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!

More Outdoor Crafts and Activities!

Going for more walks?

We are. I have high energy children, and I know where they got it from. Me. They got it from me. And at one point, my energy surpassed theirs. I was the hurricane to their tornadoes. But since this damn depression hit, I barely keep up. Stupid depression.

Anyways. My tornadoes need walks. They need to move. If they stay cooped up inside too long, they get aggravated and pick on each other. Before long that picking becomes fighting. This isn’t just a shelter-in-place-thing. This is too-much-screen-time thing too.

So now walks. Two or three walks a day. Is this what it’s like to have dogs?

Here are some things to do while walking.

1. Scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of things to look for. Everyone is suggesting this one. There are tons of lists online right now. We are all desperate, bored people.
2. Photography. Come up with a list of things to look for and take pictures.
3. Make a cool nature collage with those pictures.


4. (In the desert, this gets a little tricky) Find cool leaves and bring them home. Make crayon rubbings with them.


5. Find cool leaves and use them as stamps. Pour some paint on a paper plate or pie tin. Dip the surface of the leaf into the paint. Press the leaf to some paper. In theory, it’ll make a print. Unless your kid smears it. Then they just have fun.


6. Use leaves and sticks as paint brushes. We never had much success with this, but sure, give it a try. I mean, why not? We’re all bored any ways.


7. Press flowers. Collect flowers. Put them between wax paper. Put them between a couple of heavy books. Leave for several days.


More crafts to come. Stay safe! Stay Sane!

Easy Science Crafts – with Glue

Always with glue. Most of these are astronomy related. I like astronomy.

The reason I will not move from the desert is because of the stars. They’re amazing here. So I made, built, remembered a lot of ways to get my kids interested in the stars.
1. Take cotton balls and stretch them and glue them on paper (preferably blue paper but orange or pink would be cool) like clouds. Make cool designs. Go outside and observe the clouds.

1.a. Look up different types of clouds (if your child doesn’t know them or quiz your child if s/he does know them. They will roll their eyes and be annoyed that you don’t know them. But review!) Make the cotton balls into the different types of clouds and label them.
2. Make constellations on black or blue paper. Drip glue in a pattern of dots and sprinkle glitter. Connect the dots with black marker or white chalk. Make real constellations. Make fake.
3. You can make constellations with star stickers too.


4. You can make constellations with white chalk dots and connect the dots. To keep the chalk from wiping off, spray the paper with hair spray.


5. You can use white paint and q-tips to make the night sky. Or white fabric paint. (For some reason I always have fabric paint at my house.)


6. Go out each night and observe the sky. Have the child draw the moon every night.


7. Have the child draw the stars every night. If you go out the same time every night for several nights, your child will notice the sky changing. Or go out several times in one night.


8. Extra points for using Oreos in the phases of the moon. Top off exposes the cream, making it a full moon. Top on makes it like the no moon or eclipse, whatever. Then break the top part of the cookie in different shapes revealing the different phases of the moon or remove the top cookie and cut the cream in different shapes revealing the different phases of the moon. I can’t take credit for this so type in “moon phases oreo” in a search bar an you’ll see what I mean.

Good luck, parents! Stay safe! Stay sane!

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!

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

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.

This Special Moment

I tucked Tornado E to bed after he stayed late volunteering at school. His brothers were fast asleep.

Me: I love you.

Tornado E: I love you too.

Me: I’m so proud of you. I’m so lucky that you’re my boy.

Tornado E: I’m lucky to have you as a mama.

Me: You’re going to do amazing things one day.

Tornado E: Thanks, Mama. You’re going to do amazing things too.

Me: Thank you, baby.

Tornado E: Mama?

Me: Yes?

Tornado E: You need to brush your teeth. Your breath stinks.

Me:…..

Tornado E: …

Me: Goodnight.

Tornado E: Goodnight, Mama.

 

Maturity

Tornado S and I have been reading Harry Potter together. We’re on book 4.

Tornado S: I’ve decided what I want to be for Halloween.

Me: Oh yeah?

Tornado S: Lord Voldemort.

Me: What?! (Come on. Still? Why? Why always a villain?! Why can’t you like heroes?! Honestly!) Really? How about Harry Potter? You would make a great Harry Potter. Or a student from Slytherin House.

Tornado S: I could go as a Death Eater.

Me: (Somehow that’s worse!) What? Why? Why must you always be a villain?

Tornado S: I went as the Emperor for years, and you were ok with it.

Me: Oh, honey. I wasn’t. I was just waiting for you to grow out of it.

Tornado S: I did grow out of it. I grew out of it to Lord Voldemort.

UGH!!!!

Mini

We were at a school function for the older boys, and Tornado A and I were trying to get through the crowd to the other end. We ran into two teachers from the elemenatary school. The 4th grade teacher had taught both the older tornadoes and had a son in Tornado E’s grade. The kindergarten teacher had taught Tornado A and had a daughter in Tornado S’s grade.

4th grade teacher: I don’t know. What do you think? A mini-Tornado E or a mini-Tornado S?

Kindergarten teacher: That’s a tough one. But I think a mini-Tornado S.

4th grade teacher: It is tough. I see both. But I have to say a mini-Tornado E.

Tornado A beamed, and I laughed. We left them to their conversation.

Me: What do you think? Tornado E or Tornado S?

Tornado A: I look like Tornado E.

Me: (leaning down to whisper) I think you’re a mini Tornado A.

Tornado A’s smile grew larger.

We are our own.

Philosopher Princes

I’m a sucker for intelligent, funny boys. While the humor comes from the bloodline, I blame the drama boys who easily linked their crazy sense of humor to philosophy, engineering, pop culture, and literature. And so it was just a natural step that I encouraged the same thing from my own boys.

I’ve written dozens of posts on their sense of humor, and dozens more to come, but lately it’s the intelligence that catches me off guard.

My boys do not seem to inherited the quick-witted, street-smarts, jury-rigged intelligence that haunts my family. Perhaps I should just drop a box of wood, gears, and tools at their feet and see what happens. Although, I do see glimmers of it as they build unique Lego structures.

But what my boys have inherited is my lust for knowledge, the delver of something in books, something hidden that must be found. We have “scientific” books on monsters. The boys fish for articles and videos on video games and their theories. The why stage never ended.

Why are they burning Nikes?

Why does Grandma get so mad?

Why did our President say that?

Why can’t you take me to school?

Why do we have to have spinach again?

Ah, life’s mysteries. (Because spinach is good for you, and I’m hoping the taste will grow on you. Do you need to hear the hummus story again?)

But my favorite part of this intelligence is the connections. The boys come up with a theory, work it out in their heads, and then present it to me in a mini-lecture. On video games, on movies, on characters, on history, on philosophy. Marvel, DC, Trump, classmates, teachers, 9/11, environment, racism, sexism, Hello Neighbor.

They want my input. Without asking, they wait for the judgement. Did they guess right? Did they put the pieces to make the right shape? Is it strong enough?

Hoping I’m doing the right thing, I ask questions, prod their theories, correct assumptions, help recalibrate their understanding. I marvel as they try to figure out human understanding, to figure out how to solve the world’s problems, remembering that at their age, no one would listen to my philosophies.

I look forward to the day of peer-to-peer discussions with my own philosopher kings.