Thursday, January 31, 2013

Acorn Donuts

These tasty tidbits are a cinch to make!  Have the children wash their hands and prepare for an easy lesson in the kitchen.  We used our acorns for the letter “A”, but they are also fun for fall or just "because".  I saw these cuties in a magazine awhile back, but can’t remember where.

Here is what you need:

*  round donut holes

*  peanut butter or frosting (check for allergies before using the peanut butter)

*  crushed pretzels

*  broken pretzel pieces for the stems

*  flat plate

*  butter knife

Here is how you form the treats:

Frost the top portion of a donut hole with peanut butter or frosting. 

Roll the peanut butter into a plate of crushed pretzels to coat.

Insert a broken pretzel rod into the top for a stem.

Eat and enjoy! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

April Fool's Day Spills!

April Fool's Day is fast approaching and every year I look for fun ways to surprise the children.  A favorite of mine is creating fake spills.  They look realistic and they are so easy to make.

I don't remember where I stumbled upon this concept, but we have used it several times over the years.  The boys distinctly remember this craft and playing fun pranks on people.  It may change over time, some years we use a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows or spilled nail polish.

Get creative and craft a fun prank for April 1st!

Here is what you need to make Fake Ice Cream Spills:

*  white school glue
*  ice cream cones
*  paint or food coloring (I prefer paint)
*  cellophane or foil
*  sprinkles, marshmallows, bugs (optional)

Here is how you make this "mess":

In a bowl, combine the school glue with the paint.  The children chose red.

Pour the colored glue into the ice cream cone.

Over the cellophane, pour out the glue to make a spill and lay the cone on its side.

Add sprinkles or other fun touches.  Fake bugs would be hilarious!

Let dry overnight.  The bottom of the ice cream cone will become soggy, so it may take an additional day to dry.

When it is firm, remove the cellophane and place your cone on floors, seats, or other places where people don't want to see melted ice cream.  This is great for Grandma's house...

What is your favorite prank?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



Create this fun foot painting for cards or frame them like we did for a fun and unique gift!  It is sure to bring giggles from the children and smiles from the adults.


Here is what you will need:


*  white paper or card stock

*  green paint

*  red paint

*  black marker

*  stickers (optional)




Here is how you print these cute little toes:


Paint the bottom of a child’s foot with the green paint. 


Carefully and firmly, place the child’s foot onto the paper to create a print.  We used children from the same family, but each child can make their own.


Let dry.


Paint or draw a ribbon on the heels of the footprints. 


Write the word MISTLETOES across the top.


Let the children decorate the paper with stickers if you desire.


Add the names and year on your masterpiece.


Frame or make into cards.
What did you make this year?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Frosted Winter Paintings

It's been a dreary day in this part of Nebraska.  We had freezing rain and fog for a good portion of the weekend and today the fog decided to hang around.  The children are restless and everyone is in a funk.   Painting is always a good activity for us to salvage a ho-hum kind of day. 

I thought it would be fun to "frost" winter pictures for us to take home.  This is a fun activity, because the children can watch the salt crystals dissolve, paint their scene, and watch the crystals reappear etched on their drawing.  You can easily adapt this activity for a lot of themes-  winter, frost, crystals, evaporation, and more!  It's cheap, educational, and fun!

To make your frosted pictures, you will need:
  • colored construction paper
  • salt-  Epsom or table
  • hot water
  • paintbrushes
  • permanent marker or crayons

Here is how you paint like Jack Frost:

  • In a bowl, dissolve equal parts of salt and hot water.  Stir well.
  • On your colored construction paper, draw a winter scene.  Snowmen, trees, birds, houses, etc. 

  • Take your paintbrush and swirl it in the salt water.  Apply the liquid to the paper and paint over your scene.  If you want more "snow" try to get a little salt on the brush.  For more of a "crystallized" look use more of the water.
  • Finally, let the painting dry.  Watch the salt reappear and leave frost across your artwork!

What did you make today?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ice Painting

Who says snow and ice are meant to stay outside? 

I don't. 

This month try your hand at painting with ice. 

Forget the brushes-  let the ice melt and mix with water colors.  Your digits might get cold, but it is a fun sensory activity.  Occasionally, I like to switch things up and get the kids involved in a fun craft.  My college roommate introduced me to this entertaining idea!

I used this ice painting session for a preschool lesson on the letter "I" for ice.  This activity is easily applied to winter themes, states of matter (H20 = solid, liquid, and gas), and just for FUN on hot summer days when it is blistering hot.  Regardless, it is perfect for bringing a bit of winter indoors to create masterpiece paintings. 

Here are the supplies you will need:

  • ice cubes
  • water colors
  • paper
  • dry hand towels

Here are a few tips to follow when you do this activity:

  • Allow the ice to melt a little before beginning.  Add a few drops of water to moisten the water colors so they are easier to spread.

  • Dip the ice into the color and rotate it in the paint.

  • Have towels handy to warm small fingers when they need a break.

  • Have fun!

Goldfish Again? YES!

Almost any house that has children knows about goldfish crackers.  They come in any size, color, and brand.  The boys LOVE them.  I, however, get tired of serving plain crackers for snack every week. 

Drudgery...  That is the only term I can think of.

Here are a few ideas I have found over the years to add a little pizazz to the traditional goldfish snack conundrum:

See How They Swim!  Goldfish happily swim in a river of cream cheese (tinted blue for effect) nestled in the banks of a celery stalk.  See-  even the fish are smiling back! 

Go Fish!  Children happily bait their pretzel "poles" with peanut butter and hook some fish.  It definitely puts a smile on the kids faces... not too sure about the goldfish!

Goldfish in the Snow!  Crazy?  That's right, but the absurdity of fish playing in the snow (cottage cheese) melts away a case of boring snack overload.

How do you like to eat your goldfish?  Feel free to share your ideas or links!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When The Sand Crumbles?

Today's post is perfect for a Nostalgic Wordless Wednesday...  ALTHOUGH you know I have to add some dialogue.

I took this picture last summer, before Minecraft invaded our home, when the boys were still constructing sandcastles in the backyard with real materials.  It's a little depressing when you consider the hours my younger sons waste clicking blocks of squares on a video game to build virtual kingdoms. 

I remind myself that this too will pass and soon the snow will give way to a green yard.  A yard full of shimmering blades of grass beckoning us outside into the sunlight.  A yard promising hours of outdoor play and a land where pixelated squares don't lure young boys inside. 

A girl can dream, can't she? 

What do you long for during the winter months?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ocean In A Bottle Craft

We explored the depths of the ocean today and one of our activities was to create an "ocean in a bottle".  The children loved filling their bottles with sand, shells, fish, and blue water.  This fun and frugal activity is easily adaptable to many lessons and themes.  In the past I have applied this concept to the Mayflower at Thanksgiving, density of liquids, and properties of waves to name a few lessons. 

Today we focused on oceans for the letter "O". We added a little colored sand, small seashells, and crafted a small school of fish cut from a recycled red Solo cup.  (Wouldn't that have made a nice verse for Toby Keith?)  I let the children add items that were sitting around the house so feel free to get creative! 

It kept the winter blues at bay and we enjoyed a bit of summer fun playing with sand and water.  Who says Nebraskans can't enjoy the ocean in January?  We had a marvelous time watching the surf and sand...

To make an ocean in a bottle, here is what you will need:

  • clear empty bottle with lid (we used 16 oz. and 20 oz.)
  • water
  • blue food coloring
  • vegetable oil
  • "floaters"-  sand, sea shells, plastic fish, etc. (optional)
  • hot glue (optional)
  • funnel (optional)
Here is how you make your ocean in a bottle:

Rinse and remove labels from your bottles.

Use your funnel to add your floatables.

Tint your water using blue food coloring.

Pour the water gently into the bottle.

Add the vegetable oil.  (I like to add quite a bit-  usually I fill 1/3 of the bottle)

Screw on the lid.  I add hot glue to the inside threads to secure the lid nice and tight.  I definitely don't want blue food coloring spilled!

Finally, you are ready to shake and roll your mini ocean.  Watch the waves and objects swirl around the bottle.  It is mesmorizing to watch the oil and water separate.

What items will you add to an ocean in a bottle?  What did you make today?