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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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.)

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.

Mega Bloks & Dice

I made a trip to the dollar store in search of a dust pan for the sole purpose of scooping these up, which in of itself became a game too.

We have a ton of Mega Blocks that that all ages seems to enjoy.  When we’re not building fortresses, we’re knocking them down with the help of a bat, stick or ball.  Inevitably, they also get scattered across the room, although not nearly as overwhelming as those tiny Lego pieces that torment most parents.

However, it’s beneficial to have them around for their fine motor development and Preschool Inspirations lists 10 reasons you may be interested in.  I didn’t realize that Lego has something called Duplo and if you’re as confused as I was, check out Mummy’s Reviews on the subject.   By the way, the Lego Group recently celebrated its 80th birthday and they released this short animated film about how it all began.  I always wondered about their story!

18121626_775387029296131_446824032315902541_o (1)I made a trip to the dollar store in search of a dust pan for the sole purpose of scooping these up, which in of itself became a game too.

18119264_774851866016314_1491292095600120682_nSince we also have a table for the set, I thought about incorporating a set of fuzzy dice that we’ve used in a variety of ways already for early learning fun.  I simply taped small notes to represent each color of blocks we have on each side, along with a wild card (“?”) and skipping a turn.  The question mark symbol replaced my initial note for “Pick” (the color of your choice) because it was being confused with pink and we don’t have those (need I say) yet.

Obviously, there are no fixed rules for this.  We pretty much played it by ear.  Whenever we threw our set of dice (one had the color coded notes, the other just their original number dots) it determined how many blocks we’d use in that color.

18198275_774851922682975_2671903230977208028_nThe winner of our little game would have been the first person to complete a section or level but we honestly never got that far.  What mattered most is that as we kept playing and taking turns, everyone was busy counting and that’s always a win.

Hope you like this activity idea!

Kids keep me busy with things like this but so does the kitchen and food happens here.