Stupid Easy Things to Do

In a crisis, we tend to forget about easy stuff to do. Sometimes we just forget to do things when we’re bored. Or we just forget.

God only know how many times I’ve wandered around the house bored, not knowing what to do, and then later realizing, “Holy Cow, I could have done X; sonofabitch!”
1. Let kids draw on the steam mirror. You can have them clean the mirror after. Kids are entertained by both. Also drawing something on the mirror as a surprise is cool too.
2. Dry erase markers work on mirrors and windows. Just make sure you supervise them kiddos.
3. Bubble baths are awesome any time of day. A few drops of food coloring in the water. Magic. You can also write words and draw pictures with the food coloring drops on the bubbles.
4. Night baths with glow sticks and bathroom light off.


5. Remember that game you played as kids where you had to keep the balloon in the air. That is still an awesome game.


6. Same game as 5 but you glue/tape popsicle sticks on the back of paper plates and use them as rackets. Have the kids decorate their rackets. Heck, draw a face on the balloon.


7. Since some of us bought up a 3 years supply of toilet paper, you can dress up as mummies. Not us, you. Some of you bought a huge supply. Make a fort out of it.


More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane. You’ve got this parents!

Let’s Play with Food: Food Crafts

There are so many ways to entertain kids with food. It’s cheap; it’s fun; it gets them to eat. And I am sure that this will not be my only post of food crafts.

When Tornado A was a toddler, he loved playing in the kitchen. He would remove cans out of the pantry and stack them. When he got bigger, he would get in the fridge and pull things out and make rows of food. He “cooked” by taking out my pots and pans out of the cabinets. If I threw in some dried beans, he would stir and cook.

1.  Cook and bake with kids. When they’re little, they love to help. When they’re older, it teaches math and, more importantly, that not following directions leads to disastrous results.

2. Let the kid string Cheerios or Fruit Loops. And then eat them. Sure, use candy. Heck, I was a strange child; I would’ve eaten dried noodles on a string.
3. You can also string Cheerios and such on pipe cleaners. They stay better on little wrists.

4. Frosting on a graham cracker is amazing. Make sandwiches.


5. Frost sugar cones and decorate with sprinkles and chocolate chips. Sure, it’s suppose to be for Christmas, but time means nothing now.


6. Dye cream cheese blue. The child can spread it on crackers, bagels, toast. Add Gold Fish crackers. An aquarium.


7. Dye white frosting blue. They can spread it on graham crackers or cookies. Add graham cracker Gold Fish or the S’more Gold Fish. An aquarium!


More to come! Stay safe! Stay sane!

Crafts with Glue!

I have a lot of easy crafts with glue because glue and paper are cheap and easy. (I feel like there’s a joke in there somewhere.) I am sure I will post more glue activities.

Another day in the madhouse here, just like it probably is at your house. My boys have school work, but it’s a struggle to keep them from not plugging in to YouTube and videos games not having anything else to do. So I’m pulling out art supplies and science experiments here.

It slightly reminds me of the horror when all three of my boys had Foot, Mouth, Hand Disease. Tornado E was 6; Tornado S was 4, and Tornado A was 1. I saw no other adult for a week. It was …. It was hellish.

So good luck, parents. You can do this.

(Some of these use food supplies; just remember the supply chain isn’t cut, and things will be back to normal soon.)

 
1. Glue and rice. Make a design with glue, sprinkle rice, shake of excess, let it dry. I was promised a glitter effect, but no. It still looks cool.
2. Noodle Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with noodles. Perhaps various noodles. Glue them down.
2.a. Or let them just glue noodles down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


3. Rock Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with rocks. Glue them done. Like the noodle mosaics, people make some awesome pictures.

3.a. Or let them just glue rocks down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


4. Bean Mosaics. Have the child make a pattern with dry beans. Perhaps a variety of beans. Then glue them down.
4.a. Or let them glue beans down without any thought. It’s fine. You’ll get over it, and they will love it. Just grit your teeth and say nothing.


5. Decorate those large noodle shells. We’ve done markers, glitter glue, fabric paint, googly eyes. It’s great.


6. Print out or draw a large letter or word. Have the child draw glue on it. Then have the child decorate it with buttons, noodles, rock, glitter, whatever you have. This is how I taught letters and words to my own sons.


Stay safe. Stay sane

More Crafts: Cheap and Easy Edition

I meant to post sooner, but I have kids to teach like we all do, and I work from home, like most of us do. Teaching online is just as hard as kids learning online. I am embarrassed by my own tech savviness. Or really the lack of it.

Then to add that the kids need to move or they start attacking each other. And I have to move of I start feeling anxious. It’s a mess.

Here are some more easy things to do to entertain kids or yourself. (Also I swear that I’m putting line breaks between the numbers, but it’s just not showing up. I am a tech genius.)
1. Water painting. Bucket of water, brush, wall. Preferably outside.
2. Ice painting. Ice cube, sidewalk, preferably outside. (I have a chalk ice recipe somewhere…. I haven’t tried it, but I’ll let you know.)
3. Sand painting. Let them glue a design on paper. Let them pour sand on the paper. Shake off excess sand. Preferably outside. You can dye the sand with food dye over night. It may dye your hands. Just saying.
4. Freeze toys in ice cubes. (Do people still have ice cube trays?) (Use plastic or paper cups that you can destroy to get the ice cube out) Let child figure out how to break it open. Give them “tools” they can use. Or they will just throw them on the ground. Still fun.


5. Glitter painting. Let them glue a design on paper. Let them pour glitter on the paper. Shake excess glitter off the paper. Teach your child to sweep. Then swifter. Then vacuum. Find glitter two weeks later. The gift that keeps giving.

More to come. Stay safe. Stay sane. We’re all in this together.

Craft Ideas: These probably need supplies

Here are more craft ideas for kids or adults. Now my house has always had random stuff to do crafts, but now that I live with my parents, we have so much random junk. Anything my boys need to do a project, we have it.

I assume that I may not be normal. Many of you can still go to Walmart, Target, and the world-dominating Amazon. (Did anyone else see lightning and hear thunder? Just me. Cool.) I told my friends about these crafts before we sheltered in place. Not that many people are listening….

If you have the things, do the stuff. If you don’t, I have other craft ideas. Guys, not only have I been a parent for a while, I was also a Girl Scout leader and am a Cub Scout leader. I’ve got ideas for days.
1. Googly eyes! Glue them on rocks. Glue them on paper and have the child make faces around them. Glue them on milk carton lids. Glue them on plastic tabs. Glue them on signs.
2. Clear contact paper can make all sorts of cool sun catches. Between two sheets, kids can put cut up tissue paper, cut up streamers, leaves, twigs, flowers. I used to draw a shape before the kids put things on it, so I could cut out fun shapes to represent holidays or favorite themes. Cookie cutters make great shapes to trace.


3. Shakers. Get plastic eggs. Fill them with rice, pasta, beans, small rocks, buttons, beads. Each egg a different filling. Hot glue it.


4. Googly eyes on plastic eggs. Glue pompoms on it for feet.


5. Glue a pompom on the inside of the plastic egg for a body. Glue a second one on top the first for a head. Glue eyes.


6. Stamps. They’re awesome


7. If you have washable ink stamp pads, kids can make thumb prints. Just a lot of finger prints. Or make them into a flower with each print a different petal. Or fingerprints that a kid could add details to make them birds, bugs, or monsters. (If you get the nonwashable kind, their hands will be colored for 2 days, maybe 3. 4 tops.)

Good luck! Stay safe! Stay sane! We’re all in this together.

I’m bored!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written due to teaching and parenting and whatever other chaos has come my way. But after the last several days of giving suggestions to my colleagues and friends with younger children, I realized that I can help a lot of parents out there. Sure, I have the craft section of this blog, but I figured that I can just post quick ideas, and if you want the pictures, you can move over to the craft section.

So day 1 of craft and activity ideas for bored children and adults.

1. Baking soda in a pie tin. Give your kid a glass of colored vinegar and an eye dropper. This will amuse a kid (or an adult) until the baking soda is slop.
2. Bread painting. New (or really clean) paint brush. Color some milk. Let the kid paint the bread with milk. Toast the bread and butter it. Snack!
3. Stickers. Fish stickers on blue is an ocean scene. Have the child draw some seaweed, glue on some sand at the bottom edge, put on some fish stickers. Then cover it with plastic wrap. An aquarium. Animal stickers on green paper could be a jungle or forest. Have the kid make a zoo.


4. Pet rocks! First go rock hunting. You can stretch this out for a while. Is that the perfect rock? You can paint rocks. You can use markers on rocks. You can make monsters, pets, fun designs. Warm up the rock (or wait until “summer”), and you can use crayon, and it melts on the rock.


5. If you can wait, order shrink-a-dink paper. My kids loved shrink-a-dinks. Don’t let anyone tell you to use styrofoam meat trays. First it doesn’t work. Second no matter how clean a used one is, it’s not clean enough and will smell like cooked meat.

 

Good luck! Stay safe. Stay sane. We are all in this together.

Holiday crafts for kids and toddlers

Are you looking for something to make with your kids?  I always am.  Especially for gifts.  Once you have kids, gifts for grandparents and aunts and uncles and great-grandparents and godparents become a cinch.  Who wouldn’t want a cute ornament made by a kid?  Decorating for the holidays is fun and economical.  These were the crafts we tackled last year.

As always, crafts can be adjusted for the age and ability of the child.  The older the child, the more the kid can do.

Picture Ornaments

(I thought this was a cute craft.  I make a different ornament with the kids every year and give them out as gifts and keep them for my own tree.  I liked the idea of saving a picture of the boys on my tree.  The boys enjoyed making these.  Anything with glue is fun to them. Younger kids can decorate the ornament.  Older kids can trace and cut as well as decorate.  My children (6, 4, and 1) are not fantastic cutters, so I cut.  I got the idea from here.)

Things you need:

  • Card stock
  • Jar lid recommended 3″ lid
  • Another round lid slightly smaller (to cut the pictures)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Photos
  • Glue
  • Pens, markers, paint, stamps (anything to decorate the front)
  • String, elastic cord, something to hang up the ornament

What to do:

Fold the stock paper.  Make a simple ornament shape by tracing the jar lid and leaving the fold intact with the topper of the ornament.  Cut out ornament.  Decorate the front of the ornament with paints, stamps, whatever or do the activity below.  Using the smaller round shape, draw a circle on the photo, and cut it out.  Glue the picture on the inside of the ornament.  You can glue the string in place or just tie it.  (I’m a rebel.  I didn’t use glue for the string.)

Reindeer fingerprints

( I got the idea from Spoonfuls, the same site that brought you the craft above.  I wasn’t able to find the directions.  I thought these were so adorable on the cards.  But I thought they would be awesome on the photo ornament.  A fingerprint to match the picture to show how small they once were.  The boys LOVED this!  They got to get messy.  Tornado E and Tornado S (6 and 4) drew the antlers and glued the eyes and nose.  I helped the one year old.)

Things you need:

  • Card stock
  • Brown washable (I can’t stress WASHABLE enough) ink pad
  • Brown marker
  • 5mm googly eyes (for small fingers)
  • 1/4 in black or red pom poms (for small fingers)

Have the child make a fingerprint with the WASHABLE brown ink.  Finger or thumb.  After the ink dries, have the child draw antlers.  Then have the child glue eyes and a nose.  Our craft we did just one.  If you’re making a card or have a large ornament, do more than one.

Making reindeer

Holiday Wreaths

(I stole this from my BFF and her holiday program at her church.  I was suppose to run this craft and got bumped.  In my disappointment, I decided to do this with my boys.  I did the hot glue.  They decided where to put the decorations.  If you’re A personality, I don’t recommend this.  We made an ugly wreath, but it was done with love.  The boys LOVED this.)

Things you need:

  • Cheap fake Christmas wreath
  • Cheap decorations like mini christmas ornaments and bells (I bought ours at the dollar store and Walmart.)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon (optional)

What to do:

Lay the wreath down.  Heat the glue gun.  Have the kids place the decorations on the wreath.  Glue the decorations.

That is a kid approved wreath

For more craft ideas:

https://faemom.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/christmas-ornaments-for-kids-preschoolers-and-toddlers-to-make/

https://faemom.wordpress.com/2008/11/30/christmas-crafts-for-kids-toddlers-and-babies/

https://faemom.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/winter-and-christmas-crafts-for-toddlers-and-children/

https://faemom.wordpress.com/2008/12/10/more-christmas-crafts-for-children-toddlers-and-babies/

https://faemom.wordpress.com/2009/12/09/christmas-crafts-for-kids-preschoolers-and-toddlers-part-2/

Christmas ornaments for kids, preschoolers, and toddlers to make

Christmas is coming.  The goose is getting fat.  I love prepping for Christmas. Tornado E and I are brain storming for this year’s ornaments and crafts.  I’m not sure what to do for the families.  Here are some ornaments we made last year.  We had a blast making them.  Depending on the age and the ability of the child will depend on how much work you do.

Mini Christmas Trees

(I remember doing something similar when I was a Brownie in Girl Scouts. It’s an easy, fun, and messy project.  Tornado E (5) and Tornado S (3) really enjoyed making them.)

What you need:

Pine cones

Green spray paint

Glue

Glitter

Paper plates

Ribbon

Spray paint pine cones green.  Once the pine cones are dry, pour glue in one paper plate and glitter in another.  Have the child roll the pine cone in the glue and then in the glitter.  Let the pine cone dry.  Glue ribbon to the pine cone to make a loop.  Allow to dry.

Glitter Shells

(I saw this in a Martha Stewart magazine.  The hard part is putting a whole in the shell; you’ll need a drill, preferably a dremel drill.  It was easy to adopt for children.  I’m thinking I want to try other shells this year.  The boys loved making these.  I loved playing with my dad’s dremel drill.  If only I had a real reason to get one.)

Things you need:

Shells (We used clam shells)

Dremel Drill

Glue

Glitter

Paper plates

Tooth pick

Ribbon or string

Drill a hole in the top of the shell.  Have the child dip the shell into the glue.  Have the child cover the shell in glitter.  (We did most shells in one color as well as mixing two colors together to get a neat effect.)  Clear the hole of glue and glitter.  Allow to dry.  Thread the whole with ribbon or string.  Tie the ribbon to make a loop.

Clay Ornaments

(These are so easy, simple, and fun.  Toddlers can even do it.  Now that I think about it, I might have the boys make more this year and work on decorating them in different ways.  The boys had lots of fun.  Keep on eye on these.  They can burn quickly.  Tornado E prefered the burnt ones.  I was less than thrilled.)

What you need:

Polymer Clay

Something to cut clay in a circle (I used a plastic Easter egg.)

Rubber stamps

Straw

Cookie sheet

Tooth pick

Foil

Ribbon

Have the child knead the clay for at least two minutes.  (For younger children, you may have to work with it too.)  Roll the clay flat to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.  Cut out circles.  Use the straw to cut out a hole in the top.  Have the child press a rubber stamp in to the clay.  On the back of the clay, write the child’s name or initials with the year.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil, and place the ornaments on it.  Bake in an oven or toaster oven as it says on the directions. (275°F for 15 mins.  I think mine baked in 10 mins.)  Let the ornaments cool.  String ornaments with ribbon.

More craft and ornament ideas

Christmas crafts for kids, preschoolers and toddlers part 2

Winter and Christmas Crafts for Toddlers and Children

More Christmas Crafts for Children, Toddlers, and Babies

Christmas Crafts for Kids, Toddlers, and Babies

A Perfect, Summer, Kid-friendly Dessert

I have a debt of gratitude I owe Anissa Degrasse.  She submitted a recipe to Taste of Home magazine that the boys and I love.  It’s a great recipe to make with the kids.  I let the boys pour and mix.  And it’s a wonderful treat to eat.   It’s my cheating ice cream.

Now I’ve made a few changes to the recipe, but I’ll publish Anissa’s original.  I have yet to use vanilla pudding because I buy mainly chocolate or pistachio (which I use only for a special cake).  Since I was using chocolate pudding any ways, I dropped the chocolate chips.  I know.  Me the chocoholic. 

Now I have an idea.  I think this would be a great recipe with other flavors, so if you try it with another flavor or a different type of pudding (because I’m thinking of a certain blogger who has pudding day and who is organic and vegetarian), please come back and share.  We could make our own book!

Pudding Grahamwiches*

1 ½ cups cold fat-free milk

1 package (1 oz) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix

1 carton (8 oz) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed

1 cup of miniature marshmallows **

24 whole graham crackers, halved***

5 Tsp miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 mins.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.  Place chocolate chips in a shallow bowl.  Fold whipped topping and marshmallows into the pudding.  (I folded in whip topping first, then marshmallows.)  Spread over half of the graham crackers.  Top with the remaining crackers.  Press edges of each sandwich into the chocolate chips.  Wrap individually in plastic wrap; place in an airtight container and freeze.  (I strongly recommend wrapping them in foil.  I haven’t yet placed them in an airtight container.)  Remove from freezer about five minutes before serving.  (Who can wait five minutes?)

Yields: 2 dozen ***

*Anissa, sweetheart, we need to come up with a better name.  Anyone have suggestions?

**Last time I made these I decided to wing it and put in half a bag miniature marshmallows before I thought something wasn’t right.  But they turned out good.

*** I have yet to make just two dozen.  So keep a few extra graham crackers on hand.

Making crystals

It’s summer, and we all need things we can do with our kids.  So how about something fun and educational?  Like crystals.  Salt crystals are quick and easy.  Sugar crystals are slow and tasty.  Both are fun.

Salt crystals

(I was amazed how fast these crystals grew.  In less than 24 hours, there were actual crystals you could see.  I tried adding food coloring to the solution to make a colored crystal, but we still ended up with white crystals.  After several days, I took out the crystals and let the boys touch, dissect, and destroy them.)

Things you need:

  • Table or Epson Salt (2 or 3 Tsp)
  • 1 cup of water
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Jar
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Paperclip, washer, or pull-tab of a soda can (I was desperate.)

Tie a piece of string around the middle of the pencil.  Tie the other end of the string around the weight (aka paperclip or washer).  Make sure the weight doesn’t touch the bottom of the jar.  Pour a cup of water into the pan and bring it to a boil.  Add salt a teaspoon at a time, stirring, until you cannot dissolve anymore salt.  Pour the salt water solution into the jar.  Place the pencil across the mouth of the jar, allowing the weight to dangle into the solution.  Do not touch.  Allow the crystals to grow for several days.

Sugar crystals

(These were much tastier.  But they took For-Ev-Er.  It took about a week to see any crystals, and it’ll take three weeks to have a crystal worthwhile to eat.  Last year I tried a recipe that doubled the amount of sugar so that the crystals would form faster.  It didn’t work.  Patience is a virtue.  A sugar crust formed on the top of the solution before the crystals started to form.)

Things you need:

  • Two cups of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Jar
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Weight like a paperclip, washer or pull-tab of a soda can

Tie one end of the string to the middle of the pencil.  Tie the other end of the string on the weight.  The weight should be able to dangle in the jar without touching the bottom.  Wet the string and roll it in sugar.  Boil two cups of water.  Stir in sugar a tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the sugar salt solution into the jar.  Place the pencil on the mouth of the jar allowing the weight to dangle in the solution.  Place the jar out of reach and wait for the crystals to form.