Friday, January 29, 2010

15 Minutes : Make It : Snail Valentines

image via zakkalife

I think these will be perfect for my 5-year-old to create and give away. Find the free printable template at ZakkaLife.

More printable valentines here and here.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

1 Hour : Make It : Valentines

image via olliegraphic

I like the printable valentines that we can find on the internet these days. A friend showed me this one, available to customize and purchase at the Etsy shop, Olliegraphic. You can make a girl or boy, then choose hair, eyes, skin color, saying, etc. Then (after paying), you just print out as many as you want. Love it.

I'm looking around for more printable Valentines and I'll post my favorites over the next couple weeks. Let me know if you find great one!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

15 Minutes : Play It : Bubbles

image via psychologytoday.

My kids--even the school-age ones--love blowing, catching, stomping, and clapping bubbles. I don't know what happens when you blow bubbles on a cold winter day, but recommends trying it.

As for the random bubble questions that are bound to be posed, Bubblesphere provides more information about bubbles than I ever needed to know--and possibly enough facts for my curious kindergartener. For instance: What is the biggest bubble ever made? Why do bubbles pop? What is the best bubble solution?

We're going to be bubble experts after this activity.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

15 Minutes : Play It : ABC Puzzles

I have both of these puzzles sitting in my Amazon shopping cart. I can't decide which I'll get for my son's third birthday. I like the Alphapatterns puzzle (above) because each letter is its own piece; but I also like the gorgeous pictures on the Crocodile Creek ABC puzzle (below). Would it be too boring to get both? He loves puzzles, we're working on ABCs, they're both well-made puzzles that will last I'm just looking for reasons to make it a puzzle birthday.
Alphapatterns available cheap here, and also at Bambino Mountain.
Crocodile Creek available at Amazon.

images via here and here


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1 Hour : Make It : Write a Letter

image via here

January 8th through 14th is Universal Letter Writing Week. Use this as an opportunity to help your kids learn the art of a handwritten note. Create a letter writing station with notecards, pens, crayons, markers, envelopes etc., and let them create handmade thank you notes for friends and family. It's the perfect time to thank others for holiday gifts or just write a quick note to say thanks.


Monday, January 11, 2010

15 Minutes : Make It : Snowmen on Sticks

image via

We like to make these seasonal snowmen for snack-times. Healthy and fun: that works for me. (I will not be giving a skewer to my almost-three-year-old; instead, I will arrange his snack on his plate. Still fun, yet no potential for danger in the hands of that little tornado.)

Find the easy instructions here, at


Friday, January 8, 2010

15 Minutes : Know It : Bentley's Snowflakes

The above image was taken by Wilson Bentley, the first person to photograph a snowflake. His first successful photo was taken in 1885, and by the time of his death in 1931, he had taken over 5ooo photographs of snowflakes. You can see some of that collection in the book, Snowflakes in Photographs. Or, examine them closely by visiting

Interesting facts about snowflakes:
*Snowflakes always have six sides.

*The largest snowflake on record fell in Montana in 1887; it measured 15 inches in diameter and 8 inches thick.

*A blizzard occurs when you can't see more than 1/4 mile; the winds are at least 35 mph; and the storm lasts at least 3 hours. If any of these conditions are not present, it is only a snowstorm.

*Stampede Pass in Washington state receives the most snow in the USA: an average of 430 inches annually.

*A snowflake falls at an average speed of 3 mph.
Facts via suite101 and here.

Want more information about snowflakes or their photographer?
*Read the Caldecott Award-winning book about Wilson Bentley, aptly entitled, Snowflake Bentley.
*Learn more about Wilson Bentley here: Highlights Gallery of Bentley's Snowflakes


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

15 Minutes : Read It : Snowflake Bentley

image via
We discovered Snowflake Bentley when we were looking for a Caldecott non-fiction book. It was a surprising instant winner with my kids. The book tells the story of Wilson Bentley, a young man who lived in snowy New England during the late 1800s. He became fascinated with both snow and photography, and he experimented for years to capture pictures of snowflakes Bentley overcame failure, teasing, and many hours of working in the cold to create a collection of amazing, detailed photographs. Besides being so interesting, the woodcut illustrations in this book are simultaneously stunning and downright homey.

Find a copy at Barnes & Noble.


Monday, January 4, 2010

15 Minutes : Make It : Paper Snowflakes

image via Martha Stewart Kids winter 2002

So Simple. So Fun.
Makes for a great activity for those snowy and cold days.