Homemade Gift: Discovery Bottles

Letter of The Week will return after the holidays but for now holiday kids crafts, homemade gifts and books will be filling your screen! This is not an original idea as long as I have worked with kids I have made and played with these. I am actually making these for my son’s preschool but plan on making one for my daughter’s stocking, they are great toys for babies.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need empty water bottles with their lids, hot glue gun, glitter, oil, water, food coloring and shampoo( karo syrup or  hair gel is much cheaper… I just had a ton of this shampoo on hand). You may also want a funnel.
  2. Start by removing the labels from the bottles.
  3. Next add the contentsWe started with the green bottle with  shampoo , glitter and green food coloring. When this one is done the glitter will slowly move through the shampoo ( or hair gel or karo syrup). We used a funnel to fill it and my son watched it slowly fill pretending it was a soft serve ice cream machine. 
  4. The next bottle was the yellow bubble bottle with yellow food coloring, glitter , one squirt of shampoo and filled halfway with water . When it’s done the children can make bubbles by shaking it.
  5. The next was the blue glitter bottle – water and glitter. When it’s done the glitter will swirl through the water.
  6. The final one was half oil , red food coloring, water and red glitter. This one has always been my favorite, the water and oil will resist mixing and children can make gentle waves without much effort as well.
  7. Hot glue the lid on, do not let even older kids do this. I have been using hot glue guns for oh 25 years and I burned myself with every bottle!  I added colored tape to the outside as well.  Let sit a few hours before playing with it, and test it over the sink before passing it to a child.

Remember that even with careful gluing these things break . I had an oil and sparkles one break in my kitchen when my son was a baby. The lid broke in two! Lesson is to stick to playing with them in places that are easy to clean and always supervise children with these, always!

Ghost Craft Tutorial

Sometimes when I make a craft I get inspired but I am not sure where from. I made this ghost craft and couldn’t remember where the inspiration came from until I was reading  I Can Teach My Child and remembered this project. You can see the similarities! So yes my inspiration comes from all over . This is a parent and tot craft , there are many steps that are tricky for little ones. But my son loves the final product, he runs into the foyer looks at the ghosts and  screams ” I am frightened, ahhh!” then burst out in giggles daily. So I would say it’s a hit.  I will be packing these up and taking them out every year with my Easy Halloween Wreath .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need clear contact paper, black construction paper, white tissue paper or party streamers ( or any white paper) , Scissors ( kid and adult), and black sticky back foam.
  2. Start by drawing a ghost and cutting out many frames. I used the insides for fun fast activities and let my son color them with chalk .
  3. Have your child cut the tissue paper – if you use a streamer I find it’s easier for beginning cutters to handle and cut independently. Tissue paper is flimsy. My son still only cut a few – another tip, make sure kid scissors are clean ours had something sticky on them and weren’t cutting well, by the time I cleaned them he was over it. Learn from my oops.
  4. Place the frames on the contact paper so the sticky side is up.
  5. Add the paper into the frames.
  6. While they do that make eyes out of sticky back foam.
  7. Cover with another piece of contact paper, press firmly.
  8. Cut the ghosts out.
  9. Add the eyes
  10. Pop on a mirror, window, door… wherever you need a few adorable ghosts!

Halloween Books

Dem Bones by Bob Barner is sort of two books in one. The superficial layer uses the words of the ever popular old time spiritual with fun Halloween inspired skeleton illustrations. There is also a second layer that has longer text for older children that goes into the anatomy of the bones the song sings about. Great way to keep a Halloween theme strong while teaching about the human body!

Monster Math by Anne Miranda is a math lesson turned into a fun and entertaining storybook. You can simply read the book or you can have your little mathematician help you guess how many new monsters arrive and leave on each page. The illustrations are adorable and even if the math skills are above your toddler or preschoolers heads they will still enjoy the book.

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is a staple in most preschool classrooms. It’s a cute story about a witch who is desperate for pumpkin pie but her giant pumpkin is too big for her to pick up! Luckily she enlists the help of a ghost, vampire, mummy and bat and with a little teamwork they save the night! The rhyming text is almost like a song and kids love it! It’s possibly my son’s favorite Halloween book and I love that it’s the smallest creature who uses it’s brain not brawn to solve the problem.

Shell Picture Frame

One of the best parts of creating with your child is the time you spend together. Parent and tot projects like this Beach Shell Picture Frame  are a special time to not only work together on something but also to practice taking turns something that can never be done too much . Ironically I did this without my son, he was at summer camp all week hopefully practicing taking turns with other kids, and exhausted when he got home. I will be doing this with him when we get back from our beach getaway next week though!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some cardboard ( 2x as large as you want the frame to be) , a large magnet , crayons, shells, hot glue gun and glue, scissors , tape and a picture.
  2. Start by cutting your cardboard in half, then cutting an opening in one piece for the frame.
  3. Tape your picture ( I trimmed mine) on the other half  of the cardboard. Trim the cardboard so that it’s no larger than the frame piece , you don’t want it peeking out from underneath.
  4. Have your child decorate the frame with crayons.
  5. Heat up the glue gun. When I do crafts that require the glue gun but I want my son’s input of where to place things like these shells I will ask him before I add the glue where I should add it and what I should put on it. At the very least have them choose the shells to add.
  6. Glue the shells on.
  7. Glue the magnet on the back of the piece with the picture.
  8. Glue the two pieces together and let cool.

More Shell Activities

Shell Sorting

Beach Sensory Tub

Easy Frozen Easter Treats

frozen easter treats We try to eat healthy, and during Easter it’s hard with all the candy everywhere!  I adore candy and my pregnant willpower is um… not really strong. So when I decided to make some fun treats I wanted at least one of them to be truly healthy. These frozen Easter treats are fantastic and the molds are available at discount retailers like Walmart. So it won’t break your bank either. * This post was written in 2010 but the molds are still available in 2014! I saw them this week at Walmart*

 

 

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a silicone mini cake pan ( they still have Easter themed ones at both Target and Walmart in my area), a blender,  low fat vanilla yogurt, and frozen or fresh fruit of your choice.  Easy Easter Treats
  2. Pop 2 scoops of the yogurt in ( about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 – 3/4 cups of the fruit. Easy Easter Treats
  3. Blend Easy Easter Treats
  4. Pour Easy Easter Treats
  5. Freeze ( we froze ours for 2 hours and they were perfect- formed but not rock hard.) If you freeze them longer just let them thaw for 30 minutes  in your fridge before serving them so they are soft enough to eat with a spoon.  Easy Easter Treats
  6. Pop out of the mold and enjoy !  These were a huge hit with my son.  Easy Easter Treats

Almost Homemade Carrot Cupcakes

Easy Easter Treats

  1. Gather your materials. Grab your favorite carrot cake and cream cheese icing recipes or boxed mix and a tub of icing, orange and green jelly bellys . I should note that although I did use a mix I also mixed in 1/4 cup of crushed pineapple and it was very very yummy.
  2. Bake and cool your cupcakes.
  3. Ice them and add your jelly beans in the shape of a carrot!Easy Easter Treats
  4. Eat more than you care to admit and send the rest to your husband’s office.

Parent and Tot Projects

We normally focus on things kids can make but making something for your child to play with and use is something special to share. These are some of our favorite parent and tot projects we have made in the past 2 years.With the exception of the firetruck ( which was well loved and recycled) everything  is still used years later!

Diaper Box Fire Truck ( above)


Alphabet Fishing Game

Custom Roadway Mat

http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2009/06/sent-in-by-you-parents-only.html

Bleach Dyed Tee-Shirts

DIY  Framed Chalkboard