Monthly Archives: September 2012

Recycle, reduce, reuse

Tip: Every day items you can recycle for art projects

1. Starbucks coffee cups

Great for holding paint, stirring food coloring, holding glue, sorting art supplies

2. Danimals crunchers yogurt containers

The tubs could be used for sorting art supplies, holding paint

The lids could be used for holding paint, glitter, beads, rice, beans

The tubs and lids could be used for storage of art supplies

3. Egg cartons

So many uses! Sorting colors of beads, pom poms, rice, noodles, paint, food coloring…

4. Toilet paper rolls

Endless uses! Kaleidoscopes, toy cars, parts of crafts, large necklaces (when used with yarn), rain noise makers, homemade robots, stacking rolls…

5. Lids/Tops of containers

-Glue foam stamps on top to make stampers for ink pads

-Dip edges in paint to make painted circles

-Poke holes in middle of lids, and string with yarn

-Sort lids by color and size

-Milk cap number matching (from We Can Do All Things

-Yarn Sewing (Putti’s World


Tip: Creating paper mache with toddlers

I wanted to create paper mache with my toddlers, but I wasn’t sure if it was too advanced for them. I found this craft idea through Pinterest and The Chocolate Muffin Tree website.

The Chocolate Muffin Tree Egg Shaped Lanterns-

I like this craft because it is simple. You just wrap yarn around the balloon. Spread glue on the balloon with a brush, and then just place the tissue paper on to the balloon. I learned that you have to make sure your yarn is long enough to wrap around the balloon. Some of the pieces I cut were a little short. We still used them, but it was harder to keep on the balloon. Also, larger tissue paper works better than smaller pieces (covers more of the balloon).

Activity: Mixed colors

You could overlap the colors of tissue paper to “mix” them and discuss what new color was made with the first two colors.

Activity: Shapes

You could use different types of balloons to create different shapes. You can discuss the different shapes you have made. I wonder if you could usedifferent plastic containers (just have to figure out how to extract the yarn off of the plastic…).

Activity: Create a story

You could make the lantern and then create a story such as…

-a kid who uses them in their village

-a kid makes one for a celebration/holiday

-a kid who makes one in memory of someone they love who is gone

Activity: Just for fun

Just create one for fun viewing! 🙂

Tip: Practicing writing using different methods

We practiced writing the letter “b” and straight lines one afternoon. My daughter writes her letter b’s by putting the stick on top of the circle, instead of to the left of the circle. I thought this would be a fun way to see the proper way to create the letter b. My son is only 2, but I wanted him to learn some basic writing skills, so my goal for him was to practice drawing straight lines (easier said than done).

Activity 1: Practice writing letters with pencil and paper

I created letters for my children to trace. I drew the letter b several times on a sheet of paper. I used dotted lines for my daughter to trace, as well as just write the letter using solid lines. Then I had her trace the lines. For my son, I did the same thing, except with straight lines. My daughter did well, but my son had trouble drawing the lines.

Activity 2: Using salt, glue, and food coloring

I found a fun way play with salt and glue through pinterest and the website One Perfect Day.

The website had kids making pictures, but I thought this would be a great way to practice letter writing.

I wrote the letters and straight lines on the construction paper and then had my kids cover them in glue. Then I had them choose a color from the food coloring box and put the color in some water. Then they used droppers to wet the salt. Thus making the letters and lines! Then I let them have fun and create whatever they wanted on another piece of paper.

Activity 3: Use shaving cream

It was quite messy, but we had a blast! I had my daughter write the “letter b” in shaving cream and my son try to write lines in the cream. I had them use the shaving cream on cookie sheets, but you could also use it right on a table top. They loved it and we will definitely do it again!

Tip: How to make The Lorax movie educational

     We watched The Lorax movie last night. I thought about how much fun the kids had watching it (and me too for that matter). I tried to think of a way to make the movie more meaningful for them. So I came up with a few activities to do with them.

Activity 1: Discuss what is the color orange.

I drew several  objects that were the color orange…the Lorax, an orange, a carrot, and an orange crayon. I had the kids color them orange.

 My daughter got a little excited and added some extra color to hers, but overall I feel like that activity went well.

Activity 2: Create Truffla Trees

We created Truffula trees using straws, tissue paper, and construction paper. I had my kids add squares of colored tissue paper to the glue dots that I placed on their papers. They chose the colored tissue paper. I helped them tape the straws to the paper, and glue the grass on the bottom.

Activity 3: Orange snacks

We had orange snacks consisting of carrots and mandarin oranges. 

Activity 4: Counting marshmallows

I created a template of the numbers 1-10. I had my daughter place the number of marshmallows to match the number in each box. Then we counted each box. This activity was too hard for my son (who is 2), so I had him match colored pom poms.

Activity 5: Read the book

We have a copy of The Lorax and we read the book. As a former teacher, I feel reading (and listening to reading) is essential to developing proper reading techniques and how to respond to reading. Kids need to hear good readers practice reading, and this is a great way to practice! You can also compare the movie to the book (for older kids more than toddlers).

Activity 6: Discuss ways to recycle

I did not have time for this activity, but you could discuss ways to recycle with your children. Discuss the problem in the movie/book and how the trees were wasted. My kids like to help me sort the recycling, so you could incorporate it in that way. Discuss lessons the characters learned from their mistakes and how we can learn from out mistakes.

Tip: Creating Gelatin Sun Catchers and Activities to Do with Them

I found this kid’s activity on Dilly-Dali Art:

I thought this would be a fun activity to have the kids create. It would give them an opportunity to be creative with the colors and decorations.

I would recommend using plastic plates for this activity. We tried 2 gelatin sun catchers on paper plates and had difficulty getting the dried gelatin off of the plates. Most of the plate came off with the gelatin. They made great sun catchers.

Educational addition:

This activity also would be a great lesson on mixing colors (by using the food coloring). You could also discuss how sun filters through the sun catchers.


Tip: How to teach your kids this concept using magazines and crayons.

 A lizard…Mom! It’s a lizard!!!

      Today’s moment notice came about when we noticed a lizard on the sidewalk outside of our front door. This little brown lizard provided much intrigue for my children who “ooed” and “aahhed” as well as gasped and squealed as he moved around. I looked at the lizard and using my observation skills began to ask my children questions. “What color is he?” “Why do you think he is that color?” “What color is the dirt near him? See how he matches the dirt?” “Wow, look at his toes! They look different than our toes. Let’s see what they do.” When the lizard crawled towards our nearest flower plant, we scooted closer to inspect his next move. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t scamper away quickly from us. Instead he stayed nearby and kept an eye on us. I continued to talk about the lizard to my children as we watched him. I had them tell me what they saw when they looked at him. My 4 year old definitely had more to say about the lizard, but I know my son was absorbing everything around him. I pointed out to them that he blended in to the dirt because he was the same color that that was called camouflage.

     We went inside and I decided to try an art experiment using camouflage before the new concept left their brains. I found a magazine ad that had a picture of Elmo, Ernie, and Cookie Monster. I had my children choose one of the 3 monsters and we glued their choices to a sheet of white paper. I told them that they had to try and camouflage their monster. We discussed the colors of each monster and I let them try to “camouflage” the monster. As they were doing so, I was thinking that tissue paper and other art supplies glued on to the paper would provide more of “camouflage” than crayon. Mental note: When discussing camouflage again, try that!  I told my 2 year old to “hide” Cookie Monster and he covered him with crayons. He understood the hiding part. J   My 4 year old told me she could just flip her paper over and hide Ernie. They definitely understand the hiding part! Now to work on the blending in…

Alternative Idea: Create a camouflage hide-and-seek game.

I came up with another idea for camouflage. I thought of choosing 5 of their small toys. I took a picture of the toys. I would hide the toys and then have my kids try to find them. I would reinforce the idea of camouflage by saying that the toys blended in by matching the colors around them.