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Friday, July 31, 2009

Easy Hula Skirt

The summer camp running this week is themed "tropical luau." I am not teaching, but the teacher that is running the camp is doing a great job, especially with this nasty humidity and no air conditioning. I was visiting the other day and she had made some great hula skirts for their luau that is happening today, so I asked if I could share it--Thanks Mrs. S.

For the project you will need:

a drawstring trash bag
decorating material

The first step of this is parent or adult oriented unless you have a great cutter in the family. You want to put slits in the garbage bag. Start at the bottom and go up towards the drawstring--stop cutting about 4-5 inches from the top. Also, run the scissors along the sealed bottom edge and sides. The strips can be any width you are comfortable with. Mine are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide.

After you have the strips allow the children to decorate around the top. Mrs. S. had some tropical foam shaped stickers that all the children used. I found some foam leaves at our house. Feel free to use your imagination here.

After everything is done, have the child slip the skirt on. Pull the drawstrings and tie together. Ready for the party!

I don't have any pictures, but the children will be enjoying their skirts, a lei, some pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, and punch with umbrellas. They are going to play coconut bowling. There are some bowling pins and Mrs. S. is going to bring in some coconuts to use for the "ball." She is hoping to be able to open up a coconut for the children when they are finished. Sounds like great fun!

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Playing Fun at the Picnic

For some reason I am having trouble keeping up with the ABC & 123 picnic. I promised the girls I would get back on track this week--guess what? I'm late. So what do we do to have fun outside?

We have always enjoyed activities outside. We really love Boccie Ball, it so fun and easy to play with every age. Baseball games were a big hit when my oldest was young. He was/is a huge baseball fan and loved to play the game. Our other children never really followed with this sport, but someone is always involved in a sport. We've done lots of soccer, flag football, lacrosse, and field hockey. There is usually some kind of net always set up in the back yard.

Swimming is always fun too. We have a pool in the back yard which is getting quite a bit of use this week! When the pool's not up there is always fun in the sprinkler and the slip-n-slide.

A new favorite we have been enjoying is kickball. This is another fun game for ALL ages. Everyone kicks, everyone runs. We had a great time with this at a recent family gathering.

Another activity we have been able to participate in lately is biking. We have always enjoyed biking, but we are able to do it more now that our area is getting lots more bike trails. Along with the biking goes hiking, always a favorite of ours--especially orienteering.

Movement is so beneficial to all and just plain fun.

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Peanut Butter Dough

(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)


My niece made this play dough with the children she stays with. She said they had a great time with it, and it was a fun snack too.

You will need:

1 cup peanut butter
2/3 to 1 cup nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons of honey

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add enough powdered milk to make the mixture dry enough to handle. Shape into balls and enjoy. Don't worry if they would like a taste. It's all edible.

Good luck.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Salt Dough Creations

My niece is in college getting her teaching degree, and she is a nanny this summer, so I have a new source of fun projects. Thanks for this Jenn!

She tries to do something fun with the children she takes care of everyday and she shared a couple of projects with me. Her first project was salt dough. And guess what, you don't NEED to cook with the salt dough.

I have not made this. She gave me her final creations as an example, but she said the kids had a good time.

You will need:

3 cups of flour
1 cup of water
1 cup of salt
2 teaspoons of oil

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. If the mixture is too dry, add water by the teaspoon until it reaches a nice consistency. Then allow the children to play. The dough can be wrapped in cellophane and saved in the fridge for two weeks.

You can take this a step further. Let the children create something that they can keep. You can use cookies cutters, household items, or play dough toys. The BEST designs are small and chunky. They will bake easily and break less.

After your child has made the creations, place them on a baking tray or cookie sheet. Bake them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

After they have cooled you may decorate with tempera paint, acrylic paint, or even markers. She has a paint listed that you add 1 part white glue to 2 parts paint. This will make it shiny and tough. You can also glue other objects such as sequins, buttons, glitter, pom poms, etc., to make a final fantastic creation.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Fishy Fingers

Sticking with our summer theme, we finish up with my last find from Hand-Shaped Art. Again, this project is pretty basic, and may already be out there, but we put it together, so we thought we would share.

For the project you will need:

a large piece of construction paper
paint, different colors
bottle cap
google eyes

I had two little ones help me with this project so we created four fish. Let me begin, by saying that if I was doing this at school, I would need a bit of parental help. I always find when doing hand or foot painting projects with lots of children can get tricky. Sometimes I modify the project to a tracing and cutting project. But, I will say that a handprint of paint has lots more character.

The first thing to do is get your large piece of paper. Let the children decide what color fish they would like. Now, paint the hand, either they can do it, or you. After there hand is painted it gets pressed on the paper with the thumb out like a fin. I must say I thought our little green fish had a bit of "attitude." He resembled an angel fish--at least to me.

To make the bubbly water, I used a bottle cap dipped in blue paint and just pressed circles all around.

To finish the project of I gave each fish a google eye for some added fun! Swim fish, swim!

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Simple Sailboat

The next summer handprint activity from my Hand-Shaped Art book is a sailboat. It is very simple, but feel free to jazz it up!

You will need:

construction paper

The first thing I did for this creation was to paint a peaceful background. I thought it would be fun to add some salt to the paint--like saltwater. Not a good idea. If you are like me and don't know anything about chemical reactions, this is what happened. I added the salt to a big glob of blue paint. The paint immediately melted into a pool of "water." Then the paint started to separate from the liquid. To be honest I found this quite fascinating. I didn't know that would happen when salt was added to paint--now I do.

Anyway, I thought maybe the blue water would look neat if you added some glitter to it. I didn't have any glitter on hand. I quickly used my watered down version of tempera so as not to waste it. If you have some glitter, sprinkle it in the paint and mix. I painted some blue water and a yellow sun.

You don't have to paint a background, maybe the children would like to draw something, or use some scrap paper. Ripping some blue paper and gluing it down would make some neat looking water also.

While the paint dried I cut a semi-circle from some brown paper for the bottom of the boat. Then trace the child's hand closed, but with the thumb slightly extended. Finally cut a small flag for the top of the mast(?). (I'm not a boat person.)

After the hand and flag are cut out allow the children to decorate them. I was looking for some stickers, but didn't have any, so I used to scrap paper. Maybe they would even like to paint them.

Now it's time to glue it all together. I glued the straw down first. Then I glued the bottom of the boat over top of the straw. The flag gets glued to the top. Lastly comes the sail. Glue the sail on top of the straw with the thumb touching the straw at the top.

Sit back and imagine yourself floating peacefully in the water. Sun streaming down, birds flying by, dolphins appearing every once in a while---aahh doesn't that sound nice!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cone of Hands

I've been in a bit of a craft slump lately. I started feeling badly about not posting any new crafts for a while, so I gave myself a kick in the pants today and pulled out my trustee Hand Shaped Art resource book. I found a few things I thought looked like some fun summer activities.

My first find was an ice cream cone. Who doesn't love ice cream in the summer, or anytime for that matter?

You will need:

construction paper:
brown for cone
another color for ice cream
brown paint

chocolate chips
other color paint

Cut a large triangle shaped like a cone out of the brown construction paper. I thought it would be fun to make a waffle cone. I poured some brown paint on a plate and got my trustee fork. Dip the fork in the paint, be careful not to get too much, I did a couple of times. I found it easy to make all the fork marks in one direction, then go in the other direction. This will make a sort of waffle pattern.

Now what kind of ice cream does your child like? Let them pick the color paper that would coordinate with their favorite ice cream. Have them place both hands next to each other, but hide their thumbs. Trace around their fingers and down around the sides.

Before cutting this out, place the cone on top of the handprint drawing to see where you have to bring the lines down to so that the ice cream will fit in the cone. Draw lines to the cone, pick up the cone and bring the lines down to a point. Now cut out the ice cream.

Glue the ice cream to the back of the cone. Now here is the fun part. Do you have chocolate chip ice cream? Glue mini choco chips to the ice cream. Maybe you like rainbow sprinkles, or any sprinkles for that matter. Paint some glue on your ice cream and shake on some sprinkles. My ice cream was strawberry. I added strawberry shapes by "stamping" with red paint. I actually used a napkin dipped in red paint and stamped onto the ice cream.

Okay, now everyone pile into the car and travel to the nearest ice cream parlor for your favorite cone! Enjoy.

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Button Help

When I got my button there were comments from some about how to do this. As I said, I was lucky enough to have someone take my hand and walk me through the process.

Sandra over at Monkey See Monkey Do, previously Preschool to Pre-K, has a beautiful new button. But, here is the great part. She has a link in her post that helped to get her final product. If you have questions, or would like a tutorial, check it out!

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Friday, July 17, 2009

What is This?

This past Sunday we had a family gathering for my father's birthday. We're all goofing around, having a good time, then my brothers start coming up to me. They all want to know what my youngest is sitting on the swing creating. So I go over and take a look--not a clue!

So I sit down on the swing with him and watch and talk to him, finally I have to come out and ask: So, what do you do with that? And to my amazement it makes perfect sense and I must tell you I was quite impressed. What is it? From his mouth, "A marble maze."

I have even had the pleasure of playing with this myself for a while. There is no specific beginning or end, but it's fun moving the marble around. I thought if you were interested, you're little one might enjoy making one of these.

I had no hand in the project. All credit goes completely to my youngest.

You will need:

foam plate

Give your child a plate and let them poke as many toothpicks through the plate. Add a marble and have some fun!

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Outrageous Octopus

A few months ago, I found a great octopus in my Mailbox magazine which I intended to share with all. Well, you know how things go. Then the other day I found a couple of great octopuses or octopi (I looked it up), floating around some of my favorite sites. These finds renewed my desire to share this cute little guy with you. Check out a great paper plate octopus at Casa Camacho and a wonderful handprint octopus at Just For Fun.

This craft has a few steps that might be a little more than the average preschooler can manage. I would say this is probably a "grown-up and me" type craft.

For this octopus you will need:

a metal hanger
tissue paper
crepe paper
white paper

Your first obstacle is to scour your home for a metal hanger. I have about 3000 plastic ones, but the metal ones are rare. After you have found the hanger, hold the curved top and grab the middle of the bottom. Pull the bottom down until the hanger is shaped like a diamond.

Take a piece of tissue paper and lay the hanger on it. Trace the diamond shape onto the tissue paper. Cut the diamond shape out, but don't cut right on the line you drew. Cut about an inch away so you have tissue to fold over the hanger. (You will notice my tissue is very wrinkly and shiny. I actually found this in one of our gift boxes. It's sort of like a cellophane type piece of paper).

After the tissue is cut out, lay the hanger back on the tissue paper and put some glue all around the inside of the hanger in a diamond shape.

For the next step little ones might need a bit of help. Fold the tissue over the hanger and press to the glue. The step was easier than I imagined, but I had to add spots of glue for overhang. Or you could cut the overhang off.

Now you will need 8 lengths of crepe paper, about 1 ft. or longer. Your little ones could even rip pieces off if they would like. Put eight spaces of glue on the tissue paper and then attach the crepe paper legs.

Finally, he needs some eyes. I took a white piece of construction paper and folded it in half. Then I traced a cup and cut out two circles. Use some marker to add pupils, then glue to the body.

He really turns out "outrageous."

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