Sunday, May 31, 2015

Organize Stuffed Animals

My daughter LOVES her stuffed animals!  But we have a standing rule, if a new stuffed animal comes in, one goes out.

Admittedly, we have way too many stuffed animals and I am always looking for new ways to organize them.  For awhile we were using this stuffed animal chair, kind of like a bean bag chair but stuffed with furry friends instead! Sadly, the chair ripped and so we were in the need of something else.  We still use a large Thirty One tote and a cute little frog both of which are still holding up, thankfully!

Since I don't want to use up any more floor space our latest stuffed animal organizer goes vertical.... an over the door shoe organizer! Just browse Pinterest and tons and tons of ideas will come up on how to organize with them. We also use one on the back of our coat closet which is in our kitchen and holds all kinds of things!

For the stuffed animals I bought a clear shoe organizer and it's definitely the way to go because your child can easily see which animals are in each pocket.  My son has one too but the pockets are not clear and not as easy to see.

I hope this simple idea helps with organizing your child's stuffed animal friends!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recycled Bookmark

I've always thought those strips that come off the ziploc boxes would make perfect bookmarks.

We got a chance to try it out since it was recently Grandma's birthday.  This would also make a cute gift idea for Mother's Day, Grandparent's Day or for the book reader in your life!

Here's what we used:
Ziploc strip (the part you tear off to get to the bags)
Construction paper
Hole punch

Step 1: Wrap the construction paper around the bookmark.  Add some glue on the ends to seal closed.

Step 2: Decorate; we used stickers but you could use crayons or markers.

Step 3: At the top use a hole punch

Step 4: String the ribbon through the hole and tie a bow.

I think our bookmark turned out really cute and Grandma loved it!

I even had my daughter work on some letter sound and recognition by finding each letter in the word Grandma.  I sounded out each letter and my daughter had to find the letter and place onto the bookmark.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Decorate-A-Cupcake Numbers Game

This is a really fun way to work on one to one correspondence.  We also learned number recognition, new words, TAKE and OFF.  Fine Motor as my daughter participated in the setup of the game by using scissors to cut the cards.  And of course as with most games, taking turns.

I found these foam cupcakes at the dollar section in Target.  At the time I had no idea what I would do with them but bought them anyway.  I stuck them in our craft closet knowing that I would get an idea sooner or later!

We have been working on so many word and letter activities recently that I wanted to try a numbers activity.  Here's how we played our Decorate-A-Cupcake Numbers game:

I used coffee filters since they look like giant cupcake liners and we filled them with beads and pom-pom's.  These would act as the 'sprinkles' for our cupcakes.  I also added one heart bead to each coffee filter as the 'topping' for our cupcakes.

Using some cardstock I hand wrote things like TAKE 1, TAKE 2 or  TAKE 0, all the way up to 5.  I also added some TAKE OFF 1, TAKE OFF 2, etc.  And their is also a card that says, HEART which is the 'topping' for the cupcake.  Their was about 20 cards in all.

The object of the game is to draw a card and do whatever the card tells you.  For example, if it's TAKE 3 you would have your child count out either 3 beads or pom-pom's depending on which they want to use as their 'sprinkles.'  The game continues like this until one of the players has at least 10 'sprinkles' on their cupcake.  Whoever gets to 10 first and has their heart 'topping' wins!

We played a few rounds and each round took about 5 minutes which seemed to not be too long or too short and kept my daughter's attention.
Game set up

shucks, picked up a zero!

adding on 'sprinkles'

counting 'sprinkles'

She had alot of fun as we counted and learned a few new words.  

And..........guess who won!

Other ways to play this game are instead of writing TAKE OFF you could introduce the plus and minus signs so writing, -1 OR +3.  You could also write out the number words instead of just the number.

Materials used:
Foam Cupcakes
Perler beads (but any kind of bead would work)
Coffee Filters (or anything to hold the beads)

And here are how some of our other decorated cupcakes:

using pom-pom's as sprinkles

using perler beads as sprinkles

This game fits perfectly in a quart size ziploc baggie!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

DIY Wind Chime - Vacation Memento

Summer vacations are quickly approaching which gave me the idea of writing this post.  How many times do you go on vacation and collect shells, rocks or other things that you would like to keep as a memento but then ends up sitting in the  bottom of a drawer?  I hope this post will help you turn some of your findings into a beautiful keepsake or memento.

Over Easter we visited with my parents in Ohio.  They have this cute 'cove' with lots of shells, driftwood and other beach-y treasures!  My daughter LOVES to collect and so she had a pocket full of some seashells and rocks.  On our way out I grabbed a piece of driftwood as my mind is constantly thinking, "I could do something with this."

 Here's how we turned our treasures into a DIY Wind Chime:

  • My daughter sorted through and picked out what she wanted to use

  • My husband gave me some spider wire and drilled some holes through the driftwood

Some of the shells had holes so those were easy to string onto the wire and for the other treasures without holes I used a hot glue gun.

Once all done we hung from a tree in our backyard.  This was an easy and lovely way to make a memento from our visit to my parents.  Every time we look at it or hear it clang together we will be reminded of the memories we made.

What do you do with the things you collect from vacation?  Let us know in the comments below or visit us on our Facebook page!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Disney Countdown

We leave for Disney in 11 days and of course my kiddos are super excited.  We've been going annually and this will be our 4th year.  I've never done a countdown before, other than the calendar, but because my kids ask every day how many days are left I decided it would be fun if they had something they could countdown with.

We picked up a few boxes of popsicle sticks at a yard sale last summer and I knew I wanted to use them since I have SO many.  I also have a Mickey Mouse cookie cutter, red glitter and black construction paper so I was almost ready to begin.  The last thing I needed was something to hold the popsicle sticks.....Target dollar section to the rescue!  As I was walking past the dollar section I spotted these yellow tins that would work perfect.  I now had all the colors I wanted to use for Mickey, the classic Black, red and yellow Mickey is so well known for.

I was hoping the colored popsicle sticks I had would have included red but no luck.  I started off by painting the popsicle sticks red.  While they were drying I traced and cut out the Mickey heads.  I used white glue to write the numbers on each Mickey head and shook glitter over the number.

After everything had thoroughly dried I glued the Mickey heads to the popsicle sticks but needed something to hold up the stick inside the tin.  This part was not necessary but I thought it looked better.  Sure enough I had some left over styrofoam in my craft cabinet, cut it to size and stuck each popsicle into it and now the Mickey's stand up perfectly!

I added a simple label to the front of the tin and voila.......Disney Countdown.  It also helps my almost 5 year old with number recognition as she searches for the number each day!

Flower Word Families using Crayon Resist Art

My preschooler has been working on CVC words and now we are grouping them together into word families.  With May bringing up beautiful flowers I thought we would incorporate flowers into this activity.

To make learning more fun I used some magic!  Actually, it's simply crayon resist art but to my preschooler it's magic! To do our Crayon Resist Art we tried Homemade Liquid Watercolors that we learned about from There's Just One Mommy.  This is such a fun way to make your own watercolors.  Check out the post to learn how!

To start I cut out some flowers on white paper and in the middle of each flower I wrote the ending letters of the word family.  For this activity we worked on -ap, -et and -ot.  Then on each flower petal I wrote the words ending in these sounds using a white crayon.

Finally, I let my preschooler use our watercolors and paint the flower petals.  She was super excited to see words 'magically' appear.  We sounded out the words and once all done she wanted to make flower stems and flower roots!!

We have kept the final creation on our wall so that we could review the words we learned!