Archive for the ‘ Everyday Fun ’ Category

Drip-Painted Pots: FamilyFun Test Drive

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

 

My kids are finally getting to the age when a lazy beach vacation needs planned activities—no more naps on mommy’s chest under the beach umbrella and no more satisfaction with simply sitting on the floor swatting at some random toys. We need outings, games, activities…crafts! And seriously, I couldn’t be happier with this turn of events.

But crafting on the fly isn’t always so easy—do you bring materials with you and if not, where do you buy them? How can you keep it simple and engaging at the same time? (I see a future FamilyFun magazine story here!)

Today I thrilled my kids with this really fun, painted pot project from the August issue of FamilyFun. They loved helping me buy the materials and then making a big mess of themselves!

What you’ll need:

  • Paint (tempera or acrylic)
  • Ceramic pots
  • Tape
  • Paper
  1. Cover the bottom hole inside the pot with tape so that the paint doesn’t come through.
  2. Turn pot upside down and squeeze away, letting the paint drip down the sides. 
  3. Let it dry for about 24 hours before turning it over.

You can use either tempera or acrylic paint—it all depends on what’s important to you. If washing clothes is important, go with tempera. If using the pot to plant in is important, go with acrylic, just know that it’s not as washable as tempera when dry. 

And then they wanted to paint everything in site…so we painted an egg carton, a Pringles can, sticks, our feet…it was endless fun!

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Decorating Their Lunch Sacks

Monday, August 11th, 2014

This is a post from Jamie Reimer of Hands On As We Grow provided by our sponsor Del Monte. This content was commissioned by our brand partner.  Such content is not written by, and does not necessarily reflect the views of parents.com.

We don’t do home packed lunches very often. Usually only for field trip days. And on those days, my kids are so excited to pack and take their lunch.

I’m very honored and excited to be partnering with Del Monte fruits and vegetables to share with you a creative way to get kids excited about eating their fruits and veggies in their lunches during school.

To make these sack lunch days extra special and even more exciting for my kids, we’ve decided to add their own little touch to their lunch sacks.

This time we made a lunch sack that’s also to get them excited for back to school (we always have fun getting the kids excited to go back to school!).

We did some apple printing!

Its really simple to do and its kind of magical to the kids.

Apple Painting

I simply cut an apple in half [top to bottom]. With half of an apple, the kids dipped it in some red paint [though green would work great too!].

Its best if they stamp the apple somewhere before stamping it onto their lunch sack. That gets the excess paint off so there’s no globs.

They can stamp an apple on a paper lunch sack a couple of times until the print becomes faded and then just dip in the paint again.

Apple Painting

Apple printing is a quick and simple process. We made up several lunch bags in a matter of minutes!

Apple Painting

We let the sacks dry for the afternoon and I came back later to add in finishing touches of the stem, leaf and seeds using permanent markers.

All that’s left is to pack them with healthy snacks and food for lunch. I always drop in a fruit pouch like Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezer.

At home, we always have Del Monte plastic fruit cups. But for packed lunches, I always prefer the mess-free and spoon-free Squeezers. And the Fruit Burst Squeezers offer the goodness of 1 ½ servings of fruits and vegetables, with no artificial flavors.

Apple Painting Lunchbox

Through the back to school season, Del Monte would love to have you share a photo of your kids’ favorite Del Monte snack. What do you prefer – to squeeze or spoon? The Fruit Burst Squeezers or Plastic Fruit Cups?

There’s a contest on the Del Monte Facebook page through all of August [August 1 to September 1] for you to share and have a chance to win!

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Tags: | Categories: Crafts, Everyday Fun, Family, Food

Plastic Bottle Bug House: FamilyFun Test Drive

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Last Sunday night at 6:30pm, my cousin-in-law Jane took Oliver and Sommer on an “adventure” walk. Which, in Brooklyn and at that hour, meant a stroll down the block. Oliver walked slowly back into the apartment 20 minutes later with his hands cupped, saying “Mommy, look, look!” He pried open his clam-shelled fingers to reveal a furry, yellow caterpillar. “His name is Kinini,” Oliver beamed.

So we poked some holes in a jar lid to make him a little make-shift hotel room to hang out in for a few hours and then took him back after the kids went to bed. (We, of course, warned them of this in advance.) So what better FamilyFun summer craft to test out this month than the Bug Inn—an easy-to-make observation station that gives kids a closer look at their insect friends.

What you’ll need:

  • Clear drink bottle
  • Craft knife
  • Window screen repair material
  • Duct tape
  • Adhesive-backed Velcro

First, cut an opening with the craft knife in the side of the bottle. If your screen is a certain size, make this hole a bit smaller than that piece of screen. This is definitely a job for an adult!

Then, cover the edges of the opening by folding over a 1-inch wide piece of duct tape. It’s okay if it’s a bit messy, it will eventually be covered up.

Next, create a duct-tape border around the piece of screen, using the same size duct-tape strip.

Then, tape one side of the window to the bottle over the opening, and put the velcro on the other side so the door stays closed. (I cut my Velcro dots in half to fit on the width of my tape frame.)

Now, it’s time to take it outside and collect sticks and leaves to make a comfy stay for our bug friends.

They each took their turn filling the bottle bug house, and then it was time to find Kinini’s brother, Shippy. I told Oliver that it would be hard to find Kinini again, but that we might run into his brother; Oliver told me his name is Shippy.

After no caterpillars were found, we settled on Kinini’s cousin, a roly poly. (He’s a little shy and hasn’t told us his name yet.) I told Oliver that Kinini and his brothers were probably napping after their lunch, so we’d come back later for a visit.

This little Bottle Bug Hotel is going to be the most desired hot-spot in the neighborhood. I might have to start charging these bugs rent!

Footnote: We talked a lot about returning our bug tenants to their homes after a few hours. I think both Sommer and Oliver understand that everyone, even bugs, likes to go home eventually!

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City-Streets Felt Craft: FamilyFun Test Drive

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but my 4-year-old son Oliver is of the wheel-loving variety. Cars, trucks, trains…he loves it all. When I was flipping through the June/July issue of FamilyFun and saw this felt road project, I knew this was a must-do. It’s basically 2 materials—felt and duct tape— and no drying time. Gotta love crafts that simple. The photo in the magazine had yellow roads with black lines, but I didn’t have black duct tape, so I reversed it. (They also recommend using thinner tape that you don’t have to cut, but I discovered a work-around for that! Read on…)

What you’ll need:

  • Cereal or cracker box
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Black felt
  • Yellow duct tape
  • Parchment paper

 

So the first thing to do is to measure and draw a 5″ by 5″ square onto the cardboard and cut it out.

Then, take this square and lay it on your felt to trace. You can make straight lines by just moving that cardboard piece or you can make an intersection like this one. Basically, I kept tracing and cutting until I ran out of black felt. Flip the felt over before the next step so any pencil lines are on the back.

The last step is to put the street lines on. Have you ever tried cutting duct tape? It’s a total pain in the rear—it sticks to the scissors, curls up, sticks to itself; basically, it’s a nightmare. So I came up with this quick technique. Ready? Rip off a piece of duct tape and stick it to parchment paper. Then, cut 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide strips. They peel right off and stick to the felt really well. Now it’s time to play!

Oliver and his friend Elias loved driving his cars around the streets! (Then Sommer came home from ballet, and joined in. Why not?) Bonus: It’s a great (read: lightweight), portable toy to take on trips.

Just as one extra added step, I made this little handy storage bag. I’m on a constant toy-organization rampage, and I figured it would be the easiest way to get Oliver and Sommer to put these pieces away. (It’s totally worth having a stash of these cotton bags to store small toy parts and pieces in!)

Home Organization: Organizing Toys
Home Organization: Organizing Toys
Home Organization: Organizing Toys

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Prince George’s First Birthday Party Hats: FamilyFun Test Drive

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Oh, I do love a good birthday party! And better yet, I love crafting for birthday parties. Probably one of the biggest first birthday celebrations of our time is coming up on July 22nd…that of Prince George Alexander Louis Mountbatten-Windsor, son of Prince William and Kate. Yes in about 10 days or so, #GeorgeTurns1. It’s hard to even fathom how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will commemorate this momentous occasion. Will there be royal pony rides? A cake in the shape of Buckingham Palace? And what will the favors be? Chocolate Big Ben’s on a stick? Personalized teabags? Knighthood?

The one thing I know will be VERY important is the party hat. Perhaps little George will don a fancy birthday crown, as many first birthday honorees do, but what will the party goers wear? Party-Hat Fascinators, but of course! You must recall the creative fascinator showing that emerged when William and Kate got married—I feel like the world really learned the extent of what head-wear could be. Here are a few gems from Kate Middleton’s time in the spotlight:

Inspired by FamilyFun’s July 4th party hats, Oliver, Sommer, and I got to work on souped-up versions of our own. I decided to use white paper party cups—they have a dull surface (no shine) so they are perfect for crafting. We started with paint—and it got messy fast. But it was super-fun. Sommer lost focus, but Oliver was down with making another hat, this time using washi tape (a crafter after my own heart).

I had pre-cut the circle brims (you can download the template here), and I let them decide what materials to use to accessorize their fascinator party hats. Feathers were a natural choice, and Oliver chose yarn pom-poms (I love these from eeBoo), and Sommer couldn’t help herself; she needed to add some bling to bring her hat to the level of royalty. (At just past two-years-old, she is firmly convinced she’s a princess. Not sure how that happened.)

For my own, I used washi tape, feathers, and then I added a fringed cupcake liner carnation—a craft from my book, Project Kid.

My favorite part of making these paper-party-hat fascinators is that there are no rules when it comes to embellishments. The more supplies, the more the merrier! And once your kids put them on, their goofy sides will really come out!

Happy Birthday, Prince George!

 

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