Monday, December 8, 2008

Advent coloring book

These are printable coloring pages, one for each day of December, telling the story of Jesus' birth. It's a free activity, and not to late to start (my son is doing two at a time to catch up.)

DLTK's Advent Coloring Pages

As a side...this website has lots of free printables, craft ideas and more. I have used it a lot.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eric Carle's From Head to Toe

This book is full of activity and boredom busting potential! Like all Eric Carle books, this one is full of his energetic, signature art. This one shows different animals moving and invites children to mimic, saying, "I can do it!" There are quite a few extension activities if you are homeschooling a young child or simply need to entertain young children. Click here for a great list!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Too Cute Penguin!

This was a craft idea with my son's school curriculum. Oh it is too cute! You get a black balloon. Out of poster board cut feet (together), flippers, beak and a white belly. I had my kids paint the feet and beak orange and flippers black, but you could just buy those colors. Use googly eyes or cut eyes out of poster board too. Make a slit in the feet halfway through. Slide the knotted end of the balloon through. Tape or glue on the rest of the penguin.

Disclaimer: Our balloons did pop when the kids pulled on the flippers that were taped on, little disappointing for the 2 year old.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Busytime for Preschoolers!

If you have a toddler that is about to run you out of the house screaming...check out Activity Bags . It is a book of several "kits" you can make and store in a ziploc bag to keep your preschooler busy. Better yet, you can arrange with other moms to do a swap...each make several of one activity and swap with others. I know moms that use this and rave about it. We are about to use it to occupy our son.

Sun Hand Craft

Ok...I don't have a picture, but I got the idea off of It is a sun using your child's handprint. I always love these can look back later and see how much they have grown. Takes a little of mom prep, cutting out the hands, unless your child is old enough.

Supplies needed: Paper plate, yellow paint, 7 hand prints on yellow/orange paper.

Directions: Paint the paper plate yellow on the BACK side. Trace and cut about 7-10 handprints of your child on yellow or alternating yellow/orange paper. (The smaller the child, the more hands needed to go around sun.) Staple or glue the hand prints to the edges of your sun. Feel free to add a face or Bible verse (i.e. Jesus is light of the world.)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Can Color!

This is a new series I just discovered that is geared for children ages 2 and up. It's really neat. Regular coloring books (and activities such as connect the dots, etc.) are a little too advanced for my 2 1/2 year old. She simply doesn't have the fine motor control to actually color in a shape. These books start with the most basic of the basics: holding a crayon of one color and making squiggles. Why would I need a book to help me teach my daughter that? Well, these have actual colored pictures for inspiration. For example, page number 1 shows three little monkeys swinging on a swing set (just like my own three little monkeys!). There is a big white patch in the grass. The task: make green squiggles in the white patch, making more grass! We had a great time filling in all kinds of things--brown squiggles for earthworms, ladybugs and butterflies drawn by yours truly, etc. Another early picture shows a hot dog--the child adds red squiggles for ketchup, yellow for mustard, and so forth. I don't mind drawing things for my daughter (she doesn't judge my artwork), but I run out of ideas. These mostly-filled-in pages help generate more ideas. On the plate with the hot dog, I drew other things we might eat with the hot dog (asking my daughter for suggestions): peas, watermelon, chocolate chip cookies,.... She had a hilarious time "picking them up" and "eating them." The pages get more advanced, moving to coloring in an entire shape with one color, drawing patterns, and, finally, tracing letters and numbers.

There are other books in this series--all designed to teach skills that children will need for kindergarten/first grade. I'm not really looking at it as school prep; instead, it's providing some great activities we can do together when the Mommy brain has simply run dry in the idea realm. The other titles include things like I Can Cut, I Can Trace, I Can Draw, I Can Paste, and I Can Fold. You can search for them online (use the title and the series title--Big Skills for Little Hands). I found them at Sam's for well below retail ($7.50 as opposed to $14).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Looking ahead to long summer days with your children? Want a free activity? Go outside!!! Young children love going outside. I've posted a picture here of some sidewalk chalk artwork on our front steps--hours of entertainment. We even "jumped" into the pictures like Mary Poppins does....

You can also start a garden (see my post on The Tarnished Teapot) for my story. Here's a great website for gardening with kids: Children in the Garden.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kids in the Kitchen

As summer fast approaches, you may be wondering what to do with those little hands during the expanded time you have with them. Get them involved in cooking! Sure, it will take longer than if you did it by yourself, but even two year olds love to "help" Mom. Baking is one of the easiest places to start since it generally involves cool or room temperature ingredients (until you put it in the oven) and does not involve sharp knives. (Make sure to keep little fingers away from a mixer.) Perhaps this summer will be the one during which you learn to make bread! Bread is a very easy thing to let your children help with since the ingredient amounts aren't generally as precise as something like a cake. Your kitchen will be a wreck, and so, most likely, will be your child--but the two of you will have some great memories and an edible finished product to boot! Simply clean up the kitchen while your baked goods bake. Then, sit down with your proud child and enjoy the fruits of your labors!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fun Foam

There are so many things you can do with craft foam. For example, the picture is of a box set I got at Easter. It had foam crosses, glitter, and stickers to decorate. My 5 yr. old did one for each member of the family and we hung them in our window. They made a great display. Sets change seasonally, but you can always buy other basic sheets or crafts to do. (Found at any arts & crafts store or Walmart/Target.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Discount School Supply

Discount School Supply is a great website from which you can order all kinds of art and craft supplies inexpensively; their own brand seems to be fairly high quality. They have free shipping on large orders, so plan ahead (or share your order with a friend) to get the best deal. We ordered all kinds of very fun beads, tempera paint, toddler sized smocks, pipe cleaners, newsprint, glue sticks, and a host of other miscellaneous supplies. My toddler can't use some of the items yet, but she absolutely LOVES the beads we have. Look for larger sizes if you have young children.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The New Camera

Cameras have come a long way in my time (let alone my parents!) It is also a big hobby of both mine and my husband. He likes to try to take good scenery pictures. I just like pictures, and LOVE scrapbooking! So if you are in the market for a new camera check out They review all types of cameras and have sample pictures. Keep in mind a few pointers too:

  • If you aren't going to use the manual option of taking your pictures (adjusting light, focusing, etc by hand) than don't spend the extra money on a SLR camera. Look for a good point and shoot.

  • Digital cameras can be sensitive. You usually have to hold the button down half way to focus, then snap the picture. Otherwise you will end up with a blur. You'd be suprised how many people don't!

  • The higher the mexapixle, the larger the file or picture size. But you can often crop in your picture later with a much better resolution than using a lower setting.

  • Rechargeable batteries. These really do last longer in cameras, and you would hate to miss out on that perfect shot. Always carry extra.

  • Bring extra memory cards, especially on long trips when you can't download often.

Happy Shooting!

photo by Carrie

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Learning Can Be Fun

Summertime is quickly approaching! Whether your children are in public, private, homeschooled or just starting Pre-K, here are some sites for free educational worksheets and crafts to chase away summertime blues. Who says learning can't be fun!

Starfall: Excellent for reading and abc's
Enchanted Learning: Has ideas for everything! You can pay to get better printouts, or deal with a few ads and keep it free.
PBS Kids: Games, coloring pages and more from those favorite cartoons.
Free Kids Coloring: Free printable coloring pages.
DLTK's Educational Activities: All kinds of crafts and learning activities.
Crayola: Everyone's beloved crayon has a webpage of coloring pages, crafts and games.
First School: Has a bunch of printables especially for pre-school age children.
Your Local Library: Not just for fiction. They will have books on crafts, or other activities for children. They also have books on tape, videos, cd's and other fun things all for free.

You can always google a search for free printables. I did and it brought up lots of websites, especially if you have a particular craft in mind. Make summer fun!