DIY Light Box Color Exploration

While my son is at school I tend to use that time for errands and it’s really not fair to my toddler so today when I saw the extra string of Christmas lights I decided we’d have some fun exploring colors. This DIY light box should not be used for long periods of time, only with a parent right there at the box and please don’t let your kids touch the light strands as they have lead, and remember to wash your hands after touching them too. We only played for about 10 minutes and that was enough time for the lights to get warm so I wouldn’t play longer than that .

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a clear plastic container with lid, some wax paper, a strand of white christmas lights, scissors and tape. For the colors we used take and toss cup lids. No need to buy expensive color forms if you have something you can use at home already.
  2. Start by putting the lights on the lid, I taped them down in 2 places just so they were staionary in the box.
  3. Cut some wax paper and line the bottom so the light diffuses well.
  4. Close the lid with the cord sticking out – mine closed no problem but you could cut a notch out if you can’t close the lid with the cord out. comfortably ( you don’t want to run the risk of the cord being cut, my lid was very loose and didn’t press into the cord).
  5. Plug in and play.
  6. She LOVED it.
  7. Explore.
  8. We piled them on , identified them – I had no idea she knew so many colors, we had a blast.

Please only try activities that you feel are safe for your family, I share what we have made and done with the request that you will only make and do what your child is ready for and you can do safely.

Book About Colors For Babies

I Love Colors by Margaret Miller is one of my daughter’s favorite books. When we went to the library she started pulling the parenting books off the shelf because there are pictures of babies on the covers. The librarian was quick to notice and started finding us books with babies and this was one of the winners. We have now renewed this book twice and read it many many times a day. The book is super simple and each page shows a baby with a colored item like glasses, a hair bow etc… the photos are big and of real babies which if your toddler is like mine, makes a big difference.

Not Too Gross – Eye Ball Painting

marble painting

No I am not suggesting your kids paint their eyeballs, but rather paint WITH eyeballs ( or balls that look like eyeballs). This is a simple and fast activity that is perfect for the goulish , gross out season upon us without being too icky for more squeamish kids. Be mindful of doing this with kids who are still putting things in their mouths, opt for bigger balls for them, if it can fit in their mouth get a new ball that can’t.

    1. Gather your materials. You will need some liquid paint in your kiddo’s favorite colors ( this is also a great color mixing activity if you want to throw a lesson in to it), some eyeball bouncy balls ( found in Halloween section of 3 big box stores I have been to), paper and a box or container.

    1. Pop the paper in.
    2. Pour in the paint

    1. Add the eye balls – we added a bunch at a time!
    2. Paint! Roll the eyeballs around in the box and watch them paint.
    3. We added more paper after the first one and rolled off the excess paint, I like this painting better!

  1. Let dry and hang up where your kids can show it off!

Two Scary Books

Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley is horrifying to me, yet my son loves this book. He must have slipped it in our library bag because I have no recollection of choosing this book, and I didn’t pre read it when we got home. By then it was too late, my son was hooked on the dark humor this book delivers. The book offers up 12 terrible things, like a scary clown, a goldfish on it’s way down the toilet and monsters under the bed . The illustrations are all from the reader’s view point so the scary things are looking right at you! I am easily scared , I can’t watch horror film trailers without getting nightmares. I screamed twice reading this , my son just wanted “more more!” . I really don’t recommend this book for young kids although some older ones who like scary things will love it.

The Book That Eats People  by John Perry makes me laugh hysterically , so hard it was hard at times to read the words but it’s really really gruesome. This is not a book for kids that are squeamish, prone to imaginative nightmares or anxiety about death. That said if your child can handle a little funny horror, they will love this book. The story follows this human eating book as it wreaks havoc and gobbles people up! I beg parents to pre read this because it may be hilarious to me and my macabre little man but it may seriously frighten your child.

DIY Eye-Spy Book

When I saw this post by Jenae over at I Can Teach My Child ( who will be a guest poster tomorrow so don’t miss it! ) my head was running with ideas on how to make something similar. I would be lying if I told you it was easy, maybe it would have been with no kids but I had an infant in my arms while taking every picture and a 4 year old helper wanting to “help”. However the results were pretty cool and it’s a great book to take to church or somewhere else where talking is frowned upon.  It’s been tested out by a handful of friends already and our Eye-Spy Book  was quite the hit at a playdate last week. So the effort was worth it. Here is how we made it.

  1. Gather your materials. This is a long list so take notes! I gathered a bunch of categories of my son’s toys. You can use anything for the pictures but I went with themes because it was easy to just grab bins from his room and the family room. You will also need some back drops. I chose plain Jane construction paper, you will need some foam letters and a camera. A good camera would be better but my point and shoot was OK.  Once the pictures are developed ( or printed out) you will need some self laminating pages, a hole punch, and some binder rings.
  2. Start by using the foam letters to write Can You Find and take a picture. This will be the cover page.
  3. Next do the first lay out.  Lay the toys you are looking for on the page.  I laid out the whole search page first then picked a few out to lay on the can you find page. Take a picture.
  4. Replace the objects you used and take a picture of the full lay out.
  5. Repeat this is a bunch of different toys.  I always used the same black paper with ” Can You Find ” in foam letters for the search page. It made the process quicker.
  6. I took this picture for the back cover.
  7. Have the pictures developed or print them out on your printer. 
  8. Time to laminate.  Now in my dream house I have a craft room with awesome natural light and a laminator. But in reality I have my kitchen and these cool laminator envelopes that are sorta tricky but they laminate so clearly without a machine that they are worth it. I had a few bubbles but nothing too bad.  Remember to laminate in order so 2 pictures front and back to each page.
  9. Punch holes.
  10. Pop the rings through and you are done! I like using the rings because I have plenty of room to add more pages.
  11. Time to find things! 

More I-Spy Crafts

I Spy BottlesI-Spy Bottle

I-Spy Bag

DIY Eye Spy Bag

by Katy

Have you seen Eye Spy Pillows? They are these little pillows that have a clear window in them that allows you to see the stuffing. Inside, the pillow has all these tiny objects floating around inside the stuffing. They’re really great for younger kids who are still considered a choking risk because they can see the little pieces, but they can’t put them in their mouth.

Well, we do a lot of activities around here, so I didn’t want a special pillow for just one segment. Also, I’m cheap (you guys should know this by now), so I decided to make my own.

For this project you will need a zip lock bag, some small plastic items, duct tape, and bottle of clear body wash. For my plastic items I chose bugs because that’s what we were studying at the time. I found the clear body wash at Walmart.

So you fill your zip lock bag with the plastic items. Note: I chose slightly larger plastic items because my son has some vision issues. If your child doesn’t have vision issues, I’d encourage you to do many more small items.

Then you add a LOT of clear body wash.

Next, seal the zip lock.

Then, place the duct tape over the zip lock seal for extra protection (that sounds like a deodorant commercial).

Allow your child to explore bag and find all the different plastic items inside.

My son has some sensory sensitivity, so he found the bag especially disgusting. His mom is mean and made him play with it anyway.

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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.

X marks the spot

Naptime Creation
Treasure Map!

This easy peasy treasure map is so much more than a craft, it is a tool for learning and endless fun. Although I have this listed as a naptime creation younger preschoolers could do this with a lot of adult help, but kids of all ages will enjoy the games played withthe maps once they are made.
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, permanent markers ( see why it’s not a toddler activity?), used coffee grinds in the filter, and some ribbon.
  2. Using permanent markers draw a treasure map. I like to use things in my backyard as the “stops” in the map. I have our trees, a basket ball and blocks – you don not have to use real things. However for the activity below using real things will make it easier.
  3. Taking out most of the coffee grinds rub the outside of the filter all over your map to make it look old and dirty! Let dry. You can also use tea but it takes much longer and we all know how much kids love to wait.
  4. Randomly rip the edges to make the map look more authentic!
  5. Roll up and scrunch and secure with a ribbon!
All Ages
Treasure Hunt
A few years ago I had a small but amazing class of 2-3 year olds who challenged me because they were such smart little people. In an effort to find a fun outdoor activity I developed this map game. I would draw a map and together we would all follow it. Using your map you can go to each “stop” then you must complete a challenge before moving on.Here is where I snuck in some totally unrelated learning. At the stops the challenges were things like : Sing the alphabet, find something blue, jump in the air 5 times, find a word that rhymes with pig… anything but they loved it. After a few times playing with me they became the masterminds and developed their own challenges- pretty cool for children who weren’t even potty trained!

With my toddler we went to the park and hid his new ball. We busted out the map( that I made ) and followed the pictures. We counted to ten, reached up high, found something red and touched our noses! As you can see you have to fit the challenges to the specific child but trust me, everyone will be having so much fun they won’t even notice all the learning they are doing!