Mail Time!

What is more exciting to open the mail box and have something other than junk mail and bills? Ok, a package. But also just mail from someone.
Kids rarely get mail. They love it.
Heck, stop at a mail box and mail your own kids mail.
Things to send in the mail:
1. Send origami that you just learned to make.
2. Send postcards you collected and never sent.
3. Send recycled post cards. You know that stack of cards you have and should toss? Rip off the front cover and send it as a postcard.
4. Send cards. Homemade or not. Random valentine cards left over from years ago. I have so much random stationary. I inherited it from my great aunts. Heck, I have a friend who seems to always be sick, so I send her Get Well cards even if I have no idea if she’s sick or not.
5. Make your own stationary. Remember when I talked about stamps? Use stamps to make stationary.
5.a. Draw your own stationary. I had an artist friend who would do this. It was so cool to see her art work.
6. Send stickers. Everyone loves stickers! I still send stickers to my friends.
7. Send homemade art. Same artist friend used to send me her art too. My dad has an old friend who is a cartoonist and would send my dad a cartoon every once in a while.
8. Send homemade bookmarks.

Send mail. It’s fun.

More to come! Stay safe. Stay sane.

Easy Crafts: Origami

First I suck at folding; so when I tell you it’s easy, believe me. Like I can’t do the crane that everyone does. “It’s so easy.” No, it’s not. “See, just fold here and here and here.” And they lift up this beautiful crane, and I lift up a colorful wad of paper, perfect for making baskets with the trash can.

It’s why I keep all the cranes kids make for me. Only in high school, the kids make them out of tiny candy wrappers. And I’m doubly-impressed. Also as high school teacher, you don’t get many gifts or pictures, so you really treasure the ones you do get.
When I was a cool teenage babysitter, this was always a fun craft. I would fold pieces for the kids, and we would make all sorts of stories and plays. As my chargers got older, I taught them how to fold the simple pieces…. until they learned to fold cranes and laugh when I would be at a loss as they tried to teach me.

My nemesis, folks, paper cranes.

Some easy one origami.
1. The dog. (a favorite among babysitting charges and Cub Scouts)
2. The cat. (Another favorite)
3. The whale.
4. The fox.
5. The elephant.
Here’s a site for them: https://www.origamiway.com/easy-origami.shtml
7. The house. I would fold this for a set piece, but I don’t remember if it was easy or not.
8. The prince.
9. The princess.


My original origami book that I had as a teenager is in deep storage. I cannot find a site for the prince and princess. For many days, I looked. I kept folding the paper in different ways until I figured it all out again.

So coming soon. Pictures and directions.

If you don’t have fancy paper, cut a square out of regular paper. I don’t recommend construction paper.


More to come. Good luck. Stay safe. Stay sane.

Let’s Play with Soap

I have so many random crafts and science projects. Seriously, so many. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I have ones for soap.

We use soap in Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. And now that I’m writing this, I can think of a couple more that will have to wait until I find the directions. Hopefully they aren’t in deep storage….

While I know many states are letting people out into the world, I know many more are not. It’s frustrating and chaotic. But I still have plenty of crafts to share because before you know it, the kids will be out for summer.
1. Water and Oil and Soap. This is a fun little experiment to show kids what water does to oils. My Girl Scouts loved this. Take a zip lock back fill a 1/3 with water. Add enough oil (canola or whatever) to make a layer. Show the kids how the water and oil don’t get along. Then add dish soap. Dawn works the best. Make sure the bag is sealed. Like really make sure. Then shake it up. The water, oil, and soap combine because the soap binds with the oil. It’s more complicated than that, but yeah.

 


2. Make soap. You could buy soap and melt it and make it. OR you can save all those slivers of soap you’ve been using to really wash your hands. Melt them. I prefer the double broiler to slow microwaving. Pore into molds or into paper cups. Let cool. Pop them out of molds.


2.a I once made soap with toys in them. Lots of fun.


3. Carve soap. This is a Cub Scout activity. Whittle or carve shapes out of soap. I made templates from pictures online like a bear, a whale, a shell, and various simple shapes. We do this in 3rd grade in Cub Scouts. But using a plastic knife, soft soap, and adult supervision, you could probably do it younger.


4. Bubbles! My favorite memory is entertaining the boys when they were little and blowing enough bubbles to fill a mall court yard. It was magical.


5, Homemade bubbles. I lost my recipe. So try these: 4 cups warm water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup blue Dawn dish soap. Mix. OR 2 cups warm water, 1/3 cup dish soap, and 1/4 cup corn syrup. Mix.


6. Bubble wands. Pipe cleaners bent into a closed shape attached to another pipe cleaner, dowel, or stick.


Stay safe! Stay sane! More to come!

Morse Code Activities

You want to know what’s fun? Secret codes.

Breaking them. Learning them. Making them.

Why do you think the Rosetta Stone is so cool? It broke a code.

Why save up box tops or bottle lids for that cool decoder ring? Breaking a secret code!

So while I hunt down my old Cub Scout and Girl Scout Handbooks, let’s start with Morse Code.
1. Teach Morse code. For fun. Or until we need to use it to coordinate a defense against aliens because they are hijacking our satellites.
2. Make secret messages of Morse code on paper. “Send” them to the kids. Let them “send” them to you. I remember a short story as a code where the Grandma made people ring her door bell in a code. It was SOS in Morse code. Do fun ones first. Wait on the “do your chores” message for later.
3. Make secret messages in Morse code with Legos. Or blocks.
4. Make secret messages in Morse code with noodles. Break up spaghetti or use long and short noodles. Glue noodles on paper. Or string them on a string.


5. Make secret messages with beads. Make cool jewelry with a special messages or words.

Morse code - Wikipedia
More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Science and Art and Coffee Filters

How about Science and Art!

I love art. And I love science. I love science demonstrations and experiments. I just like cool things. I like working with my hands. So we do a lot of art and a lot of science.

I’m sure I have pictures of these when the boys were little, and we did these. But I just spent 20 minutes going through hundreds of pictures. So I’ll find them the next time I search the pictures. Or maybe we’ll do some over the weekend. Mwhahaha.
1. Chromatography. Separate the pigments of markers. Fill a couple of glasses with water. Take a coffee filter and color it with markers. I have always had the boys leave the center white and leave a lot of the filter uncolored. But you can color the whole thing or make designs. Once the child is done coloring fold the coffee filter so the bottom is just touching the water. Eventually the water will climb the filter and separate colors or blend them together depending on your white space. Leave them to dry.

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2. You can do this with different types of markers and test the different pigments. We did this in Scouts.


3. Now you have these cool works of art to hang everywhere.


4. Or flowers. Take a few filters and layer them. Fold them into a cone shape, giving the resemblance of a carnation. Tie the bottom with a pipe cleaner.


5. Or butterflies. Take one filter. Fold it in half. Fold a pipe cleaner in half. Put the pipe cleaner up the middle of the filter like you’re cutting the filter in half with the pipe cleaner. Scrunch the filter to form to wings and twist the pipe cleaner at the top to hold the wings and create antennas.


6. Butterflies using 2 filters. Fold both filters in half. Put them straight edge to straight edge and take the pipe cleaner and copy the instructions.


7. Suncatchers. Cut the filters into pieces. Cut a piece of clear contact paper in any shape. Let the child decorate the contact paper with pieces. Cover the pieces with contact paper.


8. Mosaics. Cut the filter into pieces. Let the child glue the pieces in interesting shapes.


More to come stay safe and stay sane!

Some Fun Kid Activities

I’ve been posting lots of crafts, but if you have kids like my boys, they need to move and run and jump and climb and punch. So much punching.

We are taking 3 walks a day. I feel like I’m preparing for being a dog owner.

And watching my kids, I can see how people come to the conclusion video games cause violence. Yes, I know the studies. But they do seem to be more violent when they play more. I feel like that’s really the result of frustration for a difficult game with the high energy combined with no moving.

Here’s some ways to go play with the kids.
1. Stick to the classics. Tag, which never goes out of style. You don’t have to move half the time.¬† Nerf guns and squirt guns. Jump in there and show the kids who can really shoot. Hide and go seek. Play this one right, and you can snag a 5 minute nap. (What? I couldn’t find you; you’re such a good hider!)

 

2. Put Away Toys by Number. Give the kids a number and they put away that number of toys. I taught my 2 oldest my phone number that way. Or you can race to see who puts away that many toys. Tornado A still loves that game. My mom hates this game.
3. Find the…. When I lived in my own place, I used to hide a dinosaur decorated with glitter and a few flower stickers (because I can). First kid to find it got a piece of candy. I hid an axolotl recently. Unfortunately the boys haven’t found it. Like it’s been over 2 weeks. I’m disappointed.


4. Flash light tag. Tag in the dark. It person has to turn the light on you to tag you. My brothers were pros at this.


5. The Smell Game. Blindfold the child and have them smell spices or various kitchen stuff and have them identify it. Born out of desperation to entertain two little girls. I made them close their eyes and then grabbed jars from their mother’s spice cabinet and had them guess the spice by the smell. I have babysitting chargers all grown up who remember this one.


Good luck! More to come. Stay safe! Stay sane!

Make Puppets!

Here me out. When I needed a craft back when I was a teenage babysitter, this was a favorite among the kids. Especially sock puppets.

I was a cool teenage babysitter. We played games. We made crafts. We cooked. I let kids stay up later if they cleaned the house with me. I read stories with voices and acted things out. If you had a sink full of dishes, I would wash them. (Except one family that always had overflow all over the counters. One time there wasn’t even a dish, cup, anything in any of the cabinets. Nope. No way was I doing that many dishes.) And I never had a boyfriend for anyone to worry about. Cool.

Also kids love acting out stories. And sock puppets are so fun.
1. Sock puppets. We all have old random sock singles. Let kids use markers to decorate the face. Glue yarn for hair. Glue buttons for eyes.

 
2. Brown paper sack puppets. Markers to decorate faces. Perhaps even clothes. Glue googly eyes.
3. Popsicle stick puppets. Decorate popsicle sticks like characters with markers. People do this all the time. With Minions….?


4. Paper puppets. Draw or print out figures. Color them. Cut them out. Glue them on popsicle sticks. Back when I was a cool teenage babysitter, I had a whole bunch of these in authentic historical costumes and did shows about famous people in history. Then the kids would play with them. Because I was cool.


5. Shadow puppets. Teach kids to make shadow puppets. I can only do a dog, bird, duck, and bunny. But I’m sure there are more. And just 4 characters can have a lot of stories.


6. Let the kids make up skits and present them.


More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Rock Crafts Part 2

Who wants more rock crafts?

We’ll just pretend everyone is excited by this. I told that I had tons of these. If I look through pictures, I bet I can find a few more.

One of the annoying things about living with my parents is a lot of my stuff is packed away in what I call “deep storage.” Like a meat locker but for my things. So all my crafting books, all my cook books, all my old scouting books, and a lot of my crafting supplies are out of reach. So annoying.

But I’m sure that I can find more crafts and activities to keep my tornadoes busy and your little ones busy.

 
1. Paper maché rocks. Cut up colorful tissue paper. Or just pretty paper. Glue the paper all over the rock. Seal it if you want.
2. Rock collage. Cut pictures or words out of magazines or print pictures and words. Glue them on the rock. Seal if desired.

 
3. Paint rocks gold or silver. Makes for great treasure to hunt for. I used to hide them in the sand box when I had young pirates.

 
4. Paint rocks with nail polish. I should do a whole post on what I‘ve painted with nail polish. Like so much.


5. Words! Paint the rock. Write names.


5.a Write words. Have kids make sentences and poetry out of word rocks.


5.b Write cool sayings and quotes on rocks. Give them away. Hide them around the neighborhood.


6. Ladybugs. Find round or oval rocks. Paint them red. Paint a small portion black for the head. Paint dots. You don’t really have to do red. I’ve seen them painted with other colors.


7. Ghosts. Paint them white. Draw a ghost face on them in black marker. I had the cubs do this one year. They loved it. Points for painting in glow-in-the-dark afterwards. We also made jack o lanterns as well.


More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane.

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Rock Crafts: Part 1

In one of my first craft posts, I mentioned rocks. Now I’m going to get more specific on crafts with rocks because it was my go to for years. Even in Cub Scouts.

Rocks are easy to find. They are cheap. Even if you have to buy a bag of water rocks, there are so many crafts you can do with rocks.

Right now two tornadoes out of three are studying rocks and Earth’s crust, so I’m scouring the internet for science projects to add to the study, so rocks are our thing.
1. Rock hunt. Find that perfect rock. Or rocks. Look at color, size, texture. Like hide and go seek, I can draw this game out for a long time. (Coming soon how to draw out games for a long time. ) Bring home the rocks and wash them. Let them dry. If kids ask why the rock is darker, water changes the light reflecting from the rock. (My boys asked why a lot; they get it from their Mama.)

 
2. Pet rocks. Glue some googly eyes on that bad boy and done. Maybe draw a smile. Make a little home for it with a box. Decorate the box. Name the rock. Teach it to sit.


3. Monster rocks. Paint the rock. Any color. Multiple colors. Draw eyes and a scary face. Bonus points for googly eyes.


4. Turtle rocks. Find the perfect rock for a turtle shell. Paint the rock, preferably turtle colors, but it’s ok to have a pink turtle. Leave it like that or add other rocks or pompoms for feet and a head.


5. Fruit or vegetable rocks. Again this means looking for a good rock to match the shape of the fruit or vegetable or vice-versa. Paint the rock to resemble the chosen fruit of vegetable. I used to paint strawberries.


6. Paper weight. Find a bigger, heavier rock. Paint it. (Makes for great gifts!)


7. A word on paint. I’ve done plain craft paint. We’ve done markers. Spray paint works. Nail polish works. You can seal it with sealer or clear nail polish.


Good luck. Stay safe. Stay sane.

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Egg Carton Crafts

Do you have empty egg cartons?

I just spent 15 minutes looking through pictures, searching for pictures of these crafts. I hope I explained them correctly. They are fairly easy crafts and a fun way to reuse an egg carton. Not as practical as making fire starters.

You can use cardboard or Styrofoam egg cartons. Though cardboard is easier to color.
1. Turtles. Cut out one cup; flip upside down. Let the child color the shell. Cut out 4 round circles and an oval out of green construction paper. Glue the circle at each corner for feet. The oval is the head. Glue it in the right spot.
2. Ladybugs/beetles. Cut out one cup. Flip it upside down. Let the child color it. Red with dots for lady bugs. All sorts of colors for beetles. Add googly eyes if you have them
3. Tulips. Cut out one cup. Let the child color the inside and outside. Put a hole in the bottom. Thread a green pipe cleaner through the hole far enough to knot it or glue it. Cup side up. Make a dozen!


4. Spiders. Cut out one cup; flip it. Let the child color it a good spider color. Poke 4 holes on one side of the cup and 4 on the other side. Cut 4 black or brown pipe cleaners in half. Thread a piece of pipe cleaner through each hole far enough to tie it or glue it. Bend the legs to make feet or “knees.” Glue googly eyes.


5. Caterpillars. Cut out as many cups as you would like. Flip them. Let the child color it. Add eyes.


I have a bat one. But maybe I’ll save that for later. More to come. Stay safe! Stay sane!