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Monday, December 23, 2013

Marshmallow Snowmen


The other day we made these adorable marshmallow snowmen. This was the perfect craft to do on a day where it was freezing LA standards!  The kids were motivated to do the activity since they knew that they would be able to have a "sample," as they like to call it, when they completed each step.  We did it step by step so that each part was completed and no one got frustrated.  They all did wonderfully.  They got to make it their own by choosing what colors eyes, mouth and buttons their snowman would have.  They also decided how they wanted the snowman's arms to be positioned. They had lots of fun and I even heard a lot of counting as they were placing the marshmallows onto the body of the snowman.  Follow the steps below with you kiddies to have a fun filled winter craft to display in your home!
Blue construction paper
Any other color construction paper (for the hat at the end)
Glue (in a bottle not a stick)
Mini M&Ms
Candy corn
String licorice
Stick pretzels

To begin trace the outline of a snowman on the blue piece of construction paper. I used 3 different sized bowls to help me to insure perfect sized circles for the body.  Make sure to leave enough room at the top to fit a hat!

Next, have your child pick out what color eyes their snowman is going to have using the regular sized M&Ms.  I put 2 drops of glue for each eye and then they put the M&Ms on top.  After, we got the eyes glued we looked at our faces to see what was under our eyes and we discovered our nose.  We used a candy corn for the nose. I again put the glue on and they picked which way they wanted the nose to point. The last part of its face was its mouth.  To make the mouth they all decided they wanted a rainbow colored mouth.  We used mini M&Ms to form a smile.  At last our face was complete!  This also meant they could have a few M&Ms as promised!  Now it was time to turn our snowmen white.



To make the snowmen white, we used marshmallows. We needed to allow time for the pieces on the face to dry so we started at the bottom and worked our way back up. I put the glue onto each circle (only one circle at a time) and then they filled in the body with the marshmallows. I reminded them to make all of the marshmallows touch like they were holding hands because they are best friends. I told them once they finished each circle they could have one marshmallow. They were thrilled with this reward!  We continued filling in the snowman until his whole body was white.
Once all the marshmallows were placed, they each picked out 3 M&Ms to use as buttons on top of the marshmallows. I helped put the glue on top of the marshmallow and they carefully placed each M&M on top.
Now we needed to give the snowman some arms.  We used 2 pretzel sticks for these. They decided if they wanted his arms up or down or one of each. The boys both picked one up and one down, but Emma decided on both down for hers.
We decided the snowman also needed a scarf so I found some leftover licorice Halloween candy and cut it to make it fit like a scarf. It was a little tricky making it fit, so I did this part while they watched with excitement.
The final part of our project was giving the snowman a hat. In retrospect, I could have used pretzel pieces to design a hat, but we decided to give him some color and use construction paper for its hat. The boys both picked yellow and Emma went with pink. They glued on the hats and marveled in awe of their adorable snowmen!  Then they finished up their yummy craft with some pretzels!

Have fun and try not to eat all of the supplies before you finish the project!


Monday, November 11, 2013

Hammering with golf tees

I saw this idea when dropping the kids off at preschool a few weeks ago. The teachers had found these great Halloween kits that came with golf tees (not sharp) and a small wooden mallet. I thought this would be a great idea to do with them at home. At school they were hammering the tees into pre-drilled spots on pretend pumpkins, but I thought it would be fun to do it on Styrofoam cubes. They are cheap at Joann's or Michael's (remember your coupon!).  One of their awesome teachers picked up a kit for me at the local Halloween store, but I knew I needed to buy 2 more.  They were hard to find, but I ended up ordering them here.  The kits were about $5 each online and another $2 to ship. You could easily use the play hammer that most kids already have at home and golf tees, but I liked that these tees were not sharp and they were colorful :)
What you need:
-Styrofoam cube or half dome
-small toy hammer or wooden mallet
-golf tees

This activity is great not only for their fine motor skills, but really great for hand-eye coordination. I introduced the activity by going over all the pieces and reminding them to be careful not to hammer their fingers. I demonstrated the proper way to hammer the tees into the cubes and they got it right away. It was great to see their concentration on the activity. They were so engaged the whole time, for almost 90 minutes!!

This was so much fun and a great quiet time activity they can do independently while I'm making dinner. That's always a plus for me! (Also to prevent the minimal mess the Styrofoam makes you can wrap the pieces in wrapping paper or even newspaper.)  Hope you try this with your little ones, I know they will love it!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Marshmallow Ghosts

I have been having so much fun talking about Halloween with the kids and they are so excited to go trick or treating this week!  We have been doing different activities for Halloween and I came across this activity when another triplet mom friend posted a picture of her kiddies doing it. It was too cute not to do with Dylan, Jake and Emma and I figured I would share it with everyone. It's really easy and a lot of fun. It's great for their fine motor skills too!  If you don't have marshmallows on hand you can substitute them with small cotton balls.
Here's what you need for this easy craft:

- black paper
- white crayon

- glue
- plate
- mini marshmallows

To begin draw an outline of a ghost onto the black paper. I'm not a great artist, but the kids don't know the difference!

Next, you need to glue along the lines. Depending on how well your child can glue and trace a line at the same time, you can have him/her do this step or you can assist them. This is a great skill for them to work on. I helped Dylan and Jake and Emma was able to do it by herself.
Emma gluing all by herself!
Dylan got the hang of it too!
After the glue is on the paper hand them a plate of marshmallows. Remind them that these are not the kind to eat. I usually give them a few at the end once the project is finished as a reward and this gives them something to look forward to. That way they are more inclined to finish their project than want to eat them.  I encouraged them to put the marshmallows right next to each other by telling them that the marshmallows are best friends and they always stay together.

Dylan was so proud of his work!
They did a great job and stayed focused the whole time!  They had fun and it kept them busy with minimal help from me. It was a relatively quick and easy project and it turned out super cute. Another great project to help you decorate your home for Halloween. Have fun and Happy Halloween!!!

Our Completed Marshmallow Ghosts

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Tree Q-tip Painting

So fall is here and our fall crafts are in full force. We did this adorable craft the other day.  Living in Los Angeles we don't get true seasons like other parts of the country, but I'm trying to teach Dylan, Jake and Emma about fall and the leaves changing colors. We've been reading various books about fall and the leaves on the trees are finally starting to change colors.  This project tied in everything we have been talking about.

This is a great art project to do, not only to help your little one understand the season of fall, but also work on fine motor skills with the painting.

Here's what you need:
- book(s) about fall (optional)
- white paper
- paint: brown, orange , green, yellow & red
- paper plate
- paint brush
- baby wipes
- q-tips

On this day we began the project by reading one of our favorite books, a Clifford's puppy days book called  Apple-Picking Day by Samantha Brooke
where it talks about fall.
Then we looked out the window and observed the color of a tree trunk. I told them today their arm was going to be the trunk of our tree and their fingers were going to be the branches. I painted their arm using a paint brush and brown washable paint, had them spread their fingers and immediately pressed their arm onto the paper. (I have baby wipes on stand by to wipe the paint off right away!)
Tree trunk
While the paint from the "trunks" were drying we took a nature walk outside to look at the leaves on the trees and collect leaves off the ground that have already fallen. They loved this!  So simple, yet so exciting for them. They each had a little baggie to put the leaves they collected in so it could act as their inspiration for the project we were going to go complete.
By the time we finished our nature walk our trunks were dry and we were ready to paint our leaves on our masterpieces. We talked about all the different color leaves we saw and as we said each color I put the paint on their paint palette (aka a paper plate).
Our paint palettes
Then it was time to introduce the Q-tips. They were so excited to see they would get to make polka dots to symbolize the leaves. It's always fun to find new objects for them to paint with and Q-tips are great for fine motor skills. Plus they are cheap and you toss them when you are done!  (For younger kids, you could modify this and have them do it with finger prints instead.)
Emma busy at work
Jake very focused
Dylan having fun
I encouraged them to fill in the top part of their trunk and branches and then to make it look like the leaves were falling down. I also told them to try and add grass at the bottom. Those were the only directions I gave. They did excellent. Their artwork is so different, but they were all perfect!
This art project took up a good portion of our morning and they were so proud to display them in the kitchen window for daddy to see for when he got home from work. I backed each of them on a different color piece of construction paper to add some more color and make them stand out since we were hanging them up.  They are the perfect decoration for your home this fall!  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Candy Corn Mosaic Collage

I love fall, I love Halloween and I love doing crafts with the kids!  This was a great art project for us to do to get in the Halloween spirit.  They are at a great age right now where they can focus on these art projects for a really long time which is great for them and for me!  We did this adorable candy corn mosaic collage the other morning and not only did it turn out super cute, they learned so much in the process. We worked on shapes, colors, position words, gluing, fine motor skills, etc and it's not messy and really easy.
Here's what you need:
- construction paper: black, white, yellow and orange
- white, orange, yellow crayon
- glue stick
- scissors
That's it!  I'm sure if you have kids you already have these laying around your house!
For this project I did the whole set up with them and we did each step together.
To start I showed them a picture of a candy corn. (If we weren't doing this in the morning and if I had some candy corn handy I  would have just let them see the real thing and taste it, but this was an impromptu project so we made do with the picture.)  Next, I helped them draw a large triangle on the black paper using the white crayon. If yours are older or can draw a large triangle independently let them do it themselves or have them trace over one you have done in pencil. After we made the triangle we added the lines to divide the triangle into 3 spaces for the different colors. We then talked about the 3 different colors and which color was at the bottom, top, and in the middle. Then I wrote each color in the section using that color crayon.

Now it was time to cut our paper. We are getting great at our cutting skills, but for today I did the cutting. Feel free to let your little one do the cutting them self, supervised of course, if they are able!  Once we cut our paper into squares we were ready to glue!

We glued one section at a time. We talked about staying in the lines and filling in the box.  Once the box was covered with glue I would give them the color squares for that section.  Once they finished that section they would repeat for the next two sections.


It was so interesting to see how they each had their own style and how the boys were so similar and Emma's was very different.  No matter how they decided to glue their pieces on, they all turned out wonderfully!

This was a great activity for my 3 year olds, but could easily be adapted for kids older and younger. Perfect to do in the weeks leading up to Halloween so that you can add to your Halloween decor!  Have fun!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fine Motor Skills Fun with Colanders and Pipe Cleaners

Great fine motor skills activity

Dollar bin finds

I’m always looking for fun, inexpensive, and simple activities to do with Dylan, Jake and Emma.  Entertaining three busy 2 ½ year olds requires me to be creative.  I saw this idea awhile ago on Pinterest and when I was at Target with Dylan on Monday we happened to be in the Dollar bin section and came across these adorable plastic colanders.  I already had a ton of pipe cleaners at home, but you can find them at the dollar store.  This activity will only cost around $2 and its reusable!  Not only is this activity inexpensive and easy, there is NO mess!  That's is always an added bonus to me!

Dylan, Jake and Emma have great fine motor skills and they really enjoy activities that help them reinforce this skill.  This activity also allowed them to make a very cool piece of artwork that you can keep out for awhile or put away and save it for next time.
*Safety note* I find pipe cleaners to be sharp on the ends so for younger kids you can bend the ends back to prevent scratches, but in general kids should be supervised with this activity for obvious safety concerns.
Great fine motor skills activity
The idea is to have them feed the pipe cleaner ends through the holes in the colander.  Emma began by putting the two ends in to create what she announced was “a rainbow”.  Jake liked Emma’s idea of the rainbow, but he of course only wanted to use red (his favorite color).  
Jake hard at work
Emma concentrating
Dylan was very into the idea of putting just one end into one hole on the colander.  Then I showed him he could put the side that was in the air into a different hole and he was very excited so he began to do that with all of his pipe cleaners. 

Dylan learning to try it a different way
Dylan doing it the first way

It was interesting to see how differently they did the activity.  Jake and Emma liked putting the pipe cleaners in tightly and pushing them down and even bending them whereas Dylan liked having nice arches.  There is no right or wrong way to do the activity, which is a great thing for toddlers!
Dylan was so proud of his artwork
Jake was very proud too!

This activity was a complete success and they were happily playing with it until we ran out of pipe cleaners.  Luckily Nana just happened to have picked up some more at the store that day so now we will be able to extend our activity even longer next time!  Thanks Nana!

Our cool artwork