Friday, November 30, 2012

Candy Making Play Date & Giveaway (Giveaway now closed)

In the spirit of our Creative Family Fun Nights, I'm going to start sharing some ideas for creative play dates. These are designed for as few as 1 or 2 kids or to as many as you want. Many of these would also be fun ideas for family nights. And, to kick off our first play date idea, I've also got a giveaway at the end. Let's get started making some candy at our candy making play date!

When I first saw the book, Candy Making for Kids by Courtney Dial Whitmore, I knew it would be the perfect way to spend an afternoon with the girls. Courtney is the blogger behind Pizzazzarie, a fun entertaining and party blog. The projects in the book are so much fun and all are kid-friendly. You can choose from such things as Rudolph the Reindeer Pops, S'Mores Truffles, or Candy Pizza. We chose to make Coconut Snowballs and Peppermint Patties. 

Both of the recipes are no-cook recipes, so we brought everything over to the kitchen table. The girls helped me measure, pour, and stir. They were able to participate in every step of the way. There was also plenty of opportunity for getting their hands messy. The directions in the book were easy to follow and the candy turned out to be delicious! Many of the recipes are also easily adapted for groups of kids. You could have small groups around the table each working on different types of candy or you could choose a project, like the candy pizzas, where the kids can work on decorating individually.

Tips for having a successful candy making play date:
  • Make sure to have one adult for every 3-4 kids
  • Pre-measure the ingredients if making candy with younger kids
  • Make sure you know the recipe well before you get started. You won't have much opportunity for consulting your recipe!
  • Have take-home containers available. The kids will want to share all of their yummy candy.
  • Don't be afraid of a mess! Have aprons or smocks for the kids and work on a easy-to-clean surface. 
  • And don't forget to have fun! The candy doesn't have to be perfect. It's the experience the kids will remember the most. 

We had so much fun making candy (and eating it too)! I'm certain we'll be using this book again and again and again. 

Do you want your own copy of Candy Making for Kids? I've got an extra copy to give to one of you (US and Canada only). Please use the form below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

** Congrats to entry #4 Mari who likes Creative Family Fun on Facebook!! **

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Linking up to Show & Share Saturday and The Sunday Showcase

*Disclosure: All Amazon links are Associate Links. I will receive a small fee for any purchase made. Also, I was given a copy of the book, Candy Making for Kids, by the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kid's Co-op: Christmas Fun

It's Kid's Co-op time! Link up your favorite kid-related posts and then check out all the fun that has been linked up from other bloggers.

Last week there were so many great ideas linked up to the Co-op. Since we're already deep into Christmas at the Creative Family household, I wanted to highlight three fabulous holiday ideas that were linked up last week.
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!

If you liked what you read, I would love it if you would join me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Crayon Resist Candy Canes

At the end of my candy cane round-up, I promised you our own candy cane project. And, here it is - our crayon resist candy canes. After a short art lesson and a little bit of magic, we had a pretty new Christmas decoration.

Supplies Needed:
White paper
White oil pastels or crayons
Red liquid water color
Glue stick
Green paper (or color of your choice)

To prep this project, I drew a simple candy cane shape on white paper. We used white copy paper because that is what I had on hand. Thicker drawing paper or watercolor paper will give you a much crisper image. I then gave the girls the white oil pastels and had them color in some stripes. After a few cries of "I can't see it Mommy," and a promise that the stripes wouldn't stay invisible for too long, they started working. Make sure to apply the oil pastels or crayons thick. I gave the girls free reign on this project, so some of their white stripes were lighter than they should have been.

After the stripes were done, it was time to paint. This is where the magic happens. We used our red liquid water colors and started painting. It was fun to see the paint bead up over the white stripes and disappear!

After the paint had dried, the girls cut out their candy canes and glued them onto green paper. They added embellishments with gold paint pens and we hung them up to enjoy them all season long.

Have you been doing any Christmas crafts yet?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

10 Candy Cane Crafts & Activities

It's easy to get lost in the wealth of Christmas activities around the blogosphere and Pinterest. In order to help you find the best projects, I'll be posting more roundups than usual this month. This first roundup is all about candy canes. Crafts, treats, learning & fun!

  1. Make paper candy canes with The Chocolate Muffin Tree. They're fun, easy, and you won't need to go shopping for special supplies.
  2. You can find a free printable Candy Cane Unit and Tot Pack at 2 Teaching Mommies. Counting cards, pre-writing exercises, size sorting, and more!
  3. Make and Takes shows you how to make chocolate-dipped candy canes. Pair them with hot chocolate for a fun neighbor gift.
  4. Turn your candy canes into reindeer! A Pumpkin & A Princess shows you how to make this classic craft.
  5. Make a scented marbled candy cane garland with Growing a Jeweled Rose. It uses homemade candy cane paint. Fun and messy!
  6. Dress up your candy canes with these free printable wildlife candy cane clingers from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids. It would make a great decoration or gift!
  7. Use your candy canes to do math. Teach Preschool gives you some fun ideas.
  8. All it takes are a few simple supplies to make adorable button candy cane ornaments. Hop on over to The Activity Mom to find out how.
  9. Make beautiful fingerprint candy canes with Leapfrog & Ladybugs. They would be a perfect gift for the kids to make themselves.
  10. Happy Hooligans shows you how to make these simple tissue paper candy canes. They are a great last-minute craft that would look beautiful hanging on the tree.
And, stay tuned tomorrow for our own candy cane craft!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Santa Hat Ornaments

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we've officially started Christmas crafting. Our first project was these Santa Hat Ornaments. They were easy to make and you probably already have all the supplies on hand.

Supplies Needed:
Red card stock or construction paper
Circle template
Tape (not pictured)
Ribbon or string
Cotton balls

To prep this project, trace a circle on the red card stock. I used a bowl from our play kitchen as my template. Search around your house for a circle the size that you want. It shouldn't be hard to find. After tracing your circle, draw a line from the center to the outside edge. Then you will need to cut out your circle and cut the line from the edge to the center.

Once your circle is cut out, you will want to form it into a cone. Before forming into the cone, tape the ends of your ribbon inside the hat so that the loop will stick out the top. Tape the edges of the paper securely to hold the cone shape.

Pull your cotton balls apart so they are nice and fluffy. Apply a line of glue around the bottom of your hat and also around the tip. Apply your cotton fluff to the glue.

Ta-da! Now you're done with your ornament. Once the glue is dry, you can hang your Santa hats on your Christmas tree.

What Christmas crafts are you planning on doing this year?

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Linking up to Made by Little Hands Monday, Tuesday Tots, and It's Playtime.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gift Guide for the Young Artist

We love art supplies and find that they always make a great gift. This gift guide is designed to give you fun ideas for your art-loving kids. I've got everything from stocking stuffers to big gifts. I hope you can find something your little one will enjoy!
What would you recommend for the young artist?

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*Disclosure: All links are affiliate links. Nonetheless, these are all items I would recommend and think would make fabulous Christmas gifts. Thank you so much for your support! 

If you liked what you read, I would love it if you would join me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Kid's Co-op

Have you missed the Kid's Co-op as much as I have? Are you ready to play? 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!

If you liked what you read, I would love it if you would join me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Love

One of the first parenting/education blogs I ever read was Imagination Soup. Melissa is an amazing resource for fun ideas and great advice. We've gotten to know each other know through our blogs and now I'm thrilled to be a part of her launch team for her new book, Book Love.

The book is a wonderful resource of fun, practical, and easy-to-implement ideas for your young reader. Do you have beginning readers? This book will help you foster a lifelong love of reading. Do you have reluctant readers? Melissa will help you pin-point the problem and will give you ideas to get from reluctance to enthusiasm.

Here's what you'll find in the book:
  • Activities and product recommendations.
  • Word attack and reading comprehension strategies.
  • The big reasons kids hate to read and what to do about them: too boring, too tricky, too blurry, too “sitty”.
  • Book lists organized by kid-interests.
Not only is the book great, but Melissa is planning a fun launch week. If you buy Book Love this week, you will get some 2 cool bonuses -- like a book from Newmark Learning! Go to to find out how to get your free book and be entered into 9 cool sweepstakes.

You can purchase Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader for your Kindle Fire on Amazon by clicking on the Book Love link or here for your 1st generation Kindle (you can also read it on just about any device by downloading the free reading app). The purchase price is on sale this week, so hurry! (Sales price, bonus gifts, and sweepstakes entries are only available to purchases made November 15-18)

I truly believe both parents and educators could benefit from Book Love. I know I did!

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*Disclosure: Amazon links are affiliate links and I will receive a small percentage for any purchase you make. Thank you for your support.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gift Guide for the Young Scientist

Gift Guide for the Young Scientist
Gift Guide for the Young Scientist by creativefamfun on Polyvore

I'm a big fan of gift guides. I love having a themed selection of ideas to choose from when it's time to do my holiday shopping and I hope you do too. I plan on sharing a few with you over the next couple of weeks in the hopes that it will give you some new and fun ideas for holiday gift giving.

My Lizzie is a scientist. She loves everything about science... questioning, exploring, and experimenting. I know she would love all of these items and I hope your young scientist does too.
  1. For the older kids, this crystal growing kit from Imagine Childhood would be a fascinating look at geology.
  2. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope will help your child take a close look at a micro-world in addition to learning facts along the way.
  3. I can think of few things more fascinating that watching the metamorphosis of a butterfly. You can give your kids that gift with the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden.
  4. My girls love their magnifying glasses. The Melissa & Doug Blossom Bright Magnifying Glass is a fun option. (Melissa and Doug has has a Mombo Snake Magnifying Glass for those who want something a little less girly.)
  5. Not only is this nature study kit from Imagine Childhood beautiful, but it's also a practical kit for finding and keeping all sorts of nature treasures.
  6. Another fun find from Imagine Childhood are these fabulous nature cards. They're easy to bring along on nature expeditions and would make a perfect stocking stuffer for your young scientists. 
  7. A set of binoculars is a must-have for any young scientist. The Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Happy Giddy Binoculars are fun, affordable, and useful.
  8. You don't have to travel very far to make some cool scientific discoveries. My First Backyard Explorer Kit from Scientific Explorer will guide your young scientist to some fun science experiments right in your own backyard.
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*Disclosure: All links are affiliate links. Nonetheless, these are all items I would recommend and think would make fabulous Christmas gifts. Thank you so much for your support! 

If you liked what you read, I would love it if you would join me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving Word Search

I had a lot of fun making my Halloween Word Search, so I thought I would make you a couple more word searches for Thanksgiving. These would be perfect for keeping little hands busy at the kid's table or as a fun after-school activity. I hope you enjoy sharing these fun Thanksgiving treats with your kids.

Print this one off for the kids at Thanksgiving. While they're waiting for their food, they can search for all the parts of yummy Thanksgiving dinner 

The Harvest Time Word Search isn't necessarily for Thanksgiving. It's perfect for anytime you want to have a little fall fun.

Tell me, who will you share these word searches with?

Edit (11/21/13): I've expanded my word search offering this year and have added a word scramble and printable thankful leaves. Click here to get the updated Thanksgiving activity pack.

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Linking up to Tip-Toe Through Tuesday, The Sunday Showcase, and It's Playtime.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Get Crafty: Gratitude Leaves

This year, a lot of our Thanksgiving activities have centered around gratitude. We've been practicing gratitude at the table as well as celebrating all the things, big or small, that we are thankful for in our everyday life. As a way to illustrate all that we are thankful for, we made these simple gratitude trees.

Supplies Needed:
Orange, yellow & brown construction paper
Leaf template (I used the ones found on this blog post.)
Empty paper towel tube
Brown paint
Pipe cleaners

Using your leaf templates, cut several different leaves from the construction paper. We made nine leaves. While you're cutting out your leaves, you'll also want to prep your cardboard tube by painting it brown. 

Once your leaves are ready, it's time to start talking gratitude. What are you grateful  for? We included the big things like family, God, and sisters. We also included such things as sunshine, trees, and flowers. There is no wrong answer! Write one thing you're grateful for on each leaf.

Once the paint is dry, punch one hole for each leaf in your cardboard tube. I used a tiny screwdriver to punch my holes. I also put all the holes in the top third of the tube to mimic a tree. 

Using your pipe cleaners, which have been cut in half, lace them through the holes from one side to the other. You should have one end of each pipe cleaner half on each side of the tube. By lacing them through the holes, you won't need glue to hold them in place. 

The final step is to tape a leaf onto each pipe cleaner. Now you have a fun and easy gratitude tree to use as a reminder for all the things you are thankful for.

What are some of the different ways you've taught your kids about gratitude?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Around the World in 12 Dishes: Brazil

This month, Around the World in 12 Dishes is visiting Brazil. When I asked Lizzie what she learned about Brazil, the first thing she said was, "they make good chocolates!" Why yes, they do. The food we chose for Brazil was the brigadeiro, a popular chocolate candy. They were fun to make and definitely yummy.

I followed the recipe I found on Allrecipes. (Click here for the brigadeiro recipe.) The recipe was simple and had only three ingredients. But, like all candy recipes, there are some tricks for success. Make sure you cook the ingredients over the stove until it is thick and comes away from the bottom of the pan. You can see in the above picture that when I poured the chocolate mixture into a pan to cool, it stayed in a big blob. I also popped my pan into the freezer for a quicker cool down. If you try to make the balls while the mixture is too warm, you end up with a sticky mess. 

Traditional brigadeiros are covered in chocolate sprinkles, which I didn't have in my cupboard. Instead we rolled out candies in cocoa. The girls took over the candy making. They made the balls and rolled them in the cocoa. While they were making the candy, we watched a few on-line videos to learn about Brazil.

National Geographic Kids is a fantastic resource for kid-friendly information about the different countries of the world. We viewed the photos and the map and also watched the short video on the site.

When we had a good overview of Brazil, we watched this video on YouTube called The Wild Life in Brazil to learn about the rain forests and the animals that live there.

Brazil was a fun country to learn about and we hope to learn more about the rain forests. Would you like to participate? Here's how:

Welcome to "Around The World in 12 Dishes". We will be taking you on a journey around the world, (loosely) following in Phileas Fogg's footsteps, exploring 12 different countries with our children, by cooking 12 dishes with them. One for each country visited.

The world is such a wonderfully diverse and colorful place. Our children see maps, flags and books. They see postcards and maybe they see films about the world.. but let's really bring it to life through food! Taste and smell don't often get explored, we think this would be wonderfully fun and interesting for you and your children.

Not only is it an exciting and different way to learn about cultures, but cooking with children brings a host of benefits - from numeracy to science. How can you beat that?

Adventures In Mommydom, Creative Family Fun, Domestic Goddesque, Glittering Muffins, Here Come The Girls, Juggling with Kids, Kid World Citizen, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Mermaids' Makings, Montessori Tidbits, Mummymummymum and The Educators' Spin On It have come together to help you on your food journey and will each cook a dish with our children and post about it - to help inspire you to have a go! Then go out there, cook, blog, and join in the linky fun! Check out the other great posts as well!

Around the World in 12 Dishes

We had started our journey the same way Phileas Fogg did in London, UK, and now are arriving in Brasilia, capital of the biggest South American country Brazil.!

How to join the fun!

  • The only mandatory part is the dish, the rest is all up to you, we just thought it would be fun and more concrete to the kids as to why we are making a unusual dish.
  • Cook a dish from Brazil: The goal is to explore this country through FOOD and activities if you wish. Make a typical dish (sweet or savoury) from the country with the kids, take photos and have fun!
  • Typical dishes: Feijoada, BaiĆ£o de dois, Sarapatel, Galinhadaplus Queijadinha, Moqueca de peixe and Bridgardeiros.
  • Print your passport: Click here to download, comes with space for a photo of the child with the dish. Here is a little cover for it if you wish :)
  • Color a placemat: Once colored/painted or whatever other way you want to do this, you can laminate it or put it between clear contact paper to use it over and over. Great conversation piece for you and your kids. Click here to download it.
  • Make a craft: you can make a country related craft with the kids [optional!]
  • Fun fact: Brazil has one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, the Christ Redeemer statue, located in Rio De Janeiro.
  • Share with us: Our Brazil challenge starts on November 4th and will remain open for a year, so attach a link to your blog to enter the linky party or go to the comment section and post a photo together with what you did together with your child(ren).
  • Pinterest: We will add your photos to a "Around the World in 12 Dishes" Pinterest Boards (one for the dishes, one for the crafts) you will be a great source of inspiration for everyone :)
  • Are you a blogger? Let your fans know about the challenge and grab our cute lil’ button to share it on your blog.

Around the World in 12 Dishes
<a href=" " target="_blank"><img src=" " alt="Around the world in 12 Dishes" width="125" height="125" /></a>

If you do this, we’d LOVE to see a photo of it. Email it to us or post it on our Facebook page. We’d love to do a Facebook album, a Pinterest board and a page of your creations :)
Please link up your Brazilian dish and/or craft in our linky below, we would love to see it!

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