Thursday, May 31, 2012

Exploring Nature: Worms

My girls have always been fascinated by worms. They will run screaming from a tiny spider, but will gladly hold a wiggly worm in their hands. They've learned that worms are a welcome presence in our gardens and will always give the lost worms they find in their sandbox a new home in our garden. This is the extent of their knowledge about worms, so I thought it was time to learn about worms and why they are so helpful to our gardens.

We started by reading the book, Yucky Worms by Vivian French. In the book, a young boy learns about worms from his Grandmother. He learns that they aren't yucky, but that they are our friends. We were fascinated by the fact that worms have 5 pairs of hearts and we tried to wriggle around like a worm. We learned that they help fertilize the soil and that the tunnels they build help keep the soil loose. By the time we were done with the book, we were ready to try to find some worms of our own.  

We decided to make a "worm hotel" so we could watch the worms crawl and see the tunnels they made. We made a version of this worm farm from A Mom With a Lesson Plan. I cut the top off of a 2-liter soda bottle for our hotel. While AJ and I looked for worms, Lizzie started layering the sand and soil. We started with a layer of soil from the garden, added a layer of sand, and then a layer of partially composted materials from our compost bin. She repeated these layers about 3 times.

Despite having rained the day before, we still had difficulties finding our worms. Eventually, after digging far into our compost bin, we found five worms to observe. They immediately started tunneling. We watched in fascination for a long time as they dug and crawled around.

Our layers didn't stay neat for very long, but that's okay. The worms were crawling around too much! It didn't take long for the girls to actually see the tunnels a worm leaves behind in the soil. We took the worms inside and made a sleeve to fit over the bottle with dark construction paper and a cute little sign that says "Worm Hotel." We've been observing them for a week now, and tomorrow we'll release them back into the compost bin. I know they'll be happy to go home!

Are your kids fascinated by worms?
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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Go Outside: Take Story Time Outside

Story time definitely doesn't have to be an indoor-only activity. We take books outside all of the time. When the weather is nice, it's so relaxing to take a few books outside and enjoy a few good stories while soaking up the sunshine and fresh air.

Outdoor story time doesn't require a lot of work. Just grab a book and walk outside. We often read books in the backyard. You can take them to the park or beside a pond. We've read books about dandelions while sitting in a clump of dandelions. We've read about trees while sitting under a tree and we've read about picnics after enjoying our own picnic. 

But your books don't always have to follow a theme. We enjoy reading anything and everything outside. Take story time outside and maybe you'll start a new habit when your kids become readers themselves. Is there anything better than sitting outside enjoying a good book? Nope! It doesn't get better than that!

Do you like to take story time outside?
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Picnic Blanket Collage

Now that the weather is at that perfect stage of not-too-hot and not-too-cold, picnics have been on the brain. We recently celebrated our love of picnics with this picnic blanket collage which combined paper weaving and collage making.

I prepped the project by cutting the strips of white paper and the red paper. I folded the red paper in half (and tried to avoid creasing it) and cut strips. I started at the fold and cut in, stopping an inch shy of the outer edge. You need to keep this sheet of paper whole. The white strips need to be approximately the same width as the red strips.

We began this project by making our "blanket." The girls have never done paper weaving before, so I kept it simple with wide strips. (Note to self: Do more paper weaving. It's fun!) In and out, in and out and soon we had a couple of pretty blankets. To secure the white strips, we added a bit of glue to the ends and adhered them to the red paper. 

We cut out some simple food shapes from colored construction paper. We had yellow bananas, little blue circles for blueberries, orange circles for oranges, purple grapes, milk cartons, sandwiches from brown paper, and a couple of cute ants. Keep it simple and keep it fun! If you don't want to cut your own food shapes, you can also use magazine cut-outs, like this similar project from Reading Confetti.

We glued and glued until we had the perfect picnic, even with the ants! We discovered that we love to bring fruit on picnics and also decided that we need to go on even more picnics!

Do you like to go on picnics? What is your favorite picnic food?

To adapt this for older kids: Have your older kids do all the cutting for the paper weaving part. Use thinner strips of paper for a more complicated, but still fun, paper weaving project.

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Are you looking for more kid's craft projects? My Kid's Crafts Pinterest board is full of great ideas. Follow it here:
Follow Terri ~ Creative Family Fun's board Kid's Crafts on Pinterest.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Kid's Co-op

It's Friday and you know what that means? It's time for the Kids Co-op! Link-up your favorite kid-related post and make sure and check out all the fun that has been linked up from other bloggers!

Since I've been spending the week talking about creating a summer bucket list, I'm going to feature some ideas from the ones linked up last week that would be perfect additions for a summer bucket list.

Famiglia & Seoul shared 16 Ways to Enjoy Outdoor Dining with Kids

Mama Nature shared a safe way to paint trees. So pretty!

And The Golden Gleam painted with bicycles!

Now it's your turn to share! Please join up and share your favorite post. (And, we'd love you forever if you'd link back to us!) Your link will show up on all of the hosts blogs. It's time to link up, visit some new blogs, and have a lot of fun!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Bucket List: Our 2012 List

I gave you tips on creating your own summer bucket list, found inspiration for displaying the list, and even provided a mega-list of 200 ideas for your bucket list. Now, it's time to share our 2012 Summer Bucket List. We kept it simple and only have 20 things on the list. Our time may or may not be limited, so I wanted a very doable sized list. Plus, if we finish too quickly, I do have 200 more ideas we could use!

Here's our list:
1. Eat breakfast outside
2. Go camping
3. Learn to swim
4. Try a "new to us" fruit
5. Blow bubbles
6. Play in the sprinklers

7. Do messy painting outside
8. Buy fresh corn from a roadside stand
9. Make a leaf collection
10. Make popsicles
11. Go to the zoo
12. Go out for ice cream

13. Learn to ride a bike
15. Paint rocks
16. Go fishing
17. Paint with sidewalk paint
19. Go to the farmer's market
20. Wash the car (by hand!)

I decided not to make a large display for our wall. We're currently trying to sell our house, so that wasn't a realistic option for us. Instead, I made a pretty booklet. I wrote each activity on a separate index card and illustrated it with simple pictures to help my non-readers know what the activities are. I then punched a hole in the upper corner and secured the cards together with a binder clip. I added a few pony beads to the ring for a fun touch.

Your bucket list doesn't have to be complicated or even long. Just remember, it's all for fun! 

Are you making a summer bucket list?
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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

200 Fun Ideas for Your Summer Bucket List

Before I share our 2012 Summer Bucket List, I wanted to give you some ideas for your own. Here are 200 fun and simple ideas for summer fun. Some are indoor ideas and some are outdoor ideas. But, all would be fun for the entire family. Have fun making your summer bucket list!
  1. Go Swimming
  2. Go Camping
  3. Go on a hike
  4. Make homemade lemonade
  5. Make popsicles
  6. Make homemade ice cream
  7. Go stargazing
  8. Plant a garden
  9. Go to a farmer's market
  10. Go to a pick-your-own farm
  11. Go to the zoo
  12. Go to an amusement park
  13. Go to a "new to you" park
  14. Go on a bike ride
  15. Play hopscotch
  16. Do splat painting
  17. Play Red Light Green Light
  18. Play tag
  19. Have a family board game night
  20. Have paper airplane races
  21. Host a cook-out
  22. Make ice cream sundaes
  23. Bake a pie
  24. Go on a scavenger hunt
  25. Make story stones
  26. Make garden stones
  27. Walk on a balance beam
  28. Have an outdoor movie night
  29. Experiment with baking soda and vinegar
  30. Make a rain gauge & measure the rain
  31. Make a mud pie
  32. Make a wormery
  33. Climb a tree
  34. Decorate flower pots
  35. Start a rock collection
  36. Catch fireflies
  37. Read books outside
  38. Go to story time at the library
  39. Go on a color palette nature walk
  40. Keep a nature journal
  41. Go bird watching
  42. Make homemade play dough
  43. Make pool noodle hurdles
  44. Put shaving cream on the slide
  45. Make nature wands
  46. Fly a kite
  47. Run a race
  48. Go on a picnic
  49. Paint with patio toys
  50. Visit a pond
  51. Visit a garden
  52. Build a sand castle
  53. Play with ice
  54. Make land art
  55. Make dirt cake
  56. Dig for dinosaurs
  57. Go to a museum
  58. Visit a nature center
  59. Make butter
  60. Hunt for bugs
  61. Play paintman
  62. Build a boat
  63. Make your own board game
  64. Do science experiments with candy
  65. Paint with your mouth
  66. Do a raised salt painting
  67. Trace shadows
  68. Make a balloon sculpture
  69. Play with sticks
  70. Play with frisbees
  71. Play tic tac toe on the sidewalk
  72. Make suncatchers
  73. Write a story and illustrate it
  74. Make smoothies
  75. Learn to hula hoop
  76. Make s'mores
  77. Cook over a camp fire
  78. Eat watermelon
  79. Make strawberry jam
  80. Make a fruit salad
  81. Make fresh salsa
  82. Hunt for sea shells
  83. Have a water balloon fight
  84. Look for shapes in the clouds
  85. Be a nature photographer
  86. Go to a splash park
  87. Watch a fireworks show
  88. Make your own slip & slide
  89. Go for a walk on the beach
  90. Go on a sound hunt
  91. Go to a parade
  92. Watch the summer Olympics
  93. Have a lemonade stand
  94. Make bird feeders
  95. Have a puppet show
  96. Paint with bubbles
  97. Make homemade bouncy balls
  98. Go to a baseball game
  99. Play mini golf
  100. Write a letter
  101. Make homemade cards & mail them to faraway friends or relatives
  102. Make a marble run
  103. Paint on cardboard
  104. Paint a self-portrait
  105. Watch the sunset
  106. See what happens when you add salt to ice
  107. Have a root beer float
  108. Make coffee filter butterflies
  109. Make friendship bracelets
  110. Participate in your library's reading program
  111. Eat fresh peaches
  112. Make rainsticks
  113. Swing as high as you can
  114. Learn about a different country
  115. Try a new food
  116. Build a fort
  117. Make tie-dyed socks
  118. Put on a play
  119. Slide down a water slide
  120. Go to an outdoor concert
  121. Bake cookies & deliver them to a neighbor
  122. Have a dance party
  123. Make giant bubbles
  124. Grill pizzas
  125. Make finger paints
  126. Play beach ball volleyball
  127. Examine a tidal pool
  128. Memorize a poem
  129. Do a sink or float experiment
  130. Tell ghost stories
  131. Play Pooh Sticks
  132. Go to a local festival
  133. Go pretend fishing
  134. Make nature mandalas
  135. Play hide & seek
  136. Learn to paint like Monet
  137. Play with water beads
  138. Play book bingo
  139. Play with cloud dough
  140. Have a party for no particular reason
  141. Make a terrarium
  142. Play t-ball
  143. Have silly races
  144. Play with a sensory box
  145. Go for a walk at twilight
  146. Learn how to use real tools (hammer, screwdriver, wrench, etc.)
  147. Go to an art museum
  148. Make recycled crayons
  149. Make super hero capes and pretend to be a super hero
  150. Paint with cars
  151. Make ribbon wands and dance outside
  152. Make old-fashioned silhouette pictures
  153. Fill a sketch book
  154. Make frozen banana pops
  155. Make a life-size robot
  156. Learn to sew a simple pillow
  157. Make campfire cones
  158. Make egg carton finger puppets
  159. Watch carnations change colors
  160. Make your own compass and learn how to use it
  161. Go to a local festival
  162. Make an Olympic logo painting
  163. Build Lego towers
  164. Make a cork-print tree
  165. Make a hat out of newspapers
  166. Make your own jump rope
  167. Make a homemade alphabet book
  168. Make raisins dance
  169. Examine nature with a magnifying glass
  170. Learn a few jump rope rhymes
  171. Learn a new card game
  172. Paint with fly swatters
  173. Paint with water color spray paint
  174. Make your own paper dolls
  175. Have a 3-Legged Race
  176. Work a jigsaw puzzle
  177. Go geocaching
  178. Make hand print fireworks
  179. Make stick men
  180. Mail a hug
  181. Learn to do a cartwheel
  182. Dive off a diving board
  183. Paint the sky
  184. Make a twig & twine raft
  185. Paint with golf balls
  186. Create a fairy garden
  187. Build a ramp for your toy cars
  188. Play Follow the Leader
  189. Swim in a lake
  190. Swim in the ocean
  191. Be a tourist in your own town
  192. Play flashlight tag
  193. Make a cd hovercraft
  194. Set up a pretend potion lab
  195. Go on a road trip
  196. Wash the car
  197. Have a sleepover
  198. Go to a movie
  199. Read a chapter book together as a family
  200. Make a scrapbook of all your summer fun!
Did I forget anything? What would you add to this list?

And if that's not enough, here are 100 more fun ideas for your summer bucket list

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Do you want more summer bucket list ideas! You can find more at my Summer Bucket list Pinterest board.


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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Bucket List: Inspiration Roundup

Have you started writing your summer bucket list yet? We have! Notebook - check, Pen - check, fun ideas - check. Ours always starts out in a notebook and usually stays in that notebook. We don't usually take the time to make it pretty, but I'm considering doing something different this year. I want it someplace where we remember all the fun we can have this summer. It's so easy just to stash a notebook somewhere and forget about it. So, I did what I normally did and turned to the Internet for inspiration.
Are you looking for ideas to fill your summer bucket list? Here are four places to get you started:

Where do you find inspiration for your summer bucket list?
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Bucket List: Creating a Summer Bucket List

Summer bucket lists have become quite popular lately. This will be our second year to do one and I'm so excited about the possibilities. Have you ever made a summer bucket list? Or are you wondering just how to get started?

What is a summer bucket list? A summer bucket list is a simple concept with a fun name. It's a list of fun activities you & your family want to do this summer. The ideas don't have to be complicated; in fact, it's fun to list simple, yet fun activities. It gives you something to look forward to and an ongoing list of things to do instead of being bored.

Why make a summer bucket list? Why not? It's fun, simple, and a great resource for family time! 

How do you make a summer bucket list? Making a summer bucket list takes a little bit of planning. First, you'll want to check your calendar. Make note of any vacations, holidays, family reunions, summer camps, or sports schedules. How much time do you realistically have to complete your list? Use this to determine how many things you have on your list. Last year, our bucket list had only 20 items on it. List only as many items as you are comfortable with. Remember, the point is not to add pressure to your summer. Instead, it's to add a bit of fun!

When making your bucket list, keep in mind budget, time, and distance. Going on numerous weekend trips may not be realistic for your family, but a weekend camping trip may be. Include activities that are inexpensive and easy, such as eating breakfast outside or playing hopscotch. Other activities may require a bit or planning or money, such as going out for ice cream or going on a hike. Are you already planning a fun vacation this summer? Add it to your list. Don't forget to ask your family what they want to include on the list. It will keep them excited and they'll probably come up with ideas that you didn't even think of.

Just remember, when making your summer bucket list: keep it simple, ask for input, add a variety, and most of all have fun!

Stay tuned for more summer bucket list fun. I'm preparing a post full of bucket list inspiration as well as working on our 2012 summer bucket list!

Are you making a summer bucket list this year?
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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Weekends: The Pinterest Challenge

Are you addicted to Pinterest yet? I'm definitely addicted. Can you see that little number up in the corner of the picture? Yep, it says 3237 pins. That was the number when I made this graphic a few days ago. It's bigger now. I pin kid's activities, recipes, household hints, sewing projects, home decor ideas and many, many more things. But, up until recently, I've only done 1 or 2 or things I've pinned. So, what was my point in saving all these pretty pictures and great ideas? 

I've been thinking about this ever since I read this wonderful post on Creative With Kids, "Stop Letting Pinterest Make You Feel Like Poo." Alissa talks about how we shouldn't let the pretty pictures on Pinterest make us feel like we are inadequate. So what if our finished product is not as pretty! Did you do it and enjoy it? That's the important part. This post got me motivated to actually try and do some of these wonderful ideas I've been saving.

I set a goal recently to start doing some of the things I pin. Ideally, I'd like to do one thing each day, but I know that won't ever happen. Instead I'm aiming for 3-4 ideas a week. So far, I've made an incredible dip and a yummy apple bread. We've played with ice and made really cool finger puppets. It's been a lot of fun!

Would you like to join me in this challenge? There's no pressures, no link-up, no nothing. The only person that will hold you accountable will be you. Make that great recipe you've been saving. Sew that skirt or do that craft with your kids. It will be fun! Set yourself an achievable goal. You can do 3-4 ideas a week like I will or even just 1 a week. And, if you don't meet you're goal, so what! At least you're having fun... or eating yummy food.

I'll be sharing the things I try on my Facebook page, so if you're interested, you can join me there. Plus, I'll be opening up my page for you to share the fun things you discover. Please feel free to post any fun ideas you find for the rest of us to try! 

Are you going to join me in this challenge? Let me know in the comments! Also, if you're not on Pinterest and are interested in trying it out, I can email you an invite. I just need to know your email address. Have fun and start doing!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Kid's Co-op

It's Friday and you know what that means? It's time for the Kids Co-op! Link-up your favorite kid-related post and make sure and check out all the fun that has been linked up from other bloggers!

There were so many fabulous ideas linked up last week; fun book activities, outdoor games, Mother's Day ideas, and many more. Here are a few of my favorites from the 200 that were linked up last week.

Adventures in Reading With Kids read My Garden and made these pretty patterned sunflowers.

Tutus & Tea Parties played this fun toddler-friendly version of hopscotch.

And Toddler Approved shared this fabulous cleaning game: Four in a Row.

Now it's your turn to share! Please join up and share your favorite post. (And, we'd love you forever if you'd link back to us!) Your link will show up on all of the hosts blogs. It's time to link up, visit some new blogs, and have a lot of fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Creative Family Fun Nights: Paper Airplane Races

I'm not sure I've ever met a person who didn't smile at the idea of a paper airplane. They're inexpensive, fun, an perfect for an awesome family fun night. All you need is a pile of paper, some instructions, and a little healthy competition.

If you don't already know how to fold a paper airplane, you can find plenty of instructions on-line. I found all my instructions on these three sites: Amazing Paper Airplanes, Fun Paper Airplanes, and Origami-Instructions Online. We stuck with the simple designs, but there are all sorts of fun and more complicated designs on these websites. If you're up for the challenge, go for it! We did an assortment of designs. Not only were we going to race them, but we also wanted to see which design flew better.

We tried flying the airplanes inside. We raced them through the living room and down the stairs. We also took them outside to try and race them around the backyard. At that point, it didn't really matter who won, we were having too much fun! We found that some of our airplanes were complete flops and others flew really well. Part of the fun was testing the different designs.

The next time you're looking for some fun for the entire family, grab a pile of paper and start folding! Everyone young and old will have fun!

More Ways to Have Fun With Paper Airplanes:
Design your own.
Divide into teams and see which team can come up with the fastest paper airplane.
Or see which team can make the airplane that flies the furthest.
Hand out silly awards like "Best Crash Landing" or "Shortest Flight"

Other Fun Links:

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Linking up to For the Kids Friday