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!

B is for Beads and Bracelets

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As part of our summer activities I have started to work through the alphabet with my children and a few friends. We have been doing 2 or 3 things per letter (on different days). Sometimes it is a craft, sometimes it is a food thing and sometimes it is something entertaining to do. So far, we have been having a lot of fun with it.

For the letter B we made Bead Bracelets with pipe cleaners. It ended up being a lot of fun and they were all so proud of their final project. Because we used pipe cleaners, even the 2.5 year olds were able to do it on their own with a little help to start out. Best part of this project is that it was pretty cheap. A little bag of 500 beads cost me less than $2 and I almost have a whole bag left!
I think we will have to do this again soon, since this is my daughter favorite piece of jewelry and she has been wearing it every day since we made them!
What You Need:
  • Beads
  • Pipe Cleaner (or yarn/string)
Directions:
It’s pretty simple to figure out what to do. You just need to prevent the beads from falling off the bottom end by creating a swirl or knot with the pipe cleaner. And then let the children slide the beads on. I helped the 2 year olds put a couple on and they pretty much had it figured out from there.
If you use yarn, be sure to tape the end they will be using to slide on the beads. It will keep it from fraying.
For little wrists wrap the extra pipe cleaner around their wrist and then wrap each end around the section of bracelet it is near (see top picture). This will keep it the size you want and keep the beads from falling off.
**Make sure to leave the bracelet big enough to take on and off their wrist easily AND make sure to pinch in the very ends of the pipe cleaner when finished. They tend to pinch and scratch skin if not tucked away properly.
Variations:
  • Make an animal or a crown instead of a bracelet. My son combined a few pipe cleaners to make his own version of an animal (see above picture).
  • If you do not have any beads use a Fruit Loop/Cheerios type cereal or make some colored noodles and use those to create something.  
Enjoy!

Homemade Watercolor Paint

 

My daughter is our little artist. She really enjoyed the Chalk Paint we made, but she wanted to bring out the nicer (and smaller) paint brushes. So, I mixed up a smaller amount of the Chalk Paint recipe and let her at it with a fine tipped paint brush. It worked just as good as one of those store bought watercolor trays, but better! Better because it took out the step of having to dip the paint brush in water. That step always complicated things by making huge wet holes in the paper and then she would get really frustrated. She loves this and keeps asking to do it all the time!

This is my son’s work

What You Need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Food coloring
  • Container(s) – cupcake tin, mini cups, empty egg carton, etc
  • Paintbrush or mini sponges

 

Directions:

Step 1: Combine 1 part water and 1 part cornstarch. Stir together. I used a total of 1 T. water and 1 T. cornstarch.

Step 2: Divide up mixture into mini containers/cups. The egg carton works well for me, so I don’t have to keep washing the cupcake tin.

Step 3: Add one drop of food coloring to each container.

Step 4: Paint your heart out! You may have to add a little water if your child paints for a long time.

Using the egg carton worked great! Note: The lighter colors are not as fun.

 

Variations:

  • If you want a custom color, like orange, you will want to prepare each color/container or mixture separately instead of all together at once. Double the water you want per container and add one drop red, one drop yellow. Then take the half that water and make your cornstarch/water mixture individually for each cup.
    • This also works well to delude the colors to get a more pastel look.
  • If you do not have paint brushes or do not trust your kids with your nice ones, try using Qtips. They worked pretty good and it didn’t matter if the kids were rough with them. We used one for each color to make it easier for more than one artist painting at a time.

Warning: The colors turn out really bright and look wonderful that way, but they may stain more.

Enjoy!!!

How To Make A Kite – The Easy Way

(Don’t forget to send in your Summer Fun Challenge entries.
It doesn’t take long and it is a bunch of fun! And remember, it can be super simple. Just do something with “sticks” and then follow the entry instructions here.)

 

This is not your typical kite, but it is simple to make. My kids had fun making it and playing with it. It was a kite they could actually fly on their own and it did not matter if they lost it or broke it. They loved it!

 

Here’s what you need:

  • Plastic grocery sack
  • String, yarn or ribbon
  • Paper streamers
  • Stapler

 

Directions:

Step 1: Cut strips of paper streamers and staple them to the bottom of the plastic grocery sack.

Add as many as you like!

 

Step 2: Cut some string and tie your string of choice around the sack handles. I used yarn at first and eventually found some ribbon. You will have to play with the length, but I think around 3 to 4 feet works nice for younger children because they can then get it up in the air easier. The longer length, it seemed, had them dragging it more (see video below – which shows them with the longer length).

 

Step 3: Go outside and have some fun running around!

Here is a quick video demo of the project… sometimes pictures are just not enough! This is my first video tutorial, so let me know if it helps.

 

Enjoy!!!

Indoor Fun with Fishing

My son has been begging to go fishing for months! I saw “Counting Felt Fish” on Counting Coconuts and decided today was a perfect day to go fishing inside. The weather has not been agreeing with his intense want and we needed a fun inside activity to keep the kids busy while it snowed outside (someone needs to tell Mother Nature that it is almost the middle of May!). It took me less than 30 minutes during their naps to get everything ready and it kept the two entertained for at least an hour! We had  a lot of fun! Here is what you need:

Items Needed
  • Fish made from card stock, felt or fabric (and then stuffed)
  • A pole (stick, bat, long wooden spoon, etc)
  • String
  • Magnet
  • Paper clips, washers or a stapler
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker/pen
  • Strong tape or hot glue gun

** see additional ideas at the bottom

Directions

1. Trace your fish and cut them out. I made our fish out of card stock simply because that is what I had on hand already. I used cookie cutters and traced them out on the card stock. Originally I was going to print a clip art drawing from online and trace that, but then I remembered I had animal shaped cookie cutters that had lots of different fish.

2. Attach paper clips to fish. If your magnet is strong enough, staples will work, too.

3. Attach string to magnet using strong tape or a hot glue gun. I think the magnets I had to choose from were to either too strong or too weak.  The magnet that probably work best are in between the strengths I have. They are the size of a penny and my kids like to stick everything in their mouths still, so I have avoided those in our house.

4. Attach string to your pole by tying it for a temporary pole or glue gunning for a more permanent pole. Don’t have a stick? Use what you have around. I was going to use my sons baseball bat and a long wooden spoon for their poles until I found 2 sticks in our garage. I even considered using the vacuum extension pole (that’s a little embarrassing to admit, but it is what I have!)

Additional Ideas for Fun

  • Have your children sort them by color as they are “catching” them.
  • Draw shapes, letters, numbers and have the children identify them and/or sort them.
  • Draw items on each fish that will allow to count what they see (i.e. 3 stars, 1 circle).
    • You can also have them group their catches by numbers.
  • Draw the letters of their name(s) on different fish and have them find all the letters to their name.

Things That Did Not Work

  • The magnets you get from advertisers were not strong enough.
  • Tying the string on a stick. Glue it or cut a slight groove into the stick (and then tie it) if you do not want to be constantly retying the string.
  • A shorter string seemed to work better than a really long string. It is easier for them to guide. And by shorter, I mean enough length so that there is little slack when your child has the pole in the air and the magnet on the ground.

Someday I’ll make some fish out of felt, but for now I am perfectly happy with these fish and so our my kids!

Have fun!

Lilly Pad Hop

It snowed again today and I wanted to do something fun that could use up some of the kiddos energy before bed. I also wanted to vacuum out the couches, so this activity helped us do both! This is simple and fun…of course!
What you need:
  • Cushions, pillows, pieces of rug or something like that – these will be your “Lilly Pads” (you can also call it your “Lava Rocks” or whatever else gets your child’s imagination going!)
  • At least one child full of energy
Directions:
Layout out your “Lilly Pads” just far enough apart that your child(ren) can reach the next one when they jump. Next, let them have fun! See, I told you this was a simple activity! Fun and simple!
You can barely see it, but that is the look of pure joy on my daughter’s face. They were having a blast!
If They Need Some Ideas:
  •  you can have them do the caterpillar jump, where they reach with their hands first and then bring their legs over
  • Bring in a little chair or bench and have them hop up on it, under or over it before jumping on the next “Lilly Pad”
  • Pretend to be an animal
  • Join in! For some reason it is so funny to have Mom or Dad join in on the jumping fun.
They like the caterpillar walk.
Benefits of This Activity
  • By jumping and bouncing they are providing deep pressure on their muscles and joints.
  • Working on eye-hand (or more like feet) coordination as they judge the right distance to reach for between each “Lilly Pad”
  • Learning a little cooperation when playing with other children and their imaginations.
  • Practicing turn taking.
  • Mom gets to clean the couches…okay, maybe this one is just for me!
My son was perfectly content running and jumping back and forth and he was pretty tuckered out afterwards!
Go have some fun!
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