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!

Just Some Interesting Animal Facts!

After a trip to the spring Scholastic book fair at our local elementary school, we came home (as usual) with some goodies. 51vgO-vMKwL._SY323_BO1,204,203,200_

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were in the mood for some nature lessons about the wild and  Sink Your Claws Into PREDATORS  fit the bill.  I wanted to make sure what we learned would really sink in 🙂 So, I followed up our reading with a short quiz.  My kid really gets a kick out of these little tests I put together for review and we both appreciate the three featured claws that are included in the book!

Below is a list of some of the facts shared in this title that maybe your kids will enjoy too!

Just Some Interesting Animal Facts!

  1. Great Horned Owls don’t have any teeth.
  2. Honey Badgers have been named “The World’s Most Fearless Creature” by The Guinness Book of World Records.
  3. American Black Bears can go without food, water, or exercise for 100 days in a row.
  4. The Bengal Tiger is an endangered species with only 2,500 left in the wild.
  5. The claws of a Grey Wolf are not used for slashing prey but for grip and speed during a chase as they sink into the ground like soccer cleats.
  6. Wolverines have a thick, greasy coat that repels water and frost and even their paws are like crampons (metal spikes mountain climbers attach their boots for traction.)
  7. The venom of a Red-Clawed Scorpion doesn’t hurt more than a bee sting.
  8. A Peregrine Falcon hunts other birds and bats while in midair and has been clocked going as fast as 200 miles per hour.
  9. Unlike most felines, Jaguars don’t mind water and will often take a dip while hunting.
  10. Female pride members (Lionesses) stick together for life.
  11. Tasmanian Devils let out a big sneeze as their pre-fight ritual to intimidate the competition.
  12. An African Clawed Frog has no tongue.
  13. “Ghost Cats of the Himalayas” is a nickname for Snow Leopards.
  14. Once a Grizzly bear grows up, they prefer to go it alone, staying solo rather than joining up with other bears.
  15. Legend says that just a whiff of a Fossa (a strange-looking creature found in Madagascar) is a smell that kills chickens.
  16. Bald eagles mate for life and will continue working with the same partner over many years, constructing some of the largest nests in the world together.
  17. Even if the prey of a Komodo Dragon gets away, it will eventually collapse due to the bacteria from this lizard’s poisonous saliva.
  18. Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world and can go from sitting to sprinting at 60 miles per hour in 3 seconds and can cover 20 feet in a single running step.
  19. The American Alligators have powerful jaws lined with about 80 teeth that once worn down fall out regularly but they’re constantly replaced (they’ll go through at least 3,000 in their lifetime.)
  20. Polar Bears are the biggest Apex predators on land.
Bonus fact question:  What’s a PLUMICORN?  Click here to find out and see great photography of the related creature!

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:

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.)