Sewing: Drawstring Bag


I came across a Simple Drawstring Bag tutorial from Happy Things and luckily she spoke in simple sewing terms.  I more than lack skills in sewing so if I can sew it you certainly can too. 
I made this bag a few months ago for some homemade lacing shapes. A little drawstring bag could hold so many kid things like fun-shaped homemade crayons and story dice and would make a perfect little gift for a birthday or Christmas.
(find another simple Drawstring Bag tutorial on Make and Takes

Easy Turkey Finger Puppet

turkey finger puppets

Skip To My Lou has a Turkey Finger Puppet tutorial that's so easy and fun!  We made one with felt and one with foam.  Instead of machine sewing the felt turkey body I had my daughter hand stitch it.  I hot glued the foam turkey for my son. Now we'll have to come up with a mini script for a Turkey Theater on Thanksgiving Day before eating pie!

My Son Likes Mazes

My 4 year old likes mazes a lot.  I'm making him a folder full of fun, mostly mazes, like the Mad Libs Travel Folder I made this summer.  I started searching for printable mazes and found mazes on Woo! Jr. but they're on the difficult side for a preschooler.  In a September post Wendy said she takes requests so I asked her if it was possible to create some little kid mazes.  She responded quickly and posted 9 awesome easy kids mazes in no time!  They are are just what I wanted and I know my son will enjoy them!  Thanks Wendy!  
*maze image from Microsoft Clip Art

A few more sites that have printable mazes:
DLTK Mazes
Busy Bee Kids Printable Mazes
Mr Printables Printable Mazes (via Pinterest)

Kaboose Animal Mazes
All Kids Network Printable Mazes for Kids
Lakeshore Learning Alphabet Mazes (under Language Arts category)

Cheap Halloween Craft: Lighted Skulls

I really like this Lighted Skulls project from Obsessively Stitching because it's creative and cheap-- you reuse a little milk bottle!  Dollar Store Crafts has the full tutorial.

Boy and Girl Paper Dolls with Halloween Costumes

Gwen from Gwenny Penny has created printable Halloween Paper Dolls that she's sharing for free!  I saw her guest post on The Idea Room and immediately contacted her.  Her printable is for personal, non-commercial use only!

Find more free paper dolls with Halloween costumes on babalisme (boy and girl), wee life, and BillyBear4Kids.

Paper Dolls Around the World on Education.com

There are 27 free printable Paper Dolls from Around the World on Education.com!  A flag and little facts about each country are included on the worksheets.  Each doll has only one traditional dress outfit but the children are all sized the same so you could put all the dolls together to make a set!  You could write the specific country on the back of each doll and outfit for a reminder.  If you plan ahead and check out library books about the countries it would be a very educational activity!

Fishing for Floating Foam Fish

foam fish
This is an easy to make fishing set that can be played with outside in water or indoors on the floor!  The fish are fun plain but even better with numbers, letters, or holes for a fantastic learning activity.  Make two poles to play a fun game to see who can get the most!


My kids have had a good time fishing for floating foam fish in the kiddie pool. 


Supplies:
fun foam (Dollar Tree find)
brads (mine are small craft brads)
dowels ($1 at Walmart)
ribbon
strong magnets 
hot glue gun and/or waterproof glue

Use waterproof glue for ribbon and magnet if you'll be playing in the water.  I made a slit in the foam before attaching the brad eye.

Make a Boat and Watch it Float!

craft stick boats
In July we made craft stick boats after I saw a cool bamboo boat on Childhood Magic (blog is no longer public).  I used hot glue and they fell apart shortly after getting wet.  I think I should tie the sticks together with twine.  This is a fun craft for anytime of year since you can float them in the tub or sink just for fun!


Easy boats that float:

Made by Joel Walnut Boats

Wabi-Sabi Wanderings Driftwood Sailboats

Ziggity Zoom Milk Carton Boats

Made by Joel (a cool and creative dad)

Did you miss the first fantastic find I posted about from Made by Joel-- Printable Paper City??  This guy's creativity and simplistic approach to playing amazes me!  His kids are lucky to have such a cool and fun dad!  I basically browsed every post on Made by Joel and found many great things to add to my kid list.  It's so nice of him to take the time to share these creative ideas with us!!  You need to check out the site for yourself but here's some posts I really like:

Match Game (you could make it a toddler memory game)

Zip Line Toy (soooo creative)

Toddler Stilts (definitely a safer option over Classic Can Stilts)

Cereal Box Marble Run (my kind of fun-- reuse and then recycle)

Wall Hanging Box Aquarium (seriously, we're making one or two so the kids will stop asking for a real pet)

Tin Can Telephones (hooray for old fashioned communication)

Ed Emberly's Fingerprint Drawing Book

Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book

I checked out Ed Emberly's Fingerprint Drawing Book from the library and my 7 year old daughter has had so much fun with it!  I equipped her with a smock, stamp pads, wet rag, scratch paper, and construction paper.  She wasn't satisfied with her beginning practice but I told her to keep trying and look closely at the drawings and after a while she proudly showed me her page full of fingerprints!  She also made two birthday cards and was inspired to create a fingerprint drawing of her own (big dipper)!



The pictured directions for each fingerprint drawing are easy to follow.  The fun includes holidays, seasons, garden, and feelings.  Ed Emberly's Fingerprint Drawing Book would make a fun kid gift!

*Post contains Amazon affiliate links

Printable Paper City

When I saw this free printable Paper City from Made by Joel (found via Together We Save and Money Saving Mom) I knew my son would enjoy it!  I'm saving the fun for a rainy day!  The Paper City Vehicles and Helicopter make this pretend city awesome for boys!!

*Check out all of Joel's Paper City Printouts.

Play Tic-Tac-Toe Outside



{education.com} rock tic-tac-toe

Are you creating summer memories with Education.com's Summer Challenge?  A great and simple activity for many ages is Rock Out with Tic-Tac-Toe.  My kids had just as much fun painting the rocks as they did playing the game outside over and over!  Keep the rocks with a piece of chalk in a reuse container and take the game anywhere!

Love and Lollipops is More Than Sweet

At first it was the 'sweet' little blog name (and a nice comment) that intrigued me to visit Love and Lollipops.  After I took a little time to look around I knew it was more than sweet!  The blog author, Georgia, lives in South Africa...her header says,"growing children's hearts and minds to be of the lovely kind"...she's a "Mom, Psychologist, and Photographer"...she has happy, fun, and creative posts...she's new to blogging (but doing fantastic)!   I've had a few e-mail interactions with Georgia and she's a friendly (and genuine) blogger!!  I like what she said in a recent e-mail reply, "I'm all about "bright and happy" if I can achieve it.  That's what I love about the blog space...it feels like it's my own little magazine!"  She's a natural at 'happy' in my opinion.  I enjoy Georgia's blog a lot and hope you will too!

It's winter in Cape Town so Georgia and her boys are creating inside...



Georgia is busy creating too...



Some more Love and Lollipop posts that I like...
•Love Connections-- "Do you ever stop and suddenly realize that you haven't connected with your child for a few days?"
•Memetales-- kids' digital books
•No-Sew Caterpillar and Butterfly-- craft that goes along with a Memetales book
•Fun with Felt-- I love that Georgia was inspired by a little puzzle that makes her happy.


*All photos from Love and Lollipops (used with written permission).

Make Fun-Shaped Crayons

fun-shaped crayons

Right now 24 packs of Crayola Crayons are cheap at back to school sales.  Stock up if you want to make homemade crayons in lots of different shapes all times of the year!  Last February I followed Family Fun's Crayon Hearts instructions to make crayons for my daughter's Valentine/birthday goodie bags. *A couple tips: I slit the wrappers off carefully with a craft knife (some were still difficult to get off)Do not use other (cheaper) crayon brands if you want them to melt good and color great!

There are a few different ways to make recycled crayons.  I have yet to try the tin can method (Momtastic, Chica and Jo & Squidoo) but I plan to soon.  The microwave method with a silicone tray went poorly for me (julie-k).  I think the oven method is the best (Make and Takes & Family Fun) and it was easier to get the crayons out from the mini muffin tin than silicone ice tray. 

The silicone heart ice cube tray pictured was found in January at Target in the front cheap section ($2.50/2 pack).  IKEA sells fun-shaped ice trays ('Only intended to be filled with water') and I found a flower-shaped one at Dollar Tree recently (haven't used it for crayon melting yet)Michaels also has seasonal shaped baking pans.  Use caution when heating any of these trays in the oven or microwave.

Grow Borax Crystals


We're having fun with Education.com's Summer Activities Challenge!  On Monday we completed the activity Grow Sparkling Borax Crystals.  It's a mini science lesson that isn't difficult.  My kids shaped the pipe cleaners and poured the Borax into their jars.  When winter's here again we'll be doing some pretty snowflakes to hang in the windows! *Borax can be found in the laundry section of most stores including Walmart.

10 Black-and-White Printable Paper Dolls

These links to FREE black-and-white printable paper dolls will be enjoyed by moms who don't like to 'waste' color ink and kids that like to make use of their crayons! See 10 Cute Printable Paper Dolls for links to color paper dolls.  Non-commercial use only.

Cabbage Patch Kids has 3 print-and-play paper dolls: shopping, beach, back to school! (found via Doll Diaries)

This Mama Makes Stuff on Skip to My Lou's Craft Camp has printable scrap paper dolls that you clothe with fabric!

PBS Kids Sprout Online has a Chica paper doll with 5 fun costumes!

Shirley Temple Dolls has 2 Shirley dolls/clothes that you can choose to print in b&w or color.

Nick Jr. has Pinky Dinky Doo Paper Dolls: Pinky, Tyler, and Mr. Guinea Pig!

About.com: Latter-day Saints has dolls/clothes clipart that you can choose to print in b&w or color.

PBS Kids has Caillou and Rosie paper dolls each with 6 outfits! (found via Bukisa.com)

Jan Brett has Hedga/Hedgie with costumes plus lots of free activities, games, and coloring pages! (Thanks Marlene!)


BillyBear4Kids.com has Paper Dolls with lots of outfit choices and Halloween Paper Dolls too!










Kiddley has DIY paper doll templates printed in red and white.  Close enough!

This top ten black-and-white paper doll list is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday} on Oh AmandaThe dolls listed are in no particular order!

July 4th Celebration Stick

My kids checked out Corduroy's 4th of July (board book) from the library.  At the end of the book Corduroy and his friends are in a parade and the doll is holding a fun stick.  My son thought this was a great idea and wanted one of his own!  So I came up with a simple July 4th Celebration Stick-- my kids call it a Parade Wand.





July 4th Celebration Sticks

dowels (ours are 7")
regular ribbon(6"pieces)/curling ribbon(7" pieces)
wide ribbon; 3" pieces
silver chenille stem (optional); 2" or 3" pieces
low-temp glue gun
••Hot glue ribbons (I used 4 regular/6 curling) and chenille stem piece at top of stick and then glue the wide ribbon piece around all of it to hold together!  Form a small noisy parade (like my kids immediately did) and wave like crazy!

linked to Red White and Blue All Over! on Somewhat Simple  
linked to Fourth of July Party on It's a Blog Party!

Make Classic Can Stilts

Classic tin can stilts have been around for a long time.  Make some with the kids on a summer afternoon! They're fun to decorate and even more fun to stomp around with outside!

can stilt fun

A few tips:

I wouldn't recommend using a small can like I did for my son's.  A 29.5 oz. can is perfect for smaller kids but a #10 can is even better, especially for bigger kids (like mom ) and for safety reasons.
I opened the cans with a no sharp edges can opener.
• I had my husband drill holes and then I glued foam circles around them.(answering the comment)
• We decorated with paper, Mod Podge, and paint.  The paper had a slippery/messy time and patterned paper was easier to work with than card stock.
• For the handles I used vinyl rope from Dollar Tree and hot glued ends after knotting.

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 * Family Fun's Can-do Stilts are decorated patriotic! (pictured above)

* Education.com's safety advice on their Coffee Can Stilts activity: "...have your child don protective gear and practice walking before hitting the open road.
* You can buy some fun Monster Clompers from ALEX Toys.

Homemade Bubbles and Wands

Steve Spangler Science shows on video the secret to making the perfect bubble solution.  Get the Bouncing Bubble Solution recipe and start having fun!

  Design Dazzle gives the how-to for giant bubbles and a wand!


Lakeshore Learning has two wand ideas and a bubble solution recipe too.