Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

04/01/10
Amy

(Crafts) Egg Dying


EasterEggsWhen in doubt, go with the classic holiday activities. Some years we might come to a holiday where we happen to have a creative bug and we go all out with the holiday relevant crafts and activities. But for the rest of the time, it is usually best to stick with the same few activities that you do every year. There is little to no learning curve for you and these are the ones that your kids most strongly reference as a holiday tradition anyway! And as an added bonus, if your simple traditional activities align with the culture’s traditional holiday activities, then society’s marketing does half the work for you as they build it up as something special. Think about your own positive holiday associations – don’t you find yourself getting excited and a little sentimental when you see the first display of Easter baskets or Easter Egg Dye packets? Don’t underestimate the significance of the smallest tradition.

So my suggestion is simple: Dye a few Easter Eggs this year. Your kids will think it is one of the most magical and wonderful crafts ever.

02/16/10
Amy
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(Crafts) Play Foam


playfoam

My kids play with Play-doh…a lot. It is a creative, hands-on activity that they love and a craft that requires very little preparation from me. playfoam2However, it is messy enough of an activity that it requires a certain level of commitment and some days I’m just not up to it.

Imagine my excitement, then, when I discovered Play Foam! It is not sticky, messy (no Play-doh crumbs!), doesn’t dry out or turn brown when colors are mixed. The substance of Play Foam reminds me of Rice Krispies treats without being sticky. The only downside is that it is harder to create detail than with Play-doh, but my kids still love it. It is a perfect 30-minute, no clean-up craft. Try it out!

*Tip – Play Foam can be purchased at most craft stores, but I have frequently found it at greatly discounted at stores like TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls.

01/23/10
Amy
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(Crafts) Dying Play Silks with Kool-Aid


I must have drooled over the idea of play silks for several years. I love the concept and the endless creative play possibilities that they offer. But the standard size silks (35″x35″) sell for $10-12/each, making a small set cost a small fortune. That didn’t even account for my dream of a bigger play silk collection that included multiple sizes.

I began to toy with the idea of dying my own silks after learning that a friend successfully did it, but she used real dye and I was intimidated by that. I like to keep my creative ventures simple….and clean. And then I discovered that you can dye silks with Kool-Aid! Not only was it cheaper, but it sounded fun! I mean, how many people can say that they have hand-dyed toys with Kool-Aid!? So, I ordered my silks and made some for Kaelynn’s Christmas present. It took a little bit of work (it took time more than anything) and mine have some imperfections, but my kids love them and I’m really pleased with the finished product. Here’s how I did it:

1. Order play silks in the sizes you want. I chose a half dozen 35″x35″ silks this time, but I have plans to expand our collection someday with various sizes. I bought mine from Dharma Trading Company for $3.75/each.

2. Bring a pot of water to boiling. Add a cup of vinegar and remove from heat. Soak all the silks for about an hour before dying.

3. Put on a pair of plastic gloves. Mix 3 cups of hot water, 1/2 c vinegar, and 2-3 packets of Kool-Aid (see the note at the bottom of post for a Kool-Aid color guide). Immerse a silk in the colored water and stir slightly until fully immersed. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 3 minutes. Remove and stir again. Cover and microwave for 3 more minutes. Repeat the cycle a third time.

(Note: If you increased the amount of water and vinegar and did the dying on a stove top instead of the microwave, stirring continually, you would probably end up with more solidly colored silks. Mine are slightly blotchy, but I kind of like them that way.)

4. Remove silk from the bowl and rinse with soap and water until the water runs clear.

Keep dyed, wet silks separate until they are dry. They can bleed onto each other (voice of experience speaking).

5. Dry on low in the dryer. Iron.

dec21

Kool-Aid Flavor/Color Guide:

Red – Strawberry, Cherry, or Black Cherry (Note: I wanted more of a salmon/dark pink color, so I just used two packages of Strawberry. A combination of Cherry and Black Cherry will get you the truest red.
Orange - Orange
Yellow - Lemonade (Note: I used two packets of Lemonade plus a few drops of yellow food coloring to achieve a slightly darker yellow.)
Green – Lemon-Lime
Blue – Blue Raspberry
Purple – Grape (Note – I only used two packets.)
Pink – Pink Lemonade (not pictured)

01/08/10
Amy
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(Crafts) Cottonball Snowman


Bring the snowy-day activities inside where it is warm with this super easy winter craft!

snowman

Supplies:

Paper
Cottonballs
Glue
Pipecleaner (or other item of your choice)
Raisins

Direction:

Draw an outline of a snowman on a piece of paper (three circles). Bend and glue the pipecleaner on the middle circle for the arms (you could also use sticks, straws, popsicle sticks, etc). Gently pull and loosen the cottonballs and then glue them onto the paper, filling in the sketch. Glue on raisins for eyes, nose (opt), mouth, and buttons.

12/08/09
Amy

(Crafts) Paper Snowflakes


Classic crafts are the best! In addition to personal memories, you also get culture’s history and traditions that brighten the package and reinforce the experience. As a bonus, they are usually some of the easier projects to complete.

Paper snowflakes are among the top classic winter crafts. You see them everywhere during the holidays! Hanging from store ceilings, taped to classroom doors, or adorning Christmas trees. They are magical in their simplicity.

To create a paper snowflake, simply fold a square piece of paper into a triangle. Then fold it into a still smaller triangle, and repeat several times. Cut out triangles, half circles, slits, or whatever shape you dream up, along the edges of the final folded triangle. This is wonderful for young kids whose cuts aren’t “perfect” – it simply adds to the uniqueness of their snowflake. Then unfold! Watch the wonder in your child’s eyes. snowflakes

11/14/09
Amy
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(Crafts) Crayon Rubs


My favorite crafts are those that require only two or three craft materials. Easy construction, easy clean-up. They also become some of my kids’ favorites because I am much more willing to repeat them!

Crayon Rubs are one of those fun and easy crafts. All you need is a piece of paper (printer paper is perfect) and a crayon with the paper peeled off. The child can then go around the house looking for surfaces of varying textures. Lay the paper on top of the surface, turn the crayon onto its side, and rub it on top of the paper. As you rub, the texture of the surface will come through. This is a simple and fun sensory activity!

*Tip: For an added educational twist, ask the child before the rub is made what they think the rub will look like.

crayonrubs

11/03/09
Amy
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(Crafts) Fall Collage


Fall is filled with beautiful colors. Creating a simple fall collage provides a great opportunity to discuss the changing seasons with your child as they observe, touch, and interface with the autumn colors.

Start by going on a treasure hunt for your colorful items and then let your child arrange and glue them onto a piece of poster board or thick paper. Bring fall to life!

fallcollage

10/16/09
Amy
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(Just for Mom) The Daddy Countdown


When Dad goes on a business trip, the days can feel extra long. You don’t get backup and companionship at the end of the day and the kids can get restless.

aug2By forming traditional Dad’s-out-of-town events, you can fill the extra hours as well as give the kids some fun memories and extra time with you. You can let the kids plan dinner or pick the restaurant, cuddle up with a movie night, or have a slumber party in Mom and Dad’s bed. Try to plan one or two extra events or treats each day that you and the kids can look forward to.

Another way to help count down the days, while simultaneously creating a homecoming gift for Dad, is to do a simple craft a day until he comes home. At the beginning of the trip, mark a piece of paper (i.e. Day 1, Day 2, Day 3) for each day that he will be gone. Then let the kids do a simple craft on the corresponding day of the countdown. They can paint, draw, glue, make a collage, color, write a letter, etc. This provides a visual for the child to see the number of days before Dad returns while also providing them with an opportunity to be active in their excitement about his homecoming.

09/22/09
Amy

(Crafts) Craft Inspiration


img_4747Sometimes the best craft inspirations can be found right under our noses.

Chances are that your kids have a few favorite books that they like you to read to them…over and over and over. Or maybe there is a book that you want to introduce to your kids; a classic or one that teaches a timely lesson.

Bring that book to life for your child by using it as the inspiration for a craft. With many classic books, preconceived craft ideas are readily available via the internet. For example, Samuel and I were talking about the letter “F” in school today. I chose a fish theme for the day and thought of the “Rainbow Fish” book series. When I did a brief Google search for “Rainbow Fish craft”, I immediately found the idea for the craft you see pictured, as well as a free fish printable that we used as our starting point. Samuel was thrilled! He got to do a fun craft and was excited to discover the relationship it had to the book we reading.

So the next time you are looking for inspiration, your bookshelves just might hold the treasure you are looking for.

09/15/09
Amy

(Crafts) Ink Pad Alternative


markersInk pads are one of the craft supply staples that many of us keep in our stash. If you are like me, though, you dread getting it out. Whether it is used for stamping, making hand prints, or fingerprint art, there is risk for messes, stains, and a lot of time spent on cleanup.

Try using washable markers as a simple, effective, and easy-to-clean-up alternative. Use them to color the bottom of stamps or the inside of hands for making hand prints. They allow you to be more precise, involve less mess, and wash off so easily. At the same time, they present multiple color options without added expense. Kids love it and you will too!