Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A,B,C for our younger crafters

Here's a great project for our crafters under age 4. Everyone learns the ABC's but here's a fun way to learn them. I have made up ABC's that you can print. Once you print them out put them into plastic sleeves and either put them into a ringed binder or a plastic folder so that they don't get messy.

Materials Needed:
A printer
Heavy Card Stock
A Hole Puncher

Click the link and the booklet will open in a new window.
This project can be as hard or as simple as you want it! The idea is to create your own alphabet book. Each page will feature a different letter of the alphabet. You can use the entire alphabet or use select letters, such as the letters in your name.

Print out all or some of the templates onto heavy paper or card stock. Once you have all of your letters  put the pages of the book in the proper order bind them together. You can staple the edge of the pages together or punch holes down the side and tie the pages together with pretty ribbon or put them into plastic sleeves and into a 1" binder like I did.

This is a sample page from the booklet.

Books related to our topic--

"My son has visually known his ABC's since he was one year old and I credit that, among other things, with the fact that he loves books and gravitated toward books like this one. It is a simple yet colorful and fun little book that I would definitely recommend!"~reviewed by Lori  



Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Tween Craft--Bath Salt

Several years ago my niece made me a really neat Christmas gift--lemon bath salt. This was one of my favorite gifts, in fact I keep hinting to her about making more. Here is a recipe however to make our own bath salts.

Materials:Canning Jars
Epsom Salts
Food Coloring
Perfume or Essential Oil


  • Combine the desired amount of Epsom salts (enough to fit in your jar)
  • Add food coloring.
  • Mix well so color is even.
  • Add essential oil and mix again.
  • Spread the mixture out on a sheet of wax paper to dry for a couple of hours 
  • Now put it in the bottle or jar.
  • If you are making it for a gift you can put a pretty ribbon around the jar and you can even glue a little charm or flower on the front of the jar for decoration. 
**While the salts can be used right away, the perfume or essential oil will blend better with the salt if it is allowed to set in the jar for a few weeks.

Books related to topic--

"A deceptively easy and entertaining read, this book is filled with fascinating information, such as: Whoever controls the world's salt supply is the superpower (right now it's the US!) Salt is necessary to the functioning of our bodies--which is part of why early humans ate meat (and why we still crave salty pretzels)"  FOR PURCHASING INFORMATION 

"Workman Publishing wants Sandy Boynton's fans (who are legion) to know that we deeply regret the production problems that afflicted the first printing of BATH TIME (2007) - and we want them to know that these problems were corrected in subsequent printings. We moved the production to a different manufacturer; the inks now are fine, the covers now are fine, and the contents remain deserving of five oinks. If you take a look at the Amazon comments for BARNYARD BATH - which was released in 2008, a year after BATH TIME - you'll see that there are no complaints. Only praise. The quality problems have been solved. You can order BATH TIME and BARNYARD BATH today with confidence that the books will hold up"~Weintz   FOR PURCHASING INFO

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Finger Print Art

This is such an adorable craft. I made this for my little adopted niece. Kids love getting messy so they will surely love this craft but I am not sure you will love me. lol
This is a neat project because you can talk about what a finger print is and why we have them. You can teach the kids about fingerprints without them even realizing it. Sneaky huh?
Materials needed:
Fabric paint 
Onesie,shirt or any piece of clothing
Paint brush
1.  Squirt a small amount of fabric paint on the paper plate.
2.  Slide a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to prevent bleeding through.
3.  Dip fingers into paint and stamp  onto the shirt
4. Use fabric paint to decorate with legs and arms

Some sample finger print ideas--

I also found a really neat blog that deserves some recognition. All of the crafts are done with hands and I think this is really unique. http://funhandprintart.blogspot.com/

Books related to our topic--
"I purchased this book for my five year old and I have spent all afternoon creating. I am all thumbs when it comes to art and drawing. I have never been able to reproduce drawings--but now I can. Mine look just like Ed's. WOW! There is no need to purchase ink pads- I just used my son's washable markers and colored my finger with them. What a great book!"~an amazon customer

"This book has been a huge hit with my 5 year old, who was adopted from China. She absolutely loves the idea of fingerprints and how they are a tangible gift from her birth family. They make her unique. The author does such a wonderful job telling the truth about adoption in a sensitive and loving way but without the fantasy of ladybugs and red threads. Forever fingerprints has opened some honest and lovely conversations about adoption. I am amazed at how open and easy my daughter talks about the book and how it relates to her personal story. This book is a must for all families who have been touched by adoption, schools, and libraries as it serves to easily normalize adoption in our lives today"~Perrin Slowey 


Friday, August 26, 2011

Easy Pasta Necklace For Preschoolers

Trying to find a craft for our little tykes. We have been running around likec crazy trying to get school supplies and clothes for the older kids. Now it's time for the little one. With a little help from Mom he/she can make a pasta necklace.

  • Macaroni (alternative: penne or ziti pasta)
  • Paint (alternative: magic markers or food coloring and rubbing alcohol)
  • String

The pasta for this project can be colored a number of ways. Kids can paint it, color it with magic markers or use food coloring to do the trick. For the last method, add rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring to a Ziploc bag and mix the contents around until all the pasta is coated with color.
Once the pasta has dried, it can be strung onto the string in all sorts of attractive designs, and then, it's ready to be presented to mom.


Books related to our topic--

"This is a fun story set with a western theme. The story has colorful, delightful illustrations and is a hilarious tale of a young girl who must save her family and the entire town of El Pasta from an evil gang. It is clever, cute and funny and readers young and old will love it"~Beth Rowe


"My 5 year old was having trouble deciding which bedtime story to choose when I began reading "It's a Spoon, Not a Shovel" outloud. Within seconds, the delightful words and outrageous answers had caught his attention, and he snuggled in with me to read the rest of the story. He never once lost interest, answered all the questions correctly (not a great feat, given the choices, but he felt successful nonetheless!!), and was thoroughly intrigued by searching for the not-so-easy to find letters. Great book!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Build Your Own Ant Farm

Do you have a child who loves to play in the dirt and get messy? One that enjoys ants,lightning bugs and grasshoppers etc...Well this is a great project for just those kinds of kids.

This is an easy project for kids of any age. Watch as the ants build an underground city. This ant farm has no openings, so you don’t have to worry about the ants escaping into your home. You can open the jar outside to feed the ants, and then close it back up and bring it inside to observe.

Materials needed:
2 Jars – One Big, One Smaller
Loose, Sand-Like Soil

Directions: Place smaller jar inside of the bigger one like photo on the left. Make sure there is no lid on the smaller jar. Now fill the outside area between both jars, with the sandy-soil. Make sure that the entire area is filled, but don’t pack it tightly or the ants will not be able to dig their way through it.

Now you must find the ants for your ant farm jar. Go looking in your back yard or in the local park. If you still can not find any ants then you can build an ant trap. Ants love sugar, so what you should do is put some sugar, mixed with a tiny bit of water, into a jar or can. Put it on its side and keep an eye on it…when you have about 20 ants. Don’t get more than 20 ants…crowding too many ants in the jar will make them less active and less fun to watch. You can close the jar and put them in your ant farm jar

Important : Make sure that these ants are from the same colony or they will land up fighting and killing each other.

Do the feeding of your ants outside to keep them from escaping into your house (or I will get in allot of trouble.

Once a week (no more than this) feed the ants a few drops of sugar water. You can put it directly into the soil. You can also drop in there a few grains of bird or grass seed.


Keep Your Ants Safe

Keep your ant jar away from direct blow of air conditioners, radiators, and heaters…keep them at normal room temperature.
Keep them out of the direct glare of sunlight.

Now just watch and observe your ants build their own littler underground city. They can build them most amazing, intricate mazes. I hope you enjoyed this project.

Make sure to close that jar tight. Don’t worry about the ants getting enough air because you will be opening it to put food in there. Believe it or not, that is plenty of air for your ants.


Books related to project:

"We purchased an ant farm for our 5 year old DD for Christmas. And I bought this book to go along with it. It is such an informative book! And easy enough for a 5 year old to understand. We really enjoyed reading it and learning about our ants!


"A #1 BUGMAN favorite, Two Bad Ants allows children (and everyone else) to experience the world through an ant's point of view. Van Allsburg's phenomenal illustrations take us through a grass jungle, up a brick mountain, and into a strange world where "even the sky is gone"! We are carried through this thrilling adventure with two ants who get a little greedy and find all sorts of trouble. The result is a spellbinding ant's-eye trip through a normal kitchen that teaches the bad ants a memorable lesson. Two Bad Ants is better than a 10 - one of the best ever"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oink,Oink! Prissy Pig Bank

Today is as great as a day as any to teach your young children how to save money. And here is an adorable piggie bank to do just that.

Supplies Needed:

large plastic soda bottle
detergent bottle cap
four soda bottle caps
2 12 inch pink chenille stems
pink spray paint
serrated knife
hot glue
tacky glue
two pink card stock scrapes
two 1/2 inch black buttons
two 3/4 inch red buttons
scrap of fabric 4-5 inches by diameter of bottle
Exacto knife
small sharp scissors


Cut off the open end of the bottle back to where the detergent cap will fit up snugly to the bottle. Make a slice in the top of the bottle where you want the coin slot, half way between the front and back. Make a small hole in the top center of the back for the pipe cleaners you will twist into a tail.

Spray your detergent cap pink. You can also paint your bottle caps now too if you want them pink. Since the bottle caps are the feet, you can make them a different color. Trace your ear patterns onto your two papers, cut them out and glue the smaller one inside the larger one with tacky glue. Set them aside to dry while you wrap your fabric around the bottle.

Center the fabric from front to back then glue one end to the bottom of the bottle with the tacky glue. Top that one with the other end and secure it with tacky glue. Turn your bottle over and with sharp small scissors cut the fabric from the coin slot then put tacky glue under the fabric to hold it in place.

With the hot glue attach your bottle caps to the bottom for feet. Twist the pipe cleaners together then wrap them around a pencil for the tail; put a drop of tacky glue on one end and push it through the hole you made.

Make a pleat in each ear and glue in place with hot glue, see picture for placement, glue on the eyes and the snout and start saving your change.

Credit:By Ann from Loup City, NE

Books related to our project:

"Loved the story...easy for young children to understand the hopes and dreams of little Poppy. Also, nice to know that parents and grandparents love their children no matter what.... The illustrations were just adorable!....I will be giving a copy to each of my 7 grandchildren (all under the age of 7). Thank you Kristi for such an inspiring story..."

"Everyone knows the story of The Three Pigs. They build their houses of straw and wood and brick. The big bad wolf comes and huffs and puffs and... David Wiesner has taken this old tale and given it a clever and very inventive twist. Instead of being eaten, the pigs escape, take their book apart to confuse and keep the wolf away, build a paper airplane and fly off on a fairy tale adventure of their own. Mr Wiesner keeps his humorous text spare and simple and let's his marvelous artwork tell the story. Youngster's imaginations will soar as they examine the colorful, expressive and detailed illustrations. Perfect for children 4-8, The Three Pigs tells an old familiar story in a new, creative and innovative way and is a MUST for all home libraries."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

MY Kids Walk All Over Me

I had to laugh when I saw this craft project. How many times have we said our kids or even our pets walk all over us?  

Here's  a fun t-shirt that you can make using your kids foot prints or even the family dog or cat. It also makes a great gift idea!


Materials Needed:White T-Shirt
Fabric Paints
Paint Brush
Styrofoam Plates or Other Shallow Containers

  • You can put fabric paint on a paper plate or in shalow dishes
  • Give each child a t-shirt
  • Lay the t-shirt out on a flat surface. Place a piece of cardboard inside the shirt so the paint doesn't leak through to the other side. You might want to keep a large container with warm soap water and towels near where you are making this t-shirt.
  • Using a paint brush paint bottom of foot and then step onto tshirt carefully so that footprint does not smear.
  • Allow to dry
  • Once the footprints dry, use fabric paint and write "My Kids Walk All Over Me".
Books related to our project:

"I was hoping that this book would bring more chuckles than it does. Coming from Jeff Foxworthy one would have that expectation. It's not a book of humorous things that kids do, well, not in the laugh out loud sense, but is a collection of cute poems for kids. I still enjoyed the book, but expected more laughs."


"This simply is one of the finest children's picture books of the year, and sure to be named on every one's Top of 2000 list. Quietly humorous and tongue-in-cheek narration, fluid and expressive black-and-white-and-red artwork, and the charming portrayal of the busy and mischievous Olivia make this an instant classic. Sight gags abound (Olivia's ambitious sandcastle, her pink-pink sunburn, her dreams of being a ballerina, and her songbook "40 Very Loud Songs") and Falconer, a New Yorker cover artist and theatre designer, portrays the never-ending energy of a tiny pig, er, girl, with wit and charm. Don't miss this one: suitable for all ages from the very young to the very old, "Olivia" is the prize of the season. It's the kind of book kids will be begging to have read to them before bed: bargaining for not once, not twice, but three times."

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rub a dub dub, Barbie's Is In The Tub!

Some of my best memories are watching my sister's kids and my daughter playing in the tub. We had this really neat Sesame Street toy that was applied to the side of the tub with suction cups. The kids would slide their little GI Joe's or Lego people down the slide.

When my daughter came along I used to make boats and rafts for her Polly Pockets and Barbie dolls. Too bad I didn't anything I made.

There is so many thing you can make with odds and ends that you find laying around the house or things that are going into the trash. Here is a perect example. Here is a simple catamaran that I found on Family Fun. This is a very simple ccrafts that is easy to make and it will give the kids hours of fun.** Adult Supervision and help is required.

Materials needed:
2 Plastic bottles
Rubber bands
Colored plastic tape
Craft knife

  • Remove the labels from the plastic bottles
  • Clamp the bottles together temporarily with the rubber bands, then wrap them with colored tape, as shown.
  • Remove the rubber bands, then, with a craft knife (a parent's job), cut the oval seat openings.
  • Sail away with a crew of fashion dolls, action figures, or waterproof plush toys.
Books related to our subject:

"Wonderful book! Perfect to read to a younger child. Illustrations are beautiful. Purchased for my grandson. His mother is a teacher and she loves the book! I would choose this book over others that are similar"


"Our creative young hero has made a boat from a can, a cork, a pencil, and a piece of cloth. He and his beloved boat are inseparable. He sails it on the lake, holding on to it by a string. The boat sometimes wonders what it would be like to be free. One stormy day, the boat gets loose and encounters a series of menacing large boats, each of which seems to tell it to "Move along!" The toy boat is almost sinking, and missing the boy, drifting alone and frightened through the night. In the morning, however, circled by a small fishing boat, the little boat's sail catches the wind. To their mutual delight, boat and boy are reunited on the shore in this simple story's happy ending. Long uses acrylic paints to create uncluttered naturalistic double-page scenes. The loving relationship of boy and boat is established on the book's cover. Inside, the personified sequence of "real" boats is filled with their aggressive tendencies as they menace the toy. Emotions are stirred by scenes of the tiny boat all alone on the vast, moonlit sea, and of the happy reunion. The endpapers show the items the boy uses to build his boat, perhaps to encourage other builders" Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Absorbing Art Work

Here a way to use regular table salt and paint to make a beautiful piece of art work. Kids of any age can do this type of art work. Just have fun and be creative!
  • Card stock
  • Rimmed baking sheet
  • White glue
  • Salt
  • Colored water (see tip below)
  • Eyedropper
  1. Set the card stock on the baking sheet and have your child use the glue to draw a design on the paper.
  2. Sprinkle the wet glue with salt until it's completely covered, then tap off any excess.
  3. Have your child use the eyedropper to drip colored water, one drop at a time, onto the salt. As the salt absorbs the liquid, the water will move along the glue lines, resulting in a wonderful web of color. Be sure to watch what happens when the color reaches intersecting lines.
We used 5 drops of neon food coloring per tablespoon of water to create our vibrant hues.
Books On Our Subject:
"Salt. Who would have thought something so simple, so seemingly common (to Americans) could control the world? Can it? Does it? Mark Kurlansky and S.D. Schindler reveal the significant and necessary role of salt in man's history in The Story of Salt, a condensed version of Salt: A World History, Kurlansky's best-seller for adults.

Speaking of canning, the duo show the discovery of canning with airtight, heated jars (p. 38). Just as with the discovery of salt as a preservative, then the next step in salt's progress was canning and frozen foods.

But back to the beginning. That is what the book does: It shows textually and pictorially how seeking sources of salt became essential to the growth of civilizations. As wanderers, men could eat the flesh of animals and get a necessary amount of salt. However, once people formed settlements, they had to go out to find salt sources. In nearly all cases, by-products were discovered: natural gas, secondary foods (cheese, sauerkraut, bacon), international trade, soy sauce, mummies, transporting without spoilage, salt fish, exploration, trade organizations, meatpacking, roads, new industries, independence, and oil drilling. This is a significant list. Each item is featured, illustrated, explained in a delightful manner from one block to a two-page spread of artwork and text.

For example, in Hallein, a Celtic settlement whose name means "saltwork," Celts used salt to preserve the thigh of hog to create ham. A block on the next page (23) shows a preserved Celt (known by their colorful clothing), who had been trapped in a collapsed salt mine around 400 B.C.

Other examples are the trade organizations formed by seacoast countries with cod fishing and inland countries with salt mines, e.g. the English and the Portuguese, the Germans and Italians. Prior to the War for Independence, the colonists traded their Virginia hams for Liverpool's salt. The war forced colonists to find their own salt source, which they did to became independent in more ways than one.

A highly informative text loaded with illustrations, this book could well serve teachers and librarians in web research projects: salt in the middle with all the peripheral products and events spoking outward, with each one assigned to a team or group to research further, then create a powerpoint or other software presentation. Think of the multiple intelligences generated, much as salt

generates other things. And certainly not common! " FOR MORE INFO

"It was about a boy named micheal almost gave up his dream of playing basketball.because he thouth he was to short to play. his mother told him if you put salt in your shoes he would get taller than he TO PRAY every day. he did not go back to the park for"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Make Your Own Mr.or Mrs.Potato

Mr. Potato Head has been a favorite toy for years. Everyone loves playing with this toy and now you can make your own version with things you may have laying around your house.

Aren't they adorable??

For more fun craft ideas visit Free Kids Crafts

Various shaped potaotes
Recycled items from the kitchen to make hats (a plastic lid plus the top of a liquid dishsoap bottle, anything else you can come up with....

Hot glue or high stick craft glue

Books related to our topic:

"I had seen this book at my local library, checked it out and shared it with my two granddaughters, 6 & 4 on a visit. We all loved it!!! They live about 3-4 hours away and now when we talk on the phone we enjoy remembering and reciting from memory some of the words/phrases from this book. It is one of those books that just stay with you. After their visit, I had to return the book to the library. I went right on Amazon and ordered my copy. Thanks
Ellen A Hall"    FOR MORE INFO

"I really enjoyed this book. The story sounded a lot like one I had heard as a kid many years ago, but this one was different. It had a sweeter ending. It is 30 pages long with pretty good text and very good illustrations.

The story is about an old husband-wife farming team who is poor and frugal. One day when their food supply was about to run out they found a large magical iron pot buried on their land which duplicates whatever is put into it. They put some necessaries in the pot and some money - out came twice as much as was put in. The most interesting thing was that the pot worked on people just as it did on things.

I probably would have liked the book better if the main characters had not been so poor and simple. I did not see the point in it. But they seemed like such nice people. 5 stars!            FOR MORE INFO

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shrinky Dinks

My sisters and I used to love shrinky Dinks. Sometimes Mom would purchase blank sheets of the palstic and I would draw my own characters onto the sheet,color them  and bake them. I would make keychains,toggles and even zipper pulls.

If you don't have any artisitc ability it's okay. You can buy the kits and just color the designs and punch a hole for the chanin or earring hook. It's very easy and simple to do. and it's lots of fun. Make them for yourself or for gifts.

Materials Needed:

Shrink Plastic
Marker or Colored Pencils
Hole Puncher
Needle Nose Pliers

  • You can purchase shrink plastic in a kit or sometimes loose but it is difficult to find. We colored ours with colored pencils that came with the kit. They even have some that can be used with a printer and therefore you can use clip art.
  • When you get your art the way you want it to look cut it out and punch a hole in it.
  • Now place it on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake acording to instructions keeping a close eye on it so it doesn't over bake.
  • Once your shrinky dinks are baked and cooled, use a needle nose pliers to open the loops on the earring hooks and slip the design on. Next, add a bead.  Close the loops with the pliers and you're done.
Books related to our project:
"I got this for my 12 year old daughter and its been a big hit! The results are quite impressive. She's made earrings, a charm bracelet (of colorful Chinese lanterns) and several necklaces. The kit comes with several sheets of patterns to mix and match. They range from cute to sophisticated designs. If you are looking for a gift for preteens and up, this is a perfect choice."


"Jewelry doesn't have to be made out of expensive gold, silver, or other precious metals. "Kids! Picture Yourself Making Jewelry" is a fun activity book for elementary grade school children to help them craft simple jewelry that they and their friends will love. Filled with easy to follow instructions, it's the perfect book to entertain child and parent on a rainy afternoon, making "Kids! Picture Yourself Making Jewelry" an ideal acquisition for any with 7-12 year old children"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Printing With Veggies

Vegetable Printing: You may be amazed to know that how various vegetables cut through root and dipped in tempera paints can be used to give some interesting patterns and pictures. Kids of all ages can enjoy this project. Parental supervision. 

Here is what you will need:
  • Onion
  • Potato
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Corn on the cob holders
  • Paper
  • Tempra paints
  • Paper towels
  • Crayons
  • Sharp Knife

Directions: **Parents Must Cut

ONION--Cut the onion horizontally and vertically. Use it as a stamp to stamp the paper with different colours and create amazing patterns.

POTATO--Take a medium sized potato and cut into four pieces. Carve a design into the potato...ie:heart,flower etc...

Orange--Cut in half.

Apple--Cut in half and remove seeds.

To make it easier to hold use corn on the cob holders and stick them into the onion and potato.

Books related to our topic:
For Purchasing Information

For Purchasing Information