Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Cinco de Mayo is in just 6 days. I love these simple crafts from Kaboose for mini sombreros and maracas.
Make your own shakable maracas to celebrate Cinco de Mayo! Use your imagination to create colorful and festive maracas to enjoy with your friends.
What you'll need:
2 Styrofoam or paper cups
Tan, red and white acrylic paint
Decorative accents such as pom-poms and buttons
Hot glue gun
How to make it:
1. Paint cups with tan paint and let dry.
2. Decorate cups by painting on swirling or curvy lines. We used red paint for ours. You can also paint zig-zags. We used white for ours. Paint the bottom of each cup red.
3. Place a handful of dried beans into one of the cups.
4. Put a layer of hot glue onto the rim of the cup with the beans in it before quickly placing the other cup on top of it, lining up the rims of both cups. Allow to dry completely.
5. Finish any decorating you would like, such as adding pom-poms around the center (to hide the glue line). We also used mini pom-poms to dot the peaks of the zig-zags.
6. Once your glue is completely dry, shake your maraca!
-Smaller children may enjoy using stickers instead of trying to manipulate pom-poms and buttons. Older kids may like to get even more intricate by painting on more detailed and thinner lines.
-If you don't have any dried beans, use a few pennies instead.
-Our color suggestions are just that, suggestions. Use whatever colors you like to make this project your own!
These adorable little sombreros make fun table decorations for your Cinco de Mayo celebration! Make one or several for south of the border fun.
What you'll need:
Styrofoam or paper cup
Mini paper plate
1" wide strip of brown felt
1/4" wide strip of red felt
1/4" wide strip of orange felt
Acrylic paint in red and sunflower (tan/yellow)
Medium pom-poms in red, green, yellow, orange, white and brown
Hot glue gun
How to make it:
1. Paint paper plate and Styrofoam cup with sunflower paint. Let dry and repeat. Paint the outer edge of the plate rim red. Let dry completely.
2. Hot glue the Styrofoam cup to the center of the paper plate to form your hat.
3. Glue the brown felt around the bottom of the Styrofoam cup (the edge that is touching the plate) to make the hat band. Glue the red and orange felt over the brown to create stripes.
4. Glue the pom-poms to the red edge of the paper plate, alternating colors as you go (green, white, red, yellow, brown, orange, green, white, etc.).
-If doing this craft in a group or classroom setting, break into two parts: painting one day, doing the remainder of the craft the next.
-If you don't have a color paint similar to tan or "sunflower" on hand, make your own by mixing a little brown into some yellow paint until it is the color you desire.
-Use any color of pom-pom you like. If you don't have all the colors listed here, simply use what you have on hand.
Monday, April 27, 2009
We're going to make snickerdoodles. My kids like to help with measuring, mixing, and in this case, rolling the balls in the cinnamon and sugar.
1 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups flour
Beat together first four ingredients. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, then blend into wet mixture. Set aside. In small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon. Form small balls with the cookie dough and roll each in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Taste: Make snacktime a taste-testing experience with a variety of foods; encourage your child to put the salty, sweet, and tart foods in different groups before tasting them.
Touch: We love making a mystery bag with different objects like small toys, coins, shells, etc. The game is simple: without looking, figure out what item you are touching, and then pull it out to see if you're right.
Sound: Try the silence game: once silence is signalled, challenge your child to remain quiet until he hears you whisper his name. He'll have to listen very carefully, and he may even learn a little self-discipline along the way.
Sight: Gather paint swatches and help your child arrange them from darkest to lightest color; or, for a harder challenge, arrange them from darkest to lightest hue.
Smell: Provide several bottles containing very different smells and ask which ones he can identify, which he likes, and which he dislikes. (Examples: lotion, lemon juice, vanilla, flavor extracts, spices, herbs.)
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
- Recycle, recycle, recycle! The city bins are a lot cheaper than your trash bin and you'll be amazed at how much you contribute each week.
- Use Environmentally-friendly cleaners. They're not only better for the environment but much better for your family's health. We love Method products and Costco's Environmentally-friendly laundry detergent.
- Plant a garden! We're still working on setting ours up but really looking forward to it.
- Start a compost. Free fertilizer for your garden and a great way to get rid of kitchen scraps.
- Donate old clothing and unwanted items to local charity groups. Your junk could easily be another one's treasure.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The perfect weather today encouraged us to take a quick walk around the block. We like to take a small pail to collect treasures such as pinecones, rocks, sticks, leaves, etc. We also try to name things around us--tulips, daffodils, dandelions, apple trees, magpies, robins. I often ask the children questions such as:
What sounds do you hear?
What flower colors do you see?
What does the bark of that tree feel like?
What is your favorite bird?
Do those blossoms have a scent?
Even these little conversations teach them about beauty and variety in their world. I smile when I hear my four-year-old point out quail, or my six-year-old notice hyacinth.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Because children love playing in water anyway, a simple sink and float activity is ideal for teaching and recording the prediction process. Collect many items around your house: small toys, coins, a sponge, different types of balls, etc. Together with your child, create a simple chart to record the results of the experiment. Then, ask your child to predict whether each item will sink or float in a small tub of water. After he tests his prediction and records the answer, try the same test in a larger container of water. What things still sink or float? What things have a changed result?
For older children, you can discuss the two main factors that influence sinking or floating: density and buoyancy. Here is a great explanation of buoyancy. Here is a basic definition of density.
Children's literature about sinking and floating:
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Next week (April 20-26) marks the annual TV-Turn Off Week. According to a study published by the Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle in April of 2004 for each hour of t.v. a child watches there is a 10% increase in the risk of attention deficit disorder (ADD). We may all be guilty of using the television a little too often once in a while but for next week our family is committed to keeping the TV OFF. Will you join us?