Monster Muck Sensory Tub

cornstarch and shaving cream I think I may have promised you that our Monster Math was going to be the last monster activity for a while but as you will see my kids are simply nuts for them so who am I to stop the fun? I got the idea for the muck from a pin I saw of this post by  Lisa Murphy  aka the Ooey Gooey Lady!  I knew we had to make a muck sensory tub and I was so glad we did. My son loved mixing the muck and as you will see after my daughter woke from her nap she too got right into the much and made some monsters too.

  1. Gather your materials. The muck is super simple and requires only shaving cream and cornstarch. We added sun chenille stems I cut in quarters and a wide array of googly eyes that were sent to us from craftprojectideas.com .  The other must have is a tub. I am not mess phobic but even I thought it got messy ( corn starch spreads )  if you are doing this inside you will want a tub to keep it contained.
  2. Start by spraying your shaving cream in. My son loved doing this and refused to let me have a turn .
  3. Next we sprinkled a little cornstarch and mixed then dumped the whole thing in and wrote some letters in the muck.  It took some working to get it thick enough to mold but soon enough we could make balls.
  4. Added the chenille stems and eyes and made some monsters. 
  5. My daughter woke up from nap and being too short to reach into the tub I helped her mold some balls and put them on a paper plate for her to customize with chenille stems and googly eyes. 
  6. Next my son got busy making a monster muck fort . The stems are guns and goo blasters, the eyes are bomb detectors and the muck is radio active. So what I am saying is that this is a fantastic sensory activity that sparks one of the most important types of play kids need – imaginative play. They worked peacefully for what seemed like ages until the chenille stems ran out.
  7. So we cut some more and the play continued.

 

Monster Books

The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is a story about a monster Lala who so wished she could be a princess only to discover in the end that being herself is even better.  As I was reading this book I was really hoping that the three real princesses that befriend Lala would have more depth and not be the stereotypical mean girls that they are . Even after the mean princesses humiliate Lala she does the right thing and saves them when they are in danger. This book had a very predictable feel to it but I am 35 and have lived through mean girls on film many times and been on both sides of it in real life . To a young child this story is fresh and filled with good messages about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are ” All kinds of special.”

Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups and my son liked  counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave , never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face and scares them. Clever. * I read this to my daughter for the first time just this week and she loved it so much it’s been read many times this week before nap and bed.

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen is a sweet monster book with minimal text and very rich illustrations by Kelly Murphy.  The story is really about the daily wind down and bedtime for two monsters. You and your child will absolutely relate to them on one page or another ( or all). These little monsters are just like our little monsters resisting bedtime, trying to avoid baths… well you know the daily struggle. My daughter was not into the book but my son liked it even though I’d gear it towards the 2-4 crowd. We chose our favorite monsters on each page and found interesting details like the recipe for tentacle soup on the page where the mom is making dinner . Cute, your child will relate to it and it’s not at all scary!

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Despicable Me 2 – Halloween Fun For Kids

One of the best parts of Halloween is getting a chance to dress up in costumes and dressing up shouldn’t just be for kids, it should be for minions too! When I was asked to help spread the word about Despicable Me 2 coming to theaters this summer I knew exactly what sort of activities I wanted to do. These activities are perfect for Halloween parties or to prepare your little ones for all the unusual costumes they might see. They can play with the minion and see that he’s the same under every single costume we made him and on Halloween night there is nothing to be afraid of it’s just a person under that scary costume too.  The simple memory game can be made in a snap and would be a cute quiet game for a Halloween party.

Dress Your Minion For Halloween!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some yellow , black and white construction paper, yellow, black , brown and metallic markers, double stick tape, contact paper, scissors, heavy card stock ( full page sheet) and dry erase markers in various colors.
  2. Start by drawing and cutting out a minion.
  3. Cut some black construction paper for it’s goggle band.
  4. Cut out a circle of white paper and outline it in the metallic silver. Add a brown eye with a black pupil. Add yellow at the bottom.
  5. Using the double stick tape tape the band and eye on. Color the boots and gloves black.
  6. Tape everything on to the card stock.
  7. Peel the backing off your contact paper and put the minion face down on the sticky side.
  8. Press, fold the sides and trim edges. Now you have a dry erase minion!
  9. Dress him up for Halloween using the dry erase markers.  We turned him into a princess, witch , butterfly, vampire and messy monster.
  10. Everything wipes clean beautifully!

You can also use him for talking about emotions and have your little ones draw his emotions, or dress him up for upcoming holidays too!

Easy Memory Game

I hear from a lot of parents how playing memory with their child is terrible and my first question is always ” Did you play with all the pieces?” When toddlers and young kids are learning games break them down a little and make them more accessible. This is why I love making my own memory games.

Using the Despicable Me 2 Halloween Temporary Tattoo Printables  I made this game in a snap!  *** Please email me for the printables and I will send them to you asap ***

  1. Gather your materials. You will need the printables  ( 2 copies)  from Despicable Me 2. Some orange card stock, black card stock , double stick tape and scissors.
  2. Cut all your images and card stock into squares. Remember that you want the squares progressively larger so the minion paper is the smallest, orange middle and the black paper is the largest.
  3. Tape the minion to the orange paper and then the orange to the black paper.  Make 4 pairs for toddlers, 6-8 for preschoolers and 10 + for school age kids. 
  4. Flip and play!

After you play and learn (kids are always learning) with these adorable Despicable Me Halloween activities don’t forget to mark your calendar because Despicable Me 2 hits the theaters this July!  Check out some other fun FREE Despicable Me Halloween printables including treat bag toppers and pumpkin carving stencils.

 

About the film

Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster, Despicable Me, delighted audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In Summer 2013, get ready for more minion madness in Despicable Me 2. Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed film making team create an all-new comedy animated adventure featuring the return of Gru (Steve Carell), the girls, the unpredictably hilarious minions…and a host of new and outrageously funny characters.

Visit the official website

Watch the teaser trailer for Despicable Me 2

Like Despicable Me on Facebook

I was compensated for my participation in this campaign. The crafts are my own creations.

Easy Fall Painted Leaves

fall craft My daughter loves to paint and this fun easy fall leaf craft gave her ample time to explore and glop on as much paint as she wanted and use both her brushes and fingers to create. The painter’s tape relief effect is really optional but the effect is so cool and my daughter who is two was amazed by it while I peeled it off.  Even though she couldn’t do it herself it was still a fun step for her. Do not miss the paper towel step though, it adds texture and cuts drying time in half which for a 2 year old makes a world of difference.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper( my favorite!), pencil, paint in your choice of colors, some gold glitter glue, brushes, painter’s tape, paper towel and scissors.
  2. Start by drawing the outline of some leaves on the paper.
  3. Next using painter’s tape add veins to the leaves.
  4. Paint. She started with the brushes but quickly moved to her hands. She didn’t even use a brush with the 2nd one.
  5. Wash hands. We use the “Hands up!” and freeze with her when her hands are covered. Then I whisked her to the sink to wash up.
  6. Next grab some paper towel and blot. See the texture?
  7. Let dry to the touch and peel the tape off.
  8. Cut and Display- kids love seeing their art all over the house. I added hers to our fall mantle.

Fall Board Book

Leaves by David Ezra Stein is such a sweet book about a young bear who doesn’t understand what is happening when he sees leaves falling from the trees. He even tries to put them back on but it doesn’t work.  Eventually he lays down for a nap and hibernates until Spring when he happily notices that there are new tiny leaves budding on the trees. Both my kids loved this book. I got it out of the library for my toddler who loved it and while reading it to her I had to start over so her almost 6 year old brother could listen from the start. We each took our own things from it, my daughter has been noticing the changes of Fall for the first time just like the bear in the story. My son took the chance to tell me all about hibernation and everything he knows about it . I thought it was bittersweet, and related to how quickly the years seem to pass and how quickly my little bears are changing too. A really lovely book!

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Kid Made Archery Target

This year when we came home from the county fair my son was the proud new owner of  an archery set. After a few days of reminding my son not to point it at this or that I started looking for something to be a target he could shoot at to his heart content!  This archery target craft was so easy to make and it’s been played with constantly and I haven’t had to remind him once to only shoot at the target because it’s all he wants to do .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a suction cup archery set , some Styrofoam, duct tape, painter’s tape, a sponge roller or two, paint, a dish , hammer and nails. Oh and a tree or wall to nail it into.
  2. We started by cutting a square piece of Styrofoam and using the painter’s tape make 3-5 circles one inside the other. I was rushing to get this done before my daughter woke from her nap so I wasn’t at all careful but I loved how it turned out. Just make sure the tape is pressed down well. I placed it and my son pressed it.
  3. Next we picked the paint colors and painted. This is Martha Stewart craft paint and works on every surface- which is rad but it’s NOT at all washable so wear old clothes. The upside is that it’s also great for outdoors. Our target has been outside since we made it and it looks as good as new.
  4. We peeled the tape off .
  5. Added some duct tape at the top . I did this so that while nailing it the nails wouldn’t push right through.
  6. I nailed the first one in just enough to make it hold and let him go for it.
  7. Next it was time to try it out!  Since making the target he pops outside almost everyday for target practice while his sister and I cheer. I love how it’s helped him deal with disappointment and frustration. When he first started playing with it he’d get really frustrated when he didn’t get a bulls-eye but now he can miss the target completely and let it roll off his back and try again.

Vegetables Above & Below Ground

by Kim

Are you planting a Spring, Summer,Fall, or Winter garden this season? Obviously this depends on where you live. Here is a fun craft that helps teach your children about the different kinds of vegetables that grow in a garden. I got this idea from my son’s teacher and we did it at home with all of the kids.

You will need two paper plates (for each child), a paper fastener, markers, scissors, and glue.

Draw out some various kinds of vegetables. Be sure to make sure you have root veggies and surface veggies. Oh, and no laughing at the drawings. I never claimed to be an artist. ;)

Let your child color in the vegetables. We got silly and I said that carrots are blue. She was quick to correct me and inform me that I must not know my colors well. Then she offered to teach them to me. So we went through all of the colors. It was fun.

Cutting these out can be a little difficult, so be sure to let your child know it doesn’t have to be on the lines.

Draw a line through the middle of both plates. Have your child cut along the line of only one of the plates. Close enough counts here, too.

For the other plate, color one half blue for the sky and the other brown for the ground.

Now glue the vegetables on the plate. This is a great time to talk about the different ways the plants grow. We also talked about the different ways they are harvested, too. Some are cut, some are pulled.

Take the plate that was cut and label the halves “Tops” and “Bottoms”.

Attach the halves to the decorated plate. Now the halves slide open and reveal the top growing vegetables and the bottom growing vegetables.

The kids are even more excited for our garden to start producing now. We are all prepared to pick/pull the vegetables. Some recipe ideas were also suggested by the kids.

 

Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.