Milk Carton Fire Station

It’s no secret how much my son loves firetrucks and doing firetruck crafts. I won’t be shocked if I get a restraining order from the fire department in town for stalking, I am always driving by slowly to let my son see which trucks at at the station. Obsession is perhaps not a strong enough word. So during the bruhaha of becoming a big brother I have stockpiled some super fun ideas that I knew he’d be into and we could have some mama son time like before so there is some continuity in his life.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some milk cartons, plain paper, double sided tape , red paint, some black and white paper , glue and scissors.
  2. Start by taping the cartons together. You can use hot glue as well but double stick tape is easier with eager helping hands.
  3. Cut doors in each carton.
  4. Cover with paper. We used butcher paper ( find it at Walmart under the title “craft paper” for cheap), There is probably an easier way of doing this but I wrapped it then re cut the door holes.
  5. We colored with crayons first just because we wanted to but decorate it how you see fit.
  6. Paint with red paint. If your child wants to they can draw windows , signs, etc with permanent marker first before painting it.
  7. While they paint ask them what number station they want it to be and make a sign with the white and black paper. If they are able to write have them do this after painting.
  8. Add glue for the sign.
  9. Add the sign.
  10. Let dry and play… or if you are my son play with it before it’s dry. I couldn’t stop him!

Books

Clifford The Firehouse Dog by Norman Birdwell is not my favorite book. Generally speaking character books never are. They are formulaic, lacking in originality and in general poor quality. This book is no exception, but I have still read it 400 times. My son loves it. He loves anything about firetrucks or firefighters , saw it at the library and grabbed it.  I would rather him enjoy an ok book than no book at all. I am just not personally a fan of this franchise. If your child is into this character or theme I would get this from the library, but I wouldn’t waste your money on it unless you can’t get your child to read anything else. There are much much better books surrounding this theme to choose from ( the two below are fantastic).

Firefighters: Speeding! Spraying! Saving! by Patricia Hubbell is a wonderful rhyming book all about the work firefighters do. After only reading it twice my son was rhyming along with the simple but well crafted text. I liked that there was a mix of male and female firefighters, that the text incorporates information about equipment as well as tasks the firefighters complete on a call. Perhaps my favorite thing about this book are the details in the illustrations by Viviana Garofoli, the soot on the faces of the rescued and firefighters, the unique angles used in the illustrations and the fun colors. Great book!

Firefighter Frank by Monica Wellington was a huge score at the library. My son and I both love this author/illustrator and have read many of her books , but this one has never been available, and I can see why. The author has a knack for sharing information with her readers in a fun, simple way that is perfect for preschoolers. This book is no exception to her other great books.  I particularly enjoy some of the vocabulary she uses in this book about Firefighter Frank, words like shrill, intense, and exhausted. They aren’t obscure words but they are not often seen in books geared to those as young as this one, and the context is supportive so that even a young child can help decipher the meaning of the words.  The book itself tells a simple( and common) story but between the author’s ability to tell the story better than other authors, and the bright and beautiful illustrations this books stands out from the firefighter crowd.

Speaking of fire trucks did you enter my

Constructive Playthings Toy Review and $50 gift certificate giveaway?

Paper Roll Flutes

Kids Craft Flute
Fantastic musical craft from contributing writer Kim Young! I can’t wait to do this with my little guy .

This craft is a fun way to teach young children about sound.  All you will need are toilet and/or paper towel rolls, markers, wax paper, rubber bands, and scissors. Paper Roll Flute

Have your child decorate the roll however they would like.  You can use crayons, markers, glue and glitter, or stickers.  Whatever you have available will work great.Paper roll flute craftKids musical insrument craft

Cut the wax paper into 3 inch squares, place over one end of the roll, and secure with a rubber band.

Now have your child blow or hum into the roll.  You will know you are doing it properly when you hear the loud vibrations from the wax paper.

Easy Kids Craft

We talked about how the air carried the sound from our mouths, into the tube, and then to the wax paper.  The sound became vibrations again.  When my son questioned the “again” part, I turned on music and sat him on the subwoofer to the surround sound system.  He instantly got the vibration part of sound.

This craft was a fun way to show the scientific side of music to my son.  He mostly just enjoyed his new instrument.  My daughter (only 20 months) really enjoyed making music in these as well.  This craft was not messy, very fast, and provided the kids with hours of enjoyment playing music.  Perfect for a quick craft or a craft at someone else’s house.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Monogramed Napkin Rings

DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings

I can not explain how much fun these were to make, and then use at dinner.  Yesterday I asked my readers on facebook if their kids have chores, and that question came out of this post since setting the table is one of my son’s responsibilities. Making these fun monogrammed napkin rings made his job even more fun and he excitedly set the table, and made a point to tell us all why we had the letter we had.  Learning is never far away.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some corrugated cardboard, magnetic letters, water colors, scissors and a hot glue gun ( adults only!).DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  2. Start by having your child paint the cardboard with the watercolors. My son was so into this today, I think he liked the bumpy surface of the cardboard, and the sounds it made when he changed the force and speed with which he painted. Don’t put a time limit on this, but remember the younger the child, generally the shorter the time. DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  3. Let dry ( won’t take long).
  4. Choose the letters you are using. Our well loved magnetic letters were short most of the vowels, so there was no A for Allie, instead I got M for Mommy, I like that name best anyway.DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  5. When the cardboard is dry cut out into strips.DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  6. I handed my son some scissors and the left over cardboard to have fun cutting while I used the now hot glue gun. DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  7. Glue the cardboard strips into rings. DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  8. Next he played with the extra letters. DIY Monogramed Napkin Rings
  9. And I glue the letters we’d selected onto the rings. You will want to hold the letters on for a minute while the glue congeals. Even big kids should have an adult do the gluing. I burnt myself 3 times ! DIY Monogramed Napkin RingsNow you have napkin rings, and place cards all in one!

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!

Pop Out Flowers

Toilet Paper Roll Flower Craft

I love using toilet paper rolls for crafts, it’s one thing that the vast majority of households have on hand at any given time. I love the 3D aspect of this craft and the fine motor work it demands for coloring the petals. It can also be used to teach patterns- or simply art done any way they choose! Toddlers can get in on the action by dipping the cut rolls into plates of paint instead of coloring the petals one by one! You may notice my son is absent, he was outside enjoying the sun and making houses for worms.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2-3 toilet paper rolls, a piece of heavier paper ( construction paper or card stock), some markers or paint, scissors and glue. Toilet Paper Roll Flower Craft
  2. Start by cutting your rolls into smaller pieces. Toilet Paper Roll Flower Craft
  3. Cut vertically into the roll and fan it out to make petals.Toilet Paper Roll Flower Craft
  4. Color the petals with markers, or paint. Toilet Roll Flower CraftThis takes patience , which makes this a great group project hand a group of kids a small number of flowers and have them each make the number they wish , so it’s not overwhelming.
  5. Add glue and place the flowers on your paper- ours is pink and looks great in person but is washed out in the pictures. Toilet Paper Roll Flower Craft
  6. Pop on the paper and let dry. We let it dry for 4-5 hours before moving it. Toilet Paper Roll Flower Craft

Books

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. My son liked this book but didn’t make it all the way through, which I expected since it is a long book for a 2 year old.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes is a lovely book about having confidence, loosing confidence and regaining it in the end. Chrysanthemum is a little mouse who loves her name until she goes to school and is picked on for it being out of the ordinary. Who can’t relate to this? I know I can . Thankfully my son  has yet to experience this all too common, but still so heartbreaking experience . I love that I have a book like this to share with him and open up about it before it happens. Ultimately Chrysanthemum learns to love her name again and regains the confidence she once had. Another fantastic book from a consistently wonderful author.


The Boy Who Grew Flowers
by Jennifer Wojtowicz is one of those books that stays with you. Rink is a little boy who’s family is strange, Rink is no exception, with every full moon he sprouts flowers , from his head. At school he is an outsider and only when a new girl comes to school does he make a friend. He reaches out to her because she too is an outsider, not at school, in her own family. In the end the kindred spirits celebrate their uniqueness. This odd romantic story will warm your heart and serves as a great lesson about how we all feel different and like an outsider sometimes. The illustrations by Steve Adams will stun you, they were so vibrant and paired so perfectly with the story. Wonderful!