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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Moana Birthday Party

We celebrated my daughter’s 7th birthday the first week of June with a Moana Themed Birthday Party.   My girl fell in love with Moana after watching the movie in the theater and she’s been belting out “How Far I’ll Go” at the top of her lungs ever since.  Her Grandma and Papa surprised her with the soundtrack for her birthday, which made the party even more special to have her favorite Moana songs playing in the background while she swam and played with all of her sweet friends.

I had so much fun planning this party and I’m happy to say that everything turned out just as I imagined it would.  I started making decorations several weeks in advance because May and June are always crazy busy with all of the end of school activities, dance recitals, and two kids with birthdays just a couple of weeks apart.

I used my Cricut Expression 2 to make the black and white tribal sewn paper garlands and the HAPPY BIRTHDAY KARIS pennant banner.  I also used it to cut some of the pieces for the Kakamora faces.  These were all made out of card stock that I purchased from Joann Fabrics.  I also found the tribal print material at Joann’s that I used to cover the contents of our two bookshelves.

The Dollar Tree is a great place for inexpensive tropical decorations this time of year and it did not disappoint.  This is where I purchased the tissue paper for the giant tropical flowers, the leis, the grass skirts that I used to surround the table, the plastic beach backdrop, plates and napkins, and the Moana and Maui “magic towels” that we gave to the children as party favors.

My favorite part of the whole party, was the Moana Boat and Sail Photo Backdrop (tutorial link below).  All the kids were greeted by my daughter and given a lei to wear and the first thing they saw when they walked in was a huge beach scene with a cardboard Moana boat and sail to play in.  I even made an oar out of a dowel, cardboard, and twine.  We got some super cute pictures of the kids in Moana’s boat.

If you are planning a Moana party of your own, here are three fun tutorial for you as well as a ton of pictures from my daughter’s party.  Enjoy!

Moana Marshmallow Pops Tutorial

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Moana Boat and Sail Photo Backdrop Tutorial

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Heart of Te Fiti Cupcake Tutorial 

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Book Page Banner

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I love books!  In this day in age when so many are reading books on Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, you will find me curled up in a cozy spot in my house with a traditional paper book.  The library just so happens to be one of my very favorite places on the Earth!  I think that is why my eyes are drawn to creative projects made from book pages.

Several years ago I made this pretty little book page banner to hang across my mantle for Valentine’s Day and I have reused it several years in a row because I love it so much!  To make one of your own, you will need a book that you don’t mind cutting up (I bought mine from the Dollar Tree).  You will also need scrapbooking paper in several colors or patterns. I went with a black, red, and off white theme.  Grab a couple of buttons and some twine and you are all set.

I used my Cricut Expression 2 to cut the L O V E letters, but made my own template for the large and small hearts.  The book pages are 6 inches long by 4 inches wide.  This gives you enough length to fold the top over to hang them on the twine and to cut a 1 1/2 inch triangle out of the bottom of each.  For my banner, I stapled the individual book page pieces over the twine and then glue the hearts on after to cover the stapes.  For the LOVE portion, I lined the staples up with one of the words to “hide” it as much as possible.

If you love creating banners for your own home, check out my tutorial on How to Make a Pennant Banner.

If you are looking for some other simple and fun Valentine ideas, here are some links you will enjoy.

Valentine Paper Garlands

Valentine Craft for Kids: Cookie Cutters and Paint

Valentine Words of Affirmation for Kids 

Chocolate Covered Strawberries 

Valentine Paper Garlands

Paper garlands have become one of my absolute favorite DIY decorations.  They are simple to create, inexpensive, and they are perfect for everything from holiday decor to birthday parties.  These elegant heart and circle garlands will add a little bit of love to your home for Valentine’s Day.  Watch my tutorial for some tips on how to make some of your own.

For my hearts and circles, I used the Cricut Expression 2, but if you do not have a Cricut, you can simply cut hearts and circles out of card stock.  I used 3 different colors of card stock, plain white, and a shiny gold & red that I purchased from the Dollar Tree.  Sometimes, when I make paper garlands, I use my sewing machine, but for these, I just used a needle and white thread.  I wanted to be able to space them out, so this gave me the option to slide them along the thread and place them where I wanted to.

Some friends of mine gave me this beautiful old window, which made the perfect backdrop to display a collection of Valentine Paper Garlands.  Happy Valentine’s Day from Kerri Creates!

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Valentine Words of Affirmation for Kids

Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to be intentional about expressing our love in creative ways to our children.  So why save it all for one day?  Take the beginning of February and create an “affirmation heart chain” for each of your children.  Hang it on their bedroom doors and write a word or phrase affirming something uniquely wonderful about who they are on one heart, each day, leading up to Valentine’s Day.

I will never forget the first time we did this with our kids.  It made getting up each morning a little more pleasant.  You could see the joy on their faces as they read the words written just for them.  I would even catch them reading down the list several times a day.

To make this a bit easier for me to stick to (as we all know how busy life gets), I like to print out a list of 14 words or phrases of affirmation for each of my kids before February 1st.  I cut them up and put them in baggies.  Then I just glue one on each of their hearts before I go to bed every night.

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