Tuesday, April 28, 2009

giant bubbles

Kids are fascinated by giant bubbles! With enough supplies, they also make great fun for a party, as long as the day is not too windy. Little Soren here almost got gobbled up and carried away by the above bubble -- but he doesn't look too concerned, as he was hypnotized by a bubble that had floated some distance away.

You'll need:
-- a few large bubble wands or butterfly nets (I found ours at Dollar General). The butterfly nets actually work better than commercial plastic wands.
-- water
-- dish soap (like liquid Dawn)
-- Karo corn syrup (I used "light corn syrup" because it was what I had)


6 parts water
2 parts dish soap
3/4 part corn syrup

Let sit, uncovered, overnight. In fact, letting it sit for a couple of days makes it work even better. Ours sat for 2 nights and made awesome bubbles! (Which is good, because you don't want your kids to get frustrated!)
Butterfly nets make great bubble wands because the netting part traps bubble solution. Cut out the middle of your butterfly net, leaving a rim of net about 2.5 -3 " wide around the wand.

-- A "bubble cone": roll up a piece of paper into a cone shape, and trim the larger end so it's even. Dip into bubble solution (let sit 30 sec the first time), and then blow into the smaller end. The layers of paper trap bubble solution, so you get some really big bubbles!

-- If you're having a playgroup or a party, it's easy to get enough supplies for everyone....you can either buy a bunch of butterfly nets (cut out the centers) and use a couple of pans of solution, or raid your local Dollar Store or Dollar General for cheap supplies. We found these long, awesome bubble wands that looked like swords (at Dollar General); they came in different colors, too. They blew good bubbles, but the bubbles weren't as large and easy to make as the ones we made ourselves (not to boast :) -- it was still good fun for a dollar. You can also buy various sizes of wands, bubble machines, battery-powered bubble blowers -- all kinds of fun for parties -- BUT you could just make some homemade solution and have good, clean, cheap fun, too.

Alternate recipe with glycerine:

-- 4 1/2 cups water; 1/2 cup liquid dish soap; 4 tablespoons glycerine (found at most pharmacies and drug stores -- you might have to ask). We didn't try this, just because we had corn syrup at home, but I hear it works well.
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coffee filter butterfly

You'll need:

-- 6 - 7 coffee filters, stacked
-- a clothespin
--a pipe cleaner
-- a few watercolor paints

1. Let your child paint the watercolors all over the coffee filters (oh, put down some newspaper first). The bottom layers of the filters will catch most of the paint and keep it from soaking through.

2. Peel off the top 3 or so coffee filters (discard the rest). Scrunch the filters into the top of the clothespin, then fan them out a bit to make "wings."

3. Wind the pipe cleaner around the top of the clothespin (for antennae) as shown below:

4. Draw a face on the butterfly; or, if your child is old enough, let him or her draw the face. These are cute enough to be a simple Mother's Day gift from the child -- maybe to an aunt or grandparent?
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Friendly Easter-Egg Snake


Do you have more plastic Easter eggs lying around than you can use? We do. Somehow, we collected dozens from the various egg hunts we've gone on in the past 2 weeks!

So we made this snake, which we discovered at Preschool Rock.

Here's how you make it:

1. Gather 2 whole plastic Easter eggs, plus 15-20 Easter egg bottoms.

2. Drill a small hole in the bottom of each egg half (large enough for yarn to pass through). I know you're thinking, DRILL?, but this took less than 5 minutes.

3. Cut a generous length of yarn and tie a BIG knot at one end. Have your child begin stringing the eggs: first a whole egg (we put a few kibbles of cat food inside to make it rattle -- classy!); then all of the egg halves, and then the last whole egg. Once the "snake" is on the yarn, tie it off again to make the tongue.

(Helpful hint: My daughter found it a little difficult to string the eggs -- and no, not just because her extreme case of bed-head was getting in the way, but because our yarn was floppy and the holes were small. I put a little tape on the very end of the yarn and snipped it to a point. Voila! -- more like a needle and very easy to get through the hole. This made the craft much more enjoyable for my daughter.)

4. Have your child draw a face on the snake. And there you have... a fun little slithery snake that you can drag all over the floor and play with.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Okay Moms, get cracking!!!


I saw this online -- it's from a Canadian family magazine. Now, maybe those Canadians have a lot of spare time over their long winters, but.....I thought this was insane. In a cheerful and well-intentioned way, but...clearly insane. Can you imagine making one of these for your kids' lunch??? Painstakingly slicing each bento radish to create the perfect miniscule hamburger? Your poor kid would get so beat up on the playground.....

I admire the mom who would do this, and yet I fear her.
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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Making a Painted Stick Garden

When I saw this painted stick garden on the blog Sweet Thing(s),

I knew we had to make our own.

Isn't hers beautiful? I especially love the black-and-white striped one. Her children are older than mine, and she primed the sticks with primer first, so she took her stick garden project a bit more seriously than we did. But we still had fun with ours, and it does look pretty cool and artsy! We finished three sticks in an afternoon, and if Nora asks to add more to the garden, we will.

You'll need:

-- driftwood or just dry, fallen tree branches
-- paint and brushes, smocks, etc.
-- spray shellac if you have used washable paint (to make the finished sticks waterproof)

1. Gather a few sticks -- let your child choose sticks with shapes that appeal to her

2. Cover a surface with newspaper, gather your paints and smocks, and paint the sticks. For younger children who may have trouble filling in a whole stick, Sarah recommends painting the stick a base color first, letting that dry, and then letting the child paint over it. You can see from her sticks that she and her kids applied a few coats of paint that they let dry, and then added to -- the sticks have distinct stripes and color areas. They look really nice that way. (Nora wanted to paint hers all at once and she doesn't like to clean the brush between paint colors, so we ended up with a couple of lavender-blue-reddish sticks...they had more of that "painted by a three year old" look, which was fine by me!) Nora wanted to add some feathers, so we did.

3. Allow sticks to dry. Since we used washable paint, I later sprayed the sticks with a light coating of shellac so that the paint wouldn't melt off when it rained.

4. "Plant" your garden! We planted our sticks in the decorative rock by the deck.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Paper Plate Easter Bunny

Thank you, Kit at www.amazingmoms.com!

Paper Plate Easter Bunnies

You'll Need:
1 or 2 white paper plates
white or pink construction paper
google eyes
3 pink pipe cleaners
hole punch
cotton balls (optional)
black or pink marker
white glue, glue stick or glue dots

Cut two white bunny ears from the construction paper and smaller pink ovals for the inside ear. Have child glue the pink oval inside the ear. Staple the ears to the top edge of your plate from behind.

Have child glue on the eyes and draw a triangle nose. Punch 3 holes on either side of nose. Cut the pipe cleaners in half (preschoolers can do this with safety scissors) and tie into the holes for whiskers. Have child draw on a mouth with marker. (Optional: Have child attach two or three cotton balls to the back of the bunny to fashion a tail.) Children make want to add a hair bow or bow tie to dress up their bunny!


-- Surround the edges of the plate with cotton balls.
-- Cut the second paper plate in half and staple it to the bunny to create a pocket in the back. Fill the pocket with Easter grass and fill with treats or cards.

Kit's Tips:

-- I find that chenille stems are difficult to secured with white glue,
I used a hole punch to insert the whiskers instead.
-- Also, in my experience, young children find it frustrating to attach cotton with glue; it gets pretty sticky. I usually skip the cotton ball step.