Preserving Leaves and the Fall Colors

All Fall we have been waiting for the leaves to change colors and fall off the trees. They finally decided to change colors a couple of weeks ago and over the weekend they all started blowing away. We were able to grab some of our favorite colors and we attempt to preserve them. I found this Autumn Leaves Notebooking Unit a month or so ago and although most of it is a little too advanced for my two, I thought the Preserving the Colors of Autumn Leaves page was worth a try. It is a neat little workbook and if you are looking for a fun activity to do this week with your children, you should give this notebook a look through. This is a super easy project that did not take a lot of time and it was a great opportunity to talk about the leaves and changing colors and changing seasons. My children also really enjoyed looking at all the colors afterwards.

What You Need:

  • Waxed paper
  • Leaves
  • Paper towels
  • Hot Iron

*Supervision Needed with the Iron, of course!

Directions: (a rough summary. Check out the notebook above for other variations and specifics)

Step 1: Gather leaves. My kiddos were outside for over an hour looking for leaves. It was cold, but after 5 or so minutes they really got into it and had a lot of fun gathering! If your leaves are really dry or you left them out on the table and they dried up (like I did), then put them in a bag with a damp paper towel. They will soften up enough in a few hours.

Step 2: Place leaves in between two paper towels. Iron them on medium heat until dry. The directions say 10 minutes per side, but it was only a few minutes for our leaves.

Step 3: Once dry (and flat), place the leaves in between 2 pieces of waxed paper with the waxed side facing the leaves. The directions say to add another piece of wax paper on top to protect the iron. Press the leaves again for another minute. To be honest, I had a really hard time determining which side was the waxed side! I tried each side, but I really couldn’t tell the difference, so if you have a trick for this let me know. Maybe it was because I had cheap waxed paper?

Step 4: Enjoy your colorful leaves. Create some fun art work or display them.  My kids attempted to make a crown! They thought it was pretty cool. =-)

ENJOY!!

Ladybug Rocks

We did this craft a few weeks ago when we were talking about the Letter L. The children had fun exploring in the rocks to find the “perfect” rock for their bug and it gave us a great opportunity to talk in more detail about Ladybugs. This was a super simple project to do and the possibilities are endless on what you can create!

What You Need:

  • A rock
  • Paint – Red, Black, White
  • Paint brush or cue tips
  • Note card or paper plate (for paint to go on)

Directions:

Step 1: Go outside and find a rock to paint. This may have been their favorite part! The rocks chosen ranged from the size of my son’s fist to super tiny. Make sure you give them a good washing and drying.

Step 2: Paint the rock red. I like to put a little squirt of paint on a note card and then give them cue tips to paint with. I discovered that with multiple children doing it at once, it is a lot easier (and a lot less mess) to do one notecard of paint in the middle of the table instead of one per child.

Step 3:Paint whichever end is decided is the front/face with black paint. And then paint a black line down the center and polkadots on each side of the line. This part was much easier to monitor one child at a time. =)

Step 4: Use the white paint to paint eyeballs on the Ladybug.

Step 5: Let them dry and then enjoy their new creation!

 

ENJOY!!

 

The Best Flying Paper Airplane

This is the first post that I ever wrote on this blog. I thought it would be fun to bring a little blast from the past (9 months ago!).

This is the best paper airplane we have ever flown and very easy to fly. Paper airplanes are a great activity for those days when you can not go outside or are confined to a small space, like the gym childcare area. They are simple, you most likely have all the supplies you need on hand and are always a huge hit for any age. I did this with ages 2-4 years old. My 13 year old sister and 3 of her friends even tested it out for me. They had so much fun that they played with them for 3 hours and I was told they had a blast. They ended up naming their planes and having all sorts of competition.

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Tape
  • Crayons (optional)
Directions:

First, we had to add a little color before we started folding. Notice how the boys were all about getting it done as fast as possible. The girls were a little more detailed oriented when it came to coloring!


Once that is done, the folding begins. Each step has a number next to the picture to make it a little easier to follow. I also colored the back side of the paper green, so you can tell which side is which while we are folding.

Let’s begin! Each picture is number for the Step that it belongs to. For instructional purposes, one side is white and the other is green scribbles. If you would like a larger view, click on the picture.

Step 1: Lay paper on a flat surface. (See picture below)

Step 2: Fold the paper length wise in half. (See picture below)

Step 3: Open the paper up again. Take one corner and fold it in towards the center line. (See picture below)

Step 4: Do the same to the opposite corner.

Step 5: Flip the paper over. (See picture below)

Step 6: Pull the new corner, just created in and in line with the center line.(See picture below)

Step 7: Do the same to the opposite corner.(See picture below)

Step 8: This is what it should look like right now when it is folded in half.

Now this next part is a little tricky, so much sure you follow the pictures

Step 9.1: I put 2 red dots on the paper. See them? On the next fold, you will bring the red dots together by bringing the edge on the bottom up. Basically folding it in half on the one side. (See picture below)

Step 9.2: I guess to make it easier on me I flipped it around and I didn’t notice it until now. Sorry! This picture is folding the edge (that is pictured in 9.1 on the bottom) to line up with the opposite edge. (See picture below)

Step 10: Flip the plane over and do the same to the other side.

Step 11: This is what your plane should look like from the side when your hand is holding the fold. Now you want to put a little piece of tape on the bottom going over the fold . Somewhere near my thumb is fine. (See picture below)

Step 12: You also want to put a piece of tap on the top holding the two sides together. About where the red line is.

Step 13: Have some fun! We did!

Getting ready to have a throwing competition!
And they are off!

Enjoy!

** This original post was posted on January 22, 2010. I rewrote it a little so it could match my formatting I have adopted over the past 9 months of writing my blog and moved some pictures around. At the time I thought it would work well to put 3-4 pictures together in one, but now going over it, I think it may be better to have the pictures separated.

Monkey Faces

You may not be able to tell exactly what these are because the kiddos added their own artistic touch to them. But, we had a lot of fun making these monkey faces. It was simple, we had all the supplies we needed on hand and they loved playing with them afterwards. They especially liked singing/acting out “Monkeys jumping on the bed” and “Monkeys swinging in a tree” songs were a big hit afterwards!

What You Need:

  • A stiff circle (We used a bowl to trace a circle onto a cereal box)
  • A craft stick or plastic spoon (or a real spoon)
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Printer (unless you make your own)
  • Monkey face parts from DLTK
  • Paper

Directions:

Step 1: This site has lots of fun printouts, but if you do not have a printer make your own. They are pretty simple. Print them out and have them cut and ready. Be sure to cut the eyeball (the smaller circle) out from the printout. I printed them on card stock, so they were stiffer.

Step 2: Create your circle. An empty cereal box worked great. If your kids are old enough, let them help you cut them out. We had a Cheerios box that fit 1 circle perfectly on each side, but we had to use a smaller box for the 3rd circle and so it had a crease in it. I put the crease near the bottom of the mask so the stick will keep that part from bending.

Step 3: Let your little creators color their monkey face parts. This is a great opportunity to talk about faces and where everything belongs on a face.

Step 4: Cut 2 holes in the mask for eyes and 2 slits starting an inch from the bottom for the stick (see picture in Step 5). I held the circle up to their face and put an x with a pencil where their eyes were and then that is where I started my circle for the eyes. The eye cut outs do not have to be pretty.

Step 5: Insert stick and tape on the back of the mask to secure it. You will be weaving the stick through the 2 slits created in Step 4.

Step 6: Glue all the pieces to the mask.

Step 7: Have fun and play monkey games and songs! And do not forget that you can make one for yourself, too!

ENJOY!!!

Ice Breaker Experiment

 

This project originally started out with a science experiment that I thought would be a little difficult for my kids to understand. Did you know salt water does not freeze? The suggestion for the experiment was to freeze regular water in half of an ice cube tray and in the other half freeze salt water. After a couple of hours when you pull the ice out, you would see that the regular water melts and the ice water does not melt. So, I came up with this variation for the kids to play around with….

What You Need:

  • Salt
  • Water
  • Little bowls or plates
  • Mini toys or small objects
  • Container – size depends on how big you want your block of ice to be
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: random tools or kitchen gadgets

 

Directions:

Step 1: Make a large ice block in a large container (mine was not huge, just a storage container). i filled it with cold water and mini toys and/or objects (mini Lego men, pen top, crayon, a glow in the dark snake, money – some sink, some float, just stuff that is on hand!). I added lots of ice to speed up the process and then put it in the freezer. The ice helped keep the toys separated and at various levels and it froze in just over 1.5 hours.

Step 2: I started out giving a small bowl with a piece of ice to each child. Then I gave them some sugar to sprinkle on the ice to see what happens

 

Step 3: Then I gave them some salt. Wit the salt the ice starts melting quickly. We talked about what they saw and made sure they all noticed the ice melting quickly.

 

 

Step 4: After experimenting, I pulled out the big block of ice that I created and put it on the table in front of them. They saw their toys and the money and got really concerned and wanted to get them out! So, I had them tell me what they could do to get them out.

 

They tried knives…

 

Then they decided that forks might be better. I had to give each of them a turn to chip away at it because they were getting a little scary. They really enjoyed this part a little too much!

 

I reminded them of the little ice cubes and then they asked for the salt.

They each got a turn to sprinkle (and they wanted to keep stabbing it with the forks, too.)

 

It was a slow process, but they had a lot of fun. Once it started melting, it really started shrinking.

Next time I am going to make a really huge block of ice or make multiple ones of the one above and let the kids at them in the backyard. The 20-30 minutes we spent on breaking up this ice block was not enough for them!

It was fun for all who watched and participated!

This is the underside once we were able to flip it over.

 

ENJOY!!

Hands and Feet to Keep

We made these while we were discussing hands and feet, but I think they would make a great present for any mom, dad, or grandparent or great as a keepsake! Super easy to make and the kids had fun decorating them after they dried.

What You Need:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 3/4 c. warm water
  • Large bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Baking Sheet
  • Rolling pin or solid cup (I prefer the cup to the rolling pin)
  • Food coloring (optional)

**makes enough for one foot and hand print together or two separate hand/footprints

Directions:

Step 1: Mix ingredients together in a bowl. If the dough is a little dry add water a little at a time. **optional** Mix in food coloring to color the dough.

Step 2: Make a ball of dough, then flatten it to about a one-inch thickness in the shape of a circle. I recommend sticking to the 1 inch thickness. I tried to do less than an inch thick and once the hand/foot prints were finished, it was very thin on the bottom.

Step 3: Place the dough on a baking sheet, if you have not already. Put the baking sheet on a hard surface like a tile floor or pavement. Press the hand and/or foot into the dough to make an imprint. I pressed on every toe and finger and made sure their palm/heel got a good push into the dough.

Step 4: If you want to add a name or a date, the easiest way is to use a toothpick and poke words/date in with many little dots. I tried a few different ways (knifes and dragging the toothpick) and it just kept tearing the dough. (see below picture)

Step 5: Bake at 325 degrees in the oven until hard or let it air dry a couple of days. Once baked, it comes off the pan easily. I recommend baking. I baked one of them right away and let the other two air dry. The one I left in the oven I finally took it out after 30 min and let air dry the rest of the way (it probably could have baked another 10-15 min). The other  two started to color oddly and stick to the pan while air drying after a couple of days, so I threw them in the oven for 20 minutes to bake. They get brown underneath but not on top and they didn’t stick to the pan once baked.

This is what it looked like after it was finished baking

Step 6: Paint and decorate as you like. I like to let them paint with cue tips, then I do not have to worry about them damaging the few brushes we have while they are painting on this hard surface.

Step 7: Get excited about what you were able to create! **Warning** Mold will break when tossed! After this picture was taken, my son was so excited that he tossed his mold onto the table without thinking about it and it cracked. = (  He now knows to be careful!

Enjoy!

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