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!

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!

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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Fun Kid Recipes

Oh no. I must be running out of ideas. Nah, I’ve got weeks worth before I start building this with new stuff.

We all hear how good it is to have kids in the kitchen. Teaches responsibility. Teaches math. Blah, blah, blah. Family fun time!

Of course, the best reason I heard was from Tornado E’s 7th grade math teacher. When you don’t follow directions when cooking, the consequences are immediate and disastrous. If that isn’t life lessons, I don’t know what are.

So I give you easy recipes to teach your kids how to cook. And yeah, I’ve got bunches of these.
1. Quesadillas. Try different cheeses.
2. Cheese crisp. Open face quesadillas baked in the oven so they are cheesy and crispy. Butter the tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and pop into the oven until the edges get brown. Cut like a pizza Traditionally with cheddar. But I’ve done it with three different cheeses to make them look like candy corn once cut.
3. Trail mix. Kids love making it. Nuts, cereal, granola, pretzels, dried fruit, freeze-dried fruit, M&Ms. All kinds of fun and interesting combinations. I do this about once a year with my cubs. They love this. Their older and younger siblings love this. Their parents love this.


4. Popsicles. Juice in ice cube trays; plastic wrap over it; toothpicks or popsicle sticks stuck into the plastic in each square. No ice cube trays? Paper cups. Plastic wrap over the top. Stick a popsicle stick in. Freeze.


5. Peanut butter and crackers. Teach your kids early how to spread things. Mine are horrible at it.


6. Jelly and cracker sandwiches. My tornadoes loved these as kids. Regular crackers. Graham crackers. It can get a little messy.


7. Cheese and sandwich meat and crackers. Basically homemade Lunchables. Pick your favorite cheeses and meets. As a kid, I thought this was the height of sophistication.


8. Parfaits. Healthy: yogurt, granola, fruit. Layer. Dessert: pudding, cookies, whip cream (maybe a layer of chocolate syrup)


More to come. Stay safe! Stay sane!

Bookmark Crafts! Part 1

Did someone say bookmarks?
Nobody ever says bookmarks. Sigh. (I hope you had a sight gag in your mind for that, and then me shaking my head sadly.)

But I have 2 days of bookmark crafts. Because they’re easy. And I think they’re fun. My boys did too…. once… before it became a huge thing. They make great gifts for readers. And they’re easy to mail in an envelope to cheer someone up.
1. Stickers and construction paper. Easy. Fancy it up with covering it with clear contact paper or clear packing tape. Punch a hole; add ribbon.
2. Paint samples and stickers. Easy. Fancy it up with covering it with clear contact paper or clear packing tape. Punch a hole; add a ribbon.
3. Paint samples and cool hole punches. That is if you have a cool hole puncher. Why do I own random stuff? Maybe you could make cool designs with a regular hole punch….


4. Card stock/paper and thumbprints. Just random thumbprints. Or make cool pictures out of thumbprints like flowers, birds, or monsters. Fancy it up with clear packing tape or clear contact paper. Punch a hole; add a ribbon.


5. Glue pressed flowers on a card stock. Cover with clear packing tape or clear contact paper.


6. Clear contact paper and confetti or cut pieces of colored tissue paper. To fancy it up, punch a hole, and add a ribbon.


7. Have the child draw a drawing. Take a picture. Adjust the size and print it out. (hell, just have the kid draw on a piece of paper and add a ribbon.)


8. Craft foam and markers.


More to come. Like seriously, I have more of these. At least another day. I’m sure if I went though my notebooks, Pinterest, photos, and old posts, I would have more.

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!

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!