Monday, July 21, 2014

Spaghetti Window Art

{For your convenience, this post may contain affiliate links}

Did you happen to see the Nature Suncatcher we made for our reading nook last week? I really loved how pretty it (still!) looks in our window. It got me thinking of other ways we could have some fun  decorating our windows- and out of that curiosity came Spaghetti Window Art!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Nature Suncatcher

{For your convenience, this post may contain affiliate links}

Nature suncatchers are nothing new. Preschool teachers everywhere make this activity a regular part of science exploration- and with good reason! When students are allowed to take a walk and gather natural elements, they are learning how to appreciate their surroundings. While in the classroom they carefully pick petals off of flowers and remove leaves from stems- classic fine motor practice. The experience of placing the petals and leaves on sticky contact paper stimulates the senses (not to mention the added elements of feeling the silky petals and smelling the sweet perfumes!) And finally the artful display is placed in a sunny window for further appreciation and examination. Can you see what a well rounded activity this is for kids?!?

Monday, July 14, 2014

How to Make a Giant Jacob's Ladder Toy

{For your convenience, this post may contain affiliate links}

It has finally happened. I turned the big 3-0. Yup. It took thirty years to get here, but here I am. And what have I been doing since I hit this milestone? Well, my family and I took a mini vacation and we bought a second home! It's been an exciting couple of months, but I am ready for things to get back to normal around here.

Well, kind of normal. Now that I'm 30 I feel like a real adult (for some reason having two kids didn't quite bring me that "adult" feeling!) I also feel like I have earned the right to reminisce about nostalgic things from yester-year, especially this magical little toy known as "Jacob's Ladder" (confession: I am not old enough to remember the glory days of this toy. I think it has been around for AGES!! But I had one growing up so I still allow myself some nostalgic indulgence here).

With all the home improvements going on around the house, We had some extra plywood that I have just been dying to use in a project. I couldn't make up my mind what to do with it until I had a creative moment and wondered if I could use it for a toy rather than d├ęcor. Cue memories of my girlhood when I would spend (what seemed like) hours carefully clacking my Jacob's Ladder toy while wracking my brain to figure out how it worked. I knew it was {finally} time to figure this thing out on a giant scale!


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where's Teddy? A Hide and Seek Game for Pre-Schoolers

Toddlers and pre-schoolers love playing hide and seek. Part of the appeal is they are still internalizing the concept of object permanence, and my son is no exception. He will play hide and seek by covering up with a towel, closing his eyes, or hiding a toy. The way he giggles when I uncover the  hidden object is absolutely priceless. I wish I could just bottle up that laughter and open it on grumpy days! His enjoyment of this simple game inspired me to give it a fun twist:

* Yarn
* Teddy Bear (or any dearly loved stuffed animal)

Friday, June 20, 2014

10 {quick} Activities to Keep Kids Busy while you Cook Dinner and a MEGA CASH GIVEAWAY!

I don't know about you, but the most challenging part of my day seems to be when I am trying to make dinner. It's the time of day that everyone seems to need my attention and I'm just trying to get dinner made and on the table!

I finally realized that the easiest way to survive this "witching hour" is to set up a QUICK AND EASY ACTIVITY to keep the kids occupied while I cook. But the activity needs to be low mess, easy set-up, and not too consuming (because they won't want to leave the activity when dinner is finally ready if the activity is too exciting!)

Here are some of the best activities I found that accomplish the task with the perfect balance:

10 activities to keep kids busy while you cook dinner

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Galaxy Play Dough

My son asks to play with play dough every. single. day. It absolutely never gets old, so I've been making it regularly with different colors and scents. But this last time while I was experimenting with different coloring techniques (I was actually trying to make a 4th of July color variation), I ended up with this beautiful deep purple color with red and blue marbling. It immediately made me think of the (now outdated) galaxy trend that we saw in clothing and accessories. No, I never got into it...but who isn't inspired by the beautiful colors and sparkle of our amazing galaxy? I knew Cannon would be thrilled to play with this beautiful concoction!

Out of this world galaxy play dough

Monday, June 9, 2014

DIY Yarn Paintbrushes

Before I was a mommy or teacher, I was an after school and summer daycare program coordinator. I loved the carefree days I spent with the kids after school doing arts and activities. And for me, nothing says after school fun quite like painting. It was always the favored art activity :-)

Yarn painting is nothing new to the art world. Many a child has taken a piece of yarn rolled in paint and smeared it across their papers. The problem with yarn painting is it's kind of messy. Paint saturated yarn ends up on tables and floors and leaves me feeling a bit regretful of ever offering the activity. It was NOT an activity I planned on offering my toddler for quite some years...

Until now.

While I was at the grocery store I came across these extra-large smoothie straws by The Monster Straw Company. These are the largest smoothie straws I have ever seen (1/2 an inch wide!) They are also colorful and VERY durable (much thicker than most other straws). Seeing as how these were thick, colorful, and large, I knew I needed them in my life. And not just for smoothies either...

Introducing the DIY Yarn Paintbrush!