Monday, August 26, 2013

Sticky Easel

I love contact paper! You can so so many different things with contact paper. Recently we had the parents of the kids in my infant class make slides for the light box during parent night, Busy has used contact paper to make sun catchers and we have even used it in a pinch to collect small paper pieces, sequins and glitter off the floor. Today we used contact paper again for a great new project. I got this idea from It's really quite simple yet so open ended!

1. Contact paper (duh)
2. Yarn or any materials that will stick to the paper (twigs, leaves, tissue paper) 
3. Tape (I always use blue painters tape because it comes off easily and doesn't ruin any surfaces) 
4. And an easel (or a wall, cabinet, window or other flat surface) 

What to do:
1. Cut a piece of contact paper to whatever size works for your space. 
2. Peel off the backing and tape it into place sticky side out. 
3. You can either put out pre-cut or pre-gathered materials or have the kids help gather materials and set them out with the contact paper. 
4. I left this completely open ended with Busy! She started sticking the yarn and wood chips to the paper and created a masterpiece. For younger ones you can model how to stick pieces on the paper. 

The Beans isn't quite tall enough to reach the easel with out a stool so I taped his piece of paper on the door window.

Busy said this is "the crew rowing their boats on the Ohio River. The small white pieces are their oars! And the wood chips are speed boats. (We saw this last week on our way to school and she apparently decided to recreate the image :) I love her creativity! 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

1 Week...and counting.

What?!?! That can't be right! Only one more week left of summer break?! As with a lot of things on life, it's bitter sweet. I love being able to wake up whenever, go to the zoo/pool/science center/aquarium/park/Henry's Ark whenever, and just be footloose and fancy free with my kids. But I also like a good schedule and routine. So starting tomorrow morning we are putting into play our new morning schedule. 

We cleaned out the shelves by the front door and created a morning station. There is a place for lunch boxes and school bags, school shoes and morning chart. A while back I posted a toddler chore chart. Today I had Busy help me make two new morning charts, one for her and one for the Beans. Yes, I said the Beans. Yes, he is only 20 months old. And yes, I think/know he can do it too :) This is what the station looks like right now (I'm sure I will be tweaking it over the next week or so): 

Busy insisted we label the shelves with a "Morning Stations" sign and put up her most recent masterpiece, an oil pastel on canvas titled 'The Round Rainbow.' :)

This is what their morning charts look like:
The Beans'

When they have completed each item, they can flip the card to close that number revealing a check mark and 'done.' 
Busy is supposed to make her bed before she comes downstairs, brush her teeth after breakfast and get dressed after brushing her teeth. The Beans gets a little help brushing his teeth after breakfast and getting dressed then has to get his lovey and pacifier for his school bag - in case of emergency ;) My plan is to check the charts before walking out the door and those who have all three checks (meaning they completed their tasks and closed the 'door') get a stamp on their hand. I know, I know. A stamp? Yes. A stamp. Jelly Beans and stamps work wonders. But I'm not going to send them out to their teachers all sugared up...unless it's absolutely necessary ;)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rainy Day Fun with Chalk

When life hands you rain, you make rainbows! That was what we did on this rainy morning using some rain puddles and sidewalk chalk. We were playing in the puddles and found a small one that had a bit of a grease drip that caused a slight rainbow. Busy was of course asking how the rainbow was made and wondered if we could make our own. I was fresh out of food coloring, so I grabbed the sidewalk chalk, a few small bowls and a fork.

What to do:
1. Crush the chalk in the bowls using the fork
2. let the kids grab pinches of crushed chalk and put them in the water.
Busy and the Beans both liked creating "potions" and mixing colors.

Another Option:
After about 15 minutes I had to crush more chalk, but decided to do it a little differently.
1. Instead of crushing the chalk in small bowls with a fork, I broke the chalk sticks into fourths or thirds.
2. Put the pieces in the puddle and crush them by standing on them.
3. The chalk and water make a paste which was really great to play with. You can mix colors or "paint" with the paste.
Crushed chalk in bowls

*Note: After the puddles dry up, there is a slight chalk residue left on the sidewalk, but after the next big rain it had all washed away*

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Buried Beads - A Matching Game

Everyone needs a 'rice bowl'. We have had ours for literally years now and I always fine new things to do with it. All you need is a closable Tupperware container filled with rice. 

I recently saw another idea at The picture showed dried corn in a container with scrabble letter tiles buried in the corn. They also had a mat with words, so you had to match the letters on the tiles to the letters on the mat. 

I figured I could tweak the ideas little and make the same thing using what I already had at home. So instead of corn, I used our rice bowl and instead if Scrabble tiles, I used clear glass gems (Hobby Lobby). 1. I used a Sharpie marker to write on the glass gems and separated them into 3 bags - letters, numbers & names.  2. For the mats (I made 3 separate ones) I wrote the alphabet on one, math equations on another and our family names on the third. *i am also making the Beans a number mat with just numbers, not math equations. 3.i them picked a bag and buried the gems in the rice and put out the matching mat. 4. Busy uncovered the letters and placed them on the matching letter on the mat. When finished you can put the gems and the mat back in the bags and choose another bag! 

*You may want to put the rice bowl on a cookie sheet to contain the spilled rice*

I told you; everyone needs a rice bowl :)

Friday, August 2, 2013

We Made a Light Box!

So I'm not sure if you have ever looked into buying a light table, but let me tell you...they are so not cheap (@$300!) And let's be honest, I have nowhere to put an extra table. So of course I looked to Pinterest to solve my problem. I searched for DIY light tables and ran across a VERY easy light box idea from 

Busy is watching a Preschool Company Sight Words movie and making the words with the plastic letters on the light box. 

This is what you need: 
1. A box. I used a shallow one from Target and tried to find one that was frosted and not completely transparent. The light is really bright. 
2. An LED camping light. I got mine from amazon. 
3. Batteries for the light
4. Materials to use with the light box. 

What to do:
All you have to do once you put the batteries in the light is put the light in the box and explore away! We used plastic letters on our light box, and I plan to have the kids help me make some other materials using contact paper. Posts to come :) 

Now, how easy is that?! And with a box, we can move it anywhere or take it with us. And you can even use the box as storage for light box materials. And it only cost me about $12!! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cotton Ball Painting

I'm writing this post from my phone, so if it comes out all wonkey, I apologize. 

I got this idea at I had a 50% coupon at Hobby Lobby so I picked up a double pack of 8x10 canvases although you could use large white craft paper to save money. I just wanted it on canvas so I could hang it on the wall. 

What you need:
White craft paper or canvas
Cotton balls

What to do:
1. Dip the cotton ball in the paint
2. Drop or throw the colored cotton ball onto the paper. 
3. Repeat with all colors. 
We left the cotton balls on the paper until she was finished with the first layer. 
4. Take the cotton balls off then do another layer, mixing colors to make new ones. 
I told Busy to try to drop the new cotton balls on the original spots to try and make new colors. (For example; Yellow dropped on red will make orange)

Once finished, take all the cotton balls off, let it dry and hang it up in your art gallery!