Some Fun Outdoor Crafts

In some part of the country, summer has started. In other parts, it’s spring. For others, it’s still winter. And I am so sorry for you. You’re living in my hell, and I have no crafts for snow.
Luckily where I live it only snows every other year. Seriously, I would die if it snowed in my area.
Which is why I have quite a few outdoor crafts. Because it’s nice usually here. And it gets kids out of the house for a little bit. Especially if you just cleaned the house.
Though some of these crafts are just wait and see like the crayon ones from yesterday.
1. Tracing shadows. I’ve seen it all over about putting toys in front of paper, and tracing shadows. It’s cool. The boys liked doing it when they were little.
But can I suggest even easier art?
2. Fading art. Lay the toy on construction paper outside. The sun will fade the paper, leaving where the toy was still dark. So with that in mind, arrange the toy(s) in an artful way for cool designs. Toddlers will just throw them down. The darker the paper, the better. In Tucson, this takes an hour or so. Basically nap time. Other areas of the country may vary.
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3. Fading art with plants. This looks cool when you use cool looking leaves and branches.
4. Reverse the fade. We had dinosaur cut outs that you traced the inside when the boys were little. So the paper faded just the dinosaur. While you might not have something so cool, you can easily cut out designs and shapes to use instead.07182010 pics - up to 16607182010 pics - up to 168
More crafts to come. Hang in there. 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.

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!

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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Some Beauty Crafts

Let’s take a break from being messy for a little bit. Right now in this time of chaos and crazy, we need to take care of ourselves. Yes, yes, many of us are too busy to do so. Trust me, I know. Everyone seems to be telling me to slow down and focus on myself. Breathe. Yeah, yeah, I will…. after this.

But I am sure we can make a little time to pamper ourselves. Who doesn’t like a good bath? Who doesn’t like feeling pretty and relax?

So here are some beauty crafts for adults, teens, and tweens. Ok the first 2 are for kids too.
1. Bath salt. Mix Epson salts with a little food color, perhaps some vanilla. Tada You can use oils meant for soap or eating if you have them.
2. Milk bath. A cup of instant milk into a bathtub. Like Cleopatra. Remember this for sunburn season.
3. Avocado mask. Just mash up a ripe avocado that you forgot you had or were waiting just one more day to use and oh damn. You can add a little olive oil.


4. Body and face scrub. Equal parts salt, sugar, and oatmeal. Simple. Easy. Oatmeal oats by themselves are a good body and face scrub.


5. Coffee and sugar body and face scrub. Equal parts fine ground coffee, brown sugar, and coconut oil. 1t vanilla extract.  They say “fresh” ground coffee. But I’m a rebel.


6. Hair wash. 2 T of apple cider vinegar in a cup of water. Wash hair normally. Pour on hair wash. Let set for 2 minutes. Rinse.


7. Beer rinse. Wet hair. Rinse with beer. Let set 2 to 5 minutes. Wash hair normally. I tend to wash my hair really, really well after the beer rinse. Also they say flat beer is the best….


I have a whole book on this stuff, but it’s in deep storage. But now I’m thinking of trying some new ones and see how they work and add more here.

More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Canned Crescent Roll Ideas

How many of you are getting bored with eating the same old thing? How many of your kids are getting bored eating the same thing? How many of you are bored with making the same thing?

Some of us don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to make gourmet meals right now. Here are a few ideas on using canned crescent rolls. All kid approved. It’s also a great way to start with some light cooking. Let the kiddos help. I find they are more likely to eat something that they made themselves.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

Open up your rolls, spread them out, and add the ingredients. Roll them up and bake them like the directions say.

1. Spread cream cheese and sprinkle your favorite seasoning. I prefer garlic. To add extra flavor, brush melted butter and add a sprinkle of seasoning.
2. Half a stick of string cheese. To add extra flavor, brush on melted butter and sprinkle dried garlic or Parmesan cheese.


3. Half a stick of string cheese and few pepperoni slices. To add extra flavor, brush butter and sprinkle garlic, Italian seasoning, or Parmesan cheese. Add tomato sauce as a dip.


4. A few chocolate chips. I went a little crazy and made and added chocolate shavings.


5. Nutella. Chocolate shavings on those too.


6. Butter cinnamon and brown sugar.

7. A friend recommended ham and cheddar. Her son loves them, so she makes them and freezes them two in a bag.


Somethings we haven’t tried, but I want to. Cheddar. A slice of turkey or ham and cheese. A slice of apple. Jelly.

Good luck. Stay safe. Stay sane.

Stamps! Create your own stamps!

Kids love working with paint and ink. It’s fun. Try it.

So why do I have so many ideas? Because I have been working with kids for a long time and busy kids are happier and less trouble than bored kids. Even as a teenage babysitter, I did crafts with the kids.

The more you do with your kids, the more memories you make. But really it’s about keeping them from destroying the house and your sanity as well as keeping the next battle to the death from happening. Art is good for the soul. For the kids and you.
1. Yesterday I mentioned using leaves and paint for stamps.
2. Potatoes and Paint. Cut a potato in half; it doesn’t matter which way. Toddlers don’t care if you leave like that. Just make sure they are stamping cut side down because toddlers don’t care. Older kids will figure it out. You can carve the potato into a shape. You can carve something into the potato bottom, like a smiley face. Or get really good and carve out something from the potato.
3. Apples and paint. I’ve always cut horizontally across the apple. But now I wonder what vertical apples do. You can carve a shape, but the seeds and the shape of the apple are cool. Apples are more slippery to hold than potatoes.


4. Sponges and paint. Sure, you could stick with rectangles. Or you could cut sponges in all sorts of shapes. I used hot glue to create handles on mine to help toddler hands.


5. Craft foam and paint. You can cut craft foam into shapes and then use them to stamp. I glued the individual shapes onto squares of craft foam to give a better grip to the stamps.


5.a. Craft foam stickers and pant. Stick the stickers on craft foam squares or blocks of wood. Or you could stick them onto lids from milk containers or soda bottles.


6. Hands and paint. The internet is filled with cute things you can make with hand prints. You can just leave it has hand prints or you can decorate them into objects and animals. Everyone remembers The Turkey. I have had my boys put hand prints on shirts, towels, tiles, and Christmas ornaments. It’s also fun to just play with paint and hands. Ink is cool, but there’s something about the feel of paint squishing between your fingers.


Bonus. A great time to go over those hand washing skills!
More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!