Tuesday, September 22, 2009

School House Rockin'

Just a quick one here. I took the shape idea from my school busses and had the big guy make school houses. He decided that he would draw people outside his school too. His people are pretty funky-all long legs, arms, and crazy flat heads but he was having fun. They turned out pretty cool.

Bat Pinata

Okay so I posted a pic of this to my FB account and had 2 requests to give the details on how to make it. I will preface this by saying I haven't really figured out how to make it into a working pinata. I figure I have a few weeks to get that part taken care of. :o)
That being said I made the pinata in a couple of days and the bigger little guy helped me.

Newspaper ripped up into strips
School Glue
A balloon
2 containers-one for the glue water mixture needs to be on the shallow side
one to set the balloon in to dry
Colored tissue paper (we used blue and purple but traditionally bats are black :o])
Colored card stock to match the body
a stick
a knife

How I did it:
1. Blow up the balloon to the size you want. Make sure to use a round balloon instead of one of those long ones. Set it in your container with the knot on the bottom

2. In the shallow container add some water...start with about a cup...then squeeze the school glue in until it makes the water milky. If you are a purist you could use papier mache paste but I am lazy so I didn't use it this time. Here's a good recipe if you want to go that route http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/cutpaste/feature/famf0702_feat_pinata/famf0702_feat_pinata2.html

3. Begin dipping the newspaper strips in the mixture. This part is pretty messy so you want to make sure you are doing it outside or on a floor that is easy to clean up. Add strips in a criss cross fashion until you've covered all but the very bottom of the balloon. Then add another layer. Keep adding strips until you've covered the balloon 3-4 times.

4. Let this dry for a few hours or overnight.

5. Rip up strips of the colored tissue. It is much messier when you dip it in the glue solution. It gets pretty tacky and will probably stick to your hands but do your best to cover the balloon. Do as many layers as it takes to hide the newspaper. Lighter colors will take more layers.

6. Let this dry for a few hours or overnight.

7. Pop the balloon and pull the remains out.

8. Take your cardstock and cut out ears and wings. I wish I could give you a template but I can't. I just sort of figure out how big to make things. The main thing is you need to cut them with a tab. Because you are going to put the tab into a whole in the bat body. So for the ears cut out a triangle with a small rectangle attached to the bottom. Does that make sense? And for the wings...well it's kind of like a big triangle with three sweepy cut ins at the bottom and a tab on the side that isn't pointy. Oh why don't I have my tablet set up with this computer so I could just draw you a picture. Anyhow I hope you get it.

9. Take your knife and cut two small slits the size of your tabs on the top of body. Stick the tabs into the slot and bend the ears slightly. You may want to tape or glue them into the slit.

10. Now take the knife and cut two slits the size of the tabs of your wings on the side of the body. Stick the tabs in and once again you may want to glue or tape them in.

11. Next take the knife and cut a small hole on top of the body between the ears. Push the string down through the hole and all the way to the hole at the bottom of body where the balloon was. Tie the string around a small stick and then pull the string back out the top hole. Hopefully this will help keep the pinata up even when the kids are whacking it.

12. Last but not least give your pinata eyes and a mouth.

When I figure out how to turn it into a pinata that kids can actually get the good stuff out of I'll let you know. For now it's a pretty cool decoration although at 2 am when I walk into the living room to get a drink of water it is probably going to FREAK ME OUT!

If you have questions let me know. And if you end up making one post it so I can see how yours turned out.

Fabric pumpkins

Okay I stole this idea from Family Fun Magazine. They had it in their latest issue. http://jas.familyfun.go.com/crafts?page=CraftDisplay&craftid=12252
I didn't have any great, fun fabric just some simple orange lying around. So mine aren't quite as cute as theirs but it was just a test run to see if I liked the final product.

1 8 inch circle of orange fabric per pumpkin
dental floss
a needle
1-2 plastic garbage bags per pumpkin
a stick or green felt/fleece to make a stem

How I did it:
1. I took the circle of fabric and threaded the dental floss about a 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around.

2. I started to pull the dental floss together so that the pumpkin began to take shape.

3. When it was a little bag I shoved in a plastic garbage bag and then pulled both ends of the dental floss until the pumpkin formed.

4. I decided to use some leftover green fleece as my stem. I doubled over a strip of felt about 1/2 in wide and shoved it into the hole in the pumpkin. Then I took the dental floss and wrapped it around the stem until the pumpkin was tight and the hole was closed.

5. My little punkins found the little pumpkins the next day and both of them carried them around the house the first day so I may be making more for the little guys to play with.

I sure do love Halloween decorating!

The Dino Game

So my kiddo decided that he wanted to make a new game the other day. He got these Ice Age 3 Action Figures from McDonald's-Rudy, Mama Trex, and Buck. They spend most meals at the table with us. Recently they have become friends with Mr. Potato Head and Tigger.
Anyway back to the game. He had this idea that he would make these holes and have the dinos guard them and then throw a toy golf ball through the holes. So I found a big half a cardboard box in the garage (see I knew that recycling was the wrong thing to do :o) and put some holes in it. Then the big man and the little man and I colored the box with markers. Last but not least we put the dinos on with some duct tape. And the game began...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School Bus Shapes

Many of my quick crafts with my kiddo require a little bit of prep the night before so I am good to go when I finally get my squirming ball of energy to sit down with me.

This project is no exception. Some quick turns with the scissors and you're good to go. If your child is a bit more adept at the scissor use you could have them cut out the shapes. Or if you have more patience than me...anyhow...

You need:

4 small black construction paper rectangles
2 small black construction paper circles
1 large yellow construction paper rectangle
1 medium yellow construction paper rectangle with 2 rounded edges
1 small yellow construction paper rectangle with on edge folded 1/8 inch
1 piece of construction paper (blue sky or green or white)

I told my kiddo since school was starting we'd be making some busses out of shapes. I took out the shapes and had him sort them into piles based on the shape. I also could have had him sort them by color but since there were only 2 colors here didn't seem like it was needed.

Once we talked about the different shapes we talked about what busses look like. He has ridden on the city bus and once got to ride on a school bus at the zoo (which at the time was the thrill of his life). After discussing the general shape of the bus we set to work to create our own.

Big yellow rectangle body glued down first.
Followed by medium yellow rectangle hood.
Followed by black circle tires.
Followed by black windows.
Followed by carefully gluing just the 1/8 inch fold down on the yellow rectangle to make a door that opened.

Ta dah...we have a bus. Well actually we made 2!

Oh and he wanted me to write school bus on them in case you didn't know just by looking at them. Silly boy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Apple Print Art

Supplies: an apple
plastic lids

Since fall is almost upon us I thought a great craft for early September would be apple print art. It's super easy and fun.
1. Cut an apple in half. Take one of the halves and cut it in 1/2 again.
2. Pour out a little bit of paint into a plastic container lid. Keep each color separate.
3. Use the cut apple as a stamp. Place it cutside down into the paint and move around until the paint covers the surface.
4. Stamp the apple on the blank paper.

That's it! You can make abstract designs or try to create real objects. My kiddo lasted about 30 minutes on this craft and most of the time he just gooshed the paint between his fingers and ignored the apples. I say as long as he enjoyed himself who cares what the end product is?

First Day of School Jitters

Today was the first day of preschool for 2009 for the big guy. It was one of those mornings where I was a little worried. Not because I thought we'd be late. Not because I don't like the teachers or the school. Not because I was worried I would cry.
Let me take you back a year to the first day of preschool 2008..."I don't want to go to school. I want you to come with me. No! NO! NOOOOO!!!" This was followed by uncontrollable sobs, grabbing my body parts. Dragging himself down the hallway. He didn't want me to go. In fact he was so unhappy that they actually called me 1/2 way through to come and pick him up. It's not their normal practice but he was crying so hysterically and hyperventilating so loudly that they were worried he'd push some of those kids just teetering on the edge right over it. It took a good two months of constant reassurance "mommy always comes back" for him to finally settle into the routine and be okay.
So I was worried that today would be a repeat performance. Starting last week he reminded me that he would like me to stay with him the whole time. I reminded him that "mommy always comes back."
Last night..."I don't want to go to school. You have to stay in class with me mommy."
This morning...nothing.
No worries. No crying. No insecurity (at least none that he verbalized). Once we got to the school he saw someone from his class last year. We started talking. They walked to their room. We walked to ours. It was a little chaotic in the hallway so I asked him if he'd like to go read a book. He said sure. We read a little bit and then the classroom door open. He walked through the door didn't even say goodbye-I had to ask for a kiss and a hug. No tears. No whining.
The first day of school was a beautiful thing.