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Stained Glass Fairy Suncatcher

Stained Glass Fairy Suncatcher

We’re all about fairies here! We like to dance like fairies, eat like fairies, play like fairies, and decorate like fairies. My daughter wanted to make a fairy suncatcher for our window and so we used the simplest “stained glass” suncatcher technique. Materials: clear plastic (you can use toy packaging, sweater bags, just about anything will do) tissue paper permanent marker (“Sharpie”) stencil (unless you are an artist!) glue and water mixture paintbrush scissors Directions: 1. Using a black permanent marker, draw or trace your … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Art, Featured

Cat Got Your…Heart?

Cat Got Your…Heart?

Each year around Valentine’s Day, we create animals using heart shapes. This year, my daughter wanted to use some fun Valentine’s paper to make a cat–she’s quite pleased with the results and named her kitten “Valentine”. Materials: patterned or unpatterned paper in pinks and reds heart stickers or a heart punch (optional) glue a white sheet of paper Directions: 1. Plan out your artwork. Decide how to break down your chosen animal into heart shapes. If you are stuck, use half-hearts (the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Art, Featured, History and Culture, Winter

How to Make a Sock Snowman

How to Make a Sock Snowman

My kids have been so eager to make a snowman. We finally got a snowfall and we were all too sick to enjoy. In the meantime, they were able to make these easy sock snowmen! Materials: white athletic sock rice yarn googly eyes and other embellishments (felt, pom poms, buttons) Directions: 1. Fill the sock about 3/4 of the way with rice. 2. Tie off the sock, tight. 3. Fold the top of the sock down over the knot to create a hat. 4. Tie … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Art, Featured, History and Culture

Fall Leaf Prints

Fall Leaf Prints

We’re in one of the last zones to experience the fall leaf change. Well, our trees have finally exploded in color! I was concerned that we would not get the really vivid colors this year after the hurricane. Hurricane Irene cut a swath across the area, “burning” crops and trees in addition to causing floods and knocking down tree. Nature is resilient, however. Although there are more browns this year than golds and reds, there is … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), All Ages, Art, Ecology, Fall, Featured, Science, Weather

Easy, Edible Sugar Skulls (Calavera) for Dia de Los Muertos

Easy, Edible Sugar Skulls (Calavera) for Dia de Los Muertos

Today, we made easy, edible calaveras for Dia de los Muertos with the kids.  Traditional Mexican Sugar Skulls for Dia de los Muertos are time-intensive handicrafts. Although most would technically be edible, you probably would not want to eat them. Since I have young children who are learning about Latin American culture and Spanish language with their Latino friends, I wanted to find a way to make the sugar akulls simple enough for the kids. Plus, … Read entire article »

Filed under: 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Art, Featured, History and Culture, Home Arts

Is It Okay to Use a Craft Kit?

Is It Okay to Use a Craft Kit?

One of the best gifts we can give our children is our time.  Quality time spent with our children, engaging in fun, interactive activities, boosts their self-esteem and encourages their creativity. I have had moms quietly whisper to me, “I used a craft kit…is that okay?” Well, that depends… is your goal to enjoy an activity with your child or is it to improve your own bargain shopping, cutting, and gluing skills? I kid. I think we all agree … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Art, Featured, Science, Sight

Shaving Cream Pumpkin Art

Shaving Cream Pumpkin Art

My children have been asking me when we could do shaving cream art again. The tactile experience helps build learning and the kids have a ton of fun playing with paint and shaving cream. So, we made shaving cream pumpkins! Materials: posterboard foaming shaving cream paints (Halloween colors) 1. We traced and cut-out a pumpkin shape from poster board. 2. Then I poured foaming shaving cream and some paints (mostly orange with a little green and purple) into a flat-bottom container.  … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), Art, Bodily-kinesthetic, Fall, Featured, Touch

Life-Sized Self Portrait

Life-Sized Self Portrait

As we begin the Smart Summer Challenge, or any learning adventure, it is important to start with your child “where she is at”. Learning sticks better when children are able to relate knowledge to their own experiences.  This is the “Velcro” theory–new information hooks onto a foundation of earlier observations. One area in which we all have expertise is ourselves. So, a self-portrait is great place to begin a summer of learning. We decided to do life-sized … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Art, Featured, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

R is for Rain

R is for Rain

My kids love to water color, so we created water color letters for our study of rain. I outlined bubble letters–the word “Rain” for my daughter (4.5) and just an “R” for my son (2.5).  On reflection, I would have also made a lower case “r” for my son. My daughter painted “in the lines”: While my son opted for covering the entire page. Then, they each got to sprinkle salt on their paintings for a nice droplet effect. My … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Art, Featured, Spring, Weather

Shaving Cream Art (Tactile Fun!)

Shaving Cream Art (Tactile Fun!)

Studies have shown that students physically involved with learning score higher on subsequent exams–and we’re not just talking about the toddler, preschooler, kindergartner set.  The effects are demonstrable even at the college and graduate level. Research into cognitive development strongly suggests that this sort of physical stimulation during learning builds a deeper understanding of academic skills. Children in need of speech therapy may especially benefit from speech activities using tactile sensations. Plus…it is just plain fun to … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), Art, Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, Touch