Monday, March 29, 2010

I Love Contact Paper

This past weekend my playgroup and I had a booth at a local Children's Day where we had to provide a craft for all the kids in attendance.  We needed something that was easy for all age groups, not messy, and inexpensive.  So, we decided to make stained glass windows using tissue paper and contact paper.  This project is super simple for even the youngest kids.  The children seemed to all enjoy it so I'll share it with you.

Start out by ripping a whole bunch of little pieces of tissue paper.  They can be any size or shape, doesn't matter.  You can mix up the colors however you please.  I suggest that instead of buying it, you should pull out that stash of tissue paper you've collected at birthdays and Christmas.

Now, get out your contact paper.  For those who don't know about contact paper, its great!  Basically, its clear shelving paper that is sticky on one side and can be used for crafts, laminating, or lining shelves.  There are so many projects you can do with it (don't worry, I will be posting more).  You can find it with the shelving paper at your local grocery store.   So, back to the project:  cut a square about 5x5 out of the contact paper.

Peel the paper off the contact paper, and place it on the table sticky side up.  Have your child stick the pieces of tissue paper all over the contact paper.  The can overlap, there can be spaces uncovered, the whole sheet can be covered, it doesn't matter.

When they are finished, take another piece of 5x5 contact paper and peel the paper off.  Stick it on top of the first sheet of paper so that the tissue paper part is sandwiched in the middle. 

Now, grab some scissors and cut a shape into the contact paper sandwich.  I like eggs and hearts because they are simple.  If you want to do something more difficult and can't free-hand it, you can print a template online and use it as a guide.  We decided to do an Easter bunny since Easter is this weekend and my son has Easter bunnies on the brain.  You can do different shapes for each of the holidays.

To finish it off, cut a hole in your design and put a piece of ribbon through it to hang it from the window.
As I said, this project is so easy, but the kids will love it.  My photos don't do them justice, but they really do turn out cute.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peek-a-Boo Puppets

I need to start off by thanking my buddy Becca for hosting this puppet party for our playgroup. These peek-a-boo puppets turned out sooo cute!  They pop in and out and can dance all around.

Start off with a wooden dowel. Take a styrofoam ball and stick it on the end of the dowel to form a head (I guess it would really be the skull since it will be covered, but anyway...) Then, take a plastic cup, cut out the bottom, and slide it up onto the stick.

Next, take a sock (I used an old one because its cheaper than buying one) and slide it over the ball, down the dowel, and up over the cup.  The sock needs to be hot-glued to the cup.  Before you glue it, make sure the cup is all the way at the end of the dowel; this is so you have room to move the puppet up and down when its finished.  If the sock is longer than the cup, just cut the sock.

Now you want to take fabric, felt, or whatever and cover the cup.

Ok, so on to the fun part.  You can use felt cut-outs, wiggly eyes, pom-poms, pipe cleaners,or whatever else you want to make a face and decorate your puppet.  This is a part thats fun for the kids.  Now of coarse, they can't use the hot glue gun, but you can give them Elmer's and let them go crazy.  The Elmer's doesn't stick so well, but when they aren't looking you can use your hot glue gun and re-secure their pieces.  For mine, I made curly hair by wrapping yarn around a dowel, wetting it, and microwaving until dry.  Make sure to microwave at small increments (20 seconds or so) or you will burn the dowel and yarn.  Trust me, I know!!

Time to have fun with your puppets (or take a nap with them)! 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Butterflys and Blooms

This week felt like spring had finally arrived.  So to celebrate, we made some pretty pretty butterflies and flowers.  This project is literally the easiest and cheapest project possible, and it turns out soo cute.

Give your little one a coffee filter and some markers and tell them to go crazy.  It doesn't matter how much or how little they color the filter. 

For the butterfly:  Gather the filter up in the middle so that there are two equal sides to the coffee filter and wrap a pipe cleaner around it to form the wings (you actually only need about 1/4 of the pipe cleaner).  Bend the ends of the pipe cleaner to resemble antennea.

For the flower:  I actually used two coffee filters, placing one on top of the other.  On the backside of the filters, gather up the entire middle section.  Wrap a pipe cleaner around it. 
Now for both the butterfly and the flower, you take a spray bottle of water and lightly spray the coffee filters.  The water will cause the colors to make a really cool tie dye type design.  Each project will be soo different and super cute.

My Baby turned 3

So, I didn't get to post last week because I was working on stuff for my son's birthday party.  My baby boy turned 3 this weekend.  He's not a baby anymore.... and he reminds me every day. 

I didn't want to have his party at our house since our family is huge and my house isn't.  I wanted to try something different this year, something that would be super fun for Russ and all his little friends.  So, I picked up the phone and started calling all the fire departments in the area, and I found one that you could rent for parties.  The party was actually in the bay with the fire trucks.  There was plenty of room to set up tables and chairs, let the kids play with their toy trucks in the floor, and still have all the fire trucks in there with them.  The fire fighters were awesome!  They gave the kids a tour and told them all about the different parts of the truck.  Then, they pulled a truck outside, hooked it up to a hydrant, and shot water across the sky.  I think this was the highlight of the day. 

Instead of gift bags, we got plastic fireman hats, and I assembled foam fireman badges and wrote each kids name on one.
We kept decorations to a minimum (one of the advantages of a fire department party).  My friend and I did make a super-cute banner out of scrapbooking paper and simple shapes. 
As far as "entertainment", besides the fire engines, we filled the floor with toy trucks, had fire engine tattoos, and made a coloring sheet with a fire truck with the birthday boy's name on it.
If you have a little boy, I highly recommend a fire department party.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I have a surrogate....

for my chicken eggs!  My good friend Mamma Tortilla is currently incubating 8 of my chicken's eggs as a fun project for her little ones.  She is going to keep me, and everyone in the blog world, posted on their progress, so be sure to click on her name to pop over to her blog and check it out.  I'm hoping she can get some good candling pics along the way.  The chicks will stay with her for the beginning of their lives, and then they will come back to us. 

Meet the Daddy

Here is Kevin.  He is the daddy of all the eggs.

And here are the potential Mommies

Froee, Al, Kiki, and Lizzy

So, be sure to check back in about 20 days to see pics of our little chicks!!  It will be exciting to see what the babies look like. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Hair-Raising Project

I think this project turned out just hilarious!  We made our own Chia-Pets using old pantyhouse and grass seed. 
Basically, you take a pair of your old, ripped pantyhose and form a little pocket.  Put a little grass seed in the bottom, then some dirt, some more grass seed, then fill with dirt.  Tie the end to form a head and cut it from the rest of the pantyhose. 
On one of the heads, we added googly eyes, a felt mouth, and twisted a section of dirt into a nose.  For the other, we used parts from our Mr. Potato Head.  My husband and son made the one with the Mr. Potato Head parts, and if you know my husband, you'll notice it looks a lot like him!!  I cut a hole in the bottom of a styrofoam cup and placed the head on the cup, with the knot in hole.
Finally, we took the heads and put them in the kitchen window.  The heads have to be watered every day.  I think ours are watered about two or three times a day because Russ dumps water in them every time he washes his hands.
This project was definately one of our family favorites.  I gave mine a haircut last night.  I tried to talk my husband into trimming his, but he refuses :)
Here they are enjoying some of the warm weather on the back porch!!

The one on the right as had a few haircuts.  The other, not so much.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fun with "Recycled" Bottles

Yay for National Craft Month!!  Russ and I decided that for our first National Craft Month project we were going to have fun with old plastic bottles.  This is mostly because we didn't have the supplies for the other ideas I had, so I went digging thru the recycling bin.
So, with the round shampoo bottle I found, we decided to make a piggy bank for Russ' farm themed room.  I took the lid off and painted it into the nose.  For the tail, I took a pipe cleaner, painted it pink, cut a hole, and glued it in.  I used heavy paper painted pink for the ears.  The feet are caps from soda bottles painted pink and glued on.  The eyes were painted on.  And last, but not least, a hole was cut in top for the money to go in.  As soon as we were finished, Russ had to run in his room and put money in it.  He was so impressed with his little piggy!
While I was doing the cutting and gluing (the parts that Russ couldn't help with), I gave him another shampoo bottle and he painted it.  His abstract paint job didn't much resemble an animal, so we decided to make it into a maraca.  I filled it with rice and glued the lid on.  Then, I found a dowel that fit down the hole in the lid (and ripped the cover off).  I glued the dowel into place.  It was a simple project, but you should see the look on Russ' face when he is playing with the things he makes himself.