Tuesday, May 28, 2013

DIY Walking Ballon Pet

Have you seen those walking mylar balloon animals in the grocery stores..everywhere!? I have! And oh boy have my kids! I dread running into those cute little oddly shaped pets because that is when the begging begins. Emma swears she has wanted one her entire life (I beg to differ) and Grayson doesn't really ask me, he's smarter than that. He just grabs his balloon pet of choice and runs!
After several run-ins like this I declared to the kids that I can make them their own walking balloon pets. With eyes wide open, they both cheered and then I hoped I could actually pull it off.
 We rummaged through the art drawers and grabbed some large latex balloons, construction paper, permanent markers, ribbon, googly eyes and glue dots.
 The kids chose their color of choice and decorated each balloon with markers. We used glue dots to attach the eyes and construction paper legs. Glue would shrink up and possibly cause the balloon to pop, so glue dots are a good alternative.
 She questioned the style of legs I suggested, but she trusted me in the end. Phew...
 With a ribbon leash we were walking our pets all over the place! Each pet got a name and eventually bowls of food and water were placed all over the house. It was a lot of fun for the kids.
The best part of this craft for Grayson was watching them shrink up a little each day, especially since the legs, ears and eyes stay the same size. They did look pretty funny. I wish I had taken a photo to share.
Wouldn't these make a great birthday party craft? I would love to see what a group of kids would create.
For full instructions, I shared this over at Kiwi Crate.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Birthday Party Decorations

 Today is my birthday and you know what that means....my kids are crafting away on homemade cards, banners and gifts to shower me with. All of which will mean the world to me! I can't imagine much more that I would want to be doing than waking up (a little too early) and reading "Mom u r mi frnd!" on a homemade card by my sweet girl. Life is good.
The banner above is one that Em made for her Grandma. We found some old music sheets at a thrift shop. I cut and she wrote. With a little tape and twine our Birthday Banner came together.
 This is a fun way to serve party snacks. The kids colored circles that I cut from paper grocery bags. Next, with a small cut they rolled into a cone and we filled them up with snacks! Check out more details, Party Snack Cup.
 We call this our Friendship Garland. It's fun to make with friends and a great DIY alternative to party streamers. Just pipe cleaner and beads is all you need.
Lastly, our Paper Plate Party Hat. We cut the top and popped it up to be decorated. So easy and can be personalized for any party theme. This also makes a great birthday party craft.

I am off now to enjoy my family on this (thirty something) birthday. Because that is what it is all about.
green owl mama

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cornmeal Sensory Play

 Looking in my pantry is always the best way to create some fun sensory play in our house. New textures and smells are so engaging and fun to play with. On this day, Grayson had so much fun with some cornmeal and dino's!
 I started out using a cake pan for this, but Grayson needed much more dinosaur digging room, so we switched to a baking sheet. It was the perfect size. Emma took over the cake pan and pretended to be a little chef mixing away on her batter. 
This was the perfect solution for indoors with my sand loving boy and the cornmeal is a great new texture that he thoroughly enjoyed. When he was finished we saved the cornmeal for another day of play and vacuumed up the floor. It was pretty easy, but if a cornmeal mess scares you, you can easily take this activity outside.
Check out my full tutorial here, Cornmeal Play.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pretend Play--Felt Sandwich Shop

Pretend play is such an important part of a child's development. I know I have said this many times, but I will say it over and over again because I see the amazing power of simple pretend play in my home each and every day.
It never fails to turn a frown upside down, to get the kids playing together and to be resourceful and creative. Pretend play is magical and special and I love seeing these beautiful little imaginations in complete bliss.
 Emma loves to take her real life experiences and turn them into pretend play. You never know who she is going to be. Some days it's her doctor or her teacher and some days she is the music performer we watched over the weekend or the librarian that helped us find our books. So, it's no surprise to me when she requests to create her own little sandwich shop. We grabbed a few things around the house and got to work setting up shop!
We cut felt into all our sandwich fixings. Emma loved helping with this. It was a little difficult for Grayson to cut, but he was happy to add our felt cuttings to some recycled berry containers to hold our supplies.
 The kids were getting excited! We grabbed some tongs from the kitchen and they took turns being the customer and the sandwich maker.
Things got a little too real for this guy and I ended up making him a real sandwich for lunch! What a great way to work up an appetite.
We love playing pretend. It is always a great go to activity and can be set up so easily with anything that you have around the house. It teaches children to be creative, to work together and use the tools they have. Especially the best one of all, their imaginations.
I shared this full tutorial over on Kiwi Crate.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Easy Bird Feeder Crafts

 Making offerings to our sweet backyard birds is a great way to teach children about nature and compassion for all living creatures. It is something I have done with the kids since they could walk. Here is an easy one to start with. The Pine Cone Bird Feeder is the perfect bird feeder for little ones to make with confidence. All you need is a pine cone, string, nut butter (you can use sun butter if your child has allergies) and birdseed.
 First, we used a small spoon to get the butter into all the crevices of the pine cone.
 This was the fun part--into a bag of birdseed it goes! Shake, shake, shake! This went on for quite awhile.
Pretty proud of his little bird feeder. We tied it to a tree in the yard right near a window and it didn't take long before we saw sweet little birds stopping by for a snack. The kids loved watching their success! We first tried this feeder when Emma was given all the supplies as a gift from a good friend. Isn't that a sweet DIY gift? I thought so!
 This started out as a salt container. With a few cuts (by me) and some pretty details (by Em) this little house came together very nicely.
 We used a found branch for the perch, cute, right? Even cuter when we saw it being used by the sweetest little bird.
 Windows and flowers are a must for any bird house!
We filled it with birdseed and hung it in a tree with some floral wire. For all details check out my full tutorial here, Salt Container Bird Feeder.
 So, this Slinky Snacker started out as a little treat holder for our backyard squirrels, but we were surprised when it was emptied by another local friend.
 Using a slinky and pipe cleaner we filled our snack holder with peanuts and used twine to hang it from a tree.
This beautiful bird spent all afternoon taking every single peanut out, shelling it and bring them to her nest only to return for more until every peanut was gone. Wow! What a great way to observe nature. I hope you are inspired to feed the birds today!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Real Mr. Potato Head

 Play with your food? Yes, please! That's how my kids feel. I always thought how neat it would be to make a "real Mr. Potato Head"--and today we did! We built, laughed, ate, and got silly. (You can't help but to get pretty silly when you're adding mushroom ears onto a potato.)
 To start this out I broke toothpicks in half and placed them into the potato. It takes a strong hand and since they are sharp I suggest this be a grown-up only step.
 Next, Emma helped me cut up a ton of fruit and veggies. We have some great kid-safe knives and she's been practicing her cutting skills, so this was perfect.
 Time to make some potato faces.....
 and some silly kid faces, too!
 Grayson got in on the fun.
 Pretty cute potato heads if I do say so myself! The kale eyebrows gave me quite the laugh.
 And then we ate! Being exposed to healthy foods in new ways is a great way to get kids trying new things. I don't think I ever had raw brussel sprouts until this day when the kids decided to try it out. Gotta love that!
I shared this yummy project over on Kiwi Crate. Join me there for the full tutorial.

Friday, May 10, 2013

3D Paint Mason Jar Vase

 We used recycled pickle jars and some puffy paint to make these great little vases for Mother's day.
 Pretty easy to do, but I have a full tutorial on this over at Kiwi Crate. These would be great to make your own centerpieces for a party. We love DIY party decor!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing, hard-working, beautiful, loving, inspiring, brilliant and sleep lacking mama's out there! I wish you a day of rest, love and peace.
green owl mama

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chocolate Bowl for Mother's Day

 Miss Fancy Pants was in absolute heaven when I announced we'd be making chocolate bowls! How perfect would these be for Mother's Day and you can fill them with all sorts of sweet treats. We did fresh berries, but you could even make a vanilla custard or ice cream to go inside! Yum!
 We blew our balloon up to a small size and gave it a good washing.
 Next I melted the chocolate and stirred it until it cooled a bit (not to pop the balloon.)
 She dipped her balloon right into the chocolate and placed it on wax paper.
 Into the freezer it goes. This was the hard part. I had to stand freezer guard while impatient wee ones tried to peek.
 We popped our balloon and pulled it out to reveal our beautiful chocolate bowl. The kids thought this was pretty cool.
 Are these fancy or what!? Yet, so easy to make. For more details check out my full tutorial over on Kiwi Crate.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Begin Again Lemonade Set GIVEAWAY and Review!!

 We were so lucky to be able to test drive this ever so clever lemonade set by BeginAgain. Is it the most darling little set you have ever seen or what?! I think so and the best part is it is durable and made from 100% recycled plastic! Pretty great, right?
 I have seen many tea sets, but this is the first lemonade set I've seen. Perfect for some summer fun! Since we received our set the kids have been playing all sorts of imaginative games with it. They had the usual lemonade stand of course, but their creative little minds have even served up lemonade at their "beach house" via our backyard. Look out for that wave!!
 I got to join in on the fun this day. Lemonade and a beach house...I can't complain too much!
 I love that BeginAgain makes high quality earth friendly toys, but, I love even more that my children love them just as much as I do. BeginAgain toys are available at Whole Foods and Amazon and there are so many creative ones to choose from.
 And guess what? In honor of this beautiful weather we are having as we are getting closer and closer to summer, my innovative friends over at BeginAgain are giving one of my readers their very own Lemonade set!

To ENTER leave me a comment here and tell me where you'd like to drink your lemonade, and for a second entry like BeginAgain on facebook here and let me know you did so on this post in your comment.
Good luck! Contest ends Tuesday May 14th 2013 at 8am (strange fact May 14th is also Dance like a Chicken Day, I swear!)
Winner will be randomly chosen using random.org
**Open to U.S. residents only