Family Tree of Thanks

Some of you friends may remember this from last year, and the Family Tree of Thanks is out again!


November has already begun, so my mind is now on Thanksgiving! The kids and I were talking about what we are thankful for and I thought it would be fun to display those “thanks” for the month. I honestly thought of this idea on my own and then happened to see something similar on the Disney “Family Fun” website – that one is great too but we used different supplies and will be adding our “thanks” every day. Have fun and make whatever you’d like of it! We have decided to have ours displayed on our dining room table all month.

 
Supplies:
  • Autumn colored card stock paper (enough for 24 leaves)
  • 24 safety pins
  • Branches from the yard, with plenty of little spots for the leaves to hang
  • A large vase, strong enough to hold the branches
Instructions:
  • Draw and cut out several leaves (same kind or different, whatever you choose). I made a couple of template leaves so the kids could trace them. Cut the leaves out – depending on the ages, you might be doing all of the cutting. We made 24 leaves so that we could have one for every day before Thanksgiving. A note on paper: craft stores like Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics, have packets of “scrap”, multicolored, card stock that come in very handy for projects like these.
  • Poke a safety pin at the stem of each leaf (also an adult’s job)
  • Collect a branch or two from outside that would fit your table or shelf (make sure there are plenty of little branches to hang the leaves from)
  • Find a solid vase to set the branches in.
  • Each day, write down something that the kids are thankful for. OR you could ask each of your children what they are thankful for and make a list…each day, write one of those things down and take turns so each child is contributing (write their name on the back of that leaf).
Sidenote: to skip the cardstock paper, you could print leaf printables from this site: http://www.craftjr.com/leaf-template-printables/  Our kids enjoy choosing which leaf they want to color on and draw something they are thankful for each day. 

Easy Homemade Bubble Mix

There are many recipes out there for homemade bubble mix, but this one is my favorite.  You don’t need glycerine or corn syrup, and the bubbles are awesome!  I recommend using an old laundry soap container with a dispenser on it, and attaching a bag to the side with the bubble wands in it.

Ingredients:
12 cups water
1 cup dish soap (blue Dawn is the best)
1 cup cornstarch
2 TBSP baking powder

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, I put HALF of this recipe in my mixing bowl, stirred it a bit, poured it into the laundry soap dispenser, then made the second half.  An important note: the mix ends up looking really watery, not the syrupy-type of texture that store-bought bubbles are like…but we have always been amazed at the bubbles produced.

ENJOY!

Acorn Wreath

It’s that time of year again…when acorns keep falling on my head!  So, here’s a fun idea to put them to use.
We live in an area that rains acorns these days! The kids have been collecting them and playing with them for weeks so I thought it was about time to make a craft with them. This is no Martha Stewart wreath…but it’s fun, festive and almost free! The kids were involved in the first few steps, and I finished assembling it during nap time.

 
Supplies:
Lots and lots of acorns
10 – 12 empty cardboard toilet paper rolls
Duct tape
Red, orange and brown tempera paints
Hot glue gun
Raffia (I pulled dried up strands of some plant from our yard) or twine
Roughly an 18″ wire frame (JoAnn Fabrics had a green wire frame for about $3)

Wacky Sponge Ball

Here’s another water-play idea, similar to “The Fun Hose” – the kids have enjoyed playing with these fun things – and they only take you minutes to make!  

Supplies:
Several sponges
Rubber bands, thick and strong ones, or zip ties
Scissors (adult should do the cutting)

Instructions:
Purchase a bunch of cheap sponges, multi-colored are fun but not necessary.  Cut them apart (the long way) so you have strips that are about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.  Gather about 10 of them together and wind a rubber band around the middle.  Thick rubber bands are best (like the ones that the newspaper comes in).  Dunk them in water and have fun while staying cool!  They also are great for helping wash the car 😉

The Fun Hose

Confession: I mowed over one of our hoses.  But I like to add more information to that story…it was a blazing hot day, my husband was at work, I was trying my best to get the whole lawn done WHILE checking on dinner cooking inside, and changing over loads of laundry AND all of the kids were playing along-side me during the entire process.  We don’t have a gas-powered mower…we use an awesome Fiskers clipper – an updated version of the old-fashioned clipping mower, or whatever they are called 🙂  Anyway, I kept telling myself, “slow down and move the hose” but kept thinking, I can just move around it.  Well, low and behold, I cut it.  I was frustrated with myself but figured maybe we could patch it up with something some day.  

Today, my husband saw the nice gash when the kids turned the hose on to do slip n’ slide.  He laughed and then we said, it could just be called “the fun hose” and enjoy the water squirting out of the huge cuts.  Then, he had an even better idea: drill holes all over it and turn it into a really fun hose!  

I highly recommend this – we’ve enjoyed it on the ground, in a circle, hanging from trees, along the slip n’ slide…it’s all a blast!  We will even set it up sometime by our garden for some easy watering of our vegetables!  

ENJOY!  This along with the Wacky Sponges makes for great water fun! Also enjoy interesting games with kids outdoor houses!

Paper Mosaic American Flag

In celebration of Memorial Day…



What you need:
red, white and blue construction paper
crayons as needed
computer paper
glue stick
scotch tape
popsicle stick


Ages: 2 and up


What to do:

  1. Help kids (as needed) to draw a small rectangle in the upper left corner of the computer paper, and then make 13 stripes.
  2. Tear construction paper into small pieces.
  3. Glue red and white pieces over stripes and blue pieces over rectangle  The idea is to cover the entire paper with construction paper bits.  (We were out of blue construction paper, so we colored our rectangles.)
  4. Cut paper stars from white construction paper and glue over blue rectangles.
  5. Attach popsicle stick with glue stick or tape. 
  6. Wave flags proudly for Memorial Day!

Mother’s Day Buttons

Looking for a nifty token to make for a mom (or grandmother) this Mother’s Day?  This one is sweet, kind of cheesy and will make her feel special on Sunday.  I must admit, it’s not the simplest craft I have made up, but the kids enjoyed it.  And I know they are pumped to give these out on Sunday.  Here’s what we did, and I am sure you can come up with even better ideas.


Supplies:

Image 2

 

  • Recycled buttons
  • Don’t have buttons? Use a metal juice top lid and safety pin (see instructions for details)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Fabric glue (optional but could use for gluing the felt)
  • Felt fabric, various colors
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Scissors
  • Puffy Paint (also optional)
Image 3
Image 4

Instructions:

 

  1. Take the old button (or make-shift button – instructions in Step 2) and have the adult use the hot glue gun to spread a line of glue on the outermost edge of the face of the button…quickly press a piece of felt on top.  I cut the felt after gluing it on…so there is at least 1/4 of an inch extra around the edge.  (See image 3.) 
  2. If you do not have buttons to reuse, simply take a clean metal juice top and safety pin.  Put a line of hot glue on the top, press the closed side of the pin into the glue.  Then take two pieces of strong, clear packing tape to press over the pin for extra stability (make sure the hot glue is no longer hot).  (See image 2.)  Then attach the felt piece as stated in Step 1.
  3. Cut the end of a toilet paper roll so you have about a half-inch thick ring.  
  4. Cut out 8-10 petals with the felt (we made ours about 1 inch long)…whatever colors you like. Glue them onto outside of the toilet paper ring. 
  5. Cut two strips of felt.  One that will fit on the inside of the toilet paper roll ring and one that will fit on the outside of the ring after the petals are glued on.  (See image 4.)  
  6. After the petals are glued on, the strips are glued into place, then put a line of glue on the bottom of the assembled ring, to then be placed onto the top of the felt-lined-button.
  7. Decorate with puffy paint as you wish! 

St. Patrick’s Day Stamps

You might start thinking of me as a crazy toilet paper roll lady soon! I have another craft idea recycling those empty toilet paper rolls and this one’s in the name of St. Patrick’s Day! It’s a great craft for younger kids because shamrocks can be tricky to draw – I even stamped one (with washable paint, of course) on my white fridge for fun!

 
Supplies:

 

  • At least three empty cardboard toilet paper rolls
  • Strong packing tape
  • Paint or stamp pad
  • Paper
  • Whatever else you’d like to use to create a shamrock decoration!
Instructions:
Shape three cardboard rolls into a heart (crease the bottom and bend the top in). Hold all three heart-shaped rolls together, flat on a table, and wrap snuggly together with packing tape (other tapes didn’t hold as well). There you have it – a three leaf clover stamp!

Heart Stamps

Well, here’s another idea for those toilet paper rolls! I thought of this one as I was trying to think of ways that the little kids could make hearts – which can be a tricky shape to draw at a young age. We made several different crafts with these stamps – Valentine’s for loved ones, even bookmarks for friends! Check out thePressed Flower Cards or Bookmarks entry for ideas on how to make some bookmarks too. Have too many toilet paper rolls and looking for a crazy activity? Make a Tube of Wonder to spice up the day!

 
Supplies:
  • recycled toilet paper rolls
  • paint
  • paper
  • any other crafting supplies you would like
Directions:
    • Press the toilet paper roll down in the center, make a crease. Then fold the base of the heart and pinch to crease that as well (see image).
  • Dip the heart into paint and have fun decorating for Valentine’s Day!

Vegetable Flower Stamps

The kids have a great time making their own cards. So, in preparation for Valentine’s Day, I saw the idea of using the base of a stock of celery as a rose-shaped stamp onPinterest. And the credit for this nifty idea all goes to Maureen Cracknell Handmadewho was listed on Dollar Store Crafts. I also had some romaine lettuce on hand, gave that a shot and loved how it creates a beautiful flower shape too!

 
 
Supplies:
  • Celery – a couple of stocks so you can use more than one at a time.
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Paint
  • Paper

Instructions:
Cut off the base of the celery stock and the base of the romaine lettuce. The celery looks like a rose and the lettuce looks like another beautiful flower. Maybe mix in some glitter or something – Have fun!

 
 

Paper Mosaic Christmas Wreath

I came up with this activity as a distraction one morning a couple weeks ago when my kids were wrestling on the floor and pulling each other’s hair.  And their attention was quickly diverted, so it was a success!  Materials are simple, and the end result is pretty enough to hang on display!

What you need:
one sheet of white computer paper per child
at least one sheet of green construction paper (could be different shades of green)
one sheet of red construction paper
glue sticks


What to do:

  • Draw a large donut shape with a bow (a small circle with two rounded triangles) on the computer paper for each child.
  • Help kids tear the green and red paper in small pieces (approximately square inches works best).
  • Help kids who need help apply glue from glue sticks to the wreath.
  • Don’t give too many guidelines, but explain to kids that they need to fill up their wreath shapes with the green and red paper pieces.
  • See what they create, and make them proud as you display their work in a special place!

Christmas Napkin Rings

This idea stemmed from an earlier project, Homemade Napkin Rings. The kids loved the idea of making something to use at our family’s Christmas dinner this year. This craft is probably best for older, school-aged children but anyone can help! It also requires a little bit of prep-work (cutting the felt). My oldest daughter helped me make these and did a lovely job with the glitter. Have fun making whatever your creative kids think of!

Supplies:

Empty toilet paper rolls
Felt (we used green, white and red) OR colorful paper
Glue (hot glue gun works best but fabric glue would work too)
Glitter and/or glitter glue
Scissors (good fabric scissors is best for cutting felt)
 
Instructions:
Cut toilet paper rolls into desired napkin ring sizes…we cut each roll into three napkin rings. Cut 6 inch long piece of felt or fabric or paper for each napkin ring. Glue in place with hot glue gun or fabric glue. Decorate as desired!

Handprint Ornaments

Decorating the tree in our home is not only a fun family event, but it is also a way for us to reflect upon the past year. Our tree will never look like the ones in magazines or

stores…our eclectic collection of ornaments consist of old and new, broken-but-glued-back-together types, and many are hand-made creations (this year, the kids even made a few out of Legos!). This project is a simple idea and can turn into whatever your creative mind can imagine. The handprint is fun for kids to see and next year, they will get a kick out of how much larger their hand has grown!
Supplies:
Paint, red or green (washable!)
Pie tins (works well to hold the paint for the hand dipping)
Paper plates (works best for the actual ornament)
Scrap paper (for test prints)
Stickers to spell each name
Glue
Tape (packing tape is great for attaching the pipe cleaner)
Glitter glue
Pipe cleaners
 
Instructions:
Put on crafting smocks or even set things up in the bathroom for the littlest kids – they could be in just a diaper and then give them a bath right away! Put a small amount of paint in the pie tin. Do one test print on a piece of paper because if the paint is too thick, it will be quite sloppy. Make a few prints on a few paper plates and cut out the best ones. Once they are dry, place stickers or write the child’s name. We also wrote the year in glitter glue. Decorate as you choose! Two pipe cleaners twisted together work well to hang from the tree – just tape (with strong packing tape) to the back.

Baked Play Dough Ornaments

These could possibly rank as the easiest Christmas ornaments for kids to make almost entirely themselves.  My kids had a blast rolling these out.  My two-year-old tried the dough a few times and was disappointed, but was still proud of her final products.  Even on the tree, these look good enough to eat…if you’re two!

 
 
What you need:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water
Christmas cookie cutters
a few birthday candles
yarn or ribbon
Age: 2 and up
What to do:
  1. Mix flour, salt and water on medium until dough is of even consistency.
  2. Lightly flour work surface.
  3. Help kids roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Give them cookie cutters and show them how to press all the way to the bottom of dough.
  5. Help move play dough shapes to ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Using the end of a birthday candle, help kids make holes for hanging the ornaments at the top of each shape.
  7. Bake at 200 degrees for 2 hours.
  8. Allow to cool.
  9. Tie yarn or ribbon on each ornament to hang.
  10. Remind your toddler these don’t taste like cookies!

 

 

 

Acorn Poem

Here’s a little craft that does not require much – you can make it as involved or as simple as you want. I made the poem up – a very random experience that just came to mind when I was making my coffee this morning 😉

Supplies:
Brown construction paper
Black construction paper
scissors
glue
paper plate
yarn (if you want to hang the plate from the ceiling)
Markers or crayons
 
Instructions:
Cut out the shape of an acorn top and bottom (I chose brown for the

bottom and black for the top).

You could also do this with white paper and have them paint the pieces or color with marker. Glue the assembled acorn onto a paper plate. Write the poem: “I am an acorn, brown and small. From the trees, I fall in Fall. God’s plan for me is to become a tree. God’s plan for you, you’ll soon see.” Or make up your own poem because I am not a poet! Let the kids decorate the plate and/or write their name. Make what you’d like of it.
Punch a hole in the paper plate and string a piece of yarn through it to hang the paper plate as a decoration.
Click here for an Acorn Wreath idea!

Patriotic Wreath

This is a simple craft that kids can do to help decorate your front door with patriotic colors! We made one on Memorial Day this year and the kids enjoyed listening to patriotic music while talking about our country as they glued the stars on. It was fun, educational, and lead to many cute questions about our world.

 
Supplies:
Paper plate
scissors
Red, White and Blue construction paper
Star template, best if this is made from thicker paper or cardboard
Glue
 
Instructions:
Cut out the middle of the paper plate for each child. Draw an approximately 3-inch star on thick paper or cardboard to use as a template. Use the template to draw a variety of red, white and blue stars to be cut out. The older kids enjoy cutting them out…but you may need to do all of this work ahead of time if it is for younger children. We found it was best to have at least 8 stars of each color for each wreath. Once this is all done, hand out glue sticks or pour a small amount on a plastic lid for the children to dip the stars in and glue on each plate.

Help The Birds

My daughter is all about helping animals…in any way. So, when she suggested building nests for the birds, I adapted her idea a bit and suggested we gather supplies to help them build their own nests. AND, we revisited the topic of recycling, which is always important.

 
Supplies:
  • net bag leftover from onions or oranges
  • collected items such as small twigs, long grass, twine, string, my mother-in-law even suggested dryer lint!
Instructions:
Talk about birds and how they enjoy building safe homes for their families. Read a bit from a nature book or online. Discuss recycling to help our earth and show them how we can reuse items such as these net bags. Spend a good amount of time outside looking for items to put inside the bag, leave an opening for the birds. Hang from a tree away from high-traffic areas so the birds don’t feel scared away! (if you are rising a pet, let’s check the outdoor cat shelter reviews, or outdoor & indoor rabbit hutch! The hutch can be used for rabbit, cat, dove or chicken.)

Paper Plate Duck

Celebrate Springtime with a cute yellow duck project! Bring them to the pond with your stale bread to feed the ducks!

 
Ages: 3 and up

Supplies:
  • paper plate
  • yellow construction paper
  • orange construction paper
  • yellow paint
  • scissors
  • paint brush
  • crayon or marker
  • glue
  • google eyes (optional)
Instructions:
(Help kids with any steps as needed.)
Paint the entire back of the paper plate yellow. While it dries, trace your child’s hands on the yellow paper (this will be for the duck’s tail). Also, draw a circle on the yellow paper for the duck’s head. Cut out the hands and head. On orange paper, draw a triangle for the beak and two webbed feet (in the shape of tulips) that are connected by a 1″X 3″ strip of paper (see picture). Cut out the beak and feet pieces. To glue the beak onto the duck’s face, fold the paper edge down about a 1/4 of an inch. Glue the part that is folded under so that the beak sticks out. Draw eyes or glue on google eyes. Once the paper plate is dry, fold it in half with the yellow side facing out. Then glue or staple one of the yellow cut-out hands onto the back side of the duck and the other hand onto the front side of the duck. Next, glue or staple the head in place. Finally, glue or staple the feet on both sides of the plate, allowing the middle strip to keep the duck standing up. Now, start quacking!

Easter Egg Nest

My kids really enjoyed making nests for their hard boiled eggs this year. This is a simple craft that encourages some outside time and makes easy Easter decorations!

 
Age: 2 and up, (adult help if using hot glue)

Supplies:
  • Brown paper bag (the small lunch sized ones work best)
  • Collected sticks from your yard or a nature walk
  • Glue (we found a hot glue gun to work best…which means Mommy did the gluing)
  • Hard boiled and dyed eggs OR plastic eggs

May Day Baskets

When I was growing up, several of my friends and I dropped off May Day baskets at each other’s houses on May 1st. We would ring the doorbell and run! If we got caught, we’d receive a kiss. Some of these fun traditions have been lost and I want my kids to enjoy them as I did! This project is just a simple way to make baskets to be filled with treats and/or flowers. There are hundreds of ways you can create something similar.

 
Age: 2 and up, with assistance
Supplies:
  • paper plates
  • several different colors of paint
  • paint brushes
  • stickers
  • construction paper
  • stapler
  • markers
  • treats or flowers to fill each basket
Directions:
Paint the back side of each paper plate with fun colors or designs. Once they are dry, decorate with stickers, if desired. Then, fold the plate into a cone shape with the decorations facing out. Staple it at the seam. Cut strips of paper for each cone, approximately 1″ X 8″. Write the name of the recipient and a short message like, “Happy May Day.” Staple or glue in place as the handle. Fill the cone with a treat or flowers. Deliver on May 1st!!

Featured Posts

Cheap Bunk Beds for Kids Reviews. Best Kids Bunk Beds Under $200

amzn_assoc_placement = "adunit0"; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = "thekidfriendlyhome-20"; amzn_assoc_ad_mode = "search"; amzn_assoc_ad_type = "smart"; amzn_assoc_marketplace = "amazon"; amzn_assoc_region = "US"; amzn_assoc_title = ""; amzn_assoc_default_search_phrase = "Bunk Beds"; amzn_assoc_default_category = "All"; amzn_assoc_linkid = "25b2888f8fdcc68aca13ae2ca3ed7b2b"; amzn_assoc_search_bar = "true"; amzn_assoc_search_bar_position...