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!

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Just some quick crafts for Easter

While searching for Easter themed ideas, I came across these adorable little crafts.

For the clothes pin, I used what I had available, which was felt for the little egg shape.  I knew this was a great one by the way for fine motor activities.

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For the lollipops I had to go with a cotton ball for the bunny’s face and its little dot of a nose is thanks to hole punched scrap from pink felt sheets.  (I save the tiny circles from colorful paper for homemade-handy-party confetti.)

In hindsight, I’ll admit that it wasn’t easy peeling off the backing from those tiny circles but the self-adhesive skips glue.  Black marker created the eyes (no glue gun yet so I couldn’t use the preferable googly kind.)  The heart shape base used to stand the lollipop on top is also felt with the sticky side up to affix (if I had glitter I would have sprinkled the rest of that section with it.)

I guess you could say that it’s just how I felt at the time because it sure does go a long way.  But, maybe someone else is thinking how a person sans glitter and glue gun still crafted and lived to tell about it.  It’s okay, I know I’m no expert here.

If you’re looking for an edible idea, check out these Robin’s Nest Eggs we made next.

Follow on Facebook as we share our craft-like trials and errors, along with tips for early learning and more!

Hope you like these adorable little crafts we tried for ourselves and Happy Easter all.  (Find the links for each below:

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.)

Busy with business cards

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

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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.