DIY Shadow Puppets

A couple weeks ago our family went camping, which is a really big deal, because we are NOT campers!  Two of our kids attend a school where they have a Fall Campout each year so we committed to staying one night…and although my husband and I both agree that we are more “glampers,” than campers, we ended up having a ton of fun and our kids loved the whole experience.  I have a feeling we will be camping again!

My daughter was super excited because her daddy bought her a pink flashlight and she was really looking forward to making shadow puppets in the tent with her big brothers.  Of course, when we got home, she wanted to create some animal shadow puppets to play with.  One evening, last week, we went to work creating these cute little popsicle stick puppets that have provided a ton of content for imaginary play and story telling for little miss.

I used my Cricut Expression 2 to cut out the animals and other shapes, but if you do not have a Cricut, simply create a document with templates that you can cut out of card stock.  Here is one I put together that you can print off and use to make your own animal shadow puppets without using a Cricut.  animal template pdf

The possibilities are endless with these little puppets.  You can create seasonal themes, print off silhouettes of your child’s favorite story book or movie characters, weather puppets, dinosaurs, garden, farm, cars, princesses, fairies, and so much more.

One thing that I realized, after creating so many characters, was that they were hard to hold onto.  So with an old shoebox and a pair of scissors, I created a diy holder for all of the puppets.  This made a perfect “stage” for my daughter to put the puppets on as she told her story.  The great part about using a shoebox, is that it doubles as storage to hold all of the characters and a flashlight so they are contained & easy to find for future use.

Check out my video tutorial above for tips on making some shadow puppets with your own children.  fullsizeoutput_eda2fullsizeoutput_eda1IMG_9671IMG_9676IMG_9677IMG_9679

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Back to School Word Bracelets

My daughter starts 2nd grade this week and she is beyond excited to go back to school.  She can’t wait to see all of her friends and meet her new teacher.  She is full of confidence and joy and counting down the days.

But this was not the case two years ago when she started Kindergarten.  She was scared.  She was starting at a new school.  She didn’t know any of the kids in her class, and she had never been away from me for that many hours a day.  In pre-school, her teacher let her bring a stuffed animal to school that she could snuggle with if she felt sad or missed mommy, but I knew that we couldn’t expect that to be ok in Kindergarten.  That is where the “word bracelets” idea came from.

I told Karis that we would sit down and create some bracelets that she could wear to help her remember that mommy loved her and would pick her up right after school.  We talked about how when she felt sad or missed me, she could touch the bracelet and be reminded of my love.  The idea sparked more conversation about what other things she might want to remember at school, so we brainstormed other words and these are what we came up with…

  • love
  • joy
  • confidence
  • kindness
  • brave
  • peace
  • calm

These words provided great conversation for kindergarten preparation as we talked about what each word meant. I told her that she could choose one or more bracelet to wear each day depending on what she felt she needed to be reminded of.

I wish I could say that the first few weeks of school were a breeze for Karis, but it was not an easy transition for her.  Thankfully, she had a very kind teacher and sweet classmates who helped her to become comfortable at her school.  And I’m sure her word bracelets also helped to reassure her in those sad moments of missing her family.

Maybe you have a child starting a new school and you are looking for something to help them with that transition.  Or maybe there is a word that would help your child with a character trait that they are working on.  Pick up some plastic beads, letter beads, and stretchy string and spend time making bracelets with your child.  Not only with they love their creations, but they will also love the quality time spent with you.

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For another “Back to School” idea, check out my post:  DIY Visual Schedule For Kids

DIY Visual Schedule For Kids

School starts next week and we are so not ready!  Summer seems like it has flown by and we are savoring these precious last days of sleeping in, staying in pajamas well into the afternoon, swimming, and staying up late.  This really is the first summer that all of my kids have slept in…and by sleeping in, I mean, not getting up until after 7:30.  I am a night owl, so that extra hour and a half in the morning is glorious for this mama!

The last couple of weeks, I have been taking little steps to prepare for the upcoming school year, cleaning out clothes that are too small and shopping for new clothes and shoes.  But I know that the hardest part for my kids will be the transition from lazy summer mornings to the “get up and go” school morning routine.  So this week, I created this simple and inexpensive visual schedule to help my 7 year old daughter adjust to the new norm.

Watch my tutorial to learn how to create one of your own.  I’m including the template that I used with the morning routine icons and the words that go with each.  The video gives you step by step instructions.  Here’s a list of what you will need…

  • one 12×12 piece of card stock
  • SCHOOL MORNING ICONS pdf 
  • 16  2″ squares of colored card stock
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • magnets (I used magnetic tape)
  • letter stickers

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I would love to hear some of your best tips for helping your kids transition from summer to a new school year.

 

DIY Kids Magnetic Puzzles

Coloring pages, painting, and puzzles…three things my girl loves, all combined into one  project.  This is a super simple craft that your kids can do at home and you only need a couple of items, most of which you probably already have.

To make DIY Magnetic Puzzles, you will need:

  • adhesive magnetic tape
  • white card stock
  • paint, crayons, or markers
  • scissors or a paper cutter

Your child can print a coloring page from the computer or create their own art.  The possibilities for unique puzzles are endless!  This activity can be modified for very young children by cutting fewer puzzle pieces, and can be made challenging for older children by cutting a variety of shapes.

Watch my daughter’s “Craft Time With Karis” tutorial (above) to learn how to make some DIY Magnetic Puzzles of your own.

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For more “Craft Time With Karis” fun, check out these other blog posts:

Colored (Rainbow) Rice

Tricky Hopscotch (With A Twist)

Valentine Craft: Cookie Cutters & Paint

 

Colored (RAINBOW) Rice

I love setting up sensory bins for my kids.  Over the years, we have done white rice,  beans, popcorn kernels, shaving cream, salt, and more, but we have never made rainbow colored rice.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make!

This week, my kids are on Spring Break and the weather forecasted several rainy days.  Since we were staying home this week, I decided that I’d plan a couple of fun activities to keep us busy.  I picked up a large package of inexpensive white rice and some Wilton’s Gel Food Colors at Target and began looking at recipes for colored rice.  Some recipes called for rubbing alcohol, but I wanted to make ours without, so I found that vinegar was a great alternative for setting the colors without the alcohol.

My daughter and I had so much fun making this rice!  She actually made it almost all by herself!  We created this little video tutorial (below) as part of her kid’s series “Craft Time With Karis.”

In the past couple of days,  “Colored (rainbow) Rice” has provided hours of sensory and imaginary play.  Karis added some little bunnies and plastic eggs for Easter play.  She put plastic dolphins and other animals in too, and yesterday we included some cardboard  with holes cut out and a funnel for pouring rice.  This inspired Karis to create an imaginary town called “Flowerville” while she played with her animals and rainbow rice.

Watch our tutorial to learn how to make some “Colored (rainbow) Rice” with your kids!

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More “Craft Time With Karis” Fun:

Tricky Hopscotch (with a twist)

Valentine Craft (Cookie Cutters & Paint)

 

Children’s Art Corner

My daughter loves art!  She will sit for hours drawing, writing stories, and coloring pictures.  I have several areas set up around our house with art supplies, but I recently decided to put together a more intentional art space for her.

Michael’s was having a huge sale one day, so I headed over (with my coupons of course) and picked up these metal A R T letters,  the chalkboard box for crayons, and the off white tray for paper.  The rest, I already had around my house.

These adorable chairs were made for me by my brother when I was a child.  They were in my childhood room, painted light pink, with dark pink carpet covering the seats.  My mom gave them to me several years ago and I repainted and recovered them for my daughter.  The wicker table belonged to my mom, who passed away a year and a half ago, so it means a lot for my daughter to have something so special to remind her of her sweet Grandma.

I bought the metal bucket years ago at the dollar store and it has held colored pencils in various locations around our house.  Now it has a permanent home.  I had used the mini white shutters last year for my Christmas mantle, but realized they were the perfect addition to this little art corner.  The finishing touch was this bright and cheerful pennant banner.  I had already cut the triangles for another project, so it only took me a few minutes to thread them through a piece of twine.

I absolutely love when I can use what I already have to create an inviting space for my children to enjoy.  This little art corner has already gotten a lot of use in our home and is the perfect setting for inspiration to take place!

My Little Pony Capes

My daughter loves My Little Ponies!  The thing that makes me so happy about this, is that I loved My Little Ponies as a little girl too!  In fact, my mom actually saved several of my ponies and gave them to Karis a couple of years ago.  I cannot even tell you how much fun it is to see my own child enjoying the very toys that I so often played with when I was her age.

One afternoon when Karis was playing ponies she asked me if we could make clothes for them.  Now I can sew a little bit, but making clothes for tiny horses is beyond my abilities.  I noticed that a couple of her newer ponies came with little capes.  With a little trial and error,  I figured out a simple way to make pony capes by using small hair scrunchies, scraps of material, and various ribbons, buttons, and fabric flowers that I had in my craft drawers.  We spent several hours together designing these “outfits” for the ponies to wear.  Most definitely time well spent with my girl, and it brings me joy to watch her play pretend while dressing her ponies up in their beautiful capes.

Check out my tutorial to make some pony capes of your own and click here for the printable  My Little Pony Capes Template.

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