Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mincecraft Cupcakes

When it comes to birthday cakes or cupcakes I prefer to diy.  One minor problem I have is I'm not artistic so I don't seem to do well if I have to hand draw anything!  That being said, I look for the simplest way to make my kids their cake or cupcakes while still looking fun and festive.

My son just celebrated his 9th birthday and since he's a Minecraft fan I searched the world wide web for something that I could pull off.  Thanks to the Party Animal I was able to use a free printable to make my son's Minecraft cupcakes.

Making these cupcakes is super simple, here's what to do:

  • Bake cupcakes according to your boxed cake mix
  • Use vanilla frosting and add some green food coloring to it
  • After cupcakes are baked and cooled ice them up and add the Mincecraft toppers using either cake pop sticks or toothpicks.
Since I already had some cake pop sticks that were leftover all I needed to buy was the cake mix and icing!  I used my printer and voila, Minecraft cupcakes!  I opted not use the printable for the cupcake holder part only because I already had some green cupcake holders.

These cupcakes were super easy to do and put a smile on my son's face!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Sensory Bin

This is a super engaging and fun activity to set up in anticipation of Halloween! At the time I made this bin my son was 9 years old and my daughter was 4.  Because of the gap in age the activities I share may not always be suitable for both of them.  However,  this is one they both really, really enjoyed.  Actually, much to my surprise my almost 9 year old stayed with this sensory bin longer than my 4 year old!  It was interesting too seeing which part of the sensory bin drew them in.  My daughter was automatically drawn to the gems and after a few minutes of the bin asked for the bottle we use when we play with water. She began filling up the bottle with the gems that she found hidden in the bin.  My son on the other hand also went to the gems but the bigger ones and began counting them out and telling me how much 'money' he had.  I love watching and listening to their play to see where an activity, especially with sensory bins, will take them.

My son filled the little pumpkins and also counted and sorted the jewels the coins and the plastic skull rings. 

My daughter played with the activity for a fair amount of time.  However, the gems caught her attention which must have made her think of her marbles because she was off on her own using her tongs and adding marbles to our sensory bottle.  

The best part for me though was watching both of my kids enjoy an activity together.

Here's what I included with this bin:
  • Split Green Peas
  • Plastic Pumpkins
  • Pom pom's
  • Skull rings
  • Bat rings
  • Plastic bugs
  • Googly eyes
  • Spider stickers
  • Gems
  • Coins
  • (the gems and coins were after thoughts because I remembered how much my kids have liked them in other sensory bins)

Close up of our bins contents

These were extra's that were available if the kids wanted to add more in.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hush Little Ones Book Activity

One of our favorite books especially at bedtime is Hush, Little Ones by John Butler. This book engages the child with beautiful illustrations and simple verses that tells about animals getting ready to fall asleep. We just worked on the letter H with our homeschool preschool and I used this book for one of our story time sessions pairing it with this activity.

 The idea  was to work on my preschoolers comprehension while also continuing to learn our letter sounds.  I started off by finding pictures in some of our Kids National Geographic magazines and also on the internet of animals that were in the book, which were 11 total. I cut/printed these and did the same for animals not mentioned in the book then laminated all of them.  Since I didn't want to just lay out the pictures on the table I used a piece of cardboard, stuck some velcro tabs on the board and on the laminated pictures.  I thought this way would make the activity more interactive.  The last thing I did was use some cardstock to make uppercase and lowercase letters on.  These would be used for my daughter to place on the animal whose animal name started with that letter sound.

We were ready to play!  The first thing I asked my daughter was to look through all the animal pictures and to stick onto the board the animals that are in the book.  Like I mentioned earlier I included all 11 animals in the book but also included 8 other animals not included. She did great!  Their were a few that she wasn't sure what the animal was like the kangaroo and whale but other than that she only included the animals in the story and knew which ones were not part of the story.

Once finished with this part we did a simple math where I asked her to count each animal and then we moved on to letter sounds.  After saying the name of each animal she had to place the card with the correct letter on top of the animal picture with that letter sound.

My preschooler stayed engaged and interested all the way through this activity, yay!!  And now I have a 'book board' that I can use again and again for other activities similar to this one!

Monday, October 13, 2014

What's Missing Game? (Halloween style!)

Since my son was about the age my daughter is now we have played the "what's missing game" mostly when waiting at restaurants.  It's an easy game to play almost anywhere and you can use almost anything to play.

I made up a Halloween version incorporating a Halloween hunt for the things that would be used in the game.  This past weekend my kids were in the painting mood, finger painting to be exact.  It's not one of my favorite things to do when we are indoors but I grin and bare it.  I've seen so many fun Halloween hand and foot paintings that I wanted to try one and really thought the one I had seen here was super cute.  Since I had all the paints already out we made these cute pumpkin face bags.

After my kids collected the items I hid around the house and put them in their bags we were ready to play the game!  It's so simple but yet the kids laughed and had alot of fun with it.

On their hunt!

Here's how we played:
They took a good look at what was in front of them then closed their eyes while I removed one of the items. Once their eyes were open they would try to guess which item was missing.  We kept doing that adding things to make it more challenging as we went along.

No peeking!

My kids are 8 and 4 and it can be tough to find activities that they both enjoy.  This is definitely one that they both had fun with!!

To make the pumpkin bags here's what you'll need:
Brown paper bags
Orange paint
Green paint
Black permanent marker
Hole puncher (optional)
Raffia (optional)
Your little one's hands!

Paint your little one's hands with the orange paint and the green and press onto the bag.
Once dry draw your pumpkin's face
This part is optional.  I made small holes on each side of the bag with a hole puncher and strung raffia through it so the bag could have handles.

If you like the pumpkin bags but don't want to play the game, simply fill the bags with goodies whether food or non-food related for your kids or for their classroom if they have a Halloween party. We are also taking our bags on a walk later to collect some leaves!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Candy Corn Mini Flower Pot

For years, actually more like a decade, I've been holding onto these mini clay flower pots.  I had picked them up at a yard sale and they have been just taking up space on a shelf in our garage.  Until now!

Initially, I wanted to use the large size clay pots also hanging out on the shelf but that's a project that will have to wait until Christmas, I hope.  So instead, I shrunk the idea of this craft by using these mini's to make candy corn flower pots.

What I used:
Mini clay flower pot
White paint
Orange paint
Yellow paint
Paint brushes
Googly eyes
Orange pipe cleaner

This diy was so simple.  I cleaned up the pot a bit,  painted on the candy corn colors, added some googly eyes and voila.....Mini Candy Corn Flower pot!

I wanted to make an entire family of these cuties but I didn't have the time so for now we'll adore just this one!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Identifying Letter Sounds

Alot of letter identification has been going on over here and I wanted to do something that would incorporate the different letter activities we have been working on.  This activity would recognize the actual letter, the letter sound and work on fine motor skills.

Here's what we we used:
Popsicle sticks
Stamps and ink pad
Permanent marker

On each end of the popsicle sticks I stamped on a picture of things like a cat, frog, hat, ball, etc.  With permanent marker I wrote 3 different letters on the popsicle sticks in both upper case and lower case letters.  My hope in doing it this was to make my daughter have to think more about which letter was correct.  I asked my daughter to tell me what the stamped picture was and then asked her the sound it makes.  Once she identified both she put the clothespin on the correct letter which worked on her fine motor skills.

choosing letter and sound for Sun

choosing letter and sound for Clouds

Since the supplies needed for this activity all fit perfectly in a ziploc bag I've added it to our busy bag.

If you would like to try this and do not have stamps you could use stickers, print pictures or cut out pictures from learning books and glue them to the popsicle sticks.

For more letter learning you can check out our Bottle cap upper case and lower case letter match game

I love comments so feel free to comment here or visit us on Facebook

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Rock Garden

Painting with rocks is certainly not new to us as my daughter really enjoys painting with them.  We had alot of fun with our Creating with Rocks and with our Princess Rocks.  Who knew that the rocks my husband and I once used to accent our gardens would one day turn into craft projects with our kids!

This time around we used our rocks to create a Halloween Garden.  We made a candy corn rock and used tape resist art to create a pumpkin and ghost.  If you've been following along then you'll know we've had our fair share of acorns.  Even after our Acorn Cap Jewels and Acorn Sensory Bin we had more to create with and so we added a few acorn pumpkins and acorn ghosts to our 'garden.'

Here's what you'll need to make your own Halloween Garden:
Paint brushes
Tape (if doing tape resist)
Stick (optional for pumpkin rock)
Black permanent marker
Black Beans

To do the tape resist art simply take some painters tape and make the face that you want on the rock.

Once that's done, hand the paint brush over to the kids and let them paint away!

Once completely dry carefully peel off the tape.  We only did the tape resist with our pumpkin and ghost.  For the candy corn we simply painted the rock with candy corn colors!  It's not shown here but I also added a stick to act as the stem for our pumpkin rock.

For the acorns we just painted them orange for the pumpkins, white for ghosts and added faces with permanent marker.

After our rocks and acorns were painted I knew I wanted to display them outdoors but since I wasn't going to put any protective coating to keep the rain from washing them clean I had to think of somewhere else.  Since most of our Fall and Halloween decorations are on our front porch we added our Halloween rock garden here too. The porch would also keep the rocks safe from rain, etc.

I didn't want to just lay the rocks flat or prop them up so I thought since this is a 'garden' of rocks why not use black beans to act as the dirt and get a container to put them in.  I purchased an orange bin from The Dollar Store, added the black beans and put everything inside.

This Halloween Garden adds to our Halloween and Fall decorations but what I really like is that once we are finished with the holiday I can re-use the beans for a sensory or other activity and the rocks can be repainted after I let the rains get to them.  As for the orange bin I will keep that for future Halloween decorating or I can use it for future Halloween's to hold the treats for trick or treaters!