DIY Light Box

by Katy

Whenever I’m thinking up posts to write for No Time for Flash Cards, I try to think of things that are good for special needs kids, but can be fun for any kid. When I saw Allie was doing an earth craft with her son the other day, I knew I should share this light box activity.

Kids with low vision are often given a chance to “practice” using their eyes in a nice calm environment. Light boxes are a great way to do this, but hoo-wee are they expensive. Like always, I developed this method to make one on the cheap.

You will need a print out of planet earth. I Googled “earth” and found one easily. You will also need tape, an empty soda box (or similar), a flashlight, a pen, a pair of scissors, and a knife.

First you need to cut off one of the long sides of the soda box.

On the opposite side of the box, in the center, you will want to cut out a hole that is slightly smaller than your earth picture. To cut the hole, I used my knife to get it started and then finished with a pair of scissors.

Then tape your earth picture to the outside of the box, with the earth picture facing in.

Next, take your pen and poke holes in the box all around the earth cut out.

Take you box into a dark room and place the flashlight behind the earth. If you’ve got a strong flashlight like I did, it might help to dim it a little with a paper towel.

And there you go–the most-magical Diet Coke box I’ve ever seen. This could easily be adapted for other planets or even the entire solar system if you were feeling up to it.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Puffy Paint Earth Day Craft

easy earth day craft for kids

My plan was to make Saturn and start teaching my son about space but he asked if he could make planet Earth so I grabbed the shaving cream and this easy Earth Day craft is what we ended up making. What a hit! It’s so simple even young toddlers ( provided they are past the eating everything stage) could do this with minimal adult help. Saturn will get made sometime soon , he had so much fun making our planet and we still got to talk and learn about space.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some shaving cream, white glue, green paint,scissors, a marker, blue paper, a spoon, and container or bowl.
  2. Start by mixing your paint. You will need 3 parts shaving cream to 1 part white glue, and green paint . Use as much green paint as you need to get the color you want.
  3. While they mix it up, draw a circle on your blue paper.
  4. Paint. It might get messy but it will definitely be fun! 
  5. My son preferred to scoop the paint on to his hand and slap it down. 
  6. While the paint was drying my son used the extra paint to make another painting !
  7. Let dry and cut out. The paint will dry puffy !

Books About Space !

Playdough Earth

playdoh earth
This post from contributing writer Katy is great  for toddlers and preschoolers of any ability but especially geared towards children who are resistant to textures, either because of having special needs or simply being resistant to new sensations. Having a purpose to make something like the earth makes an exercise in textures more authentic instead of simply touching something squishy. I love it!
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Before I do any craft with Charlie, I get all of my supplies ready to go. For this project I rolled three large balls of blue craft clay and then several small balls of green craft clay.Play-doh Earths
I placed a ball of blue clay in Charlie hands and then took a piece of green and helped him smash it into the blue. play-doh earth
We did this several times for each ball creating something that looks a lot like Earth.play doh earth
Charlie, like many kids with special needs, can be resistant to new textures.  He did not like the feel of the clay, but we kept at it for a as long as we could. I had wanted to create a total of four Earths, but we stopped at three in order to prevent a meltdown.  It’s good to push your child, but not so far that they become resistant to all new activities.
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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

Recycled Book Order Beads!

recycled bead necklace 004

If your child is school age or if you are lucky enough to get book orders at your preschool or childcare center this craft is for you!  Of course you can also use newspaper , but the book orders are so colorful!  So grab whatever you have,  and make a pretty necklace, or bracelet for Earth Day tomorrow.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some colorful newspaper or Scholastic Book Order fliers, some ribbon, some elastic bands, white glue and scissors.recycled beads
  2. Roll your paper starting from the open ends so when you glue the end it’s one piece not a bunch of pages fanning out, I made two one this way one the other and the other one was  big huge flop . Glue the edge.recycled beads
  3. Add elastics to keep it in place and let dry- mine only took 2 hours to dry, I would expect 2-4 for a good bond. recycled beads
  4. Cut into beads. recycled beads
  5. Thread it onto your ribbon.  If you really want to make a cool bracelet cut those elastics you already used , tie them together and strong the beads on to make an elastic bracelet. I would only do this with an older child though, as it could snap easily, but if they are old enough it would be rad!recycled beads
  6. Voila a recycled bead necklace! recycled bead necklace

Like this idea but have a toddler? Try our  Toilet roll necklace instead!

Earth Day Muffins!

snacks for earth day These earth day muffins were so fun to make I decided that even if they turned gray while baking I’d post this. Luckily they stayed green and the blueberries are supposed to look like water, I think they do right? My son had a blast, we ended up skipping nap he was having so much fun with a bowl of flour while they baked and he even exclaimed, they “Kinda look like the earth mama.” I take it as a success!

  1. Gather your materials. The recipe (see below)  I used  is from the May 2008 edition of Everyday Food ( I cut it in half and used whole wheat flour) . You will also need blueberries, and blue and yellow food coloring. I was out of green but I would still suggest blue and yellow as it give your more control over how it mixes with the brownish color if you are using whole wheat flour. earth day muffins
  2. When baking with my son I measure out the dry and wet first and let him help from there. There is no right or wrong way of doing this it’s just what I do.
  3. Mix the dry. earth day muffins
  4. Mix the wet- apparently it smelled yummy.earth day muffins 002
  5. Mix together . earth day muffins
  6. Add the food coloring. earth day muffins earth day muffins
  7. Add in the blueberries. earth day muffins
  8. Spoon into the muffin tin. earth day muffins
  9. Grab some extra flour , measuring cups and let your little one play. He played for a long time with plain flour. Yes it was a mess but fun normally is. earth day muffins earth day muffins
  10. Celebrate cause they look enough like earths that it was well worth it! Enjoy .earth day muffins

    earth day muffins

Recipe

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted.

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

2 large eggs

½ cup whole milk

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

Mix dry, mix wet. Add wet to dry, add blueberries ( 1 cup) . Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Source: May 2008 edition of Everyday Food by Martha Stewart