Posts Tagged ‘craft’

Marshmallow Snowpeople

December 3, 2009

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With the holidays approaching fast, I thought I’d repost this fun project.  Kids love it.   (Just be prepared for the sugar insanity that will follow!) 

You will need big (and or small) marshmallows, Popsicle sticks (to use as frosting knives), oreos, frosting, small pretzel sticks (optional) and edible gel marker pens (also optional).  Remember, you can easily make frosting with powdered sugar and milk (butter and vanilla are a delicious addition.)  Stiffer frosting works better since the frosting is the “glue” for the project.   Canned frosting works just fine too.

Using the oreo as a base, simply have your children add frosting to the oreo.  Then, they can build a snowman, adding one marshmallow at a time, gluing the sections together with frosting.  The pretzels can be stuck in as arms.  It works well to have your children draw the faces on their snowmen before gluing the heads on.  You can  find the frosting gel pens at many grocery stores!

Have fun!

Puppet Show

November 28, 2009
Our Thanksgiving craft evolved into the creation of a full-blown puppet show.  The kids stuck wooden skewers into the cones and balls and created a cast of  “pixies” and “aliens” named with names like Rainbow, Star and Tippie.  Soon, they were making up stories and doing puppet shows.  I loved the creative storylines they came up with. Check out my last post for more details, but all you need are styrofoam balls and cones, pipe cleaners, markers, ribbons, sequins, buttons, pins, or anything you can find in your craft bin and around the house.  Skewers work well as handles, but your kids could use chopsticks or sticks from outside if you don’t have any.   Watch their imaginations run wild!

Saved by the Craft Bin

November 27, 2009

I thought I had a perfect project for the kids to work on after we polished off our turkey and stuffing.  In my refrigerator were four bags of cranberries and my mom was nice enough to bring over a boxful of styrofoam balls and cones, along with some red ribbon.  My idea was to have the kids cover the foam with cranberries to make holiday decorations that could be hung with ribbon or placed around the house.  They were going to be so pretty. 

If only I hadn’t forgotten to buy pins.  I only had a tiny box of push pins that wouldn’t be enough for even one child’s project.

I had seven kids sitting around the table with their cones looking at me expectantly.  “I’ll be right back!” I blurted, and ran to the basement to retrieve the rainy day craft bin filled with buttons,ribbon, sequins and everything else left over from crafting days gone by.  They oohed and ahhed as I open the treasure chest of crafting and immediately started to glue, bend, and poke things onto their styrofoam.  It was a huge success. 

You will need: styrofoam forms, glue, your junk bin and kids looking for something to do.  Have fun!

Festive Cranberry Garlands

November 18, 2009

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Before I had kids, I would buy wire frames and painstakingly weave evergreens to them to create Martha Stewart-like wreaths for the holidays.  I also designed and hand-made our Christmas Cards every year.  Now, I struggle to get my photo cards in the mail and I buy my wreaths at Costco.  Although I sometimes mourn the loss of my adult craft projects, I’m comforted by the fact that I’m blessed with three children who fill our holidays with more joy and beauty than any decoration could ever bring.  I’d trade anything for a hand print turkey made by my three-year old!

This year, we will continue our tradition of making cranberry garlands.  They’re pretty, environmentally friendly, and will look nice at Thanksgiving and even through the holidays.  Last year, the berries looked pretty for a long time, even when they were a little wrinkled.  You can hang them outside on a tree or shrub when you’re tired of them and the birds and squirrels will have a feast of their own.

You will need fresh cranberries, fishing line or dental floss and a yarn needle.  Yarn needles are plastic, not too sharp and can be purchased at craft and fabric stores.  I bought 7cm needles. (Susan Bates brand to be exact.) Make sure the eye isn’t too big, or it will ruin the cranberries.

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First, we pulled a yard or so of fishing line out from the spool and taped it to the spool so that no more could unwind.  Dental floss works well too!  Then, I knotted the free end of the fishing line to the needle so it wouldn’t pull off and had my kids start stringing.  Last year, it was a little challenging for our two-year old, but she could do it with help! 

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You can make the garlands as long as you like.  Just tie them off when they are the length you want.  I love to string them on the chandelier in our dining room for Thanksgiving.  We may make a few strings for our Christmas tree too.  It would be a great project for people sitting around watching football, assuming they’re not on a white couch! 

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Thanksgiving Pine Cone Turkeys

November 16, 2009

I’m reposting this fun Thanksgiving craft blog from last year.  Coming soon…we’ll do a project with a picture of mom or dad your child can carry to help ease separation anxiety. 

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My mother-in-law suggested making pine cone turkeys, so I thought we’d give it a shot.  If you don’t have pine cones lying around the house, take your kids on a walk to find some, or just buy some.  I must admit that I had to buy some at Michael’s since it was wet outside and I wanted to do the project that day. They only had cinnamon scent-drenched cones, which are a little strong, but the kids didn’t mind. 

You will need pine cones, feathers, pipe cleaners and google eyes.  I bought some normal pipe cleaners and some sort of bumpy-looking ones that we cut up to use as turkey heads.  You could also just twist or bend the end of a normal pipe cleaner to form a head.  It doesn’t have to look perfect, you just need enough surface area to glue eyes on your turkey’s head. 

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After we cut the pipe cleaner “head”, we twisted part of a normal pipe cleaner around it to affix it to the pine cone by wrapping it completely around it.   We made legs and feet from pipe cleaners too.  They don’t support the weight of the pine cone very well, but look cute.  Then, the kids just stuck feathers into the pine cones to make turkey tails.  You can have your children use glue, if you want the feathers to stay  put, by dabbing a little glue on the end of the feathers before you poke them into the pine cone.  It works pretty well just to stick them in too. 

Finally, glue some eyes on.  I bought google eyes that have adhesive already on them- what a great invention!

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As usual, the project evolved into making crazy pipe cleaner/feather creatures once the turkeys were complete.  The kids were busy for an hour, needed very little help and the turkeys are very cute.  Good times.

Backpack Charms, Purses and Tooth Fairy Pockets

September 2, 2009

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My kids have an amazing ability to shred the knees of blue jeans beyond repair.  I’ve saved a few old pairs of  jeans with the intention of using them to make patches some day.  HA.

Today I wanted the kids to make backpack charms using something we already had around the house and I stumbled on the old, trashed jeans in my laundry room.  We proceeded to dismantle them with scissors and came up with lots of great ideas.

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First, we made backpack charms by cutting out shapes from the denim.  We mostly cut out circles and hearts.  The kids decorated some of them with fabric markers.  One pair of my daughter’s jeans had cute beading, which we cut around to make round charms.  Then,  we cut a little slit at the top of the charms with scissors and tied them with some ribbon to hang them from the backpacks.  For my son’s charm, I used twine instead of ribbon.  For my three-year old, I used a pipe cleaner, which she strung beads on above the charm.

Older kids could make little pillow charms by sewing two pieces of denim together and stuffing them.  It would be cute to embroider them or put bright stitching on the edges.

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We also made little pom pom charms by cutting long, narrow strips of denim, putting them together lengthwise and tying them with another strip of denim.  I put the ribbon or twine under the denim strip I tied them with to make it easier to attach the tie.   They’re cute.  You can see one on the green backpack on the top of this post.

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I cut the pockets out of the jeans and my daughter made a purse by cutting holes at the top and pulling a ribbon through.  My son decorated his big pocket for his rock collection.  He came up with the ingenious idea to cut out the tiny pocket on the front of the jeans to use as a “tooth fairy pocket” to put under his pillows instead of envelopes or plastic baggies. 

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Who knew ratty, old  jeans could provide hours of entertainment?

Bodacious Abodes

July 23, 2009

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When my daughter chose a “Littlest Pet Shop” theme for her birthday party, I was at a loss.  Would we play “pin the gigantic eyeballs on the pet?”  Luckily, she had something in mind.  She wanted to give every child at the party one of the small plastic pets to adopt and then she wanted to make houses for them. 

Ten-packs of the animals were available for around $2.50 each, but I puzzled over what to use to make the houses.  I didn’t have fifteen shoe boxes and I wasn’t about to go to a craft store and shell out big bucks. Instead,  I wandered the isles of Target, looking for inspiration.  The resulting project was inexpensive, creative, and the kids loved it.  Afterwards, the girls set up a town with the houses they made and played with their new pets.  (Decorate-your-own cupcakes and a nail-painting station also helped make the party a success!)

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All you need to make the houses are:  sturdy paper or cardboard plates, large paper cups (or small, depending on who the houses are for),  and any decorating materials you can dig up or find in your junk bin inclulding: sequins, pipe cleaners, wrapping paper, egg crates, cocktail umbrellas, playdough, buttons, bottle caps, pasta, shells, aluminum foil………………..whatever you can find. 

Help them or let them cut a door in the cup.  (Lots of kids at the party left the doors attached on top and bent them up to make a “porch.”)  Then, have them cut a circle of colorful paper or wrapping paper and glue it on the bottom of their plate.  Now, they can decorate their house.  It works best if they glue the house onto the plate after it’s fully decorated.  Some kids used play dough to make the house stay in place, but craft glue worked pretty well too.  Finally, they can decorate the “yard” and furnish the house.  Your child might enjoy creating  a whole zoo of  “habitats” for plastic animals, or a Polly Pocket campsite using the cups as tents. 

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Once again, you may be tempted to make one yourself.  Finding your inner child is one of the many great things about being a parents.

Spring Dioramas (or What to do with Stale Peeps)

April 11, 2009

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Some kids love Peeps and some kids hate them.  We almost always end up with stale marshmallow animals and leftover jellybeans.  Today, we did this project while I boiled eggs to dye, but it would be a great way to use some of that Easter basket grass, uneaten candy and marshmallow chicks.  You could also hit the after-Easter sales and get Peeps really “cheep.” (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)  If your kids devour all of their candy, they could make animals for their dioramas using play dough, sculpting clay or even cotton balls.

All you need are: paper plates, glue, Easter basket grass or shredded paper, crayons, Peeps or something similar, jelly beans, egg cartons, twigs, play dough, rocks, craft bin stuff, and anything else you can think of.

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Have your child color the plate green, or whatever color they choose.  My kids also drew ponds and rabbit holes on their plates.  Then, let them start gluing stuff on.  We used old play dough to make the twigs stand up like trees.  Cut-up egg cartons made great nests and “caves” for their animals.  My six year old daughter did sort of a minimalist scene, while my three year old crammed her diorama  (and her mouth) with everything she could get her hands on. 

Sweet!

Shakermadoodle

April 5, 2009

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I asked my daughter what she would call this project, and she instantly replied “a shakermadoodle.”  My three and six year old daughters had a terrific time making their shakermadoodles, which were inspired by an article I saw in a magazine.  (I think it was Parent and Child magazine.)  They are still adding trinkets to it as I type (singleton Polly Pocket shoes, broken Star Wars toys, and other tiny useless junk that they refuse to throw away.)

You will need a plastic bottle,  enough rice or popcorn to fill it, and any tiny non-precious objects your child can find to put in the bottle.  I saw this as an opportunity to clean out the junk drawer, but we also raided our craft bin for old buttons, ribbon and beads.  Small plastic animals, cars or dinosaurs would be great too, if they fit through the mouth of the bottle and your child doesn’t mind.  Small birthday party favors and beads from broken bracelets can finally find a new home!  

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We used a Gatorade bottle from our recycling bin since it had a nice, wide mouth, but you can use any plastic bottle.  Just make sure it’s dry, so the grain doesn’t mold!  Fill the bottle most of the way to the top with rice or popcorn.  Then have your child add the objects they have collected, close the bottle and shake it up.  When they are finished adding things, you can fill the bottle with more rice or popcorn, but don’t fill it to the top or the grain won’t be able to move around freely.  Seal it with duct tape. 

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Kids will remember what they put in the bottle and have a great time trying to locate them.  It’s a great toy to throw in the car for a fussy child emergency!  You could even add a few things that remind them of you, if you want to make it a toy to help with separation anxiety.

Cranberry garlands

November 20, 2008

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Before I had children, I would buy wire frames and painstakingly weave lovely evergreens to them to create Martha Stewart-like wreaths.  I also designed and hand-made our Christmas Cards every year.  Now, I struggle to get my photo cards in the mail and I buy my wreaths at Costco.  I sometimes mourn the loss of my lovely adult arts and crafts.  However, I’m comforted by the fact that I’m blessed with three children who fill our holidays with more joy and beauty than any decoration could ever bring.  I’d trade anything for a handprint turkey made by my two year old!

This year, I decided that we would make cranberry garlands.  They’re pretty, environmentally friendly, and will look nice for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, assuming they age well.  (I’m not sure that they will, but I’ll take the risk.) 

You will need fresh cranberries, fishing line and a yarn needle.  Yarn needles are plastic, not too sharp and can be purchased at craft and fabric stores.  I bought 7cm needles. (Susan Bates brand to be exact.) Make sure the eye isn’t too big, or it will ruin the cranberries.

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I simply pulled a yard or so of fishing line out from the spool and taped it to the spool so that no more could unwind.  Then, I knotted the free end of the fishing line to the needle so it wouldn’t pull off and had my kids start stringing.  It was a little challenging for our two-year old, but she could do it with help!

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You can make the garlands as long as you like.  Just tie them off when they are the length you want.  I’m going to string them on the chandelier in our dining room for Thanksgiving.  We may make a few strings for our Christmas tree too.  It would be a great project for people sitting around watching football, assuming they’re not on a white couch!  When the cranberries are ready to be tossed, I’ll just cut the string and slide them into my compost!

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Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy the people you love!