Haunted House Craft

Build Your Own Haunted House!

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I have been itching to do another magnetic build your own craft after the huge response to the Build Your Own Robot . This seemed like the perfect opportunity since the foam pieces can be used like blocks to build a custom haunted house in time for Halloween.  I made this  craft, my son did none of it. Actually I lie, he cheered me on “Nice window mama!” while eating his morning oatmeal. He did how ever play with it, a lot!  This would make a fun independent  Halloween craft for a school age child too.

  1. Gather you materials. You will need some sparkly sticky back foam in black, red and silver, magnets ( mine are also stick back), scissors , a marker and a cookie sheet or magnetic fridge.  ** Word about magnets. Magnets are not toys and should not be played with my little people who could swallow them. If you have a little person who eats things ( or could) please be sure to use large flat magnetic tape not these round magnets. I would be devestated if anyone was ever hurt from one of my crafts, especially a child.Craft Supplies
  2. Draw the shapes you will be using for the house on the backing of the foam. On the black I made a large rectangle for the house, 2 smaller squares for the 2 wings of the house, a small rectangle for the tower and a triangle for the roof. I made 2  slanted red squares for windows , a door and 2 tiny squares for the tower windows. I drew two long strips of silver, a ghost and a moon. Do not worry about making mistakes drawing, no one will ever see it.Haunted House Halloween Craft
  3. Cut the pieces out. And piece it together for a trial run.Haunted House Craft
  4. Put together the main house piece.Haunted House Craft
  5. Now the wings with windows.Haunted House Craft
  6. The tower1haunted 015
  7. The moon and ghost ( add eyes with left over black foam)ghost
  8. Add the magnets.Halloween Craft
  9. Play !!Halloween Kids Craft


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Books!

Wake the Dead Wake the Dead by Monica A Harris is a fantastically “pun”ny book!  Based around the old saying ” You are going to wake the dead” this book takes that saying and runs with it.  Henry is a loud kid and is warned over and over that his noise will wake the dead.  Not going to happen right? Wrong! In this book the dead do wake and explore every bad pun around the word “dead” you can think of.  The thing is , it’s done is a fun and effective way. My son is too young for this book but an older child  could go hog wild looking up the origins of all these sayings, thinking up their own and using the context to try to figure out any they are unfamiliar with.  The illustrations by Susan Estelle Kwas are surprisingly expressive considering most of the subjects are skelletons, I love the clothes the “dead” are wearing too! Very cute and useful book!

ghosts in the house Ghosts in the House! by Kazuno Kohara is on my must buy list! A little girl moves into house and soon finds out it is haunted. Luckily she is a witch and knows just what to do. The ghosts in the story seem mischievous but never scary and even when she washes them in the washing machine, they are still smiling! My son loved this book, the text was the perfect length for a 3 year old, short but still descriptive.  I loved the simple  black and orange colors and had to look at the copywrite twice because I was certain this was written sometime in the 30s, nope 2008. The simplicity of the book and colors is balanced so well with the little details like the litt;e girl’s constant companion , a white cat that puts on a black costume when the little witch pops on her hat. This detail had my son in stitches, “Cats don’t wear clothes , silly cat!” .  Absolutely a perfect Halloween book for children not yet ready to be scared for fun!

costume copycatThe Costume Copycat by Maryann MacDonald is more about sibling rivalry than Halloween but brilliant none the less.  There are two sisters and each Halloween something happens to thrust the older sister into the spotlight leaving her little sister in her shadow feeling jealous and frustrated. Never is the older sister boastful or mean , it’s mostly just luck, or rather the younger sister’s bad luck that keeps her from shining. It’s hard to be the little sister ( trust me) especially when your older sibling is good at everything, and this book manages to get to the root of that emotion.  When the younger sister finally does feel like the spotlight is on her she remembers how she felt and shares her bounty with her sister.  Sweet book.

Save The Trees : Craft and Book!

Colorful Forrest

This craft uses scrap paper to make a wonderfully colorful tree. Whether you punch all the holes now or save them up over time the results are awesome .
  1. Gather your materials. You will need a piece of white paper, one full piece of construction paper of your choice, a whole bunch of scrap coloured paper, a brown marker, glue and a hole punch.
  2. Start by punching out tons of holes, keep them all. You can do this over a week , allowing your child to work out their little hands with the hole punch or having them choose the color of the paper and you can punch the holes if they can’t. You need a lot !
  3. Draw a tree trunk with your brown marker.
  4. Add a lot of glue at the top of the trunk.
  5. Add your punched out holes.
  6. Let dry and glue onto the full size piece of paper for a frame. You can use a piece of paper that has something on the back already for the frame. No one will know and you will save paper.


Book

“Gaia Girls : Enter the Earth” by Lee Wells was sent to me by the publisher along with the next installment which I will review in an upcoming post. I couldn’t be more excited to share a book with my older readers. The story follows Elizabeth as she spends her summer on her parents small organic farm, learning that not all farming is as responsible as her family’s. But that’s not all Elizabeth meets someone magical and discovers she has a special power that can help her fight against the factory farms moving into her area. I love the magical aspect of this book, the author manages to make it work in a very down to earth way and it sucks the reader in. The strong environmental call to action in the book is wonderful, not only are the issues like factory farming explained but solutions and alternatives are as well. The girl power undertones are well done too, Elizabeth’s power isn’t exerted irresponsibly and she is conscientious about how to use it. I wish more books were this good.

DIY School Journal

Naptime Creation
Back to School Edition

This school journal can but done with your child or you can make it and give it to your child. Either way it’s a useful tool for your school age child to decompress, share their day with you while expressing themselves through writing. If your child is young , find a quiet time every day or every other day to sit down and fill in one page together.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need a composition book, a few sheets of fun card stock/ paper, fine tipped markers, teacher/school themed stickers, double stick tape and scissors.
  2. Start by making your front page. I layered some card stock and wrote a title noting the date and grade.
  3. Now it’s the fun part for the first page I wrote out some basics, like School and teacher names, and what they liked and do not like about school.
  4. The other pages were devoted to different subjects- I matched stickers to the themes like reading, math and phys. Ed. I only wrote on the right hand side leaving plenty of space for writing.
  5. Use open ended questions often but having fun true or false questionnaires included is fun too. Remember that this is supposed to be fun, and a tool to talk about your child’s day so don’t make it work. If they have a favorite subject, devote a little more time on that so that there is a lot of positivity, but don’t shy away from asking why they don’t like something else, what they need to work on or about the social aspects of school too.
  6. Do not forget to add pages that ask your child to share something they are proud of.
  7. Keep it somewhere accessible, if it goes to their bedroom it may never come back.

Books

“Look Out Kindergarten, Here I come!”by Nancy Carlson did not live up to my expectations. It was written in 1999 but the information seems out dated, the little mouse in the story is entering kindergarten but is still unsure of his ABCs and could only count to 10. I know this seems like a minute detail but it bugs me because most kids entering kindergarten are well aware of the alphabet and can count past 10 with ease. I felt like it covered the basics about what a child can expect but it doesn’t go into any depth and I doubt it would ease any anxiety or fulfill any honest curiosity. I hate giving bad reviews but I just don’t like this book.

“Miss Mingo and the First Day of School” by Jamie Harper is a delightful book. Miss Mingo is a flamingo and teacher who wants to know about her students on the first day of school. She starts the exercise by sharing some fun facts about being a flamingo , like why she is pink, and before you know it the whole class of different animals are sharing. This book not only shows kids that it’s okay to share about themselves but it is full of fun facts about animals in the fine print. I learned something I never knew about a Narwhal! It is a bit long for a toddler but each page highlights new animals and it’s easy to skip a few for those that aren’t ready for a book of this length. This is going on my buy list!


“The Kissing Hand” by Audry Penn is an absolute favorite . Chester is a raccoon who like most of us doesn’t like change. In his case it’s starting school. He wants to stay home with his mama and play with the friends he already has instead of going to school away from her and his friends. So his mama explains to him the magic of the kissing hand . The real magic is the message that we have to do things that scare us sometimes but that the love of our family is always with us to help us through. Go get this book.

3D Pasta and Paper Collage

butterfly pasta
I never get tired of butterflies, they are beautiful and fascinating and a great tool to learn about life cycles. This craft came about because I was using this pasta to make dinner last night . Dinner was a hit and I love how this turned out too.You could absolutely do this with younger children I would simply dye the pasta first, and either draw a branch or just skip the branch all together and make a butterfly only 3D collage!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 pieces of construction paper ( blue, brown and green) large scrap pieces would be great for the brown and green. You will also need bow tie pasta, markers and glue.
  2. Start by ripping your brown paper to make a branch. Lay it out on the blue paper before you glue it down.Glue it down.
  3. Rip your green paper into little leaves. Glue on.
  4. Color your pasta with the markers. I like the challenge of drawing on something so tiny, it’s a great fine motor builder. That said if this is too frustrating dye the pasta before hand or simply leave them plain.
  5. Add glue to your branch.
  6. Add your pasta
  7. Add your antennae with a marker. Let dry.

Milk Carton Plug Ring

jewelry craft
This is not a craft for little hands, although my son enjoys playing dress up with this ring. We are a 3 types of milk family so these little plugs accumulate quickly. I had my beads out for another craft when I thought, hmm maybe I could do this… and it worked. These little rings really hold up well and I am so pleased I finally have something to do with them.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some milk carton plugs, hot glue gun, hot glue, seed beads, and a small dish that won’t stick to the glue. I used a 2nd dish for the ring to cool in but that was just my preference.
  2. Pour a mixture of seed beads into a small dish. You don’t want to use too big a dish because you want the beads to be close together .
  3. Turn the plug inside out , so when you slide it on your finger the solid part stands up against your finger.
  4. Add hot glue to the solid part that will be facing out. You want a lot of glue.
  5. Quickly dip it into the beads, gently press it into them.
  6. Let dry! It’s that easy. Just remember to let it dry completely before wearing it.