Category Archives: crafts

Oodles of Nutcracker Kids’ Crafts!

nutcracker-kids-crafts

Miss Fiona and her daddy have a tradition this time of year of watching The Nutcracker and reading picture books about nutcrackers.  Daryl also has a collection of nutcrackers that the kids love to play with.

Last week, Fiona asked me if she could spend her money on a nutcracker for daddy.  The nutcracker in question was overpriced and badly made, so I offered to help her make him a nutcracker instead.  She loved the idea and I was on the hunt for some fun and easy nutcracker crafts.

Here are the best that I found, in case your kiddos would like to make some nutcrackers of their own.

Sophie World has this easy printable nutcracker that kids color and then glue to a toilet paper tube.  Add embellishments like buttons, feathers, pompoms and even a toothpick sword if you like.  It’s a bit tricky to find the PDF — click on “stats” to find it.

Nutcracker-toilet tube roll

Learn Create Love has a printable nutcracker that kids can color and then cut out and assemble.

nutcracker printable

Playground Park Bench has a rather elaborate Nutcracker and mouse battle tic tac toe game made of clothespins that you can make with the kids.  I’m not sure we need to buy all the parts and do it that fancy, but I’m thinking we could use some clothespins and craft supplies around the house to make our own kid versions.

Nutcracker-Game-Playing-Tic-Tac-Toe-with-Toy-Soldiers

Schooling a Monkey shows how to make cute little craft stick nutcracker characters.

Nutcracker-Craft-popsicle-stick

Crafty Morning uses popsicle sticks, paper and clothespins to make some very cute kid-made nutcrackers.

nutcracker-christmas-craft-for-kids

Glued to My Crafts has a sweet paper plate nutcracker for kids to craft.

nutcracker-paper-plate

Fireflies and Mudpies shows how to make a toy soldier ornament with craft sticks and paint.

nutcracker-Toy-Soldier-Ornament

And I am in love with these darling nutcracker portraits shared on smArt Class.

nutcracker-drawings

She also shared this video to show kids how to draw their own nutcrackers.

 

 

Deviant Art’s CyberDrone has a printable nutcracker cube kids can have fun assembling, too.

nutcracker_cube

Lastly, Mom Junction has an assortment of Nutcracker themed coloring pages to print out for the kids to color.

nutcracker-coloring-pages

And with that, I’m off to do a billion nutcracker crafts with a happy little girl.

 

 

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10 Ways to Make Today Magical

Happy Monday! 

It’s been too long since I’ve popped in and I’m once again resolving to find a way to do so more regularly. 

So let’s start by getting back to some ways to make the day more magical.  🙂

Here are 10 ways to make a little magic this week…

1. Go on a nature scavenger hunt.  I have a free fall nature scavenger hunt printable page here that you can use, or you can make up your own.

October nature find

2.  Make a leaf crown!  All you need are some pretty leaves (nothing else!) and about five minutes to make a gorgeous leaf crown.  Here’s a short video showing how to do it.

3.  Teach your child how to make a favorite recipe.  Even little kids can learn to make simple things like sandwiches, and big kids love to learn how to cook fancier dishes. 

fiona pizza sauce

4.  Go see a free presentation.  Local libraries, museums, schools and other community centers tend to sponsor all kinds of free talks on everything from butterflies to meteor showers to prohibition.  See if you can find some upcoming talks that your kids would be interested in and go learn something new together.

alex still

5.  Make up some homemade instant hot cocoa mix.  I shared our basic recipe in the Instagram post below. You can adapt the formula to make it vegan, sugar free or otherwise meet your dietary needs and preferences (chime in if you have a favorite paleo version!).  Adjust the proportions until you find the proper ratio for your tastes and then you have your own personal hot cocoa mix that the kids can mix up when they want to warm up with something sweet.

6.  Help your child start a collection.  Kids love to collect things — any things!  Some of our kids’ favorite collections over the years have been rocks, artist trading cards, bugs and bottle caps (Jack’s favorite collection).  You can even collect non-physical things, like types of clouds you’ve spotted (check out The Cloud Collector’s Handbook for a great book for doing that!).

bottle caps

7.  Have some fun with photo apps.  We created this fun picture of Alex with the free Photo Labs app.  Or just open up Snapchat and take some fun selfies together.  Print out and frame your favorite, if you like.

alex comic

8.  Leaf a message.  Use pretty leaves to write sweet or silly messages outside and see who will wander onto them!

View this post on Instagram

#justbecause #leafamessage

A post shared by Sharizat (@sharizat_eats) on

9.  Make some marbleized fall leaves.  Even if you don’t have fall leaves where you live (or not right now), you can make some gorgeous ones with your kiddos.  Apartment Therapy tells you how to use shaving cream, acrylic paint and watercolor paper to make these pretty leaves.

marbelized leaves

10. Have an early morning picnic and watch the sunrise together.  Get up a little early and grab something simple like muffins and a thermos of hot tea and go sit and watch the sunrise together.  You can watch from the back yard, your balcony, the roof of your apartment, a local park, or even pulled over in the car in a pretty area on your way to work and school.  Take some time to just talk and soak in the beauty. 

photo of toddler standing near lake

Photo by Káťa Prouzová on Pexels.com

And with that, my pretties, I’m off to find some food for a hungry little girl and try to wrestle my house in order.

Have a magical week!

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Shrunken Apple Heads!

Here’s a fun little science and nature craft just in time for Halloween.  The kids and I made shrunken apple heads this month and it’s been great fun watching them change over time.

shrunken apple heads

All you need are some apples (we used imperfect ones off a generous neighbor’s tree), salt and lemon juice.

First peel your apples.  You can leave a little on the top and bottom like a little hat and scarf.

Then give your child some carving tools (a chopstick, grapefruit spoon or pen knife all work well, depending on your child’s age and skill level with tools).  You can trace your design first with a pen or pencil, if you like.

Carve out a face, making sure to make each feature large since they will shrink up and collapse somewhat.

shrunken apple head

Then mix up some salt and lemon juice and apply it all over, especially in the parts you’ve carved out.  This will prevent mold and also protect them from getting too brown.  If you like, you can talk to the kids about how salt has been used for thousands of years to preserve foods and other things, and how acids like lemon juice slow oxidation (browning caused by a chemical reaction when substances react with oxygen).

preserving shrunken apple head

Now just put your apple heads somewhere to dry.  Choose a location where you can watch them and keep up with how they change.

Have fun!

 

 

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Make a Daisy Chain or Flower Crown!

Do you know how to make a daisy chain or flower crown?  It’s incredibly easy and so fun!

There are several classic ways to make a flower crown:  the slit stem, braided, and woven.  Here are the simple instructions to do all three.

Method #1 — Split stem

dandelion-crown

  1. Trim flower stems to about 4 inches. Use a fingernail to make a small slit in the bottom half of each stem.
  2. Thread one stem through the slit in the next, creating a chain. Continue, adding flowers to reach desired length. To form a circle or crown, make a second slit in the stem of the first flower, and slip the last flower through it.

If you like visuals, here’s a quick video that shows the split stem method of making a daisy chain.

Method #2 — Braided

This method makes a more tightly knit flower crown or daisy chain, and is a bit more durable.  Simply braid three stems together for about an inch, and then add in more flowers to the braid.

how to make daisy chain crowns

Creative Green Living has a lovely step-by-step tutorial with lots of photos.

 

Method #3 — Woven

daisy chain

This is another easy way to make a flower crown.  Simply wrap one stem around the flower of the next, pull both stems to the side, and add another.  Wrap that stem around the first two, pull all three stems to the side, and continue.  As stems end, they will be woven into the line well enough to stay put.  To finish, wrap the last flower around the first flower and the end of the chain, forming a circle.

And here’s a short video that shows the woven method of making a flower crown.

Our Annalee (Rhiannon Lee, known these days as Rhia) also made a simple rose crown years ago and shared the instructions here on Magical Childhood.

rose crown

Have fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Free Vintage Drawing Book!

Here’s a wonderful, whimsical freebie to help kids (and parents!) learn to draw.

draw

What to Draw and How to Draw was written in 1913 by E.G. Lutz and is one of the public domain books from the New York Public Library on Open Archive online.

The 78-page book is full of old-fashioned, simple drawings for children, such as a castles, fish, birds, cats, all different people and toy soldiers, among many others.

The book also contains simple instructions such as how to paint in watercolor, draw a five-pointed star and create ovals and ellipses.

Here are a few of the whimsical drawing lessons.

draw3

draw6

draw2

The book is copyright free and was uploaded by volunteers. You can read it online with your kids, or download it as a free pdf file, e-reader file, Kindle ebook, and more.

draw1

draw7

draw9

draw10

Have fun!

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Signs of Love

love-is-love-is-love-1500x1274

Here’s a sweet art project that’s perfect for the times right now.

Girls to the Moon offers instructions for how to make Signs of Acceptance to show people that you care about them and are on their side.

The site says:

What are some words you could say to let people know they are safe with you?

If you felt left out, what could someone say to you to make you feel more included?

If you could make a sign to let people know you will always accept and include them, what would it say?

This project, Signs of Acceptance, turns your favorite words, phrases, slogans, and symbols of inclusivity into beautiful pieces of art you can display at home, school or work.

Better yet: Give it to friend, a local business, or leave it in a public place for someone to find as a nice surprise!

All you need are some basic supplies like foam boards (from grocery store packaging), paper and paint.

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What a great way to combine art and kindness, which we could all use a little more of right now.

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If you do this with your kiddos, please feel free to post links or pics!

 

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Don’t Let the Pigeon Make Some Crafts!

Do you have Mo Willems fans in your family?  We are huge fans of all of his books, but especially the pigeon books.

I found this adorable craft today via the Learning with Literature group Pinterest board.

With lots of other adorable pigeon ideas at the lovely blog it’s from, Diary of a First Grade Teacher.

And she led to me This and That at the Library, which had the printable to make the toilet tube pigeons.

The Learning with Literature board also had this adorable balloon craft from Shauna Lynn, along with a ton of sweet birthday ideas.

  

Even with their own cardboard bus!

So I went looking for some more pigeon fun and found this darling handprint paint craft at Mommy and Me Book Club.

And this idea for making hand puppets to retell the story, off of Pinterest (no link, just an image).

And another bus from another birthday party over at Two Little Birds and a Bug.

Then I found a Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus Printable over at Plants and Pillars.

Learning with Miss Jenny has two wonderful crafts, a popsicle stick puppet activity and a craft where kids can make their own pigeon and recommend what the next book should be called.

And then Coffee Cups and Crayons has this adorable playdough pigeon kit!

The Best Children’s Books has this tutorial for kids to draw their own pigeons.

And Libraryland has this neat printable pigeon writing activity.

 (Best answer ever, Jordan!)

And the official Pigeon Presents has all sorts of other fun, from online activities to monthly coloring pages to an 8 page teacher’s guide and more (the Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! 10th Birthday Celebration Activity Kit is especially fun!).

I know what we’re doing next week!

Have fun!

 

 

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