Category Archives: Kids’ Craft Projects

Cooking and Creating

Today is Monday.

Monday in my house typically means I am baking. A lot. We've usually run out of bread/muffins/breakfast munchies. But, today, I felt inspired and tried a bunch of new things. The boys helped, of course. (I am really loving four-and-three-quarters. Ronan is a great help).

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(This is a mushroom)

We made play-dough. From scratch.

Yes, I am impressed with myself. I know that everyone else has been doing it for ages, but the cooking part kept putting me off. But, it was a rainy afternoon and I was looking for things to keep us occupied (as if cleaning the kitchen from the above-mentioned baking wasn't enough). I came across this post and that was the recipe we followed. It was so fast and easy…Ronan mixed everything together and I "cooked" it on the stove for a couple of minutes.

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We let it cool and then added colors. Initially, I was afraid to add the food coloring because I thought it might come off on their hands…and their clothes…the wall, etc. But, once it was thoroughly worked in, nothing comes off onto their hands…maybe a little bit of the veggie oil used in the recipe. That's all.

I also tried a new recipe :: cheesy crackers

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They were (yes, they've all been eaten) delicious. I was lucky I even got a picture of them before they were gone. (I had to save these for Joey since the kids couldn't get enough of them). The recipe is from The Sneaky Chef, though I adapted it a bit (I added back the fat and took out the wheat germ). They are nutritious and my kids loved them. Next time, I am quadrupling the recipe and freezing the extras.

Cheesy Crackers
adapted from The Sneaky Chef

2/3 cup chickpea puree
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 heaping TBSP Asiago/Parmesean (I used Percorino)
4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/3 cup white flour whole wheat pastry
1/3 cup whole wheat flour

**REVISED 10/19 ** Eliminate the white flour and use whole wheat pastry instead. Cook for longer – 20 minutes and on a lower temperature.

Small cookie cutter…we used a diamond shape.

1. Preheat oven to 375. 325 degrees
2. Combine everything but the flour
3. Add flour and mix well.
4. Wrap in foil/parchment paper/plastic bag and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5. Roll out to 1/16 inch thick and let the kids help use the cookie cutters.
6. Place on oiled cookie sheet and bake for 12-14  20-25 minutes.
7. Transfer to rack to cool, assuming your children do not gobble them up before they are done cooling.

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I have been reading Real Food by Nina Planck and I am getting pretty on board with the use of more traditional fats in our diets. (In moderation, of course). This is a good cross between The Omnivore's Dilemma and Nourishing Traditions. It's a pretty interesting read.

And, so, since I added back regular cheese (since the author recommends low-fat), these were a little oily. But, very, very good. I think am going to try to bake them for a bit longer on a lower temperature – maybe 325 for 20 minutes. I'll let you know how they turn out.

And, why did I take out the low-fat cheese? Well, I stopped buying low-fat cheese many, many years ago because it was unfufilling and seemed odd. Also, in Planck's book, she mentions that low-fat products (cheese, milk, yogurt) all have powdered milk in them.  Apparently, powdered milk creates oxidized or damaged cholesterol. Very interesting book indeed!

Handmade Easter gifts

We all came together this weekend for good food with family and friends. There was lots of thanksigiving and joy for the season. Easter baskets were filled – in the nick of time – and spinach pies were made and delivered to the table. And, there were lots of handmades for the kids.

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First, we dyed eggs with all natural materials. From left: roasted beets, red cabbage, curry powder, turmeric and a spinach/cilantro mix. We steeped the veggies and herbs for an hour with boiling water…and the eggs were soaked for four more hours in the fridge. Not too much instant gratification here, but very nice results.

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The green deepened the next day and the red cabbage was a big dud. And, I needed to mash the beets a bit more. But, of course, I had some handmades that I needed to finish.

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Pom-pom chicks…you can't have a mama hen without some babies! (From the book, Creative Play for your Baby). They were pretty easy…I ended up felting them to keep the yarn from pulling out of the pom-poms.

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And, what has become my Easter handmade tradition : mama-made people. Last year, it was a fireman. Initially, I couldn't find one that I liked, so I made him. This year, our minds have been on farming and urban homesteading. There was very little thinking about this year's doll: a little farmer girl seemed like the perfect addition. She's already working on her animal husbandry.

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(Joe made the wooden gates too…we all got in the handmade act. More on that project later).

Crafting

In the week before major events (holidays, birthdays, etc.) it seems as if I need four extra hands and another twenty-four hours in every day. I must have been wearing my "super-crafting-ability" goggles at the time I made out this list of to-be-made items for my boys. Of course, I could drop a few things, but my heart is set and I do like to have some sort of crafting traditions. Plus, our table has been cleared every morning – in anticipation – of all the crafty projects surrounding our upcoming holiday.

During the day, we're trying some crafts (directions found here). And, tomorrow, we're attempting egg-dyeing with all natural materials (found here). Wish us luck!

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And, at night? A tired mama puts on some tea and works some crafting magic.

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Have a happy and safe Easter!

printing with yarn

Mondays seem to be “art” days around here. I like staying at home on these days after an active weekend. Often, I have a bit of downtime on Sunday which allows me to plan out our Monday morning. After our morning walk, R worked on a nature collage while I took advantage of the lengthy nap my wee one was partaking in.

We have two birthdays comings up and homemade cards were on the docket – which coincided nicely with a growing library book stack that needed to be addressed. I was on the lookout for a craft project that would double as a birthday card. So, I pulled some books from the bottom of the pile for a quick scan and found this one. Many of the projects in this book are too advanced for my three-year-old (or so I thought), but I was drawn to one that I wanted to try – printing with string  – a natural fit, don’t you think?

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I drew out a picture with pencil and glued down some old wool yarn (too scratchy) that I had in my stash. Once the glue dried (a couple of hours), I painted the yarn and made a “print” from the raised yarn. While I was working on this project, my curious three-year-old requested some yarn to cut – and a hand-drawn candle of his own to cover in string.

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Of course, he needed a print of his own yarn creation.

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This was the first of many (mine and his), but the wheels are already spinning for new ideas. I think t-shirts might be an interesting mommy and daddy project. Or, cloth bags for the grocery store. We’ll stick with paper cards for now.

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Happy weekend!

 

letter recognition

Between the scorching heat and the thunderstorms, we've been spending a lot more time indoors lately. I hadn't realized how much time we were spending outside until I found myself scrambling for indoor activities. Thankfully, my brain has decided to start functioning again and I find myself with a wee bit of time in the evenings that wasn't there a few weeks ago. I've been knitting – yay! – and brainstorming new activities for Ronan.  I felt that some painting was in order. So, we broke out the easy watercolors -  because I don't have that much time – and got down to business.

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I made a rubbing from the sandpaper letters that I had made previously and then traced them and eventually made a nice set for copying. I love that he is doing something fun – and I get to join him. We also talked about how to hold a paintbrush, all while calling the letters by their sounds. We are finishing up with this group of sandpaper letters and this is just repetition – another way to present the letters and "set" them in the brain. In Montessori's method, she recommended starting out with lowercase letters since most of the words in books are lowercase. (Traditionally, they start with cursive letters as well, but most of the American Montessori schools begin with print – again, the theory being that books are printed in manuscript).

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A fun activity with a little bit of 'traditional' learning snuck in…not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

Rainy Day Reflections

Today I am listening to ::

:: Calum cooing and giggling on the floor next to me,

:: the thunderstorm rumbling (quite loudly) all around me,

:: the cats meowing with discontentment (about the storm),

:: Ronan and I singing – as per his request this morning.

There will be a lot of singing and thunder rumbling in our morning. As a kid, I loved rainy days – it meant the perfect excuse to lay around all day and read, read, read.

And, when we get tired of reading, I think some gluing may be in order.

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(Homemade apron – made by Aunt Jackie – check!)

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(Contentment with a q-tip, glue and some scraps? Check!)

What are your rainy day plans?

Painted Butterflies: a crafty project for a rainy day

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This project occupied my 3-year-old for an hour and a half…and he is not really an art-kind of kid. Usually, painting lasts 20 minutes and then we move on to building structures or dismantling the ottoman (again). I was completely astonished that this project went so well.

We had seen a wooden butterfly on a stick at our local craft store and Ronan was intrigued. I knew we could whip something up at home with stuff from around the house. All you need is some paper (for painting, we use a heavier stock), wooden skewers, and a wine cork.

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I hand-drew a butterfly (approximately 4” x 4”) and then cut it out and only used one side to trace the other butterflies. You will need to fold the paper over. This makes the rest of the butterflies symmetrical, although, most kids won’t care if it’s not perfect.

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I drew some details on a few butterflies to get Ronan started and left a few blank in case he wanted to do his own thing. He painted for 20 minutes and then moved on to crayons and markers.

Here is the point where I'd love to show you a picture of my child painting his butterfly. Alas, he is three and we do give him choices…

Me: "Hey, Ronan, can I take a picture of you painting?"

Ronan: "No."

Me: "Really?"

Ronan: "No, pictures, Mommy."

Me: "Okay." (sniff, sniff)

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To complete the project, grab your used wine cork and make a hole using a pair of scissors, an ice pick, or something thin and sharp. Snap your wooden skewer in half and put the pointy side in the cork.

Seeing as how I am very, very pregnant, there isn’t a whole lot of wine being drunk at the moment, so the only cork I had was rubber. I had to slice the bottom with a knife to make it level for the table.

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Tape the butterfly to the stick and attach another butterfly on the other side. Display proudly!