DIY Light Box Color Exploration

While my son is at school I tend to use that time for errands and it’s really not fair to my toddler so today when I saw the extra string of Christmas lights I decided we’d have some fun exploring colors. This DIY light box should not be used for long periods of time, only with a parent right there at the box and please don’t let your kids touch the light strands as they have lead, and remember to wash your hands after touching them too. We only played for about 10 minutes and that was enough time for the lights to get warm so I wouldn’t play longer than that .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clear plastic container with lid, some wax paper, a strand of white christmas lights, scissors and tape. For the colors we used take and toss cup lids. No need to buy expensive color forms if you have something you can use at home already.
  2. Start by putting the lights on the lid, I taped them down in 2 places just so they were staionary in the box.
  3. Cut some wax paper and line the bottom so the light diffuses well.
  4. Close the lid with the cord sticking out – mine closed no problem but you could cut a notch out if you can’t close the lid with the cord out. comfortably ( you don’t want to run the risk of the cord being cut, my lid was very loose and didn’t press into the cord).
  5. Plug in and play.
  6. She LOVED it.
  7. Explore.
  8. We piled them on , identified them – I had no idea she knew so many colors, we had a blast.

Please only try activities that you feel are safe for your family, I share what we have made and done with the request that you will only make and do what your child is ready for and you can do safely.

Book About Colors For Babies

I Love Colors by Margaret Miller is one of my daughter’s favorite books. When we went to the library she started pulling the parenting books off the shelf because there are pictures of babies on the covers. The librarian was quick to notice and started finding us books with babies and this was one of the winners. We have now renewed this book twice and read it many many times a day. The book is super simple and each page shows a baby with a colored item like glasses, a hair bow etc… the photos are big and of real babies which if your toddler is like mine, makes a big difference.

Art Exploration With Colored Glue

My son loves creating with glue, and lately color mixing has become a popular request for art time so yesterday I decided to mix the two with a super simple activity that focuses on process not product.  I have colored glue before but never in the bottles, as you will see it minimizes the mess for the project but it didn’t minimize it for the prep. I have a few tips for prep so you can skip the multi colored hands I am sporting today. This is also the perfect time of year for a project

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white glue, food color and paper. My son chose black paper which depending on your child will be super cool or horribly disappointing. When the glue is dry you will see almost no color if you use black. We were focusing on the process so black was fine. I included a version made on orange paper below to see the results on lighter paper.
  2. Start by protecting your table, colored glue can be a bug to get off.  I made a simple mat from a brown paper grocery bag, and attached it to the table top with painters tape.
  3. Make your colored glue. Starting with glue bottles that are not full. I thought this was enough space but when I do this again I am going to use half full bottles.
  4. Add your food color. Here is where I messed up. I treated the glue like water expecting the food color to incorporate easily but of course it just sits on top. You need to mix it, add more, mix than add more.  If you don’t when you turn them upside down ( tip – do not turn it upside down until well mixed) the food color will dribble out and make a huge mess.
  5. And while panic mounts and you clean up your hands will end up like this.
  6. Instead use only half a bottle of glue and a chopstick(or kabob skewer) to mix. Adding a small amount at a time until it’s the color you want.
  7. Time to invite the small ones to explore. No instructions, just have fun.
  8. He mixed colors.
  9. Loved the vibrant colors, my blue stained hands were totally worth it.
  10. Dry .As you can imagine it doesn’t show up well on black. My son exclaimed “It’s spy glue!” It also takes a long time to dry- so find a good place for it to sit for a full day. 
  11. This is a quick design I made on orange paper and let dry, the glossy colors are so fun!

Color Mixing With A Toddler & Preschooler

Doing projects with your kids is supposed to be fun for everyone, but when your kids are far apart in age it can be challenging. This project is perfect for different ages! Since having my daughter last year one of the most common questions I get is ” How do you craft with both kids?” Some days I do just a baby project, some days just a big kid one but there are times that we can all work together despite the almost 4 year age gap. This color mixing activity was perfect . They each had their parts and we had a blast being color scientists although if you ask my son his sister was his lab assistant not a full scientist, that is only for big kids.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some good quality zip lock bags, shaving cream, some paper, crayons or markers, and food coloring.
  2. Start by making a simple chart showing the colors to mix , leaving the result blank. Make sure you have the correct color of marker or crayon available for the result.  We made 4 colors, adjust the number of colors based on the attention span of your “scientists”.
  3. Add shaving cream to the zip lock. My son helped me with this step- he was so excited. I love when simple things make his day!
  4. Add the food coloring. We added 2 of each color but then increased it to 5. Look now they are counting too , I love when projects span many subject areas.
  5. Zip it up , making sure to squeeze out some air so when your “lab assistant” squishes it that the bag doesn’t pop.
  6. Squish! Until the colors are all mixed.
  7. She loved squishing, just watch they do not put it in their mouth. Whenever you are working with toddlers or infants you must always be within arms reach. Label the colors, use descriptive words while they explore.
  8. Come back and record the results by finding the correct color and completing the chart.
  9. Talk about the results. Ask if any colors were surprising , which color do they like the best and why?

Crafting, teaching or just generally parenting is different with multiple abilities but with a little effort you can find activities that can be done at the same time for every child in your care. We had a blast and another real benefit of a cooperative project like this is that your kids are working together something that isn’t always so easy to achieve.

Water Balloon Color Mixing- Outside Art Project

If you combine water balloons with art you’ll get this super fun summer activity!  Right after my son turned 4 all of a sudden his finger took the shape of a gun, his pretend play switched from firefighters to police, bad guys and super heroes and my sanity got a little more fragile. I am a born pacifist so it’s taken me some time to acclimatize to bombs, blasters and such. One way that we have addressed it in our house is you guessed it, art and play.  A project like this that channels the aggression and need for destruction was the answer for us. It was also fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a container, a canvas, water color crayons ( or washable markers), and a kid ready to blast a few things.
  2. Start by coloring the canvas with water color crayons – washable markers will work too, just use darker more vibrant colors.
  3. Fill up some balloons.
  4. Go outside.
  5. Throw!  My son was adamant that he could throw it at it and had fun even though none of the first round of balloons hit it, although some were really close.
  6. Dropping them worked way better!
  7. Check out how the canvas has changed! 
  8. A few days later we tried adding washable marker.
  9. Blasted it with water “shooters”- liquid syringes since we were all out of water balloons, after I told him we could go blast some, luckily this was available and just as “cool”.
  10. Worked great.
  11. Let dry – pull out again and again, I think we are going to do this many more times for the rest of the summer. The layers of color will be so cool.

* As with every craft please make sure you only do crafts that you and your child can do safely. Broken balloons can be very dangerous for kids who are still putting things in their mouths. Please ensure all pieces are picked up and disposed of so we can all keep playing and creating. *

Make Green Food For St.Patrick’s Day

Happy St. Patrick’s Day. You can’t have St. Patrick’s Day without eating something green and we know how easy that can be with little kids. One way to encourage healthy eating is to play with food, make up recipes and taste test!  So we made these super easy green popscicles that are all natural , no food coloring and we even  had fun playing test kitchen trying a few times to make the color green.

Attempt #1


Ingredients: We opened the fridge and looked for blue and yellow ingredients. We settled on blueberries and lemonade.  You and I both know that it won’t blend to green but as long as the waste isn’t too much let your kids experiment. As soon as my son poured in the lemonade he could see that this was not the mix we needed. It was super tasty though and I blended it and drank it!

Attempt #2


Ingredients : We went back to the fridge and grabbed the spinach. I suggested the yogurt ( vanilla or lemon would make it yummier) and we tried again.

Blended.

Strained the big spinach out.

Froze it

Taste test – he loved it! It tasted like watery lemon to me, if you are going for tasty – add a ripe banana and like mentioned above use vanilla or lemon yogurt. These green treats we made a few years ago were great.

The point of this activity was the process of  trial and error, color mixing and having fun with healthy food!