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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!

camp invention rocks

Camp Invention is a week long summer program offered at many schools throughout the United States and is absolutely wonderful. The best part of having your children attend the well organized camp is the innovation and excitement they bring home to continue or start new projects. It was all about inventing. It opened the door to some great activities for the summer time, which is hot for us in Arizona and indoor ideas are welcomed. They offer the program in many states and your school can start one by going to their website for information.

The themes change every year to keep the repeat camper interested and challenged. the day is also split into blocks. In this particular part of the day, children took “upcyclables” and made a city called magnetroplis with a group. There were lessons and plenty of information that went along with the whole idea as well. Then, they created a city using magnets and recycled items. the bottom, base of the city was propped up by styrofoam so that they could design cars and other things to move if they used magnets. The moving cars along the streets were a big hit with the kids. Teamwork , listening to others and respect was also part of the lesson.

In this picture you will notice a theater, bridge, leaning tower that actually had a light bulb on the top, a city water fountain, a puppet theater and more.

This part of a city had a city fountain and statue, sports field, hockey arena and convention center.

Magnets with paper clips were used to design statues to decorate the city.

At home, you can use any of your recycled items to make a city of any size. I chose to cut a smaller cardboard for the sake of space.

Examples of materials: shoe boxes, cereal boxes, lids, cups, blocks, pipe cleaners, office supplies, cardboard rolls (paper towels), any left over art supplies.

Here is a smaller version of what they did at camp and was done as soon as my children came home from their last day.

This was completely done by my son who envisioned a town with a grand hotel with lakes and plants as well as a statue in the center.

Apparently, all you need is a great place to stay and sports.The rest of the town is full of sports fields.

The  best things about art and creative camps is that the children can take the ideas home. I love having my children enjoy the time during the summer to create and have the time to make what they want.

Four Seasons Paper Plate Craft

How to Make a “Four Seasons” Paper Plate Craft

What you will need:

White, plain paper plates

Construction paper (green, brown)


Cotton balls

Crayons or markers

Hole punch

Yarn or pipe cleaners

Tissue paper

This is a fun craft project to go with learning about the seasons. It can be done over several days or as you speak about each season and then display the while craft at the end. This would be appropriate with help for preschool age kids and also for kindergarten and first grade students. Classroom teachers could use this lesson in center time.

To make the Craft:


Cut out tree with brown construction paper, color background black and ground white (leave blank), glue cotton balls or torn white construction paper for snow.


Cut out trunk in brown construction paper, color background, crumple small tissue for new buds and glue on branches.


Color background on paper plate, cut and glue brown tree trunk and cut out green tree tops.


Color background, cut out brown tree trunk, green leaves and glue falling leaves.

Hanging the paper plate season craft:

Hole punch the top and bottom of paper plates, have children use pipe cleaners to attach together. For younger students, the parents or teacher may need to tie the plates together. On the top plate make a loop to hang on the wall. These hang nicely at home or in the classroom.

Books and Poems:

There are many books, songs and poems about the seasons and each can be used for literature and the thematic unit. Children can make their own poems for each season, which can also be displayed along with the craft or made into a seasons book. Teachers can create thematic books and folders to compile all of their thematic papers and art to take home neatly at the end of the seasons study.

Four Stories for Four seasons by Tomie dePaola

Arctic Winter, Arctic Summer by Reid and Canizares

Scholastic offers many choices

Moonstick: The Seasons of Sioux by Eve Bunting


Listen to Vivaldi during craft time. For further discussion, have children listen to corresponding season and dance and feel the music and discuss how it reminds them of certain month or season.

Studying the seasons of the year has science and more behind it, this craft and introduction to the seasons is ideal for younger students at home or in school.

Earth Day Song and Poem

This is a simple song and tune for children of all ages to enjoy. Ideal for Earth Day or during any unit on nature and recycling.


Sing to the tune of I’ve Been working on the Railroad

We’ve been working on the recycling.

All the trash we can.

We’ve been working on recycling.

It’s a simple plan.

Separate your glass and paper,

Separate your plastic and tin.

Take the trash you have recycled

to the recycling bin!

If you would like a memorable, yet simple activity for children to celebrate nature, try writing a poem.

Write Your Own Poem or Song

First have children with a paper and clipboard or poetry journal if they have one. Lay down outside and watch the sky, trees and surrounding environment. Have them write words, phrases and feelings that come to their mind. then, gather at a table or back inside. Have them write a poem using the words and feelings they noted outside. Another version is write a letter to the earth or nature.

How to Make a Nature Can

A perfect activity for families and classes to celebrate Earth Day! I found this on Plum Pudding and I am excited to try it out with the children this month. There little eyes find treasures everywhere. This nature box is a creative way to keep all of their loved rocks and treasures and also helps to keep the house organized. I find this activity to be perfect for our family. This would also be a cute gift box for wrapped food gifts. Click on the link below to get directions on making your own nature can.

Nature Can Activity by Plum Pudding

A List Poem

Poetry is an exciting way for young learners to play with words. This is an easy but still important poetry lesson. It is a simple way to introduce brainstorming and adjectives as well as poetry. if you are working with a group of children such as scouts or a classroom you need to have a board or large paper for the group poem. this is to role model the process. as I always state (or think in my head) this lesson can be tailored for younger or older students.

As a group decide on the topic of the group poem.

Let’s say someone said dolphins:

Then you would write the title and write down all of the responses of descriptive words. Depending on the crowd, you may have too many words. So, this is your chance to discuss words that are similar and how to eliminate.

Then you write the final list poem.







When you have completed writing the first poem together, allow the child or the children to write their own.  The beauty of this lesson is that it can be used for almost any topic. It would be ideal for animals, seasons, nature, social studies and much more.

A Few Examples:

Beginning of the year:  Have students write a list poem about themselves.

Mother’s Day/Father’s Day: Have child make a card and write list poem inside about parent.

Earth Day: Choose a topic such as the earth, land, pollution, ocean, trees etc and write a list poem. Extend it into an art project using paint and paper to illustrate the topic.

Bird Watching

In Our Own Backyard....A Mama Hummingbird

Birds are a fun and small creature that most of us can find in our neighborhood or backyard.  Enjoy a few of these simple activities with your little ones for just an afternoon or for a whole thematic week.

Homemade Bird Feeders

Coffee Can Bird Feeder:

Open both ends of the can with a can opener, then use a string to string through both ends of the can.  Tie both ends of the string to hang the feeder when complete. Take the plastic cover of the coffee can and cut it in half. Take each piece and place on each end of the can to hold all of the food in the feeder.  This can be done with any can that has a plastic cover on top.  Fill the feeder with bird seed and bird treats such as corn, apple pieces, cooked rice, berries and dry cereal. Hang the feeder in a place where you can observe the birds enjoying their new hangout!

Peanut Butter Pinecone:

This classic bird feeder is still tons of fun and was always a great one to do with a class or large group like scouts.  If you are with other children make sure no one has peanut allergies, i would choose another activity all together, or use lard or shortening in the place of peanut butter.  choose a pinecone, make a mix of peanut butter and a small amount of oats or cornmeal.  Then roll in bird seed.  With a piece of yarn tie it around the top portion of the pinecone to make a hanger for the bird feeder.

Fruity Treats:

Cut an orange in half.  Use a needle to get yarn through the orange to hang from a branch. This also attracts butterflies!

Other Activities

Bird Watch:

Now that you have made a bird treat, just hang out and observe. Children can sketch, take photographs or take notes in a journal of the experience.

If you have older children you may want to have a field guide to try and identify and learn about birds in your area. (For example: National Audubon Society Field Guide)


Young children may want to make binoculars out of cardboard tubes to prepare for their bird watching experience.  Get two equal size cardboard tubes, toilet paper tubes or paper towel tubes cut to size. Lay them next to each other and tape together at each end.  choose a side to tie the string or yarn through and punch two holes. Tie a knot at both ends at the hole punch to make a strap to carry the binoculars.  Have the children decorate with markers, stickers or paint. Set off for your next adventure!

All You Need is a Box

Running out of ideas for those long summer days or on a rainy day? All parents have witnessed the child who loves to play in the box and use their imagination. Well, how about those small shoe boxes or whatever size you happen to have in the house. I gave both children a box and pulled out all the little things that we have around the house that I should have thrown away.  I just knew they would be used and come in handy! It is good to re-use and recycle.

You will also need some glue, tape, scissors and markers to get started.  Next, your child may just take off and not need any help to get started . For the others, ask questions about what they like to play….dolls, cars etc. This may help them to make a choice to make a house for their little animals, design a car for characters etc. My son was into gadgets and rockets. Below you can see his control box that has been used for many missions to the moon.

For this project he wrapped white paper around the box, I cut the slit for him to put his sliding piece of cardboard in, a bolt served as his on and off switch and the plastic squares were around the home as counting squares and last a mosaic piece filled in as the last button.  Any tiny craft things would work including buttons, pom poms and stickers. My son was about six years old when he created this “thing” and I am thinking we need to do this again and see what he comes up with this time.  I do not have my four year old’s version pictured and I am sorry I do not have it because it was quite hilarious as she made a control box as well.  I love how different each child is and you can really see it when you let them have free reign of their projects and crafts.

Creativity is the key!

“Creativity is a great motivator because because it makes people interested in what they are doing.  Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea.  Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.”   Edward de Bono

*Edward de Bono wrote and studied about the brain and creativity. He was the author of The Mechanism of Mind and introduced the term “lateral thinking.”

What is Earth Day?

“Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”
Albert Einstein

It was founded by John McDonnell in 1970 . It used to be celebrated on the first day of Spring (the March Equinox) and still is by many people. As a worldwide celebration, April 22 is the more recognized date.

Earth day is intended for all of us to recognize how we influence our limited resources from our planet. There are often activities, campaigns and events scheduled on this day to promote awareness of Earth issues. You may choose to participate in a local event or start your own.  What a great time to create a family tradition if you have not done yet.

Take a walk and enjoy the beautiful things on Earth, make a list when you return

Plant a tree

Help Mom and Dad with recycling garbage at home

Pick up trash on the playground

Start a family tradition of choosing an activity or organization to support

Educate yourself about causes in your community

Wine Cork Boat For Kids

Recycling wine corks can be lots of fun and a simple summer craft or game for children.

Make a Boat:

You will need: Corks, popsicle stick, tape (electrical), hot glue, some form of fabric, plastic or foam to make sail.

Before you involve the children hot glue several wine corks together and allow to cool.  Then with the children, design a triangle shape foam or plastic sheet.  The size is up to you depending on the size of the boat. Use the tape to adhere to popsicle stick. Push in between cork. Or, you can glue popsicle stick in with corks prior to activity. Now the fun begins, use the boat in a river, pool or bath tub!

Pool Game:

The most simple activity is to bring the wine corks into the pool to play the old game of dibble-dabble.  All players are standing on the side of the pool and the “dabbler” swims to the bottom of the pool with the cork and leaves it on the bottom of the pool.  When the dabbler is up they yell go. All the other players may jump in the pool and the first to come up with the cork says dibble dabble. It is now that persons turn to swim to the bottom.  A simple game that keeps a group of children having fun in the pool!

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