Thursday, October 4, 2012

Halloween Crafting (Rewind) Week: Ghostly Sponge Prints

Hi friends! I have another one of last years Halloween projects to share with you today and since it seems I have run out of photos from 2011's crafting, this printing craft will finish up the week of "Halloween Rewind."

Like the potato printing craft I shared a earlier, this activity is so super easy, lemon squeezey!

All you need is black construction paper, white paint, sponges and scissors (black marker is optional). You will start by cutting out a few various ghostly shapes from a sponge. My 5 year old drew a few ghost shapes directly onto the sponge with a marker and I cut them out for him. 

Next you can get on with the sponge painting (remember when sponge printing to t-shirts was popular in the early 90's...or maybe that's just what my siblings and I liked to believe as we snatched ever blank top from of dresser drawers just so we could stick a paint-dipped sponge to it). Anyway, dip the sponge in a plate of white paint and then transfer to your construction paper (you may have to dampen the sponge slightly before adding paint if it is too hard or not pliable). If you want to add faces to the ghosts when they dry you can do that too.

I realize these last few projects aren't blow-your-mind creative or original but I think simple crafts are great time fillers for kids before running errands, after a nap, or whatever. Your kids might even be old enough to mostly guide themselves with crafts like these while you catch up on emails nearby. Hopefully you will be inspired to fit a quick project into your child's schedule this week.

Check out some of our other Halloween crafts HERE.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Halloween Crafting (Rewind) Week: Startling Spiders

It's October 3rd! That means project #3 from last year's Halloween projects collection. If I remember correctly I think we actually pulled this project from an old Halloween crating book we had checked out from the library.

To create these startling spiders YOU WILL NEED:
Paper egg cartons
Paint brushes and black paint (like a liquid tempera)
Black pipe cleaners
Scissors to cut pipe cleaners
Googly eyes
Glue for eyes
Yarn for hanging

After cutting apart our egg cartons into individual pieces, we painted them using black paint which you don't have to do if you prefer grey spiders. The paint we used was not a very good quality so when it dried it came out looking grey anyway. 

After the paint dried we poked four holes on two parallel sides of the carton piece using a thick needle--you could also use the end of a thin paintbrush (adults should preform this step however). If you want to hang your spiders you will also want to poke a hole in the top of the carton at this point and sting a long piece of yarn through the hole, knotting the yarn on the underside end of the carton. When that's done you can cut regular sized pipe cleaners in half and have the kids insert them into the holes diagonally (pipe cleaner inserted in top left hole should come out bottom right hole, pipe cleaner inserted in middle left hole should come out middle right hole, etc. See picture above for sample). Bend the wire slightly to form spider-like legs.

The last step is to glue on the googly eyes and hang them from the doorways of your home to startle your family members and guests.

Check out some of our other Halloween crafts HERE.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween Crafting (Rewind) Week: Pumpkin Potato-Prints

If you like simple crafting projects with very little set-up and clean-up then this project is for you.
With 4 simple ingredients your kids can create their own jack-o-lantern characters to adorn your walls for a little Halloween spirit. 

You will need:
Potato halves
Orange Paint (we use a liquid tempera paint because it's washable)
Paper to print on
Paint pens or sharpies to give your pumpkins stems and character

I think you can figure out the step-by-step from the pictures alone (in spite of really bad lighting) but I will explain my process because I do have a couple tips.

I started by cutting 3 washed potatoes in half, drying off the exposed potato with a paper towel so the paint could stick and then I set them on a plate filled with orange paint. I also cut a bunch of strips of paper from a large pad of newsprint I had lying around. Next, each child grabbed a potato and began stamping their paper, it takes a few tries to figure out the right about of paint needed for each print.  

Since this project is so easy, my kids jammed through about 6 sheets each, printing about 6 pumpkins on one sheet in a very short amount of time (my kids were 3 and 5 at the time). The paint we used dried pretty quickly at which point the kids began coloring faces on their pumpkins using paint pens (you could use markers, they just have to be dark enough to color over the orange paint). Hang up your prints and throw out the potatoes, that's all there is to it!

Oh yeah, make sure you write the child's name on the paper before printing. All the artwork comes out looking very much the same and it will be hard to remember what paper belongs to what artist (obviously this won't matter to you if you're not working with more than one crafter). Also,  if you think you might want to keep any of the artwork on a long term basis, you should use a nice study paper that can handle thick paint. I used newsprint because I expected I would throw these out shortly after my kids completed the project but some of them turned out so cute I would have framed them to add to our collection of Halloween decor. As you can see above, the newsprint paper wrinkled quite a bit. Other than that, there's not much else to say. Happy Crafting.

Check out some of our other Halloween crafts HERE.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Halloween Crafting (Rewind) Week: Spooky Sensory Table

Hi friends! Wow, it's been a while since I have posted any of the projects my kids and I have been working on. We are still usual, I just haven't made the time for sharing. Maybe that needs to change...maybe not, I'll have to mull over that for a bit. Either way I have designated this week as a posting week because it's the month of OCTOBER, our most favorite crafting month of the year! All of the projects I will be posting this week are activities that we actually did LAST year but I happened to have pictures and I didn't want the images to go to waste. Maybe next year I will post this years Halloween crafts, only time will tell.

This first project is not so much a craft but it's a nice activity for toddlers/preschoolers that should last through the whole month. Using uncooked black beans as the main ingredient you can make your very own Halloween themed sensory table (and if you've never stuck your hand in a pit of dry beans, I feel sorry for you)!

To our beans I added some tiny black cat and ghost erasers that the kids could dig out using sorting tweezers  then using an egg carton they sorted the erasers by quantity and/or type. This time a year is a great for finding Halloween trinkets that are perfectly sized to throw in a sensory table. Check out the dollar spot at your local Target and see what you can find.

If you can't find anything to your liking you can buy some white beans and use a black marker to draw a face for an instant ghost. I made a small handful of bean-ghosts and buried them at the bottom of the bin so the kids had to hunt for them. 

This activity is extremely simple and yet entertaining for young growing brains. It's pretty easy to come up with sorting or counting games and as a bonus it is themed after the best holiday of the year (in our opinion).

P.S. You can find sorting tweezers at many boutique style toy stores, learning supply store or even online. They are great for fine motor and fun for kids to use. Also, if your curious, our sensory tables were homemade using a bin and turned-upside-down-nightstand we got at Ikea (we got the idea from THIS Ikea hack. They were so affordable we made three!).

Check out some of our other Halloween crafts HERE.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Building a Leprechaun Trap

We get a lot of Leprechauns sneaking around our house about this time every year so it's become tradition to begin Leprechaun trap construction the first week of March. 

Hendrix knew exactly what he wanted his trap to look like. He drew out a sketch for me so I could help him put his plan into action.  

As you can see from the sketch, the Leprechaun climbs the ladder and makes his way toward the pot of fake gold but falls into a hole before ever reaching it, landing on a cushion of feathers in the trap compartment.

We used two boxes for the body of our trap (one of them being a cereal box) which we cut circular holes into before adhering them together. We painted the whole thing green and then decorated it with items from our craft box and shamrock stickers we bought at the craft store.

We made a ladder from craft sticks and added a couple signs that said things opposite of what we wanted the leprechauns to do—reverse psychology works great on leprechauns you know. Lastly we layered a pile of feathers to the bottom of the box so the leprechaun could land on something soft. It took about 3 days to finish our trap working on it about 20 minutes a day, we are very devoted trap makers!

The final product came out working and looking quite similar to the blueprint sketch with one exception; we ended up not needed a third box for stability because our bottom box was large enough to carry the weight of the box on top.

In all our trap making we have never caught a leprechaun but we are hoping this is our lucky year. If not, we know we'll probably at least end up with some chocolate gold coins like years past. In fact, we have already collected a few coins near the tiny green footprints we have found.
Is Leprechaun trap making one of your traditions or on your crafting agenda this month? Please, do share.

P.S. Sewfixated wins a bag of pom-poms and googley eyes for answering the question to my question on the Warm Fuzzy post. Please email me your address and I will get it in the mail right away!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Warm Fuzzies

Despite the fact that February has been declared the month of love, last month’s sibling rivalry record was at all time high in these parts. Tearing two children apart from one another as they are in a battle to determine who has been given the most granola in their yogurt cup can be a little tiring.

In an effort to recognize the good deeds that take place in the home (because surely my children express their love for each other on occasion) and perhaps as a subtle attempt to instigate sibling bonding as opposed to sibling demolishing, I decided to start documenting daily acts of kindness in a way that my children would be known participants.  So, we started a warm fuzzy jar.

Each warm fuzzy in the jar represents an thoughtful act performed by a member in the family. For instance, say Hendrix offers to share his skittles with Avi without being asked; warm fuzzy. Or say Avi brings Hendrix a blanket after Drix expresses he is cold; warm fuzzy. Make sense? OK, good.

Warm fuzzies are reserved specifically for those from-the goodness-of-your-heart moments. I don’t add a warm fuzzy to the jar for any expected good behavior like taking dishes to the sink after a meal or brushing teeth. I also don’t remove warm fuzzies from the jar for any reason, once a fuzzy is granted, in the jar it stays. Although warm fuzzies are “earned” it’s less a reward system and more an attempt to acknowledge our efforts in loving more. That being said, I thought it might be a good idea to do something fun together as a family when the jar is full because I do want to show my appreciation for simple acts of kindness.

Before introducing the warm fuzzy jar to my kids, I had them help me glue googly eyes to colored pop-poms and afterwards I told them the warm fuzzy story I was so fond of in my grade school days. The version of the story I have (to paraphrase) chronicles the lives a of happy and loving townspeople who express their love to one another in the form of warm fuzzies. The fuzzies are given and received freely until a false rumor is spread about a shortage of warm fuzzies. The rumor causes the townspeople to become greedy and self-seeking as they begin to hoard and lock up their warm fuzzies. The tale ends in good moral, when a young child offers a warm fuzzy to a friend in despair which reminds the townspeople of the strength and love that was once a part of their village and the fuzzies are given freely once again. (This is my favorite adaptation of the fable but I was unable to find it online so if you email me, I’d be happy to send you a digital copy.)

What about you, what kind of things do you do to decrease sibling rivalry in your home? I’m seriously asking here—please don't tell me I am the only mother who has children that fight. Thanks in advance for your great advice!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thumb-Body Likes You

Well, last weeks posting didn't exactly go as planned considering there weren't any. Shorty following my commitment to share our valentine-y projects, we all became incredible ill—like stuck-in-the-hospital-for-a-good-part-of-last-week ill. Since we are finally on the mend I thought I would share a few simple activities for you to try out this month that aren't necessarily specific to Valentines Day.

The first thing I wanted to share with you is an activity book that Hendrix received for Christmas; a fingerprint drawing book by Ed Emberly. Did you have any Ed Emberly drawing books when you were little? They've been around for quite some time. These thumb print books are adorable and have gobs of how-to's for creating little characters using your fingerprints and markers or pens.

You can use any washable stamp pad for fingerprint making but we found a great little finger pad and sponge kit at Lakeshore that works quite well. Hendrix has been creating thumb and fingerprint creatures on a weekly basis since Christmas.

If you don't already have this book, I highly recommend it for your little ones. (We have an Ed Emberly drawing book too that is equally adored).  

Because this activity has become a household favorite as of late we decided to incorporate this craft in Drix's Valentines by making thumb print hearts with the slogan: "Thumb-body likes you."

Hendrix wanted to give out home made heart crayons again this year so we wrapped up a small bundles of crayons in tissue paper and then attached two tags with bakers twine.

One tag said Happy Valentines Day and the other tag had Hendrix's thumb (or finger) stamped message. These Valentines were simple enough for Hendrix to help me through the entire process and it was cute that each tag came out a little different.
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