Potato Print Ghost Garland

potato print ghostsThis is such an easy Halloween craft and you can stop at the painting or continue on to make a simple garland to hang up for Halloween. Potato prints are a fun way to make specific shapes with toddlers. Don’t miss the Halloween themed books after the craft , it’s not too late to grab a few and read before Halloween.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a potato, knife, potato peeler, dish, white paint, black paper, scissors, stapler and orange ribbon.Halloween Garland
  2. Start by cutting the potato in two and cutting the bottom in a zig zag. Use the end of a peeler to make eyes.
  3. Pour the white paint into the dish and add the ghost potato.
  4. Print! She loved the “ghosties”. I was excited they printed so well.
  5. When we filled two sheets we let them dry and then cut them out.
  6. Next we stapled them to the ribbon. My daughter chose the ghosts and handed them to me to staple.
  7. Then we added it to our fall mantle.

Halloween Books

If you are looking for a great ghost themed book check out our review of  our favorite ghost book Ghosts in the House! and 22 other great Halloween books for kids.

Bird House Garland

I love pretty paper and before I started blogging I used to make greeting cards and sell them on Etsy.com I still have many supplies and I decided to make this garland to add some more color to my daughter’s nursery, but it would be a cute craft for any kids room, just adjust the colors to match the decor.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cards stock in a plain color, and various sheets of patterned card stock, scissors, a circle paper punch ( ours in 1″) , glue, ribbon, and a hole punch.
  2. Start by cutting your plain paper into squares. I purposefully made mine imperfect. There is something about birdhouses that suggest that imperfections are the way to go.
  3. Next cut the patterned paper into triangles for roofs.
  4. Punch the holes.
  5. Glue the roofs and circles on. Let dry.
  6. Punch a hole at the top of each house.
  7. Thread onto your ribbon, either randomly or in a pattern.
  8. Hang up!

This too sophisticated a craft for your little one? Try Feather Painting!

Bird Books

Birds by Kevin Henkes , illustrated by Laura Dronzek is stunning. I love this author but this book is absolutely about the pictures. The cover is beautiful but there are pages that I just wanted to look at the way I look at paintings at a museum. The book is perfect for toddlers and young preschooler, it’s non fiction , simple and has a great flow. The colors are so vibrant I would bet that infants would dig it too! Awesome awesome awesome!

Bird Talk by Ann Jonas was enjoyable but I didn’t get it at first. I thought that the book was what the author imagined the birds would be saying while observing humans daily lives. In actuality what the birds are saying are the “memory phrases” that bird watchers use to remember the bird calls. The author has matched these up with scenes where they fit. My son laughed at the Common Night Hawk who’s saying was “Pork and Beans” and kept repeating that after we read the book. There is a full guide in the back of the book of all the birds included.


A Poet’s Bird Garden by Laura Nyman Montenegro is an enjoyable book about a little bird who escaped his cage and the poets and little girl who try and try to catch him. The poets come to help bring Chirpie back and each have lovely but unsuccessful ideas to bring him out of the tree. Finally Claude the cat comes out of the tree and then Chirpie and many other birds enjoy all the poet’s efforts ( seeds, yarn for nests , etc… ).

Frugal Flower Craft

Pool Noodle Garland

This pool noodle garland  is not a preschool craft , but younger children could easily thread the ribbon through the middle of the flower instead !  Either way this frugal craft is a great way to decorate for spring for only $3 which is exactly what I spent on the materials. Hope your Friday is frugal and fun!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 or more colors of pool noodles ( check to see what shape the are on the ends), some ribbon, a bread knife and scissors. I also used a dry paint brush as a “needle”. Pool noodle garland
  2. Start by slicing your noodle into sections with your bread knife. Pool Noodle Garland
  3. Cut your ribbon to the length you want and make a large knot. Pool Noodle Craft
  4. Next using sharp scissors make a hole through one of the petals. Pool Noodle Craft
  5. Push your ribbon through the hole – using the end of a paintbrush, or chopstick. Pool noodle craft
  6. Alter colors to make a pattern. Pool Noodle Craft
  7. Pin up and enjoy flowers inside for as long as you want!

Book

The Gardener

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It’s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle’s bakery because both her parents are out of work.  She is obviously nervous but knows that it’s something she has to do.  She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets which she plants in the city while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncles employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times, and would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child. There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about , from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and  the general sense of sadness .  In the end it’s a warm hearted book that I can’t wait to share with my son in a few years.

Snowflake Garland

snowflake garland

My son loves “sprinkles” also known as glitter, and I love them when they are being used correctly. The other day it was “snowing” in our kitchen aka my son was dumping large quantities of glitter on the floor while running away from me.  I haven’t been able to completely de-glitter my kitchen since so I thought what the heck it’s already a mess let’s make these snowflakes.  I love using cupcake liners for snowflake crafts because for the life of me I can’t make pretty circle snowflakes any other way. This is a great winter craft but you can also use clothes pins between the snowflakes to clip holiday card on!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cupcake liners, scissors, blue ribbon, glue, glitter and a good dustbuster.snowflake garland
  2. Start by folding your liners into triangles.snowflake garland
  3. Make cuts into them to make snowflakes. My son got the hang of this after a few tries, one liner he simply demolished but he made 3 really cool ones, I made the rest.snowflake garland
  4. Lay your snowflakes out and add glue. snowflake garland
  5. Add your glitter. I love the flexible plastic place mats I have for this because I can bed them and pour the extra glitter back into the jar easy peasy.snowflake garland
  6. Let dry .
  7. Thread your ribbon through the cuts.  The paper is so light that they will stay in place on your ribbon without slipping.snowflake garland
  8. Thread the rest of the snowflakes on and hang up!snowflake garland

Books



Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft is part of the Let’s-Read-And-Find-Out Science series and it doesn’t disappoint. I love this series and when I find stage 1 books I am always excited. Non fiction books for 2-5 year olds are hard to find but every single book in this series has been a gem. This book explains hibernation, seasonal migration and why some animals don’t do either of those things! Great illustrations round out this great read!

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Un-Brella by Scott Franson is such a cool book. There is not a single line of text in the book , and it’s not missing a thing! The illustrations are so vivid, so layered and tell the story perfectly. A little girl has a magical umbrella that brings sun on a snowy day and snow when her yard is green and sunny. My 2 year old was beside himself laughing and saying “No no” to the little girl wearing her swim suit in the snow. Grab this book and enjoy!
Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay is my kind of book. If I were to quote all my favorite bits of this book I would write out most of it. I just love the writing, it’s simple but doesn’t talk down to the reader. The characters are sweet but not saccharine and I love how inquisitive Sam is . Stella is a know it all but not bratty about it at all! Sam has never seen snow before and Stella tells him all about it as they explore the first snow fall of the year.

So much to be thankful for…

Thanksgiving
Garland

My son was born on American Thanksgiving so a day that used to mean the day before shopping became very very significant in my life. There is nothing I am more thankful for than him , and his health and happiness . That inspired me to make a long term project leading up to Thanksgiving. Depending on how old your children are they can do a few steps like my son or all of this project.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a grocery bag, ribbon, plain paper, markers, clothes pins, hot glue gun and glue, paint, cookie cutters or other stencils.
  2. Draw various leaf shapes, either free hand or using stencils.on your grocery bag. Do one for each spot along your garland. I used cookie cutters!
  3. Using the markers have your child color the leaves, we are doing this as well as painting just for added effect, feel free to skip one.
  4. Have your child paint the leaves. We are using a sponge to paint, we haven’t sponge painted in a while, but don’t limit yourself use whatever you will most enjoy. Let dry
  5. While your child is painting , lay 2-4 feet of ribbon face down on your counter, hot glue gun your clothes pins to it. Let dry.
  6. Cut out ( or have your child if they can use scissors, even if it’s not perfect) the leaves.
  7. Glue the leaves to the ribbon and clothes pins.
  8. We aren’t done yet! Using the same stencil trace the leaf pattern on a stack of plain paper.
  9. Cut out.
  10. Add things you are thankful for on these pieces of paper from now until Thanksgiving, at dinner you can un clip these and share them. With toddlers ask them what things they think are special, or love. I am always scrambling to think of what I am thankful for , especially since at that point in the day I just want some wine! Also this will help teach your children about recognizing all we do have , all we have to be thankful about throughout the whole month not just on Thanksgiving day.

Book!

Thanksgiving is also the day that I don’t big my husband about football one bit. I am so so so not a fan but I am trying not to be so angry while watching, or rather while doing something else while my boys watch. This book – although a board book was really enlightening and my son loved it too! Thanks to my husband’s coworker David who suggested it !


” Touchdown : My Football Book” by David Diehl is a short, to the point and completely entertaining little book. It explains so much about football in the absolute easiest ways. My son has started to show a love of football, helmets and tackling and this book is a great injury free way to harness that love!