Stacking Snowmen Play Activity from Housing A Forest

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Today I am handing things off to Tammy from Housing A Forest. She is one of my favorite bloggers and when you stop by her blog, you will see why. She has so many wonderful, creative projects for kids and her beautiful photos really bring the activities to life. Her house just seems like a really fun place to live. So check it out and be inspired!

Hi everyone from Mess For Less! My name is Tammy and am so excited to be sharing with you today! I am a mom of 3 busy kiddos, run an in home daycare and teach high school art. I love spending time being creative and encouraging my kids to be creative as well. I blog over at Housing A Forest where we have lots of fun creating, learning and experimenting. I would love for you to stop by, say Hello and join in on the fun!

  Stacking Snowmen Play

Do you have a bag of opened marshmallows in the back of your cupboard? You know the kind that have been there since your last summer campfire. They still look yummy, but are hard as a rock. Instead of throwing the inedible marshmallows out, we turned them into an adorable Stacking Snowman Play activity.

Stacking Snowmen Play

Since these little guys were too hard to be consumed, the kids made little snowman faces with a Sharpie marker. (However, if you plan on eating your snowmen, then make sure you use a food safe marker)

Stacking Snowmen Play

The kids tried to build the tallest tower they could before it came toppling over. Four snowmen was a common number, but a few stacks got to be six marshmallows tall. I tried it, and let me tell you, you have to have good coordination to get them to stack 6 high!

  Stacking Snowmen Play 3

Who knew a bunch of dried out marshmallows could look so cute:)

Stacking Snowmen Play

We also played a quick game of Hide the Snowmen. My house was full of adorable snowmen peeking out from everywhere. I handed each of the kiddos an egg carton and turned them loose to hunt down the snowmen. The kids loved this winter version of an Easter egg hunt.

Stacking Snowmen Play

Sometimes it is the simplest things can provide the most fun and entertainment. What would you have done with a bag of dried out marshmallows? I would love for you to stop by Housing A Forest and say hello!

Thank you so much Tammy! Marshmallows usually don't have chance to get stale in our house so we are doing to this with food safe markers as you suggested. Love the idea of the marshmallow hunt! 

Here are some of my favorite posts from Housing a Forest:

Rubber Cement Resist Easter Eggs
Rainbow Bubble Snakes
Volcano Easter Egg Experiements

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Teaching Symmetry Art Activity

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Preschool Art Activity to Teach Symmetry from Mess For Less #kids #math

We were recently playing with our Do A Dot markers and discovered a fun way to learn about symmetry. This art activity only requires a few items and has no prep time. That's my kind of art!

You will need:

Using Do A Dot Markers to Teach Symmetry

Fold a sheet of white paper in half and then unfold it and give it to your child. I told the kids that they could only make a design on one side of the paper. This is much easier for them to understand if the paper has been pre-folded.

Have your child draw a design on one side of the paper with a Do A Dot marker. You will want to make sure they are squeezing the marker as they are making the design so more liquid comes out. The designs need to be pretty wet so that they will make a symmetrical picture on the opposite side of the paper. This required some experimenting until the kids got the hang of it.

fun art for kids

When the design is drawn and the paper is still wet, fold over the blank side and have your child smooth down the paper.

Now it's time to open it the paper and see what happened!

She discovered that her pictures looked similar on both sides of the paper. We talked about how the pictures on each half were symmetrical - they had the same balance of proportions of each side of the fold in the paper.

Teaching about symmetry

She tried it again with a red Do A Dot marker and got a similar result. You can try this with all sorts of designs. Half a circle and half a heart work well to demonstrate this concept. Just be sure to make your design start right near the crease if you are making a circle or a heart.

If you are looking for other ways to teach symmetry through art you can try using the folded paper method above with finger paint or tempera paint. Use what you have at home to create a fun art and math activity for your little one!

We link to these great parties.

*This post contains affiliate links.

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175+ Ideas for Repurposing Items for Play from The PLAY Group

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I am so excited to introduce you to The PLAY Group! The PLAY Group is a group of moms and teachers who blog about kids play and learning activities. These are some of the most creative kid bloggers around and they share creative ideas for having fun and teaching your kids. I am honored to be part of this group. To kick things off, we will be sharing a zillion (more or less) activities in areas we are especially passionate about. At the end of this post are links to all The PLAY Group lists. Literally, thousands of activities. What more do you need?

Be sure to follow The PLAY Group on Pinterest for your one stop shop for all kids activities:

Join The PLAY Group on Google+ for even MORE ideas and inspiration!

Now on with the show!

If you have been a regular reader at Mess For Less then you know I am somewhat frugal. I hate to spend  lots of money on things to entertain and teach the kids. I try to find items I already have around the house to use in new and unexpected ways to create memories and fun. I am hoping after browsing through the list and visiting some of the great ideas you will be inspired and look around your house and for items you can use for play.

1. Counting Game with Buttons and Muffin Cups  From Mess For Less
2. Creative Magnets and a Marble Run  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
3. DIY Microfiber Cleaning Slippers  From Housing a Forest
4. Sidewalk Chalk Paint  From Train Up A Child
5. Sponge Bowling with Word Families  From Toddler Approved 
6. Shower Sponge Painting  From Learn With Play at Home
7. Early Learning Magnetic Alpha Bath  From Bath Activities for Kids
8. Snowflake Valentine's Craft using Coffee Filters  From B-Inspired Mama
9. Make Homemade Bouncing Balls  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
10. Thrifty Arts and Crafts Supplies  From In Lieu of Preschool

11. 20+ Ways to Use Contact Paper with Kids  From Mess For Less
12. DIY Magnetic Chalkboard  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
13. Rainbow Bubble Snakes  From Housing a Forest
14. Tips and Tricks for Messy Play  From Train Up A Child
15. Swimming Pool Scrabble  From Toddler Approved
16. Soft Toy Toss  From Learn With Play at Home
17. Kool Aid Scented Sensory Baths  From Bath Activities for Kids
18. Marble Painted Heart Garland  From B-Inspired Mama
19. Faux Tie Dye Spring Window Flower Display  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
20. Exploring Michelangelo with Preschoolers From Rainy Day Mum

21. Birthday Party Playdough  From Mess For Less
22. DIY Light Table and Shapes  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
23. Painting With Jelly Beans  From Housing a Forest
24. Frog Pond Small World Play  From One Perfect Day
25. Building with Spices  From Toddler Approved
26. Playdough Imprints Texture and Pattern  From Learn With Play at Home
27. Glowing Water for Kids  From Bath Activities for Kids
28. Snowflake Drop Baby Activity  From B-Inspired Mama
29. Penny Experiment  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
30. Thrifty Scissor Practice  From In Lieu of Preschool

31. 3 Ideas for Straw Games and Crafts  From Mess For Less
32. Black Light Sticky Table  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
33. Stamping Dice  From Housing a Forest
34. Two Ingredient Baby and Toddler Safe Paint  From Train Up A Child
35. Sponge Tower Time  From Toddler Approved
36. Gooey Flour Fun  From Learn With Play at Home
37. Ice Cream Parlor for Kids  From Bath Activities for Kids
38. Dissolving Peeps Experiment  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
39. Twig Nest Centerpiece From B-Inspired Mama
40. 3 Simple Numbers and Counting Activities  From In Lieu of Preschool

41. Paint a Tree with Q-Tips  From Mess For Less
42. Giant Sponge Sensory Play  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
43. Shamrock Sprouts  From Housing a Forest
44. Glow in the Dark Water Beads  From Train Up A Child
45. Silly Magnet Monsters  From Toddler Approved
46. Comb Painting  From Learn With Play at Home
47. Bath Paint Recipe Collection  From Bath Activities for Kids
48. Egg Experiments  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
49. 5 Tips for Setting Up Play Kitchen  From In Lieu of Preschool
50. Easy DIY Fine Motor Skills Activity  From One Perfect Day

51. Paper Bag Donkeys  From Mess For Less
52. 30 Ways to Play with Kool Aid  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
53. Ivory Soap Experiment  From Housing a Forest
54. Counting and Sequencing with Peas  From Train Up A Child
55. Clothespin Fireworks  From Toddler Approved
56. Building with Books   From Learn With Play at Home
57. Erupting Kool Aid Bath Paint  From Bath Activities for Kids
58. Exploring Gas with Balloons  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
59. Shamrock Cookie Cutter Paint Stamping  From In Lieu of Preschool
60. ABC Rock Fun  From Parent Teach Play

61. Homemade Finger Paint  From Mess For Less
62. How to Make Play Dough  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
63. Cup Stacking  From Housing a Forest
64. Painting Rainbows with Marshmallows  From Train Up A Child
65. Make a Cereal Bracelet  From Learn With Play at Home
66. Scented Bubble Painting Bath  From Bath Activities for Kids
67. A Garden Treasure Hunt with Painted Rocks From One Perfect Day
68. DIY Cooking Sensory Bin  From In Lieu of Preschool
69. Mosaic Rainbow Art  From Parent Teach Play
70. Homemade Puffy Paint with 3 Ingredients  From Train Up A Child

71. Tracing with Yarn  From Mess For Less
72. Alligator Stick Pals  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
73. Tinfoil and Sharpies  From Housing a Forest
74. Paper Plate Dino Craft  From Train Up A Child
75. Experimental Cooking  From Learn With Play at Home
76. St. Patrick's Day Art - Rainbows  From In Lieu of Preschool
77.Glowing Ice  From Train Up A Child
78. Playdough Candy Pops  From Parent Teach Play
79. Rainbow Discovery Bottles  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
80. Messy Car Wash  From Train Up A Child

81. Giant Fly Swatter Painting  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
82. Credit Card Art  From Housing a Forest
83. Peppermint Oatmeal Sensory Play  From Train Up A Child
84. Painting with Seasoning and Spices  From Learn With Play at Home
85. Storm Fort  From Parent Teach Play
86. 11 Ways to Make Bathtime Glow  From Bath Activities for Kids
87. Erupting Snow Recipe  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
88. Hot Glue Crayon Rubbings  From Mess For Less
89. The Smell Eraser  From Housing a Forest
90. Shaving Cream Play Pool  From Train Up A Child

91. Paint the Sky Activity  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
92. Pretend Cooking with Food Scraps  From Train Up A Child
93. Exploring Sense of Touch    From Train Up A Child
94. Glowing Oobleck  From Train Up A Child
95. Making Flowers with Scrubbing Sponges  From Mess For Less
96. Erupting Pumpkins Experiment for Kids  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
97. Yogurt Spice Sensory Play  From Train Up A Child
98. Dripping Salt Painting  From Mess For Less
99. A New Way to Make Paint  From Bath Activities for Kids
100. Apple Scented Cloud Dough  From Growing a Jeweled Rose

101. 5 Simple Sensory Bins for Babies and Toddlers  From Train Up A Child
102. Homemade Glowing Paint  From Train Up A Child
103. Exploring the Sense of Sight  From Train Up A Child
104. Sensory Painting with Kool Aid  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
105. 5 DIY Manipulatives  From Train Up A Child
106. Water Beads and Babies  From Train Up A Child
107. Egg Crack Painting  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
108. Pretend Play Perfume Concoctions  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
109. Coconut Volcano Science Experiment  From Parent Teach Play
110. Outdoor Obstacle Course  From Train Up A Child

111. Spooky Spaghetti Spider Webs  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
112. Using Empty Paint Bottles for Sensory Play  From Train Up A Child
113. Bath Time Water Wall  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
114. Dry Erase Tiles  From Housing a Forest
115. Potato Pumpkin Prints  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
116. Bubble Wrap Sensory Sliding Fun  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
117. Melted Crayon Easter Eggs  From Housing a Forest
118. Edible Face Healthy Lunch  From Train Up A Child
119. Mess Free Finger Painting  Housing a Forest
120. Tornado in a Bottle  From In Lieu of Preschool

121. Early Math with the 3 Bears  From Learn With Play at Home
122. 20 Art and Craft Recipes for the Busy Mama  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
123. Dancing Oobleck  From Housing a Forest
124. Wash and Learn Turkey Basting Bath Time  From In Lieu of Preschool
125. Paper Plate Pumpkin Crafts  From Train Up A Child
126. Toddler Sewing Activity  From Housing a Forest
127. Exploding Art   From Housing a Forest
128. Glowing Pasta Necklaces  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
129. Crock Pot Playdough  From Train Up A Child
130. Sensory Pudding Paint  From Train Up A Child

131. Simple Valentine's Stamp  From Housing a Forest
132. Painting with Pool Noodles  From Train Up A Child
133. Slide Painting with Balls  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
134. Tot Preschool - D is for Dinosaur  From Train Up A Child
135. Dino Dig Fossil Art  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
136. Pretend Cooking Using Real Ingredients  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
137. Mixology 101 From Train Up A Child
138. Ice Skating in the Living Room  From One Perfect Day
139. Rainbow Jello Sensory Bin  From Train Up A Child
140. Glowing Clean Mud Ivory Soap Explosion  From Train Up A Child

141. Pumpkin Oobleck  From Train Up A Child
142. Easy Homemade Faux Lava Lamps for Kids  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
143. 40 Ways to Play with Items in Your Pantry  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
144. Lorax Themed Sensory Box  From In Lieu of Preschool
145. Glowing Jello  From Train Up A Child
146. Tie-riffic Fun with Twist Ties  From Learn With Play at Home
147. Learning the Alphabet Sensory Style  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
148. Autumn Jello Sensory Bin  From Train Up A Child
149. Pretend Play Sensory Tea Party   From Growing a Jeweled Rose
150. Exploring the Sense of Taste  From Train Up A Child

151. Baby Discovery Bin  From Train Up A Child
152. Rubber Cement Resist  From Housing a Forest
153. Even More Fun Activities for Kids Using a Turkey Baster From In Lieu of Preschool
154. Making Snowmen with Hair Curlers  From Mess For Less
155. Nail Polish Art  From Housing a Forest
156. Homemade Silly Putty  From Train Up A Child
157. DIY Prayer Pail  From In Lieu of Preschool
158. Sponge Painting From Train Up A Child
159. Coffee Filter Pumpkins  From Mess For Less

160. Toilet Paper Knockdown  From Mess For Less
161. Fine Motor Work with Golf Tees  From Mess For Less
162. Elastic Band Launchers  From Housing a Forest
163. Monster Truck Sight Word Mash  From Train Up A Child
164. I Did It All for the Cookie Tray  From Mess For Less
165. Penguin Sensory Bin  From Train Up a Child
166. Q-Tip Painting and Number Learning  From Learn With Play at Home
167. Kool Aid Pumpkins  From Housing a Forest
168. 25 Ways to Play with Goop  From Growing a Jeweled Rose
169. Bell Pepper Shamrocks  From Train Up A Child

170. Perfect Hush Bottles  From In Lieu of Preschool
171. Exploring Playdough with Kitchen Tools  From One Perfect Day
172. Colored Rice Sensory Play  From Train Up A Child
173. Two Ingredient Multi Sensory Cloud Dough  From Train Up A Child
174. Sight Word Discovery Bottles  From Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
175. DIY Microwave Puffy Paint  From One Perfect Day
176. Rock Collection Fun  From In Lieu of Preschool
177. Dinosaur Small World From One Perfect Day

Check out these fantastic lists from The PLAY Group:


      200+ Art Activities from The PLAY Group at

And please be sure to visit Nature and Play for some wonderful ideas about how you can playfully explore the outdoors with kids.

I link to these great parties.

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Make a St. Patrick's Day Votive

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If you are looking for a St. Patrick's Day craft that doesn't involve rainbows or a leprechaun then you've come to the right place. Don't get me wrong, we love us some rainbows, pots of gold and Lucky Charms, and we have done plenty of activities involving those things. Today's kids activity does not. This St. Patrick's Day Votive is a little more subdued and will be a great addition to your holiday decorating. 

St. Patrick's Day Craft for Kids - Make a Votive.

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