Another fun, quick and easy toddler art activity – bowl-y bugs. Not a specific insect per se, but you could certainly do red and black lady bugs, yellow and black bees but I really like letting my little guy chose his own colors and be creative.
Paper bowls or plates
pipe cleaners (or fuzzy sticks now a days)
paint brush or sponges
scissors, glue, tape
Poke holes in the top (aka bottom) of bowl for antennae (future step) with a pen or scissor blade. You can also make holes after painting but I found this a little harder to do.
Paint the bowl upside down. I did use a little blue tape to affix it to table so it didn’t slip around while being painted, aggressively at a times. Mix or layer colors, add stickers, such as dots etc. This is the fun part!
Glue or stick on google eyes.
Cut pipe cleaners, bend them into your favorite antennae shape and insert into holes.
Try to contain yourself (or small ones) while they dry. They can be stacked, turned into a story, taped on the fridge (bug attack!) or made into hats. Share photos if you make any.
When done, pull off the eyes and antennae and compost or recycle!
Home-baked goodies are a meaningful way to engage your littles in creating a gift and saying thank you to teachers, neighbors or others. While the sample baskets below are made by a toddler for daycare staff, there is no reason older children will not have just as much fun and creativity in designing the simple paper plate baskets. Include them in the baking too!
Cheap sort of flimsy paper plates (the best kind for crafts)
Markers, stamps, stickers etc
Double stick tape, glue and/or hot glue
Using a stripe or two of blue tape mark off a portion of the plate. This will ensure a little white space to put personalized messages. Then let the kids (or yourself) color and decorate the plates, mostly on the underside, but both sides can certainly be adorned. I also use it to affix the plate to counter as the coloring gets pretty physical around here. In the photo below I have multiple stacked so as one is colored up I could remove it quickly and keep the little guy coloring. 🙂
Once decorated, let dry if necessary. Then remove the blue tape carefully, stamp or write in the resulting white space.
Now cut four short cuts from the edge towards the center and then make for folds to create the bottom and sides and allow plate to be folded up into the basket shape. You can alter the shape of the basket by changing the cuts. The diagram will make a rectangle shaped basket perfect for mini loaves. If the cut are shorter and all equal distance from edge and around circumference of plate your basked will be more square and a great fit for multiple muffins. I usually make a template with a blank plate to fit the baked goodies that I want to gift. Its a little different each time.
Tape and/or glue up folded edges to make the basket. It is now ready to be filled with goodies. Feel free to line with parchment or waxed paper.
This DIY ‘simply’ involves a trip to the auto parts store, a drill, some nails/hooks and all the magnets you can stomach (figuratively, many magnets are total choking hazards).
At the auto parts store look for the world’s largest appearing cookie sheet, also known as oil drip pan. Select the least warped one. They tend to bend pretty easy due to material and size, they will also feel a bit oily to the touch, so a good wipe down with a cleaner and rag is a good next step. Cost less than $15.
You could also use a cookie sheet, not the air/insulated kind though, and probably not from the auto parts store. Costco has some quite large simple sheets.
Drill two holes in the top edge of the pan, a few inches in from the right and left side and about 1/2 inch down from top edge. We used a 3/8 inch drill bit.
Decide where you want to hang the metal board and use nails/screws or hooks to mount to the wall. You could also put holes at the bottom if you want to screw into the wall in four spots.
Originally I had wanted the logo imprint to be towards the bottom of the pan when hanging and then cover with fabric to make a pocket but forgot to communicate that detail to the hubs. Oops, no biggie. I just covered with a strip of busy fabric and hot glue.
Glued a few magnets to the back of a large google eye, some pompoms and to a cardboard tube for some additional fun things to play with on the board.
Nothing fancy but a fun quick craft activity with my two year old pterodactyl. We colored, traced stamped and stickered up several paper plates for festive fridge decoration (hello shamrock!) and greeting ‘cards’. Momma cut the center shape (heart, clover, etc) out at the end, but older kiddos could certainly practice scissor skills. I did not trace out the shape to cut before coloring, so the ‘freehandedness’ makes each one of a kind. 🙂
Paper plates, cheaper the better
Markers, crayons, dot markers/daubers, paint
Stickers of all kinds
Glitter glue (if you dare)
Permanent marker to write sentiments on at the end.
Go for it! Momma had fun making the too, something about those dauber markers… hmmmm.
Action art painting is fun and simple to do with kids of any age. This post has a slight twist or two for lunar New Year (or Tet or Chinese New Year or ?) This time of year there is often a need for lucky envelopes, called hongbao (Mandarin), lai see or li shi(Cantonese) to give money to most commonly children at family gatherings, although there are other potential recipients. Festive envelopes can be purchased or acquired from some banks, but this year we decided to try making some, granted a day later than we actually needed them, but such is life. We can use the red envelopes for weddings or next year. So actually, I am ahead of schedule.
golf balls, rocks or other toys/items that can be washed.
Small blank envelopes, we used #7 coin envelopes but plenty of variations
Or paper, small canvases etc
Tape paper or envelopes into the box or double up tape on the back of paper.
Put in globs of paint. We did mostly red, yellow, orange with some pink and purple. I added gold paint blob later so that it was more of a ‘top layer’.
Add some golf balls or rocks or whatever.
Affix lid, maybe tape it down if it does not latch tightly.
Shake! Shake! Shake! Keep shaking until it you are happy with the painting results. You could jump and shake etc. To really get the sillies out or pout on top of it because you really just want the golf balls to play with. 😉
Carefully remove the paper envelopes to a place to dry. If you want to do both sides, repeat once paint is dry.
You could also stamp, write or trace on some words or symbols. We have a double happiness stamp and gold ink from our wedding that I might add to the envelopes when I know that I have an appropriate wedding to attend. But for now our envelopes will be remain ‘event neutral’.
The simplest version of this activity is printing out a coloring page and taping inside a lidded box, adding paint, a ball (or rocks or whatever you want) and the lid. Then shake! We did one with a simple Year of the Rooster picture.Using blank paper is just as much fun a great way to make on of a kind color wall art.
Sample of an oh-so authentic yet so subtle envelop you could buy…… [picture by B. Ng @ Seattle Supermarket] No one will know what is inside.
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! Gong Hey Fat Choy! Happy Lunar New Year!
Making and sending thank you or other occasion cards to our veterans, service members and their families are a simple but meaning way to engage our children of all ages in showing respect and gratitude. This is the first year we have made cards to send and I wanted to keep it simple for my toddler, who still seems to eat more crayon than gets places on paper, so I tried my hand at making a potato stamp in the shape of a poppy.
Make a potato stamp!
Supplies needed are a potato, a knife, some paint and some sort of plan. I selected a smaller potato to fit in little hands but any size really. The knife should be sharp and best an ‘adult’ task. Carve the design into the potato, make it raised by about 1/8 to a 1/4 inch and then either stamp it in paint or paint on the paint then stamp paper. I carved in both parts, more for practice and anticipation of nibbles. Here is a link to another great tutorial on more detailed potato stamps. The sky is really the limit.
For this group of cards, we kept the supplies simple: colored dot stickers (from our potty enthusiasm collection), scribbled with a crayon or two, used the paint dauber markers (love these!) and of course the potato stamp. I try reallllly hard to not over orchestrate the crafts, especially given the little guys age. So the only real theme was red and blue with white paper. I think the cards turned out great, mess was made (a good sign IMHO) and only two small bites were taken from the potato. Which, while it ended their utility, was more perplexing than anything – you will take a bit out a raw potato covered in red paint but not a cherry tomato or yam?
Next steps are writing thoughtful messages inside, note creation details on the back and then send them on their way to a Veteran. There are lots of organizations to support this type of project. check out www.operationwearehere.com, www.operationgratitude.com and www.dosomething.org, among so many. This year’s batch of cards will be staying local as a group at work is collecting and delivering to an area group.
Why the poppy? Originally, wearing a poppy was designed for Memorial Day celebrations in May but now is worn in November for Veterans Day as well. The poppy was selected as a symbol of war veterans after World War I after observations of poppies blooming in war torn fields were reported. A famous poem was penned title In Flanders Fields by John McCrae and a few years later used as inspiration by Moina Michael for a fundraiser to support related charities. Check out www.va.gov for more information.
Excerpt: In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below
Share your ways to celebrate Veterans and/or Potato Stamp ideas!
Bonus! Just some more fun with paint daubers. Trace picture outlines, maybe glue a felt embellishment on and let them loose! This set of pictures were for some friends that lived in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle (Hat and Boots at Oxbow!) and moved out of state.
Action art! is where it is at. Easy to do and a fun way to spend a rainy day. We also use art to create cards. In preparation for Teacher Appreciation week, we used cars and some balls to roll around in colored paint. Place the paint on flat plates. Put blue painters tape down randomly over the cardstock for design and to also hold down the blank paper while painting. The toys left interesting designs on the cardstock, which we later cut and folded into a card shape. When the tape is removed it leaves a nice clean blank space for writing or stamping (Thank you! in this example)
The toys are easy to wash when done (use washable nontoxic paint) and so is the kiddo, maybe. Enjoy!
I do love a theme! The disaster preparedness party idea started this summer when one of parents in our PEPs group shared an article on being ready for 9.0 earthquake in our near future (remember time is relative). In my last professional position, disaster preparedness was one of my bailiwicks, and I must have just been in a mood but therein sparked the September get together with our awesome PEPs group. Seriously, salt of the earth and surprisingly many had some form of disaster kit or at least a hint of a plan “a bunch of water in our garage and hope for the best”, so there was actual enthusiasm to get together and update now that our families are bigger by at least one. That and we like hanging out, eating and letting our kids play together. Our first annual (because you need to update your kits) PEPper Prepper party was this September, which is National Emergency Preparedness Month (#notacoincidence).
Host your own Prepper Exchange Party
Create a list of basic items for guests to sign up to bring. Some examples:
Suggest a minimum quantity to share with each family
Have guests sign up to bring 1) a dish or drink to share (potluck!) and 2) preparedness items to share
You might also want to have people bring boxes or find some 5 galloon food buckets to store items in. On a whim, I asked our local PEPs office if they had any swag that would be appropriate for disaster kits. Surprisingly, they had the perfect tote for us – electric lime green! [thank you for the other items too!]
Congregate, eat food, play with reckless abandon, assemble kits. Another in the group found a cute coloring book to download about Pepper the Prepper Cat. There are others but this was a better fit for our toddlers (big picture, not a lot of words, they just eat crayons anyways). I also found a spooky vegetable page, a homage to our veggie-phobic brood. However, the large punch balloons were the big hit. Note: we live dangerously, since the balloons are labeled for ages 8 and over.
Check out this awesome repurpose/hack to portion out bleach using Medela storage containers. The label with instructions makes me smile.
Some helpful resources for filling in the rest of your kit: