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.)

Never make a promise you can’t keep?

So every week the kids at school get to choose library books to bring home with them.   Yesterday, we finally had a moment to devote our storytime routine to these new selections.

tadpoleThey are always different and great but one particular book stood out to me, simply because it opened from top to bottom and not left to right.

It tells about a love between a tadpole and a caterpillar, in which a promise is made for them to never change.  But alas, the tadpole will change and begins doing so, daily.  He sprouts legs, arms and then ultimately loses its tail.

The caterpillar is repeatedly disappointed, as well as, brokenhearted.  She chooses to abandon the one who has deceived her by failing to keep his promise to never change.  During this farewell she disappears into her cocoon.

Once she has reemerged (now a beautiful butterfly of course) she realizes that she wants to give her tadpole another chance because she misses him so and was perhaps hasty in her decision to have ever let him go.

When she flies over to the nearest frog to ask if they’ve seen her tadpole, she’s swallowed up whole!  This frog (formerly her beloved tadpole) was completely unaware of her own lovely metamorphosis.  Both of these creatures had become unrecognizable to each other and now only the frog remains, left to sit and wonder just longing for her return.

frogHis love is gone forever and he will never know why.

Although I expected each of them to change accordingly (despite their foolish promises) I was not expecting the frog to devour the butterfly, at all.  But I suppose that’s just your typical day in the life of an insect eater, I guess.

My child on the other hand was more than amused, not yet able to grasp the fact that in addition to the nature lesson being told, there was a profound message in there about life, love and loss.

Every now and again we find ourselves touched by the poignancy inside of a children’s book, such as The Tadpole’s promise.

It’s a pretty special book, in my book.



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.

Spanish Sight Words

So, I’ve been meaning to include Spanish sight words on our wall but wasn’t yet decided on how to make them stand out in their own way.  (Our English sight words are part of a fun set of flash cards we purchased and love to work with as shown below.)


Then, I came across a display of high frequency Spanish words on an educational website.  It was also the perfect solution for making great use of all our extra construction paper scraps!  Conveniently, my trusted masking tape roll also doubled as the stencil for the right-sized circles, too.

19875316_815328531968647_536176068206993481_nI’ve already envisioned another slide show for the future but until then, I simply made a list on Google Sheets you can find here that contains the visible words on the image shared on Facebook by Rockalingua.

It’s a wonderful page to follow by the way, for your Spanish learning!




My Favorite Things – ABC Flash Cards

Over the years, I’ve put together several early learning presentations.  I’d play them on our old computer or connect a cable to the television to view on a larger screen.  Nowadays you don’t need a wire and with Screen Mirroring, all you need is Internet access and your smart phone will do.

(Kids get a kick out of being able to play the presentations while I use my pointer for emphasis.)

Here’s just another set of ABC flash card slides thanks to MS PowerPoint (which you can then import into Google Slides for sharing as I have done.)

These slides are supposed to be a focus on our favorite things but with preschoolers, it’s more like the first things that came to mind.  Then there was an issue with K.  For no apparent reason, my suggestions for Kiss, Karate, Kite, Kangaroo or Knight were a fail while Ketchup was unanimous.  Then there’s the case of the bitter X.  Not many new or easy choices for this letter with little ones, am I right?  But hey, we do enjoy our Xylophone and X-Rays always remind us of Dem Bones.  And, no need to wait for Halloween to begin doing The Skeleton Dance!

Play around with the software if you’re interested and come up with your own flash card favorites.  Our next project is photos of actual family members (Aunt, Brother, Cousin, Dad, Grandma, Dad, etc.) and if you have any pets, you should include them too!

Hope you enjoy our ABC Favorite Things Slide Show you can view here!


I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that yes, the very mention of My Favorite Things always brings me me back to The Sound of Music.