Chalkboard for Childhood

You’d be hard pressed to find a good old-fashioned chalkboard nowadays and even if you did, depending on the size, it will cost you.

So, what’s the next best thing?  If you don’t already know, it’s chalkboard paint.

Perhaps your response is a firm, “No thank you.”  Or, maybe you’re simply asking yourself why on earth would you want to paint any wall like that.

Well, not everyone wants to that is for sure but if you have small children you just might be interested or so inspired.  Kids are notorious for scribbling on all types of surfaces so here’s one place they can dedicate such efforts.

The Inspired Treehouse shares the learning benefits as to Why Kids Should Work on a Vertical Surface that might sway parents as well.

To my surprise, most elementary schools have done away with them (opting for white dry erase boards) so children today may never use one in class like we had the chance to while growing up.  Can we agree that even though it’s still vertical, it’s just not the same?  I fondly recall volunteering to clean the erasers and the boards often for my teachers.

Even small children who cannot yet work with chalk in their small hands can use their fingers or paint brushes dipped in water for writing or coloring practice on them.

When I took a trip to Home Depot, that’s when I first realized that there are many other color options available so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a blackboard, either.  Although, that’s exactly what I wanted.  I also noticed that the cans are small, so you might need more than one (I did.)

Lastly, if you don’t want to commit to this by sacrificing a wall in your home, you can paint a large piece of plywood instead.  The Artful Parent will show you How to Make Your Own Chalkboard and you really don’t need a backyard to put it to good use so, don’t let that stop you.

Even as an adult, I simply get a kick out of grabbing a piece of chalk to jot down my own life reminders, to do lists, meal plans and any sort of random family lesson planning.  Not to mention the games we play such as Hangman, Tic-tac-toe , drawing things or just keeping score. When we celebrated my son’s last birthday party, the board was used as a guest book for his friends to sign upon arrival.

The possibilities are endless.

And hey, I’ll be the first to admit that I personally had to have one, kids or no kids (much like the old-fashioned pencil sharpener nailed to my desk.)

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Earth Day 2018

Earth Day fell on a Sunday this year and therefore, we weren’t exactly in craft/project mode. We had family in town and on the heels of spring recess, preoccupied with a host of other things to tackle during the break (like real-life family fun stuff.)

Only until after I sent my child back to school this morning did it first occur to me that we missed Earth Day activities. Later, while I was doing the not-so-fun dishes, I realized that Earth Day is every day, is it not? Lo and behold, the website dedicated to it shared the same sentiment!

As we surely love our earth 365 days of the year and thus, naturally want to do our part to take care of it, check out Earthday.org to learn more about how!

In the meantime, I found a nice little craft project for newspaper and got busy because no matter the theme, I love to color! I don’t have water paint so I went with a good old-fashioned crayon to fill in the land masses and then turned to markers for the sea and centered heart (which by the way makes a great craft inspiration for Valentine’s Day next year as well.) I’m thinking the earth spread across inside of a card for someone special along these lines: Roses are red, Violets are blue, I love the earth and I love you!”

You get the idea.

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A day late but no matter, this was fun to make and I know my child will still be just as excited as I was to work on his own coloring once he sees the finished product. Maybe yours will too.

Find the details for this Gorgeous Newspaper Earth Day Craft on Facebook or on the website for i heart CRAFTY things and enjoy!

Snakes on a Table

Until I get around to owning my very own pair of scallop paper edger scissors, I curvy-cut the edges of these (roughly one inch strips) myself with a point at the end for the face. That yellow cut out in the mix was meant as a hand puppet attempt (I will continue to refer to my initial statement in earlier posts about this not being about Pinterest perfection.)

The strips were the scraps left over from a much larger snake that took up the majority of the sheet in the center (by drawing a circle round and round and then cutting right along those lines.) I did it free hand, but if you need a template, First Palette has one available online as shown below.

snake

Maybe we’ll place our random snake crafts in a pretend snake pit with real rocks at the bottom or something. But for now, they’re just some snakes on a table and we’re still having lots of fun with them.

Later on, we came across a great link shared by DIY Enthusiasts where you can find a variety of animal masks such as the awesome one you see above.

The snake stuff by the way all began as I was seated at the dinner table where a snake we found at the dollar store tends to hang out. After our meal was complete, I grabbed orange construction paper and began cutting and coloring away (a therapeutic activity for me.)

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So, if you haven’t gotten around to simple serpent crafts yourself, here’s some inspiration for some early learning fun.

Oranges not included.

Boxes

If you’re around young children, then you know they love boxes. Maybe you remember how much you loved them when you were a kid, too. They often get more attention than the toys they came with and sometimes the wrapping paper alone steals the show.

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Empty boxes come in handy in so many ways for early learning and plain silliness. If you nest them, a small child will be so delighted to find one smaller box right after another. They search for any treasures that might be waiting inside. (This reminds me about the fact that I need Matryoshka dolls in my life!)

Sometimes they’ll try to put them back together just how they found them. I like to leave them around in random places for the toddler to discover on his very own. So many fun random things to hide in them. For instance, don’t underestimate the value of an empty baby wipes pack.

If the box is large enough they have a great old time playing inside of it and if you have the strength you can push them around like a pretend car or sail boat. Lest we forget we can also color on them with washable markers, edible paint (Meri Cherry will show you how) and/or crayons.

I also keep a large flattened box around for the sole purpose of a handy ramp for all the little trucks. Carve out a space for eyes, nose and mouth and you have a mask made out of bricks (thanks to some cheap tape from the dollar store as shown above.)

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Decorate yet another with a giant question mark and play Mystery Box by Super Simple Songs. Once they’re familiar with the tune, they’ll gravitate toward the box in anticipation of what new things might now be inside. It’s a cute and fun activity to create an unexpected element of surprise.

If all else fails go ahead and tear the boxes until they have fallen apart. Jump on them. In good weather I stack them all up so they can topple after the kids crash into them on a trike. It all makes for great exercise (and easier to dispose of into your recycle bin when it’s time.)

By the way, there’s also lots to do with classroom drawings your children bring home. I’ve turned their scribbles into easy paper lanterns (including those flyers from school that’s printed on bright colored paper I can’t seem to throw away.) I’m reusing a box for myself to drop crafts and templates into because it had a convenient opening built in on that side that doubles as a slot for this purpose (so thanks Rubbermaid!) I’ll be piecing the artwork on to it as it comes, until it’s completely covered in a paper mosaic if you will. Basically, just keep thinking outside of the box!

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(English Muffin not included.)