Tag Archives: toddlers

Our Craft Sheet

sheet1

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. 

sh9

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

sh6

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

sh2

Sometimes it’s washable paint, sometimes not. 

sh10

The sheet looks different every year and every project. 

sh7

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. 

sh3

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. 

sh4

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. 

sh5

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.  :)

sh8

 

8 Comments

Filed under crafts, happy stuff

Easy, Sturdy (Free) Building Blocks!

Here’s a little project that we’ve been doing for years.

These fun blocks are so easy!

I was planning on making a set of building blocks for Fiona for Christmas, but she kept trying to manhandle the presents under the tree so I decided to make her a set of “presents” of her own. 

It worked like a charm!

Here’s all you do:

  1. Save your cartons of drinks like almond milk and orange juice.  You’ll need two cartons for each block.
  2. Cut off the top.  Rinse and dry.
  3. Fit one carton into another (open ends facing each other), so that the block is closed on all sides.  This also makes it very sturdy, since it’s basically doubled up.
  4. Wrap with wrapping paper or cover with contact paper.  If you use paper, you can seal it with clear contact paper.  You can also tape on family pictures, magazine pages or other fun images before sealing with contact paper.

That’s it!  You can change them whenever you like by simply wrapping them with a new wrapping paper or covering with another layer of paper and contact paper. 

When my bigger kids were little, I made a “marble” set with marble contact paper so it looked like they were building stone buildings. 

You can also use little individual milk cartons (like school lunch size) to make alphabet blocks.  :)

 

1 Comment

Filed under crafts

A Little Online Art Fun

Have you tried Brushster with your kids yet?  This free painting program from the National Gallery of Art lets kids paint with a variety of “brushes” online, or they can click a button to watch the program create art on its own.

NGA has tons of other cool art programs too.  Check out the list here!

Happy Tuesday!

Leave a comment

Filed under neat stuff elsewhere

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!

2 Comments

Filed under activities, crafts

Quick Bath Fun

Here’s a simple way to make baths a little more fun (and colorful!).

Freeze some colored water in muffin tins or other medium sized containers, and then add a few to the kids’ baths when you want to make things a little more interesting.

They melt pretty fast but it sure is fun while they do!

 

5 Comments

Filed under activities, crafts

Snow Day!

We got a wee bit of snow around these parts recently.

I used the opportunity to have a bit of snow fun at the dining room table.

I had my faithful assistant, Victoria, go get bowls full of fresh snow and fill an under-the-bed storage container with it.

Then I put it on the table with an assortment of little cars and a bulldozer for Alex to do a version of Lonni’s shaving cream snow plow idea from the silly assignment day.


He plowed for a while but his hands got too cold, so we moved on.

First I packed down the snow and gave him a big paintbrush, a jar of water (right in the tub, so spills wouldn’t matter) and some watercolor paints.  He painted the snow for a bit, but it was a bit tricky.  So we moved on.

I put out a muffin tin of water and added primary colors to three of them, and then we made all different colors in the cups.  I gave Jack, Victoria and Alex all pipettes (like tiny medicine droppers, I get them in bulk from a science surplus store for science and art fun!) and they squeezed colors to their hearts’ contents.


It was a colorful, artistic, crazy bunch of fun.


Even I got into the act!


I  highly recommend it next time you have a bit of the white stuff to deal with.  If you don’t have any snow, try mixing up anything white in a similar container and dropping colored water on it.  Dry rice, pale sand, shaving cream… Lots of things would be fun to experiment with!

In my book, any activity that involves pipettes and colored water is a good idea.  :)


8 Comments

Filed under activities

Make Some Homemade Do-a-Dot Markers!

I love this idea for homemade do-a-dot markers from Counting Coconuts!

I think I’ve seen it before but my brain is a bit like a collander these days and things are constantly new to me again.  ;)

These work a little differently than the store-bought kind, but I’m guessing that kids will have at least as much fun if not more with this design.


What a fun craft to do on a lazy winter day!

Leave a comment

Filed under crafts, neat stuff elsewhere

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling…

We painted our bathroom recently, and when I was finished with the mini paint roller I knew just what I wanted to do with it.


Crafts!


We coated some cardboard with aluminum foil and made palettes, and then I squirted various colors of tempera paint for the kids to roll — sometimes onto paper plates and sometimes right onto the “canvas.”


Alex loved it.  There was color mixing, mushing, and plain old messy fun.

Jack and Anna loved it too, especially with Q-tips to draw on the palettes.

Jack even took the opportunity to practice his cursive, tracing and copying his name after I wrote it out for him.

I highly recommend it!  Even if you don’t paint your bathroom first.  :)

Happy weekend!


1 Comment

Filed under crafts

The Puddle Stomping Personality Test

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a store full of very breakable objects with a small boy.

Being a sensible sort, I left my friends and older kids to continue browsing and took my small boy outside.

We looked for things to do while the others smelled every scented candle in Lincoln, Nebraska.  This included running games…


thinking games…


and eventually led to…

Puddles.

Now, I knew puddle stomping would not be a particularly good idea on that particular day.

It was COLD out.  They were big puddles.  We didn’t have extra shoes, socks or pants.  Alex would get cold.

And he’d also get happy.

Life is short.

I let him stomp.

And stomp.

And stomp.

While Alex stomped, I noticed the reactions of people passing by.  There were three types:

1.  Those who were delighted at the sight and broke into big grins.

2.  Those who looked horrified, no doubt thinking how cold and wet he was going to be soon or what a mess he was making of himself.

3.  Those who were so busy they didn’t notice at all.

It was very interesting watching their faces!  Many of the second group looked around to spot me, no doubt thinking that I must not have noticed what he was up to.  I swear they wanted to yell at him themselves!

I loved watching the first group, and just felt a little sorry for the last group.  But mostly I just loved watching Alex in his absolute delight.

And I also knew that he was going to be wet and cold when he was finished, and we had a lot left to do in the day and no warm clothes.

Some parents would take this opportunity to teach him about “natural consequences” and let him be wet and cold and miserable for the rest of the day.  I’m not that sort of parent.  I didn’t want his fun to be at a price learned at the tender age of three about the steep price of having fun, mister.

The nice thing about outdoor malls is that there are lots of stores!  And while we get most of our clothes from thrift stores and garage sales, I know my way around a Gap well enough to know that there’s almost always something on clearance.

So when our friends were finished, we made a quick stop for a rather darling, warm pair of striped pants at the unbeatable price of $2.99 and he was nearly good as new.


(Okay, he went bare footed for a while and I carried his shoes.  Shoes were a lot more than 2.99!)

I love those pants now.  They remind me of a joyful afternoon and the sort of mama I strive to be.  And the sort of passer-by.  :)




21 Comments

Filed under happy stuff

Colored Water Busywork

Here’s a simple way I keep my boys happy when they’re bored and I need a few minutes to finish supper.  Fill an ice cube tray or muffin tin with water (half full) and add a few drops of food coloring to about half of the cups (put a towel underneath for little ones who are prone to spills).  Then give them eye droppers or medicine droppers to mix and match the colors.

This is surprisingly fun for kids and very calming for my boys.  They love to make a rainbow of colors and shades.

They can also drop the colors onto coffee filters, newspaper, light colored construction paper or other absorbent paper to make patterns with the colors.

It’s simple fun, with a little color theory tossed in!

Want to add to the fun?  Tint white vinegar instead, and then give them each a little bowl of baking soda with a baby spoon afterwards.  They can add a tiny scoop of baking soda to each cup and see what happens!  In color! :)

2 Comments

Filed under activities