Thursday, February 28, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Rainbow Project for Kids

Grea activity to do with the kiddos around St. Patrick's Day! I used crayons to make a rainbow on paper. Then, I took my circle hole punch and punched out circles from colored paper for each color of the rainbow (this takes a little while). Then, I had the kids glue the circles to the correspoding color on the rainbow I drew. At the end, we glued cotton balls to the ends of the rainbows for clouds. This is a great activity to work on fine motor skills and also finding and identifying colors! And what kid doesn't love to make rainbows!



Homemade Leprachaun Trap

I have been making "leprechaun traps" with my kids every year. This year, my kids are getting older and so I didn't know if they would want to do one. To my surprise, I went down to the art table the other night and they were both working on their traps! I was so thrilled! I love it when they are creative and to know that all these years, making the traps with them, they still wanted to do them. Check out what my son made!!!!!

We are all hoping that this will be the year that we catch these little guys!!!!

Here is my daughter's trap:

It consisted of two "rooms" that were connected by a tunnel.

She made a table and chairs out of paper and gave them some mini marshmallows and Lucky Charms to eat.

The second room consisted of a bathroom and a bed.

St. Patty's Day "Magic" Project for the Kids!

This is a real easy one to do and it will teach the kids that by mixing colors, you can come up with new colors (good primary color lesson)!

Have your child cut out a shamrock shape that you have given them (or do it for them if they are too little). Then, put some yellow paint and some blue paint on the shamrock. Give your child a paintbrush and tell them to mx the colors together! The kids will love this! It is like a magic trick! A new color will appear and the other two colors they started with will disappear! AMAZING!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Homemade Spider Pinata - Save Money and Make Your Own!

A friend has asked me to make a spider pinata for her son's birthday party in March. I have posted how I make pinatas before, but I thought this would be another opportunity to show you the steps so you can do them at home. Pinatas are so expensive in the stores and making them is easy (but they can be time consuming) and you can customize them to whatever theme you need!

Items Needed for This Pinata:
  • Regular sized balloon
  • Newspaper cut into long strips
  • Flour and water (to make "glue")
  • Bowl to mix flour and water together
  • Black paint
  • Strong paper or light weight cardboard (for legs)
  • White card stock or regular paper
  • Fishing string
  • Popsicle sticks (3)
  • Candy/Small toys to fill pinata
  • Black Duct tape (three small pieces is all)
(you might also want to cover your work station with newspapers or scrap paper because it gets pretty messy as you can see from some of the pictures below)

Pictures of the process:

The strips of newspaper and the balloon.
Blow up the balloon and then set it in something that will hold it up while you work (I used a box this time).
Mix equal parts flour and water in a bowl. You want it a little thinner then pancake batter, but not too thin.
Put the newspaper strips in the bowl and then run your fingers down the paper to get all the excess "glue" off the paper.
Start putting the newspaper on the balloon.
Keep layering the paper until you have at least 4 layers. The more layers you have the stronger it will hold up. Make sure you leave some space around the tie of the balloon that is not covered with paper (this is where you will add candy and also cut the balloon when it is all dry).
It is a messy project! ;0)
My balloon is covered with many layers so now it is time to let it dry

I hang up the balloon (by the end where it is tied shut) with a clothes pin. I just hung it from the basketball hoop my husband put up in our back room. It will take a few days to dry completely.

I popped the end of the balloon with a pin (it just shrivels up inside the balloon and then it can fall out). I took some black craft paint and painted the outside of the pinata.

I painted a piece of heavy cardboard paper black on both sides (I will cut this up and use for the spiders legs).
I cut the painted cardboard into 8 strips (legs).

I took a tack and push a hole into the part of the pinata that I want to hang it by. I strung some fishing line into the "body" of the pinata.

If you hold the pinata up, the fishing string will fall and come down so you can easily grab it (thanks to hubby for helping me show this process and take pictures).

Now, I took three Popsicle sticks and tied the fishing string (the end that will be inside the pinata) to them.

I then add packaging tape to it to make sure it holds well. Then just let this go into the "body" of the pinata. The other end of the string is how you will hang it at the party.

For the legs, I bent one end which is where I will hot glue them to the pinata.

I bent the "leg strips" to make them look more like spider legs.

This is how I glued the legs to the body.
For the eyes, I just cut this shapre from white card stock and then colored in eyeballs with a black marker.

After I filled the pinata with candy, I covered the hole (butt of the spider) with black duct tape. I would recommend using lighter candy pieces and toys. Also, keep lifting up the pinata as you are adding candy to see how heavy it is.
Here is Mr. Spider all finished! I think he came out pretty cool and the kids will love him! I was thinking that if this was more geared for a girl, it would be cute to add a bow to the spider's head. I know this is a long process, but I think it is worth it. It saves you a lot of money and you can customize a pinata for any party! I would love to hear your thoughts!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

St. Patty's Day Activity - Work on Colors and Cutting

This was an easy project that the kids loved! What kid doesn't love painting and mixing paints to get new colors. We worked with blue and yellow paint to see what new color we could come up with! I traced a shamrock shape onto white paper and then gave the kids blue and yellow paint to mix and paint the shamrock with. The kids liked looking at the different shades of green that we came up with. The more yellow you use, the lighter the green. The more blue you use, the darker the green. What an easy project to help with cutting skills and learning what colors make new colors.

Happy St. Patty's Day Crafting!!!

Easy St. Patty's Day Math Activity to Teach Numbers, Counting and Much More

This is an easy activity to set up for the kiddos to do! It helps with number recognition, counting and even shapes and colors.

I cut out 5 pots of gold from black construction paper. Then I cut out some "gold" from yellow paper. I took some mailing labels that I had and wrote the numbers 1-5 on them. I also used a square hole punch to cut out green "leprechaun" squares. I told the kids that the leprechauns had left us a project they needed up to complete.

The kids glued the "gold" (yellow construction paper) on the top of the black "pots of gold". Each child had 5 pots of gold.

These are the green leprechaun squares (using square hole punch).

I wrote the numbers 1-5 on these "circle" mailing labels.

The kids glued green squares onto each pot of gold. Since they had 5 pots, one pot had one square, another pot had two squares and so forth up to 5 (it is hard to see the lime green squares on the yellow paper in this picture).

This is a better picture to show them gluing the squares on the pot.

The child then counted the squares on the pot and then had to find that corresponding number on the mailing labels and put it on the pot.

It really was a fun project for the kids and it took some time for them to do. I would love to hear what kind of St. Patty's Day activities you are doing with your kids!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beads, Beads and More Beads!!!

The kiddos have really been into beading lately! We can string beads for hours right now! It is such a great small motor/manipulative activity too. You can work on colors, shapes and even letters and numbers (some beads have letters and numbers on them) while you search through them for the "cool ones". I pick up beads whenever I see them on clearance or at yard sales. I thought I would take a picture of the "string" that I have found works the best. It is a plastic string that the kids can grasp easily. It also doesn't "ball up" or come apart at the ends like yarn and some string do. The only down fall to it is that sometimes the smaller beads with smaller holes won't fit on it. You can find it at your local craft store and I am sure Walmart would carry it in the craft section of the store.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

West End Salvage Show and Store!!!

I just turned on my TV to HGTV! There is a show on that I had never seen and it is based in Des Moines, Iowa - so close to home! It is a salvage place that refurbishes things and upcycles/reuses things to sell. They also use some of their stuff to redecorate rooms in people's homes. I am in love!!!

They also have a website that you should check out!!!

I am excited to visit the store the next time we are in Des Moines to get some inspiration and find some new ideas!!!

Classroom Valentines Parties

While I was taking the kids to school this morning, we were talking about all the fun they were going to have today because it was Valentines Day! They both had classroom parties planned at the end of the day. I was telling them that Valentines Day was my favorite holiday at school! I loved handing out my valentines and making our "mailboxes" out of tissue boxes and cereal boxes. I loved looking through what I got when I got home too! Reminiscing about this was fun this morning and I know my kids will remember their Valentines Day parties as well.

To all of you................ Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine Festivities for Kiddos!

I am getting ready to plan our little Valentine party this week and thought I would share some of my ideas in case you are planning something for your little ones!

Here is a list of some of the things I am planning on doing:

Love Nest: I am going to build a Love Nest (tent) in the living room out of pillows and blankets. I will put our Valentines books in the Love Nest.

Heart Hunt: I am going to cut out hearts from construction paper and hide them around the house. I will tell the kids that Cupid has visited and has hidden hearts all around and we have to find them.

Cookie Station: I am going to bake some heart shaped sugar cookies that the kids will be able to decorate themselves.

Valentine Lunch: I am going to make it a Valentine themed lunch. Heart shaped sandwiches, red jello jigglers, white string cheese with pretzels (for Cupid's bow and arrow),strawberries or apples and red/white juice.

A mom brought the strawberries and string cheese which was perfect for our arrows!

Valentine Station: I will have the art table set up with different Valentine colored papers and feathers, beads, strings, etc. that the kids can create with.

Good ol' fashioned Valentine Mailboxes made out of different tissue boxes.

Pin The Arrow on the Heart: I will have a heart poster that the kids will "pin" the arrow on. I will make an arrow out of construction paper/heavier cardstock and have the kids play it like "Pin the Tail on the Donkey".

Coloring: I have some coloring Valentine coloring pages that will be a filler activity when we are between activities or when the kids just need a quiet activity.

We also made these hearts out of clay.

Then, the kids pushed different Valentine colored things into the hearts (beads, buttons, feathers, whatever you have on hand).

They turned out so cute!!!

Passing out Valentines: Of course we will pass out our Valentines!

These are some of the thing I have planned. I will be having this little party on Wednesday. I will take pictures and post them after that, but I thought I would get some of my plans posted now in case you were planning a little get together yourself!!! I would love to hear what you are doing as well!

Happy Valentine Planning!