Easy DIY Number Banner

number flag banner
Providing an environment rich in print with both letters and numbers is a great way to boost your children’s learning. This number bunting or flag banner was easy to make and cheap. As many of you know we have moved into a new house this week and one of the best parts of this house is that we have a dedicated playroom. Woo hoo! I get to decorate a classroom I mean a playroom with letters and numbers , toys and books. I will do a full reveal later (when I find my camera…) but wanted to share this number flag banner because it was super easy to make .
  1. Gather your materials. You will need some self adhesive address numbers (found at the hardware store), card stock, a hole punch, ribbon, pencil and scissors.
  2. Using a sheet of card stock create a template for your flag. I made ours large but you can do any size. I liked that mine wasn’t perfectly triangular but if perfect lines make you happy, grab a ruler too!
  3. Trace on every page . I used a pad of card stock with a rainbow of colors and simply made one flag per color but you could have fun with patterns too.
  4. Time to add the numbers. These are very lightweight which is what you’ll want so the flags aren’t too heavy for the ribbon to hold.
  5. Punch holes in the two upper corners of each page. I punched the holes in one then used it as a guide by laying it on top as a template when punching the holes in the next.
  6. Cut a piece of ribbon about 2 feet long and tie two flags together loosely.
  7. I did most of this while my daughter played at the table, but this project was great for doing a little here and there. I did most the tying the next day.
  8. Hang it up. This is our old master bedroom- the only place in our old house big enough for it.
  9. I carefully packed it into a ziplock – so if you are making one of these for a party you know it’s easy to transport without damaging.

Process NOT Product

by Kim

Allie did a wonderful post about play being a child’s job. That post hit it right on the head. Play is their job. I get asked a lot of questions about crafts from moms. Most of them come down to things like how often and how structured should a craft be for a young child?

If there is an activity and you want them to learn certain rules or concepts, then you should gently guide them. But unless the craft is something you are planning on entering into a competition try not to lead them every time. Are their crafts that you should? Yeah, I am pretty sure there are some you want a specific goal, like a Mother’s Day present for Grandma.

As caretakers we need to make an effort to step back every once in a while. Deliberately do an occasional craft with your child that is completely open. I mean completely.

Set out a work space filled with craft items, recycled items, and tools that you feel comfortable with your child using by themselves.

Introduce them to the work space and let them have at it!

I find myself struggling to not say, “Wouldn’t it look cool of we put this here?” or “How about making this look like this?” I find it better to just step away from the table all together.

I am usually pretty close, like in our kitchen when they are in the dining room. It is fun to listen to them talk about things as they are creating. I know that I am close enough to step in if needed or for an emergency.

Your children will love doing this. They will also love telling you all about their creations. Let’s face it, some need explanation.

This one was a gift from my son. It’s a camera. I can totally see it, too. I would not have thought to make one out of a tissue box and toilet paper roll, but a 4 year old does think of things like that.

It is great when you take time out to make sure that the process is emphasized more than the product sometimes. :-)

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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.

Easy Envelope Puppets

Guest Post by Amanda
puppets

I’m always on the lookout for crafts that don’t involve a lot of…well, anything. I want something that is easy to set up, supplies I have around my house and something my kids can do without a lot of supervision! And this, my friends, fits all those qualifications and more!

envelope puppets

All you need is some crayons (check!), glue stick (check!), scissors (check!) and assorted envelopes (check!). So far, so good.

Let’s begin with the animal puppet. Take a long envelope, seal it and cut it in half.

DSC_0112

With the open side down, snip off the two bottom corners. (Save ‘em! We’ll need them in a minute.)

envelope craft

Now, turn the envelope around, color it pink, glue on those two snipped bottom corners and you have a pig! How cute is that?!

pig puppet

We made mice and frogs with this same idea (just round eyes and ears instead of triangle ears). You could make a whole zoo this way!

puppets

Our next puppet is a caterpillar. Or maybe it’s a snake. Or just a crazy little monster. It’s whatever you want it to be! Just take a square invitation envelope, fold it in half and cut off the outside top corner. Then make a “V” cut in the middle.

envelope craftWhen you open the envelope up (flap down!), you can stick your hand in, push two fingers out and you have a little puppet with antennas!

puppetsAren’t they cute? The one on the left kinda looks like Lord Voldemort, doesn’t he? Oh, well. My daughter thought he was cute!

So, next time your kids are hanging at your office or you need to write some bills, grab an envelope and start a puppet factory!

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Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!

Family Medals

We are a very outwardly affectionate family with lots of hugs, kisses and loving nick names , Stink Bug is loving right? But this activity isn’t so much about celebrating what we all love about eachother it’s about thanking , praising and even boosting self esteem. Although I wrote the specific awards my son dictated them and it was interesting to see what he valued most for both my husband and I as well as himself.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some plastic ( metal will work too) lids, double stick tape ( glue is fine we are trying to keep glue to a minimum while we sell our house), card stock , a black permanent marker, colored markers , scissors, ribbon, glitter glue and strong tape.
  2. Start by tracing the lids on the card stock.
  3. Ask your child who they want to make medals for and what they want to write. If they can write have them do it. My son dictated them for me to write, his writing is too big and he would get very frustrated when it didn’t fit. Always ask though, don’t assume they want you to do it.
  4. Time to color the medals.
  5. Add some bling ( glitter glue). Let dry.
  6. Cut out.
  7. Add double stick tape to the lids.
  8. Stick the medals on.
  9. Add ribbon to the back with tape.
  10. Present to your family.

You may notice we didn’t make one for my daughter, she is simply too young to have anything around her neck even while supervised. Let that be your reminder to closely supervise kids when they have anything around their necks.

Alien Dress Up

Aliens are super cool and combining a craft with pretend play is even cooler. We love dress up at our house ( and preschool) and this alien headband craft was created to use as a pretend play prop. I suggested my son glue eyes on the band but he was very adamant that they needed to be up high on antennae. Even though I have directions you can follow this is the sort of craft that is best used as inspiration for your own unique creation.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some paper, paint, glue, sparkly pipe cleaners, sticky back sparkly foam, googly eyes, tape and glitter!
  2. Start by having your child paint the paper. This will be cut in two strips to make the headband. Tell your child you will be cutting it, this can really upset young kids if they aren’t warned. I like using either a foam paint brush or paint markers like these when we want the paint to dry fast.
  3. While they paint, trace a circle 6 times on the backing of the sparkly foam.
  4. Cut out.
  5. Glue the googly eyes on.  Let dry.
  6. Next cut the paper in half.
  7. Add glue and glitter. You want to do it after your cut  not before so that you aren’t cutting into glue and glitter. Trust me glitter is messy enough, but cleaning it out of scissors is no fun. Let dry.
  8. Cut your pipe cleaners into different heights.
  9. When eyes are dry ( or at least dry enough not to slide, peel off the backing of the 3 foam circles that do not have googly eyes on them. Press the pipe cleaners into them.
  10. Peel the back off the circles with eyes , press into the circles with the pipe cleaners so they are sandwiched.
  11. When the glitter is dry tape the pipe cleaners with eyes on the front of  one strip. You will want it near the end because you are going to tape the other strip on top to sandwich them.
  12. Size it to your child’s noggin’ and secure the two ends with tape. I like using tape for 2 reasons. It’s forgiving and it’s fast, so kids can play right away.

Books


The Way Back Home
by Oliver Jeffers is a moving story about a boy , a martian and the moon they were both stuck on. Together they figure out a way to get back home even though they are so sad to say goodbye to each other. I love this author, I love his illustrations as well, they are so unique and the emotion he manages to convey is amazing. There is an illustration of the boy and martian standing awkwardly before they have to say goodbye and it embodies the emotion. Grab anything written by this author and you will be happy!

Hush, Little Alien by Daniel Kirk is a quirky updated version of the classic lullaby. So many bedtime books are super sugary but this one is funky and bright! I love the space theme and the illustrations are great! The rhymes are funny and kept my son interested in the lullaby much longer than the traditional one which he deems a “baby song”.

Moon Man by Tomi Ungerer is an odd, heartwarming, entertaining story. My son loves this story about the man on the moon who wants to be a part of the action on earth and decides to visit himself. Of course as is the custom on earth we are afraid of outsiders and he is thrown in jail. Luckily as he goes through the phases he manages to slip out through the bars.He finds someone to help him return home where he belongs, even though he is sad to go. I couldn’t help but think of ET… but that’s just me.