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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.

Make Your Own Hair Bow Holder

Are you always searching for barrettes and bows or do you find them around the house? This is a simple and cute way to keep all of the clips in one place as well as teach your child organization. I have seen these in boutiques and made mine for a fraction of the price. Not to mention the time and effort is little. It is also a great project to do together with your daughter. My girl really loves having it hang in her room.

You will need ribbon, two D rings, fabric glue or hot glue and gun, decorative piece for the top. In mine I used a silk pink flower as pictured above.

I had my daughter go to the store to pick out ribbon and flower.

How to Make: Cut ribbon to the size you wish, leaving extra ribbon to fold over on the ends (at least two inches, an inch for each side).

Tip: Measure space you are going to hang the bow holder to ensure you get it right the first time.

Place the D ring at the end and fold ribbon over the flat part of ring. Glue and let dry. Repeat for other end.

Next: Glue your decorative piece at the top of bow holder and allow to dry. I used a flower but many things can be used. For example, wooden shapes and cut outs, felt flowers or animal pieces, brooches and more could be used to place at the top. The options are endless. If you have a themed bedroom or bathroom, you will be able to find some unique pieces to tie it all together.

I love that our young daughter can find what she needs when we are trying to get out of the door. It is always a challenge to get out in the mornings and all that we can do to keep it peaceful and organized is welcome.

This is always a great gift for new mothers and other girls. It is such a joy to give something that was chosen and created by a friend. I love seeing my child get excited to give something she has put her thought and time into, what a precious lesson in kindness and giving. This is also an ideal birthday party craft for older girls and a great gift to walk away with from the party. Fabric glue could be used, so there is no worry about hot glue.

Enjoy and be creative!

My Many Colored Days

I just love designing a day around a theme. Colors are fun and creative and simple.

Read the book My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. It explores the many feelings children experience throughout the day. The bright pictures are attractive. Discuss how colors resemble feelings. Have children fill in the sentence:

Today is a _____ day because____________.

Then using the main color from the sentence and the mood, paint a picture.

Blue can be many things including sad or peaceful. In this case it was a peaceful and relaxed feeling.

Click here for more color theme ideas!

Fourth of July Watermelon Carving

Fourth of July is such a fun time to gather with friends and family. Are you looking for a fun and creative activity for your family on the Fourth of July?  Watermelon carving is a blast and a unique new tradition or memory for guests and family.  We chose to use small melons that each child could draw and cut,  if appropriate age.  Large melons would be great for a family to do together especially with small children. The rules are the same for pumpkin carving, except have plenty of storage or containers to serve the fresh watermelon. If you plan to have guests participate in this activity, let them know ahead of time so they can wear the appropriate clothing.

You will need:



Area set up for a mess



Place the melon on the side that allows it to stay up without falling over.

Then cut the top off, just like with a pumpkin.

Set the top aside and start to scoop out watermelon into bowl.

Once it is all scooped out, I rinsed out with water to get the stickiness off the outside. Dry.

The drawing and carving begins.

We only had knives, but you could use carving utensils that are meant for pumpkins.

The little ones drew on the watermelons with sharpie markers as the adults did the carving.

It was a blast and they were pretty awesome all lit up!

Now you may have plenty of watermelon, so what can you do with it?

Make watermelon coolers for all of your guests.

You will need:

8 cups of i/2 inch watermelon cubes

1 1/2 cups ginger ale

1/3 cup water

1 (6 ounce) can of frozen limeade concentrate

Freeze watermelon for about eight hours in a freezer bag (single layer.) Thaw at room temperature for fifteen minutes. blend or process the ginger ale, water, limeade concentrate and the watermelon. If you need to do in half batches for size reasons please do! It is possible to substitute honeydew melon for the watermelon and lemonade for the limeade. Either way, you will have a cool refreshing drink!

I found this watermelon recipe from Southern Living, 2007.

Watermelon Kabobs

Another idea is to make kabobs, a perfect treat for gatherings.

Cut watermelon into squares. Use other ingredients such as cheddar cheese, turkey, other fruit and melons.

Place onto coffee stirrers or popsicle sticks. Guests will enjoy the ease of eating these tasty treats.

Pink Poodle Party Decorations and Cake

The decorations and food were all inspired by some great cupcake holders and decoration.

The plates that matched were adorable and can be seen on the table with the poodles cake. So far, my mom has been commissioned with the task of a birthday cake each for my daughter. They are never typical requests and she is always up for the challenge! It is so great to have a cool grandma in town. She wrapped the cake board with wrapping paper to match the theme. Many circle pans were used along with small and large marshmallows. The marshmallows were cut in half before placing on the cake.  The black licorice was used for the legs and pulled apart to use as eyes and mouth. Having marshmallows with cake were quite the excitement!

The cake had its own table with fresh flowers and a few decorations. As an afterthought I would have put a linen white or lace table cloth. We rented out a community center, so I did not have the chance to add any last details. Also, six year olds do not seem to mind these things!

Pink and white balloons were put in clusters throughout the room and entrance along with homemade and store bought streamers. We had a large eiffel tower in our home already and added twinkle lights. We also put twinkle lights on the plants that were in the room we rented.

Check out how to make the cupcake liner, coffee filter and doily garland in previous blog.

Add some color to your twinkle lights with small cupcake liners, of course use precaution with safety. We were in a small room and able to have an eye on lights at all time. Simply poke a hole through liner and place on lights.

We were fortunate to have this room to rent out. The house would have worked and just would have been a little cozy. The rooms would have been used for different activities and if weather permitted I would do the painting activity outside and allowed them to dry on the patio. I enjoy having parties at home as it gives you time before the party to decorate. But, it was nice to have it all done when we returned home that day.

To complete the party atmosphere, we had a few fun French songs mingled in with our party mix. Oui, a good time was had by all!

Pink Poodle Party Activities

These activities were designed for a six year old birthday party that was all girls, except for big brother who remained in the background until piñata time. He actually manned the snack shop and was a big hit with his popcorn and drinks.

Creative Table:

I am a big fan of having an extra space for those children that get things done quickly. Maybe it is my teacher instinct to always keep them engaged. So, every party I will have some sort of space for free time. Since we had the rented room and plenty of space, I had two activities plus paper and markers for drawing. One activity was to try and draw a poodle, there were directions on the table if they water. The other was to make a doily and cupcake liner flower. These were just ideas and the girls could do whatever they pleased at the “Creative Table.”

Flower Masterpiece:

I had them start with this project first as it takes a while to dry. I also had large pieces of cardboard, which were cut from boxes. This allowed the girls to place their finished piece on the board to carry home. Parents were thankful for the extra protection for the car ride home.

I have this activity in in detail on another post,  click here for details.

Necklace and Headbands:

I had a paper plate with each child’s name and all they would need to assemble a necklace. As they worked on these, I had a parent helper (awesome friend) call the girls two at a time to a table to make a headband. I had flowers from the art project pulled aside that were smaller along with buttons. The girls chose which colors and the parent hot glued the headband together. I wanted another favor for them to bring home that they were involved in.


On line there are pinatas for most themes including a pink poodle. I cannot remember who I went through, but it was about 25.00.

Snack Shop:

I took pretty scrap book paper that was black and white and rolled them into cones. We then filled them up with popcorn. During the party girls could go and be served drinks and snacks, a big hit.

Party Favors:

Each guest received a beautiful pink poodle cookie, they were scrumptious!

They also had their necklace, headband flower masterpiece and toys and candy from the piñata.

Make Your Own Garland Using Cupcake Liners

Making your own garland is fun and a great project for children. Hanging garland for birthday parties, bridal and baby showers and holidays make the home festive and add a unique touch. The garland below was made by a soon to be six year old for a “Pink Poodle in Paris” theme. But, I could easily use it for many other themes and gatherings.

Materials: In this particular garland we used large and small cupcake liners, doilies and white coffee filters. you will also need yarn, thread or string and a needle. Masking tape can be placed at the end so the materials do not fall off.

Optional sponge: The sponge was used as a pin cushion that she could place the doily on to and then press the needle through the doily into the sponge. This made it easy to make holes into the doily and materials. It also meant no pokes to the skin and a faster process.

It is just like making a super long necklace, pull out the string and tie a knot at the end. I place masking tape at the end.

Thread through the materials and carefully pull to the end of your string. Remember to place cups bottom to bottom when you can and not to have a small cupcake liner right in front of a large cupcake liner, it will get eaten right up and will not be able to be seen.

There are many great options for other celebrations. For anniversary parties there are gold or silver doilies, foil cupcake liners and small individual pie tins. Baby showers would have some great blues and pinks to use that would catch all of the guest eyes. Is someone in your office getting married, make a garland with all white or use glitter to shine it up. Hang over office door or in their work area to show your support. There are so many adorable cupcake liners available out there, the ideas are endless.

Children may enjoy coloring coffee filters with markers, spraying them with water and allowing them to dry. Then, they could string along the colorful coffee filters for their own colorful and unique garland. This would be a great classroom activity.

On a side note, if you have a boys celebration coming up such as birthday party or end of the year sports celebration, you can use plain paper instead of doilies. Use paper and cut into a circle and use in place. Enjoy.

No Sew Fabric Flowers

I love these fabric flowers that can be used for many things such as hair bows, magnets and decorations for frames and bulletin boards. Best thing yet, is you will probably have the materials needed at home already. The tutorial is simple to follow and I am excited as this will be a great project for my daughter and me. I am thinking Fourth of July or Christmas for her play group buddies. I know, it is only June, but Christmas always comes quickly and I always run out of time that time of year. I felt so good that one year I had everything made early.

Check out the cuteness below!

No Sew Fabric Flower Tutorial by Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom

Cool Tools for Art

A  simple and fun art project for children of all ages. Using tempera paint, have the child choose the tools they will use to move the paint around. Any type of tools can be utilized. Have the children search the surroundings such as sticks, stones and leaves. The teacher of this lesson can also bring items like popsicle sticks, ribbons, cotton swabs, straws and any other cool things.

If you are working with toddlers and pre-school children (actually any age), it can get messy. So, be prepared with drop clothes, wipes and smocks.

This is a great example for the activity nature’s paintbrush used during Earth Day.

The finished product could be used for gift wrap if the art project is done on paper rolls or on a blank gift bag. Other times we have made home made cards. You can purchase the blank cards and envelopes at a craft store or just fold paper to fit an envelope. Either way, have your child or children paint and use their tools for a unique card to give for any occasion from Mother’s Day to a simple thank you.

Children will enjoy using some of their favorite things to collect from sticks to fallen leaves to make this creative masterpiece.

Leaf Activities

Guess what I woke up to? A beautiful and colorful plant! My daughter decided that we needed some color in the desert. Luckily our home is not in need of more color!

Besides the artistic look of our new plant, we discovered the cool veins of the leaf.

So, what is a leaf and what does it do?

Leafs are very important to the plant. They make the food for it to survive, the whole process is called photosynthesis. Within the leaf there are structures that convert the sunlight energy into chemical energy that the plant is able to use as food. Chlorophyll is the molecule that uses the energy in sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide gas into sugar and oxygen gas. Note: This is a great time to ask what we need to survive and an open ended question about why plants are important to us and the earth.

The leaf has an epidermis that is a tough skin cell. In between the two outer layers are several other layers such as the spongy mesophyll. The epidermis excretes a waxy substance that is called the cuticle. this is important as it leaves a protection on the leaf against pests and bacteria. Take a look at a leaf and the veins. The veins support the leaf and have vessels that transport food, minerals and water to the rest of the plant. Leaves can be found in many shapes and sizes.

Leaf Hunt:

Search and find many leaves from around the community. If it is not the right time of year or there are no trees, find a book. Younger children can draw or tape leaf on a large board and write describing words for each leaf. They can also sort the leaves by a trait such as round, pointy, small or large.

Vocabulary Tree:

Individual children can make a tree out of construction paper and then write a vocabulary word on a  leaf with the meaning. a classroom or homeschool children can make a larger tree out of butcher paper and add on a leaf and it’s meaning as they are discussed. if there is not the time for this activity, it is possible to add words to a science journal or a small book titled Leaf Vocabulary Words. Many definitions could also have drawings and diagrams.

Label a Leaf:

Have child draw and label a leaf. This is a better way to have child remember and discover all about the leaf.

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