Browsing Category: With the kids

Plantable Paper for Earth Day!

I strongly believe in the importance of teaching our children the value in caring for and appreciating our amazing planet.  Earth Day is a wonderful opportunity to begin a tradition of doing something kind for the earth (and hopefully something to think about more frequently as well).  I liked this kids craft idea for Plantable Paper found on Alpha Mom.  This looks like a fun activity and a great way to give back!

For full instructions please visit Alpha Mom

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DIY Letter Stones

I’m all about activities for kids that encourage creativity and movement.  I love this idea for DIY Letter Stones found on Buggy & Buddy as it’s a great project to get the kids outside on a nice spring day and it also has a great educational element to it.  Why is it the simplest of ideas are always the best :)

For full tutorial please visit Buggy & Buddy.

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DIY Charades Sticks

We just started a weekly family game night, and we have been having so much fun with it.  I’ve been searching for fun games that my kids would really get into so that we could keep it interesting, and maintain the tradition.  I came across this charades kit on Restoration Hardware, that was inspired by the old time charades.  It is sold out on their site, but it would be such a simple thing to make, and we could make a personalized version that would contain clues my kids would know.  So, we got a pack of Popsicle sticks, and this week we will start game night by making this set together!

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Kids Art Collage

I’m a big fan of kids art.  Keeping their original work is fantastic however I thought this idea found on ArtfulCircle would allow you to display several different “pieces” of art in one large picture.  Such a simple and creative idea.  I love it!

What You’ll Need:

  • A few pieces of kids art
  • A large picture frame – this is a decent 16 x 20 for about $25 on Amazon
  • A circle punch – about $11 on Amazon
  • Mod Podge – about $9 on Amazon

Visit ArtfulCircle for full instructions.

Kids Art Collage

Decorating With Nature

At my house we love decorating our home with found objects from the natural world around us.  We have framed insects, skulls, cool looking sticks and rocks, you name it.  My oldest son is really into collecting feathers, but it is tricky trying to figure out how to display them.  A friend of mine just sent me a link to these amazing frames that are made for displaying leaves, but I think they would be just perfect for feathers as well!  However, the leaves would be really nice too.  The frames are a little expensive, around $26, but the “art” inside them is free, so it is really not a bad deal if you look at it that way.  You can buy them on Amazon, either in horizontal 8 inch, or in the vertical 8 inch.

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Dyed Celery Experiment

This is an experiment I used to do with my dad. It is a really fun one, because you can see results pretty quickly!  You can set it up in the morning, and then by the time the kids are ready for bed, they can see some real results!  It is a great way to teach them about how plants take and use water, and they have the visual of the dye to really see it first hand.  Cheap, easy, and fun way to teach some science!  The photos below are from TinkerLab.com

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This cross section photograph is from www.homeschoolingprojectsblog.com

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I found this explanation on the msLaura Flickr page.

1) Take Celery or Napa Cabbage (largest you can find) and slice a stalk halfway up the middle.
2) Place two clear containers close together. Add a few drops of food coloring in two different colors to the jars.
3) Add water to the jars to fill to about 1.5 inches deep.
4) Wait about 8 hours and observe the difference!

Plants use little tubes to transport water from where they have it (the ground, usually) to where they need it (in their leaves, where it is “breathed out” through little pores called stomata.

These tubes are called xylem – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylem. When we place the bottom of the cut stem in dyed water, the leaf continues to breathe out water through the stomata, and that acts like sucking pressure on the straw-like tubes of the xylem, so the dyed water is drawn up through the leaf. On the way, it colors the xylem tubes and you can see how they network through the leaf. Pretty!

There is another set of tubes called phloem that carry sugars and other food from the leaves (where they are made from the energy of sunlight) to all other parts of the plant that need it.

Photo Pencil

I’ve always enjoyed coloring ever since I was young and just never outgrew it.  Although I’ve not done it in quite some time I find it therapeutic.  This neat little website called Photo Pencil now allows you to upload a photo and turn it into a color page.  I thought that was so cool!  This could be a great rainy day project for the kids!

To make your own FREE color page visit Photo Pencil Sketch.

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Hairy Caterpillar

My sister used to make these really fun little people out of stockings dirt and grass seed with my nephews.  I always loved them, and so did the kids!  This little project from Spoonful.com is a variation of the ones my sister made.  They are really easy for the kids to make, and will have them coming back every day to check on them, with mounting excitement waiting for the “hairs” to start growing.  Spring is the perfect time for these little guys.

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Here are the instructions from Spoonful:

What you’ll need

  • 4 cups potting soil
  • 4 tablespoons quick-sprouting grass seed (we used ryegrass seed)
  • Small yogurt container or paper cup
  • Knee-high nylon stocking
  • Colorful ponytail holders
  • Scissors
  • Plastic bag
  • Bobby pin
  • Googly eyes
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Small pom-poms

How to make it

  1. Combine the potting soil and grass seed in a large bowl.
  2. The Very Hairy Caterpillar Step 1 Cut the bottom from a small yogurt container or paper cup for a funnel, then slide a knee-high nylon stocking over it, as shown.
  3. The Very Hairy Caterpillar Step 3 Pour or spoon 3⁄4 to 1 cup of the soil mixture into the stocking, then slide a colorful ponytail holder over the end of the stocking to section off the pocket of soil. Repeat this process to make 5 soil-filled segments. Tie a knot in the top of the stocking and trim away any excess nylon.
  4. Submerge the caterpillar in water for 10 minutes, then place it in a plastic bag and let it sit overnight.
  5. The Very Hairy Caterpillar Step 5Remove the bag and loop a semi-straightened bobby pin through the front of the stocking, then glue a googly eye onto each end of the pin. For antennae, cut a pipe cleaner in half, glue a small pom-pom onto one end of each half, and stick them in place.
  6. Set your caterpillar on a plate by a sunny window and generously water the whole thing every other day. Your critter should sprout hair in about 4 to 5 days.