March 29, 2006

Quickie Projects

Kids Crafts

Sometimes you just need a quick little project to pull out of your hat and keep your child busy. I've done a little research and come up with a few very simple ideas that you can keep handy to pull up at a moment's notice. Either print this blog entry out or just bookmark it. Either way, you will have a quick and easy way of having an answer to that age old weary query, "Mom, I'm bored, what should I do?"

I'll be posting little Quickie Project lists from time to time, so don't forget to check back here.

What you need:

  • Hole punch
  • Old birthday or holiday cards
  • Crochet thread or scrap yarn
What to do:
  1. Cut a picture from the cover of a greeting card the size of a bookmark.
  2. Punch a hole in the bottom center of the cut out picture.
  3. Cut several lengths of thread or yarn and make a tassel through the hole in the bottom of the card.
Peanut Pals
What you need:
  • Some peanuts still in the shell
  • Fine point markers
  • Scraps of yarn
  • Pipe cleaners
  • water paints
  • glue, scissors
What to do:
  1. Color the shells with water paints and let dry.
  2. Glue some small scraps of yarn on the top of the thinnest end of the peanuts for hair.
  3. With markers, draw a face on the peanuts head.
  4. Cut the pipe cleaner into small pieces for arms and legs.
  5. Glue the arms and legs unto the peanuts and let them dry completely. Shape the arms and legs any way you like.
Rainy Day Puzzles
What you'll need:
  • Old animal or flower greeting cards
  • Glue
  • Decoupage Glaze
  • Scissors
  • Envelope
What to do:
  1. Glue the front and back of the greeting cards together.
  2. Cover the front and back with decoupage glaze, let dry.
  3. When completely dry, cut the cards into several pieces. You now have puzzles.
  4. Use the envelope to store the pieces for the next rainy day.

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March 15, 2006

Mixed Up Beach Towel

Kids Crafts

I know it's not quite time for the beach, but you can never start too early for getting ready! Here's a really fun project to do with your child while you are waiting for the weather to get warmer. Make your own fun and crazy beach towel.

What you'll need:

  • Adult permission
  • 1 White beach towel
  • Acrylic paints (pick colors you like)
  • Craft sponges: In a variety of shapes (animals, flowers, hearts, stars, whichever you like
  • Old plastic fly swatter
  • Old newspapers (for the mess).
What to do:
  1. Cover the work area or floor with newspapers
  2. Place your towel completely opened onto the newspaper. If you are using a new towel, be sure to wash it first so it won't be stiff.
  3. Dip your sponges into the paint (not too much paint) and sponge them onto your towel in different places.
  4. Dip the fly swatter into the paint and pat it on some newspaper to clear the paint out of the holes. Pat the fly swatter onto the areas of your towel that do not have a shape on them.
  5. If you are allowed, you may place your hand and feet prints on the towel too.
  6. Let it dry completely.
  7. Help clean up the mess.
  8. Ask your Mom if she would sew a pocket on one end of the towel by folding it over and stitching up the sides and then two or three seams evenly spaced across. That's so you can put all your beach goodies somewhere safe!
This is a really fun (and messy) project, but if you have the room, the patience and the time to do it with your child, you will end up having as much fun as he or she will. And, you'll end up with a beautiful and useful piece of art! Move over Picaso!

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March 14, 2006

Irish Carnations

From our friends at Kid Crafts magazine.

Keeping with the St. Patrick's Day theme, here's another fun and creative way to make something with your kids for the green holiday. This is a really good experiment for children to learn about how plants absorb nutrients and food. Of course, you can make the carnations just about any color you want, but making them "Irish" carnations gives you a good excuse to play with flowers in the off season.

What you'll need:

  • White carnations (avoid the fancy ones)
  • Green food color
  • Water
  • Teaspoon sugar
  • Scissors
  • Container (to hold flowers)
What to do:
  1. Create the dye solution. Combine one ounce of food coloring with one pint of warm water and one teaspoon of sugar. Mix well and make sure the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Cut the tip of each carnation stem with the scissors. Having a fresh cut will ensure that the carnation can absorb the water.
  3. Put the fresh cut stems into the dye solution so that is covers about three inches of the stem.
  4. Set the carnations up out of the way so they won't be knocked down and wait for them to change color. It may take up to 24 hours for the colors to become vivid.
What Happened?
The age of your child or group of children will determine how much you can discuss this experiment with them. Some kids will just be happy and excited to see the colors change. Others will want to know exactly how it happened.

I'm sure you already know how it works, but just in case, here's the scoop. Most plants absorb or "drink" water and nutrients from the ground through their roots. The water travels up the stem of the plant into the leaves and flowers. The plant uses the water and nutrients to make food.

Obviously, when a flower is cut it no longer has it's roots. It still absorbs water through it's stem, however. When you put the food coloring into the water, the flower "drinks" up the dye along with the water, which changes the color of the carnation's flowers. By the way, RIT dye works really well to give a more brilliant color than food coloring.

Do you like this craft? Try out these Little Kid Crafts Books. I've found wonderful ideas and helpful solutions for those rainy days and long weekends. I highly recommend it! Click the books below to find out more.

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March 13, 2006

Green on Green

Kids Crafts

Since St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, I thought I'd post a few appropriate crafts over the next few days to celebrate the green holiday. This craft is great fun for the little kids and a creative pleasure for the bigger kids.

What you need:

  • Green Construction Paper
  • Green crayons or you can use oil pastels
  • White tempera paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Water and a few water containers
  • Cover a work area with plastic or newspaper
  • Paint shirts or smocks for the little ones is a good idea
What to do:
  1. Draw a picture or any kind of design on green construction paper using green crayon -- a bit tricky because its sometimes hard to see what it is you are drawing. If you can't draw an image with detail, just do some simple and fun designs.
  2. Press hard with the crayon to make it nice and thick.
  3. After your picture is drawn, brush some white tempera paint lightlty over the paper.
  4. Voila! It's magic... now you'll see cool lines appearing out of nowhere!
  5. Have the child sign the picture and then display it.
This fun craft comes from my friends at Free Kid Crafts

Happy St. Patty's Day!

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March 10, 2006

Keeping Little Kids Busy

Kids Crafts

I Know How To Keep Little Kids Busy

Anyone who has young children knows that the single most difficult challenge is how to keep them entertained.

It's the very thing that can make the difference between a happy child who is enjoyable to be around and a child who is constantly looking for trouble.

But, this simple objective seems to be much easier said than done.

If you are unable to keep your child entertained, you're likely to find that they have colored their bedroom walls, stuck a peanut butter sandwich into the VCR, or cut their own bangs when you weren't looking.

For some, entertaining their child means parking them in front of the T.V. to watch Sesame Street. Others haul their child to class after class, at great expense or spend hours each day at the park endlessly pushing a swing.

I've personally discovered that there is an easy way to keep young children entertained.

Not only does it keep them entertained, but it accomplishes a variety of other things as well:

- Builds positive self image
- Encourages self-discipline
- Rewards hard work and diligence
- Promotes eye-hand coordination
- Cultivates a love of learning
- Fosters cooperation with others
- Encourages their imagination

Are you ready for the magic bullet?

Here it is: Do crafts with your child!

I know what you're saying -- That's all well and good for kids. As parents, we want the best for our children and will do whatever it takes to give them the best life we can, but do we have to do kid crafts?!?

Okay, that's what I used to think. Doing kid crafts, especially toddlers and preschoolers seemed like such a pain in the neck. I used to think that it was too messy, hard to organize, and really not worth the effort until they got a little older. Then a friend of mine got me to try it a couple of times and I found out that doing these types of activities really made my job as a parent soooo much easier!

~ The kids argued less among themselves and with me
~ Discipline became easier and less necessary
~ They played together better, even developed their own little games
~ I didn't have to constantly entertain them anymore
~ My oldest started helping me more with the younger ones and even wanted to help in the housework
~ They all became easier to handle when we went out

You get the picture. The point is that kid crafts really made a big difference in our daily lives! Now we do a project of some kind nearly every day and everyone is happier!

The only problem is finding age-appropriate crafts.

I searched through a ton of free websites and bought a few child crafting books, only to be disappointed. Most of the resources I found were just too old for my children.

That's when I came across "Little Kid Crafts For All Seasons," and I absolutely love it!

Not only is this craft book full of unique ideas, the author, Chris Yates, has even put in a lot of extra ideas to make each craft more or less challenging, depending on the skills of your child.

This is more than just a kid's crafting book, it's really a guide on how to craft with your child, create learning opportunities, and create your own projects to do with your child as they grow.

Chris really wants you to get the most mileage out of every craft project she writes about.

I guess you can tell that I like Little Kid Crafts For All Seasons - actually I think it's one of the best books on the market for crafting with younger children. That's why I feel so comfortable recommending it to you.

The best part about this book is that you can gain instant access to it. It's the first kid's crafting book that I've ever seen available in an e-book.

If you craft with your toddler or preschooler, or you want to, don't waste your time looking through free web sites. Don't waste your money on craft books that will leave you disappointed.

Check out Little Kid Crafts For All Seasons Now!

Here's to your crafting future!

Oh, and one more thing...

Chris has packaged Little Kid Crafts For All Seasons with Little Kid Paper Plate Crafts -- making it an outstanding value for anyone who crafts with their kids!

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Crafting Tools Glossary

Kids Crafts

Have you ever wondered about some of the tools that crafters use and what they are talking about when speaking crafter-nese? Here's a quick little crafting tools glossary of terms that might clear up some of the confusion.

    Abrasives: family of smoothing tools including, sandpaper, grit paper, steel wool, sand sticks, sand blocks, taping and cording. Abrasives can be dry or wet.
    Adhesives: substance or chemical mixture used to temporarily or permanently bond two surfaces or items

    sharp pointed usually metal tool for hand punching holes or openings

    Bevel: instrument to balance or make centered

    Blending Stump: paper or soft textile stick used to blend pencil colors, chalk, pastels, or charcoal

    Bone: hard wood tool used to score other materials

    Bow Saw: hand held saw with thick blade anchored onto angled metal bridge, rough cutting

    Brad Point Bit: bit used on rounded surfaces for smoother cut or boring.

    Brayer: similar to a rolling pin used to smooth or flatten materials

    Brush: natural or man made bristles gathered and clamp to transport a medium to another medium; sponge, round, flat, stencil, and more

    Burnisher: metal or wood instrument used to smooth, shape, embellish, polish, or transfer one material to another; also referred to as a embossing tool

    metal instruments used in measuring, inside and outside measurements use different calipers

    Chisel: metal tools used to create decorative work in wood or create edges.

    Circular Saw: hand held power tool with round or circle blade, rough to detail cuts

    Clamps: work holding device; C-clamps, bar, pipe, hand-screw, band, web, and specialty

    Coping Saw: hand held saw with thin cutting blade that is anchored across a metal bridge, fine cutting

    Drill: portable tool that can be hand held or placed in a press, used to bore holes, but anything is possible with the variety of bits available today.

    Files: hardened steel with rows of finely spaced cutting teeth for smoothing, trimming and sharpening

    Hammer: hard or soft head with handle to pound smooth or insert one item into another, over 30 varieties for specific tasks. Include the mallet which is a rubber headed tool

    Kiln: like an oven used in ceramic to heat or fire work

    Lathe: tool that allows carving or decoration of wood with a spinning or turning motion while wood is clamped to machine.

    Loom: frame used to weave materials or hold materials in place.

    Miter Box: guide created to give accurate cutting of angle

    Needle: instrument with eye which can be threaded with thin materials, point is sharp or blunted

    Mold: used to cast or shape mediums or materials

    Palette Knife: shaped like a pie cutter, used to transfer medium, smooth medium, or texture medium

    Plane: used to smooth or flatten wood, hand held or power

    Radial Arm Saw: power saw with round blades used where the material is stationary and the saw moves to cut

    Ribs: smooth hand size wood pieces with edges in different degrees of texture used to shape clays or other modeling mediums

    Rifflers: files with very small heads and large hand grips for detail work

    Router: portable power tool with changeable bits for variety of tasks from cutting to edging

    Ruler: also referred to in soft form as a tape, measurements in inches and meters

    Sabre Saw: hand held power tool which only one end of straight blade is attached to saw

    Smoldering Iron: heating tool used to melt metals or transfer metal to a surface

    Square: wood and metal tool used to make correct corners, edges, and cuts

    Staple Gun: hand or power tool that shoots staples or nails into material

    Stylus: metal rounded tip used to create perfect, consistent dots

    Table Saw: Stationary saw with a round blade use where material is moved to cut.

    Tack Cloth: very sticky cloth or fabric used to remove fine particles or dust from wood, metal, ceramic, etc.

    Tjanting: holds wax to use in applying lines of wax to materials as in batik

    Trim Tool: used to smooth or cut materials, wires of different shapes, thickness, and widths are clamped to a hand held handle

    Wheel: table with flat top that rotates or spins
We learn something new everyday, don't we? This glossary is from our friends,

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March 8, 2006

Encourage Your Children

Kids Crafts

By Kirsty Lushmay

The moment you first give a toddler a crayon and a piece of paper, you're giving that child a step up to a world of creativity, learning, entertainment and accomplishment. It's the world of Arts & Crafts. A small phrase for such an important part of a child's development.

Children are interested in Arts & Crafts from an early age. Toddlers love to scribble on pieces of paper with chunky crayons. Later, when they understand not to eat it, playdo is a fascinating medium. They can squish it, use plastic tools on it, blend the colors together, and press out shapes from it. Everything get in a mess - play dough gets mashed into clothes, hair, shoes, the floor...but of course that's part of the fun for pre-schoolers. The messier the better! And what could be messier than paint?

Give a small child a pot of thick paint, scrap paper and a chunky paintbrush, and they're happy. If you can't bear to have paint on everything, take it outdoors. Using playdough and painting materials, kids are learning about form and substance, improving their motor skills and enhancing their imaginations. As they grow, there will be more and more crafts to choose from, and, thanks to the diverse range of crafts for kids, there's something for everyone, whether 2 or 12 years old.

If you join in, you'll be giving your kids happy memories to store away. So, encourage your kids to express themselves with arts and crafts. Never force them - it has to be an enjoyable pursuit. Similarly, don't ever disparage your child's work of art. Don't be discouraged if your child lacks interest - just explore different options. Be imaginative. Do crafts outdoors as well as in. Use different materials or seasonal themes.

In this age of mindless TV watching and video games, the ability to something creative is an amazing skill for a child to have. You'll be so glad you encouraged them.

About the Author: Kirsty Lushmay is a work-from-home mother.


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March 7, 2006

Easy Paper Airplanes

Kids Crafts

Do you ever find yourself right in the middle of making dinner or cleaning out the garage when your precious little one comes to you and says, “I’m bored. What can I do?”

It’s happened to all of us…

And this is coming from the kid that usually has a room full of toys, loads of games, and books galore.

I know because that kid is mine! I may list off several things he could do right off the top of my head and I’d often get a big sigh or a long look with a response such as, “I’ve already done that, Mom!”

Being the busy Mom that I am, I decided one day after just such a conversation with my son, that I would sit down with him and make a paper airplane – just like my Dad did with me when I was that age. Guess what?

I couldn’t remember how to make one!
karatekid paper airplane

So, I hopped on the Internet and did a search on how to make a paper airplane. I came up with LOTS of websites, but none that had clear, step-by-step instructions. Most of the websites were hard to maneuver around in, difficult to find the information I needed, and less than motivating to stay with it. I’m busy! I don’t have time to waste trying to figure out a Web site, let alone a paper airplane!

It was so frustrating!

But now, my interest was peaked. I wanted to remember how to build a paper airplane. The next step for me was to see what I could find out at the Library.

Only to be disappointed again!

Yes, there are books out there about how to make a paper airplane. PLENTY of books. But I found that in a few of the books, the illustrations were unclear and the directions too complicated. Or the book was put together in such a disorderly manner that I closed the covers immediately. Maybe those simple, easy to follow instructions were in that book, but I didn’t have time to try to figure out where!

Okay, then I decided it was time to check out what the bookstore had to offer. Not that I was interested in spending a lot of money, but to see what else was available.

Guess what I found? Of course, more paper airplane books. And some beautiful books, written by best-selling authors who have done extensive testing and flying of their paper airplanes. But some of these books, as nice as they looked, were very expensive, PLUS, some had perforated pages where you could tear out the page, follow the fold marks and presto, you had an instant paper airplane.

But what fun is that?

All the work is done for you. Not that I want to work hard at folding paper airplanes. But I remember how completely awesome it was to watch my Dad transform a simple, plain piece of paper into a cool, paper airplane. It was pure magic! And I was ecstatic.

So, pre-made paper airplanes were out as far as I was concerned.

By this time, I had spent many hours traveling around, looking for the perfect, easy to follow instructions for making simple paper airplanes. And it wasn’t out there.

As I said earlier, my interest was peaked and discovering where to find the perfect paper airplane instructions proved to be a challenge I couldn’t refuse!

That old saying, “If you can’t find it, make it yourself!”, was never truer. My search for the perfect directions for paper airplanes led me back home.

See, I’m a graphic designer by trade, so why not use my skills and put together the perfect book about how to make paper airplanes? And that’s exactly what I did.

I designed my own book that is simple to understand, has 10 really fun and easy to make paper airplane designs in it, and is easily distributed to other friends, family and people like me!

Thus, Fun and Easy Paper Airplanes (That Really do Fly!) was born!

Check out this great ebook and if you are in a big hurry, just click to download free paper airplane instructions.

Happy Flying!

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March 5, 2006

Color Your Name

Kids Crafts

I love all kinds of crafts, but one of my favorite things to work on with kids are crayons, colored pencils, magic markers and paper. Here's a good example of an easy craft project and it ends up being useful too!

Kids usually like crafts with their name involved! Here is a simple and fun way to personalise their backpacks or purses. It will also help them to find it and identify it quickly and easily.

For this Kid Craft you will need the following:
- Card (white or light colored)
- Coloring pencils, pens or crayons

- Hole punch
- Key ring attachment or ribbon

  1. Make an outline
    First you will need to draw an outline of your child's name onto the card (older kids can do this themselves). Make the letters large and chunky to give them plenty of room to color it in.

    Another way to make the outline is use Microsoft Word on your computer (or if you are familiar with Adobe Illustrator - use that program). Choose from suitable Kids Fonts (some good choices are Comic Sans, Arial Black, or Cooper Black ) and type in the name in big letters. Then, if you are using Word, select the name, choose "format" and then "font". Select the "outline" box. This is a fantastic way of making your letters and has a lot of potential for children learning to form letters and numbers.

  2. Get the kids to color in the letters
    Give your crafting kids some coloring pens or crayons and let them color in their names. You can suggest to older kids to create a pattern in each letter. Although I don't always believe in always staying within the lines, it might be a good idea for the little ones to concentrate on their skill at coloring inside the letters.

  3. Cut out the name
    When the kids have finished coloring, have them cut out the name and leave a small border all around. There should also be about an inch before the first letter (this is where you need to punch a hole). You can also write address and contact details on the back of the name.

  4. Laminate
    You can either cold laminate (you can buy laminating sheets from an office supply company or stationery shop) or take the tag to be laminated in a machine. The latter option is more permanent! When the laminating is done, re-punch the hole and use a key ring or ribbon to attach the tag to the purse or backpack.
Gift Tip: Children love to be creative when they have the tools. Why not give your child a Colored Pencil Gift Set? They love all the pretty colors and will enjoy making pictures that you can proudly display.

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Fun stuff for you and your kids!

Kids Crafts

Welcome to the first posting of The KID CRAFTS SPOT! This blog was created to give you the best and most fun crafts to do with your kids, and a place to find ideas on those days when the brain just won't come up with anything else!

Take it from me, BusyMOM - when I got tired of trying to come up with yet ANOTHER idea for a restless kiddo, I just had to find a resource that was easy for me to have ready-to-do activities for my kids.

Yes, there are a lot of craft sites out there for kids, but it seemed like I was spending more time looking for the right sites and less time actually coming up with age-appropriate activities, games, and craft projects that I thought my kiddo would like to do.

Let's face it. Life is busy whether you are a mom or not. And if children are in the picture, well, life is ALWAYS busy! So, my idea was to have a plenitful resource of lots of ideas, easy-to-do projects, games, activities, ideas for parties, and more for kids from Toddlers to Teenagers. Check back in to find the answer to that age-old question, "Mom, I'm bored... what can I do?

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