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Spring “fake” Flower Cards

Looking for something to do with left over fake flowers, cute ideas for spring, creative shower and birthday party ideas? These are simple and can add a fun touch to your spring!

Spring birthdays are so fun to plan, especially for girls with flowers, animals and butterflies! Making homemade  spring cards can be a group activity for girl scouts, a center idea for teachers, mother’s day card ideas or an activity at a birthday party.  Collect and take apart silk flowers, find buttons, rhinestones and markers.

Have the child glue the flowers on along with a button on the inside of the flower. Allow to dry, and then add the stems and grass to complete the design. I always plan ahead and have this type of activity first for a party or group activity to allow time for the glue to dry. Then, at the end have them add any drawings, words to the card. Do you have a child that loves crafts? Make these cards for thank you notes or invitations.

These spring cups are perfect for parties, Easter and showers.  This is creative, inexpensive and simple. Not a bad combination for people that like to throw parties for children or adults! Prepare the week before the party to allow drying, and to leave the few days before a party for other things like food preparation and cleaning. We used these for a little girl birthday party and they all loved them. Simple enough for them to go home and make on their own. I have not tried  to glue flowers on plastic cups. It worked great on theses paper cups and no flowers fell off.


Rice Crispy Bunnies

Rice Krispie treats are so easy and everyone loves them. Rice Krispies can  also be found gluten free and is a great activity for having friends over or just the family. Tailor to the holiday with any cookie cutter: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter or just your child’s favorite thing at the time!

There are other crispy cereals available.  Here is the Rice Krispie Treat Recipe taken from the Kellogg Rice Krispie site:

Everyday Recipes – The classic, original, no-bake dessert that is quick and easy to make

This classic, delicious snack has been making memories for kids and parents alike for generations.

Ingredients(Nutrition Information)

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 package (10 oz., about 40) regular marshmallows
  • - OR -
  • 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal

1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

2. Add KELLOGG’S RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

MICROWAVE DIRECTIONS:
In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

Note

-For best results, use fresh marshmallows.
-1 jar (7 oz.) marshmallow crème can be substituted for marshmallows.
-Diet, reduced calorie or tub margarine is not recommended.
-Store no more than two days at room temperature in airtight container.
-To freeze, place in layers separated by wax paper in airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 weeks. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.


Ladybug Apple Treats

It is said that if you let the children make or help make meals they will eat it, or at least some of it. I am not going to lie, I have one child that I will try anything for healthy foods to be eaten. It worked, kind of. But anyways, I am sharing because it was fun and just adorable. so, we just put the ingredients out and let them create the ladybug. You could choose to make these for a after school treat or party and make yourself.

All you need: Apple, raisins, lettuce and peanut butter. (Make your own adjustments such as frosting for peanut butter if there are allergies, out of raisins? Use chocolate chips etc.)

The grape head was an add on that someone decided would be more creative.


Chopsticks and Other Tools for Fine Motor Skills

Looking for a fun idea at home, at a pre-school center or just for fun? Get those chopsticks and pom poms (or cotton balls) out for a variety of activities. Pictured below is the simplest form for young ones to practice hand dexterity, fine motor skills and coordination. Notice the child’s chopsticks are connected and much easier to manipulate.

This idea can be used for many purposes in learning:

Children can sort by color or size and even label after sorting.

One to one correspondence, by placing in egg cartons or on a paper with circles drawn on it.

Simple math problems with adding or subtracting.

There are many other ways for little ones to develop and improve dexterity.

As babies encourage your child to turn the pages of a board book by slightly lifting page and guiding their fingers to complete turning the page. Have them feel different textures, play hand games like “Where is Thumbkin” and wave hello and goodbye.

Toddlers and preschoolers can work on finger dexterity as it is important for each finger to work separately from the others. continue hand games and songs such as The Itsy Bitsy Spider and the Wheels on the Bus.  Hand and finger puppets are also a fun and excellent way to develop hand coordination. Playdough-makes balls or just poke holes with different fingers. the normal play of children such as blocks, using tupperware out of your drawers can all help with coordination. Cutting food so children can easily pick up and eat is a great everyday practice for children. for example, cut small chunks of cheese instead of slices for easier pick up and eating on their own. hand eye coordination is easily practiced with a balloon for all ages. the simple and cheap things we already have at home can serve as tools for learning and growing.

Preschool and early elementary age children can start learning sign language, using more complex puppets and making shadows with their hands. Smaller items such as tweezers and eyedroppers can be used to continue the growth of  fine motor skills. A turkey baster to play with outside or the bathtub allows for fun play and more hand dexterity. Crafts and games also become more complex and an excellent way for strengthening the hand and fingers. Remember the games Operation, mandala and Connect Four? Some of the oldies but goodies still apply today. Instruments give plenty of exercise to develop the motor skills and so much more!


Valentine’s Day, Colorful Hearts

This activity was used in a classroom center, so I made it to use for many children. I wrote out the steps and numbered, but I left them scrambled, so the group would have to put them in order to start the activity. Depending on the age of your children, you could do this whole group or at home. The activity is meant for following directions, tracing, cutting and placing the hearts in order from largest to smallest. if you are short on time, you can tailor it to meet your needs. For example, use only three hearts for the project or use the two large hearts and only glue the bottom three quarters to make a heart pocket. The ideas go on, but  you get what I mean. Have fun and celebrate love!


Shared Journals

I am always searching for ways to be simple and connected. Creating a new tradition of a shared journal with each child allows for freedom to share, be creative and to keep communication with your child. My hope is that even though my son is not one to chat and share the details of life, he will know that I am always available and that I do care what he thinks. I want him to know that I will be there if he ever needs it. My daughter on the other hand has a different need. The need to feel loved and to know how much she is cared for. So, on those busy days when life is like a tornado, and maybe we missed the chance to show or say we care, she can find a little note to remind her on how special she is to us and the family. Raising children is intentional and can be challenging. So, I tried this with my children because I knew it was easy enough to keep up and the message I wanted to give to them was clear, “I want to know how you feel, It may have been a crazy day but I am happy we are family, you are a special and important part of the family.”  I know that days go by in every family and we do not know where they went. Life is whizzing by, so try this simple and easy journal and see where it takes you and your child.

Buy or make a journal that is easy to keep or place on or near their bed. Decide your rules. I do not have rules for my experience, maybe that will change. Right now we write when we feel like it and then place it on the persons pillow to find. Sometimes, a lot of time goes by and I will find it and re-write something else to get it started again.If you have a child that does not want to write, you can ask simple questions. It does not have to be deep, it can be simple and short. At least you are opening up for a possible dialog and showing that you care enough to take the time to write.

This is not the time to edit or critique writing skills. It is the art of expressing one’s self and to also foster the lost art of writing cards and notes to people, as we have texting and electronic tools to do that now. Of course, role modeling correct writing, sentence structure and grammar is always a nice bonus.

Here is my one dollar find and could not be more perfect.


Make Fall Frames

Show off all you have to be thankful for in this adorable frame….I am talking about your family!  So, I have a super crafty friend who had us over to make these adorable frames for Halloween. I chose paper that could be kept up for the fall and Thanksgiving, simply because I like to do less decorating and have less storage.

Fall Frames

These are simple and are a great craft for children and adults alike. The frames with a family picture or child’s art work make a perfect gift for family or the Thanksgiving hostess this year.

What you need:

Wood frame (the one I used is a dollar frame from Michaels

Wood cut out (pumpkin used in pictured frame)

Scrapbook paper (I used 12×12 to have the two frames match)

paint

paintbrush

adhesive (glue)

sandpaper

scissors and Exacto knife

This is the back of the frame and you can paint before or after paper is applied.

If you choose before,  leave time for drying before you complete the craft.

Back of the FrameWhat to Do:

First paint the inside and outer edges and allow to dry.

During this time, cut the paper to fit whole frame. This will not be perfect and can be cut closer to edge with exacto knife and will then be sandpapered to get that smooth look on the edges.

Smear glue onto front of wooden frame and place paper on to dry. Cut out the middle square with an exacto knife and then smoothing the edges with sand paper.

Repeat the same process with your chosen wooden cut out and glue to your frame when it is all dry. I placed the pumpkin in different locations, you can also print the year or family name onto the wooden cut-out. I kept mine plain in case I wanted to change the picture in the future.

Here are the edges of the frame after the sandpaper.

Fall Frame

These frames are so inexpensive and can be used throughout the year. The same craft above can be used for all holidays with the appropriate paper. Think of all the beautiful paper for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and vacations. Check out other ideas for these frames such as the summertime Life is a Beach frame and the Nuts and Bolts Father’s Day frame.

These frames can be used for girl scouts, birthday parties and in classrooms for parents gifts. Of course, if you choose to use paper get some adult helpers for the exacto knife part. But, children of all ages can do some variation using these frames. Happy decorating!


Creating Relationships and Art

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”

~Henry Ford

If you have more than one child, it is a conscience effort to create a bond and relationship that is supportive and uplifting. There will always be valleys in all relationships. But the more we (the parents) create team work and positive environments, the more our children can learn about solving problems and conflict resolution before hitting that big world on their own.

Ownership and pride are an amazing feeling to all of us, especially children. Let your child or children have  an older piece of furniture or in our case an outdoor picnic table from Ikea. Depending on your children, they may have a plan or they may just have at it to make it their own. That is going to be up to you. Is it a piece that many people will see or use and you want a particular look? Well then, you may need to plan the activity for the children. In our case, the table was exclusively for children and I wanted it to be there own. We have had the children paint shelves for their room and in that case, there was only one color to match the bedroom. The whole point is to have pride in what they own and see around the home, as well as to be an important part of the family and home life.

Take time for breaks. Sitting together and sharing some lemonade and is another moment for dialog or just silliness. For many of you, this is perfect for the spring time to prepare for the summer. In the desert, this is our fall and winter thing to enjoy our beautiful time of the year!

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If you do not have the space, look up any local charities or even a senior home that may need some work done. Picture frames are simple and inexpensive to make for the home. Spending time as a family seems almost impossible to squeeze in some days. Make time and schedule into your calendar if you have to!

Decorative Clip Board

This started as a request for my daughter to bring in a clip board to use at school during reading time. We decided to decorate and have her name on the board. I had plenty of scraps and craft leftovers for my daughter to choose a variety of colors and textures. This craft is inexpensive, creative and fun. First, buy a plain clip board. They can be found for around two dollars.

You can be much more creative than we were. The possibilities are exciting from old postcards, pictures, cut outs, fabric and more. In our pictures, you will see stickers, flowers and scrapbook paper. You will also need Mod Podge or another clear adhesive.

Place papers, stickers, and all of your materials on clip board. Apply first layer of adhesive and allow to dry for about twenty minutes. I used a paintbrush to apply and then place in water so the adhesive does not dry on the brush. Apply and dry as many time as is needed. It may take longer for thicker paper.

We chose not to decorate the sides, but would have added ribbon to cover and decorate the sides. Since it was for school and most likely going to be well utilized, we just Mod Podged the sides to be smooth.

If your child enjoys making gifts for others, this would be perfect. It could easily be themed for teachers, coaches, fathers and mothers for gifts. Are you looking for a great girl scout, playgroup or birthday craft? Children will love bringing these home and using them for sketching or writing. Have fun creating!

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Cupcake Liner Flowers

Looking for another way to use left over doilies and cupcake liners? These simple and fun flowers are a joy for little ones to create. The flowers make pretty birthday and shower decorations. Place them in a vase, pot or plant.

All you need are cupcake liners of any size and color, doilies and popsicle sticks. The doilies are optional or you could cut a circle out of paper for some more color.

Flatten out one of the cupcake liners. Glue on to the doilie. Place the cupcake liner and glue onto the flattened piece, as seen below.

The popsicle stick will then be taped or glued to the back and left to dry.

Simple and fun always works for a quick afternoon craft. Make a few for a bouquet to give as gifts for Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.

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