Category Archives: neat stuff elsewhere

Oodles of Nutcracker Kids’ Crafts!

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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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Signs of Love

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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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Let’s Learn About the Weather!

There are some wonderful, whimsical freebies out there to help little ones learn about the weather.

Here are some of my favorites!

Paint on the Ceiling has a Free Printable Weather Chart for Preschoolers.

Mr. Printables offers My Weather Station | Printable Weather Activity.

Fantail Digital Art has “My First Weather Chart” Free Printable

And Stickers and Charts has FREE weather printables, rainbow printables, and weather stickers.


And if you really want to track the weather, PBS lets you go all out here.

Now, here’s some wonderful weather to track!

 

 

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Plastic Bag Flowers, Revisited

A few days ago, I got a comment on a new post asking how I made some plastic bag flowers back in 2010.  I didn’t even remember making plastic bag flowers, but a quick blog search showed this post where I linked to a fabulous blog with instructions.

It turns out that the original blog is down, but thanks to the amazing Wayback Machine, you can still read the post and get the directions here.  I also found the original author’s current blog, which has some neat community art projects to check out.  For instance, this is an art installation called “the tent” that community members created out of scrap fabric from a nearby factory.

And this amazing community art installation is created out of recycled plastic bags, just like those flowers.  Isn’t it amazing?

Now I’m wishing we had plastic bags in colors other than boring white, and looking at all of our recycling with new eyes again.  🙂

Fun stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

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I am (uplifting them)

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Here’s a wonderful project that I am so happy to see!

I am (uplifting them) is a new social media project that proposes to use social media to uplift our kids instead of to shame them.

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Page creator Stephanie says:

I am saddened by the amount of kid-shaming photos and stories I see all over the internet. My proposal is that we flood the world wide web with kid-positivity and uplifting stories and photos. So, grab a kid (preferably your own; if not get permission) and ask them to finish the sentence, ‘I am…’ Write down what they say (I guarantee it’ll be positive) snap a picture of them holding it and post it everywhere! Post them here as well and let’s see how many uplifting, positive things we can learn about our children!

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Want to take part?  You can join in on Facebook or Twitter and invite your own kids to celebrate how fabulous they really are.  🙂

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I’m off to see what my kids want to put on their signs!

 

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