Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Heart Project

We all know someone whose life has been affected by heart disease. Each and every family has been touched. So in order to raise funds for the American Heart Association (AHA) 70+ bloggers have joined together to bring you a beautiful book of heart projects. The book includes 100+ projects in it that are heart-related and kid-related made by the kids, for the kids or about the kids. There are projects to create, cook, play with and display in your home!

By making a donation to the AHA, you will receive this amazing collection of photographed heart projects from bloggers all over the world! We hope you will join all of us in our efforts to raise $1000 by Valentine's Day for the AHA!
Here's a sneak peek of some of the beautiful projects you'll find in the book (including two of ours!):
The eBook has links of almost all of the heart projects to a tutorial on the blog that contributed it to the book! There is a collective index in the back as well for those that are purchasing the printed version to check out each of the blogs in the book.

Make a donation of $5 to the American Heart Association
and receive The Heart Project ebook as a free gift!
US $5.00 Donation to AHA
Add to Cart

[The book is only available for donation through the month of February, so hurry!]

For every book sold, Craftprojectideas.com is donating $1! That means in addition to your $5 donation by purchasing the The Heart Book, Craftprojectideas.com will donate another $1 on your behalf [up to $500!]

Please pay a visit to the Craftprojectideas.com Facebook page and tell them a BIG THANK YOU for being so generous! 

craftprojectideas.com showing the love

There's a printed version of "The Heart Book" also available. Its beautifully printed, 8.5 x 8.5", full color, paperback for only US $20.00. Five dollars (US $5) of every book sold will be donated to the American Heart Association.
US $20.00
  $5 of every sale of the book will go to the AHA    

(The book is only available for donation through the month of February, so hurry!)

If you'd rather just donate without receiving the book, we'd love for you do so!
In addition to the book, we're raising funds for the AHA in several other ways too!

Fundraiser Auctions:
♥  All proceeds of each auction will go to the AHA  ♥

Melissa & Doug -  4 Trunki with Teddy Bear Auctions!
  1. Trunki with Teddy Bear, ends Feb 10
  2. Trunki with Teddy Bear, ends Feb 10
  3. Trunki with Teddy Bear, ends Feb 10
  4. Trunki with Teddy Bear, ends Feb 10

Fudoo Boards - 3 Fudoo Board Kits for Auction!
  1. Fudoo Board Kit, ends Feb 10
  2. Fudoo Board Kit, ends Feb 10
  3. Fudoo Board Kit, ends Feb 10

Giveaways are going to be happening every day from now until the 14th! There's more than one some days, so be sure to check them all out! These giveaways are from The Heart Project Contributing Bloggers who are very generously donating their projects from The Heart Book, or something related to their heart project.

There are also a couple special giveaways from Melissa & DougFudoo Boards and CraftProjectIdeas.com!

Be sure to check back each day to enter that day's giveaways!

This linky list is now closed.


The Heart Project Contributing Bloggers
Each of the following bloggers have contributed a project to The Heart Book. They are all creative and generous folks, so pay them a visit. You won't regret it!

hands on : as we grow
A Little Learning for Two Among Many Blessings
Angelique Felix
At Home with Ali Broken Treasures
Busy at Home
Busy Kids Happy Mom Carrie Saindon's Photo Journey
Child Central Station
Classified: Mom Classroom Magic
Creative with Kids
Creativity My Passion Critters and Crayons
De Tout et de Rien
Dilly-Dali Art Dinosaurs & Octopuses
Excited 2 Learn
Hand Over the Cookies Handprint & Footprint Art
Happy Hooligans
Heart Journey Imagination Soup
Jamie's Jumble
Kitchen Counter Chronicles Kreative Resources
Let Kids Create
Little Illuminationss Living Montessori Now
Loudness of the Lambs
Love and Lollipops Mama, hocemo nesto da pravimo
Mama Pea Pod
Mama Smiles MemeTales
Messy Kids
Mindful Meanderings Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Mommy Labs
Mommy Perks Mum Paints Lives
Mummy Mummy Mum
My Creative Family NurtureStore
One Artsy Mama
Peace Love & Rainbows Play Dr Mom
Putti Prapancha
Rainbows within Reach Reading Confetti
Ready. Set. Read!
Red Ted Art Sense of Wonder
Share & Remember
Stacy Molter Sun Hats & Wellie Boots
Teach Preschool
The Artful Child The Chocolate Muffin Tree
The Craft Barn
The Educators' Spin on It The Golden Gleam
The Imagination Tree
The Iowa Farmer's Wife The Joy of My Life
The Kids Fun Review
The Outlaw Mom Blog The Preschool Toolbox
The Seeds Network
Toddler Approved

Monday, January 30, 2012

Snowballs Book and Craft

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.  

The book tells the story of a snowfall and the children who decide to make a family of snow people decorated with found objects. It is full of collage illustrations that inspired us to make our own snowman faces.

Supplies Needed:
Paper plates
Pictures of food 
Cotton swabs for spreading the glue (if desired)

I had a few old cooking magazines that were destined for the recycling bin, so we went through them and cut out pictures of food. We found fruits, vegetables, grains, and even a few cookies. If you don't have any old magazines, check the sales ads in your newspaper or print out some clip art to find your pictures of food.

We propped the book up for inspiration and I let the girls work. Lizzie was very deliberate in placing her food pictures, since she was trying to make a face. She wanted to make sure she had the perfect eyes, nose, and even cheeks. AJ, on the other hand, was just having fun gluing. She ended up making a pretty nice food collage. They turned out great!

If you would like more inspiration, check out these Lois Ehlert style snowmen from Teach Preschool.

Linking up to Kids Get Crafty  

Friday, January 27, 2012

10 Ways to Explore Nature In the Winter

**Since my last two "10 Ways" posts have been so popular, I've decided to make this a weekly series. Stay tuned every Friday for a new "10 Ways" post.**

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. So, with that in mind, I did some searching and came up with 10 fun ways to get out and explore nature in the winter.

1. Feed the birds. Use existing bird feeders or make your own, like our simple bird feeders. Put the bird feeders close to a window and provide small notebooks, binoculars and a bird book. See what kind of birds live in your neighborhood in the winter. (*Special note: if you do decide to feed the birds, please continue to feed them until spring comes and they are able to find their own food.)

2. Explore ice. What are its properties? When does it melt? Try to break it. Mama Smiles recently spent some time exploring ice. Check out all the fun they had!

3. Learn to read an outdoor thermometer and check the temperature outside. Use the opportunity to learn a little about weather and the characteristics of winter in your area.

4. Learn about snowflakes. Look at them up close with a magnifying glass. What do you see? Check out the fun The Chocolate Muffin had exploring snowflakes.

5. Explore rocks. It doesn't matter whether it is winter, spring, summer, or fall, rocks are always in abundance. Have fun exploring and learning about rocks. Or, you can do like Kitchen Counter Chronicles and make rock art.

6. Look for signs of life. Winter is the time of year when many plants are dormant. But, not everything! Go exploring and see if you can find any signs of life. If you need inspiration, Rainy Day Mum recently went searching for fairy homes (aka mushrooms).

7. Give your kids a camera and see what they can find. Here is a great post from The Mommies Made Me Do It about the time she gave her son a camera when they went on a hike.

8. Read a book about winter animals and look for signs of wildlife. Try finding foot prints near a wooded area. Learn about which animals hibernate and which ones need to forage for food in the winter. Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft is a great resource for this activity.

9. Bring it inside. If it's too cold to go outside and explore, bring some nature indoors. Set up a nature table with all the nature treasures you've collected throughout the year. Or, you can do like Mama Smiles did and bring some snow indoors to play. You don't always have to be outside to explore nature!

10. Make art. Get creative. Use the natural items that you find and make beautiful art. The Chocolate Muffin Tree made this beautiful snowy land art for Valentine's Day.

Bonus activity: PLAY! Throw snowballs, make a snow angel, collect sticks, and most of all have fun!

How do you like to explore nature in the winter?

Linking up to It's Playtime   

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. 

We talked about places we go to often and how we could be kind there. One such place is our local library. And this is where we got a little bit sneaky and had a lot of fun! Bookmarks, we thought, what kid doesn't like a new bookmark? And wouldn't it be fun if we hid them in books at the library for kids to find and hopefully be a bit surprised!

So, we cut strips of paper and got out our stickers and a few fun punches. We decorated and giggled and talked about the kids who might find our bookmarks.

When we were done, I turned them over and wrote "If you found this, please keep and enjoy. Happy Reading!"

When it was time for our weekly library trip, we hid the bookmarks in my purse. If you're going to do this, you have to be sneaky, right? We whispered and giggled and talked about the books we were going to put them in. We decided on chapter books, because you need a bookmark to read chapter books. 

When we got to the library, we made a bee-line for the chapter books. We pulled them off the shelf one by one and stuck a bookmark in the middle. Will it make someone's day? I certainly hope so!

What did we learn (other than the fine art of sneakiness) during this process? We learned it was fun to be kind and it was fun to plan little surprises. We learned that there are many, many ways to show kindness. And hopefully, we learned a little bit about loving our fellow human beings.

Have you and your kids performed any acts of kindness lately?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Silly Heart Puppets

We've been making a lot of Valentines for our family and friends, so I thought the girls would enjoy doing something for themselves. We got out all the fun supplies: puff balls, googly eyes, paint, and glitter and made a couple of silly heart puppets.

Supplies Needed:
Cardboard (I used an old cereal box)
Large craft sticks
Googly eyes
Puff balls, glitter and any other embellishment you want to add

We started by gluing our craft sticks onto the backs of our cardboard hearts. Next we painted. After the painting was done, it was time for the glitter. I had the girls sprinkle the glitter on the wet paint, which will hold it on as well as glue.

Finally, it was time for the embellishments! We glued colorful puffballs and googly eyes on our hearts. Use your imagination! Scraps of fabric, ribbon, sequins, and beads are just a few of the things you could add to your puppets.

They're a bit kooky and a lot silly and we had a great time making them! Now it's time to have a lot of fun playing with them!

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!

I've read about marble painting ideas on several of my favorite blogs and have been wanting to let the girls try it. I found a cardboard box and a few large beads, since we didn't have any marbles. I squirted a bit of red and pink paint on the paper and showed the girls how to move the box around and watch the marbles "paint."

They had a lot of fun and loved working together. We ended up with four different paintings!

The paintings are so pretty and there are so many things you can do with them. Use them as wrapping paper, note cards, or even a background for scrapbooking. But, we were wanting to make a Valentine's Day decoration with them. What were we going to do? A garland, of course!

I found a heart-shaped cookie cutter and started tracing. I used the cookie cutter so that the hearts would all be a uniform size. Then the cutting began. While I cut, Lizzie practiced her writing. I had her write the word "love" a few times until she felt comfortable, then handed her a Sharpie. She worked hard to write the letters on all of our cut-out hearts. For the final step, we took a large, sharp needle and some thick thread. I sewed through both sides of each heart to string together each of the letters in the word "love". I did the sewing myself on these garlands, but a child could definitely do this part. Lizzie just chose not to. Use your discretion with your child's abilities.

Now we have about a dozen love banners that are the perfect size to slide into an envelope and surprise some of our family and friends!