Paper Planes

For as long as I can remember, no napkin was safe from my father. He would always turn them into paper planes. Actually, any paper.

As a young child I enjoyed watching them fly. As I got older, we’d make them together. I guess that’s why you’ll always find paper planes in my home, too.

Sometimes I wait patiently for my own child to look up at me so I can send one straight in his direction. He tries to catch them as we laugh. It sure gets his attention.


Recently, I was tearing off the end of February from our large desk calendar when the idea first hit. By the way, these giant sheets also work well in a variety of other ways (for protecting surfaces during coloring, painting, or play dough sessions; tracing objects; sketching; drawing big pictures or words; homemade game boards; signs and so much more.)

The opposite side of the calendar sheet basically doubles as a very large blank canvas. I have even used them on kitchen counters for easy clean-up after meal prep. I’m planning on creating an early learning display with one next on how to set the table. You’ll find there’s ample room for outlining a real fork, plate, knife and spoon.

Fold one and keep it handy on the go because you could probably change a diaper on that thing in a pinch!

But, it was creating a paper plane with it that’s been the most fun. It’s the biggest and best, by far. I mean, it soars well above the furniture and if it’s aimed at you I suggest you duck so quack-quack.

I always repeat that this ain’t Pinterest perfection so don’t expect fancy Origami but rather, your standard-old-fashioned-classic paper craft plane. Maybe next time I’ll give it some life with crayons and markers. For now, I’m just getting a plain kick out of flying them in the air, as is and maybe you will too.


Oh and one last thing just between us grown folks, I do like to call it a big ass plane. (When the kids are not around, of course.)


Bookmarks for Valentine’s Day!


Once you’ve fallen into the endless pit of arts and crafts, you save random things. Why? Because it might prove useful later on, of course.

So is the case with the tops of standard size tissue boxes. I noticed that the strip you tear off (which I do ever so gently in case I will need it) looks like your standard bookmark. (Early on I realized that card stock and lamination paper can get costly, so to economize, most cardboard materials in our recycle bin ultimately become the sturdy backing required for various projects.)

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the time was right to finally create something out of those tissue box strips for our kindergarten friends.


Inspired by templates found on Pinterest, I decided to cut red construction paper to fit the book marks (masking the side that has the tissue brand design) affixed with double-sided tape (which I prefer instead of glue as it tends to dampen the paper.)

This is also the side I taped on regular white copy paper with my own printed message. I traced the heart shapes used at the very top with a puzzle piece we already have on hand, while on the blank side is where my child will add all the “To” and “From” information in his own handwriting for each recipient.

Sidebar. I’m not a fan of children exchanging cards that say “Be my Valentine,” which is why I chose to personalize the bookmarks to focus on our love of reading!

Hope you like this craft suggestion which can be used repeatedly (if you love gifting books as I do for any occasion that rolls around.)

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.


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.)


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

Oranges not included.


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.


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.)


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!


(English Muffin not included.)

Busy with business cards

While going through a file box I came across a stack of something that needed another purpose.


And so, my old business cards have been colored, counted and cut.  We’ve used them to play memory games and arranged them to form different shapes.  They’ve been converted into small flash cards, a mini pennant garland and tools for setting the table.

Future activity ideas will include writing practice (one card per each letter that can be shuffled later for the child to spell their own name) as well as to count how many.  I also thought to save all the colorful dots left over from all the hole-punching for easy table confetti to decorate our next birthday party.

As they’re made out of sturdy card stock, the possibilities are endless.

Dad Day!

*** Update ***

After my first stab at this, I kept tooling around with it, literally, and came up with something more presentable you see above.  With the help of a black piece of foam I found that’s the precise shape, I used brass metal fasteners to keep the paper in place.  An unexpected bonus was that the saw handle hooks to the fastener on the left and thus stays put inside.  Then, it dawned on me to use a yellow post-it note for the lock as it will naturally work on its own if I use the sticky side for the cut-out.  I found some other tool images to adorn the cover instead of the blue corners and kept the handle from before.  I simply poked a hole at the top and stuck the hook part in there upside down and glued the bottom of the handle that touches the top of the foam.

Naturally, I turned to Pinterest (their images above) for guidance in honor of Father’s Day when it comes to things like arts and crafts.


Not every man wears ties, so that was out and I already did a palm print for Mother’s Day. If the dads you know are just as handy, then the saw tool idea was the one.  But, I also noticed the tool box which will tie in (no pun intended) so I combined both of these suggestions.

I started by folding red construction paper into the middle to get a tool box shape.  I used this coloring page image (that I had to size appropriately to fit) inside the space as shown in the finished product while an old cereal box provides its sturdiness.




I dug through my craft stash in search of a plastic handle instead of using a paper cut-out for this too.   I found something that did the trick that once held my opaque tights.  Other random packaging used is a rectangle-shaped piece of cardboard to hold the tool box.  Then, I punctured a hole in the back at the bottom of it to tighten the handle closer to the edge with string.  Glue and double-sided tape kept everything else together as needed.

The message (Best Dad I Ever Saw) goes on the front and I added the child’s name and date on the back .



For those little ones who can’t do much more than finger paint designs, this is a craft they can at least carry by the handle to surprise Dad with on Sunday.  I’m still keeping busy making some more of these with whatever recycled materials I have left in the bin and it’s still not to late for you!

Flag Day!

It’s hard to keep up with all the honorary days for things that appear on the calendar.  I wouldn’t even try, if not for the fact that young children enjoy theme related activities and I, the teachable moments that are sure to follow.

My intent was to prepare something for the fourth of July, when I realized that there’s such a thing as National Flag Day taking place this month.  Well, I was already putting together a short presentation about the flag for the next holiday, so all I had to do was speed things up a bit.  (By the way, I love PowerPoint!)

I’ll keep it simple for crafts by cutting strips of red and white construction paper (our rectangles) to tape against a blue background (our squares) and then draw the stars in because I don’t have stickers (which would have been nice.)  Anyway, this will cover colors, numbers and shapes.  Then, I’ll glue our paper flag to a stick and that’s it!

Later, we’ll view the slide show I created to notice patterns, do some math and then recite an original poem about what it represents.  I let the kids take turns hitting ENTER on the keyboard, while a toddler happily clicks on a computer mouse that’s been turned off.  All in the spirit of team work and a bit of practice with technology.

Finally, we’ll listen to a YouTube Playlist of videos about the flag during lunch!

Hope you like this activity idea and inspiration for your own lesson planning.

Follow us on Facebook to view a handy photo album of the slide presentation mentioned above that will be published there on June 14th.