Homemade Finger Paint

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Homemade Finger Paint, #finger-paint

My kids were asking to finger paint today. Problem was, we were out of finger paint. Homespun with Love did a wonderful guest post here where she made finger paint using Jello. Problem was, we were out of Jello too. But we did have cornstarch and sugar. When I was teaching, I remember using these ingredients to make finger paint. It worked perfectly! The kids had a blast and I didn't have to spend money on finger paint. Read on to see how you can make homemade finger paint too.

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Yummy Ice Cream Math Games

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Ice Cream Math Games, #math, #preschool

We are still having some summer weather here in our part of California and my kids favorite summertime (ok, anytime) treat is ice cream. I decided to take advantage of their love of ice cream by creating some ice cream math games that reinforce both pattern making, counting and number order. These games are simple and inexpensive to make, but will keep the kids engaged for a long time.

You will need:
  • Felt in various colors
  • Scissors
  • Black permanent marker
  • Felt board or a large piece of felt for a background (optional)
You will be cutting out cones and ice scream scoops from the felt so you'll want to get some fun colors.  I got mine at Joann for $1 each.

I made sure to get some felt in a tan color to make the cones.

I ended up buying a variety of colors of felt even if they were non traditional ice cream colors. The kids enjoyed coming up with flavors for the different colors. The red became watermelon ice cream and green became broccoli ice cream. Sounds yummy huh?

Create an ice cream pattern

The first math activity involved giving the kids a cone and different color ice cream scoops and asking them to create a pattern. You will want to be sure to provide at least 3 ice scream scoops of the same color so kids can make a pattern.

Pattern game

Practice counting and numerical order

One one side of the ice scream scoops, I wrote numbers. Then I gave them to the kids number side up and asked them to stack the ice cream on the cone in numerical order. This really helped them work on their counting skills as they kept counting up to figure out which number would come next.

Counting Game

Ice Cream Math

I only numbered my cones up to 9 but you can number them as high as you wish. You can then challenged your child (if older) to stack only odd numbers, even numbers etc...

Preschool Math Game

If you have a Felt board it will work great with these ice cream math games. But they can also be played on a table. These are the perfect games to bring to a restaurant or Dr's office as they are quiet and easy to carry.

This post contains affiliate links.

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Food Fun Friday: 3 Ways to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

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I don't know about where you live, but here in Northern California, pumpkins at a pumpkin patch are always a lot more expensive than those sold at stores. So even though we have been to a pumpkin patch this season and will visit another this weekend, I bought our pumpkin at the store. 

My daughters were so excited when they saw it because they know that pumpkins mean pumpkin seeds! They love pumpkins seeds and the process to make them is so fun for kids. This year we changed things up a bit by experimenting with seasoning our seeds.
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Scrapbooking Ideas for Kids

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Scrapbooking Ideas for Kids, #scarpbooking

I normally think of scrapbooking as an adult hobby. But did you know you can scrapbook with young children? Even if you have never made a scrapbook before, I will provide some easy scrapbooking ideas for kids.

We recently returned from a vacation to Walt Disney World and we took tons of photos. My kids loved looking at all their pictures on the computer, so I thought it would be fun for them to have all the photos in a book where they could look at them and remember their trip.

You will need:

I found some wonderful notebooks on clearance at an office supply store and picked up a few for this project. I then printed out some photos of our trip for the kids to place in their scrapbook. 

My youngest daughter is 2 so I helped her create her scrapbook. She chose the colors of cardstock she wanted and we used Aleene's Tacky Tape Runner to stick the cardstock to the paper in her notebook.  All she had to do was decide which picture she would use on the page.

easy scrapbooking ideas for kids

Now if you have a 2 year old you know that they would only let you help them for so long. My little one wanted to make her next page all by herself. She squeezed Aleene's Original Tacky Glue onto her paper and gave her little muscles quite a workout.

kids scrapbooks

After adding her cardstock, she adds her photo.

scrapbooks for kids

My four old twins really had a blast creating their scrapbook. One of my daughters doesn't like getting her hands dirty and Aleene's Tacky Tape Runner was perfect for her. She could just roll the tape over her paper and stick on her cardstock or photo.

When she was done adding her photos, I gave her some princess stickers that she added to her scrapbook.

There are lots of ways to have a child personalize their scrapbooks. After gluing her photo, my other twin daughter decided to personalize her scrapbook by drawing with her crayons.

I have wanted to start scrapbooking with my kids, but I thought they were too young to do enjoy the activity. But I discovered that if you keep the options simple and provide easy-to-use products like Aleene's  adhesives, kids can make their own scrapbooks that serve as a memento of a trip or event. Our were such big hits, the kids even brought them to preschool for sharing time.

To learn more about Aleene's products and get some great ideas for creative projects, visit I Love to Create and check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Aleene's and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

Check out the linky below for more fun Fall ideas from some creative bloggers.

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Pumpkin Art with Torn Paper

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What I love above creating art with torn paper is that it doesn't need to be perfect. In fact, the less perfect it is, the better it looks. This makes this medium great for kids. They can just tear the paper in various ways and still achieve a work of art.

I decided to have the kids make a Halloween themed torn art picture. Tearing the paper really gives kids a wonderful opportunity to practice their fine motor skills. The pieces of black construction paper that are used for eyes and mouths have to be torn pretty small.

You will need:

  • White, black, orange, green and yellow construction paper
  • Glue

I don't know about you, but I love a supply list that has two items on it. Most people already have construction paper and glue, so the set up for this Halloween project could not be easier.

Start out with a white piece of construction paper that will serve as the background. Have your child tear some green construction paper for grass and glue it to the bottom of the white paper. How they tear the paper is up to them. The paper may end up looking like a hillside or like tall blades of grass. There is no wrong way to do this. Be sure to save a little bit of green construction paper for the pumpkin stems.

When the grass is glued down, have your child tear a circle or oval shape out of some orange construction paper. Having tried this, I can say this is pretty tricky for an adult to do. But it didn't matter that our pumpkins weren't round, they still looked cool. So no matter what shape your child's pumpkin comes out, they can glue it on the grass to add to their fall scene. 

For some kids this will be enough. If your child is older or wants to go further, you can add green stems and use some torn black construction paper for a jack o' lantern face. 

We even added a sun using some yellow construction paper. I bet a tree would be fun to make from torn paper and would look great in this fall scene too. What other items do you think you could add?

Can't get enough pumpkin ideas? Check out Coffee Filter Pumpkins and Paper Bag Pumpkins.

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Stackable Sensory Boxes - Guest Post from Little Moments to Embrace

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Today we have a guest post from Heather who blogs at Little Moments to Embrace. Heather is a mother of two with a background in early childhood education. She blogs some wonderful ideas for children's learning and play. I am excited to have her here today sharing a wonderful activity for babies. My kids have outgrown this stage so I don't offer lots of baby ideas here. I know this post will be helpful to my friends and readers with little ones. Please welcome Heather!

Devin has been busy lately; busy wiggling and rolling around, busy putting toys in his mouth, and busy eyeing things up he wishes he could put in his mouth.  At six months old he is able to explore a little bit more of his world now that he has wiggle room.  Sensory bottles are the perfect option for him at this stage, they allow him to explore objects that are too small for him, safely.  We don't have plastic bottles in the house often, but we do have a lot of plastic baby food containers, the perfect size for little hands to grab.

I simply washed out the containers, added some odds and ends from around the house, and sealed them shut.  Brightly colored items are eye catching, and items that make noise when shaken are even more irresistible to a baby seeking new discoveries.  I used a hot glue gun to seal the lid on, and then wrapped clear packing tape around the whole box for added security.

Sensory box
Sensory box, #babies

There is so much investigating to do with sensory boxes...

Sensory Boxes


Looking, touching...

Knocking them down over and over...

And listening to the interesting sounds they make when shaken!

Did you know this investigating, this busy play, is really a simple experiment?  Sensory boxes, and other objects Devin comes in contact with are used over and over again to better understand his world. 

What is your baby's favorite thing to experiment with right now?

Like Little Moments Facebook Page to stay up to date on all our moments and more!

Thank you so much Heather! I have to start by saying Devin is SO cute! The pictures of him are darling. I love that this idea is frugal and reuses things we already have at home. I can't imagine how many of those baby food containers we went through. 

Here are some of my favorite posts from Little Moments to Embrace:

On Your Markers...Get Set...Go!
The Secret Box
Reptile Invasion

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Food Fun Friday - Applesauce Experiment - Guest Post from The Pleasantest Thing

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Please welcome Carolyn from The Pleasantest Thing who is here today to share an easy applesauce recipe that you can make with your kids. The bonus of this recipe is that it is also an experiment that will encourage kids to start thinking scientifically. There's so much to learn in the kitchen!

Homemade applesauce is one of my favorite fall treats. My kids, ages 4 1/2 and 1, also love fresh applesauce. My older son and I set up an experiment to see what happens when we boiled apples. Question:
I asked my son whether he thought the apples would mash better before we cooked them, or after we cooked them.
  • Apple chunks (I cut up 2 apples)
  • Measuring cup filled with water (we used about 3/4 cups)
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Pot
  • Masher
My son poured the apples and water into the pot, and then sprinkled as much cinnamon as he wanted into the pot. (note: it was a lot of cinnamon, so if that's not your thing, you may want to put some cinnamon on a measuring spoon). Then he tried mashing it.

I carried the pot over to the stove, and heated it until the water was mostly gone (Note: please make sure the kids stay well away from the hot pot!). Then I let the pot cool, and brought it back for round 2 of mashing.

My son mashed up the applesauce, and then we shared a delicious applesauce snack.

I asked my son which set of apples was easier to mash, and he responded that the apples that were cooked. I asked him why he thought that might be, and he said because cooking made them soft. He also commented that this was funny, because sometimes cooking makes things harder (like muffins). 
This was a fun way to involve my son in cooking, and work in a little science. It didn't take that much longer to have him help, and it was a fun way to connect over food.

Carolyn is the writer at The Pleasantest Thing blog, and a mom to two boys, ages 4 1/2 and 1. She believes play is critical to child development. Her blog focuses on learning and developing imagination through adventure, play, reading, and nature. You can also join in the fun by following her blog on Facebook or Pinterest.

Thank you so much Carolyn! I love how this simple experiment yielded yummy results and got your little one in the kitchen and cooking. Here are some of my favorite posts from The Pleasantest Thing.

Backyard Superhero - Missions and an Easy Cape
Watering an Alphabet Garden
Lego Learning

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Bath Tub Basketball - Guest Post from SugarSnips

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Please welcome Mary from SugarSnips who is here to share a fun and frugal idea for making a bath tub basketball game. Mary is a former scientist turned stay at home mom who blogs about crafts, activities and ideas to inspire and entertain moms. Take it away Mary!

So hopefully your children are not like mine and do not go through a phase where they think that getting a little water in their eyes is quite possibly the worst thing ever.  I've found, like many things, that distraction is key to a happy bath time.  In fact we've gotten so good at fun in the tub that the problem is now getting the kids out.  But, hey, there could be worse things that squeaky clean kids, right?  This bath tub basketball idea was inspired largely for the benefit of my son who plays primarily with whatever his older sister gets out, meaning lots of dolls and lots of baking (both of which he loves).  So for all you younger siblings and reluctant bathers out there here is how to make your very own bath tub basketball hoop!
Bath tub disclaimer: My tub does not get any better looking than this sadly (cringe).  We rent.
For the hoop I used a recycled apple juice container (the 1 gallon huge Motts bottle from Costco---words cannot express my love for that store) and I cut off the top and bottom with a sharp box cutter.  A sharp blade is key to cut bottles, my initial attempt was with apparently a dull blade and I was not so successful.  Yes, it seems like common sense NOW, but at the time I was running to google for "how to cut a plastic bottle".  Yup, that girl.  Now attach two adhesive velcro squares to one side of the bottle, and the "opposite" two velcro halves to the wall (don't worry they come right off and don't leave a mark).
Add balls, and......He shoots, he scores!!!!
You could always dress this up even more by painting a scoreboard (and score) on the bathtub wall with bath paint or bath crayons.
We've also made an entire bath tub water wall using recycled bottles as well as a really cool double-sided outdoor water wall.  Be sure to check them out as well as other bath time fun ideas at Sugarsnips.com!
I just love this idea! I am in the same boat as Mary. One of my daughters thinks she will melt if water gets on her face. We are always looking for ways to keep her busy and distracted in the tub and this seems perfect. Thank you Mary!

Here are some of my favorite posts from SugarSnips:
Yarn Bowl
Fishin' In the Kitchen
Bath Time Fall Leaves

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