Photo Find Book: Homemade Goodness

One of my favorite blogs, No Time for Flashcards, recently featured a kid activity based on a series of books both of my boys LOVE: I Spy Books. They used many of the same basics I did but laminated the pages, punched holes, and binded them. I don’t have a laminating machine. But I do have a credit card and Shutterfly account. I used the pictures to make Jake a photobook. You can use sticker letters, foam letters, or write: Can You Find? on a piece of construction paper. This piece will be used with each layout and is the basis of the entire book. I also added a Thomas train in each page for Jake to find throughout the book. Cover page:
First page:
I shot this page first and then removed three to four items each time to be photographed on the “Can You Find” piece of paper:
I love that the book uses Jake’s favorite toys. He woke up from his nap early and caught sight of the pages being made. He was excitedly yelling out what each toy was. Can’t wait to see his reaction at the book…
Sneaking in a nod to my very special soon-to-be 2 year old. Heart him.
Both boys are on a serious dinosaur kick:
I have a lot of photo savvy friends and know that they could do so much more justice to this project. Like, get the white balance right. You could really do SO much with this project. So many possibilities. So fun.
Lots of train love in our house:
Working on one for Ty. Trying to make his more challenging which requires more little trinkets and more planning in the props.

Turkey Crafts

A rainy Sunday + First women’s basketball game of the season = The boys and I were on our own all day = Perfect opportunity for some crafty fun. A few weeks ago, I picked up a craft kit at Michael’s and broke it out this afternoon. The boys LOVED it. It was a simple turkey making kit: paper plate, foam pieces, and you add glue. I made a quick sample for the boys:
Handed each kiddo a full set of supplies:
Washable glue from Lakeshore made this activity entirely possible. Jake was intrigued by the sparkle:

It didn’t take long for both of them to go to town:

Jake was ALLLLLLLL about the glue:

LOOOOOOOOOVED the glue:

Tyson was much more particular about putting his turkey together:

He quickly figured out that dipping some pieces was faster than using the popsicle stick. Smart boy:

Turkey making machine:

I will say that the glue washed off incredibly easy and as much as I feared the clean up and mess…it wasn’t bad at all. More glue. Never enough. Apparently:

Happy boy:

Jake’s finished turkey:

And as he began his second…he decided he was done in true toddler fashion:

Tyson happily took over. One of Ty’s three finished creations:

Ty’s turkey line up:

Our finished flock:


Pine Cone Bird Feeders

The boys and I got out early today in an attempt to make it to the park before the heat. While we were there, we went on a mini treasure hunt and came across a stash of pine cones. I let Tyson pick out two special pine cones and told him we’d make something special when we got home: bird feeders. I wrapped each pine cone with ribbon. Smudged on peanut butter:
And let Ty dip and roll them in bird seed:
Our finished product:

We headed outside and I let him pick where he wanted to hang them. He picked one spot in front our big window in the play room:

And another hanging from the little tree in the very front of our yard:

And then he stood and watched. And watched. And watched:

With his “noculars”:

Super easy project. Tyson LOVED it. Of the many things he has learned at school, they have really fostered a love of nature and animals. He is allowed to “work” the garden and feed/care for the chickens. As a result, he has become such an empathetic little guy when it comes to animals. I couldn’t ask for more.


More Fun With Pasta…

Second batch of dyed pasta. So much more color. Finally got it down. Take one Tupperware of colored pasta:
Six gold bells:
Hide the bells in the pasta. Have kiddo search using tongs. Tyson enjoyed for a good thirty minutes (aka an ETERNITY in toddler time):

I found some really fun cardboard cut out shapes at Michael’s. Tyson asked for the robots and rockets. He enjoyed gluing the pasta shapes onto the robot. As well as coloring it with his crayons. A fun indoor, QUIET activity:

Working really hard. Trying to avoid any glue touch-age on the fingers:

“Mommy, I did it. Ta DAAAA!!”


Rainy Day Fun- Colored Pasta

I came across a Mommy Activity blog that mentioned dying pasta for color sorting and crafty endeavors so I gave it a go today. Ty LOVED it though my first batch of pasta was a dud. I didn’t leave the pasta soaking long enough and made too big of a batch. I figure we’ll use this pasta for future craft projects:
Tyson didn’t seem to mind the dud batch. I gave him cups and tongs for sorting along with two big bowls and a cupcake pan. He played with this off and on all day:
I will be making a trip over to the local teacher resource store to pick up a smaller set of tongs for him but he enjoyed trying to work the big ones (though difficult with the small pasta):

Lesson learned- smaller batches, soak longer…much richer color on the pasta. I will let it dry overnight and the new and improved batch should be ready first thing in the morning:


DIY: Handprint Ornaments and Kaleidoscope Ornaments

Having slacked on holiday decor for Halloween…Easter…Valentine’s Day…(aka. every holiday this year), I thought I’d attempt to redeem myself for Christmas. Today, the boys and I made some easy, fun ornaments. We turned this:
into Kaleidoscope Ornaments:
And Hand Print Ornaments:
I haven’t finished these ones as I can’t decide how to differentiate Jake’s from Ty’s. I also didn’t get any pictures of the process as you can imagine what it means to have a 9 month old’s hands covered in paint…and a 2 1/2 year old’s hands covered in paint.
For the Kaleidoscope Ornaments:
You need contact paper, construction paper or scrapbook paper, and cut out shapes or torn tissue paper. I used some scrapbook punches and made snowflakes and hearts. Cut out circles. Place onto contact paper. Have fun putting cut out shapes on…Ty LOVED it:

All done:
I wasn’t sure how the contact paper would stick if it wasn’t allowed to adhere around the edges of the paper so I cut out the red circles prior to putting shapes on:
Lesson learned: either way works. I used what we had at home; however, glitter would have been a fun addition. Messy, but fun. The tissue paper snow flakes also look prettier when hung up, but I only had green and they were harder for Ty to work with as one touch on the contact paper meant it was there to stay- where as the thicker card stock shapes could be removed and repositioned.
To finish, cover with a second sheet of contact paper. Cut out circles. I punched out squares for the top, glued them together with a ribbon folded in half, and stapled:


Ty’s Christmas Art

Almost every week at toddler class there is a table set up with an arts and crafts project for the kids. Ty usually slows down to watch the other kids but hasn’t shown much interest until this week. He sat down and started to decorate his tree. He LOVED drizzling the colored glue all over the paper and I think his favorite part was dipping the puffs into the paint and smashing them onto the page. He had fun. His first real “school project”…


Spicy Play Dough Recipe

Happy play dough-ing

Spicy Play Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 cup concentrated cinnamon spice/apple spice tea
1 cup salt
3 T oil
2 T cream of tarter
3 T cinnamon

Put ingredients in large cooking pot. Mix all together well, until there are no lumps. Cook over medium heat while stirring constantly. It will thicken and become difficult to stir. It is done when it sticks together in a lump and hangs off the spoon (should clean the side of the pan). Test doneness by carefully (it will be hot) sticking your finger into the lump. Your finger should come away clean. Remove from heat. Turn out of the pan onto flat surface. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Knead the dough to smooth texture. Store in an airtight container.

From start to finish: 10 minutes to make, 5 to cool.