Friday, March 30, 2012

Nocturnal Animals Project: Watercolor Resist

For our Five-in-a-row homeschool co-op recently we read the book Owl Moon.  One of  our conversation topics afterward was the concept of nocturnal and diurnal animals.  My husband suggested that we also talk about the special reflective eyes that God gave night animals.  Nova has a good article describing the science of a nocturnal animal's eyes.  

I was really tickled to find this lightning bug project from Toddler Approved that provided the inspiration for our art project.  For our co-op project I:
1  Printed off a page of nocturnal animal pictures I found on the internet.  
2.  Gave each child a yellow crayon to color in the animals' eyes (Coloring around the eyes a little is a good idea to make them stand out better) and the word "nocturnal."
3.  Allowed the children to paint over the whole picture with dark watercolors.  The yellow crayon resists the paint and makes the eyes pop out.  

learning laboratory at mama smiles

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flowers on our Sticky Wall

We had fun with our sticky table a while back, and since then I've been inspired by Mama Smiles' post to do a sticky wall.

Since it's a beautiful Spring here in Texas with lots of bluebonnets, evening primrose, and paintbrush everywhere we drive, I thought it would be fun to make a sticky wall garden.

We used muffin liners for the flowers, and the girls had fun painting and coloring them.  Unfortunately, the liners flatten out quite a bit when you do this, but they still looked mostly "floral" even after they were smushed.

I cut stems and leaves out of construction paper and the girls had fun "planting" the flowers on the contact paper that I had taped on the wall.

I think they look kind of like hollyhocks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


What kind of craziness have we been up to at our house?  Find out over at Quirky Momma today!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ten Activities with Sticky Notes

Looking for something new to do today?  If your craft cabinet has as many random pads of sticky notes as mine does you can try one of these fun activities:  
Sticky Note Quilts (Sweet Vintage)
Mosaic (G Prime)
Building with Sticky Note Pads (Ready, Set, Read!)
Heavy and Light Activity (A Little Learning for Two)
Crosswords (Having Fun at Home)
Treasure Hunt (Mummy Mum Mum)
Love Bugs (Inner Child Fun)
Lion Craft (Having Fun at Home)
Kissing Flip Book (Inner Child Fun)
Or, if you want something really simple for a beginning reader, try "reading the house."  (Label various objects with their names and let your child find each one and read it) Thanks, Busy Kids= Happy Mom!

And, here's one more "bonus" activity that I accidentally left off earlier.  This one uses alphabet post-its!
Letter Pad Name Spelling (Toddler Approved)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Four Easy Reader Books

I'm always impressed when a children's author is able to take a small set of simple words and craft an engaging story out of them.  Besides the classic Little Bear Books, and Frog and Toad, these are four of M's recent favorites.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Three Dimensional Wrapping Paper

For some reason I had always had in my mind the idea that wrapping paper needs to be flat.  But of course it doesn't.  I recently wrapped up a gift in white paper and let the girls glue on all kinds of things:

pom poms,
and googly eyes!

Have you ever let your kids go three-dimensional with their gift decorating?  What things have you glued on?  

Monday, March 19, 2012

Post-it Flags on the Window

 M came up with this idea herself, and showed it to her little sister.  She and G had the window well-decorated before I even saw what they were up to.  (the post-it note flags were sitting out in the play room, leftover from a craft we did last week- shows you our pace of cleaning up around here, I'm afraid).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day: and a Shamrock Window Craft

For days I've been trying to think of something to do with the clover we pressed in an old book last week.  My first thought was to use it to decorate pretty little glycerin soaps, but we never made it to the craft store to buy the glycerin.

Finally, yesterday I decided we would make shamrock sun catchers.  I'm happy we did; today we have cheery little shamrocks hanging on our front windows, plus the craft was easy and enjoyable (and cheaper than buying the soap).

Thursday, March 15, 2012

10 Reasons to be a Mom Blogger

A few weeks ago I wrote about all the pitfalls of being a children's activity blogger.   All those problems sort of beg the question: "Then why in the world spend so much time doing it?"

It has taken me longer than I expected to get around to writing this post because I really do struggle with blogging and deciding whether or not it is the best decision for my family.  But lately, it has felt like a good choice; so I figured I'd better go ahead and write the post before I change my mind.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Collaborative Art: Watercolor Resist Collage

Here's a project that my four-year-old and two-year-old both participated in, and I think would have worked well if we had a wider age range too.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Toddler Craft: Post-it Flag Lions

Lions are some of our favorite animals at the zoo, and it seems that the girls are often talking about them or incorporating them into their pretend play.  The other day as I was sorting through our junk drawer while the girls were roaring at eachother, and saw the yellow post-it note flags. It struck me that here was an easy craft idea!

Play-doh and Stencils

Looking for a fun new idea for play-doh time?  Check out my latest post on Quirky Momma!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Patterns in Nature: a Book and a Craft

I've often enjoyed how the patterns and shapes in nature mirror one another.  That's the idea behind the beautiful picture book Shapes and Patterns in the Natural World. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

5 Lessons from the Mud Pit

Our poor backyard did not fare well in the drought here in Texas last summer. Most of the time these days,  it is a dust bowl with tiny bits of brown straw peeking up here and there.  When it rains, however, or when a little girl turns on the hose, we have a giant MUD PIT on our hands.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Sticky Table Ideas

I think I was first introduced to the concept of a sticky table over at Chasing Cheerios.  Since that time though, I've seen lots of variations including a fun pumpkin vine sticky table at Teach Preschool.

Melty Beads Crafts

Have a million melty beads that you're not sure what to do with? Check out my post Melted Bead Projects to Create with Children at Quirky Momma for instructions on these three ideas:
 Melty Bead Bowl
Melty Bead Nightlight 
Melty Bead Vase

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pressing Clover for St. Patrick's Day

It was a gorgeous morning here in Austin; so the girls and I headed out to our front yard to pick clover leaves and pressed them in an old book.  We'll be using them to make a St. Patrick's Day craft soon.