Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chalk + Water = Fun Art

This is a very simple way to make chalk and paper more fun and exciting. Great lazy day project. Wet chalk is much more vibrant and goes on smooth almost like paints. 

I don't think there is much need for instructions here. Give them water, chalk and paper and set them free to create.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Playdough Fun

The garlic press, a new favorite.
Silicone baking cups, hooray!
Playdough is such a great go-to project for just about any day and any age! It offers children a great hands on sensory learning experience and opens doors for many imaginative play opportunities. I love homemade playdough because you can make it with natural ingredients and try different colors and scents. We also use different things around the house that get much more play time out of them then the massive plastic tools sold in the stores that seem to never work properly and cause a lot of frustration. 


Tips to inspire creativity with playdough

  • Give them kitchen tools like cookie cutters, a garlic press, baking sheets, measuring spoons, ice cream scoops, cupcake liners and even some flour.
  • Figurines added to playdough are great for the younger ones. 
  • Edibles like nuts (in shells,) coffee beans and sprinkles can be such fun for the little hands to place on playdough cookies and cakes.
  • Add oils like almond, lavender and vanilla and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. A bonus in the sensory learning experience and who doesn't want their playdough cookies to smell delicious!  
  • Have your children use some natural elements like flowers, sticks and rocks from the yard for their playdough masterpiece. Great reason for a nature walk too!
 There are many homemade recipes out there. Here is the one I do for the fall, pumpkin playdough and a few basic ones here at Family Education.  
 This is our favorite. A basic lavender dough with a little bit of purple color and simple tools. Here Emma used walnuts and hazelnuts. This is what we call our "calming playdough."

Now go experiment with some dough!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pretend Play- Food

There is something about the real stuff that makes it always so much more fun to play with. From playing home to market; play food gets much use in our house.

 Here are some ways to make your own play food:

1. Cover your empty food boxes completely with strong clear packing tape. This makes them durable and able to survive a one year old.
2. Fill empty spray bottles with water for some fun pretend cleaning fun.
3. Baskets left over from Easter make the perfect shopping basket.
4. Fill berry containers with pom poms and egg cartons with paper mache or wooden eggs from the craft store.
It doesn't take much to inspire a child's imagination. Oh the fun they will create....

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pretend Play - Play Money

 Play money can go miles in dramatic play with children, but the money they sell in the stores, well, I'm just not a fan. I found these wooden rounds in the craft store and together with a silver sharpie they became coins.

Along with some simple green felt cut into rectangles we are all set to play market (I save receipts and paper bags to give the kids while playing.)

Hope this inspires some imagination play for the weekend!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hair Cut Doll

After finding Emma's hair on the floor I decided to take some preventative action against future self given trims. Join me at Family Sponge today and check out these cute hair cut dolls I made to give Emma some hair to cut that did not belong to her.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pretend Play - The Mommy Role

Over the next few weeks I want to share with you some different types of pretend play happening in our house. This kind of play is so important for a child to learn and grow socially and emotionally. I see my children develop techniques to deal with social dilemmas they may have, increase their vocabulary and learn to be nurturing and caring little citizens.
There are many ways to support this kind of play.

1. Play along. I always play along when my daughter has become a new character. She enjoys this so much and I love seeing what her little mind can think up.
2. Provide new tools. Things around the house (especially things that make them feel grown up) can provide hours of fun dramatic play.
3. Have your child participate in daily duties like writing the grocery list. This tends to spark some imaginative play in our house.

In this photo I have added a few extra supplies to the baby corner. I filled an empty wipes container with white felt cut into squares and baby brothers retired bottles. I also made the baby dolls their very own cloth diapers and caps using some old socks.

It doesn't take much to embrace this kind of play and it can be one of the best learning tools a child has.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mimi the Sardine apron GIVEAWAY!

We have had the pleasure of enjoying a beautiful Rose Garden Kids Apron by Mimi the Sardine for the past month and we have loved it so much that I must spread the word to you all. In our house we seem to get messy often and have several changes of clothes throughout the day. I absolutley love these aprons for many reasons.

 1. The organic acrylic-coated cotton easily wipes clean with each use. They can also be machine washed which I did finally test out the other day and it came out looking brand new, but the convenience of being able to just wipe down is awesome!
2.The high quality adjustable straps are wonderful. I can not tell you how often other aprons get tossed to the ground because they are not fitting properly on my daughter. With these great straps I can switch the apron from my 2 year old to my four year old with each having a nice snug fit that is comfortable to wear.
3. The kids love to wear them! The aprons come in all sorts of fun bright and happy colors and patterns. We have used them for art, cooking, gardening and more!

 Mimi the Sardine is a wonderful family owned company that makes high quality products that are so useful in my home everyday. Check out some of the other great things they have for the little ones and grown-ups too! On my shopping list is the Lunchbug for my soon to be kindergartener and an apron for myself.
Now is your chance to own a great kids apron too! 
All you have to do is "like" Mimi the Sardine on facebook and let me now you did so here.
 That's all! You will be entered to win one of their adorable kids aprons. 
Contest ends on May 20th, 2012 at 7pm when I will pick a winner using Good luck!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Homemade Perfume, perfect for Mother's Day

 We made homemade perfume for the first time the other day and I thought this would be a wonderful Mother's Day gift for Dad's to make with the kids. The entire process is so much a fun and has many great learning and exploring opportunities.

1.The fun starts when the children take baskets into the yard and use their little noses to find the best smelling flowers. This is a great way to learn all the different flowers growing this time of year as well.
2. Once all the flowers are picked it's time for crushing. They can be crushed in a mortar and pestle or just with the back of a spoon. I own a mortar and pestle for art more than cooking. The kids love to crush yard findings in it pretty often. 

3. Once they are crushed and smelling wonderfully, add to a bowl of warm water and let sit overnight.
4. In the morning the flower water can be poured through a sieve (another fun kitchen tool) and the water can go into a pot, brought just to a simmer, then removed from heat and let cool.

5. Use a funnel to add the flower perfume to some glass jars. We found these pretty ones at the craft store for just $1. They come with a cork and we can use a cotton ball to easily put the perfume on.

Look how pretty they came out and we had so much fun doing this. There are a lot of perfume recipes out there and most call for alcohol. I decided to keep it simple since my four year old was the perfume creator, but knowing that I also know these perfumes will probably only have a shelf life of a few weeks without the added alcohol. 
Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing, beautiful, talented, smart, loving and very extraordinary mama's out there! You are doing an awesome job!
green owl mama

Friday, May 4, 2012

Teacher Appreciation Gift - pencil cup

Next week, May 7th to May 11th is Teacher Appreciation week. I can't think of of too many people I appreciate more than the people I trust with my children. To teach them, guide them and even love them. For this I am grateful for having had some amazing people teach my children and we are not even in elementary school yet.

To show our appreciation on this special week we have made pencil cups for our teachers and we think you should for yours too!

What you need for your pencil cup: 

an empty and clean food can (be sure your can opener doesn't leave any sharp edges)
scrapbook paper
double sided tape

1. Cut your scrapbook paper into a strip just a little bit wider than your can and long enough to wrap all the way around.
2. Use your tape to wrap around the can and trim the bottom edge once it is in place.
3. Fill with pencils, pens or anything you think your teachers will enjoy and probably go through often. We attached a little notepad to the back with some twine.

To all the teachers out there, thank you.
green owl mama

P.S. I have used this technique to hold flowers on tables at a party and to bring flowers from my garden to a hostess. They are great to keep on hand.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Painting for Mother's Day

 Join me over at Family Sponge today to see why in the world I wanted to have my children dip their little feet in red paint and dance!