Friday, January 28, 2011

Mommy Crafts....

Valentine Mail Bags

They came out super cute! And now Thomas and Gracie have a great place for all of the Valentine's they may get this month. If you want to send them a Valentine you can do so on my blog. Click here!

I made these out of felt, and I don't really have any instructions. I saw someone else post a picture of similar mail bags that hang over chairs from the Pottery Barn website. They were too cute and I just had to make some myself. I pretty much just sewed up two pieces of felt. One longer than the other so that it could flap over. I added some embellishments and sewed grosgrain ribbon to the back so I could tie it to the chairs.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Measuring Up

Toddler, Pre-K, K, 6 & Up

Another fun way to talk about growing bodies is to measure them!

I thought of a neat way for every member of our family to record our height, and to let the kids participate and compare each member.

First, I made a sheet of paw prints and I cut them out and taped them to the inside of a door from top to bottom. Then, I created a record sheet and we took turns standing at the door and letting our oldest child count the paw prints for each person. (We even added a space for Thomas' stuffed dog.)

Now, I could share a template for this activity, but your family would be different than mine as far as members, so use my idea and make your own chart. You can use just a plain old measuring tape and record everyone on a sheet of paper, or get elaborate and use a pattern like I did and make your own chart.

My Five Senses

Toddler, Pre-K, K, 6 & Up

This is another way to record your child's activity and to help them learn. I wanted to incorporate the Five Senses when talking about our healthy bodies, so I created another fun worksheet. Now, an older child can think of these answers themselves, but you may have fun writing the answers down for your toddler and hanging on to it as a sort of memory page for the week.

Again, feel free to use this sheet to print for your kids. I made one for a girl, and one for a boy.

My Body Can

Toddler, Pre-K, K, 6 & Up

My toddler and I are working on identifying body parts, and like most moms I enjoy recording all of the little things he can do at each stage of his life. So, I made up my own fun worksheet for us to do together, and for me to save!

He LOVED showing me what he could do with each of the body parts I called out!

"Thomas, what can you do with your hands?" He claps!

I have no idea how to embed a document into my blog, so I am just going to "snap a picture" of it and post it. You are welcome to use it for yourself and your own growing sprout. Click to enlarge the picture, then "save as" and save to your computer. You can put it in a Word Document and enlarge and print, or if you are better at using the picture printer on your computer--you can do it that way too.

I have included one for girls and one for boys.

My Body Theme

I found that trying to create a theme and come up with activities for my toddler may be fun--but it is very tedious and hard to execute. So, I will just add things to this blog as we do them.

This week on the Sunny Side Up Show, they were doing a body theme, and it gave me a few ideas to do with my kids.

Of course, I usually just plan for my almost 2 year old, but the 6 year old had just as much fun with them.

So, maybe yours will too!

Conversation Jar

Mommy Craft

I came across the most fun idea the other day when I was going through my favorite craft blogs: a conversation jar!

The idea is to print off fun topics for you and your family to talk about.

My kids talk plenty, but it is usually me talking to them about kid things, and then me talking to my husband about non-kid things. This was a great way to start a fun family discussion.

Okay, "discussion" is a stretch--but it is a neat idea.

I found a container at the Dollar Store, and I printed out a label that read "Conversation Jar." I allow my 6 year old to pull a strip of paper out of the container at dinner time. We each take turns answering the family friendly question on the paper.

Follow this link to see the list of fun questions. Of course you can create your own. I copied the questions and pasted them into a word document and then cut each question and folded it up and dropped it into the container. I also looked over the list and took out any questions that didn't pertain to our family, or I thought would be too confusing for my daughter.

This is one idea that is super easy, and you will want to give a try with your family!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Family

Mommy Craft

This is a simple and fun craft to display in your home! I found the idea from a Dollar Store blog--so it is super inexpensive too!

To make this craft you will need:
  • 5x7 frame ($1 at Dollar Store)
  • White construction paper (or you can get fancy and find a snow scrapbook paper)
  • 1 white glove (they have these at the dollar store, but I couldn't find white. I paid $1.50 for two pairs of white gloves at Walmart) **NOTE: you need one finger for each family member, so you may need 2 gloves, or even 3..whew!
  • Glue
  • Felt, fabric of ribbon scraps
  • Permanent marker
  • White felt
Take the back off your frame--use this as your guide and trace the outline on the white construction paper. Cut out and glue to the back. Here's your snowy back drop. Now, cut out the fingers on your white glove. Arrange your family the way you want. The shortest finger would clearly be the smallest member, the longest finger the tallest...etc.

I glued my felt on first, but didn't like how the bottom of my snow family looked where I had cut the glove, so I ended up peeling it back and tucking them inside. So you may want to glue your family on first, and then add your felt snow, or just don't glue the top of the snow until you have them tucked inside.

Now, glue on your snow. I just free handed some felt "hills" of snow to give it dimension, but you could cut straight across.

Use felt or ribbon or even paper scraps and add noses, scarves, etc to your family. I used ribbon for my scarves, felt for the carrot noses, and I used a thin permanent marker to make the eyes, and coal mouths. The idea of cutting out all of those tiny pieces didn't appeal to me, and I think it looks pretty good this way.

Add your family's name to the top and "ta-da," a super cute snow family to match yours!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mommy Crafts A....

Pillowcase Dress

This was my first one and I followed the super simple directions I came by from another blogger mom. What do you think?

I think it is cute, and I can't wait to see it on her. And, now I am ready to make some more :)

Gingerbread Fingerplay

I thought I would make an animated finger play "video" for Thomas since he loved mommy singing the song so much--and now you can sing it and show it to your toddler!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Candy Land

This is also a great week to pull out your old Candyland game! I don't plan to attempt it with my toddler, but Gracie still loves to play games.

What better game to match the gingerbread week theme?!

Gingerbread Playdough

Mommy Craft

I thought what a fun experience it would be to make a "sensory" activity for this week, since party of gingerbread's appeal is its smell.

I found a recipe to home-make gingerbread play dough, but with my hands full, I thought "how about I just add the spices to bough play dough?' Well, if you were thinking the same thing--it works just fine!
I had a can of unopened white play dough and was sad to discover I didn't have the spices I needed for gingerbread! So, I went with cinnamon--close enough, right?

Next time I will not only stock up on the spices, I will buy brown play dough, that will make it look even more like gingerbread dough.

To make this craft you will need:
(if you want to cheat like me):
  • 1 can of play dough
  • Spices: Cinnamon, Allspice, Ginger & Nutmeg (apparently you kind of mix until you get the right "smell."
(if you want to make it from scratch):

1 Cup flour
1/2 Cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tsp. vegetable oil
Spices--Cinnamon, Allspice, Ginger, Nutmeg
*Green and Red food coloring to make Brown (optional--the spices usually
give the dough a good Brown color.)

1. Mix the dry ingredients. Experiment with the spices until you get
a scent and color that you like.
2. Mix water and oil together first and then add them to the dry ingredients
and stir.
3. In a pot, cook the mixture for three to five minutes on low/medium, stirring
4. The dough will start to pull away from the sides of the pot and
stick together in a large ball. I take it out of the pan when I see a
VERY faint
brown skin on the dough one each side when I flip it.
5. Take the dough out of the pan and knead the dough until it becomes soft
and smooth.
6. Allow the dough to cool and then store it in an airtight container.

Total time to make dough: 10 minutes. This is a very quick and easy recipe and the dough turns out great! 1 batch makes about the same amount as you would find in one small tub of store bought play dough.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gingerbread Lacing

Pre-K, K

I attempted this with my toddler--nope, not old enough or able to be easy enough with the paper--so use you own judgment if you are going younger than preschool.

To make this activity you will need:
  • Heavy brown paper, or brown construction paper and glue to heavy card stock or cardboard
  • Gingerbread pattern
  • Hole Punch
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Tape
Cut out your shape on heavy paper, or glue construction paper to card board or card stock and let it dry before cutting out your shape.

Decorate your pattern if you want.

Now, around the edges punch holes to outline the shape. Don't make them too close.

Tightly roll scotch tape around the end of your ribbon or yarn--you want it to look like the end of a shoe lace. This will keep the end from fraying and making it harder for your child to use.

Let your child lace the gingerbread by running the ribbon through each hole.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Gingerbread Wreath

Toddler, Pre-K, K

I wanted to do a craft with counting, and since simple shapes are good for little ones, I knew cutting out several gingerbread patterns and counting them would be fun.

But, what to do with the shapes after we counted?

Well, why not make them look pretty?!

So, we counted as we glued them on to a wreath. Then, mommy sang a counting song as we glued. It was spontaneous, and my toddler cackled and cackled. I think it may have actually helped him. Isn't teaching fun!

To make this craft you need:
  • 1 paper plate
  • scissors
  • brown construction paper
  • scraps of color construction paper (optional)
  • permanent marker
Cut out the middle of your paper plate to make a wreath. Use your brown paper to cut out gingerbread shapes. I did 10, which matches the song if you want to sing with your child too.

Let your child do the drops of glue and add the gingerbread on one by one while you count.

To reinforce the numbers I added bow ties to the gingerbread men and added the numbers 1-10. I also added eyes, nose, mouth and buttons. Be creative, but make sure the "men" are the way you want them *before* you glue them on.

Mommy's "made up" song...

One little, two little, three little gingerbread...
Four little, five little, six little gingerbread...
Seven little, eight little, nine little gingerbread...
Ten little gingerbread boys!


A wonderful story to start off this week of Gingerbread fun is "Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett. Of course you could always read or check out the classic "Gingerbread Man" story that we all know.

Sunday, January 2, 2011