Archive for ‘Crafts & Activities’

March 28, 2013

Fingerprint Blossoms

IMG_0621The blossoms are out and spring is in the air!  I am reminded of a craft I did with my girls last year during their spring break.  I just brought these pictures out with our Easter decorations and I thought I’d share. This was a really simple craft.  I only drew the trunk of the tree (as you can see, I am no artist), and the girls drew the rest with their own fingers in the style they wanted.  I bought the frames from a craft store for around $3.  I turned around the cardboard inserts that came with them and used the blank sides.  We just used the Crayola washable paint.  I’m realizing that having seasonal art in the house makes any season that much more special.  As the years go by and their little fingers grow, that simple art will become a treasure.  Only one year has passed, but I’m already seeing how this can happen.

February 13, 2013

Homemade Play Dough

IMG_2291One of the best party favors my girls ever came home with from a birthday party was homemade play dough. It was bright yellow with glitter in keeping with the space theme of the birthday party. The colors were very fun, but what really impressed me was the texture. It was awesome to play with. It didn’t come apart, it did not smell, and my girls absolutely loved it. When I asked my friend how she made it she gave me the recipe, and I realized that you can indeed make your own play dough. I always double the recipe:

1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
2 T cream of tartar
2 t food coloring
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until play dough starts to form a ball and is no longer sticky. Don’t worry if mixture looks lumpy. Cool slightly, then knead several times until smooth. Store in an air tight container or Ziploc.

April 8, 2012

Jelly Bean Bracelet

I feel like Easter just crept up on me this year, and since it was also my daughter’s spring break I thought I should find a few fun crafts to do.  After a quick search on my phone, I found this cute blog called Edible Crafts that showed a Jelly Bean Bracelet.  My kids are genetically prone to love jelly beans.  A highlight of my life has been my three (you read that right, three) visits to the Jelly Belly Factory in Fairfield, California. To be fair, two of those visits were when I lived less than an hour away in Berkeley.  Knowing that, you probably wonder…”why only three visits?”

Back to the craft.  I bought some thicker needles with a more blunt point for my kids to use, but I think normal needles will work too.  I actually ended up standing the needle on its eye and pushing the jelly bean down (holding it by its sides).  I used dental floss for the string.  By the end you are a bit sticky, but I will say the bracelets were a hit!  I like the look of the old-fashioned jelly beans, but they are a bit thick to push the needle through.  I think next year I will try my beloved Jelly Belly beans.

February 17, 2012

Marshmallow Sculptures

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As the 100th day of school has come and gone, I cannot help but remember the awesome project my daughter did when she was in kindergarten.  Every child was given 100 mini marshmallows and some toothpicks to create whatever they pleased.  The only rule was to use all of the marshmallows.  My oldest’s goal was to make the Eiffel tower, but it really turned into a blimp of sorts.  I loved the idea and decided to buy some of my own materials for more fun at home.  It is pretty simple, just buy toothpicks (I like the type with flat edges, just seems safer), and marshmallows.  You can get creative with the types, colors, and sizes of marshmallows that you buy.  This is hands down the easiest and cheapest way to get the “thanks Mom, you’re the best” shout-out from the kiddos.   It is a win-win situation.  It costs a few dollars, and your children will be creative for a few hours, buying you some time for whatever you darn well please (which might just be making your own marshmallow sculpture).

August 27, 2011

Rock Art

This is a great craft inspired by my daughter’s cute friend who came over to play. The girls grabbed a Sharpie and a rock, thought about the rock’s shape, and drew features to make it come to life.  If your children use a Sharpie rather than a washable marker, I would suggest having them draw in the grass.  That way you can avoid permanent marker on your patio.  You can also paint the rock and use hot glue to add googly eyes, buttons, glitter, or whatever.  Think of it as its own organic canvas.

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August 24, 2011

Painting Nails – Lots of Fun!

For all of you parents who have girls, you might want to try painting nails together every once in a while. I’m not saying all the time, maybe every month or so. They get a real high from it, and it is essentially a free activity. I just have a few tips:

Tip 1: Use a clear coat of nail polish underneath the nail to help protect the nail, and a clear coat on top to keep the polish on longer.

Tip 2: Start off with lighter colors. Darker colors, if left on too long and used often can actually turn the nail a yellow color. So until you have an established habit of taking the nail polish off in a week or so, I would keep to the lighter colors. Lighter colors are less stress, because you will be just fine if you never get around to taking off the nail polish with remover.

Tip 3: Let them paint their own nails. They can start off by just painting their nails with the clear nail polish, and then move on to doing everything themselves. Just make sure you have something that you don’t mind getting polish on protecting the table. At first their hands may not look cute, to say the least.  But it is good for them in so many ways (coordination, pride in accomplishing something new, independence, etc.).