Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cat in the Hat Paper Bag Puppet


Just a quick post to share what my seven-year-old daughter has been working on.  Her book report assignment this month for school is to create a paper bag puppet of your favorite Dr. Seuss character.  She chose The Cat in the Hat {obviously}.  If I had had more than one paper bag around this place we would have definitely done more, but this is what we have now.  I hope to do more soon so we can have some puppet shows.

We started out by cutting construction paper to the measurements of the bag.  I helped her measure and make the appropriate marks on the paper to serve as guiding lines.  She did all the cutting, drew on the face, drew and cut out a bow tie, glued it all to her bag and trimmed the overhanging edges with her scissors.

She added the final touches with a marker and glued on a cute paper mouth.

This guy is ready to act out a scene or two.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dr. Seuss play group

This past Monday was my turn to host another play group for some 3 year olds in the neighborhood.  Since Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up, I decided to try and build a theme around that.  I had set up a road mat and cars for them to play with as they arrived, but not one child wanted anything to do with it.  And no one was about to sit down to read a story.


While the group was running a few laps around the house screaming, I decided to start off with a game I had planned for a little later on.  I got their attention by asking one of them if they thought they could balance one of these items on their head like the Cat in the Hat does in the story The Cat in the Hat.
They were all in a giggly sort of mood, so this activity was the perfect attention grabber.  They all tried several different combinations.  This also grabbed their interest enough to look at the book a little bit so I could show them how many things The Cat could balance.  I should have had them try to do it while standing on a ball ;-)

Then we tried another game - musical hats.  I had the kids sit in a circle and take turns putting on this hat and passing it along until the music stopped.  The child who had the hat on their head when the music stopped got to have a turn being the one to control the music for a round.  I think pushing the pause button on the music may have even been more fun than passing the hat around.
After they had all had a turn to be in control of the music, they just wanted to try on a bunch of different hats.

By now they had settled down enough to do a craft.  I had cut out some egg cartons and gathered some glue, pipe cleaners, pom poms, googly eyes and bingo dot markers.  The idea was for them to make a "Seuss creation" of their own.  Once again, the glue was highly popular.  I let their own imaginations go to work for these- I didn't give them any expectation or guidance on what to create.  I wanted to see what they would come up with on their own.

I kept snack time simple- we just had mandarin oranges and crackers.  I also popped some popcorn they could munch on while we sat down to read through a couple of the books.

Even though our play group started out a little on the wild side this time, I think it turned out to be a success in the end.

What kind of Dr. Seuss fun are you having?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tips to build your art and craft supplies {on a budget}

One of my main goals as a blogger is to help others think outside of the box and be more creative. As long as I can remember, I have always tried to repurpose things or make do with what I had.  So when I was asked the other day what supplies I would suggest to have on hand, my first thought was to just look around.  I hate to spend a bunch of money on supplies when kids art really is mostly about the process, not the product.

Where should you start with art and craft supplies? Building up your supplies does not have to be expensive.

I love my local dollar store. My favorite things I've found include:

  • bingo markers (like the more expensive Do-A-Dot Markers)
  • tissue paper
  • craft sticks
  • pipe cleaners
  • paper plates
  • glue sticks

You can even find cute aprons that can be used for paint smocks if you don't have an old t-shirt for the job already. But beware, just because you're at the dollar store does not mean you cannot overspend.

Here's a peak into one of my craft supply drawers (I should have organized it a bit before I took this shot, but you get the idea).

Start looking at your trash in a different light. Think about other ways you could use something before you recycle it:

  • egg cartons
  • cereal boxes
  • shiny foil wrappers
  • toilet paper and paper towel tubes
  • shoe boxes
  • magazines
  • bubble wrap
  • magnets from all those phone books that get delivered to my doorstep, etc.

I am starting to look like a hoarder, but here's a little peak at my "trash supply".  Honestly, the possibilities are endless if you have scissors, glue, paint and garbage.


Buy glue, crayons, markers and paint in bulk when they go on sale for back to school. These basic supplies can be used in so many different ways.  My favorite paint to use is Crayola Washable Kids Paint because it really is washable (unlike some of the other washable paints I have tried).

Turn to your pantry: you can dye rice, pasta and salt to a rainbow of colors with a little food coloring and vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Glue can also be dyed with food coloring and used as paint. You can even make homemade paints using flour or cornstarch.

Use objects other than a paint brush to paint. I have seen toys (cars, marbles, Legos, balls), forks, food, old credit cards, toilet brushes (I'd go with new ones from the dollar store here), cookie cutters, scrub brushes, straws, etc.



What other tips and ideas can you share to build up your craft supply without breaking the bank?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Finger painting with shaving cream

Last week we did some experimenting with paper bags when we decided to take the Creative Challenge over at TinkerLab.  Before we made our paper bag purses, we actually tried using the paper bag as a canvas for some fingerpainting.

Can you believe we have never fingerpainted in our home?  Well, except once when Lou was 2 (she's nearly 8 now!) .  That was enough for me.  I was a bit too worked up over the mess that was made and have never revisited the technique . . . until now.  But this time I decided we would try tinting some shaving cream with food coloring and use our hands to paint with it.

I cut out our paper shopping bags to fit into some baking trays so we could somewhat contain the mess. The thickness of the paper bags held up well to the moisture of the shaving cream and didn't wrinkle much.

I squeezed out some shaving cream onto the paper bag and added a few drops of color.  Mina was a little apprehensive about putting her fingers in it at first.

Oh, but once she felt the soft and smooth consistency of the stuff she was hooked.

If anything, this was more of a sensory experience than anything.  She had a good time mixing the color throughout the shaving cream.

Maisy was so excited to get her hands into it also.

And soon enough, Lou was home from school and joining in the fun.  They loved mixing the colors together and feeling the soft squish between their fingers.

And working the shaving cream in their hands.  If anything, I can say they ended up with very clean hands that day.

Oh yeah, and they smeared it around on the paper also.

We ended up with a couple of unique pieces of art.

I let them dry over night and then again for another day.  The foamy pictures never really dried completely.  I think the next time we try this, we'll use just a little shaving cream and add paint to it for color {like we've seen from Quirky Momma}.  Then maybe it will dry?  I guess we'll have to see.

Or maybe we can try one of these other fabulous methods:
Swirling paint in the shaving cream and making prints {Little Wonders Days}
Simply playing and drawing in the shaving cream {Keeping Life Creative}
Mixing the shaving cream with glue {Juggling with Kids}

What kinds of art projects have you done with shaving cream?  I can't wait to try something else now that we've gotten our hands into it.  



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine shortbread cookies and blog hop


What is a Valentine's holiday without baking and decorating cookies?  The other day at the library we came across this fun cookbook for kids.  It is fully illustrated and the recipes can be altered to your liking.  The first thing we decided to make were the shortbread cookies.  What's fun about it is that it gives a totally hands-on way of making the cookies.  


Now, I have to admit that I don't always jump on the chance to bake with my girls.  3 girls and 1 mom baking  in the kitchen usually sometimes sets the scene for complete chaos.  This afternoon, Mina (age 3) had decided to take a rare nap and I had some rare one-on-one time with Maisy since Lou was still at school.  On top of that, my kitchen was already a complete mess- who wants to start baking with kids in an already-clean kitchen?  Not this mama.

All you need is 3 ingredients and then you can mix in whatever else you like.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter



All the ingredients go into the bowl at the same time.  Then the fun begins.  The next step is rubbing in the butter, which means you rub the butter between your thumbs and fingertips until the dough is in a bunch of chunky crumbs.  Then you can add in any flavorings you would like.  We just used sugar sprinkles (we shook it until it looked about right).  You can use chocolate chips, coconut, cinnamon, candies, peanut butter, raisins, nuts, etc.

Here is Maisy adding in the sprinkles.

After the sprinkles were all mixed in you need to squeeze the dough together into a ball to get ready to roll out if you are cutting shapes.  You can also just roll into balls and flatten them onto the cookie sheet.  We had to add a touch of water to our dough because it just wouldn't roll out at  first.  It just kept crumbling. The dough should be rolled out on a floured surface until its uniformly about 1/4 inch thick.

Find your favorite cookie cutters and carefully transfer the cut-outs to your baking sheet.  The oven should be preheated to 325° F.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  My cookies didn't brown very much in the oven, but were still cooked through.  You can adjust the time to your liking.

We also prepared the icing suggested in the book.  It was simply a mixture of 3 tbsp. powdered sugar and 3 tbsp. water.  This mixture seemed thin, so I ended up adding about twice the powdered sugar that was called for.  We added a drop of red food coloring as well, then I saw that the recipe suggested adding the coloring with a toothpick.  Oops. I should have read more carefully and the color wouldn't have been so brilliant, but it was also fun to have such a bright cookie.

Maisy spooned the icing over the cookies once they had cooled.  The icing wasn't enough to cover all the cookies, so next time I'll remember to double the amount.  I loved how easy it was to apply the icing compared to spreading frosting with a knife.

Enter a well-rested Mina.  She was ready to help add some sprinkles to the tops of the cookies.

Finally, a taste test!  We had to remember that these are not sugar cookies, they are shortbread.  They have a completely different taste; a more buttery taste.  This made for some happy girls, and some much needed one-on-one time with the middle child.

Valentine's Day Ideas Blog Hop


Join in the Valentine's idea blog hop along with these great blogs:





Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Madness 19

Thank you for all the amazing link-ups last week.  There were some incredibly unique posts I want to share with you in case you didn't see them from the link party.  

Egg carton painting from ArtClubBlog
What a beautiful way to create 3-D art.

Rockin' tangerine owl from Bleak 2 Unique.
This is a MUST see tutorial, go check it out!

Fingerprint dove from Busy Kids = Happy Mom
Is this not one of the cutest ideas you've seen?

I have had such a great time hosting this linky party with Laura at Art for Little Hands, but the time has come for me to be able to focus a little more on other things around home.  I'm so glad that you have taken the time to share your ideas here, but I needed to re-prioritize and realized I needed the time back that I have been spending on this linky party.  I hope you'll stick around and visit my blog from time to time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Paper bag purse

A few weeks ago, we heard of the Creative Challenge given by Tinkerlab.  The material for this challenge was to be paper bags.  I had a few paper grocery bags stashed away for who-knows-what and they were perfect for the challenge.  We tried a couple different things with them, but I am deciding to share this one with you today.

It was difficult while brainstorming to get away from the idea of using the bags to hold something.  And because Valentine's Day is so close, we decided on making a heart purse.  I helped the girls to cut out two identical hearts from the paper grocery bags.

Then the girls got busy decorating them with their favorite Bingo Dot markers.  Mina, who just turned 3, loved making faces on the hearts.  She ended up making 2 purses in the end with these cute faces.

Lou, who is nearly 8 years old now, went for a "designer bag".

After the paint dots had dried, which didn't take long, I punched some holes around the edges of the hearts and tied a piece of yarn to one end so the girls could stitch them up.

I began helping Mina out with hers, but then Lou needed a little assistance getting her holes punched.

After a couple of minutes, Mina'a purse looked like this.  She did much better with me guiding her along once I was able to get back to her.

Lou zipped right along with hers.

And Mina was thrilled to have a new purse to carry her little treasures in.

Now I invite you to join in this creative challenge.  
Join Tinkerlab and these other bloggers and get crafty with paper bags!

Paint Cut Paste, Imagination SoupHands On: As We Grow, Child Central Station, Putti Prapancha, Irresistible Ideas for Play-Based LearningTeach Preschool, The Chocolate Muffin Tree, Nurture Store, Small TypesThe Imagination Tree, Toddler Approved, Red Ted Art, Sun Hats and Wellie Boots, Come Together Kids, Mommy Labs, Kids in the Studio, Rainy Day Mum, Glittering Muffins, Sense of Wonder, Mom To 2 Posh Lil Divas, Come Together Kids, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, A Mom With A Lesson Plan, Angelique Felix, The Golden Gleam, Share and Remember, Clarion Wren, Living at the Whitehead’s Zoo,  De tout et de rien, PlayDrMomRainbows Within Reach, No Time for Flash Cards, Creativity My PassionMessy Kids, Kiwi Crate, Tinkerlab

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