10 Turkey-Free Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids

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Tired of making turkey crafts with the kids? Yes, me too. You can only make so many turkeys, am I right? And besides, there is so much more to Thanksgiving than just turkeys. Try some of these 10 (non-turkey related) Thanksgiving inspired crafts with your little ones today. Keep reading!

Our At Home Preschool: Valentine’s Day Theme

This post is entirely too late but I thought I would share our Valentine’s Day theme week. Late pregnancy exhaustion has a way of making you want to not get too much done and unfortunately my blog updates have suffered.

Our Valentine’s Day theme week was all about getting our hands dirty- both with arts and crafts and in the kitchen! I love the holidays and Valentine’s Day is no exception. The holidays always inspire me to bake and create. I hope to pass a love of these activities along to my children, as well.

We created some beautiful sun catchers with coffee filters, watered-down food coloring and eye droppers. Timmy enjoyed squirting the different colors on to the paper and watching the dye bleed together. He loves to remind me often that yellow and red make orange.

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Sponge painting was was a big hit with both of the kiddos! I cut heart shaped sponges for the kids and let them stamp away on white sheets of felt.

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I thought we could use the painted hearts to make Valentine’s Day cards for Timmy and Vera’s cousins. For the cards, we made pink marbled paper from food coloring and and shaving cream. It was such a fun and simple craft to do with both kids. You simply add a few drops of food coloring to a shallow dish of shaving cream and have the kids give the shaving cream a quick stir (so the food coloring isn’t completely blended). I had Timmy dip the card stock in the shaving cream and then I scraped the excess off the paper with the flat side of a knife blade. The paper needs to be dried under the weight of a few books. I think it looks so interesting.

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I attached the sponge painted hearts to cards made from the marbled paper. Cute and simple Valentine’s Day cards for the kids’ cousins!

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We made some yummy cupcakes together- pink frosting and red sprinkles are always a hit in the kitchen.

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I love to have the kids practice with lacing cards. I made some heart cards with foam sheets and twine. Even my littlest got in on the action.

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We had a fun week together. When I asked Timmy what he loves, he replied, “you, Mommy”. ❤ He made my week.

14 Valentine’s Day Crafts to Make with Your Kids

I love Valentine’s Day. And now that my oldest is three, I can finally start making some Valentine’s Day themed crafts with him. I’ve gathered together 14 adorable, simple and inexpensive Valentine’s Day crafts to make with your little ones. Just scroll down for some inspiration!

1. Lacing cards are such an engaging activity to keep kids’ little hands busy. The Artful Parent shows you how to easily make your own lacing hearts.

2. Crafty Morning shares inspiration to make the most adorable heart-shaped Valentine’s animals. I absolutely love her ideas! Two of my favorites are the bumble bee and puppy dog. My kids adore animals and these  will be so much fun to make.

3. Homeketeers shows you how to make love bug magnets out of pom poms. I call my little Vera ‘love bug’ all the time!

4. Do your kids love ripping and cutting paper as much as mine do? Turn this ever popular toddler activity into something pretty with this tissue paper heart craft from Sweet and Simple Living.

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5. Sweet and Simple Living also shares a tutorial for these cute and colorful Fruit Loop heart bird feeders.

6. My oldest loves to bake. Daisy Pickers came up with a simple way to make a heart-shaped cake from two smaller cakes. We’ll have to give this one a try.

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7. I love these Valentine’s Day sun catchers shared over at Fun at Home With Kids. How lovely! These are sure to brighten even the most dreary of February days.

8. Who doesn’t have lots of broken crayon pieces lying around the house? Turn them into something beautiful and fun to use with this tutorial for heart-shaped crayons from Fun at Home With Kids.

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9. Stamps! My little ones love to use stamps to paint and these are super cute! Check out these homemade heart sponges from Learn Create Love. What could be more simple and fun?

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10. Learn Create Love also shares her tree of love craft using tissue paper hearts, lots of glue  and your child’s handprint. This would be such a great keepsake, don’t you think?

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11. Here’s a simple idea from Teach With Me to make a paper heart chain. It’s a great way to practice patterns with your little ones, too!

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12. Crafty Morning shares a great use for those cardboard toilet paper tubes we all toss out. How creative is this idea?

13. I love these pom pom love monsters from Made to Be A Momma! I actually have some pink pom poms left over from another craft- now I know what to do with them!

14. This one is probably not for the very little ones but it’s still a great craft for kids! Today’s Every Mom gives us a tutorial to make a paper heart garland.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my collection of ideas! I can’t wait to start getting my hands messy with the kids with these crafts.

Kids’ Room Update- A Colorful Paper Bunting

I’ve finally begun to make some progress on my 3 year old son and 18 month old daughter’s shared bedroom. We’re renting while my husband is stationed in WA state and because we’re only here for another year or so, painting is definitely not an option. I LOVE color and lots of it when decorating for my kids. My goal for their room was to create a fun and inviting brightly colored room that they would both love to spend time in. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I hope they love their finished room so much that they peacefully play together in there while I nurse the new baby. A girl can dream, right?

I started their room off with some handmade paper lantern hot air balloons.

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that I posted about a couple months ago (yikes, has it been that long since I did anything with their room?). I’ve been meaning to finish their bunting for so long and now I can check that off of my list.

The bunting was so simple to make. I bought some heavy cardstock (to coordinate with the hot air balloons and eventual curtains), some twine and a roll of yellow Washi tape from Michael’s.

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I cut my triangles to be 10 inches in length and 6 inches wide. In all I cut 23 triangles- ten to hang over my little girl’s crib and 13 to hang over my son’s bed. I lined the sides of each triangle with a strip of Washi tape and then glued the back of each triangle to a long string of twine.

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I had some wooden letters left over from a project long ago. I thought their names would look really cute on the buntings.

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What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m in love with these. My kids both adore them, too!

My next project for their room is to finish their aqua colored curtains (made from two inexpensive sheets!) with white pom-pom trim. I’ve purchased some spice racks from Ikea that I plan to paint a vivid yellow and use as book racks. A few accessories, an area rug, a whole lot of organization, some artwork and their room will be done. It’ll be such a good feeling to finish a room for a change. And I can’t wait to show off their completed room- hopefully I can finish it all before the new baby arrives!

Week 3: Our At-Home Preschool

Our third week began with an unexpected snow day.

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Apparently it doesn’t just rain in the Seattle area- they get some of the powdery, white stuff, too. The kids and I had a great time making snow angels. Our fun was over all too soon once Timmy decided he didn’t want to wear gloves but that the snow was too cold on his bare hands.

This past week was all about letters, counting with manipulatives, baking Christmas cookies and making Christmas-themed crafts.

By age 2.5, Timmy knew all of his uppercase and lowercase letters and the sound each letter makes. Now that he just recently turned three, he can almost always identify which letter a word begins with (and often with which letter a word ends). We spend a good part of each day reading together and he’s always asking me how to spell words, but I know he’s ready for more.

As someone who is not well versed in early childhood education, I often struggle with exactly what the next steps should be. Searching online only leaves me feeling even more overwhelmed. My mom, who has a background in early childhood education and was a teacher turned stay-at home-mom (who homeschooled her four children through kindergarten), has been a huge help to me. With her guidance, I have a much clearer understanding of ways to challenge Timmy and develop his pre-reading skills. Some of the things my mom suggested were to start introducing word families, rhyming words, sight words and consonant letter blends.

This past week, I introduced Timmy to his first word family- the AT family. I spelled out AT, ET, IT and OT on a cookie sheet with some foam stickers. Once we sounded out the word AT together, I showed Timmy how he could use different consonant letters to form words. We sounded out the words in the AT family together- BAT, CAT, HAT, MAT, PAT, RAT and SAT. Later that evening, Timmy was able to spell the -AT words for me on our fridge using his magnetic letters. Success. I’m going to slowly introduce more word families each week. I love how enthused he is to learn how to read!

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letter families 2On the back of the cookie sheet, I used some more foam stickers to form some consonant letter blends. We went over the first five together. Unprompted, he was able to identify that cheese and choo-choo begin with the CH sound. Once he learns all of these blends, my plan is to make these exercises into some sort of a Bingo game. Perhaps start by calling out the sound a blend makes and have him identify and mark the blend with an animal cookie; once he fills the board then he can enjoy his cookies. Moving on from there, I could call out words that begin with a consonant letter blend and have him correctly identify and mark the blend. I think he’ll enjoy the game- especially the cookie part.

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And speaking of cookies, Timmy and I made some Christmas tree and snowmen sugar cookies together. He just loves being “my little helper” in the kitchen. They were without a doubt the best sugar cookies I’ve ever had- so good that I just have to link the recipe.

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Timmy has been working his way through the alphabet, tracing over the letters with his dot markers. He loves making his letters and telling me what words begin with each letter. So far we’re on the letter E. I’ll include pictures in next week’s post.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post how much Timmy enjoys building. He’s always been an extremely clever builder, and with his love of building comes his intense focus. I really have been blessed as a mother with a child who is able to entertain himself for hours on end- I’ve never once worried if Timmy was “bored”. This picture says it all. With minimal help from me, Timmy put most of these tracks together. He worked on it off and on for hours one rainy day.

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I bought some counting manipulatives for Timmy last week in preparation for teaching him the concepts of sorting, patterns, one-to-one correspondence, counting on and addition and subtraction. I chose some classic manipulatives (and ones I used myself as a young girl)- counting bears and unifix cubes.

Sorting by color and simple ABAB and AABAAB patterns using the manipulatives proved to be too simple a task for him, so we moved on to one-to-one correspondence. I already knew Timmy could do this- he loves to count objects in books and in everyday life. Even though counting the manipulatives wasn’t difficult for him, Timmy enjoyed using his new “counting tray” I made for him. To make his counting tray, again I used foam stickers on a cookie sheet. I divided the cookie sheet into 10 squares for him to count out the corresponding number (and color) of manipulatives. I plan to start introducing the concept of counting on to Timmy next week.

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ps3 11 ps3 12I shared a post earlier in the week about a ribbon lacing Christmas tree craft we worked on together. Timmy had a great time making his Christmas tree and worked on some lacing skills as well.

ps3 1 ps3 6 ps3 5We also started making some Christmas ornaments using pom-poms which I will share in next week’s post.

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This was our third week of learning, myself included. What are you working on with your little ones? I’d love to hear from you and hear your thoughts on how we’re doing with our at-home preschool!

 

Ribbon Lacing Christmas Tree

I’ve been meaning to buy Timmy some lacing cards lately. I think they’d be great to keep his little hands busy and work on his fine motor skills as well. In the meantime, I figured I could make some lacing cards of my own.

Now that Timmy has begun to show an interest in making crafts with me, I try to do at least one craft each week with him. Craft time seemed like a perfect opportunity to incorporate some lacing skills. My plan was to have Timmy make a paper plate Christmas tree with a ribbon lacing garland.

Timmy happily painted a paper plate (and a good chunk of the table around it) green. After cutting off the edge of the plate, I cut the plate into 3 pieces of increasing size.

ps3 2I glued the pieces together in the shape of a Christmas tree and cut some holes along the bottom of each tier of the tree. I cut three pieces of ribbon. I knotted one end of each of the ribbons and then taped around the other end of the ribbons. I pushed the taped ends of the ribbons through the first hole of each tier of the tree. My homemade lacing card was ready to go.

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lacingIt only took a quick explanation from me about what to do with the ribbon and Timmy got right down to business- I loved how focused he was on the task at hand.

ps3 1He loved adding the pom pom Christmas ornaments to his tree, but was very adamant about stopping when he did. Less is more, I suppose.

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I think his Christmas tree looks great hanging on our fridge.

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I may have to come up with some more lacing card crafts since he enjoyed this one so much!