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Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts’

Summer is here – kids are decked out in shorts, flip flops, suntans and are in need of summer fun activities that are great for at home or in the backyard. One great activity is tie-dyeing a t-shirt! It’s no wonder this 70s hippie fashion phenomenon has survived decades…it’s bright, buckets of fun and a great excuse to get your kids and their friends excited for a mini daytime party! Tie-dyeing is both a fun family activity and the perfect way to spruce up plain clothing without breaking the bank.

Even adults will appreciate that moment of anticipation just before the unraveling of rubber bands reveals their own vibrant creations.

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When daddy’s at work, have him think about the kiddos and the family! Let kids redo this basic office staple as a gift for Dad — their messages will last well beyond Father’s Day.

How To:

Wrap a rubber band around a notepad cube and have kids write greetings and make drawings on two sides with a broad, pointy marker. (Fine tips will get caught between the pages.) Move band, and decorate the other two sides. Tie the notepad with a colorful ribbon. As an added gift, slide in a pen.

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Need to find a cheap and fun activity for summer? Here it is! Whether you are home or on vacation, there are always rocks somewhere. With just a few supplies — paint, glue, and clay — children can transform the stones they stumble across into animals, people, or toys.

Both tempera and acrylic paints work well for rock craft projects; tempera looks chalkier but washes off easily, making it the best choice for kids. Acrylic paint has a glossy finish. Before painting, kids should sketch out their plan: It’s easier to envision what the finished project will look like if they draw it first with pencil on paper. You can also talk it over with your child if that is easier than sketching so that you have a plan.

Stones are as distinctive as people. Some can be slender; another, dappled and rotund. Family members can paint their initials on the rocks that suit them and turn them into refrigerator magnets too!


Rock Frogs
Ribbit! These frogs are trying to look relaxed, but as anyone can see, their heavy-lidded eyes are ready to pop open at the prospect of a fly lunch.


Pig Magnets
Attached with cement glue, flat disks are perfect for making pig-shaped magnets.

 

Tips for this craft activity:

  1. Glue rocks together before painting them, attaching small stone features such as eyes, feet, or beaks to body parts before joining larger parts
  2. Attach whiskers and tails after painting.
  3. Cement glue makes the strongest bond but should be used only by parents working in a well-ventilated area. (Kid-friendly glues are less durable and are best for rock crafts that will sit on shelves.)

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Unless you don’t have a TV, computer, Twitter, Facebook, radio or some sort of news source…you must be inundated by the news on the upcoming royal wedding. With all of the hype, and the likelihood that you will tune in this Friday to see Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, I figured why not make princess crowns like Kate’s for your little girl and turn it into an even more festive occasion (other than popcorn in front of the TV). Here is how to make a Foil-and-Paper Crown that is just PERFECT for this Friday’s special day!

p.s. – what little girl doesn’t like to dress up as ‘princess’? 🙂

Items Needed:

–        aluminum foil
–        colored tissue paper of your child’s choice
–        stickers and or gems from a local craft store
–        glue
–        tape

Crowns How-To

  1. Tear off aluminum foil 20 inches long. Fold in half twice, long sides together, or cuff; lay cuff with opening toward top.
  2. Fold 20-inch-wide tissue paper in half lengthwise twice; lay inside V of the cuff, folded edge up, so bottom edge is just below center of cuff.
  3. Fold foil strip in half again, folding up from the bottom (this will hold the tissue in place).
  4. Cut flat-topped points in tissue paper, leaving attached at the fold, and decorate with stickers or fake gems from a local craft store.
  5. Overlap ends to proper size, and slip one end of foil inside the other. Tape or glue together.
  6. Feel free to add jewels from your local craft store to add some “bling, bling”!

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Top ‘o the Mornin’! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Even if you don’t get your ‘pot ‘o gold’ or see any leprechauns today, you can still capture their spirit with this Leprechaun Hat!

Not only are Leprechaun hats fun for kids to make, but they are also fun to wear— especially on St. Patrick’s day to exude Irish pride. Leprechaun hats can be made easily using green, black and yellow construction paper.

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I’m off to Vail tomorrow to attempt to learn to ski. It made me think about kids who don’t get to see the snow who live in warmer areas. Whether you be in sunny California or snowy Boston – you can grant your children’s wishes for a snowy day by making home made paper snowflakes that hover in the air in their bedroom or in your kitchen. Kids can happily occupy themselves cutting out dozens of paper snowflakes. All you need to do is thread and tape the snowflakes together and see a sweet ‘blizzard’ materialize in your home.

 

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It’s Friday and we are all pooped! Plus I am freezing in New York and cannot stand the thought of even stepping outside. Looking for a 30 minute activity to show the one you love how much you care? Make a hand-shaped construction paper card for Valentine’s Day! It could be great way to greet your hubby, wifey, kids and family!

What to do? Send a lovey-dovey message (a.ka. candy sweetheart message) with valentines traced from little hands. Just cut from construction paper, and then decorate. Let the love of your life (your kids) know they are hands-down your favorite.

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As a child – I always remembered the fridge as the “trophy area” for my homemade pictures, photos of the family, report cards, and other fun projects that I would take home from school. In general, the kitchen is the main gathering spot for many parents and kids. It has been snowing like crazy in New York so what better than an arts and crafts activity such as clay magnets! And when your child crafts clay magnets for displaying these mementos, he or she can work on artistic skills and show off his or her school accomplishments at the same time! Clay is a great tool to work with because it encourages young children to simply manipulate and pound clay into various shapes. By using their fingers to roll tiny balls for eyes or other details, kids will also exercise their fine-motor skills.

After the shape cools, your child can bring the object to life with paint and other decorations. Give your kids the 3 primary colors of red, blue and yellow and let them mix and match to make secondary colors. Add other details such as wiggly eyes, spots, stripes and other marks or even glitter to let your kids express themselves!

Items Needed:

  • Sculpey clay or other polymer clay material
  • Waxed paper
  • Rolling pin or large empty soda bottle
  • Felt-tipped pen
  • Craft knife or kitchen knife
  • Picture wire or beading wire (optional)
  • Scissors or wire cutter (optional)
  • Metal spatula
  • Baking tray
  • Artist’s brushes
  • Acrylic craft or poster paint
  • All-purpose sealer (optional)
  • Magnetic tape (available at craft stores)
  • Glue or hot-glue gun


Directions:

  1. Knead clay into a ball. Place on waxed paper on flat work surface. Roll clay flat to about 1/4″ thickness with rolling pin or empty soda bottle. (Keep the shape small and fairly thin or the magnet won’t be strong enough to hold it to the refrigerator.)
  2. Ask your child to draw the outline of an animal or any other shape desired with a felt-tipped pen on the clay. Using a craft or kitchen knife, parents should carefully cut out the shape and peel away the excess clay. Gently reshape edges of the shape if they stretch when you peel away the extra. Ask your child to add details such as eyes, a nose, or stripes by rolling small balls of clay or cutting shapes and strips.
  3. If desired, older children may cut whiskers, manes, or tails from picture wire or beading wire with scissors or wire cutters (younger kids can paint them on). Press the wire into the clay at the appropriate place. Using a spatula or your fingers, gently lift the shape and place it on a baking tray. Bake the shape in a preheated oven following the manufacturer’s instructions on the package of clay.
  4. Let shape cool. Paint it using poster or acrylic craft paint and artist’s brushes. For fine details like eyes and nose, use finer brushes (small children may need help with details). If using poster paint, apply an all-purpose sealer after the paint is dry.
  5. Cut a magnetic strip to fit on the back of the shape. Check to see which side of the tape adheres more strongly to the refrigerator. Then, using glue or a hot glue gun, attach the weaker side of the magnet to the shape. Let it dry.

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The winter chill has arrived and the leaves are changing colors. I took a walk through Central Park in New York City (my hometown) this past weekend and admired all of the leaves and how beautiful nature can be in the ‘big city.’ I was inspired by a childhood activity that is fun for kids and great for parents as a piece of art for the coveted refrigerator door. Preserve the beauty of fall leaves with leaf-rubbing (leaf impressions) art on paper! Read more to find out how this easy (and inexpensive idea) is fun for a winter day. Next time you are out walking ith your kids, collect leaves of different shapes and sizes. When you are choosing leaves to rub, pick leaves with raised veins or texture to ensure the rubbings will come out crisp and clear.

Need:

  • Leaves
  • White paper
  • Crayons or soft-lead pencils

Steps:

  • Rub a variety of leaves using white tissue paper and crayons or soft-lead pencils.
  • Place the leaves under the paper and gently rub the impression on the tissue paper.
  • Cut each leaf impression out and arrange them on a white piece of paper.
  • Special step: Use a hold puncher and punch one hole in each leaf impression. Use thread or clear fishing line to tie the leaves together and string the line in a window as a decoration!
  • Discard leaves in garbage

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Halloween always seems to be a rush to get the ‘best’ costume, carve pumpkins, decorate the front porch with spider webs, and buy candy and any other Halloween baking you might be up to!  If you are a mommy or daddy short on time this Halloween, here are some ideas on how to make a homemade trick-or-treat bag that is reusable and eco-friendly! For the serious Halloween kid, the trick-or-treat bag isn’t just a vessel for the evening’s spoils; it is also be a spooky accessory to match his or her costume.

Anyone can get crazy and follow the Martha Stewart intricate crafts for Halloween, but I wanted something that is easy, quick and something that can be reused for years to come.  Below are a few tips/suggestions for easy, eco-friendly Halloween trick-or-treat bags for your kiddos to make and use. It’s a great activity (especially for the fall rainy days) and these fun trick-or-treat bags are great to carry their oodles of candy and save the environment at the same time.

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Step 1: Choose Your Bag
Choose the eco-friendly bag that you want to use for this project. Keep in mind that you need a bag that is durable because candy can get really heavy and there is noting like ruins a child’s (or parent’s) mood more than a bag that breaks!  Plus, a durable bag allows you to use it for more years and you can get the most out of it! Some suggestions for eco-friendly, homemade trick-or-treat bags are:

Option A) Old pillowcases are very fun and creative option for “green” trick-or-treat bags because they can be used for YEARS; Your child can just scrunch the top together and sling it over his or her shoulder or if you are a mom with sewing skills, it never hurts to sew on “handles” for the pillowcase trick-or-treat bags to be functional.

Option B) Canvas grocery store bags that you can pick up now for about a buck are great options – – they are durable, have handles and are ready to decorate.

Option C) Reusing old grocery bags (paper is always better) – however, these may only last for one year.

 

Decorating
Decorating the bag is a fun way to express your creativity and is purely based individual preference. It can be as spooky and elaborate as you want or as simple as your child desires or wants to decorate it. There is no “right way” to decorate a homemade Halloween bag because every kiddo has his or her own sense of style (and Halloween for that matter!). Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Option A) Decorate the bag to match the costume. Just remember that this may limit your choices in years to come if you want to reuse this bag next year.

Option B) Paint the bag with fabric paints or markers and even puffy paints (yes, those scary paints from the 80s) with spider webs, ghosts, pumpkins, witches and more! Choose ghostly faces from templates you can find on the Internet or create your own gruesome expression.

SPECIAL NOTE: Place a piece of cardboard inside the pillowcase so the ink will not bleed through to the other side.

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