Tag Archives: easy crafts

Our Craft Sheet

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Those who have been reading Magical Childhood for a while know that I often recommend sheet painting.  It’s even one of the first crafts I put up on the original Magical Childhood site.

We have been using an old white bed sheet for crafts and sheet painting for over a dozen years now. 

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In the summer time, we hang it on the clothes line and the kids use paint to decorate it. 

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Sometimes we put it on the ground and they decorate it with their feet. 

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Sometimes it’s washable paint, sometimes not. 

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The sheet looks different every year and every project. 

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In the winter time and on rainy days, the sheet is our art tablecloth.  It doesn’t matter how messy or staining an activity is, because if it stains the craft sheet it just adds more character and another memory. 

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I love my craft sheet and it makes me smile every time I spread it on the table or hang it on the line for another round of staining. 

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It’s so amazing to look at little one year old Fiona using it now and remembering when her teenage sisters were making those stains. 

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You can use any old flat bed sheet for an art cloth or pick one up for a dollar or two from a thrift store. 

I highly recommend starting your own. 

You’ll never find another bunch of stains to make you smile more.  :)

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Colorful Shaving Cream Fun!

I’m very sorry for my long absence! 

Five year-old Alex had a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy last week and the recovery has been really hard on him.  We’ve also been out of town to celebrate my birthday and to meet with doctors at the Mayo for my husband to get a long-overdue new hip.  Also, a friend (and magical mama to six kids) died suddenly (click here if you would like to help the family), and I just didn’t feel up to writing for a long time.

But times like these mean we need more magic for our kids (and us), so I’m back on my feet to do my best.

This morning, I got out the shaving cream and food coloring for Alex to have a bit of messy fun. 

I sprayed his name in shaving cream and then had him smooth it out, then dropped about 3 drops of each color (red, blue, green, red) on various parts. 

He used his finger to swirl the colors, then used chopsticks and spoons, making colorful mountains and experimenting with lots of color mixing.

It was a huge hit!  His brother joined in the fun for a while too, and then helped clean it all up. 

I hear it’s good for wood tables, too.  I have no proof, but our 50 year-old wood table can pretty much handle anything at this point.  :)

This craft works marvelously well in the bath, too, of course!

Hug your kiddos, count your blessings, and make the most of every second that you get with these amazing little people (and the amazing big ones, too).

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Colorful Baking Soda Busywork

Here’s a fun way to occupy the kids in a bubbly, colorful way.

Do some baking soda and vinegar experiments but add color!

You’ll need:

  • A box of baking soda per child (ours cost about .50 a box and we bought a bunch)
  • 1-2 cups of white vinegar (generally under a dollar)
  • Food coloring
  • One cake pan or similar container per child
  • Muffin tin (regular size if two kids will be sharing it the way ours did, or mini muffin size would be enough for one child — an ice cube tray would work too)
  • Eye droppers or pipettes (one per child)

Instructions:

  1. Fill the muffin tins half full with the vinegar, and tint each cup with a different color of food coloring.  We usually leave one clear so kids can mix a custom color.
  2. Pour one box of baking soda into a cake pan for each child.  Smooth out.
  3. Spread an old towel on the table (or do it outside) and put the cake pan(s), muffin tin and eye droppers on it.
  4. Show kids how to squeeze the eye droppers in the colored vinegar to fill them up, then have them drizzle and drop it on the baking soda to watch what happens.

This large amount of baking soda means that kids can happily do the activity for a good long time, making this a perfect activity for while you’re making lunch or taking a break. 

Kids can also experiment with things like pushing the eye dropper under the baking soda and then squeezing (tiny volcanoes!) and so on.

Science info:  Want to know why baking soda and vinegar bubble up?  Explain to the kids that carbon dioxide is released when acids (like vinegar) and bases (like baking soda) combine and react to each other.  If they want to do more colorful science to learn about acids and bases, consider the purple cabbage pH experiment (our family’s all time favorite science experiment).  You can also just bake something!  People make cakes and breads rise by either using yeast or relying on the same reaction with ingredients like baking soda and buttermilk. 

Have fun!

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Easy Velcro Blocks

Here’s a fun and inexpensive way to make some neat building blocks for little ones.

Our fabulous friend Jan, a local Head Start teacher, came up with this idea. She purchased a couple of $1 bags of foam blocks from Target and then purchased some adhesive velcro. She cut the velcro into tiny squares and affixed it to most sides of the blocks.

Our boys played with the new sticky blocks yesterday and had great fun.

You could also use the idea with wooden blocks or any number of household objects.

Fun!

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Easy Puffy Paint!

I’ve seen recipes for homemade puffy paint many times over the years, but I never took the time to make it with the kids until today.

What a shame I waited this long!

The kids had a blast and developed lots of ways to use it.

Even Harry Potter crests and pendants!

 

The original instructions were to mix one tablespoon self-rising flour, one tablespoon salt, food coloring and enough water to make a paste, once for each color.

Since I made up little cups for four different children (life is too short to listen to “Mom, Alex mixed all the colors into brown!” and “Hey!  Victoria used all the red up!” all day!), I soon realized that it made much more sense to just mix up:

  • One part self rising flour
  • One part salt
  • Enough water to make a paste

and THEN divide it into muffin tins or ice cube trays and add food coloring!

Either way, all you do is give the kids Q-tips or paint brushes and instruct them to dab it on cardboard.

We used recycled Priority Mail boxes for our canvases, cut into small squares.  You want a nice sturdy canvas.

When the picture is finished, microwave it for about 10 seconds (we did 5 second intervals and occasionally needed longer for really thick and wet paintings).

All four kids had a blast using this stuff and they used it off and on the whole day and into the night.

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday!

Here’s a few ways to make some memories with your kiddos this week….

1.  Have the kids play dress up in their most fanciful clothes and then go on an evening walk around the neighborhood.

2.  Start a snail habitat.  Magical Mama Jen shared this sweet idea years ago for the Magical Childhood newsletter…

I have always loved snails, and while out with Sage a month or so ago, we were looking at snails and how they have 2 sets of antennae, etc…and I thought…why not bring them IN?  Soooo….I searched on the internet to see what snails need to be able ot survive indoors.  All you need is a large container with air holes (of course, lol)  In the bottom, place about an inch of gravel…then a couple inches of soil on top of that.  Place some “greenery” from outside in there…it will root and grow very well….also, give them a rock to play on, lol, and lean a stick in there…..a good idea is to place some moss on some of the soil to help retain moisture for them.  They eat fruit and veggie scraps…..ours love carrot and cucumber, but do NOT like cantaloupe or celery.  It’s been quite educational for us to have them…as well and fun…you can see their mouths open up, they have a row of teeth called a Radula that they rub on food to eat it..very neat to see their open mouths as they stick to the container.  :o)

You should mist their habitat every day or so, keeping their home moist, but not overly so.  Also…the chlorine in water is bad for them, so either leave a container of water open outside for a couple days to let the chlorine evaporate, or boil water for about 10 minutes. (lid off)

You should also clean out their home every week or so…and a tip that I saw on one web site was to put their food on a little piece of wood, or something to that effect, so once it starts to get a little “icky”, you can just take the wood out and rinse it off….much easier than digging around in there with your hands to remove the left overs.

Hope that helps some…if you need more info, try typing “snail habitat” in a search engine….

3.  Go for a walk in the rain with your child.  Umbrellas optional.

4.  Have a bubble relay outside– players blow or carry their bubbles from person to person and start over if they pop.  Alternately, blow a bubble and see if you can work as a team to blow it across a finish line.

5.  Help the kids make these pretty pens from strips of their art or favorite scrapbooking papers.  Chocolate on my Cranium has the super easy instructions.  These could also make sweet gifts for Father’s Day.

6.  Make up a miniature golf course in the backyard or living room.

7.  Throw a fairy party.

8.  Find a patch of clover and find four leaf clovers.  My kids find dozens.  To preserve them, press them between a small, folded piece of waxed paper in a heavy book.

9.  Find some whimsical stickers and help the kids scatter them around the house in half-secret places.  We once used a sheet of dragonfly rub-ons this way and it was so fun to happen upon them.  You can put them inside a dresser drawer or cabinet drawer, on baseboards or mirrors, anywhere.  Make sure they’re removable if you don’t want permanent whimsy!

10.  Make tissue paper resist prints.  The Frugal Family Fun Blog tells you how.

And with that, chickadees, I’m off to pretend to be productive before my doctor’s appointment.  Hopefully we’ll get an ultrasound date this time and we can try to find out a little more about our jumping bean!

Have a magical week!

 

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Acorn Cap + Pen = Instant Fun

We had to kill some time outside with a crowd of antsy kids recently and my ingenious husband whipped up some instant fun to keep them all happy.

He grabbed some acorn caps, stuck them on his fingers and on the children’s, and drew some corresponding faces.  Presto!  Instant finger puppets!

Happy Sunday!

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Five Fun Crafts to Try Soon!

We’re back from Nebraska and I’m slowly catching up writing, laundry, gardening and mess making (ahem, I mean cleaning!).

While I’m doing that, here’s a bit of what’s on my crafty radar this week….

Homemade Puffy Paint

An oldie but goodie… Melted Crayon Art

Not a craft but a recipe we made last weekend… Monkey Squares (note that these contain approximately 85 billion calories, so don’t make them much!) :)

And two crafts from Filth Wizardry!

Giant painted blocks and tissue paper windows (I’d post some lovely pics of these with the links but she doesn’t allow it).

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a little boy to go play in the dirt with and another to get ready for a swimming test.

Happy Thursday!

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How to Make a Rose Petal Crown

Today’s craft comes courtesy of Annalee, who created this lovely rose petal crown as a gift for a friend.

She says that all you have to do is gather some fallen rose petals (or other flower petals) from the ground and then gather a handful of stiff, long grass (the type that’s going to seed and looks like wheat on top).

Poke the stiff end of the grass through the rose petals and spread them loosely, weaving several strands of grass.  Loop them around in a circle and tie the ends or fasten or tuck them.  That’s it!

Here’s a shot of the crown from above, showing how it was fastened.  Anna used pliant clover stems to wrap around the grass ends and tie them in knots.

Isn’t it lovely?  It would be a perfect accessory for a fairy party — or just an afternoon in the back yard!

Happy Sunday!

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Easy, Beautiful Suncatchers!

I am in love with this darling idea from tales from the corner house!  This is just white glue and bits of glass and plastic baubles.  Brilliant and beautiful!

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