Galaxy Marbled Valentines

Galaxy is been a huge DIY trend lately. We explored this with our latest play group meeting. We created three different crafts the delved into the galaxy. One project that was very popular was galaxy marbled paper. Afterwards we all took them home to create our Valentines!  This is a really easy and fun project to do with a toddler and it’s cheap using materials you probably already have!

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To start I covered a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Then I lay down a layer of men’s shaving cream. I added a few drops of pink, purple, and blue food coloring to the shaving cream and used a straw to swirl it around.



After we pressed a piece of card stock on top of the shaving cream and we peeled it off.  We ran it underwater. When the water clears off the shaving cream a marbled effect is left behind.


From there the paper can dry can then be used to create cards, hearts, artwork, and a variety of arts and crafts projects.  We had a lot of fun creating our galaxy art projects. We hope you will too!

My Favorite Tried and Tested Busy Bags from Pinterest

This past fall I had the daunting task of taking a 24 hour flight with a 2 year old and a 9 month old.  My 9 month old I figured would be happy as long as I held him, but the 2 year old would need toys.  Toys not just for the plane, but for a month long vacation on the other side of the world!  So I put together a backpack with 15 busy bags and here is a list of some of my favorites from Pinterest.

  1.   Colored crafts sticks with Velcro dots to make shapes with. Both Ben and Adam loved these and still use them for restaurants and other outings to stay occupied. From the Tip Garden.
      DIY Toddler Activities - craft sticks and Velcro dots... "Busy bag" okay weird…:

2.  My niece and nephew loved this activity which not only makes kids match patterns, but also colors and fractioned shapes.  From No Time For Flash Cards.This is a simple activity with great cognitive benefits. Matching is the…:

3. This busy bag idea came with a free printable, but I just made my own cards with a sharpie and card stock.  From Teaching Mama.Snowflake Busy Bag {Free Printable}:

4. Lastly, I’m choosing to share a busy bag idea I didn’t make yet, but will for our next trip.  Ben and Adam love building, so I think this will be right up their alley! From How Wee Learn

quiet time activities for 3 year olds:

These ideas are cheap, reusable, and easy to make.  These activities don’t need to necessarily just be used for busy bags and outings or travel, the could just be quiet time activities for a rainy day.  What busy bags do your kids love?

 

Galaxy Homemade Slime

slimeOK if there was ever a pin for galaxy colored hands it should be with my hands in the photo! The other day I had to take Adam for his shots and I was so embarrassed after making this slime because my hands were blue, purple, and pink all over!  Now the slime did turn out really cool and it does stay nice and pliable in a airtight plastic container however the colors do mix up into a robin’s egg blue eventually.  To make the fluffy slime I used two regular bottles of Elmer’s Glue then I layered men’s shaving cream on top and added in contact solution.  I’m including photos and video below.



 




 

 

Ice Fishing Sensory Activity

ice-fishingWe don’t get a winter vortex in Las Vegas-and I don’t miss the 23 years I scraped windshields in Buffalo.  I do miss the beauty and quiet of snow.  Snow insulates sound.  I grew up next to a busy four lane street and when it snowed there was hardly any sounds from the traffic.  It’s peaceful and there’s nothing more fun as a kid than playing in the snow.  I went sledding and snowman making every winter. My friends and I threw snowballs at each other in the school yard.  My boys will be growing up with palm trees instead.

Since the boys won’t be seeing much snow or feel bitter cold I thought it was time to try some cold sensory art experiences out.


We did this activity with the My Petite Picassos Playgroup and t was a hit.  I used Swedish fish silicone trays from Ikea and filled them with water. After, I added a drop of gel food coloring.  I mixed it using a baby foods phone. You can also use a toothpick or straw.  I pop them in the freezer for about an hour and a half and they were all set. We used it on card stock so the paper wouldn’t buckle. The kids had so much fun!  One little boy painted for an entire hour!

Galaxy Salt Dough

galaxy-salt-doughWith the My Petite Picassos Playgroup this last meeting we made salt dough keepsakes. We printed our babies’ handprints and footprints in colored salt dough that we colored with food coloring. As we were coloring with the food coloring we noticed that it created a marbled effect until we blended consistently throughout the salt dough. So the other day when Ben was bored and the weather was terrible outside, I decided that he could make galaxy salt dough.  We used the leftover salt dough from the playgroup and added a drop of blue,  a drop of purple, and a drop of pink food coloring to it.  As the mixed the colors together and created a galaxy a fact. Ben played with it for two hours that morning and the following morning he played with it for two hours.

To make salt dough all you have to do is combine one part flour with one part salt and half a part of water. For a large group like our playgroup I do it in my standalone mixer. After we use it it can be kept in the refrigerator to be used again. We still have leftover from last week that is soft and malleable. For older children who want to make a keepsake or if you want to make a keepsake you can air dry it and bake it in your oven at 200°F for three hours. 

Mama Monday's Pin Party

Eight Posts for Hanukkah-Burlap Hanukkah Card Craft for Kids

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Want an easy and stylish kids craft to do this holiday season?  Burlap is everywhere.  I see it on garlands, tote bags, pillows, you name it!  To make this easy craft you’ll need:

1 piece of burlap 4 1/2″x 3″

1 piece of brown craft paper 4 1/2″x3″

1 chisel tip Sharpie

puffy paint or homemade paint (the recipe is here)

Clear Krazy Glue

Directions:

Glue the piece f brown craft paper inside the burlap.  Once the glue is dry (30 minutes or so), fold the card in half.  Kids often need a lot of help lining up items to glue and folding-plus you’ll have to use the Krazy Glue.  Older kids can draw a menorah or write Happy Hanukkah with the chisel tip Sharpie, younger kids will need an adult to do that.  Then they can decorate with puffy paint or if they’re little like Ben (2 years old) they can use homemade paint and a Q-tip to apply paint. Let it dry. img_6691

 

 

Nature Sorting Activity

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Sorting is an important early learning activity in science, art, math, language, and critical thinking skills. Babies and toddlers categorize objects based on their unique properties such as color and texture (two elements of art). When toddlers and babies categorize they begin developing an understanding of the physical world around them. They look for patterns (math) and they compare/contrast objects which are critical thinking skills.

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It’s a really simple setup-I took craft feathers, leaves in changing colors, and pinecones and placed them in different spots of a muffin tin. I approached the activity with my two babies differently.  For Adam (10.5 mos) it was his first time trying an activity like this.  It was also his first time getting to touch and hold these items. He picked up, inspected, showed me items, and yes a couple did go into his mouth (I was careful to stay by him during this activity so he wouldn’t try to swallow anything).  He examined the objects for about 15 minutes before trying to move them around in the muffin tray.  adam-sorting

For Ben, who’s almost 2 1/2, I showed him the tray first (he’s had other muffin tin sorting activities before).  We counted like items first in English, then Hebrew (he’s fluent in both).  He told me in Hebrew “etz” meaning tree while holding a leaf and also told me all of these items were from outside, before grouping like items in the tray.  He spent about 10 minutes with the tray.  This would be a great way to start an art and nature project with little ones.  Just keep in mind to watch them so they don’t try to eat the activity.

 

 

Food Safe Homemade Paint

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Adam is officially a little artist.  He was so curious watching Ben paint the last few times, I could tell he was dying to try it out.  Even though I have non toxic paint, I figured the little guy would be putting a lot of it in his mouth, so I wanted to be extra safe.  img_6704

So I scoured the internet for paint recipes, and did a little tweaking to what I found.  My final recipe is:

1/2 c. flour

1 drop of food coloring-to be added later

1/4 c. kosher salt

1 1/4 c. water

I mixed it thoroughly up in a mason jar minus the food coloring with a spoon which I used to spoon the mixture into our palette.  I added one drop of food coloring to each section of my palette and mixed with a Q-tip.img_6687img_6680

A Q-tip is a great way to manage how much paint your little is using or those tiny watercolor brushes that come in kids watercolor palettes.  I would stay away from a medium or larger size brush.  Even with a Q-tip it got messy!

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The experience was overall short, but positive.  I had to show him to dab the paint on the card stock rather than eat it.  He caught on quickly but still took the occasional taste.  This is also a great idea for cheap paint in general.  There are times we can’t afford little things like paint as moms and teachers.  I’ve run art programs on literally nothing for over 1,000 students!  It’s ideas like this that make art accessible to every child no matter what their economic background is.  I kept the leftover mixture in the mason jar over night with a little added water on top.  I made sure the top of the jar was tight.  I want to try making it in soap dispensers and keeping them in the fridge with colors ready to go.  I’ll let you know how that works out in the future.

Rain Sticks

So I’m trying to play catch-up on Thanksgiving and fall crafts as I just started my blog this week. This past Friday night a friend of mine came over for Shabbat dinner. If you don’t know what Shabbat is it’s the Jewish Sabbath dinner that we have on Friday night. I cook from Wednesday to Friday a variety of Moroccan dishes as that’s my husband’s background and often times I try to invite a friend over and share in this tradition with them. I love this particular night of the week because it’s the one time a week that we as a family sit down for dinner.  My husband owns his own business and so the rest of the week it’s really touch and go as to what time he’ll come home. On Friday night we sing songs, we light candles, and we eat fresh baked bread. It’s really special and Ben loves it!  So this week my friend Man stopped by and she’s an art teacher as well. I asked her if she had any good ideas for a fall time craft as my curriculum had to have a last minute change for a playgroup this week.  She suggested rain sticks that she had been making with her art and yoga class. So I went ahead and took her advice.  My tutorial is below.


Using a hot glue gun glue a toilet paper or towel paper roll onto a piece of scrap paper.


Cut off the excess paper and roll up a piece of silver foil,stuff inside the tube.  The tinfoil slows down the rice from falling inside the rain stick.  Add some rice -just a half a handful


Glue a piece of scrap paper onto the other side making sure you’re holding your tube upwards so the rice and tinfoil don’t fall out.


Decorate with bingo markers or paint. My playgroup used bingo markers last night.  You can purchase them online my husband picked up a bunch in the casino last year.  They’re great for babies who are beginning to do art.

To finish I took a piece of yarn and some beads- strung the beads onto the yarn.  I inserted a feather into the beads and put a drop of hot glue to secure the feather inside the beads.  Then I took the two ends of the yarn wrapped it around the tube, tying them shut.  I put a couple drops of hot glue on the yarn that I had tied so it would stay in place on the tube.

This was such an easy, fun, and fast craft with the kids. They loved to shake the rain stick and hear the rice inside. It’s a great little activity for the little ones at your Thanksgiving dinner. And hardly cost any money!

Here’s a photo of all of Ben’s crafts from last night together.

Native American Vest and Headband

One piece of advice I would give anyone teaching children art is that to have successful projects you need to have a successful example.  I always make every project I teach before I teach it with the same materials and techniques so I can iron out any issues that may arise beforehand.  It also gives students an idea of how their project could look-however I stress to them that we are all different artists with different hands.  Picasso and Matisse made the same paintings for years-but each master artist made their paintings in their personal style.

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I have taught this project to kindergarteners before.  It’s fun, easy, and cheap.  It ties in multiculturalism, symbolism, recycling, wearable art, social studies, and literature (if you read Native American folktales with the project).My students loved this project and Ben was very pleased with his vest and headband today. To start I took the handles off the Trader Joes shopping bag, cut straight up the center of the front of the bag and cut off the bottom of the bag.  Then I turned it inside out so it would be blank and drew circles where I wanted the arm holes to be.  I cut them out and added fringe.

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I practiced writing Ben’s name with him in black Sharpie.  I’m hoping repetition will pay off and he will know how to write his name in a year or so.  This is a good for kindergarteners to practice writing their names and also for everyone to know who’s project belongs to whom.

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I drew a turkey and Native American pictographs I remember on the back of the vest. Ben used the Sharpie and Crayola markers to draw and color on the back.  He practiced making glue dots and added feathers to his vest.

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We used scraps to create a headband with feathers.  I can’t wait to see all the kiddos tomorrow with their vests and headbands-they’ll be so cute!