kid projects / arts & crafts


Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there! What a glorious weekend to celebrate!

It’s funny how most mothers say “every day is Mother’s Day” for them… and that they “don’t need one specific day to celebrate” themselves…

But it is special to have one day each year that is especially reserved for celebrating Mothers. Mothers of all kinds. Mothers young and old. Mothers of babies, teenagers and adults. Mothers of pets. Godmothers. Grandmas. Nanas. Aunts. And women that take on the role as “Mom” in your life.

That’s right, every kind of mother.

But it got us thinking… How did Mother’s Day actually begin? What is the history behind Mother’s Day?

Well, we found the answer at Mother’s Day Central.

Mother’s Day Central is a website that you must check out. This amazing website celebrates mothers, all year long. It is just full of interesting and insightful information about Mother’s Day… and also shares information about phenomenal and special women and mothers throughout history.

Take some time to sit and peruse Mother’s Day Central. It will bring you such appreciation for motherhood.

And again, Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! We hope you have a day of relaxing with your loved ones… and maybe a little pampering.

– Audrey, Jane and Sharon

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Kids parties have become the latest craze, and coming up with unique and fun themes and activities for children’s birthday parties and other events can be daunting. More and more parents are faced with the need to find new and creative ways to entertain throngs of classmates, neighborhood friends, and siblings of various ages.

One simple, low-cost, and very popular way to entertain children at any kind of celebration or gathering, indoors or out, is with a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. A treasure hunt is the one party game that truly promotes interaction, naturally evokes squeals of excitement, and leaves your party guests with lasting memories of their adventurous day at your child’s party.

What if your child doesn’t want a pirate-themed party? No problem! Treasure hunts aren’t just for pirates. Tradition has dictated that pirates are the great treasure hunters, but the fact of the matter is treasure hunts are loved by boys, girls, and grown-ups alike, and make a great addition to any party theme.

Treasure hunts can be simply adapted with a storyline and a variety of decorations to fit into any party theme. This is the one area of planning where your child might already have a very clear idea of what they would like, and it would be wise to involve them in this decision, as it makes the party their own.

To adapt a treasure hunt for a princess-themed party, for example, you might announce that someone has stolen the princess’s jewels, and whoever finds them by following the clues will be rewarded with a share of the loot. You place a jewelry box overflowing with plastic beads, candy necklaces and rings, and other gem-like treats in the center of the party table, and have someone sneak the treasure away during the party before making the announcement. Other themes and decorations might revolve around the latest TV cartoon characters, superheroes, pop idols, a holiday, or your child might want to create their own theme.

That being said, be careful not to fall into the parent trap of spending a small fortune buying themed party goods. Consider purchasing just a few themed bright and colorful decorations and/or centerpieces, and then either complement them with less expensive coordinating party supplies and decorations, or make your own — there are plenty of great fun ways to put you and your child’s artistic talent to work to customize your party.

Some crafty ideas kids may love making or having at their party include authentic-looking weathered pirate treasure maps, princess crowns and jewelry, spyglasses made from paper towel rolls, pinatas (handmade or bought), cardboard hooks inserted into the bottom of styrofoam cups to wear on their hands like Captain Hook, paper or felt decorated pirate hats, and bejeweled and personalized loot bags, to name only a few.

Although it requires some time, creativity, and resources, you can make and stage your own treasure hunt game to play as a group or competitively in teams. Design and hide 10 clever clues that lead players step-by-step from one clue to the next, hidden amongst common objects, to ultimately discover the hidden treasure, which might be sacks of “loot” consisting of candy such as chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil, or party favors, toys, and other items valuable to children.

Alternatively, if you’re short on time, money, and party ideas like many busy parents and party planners, online sites such as Treasure-Adventure.com offer affordable complete treasure hunts with pre-made custom clues full of rhymes and riddles that kids love to solve, the design of which can be the most time-consuming and difficult part of preparing a treasure hunt.

Use creativity to build your party further around the hunt for a truly fantastic and memorable party that your child and his or her guests will talk about long after the party is over. Although the treasure hunt will likely be the main attraction since it is the most action-packed and engaging, don’t necessarily limit other activities that might complement the hunt such as a cannonball toss using bean bags or water balloons, “Walk the Plank” using a shallow pool full of plastic alligators and snakes, pan for gold using gold spray-painted rock nuggets, dress in costumes, hold a peg-leg relay, make a castle or pirate ship out of an appliance box, play “Blackbeard says,” etc. — the sky is the limit!

Treasure hunts are also not just limited to children or birthday parties, but are perfect for family fun night, slumber parties, classroom parties, picnics, and other group events. Treasure hunts bring parties alive with hours of challenging and fun entertainment, with the thrill of the hunt along with the solving of puzzles often being the most enjoyable and memorable part of the day. And don’t think you can’t top your last party. By using a variety of themes, new treasure hunt clues and decorations, and a little creativity, you can throw many more successful and unique parties for years to come that never go out of style.

“If you’re up to the challenge, spyglass and compass in hand, yer prize is in sight, so let the adventure begin!”

To purchase inexpensive ready-to-play treasure hunt games online and find more valuable information on treasure hunt party planning, visit Treasure-Adventure.com. Games come complete with hiding guides to help you coordinate and pull off the perfect hunt and bring your party to life, come in a variety of themes such as for outdoor and classroom events, and the Treasure-Adventure.com web site also offers party supplies, free downloadable kids activities and games, party and craft ideas such as how to make an authentic looking pirate map, treasure hunting tips, and legends of lost treasure.

By Deb Bromley

Rainy days can be so boring for a child… and just as hard on moms. So we give some ideas to brighten your day and chase their rainy day blues away!

Shadow puppets

In a room that is fairly dark, set up a flash light so it is facing a wall. Have the children make hand shadows. If they get really good at them they could even put on a little play.

My box home

As a little girl some of my best times were spent making Barbie homes out of medium card board boxes. Paints, markers, crayons, fabric scraps, glue, and so on were used to fashion wall paper curtains and the like. The ideas and possibilities are endless!

Little boys can make garages for their cars, as well.

Magazine Story

Take ten pieces of paper. Staple them together. Have your child go through a magazine and pick out 10 pictures to cut out. Tell him/her to paste one on each page. Now whatever order they are in, they must write a story that has something to do with the pictures on each page. This can be a real challenge but is endless fun.

Puzzles

Have you child search for a few pictures they like in an old magazine. Paste these pictures onto heavy cardboard. With a paint brush, brush on a coat of clear drying glue such as Elmer’s glue. Let them completely dry. Cut them up into different shaped pieces. Now you have a puzzle for this rainy day and rainy days to come! Store in zip lock bags.

Bean Bag Pals

You will need a 10×10 square of felt, thread, needle, a parent to sew, beans or rice, tacky glue and scraps of different color felts to decorate with. Mom or Dad should sew the squares together all the way around, all but about 2 inches. Turn the square inside right. Fill with the beans or rice and sew closed. It can be decorated with the scraps of felt to make animals. Googly eyes are fun to add as well but are not recommended for children under four.

A Gift of Comfort

Not long ago when I was in the hospital having my son, I was given a special heat pack for my back. It was very simple and would be a great project for children to help with. My suggestion is have your child make about 30 and donate them to a labor and delivery floor.

*Rice Sock Heat Packs*

You will need:

– Men’s white tube socks, ones that have no preformed heal. Medium is a good size

– Uncooked white rice (not minute)

– Ribbon (any color or colors you like)

– Gift tags that tie on

Fill each sock two inches from the top.

Tie a length of ribbon tightly in a knot, attach the gift card and then make a bow.

On the gift tag write the instructions for use (you could make gift tags on your computer and print them all out): Microwave on high for 2 minutes or until it reaches the desired warmth. Enjoy!

These work great, and stay warm for a long time. If your child makes them to give away, it is an added bonus of pride!

Dress Up

My children have a tote full of dress-up clothing. I did it inexpensively through yard sales, Dollar Stores, Halloween clearances and Goowill. I pick up things such as jewelry, hats, sun glasses, badges, fancy dresses, costumes and other articles of interest. Many times I save new things to add on a rainy day or another day they have nothing to do. It generates new interest and hours of play.

Driving Mat

A huge poster board or cardboard is great to let your little one paint roads on for his cars. In fact, I bought my sons a light colors rug remnant (it was cheap), about 4 x 5 . It can be any size you like. My sons used fabric paints on the rug. They painted lakes, roads, airports, trees and so on.

If you decide to do the poster board you can use crayons or markers as well. They had a really great time making this one rainy day and still enjoy it to this day. When they are done they just roll it up and put it away. Card board milk cartons can be saved and painted to make little decorative houses and stores, as well as stores to place on their car mat. Be sure to wash them well, dry them and staple them closed.

Jennifer Gove is the owner of www.simplymoms.com. She is a full time stay at home mother living on the coast of Maine. To see more articles, a parenting community, chat, baby name finder and more, visit her site at www.simplymoms.com.

Every Christmas my boys and I make Christmas ornaments. One of my all-time favorites is the child’s hand print Santa. We made these ornaments six years ago, and I still smile a really big smile when they are unboxed. It has become a tradition to compare the Santa hand print ornaments with their hands to see just how much they’ve grown over the years.

In order to make your child’s hand print Santa ornament, you will need:

* a sheet of red craft foam large enough to trace your child’s hand onto
* a small piece of pink craft foam
* a small piece of white felt large enough to trace your child’s hand onto
* one small white pompom
* two little wiggly craft eyes (I think that’s a technical term.)
* glue
* red marker
* one pipe cleaner, your choice of color
* a one hole paper punch

Trace your child’s hand onto the piece of red craft foam. If your child is young and it is difficult to hold his hand steady in order to trace, first trace his hand onto a piece of paper. You can then use the cut out paper hand to trace onto the red craft foam. This simply prevents a lot of stray marks on the red craft foam. Believe me, as a mom of four sons, I know me some tricks…just ask.

Take the cut out red craft foam hand and trace it onto the piece of white felt. You will need to trim this down to fingers only for use as Santa’s beard. Also from the white felt, cut out a strip to be the fuzzy edge of Santa’s hat. (see photo for guidance)

From the pink craft foam, cut an oval to size to fit on the palm of your child’s hand print. This is Santa’s face. (see photo for guidance)

As necessary, trim all pieces to fit onto your child’s hand print and glue into place. (See the above photo for placement of each piece.) Use the red marker to add Santa’s rosy red nose. With the one hole paper punch, punch one hole near the top of Santa’s hat. Insert the pipe cleaner through the hole and bend into a hook as an ornament hanger.

Now you have an adorable Christmas tree ornament and a keepsake of your child’s hand.

Questions? Leave a comment and ask or email me at melodyspins[at]gmail[dot]com.

Remember, the most important part of any activity with you child is having fun. Perfection is never the goal.

Enjoy.

(For an extra large picture of the ornament, click here!)


Melody blogs at Slurping Life where she wrestles boys, does tons of laundry and goes to therapy appointments.

Today my four-year-old son and I made a “leaf mobile” for his baby sister. This was a fun and surprisingly easy activity that can be done with kids of any age. First, we loaded the baby up in her stroller and went for a leaf walk. We were on the lookout for leaves of different colors, shapes, and sizes that would be our inspiration for paper leaves we would later cut from colored paper. This led to a lively discussion about which trees lost leaves and which didn’t, the definition of the word “evergreen,” even (gasp)…Christmas!

We brought our collection home and spread it on the kitchen table, looking for interesting shapes and patterns. It turns out that bigger leaves are better for this project, since they are easier for kids (and moms and dads) to trace than to draw freehand. We used five colors of construction paper: brown, light yellow, red, dark green, and purple. With a quick hole punched in the stem of each leaf and threaded with clear fishing line, we were ready to assemble the mobile.

On our walk, we had also picked up a long, curved stick about two feet long and just thicker than a pencil for the base of the mobile. We tied each hanging leaf about four inches apart, varying the colors and length of lines for maximum visual interest. Then my husband helped us screw a hook into the ceiling just above the crib, and we suspended the mobile so that it balanced just right. We were careful to hang it high above the crib so little hands and feet couldn’t grasp or kick it. Brother and sister spent a good half hour lying in the crib and gazing at it, giggling and snuggling in their own private kiddo world.

We plan on making new mobiles periodically: flowers for spring and sea creatures in the summer. I love how modern and simple the end result is, and I especially love that my son helped make something for his little sister.

Posted as Leaf in Balance by Michelle Riggen-Ransom, regular Nature/Nurture contributer at Kidoinfo.