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Crafts with Kids Family

Winter Hacks to Keep Summer Loving Children Sane

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

My kid has the winter blues hard. She’s desperate to be outdoors, running free through any weather. If it’s above 40 degrees (which is my tolerance level, not hers) I take her outside. Unfortunately, we’re in the thick of winter where we are lucky to get above freezing. I am NOT about to hit the playground or go for a walk.

So what to do? My child is bouncing off the walls and I’m being literal here. She is launching herself off any platform she can create and getting really creative with how she maneuvers and propels her toddler body. Balls are bouncing through the hallway and she’s playing soccer in my bedroom. Squashing her spirit is both depressing and impossible, so we’ve had to burn her energy other ways. These are the winter hacks that are getting us through the cold months:

Bowling.

You can purchase indoor bowling kits, but it’s easy enough to craft your own. My child is having way too much fun with some empty drink containers and one of her own balls. I showed her how to line them up at one end of the hallway and roll the ball down to knock them over, and she was occupied for at least an hour. Once she got bored with bowling, her imagination allowed the containers to further her indoor play.

Cotton balls and tape.

Stay with me here. I actually read this one some sort of teacher site, but it’s genius. I stretched some packing tape across a doorway and handed my toddler some cotton balls to throw at it. This kept her entertained for DAYS. It’s the simple things that bring the most joy.

Exercise.

This is good for both you and your kids. Get them involved in a daily workout that everyone can participate in. It gives them an excuse to jump around like maniacs indoors (gasp) but with a purpose. My daughter looks forward to our workouts every day now, and it keeps me motivated to stay on the fitness wagon.

Snack attack.

One of my favorite winter activities is eating, and my child enjoys it as well. When we are really bored and in need of something to do, we break out the recipe book. Anything in your cupboard can become a snack activity. Make a mix of different cereals and raisins or build shapes and houses with pretzels and peanut butter. Toss some cinnamon and sugar on some apples. Bake cookies if you’re feeling adventurous, because that also means the oven is on. Extra toasty.

My child definitely gets stir crazy in the winter, and honestly, so do I. Simple activities like these (especially when I hate crafting) keep everyone in the house sane. Not every day is an outdoor play day, but you can make the most of the indoor life

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Crafts with Kids Parenting

Fun Printable Christmas Games for the Family

What’s the best way to keep your child occupied while you finish up last minute Christmas preparations? Christmas games, of course! Because school is out and it’s cold outside, children often get a little rowdy during this time of year. There’s not a good outlet for their energy, and running around the house isn’t ideal.

That’s why we teamed up with The Zebra to share these awesome Christmas games. From picture to listening to writing activities, these family Christmas games are good for all ages. Adults or older kids can work with the little ones while having fun themselves!

With Christmas Decoration I-Spy Bingo, your kids will love spying iconic holiday decorations as you cruise down the road. Make an event out of it by inviting your friends and family along to play in their cars. You can even make it a competition to see which car has the most “Bingos,” or five in a row.

Test your knowledge of famous songs for the season with the Christmas Song Lyric Challenge. This printable features fill-in-the-blank song lyrics for all of the holiday songs we know and love. Someone will have to act as a scribe for the young children who can’t write yet. This activity is great for all ages, and everyone will enjoy the funny lyrics that kids hear.

Divide your family up into teams to see who can get the most correct answers on the Christmas Picture Puzzle. This game incorporates holiday motifs and other symbols and objects in a puzzle that may test your IQ. The sounds of each symbol come together to make an entirely new word or phrase!

‘Tis the season of cheer, so why not use these free printables for some wholesome family time? Remember not to play them all at once! You’ll want to make sure they last throughout all of the holidays. If there’s ever a lull in the activities, you know what to do!

Download the PDFs below:

Christmas Decoration I-Spy Bingo

Christmas Song Lyric Challenge

Christmas Picture Puzzle

Categories
Crafts with Kids Family

Toddler Crafts for the Mom Who Doesn’t Craft

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

I’m not a mom who likes to craft. I do not make homemade Halloween costumes, I definitely do not color for personal enjoyment, and I’m not a wine and design person. I can’t just whip up a cute decoration or basket, only armed with super glue and fake leaves. I think it’s awesome that other people are super crafty, and I don’t feel bad that it’s not something I enjoy.

Except my toddler loves crafts.

This girl could paint for hours, and glue is probably her biggest weakness. If it’s hands-on, she wants to be a part of it. The messier the better, which is just so exhausting for me. So here are my go-to activities for the mom who doesn’t like to craft but needs something special for a rainy day.

Magazine collages.

  • Magazines
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors (optional)

It’s not as common to have magazines lying around, but you could snag one from an office somewhere and no one would miss it. You don’t even need scissors if you don’t want to go there with your toddler, because ripping is just as fun. Have your toddler rip pieces and glue them where ever they please. You can have a color or shape in mind, or just whatever.

Shaving cream paintings.

  • Shaving cream
  • Food dye
  • Wax paper

This is for an area that you’re ok getting messy, like the kitchen. Mix some food coloring in with shaving cream and have your toddler use their fingers to create a special master piece. Wax paper will hold up to the moisture and will hopefully help contain the mess. No promises, though.

Cardboard box fort.

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Crayons (optional)

Next time you’re passing by a store like Lowe’s or Home Depot, stop and ask if you can have some of their largest boxes for your toddler to play in. It’s easy to cut out a window and door, and your toddler will have hours of fun using their imagination. Add crayons so they can add a special touch to their fort.

Pro tip – Kiddie pools.

Kiddie pools are great for containing messes both indoors and outdoors. Fill a kiddie pool with water beads, beans, rice, or whatever else you can find in your home. I’ve even used it as a painting area and then just hosed my toddler off when the weather is nice. Easy-peasy.

These are my favorite type of activities outside of the regular coloring and stickers. My toddler gets bored easily, so I have to mix it up every now again. There are so many variations that can be done with just these three, and they are easy enough for me to handle.

Categories
Crafts with Kids Family Making Memories

How to Carve your Halloween Pumpkin without the Mess

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

They’re already at the farmer’s markets and in the grocery stores, and if you have kids, it’s probably soon to be on your agenda to carve your Halloween pumpkin. Carving pumpkins is a favorite Halloween activity for all ages, but it’s not always the activity we’re ready for. It may not occur to you until you are elbow-deep in pumpkin innards what a mess this tradition is. How to carve your Halloween pumpkin without the mess can happen, but these tips will help:

Plan before you carve.

Take a moment to plan before you carve your Halloween pumpkin. Before you reach for the carving knife, think about what kind of design you want to achieve. What you plan to carve can make a considerable difference in the time you should set aside for this activity. If you are going for a traditional jack-o-lantern, you won’t need nearly as much time as a complicated design that involves a printed template. Draw or trace your design onto your pumpkin.

 

Prepare the carving station.

Where are you going to carve your Halloween pumpkin masterpiece? Outdoors is ideal, because pumpkin carving can get messy. If you don’t have access to a porch or driveway, and especially if it’s cold outside, carving your pumpkin indoors is perfectly fine. You’ll just want to aim for an area of the home that is easy to clean, like the kitchen. A kiddie pool is a great way to contain the mess, but you can always use a tarp, garbage bags, or newspapers to line the surface of your carving space.

Gather your tools.

Pumpkin innards cling to your hands, so don’t wait until you’re elbow deep in pumpkin seeds to start searching for your pumpkin carving knife. Make sure you have everything you need before you start so you can contain the mess to the carving station. What you might want to have handy before you carve your Halloween pumpkin:

  • A wash cloth or bowl of soapy water for cleaning your hands
  • A towel for drying your hands
  • A colander for the pumpkin seeds if you plan to save and roast them
  • A large spoon for each person for scooping innards and scraping the inside of the pumpkin clean
  • Templates, if you’re using them for creating your design
  • Sharpies for drawing a design onto the pumpkin
  • Carving tools

Time it right.

Your carving should be timely in more ways than one. Set aside enough of your day that you’re not carving pumpkins into late hours of the evening with small children. Plan for at least an hour, and account for longer if you have intricate designs or more than one pumpkin to carve. Also, consider how and when you want to display your pumpkins. If you’d like your pumpkins lit on Halloween, don’t plan on carving the first week of October. You’ll have rotting pumpkins on your porch before they can be enjoyed by trick-or-treaters.

Even the messiest activities can be organized. Once you’re done carving, you can toss the garbage bags or rinse the tarp outside. Pumpkins can be placed on the porch and tools can be rinsed in soapy water before they hit the sink. Clean up should only take a few minutes, which will be a relief after your labor of carving. Halloween can be terrifying, but pumpkin carving doesn’t have to be a fright.

MomsGetReal Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients: pumpkin seeds, olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Preheat oven to 325° F
Rinse the pumpkin seeds thoroughly in a colander until all the pumpkin flesh is washed off
Coat the seeds lightly in olive oil and spread onto a cookie sheet
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic
Bake 40-50 minutes until golden brown, stirring twice

Categories
Crafts with Kids

5 Arts And Crafts To Keep Your Kids Busy This Summer

It’s nearly the summer holidays, a time for kids and parents to share some quality bonding time and discover new activities together. Six weeks can be a long time, though, and parents can sometimes be short of ideas on how to keep both themselves and their children entertained for such a lengthy period.

Cinemas can only screen so many summer blockbusters whilst the thrill-a-minute world of theme parks and other activities are few and far between. Holidays abroad can be refreshing whilst a day at the beach can be equally as relaxing.

But the most thrilling thing a child can make use of is their imagination. A summer of arts and crafts not only helps their minds grow and complement their creative confidence, they’re also the perfect way for families to bond together as creative ideas freely flow.

Whether experienced crafters or people just entering the medium, we’ve come up with a list of five arts and crafts activities that will guarantee a great time, entertain and educate all at the same time!

Crafting CD’s and DVDs

Craft CD’s and DVDs are a fantastic family companion for those with a creative outlook. There are a huge range of craft CD’s and DVDs out there for people to create something inspiring with papercraft whilst having fun, whether it’s entering the exciting world of Beatrix Potter or bringing Humphrey’s Corner to life.

Papercrafting kits

Papercrafting is one of the most exciting and creative craft activities around and will keep children occupied for hours while they create their own fantasies and let their imaginations run wild. Papercraft kits from brands such as Hunkydory, Camden Town, Party Paws and many others offer a thrilling way for kids to explore their creative talents with only the finest materials and tools.

Decoupage

As fun as creating something with papercraft is the art of decoupage is another element entirely and can complement creative ideas with a huge range of materials. Combining the right accessories with stylish die cuts is the perfect way to add flair and glamour to new and existing creations. 3D kits are also available for those that really want to push their creative vision.

Embossing

Paper embossing can be a truly magical and inspiring creative activity for children and adults alike. The right eBosser will be able to work with most dies and embossing folders and will be able to cut multiple layers. Eye-catching raised paper patterns and designs can make for incredible birthday cards, invitations or just to make truly stunning pieces of artwork.

Die cutting

Die cutting with paper can produce some seriously creative results and is a fantastic way to create labels, signs, characters and a host of other splendid visual treats. Children can spend their summer creating phenomenal designs with a great range of brilliant die cutting machines on offer. From quilling to borders and more, kids are sure to push their creative boundaries with their own die cutting craft set.

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Crafts with Kids

Keepsake Eggs – Crafts with Older Kids

This project requires prep ahead of time from mom. What you’ll need: ribbons, beads, pearls, sequins, Elmer’s glue and a hot glue gun.  If you have a Dremel tool, it will be helpful in prepping the eggs.

Prep Eggs

To prepare the eggs, you’ll need to empty the contents without breaking the shell.  With the Dremel, you can just drill holes in the top and bottom of the egg, but without a dremel you can use anything sharp – a screw, an ice pick, etc. Gently poke a hole in both the top and the bottom of the egg, then carefully blow the contents out of the egg. You can use a toothpick, skewer, or thin dowel to stir up the yolk so that it will pass through the hole. Try to keep the hole from becoming to large as it will weaken the egg.

Use Elmer’s Glue to Strengthen Egg Wall

Once the egg is emptied, gently rinse out the inside and let it dry, preferably overnight.  Put the shells back in the container for safekeeping.  The next day, squirt a liberal amount of Elmer’s glue inside the egg.  Roll the egg around so that the inside is completely coated with the glue.  This will strengthen the shell.  Once the glue is dry, the kids can jump in and help.

Go Crazy with Creativity

The eggshells must be handled with care.  Even with the glue coating, the shell is still extremely fragile. (Don’t fret if there’s a mishap, though – a lot of times, your hot glue gun will repair the damage well enough that it can be disguised with the ribbons and beads. When decorating the eggs, allow your creativity – and your kids’ – to shine through. Paint the eggs, then take thin strips of ribbon and glue them using a hot glue gun lengthwise onto the egg.  Leave extra at the top to form into a bow if you desire. Add beads, pearls and sequins to decorate to your taste.

Allow the eggs to dry and show them off!

If you have very young helpers who want to be involved but you know the eggs will never survive their hands, get a bag of pastel-colored plastic eggs, glue the two halves together and turn them loose with a glue stick and ribbons (smaller beads and sequins would make choking hazards, so avoid them).

 

Categories
Crafts with Kids

Five Adorable Valentine’s Decorations You Can Make at Home

MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Madyson Grant

Decorating is a blast, especially when you make the decorations at home. Homemade decorations are a fun, festive, and inexpensive way to make the most of special occasions. Here are five do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day decoration ideas that everyone will love.

Crayon Heart Garlands

Garlands made from melted crayons are an easy way to add Valentine’s Day cheer to a home or office. The hearts are made by ironing crayon shavings into wax paper. The wax can be cut into heart shapes of many different sizes once it dries. The hearts are then strung together into a garland with a piece of silk or ribbon. The translucent heart shapes are especially beautiful when sunlight shines through them, and they look best near windows or skylights.

Pink Pillows

Pink throw pillows are a simple sewing project that can add romantic flair to couches and chairs. A good way to find supplies for these pillows is to hunt down pink rags and scraps of fabric around the house. You can also get some plush pink animal fleece fabric for extra softness. The necessary stuffing for the throw pillows can be found in old or unused pillows.

Yarn Messages

Knitting is not the only way to turn yarn into something meaningful. Using wire and yarn, you can spell out words and phrases of love. The first step is to bend a long piece of wire into a word of your choice. Next, tie colored yarn to one end of the wire and wrap it around until it reaches the other end. Tie it again and you have a charming Valentine’s Day decoration.

Handmade Flowers

Instead of visiting a flower shop this Valentine’s Day, decorate your home with flowers made of tissue or felt. Tissue paper flowers are easy to make, and they are a terrific way to involve kids in the fun of decorating. Floral decorations made from felt look as good as real flowers, and they can be reused year after year.

Love Song Candles

The words to a good love song are even more romantic when illuminated by candlelight. To make these Valentine’s Day candle holders, take a page of your favorite hymn or love song and cut a heart shape out of the center. Glue or tape the page to a mason jar and place a candle inside. The glow of the candle will keep the words and notes shining brightly.

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Crafts with Kids

Make Your Own Gift Wrap

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, Valentine’s Day or any other gift-giving moment, you probably spend an extraordinary amount of time searching for and buying (or making) the perfect gift. The perfect gift is then unceremoniously dropped into a nondescript bag and with some tissue paper stuffed around it.

Wouldn’t it be even better if the wrap was as much a part of the gift as what is inside the package? With the price of gift wrap and gift bags, this can be a practical choice, too.

Making your own gift wrap is quick and easy, not to mention a fun project for the kids.  Start with brown packing paper, white meat packing paper, or even paper scraps that would otherwise be tossed out (you can even use leftover wrap inside out so that the white side is showing).  Using stamps, crayons, paints, or markers, turn your kids loose decorating the paper.

For birthday gifts, add a list of all the pertinent things that happened during the year of their birth. For a mother’s day or father’s day gift, include the kids’ handprints. If it’s a Valentine’s gift, put lipstick on everyone and put kisses all over the package. If you would like to prevent lip prints from smudging, you can cover them with clear fingernail polish or lightly spray just the lip print with hairspray.

Did you child make a beautiful fridge-quality piece of art?  Use it for gift wrap! Do you have some beautiful scraps of leftover fabrics?  You guessed it, they can either be glued on as accents or used alone as gift wrap.

Oh—and if you still want to drop the gift into a bag, all of these decorating ideas can be used just as easily on plain brown paper gift bags (with or without handles).

 

 

Categories
Crafts with Kids Frugal Living

Last-Minute Gifts for the Whole Family

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

The best last-minute gifts you can give are gifts from the heart.

Make Your Own Gift Wrap

Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, Valentine’s Day or any other gift-giving moment, homemade giftwrap shows that the gift is from the heart.

Scrapbooking with Kids

Create scrapbook pages with your kids to share with grandparents, aunts and uncles.

Crafts with Kids – Planning a Handmade Year

Veronica Ibarra shares great ideas for keeping the holidays handmade.

Embrace Frugality With a Home Crafted Christmas

Veronica explores more ideas for home crafted holidays.

Crafts with Kids Made Easy with Favorite Art Time Supplies

Veronica provides us with a list of must-have art supplies to keep on hand for your homemade holiday gifts.

Fridge Magnets Make a Frugal but Meaningful Gift

With a few junk-drawer trinkets and some glue, you and your child can work together to make adorable, inexpensive refrigerator magnets as a gift for any occasion.

Crafts for Kids: Hand-Decorated Tees

Start with a t-shirt; add fabric markers and paints … your kids will have a blast making these shirts for everyone in the family!

T-Shirt Pillow

Wanda Morrissey teaches us how to save a favorite t-shirt and turn it into a beloved gift.

Gifts from the Heart: Magnetic Bookmarks

Wanda Morrissey teaches us how to make magnetic bookmarks – a perfect gift any time of year.

Frugal Gifts: Picture Frames

A photo of the kids is one gift that is guaranteed to bring a smile – especially when it is enclosed in a handmade frame the kids can help make.

Make the Day Special with a Coupon Book

This craft is so simple you and your kids won’t even have to make a stop at the craft store first.

Easy to Make Wreaths

Make this fun wreath with your kids – a quick and simple craft for a rainy afternoon. They’re not only easy and fun to make, but they make a fabulous gift, too.

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Crafts with Kids

Scrapbooking with Kids

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

When my son was born, I took hundreds pictures, and I scrapbooked regularly. I have volumes of scrapbooks documenting his infancy and toddler years. Then Anika was born. For a while, I kept up, taking even more pictures of her than I had of Parker. Somewhere around the time she turned 6 months old and Parker turned 3, I stopped having – or making – time for scrapbooking.

Now, I have boxes of pictures, piles of scrapbooking supplies, and empty scrapbooks just waiting to be filled. If anything, though, I’m busier now than I was when I had five young kids making demands. Often, I just want to spend what little free time I have with my kids. The solution: Saturday morning scrapbooking!

The kids are old enough now that they can help me scrapbook. And since I’m not worried about perfection but rather enjoying the moment and making the memory, I’m not even worried how it will turn out. And, with winter weather heading our way, scrapbooking followed by hot chocolate sounds like the right way to spend a few Saturdays.

Not only will your kids enjoy helping you scrapbook, but there are plenty of suitable tasks for your children to be able to help you do – regardless of their ages. Give your preschooler a blank sheet of paper or cardstock, some crayons or markers, and a stamp or two. Let her pour her energy into her creative endeavor; the decorated page can be used as a background for a scrapbooking page – a much more original page than what you’d find at the craft store. School age kids can help by cutting out picture mattes and organizing pictures. They are also experts with glue sticks (acid-free, of course).

If you have older kids and teens (who don’t just roll their eyes and leave when you suggest scrapbooking), let them have creative control over a page or two – the results will surprise you, and the completed page itself becomes a memento. You may find that the project inspires your kids to be scrapbookers, and you’re definitely fostering the creative side of your kids. Before you clean up, use an ink pad or washable paint and grab your kids’ handprints –leave the prints to dry and they’ll be ready for the next scrapbook session.