Toddler Blog

Category - Make

An Ikea Hack!

After another epic trip to Ikea-land, we came home with one too many cardboard boxes and some new Mala florescent paints. But instead of just taking our paint to plain old paper, we decided to create giant cardboard murals… $10 never went so far!

Toddlers will love it if you shake the cardboard back and forth underneath them as they squirt the paint, modern art style.

For bigger kids, tape a cardboard slat on the bottom of an outdoor table. Then have them lay on their backs to paint, Michelangelo style!

Simple & Sweet Bird Feeder

This is one of those times when playing with your food is completely acceptable! Let’s make a bird feeder so simple & sweet, even the littlest family member will be able to join in on the fun. They make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift, and also serve as a reminder that Spring is just around the corner!

Gather a handful of cereal Os into a bowl. Then take a pipe cleaner (or piece of twine or string) and let your little ones practice threading the Os onto it. Strengthen fine motor skills, practice counting in different languages, and maybe even sneak a snack together. Older kids will enjoy this activity too by bending the pipe cleaner into unique shapes or letters.

Lastly, twist the two ends of your bird feeder together so it can hang easily. Finding the perfect spot for your feeder on a nearby tree or shrub is almost as much fun as creating it!

Kite Collage

It’s a brand new year and we are all trying to simplify this 2015! In an effort to organize our own craft drawer, we decided to find a use for all the scrap paper odds & ends we’ve somehow collected over the past 12 months. Clean up and follow along to create your very own KITE COLLAGE too!

1. Make the old new! Gather all the scrap paper bits you have lying around. Encourage young toddlers to rip them into smaller pieces, they’ll love this! Older kiddos will love to practice their scissor skills to make new shapes out of the old ones.

2. Prep & collage! Cut the 4 ends off a rectangular piece of cardstock to create a kite shape. Open glue stick tops for littles and let the collaging begin! Call out shapes and colors as your little one attaches each to the kite. Let kiddos play with layering pieces on top of one another for an even cooler, modern art appeal.

3. Add some finishing touches! Use crepe paper or string and attach it to the back of your kite as a tail. Stickers will also help your Kite Collage stand out as it flies high in the sky!

KID-MADE GIFTS

Need a last minute gift for someone special? Homemade presents are the most memorable! So instead of shlepping out to the mall, let your kiddos be a part of the gift making process. Here are some quick ideas to get you crafting and inspired!

 

Use what you’ve got! Take one of your little’s art pieces from the past few months and turn it into a heartfelt token!

1. Make a one-of-a-kind calendar to brighten up a loved one’s desk. Simply remove a set of calendar pages from it’s original backing and adhere it to a large piece of your child’s art. Every day will be a reminder of how much they are loved!

2. Cut a larger piece of art into bookmark size strips for the avid reader in your life. Laminate and then use a hole puncher and ribbon to give your bookmark a colorful tail.

3. Personalize the clear sleeve of a checkbook or passport holder. Just trim down a piece of kiddo artwork to the correct size, then insert it into the sleeve. Voila, a completely unique gift!

4. Construct a kid-made magnet. Cut artwork into small shapes, laminate, and adhere a magnet strip to the back. An artsy yet practical present that will turn any fridge into a work of art.

 

Put a new skill to work! Whatever your kiddo is learning right now can be what creates your perfect holiday present.

1. Make handmade garland if your toddler has just mastered the fine motor skill of threading. Encourage them to string beads, glittered cereal Os, or pieces of colorful straws onto a long line of thick string.

2. Bake homemade cookies if your little has just become a precision pourer. Measuring cups are a fun way to practice steady hands and start to understand basic math concepts. Add a handmade decal to your cookie tin as a finishing touch.

3. Design a custom journal if your tot has just learned proper pencil grasp. Give them some colored pencils or a few crayons in a specific color scheme and let them go to town decorating the inside and back covers.

4. Create a personalized picture frame with your tiny painting savant. Once paint dries, add glitter and stickers for festive flair! Finally, fill the frame with a photo of both the bitty gift giver and the recipient!

Hanukkah Star Painting

Our Hanukkah Paintings were such a hit in our Toddler Time class, we had to share the How To here! They’re a festive toddler activity and an even more perfect holiday gift. All you’ll need to make your own is: card stock or a mini canvas, thin painters tape, and paint!

Simply cut painters tape into 6 strips, getting ready to make two triangles. Stick one triangle down on the paper and then stick the second triangle upside down. Now get your paint ready! Littles can use finger paints, and bigger kids can use brushes with watercolors.

Use a holiday color scheme or let the rainbow be your palette. Kiddos should paint inside and outside the star, they can even paint right on top of it. Just make sure they cover the entire canvas. After your piece starts to dry, carefully remove the painters tape one strip at a time. Watch as your Star of David magically appears!

Turkey Lurkey!

What’s that Mom? You need a quick, mess-free craft to keep kiddos busy while you prep for Thanksgiving? Turkey Lurkey to the rescue!!

All you’ll need is: A paper plate, glue stick, construction paper, and scissors. Bonus points for googly eyes and tissue paper squares!

Littles will need help cutting construction paper to make:
– a circle for a face
– a triangle for a nose
– 2 rectangles for legs
But big kids will be happy to cut their own pieces!

Twist up the glue stick and kids can get to creating! Start by giving your turkey a full face, then add lots of tissue paper squares (or just construction paper squares) as the turkey’s colorful feathers!

Turkey Lurkey will keep kiddos entertained and help give you time to prepare your own bird for the family feast. Have a delicious and happy Thanksgiving!

Butterfly Baggies

In a moment of babysitting desperation, I mean genius, The Butterfly Baggy was born!

Tiny game pieces were everywhere and a bitty sibling (with a tendency to eat everything inedible) was about to wake up. So I said to my toddler pal, “If you help me put the pieces into these little baggies, they will turn into butterflies!” You’ve never seen little hands clean so fast!

Butterfly baggies often take flight with barbie shoes, legos, caps, beads, and coins. But really any small objects you want to gather will do. We added loose stickers to ours here to give her extra pizazz.

Just add a pipe cleaner antennae and kids of all ages will love to see what tiny treasures they can find for their butterfly’s wings. Cleaning up has it’s perks!

Tiny Tot Trees

Washable stamp pads are the latest craze around here. Because even the smallest toddler hands can make fantastic fingerprint art. So in honor of the Fall season and our littlest artists, we present TINY TOT TREES!

All you’ll need to make your own is brown & white paper, a brown marker, and washable stamp pads in any variety of Autumn colors.

You can have older kids draw or cut their own tree trunks and branches. Our students  here used rectangle paper trunks and circular tree tops to create theirs. Once the tree’s foundation is set, it’s time to have fun making all the leaves.

Encourage little ones to dip each finger in a stamp pad to see a variety of print sizes. I also like to encourage them to use their non-dominant hand to stamp too! Get both sides of the brain working. It’s a bit more challenging and a lot more fun!

For even more lovely leaf making, try dipping the ends of Qtips into each stamp pad. The teeny prints will add just the right touch to complete your growing Fall forest!

Family Apple Orchard

After an apple picking adventure, we decided to make our very own Family Apple Orchard. This seasonal craft is a crowd pleaser for Autumn lovers of any age!

Here’s what we used to play: A large piece of white butcher paper, brown construction paper, glue stick, bubble wrap, cotton balls, and washable paints in blue, green, & red.

Start by cutting tree trunks out of construction paper. These can vary in size and “grow” wherever your kiddos wants to “plant” them. Glue them down.

Next, paint your hands green! Use your various handprints to make your tree tops green! Tiny fingerprints in red add delicious apples to your growing orchard!

For a final touch, dip your bubble wrap into blue paint and press it down to create a perfect Fall sky. Cotton ball clouds complete your creation!