Monday, May 9, 2011

Train Cafe

My little boys school was doing media-free week this week so we got creative and  decided to have a cafe today.  We worked all afternoon to get it ready.  We made food out of construction paper and also used some plastic food that we already had.  We found, printed and colored play money.  We made a wallet to put the money in.  We designed our own cafe menus and drew pictures on the front.  When their dad got home, he was greeted with a "Come in we are open" sign and was served.  We practiced taking orders and getting the ready, figuring out the bill and serving.  The boys loved it!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mailman or women :)

My daughter loves to play post office. I gave her 5-10 peices of junk mail because who doesn't get lots of that almost everyday of the week. We started out by just being silly and yelling out things like mail call mail call I have mail for Miss Mara and she would come running for it and get all excited. I decided today though that we are going to make a mail box out of a shoe box tomorrow and I'm going to let her decorate it anyway she wants then we will have a mail box for our game.

So save your junk mail and make good use of all that paper they waste sending it to people like me who don't even read it. I normally just rip it up and throw it in the recycling pile. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I really need to sit down and do these with my boys and take some pictures :) I am sure it would help the whole two readers we have! HA HA!

Spider Webs
Cut several pieces of yarn in various lengths. Use white glue (like Elmer's Glue) and make a spider web pattern on a piece of construction paper. Let child glue yarn onto the paper to form a spider web.
Thumprint Spiders
In one corner of a plain sheet of construction paper, draw a spider web with a marker. Use a black washable stamp pad or black paint and have your child put a thumbprint on the paper. Draw on the legs(8), eyes, etc. and connect the spider to the rest of the web.

Styrofoam Ball Spiders
Paint a styrofoam ball (any size you want) black. Let dry. Use black pipe cleaners to make the legs by poking them about half an inch into the ball. There should be 8 legs. Use wiggle eyes to give your spider a little character. Attach a string to the top of your spider (so that you can hang it) by opening a paper clip up to form a "U", tying a string to a paperclip and then pushing it into the top of your spider as far as the paper clip will go. (Younger children shouldn't do the paper clip part on their own.)

Pasta Skeleton - This is a very simple to do craft, even for the youngest kids. All you have to do is glue different shapes of pasta (wagon wheels, elbow, tubes, spirals, etc.) to a black piece of paper. To make it easier for younger children, use a piece of chalk to draw a rough outline of a skeleton on the paper first. Then the kids can glue their pasta pieces on top of the chalk outline.

Jack-o-Lantern Mask - Draw the eyes, nose, and mouth of your jack-o-lantern on the back side of a paper plate. Cut them out (make sure the eye holes are big enough for the child to see out of). Paint your mask orange and let dry. Cut a stem out of green construction paper and glue to the top. Staple two strings to the sides of the mask so that the child can wear it. Tie knots in both strings so that they won't pull out of the staple.

Glittery Spider Web - On black construction paper, draw a spider web outline with elmer's glue. Sprinkle with glitter and let dry

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Boredom box

Because I need to SLOW DOWN and enjoy my children and because my boys are constantly following me around the house complaining that they are SO bored… I came up with the “Summer Boredom Box”

I just used an old box I had around the house and found some scrapbook paper. Cut it to size and mod podged the paper on and there you go! Honestly, it doesn't matter what the outside look like, it's more about what's inside. You could use a glass jar, a big mug or whatever your creative minds come up with.
Now here comes the fun part, coming up with activities to do. I searched the internet, pulled all the activities I could find for the kids to do and put them in a word document. I erased the ones that didn’t work for us and added a few of my own, printed it out and cut it up into small pieces...and then stuck them in the box.

I made big deal of it and told the boys that anytime they were bored they could ask for the boredom box and pick an activity. I love it because it’s exciting for them, it’s something new which we all know is a good thing and it forces me to sit down and spend some quality time with them. There are a few activities that they have picked that have had to be put on the fridge and done later (like trip to a free museum in town), but in those instances they still get to pick another. The rules are that we have to do what we pick, no putting it back and picking until we get the best one, so it’s an adventure every time.

Here’s a list of a few of our activities:
Go for a bike ride
Make homemade ice cream or visit an ice cream parlor
Bake a double batch of cookies and deliver one to another family
Have a picnic
Hike or climb trees
Make popcorn or maybe even caramel corn
Blow bubbles
Go swimming
Plan a scavenger hunt for outside. Or plan one for in the house using every letter of the alphabet.
Draw a map of your block or of your town, or trace a map of your country and fill in the states or cities or other feature
Make playdoh
Read a good book aloud
Look through photo albums or view family movies, or videos
Make a collage from magazine words and pictures
Draw pictures with chalk on the sidewalk
Go fishing
Plan a family game night
Work on a jigsaw puzzle
Go roller skating
Paint a picture
Have a candy treasure hunt
Make a paper airplane and fly it
Make an obstacle course in your back yard
Visit a tourist spot near your home
Make a bird feeder
Walk around your block and pick up all the litter you can find.
Go to the zoo
Go bowling
Make your own homemade pizza
Listen to your favorite music and dance around
Go without TV for a day
Make a collage using seeds, rice, cereal, old buttons and sewing scraps
Run around the house outside 3 times
Go camping–or stay home and camp out in your own dining room.
Build with LEGOS
Make puppets out of lunch bags, old socks, felt, wooden clothespins. Put on a puppet show
Have a bonfire outdoors or in your fireplace and roast hot dogs and marshmallows
Write a letter to your grandma or grandpa
Pick wild flowers and press some of them to save
Make dinner for your family
Sketch a picture of your house from the outside
Play educational computer games
Make a piece of art out of objects you have around the house
Color a picture or write a letter to send to grandparents
Make a list together of all the things in your house that use electricity. You might do this when you lose power sometime.
Plant something
Enjoy a shopping trip for something little, but fun---a jar of bubbles, stickers, paper dolls, a matchbox car
Play store, library or school
Play hide-and-seek (inside or outside)
Help wash the car
Draw a family tree on paper and complete it as a family. Add old photographs if available
Go jogging or take a walk together
Give each person a large piece of paper and take turns tracing the outlines of their bodies on it. Color in the outlines to look like you or use sidewalk chalk
Go to the library
Gather a variety of leaves
Fly a kite
Make a summer snack
If it's warm outside, turn on the water sprinkler and run through it
Water the yard, houseplants or flowers
Play with sand toys and trucks in a sandbox
Play a card game
Go to a ball game or play one---football, kickball, softball, baseball, basketball, soccer
Finger paint with chocolate pudding
Make a milkshake or a smoothie
Take a trip to an amusement park, a museum or a planetarium
Clean out your closet.
Make a yummy salad and eat it
Build a fort
String beads to make a necklace
Write and illustrate a short story
Play with water guns

Monday, November 16, 2009


Holiday Candle
Supplies: A jar (baby food jars work well), glue that dries clear, colored tissue paper, glitter, ribbon, votive or tealight candle, paintbrush.
Directions: Tear your tissue paper into smaller pieces. Paint the jar with glue and attach the pieces of tissue paper (you may have to dilute the glue slightly with water). Randomly add some glitter (optional). Let dry and then tie a ribbon around the top, making sure that it won't interfere with the candle's flame. Put your candle inside. This makes a great gift or holiday decoration, but be sure to keep the lighted candle out of reach of children.

Christmas Chains
What Christmas would be complete without chain garlands? Kids love these and they add a colorful touch to holiday decorations.
Supplies: Construction paper in different colors, glue, scissors.
Directions: Cut strips of paper about one and a half inches wide and six inches long in different colors of construction paper (I use a paper cutter for this part). Glue the first strip into a loop. Thread the second strip through the loop and glue into a loop. Continue until your chain is as long as you want.

Cardboard Tissue Tube Santa
It just wouldn't be crafting if we didn't make something out of a recycled toilet paper cardboard tube. This craft can be adapted to make just about anything including: Sanat, Mrs. Claus, Reindeer, Snowmen, Elves, Angels, etc. In addition, you don't just have to use toilet paper tubes. You can also use paper towel rolls and wrapping paper rolls.
Supplies: cardboard tube, construction paper (red, white, pink, and black), gluestick, cotton balls, wiggle eyes (optional).
Directions: Wrap a cardboard tube with a 4 x 2 inch sheet of red paper and glue in place. To made the face, use a 3 inch wide circle of pink paper and glue in place. For the hat, cut a 4 inch wide half circle and roll it into a cone. Glue in place on top of Santa's head. Put a rectangular strip of white paper around his forhead. Put a black strip of paper around Santa's middle for a belt. Either glue on pieces of paper for his facial features, draw them on, or use google eyes. When that is done, tear some cotton balls apart and glue on for his beard, hatband, and make a pom pom on the top of his hat.

Paper Plate Wreath
Supplies: paper plate, green tissue paper, red tissue paper, piece of ribbon or string to hang, scissors, hole punch, and white glue.
Directions: Cut a hole in the center of the paper plate so that you have a ring that is about three inches wide. Cut your tissue paper (or tear it for a different effect) into 2 inch squares. Crumple each square up slightly and glue the center onto the plate. Fill the plate in with the green pieces, then go back and add red pieces randomly to make berries. Punch a hole in the top and thread the ribbon through to hang the wreath. You can embellish this project with a bow, glitter, etc. My kids love this project.

Popsicle Stick Rudolph Ornament
Supplies: 3 popciscle sticks, glue, wiggle eyes, red pom pom, six inch ribbon.
Directions: Glue the 3 popsicle sticks together to form a triangle - or a really fat, upside down capital A. This will form the reindeer's head, so you want the sticks to meet exactly at the nose, but not quite meet at the top two corners so that they form two small antler points. Glue the eyes and the red pom pom nose on. On the backside, glue each end of the ribbon about 2 inches apart to make a hanger.

Pasta Christmas Tree
Supplies: A small styrofoam cone, green paint, green and red marker, glitter glue, several different shapes of dry pasta
Directions:: Paint the styrofoam cone green and let dry. Use the green marker to color enough pieces of pasta to cover the cone. You can also color some red for berries, or other colors for ornaments. Glue the pasta onto the cone until it is completely filled in (We usually use low temp hot glue gun because it is faster and causes less frustration with the kids. We also work together to make just one tree). You can embellish it with the glitter glue, tinsel, pom poms, etc. to make it look like a Christmas tree.
You can also do this same craft differently by gluing all the pasta onto the styrofoam cone without coloring it first. After it dries, you can spray paint it any color you want (metallic paints work well). Leave it plain for a chic look or have the kids embellish it even more after it dries.

Candy Cane Reindeer
Supplies: Low temp hot glue gun, ribbons or yarn for hanging, 1 wrapped candy cane (this has to be wrapped around the candy, not a 'bagged' candycane, 1 little pom-pom for the nose, 2 little wiggle eyes, brown pipe cleaners for the antlers.
Directions: Make antlers out of the pipecleaners and wrap them around the candycane on the curve and glue them. Add two wiggle eyes and a pom-pom nose.

Egg Carton Christmas Bells
Supplies: Clean egg cartons (the paper kind work best, but the styrofoam can be cleaned easier), scissors, pipe cleaners, small bells, glitter glue, and markers.
Directions: Cut the egg carton into separate cups. With the point of the scissors or a sharp pencil, poke a small hole in the bottom of each cup. Decorate each cup however you like with markers and glitter glue. Cut a pipe clearner to about 6 inches long and thread though a small bell at one end. Twist to secure. Thread the other end of the pipe cleaner through the hole in the egg cup and bend it into a hook.
The last time we made these, I couldn't find my bells. The kids were already excited about doing the project, the weather was too nasty to go out and get any, so I had to improvise... Looking through my craft supplies I found a back of plastic beads that I had forgotten about. The kids loved them! When they finished making the bells with the bead substitution, they went to town creating their own ornaments out of pipe cleaners strung with beads.

Juice lid Ornaments
Cut a favorite picture from an old Christmas card. Using a juice can lid, trace and cut a circle from construction paper. Glue the picture onto the paper and the paper onto the lid. Glue a piece of ribbon to the back for a hanger. If you want to make it a bit more festive, you can spray paint the lids in gold, green or red, and you can glue lace, ribbons, etc around the outside of the lid.

Peppermint Candy Frames
Use a plain cheap picture frame and glue little starlite peppermint candies all around it. Spray it with sealer and put your favorite Christmas picture in it.

Pasta Christmas Wreaths
Cut the center out of a paper plate. Glue different shapes of dry pasta noodles around the outer ring, completely cover the paper plate. Let glue dry and then spray paint silver or gold. Glue on a bow.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Roads Roads Roads

So yesterday the boys were playing with their cars on the back of the couch, their usual place and I got to thinking that maybe it would be fun to make them a little "city". So we pulled out the painting tape (that blue masking tape) and I made roads for them all over the living room, parking places and even a Target (Dallin asked for that one). They played for about three hours....

This is the beginning.. it got much bigger before we were done.

Friday, June 19, 2009


This three-step project pulls off what might be considered the hat trick of the toddler art world: your child will get to smash, smear, and sprinkle in the name of creativity. When she's done making her creation from dyed salt and glue, you'll be left with some truly eye-catching artwork that features texture as well as color.

Step 1: Tint the Salt For each color, put approximately 1 cup of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of liquid watercolor or 20 to 25 drops of food coloring in a ziplock bag. Seal each bag, removing as much air as you can. Outside, let your child shake, smash, and knead the contents until all of the salt is dyed. Next, pour the salt onto newspaper-lined trays to dry for about 2 hours (or just open the bags and let the grains dry overnight). When it's no longer wet to the touch, pour the salt into clean, dry spice shakers, one color per shaker.

Step 2: Make a Pattern Offer your child a glue stick and some stiff paper or a paper plate. Encourage her to scribble all over the paper with the glue.

Step 3: Add Color Hand your child the shakers of dyed salt and show her how to sprinkle it onto the paper. Once the glue has dried, simply shake off the excess salt.

Water Park

Along with several shallow containers of water, set out such items as funnels, clear plastic tubing (available at hardware stores), cups, and pipettes and encourage your child to experiment. For a twist, add a little color to the water.

Car Wash
Roll out your child's collection of ride-ons and other vehicles, then offer sponges, spray bottles, and no-tears soap.


This mystifying blend of cornstarch and water a liquid? A solid? Truth be told, it's both! When kids apply pressure -- as when rolling it into a ball -- the mixture magically firms up. But release that pressure, and it will dribble right back out through their fingers. Here's how to easily whip up a batch of your own, because in this case, feeling really is believing.

To Make the Mix
Pour 1 cup of cornstarch into a shallow bowl or pan. Add 3/4 cup of water a little at a time, stirring as you go.

To Play
Show your toddler how to scoop some of the mixture into her hands and then roll it into a ball, much as you would roll a handful of cookie dough. The consistency is key here, so if your magic goo doesn't firm up when you roll it, add a little more cornstarch. Likewise, if it doesn't melt back out of your hands when you release the pressure, add some water, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time.

To Store It
When your child is done playing, leave the mixture sitting out for several hours. Once it's dry, crumble it into a sealed container. Just add water to play again another day.