Saturday, August 17, 2013

Valentine's Day Heart Tree

One of the best ways I have found to teach my kids to appreciate the things and people they have is to tie it into a holiday countdown. Our latest creation is a "Love Tree". I simply took a piece of Valentine scrapbook paper and cut it into strips. From the strips, I created a tree trunk and branches. (I used masking tape to place it on the wall.)

Together, the kids and I cut out little hearts from construction paper. We each picked a color. We cut out 14 hearts in each color. (One color for every family member--including the parents!)

The kids taped the hearts to the wall around the branches.

Everyday, from February 1st until the 14th, we will write the name of someone we love on one of our colored hearts.

Valentine's Day "Chocolate" Activity Box

My kids love doing crafts and special activities at night after school and daycare. We have just started doing activity countdowns to different holidays, thanks to my love for Pinterest!! For our Valentine's Day countdown, we created a special "chocolate box".

Step 1: Get an empty candy box. Cover the box with scrapbook paper. I found "Love" paper at Hobby Lobby. I put it on the candy box with Modge Podge.

Step 2: I found clear mosaic circles to be used for the "chocolates" at Hobby Lobby. I placed a Valentine sticker on each of the "chocolates".

Step 3: Find Valentine activities you would like to do with your kids. Print off the activites and tape them to the bottom of the "chocolates".

Step 4: Give your box a title. We are calling ours Happy ValenTIMES Day! I created nutritional facts to be placed on the back.

Watch a Valentine Movie and drink Cupid Floats
 Make Heart-Shape Pizza for Dinner
 Do a Valentine’s Day Photo Shoot-Use Mustache pops and Pipe Cleaner Glasses
 Make heart monsters
 Make Valentine flowerpots for Grandmas
 Make I love you to pieces frames
 Make tissue paper hearts
 Make monster valentine boxes
 Make secret message Valentine Hearts
 David-Do Valentine Activity Sheets, Matt write a Valentine Poem
 Color Valentine Pictures
 Make Valentine treats for your neighbors
 Write Bible Verses on hearts and mail them
 Make yarn heart cards
 Make heart sun catchers
 Go to the library and get a Valentine Book-Take the librarian a special treat.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size                               1 Chocolate
Serving Per Container        16
Amount Per Serving: One “chocolate” per day
Calories: 1 ---Hour of Endless Fun
Total Fat:—10 – Guaranteed Belly Laughs
Sodium: 1 –Day of build-up until the activity
Total Carbohydrate: 500mg of Energy for an Activity of Love
     Dietary Fiber: 5—guaranteed hugs per day to keep you full of love
     Sugars: As many as you can grab without mom knowing J
Protein: Countless memories to fill you up

Valentine's Day Snowman Fridge

After finding the Christmas snowman fridge on Pinterest, we decided to keep our snowman up for a few more seasons. We changed his scarf color, added some heart stickers, made heart buttons, and decorated his hat. (Helps to keep unnecessary clutter off of the refrigerator!)

This was made from construction paper, minus the stickers.

St. Patrick's Day Pot o' Activities

After removing our "Heart Tree" for Valentine's Day, I realized that this spot on our wall would now constantly have to be filled with something. So, as a family, we came up with this Pot o'Activities at the End of the Rainbow.

Every day the kids will select one of the numbered coins from the pot of gold. Because Easter and St. Patrick's Day are so close this year, I have bonus Easter coins for them to select the week between St. Patrick's Day and Easter. (Some of the initial 17 coins are Easter activities as well.)

I like to make the kids think about things they are thankful for, or tie this activity to a life lesson of some sort.

Every day, in order to collect their "activity coin", they have to go around the house and find something that they normally take for granted to donate to our "Pot of Blessings". (This could be toothpaste, can food, shampoo, roll of paper towels, etc.) At the end of the season, we will donate these supplies to the local shelter or to the church collection. (This idea is courtesy of the kids' daycare provider--Thanks, Marcy!)

Here are the activities I have chosen for the coins. (The best part of this is the kids have not seen the activities, so if I find something better between now and then, I can always change the activity without them even knowing.)

1 Make St. Patrick’s Day Playdough

2 Make lucky cupcakes

3 Make jelly bean prayer eggs

4 Make a shamrock collage

5 Take a green bubble bath

6 Paint shamrock ornaments

7 Make bunny handprint cards

8 Make toilet paper roll bunnies

9 Make bunny tin decorations

10 Make sugar cookies for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter

11 Make a leprechaun handprint craft

12 Go to the library for holiday books

13 Make an Easter chick

14 Make a green carnation centerpiece.

15 Make rainbow cupcakes

16 Go on a shamrock hunt

17 Have a “green” dinner

Bonus Easter Coins

18 Go on an Easter egg hunt for privileges

19 Make Mr. Potato head eggs

20 Make a cross suncatcher

21 Make a popcorn lamb

22 Make shaving cream colored eggs and Easter handprint frames

23 Make other colored eggs

Note: The Pot o' Activities is made from white craft paper. The reason it is a little crooked is it is drawn freehand! We colored the pot and drew a shamrock.
The rainbow is made from the same white paper and is colored. The shamrocks are wall decorations we found at Joann Fabrics. The coins are yellow construction paper with the small wall decals placed on them.

Coming next...April showers bring May flowers. (Raindrops will be activities scattered around flowers on the wall.)

St. Patrick's Day Leprechaun Refrigerator

Today we turned our snowman into a leprechaun. This is made from almost all construction paper. The only things that aren't construction paper are the eyes and button stickers.

The boys really enjoyed cutting out the pieces and drawing a variety of "noses" :) I think he resembles a dog a little bit, but the boys were happy with their creation, so that is all that matters.

Easter Bunny Refrigerator Decoration

This bunny is made mostly from construction paper. The mouth is pink pipe cleaners, the nose is a pink puffball, and the eyes are craft eyes. Everything else is cut from construction paper. I outlined the hands and feet in black construction paper so the white would stand out a little bit more.

April Showers Bring May Flowers Activity Wall

Our next wall of activities is called "April Showers Bring May Flowers". The raindrops hold the activities for each day. (Each day the kids will select a raindrop.) The wall will work for a couple of months and focuses on spring crafts and activities.

I got the flowers from the Easter clearance at Hobby Lobby. They are foam flowers the kids put together for the first craft of the month. Then we taped them to the wall. (They could also be made from construction paper if you don't have the foam flowers.) The cloud is just cotton balls glued to construction paper. Everything else is just construction paper.

I pinned most of the activities that are on the raindrops to Pinterest. Here is the link to my Spring Craft board:

Detroit Tigers Mascot Refrigerator

There aren't any holidays coming up in the near future, so we decided to celebrate the start of the 2013 baseball season.  We turned our refrigerator into our favorite team mascot, Paws.

Paws is the mascot of the Detroit Tigers. The boys love watching baseball with their dad, so this seemed like a great fit for our house.

Everything is made from construction paper except the face. I found a tiger mask at the dollar store, so I used that as the face. I added some google eyes, cotton balls in the ears, and a baseball sticker in the paw, but other than that, I cut everything out from construction paper.

Father's Day Activity Wall

 Our next activity wall for the year is centered around Father's Day. To start, I taped down some white paper on the floor. (Originally I was just going to trace the top half of my husband, but when my son saw how much fun it looked, he wanted a sheet of paper to lay on as well. So we improvised the wall a little bit.) The two lay side by side with their hands together. I traced them and cut out their shapes.

We taped the images on the "Activity Wall" and colored some clothing on them. I tried to draw on some faces, but they looked a little scary, so I just taped on a picture of my husband and son where the faces would go.

For the activity part of it, we cut out ties from different construction paper. There is an activity listed behind each tie. Every day the kids will pick one tie out of the "closet" (located on the other side of the hallway) to put on dad. The tie they choose will tell them the activity for the day.

4th of July Activity Wall

We decided on a 4th of July theme for our next activity wall. (I am secretly making this a history lesson for the kids as well.)

While we made this, I explained that the first flag the United States had did not look exactly like the flag we have today. For this activity wall, we made the first flag of the United States. We talked about why the first flag only had 13 stars and why the flag has 13 stripes. We used this website as a starting point to the history:

I drew the 13 stripes on a piece of big white paper. I outlined all the red stripes with red paint. Then David painted inside all of the red outlines.

Next we painted the blue square.
 We cut out 13 stars.
On each star, I wrote what state it represented.

  • (1st) Delaware December 7th, 1787
  • (2nd) Pennsylvania December 12th,1787
  • (3rd) New Jersey December18th, 1787
  • (4th) Georgia January 2nd, 1788
  • (5th) Connecticut January 9th, 1788
  • (6th) Massachusetts February 6th, 1788
  • (7th) Maryland April 28th, 1788
  • (8th) South Carolina May 23rd, 1788
  • (9th) New Hampshire June 21st, 1788
  • (10th) Virginia June 25th, 1788
  • (11th) New York July 25th, 1788
  • (12th) North Carolina November 21st, 1789
  • (13th) Rhode Island May 29th, 1790

  • On the first day, the kids will see that the first star is Delaware. We are going to do a little bit of research about Delaware. After we do our research, I will direct the kids to their first activity. (I pinned a bunch of activities to a Summer board on Pinterest.) After they do their research each day, they can pick out an activity from that board.

    ***Addition: After doing this for a couple of days, I realized this was a perfect opportunity to teach the boys how to do research. So, we started a notebook. At the top of each page we wrote the name of the state and numbered the page 1 to 5. I talked to them about doing searches. For instance, I showed them that if they just typed in "Delaware" it wouldn't give them the facts they needed. I wanted them to find 5 facts about the state they didn't already know. So instead we typed in "Facts about Delaware" and got a great site for fast facts about all 50 states. This was also great writing practice for my 10-year-old. He worked on turning the facts into complete sentences.

    Summer Activity Wall

    For the last couple of weeks in July, our activity wall is going to become an ice cream cone. This is a very easy wall to create.

    We started with a piece of brown felt. I cut it into the shape of a cone. I then drew my best interpretation of a scoop of ice cream.

    We traced the scoop onto colors of construction paper. Each of the scoops will represent an activity for each day. They will take a different scoop of ice cream and add it to the cone. After adding the scoop, we will do an activity that is posted on our Summer Crafts board on Pinterest.

    To decorate the scoops, we colored on some fudge swirls, colored sprinkles, and chocolate chips.

    Dog Days of Summer Activity Wall

    For the last couple of weeks of summer vacation, we created a "Dog Days of Summer" activity wall. I just drew a dog house on large white paper and painted it with tempera paint. I found dog shape cut-outs at the Dollar Tree. Each dog and bone has an activity written on it. Every day we will pick a dog "activity" to place in the dog house.

    The activities we chose were: Go to the beach, Go on a picnic, Summer photo shoot, Sun paper craft, Clothespin animals, Celebrate Cupcake Day on Aug. 20th, Do a science experiment, Scuba diver craft, Make musical instruments, Make beach frames, Giant ice cube dig, Build indoor fort.