly away from soap, and if the pepper makes them sneeze it will make the germs story more believable. With older kids make the Mushroom Spores experiment to talk about germ spores instead.
It is officially Spring, well at least it feels like it here. Well in some parts of the country it feels like summer but I am not easily fooled and do believe that something chilly will still come. I did however decide to slowly work on my garden since it needs a lot of help. Today I started seeding some flowers and herbs to make sure that the little ones get an understanding how nature works and spring happens. Plus I wanted to recycle all those egg cartons that I have laying around after Easter, so many Eggs so little time. Time to start seeding for most colder/northern states is May-June for Southern April-May. Of course with the weather we have been having this year you can pretty much forget the entire chart.
You can start with whatever you want but Pansy’s are really easy choice or if you live in a small apartment herbs are great for container gardening and cooking. In your local nursery pick up whatever herbs/flowers/seedings you choose as well as a bag of Seed Starter.
Fill the egg cups with seed starter and press them in slightly.
Put a couple of seeds in each compartment. Usually 3-5. I went a little overboard on this picture probably because I was mesmerized by my reflexion, just like Narcissus. Ohh how I love those flowers, they are like a prettier version of a Daffodil.
Cover these with water and wait till it steeps down and waters the carton.
You can have the kids decorate the carton by drawing, painting, gluing stuff on it. I think it is great for them to know what the plant will look like when it blooms of in a case of herbs germinates. There are so many ways to be creative here. Make sure you cover them and place in a warm spot but not in direct sunlight.
I let my almost 2 1/2 year old twins decorate these two. Of course it is not their writing or those flowers on the top carton but the doodles are. You can see how different they are even in their doodling style. She (top) was trying out ever single color to get the experience and was very detailed oriented in covering the space. He (bottom) tried two markers and moved on to better things.
Mainly covering himself. Thank Goodness these are washable… Are they? Actually not sure… oh well…
It did not take my daughter very long to follow. She was again a little bit more detailed oriented meaning she will be scrubbed harder.
In order to make this bunny you will have to know or learn how to knit. I know a novel idea since the post is called Knit a Bunny but just in case you are not sure what you are doing here. Knitting is really easy and you can teach your 5 year old how to knit easily. There are plenty of instuctions on the web of how to knit here are some good ones:
Knitting Instructions from the Yarn Co.- click here.
Here are some great videos. I think most kids would prefer the English/American method. For instructions click here.
Personally I think everyone should know how to knit. You never know what will happen in life. One day you may find yourself on a Island filled with sheep and no stores. Or you may just want to make your children beautiful sweaters that no one else has, or in this case a Bunny. I made this Bunny by doing a row of knit and a row of purl but a child can do it all in knits.
You need to cast and knit the following:
Body- 20 stiches, knit 170 rows (you can get a row counter but I could not find one in the store) so I made it about 170 rows, this is the body so it is up to you how big you will want it. It will be folded in half and sewn on the sides.
2x Legs- 20 stiches each (we will fold them in half), knit 25 rows, again make them however long you want just make sure the Bunnies legs are even.
Fold the legs in half and sew one of the sides together.
2x Arms- 15 stiches each, knit 20 rows and also fold in half and sew up.
2x Ears- 10 stiches each, I like the ears really long and skinny so I knitted another 100 stiches for ears.
Now once you sew up the sides of the ears it is not as easy to flip it to the other side so I used a pen to push it through.
Now you should have this:
I stuffed each of the body parts into a garbage bag and thew it into a landfill with Poly-Fil filling available in your arts and crafts store.
Sew up the opening and attach it to the body.
To make it better looking I first attached it roughly to the body and then
sew it up again so it looks nicer. I took the stiches that were further and folded the ugly stiching under.
Continue with the rest of the body… almost there.
Here he is finished with a bow.
Where is the Happy Bunny ?
You can decorate the Bunny by adding button eyes, knit hair and a pom pom for a tail.
This is just a silly way to make Easter Eggs. They are fun to make but could be a little fragile for younger fingers. Come to think of it this is more like a craft for parents not kids. But the kids can certainly help with ripping out newspaper and or book pages. I know my kids are pros especially when it comes to library books.
So next time you need to use an egg cut it in half gently with a sharp knife. This is so much easier then trying to blow out the egg through the hole. I don’t know if you have ever tried it but you need to be a great tuba player to be able to do it. Plus after about 2 eggs I am usually done for.
Put the egg back together and cover the split with wallpaper paste.
Use a piece of paper or magazine to seal it together.
Now the fun part is that you can hide whatever you want in there. Growing dinosaurs, jewels, hair pins even candy. Since we are using wallpaper paste on the outside I would use covered candy. You know just in case it will leak and someone will get poisoned. That would not be a fun holiday experience.
Just seal the little sucker right in there.
Take scraps of ripped books, magazines, tissue paper or newspaper
and glue them with wallpaper paste on the egg.
Continue on the other side and let dry.
These would be great at the kids table as place settings. All you need to do is write kids name on the egg and place in the egg holder by his/her seat. You can also place them in a basket in the middle of the table and when the kids are done eating tell them to break them. The surprise will be two fold. First they will actually be allowed to break things, like eggs at the kitchen table, on Easter… WOW… and then they will find a niftly toy inside that will hopefully keep them occupied for a few minutes.
It is never too early to teach your children about Art. It will develop their creativity and teach them through hands on experience the different techniques used to create or in this case recreate art. In the Art History posts we will try to create mastepieces using different art techniques sometime similar to the ones that the artist used himself. If all failes at least our children will be able to spot the works of Monet, Warhol, Van Gogh, Pollock and others. Let’s start shell we?
First I would like to say that I love Giacometti, absolutely love him. There are few pieces of his artwork at the Hirshhorn Museum (National Galery of Art, Smithsonian) and every time my family goes to DC I want to drag them there. Of course both the kids and my husband would rather go to the Air and Space Museum, Natural History Museum or pretty much anywhere other then Hirshhorn Again. Personally I could live there and imagined on numerous times being locked in there overnight pretending like it was my house, without children of course just in case they break something. God knows I will never ever be able to afford anything in there even if I win the lottery.
So back to GIACOMETTI. Alberto Giacometti was a Swiss sculptor, painter, printmaker and draughtsman but it will be his sculpting that he will focus on.
You will need aluminum foil, pipe cleaners and some sort of a clay (we used playdoh which was very soft). If you are very thrifty and do not want to waste perfectly good foil you can always recycle non used clean edges from the foil you used in cooking.
Roll a ball out of paper or aluminum foil. Twist a pipe cleaner around the ball. This will form your head and your hands.
Take two pieces of a pipe cleaner and twist them together.
This will form the body and legs.
Now twist the arms around the body starting with the right one then left one. This way you will attach both pieces together.
Use the clay to make feet and place the “sculpture” on it.
Now I decide to wrap my person the hard way also known as the frugal way by wrapping it in small pieces.
My daughter decided to wrap it in big pieces which was faster and easier.
Mine made some cool photos though.
Here is my gentelmen tall and skinny.
and here is a cute girl made by my daughter.
She has long hair and a skirt on.
she also has a dog, how cool.
Voila, here they are.
Just a little bit of tweeking, like adding a leash.
The dog and his master.
Now the final product: A woman walking a dog meets a man and says hello. Of course you can stage these people as you wish.
My wonderful kids have been really bad lately. The love to read and never fall asleep without “reading” a book. Lately the reading have turned more into shredding and I find piles and piles of ripped pages on the floor afer their nap. We have ripped all our Clifford and Thomas books and now have showed our skills on the library hard page books. Nothing can stop them so I am hoping that this faze is over soon.
In a meantime I am reusing some of the pictures and stories in crafts and toys so we can still enjoy them for a little longer.
In order to make some lacing cards I have taken unused paper plates (they come in so many shapes and sizes lately) and some cute pictures from the picture books and magazines. Miss Piggie and Jumping Girl shots are from some magazine commercial but I am sure you can find interesting prints. If not just use a photo of yourself or your loved ones.
Glue the photo into the plate.
All nice and pretty.
If you have a two hole puncher, three hole puncher or anything other then one you will only be able to make the lacing cards with even circular holes like mine. For me those are fine since my kiddos are only 2 and my 11 year old is way beyond lacing cards. But if you have a kindergardner or elementary school child you may want to invest in a nice hole puncher from your local arts and crafts store. Those also come in different shapes like teardrops, hearts and others.
Since my plate did not fit inside the hole puncher I cut the edges off.
Punch some holes around the girlie.
or all the way around the doggie.
Now you can use shoelaces, yarn and ribbon to lace them together.
This got me thinking. Does anyone need any shredding services? They would be perfect for sensitive information since they can’t read and are fast and detailed oriented. We accept Visa, Master Card and American Express.
If you are like my household you go through a lot of milk. With two toddlers that drink whole milk and the rest of the household that will not touch anything that contains any fat I have a lot of empty milk boxes laying around. In this post I will turn your empty milk containers into a fancy shamancy bird houses.
Let’s start with an empty container and paint it using acrylic paints.
It may take more then one coat especially if you are using a milk carton that has lot of dark colors like red in my case.
Now for those who do not like townhomes or row houses you can do whatever your little heart desires and paint it whatever color you wish. Be crative. Heck you can even bling it.
We colored the carton in periwinkle and then rolled it in glitter.
Cut out a square for an opening and insert a stick for a perch. I used a skewer that I had laying around the pantry but again you can get more creative. I think a branch may add a natural feeling to the dwelling.
Make a little hole and tie a string around it, loop it around the cap so the “door” stays open.
Now all we need is food and we are “open for business”.
You can also make it a duplex so you can carter to more critters at the same time. The house almost looks like a bird all it needs is eyes and nose.
Now going back to the bling. It will be interesting to see which one of the houses is preffered by the birds. Do shiny sparkly glitter make things more or less desirable? The square footage and location are the same, the food and service also. Are birds more plain janes or blingy divas? I will keep you posted.
These cupcakes are fun to do with older kids. Make sure your kiddo is old enough that you feel comfortable with them handling needle and a thread. We have made these to be used as toys but they can make great embellisments as hair pins, ponytail holders as well as buttons and details on clothing. They can come in all shape and sizes and make great gifts as pin cushions.
We were making itsy bitsy cupcakes for the wild animals residing in our household. I used a milk cartoon cap as well as thread to mark the size of the cupcake.
First mark 2 same size circles, these will be your largest size layers.
Mark a circle to form the inside color. Use a natural color to mark the felt since it may show up on edge of the cupcake later. Personally I do not know how to sew so I had to use a pencil and pen other then chalk or soap. Is that what seemstresses use now a days to mark the fabric or am I refering to something ancient?
Once everything is cut out we are ready to sew.
Arrange the design on top of the largest piece.
Sew the top layer first…. cherry on top… swirl… all before the cake…
Next sew the “extras” into the top layer of the cake… now we have the top layer of the cake
now lets put the last layer together… sew the top and bottom layer… make sure you run the stich half way between the white layer and the outside edge.. this way the felt will fold a bit on the edges.
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As you go along pull the string... do not sew the cupcake all the way or else you will not be able to stuff it.
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One hungry cupcake ready to be stuffed.
They are ready to be served
One hungry monster ready to eat it… a lot more of them still needed to be fed.
In Krakow, Poland where I am from you can find artisan shops that sell salt dough figurines, angels and absolutely anything you can imagine. Salt Dough is so easy to make and it is a great alternative to Play Dough. You have all the ingredients in your pantry and it only takes a few minutes. The creations that come out of them are hard and resilliant therefore they make great wall hangings, picture frames and gifts.
Salt, Flour, Oil and Water is all you need.
Dump 3 cups flour, 1 cup of salt and 1 1/4 cups of water into a bowl.
Add 2 tsps oil (whichever one you have in the pantry), just keep in mind to stay clear of peanut oil unless you are certain there are no nut alergies in the group.
This is the time to get dirty. Yeah mix the dough with your hands.
If your dough looks like this….
or this… it is way too dry so add more water.. you want to make sure the dough is soft enough to hold and not flakey like this one. If the dough is too wet it will leave film on your fingers. If that happens just add a bit more flour.
Here is the consistency of the dough.
Roll out the dough and use whatever you can find in your pantry to cut out shapes, make indents. Play dough molds, plastic forks, beads, plastic bottles, caps all make for great play time.
Once you make your shapes put them in the 350 deg oven for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool.
Now take acrylic paints and paint away.
Here are some…
Even the little ones can participate provided they do not eat any of the paint. Acrylic paint is hard to get out of fabrics so if they have a tendency to get dirty make sure they wear an art smock.
I always thought that mushroom prints were so cool. Not only do they look really neat but they are an art and science experiment all in one. See the mushroom prints are made by the mushroom spores meaning a part of a reproductive cycle of not only fungi but also bacteria, plants, algea and others. The older kids will appreciate the science behind it and maybe you can get them to wash their hands more often afraid of unseen bacteria spores. For the younger ones I will be posting another wash your hands experiment instead.
So I started with lots and lots of mushrooms (portabella) since I was ready to cook my Vegetarian Chilli.
I placed them on a white piece of thick paper like the one used for watercolor painting since mushrooms hold a lot of liquid and once covered will steam up a bit. If you use thin paper it will buckle and rip easily.
So I covered these for 24 hours so eager to see what will happen.
After 24 hours I can’t say I was not dissapointed. I guess I could have covered them again and wait longer but the chili was waiting to be cooked and the family was getting hungry.
What did I do wrong?
So I repeated the experiment. This time I chose one humongous mushroom which I was not planing to cook till I got results.
I made sure that the mushroom was a little bit slimy, for a lack of better description. I also made sure to eliminate the stem which I did not do in the previous experiment.
I covered the mushroom for over 1 1/2 days (36 hours or so) to not give the spores a chance to escape. See how much steam has accumulated in the bowl.
After the hours of waiting have passed… WOW !!!
Look at the detail. It is almost like you have another mushroom growing from underneath this one. Yeah I forgot you actually do.
They are so cool I wouldn’t mind putting them on a shirt or soap or hairpin or anything.
If you are running out of toys this winter or have found yourself snowed in with the same toy options over and over again all week long, this one is for you. Here is a quick and simple way to reuse the boxes that you find all over the house by turning them into trains. Any box will do. Cereal, cookie, pasta boxes are all great and the different sizes will make the trains even more interesting. You will have a moving train within minutes that can keep your little ones occuped. To make this craft more interesting you can start by reading train related books and stories and discuss freight options, as much as you can have such discussion with a 2 year old.
Take a box and cut out the middle. Since there are two toddlers in my house I taped the corners to make sure that the boxes are not damaged too quickly.
Poke a hole on the sides of two boxes pull a shoelace or rope through it.
Tie a knot at the each end of the rope.
You can line each cart with a cloth.
or even better let a toddler arrange the sleeping cars the way she wants to.
She is really good at taking care of her animals.
See all cozied up. If she forgets to bundle them up you can gently remind her that this in fact is a sleeping car (or use a fancy french word couchette) and even animals need a blanky to fall asleep.
Here is another tucked in passager.
Here is the conductor pulling the train through the landscape.
now they are taking the corner on route to a very exotic location like beach or ice cream shop (can you tell we have been snowed in and really need some warmth).
All of a sudden terrorist stops the train and gives us her demands. Now matter how hard you pull she will not give in.
It is her train and mommy will have to make you another. So much for being a nice girl.
We are big fans of TV show MythBusters and in one episode they proved that it was impossible to pull apart two interlocked phone books with human power due to massive amount of friction. Of course we did not want to take their word for it and it is in fact a great experiment that will keep your tween or teenager occupied for hours. Flipping of the pages is tedious work and you need to be prepared to throw the phonebooks out afterword, well unless you are planning to flip them page by page apart.
As you can tell we were not that detailed oriented and only interlocked half of the phonebook. It still worked.
My daughter spent over an hour flipping page from one phonebook over the page of another.
See they are nicely stuck together.
Now there is no way you can take them apart even if you only interlock half of the phonebook. You do not have to worry about them slipping apart only worry about how you are going to recycle or burn it.
I love this experiment and so did my daughter. Of course we tried to get everyone we know in our family to pull those two apart with no luck. I am sure this could be a great addition to a silly science birthday party, first make each child flip pages over so they know that it was not glued and then try to have them pull it apart. But for me it was nice to have a moment of quiet while she worked dillegently on flipping every page.
In order to teach kids about primary and secondary colors you can start by reading some great books. Are favorite books are “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Stoll Walsh. To look inside click here.
and “Little Blue and Little Yellow” by Leo Lionni. Look inside here.
Then you can do the experiments given in the books or try your luck in play dough.
In order to make play dough follow the direction in the Play Dough I post but instead of adding food coloring add 2 tbs of tempera powder paint available in most arts and crafts stores.
Here is the play dough nice and ready. Unfortunately for me using the tempera paint released a minimal sulfur smell. I am not sure if you ever smelled sulfur but the smell is commonly refered to as rotten eggs. The smell is very light and it does go away after a few minutes (most likely after the dough cools).
Now the blue gentelmen decided to ask the yellow lady to dance. May I?
A step to the left… step to the right. “I wish he would stop stepping on my feet”- she thought.
A couple of twirls and
And then they were in unison. They were so good together that you could barely tell when one started and the other one ended. Just like the best dancing couples.
Of course you can make your own silly story with whatever primary colors you choose.
As for a toddler he/she will enjoy it greatly and keep on mixing every color imaginable. That is what they do anyway. Mouse Paint
We go through lots and lots of play dough at our house. Of course it goes by different names like Pee Doh, Pedro and Pay Dough. I still get the point but I times I really do not feel like running to the store just for this stuff or allowing my kiddos to play with a piece of dough that has picked up enough dirt and hair to clog any drain. This is when I turn into making my own. Believe me it is a lot quicker then packing up everyone to into the car and heading out.
You will need: 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of salt, food coloring, 1 cup of water, 1tbs of vegi oil and the magic ingredient called Cream of Tartar (1tbs). You can find this ingredient in the spice isle of your grocery store. I always keep it in my pantry just in case.
Dump everything into a pan adding a few drops of food coloring. Food coloring will give your Play Dough a subtle color like baby blues and pinks I will cover brighter hues in Play Dough II.
Place on medium heat mixing continiously. If the heat it too high you will not have enough time to incorporate the mixture. The mixture will not stain your pot so you do not have to use really old ones.
Allow it to cool before you start playing with it.
It is so quick to make and actually pretty fragrant after the addition of food color. You can always add some lemon or vanilla extract if you want it to smell even better, but I would be worried that it would be eaten especially once it is molded into something scrumptious.
Plus it does not stain at all even though I fully realize that this photo and color choice do not make this point stronger. Make it someday. Better yet make it with your older kids and they will be pleasantly suprised on how easy it is.
Remember that it will store to 2 weeks in the air tight container. I use a ziplock or an old play doh ones. Enjoy.