Archive for the ‘ Arts and Crafts ’ Category

Holiday Art Basket: Inspire Your Kids to Be Creative and Crafty

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

I’ve been falling down on the job… I realized I could create a much more inspiring environment.

When the kids were little, we did a lot of Montessori activities. One of the concepts that Maria Montessori emphasized was having a prepared environment. A prepared environment, she believed, supports a child’s natural desire to learn. As the NAMC website put it, in a prepared environment “everything the child came in contact with would facilitate and maximize independent learning and exploration. This calm, well-ordered environment has a lot of movement and activity. Children are free to choose and work on activities at their own pace.”

For my little kids, this often meant creating theme-time tables, bringing out and setting up activities on one particular theme like bears, firemen, the ocean and so forth as well as bringing out Montessori math, science and geography materials.

A while back I was mulling this over and realized that I really should prepare things a little better for my older kids.  I haven’t been very good about bringing out our critical thinking activities, setting out board games or rotating in fresh, new materials.  I cleaned off one of our table-tops and plan to rotate these in each week.

I also have a ton of holiday-themed craft materials and realized I should make those accessible to the kids rather than being tucked away in the cabinet. The kids can use these materials for more creatively than I could ever come up with!

I found the perfect basket for our craft materials at local thrift shop and then stocked it with whatever I thought might spark their imagination. I included pom-poms; pipe cleaners; embroidery thread; a star template; sequins; glitter; holiday stickers; strips of green,  jingle bells; craft sticks; googly eyes; water colors; oil pastels; markers and strips of red and white paper with examples of how to make chains and quill designs;

I wanted to bring all this out of our craft closet and make it easily accessible. You should have SEEN the kids’ eyes light up!!  They were just chomping at the bit to start doing crafts! Their crafts aren’t Pinterest-worthy or anything… but they show creativity and inspiration.  It’s always the process of creating… not the end result that is meaningful.

I also grabbed the holiday-themed “How to draw…” materials that I’ve gathered over the years from Kathy’s amazing website, Art Projects for Kids.  I taped them (temporarily) up on the wall so they kids can grab the ones they want.  She has lessons such as How to draw a cardinal,  How to draw a snow bear, How to draw an Elf and How to draw Rudoph.

These printouts on a wall really don’t do them justice. Definitely go visit some of her “how to draw…” posts I mentioned above!   Hopefully your kids will be as inspired by her lessons as my kids always are!

Coming soon: Various holiday-themed printables you can use with your kids. :) See you again soon here or at our Homeschool Den Facebook page!

 

 

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Summer Activities: Tie Dye Shirts

Monday, July 21st, 2014

It’s not summer if we don’t do some tie dying!

Most every summer we get one of those kits to make our own tie-dyed shirts. The kids love doing this.  We used the Jacquard Tie Dye kit because it had such great reviews. The colors are definitely bright and vibrant. Our entire family aunts, uncles, cousins, kids were able to make shirts using this one kit. We had to buy the t-shirts separately.

It took about an hour and a half to get through everyone in the family twice.

You can roll the shirts up or just rubber band them into random knots. Either way the shirts really came out well!

We suggest that you rinse your shirts with a garden hose even before throwing them into the washing machine! There sure was a lot of dye that came out.

This is the kit that we got: Jacquard Tie Dye kit.

Product Details

Be sure to check out the entire Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

Clipart Image Credit: SweetClipArt

Be sure to come visit us at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.

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Tags: | Categories: Arts and Crafts, Summer Activities

How To Make Cute Bead Snakes and Lizards Out of Pony Beads

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Here’s another fun craft to keep the kids entertained when it’s blazing hot outside!

A couple of years ago the kids’ cousins went to campand taught DD and LD how to make these pony-bead snakes and lizards.  I thought they were so cute I thought I would share the general procedure here. At the bottom, I’ve included a pdf that you can download with these instructions.

 You need thin ribbon and pony beads.

First take very thin ribbon and cut a strip about two feet long. Place a knot in the middle of the ribbon and slide a bead onto the ribbon to the right of the knot. Take the ribbon from the other side of the knot (left side in the picture below) and slide it through the bead from the right to the left.

In the picture below, I have pulled the ribbon through the bead and am now pulling the ribbon to the left.

 

For the second row (picture below) feed two beads through.  Then feed the other ribbon through the other way as shown.

Pull the ends of the ribbon and slide the beads tight.

Continue to do this adding in rows until your snake is complete.

If you want to make a lizard, here are the steps to add in legs:

Slide 5 or 6 beads onto one ribbon.  The yellow beads above are the legs, the blue and purple beads are the toes.  You slide the ribbon back through the yellow beads (not the toes) to make  the leg. Repeat on the other side. Then continue with the body as you did the head area.

More leg pictures.

More body pictures. Slide the beads on one ribbon, then slide the other ribbon through the other way and pull tight.

My ribbon was too short, so I just tied on more ribbon and continued on.

The finished lizard!  So cute!

If you would like to print these instructions on how to make pony bead lizards and snakes, just click the link below:

Instructions: How to Make Pony-Bead Snakes and Lizards

Looking for other fun ideas for the kids?  Be sure to check out the entire Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

Clipart Image Credit: SweetClipArt

Be sure to come visit us at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page.

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Summer Activities: Making Marbleized Paper (20-30 mins)

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Here’s a fun indoor activity that takes under 20 minutes. All of my kids and my niece (13) enjoyed making their own stationery.  All you need for this activity is shaving cream, tempera paint and a thicker paper. We used medium weight drawing paper.  Here are the easy steps:

  1. Spray the shaving cream, 
  2. Add spoonfuls of the desired paint, 
  3. Mix lightly with a finger or spoon, 
  4. Press the paper down on top of the mixture
  5. Lift the paper up and scrape off the shaving cream (We used a cereal box folded over to provide a straight, solid edge.)

That’s all there was to it! The kids each made three or four cards (and so did I!!).  This is a great activity and the bonus is, we can get them to write to Grandma and Grandpa later for a bit of writing practice!

 

Looking for other fun ideas for the kids?  Be sure to check out the entire Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

Clipart Image Credit: SweetClipArt

See you next time or at our Homeschool Facebook Page.

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Make Your Own Paper-Maché Mushroom Playhouse

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

When it’s really hot outside, it’s great to have a project indoors to keep the kids entertained.  One year we made Mushroom Playhouses.  The kids still have their mushrooms… and they have been used as fairy homes and the Littlest Pet Shop’s play houses.  Here’s how you and the kids can make your own mushroom playhouse:

 

1) We covered rolled-up cardboard and a balloon with paper maché. [1/2 cup flour + 1/2 cup water, stir in 2 cups of boiling water; let it cool and then dip the newspaper and cover]

2) We let the paper machéd balloon and the cardboard stem dry thoroughly. Then we carefully cut the balloon in half to make the mushroom top.
After lots more steps (attaching the balloon and stem parts with more paper maché, painting them, and covering it with acrylic sealer) we cut out doors and the real fun began! We did a small step each day and overall it took a week+ to make. The kids were really proud of their mushrooms when they were done.
Now the fun truly begins, right?!
There’s hours of fun to be had with these once the project is done!

Be sure to check out the entire Summer Activities SeriesWe have lots of indoor and outdoor activities to share with you all summer long – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays!

Clipart Image Credit: SweetClipArt

See you next time or at our Homeschool Facebook Page.

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