Category: Crafts

Dinosaur Week!

Dinosaur Week!

Sometimes I like to do themes for the kids for a day, a few days, a week, or whatever. The local zoo has a fun summer thing set up where there are animatronic dinosaurs throughout the place, so I thought that this would be a really fun way to get the girls excited about going to the zoo to see the dinosaurs! If you aren’t near San Antonio, and thus don’t have a zoo or something to take them to see the dinosaurs, you can add a fifth day of dinosaur activities.

Warning: this post is a bit long extreme. I’m going to put a link to some of the recipes instead of inserting the whole recipe so that the length will be a little more reasonable.

Pro tip: my kids are young enough that we can add the word dinosaur to almost anything and make it more exciting, hence the general basis of my naming theme.

Disclosure: some of the supplies linked are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you use this link to make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Day 1

Recipe: Prehistoric Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe here.

Activity: Dinosaur Dance Party

My girls play this silly game where they put blankets on their heads and run around saying, “I’m a scary dinosaur!” They also really like to dance and listen to music. I thought, why not try to combine these two things? Plus, thanks to Sandra Boynton, we have a pretty good idea of how dinosaurs like to dance. So throw a blanket on your head and break out your best velociraptor moves!

Day 2

Craft: Dinosaur Sticker Collage

We found these awesome holographic dinosaur stickers at the dollar tree and have some others from Michaels. With the ridiculous amount of stickers I’ve collected, it’s hard to keep track of where they come from. These stickers seem like a lot of fun.

When we do focused crafts like these I like to do them with the kids so they can see my idea of how to do it. They do whatever they want, of course, but it’s fun to do together. First, with a green piece of paper, cut out a basic “ground” shape. You might need to do this for kids, too. On a second piece of paper (orange, yellow, or blue), glue this ground to the bottom. Now the dinosaurs have somewhere to roam!

Next, bust out the markers. We’re going to add some rocks, grass, trees, and a sun–or whatever you want to, that’s just what I’m adding. Landscape complete!

Add dinosaur stickers! Proudly display artwork on wall.

Activity: Dinosaur pool party

On this nice summer afternoon we’re filling up our cheesy eight dollar blow up pool and adding plastic dinosaur toys. Voila! Simple and still on theme.

Day 3

Craft: Dinosaur watercolors

I know, it sounds lame. I’ll be totally honest, too: it’s pretty lame. The kids will be happy, though. For this you’re just going to cut out the most basic dinosaur shape that you can out of construction or printer paper (you can trace, sketch, draw, or print one out if you need to–there are a ton of awesome free printable coloring pages available via a quick google image search).

Looking at Google images for assistance

Once you have your dinosaur, simply hand it to them with some watercolors. They will have a blast painting their own dinosaur. Once done, I like to let them (or do it myself) glue this to a second piece of colored paper and display on the wall once dry.

Recipe: Stone Age Soup

So, here’s the deal with Stone Age Soup…it’s really just a way to get everything that’s been sitting unused in the fridge into edible form. Squash, carrots, onion, frozen veggies, old meat or a scoop of gelatin…What I’m saying is that you probably don’t need to go out and buy ingredients. It’s a mom way of framing something dull into something a little more fun.

Day 4

Activity: Dinosaur Containers

These are what we’ve been using as our portable busy boxes lately due to the current dinosaur obsession. But it turns out every morning before breakfast they want to play with these while I cook. Win!

Recipe: T-Rex Treats

Recipe here.

Day 5

Day 5 must be awesome. It’s what all the days have been leading up to, which is why on day 5, we have zoo day! Alternatively, you can use these awesome endings.

Recipe: Dinosaur Pancakes

Recipe here.

I tried dinosaurs three ways: freehand, using a squirt bottle, and pouring into cookie cutters.

The squirt bottle probably would have been amazing if I used regular pancake batter, but I had some almond flour clump and clog the nozzle.

Cookie cutters worked the best, but the first batch I didn’t remove the cookie cutter quick enough and they got stuck.

Some of these attempts were just plain hilarious:

Strange monster and swirls
Turtle and witch “dinosaurs”

Activity: Paleontological Excavation

This might seem like a bit of work, but it’s really not so bad. Just bear with me.

First, you need to decide where your “dig” is going to happen. If you want to fill a tub with sand or dirt, that’s great. I’m going to pick a little patch of dirt outside because I think my girls will enjoy that a lot, and I’m not using it. Plus, it’s good for them to be in the dirt.

Next, locate some plain rocks that you can draw or paint on. I’m going to be lazy about it and just draw with a white paint marker. I have two kids, so I’m doing about 10 each. Draw some bones on there–the beauty of this is that they can be ugly/imperfect and it’s no big deal.

Bury your dinosaur “bones” in your excavation site. Be sure to spread them out a bit. If you’re doing this outside like us, stick some small sticks around the outside to mark the area and “rope” it off with some string.  Be sure to create separate dig sites for each kid.

Hand them a shovel and let them dig!

4th of July Fork Painting

4th of July Fork Painting

This is really simple, but with my younger girls I often find that simple is best.

Supplies:

Tempera paint–white, red, and blue

Red or blue construction paper

A fork

Directions:

1. Hand out paint, paper, and forks.

2. Let the kids draw by dipping the fork in paint and using it on paper. I had hoped that the forks would help make firework and stripe patterns, but it turns out that they are 1 and 2 and mommy’s complex art ideas can be a bit silly to them.

Dyed Dryer Sheets

Dyed Dryer Sheets

This is just a fun way to recycle your old dryer sheets into something pretty and potentially useful. The great part is that it’s so simple kids can do it, too. I like using them in vases with paper flowers,especially with painted paper. I’ve considered trying to crochet strips into something, but haven’t tried it yet.

Supplies:

Used fabric softener sheets

Food coloring

Cups or bowls with water

Steps:

1. Add 15-20 drops of food coloring per cup of water. You can mix yellow and red for orange, and blue and green for turquoise. I have tried purple and am just never happy with the resulting grayish color–it lacks the vibrance of the other colors–but let me know if you figure out how to make purple work.

2. Push dryer sheets into the colored water until immersed. They should easily stay under the water once wet.

3. Let sit overnight, 8-12 hours.

4. Remove from water and lay flat or hang to dry.

5. Have fun playing with these.

 

Fun Summer Hats

Fun Summer Hats

Well it’s pretty hot here. I’m really not used to the Texas heat, so I’m just staying inside most of the time, which is a bummer. This means lots of indoor activities and crafts.

Today we made fun, colorful summer hats by repurposing old hats whose decorations had fallen (read: were pulled) off.

This was a lot of fun to do with the girls.

Supplies: Disclosure: some of the supplies linked are affiliate links, meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you use this link to make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

An old or cheap hat (these and these both look like great starters to me!)

Decorations: ribbon, bows, feathers, flowers, butterflies, pom poms

A hot glue gun (for adult use only)

 

Steps:

1. Place ribbon around brim. Glue in place.

2. Add some flowers or butterflies. Hot glue them in place. I used butterflies because I’m not sure where all my flowers are, and really like how it turned out.

3. Glue some feathers down on the “front.” You can add more flowers and such on top of the feathers. It starts to look really cute here.

4. We also put pom poms on the brim for a fun and silly addition.

Happy kids, happy life.

 

 

Bubble Painting

Bubble Painting

I wrote an instructable for paper flower bouquet last week. This project creates my preferred paper to use in those bouquets–bubble painted paper. I used to do this even before I had the kids just because it’s so much fun.

This is, however, my first attempt with the girls. I’m sure it’s going to be a bit messy. Heck, my kids are always messy, so it doesn’t matter much. Just be prepared for the cleanup. On the bright side, it’s soap! Cleanup is always better when what you’re cleaning up is soap.

Let’s do this!

Supplies:

white paper (8 1/2 x 11 printer paper is what we used)

Cups or bowls

straws

soap and water or bubble solution

water

food coloring

 

Steps:

 

1. Pour soap and water or bubble solution into bowls. Add a few drops of food coloring (adjust according to how bold you would like your colors to be). Give the cups or bowls a little swirl to distribute the color.
2. Distribute straws, bubble mix, and paper among all involved adults and kids. I had a 2 1/2 year old and an 18 month old participating. I quickly found out that the bubble mixture was inappropriate for my younger daughter, who tried to drink it. We then substituted her solution for colored almond milk, which she painted with and drank happily.

3. Blow bubbles onto your paper. They should cascade across your paper, clinging to it, creating fun marbling effects, and splattering color everywhere! It’s delightful.

 

4. Set aside to dry.

Once dry, these papers make lovely origami bases. I do suggest trying out a Paper Tulip Bouquet, which is fun and beautiful. Next week maybe we’ll do another related project!

Paper Tulip Bouquet

Paper Tulip Bouquet

Happy Mother’s Day, moms!

Last night I wrote up my first instructable for a gift I’m giving my mom tomorrow, and this morning it’s featured on the front page, so that’s awesome. If you don’t have something for mom yet you can find it here:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Tulip-Bouquet/

My other projects are on here but for this one I suggest looking at the link on Instructables, because you really need the pictures laid out with it and I love how their site handles it.

Toddler Activities for Rainy Days

Toddler Activities for Rainy Days

Well, we had told the kids that we would go to the zoo today because it was supposed to be cooler. We woke up to a dark sky and pouring rain–no way was the zoo happening. Boo!

Oh well. I felt bad, though. I wanted to give them something different and engaging to do.


Activity 1: pom pom toss

I used painter’s tape to tape some toilet paper and paper towel rolls to the wall and handed each a cup full of pom poms. Karissa loved this and kept going back to it constantly.

Bonus Activities: Madilyn dropped a few through the tubes before deciding that it wasn’t really her thing. She decided to sit down and sort the pom poms instead (she really loves pom poms), and then wanted to stick and unstick tape to the wall for a while.

Relocated pom pom toss

Activity 2: Paper Basketball

My mom in law constantly gets junk mail clothing catalogues, so today we utilized them! We made some crumpled paper “balls” and tried to throw them in our bucket “baskets.” Alas, mommy doesn’t have great aim.

Oh well, still fun.


Activity 3: Straw Bead Necklaces

I still love crafts, but since we moved I’m not sure where everything is. This is really easy–all you need is some stiff string (we used paracord), plastic straws, and scissors to cut your straws into beads.  Give them to little hands for great motor skills practice. I was very impressed with both girls, Madi even strung the beads herself.

So proud of her work

I love getting to share what we do with you and I’m always looking for new fun and/or easy activities to do with my girls. What does your family do for fun on rainy days?

Glitter Pinecone Ornament

Glitter Pinecone Ornament

Trying to get two small children immersed in the spirit of the season can be tough. It involves lots of music, lights, walking, crayons, wrapping paper and bows. When you add crafting components it can get loud and messy. That’s alright though–we had a ton of fun! Karissa kept saying, “It’s pretty, mommy,” as she poured it through her fingers over the pinecone. Fun fact: everyone was 85 percent less frustrated than usual. That’s a win for me! Heads up, my one year old did nothing except eat glue and chew on the brush, so that could be in your future.

Supplies:

Elmer’s glue

Pinecones (we used three)

Paintbrushes or sponges

Festive colored glitter (we mixed green and silver, and red and gold)

Ribbon

Steps:

1. Brush glue over the outside of the pinecone.

 

2. Pour glitter over the pinecone.

3. Set aside and allow to dry.

4. Tie a ribbon to hang.

Painting with babies

Painting with babies

Karissa has recently fallen in love with art projects. Which is awesome, I love art. I’ve been trying to encourage artistic exploration for probably a year now and it’s just starting to blossom in her. Madilyn likes to draw, too, so it’s very fun.

I’m still not used to the chaotic nature of toddler arts and crafts, though. I handle the mess just fine, but it still surprises me sometimes just how much paint there is. It looks like such a minuscule amount when you squeeze it out of the bottle.

In all of my mommy brilliance I thought, 2 year old and 1 year old–let’s do an art project. We’ll do a handprint zoo! What could go wrong?

Lots, mom. Lots.

So I already know that Madi can’t have regular paint. I squeezed food coloring gel and tossed sprinkles onto her tray to entertain her.

Karissa made her own artwork and put a “lion” handprint on our group zoo paper. Madilyn did what would be the tiger.

Buuuuut Karissa wanted to paint a lion herself.  So much for the zoo. So cute, though. We ended up with a red globby mess and a happy kid. No real lesson here except to expect to be flexible with your expectations.

Easy Halloween Trick-or-Trio

Easy Halloween Trick-or-Trio

Blurriest picture ever

I really enjoy encouraging the kids to get into upcoming holidays. Madi doesn’t know what Halloween is yet, but Karissa seems to remember! We are going to be attending Boo at the Zoo! at the LA zoo dressed as 4 characters from My Little Pony (Matt is Princess Twilight Sparkle, I’m Applejack, Karissa is Pinkie Pie, and Miss Madilyn is Rainbow Dash). I like to plan little craft activities during the week to entertain them that are themed around whatever we do for the upcoming weekend. Aquarium week we made our own construction paper fish tanks and fish, zoo week we do animals, arboretum week we do plants. It logically follows that Halloween week we do Halloween.

These are constructed for very young children where focusing on the end result isn’t as important as the activity.

Craft #1: Spooky Sticker Tree

Supplies:

Computer paper or construction paper, color of your choice

Brown or black marker

Halloween stickers (I got a book of stickers at Dollar Tree)

Steps:

Prep: Draw a Spooky looking brown or black tree trunk. Older kids can do this part, or if you want to let your toddler do it that’s cool too. Mine will do a brown scribble, but I think she enjoys having an actual tree drawing to decorate too.

Simply give them the paper and some stickers and let ’em at it!

Craft #2: Halloween Collage

Supplies:

Construction paper

Glue

Colorful baubles and things to glue to paper. We are using torn up tissue paper, feathers, pom poms, and paper shapes. Foam Halloween shapes or sequins would be cool if I could find them in the closet.

Steps:

Give them their paper, some decorations, and some glue (maybe a small amount, Karissa goes nuts). See their creativity blossom.

Craft #3: Paint a Pumpkin

We don’t have time to carve a pumpkin this year, so today we are going to paint our own mini pumpkins. I am sure Karissa is going to love this!

Supplies:

A small pumpkin or multiple pumpkins

Paint (we use washable tempera right now)

Brushes

Something to cover your workspace

Apron to protect little one’s clothing

Glue, glitter, sequins, feathers, rhinestones, or whatever else seems fun

Steps:

1. Prepare workspace by covering it (if you’re the kind of person who is inclined. I’m not). Put an apron on kid (again, if inclined).

2. Give kid pumpkin and painting materials. Let them paint.

3. If you have a child that will let paint dry before trying to further decorate with glue and things then congratulations, thousands of us envy you. If not, just give them the sequins and whatever else. It will be messy, but they’re having a blast.

That’s it. I hope you have a fantastic holiday full of magic for the kids. Happy Halloween, everyone!