Monday, January 30, 2012

Snowballs Book and Craft

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We found a lot of inspiration in the book Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. 

Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite children's book illustrators and I've been wanting to do a craft based on her illustrations. Snowballs was the perfect choice of book.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

10 Ways to Explore Nature In the Winter

I don't know about you, but winter is always the hardest season for me to come up with ideas to get us outside and exploring nature. It's cold, it's windy, everything is dormant... you know what I'm talking about, right?

So, what can you do?

I did some searching and came up with 10 fun kids activities to help us get out and explore nature in the winter. Get out and explore those things that are unique to winter. You won't even notice the cold.

Just because it's winter, doesn't mean you need to give up your nature studies. Here are 10 fun kids activities to help you explore nature in the winter.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kindness Challenge: The Bookmark Project

When Toddler Approved issued their 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge, we jumped right in. 

The challenge is to do 100 Acts of Kindness between January 16 and February 14. 

We talked about the challenge and brainstormed different ways to be kind. 

We plan on helping pick up toys, saying please and thank you, waving at our neighbors, feeding the birds, sending cards to people we love, hugging each other, and many more acts of kindness. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Silly Heart Puppets

We've been making a lot of Valentines for our family and friends lately.

It's been so much fun sharing the love, but I thought the girls would enjoy making a fun craft for themselves. 

We got out all the fun supplies: puff balls, googly eyes, paint, and glitter and turned them into a couple of Silly Heart Puppets.

This is a fun open-ended project that is perfect for both toddlers and preschoolers. We had some much fun making this Valentine's kids craft and I know you will too.

Easy-to-make silly heart puppets are a fun Valentine's craft for toddlers and preschoolers.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Love Banners

We had a lot of fun marble painting, then turned it into a beautiful Valentine's garland. 

I will confess that this craft took us a couple of days. One day we did the marble painting and another day we did the cutting, sewing, and letter writing. 

But the results... they were worth it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Heart-Stamped Valentines

Yes, you can make a pretty Valentines using an empty toilet paper roll! 

We turned ours into stamps to make these pretty heart note cards. 

We've explored cardboard roll stamping before and had a lot of fun, so I knew the girls would love making these Valentines.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stained Glass Window Valentines

 Our Valentine's Day crafting has begun! 

My oldest has been begging me for a few days now to make Valentines, so out came all the red and pink paper. 

Our first project was to make Stained Glass Window Valentines

Use contact paper and tissue paper to make these pretty stained glass window Valentines. This is such an easy Valentines craft for kids.

This project is so much fun and can be done by kids of all ages. Your toddler can easily make the tissue paper collages. Older kids can tackle the entire project from start to finish. My preschooler did everything except cutting the heart shape from the card stock.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

10 Ways To Make a Walk More Fun

Going on a walk is not only good exercise, it's also a lot of fun. In case you want to add a little variety to your neighborhood walk, here are 10 ways to make it a little more fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Panda Bear Masks

Can you guess what she is? 

A panda bear, of course! 

When we learn about other countries, we always include animals. 

And, since we are talking about China this week, learning about pandas was the obvious choice. 

While we were learning all sorts of fun facts, we also made panda masks so we could pretend to be panda bears.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Did you know that kites were invented in China thousands of years ago? 

That fact stopped Lizzie in her tracks. She was ready to stop doing that "very important thing" she was doing and make a kite!

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Straw Printing and Paper Lanterns

We love to learn about other countries and cultures. 

Since Chinese New Year always falls at the beginning of the year, I thought it would be the perfect time to learn a bit about China. 

Our first craft was making paper lanterns. To make this project a little more special, I combined two different techniques: straw printing and making paper lanterns.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat Book & Craft

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The first time I looked through the book Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback, I knew I wanted to do a craft project based on the illustrations. 

If you've never read the book, you should. It's a delightful book about a man who keeps turning his overcoat into something new, until it gets too tiny to transform anymore. 

The book uses die-cut pages to show the transformation of the coat. 

Well, die-cut is a bit too complicated for preschoolers and toddlers to tackle, so I thought and thought about what we could do. As I was flipping through the book, I landed on the inside cover and voila! 

We were going to make a collage!

Supplies Used:
Black construction paper (background)
Various colors of card stock and scrapbooking paper (any sort of paper would work)

We started working on cutting our paper and card stock. I have a supply of fun scissors, so I got those out. 

We cut and cut. 

I also got out the markers so we could draw patterns on our paper. I don't have a lot of patterned paper, but I didn't let that stop us. It's easy and more fun to draw your own patterns.

We had fun and worked hard, as you can tell by our wonderfully messy table. 

My goal was to step back and let the girls do as they please. I didn't want to try and control the project. Of course, that meant I had to do my own!

Here are our finished projects:

Lizzie, age 4, had a lot of fun making patterns!

AJ, age 2, cut for a while. Then she had me cut. She glued a few pieces down, which she pulled up again so she could draw on them with the markers. She ended up with a pile of paper scraps and one slightly used piece of black construction paper. I loved watching this process!

Oh, and here's mine. Just in case you were curious...

Have you read any good books lately?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

10 Things To Do When You're Stuck Indoors

I don't know about your winters, but where I live it's very likely that we'll be stuck indoors on many winter days due to dangerously cold temperatures and blizzard like conditions. (No, I don't live in the frozen tundra, just the upper-Midwest part of the US.) 

Or maybe you're in the middle of summer and it's hot and muggy outside. You can't send the kids outside, so what are you going to do?

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Silly Races

January is usually cold, snowy, and windy for us, so we're stuck indoors a lot. 

But lately, we've had beautiful and unseasonably warm weather, which means we've been able to play outdoors! 

In order to run a bit of energy out of the girls, I thought it would be fun to have them run silly races. Instead of just running, they had to run by doing something silly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shape Hunt

How many circles can you find in your house? Can you find some hidden triangles?

Learning about shapes can be so much fun. It lends itself so well to hands-on activities. 

Recently, we went on a shape hunt throughout out house and had an absolute blast hunting for hidden shapes. 

This shape activity was easy to set up and it was a great way to sneak a little learning into our fun. 

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Hey Diddle Diddle Collage

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such spot,
And the dish ran away
with the spoon.

For our final nursery rhyme craft, we did a simple collage based on "Hey Diddle Diddle."

Lizzie, age 4, was able to work independently on this project while I helped AJ, age 2, with hers.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Get Moving With Nursery Rhymes!

Nursery rhymes are not just for crafting, they can get you moving too! We had a lot of fun acting out some of our favorite nursery rhymes.

We climbed up the stairs just like the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" climbed up the water spout.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

 The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
Then the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again.

We decided to try and make a few spiders of our own today since we love singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" so much. 

The spiders aren't pretty, but they're fun and quite helpful in acting out the story.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary Mural

Mary, Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bell,
And cockleshells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Today we decided to make Mary's garden using leftover cardboard from Christmas. 

I wanted a craft that was bigger in scale than what we usually do and we had a large cardboard box that was just waiting for the perfect craft project. 

The girls were thrilled to see the big piece of cardboard laying on the ground and couldn't wait to see what else I set out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Jack Be Nimble Candlestick Craft

Jack be nimble
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick

In order to get us back into the swing of things after the holidays, I decided it would be fun for us to do a nursery rhyme theme this week. 

The goal is to do 4 to 5 craft projects based around nursery rhymes. 

Today we tackled Jack Be Nimble and made our own candlesticks to jump over.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Favorite Post of 2011

So here it is! My favorite post of 2011!

I chose this post because it was a pivotal moment for the girls and I. This is the simple idea that got us outside more and sparked our creativity while outside. We rediscovered classic games like hopscotch and enjoyed the simple pleasures that can be found outside. 

Now that you've seen my favorite, check out all these other wonderful posts from 2011!