Happy Hooligans http://happyhooligans.ca Art for Kids, Kids Crafts, Kids Activities and Play Ideas Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:32:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Easter Egg Table Toppers – Painting with Q-tips http://happyhooligans.ca/easter-egg-table-toppers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easter-egg-table-toppers http://happyhooligans.ca/easter-egg-table-toppers/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:48:50 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14193 Toddlers and preschoolers will have fun painting with Q-tips while making these easy, Easter Egg table toppers!

Easter Egg Table Toppers – Painting with Q-tips

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Toddlers and preschoolers will have fun painting with Q-tips while making these easy, Easter Egg table toppers!  

Easter Egg table toppers - painted with q-tips

Here’s a quick last-minute Easter craft for kids to do before the weekend arrives!  These Easter Egg table toppers were a really easy to make, and to add some interest to the activity, we used Q-tips dipped in paint to decorate them! 

To make your Easter egg table toppers, you’ll need:

supplies for last minute easter craft

  • paint in various Easter colours
  • glitter paint (optional)
  • Q-tips
  • cardboard (cereal box weight)
  • cardboard roll (tp roll, kitchen roll, wrapping paper roll etc.)
  • paintbrushes
  • scissors

Painting our Easter Eggs:

To start, I cut some “eggs” out of a piece of lightweight cardboard I had.  Then the hooligans chose the colours that they wanted to paint their eggs.  It was no surprise that all three wanted pink and purple.  I poured the paint into a pallet for the preschoolers to share, and the toddler got a styrofoam tray all to herself.  I tend to give the toddlers and preschoolers separate pallets when we’re working on something like this because the older kids don’t appreciate the toddlers mixing the colours all together.

Toddler painting easter eggs

The kids painted their eggs front and back (a quick blast with the hairdryer dries the paint quickly), and then they got busy decorating with the Q-tips.

preschoolers painting with Q-tips on cardboard Easter Eggs

If you haven’t tried painting with Q-tips, you should give it a try!  Kids love it!  It’s fun to paint with something other than paintbrushes, and the Q-tips were perfect for making dots, dashes and squiggly lines on our eggs.

Toddler decorating easter eggs with her fingertips

The toddler quickly discovered that fingers are perfect for the job too! And yes, that is paint on her chin as well.  This one is not afraid of a little mess!

The girls finished up by adding a little sparkle to their eggs with a bit of glitter paint.

Easter Egg table topper painted with Q-tips - Happy Hooligans

Making a stand for your table toppers:

To make the stand for your Easter eggs, paint a cardboard roll, and cut it into 1.5 inch segments.  Snip two notches, opposite each other, in each segment and insert your cardboard egg!

Wasn’t that easy?  Your child will be thrilled to see these simple decorations on your family’s Easter table this weekend!

IMG_0866

Got a few extra minutes?  Here are 10 more easy Easter crafts for kids!

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Erasable Drawing Activity for Kids – with Homemade Reusable Drawing Sheets http://happyhooligans.ca/erasable-drawing-activity-for-kids-homemade-reusable-drawing-sheets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=erasable-drawing-activity-for-kids-homemade-reusable-drawing-sheets http://happyhooligans.ca/erasable-drawing-activity-for-kids-homemade-reusable-drawing-sheets/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2014 23:22:57 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14089 Fun drawing activity for kids of all ages! Homemade, erasable, reusable drawing sheets are fun to decorate, and they save

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Fun drawing activity for kids of all ages! Homemade, erasable, reusable drawing sheets are fun to decorate, and they save on paper too!

Erasable Drawing Activity- Happy Hooligans

If your house is like ours, your children probably go through a ton of paper doodling, drawing and tracing. I’d never discourage them from drawing. Even if the paper ends up in the trash, it’s not a waste. There’s so much creativity and learning that happens when a child puts a pencil or crayon to paper.  However, I have recently come up with an erasable drawing activity for kids that lets them draw for hours without using more than a few sheets of paper!

kids drawing on reusable plastic page protectors

How’s that possible? With two things: dry erase markers and plastic page protectors! Actually, it’s three things if you count our “erasers”.  You’ll love what we use for those!

A couple of months ago, we discovered the joy of drawing on dollar store mirrors with dry erase markers  The hooligans loved the activity, and I got thinking about other surfaces we could use our markers on. The obvious would be a dry erase board, but I wanted something smaller so each child could work individually like they did with their mirrors.  That’s when it hit me: plastic page protectors!  I picked up a package, and with a permanent black marker and some white paper, I created these awesome reusable drawing sheets!

For your erasable drawing activity, you’ll need:

supplies for dry erase drawing with toddlers

For your convenience, this post includes affiliate links.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links. 

To make your erasable drawings, use a black permanent marker to draw some simple pictures on a piece of white paper. I prefer card stock to printer paper for this because card stock is thicker and sturdier.  I like to put two drawings (on separate pieces of paper) back to back in one plastic sleeve.  With the thinner paper, the ink from one drawing shows through the second drawing.  That doesn’t happen when I use the thicker card stock.drawing on plastic page protectors with dry erase markers

The kids love decorating these simple drawings!  They use the coloured dry erase markers to fill in their pictures, and when they want to change something or start over they grab a makeup pad and wipe their drawing clean.

toddler drawing on plastic page protector

At first, we were using paper towels as erasers, but they didn’t work quite as well.  The other day when we were using cotton pads for an art activity, it occurred to me that they’d be great for our erasable drawing activities!  They’re perfect!  Easy for little hands to hold, and they remove the ink better than the paper towels did.

IMG_0597

So, what kind of pictures can you make for your erasable drawing activity?

It’s best to keep things simple, and to keep your lines to a minimum.   This gives child plenty of white space for drawing and decorating.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

Christmas Tree –  your child can “decorate” it with the markers

Outline of a House – child fills in windows, doors, chimneys, tree, garden etc.

Various Head Shapes – your child can fill in hair and facial features 

Easter Egg – you child can decorate with spots and stripes

Initials of your Child’s Name – decorate and colour

Simple Animal Outlines – for your child to fill in: fish, cat etc.

Outline of a Person – your child can draw hair, clothing, face etc.

Simple Shapes – triangle, circle, square etc.  See what your child turns them into.

If you can think of some ideas other than the ones I’ve listed here, I’d love it if you’d leave them in a comment at the bottom of this post for me.  I’d really like to add some more drawing sheets to our collection.

dry erase marker and drawing in plastic page protector

For now though, we’re happy to keep using (and reusing) ours!  They’ve been a hit!

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Cotton Pad Art for Toddlers (with Liquid Watercolours) http://happyhooligans.ca/cotton-pad-art-for-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cotton-pad-art-for-toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/cotton-pad-art-for-toddlers/#comments Sat, 05 Apr 2014 18:43:03 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13944 Cotton Pad Art with liquid watercolours - a creative, fine-motor art project for toddlers, and a water absorption experiment too!

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Cotton Pad Art with liquid watercolours - a creative, fine-motor art project for toddlers, and a water absorption experiment too!

Cotton Pad Art with Liquid Watercolours

A couple of months ago, we turned our dried up markers into homemade liquid watercolours.  The results were fabulous! They’re perfect for lots of the kids’ art projects we do around here!

The hooligans really like using the watercolours with pipettes. They drip the paint on an absorbent surface to create really beautiful designs and patterns.  We’ve created e made some gorgeous paper towel art and coffee filter projects this way.  The process is fun and it’s a great way for kids to experiment with water absorption.  The droppers are great for developing fine motor skills too!

The other day, when I was cleaning out a cupboard I came across a sleeve of makeup removal pads.  I thought they’d be perfect to use with our watercolours.  We tried them out the other day, and the activity was a hit!

What you’ll need for your cotton pad art project:

supplies for cotton pad art project

Disclosure: I receive a small commission when you shop through the following affiliate links.  

Creating our cotton pad art:

I set the girls up with their watercolours and cotton pads, and they spent the next half hour or so creating all kinds of colour combinations!colouring cotton pads with liquid watercolours

Ok, I knew these things would be absorbent, but holy moly!  We used all of the watercolours you see in the photos, and then some, and the cotton pads soaked up every drop of water.

And what was really neat was this:  if the pad had been coloured blue, and we dripped yellow on top, the colours didn’t mix; the yellow would actually displace the blue colouring.

Dripping watercolours onto cotton pads

Here’s  a shot of our soaking wet cotton pads.  Aren’t they gorgeous?

Coloured Cotton Pads for Toddler art project

To dry the pads, we set them on a baking rack beside the fireplace for a couple of hours.

This is what they looked like when they dried!  I love how puffy, fluffy and colourful they are!

cotton pads dyed with liquid watercolours

And now, a question for you!

I would love to use our cotton pads for some kind of project, but I’m not loving any of the ideas I’ve come up with.  What do you think we should do with our colourful cotton pads?  

More toddler art projects you’ll love:

wax resist art with watercolours

glue salt and watercolour art

toddler colour wheel

tape resist art

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Ladybug Craft for Toddlers (with Corks and Buttons) http://happyhooligans.ca/ladybug-craft-for-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ladybug-craft-for-toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/ladybug-craft-for-toddlers/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 04:41:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13902 Toddlers and preschoolers use buttons and corks to decorate a cute and easy ladybug craft!

‘Tis the season

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Toddlers and preschoolers use buttons and corks to decorate a cute and easy ladybug craft! 

lady bug craft with corks and buttons

‘Tis the season for crafting about bugs and birds!  With spring temperatures on the rise this week, the ladybugs are coming out of the woodwork and kind of taking over our house at the moment. I don’t know where they hide all winter, but they’re everywhere!  The hooligans love hunting for them and following them around, shrieking and squealing when they take flight.  They’re fairly fascinated with the little guys, so I figured a ladybug craft was in order this week.

To start, we looked at some images of ladybugs on the internet.  We talked about their colours and markings, and we counted their legs and spots.  I gave each of the hooligans a red and black pen, and looking at a picture on the screen of the laptop, they practiced drawing some ladybugs of their own.

toddlers drawing ladybugs before making their craft

Then we got down to some crafting!

To make our simple ladybug craft, you’ll need:

supplies for paper plate ladybug craft

  • center cut out of a paper plate
  • red and black paint
  • glue
  • corks
  • buttons
  • googly eyes
  • pipe cleaners
  • hole punch

To make our ladybugs:

While I was setting things up, I had the girls sifting through our button collection, looking for black buttons. This is such a fun sensory and fine motor activity in itself.

toddlers sorting black buttons for their ladybugs

I poured several shades of red paint into a tray, and we talked about how each shade was different, and what the names of the shades were: Raspberry Red, Cherry Red, Christmas Red and Cranberry.

The girls had fun painting their plates and blending the reds together.  You can use the paper of your choice for the body of your ladybug.  You could even use a full paper plate.  I had recently saved the centres from the paper plate Easter wreaths  we made recently, so they were perfect for our craft today.

painting paper plate centres for ladybug craft

A little black paint at one side of the circle became the ladybug’s head.

 

Googly eyes were added and then the girls got busy putting the spots on their ladybugs.adding googly eyes to a ladybug craft

One ladybug, they stamped with corks and black paint, and the other, they dotted with buttons.

putting spots on our ladybug craft

When everything was dry, I punched 3 holes on each side of each plate, and the kids threaded pipe cleaner “legs”  through the holes.

pipe cleaner ladybug legs being threaded through holes

Aren’t they sweet?

4 paper plate ladybugs

Looking for more bug crafts for toddlers?  Try these:

paper towel butterflies

tissue paper – clothespin butterflies

painting spiders and cobwebs

easy bug headbands

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Easter Playdough Activities for Toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/easter-playdough-activities-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easter-playdough-activities-toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/easter-playdough-activities-toddlers/#comments Sun, 23 Mar 2014 01:04:54 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13748 Easter playdough activities for toddlers and preschoolers, and homemade playdough in the softest shades of spring!

If

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Easter playdough activities for toddlers and preschoolers, and homemade playdough in the softest shades of spring!

Easter Playdough Activities - colours stacked in a pile

If you’ve been following along with us, you know how much I love coming up with themed playdough ideas!    I’ve come up with all kinds of them over the years, and holiday playdough activities are always a favourite here!  Today, I’m sharing the Easter playdough activity we had going on yesterday.  Your toddlers are going to love this one!

First, you’ll need to need to make your Easter playdough!

Best homemade playdough recipe:

For your convenience, this post contains Affiliate links.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links.  Thank you for your support!

Just look at the gorgeous spring shades of this playdough!  Aren’t they pretty?  I used The Imagination Tree’s  easy, no-cook playdough recipe.  Anna has all kinds of recipes for playdough, but this one is my favourite.    It’s always so soft and silky.  We can leave it out all day and it doesn’t dry up, and it will keep for months in an airtight container.

Getting the colours just right for pastel coloured playdough: 

homemade playdough in easter colours

The secret to getting these soft, pastel colours is to use very little Food colouring.  I used Wilton Icing Gels. I added just a tiny bit at a time, kneading it in until I was happy with the colour of my dough.  The Wilton Gels tend to intensify over time, so when you’re going for soft colours, less is more!

Making playdough for an Easter activity

Now it’s time to play!

Tools for your Easter playdough activities:

Don’t think you have to stick to cookie cutters and rolling pins when playing with playdough!  Think of interesting and unique items to provide for exploration!  That’s what I love best!  You can use almost anything for a playdough tool!  We used:

The girls had a great time creating easter bunnies with the googly eyes, buttons and feathers.

Easter bunny with homemade playdough

And they pressed and rolled the foam flowers into the dough to make imprints.

rolling foam flowers in playdough

They filled the plastic eggs with dough, and explored all of the materials while decorating their dough. It was a true sensory experience.

decorating easter playdough with feathers and buttons

Providing a variety of tools and embellishments allows kids to get really creative!  Have a look through your craft supplies to see what other supplies you can set out with your playdough activity!  Craft sticks, plastic straws, candles, beads, cocktail toothpicks!  The sky’s the limit!  When you think outside the box, you’ll come up with all kinds of ideas!

supplies for Easter playdough activités

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How To Dye Rice for Sensory Play http://happyhooligans.ca/how-to-dye-rice-sensory-play/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=how-to-dye-rice-sensory-play http://happyhooligans.ca/how-to-dye-rice-sensory-play/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 02:06:00 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13731 How to dye rice for sensory play in 3 easy steps! No rubbing alcohol, no messy baggies, no waste!

Have

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How to dye rice for sensory play in 3 easy steps!  No rubbing alcohol, no messy baggies, no waste!

Have you ever seen the Rainbow Rice that we use in our sensory bins?  It’s vibrant and gorgeous!  You can use it for all kinds of sensory activities, and it’s SO easy to make!

how to dye rice - Happy Hooligans

There are lots of tutorials on the net that will show you how to dye rice for play.  Many of the recipes out there call for rubbing alcohol to “set” the colour, and most require ziplock bags. Our recipe uses neither, so it’s a little more kid-friendly, and it’s easier on the environment too.

We use vinegar as an alternative to rubbing alcohol, and we use just ONE container when we dye rice in batches.  This method is quick and easy, and it’s fun, so grab the kids!  They’re going to want to help!

jar of dyed rice

What you’ll need to make your coloured rice:

  • inexpensive white rice (1 cup for each colour)
  • white vinegar (1/2 tsp for each colour)
  • food colouring or icing gels (I use Wilton Icing Gels)
  • plastic container with lid (margarine container, ziplock food storage container etc)
  • something to dry your rice on i.e. *styrofoam meat trays, baking sheet, pie plate

*when using styrofoam meat trays, sterilize them first by running them through your dishwasher

Easy so far, right?  Ready to colour your rice?

How to dye rice in 3 easy steps:

1. Pour one cup of rice into a container.

2. Add some food colouring and the 1/2 tsp of vinegar, and snap the lid on your container.

3. Now for the fun part!  SHAKE, SHAKE, SHAKE! 

Once your rice is evenly coloured, dump it out on your meat tray or baking sheet to dry for a day or two.

Give the container a wipe and a rinse, and proceed with your next colour!

When it’s dry, your dyed rice is ready to use in sensory bins, or for crafts and sensory activities!

I spy bin with dyed rice

How easy was that!  Aren’t you just “dyeing” to dig in and play?

Storing your coloured rice:

Coloured rice will keep indefinitely when stored in an air-tight container.  We’ve been using ours for a couple of years now, and it’s still going strong!

Now that you know how to dye rice for sensory activities,  you might want to see how we dye pasta too!

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10 Spring Crafts for Kids! http://happyhooligans.ca/10-spring-crafts-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-spring-crafts-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/10-spring-crafts-for-kids/#comments Wed, 19 Mar 2014 20:38:04 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13684 A collection of my favourite Spring crafts for kids: 10 spring crafts for toddlers and preschoolers. They’re sweet, they’re simple,

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A collection of my favourite Spring crafts for kids: 10 spring crafts for toddlers and preschoolers.  They’re sweet, they’re simple, and they’re absolutely charming!

10 Spring Crafts for Kids round-up - Happy Hooligans

We’ve done many great spring crafts over the years, so I thought it would be nice to put our most popular projects all in one place for you!  Here are 10 of my favourite spring crafts for kids!  Be sure to pin this post so it’s handy any time you need a quick and easy spring craft idea for your children!

10 of my favourite Easy Spring Crafts for Kids:

Cork-Stamped Button Flowers - one of my favourite spring crafts for kids!  These adorable stamped spring flowers are super-easy to make with old corks and colourful buttons!

button cork flower craft - 1 of 10 spring crafts for kids

Coffee Filter Spring or Easter Wreath - kids will love the process we used to make these coffee filter wreaths.  So easy and colourful – they’re perfect to hang on the door for Easter or to welcome Spring!

easter coffee filter easter wreath - 1 of 10 spring crafts for kids

Rainsticks – Round up your recyclables and make some colourful rainsticks!  Preschoolers will love using recycled materials to recreate the sound of falling rain!

rain sticks for kids to make - in a collection of spring crafts for kids

Woodland Fairy Tiara – Fairy-loving little girls will love this easy spring craft.  Pair up a grocery sack with some artificial flowers and make a paper bag tiara.

paper bag tiara - happy hooligans

Tissue Paper Rainbows – check out the colourful tissue paper rainbows we made for CBC Parents!  You’ll love the fun and easy technique we used to draw our rainbows!

tissue paper rainbows - easy spring crafts for kids to make

Tissue Paper Spring Wreath - another easy way to make a Spring wreath!  Toddlers will love crumpling the tissue paper for this pretty spring project!

Easter tissue paper wreath - spring crafts for kids to make for easter

Paper Plate Birds – this is one of my all-time favourite spring crafts for kids.  Make these adorable “rocking birds” with a few simple craft supplies. .

paper plate bird craft - spring bird crafts for kids of all ages

Rainbow Wind Chimes – take the kids for a nature walk, and collect some sticks to make a vibrant rainbow wind chimes!  This is a great spring craft for kids to make for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!

wind chimes made with painted sticks (happy hooligans) - outdoor spring crafts for kids to make

Styrofoam Spring Art – here’s a spring craft idea that’s easy enough for even the youngest toddlers!  Kids can create colourful styrofoam spring art with meat trays and foam shapes!

styrofoam spring art project for toddlers - simple spring art for kids

Paper Towel Butterflies – 3 different ways to make paper towel butterflies.  Kids of all ages will love the process of colouring paper towels with coloured water!  When they’re finished they can turn their finished art into butterflies!

paper towel butterflies x 3

And with Easter right around the corner, you’ll want to check out 10 Easy Easter Crafts for Kids too!

 

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Coffee Filter Easter Wreath http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-filter-easter-wreath-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coffee-filter-easter-wreath-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-filter-easter-wreath-for-kids/#comments Tue, 18 Mar 2014 18:33:43 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13657 If you’re looking for an easy Easter craft for kids, you’ll love this Coffee Filter Easter Wreath! It’s easy to

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If you’re looking for an easy Easter craft for kids, you’ll love this Coffee Filter Easter Wreath! It’s easy to make, the supply list is very simple, and toddlers and preschoolers will LOVE the creative process!

Coffee Filter Easter Wreath for Kids - Happy Hooligans

Hooray for spring!  Winter is slowly coming to an end, and we’ve been busy making lots of spring crafts!  Today we made these awesome coffee filter wreaths for Easter. We’ve recently discovered the joys of crafting with coffee filters, and I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to give them a try!  They’re so versatile, and the hooligans LOVE the process we use to colour them!   If you don’t have coffee filters, you could use tissue paper, or you could make these pretty paper napkin Spring wreaths  from Living Locurto!

Ok, let’s get started!

To make a coffee filter Easter wreath, you’ll need:

supplies for coffee filter easter wreaths

For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links in this post.  I receive a small commission from purchases you make through these links. 

Paint your paper plate wreath:

I cut the centres out of some paper plates, and the girls started by painting those in spring colours.

Painting paper plates to make an easter wreath.

How to dye coffee filters for your Easter Wreath:

You have a few options:

For our today’s wreaths, we’re using McCormick’s Neon Food Color. These colours are great for spring craft projects. I put a bit of water in each section of an ice-cube tray and added a few drops of colour to each section.

Paintbrushes or pipettes?

Pipettes (or droppers) are great for developing fine-motor and co-ordination, but they’re tricky for young toddlers to get the hang of, so I provided paintbrushes as well.  As I suspected, the youngest hooligan wanted to use a paintbrush, and the oldest  chose the pipettes.

This part of the process is so fun.  Kids love the creative process, and they’ll learn about colour mixing and water absorption.

dyeing coffee filters with watercolours.

The girls worked away until they’d  coloured 6 or 7 coffee filters each, and then we put everything by the fire to dry.  You can speed up the process with a hair dryer.

Aren’t they pretty?

IMG_0039

Attaching the coffee filters to the paper plate wreath:

To attach the coffee filters, I made several holes in the paper plate.  This would be where we’d insert the coffee filters.   There are a couple of ways you can make the holes.  You can make your holes by snipping several small X’s around your plate, or you can use a paper punch.  I preferred the paper punch method.  I punched 4 over-lapping holes to make one “big” hole.  And when I say big, I mean about the size of my baby finger-tip.

The girls gave the coffee filters a twist and a scrunch, and then tucked them into the holes. You can see the tip of one poking through the plate here.

child peeking through easter wreath made with dyed coffee filters

We fluffed everything up a bit, and added a ribbon for hanging.  What do you think?  Aren’t they lovely?

A pretty coffee filter wreath to hang on your door or in a window for Easter or spring!

Kids spring wreath for Easter made with coffee filters and paper plates.

 

For more easy Easter crafts for toddlers and preschoolers check out this post: 10 Easy Easter Crafts for Kids!

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Paper Plate Rainbow Craft with Tissue Paper http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-plate-tissue-paper-rainbows/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paper-plate-tissue-paper-rainbows http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-plate-tissue-paper-rainbows/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 23:36:13 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13508

Ready for a cute and easy St. Patrick’s Day craft? Toddlers will love making these colourful Paper

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tissue paper, paper plate rainbow craft for kids

Ready for a cute and easy St. Patrick’s Day craft?  Toddlers will love making these colourful Paper Plate Rainbow Craft with tissue paper!  Pop over to CBC Parents to see the fun we had making our rainbows, and to learn a fun and easy technique for drawing rainbows too!

how to draw a rainbow the easy way

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10 Easy Easter Crafts for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/easter-crafts-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easter-crafts-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/easter-crafts-for-kids/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 12:55:23 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13551 Who loves an easy Easter craft? I do, I do! Actually, I love any kind of holiday craft! Holiday crafts

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Who loves an easy Easter craft?  I do, I do!   Actually, I love any kind of holiday craft!  Holiday crafts are what we hooligans do best!  Since Easter is fast approaching, I’ve gone through my blog and rounded up my favourite 10 Easy Easter crafts for kids!  

Easy Easter Crafts for Kids - Happy Hooligans

All of these Easter craft ideas are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, but kids of all ages will love making them!  The supply lists are simple! You likely already have already have everything you’ll need in your craft room (or your recycle bin)!

Are you ready to get crafting! We’ve got easter bunny crafts, easter egg crafts, easter garlands, easter wreaths…  well, you get the idea!

10 easy Easter crafts for kids:

CLICK THE COLOURED LINKS TO VISIT THE FULL POST FOR DETAILS!

Toilet Roll Chicks - Toddlers and preschoolers will love painting and decorating these cheery cardboard roll Easter chicks.  Tucked into shredded paper nests, they’re as cute as can be!

toilet roll easter chicks

Tissue Paper Easter Wreath – fine motor skills are put to the test as little hands scrunch the colourful tissue paper for this toddler’s Easter wreath.

Toilet Roll Peeps – Nothing says Easter like Marshmallow Peeps!  Paint and decorate a bunch of Cardboard tubes to look like pastel coloured  Easter “Peeps”!

toilet roll peeps - happy hooligans

Paper Bag Nests – Those Easter Peeps will need a place to roost!  Check out these simple paper bag nests!

Foil & Tissue Eggs - preschoolers can transform a piece of cardboard into a pretty Easter egg ornament with this simple foil and tissue paper technique.

Easter Finger Puppets – toddlers will love these easy and  adorable pipe cleaner Easter bunnies and chicks.

Easter finger puppets - blue bird and pink bunny

Stained Glass Easter Eggs – make a stained-glass Easter window decoration with contact paper and craft scraps.

Toilet Roll Bunnies – Little ones can paint cardboard tubes and craft sticks to make these adorable cardboard roll Easter bunnies.

Easter Napkin Rings – With papers painted in Eric Carle fashion, your kids can make these Easter Egg Napkin Rings for your Easter dinner table.

eric carle inspired easter eggs cover shot

Well, that’s it for now!  Stay tuned though!  In the days to come, the hooligans will be busy making more easy Easter crafts to share with you!  Can’t wait for you to see them!

Happy crafting & Happy Easter from the Happy Hooligans!


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Mosaic Project for Preschoolers – with styrofoam meat trays http://happyhooligans.ca/mosaic-project-kids-styrofoam-produce-trays/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mosaic-project-kids-styrofoam-produce-trays http://happyhooligans.ca/mosaic-project-kids-styrofoam-produce-trays/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 05:03:34 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13576 Making making mosaic art with painted styrofoam trays!

I want to share another mosaic project for preschoolers with you. Did

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Making making mosaic art with painted styrofoam trays!

I want to share another mosaic project for preschoolers with you.  Did you see our 3-D Mosaic Structures last week?  Well, today, the hooligans used our styrofoam meat trays for this basic mosaic project.  

mosaic art with styrofoam meat trays - happy hooligans

*Before we get started, I want to mention that when you’re crafting with styrofoam meat trays, you should sterilized in the dishwasher first.

Ok, let’s get started!

For this particular mosaic project, you’ll need:

  • several styrofoam meat trays (sterilized in dishwasher).
  • acrylic paints in bright colours
  • paint brush
  • scissors
  • glue
  • coloured cardstock

Begin by cutting the curved edges off your styrofoam meat trays.  You can use a utility knife if you want, but scissors will do the trick too.

Now that you’ve removed the edges, you can paint your tiles.

Painting:

Grab your acrylics, and give your tiles two coats of paint.  Let the paint dry between coats.  You can speed things up with the help of a hairdryer, and they’ll be ready in under a minute.

IMG_4896

Once your paint is dry the real fun begins!

It’s time to chop those tiles up into lots of little pieces!

Cutting:

This is a great cutting exercise for kids who are still learning to use scissors!  The hooligans find it much easier to cut through a meat tray than paper.  They love the sound it makes too.  This part of the activity is terrific for building hand muscles and fine motor skills.

IMG_4918

Gluing:

The final step is the creative one of course!  Let your little one choose a piece of card stock in whatever colour they please, and he can glue his mosaic tiles to the paper.

Let him arrange his pieces however he wants.  Sometimes the hooligans make an entirely flat piece of art, and other times, they’ll build up on their paper, creating a 3-D masterpiece.

Whatever they choose, they’ll have fun exploring colours, shapes and sizes as they piece together their one-of-a-kind mosaic art project!

IMG_4941

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Stamped Flower Craft with Corks and Buttons http://happyhooligans.ca/stamped-flower-craft-corks-and-buttons/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=stamped-flower-craft-corks-and-buttons http://happyhooligans.ca/stamped-flower-craft-corks-and-buttons/#comments Tue, 11 Mar 2014 01:46:43 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13526 Here’s a really easy flower craft for kids to make for spring! These adorable cork-stamped flowers will brighten up a

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Here’s a really easy flower craft for kids to make for spring!  These adorable cork-stamped flowers will brighten up a table-top or window-sill or any little corner of your home!

Spring flower craft for kids - stamping with corks - happy hooligans

Good-bye, winter!  Who’s ready for some cheery spring craft ideas?  I sure am, and I’m so excited to share this one with you!  The hooligans are off for spring break this week, and I’ve been playing around with some flower craft ideas that I’ve had in my head for a while now.  I thought it would be fun to stamp some spring flowers with wine corks and paint!  I intended to simply test my idea, but it was so fun, and the flowers looked so sweet, I couldn’t stop stamping!  Before I knew it, I was elbow deep in colourful, stamped paper flowers!  Hmmm, what to do with all of them?

Actually, I  came up with several flower crafts for the hooligans to try when they return.  I couldn’t wait to share this one with you though!  So, you get to see it today!

What you’ll need for your stamped flower craft:

supplies for cork and button flower craft

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ahem…

Before you all ask me just how much wine we drink around here, let me explain.  We kind of collect wine corks.  We hang on to ours, and our friends give us theirs.  Why?  Because wine corks are great for fine motor activities, and we’ve made some excellent homemade stamps with them!

Turning your corks into flower stamps:

For today’s craft, I made 2 flower stamps:  a small pansy stamp (3 corks),

corks for stamping flowers

 

and a larger flower stamp (7 corks).

larger flower stamp made from corks

To make your stamps, simply assemble them on a flat surface, and secure with a rubber band.

If you don’t have enough corks, fear not!  I made a few flowers by dipping and stamping a single cork!

stamping a flower with a single cork

Let’s get stamping!

Drizzle 3 colours of paint on to your styrofoam tray.

drizzled paint for stamped flower craft

Now, press a cork stamp into the paint.  You may have to move it around slightly to get good coverage.  Go easy though, you don’t want your colours to all blur together.

Press your stamp down firmly on your white card stock.  Lift and….  aren’t they PRETTY?

Flowers stamped with corks

Dip back into your paint and stamp again, and again!  You may find it rather addictive.  You’ll understand how I got carried away. :)

Let your paint dry, and then cut out your flowers.

pansies with button centres, stamped with corks

Glue a button to the centre of each flower.  I used my glue gun.  Kids can use a low temp glue gun, or they can use regular white glue.

table full of cork stamped flowers

Glue a straw to the back of each flower, and pop them into a little vase or jar.

vase displaying stamped flowers

I love these little egg-cups.  I filled them with buttons, and tucked in a flower.

cork stamped flowers in egg cups - easy flower craft for kids

What do you think?  Isn’t it just the prettiest, little flower craft going?

I’ll be sharing more with you when the hooligans return!  Meanwhile…

If you’re looking for more easy spring crafts for kids, check out our:

Rainbow Collages

Paper Towel Butterflies

Tissue Clothespin Butterflies

Woodland Fairy Tiara

Recycled Rain Sticks

Rainbow Rice for Sensory Play

Rainbow Playdough

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Paper Towel Dip – a Water Absorption Experiment http://happyhooligans.ca/water-absorption-experiment-for-preschoolers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=water-absorption-experiment-for-preschoolers http://happyhooligans.ca/water-absorption-experiment-for-preschoolers/#comments Sat, 08 Mar 2014 01:43:30 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13455 “Paper Towel Dip“: a water absorption experiment for preschoolers and toddlers.

Over the years, we’ve done many water absorption experiments

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Paper Towel Dip“: a water absorption experiment for preschoolers and toddlers.

Over the years, we’ve done many water absorption experiments here in my daycare.  Paper towels and coloured water are great for teaching kids about water absorption.  Coloured water really lets kids see the absorption process, and depending on the nature of the project, they can produce some unique paper towel art too!

Paper Towel Dip: a water absorption experiment for toddlers and preschoolers

For today’s water absorption experiment, we used:

 

bowls, Wilton Icing Gels and a roll of Paper Towels

For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links in this post.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links.  Thank you for your support!

 

children mixing food colouring and water

 

I filled the bowls with water, and gave the hooligans some red, yellow and blue food colouring.  They stirred the food colouring into the water, and then they got to work.

dipping paper towels into coloured water to learn about water absorption

 

The girls dipped their strips into the bowls, and watched them soak up the colour water.  Then they’d shake off the drips, and dip into another colour. It was exciting to see their strips change colour each time they dipped.

 

yellow to greenjpg

 

They proudly shouted out the new colours, and we chatted about the colour changes.  With toddlers you can talk about colours: “red and blue make purple.  Blue and yellow make green”.  With older children you can use terms like “primary colours” and “secondary colours”.

 

IMG_9593

 

When the hooligans finally ran out of paper towel strips, the water had turned quite “muddy”.  They weren’t ready to stop experimenting though, so we did a second activity.  I gave them some full sheets of paper towel, and a tray of our homemade liquid watercolours. Using paintbrushes this time, they produced these beautiful paper towel paintings to take home.

Looking for more science experiments for kids?  Check out our:

Water Displacement Experiment

Melting Ice with Salt and Watercolours

Dino Dig – Ice Excavation Activity

Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art

Ivory Soap Explosion

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Pasta and Playdough for Fine Motor Development http://happyhooligans.ca/fine-motor-development-playdough-pasta/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fine-motor-development-playdough-pasta http://happyhooligans.ca/fine-motor-development-playdough-pasta/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 04:59:06 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13420 Just a quick, little post to share this fun and easy toddler activity! The other day, the two-year olds were

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Just a quick, little post to share this fun and easy toddler activity!  The other day, the two-year olds were strengthening their fine motor skills with pasta, pony beads and play dough.

Because my daycare caters to preschoolers, you’ll find lots of fine motor activities here among the pages of my blog.  There are quite a few play dough ideas here too.  That’s because play dough is one of my favourite activities for fine motor development.

playdough, pasta and beads for fine motor development - happy hooligans

Beads, pasta and playdough for fine motor development:

Playing with play dough  helps strengthen fine motor skills in many ways.  All that rolling, squeezing, pinching and patting is great for little hands and fingers.  Today, we’re doing a threading activity with homemade playdough, spaghetti and pony beads.

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Supplies:

This activity presented quite the challenge for the 2 year olds, but they did well with it.  Some of our spaghetti snapped, but that was ok because the girls learned how to handle things gently to prevent their pasta from breaking.

toddler threading beads onto spaghetti stuck into a ball of playdough

You can take the opportunity to talk about colours with your child as she’s choosing her beads, and she may enjoy counting as she’s threading.

toddler playdough activity with beads and spaghetti

Older children can estimate how many beads will fit on a length of spaghetti, and they can work on  patterning.IMG_9362

Need a good play dough recipe?

If you’re looking for a good recipe for homemade play dough, I use the The Imagination Tree’s no-cook playdough.  It’s seriously awesome.  We can leave it out for hours, and it doesn’t dry up.  It’s super-soft, and it keeps for months.

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Toddler Art: Paper Towels and (homemade) Liquid Watercolours http://happyhooligans.ca/toddler-art-paper-towels-liquid-watercolours/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=toddler-art-paper-towels-liquid-watercolours http://happyhooligans.ca/toddler-art-paper-towels-liquid-watercolours/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 15:37:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13395 In case you missed the big news, we recently turned our dried out markers into these amazing homemade liquid watercolours.

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In case you missed the big news, we recently turned our dried out markers into these amazing homemade liquid watercolours.  The results were FANTASTIC, and we’ve been using our homemade paints daily, to create all kinds of toddler art.  First up is this snazzy paper towel art that the hooligans made last week.  This is an easy preschool art project with a simple lesson in water absorption. I think the results were pretty awesome!

Toddler art with paper towels and homemade liquid watercolours

If you don’t have liquid watercolours (and you don’t want to make your own):

You can use washable markers and water to create beautiful paper towel art.  Last fall, we did  this paper towel project with markers and water. You can give it a try if liquid watercolours aren’t an option for you.  You can also use food colouring or icing gels like we did when we made our paper towel butterflies.

Supplies needed for this toddler art project:

watercolour polka dots on paper towel

For your convenience, I’ve added affiliate links to this post.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links.  Thank you for your support.

All set?  Let’s create some paper towel art!

*NOTE:  protect your work surface with a plastic table-cloth, an old towel or even a cookie sheet.

Start by pouring a small amount of liquid watercolour into your ice-cube tray.  Slightly dilute your colours with a few drops of water.

Now hand out the paintbrushes and paper towels and let the kids paint!

As they brushed on their watercolours, it was exciting how quickly the paper towels absorbed the colour!  The girls were quite fascinated and focused.

The two-year old applied her watercolours by tapping them all over her paper towel.

toddler painting paper towel with watercolours

The three-year old worked slowly and methodically, covering every square inch of her “canvas”.

preschooler painting paper towel with watercolours

We dotted and splatted and brushed and dabbed. We even experimented with two brushes at once.

painting with 2 brushes on paper towels

This easy art project kept the girls happy for close to an hour!  Here are some of our completed paintings!a collection of toddler's art on paper towels

What a colourful activity for a grey, winter day!

toddler art project: watercolour rainbow on paper towel

If you liked this post, check out these easy art projects for kids:

Stained Glass Art (with bottle lids)

Art with Melted Crayons

Upcycled Art (a smoosh-painting project)

Crayon Resist Art

Paint Chip Mosaics

Black and White Art

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“Diamond Dig” – A Snowy Sensory Bin http://happyhooligans.ca/diamond-dig-snowy-sensory-bin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=diamond-dig-snowy-sensory-bin http://happyhooligans.ca/diamond-dig-snowy-sensory-bin/#comments Sun, 02 Mar 2014 21:18:13 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13336 When snow days or freezing temperatures make it impossible to get out to play in the snow, a snowy sensory

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When snow days or freezing temperatures make it impossible to get out to play in the snow, a snowy sensory bin is a fun indoor winter activity for toddlers and preschoolers.

diamond dig - a snowy sensory bin by happy hooligans

Goodness knows this has been a long, cold winter!  Temperatures in the -20s and even -30s have made it difficult to get out and play in the snow for any length of time.  If you’re like me, you’ve had enough!  It’s tricky to keep coming up with  indoor winter activities for your toddler, isn’t it?  Especially when they’ve grown tired being inside, and they just want to play in the snow.  Well, here’s a solution for you:  

When it’s too cold to play outsidebring the snow inside!

toddlers digging for "diamonds" in a snowy sensory bin

Find your container:

For smaller activities like our “snow and watercolours” activity, a baking dish or cookie tray will do, but for larger set-ups like this one and our Snowy Construction Bin, a shallow storage container is best.

Supplies and materials to make our Diamond Dig sensory bin:

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links.  Thank you for your support!

spoon and craft gems in a bin of snow

  • large, shallow storage container
  • scoops, ladles, spoons
  • plastic gems and jewels  (I got mine in the craft section of the dollar store)
  • bowl(s) of warm water
  • cloths or hand towels (for drying hands as they play)
  • plastic table cloth (to protect your floor or table)
  • SNOW!

Easy so far, right?

Pulling your snowy sensory bin together:

Fill up your container with snow, and toss in the gems and jewels.  Give it a good stir, burying most of the “diamonds” so the kids will have to work to find them.

harvesting gems from our snowy sensory bin

I set my bin on the floor and placed a couple of bowls of water beside it.  I’d intended for this to be a place to simply rinse off their “diamonds” as they un-earthed them, but they had other plans.

scooping snow out of the sensory bin and into bowls of water

 

After dropping a few jewels into the bowls, they discovered that it was much more fun to scoop heaping spoonfuls of snow into their bowls.  They would stir the snow around until it melted, and then they’d fill it up again.

scooping snow into bowls of water

As the water grew colder, the melting slowed down, and they noticed that the snow became “sticky”, and eventually turned to slush.

At one point, we turned the large, wet clump of snow over, and we were surprised to see that there was no water in the bottom of the bowl.

snow turning to slush and ice in a bowl of water

I explained how the snow had absorbed the water like a sponge, and they felt it, and observed that it was quite icy.  All of the jewels that had been in the bottom of the bowl were embedded in the ice, and they picked and pried those out.

drying hands while playing with the snow sensory bin

When most of the diamonds had been found, I brought out the farm animals, and little people, and they enjoyed some snowy small world play while I prepared lunch.

If you make a snowy sensory bin for your hooligans, I’d love it if you’d share a photo and the details on my Happy Hooligans Facebook page!  It doesn’t look like winter will be over any time soon, and I’m sure we’ll all be looking for fun indoor winter play ideas for a while yet!

If you liked this activity, check out these sensory bins.  They’ve been known to keep the hooligans entertained for hours:

Deep Blue Sea Bin
Polly Pool Party
Dinosaur Sensory bin
Dino Dig
Cloud Dough
Fairy Mud 

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A Beginner Glue Gun Project for Kids: Mosaic Meat Tray Structures http://happyhooligans.ca/glue-gun-project-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=glue-gun-project-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/glue-gun-project-for-kids/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 18:40:47 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13298 You might be thinking “WHAT? A toddler and a glue gun??” You bet! Have a look at this glue gun

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You might be thinking “WHAT?   A toddler and a glue gun??”  You bet!  Have a look at this glue gun project for kids that I shared a wile back.  In it, I share my advice on teaching kids how to use low temp glue guns.  You’ll see that our older toddlers and preschoolers use them well.  With a little guidance and supervision (and a bowl of cold water near-by, just in case), you can teach your child how to use a low heat glue gun too!

Mosaic Meat Tray Structures - a beginner Glue Gun project for kids (Happy Hooligans)

Using styrofoam meat trays for crafting:

Styrofoam trays are super in the craft room.  We use ours to make make ornaments, and to hold craft supplies.  We even use them as paint pallets.  For safety reasons, always sterilize your meat trays in the dishwasher before crafting with them.

Today, the hooligans are making  styrofoam structures .  Building a structure is a simple way for young children to explore the basics of design and physics.  It’s also great for fine motor skill development and critical and creative thinking.

Supplies for making Mosaic Meat Tray Structures:

  • styrofoam meat tray
  • acrylic craft paints
  • low temp glue gun
  • paint brushes
  • safety scissors
  • bowl of cold water

Painting your Meat Trays:

Cut the curved edges off your trays so you’re left with a flat tile.

"mosaic tiles" cut from painted styrofoam trays

Give each tile two coats of acrylic paint.  You can speed up the drying process with a hair dryer.  We’ve used tempera paints in the past, but they tend to flake and chip.  If you’re going to use temperas, I’d advise giving your tiles a coat of craft sealer/varnish to prevent chipping.

Cutting up the tiles:  The hooligans love this part.  Cutting styrofoam is one of my favourite scissor skill exercises for kids.  It’s easy for little hands to cut through styrofoam,  and it makes such a satisfying sound when they do.

painted styrofoam meat tray cut into irregular shapes

*tip for preventing burned fingers when using a glue gun:

Keep a bowl of water near-by.  The low temp glue is not hot enough to actually burn but it’s comforting for little ones to know they can dip a finger or thumb if need be.  I use this trick all the time myself when I’m using my high heat glue gun.

Building the structures with a low-temp glue gun:

Have your little one gently squeeze puddles of glue out onto their mosaic pieces, and lightly press them in place.

Building structures with styrofoam and glue guns

 These are the beautiful structures that the 3 and 4 year old created.

art for kids with low heat glue guns

 For more creative activities for kids, check out our:

Stained Glass Painting

Art with Salt, Glue and Watercolours

Melted Crayon Art

Playdough Potato Heads

Homemade Puffy Paint

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Homemade Liquid Watercolour Paint – how to make paint with dried out markers http://happyhooligans.ca/vibrant-homemade-liquid-watercolor-paint/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vibrant-homemade-liquid-watercolor-paint http://happyhooligans.ca/vibrant-homemade-liquid-watercolor-paint/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 07:35:53 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13257 We’ve recently discovered the joys of Liquid Watercolour Paint here in my daycare, and while I absolutely love them, they

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We’ve recently discovered the joys of Liquid Watercolour Paint here in my daycare, and while I  absolutely love them, they can be expensive to buy.  

For years, I’ve heard that you can use dried out markers to make your own liquid watercolor paints.  Now, I’ve made my own homemade watercolour paint pucks for years, and I love those, so I figured it was time for us to make liquid watercolours too.

homemade liquid watercolor paint for kids - happy hooligans

Our liquid watercolours SO well, and I’m so excited to share them with you!  Can you believe these paints were made with a few old markers and some water?

Vibrant stripes painted with Homemade Liquid Watercolors

Want to know how we did it?

A little extra effort goes a long way…

This post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links.  Thank you for your support!

Being a little spoiled by the intensity of our  store-bought Liquid Watercolor Paint , I wanted our homemade watercolours to be really rich too, so I took things to the extreme.  You don’t have to put quite as much effort into making your paints, but I feel that it really paid off.  It’s the reason our paints are so vibrant.

painting with homemade liquid watercolours

In these pictures, the outlining was done in crayon.  All other colour is the liquid watercolors.

What you’ll need to make your liquid watercolours.

supplies for making liquid watercolors with old markers

  • dried out markers
  • water
  • glass jars with lids (large baby food jars or small mason jars are great)

and if you’re putting in the extra effort: 

  • small bowl
  • fork
  • scissors or pliers

How to turn your dried up markers into vibrant homemade Liquid Watercolour paint!

After testing our markers and setting the good ones aside, the hooligans sorted the dry markers into groups of similar colours.  We ended up with 6 piles:

  1. red/pink/burgundy
  2. orange/yellow/peach
  3. green/teal
  4. blue/turqoise
  5. purple/lavendar
  6. brown/black/grey

I set out six glass jars, and the four year old poured a bit of water into each jar.

Pouring water into our jars to make our homemade liquid watercolour paints.

 

Next, the hooligans dropped the markers in to the water.

markers and water turning into liquid watercolor paints

Immediately, colour started to leach out into the water.  We shook and stirred our jars a bit to observe the changes in the water, and then I set the jars on a window sill, and we left them for a full week.  

jars holding water and dried out markers

What if some of the water evaporates?

It’s gonna happen.  Don’t sweat it!  Some water will evaporate, but your pigment won’t.  Your colours will simply become more concentrated, and that’s a good thing.  Our water became so dark as the days passed.  Turns out there was quite a bit of ink left in those markers after all!

At this point, if you want, you can call it a day, and use your paint as is.  I wasn’t about to stop here though; I wanted to get every last bit of ink out of those markers!

To make our watercolors even more intense:

*This next bit can get a little messy, so place everything in the sink work in the sink or on top of an old towel.

With a pair of pliers, I pulled the ends off the markers and removed the coloured inserts.  Some of the inserts slipped out easily when I tipped the marker upside down, but others weren’t so co-operative, so I used the pliers to crack the plastic casing, and tug the insert out.

Then I snipped up the sponge inserts, and put them in a bowl with a bit of water.

Marker inserts chopped up in a bowl with a bit of water.

With my fork, I squished and squeezed those insert pieces until I felt I’d extracted all the colour I could, and I poured it into the matching jar.

And this was the result of my efforts:

Colours so intense, I have to hold some of them up to the light to tell them apart!

homemade liquid watercolor paints in baby food jars

 

How to use your liquid watercolor paints:

You can use your paints full strength, or you can pour a small amount into an ice cube tray, and add a few drops of water to dilute them.  That’s what I do for the hooligans.  The ones you see below have been diluted .

tray of homemade liquid watercolor paints

Preserving your leftover paint:

If, at the end of their painting session, you kids have paint left in the tray DON’T throw it out!  Leave the tray out in the open, and let the liquid evaporate.  The pigment will dry in the bottom of the tray. When you’re ready to paint again, simply add a few drops  of water, and stir to re-constitute your paint!

Store your paints in tightly sealed jars.

painting done with homemade liquid watercolor paints

Stay tuned in the days to come because I’ll be sharing the watercolour projects that kids make with their homemade  paints!

For more easy, homemade paint recipes, check out our:

Homemade Watercolour Paint Pucks

3-ingredient Puffy Paint

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk

Shaving Cream Paint

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Creative Homemade Play Dough Activity with Mr. Potato Head http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-play-dough-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-play-dough-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-play-dough-activity/#comments Sun, 23 Feb 2014 04:20:32 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13191 A Homemade Play Dough Activity that combines Play dough with Mr. Potato Head!

Homemade Play dough is one of those

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A Homemade Play Dough Activity that combines Play dough with Mr. Potato Head!

Homemade Play dough is one of those classic activities for kids.  We almost always have several batches on hand here in my daycare; the hooligans never tire of it.

  Mrs. Potato Head and son made of homemade play dough and potato head parts.

 I like to come up with fun and creative play dough activities, like our  candy shop, ice cream shop and cookie decoration station.

I love is how versatile play dough is when you make your own.  You can colour it  and scent it exactly how you want it, and you can taylor it to suit any holiday or theme.

Adding Potato Head eyes to a play dough head.

Another classic kid’s activity is Mr. Potato Head.  We have a large collection of potato heads and accessories, and when I set them out along side our homemade play dough, the hooligans know they’re in for a morning of fun.

2 classic kid’s activities come together in this awesome homemade play dough activity:

Kids just love the creative opportunities that this combo provides.  This play dough activity even holds my 2 year olds’ attention for over an hour.

play dough and potato heads

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And speaking of Mr. Potato Head!  Have you SEEN the Potato Heads they have out there now?

Oh my, Mr. Potato Head, how you’ve changed!

 

Dog and cat, princess and hockey player all made during homemade play dough/potato head session.

Gone are the days of the classic red-nosed, moustached spud!

You can get Super Hero Potato Heads, Star Wars characters, pirates and Kiss .  You can even get Star Trek Potato Heads.  I personally love our giant Giant “Super Spud”. It holds most of our accessories, and the huge features are great for our play dough activities.  Not to mention, it comes with a pretty cute cat.

Provide a few basic play dough tools:

Along with the Potato Head accessories, I always provide a few basic tools like pate knives, small spoons and a bowl of flat glass beads.  The glass beads are a favourite when we’re playing with play dough.  They’re perfect for embellishing all kinds of play dough creations.  Today they’re being used to decorate this googley eyed serpent.

Homemade Playdough snake with potato head eyes and tongue, and glass beads along back.

My favourite homemade play dough recipe:

One of my favourite recipes for homemade play dough is the Imagination Tree’s 4 minute, no-cook play dough.

Creative play dough creations by Happy Hooligans

To see more of our favourite homemade play recipes, check out our:

Homemade Watercolours

Homemade Puffy Paints

Giant Bubble Mix

Cloud Dough

Fairy Mud

Homemade Sidewalk Paint

Rainbow Rice

Dyed Pasta

 

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Backyard Ice Sculptures http://happyhooligans.ca/backyard-ice-sculptures/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=backyard-ice-sculptures http://happyhooligans.ca/backyard-ice-sculptures/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 14:45:03 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12677 Kids of all ages (and grown ups too!) will want to get in on building these awesome ice sculptures in

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Kids of all ages (and grown ups too!) will want to get in on building these awesome ice sculptures in the backyard this winter!  Pop over to CBC Parents to see how we made ours!

Backyard Ice Sculptures - Happy Hooligans

 

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Colour Wheel for Kids – a Paper Plate Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/colour-wheel/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colour-wheel http://happyhooligans.ca/colour-wheel/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 04:06:41 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13152 At this time of year, after weeks of dreary, grey skies, I start to yearn for colourful crafts like our

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At this time of year, after weeks of dreary, grey skies, I start to yearn for colourful crafts like our rainbow wind chimes and rainbow collages.  Yesterday we made this vibrant Colour Wheel craft! It was a beautiful way to teach the hooligans about colour, colour order and colour-mixing. 

Paper plate colour wheel for kids - Happy Hooligans

And after numerous winter crafts and activities, and months of snow, our colour wheels were truly a site for tired eyes.

Teaching toddlers and preschoolers about colours and colour-blending:

A colour wheel is a useful tool to teach kids about colours and rainbow order, and it can used to help explain primary, secondary and tertiary colours and the basics of colour-mixing.

3 paper plate colour wheels - happy hooligans

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Supplies for making a Paper Plate Colour Wheel:

Supplies for kid's colour wheel craft

How we made our colour wheels:

We started by looking at some colour wheels on the internet, and talking about the colours that made them up: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Violet.  Then I had the girls choose 2 colours each to work on.

Each hooligan received their paper plates and some pots of acrylic paint.  If they’d chosen a primary colour (red, blue or yellow), they received several shades of that colour.  If they chose a secondary colour, they received a few pots of the primary AND secondary colours that would make up their colour.

painting paper plates for colour wheeljpg

And then they painted and blended and mixed their paint colours until their plates were entirely covered.  Colour mixing is always such a gorgeous and almost magical activity for a young child.  ”Look, Jackie!  My red and blue made purple!”

6 painted plates for paper plate colour wheel

The paint dried quite quickly, and while the girls were having snack, they watched me use a pencil and ruler to mark 6 pie-shaped sections on the backs of their plates.  Then I cut them into wedges.  Older children will enjoy doing this process themselves.

Pencil lines dividing paper plate into 6 parts.

Back at the craft table, the hooligans explored the colourful “pieces of pie” and eventually they sorted them into 6 stacks, which we arranged in rainbow order.

sorting colour wedges for colour wheel craft

 

Then each hooligan their own stack of 6 colourful wedges, and received a fresh paper plate on which I’d drawn 6 sections. They applied glue to their paper plates, and matched up their painted wedges to the ones drawn on the plate, press in them into place.

Gluing coloured wedges onto paper plate colour wheel

It wasn’t until after the craft was done that I realized how interesting it was that all three of the girls had arranged their coloured in the opposite direction of a real colour wheel.

3 paper plate colour wheels for toddlers and preschoolers (vertical)

Oh well, it wasn’t really about making a true-to-life colour wheel.  It was about exploring and being creative and enjoying the vibrant pop of colour that our colour wheel provided on a dull and blustery winter day.

Toddler holding a paper plate colour wheel.

 

For more easy, colourful crafts for kids, check out our:

Button Snakes

Easy Homemade Watercolours

Rainbow Rice

Stained Glass Painting

Bead and Mirror Play

 

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Heart Shaped French Toast http://happyhooligans.ca/heart-shaped-french-toast/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=heart-shaped-french-toast http://happyhooligans.ca/heart-shaped-french-toast/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 19:20:04 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13087 Heart Shaped French Toast – a cute Valentine’s food idea for kids.

This is a cute food idea for

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Heart shaped french toast for Valentine's Day - Happy Hooligans

Heart Shaped French Toast – a cute Valentine’s food idea for kids.

This is a cute food idea for Valentine’s Day.  Heart shaped French Toast with cinnamon sugar.  I’ve added a few cute heart-shaped sides to this lunch as well.

For Valentine’s Day, I like to make our lunch and snacks special for the hooligans.  You can click here to see some ideas we’ve used in the past.

Making French Toast in kid-friendly shapes is such an easy way to add a bit of fun to meal-time, or to make a themed meal extra-special.  Click to see our Mitten French Toast.  I made that last year for the hooligans on a very blustery winter day.

What you’ll need to make shaped French Toast:

  • cookie cutter
  • bread
  • your favourite French Toast recipe (I’ll tell you how I made mine below)
  • butter
  • frying pan or skillet
  • sugar and cinnamon
  • syrup

How to make our Valentines French Toast:

Cookie cutter and bread slices to make heart shaped french toast.

  1. Use a cookie cutter to cut the hearts from slices of whole wheat bread.  I was just able to get 3 hearts out of each slice.
  2. Whisk together 2 eggs and about 2 tbsp of milk.
  3. Melt a bit of butter in the frying pan until you hear it sizzling.
  4. Dip each heart into the egg/milk mixture, and fry over medium heat, flipping them once, until they’re golden brown.
  5. Transfer them to a plate, and top with cinnamon-sugar and syrup.

Frying French Toast hearts in butter.

 

To make lunch a little more festive, I served ham and strawberry hearts on the side.

Valentines lunch of heart shaped french toast, ham and strawberries.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Child eating heart shaped French toast, ham and strawberries for lunch.

 

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Valentines Play Dough Activity – the “Candy Shop” http://happyhooligans.ca/valentines-play-dough-activity-candy-shop/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=valentines-play-dough-activity-candy-shop http://happyhooligans.ca/valentines-play-dough-activity-candy-shop/#comments Fri, 14 Feb 2014 05:05:57 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13066 Here’s a super Valentines play dough activity! Your kids will have a blast playing in this pretend “Candy Shop”.

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Happy Hooligans: Valentine's Playdough Activity - a candy shop

Here’s a super Valentines play dough activity!  Your kids will have a blast playing in this pretend “Candy Shop”.

The hooligans have been playing with our homemade play dough every day lately.  We’ve had all kinds of neat play dough activities going on, and I’ll write about those in the days to come.  Today our play dough activity was a pretend Valentines Candy Shop.

The best no-cook play dough recipe:

I always use this play dough play dough recipe from the Imagination Tree when I make my play dough.  Anna has a fabulous collection of play dough recipes!  Last year, for Valentines Day, we made her chocolate play dough.  It was divine!

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small commission when you shop through these links.  Thank you!  I appreciate your support.

How I colour my play dough:

I actually made this particular batch of play dough months ago.  It was originally orange.  When I got it out the other day, it hadn’t been played with in weeks, and it was as fresh as the day I made it.  So rather than make a new batch of play dough, I decided to use what I already had. 

I simply split it into 4 equal portions, and I added some Wilton Icing Gels to tint 3 of the portions.  I left one portion orange, and the others, I tinted pink, red and purple.  Perfect Valentines play dough!

Then it was time to set up shop.

Supplies for a Play Dough Candy Shop:

Supplies for Valentines' play dough activity candy shop

Let the fun begin!

Whats so great about play dough?

Playdough is one of my favourite activities for developing fine motor skills and hand and upper limb muscles.  You can read about some of the benefits of playing with dough and clay over at Childhood 101.  All that rolling, patting, squishing and squeezing gives muscles a real work out, and pinching, snipping and decorating their creations requires concentration, fine motor  control and hand-eye co-ordination.

cutting, pressing, patting play dough - great for fine motor development

Best tools to use when playing with play dough:

A variety of tools and instruments will really allow your child to explore.  If you’ve read 5 scissor exercises for children, you already know that I love pairing up scissors and play dough.  A few more of my favourite play dough tools are:  tongs and tweezers for lifting and transferring, spoons and scoops for digging and serving serving, and pate knives or plastic knives for cutting and spreading.

cutting play dough with scissors

Containers like small bowls, ice cube trays, muffin tins, small plates, egg cups etc. are fun to create in.

Accessories for play dough play:

A selection of baubles to decorate their creations make things extra-fun.  For today’s play dough activity we’ve used glass beads and plastic ice crystals.  You could also use pony beads, glitter, drinking straws, coloured pasta, coloured rice, tooth picks, craft sticks, birthday candles, craft gems, sea shells… the sky is the limit really.

decorating valentine's play dough cupcakes, cookies and candies

The girls will spend hours in the days to come creating and decorating their Valentines play dough “treats”.

 

Valentines play dough activity

So, what do you say? Will you whip up a batch for a Valentines play dough activity at your house?

 

For more of our engaging play dough activities, check out our:

Play Dough Chocolate Shop

Play Dough Ice Cream Parlour

Play Dough Cookie Creation Station

Rainbow Play Dough 

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Valentines Lunch Ideas for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/easy-valentines-lunch-ideas-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-valentines-lunch-ideas-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/easy-valentines-lunch-ideas-kids/#comments Thu, 13 Feb 2014 19:54:09 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13054  

Easy Valentines lunch ideas your kids are going to love!

Just a quick little post here because I

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 Easy Valentines lunch ideas for kids - Happy Hooligans

 

Easy Valentines lunch ideas your kids are going to love!

Just a quick little post here because I want to share these easy Valentines lunch ideas for kids.  Please forgive the quality of a couple of the photos.  They were taken a few years ago, before I gave any thought to lighting or white balance. :)

These Valentines lunch ideas are all quick and easy to put together, and they’re simple enough that most kids will love them.  Only one requires any real prep time, and that’s the jello recipe.

If you have issues with nutritional value of this lunch, I would ask you to please spare me the details.  This is a once a year treat for the hooligans.  All year long, our lunches consist of hot, homemade soups and sauces, meet and potatoes, homemade casseroles, whole wheat grains etc.  I don’t, as a rule, serve any “convenience” foods, so cut me some slack here, okay? :)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here we go:

Bite-size, heart-shaped peanut butter and jam sandwich:

bite-size heart-shaped peanut butter and jam sandwiches

 

This one’s super-simple.  Make a peanut butter and jam sandwich, and cut out the centre of the sandwich using a heart-shaped cookie cutter.  Reward yourself for your efforts by eating the pb&j crusts so they don’t go to waste.

Heart-shaped fresh Strawberries:

heart-shaped strawberries

This one is so easy and so very cute!  Cut straight across the top of the strawberry to remove the stem.  Then make a v-shaped notch in the top of the berry.  Now, simply slice your berry in half.  Again, hard work has its rewards.  You get to eat all the little v-shaped scraps.

Jello with ice-cream hearts:

jello with ice cream heart

Prepare your jello in small bowls.  Just before serving, fill a heart-shaped cookie cutter with ice-cream, smoothing it into place with the back of a spoon.  Gently pop your ice-cream heart out onto your jello.  Well done, Mom.  Scoop yourself a bowl of ice cream.  You deserve it!

And one more…  Actually, this one is still in the works.  The idea came to me at lunch today, so they’re in the freezer as we speak. Here’s a sneak-peek.

Frozen Yogurt Hearts:

yogurt, cookie cutter and plastic wrap

I’ll let you know how they turn out.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Olympic Craft for Toddlers – Tissue Paper Torch http://happyhooligans.ca/olympic-torch-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=olympic-torch-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/olympic-torch-craft/#comments Wed, 12 Feb 2014 04:40:34 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13039 Tissue Paper Torch – an easy Olympic Craft for Toddlers

Are you following the Olympics closely at your house?

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Happy Hooligans - Olympic Torch craft for kids.

Tissue Paper Torch – an easy Olympic Craft for Toddlers

Are you following the Olympics closely at your house?  I know the hooligans are watching with their parents, so we’ve been doing some Olympic crafts here.  Last week, we took a thrift shop painting, and upcycled it into this awesome piece of Olympic Ring Art for our play room.  And yesterday we did this quick and easy Olympic torch craft.  Now the kids have something to hold onto and wave proudly while they’re watching the games at home, and cheering on the on the participants.

What you’ll need to make your Olympic torch:

supplies for Olympic torch craft

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  • carboard tubes (we re-used the aluminum foil rolls that we used to make our Olympic Ring Art)
  • gold paint
  • red, orange and yellow tissue paper
  • paint brushes

How to make a cardboard torch:

We started by painting our cardboard tubes gold.  For the first coat, we used acrylic gold (metallic) paint.  I gave the tubes a blast with the hairdryer to dry the paint quickly, and then the kids gave them a second coat with a brighter metallic kids paint.

painting cardboard tubes to make Olympic torches

When the tubes were dry we layered some red, orang and yellow sheets of tissue paper on the table.  I demonstrated to the hooligans how to grasp the tissue paper in the centre, and pick all of the layers up together.  Then they gave their tissue paper “flames”  twist, and we stuffed it into one end of each of the tubes.

Layers of yellow, red and orange tissue paper for Olympic Torch craft

Let the games begin!

child holding hand crafted Olympic torch

Check out our Olympic Ring Art too!  We upcycled a thrift shop canvas into a gorgeous piece of custom artwork for our play room!

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Ice Painting Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/ice-painting-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ice-painting-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/ice-painting-activity/#comments Mon, 10 Feb 2014 01:54:32 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13021 Ice Painting Activity and small world ice play with Polly Pockets!

Remember when I filled those heart-shaped pans with

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   Ice Painting Activity and Polly Pocket Skating Party - Happy Hooligans

Ice Painting Activity and small world ice play with Polly Pockets!

Remember when I filled those heart-shaped pans with water, and let them freeze overnight on the deck a few weeks back?  We used one of the hearts for a salt, ice and liquid watercolour experiment which was really fun and colourful.  Another one of the hearts, I we used for this ice painting activity, which ended up turning into another activity which I hadn’t planned for at all.  I love it when that happens!

frozen ice in heart-shaped pan for ice painting activity

We’ve done various forms of ice & snow painting before.   We’ve painted with coloured ice and we’ve painted on snow with paints and with watercolours, and like I mentioned a minute ago, we’ve painted ice with watercolours and salt, but this time we were painting our ice with just watercolours.

It was simple, and beautiful, and the girls really enjoyed it.

Ice painting activity with a frozen heart and liquid watercolours

 

And after a while we flipped our ice heart over, to paint the other side, and ohhhh, it looked so slick and smooth!  It was just calling out to be skated on, so I told the girls we were changing our plans, and I grabbed our bucket of Polly Pockets.   

Polly Pockets "skating" on frozen ice heart

What a hit.  I kind of thought it would be.  We did this once before a couple of years ago, when we found the water in our bird bath was frozen.  The kids played for an entire morning with that Polly Pocket Skating Rink!

Ice Painting Activity turned Polly small world Ice play - Happy Hooligans

Well, today’s ice play kept the girls busy for over an hour as well.  First with the ice painting activity, and then with the Pollys and then…. well, you’ll have to stay tuned to see what else we added to this small world play scene.

Here’s a sneak peek….

Polly Pockets small world ice play with snow and ice

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Puffy Paint Valentines http://happyhooligans.ca/puffy-paint-valentines/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=puffy-paint-valentines http://happyhooligans.ca/puffy-paint-valentines/#comments Sun, 09 Feb 2014 21:12:45 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=13004 Puffy Paint Valentines Cards – a valentines craft for kids and a recipe for homemade puffy paint.

Homemade puffy

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Happy Hooligans' Homemade Puffy Paint Valentines Cards

Puffy Paint Valentines Cards – a valentines craft for kids and a recipe for homemade puffy paint.

Homemade puffy paint is very easy to make with 3 common kitchen ingredients and a bit of water.  With Valentine’s day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make some puffy paint Valentines cards and hearts with the hooligans.  The cards turned out great, and the hearts can be used to make gorgeous ornaments or garlands.

What you’ll need to make your puffy paint Valentines:

  • homemade puffy paint: get the recipe here
  • black crayon
  • small bowls
  • Q-tips (also known as cotton swabs or cotton buds)
  •  coloured card stock for the cards
  •  white cardboard (cereal box weight) for an ornament or garland
  • microwave
  • hole punch and ribbon or string if you’re making ornaments and garlands

How to make your puffy paint Valentines cards and hearts:

Cut your cardboard into rectangles just a little larger than your hand.

With a black crayon, draw a heart.  Press firmly on the crayon, and go over your lines if necessary, so they’re nice and dark.  You can leave some hearts blank, or you can draw some designs to fill in with your paint like I did here:

White heart with black crayon for puffy paint Valentines project

If you’re making ornaments or a garland, punch the holes in your hearts before painting and baking.
If you’re making a card, fold your card stock and crease it before painting.  Open it back up to paint and bake it.

Using your Q tip, apply a thick layer of paint onto your heart.

Child paints Valentines hearts with home-made puffy paint.

The younger children tend to “paint” with their Q-tips, but older children can be encouraged to puddle their paint and dab it around with their Q-tip to make their designs.

Puffy paint Valentines heart with coloured sections

Because the paint is so thick, you can also create a layered painting like the one I made here on a piece of red card stock:

Heart made by layering colours of homemade puffy paint

Put your painting in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to cook it and puff your paint up.  In the past I’ve gone with 30 seconds.  For our Valentines hearts, I went with 20 seconds.  Both times worked equally well.

Aren’t the results gorgeous?

Homemade Valentines card and 2 cardboard hearts made with homemade puffy paint

Now you’re ready to add a message to your card or to string your ornaments and garlands.

Puffy Paint Valentines Hearts for garlands or ornaments

Wouldn’t these look beautiful brightening up a window or doorway?

Looking for more Valentine’s crafts and activities for kids?  You’ll find lots on my Valentine’s pinboard, and be sure to check out our:

Valentines Stained Glass Window

Marbleized Valentines Hearts

Valentines Chocolate Shop Play Dough

Valentine’s Votive Candle Holders

Valentines Sensory and Activity Bin

Easy Tissue Paper Valentines Wreath

Tinfoil Tissue Paper Hearts

 

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Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-stained-glass-window/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tissue-paper-stained-glass-window http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-stained-glass-window/#comments Sat, 08 Feb 2014 03:50:19 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12988 Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window: decorate a window for Valentine’s Day!

I’ve always wanted to make a Tissue Paper

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Valentines tissue paper stained glass window - happy hooligans

Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window: decorate a window for Valentine’s Day!

I’ve always wanted to make a Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner it seemed like the perfect time to give it a try.

If you’ve been following along with us for a while now, you know I love crafting with tissue paper.  If you’ve just recently join us,  click here to see all the reasons that it’s one of my favourite craft materials.

There are several different ways to decorate a window with tissue paper.  You can glue your tissue paper to the glass like Dilly Dali Art and Play Create Explore, and you can apply the tissue paper with water for a temporary decoration like Life with Moore Babies did, but we used the ever-popular contact paper and tissue paper method to decorate our window today. 

tissue paper stained glass window

Because we were decorating our window for Valentine’s Day, we used tissue paper hearts instead of traditional geometric shapes.

Supplies for a tissue paper stained glass window:

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.   Thank you!  Your support is appreciated!

How to decorate a window with tissue paper and contact paper:

Cut out plenty of colourful tissue paper hearts and place the in a bowl or basket near the window.

colourful tissue paper hearts for tissue paper stained glass window

Tape a large square of contact paper to your window with the sticky side facing you. This is easier than I thought it would be.  The contact paper naturally clings to the window, so you can position it and let go of it, and it will stay put while you set about taping it in place.

toddler sticking tissue hearts on contact paper window

Now for the fun part!  Cover the contact paper with your tissue hearts.  This is a great activity for young children.  Picking up the delicate tissue paper and placing it on the contact paper helps develop fine motor skills, but sticking the tissue paper to the contact paper is easy enough for toddlers to do without assistance.

sticking tissue paper hearts to contact paper on a window

When all of our tissue hearts were gone, we stepped back to admire our work.  Doesn’t it look gorgeous with the light shining through.

child admires her tissue paper, stained glass window

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Looking for more easy and inexpensive Valentine’s crafts and activities for kids?  Find them here!

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Fine Motor Activities for Babies and Toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/fine-motor-activities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fine-motor-activities http://happyhooligans.ca/fine-motor-activities/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 14:19:11 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12950 10 fine motor activities for babies and toddlers.

The following fine motor activities for toddlers and babies encourage creative thinking

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10 fine motor activities for babies and toddlers.

The following  fine motor activities for toddlers and babies encourage creative thinking and problem-solving.  They help develop a young child’s fine motor skills, hand dexterity and co-ordination.

10 fine motor activities for babies and toddlers

I often set these activities up to keep the toddlers and babies busy while the preschoolers craft.   The activities require only common house-hold items, but they’ll keep baby entertained, engaged and learning.

Pom Pom Drop:

Provide an ice cube tray or a jar for baby to transfer fluffy pompoms into.  This toddler activity helps develop pincer grip and hand dexterity.  Your baby will also explore shapes, sizes and sorting.

1 of 10 fine motor activities for babies and toddlers: pompom drop

 

Transferring craft sticks into a jar or bottle:

Set out a jar filled with colourful craft sticks and have your baby transfer them to a juice jug with a narrow opening. This activity is great for developing pincer grip and hand-eye co-ordination. Your baby will love the sound the sticks make plunking into the hollow bottle.

craft stick fine motor activities for babies and toddlers

 

Cork Drop:

Set a bowl of corks next to a small mouthed jug.  As your baby transfers the corks to the jug, she will examine the texture, size and shape of the corks, and she’ll strengthen her fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. This activity can be set up on the floor, but I often set it up on a coffee table, so baby has to stretch and reach to use it. This makes it a gross-motor activity as well.

3 of 10 fine motor skills for babies and toddlers

 

A pot of oranges and a sectioned tray:

This one is great for keeping the baby busy while I pack school lunches. A potful of oranges to transfer to a sectioned tray.  Look at the size of the orange compared to the baby’s hand.  This would be like your or me handling a small watermelon. Hand and muscles are given a real work-out with this one.

Sorting activity for toddlers and babies- transferring oranges from a pot into a sectioned tray

 

Painting with water:

I’ve set up this art activity for babies many, many times over the years.   A piece of construction paper, a small bowl of water and a paintbrush is a mess-free way to keep the baby happily entertained while the older kids are crafting.

painting with water on construction paper - fine motor art activity for baby

 

Polished rocks and a muffin tin:

Muffin tins are an invaluable instrument for play and learning in the daycare.  Here the baby is sorting polished beach rocks into the muffin tin.  This muffin tin gets played with almost every day.  Toddlers and preschoolers use the muffin tin for sorting letters, farm animals, glass beads, foam blocks.  Never underestimate the value of the humble muffin tin!

rock sorting fine motor activity for babies and toddlers

 

Tongs and scoops:

Provide your baby with a variety of instruments to explore.  Here, along with the ice cube tray and jar of pom poms, the baby has some meat-ball tongs, a coffee scoop and some ice tongs to experiment with.  She’s too young to actually use the tools to pick up the pom poms, but she’s squeezing and prying them open and closed.  These first steps help her prepare for the day when she will hold a pencil or a pair of scissors. PicMonkey Collage3

Craft foam shapes and a wet bowl or surface:

Craft foam is great for so many purposes, and when it’s wet, it sticks to smooth surfaces like bath-tub tiles, windows, and the surface of this smooth bowl.  For this activity, I put a dribble of water in the bottom of the bowl, and the baby swishes the shapes around, and sticks them to the side of the bowl.  The toddlers get paintbrushes, and they’re invited to decorate our sliding glass door.

foam shapes in a wet bowl.  Great fine motor activity for toddlers and babies.

 

Paint swatches and a Pringles can:

Colourful paint swatches are a visual treat for baby or toddler to explore and fine motor skills will be exercised as your child drops the swatches into the narrow opening of the can.  For babies, I leave the lid off the can, as the opening presents enough of a challenge.  For toddlers and preschoolers, I cut a narrow slit in the lid with an Exacto knife.

paint swatch fine motor activity

 

A silk scarf and a jar:

Playing with a silk scarf is a lovely sensory experience. Stuffing the scarf into a jar, and pulling it out, hand-over-hand, provides lots of fun and learning.

IMG_2715 

When can you introduce your baby to these fine motor activities?

As soon as he is sitting up, and there’s no risk of him ingesting any of the materials.  Close supervision is always necessary.  Ensure objects for play do not pose a risk for choking.

 

If you’re looking for more fine motor exercises for kids, be sure to check out our:

homemade drop box

button snake

homemade construction set

cheerio and blueberry bird feeders

sewing kit for kids

 

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Wax Resist Valentine’s Cards http://happyhooligans.ca/wax-resist-valentines-cards/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wax-resist-valentines-cards http://happyhooligans.ca/wax-resist-valentines-cards/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 19:32:24 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12887  

Wax resist painting will fascinate kids of all ages! Pop over to CBC Parents to learn how it’s

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IMG_8275

Wax resist painting will fascinate kids of all ages!  Pop over to CBC Parents to learn how it’s done, and to see the Valentines cards that the hooligans have been making.

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Tin-Foil Tissue Hearts Valentines Decorations http://happyhooligans.ca/tin-foil-tissue-hearts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tin-foil-tissue-hearts http://happyhooligans.ca/tin-foil-tissue-hearts/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 15:20:29 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=2316 Tin-foil tissue hearts: an easy Valentine’s craft for kids!

Looking for a quick and easy Valentine’s craft

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Tin Foil Tissue Hearts - a Valentines craft for kids by Happy Hooligans

Tin-foil tissue hearts: an easy Valentine’s craft for kids!

Looking for a quick and easy Valentine’s craft for kids?  I made a couple of these tin-foil tissue hearts ast night, just kind of playing around, to see how they would turn out.tin-foil tissue hearts with craft jewels

Remember my tin-foil Christmas trees (that were actually inspired by Dilly-Dali Arts’ Xmas Stars)?  Well, they were the inspiration behind this project.  These hearts were very easy to make, and kids of all ages will enjoy the process.

Supplies for tin-foil tissue hearts:

For your convenience, I’ve included Amazon affiliate links in this post, when you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.  Thank you!  I appreciate your support!

tin-foil tissue hearts supplies

You’ll need some cardboard, tin-foil, tissue paper, Mod-podge, glue and craft jewels.

Mod-podge is a medium used in decoupage crafting.  It is available at most craft stores or through the affiliate link above.   I have successfully used white glue thinned with a bit of water as a decent substitute for Mod-podge.

I generally try to re-use and re-cycle things we have around the house when we’re crafting, but every once in a while I “splurge” on some specialty items like googly eyes, pipe-cleaners and these awesome jewels.   The dollar store usually has a great selection of these little gems, and you can get a bag of them for a buck or two.

Hello, my pretties!

Ok, back to business:

  • Cut out a cardboard heart, and cover it with tin-foil.
  • Cover the tin-foil with mod-podge
  • Stick small squares of tissue paper into the mod-podge, but leave some foil un-covered.
  • Apply another layer of mod-podge (carefully – the tissue paper is delicate).
  • Once your mod-podge has dried, get busy with your glue and your jewels.tin foil tissue hearts cover photo

Ta-da….  I love that something this beautiful can be made with such basic materials!

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Homemade Bird Feeders with Cheerios and Blueberries http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bird-feeders-cheerios-blueberries/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-bird-feeders-cheerios-blueberries http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bird-feeders-cheerios-blueberries/#comments Tue, 04 Feb 2014 11:45:49 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12924 Homemade Bird Feeders with Cheerios and Blueberries – a fine motor activity for kids.

Every winter here in my daycare

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Homemade bird feeders with cheerios and blueberriesHomemade Bird Feeders with  Cheerios and Blueberries – a fine motor activity for kids.

Every winter here in my daycare we make homemade bird feeders using materials that we have around the house.  In the past we’ve made Cheerio bird feeders, orange cup bird feeders, feeders with grains and fruit, and a milk jug bird feeder.  Making a homemade bird feeder with your kids is a fun way to teach your children the importance of helping our your local birds when their food sources become scarce in Winter.

Today, we’re making our homemade bird feeders with Cheerios and blueberries and pipe cleaners.  This is a great fine motor activity, and a good way to use up some fruit that’s past its prime.

What you’ll need to make our pipe cleaner feeders:

bowl of Cheerios and blueberries for pipe cleaner bird feeders

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from the purchases you make.  Thank you! Your support is appreciated!

Making our bird feeder with Cheerios and blueberries:

I bent one end of each of the pipe cleaners so the fruit and cheerios wouldn’t slide off when the hooligans were threading them.  The children then threaded their berries and cereal onto their pipe cleaners.

Gathered around a bowl, making bird feeders with cheerios and blueberries

 The older children enjoyed some patterning while they were threading, while the younger ones were frequently caught snacking on their supplies.

Threading cheerios and blueberries onto pipe cleaners

When the kids had their pipe cleaners loaded up, I twisted the ends together and bent their feeders into circles and hearts.

Heart shaped cheerio - blueberry bird feeders with pipe cleaners

I tied a long length of raffia to each feeder and tied a bow.

Then we took them out into the yard and hung them from the trees.

homemade bird feeders with cheerios and blueberries hanging from tree

Bon Appetite, birdies!

Looking for more easy and inexpensive fine motor activities for kids?  Check out our:

Button Snake

Cardboard Drop Box

Paint Swatch Drop

Colouring the Snow

Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art

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Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe – slash laundry costs to 10 dollars per year! http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 06:41:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12886 Suppose I told you that you could reduce your laundry costs to less than $15 per year? Would you even

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Suppose I told you that you could reduce your laundry costs to less than $15 per year?   Would you even believe it? Well, good news! I’ve been using this homemade laundry detergent recipe for almost 3 years now, and I truly love it. This recipe is fantastic for he washers and regular washing machines!  It’s super-easy to make, and you’ll reduce your laundry costs to about 10 dollars per year!

ingredients for homemade laundry detergent: borax, washing soda, grated ivory soap

 

You may have seen this recipe for laundry detergent on my site before.  This post is an update to make the directions more clear and concise. Same recipe, just more to-the-point.  I’ll also address some frequently asked questions at the bottom of this post.

 

homemade laundry detergent in a 5 gallon bucket

This laundry soap gets our clothes clean, it’s chemical free, and it’s super-easy to make.  Best of all, I get over a year’s worth of detergent (and that’s for a family of 4 and a busy home daycare), for somewhere between 10 and 15 bucks.

Homemade laundry detergent recipe:

 

borax, washing soda and ivory soap to make homemade laundry detergent

For your convenience, I’ve added affiliate links to this post.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.  Thank you, I appreciate your support!

Prepare your bucket:

5 gallon bucket for homemade laundry detergent

If your bucket isn’t marked, use a permanent marker to make a line at the 5-gallon point.  If you think you’ll make your detergent a half-batch at a time, mark the 2.5 gallon point.  Use a large measuring cup and water to do this. You may need google’s help converting cups to gallons.

How to make your laundry detergent:

Homemade Laundry Detergent ingredients

This recipe makes 5 gallons of concentrated soap, but yields 10 gallons of detergent.

  1. Grate soap, and add to pot with 4 cups hot water.  Stir over med heat until dissolved.
  2. Pour into bucket and add Borax and Washing Soda.
  3. Stir well until powders have completely dissolved.
  4. Fill bucket to the 5 gallon mark with with warm water.  **see tip below
  5. Stir, cover, and let it “set” for 24 hours.
  6. Whisk or stir well to break up any lumps
  7. Half-fill an empty laundry container or juice jug with your detergent and fill the rest of the way with water.

**BUCKET-FILLING TIP:  If you have a retractable hose/nozzle at your kitchen sink, simply place your bucket on the floor in front of the sink, and stretch the hose over and fill.

Homemade Laundry Detergent in a juice jug

Using your detergent:

SHAKE WELL  before each use as detergent ingredients can settle and separate.

For front-loading/HE machines: 1/4 cup detergent per load.

For top-loading, regular machines: 1/2 cup detergent per load.

Consider switching to vinegar as a fabric softener:

To cut laundry costs even more, try vinegar as a fabric softener and rinse agent.  I’ve been using it for 3 years due to allergies in our home.  It’s a fraction of the cost of commercial softeners, it’s chemical free, and it cleans my machine as it softens my clothes. And no, our clothes do not smell like vinegar. :)

FAQS – Answer to questions commonly asked about my homemade laundry detergent:

  • Yes, this homemade detergent cleans as well as commercial laundry detergents.
  • Yes, this detergent is low-sudsing.  It is idea for HE machines but works well in regular machines too.
  • No, you do not use the entire contents of the box to make the detergent.  1 CUP of each powder plus a bar of soap makes one 5 gallon bucket-full.
  • Yes, your detergent may look different every time you use it.  Sometimes mine is watery and pulpy looking.  Sometimes it’s thicker with blobs of gel throughout.  Other times, it sets up with a thick layer of gel on top.  Don’t worry about what it looks like.  The key ingredients are in there.  It will work.
  • Yes, the detergent and ingredients will keep indefinitely.
  • Yes, you can make homemade powdered detergent as well but this version is more economical.
  • Yes, you may miss the smell of your commercial brand.  That smell wasn’t really “mountain fresh”.  It was chemicals.
  • No, you will not see sudsing. This is very low sudsing detergent.  ”Suds” don’t actually clean your clothes.  They’re just a nice touch added by the industry to make you feel good about the product.
  • Yes, a bar of Fels Naptha can be substituted for the Ivory.  As far as any other brands, I’m afraid I do not know.
  • I’m sorry, but I don’t know where to get these ingredients if you are in the UK or Australia.  I’m in North America.  I would suggest Amazon.co.uk.  There is this tutorial for turning baking soda into washing soda.
  • Borax and Washing Soda are powerful cleaners and deodorizers.  If you have a particularly grimy load, throw a half cup of each into your washer as a laundry booster.
  • Yes this is a great detergent for those with allergies and sensitivities.

Re: using vinegar as a fabric softener.  When I did some reading about fabric softeners, I was shocked to learn that they are the most toxic product designed for household use.  It horrifies me to think that our babies and children are breathing in these chemicals day and night.  Please do some reading.  Google “fabric softeners toxic”, or read a couple of articles like this one from Thank your Body or this one from Healthy Living How To.  If you’d rather not use vinegar as a rinse agent, try skipping the softener altogether or using one of these natural alternatives.

If you truly miss the scent of commercial detergents and softeners, there are many natural essential oils on the market today.  These can be added to your homemade detergent.

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Olympic Ring Art Project for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/olympic-ring-art-project-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=olympic-ring-art-project-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/olympic-ring-art-project-kids/#comments Fri, 31 Jan 2014 14:08:12 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12844 Olympic Ring Art stamped with cardboard tubes!

In the Spirit of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, we used cardboard

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Easy Olympic Ring Art

Olympic Ring Art stamped with cardboard tubes!

In the Spirit of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, we used cardboard tubes to stamp some Olympic Ring Art last week.

Olympic rings stamped with cardboard tubes.

When we’re creating a permanent piece of art, I love to use an old, second-hand shop painting as a canvas.

Using an old piece of art as a canvas for a new project.

Turning an old painting into a new piece of art:

I pick up old, unwanted pictures and canvases at thrift shops, and we prime them, and paint over them, turning them into hooligan-made, one-of-a-kind art for our playroom.  See how we’ve recycled an old canvases before with this abstract art project and with this piece of smoosh-painted art. Both of these paintings hang on the walls of our toy room.

If you don’t have an old canvas to use, you can stamp your Olympic rings on cardboard or card stock.  You’ll see that we did that as well.

Supplies for Olympic Ring Art project:

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from the purchases you make.  Thank you, your support is very much appreciated!

Supplies for Olympic Ring Art

  • a canvas
  • Gesso  or other surface primer
  • white paint (or whatever colour you want for your backdrop)
  • cardboard tubes (we used the sturdy ones that hold aluminum foil and plastic wrap)
  • acrylic craft paint in red, green, blue, black , yellow
  • small bowls or plastic lids

How to prepare an old painting or canvas for creating a new piece of art:

Gesso as an art primer

Prepare the surface with your primer.  For today’s project I gave the picture a coat of Gesso.  I have prepared our canvases with household latex primer in the past.  When that was dry, the hooligans and I gave it a couple of coats of white acrylic paint.

I use a blow-dryer to speed up the drying process, so our canvas was ready for painting in no time.

Stamping Olympic Rings with cardboard tubes:

Now, for the fun part!

I poured a small amount of paint into some small bowls and plastic lids, and set out the cardboard tubes.

I dipped the end of each tube into a different colour, and then explained to the hooligans that they had to match the colour on the bottom of the tube to the colour of paint that they were dipping into.  This prevented the paints and rings from getting “muddy”.

Let the stamping begin!

Stamping Olympic rings with cardboard rolls

The older hooligan worked on the primed canvas, and she had a great time stamping the painting was covered in rings.

The younger hooligans worked on a piece of white cardboard, producing equally beautiful results. For the younger hooligan, I poured puddles of paint into a styrofoam produce tray.

 cardboard tube and puddles of paint for stamping Olympic Rings

What do you think?  Didn’t it turn out great?  I can’t wait to hang this original piece of art in our play space!

Olympic Ring Art project stamped with cardboard tubes.

 

Looking for more easy art projects to do with kids?  Check out our:

Painting with a Credit Card

“Stained Glass” Painting

Crayon Resist Art

Melted Crayon Art

Tape Resist Art

Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art

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Tissue Paper Valentine Wreath http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-valentine-wreath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tissue-paper-valentine-wreath http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-valentine-wreath/#comments Thu, 30 Jan 2014 06:51:56 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12822 Tissue Paper Valentine Wreath: a fine-motor Valentine’s craft for kids!

Our tissue paper Valentine Wreath is the perfect Valentine’s

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Tissue Paper Valentine Wreath

Tissue Paper Valentine Wreath: a fine-motor Valentine’s craft for kids!

Our tissue paper Valentine Wreath is the perfect Valentine’s craft for toddlers and preschoolers to make.  It’s bright and colourful, it’s a great fine-motor and sensory activity, and it’s a craft that’s easy enough for very young children to do.

Why I love crafting with tissue paper:

In my opinion, tissue paper is one of the best craft supplies going when it comes to kids’  crafts.  Here are just a few reasons why I have a huge stash of it in my craft room  It’s inexpensive; I’m the one at birthday parties and baby showers eyeing up the tissue paper littering the floor while all of the other guests are eyeing up the gifts.  Yep, I bag it all up, and take it home.  Reduce, re-use, recycle, right?

It’s a great sensory material.  It’s soft and delicate and lovely to touch.  It sounds great; kids love the rustling, crunchy sounds it makes.  You can wrinkle it, crumple it, rip it up or fluff it up.  Tissue paper adds texture and dimension to whatever you’re making.

It’s vibrant, and available in every colour of the rainbow making it suitable for all occasions: Christmas, Valentine’s Easter, Halloween...

It’s incredibly versatile!  You can transform a sheet of tissue paper into snowflakes, feathers, leaves or butterflies.  You can iron it flat, crunch it up, decorate a window or decoupage a glass jar.

I think you’re getting the idea…   Now on with our wreaths!

Supplies for Valentine Wreath:

For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links in this post.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.  Thank you!  I appreciate your support!

IMG_8432

 To make a tissue paper Valentine Wreath:

I cut a large heart out of cardboard, and I cut out the inside as well.

The hooligans painted their hearts, using all of the colours in the paint tray.

painting valentine's hearts

When the paint was dry (a blow-dryer can speed up the process), they crumpled up the squares of tissue paper, and glued them all over their hearts.

gluing tissue paper to a heart shaped wreath

We had 3 types of glue out today.  A squeeze bottle, glue sticks, and these great tubes of glue with sponge applicators. The hooligans had fun experimenting with all three.

gluing tissue paper to cardboard hearts

Crumpling and gluing the tissue paper is a great fine-motor exercise.  Look at those little hands at work.

crumpling the tissue paper for a heart shaped Valentine wreath

When they were happy with their work, I punched a hole in the top of their wreaths, and attached a ribbon for hanging.tissue paper Valentine wreath hanging from a door

Beautiful!

For more Valentine craft ideas for kids, check out our:

marbleized hearts with shaving cream and food colour

hearts painted with credit cards

tinfoil tissue hearts

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Mirrors and Dry Erase Markers http://happyhooligans.ca/mirrors-and-dry-erase-markers-glass-beads/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mirrors-and-dry-erase-markers-glass-beads http://happyhooligans.ca/mirrors-and-dry-erase-markers-glass-beads/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 06:55:38 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12791 Mirrors and dry erase markers with glass beads: a drawing activity for kids and fine motor fun!

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Drawing activity with mirrors and dry erase markers and glass beads

Mirrors and dry erase markers with glass beads: a drawing activity for kids and fine motor fun!

Sometimes we do an activity and I get so excited about it I can’t wait to share it with you.  I’ve felt that way all day today!  This morning, we were drawing on mirrors with dry erase markers, and decorating our drawings with glass beads.

Mirrors for play –  why a mirror makes a great play surface:

A mirror is a wonderful surface for a child to play on.  We’ve painted shaving cream “clouds” on our mirror, and explored sensory materials on our mirror.  We even a mirror as our Autumn Sensory Table this past fall. It’s rather fascinating to see the reflection and the under-side of the objects you’re playing with, and the children are always amazed when they realize that they’re looking DOWN at something they normally have to look UP to see: the sky, the clouds, the canopy of the trees or in today’s case, the living room ceiling.  The hooligans also love seeing their own faces looking back at them as they play.

drawing on a mirror with dry erase markers

What kind of mirrors do we use for play?

Until now, we’ve used a full-length wall mirror for our play surface.  Recently however, I was in the dollar store, and I spotted some mirrored tiles.  The tiles are about 12″x12″, and I immediately thought of Caution! Twins at Play, and how Mom Kristen incorporates mirrored tiles into her sons’ play activities.  I picked a couple of tiles up for $2.00 apiece, knowing we could do something creative with them.

placing glass beads on a drawing on a mirrorDrawing on a mirror with dry erase markers:

The other day, the idea came to me.  Knowing that a dry erase marker would wipe easily off the mirrors, I planned this drawing/fine-motor activity for the girls.

Supplies for our mirror and dry erase marker activity:

12x12 mirror, dry erase marker, glass beads and plastic rocks

For your convenience I’ve included affiliate links in this post.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchase you make.  Thank you!  I appreciate your support!

I gave each of the girls a mirror, a piece of paper towel and a dry erase marker.  I placed a piece of cloth under each mirror to protect the table, and I placed a container of beads and crystals between them.

The glass beads and plastic rocks that we use for activities like this are actually sold as vase fillers in most craft stores and dollar stores.  I’ve also provided affiliate links above in case you can’t find them in your local stores.

selecting beads for mirror and marker activity

I started things off by drawing some hearts, flowers, letters and small circles on the mirrors, and the girls filled in the drawings with their beads.

placing glass beads on a drawing on a mirror

Then I showed them how they could wipe their mirror clean and draw their own pictures, and they were off to the races.  wiping dry erase marker drawing off glass mirror

They spent the next hour drawing their own pictures, and decorating them, and then wiping the mirrors off and starting all over again.

drawing on a mirror with a dry erase marker

This activity was so fun!  The sensation of drawing on a slick piece of glass is really neat, and picking up those tiny gems and placing them just so was great for fine-motor skills..

mirrors and dry erase markers activity

 Then there was the colour sorting and patterning and the lovely sound of the stones clattering on the glass . Even sifting through the bin of cool, smooth beads and gems is a wonderful sensory experience, and always a treat for little ones.

mirrors and dry erase markers and beads - erasable art activity for kidsI have a feeling this is going to become a regular activity around here!

Looking for more easy drawing activities for toddlers and preschoolers?  Check out:

5 Ways to Use Your Magnadoodle as a Teaching Tool

Drawing with Tracing Paper

Magazine Makeover

Free Art

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Melting Ice with Salt and Watercolours http://happyhooligans.ca/melting-ice-with-salt-and-watercolours/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=melting-ice-with-salt-and-watercolours http://happyhooligans.ca/melting-ice-with-salt-and-watercolours/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2014 06:45:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12762

Melting Ice with Salt and Watercolours – a colourful science experiment for kids!

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Melting Ice with Salt and Watercolours

Melting Ice with Salt and Watercolours – a colourful science experiment for kids!

For your convenience, I’ve included Affiliate links in this post.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.  Thank you!  I appreciate your support!

The hooligans and I were melting ice with salt and watercolours today!  We’ve done similar activities before;   our Dino-dig, and our Haunted Hallowe’en Hands were big hits here.  This was our first time adding liquid watercolours to the activity.  I got the idea last week, when, after making our names with glue, salt and watercolours, we took the leftover, salty watercolours outside to do a form of snow painting.   I loved how the watercolours soaked into the ice and snow as the salt eroded it.   salt etched the crusty ice, and how the paints soaked into those  got the idea to an ice and water-colour idea after doing our are a couple of examples, but this was the first time we’ve used liquid watercolours for this activity.

What are liquid watercolours?

In case you’ve never heard about them, let me tell you how much I LOVE our liquid watercolours.  I’ve only been using them for a few months but I’m crazy about them. Until recently we always used food colouring or Wilton Icing Gels
for this kind of activity, but I kept hearing all the Early Childhood bloggers rave about these liquid watercolours so I decided to order some from Amazon.

liquid watercolours

 

Oh my goodness!!  They are amazing!  They’re washable, they last forever, and the colours are vibrant and gorgeous.  I generally add one or two drops to a section of an ice cube tray and then fill the tray with water, but I can control the intensity of the colour by adding either a little more water or another drop of watercolour.  You can pop over to Fun at Home with Kids to read more about them, but my personal opinion is: they’re fantastic and if you’re spend a moderate amount of time crafting with your kids, or even by yourself, you’ll love ‘em.

If you’re doing this as a Valentine’s activity, like we did, freeze your ice in a heart-shaped cake pan.  Muffin tins would work as well if you’re working with a large group of children.

Supplies required for melting ice with salt and watercolours:

supplies for melting ice with salt and watercolours

 

  • cake pan
  • Liquid Watercolor Paint
  • salt (we used table salt and driveway salt)
  • paint brushes, small spoons
  • ice cube tray
  • bowl of warm water
  • shallow baking dish
  • plastic tablecloth or towels (to protect work area)

Make your ice ahead of time:

Ice frozen in heart shaped pan

 

We’re experiencing a deep-freeze a the moment.  The temperature here last night was -25 so I filled my cake pans and set them out on the deck overnight.  They were rock solid by morning!  If you’re using your freezer, I would suggest setting your cake pan(s) on a baking sheet to prevent any spills as you set them into your freezer.

Now the fun begins!

I placed each heart in a baking dish to contain the melting.  A vinyl table-cloth protected the coffee-table from any drips or spills.

Each hooligan had her own tray of water colours, some paintbrushes, a small spoon and a bowl of very warm water.

How we added our salt:

I poured some salt into directly into the trays of watercolours, and I also sprinkled a generous amount of salt over each heart.  Immediately the ice made loud popping and cracking noises!  This was the perfect opportunity to talk about the chemical reaction that was occurring, and how salt affects the melting point of ice.

painted ice heart and an ice cube tray filled with watercolours

 The girls got straight to work “painting” their hearts with their salty watercolours.  This process was completely experimental for all of us.  We normally do these ice-melting activities outside in hot temperatures, but the process was much slower inside in winter-time, so I frequently sprinkled more salt on the hearts, and occasionally I would drip more full-strength watercolours onto the ice to intensify the colours.

melting ice with a paintbrush, salt and watercolours

At one point I decided to add driveway salt to see if that would speed up the process.  It didn’t really, but it added a beautiful element to the activity, and the girls like scrubbing it around, scraping it into the water, and using their spoons to scoop it back onto their hearts.

painting an ice heart with rock salt and watercolours

 

As the ice melted, cracks and crevices formed, and the watercolours seeped in and coloured them.

liquid watercolours dripped onto ice and salt

All in all, we were at it for over an hour.  The process was gradual and beautiful, and we eventually reduced our hearts to small pieces of ice swimming in a sea of purple water. What a great indoor activity for a cold, winter day!

Click here for more ice play ideas.

Click here for more Valentine’s ideas

Click here for a visual overview of more than 300 of our crafts, activities and play ideas.

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Homemade Bird Feeder with Fruits and Grains http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bird-feeder-fruits-grains/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-bird-feeder-fruits-grains http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bird-feeder-fruits-grains/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2014 19:15:41 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12716  

Pop over to CBC Parents to see how we made these fruit and grain bird feeders

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IMG_7974

Pop over to CBC Parents to see how we made these fruit and grain bird feeders to help our feathered friends get through the winter!

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Colour the snow with watercolours http://happyhooligans.ca/colour-the-snow/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colour-the-snow http://happyhooligans.ca/colour-the-snow/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2014 05:40:44 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12735 Winter activity for kids: colour the snow with watercolours and medicine droppers.

We set out to colour the snow

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IMG_8130

Winter activity for kids: colour the snow with watercolours and medicine droppers.

We set out to colour the snow with watercolours today, and my-oh-my, this is definitely a new favourite winter activity here at our house!

This idea came to me after making our paint resist thank you cards.  We had some leftover watercolours that day, so we took them outside, and dribbled them over the snow.  I didn’t have my camera with me at the time, and I really wanted to share the idea with you, so I decided we would colour the snow again today, and as a real treat, I brought the snow inside, so we could do the activity in comfort.

toddler uses liquid watercolours to colour the snow

Bringing a container of snow inside is such a great way to entertain kids in winter when the temperatures are too cold to get outdoors.  This activity held the hooligans attention for well over an hour this morning.  I actually had to fill the bowl up 3 times because they were having such a good time with it.

A great indoor winter activity for kids:

It’s really fun for kids to play with snow indoors in the winter time.  We do it every year, either making a snow sensory bin or a snowy activity bin.  When you bring the snow inside for play, kids have the opportunity to really explore it with their bare hands, in a way that just isn’t possible when they’re outside in freezing temperatures.

You’ll be surprised at how long the snow lasts when you bring it inside too.  The consistency of the snow will gradually change from light and fluffy to wet and heavy, which is a great science lesson in itself, but it takes a long time to actually melt.

What we used to colour the snow:

supplies for colouring the snow

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.  Thank you!  I appreciate your support!

What are liquid watercolours?

I’m going to let Deep Space Sparkle tell you what liquid watercolours are because she does it so well in this article.  In a nutshell, they’re AWESOME!  I bought mine off Amazon.com back in the fall, and I LOVE them!  Until then, I had always used Wilton Icing Colors and water when we’ve needed intense colour, but I’m loving my liquid watercolours because while the colours are just as intense as the icing gels, they’re non-staining and washable!

colouring snow with watercolours

Bring on the snow!

Then I brought in a big bowl of fluffy snow – it had fallen overnight, so it was beautiful and clean, and I presented each of the girls with a styrofoam produce tray (previously sterilized in the dishwasher), a large spoon and some medicine droppers.IMG_8093

The girls immediately filled their trays with snow, and without any instruction at all, they tapped and patted it all down flat.  Then I demonstrated how to drip the coloured water onto their snow, and the fun began.

using a medicine dropper and liquid watercolours to colour the snow

 

They dripped those watercolours all over their trays.  The 2 year old was content to pat her coloured snow down for ages.  She stood there banging and chopping at it with her spoon for 5 or 10 minutes before getting back to the water colours.

snow and watercolours

 

A couple of times, they ran out of their paints, so I put more in their ice cube tray, and twice, there was a call for more snow.

large bowl of snow and tray of liquid watercolours

 

And after a while I decided to add some more tools to the table.  A muffin tin, a potato masher, some tongs, some tall ice cream glasses and an ice cream scoop put a new spin on the activity.

potato masher and watercolours and snow

 

The girls worked together to fill and decorate the muffin tin, and they make snow “castles” which they dripped colour all over.

Between the droppers and those tongs, their fine motor skills got a great work out today! 

kitchen utensils and muffin tin for snow play

 

And as the morning play came to an end, they formed small snowballs and dumped them into the tray of watercolours and they were fascinated to see the snowballs “drink up” the colour!

dropping snowballs into watercolour

Clean up is a breeze with this activity, as everything just gets dumped into the sink and rinsed off!

table scattered with supplies for colouring the snow

 

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Salt and Ice Activity – melting frozen hands http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-and-ice-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=salt-and-ice-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-and-ice-activity/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2014 05:47:45 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12683 A salt and ice activity – winter science for kids!

Here’s a simple salt and ice activity to do

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Colourful, frozen hands: a salt and ice activity

A salt and ice activity – winter science for kids!

Here’s a simple salt and ice activity to do with the kids on a winter day.  Freeze up some ice and give the kids some salt, and watch what happens.

I was inspired to make our frozen hands when I spied a photo of some similar hands on Takoma Park’s Facebook page, I immediately thought “Oooh! We need some of those!”  If you’re not familiar with Lesley from Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, I highly recommend that you visit her blog.  She has a deep respect for children and a real appreciation for the value of play.  She also has a gift for studying a child immersed play, and pointing out to her readers what that child might really be thinking and learning while playing.  You can see what I mean here, in her post about Dramatic Play.  I love that Lesley never takes childs-play at face-value.  She is an inspiration in the early childhood field.

How I made our icy hands:

For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission from any purchases you make.  Thank you!  Your support is appreciated!

  1. Fill a glove with water.  Leave yourself a couple of inches at the top because you’re going to have to twist it shut.
  2. Add a drop or two of food colouring, and shake the glove to disperse the colour.
  3. Twist glove tightly a couple of times and secure snugly with a twist-tie.
  4. Lay glove in baking pan. (the pan will catch any water in the even that a glove leaks.
  5. Place pan in freezer overnight, or if outside temps are cold enough, place the gloves outside overnight like I did.

freezing water in latex gloves

 

I really didn’t have a plan for the hands at first.   I simply set them out in the sandbox early one winter morning, knowing the hooligans would discover them when we went outside to play.

Removing the hands from the gloves:

You can see there were a few lost digits by the time I got all the gloves off the hands.  The trick to minimizing any casualties is to run the gloved hand under a bit of water, and very gently slide the glove off.  You have to take your time when you’re working on the fingers.  You may have to dribble a little water into the glove, but be careful not to melt the fingers with the water.

coloured icy hands in sandbox

When they came upon them, they were a little puzzled, and not sure what to do with them, so they loaded them into a basket and brought them up to the back deck.  It was then that I thought to get the salt.

children discovering icy hands in sandbox

 

For those of you who have never done a salt and ice activity with your kids, you have to try it!  The hooligans love it when we set out to melt ice with salt.  We do it at least once a year, and it always holds their attention until every last bit of ice has been dissolved or turned to mush.  Not only is it engaging and fun, a salt and ice activity is a chemistry lesson that never fails to impress kids of all ages.

rock salt and icy hands for ice and salt activity for preschoolers

What you’ll need for your salt and ice activity:

  • your icy hands
  • a shallow pan, container or tray to put your icy hands in
  • salt (I used driveway salt, but table salt would work as well)
  • bowl to hold your salt
  • scoops and spoons

I place the hands in a foil baking pan, and filled a plastic take-out dish with driveway salt, and supplied the hooligans with a few scoops and spoons.  They got to work sprinkling the salt on the hands.  As the ice melted, the salty water pooled in the bottom of the pan, and they were able to scoop that all over the hands to speed up the melting process.

salt and ice activity - melting frozen icy hands with driveway salt

This is an activity that could easily be done inside, and if you’re looking for a way to give your hooligans even more of a mission, add some buttons, beads and other small toys to the gloves like we did with our haunted hallowe’en hands.  Your children will work until they’ve released all of the goodies from the ice!

If you’re looking for a couple more awesome salty science activities for toddlers and preschoolers, check out our:

Dino-Dig

Ice Age Bin

 Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art

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Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art – name recognition activity http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-glue-watercolour-art/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=salt-glue-watercolour-art http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-glue-watercolour-art/#comments Fri, 10 Jan 2014 23:10:55 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12657  

A name recognition activity with salt, glue and watercolour art!

This was our first time doing salt, glue

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writing our names with salt, glue and watercolour art

 

A name recognition activity with salt, glue and watercolour art!

This was our first time doing salt, glue and watercolour art, and the hooligans and I had so much fun with the process!  I used the technique as a tool to help work on letter and name recognition, but it can be used purely as an art or science activity as well.

Skill-building and learning:

This activity is jam-packed with teaching and learning opportunities!

  • Science: absorption
  • Art: colour recognition and colour blending
  • Fine motor: squeezing pipettes and droppers
  • Co-ordination: pouring salt, shaking tray
  • Concentration: applying colour to a specific area on the paper
  • Literacy: letter recognition and formation, name recognition

Easy set-up with common, house-hold materials:

If you’re looking for an activity that’s fun, engaging, and that covers a lot of educational ground, this one is great.  The supply list is really basic too, so you can pull it all together in just a few minutes using items you have around the house.

Supplies needed for salt, glue and watercolour art:

supplies for salt, glue and watercolour art

 For your convenience I’ve included Amazon affiliate links.  When you shop through these links, I receive a small commission as a result of your purchase.  THANK YOU!  Your support is very much appreciated!

Salt, glue and watercolour art – the process:

I started by printing each child’s name on a piece of white card stock.  Then I gathered the children around, and they identified their own names, and watched as I traced all of the letters with white glue.

Describe the formation of each letter while you’re tracing:  

Our glue bottles are really hard to squeeze so it took quite a while to trace the letters.  That was great because the kids were mesmerized by the tracing process, and I could really draw their attention to how each letter was formed.  As I traced, I would announce the letter, and also describe the way we form the letter when we’re printing it: “A – dowwwwn, dowwwwn and acroooooss”, or “N – dowwwwn, and uuuuup and ooooover”.  That looks silly when I write it out, but by drawing out my speech, and tracing the letters very slowly, we were able to give each letter a good amount of attention.

Once I’d traced their names, I turned the reigns over to the hooligans.  They started by placing their name card in a baking pan.  The pan contains any mess, and makes it easy to save any left-over salt for a future project.   

I slightly opened the tab on the salt (so the flow would be reduced), and the kids took turns covering their white glue entirely with salt.

pouring salt over white glue

 

Then they shook the tray back and forth a few times to make sure all of the glue was well coated.  Tip your tracing sideways and tap away any loose salt.

And now for the real fun – using liquid watercolours or food colouring:

I presented the hooligans with a handful of pipettes/medicine droppers, and an ice cube tray filled with coloured water.  Some sections had liquid watercolours in them, and in other sections, I’d mixed a drop or two of food colouring with a few drops of water.

dripping watercolours onto salt and white glue

They dripped the food colouring on to their salt tracings, and WOW!  Well, I’m not going to go into detail here, because the photos speak for themselves, AND, I want you to experience the same wow-factor with your own kids.   IMG_7820 2

You don’t have to do a name project on white paper like we did.  Let your imagination guide you!  Second time ’round we simply got creative on black card stock, and the results were equally thrilling!

salt glue and watercolour art  drawings on black card stock

 Looking for more easy and inexpensive art techniques to try with your kids?  Check out our:

Paper Towel Art

Styrofoam Mosaics

Crayon Resist Art

Stained Glass Art

Starry Night with Melted Crayons

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Coloured Coffee Filter Snowflakes http://happyhooligans.ca/coloured-coffee-filter-snowflakes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coloured-coffee-filter-snowflakes http://happyhooligans.ca/coloured-coffee-filter-snowflakes/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 20:00:31 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12602 We’re in the midst of an extreme cold spell here, so we’re hunkering down indoors and crafting up some cheerful,

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We’re in the midst of an extreme cold spell here, so we’re hunkering down indoors and crafting up some cheerful, paper snowflakes!  Pop over to CBC Parentsto find out how we made these little beauties using coffee filters and food colouring!

coffee filter snowflakes

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Homemade Puzzles for Toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-puzzles/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-puzzles http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-puzzles/#comments Wed, 08 Jan 2014 03:37:44 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12638 Homemade puzzles made from cereal boxes…

At noon today, I was looking for a simple activity to keep the

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homemade puzzles made from cereal boxes

Homemade puzzles made from cereal boxes…

At noon today, I was looking for a simple activity to keep the toddlers busy while I made lunch.  When we came into the kitchen, I spotted a couple of empty cereal boxes on the counter.  My wheels started turning, and in less than 5 minutes, I’d turned those boxes into a set of homemade puzzles.

What you’ll need to make your homemade puzzles:

supplies for making homemade puzzles from box fronts

  • cereal box
  • pair of scissors

Making homemade puzzles from cereal boxes:

Start by cutting out the front panel of the cereal box.

Now, just cut the box front into a few large, simple shapes. I went with about 4 or 5 large, very simple pieces for our puzzles. For an older child, you could cut more pieces, and make the shapes a little more intricate.

homemade puzzles in pieces

The beauty of these homemade puzzles is that you can make them as easy or as challenging as you like, depending on the age of your child.toddlers putting together homemade puzzles made from cereal boxes

It’s such a simple activity, but the girls were quite excited when I handed them their puzzle pieces, and it kept them busy while I pulled lunch together.

homemade puzzles from cardboard box fronts

Looking for more super-easy and inexpensive activities to make for your child?  Check out our:

Homemade Cardboard Construction Set

Easy DIY Matching Game

Fine Motor Mitten Match-up

Cardboard Drop Box

Homemade Light Box

Paint Swatch Drop

Cardboard Drop Zone

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Crayon Resist Art – homemade thank you cards http://happyhooligans.ca/crayon-resist-art-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=crayon-resist-art-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/crayon-resist-art-for-kids/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 05:17:21 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12624 Homemade thank you cards for kids to make using Crayon Resist Art!

Believe it or not, this is our

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Crayon Resist  Art - Thank You Cards for kids to make

Homemade thank you cards for kids to make using Crayon Resist Art!

Believe it or not, this is our first ever Crayon Resist Art project, so I’m pretty excited to share it with you. 

Crayon Resist thank you card painted by child

What is Resist Art?

You’ve likely seen this process before.  Resist Art is a process in which you use two materials which resist or repel each other to create a piece of art.  We’re using a white crayon and water colours to create our art today, but you could use a wax candle in place of the crayon.  There are lots of other materials that you can use which will resist each other too!  For example:

What mediums can you use to create Resist Art?

Dilly Dali Art made some awesome “initial art” for the girls’ rooms by melting coloured crayons over tape.

Mommy Labs is making some unique pillow covers using markers, tape and fabric .

And Inspiration Laboratories wrote a secret message and made some 3-D art with paint and glue.

crayon resist art with a white crayon and water colour paints

Like I said, we’re using watercolours and a white crayon to make our thank you cards today.  The process is easy, and the supply list is short.

Supplies for creating Crayon Resist Art:

liquid watercolours and a white crayon for creating resist art

For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links.  I receive a small commission for any sales made through these links, so if you use them, thank you!  I certainly appreciate your support!

And now for the fun part!

It’s easy to make art with a white crayon and paint: 

We made a total of 4 cards today.  I got 2 cards out of one piece of white 8.5 x 11 card stock.  I simply cut the card stock in half to get two pieces.  Fold those pieces in half, and voila… two cards.

Now take your white crayon, and draw an image or write your words on your white paper.  You won’t really be able to see what you’re writing because of the white-on-white, which might make it a little challenging, but don’t worry about being perfect here.  The end result will be beautiful no matter what.

Homemade greeting cards with crayon resist art process.

Once my message was written, I added a couple of drops of each liquid watercolour into the sections of an ice cube tray.  I filled a couple of sections with water for the hooligans to wet and rinse their brushes in.

They dipped their brushes in the water and then in the watercolour, and then swiped them over the front of the card to reveal the message that I’d written!  How fun!  I can’t believe we waited this long to try resist painting!  It’s such a fascinating art process for kids of all ages, it’s easy to set up, and the results are beautiful!

4 Thank You Cards made with crayon resist art process

Looking for more easy, inexpensive art projects for kids?  How about:

Tape Resist Stained Glass Art

Bottle Top Stained Glass Painting

Homemade Doodle Art

Paper Towel Art

and be sure to check out our easy recipe for Homemade Watercolour Paints!

 

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Most Popular Posts of 2013 http://happyhooligans.ca/most-popular-posts-of-2013/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=most-popular-posts-of-2013 http://happyhooligans.ca/most-popular-posts-of-2013/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2013 18:59:04 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12583 Our 13 Most Popular Posts of 2013:

With the New Year just around the corner, I thought it would

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PicMonkey Collage

Our 13 Most Popular Posts of 2013:

With the New Year just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to look back through my blog and highlight our 13 most popular posts of 2013.

Most of these  activities are for kids, but there are a couple crafty-mom posts sprinkled in there, so grab a cuppa something good, put your feet up, and pin, share and bookmark ’til your heart’s content. :)

Our number ONE, most viewed, most popular post in 2013 was our:

1. Homemade Water Colour Paints:

Easy to make with a handful of common kitchen ingredients, these paints are an inexpensive alternative to store-bought kids’ water-colours, and they’ll keep indefinitely.

most popular post of 2013: homemade water colours - happy hooligans

 

2.  Homemade Giant Bubbles:

This simple recipe makes the biggest bubbles ever .  All you need are a few basic kitchen ingredients.

Hooligans most popular posts of 2013; giant homemade bubbles - happy hooligans

3. Button Snake:

Easy to make: a great activity for developing fine motor and buttoning skills!

Most popular posts of 2013: button snake - happy hooligans

4. Stained Glass Painting:

Create beautiful “stained glass art” using kids’ paint, plastic lids and wax paper!

4th most popular post of 2013: stained glass art painting on window

5. 3-Ingredient Puffy Paint:

3 common kitchen ingredients and a microwave is all you need to create this vibrant 3-dimensional art!

5th most popular Hooligans post of 2013: homemade 3 ingredient puffy paint

 6. Repurposed Denim Aprons:

Use the pant-leg from an old pair of jeans to make a durable denim apron for your little crafter!

Happy Hooligans most popular posts of 2013: repurposed denim pant-leg aprons7. Coloured Mason Jars:

Colour a glass jar with a little glue and some food colouring!

Hooligans most popular posts of the year: coloured mason jars - happy hooligans

8. Rain Sticks:

These rainsticks were fun to make, they look gorgeous, and they sound so lovely!

One of our most popular posts of 2013 - Rainsticks

9. Homemade Wind Chimes:

8 months later, our homemade Rainbow Wind Chimes still look and sound as lovely as they did the day we made them!

easy rainbow stick wind chimes - happy hooligans (one of our most popular posts in 2013)

10. Scissor Exercises for Kids:

5 simple materials and cutting exercises to help your child develop his or her scissor skills!

5 scissor exercises for kids - one of our most viewed posts in 2013

11. Paper Plate Birds:

Kids can make these adorable “rocking” birds with this easy paper-plate art project.

paper plate birds - one of our most popular posts in 2013

12. Homemade Laundry Detergent:

Slash your laundry costs by making your own detergent.  It costs me about $10.00 to make a year’s worth for my busy family and daycare.  Great for top loaders AND front-loading, high efficiency machines.

homemade laundry detergent - most popular posts of the year

And last but not least, our 13th most popular post of 2013 was our:

13. Homemade Light Box:

Make your own light box using 2 common household items.  For about 10 bucks, your child will enjoy hours of creative play and learning!

13th most popular post in 2013: diy light box - 2 supplies cover photo

And there you have it!  Our best 13 of 2013!

A huge hug and a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for following a long, for your support and loyalty and for always inspiring and encouraging me to “keep on bloggin’”! xx

To see ALL of our easy and affordable kids crafts and activities, pop over to my Hooligans Pinterest board!  You’ll find hundreds of ideas there.

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Best Homemade Guacamole Recipe http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-guacamole/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-guacamole http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-guacamole/#comments Fri, 27 Dec 2013 05:57:16 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12555 Best ever homemade guacamole recipe! You’ll be the hit of the party when you show up with this homemade guacamole!

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Best ever homemade guacamole recipe!  You’ll be the hit of the party when you show up with this homemade guacamole!  Zippy lime and the fresh taste of guacamole make this dip to-die-for!

I’m just crazy about guacamole!  Of all the dips going, homemade guac is my absolute favourite, and this recipe is the best one I’ve ever found.  I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love this stuff!

Easy Homemade Guacamole

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  I appreciate your support.

To make your homemade guacamole, you’ll need:

ingredients for homemade guacamole

  • 3 ripe avacados
  • 2 plum (italian) tomatoes, seeded
  • small onion (oops, there was supposed to be an onion in this photo – it must’ve rolled off the cutting mat.)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • salt
  • cilantro

Want to know how to tell if your avocado is ripe?

Try this simple trick to check an avocado’s ripeness!

Let’s make that guacamole!

Cut your avocados in half, and slide a spoon between the flesh and the skin to quickly release it into a bowl.

scooping flesh from an avacado

You can mash your avocado with a fork, but I use the small container of my Ninja Master Prep
to make quick work of this step.  5 short pulses with the Ninja, and my avocado looked like this.  Mmmmm!  Creamy-smooth! 

pureed avacado

Don’t throw out the pits!  You’re going to use those in a minute.  Set ‘em aside.

use avocado pits to keep your guacamole fresh

Quickly seed your tomatoes by cutting them in half and squeezing out the seeds.  Dice the tomatoes and add them to your mashed avocado.

Dice your onion and garlic, and stir those in as well.  Once again, I used my Ninja for this.  3 quick pulses, did the job.

Cut your lime in half, and squeeze the juice into the bowl.  Twisting a fork into your lime as you squeeze it helps you to get all the juice out.

lime squeezed into homemade guacamole

Chop up a handful of fresh cilantro, and toss it in.

Triple Blade Herb Scissors:

You can use regular scissors to chop your cilantro, but I love my triple blade herb scissors.  Three blades on each side of the scissors makes chopping herbs a snap.

triple blade herb scissors

Add a dash of salt, give it all a stir, and you’re done!

Now, to use those pits that you set aside.

Trick to keep guacamole from turning brown:

Pressing the pit of an avocado into your guacamole helps to keep it from turning brown.  In addition, when I cover my guacamole with plastic wrap, I press the wrap down onto the surface of the guacamole to help prevent any oxidation from taking place.

press an avocado pit into your guacamole to keep it green

Refrigerate your guacamole for at least an hour before serving.

 

IMG_7593 2

 

Enjoy!

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Cardboard Gingerbread House http://happyhooligans.ca/cardboard-gingerbread-house/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cardboard-gingerbread-house http://happyhooligans.ca/cardboard-gingerbread-house/#comments Fri, 20 Dec 2013 05:19:52 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12535 Decorate a Cardboard Gingerbread House with craft and fabric scraps…

 

I actually had this Cardboard Gingerbread House activity

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cardboard gingerbread house

Decorate a Cardboard Gingerbread House with craft and fabric scraps…

 

I actually had this Cardboard Gingerbread House activity all set to do with the hooligans last Christmas when, something that happens quite commonly occurred.  A very creative and talented blogging colleague of mine, Valerie from Inner Child Fun wrote about this toy gingerbread house activity she made for her kids.  It happens – we crafty mamas tend to think alike, especially when there’s a holiday them to plan our activities around.  While Valerie’s activity is quite different than mine, in that her house can be decorated over and over again, I decided to put my activity on hold until the following Christmas season.

Well, that year rolled around quickly!  Now, we’ve done a few gingerbread crafts in the past.  There were our scented, sandpaper gingerbread men, and our mini gingerbread house ornaments, but this large sized gingerbread house was a real treat!

cardboard gingerbread house activity

Gather your supplies and I’ll show you how to put this activity together for your hooligans!

Supplies:

Making my cardboard house:

I simply drew my shapes on a piece of paper, and then cut them out.  I then traced them on to a thick piece of cardboard and cut those pieces out.  Sorry there’s not a printable for you.  I’m not that technically inclined (yet).

cardboard gingerbread pieces

Ignore the door and windows.  I must’ve mis-placed them at some point during the past year, and then totally forgot they ever existed.

I used a hot glue gun to put all of my pieces together.

Decorating our cardboard gingerbread house:

To start, I poured a couple of colours of brown paint, and the hooligans covered the sides and the roof of the house.

painting the gingerbread house

Next, I gave them a piece of quilt batting that I’d cut to roughly match the size of the roof, and they coated the roof with glue, and pressed the batting on.

Then I gave them the sectioned tray full of crafty odds and ends, and the fun began!

crafty odds and ends for decorating cardboard gingerbread house

 The girls spend ages gluing bits and pieces all over their house, and decking it out like a real gingerbread house!rooftop collage

The great thing about a cardboard gingerbread house though, is that it will last forever, and no-one will nibble on it!

You’ll be able to pull it out and enjoy it year after year!

To see all of our easy and affordable Christmas crafts and activities, check out my Hooligans Xmas pinboard!

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Homemade Wrapping Paper http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-wrapping-paper/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-wrapping-paper http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-wrapping-paper/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 03:17:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12518 Homemade wrapping paper: colourful gift wrap for kids to make…

Looking to make some unique homemade wrapping paper with

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easy homemade wrapping paper

Homemade wrapping paper: colourful gift wrap for kids to make…

Looking to make some unique homemade wrapping paper with your kids?  This homemade gift wrap started out as a bit of a happy accident when we were messing around in the craft room.

On the craft table, there was some watered down paint, and I just happened to be using the hairdryer to speed up the drying process on some project we were working on.  At one point, I accidentally turned the hairdryer on the spilled paint, and bingo!  I had a lightbulb moment.

I’d been meaning to have the hooligans make some wrapping paper for Christmas, but I hadn’t decided exactly how they  would do it.  This seemed like the perfect process for the project.

2 sheets of homemade wrapping paper made by toddlers

Choose colours to suit the occasion:

This art process is super easy, and you can change up the colours of paint that you use to suit any occasion.  I realize the colours we’ve used aren’t exactly Christmas colours”, but I thought it would be fun to use vibrant colours for this project.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your homemade wrapping paper:

IMG_6960

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  I appreciate your support!

The paint process:

Thin your paint with a bit of water and drip, splatter and dribble it all over your page.  We used our paint brushes to help with this part, dipping into the paints and splashing it out on to the page.  Likewise, pour the paint, drizzling it all over your paper.

You’ll want to work fairly quickly here so the paper doesn’t absorb a lot of the paint and water.

Now hand the hairdryer over to your child, and have them blow the paint all over the paper.  You can tape the paper in place on your table to prevent it from blowing away, or you can hold it in place while your child blasts it.

In a matter of seconds,you’ll have something that looks like this:

IMG_7288

Hold the dryer to the paper until it’s completely dry, and in under a minute, you’ll have a personal piece of kid-made gift wrap.

presents wrapped in homemade wrapping paper

Wanna see what we wrapped up?

We tried ours out, and it was perfect for wrapping up a couple of special, little prezzies.  Stay tuned to find out what they were!  If you’re looking for kid-made gift ideas, you might just like ‘em!

Looking for more colourful Christmas crafts to make with your kids?  Check out our:

Styrofoam Button Trees

Pour Painted Ornaments

Tissue Paper Mosaic Ornaments

Glittered CD Ornaments

Shell Bird Ornaments

You can find ALL of our easy and affordable crafts and activities on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard!

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White Clay Dough Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/white-clay-dough-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=white-clay-dough-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/white-clay-dough-ornaments/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 05:03:39 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12496  

White Clay Dough Ornaments made with baking soda, cornstarch and water…

We’ve made white clay dough ornaments before

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2 ingredient white clay dough ornaments

 

White Clay Dough Ornaments made with baking soda, cornstarch and water…

We’ve made white clay dough ornaments before here in my dacyare, but do you think I can find any photos so share with you?  It was before I started blogging, so I suspect those pics are buried somewhere in the depths of one of my Facebook pages.  Anyway, it’s been a few years, so I figured it was time we did another homemade clay project, and this time we’d share it with you!

Recipe for White Clay Dough:

This particular white clay dough is really easy to make.  It’s The Imagination Tree’s Recipe for White Clay. It takes only two ingredients: baking soda and cornstarch (known as corn flour in the UK). It’s easy to make, and it dries snow-white, making it perfect for these simple tree ornaments.

What to do if your dough is too wet?

If you happen to add a little too much water, as I did (that happens when you’re cooking with 4 kids), simply toss a little extra baking soda on the counter top and knead it into your dough until it feels right.

IMG_7198

Tools for making white clay ornaments:

We had an awesome activity set up here last week.  It was a Play Dough Christmas Cookie Decorating Station.  It was a huge hit with the hooligans.  Because the consistency of this clay is very similar to that of play dough, we simply borrowed some tools from our Playdough activity tray, and we grabbed our beads and craft jewels for some bling.

For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links.  I appreciate your support!

Making your ornaments:

making white clay dough ornaments for the christmas tree

 

Roll your dough about 1/4 inch thick, and use a cookie cutter to shape your ornament.  A drinking straw is an easy way to make a hole in a dough ornament.

Use a straw to make a hole in a dough ornament

 

Decorating your ornaments:

Gently press your beads and jewels into your clay.  Deep enough to embed the bead or gem, but not so hard that it goes through the other side.

 

cutting and decorating white clay dough ornaments

The younger hooligans enjoyed making “worms” and “balls” before getting down to business.  The older girls however, were all about cutting and decorating.

Drying your clay ornaments:

Transfer your ornaments to a cookie sheet and allow them to dry fully before hanging them on your tree.  You can place them in the oven set on low heat for a couple of hours.  We just leave ours sitting by the fire overnight.

clay dough ornaments transferred to dry on a cookie sheet

When they’re completely dry, add your ribbon or cord, and hang on your Christmas tree!

Pretty aren’t they?

white clay dough ornaments made with baking soda and cornstarch

Other ways to decorate your white clay dough ornaments:

The ornaments we made are very basic.  To jazz them up a bit, you could glitter or paint your ornaments, or press them onto a patterned surface for an embossed effect.

To see ALL of our easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts and activities for kids, be sure to check out my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard!

 

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No Sew Sock Puppets http://happyhooligans.ca/no-sew-sock-puppets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=no-sew-sock-puppets http://happyhooligans.ca/no-sew-sock-puppets/#comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 03:19:10 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12485  

No Sew Sock Puppets: simple homemade Christmas hand puppets in under 10 minutes!

One morning last week, I

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snowman and reindeer no sew sock puppets

 

No Sew Sock Puppets: simple homemade Christmas hand puppets in under 10 minutes!

One morning last week, I got it in my head that I wanted to make a set of no sew sock puppets for the hooligans.  I thought a set of Christmas hand puppets would be fun to play with in these days leading up to the holidays.

I raided my older son’s sock drawer for a couple of un-matched socks, and then quickly scoured the craft-cupboards to see what I could come up with.

I wanted these sock puppets to be quick and easy to make.  I didn’t want to mess around with a needle and thread, so I simply plugged in my glue gun, and in minutes I’d made these adorable Snowman and Reindeer sock puppets!  Here’s how I did it:

easy christmas no sew sock puppets

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Sock puppet supplies:

No sew snowman sock puppet:

To make my snowman sock puppet, I used a sock with a grey toe because I liked the way that grey area kind of looked like little hat.

I simply glued on my button eyes and mouth pieces, and added a piece of kitchen sponge that I’d cut to look like a carrot.

A few buttons down the front of the sock, and voila!  You’ve just made a snowman sock puppet in about 2 minutes.

snowman hand puppet - no sewing required

No sew reindeer sock puppet:

To make my reindeer puppet, I went with an all white sock.  I glued on a couple of goggly eyes, a pom pom nose, and for the mouth, I used a wooden barrel bead.

I then twisted a couple of brown pipe-cleaners around my finger, to create the spiral “antlers”.  I poked each one through the sock a teeny bit, and then bent the end of the pipe-cleaner that was inside the sock, so that it wouldn’t poke anyone’s hand.  Then I put a shot of glue on the outside of the sock, and pressed the pipe cleaner into it.

no sew reindeer sock puppet

And there you have it!  Two adorable, no-sew Christmas sock puppets in a matter of minutes!

child playing with homemade christmas sock puppets

Let the fun begin!

To see ALL of our easy and affordable Christmas crafts and activities for kids, be sure to check out my Hooligans Xmas board on Pinterest.

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Painted Christmas Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/pour-painted-christmas-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pour-painted-christmas-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/pour-painted-christmas-ornaments/#comments Sat, 14 Dec 2013 19:56:06 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12469 Pour painted Christmas ornaments: an easy way to paint clear glass or plastic balls…

A dozen years ago or

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Pour Painted Christmas ornaments with clear balls and acrylic paintPour painted Christmas ornaments: an easy way to paint clear glass or plastic balls…

A dozen years ago or so, I made a set of beautiful painted Christmas Ornaments using clear glass balls and acrylic paint.  They were lovely, but at the time, I used really dark and muted colours.  The other day I was looking at my stash of clear, plastic ornaments, and I thought it would be fun to update our collection by using the same paint process to make a few  vibrant, candy-coloured ornaments.

pour-painted Christmas tree ornaments

 

What is “pour-painting”?

If you’ve never heard of pour painting, Aleacia from Dilly Dali Art demonstrates the process beautifully in her painted garden pot project for kids.

The supplies for our painted Christmas ornament project are basic, the process is simple, and the results are gorgeous!    Kids of all ages will enjoy making these ornaments, but it’s a craft that’s best suited for older children and teenagers because it takes a gentle hand to get the results your looking for.  My 13 year-old and I made ours one one evening last week.  Here’s how we did it:

What you’ll need to make your painted ornaments:

Supplies for pour painting Christmas Ornaments

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  I appreciate your support!

Making your painted Christmas ornaments:

Being organized and efficient is a bonus here:

Once you’ve selected your paint colours, pop their lids open, and have them lined up and ready to go.  As much as this isn’t a race against the clock, you do have to move efficiently to get all of your colours into your ornament before the previous colours completely coat the inside of the ball.

Now, remove the top of a clear ornament.

Pouring your paint into your ornaments:

Select one of your paint colours, and squirt some into your ornament.  Give the ornament a quarter turn and squirt again.  Repeat a couple more times, tipping and turning your ornament so the paint coats some of the inside of the glass or plastic.  Remember to leave enough glass un-coated for your other colours to cover.

Now grab your second colour, and give a few small squirts, turning your ornament between squirts.

Repeat with your remaining colours.

If any small sections of glass or plastic are left uncoated, simply turn or gently shake the ornament to splash some paint to cover that space.

IMG_6932

When the inside of your ornament has been completely coated with your paint colours, simply turn it upside down over a small cup or container, and let the excess paint drip out.  This could take a while.  I let mine sit over night.

draining pour-painted Christmas ornaments

And check out what the drips looked like the next morning!  If only there were something I could make with this gorgeous by-product!

Paint drippings from pour painted ornament project

Once your ornaments are dry, pop the tops back on them, and use your organza ribbon to make a loop and bow.

4 pour painted ornaments hanging from organza ribbons

What do you think?  Isn’t this an easy and inexpensive way to make a stunning ornament?  I just love the swirls of colour and the glossy look that the plastic ball gives to the ornament.

Overhead shot of 2 painted clear ornaments

I hope you give this a try at h0me!  One of these would make a lovely gift for a teacher or neighbour.  A set of 4 or 6 would be super homemade gift to give to anyone on your Christmas list!

set of 4 painted clear plastic ornaments

If you’re looking for other ways to decorate clear, glass ornaments here are a few of our favourites:

Easy Glass Ornaments

I Spy Ornaments

Colour-themed Clear Glass Ornaments

And you can find ALL of my easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts for kids on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard.

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Styrofoam Button Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/styrofoam-button-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=styrofoam-button-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/styrofoam-button-ornaments/#comments Sat, 14 Dec 2013 01:52:33 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12451

Styrofoam Button Ornaments – an easy, last minute Christmas craft for kids to make…

Oh my goodness!

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Styrofoam button ornaments

Styrofoam Button Ornaments – an easy, last minute Christmas craft for kids to make…

Oh my goodness!   Christmas is creeping up on us quickly, and we’ve been crafting our little hearts out, but it’s hard to find the time to write my posts at this time of year!  Thankfully these Styrofoam Button Ornaments are very simple!  This is a great last-minute Christmas craft!  The supplies are basic, and these ornaments are easy enough for toddlers and preschoolers to do with very little assistance.

These are such whimsical and pretty ornaments!  I just love all the colour!  The inspiration behind these sweet little ornaments came from School Time Snippet’s Button Snowmen Puzzle!

button ornaments made with styrofoam meat trays

Gather your supplies:

Using styrofoam meat trays for crafting:

I love using styrofoam produce trays for crafting.  We use them in a lot of our projects.  Check out our meat tray mosaics,  styrofoam stars, snowman art and our fall collages to see a few.

Crafting with styrofoam trays saves them from going into the landfill, and they’re free, and if your house is like mine, they accumulate quickly, so there’s never a shortage of them.  They come in all kinds of colours too.  White, black, blue, yellow and red are common around here.  Just be sure to run the trays through the dishwasher, to sterilize them, before using them for your crafts.

Making your styrofoam button ornaments:

Simply cut a triangle out of your styrofoam.  You can do this using a craft knife and cutting mat, but quite honestly, I find it’s just as easy to use a pair of scissors.

Have your apply a generous amount of glue, either to the buttons themselves, or all over the front of the triangle.

gluing buttons on styrofoam tree ornaments

Then have them decorate their little tree ’til their heart’s content. :)

"Christmas Tree" styrofoam button ornament made by toddler

I used a glue gun to attach a ribbon “loop” to the back of the tree, but you could punch a hole in the top, and thread your string or ribbon through.

styrofoam button ornaments made from produce trays

 

To see all of our easy and affordable Christmas crafts and activities for kids, be sure to check out my Hooligans Xmas board on Pinterest!

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Snowman Art – exploring texture with kids http://happyhooligans.ca/snowman-art/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=snowman-art http://happyhooligans.ca/snowman-art/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 06:18:57 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12431

Kids explore textures with this easy snowman art project:

We very rarely use construction paper here.

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snowman face on styrofoam produce tray - exploring textures

Kids explore textures with this easy snowman art project:

We very rarely use construction paper here.  There are so many more interesting materials to use when you’re crafting with your kids.  get creative with  Take a look through my site, and you’ll see us creating with aluminum foil, sand paper, wall paper samples, quilt batting, fabric, cardboard and countless other textiles.  Construction paper can’t compare when it comes to the sensory element that these materials offer.  For our snowman art project today, we used a variety of common items from around the the house and our bin of fabric scraps.

sensory art snowman made by 2 year old

Textured materials for our snowman art:

sensory materials as supplies for snowman art project

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Crafting with textures:

To start, we used a fleece blanket to cover our work table.   A blanket, quilt or even a large piece of unfinished fabric is a great way to add interest to your crafting surface.

Then I invited the hooligans to explore all of the supplies I’d laid out.

gluing felt sheet to styrofoam tray for snowman face art

While they created their snowman faces,  they used words like “fluffy”, “cold”, “crunchy” to describe the felt, buttons and tissue paper.

We tossed a piece of tissue paper into the air, and then a piece of flannel, to compare their weight.

Give your child plenty of time to explore the different textures in front of her, and let her create their snowman face however she wants.    A perfect face isn’t what you’re after.  This is an open-ended creative experience.

gluing eyes on snowman face art project

gluing buttons and fabric swatches on to snowman face art projects

If you’re looking for an easy textured art project to do with toddlers or preschoolers, this one was great.  There were lots of touchy-feely aspects to it, and our snowmen turned out so darn cute, don’t you think?Textured snowman art made by 4 year old

snowman face: art using a variety of sensory materials

If you’re looking for more easy, inexpensive snowman projects, you’ll love our

CD Snowmen

Toilet roll snowmen

“Build a Snowman”activity tray

Craft Stick Snowman

Mr. Potato Head Snowman

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Bird Seashell Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/bird-seashell-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bird-seashell-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/bird-seashell-ornaments/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 02:52:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12397

Bird seashell ornaments. An easy Christmas nature craft for kids…

The hooligans and I have made some pretty cute

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seashell bird ornaments

Bird seashell ornaments.  An easy Christmas nature craft for kids…

The hooligans and I have made some pretty cute crafts over the years; there are our toilet roll snowmen, our toilet roll reindeer, our CD snowman ornaments, and our adorable owls.  I think we can safely say we have a new one to add to the over-the-top-cute collection!  Check out these adorable bird seashell ornaments!

Crafting with natural items:

Crafting with items like seashells, sticks and stones is a great way for your children to connect with the natural world that surrounds them.  Collecting natural elements for crafting gets you out in the fresh air, and walk through the forest or the on the beach is easier on the wallet than a walk through the craft store!  You can see some of our other nature crafts here: twig star ornaments, summer stars, twiggy tree ornaments, rainbow wind chimes.

Thanks to my aunt who vacations in Florida every winter, we have quite a large seashell collection. I’ve had it in my head for a while now to make some Christmas ornaments with a few of our shells; I wasn’t quite sure what kind of ornament we’d make.  Then last week when I was organizing our craft cupboards, I came across our craft feathers, and the lightbulb went on.  We’d use our seashells to make some bird ornaments!

seashell-bird christmas tree ornaments

 

Here’s what we used to do it:

supplies for bird seashell ornaments

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And this is how we turned made our bird – seashell ornaments:

The hooligans started by painting their seashells with acrylic craft paints.

To speed up the drying process, I gave the shells a blast with the hairdryer.

Then a generous coat of glitter glue was applied to the shells.

painting seashell Christmas ornaments (collage)

 

To turn our seashell ornaments into birds, the hooligans glued on some craft feathers, googly eyes and a beak.

homemade christmas ornaments from seashells

 

I attached a length of thin cord with a glue gun.

Aren’t these just the cutest little ornaments?

painted seashell bird ornaments

 

Yeah, there are lots of photos..

pink and purple seashell bird ornament

 

But each bird ornament was so cute and unique, and I wanted you to see them all!

bird christmas ornament made from a seashell

 

Who knew a seashell could be this cute?

Bird Seashell Ornaments!  An easy homemade Christmas decoration for kids.

To see ALL of our easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts, visit my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard.

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Tissue Paper Mosaic Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-mosaic-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tissue-paper-mosaic-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-mosaic-ornaments/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 16:40:42 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12290  

Tissue Paper Mosaic Christmas Ornaments – a fine motor Christmas craft for kids to make…

We

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IMG_5879

Tissue Paper Mosaic Christmas Ornaments – a fine motor Christmas craft for kids to make…

We recently made these gorgeous Tissue Paper Mosaic Ornaments here in my daycare.  They were easy to make, used a a couple of very basic supplies, and proved to be an excellent fine motor activity for the hooligans.  Pop over to CBC Parents to see how to make a set of these pretty ornaments for your house!  There’s a very good chance that you already have everything you need on hand.

Be sure to check out all of our other easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts and activities on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard!

Christmas - pinterest

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Tissue Paper Wreath Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/wreath-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wreath-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/wreath-ornaments/#comments Wed, 04 Dec 2013 07:26:45 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12372 Tissue paper wreath ornaments: a fine-motor Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers…

These colourful tissue paper wreath ornaments are

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tissue paper wreath ornament

Tissue paper wreath ornaments: a fine-motor Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers…

These colourful tissue paper wreath ornaments are great to make with toddlers and preschoolers.  Kids love the colours and texture that tissue paper offers, and I love how versatile it is.  We’ve used it to decorate fall wreaths, Easter crafts, and Valentine’s art.  We’ve even mod-podged it over aluminum foil, but most often, we crumple it and glue it to our projects to add dimension and colour.

The hooligans love the “crumple and glue method”.  It’s a great fine-motor activity, and squeezing and crushing the tissue paper helps to develop those little hand muscles.  And best of all, as you can see here, the vibrant colours make even the simplest project look fabulous.

The supply list for these wreath ornaments is really basic.  Don’t you love that?

Tissue paper wreath supplies:

supplies for wreath ornament

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  • tissue paper cut into 2 or 3 inch squares
  • cereal box or similar weight cardboard
  • green paint (we used several shades)
  • ribbon
  • white glue
  • stapler
  • hanging thread

How to make your wreath ornament:

We started by painting a big piece of cardboard that we had on hand.  It was a collaborative effort.  The hooligans got busy with their brushes and paint, and before long, someone discovered that sliding their fingers through the paint was pretty fun, so it morphed into a finger painting project.  Soon after that, someone else discovered that pressing their hand into the paint was kind of neat, and that led to them actually painting their hands, and THAT prompted me to grab a large sheet of paper so they could make handprints, and well…. let’s just say by the time the cardboard was painted, they’d had quite a bit of fun.  kids painting their hands

While the hooligans washed up, I gave the cardboard a blast with the hairdryer to speed up the drying process.

Trace around a CD for a mini wreath:

A CD is the perfect template for a wreath ornament.  Trace a few of those onto your cardboard and cut them out.

Now have your little one crumple their squares of tissue paper and glue them all over their wreath.  Using a paintbrush to apply glue to a project is easier for toddlers than squeezing a bottle of glue.kids making tissue paper wreath ornaments

Every child will crumple his tissue paper in his own way.  Some children really compact their pieces.  Others lightly crush it, and some won’t crumple it at all, preferring to simply glue the colourful squares to their project.  You can demonstrate how to give the tissue square a quick crunch with your hand, but don’t pressure them to do it “your way”.  Allow your child to explore and experiment with the materials that you’ve provided.  Let him express his creative side in a way that works for him.gluing tissue paper to cardboard wreath

When all the wreaths were decorated, the children selected a ribbon, which I tied in a bow.

cardboard wreaths and ribbon

Then in a joint effort with each hooligan, we wrangled the bow and wreath into the stapler and fastened them together.

And there you have it.  Simple, sweet wreath ornaments.  A great Christmas craft for young children to make!

finished cardboard wreath

Be sure to check out ALL of our easy and inexpensive Christmas craft ideas on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard.

Christmas - pinterest

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Christmas Play Dough Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/christmas-play-dough-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=christmas-play-dough-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/christmas-play-dough-activity/#comments Tue, 03 Dec 2013 06:26:46 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12356 Christmas Play Dough Activity Tray: decorate play dough Christmas cookies with beads, buttons and fabric scraps…

 

Last week’s

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Playdough Christmas Cookie Activity Tray

Christmas Play Dough Activity Tray: decorate play dough Christmas cookies with beads, buttons and fabric scraps…

 

Last week’s “Build a Snowman” activity tray was such a big hit here with the hooligans.  I filled a sectioned tray with loose items that the kids could use to build and re-build fabric “snowmen” with.  That activity went over so well, I decided to do something similar this week.  Today, I set up a  Christmas Playdough Activity Tray filled with items that the children could use to make and decorate play dough “Christmas Cookies”.

play dough reindeer christmas cookies

Well, it was an even bigger hit than our snowman tray.  I had 3 girls here this morning, and they played with it for close to 2 hours.  It was so much fun.  And I have to admit that I was right in there with them.  I’m a sucker for decorating cakes and cookies, and I loved this activity as much as the girls did.

I’ll start by telling you how we made our play dough, and then I’ll list all of the items that went into the activity tray.

Making our play dough:

no cook play dough with glitter

We used The Imagination Tree’s 4 minute no-cook play dough recipe.  It really is the best play dough recipe I’ve ever used.  It’s soft and supple, and stored in an air tight container, it will stay soft for months.  If you find the dough to be too wet at first, just keep kneading it.  It takes a few minutes to work all the water in, and get it to the right consistency.

When we’d mixed our play dough, before colouring any of it, I split the batch into three balls.  I left one ball white, and I lightly tinted the other two with Wilton Icing Gels.  I kneaded a bit of pink into one ball, and a touch of blue into the other.  I wanted the colours to be soft and delicate – perfect for making dainty delicacies. :)  To make it sparkle and shine, I added a generous sprinkle of super-fine glitter.  Yep, that’s right!  I, self-admitted glitter-phobe have used glitter not once, but twice recently!  Check out the gorgeous painted and glittered CD ornaments we made last week!  I think the ticket for me is to use the super-fine stuff.  It really isn’t the nightmare that regular glitter is.  In play dough, any kind of glitter is a dream though – it stays contained, and adds such a great shimmer to your dough.3 colours of Christmas Cookie Playdough with glitter

While our play dough cooled, and the girls had their snack, I filled a sectioned tray with lots of goodies from the craft room:

What I put in our Christmas Playdough Activity Tray:

items in a Christmas Playdough Activity Tray

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Then I set it all out on a vinyl table cloth on the coffee table in our living room.  Actually, truth be told, it wasn’t a table cloth, it was the protective table-pad  for my dining room table.  It’s huge, but I folded it in half and tucked the excess under the coffee table.  It was perfect.

And then we got down to business making and decorating our play dough Christmas cookies!

play dough Christmas cookie collage

Playdough is such a great form of sensory play, and all that rolling, pinching, squeezing and squishing is wonderful for developing little hand muscles.

rolling and shaping Christmas Playdough cookies

The girls were in heaven with this activity.  They rolled, patted and shaped their cookies. We had cookies of all shapes and sizes going on: reindeer, and Christmas trees, candy canes and stars, and lots of hand shaped button cookies.

Christmas play dough button cookies

And they had a lovely time adding bows and buttons and all the other colourful odds and ends from the tray.

It was so much fun that the girls came right back to the table after nap-time, and played decorated a new batch of play dough until it was time for them to go home.

I’m pretty we’ll be spending quite a bit of time playing with our Christmas play dough throughout the next few weeks leading up to the holidays.

And why not?  Wouldn’t you want to play with this too?

Christmas play dough Activity tray surrounded by play dough cookies
We’re all about easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts and activities for kids this month.  To see all of our ideas, please visit my Hooligans Xmas pinboard.  You’ll find loads of simple but fun ways to keep your little ones creating, learning and having fun in the days leading up to Christmas.

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Snowflake Ornaments with Craft Sticks and Buttons http://happyhooligans.ca/craft-stick-snowflake-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=craft-stick-snowflake-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/craft-stick-snowflake-ornaments/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 05:27:29 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12187 Snowflake Ornaments with Craft Sticks and Buttons: an easy, fine-motor Christmas craft for kids…

 

So, by now you’ve

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snowflake ornaments  made with buttons and craft sticks

Snowflake Ornaments with Craft Sticks and Buttons: an easy, fine-motor Christmas craft for kids…

 

So, by now you’ve  probably noticed we get a little excited about Christmas crafting here in my daycare. As much as we do a lot of crafting throughout the month of December (generally one craft per day), I like to stick to projects that are easy for toddlers and preschoolers to make,  and I like to keep the supply list simple.  We made these snowflake ornaments with craft sticks and buttons the other day.  They were easy enough to make, but they look great, and they provided lots of opportunity for developing those fine-motor skills.

pile of colourful craft stick, button snowflakes

 

Supplies for craft stick snowflakes:

supplies for snowflake ornaments with craft sticks and buttons

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Confession time:  The “craft sticks” you see here are actually Starbucks’ stir sticks.  I grab a few extras every time I’m in there (which thankfully, isn’t often; I don’t get to Starbucks often; we don’t have one around here).  I just love how long and delicate these stir sticks are; perfect for snowflakes!  You could certainly use regular craft sticks to make these ornaments though, if that’s what you have on hand.  Mmmmm…  now I’m totally craving a Grande Cafe Americano!

Making our snowflake ornaments:

To start, I used my glue gun to form the stir stick snowflakes.  While I was busy gluing, the hooligans were rifling through the paint drawer choosing the colours for their craft.

Some frustration and how we conquered it:

Painting their snowflakes proved to be more challenging than they thought it might be.  Those stir sticks were pretty darn narrow compared to the regular and jumbo craft sticks we’re used to painting!  The youngest hooligan actually became quite frustrated every time her paint brush slipped off the stick and onto the table, so I coached her through it, assuring her that she was doing a fine job, and that it was absolutely ok if the paint went on the table, and that yes, it WAS tricky to paint such a skinny stick…

painting craft stick snowflake ornament

A little encouragement and positivity can go a long way.  And its important to remember when you’re creating with your child, that the focus not be on perfection or the finished product.  The process of creating, exploring the materials, indulging the senses, getting messy and spending time together are what’s important, and ultimately what your child will remember long after the craft itself has been forgotten.

proudly holding up her snowflake ornaments

When their snowflakes were dry, they brushed on some glitter glue, and then out came the buttons!

adding glitter glue to craft stick snowflake ornament

 

Ohhh, the buttons!  I love ‘em.  The kids love ‘em.  Is there anyone who doesn’t love buttons?playing in a box of buttons

Just look at them sinking their hands into that tray.  What a wonderful sensory experience!

The hooligans used a paintbrush and glue to apply their buttons to their sticks.

gluing buttons on snowflake ornaments

 

Let your child decide…

Some chose to cover every last bit of their snowflake with buttons, while others were more selective and added them sparingly.  Let your child decide how he wants to decorate his craft.  When a child says “I’m finished”, rather than suggesting they add more of this or that, I simply say “Ok, you’re done?  Are you happy with how it looks?  Occasionally they’ll change their mind, and want to continue, but more often than not, when they say they’re done, it’s because their project looks exactly the way they want it to.  Respect that.  Even if that snowflake has only 7 buttons on it, those 7 buttons are exactly where your child wanted them to be.  And in all honestly, a few years from now, when you take that little snowflake out to hang it on your Christmas tree, you’ll love it all the more for it’s quirky imperfections.

finished craft stick button snowflake ornaments

Aren’t they pretty?  And true to life: no two are exactly alike. :)

You can see ALL of our easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts and activities for kids on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard!

Christmas - pinterest

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CD Snowman Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/cd-snowman-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cd-snowman-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/cd-snowman-ornaments/#comments Sat, 30 Nov 2013 04:43:19 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12266 CD Snowman Ornaments – a cute and easy Christmas craft for kids…

This is the second time in a

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CD Snowman Ornaments

CD Snowman Ornaments – a cute and easy Christmas craft for kids…

This is the second time in a week that we’ve used a CD to make a Christmas ornament!  Last Friday we made some gorgeous glittered and painted CD ornaments.

And this morning, as I was having my coffee, the idea for these CD Snowman Ornaments came to me.

5 unique snowman ornaments made from old CDs.

Today was a P.A. Day so we had some of our hooligan grads with us for the day.  They loved this making these snowmen, but it was a great Christmas craft for  our toddlers and preschoolers too.  The process is simple, but kids will love all the steps involved: painting, glittering and gluing.

This is what we used to make our CD Snowman Ornaments:

supplies for CD Snowman ornaments

For your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post.  Thanks for your support!

 

How to turn a CD into a Snowman Ornament:

To start, give your CD a coat of white acrylic paint.

kids painting CDS

When your paint has dried (I always speed that process up with the help of a hair dryer), brush on some white glitter glue.  This added a pretty sparkle to our discs.

How to make a 3-D carrot nose:

For your carrot nose, cut a full-size sheet of orange tissue paper in half.  Fold this half sheet of tissue paper in half twice (once length wise, and once width-wise, just as you would to fold a face cloth.

Grab and pinch the middle of that piece, and twist.  Continue to twist, pinching the end of the “carrot”, until you’re happy with it.

White CD with a tissue paper carrot nose

Have your child push that carrot-nose through the hole from the back of the CD.  Trim the tissue paper to about a 1/2 inch at the back of the ornament.

Bring your snowman “to life”, using the buttons, beans and craft foam pieces.

gluing buttons and beans on a CD snowman ornaments

Sticking "cheeks" on the CD snowmen

Squeeze a hanging thread through the mose hole, and tie with a knot.

 

close up of CD Snowman ornaments

Isn’t this a sweet way to up-cyele your OLD CDs into some sweet Christmas ornaments?

Be sure to check out my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard to see the rest of our easy and inexpensive Christmas Crafts!

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Rascally Reindeer decorations – our alternative to Elf on the Shelf http://happyhooligans.ca/rascally-reindeer-decorations/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rascally-reindeer-decorations http://happyhooligans.ca/rascally-reindeer-decorations/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 19:34:29 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12231 Rascally Reindeer: hide these twig reindeer around the house for kids to look for in the mornings leading up

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rascally reindeer - twig reindeer ornaments

Rascally Reindeer: hide these twig reindeer around the house for kids to look for in the mornings leading up to Christmas…

Meet our Rascally Reindeer!  These reindeer decorations were originally going to be tree ornaments. They wound up being a bit big for my liking though, so I popped them into a potted plant and until I could figure out what to do with them.

The next morning, after watching the hooligans discover them in their silly location, it hit me!  These twig reindeer could be an alternative to Elf on the Shelf here in my daycare!

I was pretty tickled to think that a project gone wrong could end up being so much fun!

Our reindeer don’t get into any mischief at all.  They simply find new hiding spots each night, and they hunker down inconspicuously and wait for the hooligans to come looking for them in the morning. A reindeer game of hide-and-seek if you will…

Here’s what you’ll need to make your Rascally Reindeer Decorations:

supplies for rascally reindeer decorations

 For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.  We appreciate your support!

How to make your twig reindeer ornaments:

Simply glue a couple of eyes and a nose to your twig reindeer and let the fun begin!  Where WILL they show up?

Here are ours, trying to blend in among the clementines.

Rascally Reindeer Decorations hiding in a bowl of clementines

Found you!

Rascally Reindeer ornaments in the fruit bowl

And here they are appropriately hanging out in the Christmas Cactus.

Reindeer decorations in a Christmas Cactus

  They seem to like greenery.  Here we have one camping out in the hibiscus,

reindeer ornament in hibiscus plant

and another chillin’ in the spider plant.

Rascally Reindeer in the spider plant.

On this night, they even managed to escape into the backyard!

Reindeer decorations in the snow

Oh, those Rascally Reindeer!  We never know where we’re going to find them!

twig reindeer ornament - an alternative to Elf on the Shelf

 

If your looking for another alternative to Elf on the Shelf, you must pop over and see The Imagination Tree’s Kindness Elves.  Anna has a set of beautiful elves who promote kindness to others all throughout the month of December, and she’ll be sharing their good deeds daily with her followers.

If you enjoyed this simple reindeer activity, be sure to pop over to my Hooligans Xmas pinboard, and check out all of our easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts and activities for kids!

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Snowman Activity Tray http://happyhooligans.ca/build-snowman-activity-tray/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=build-snowman-activity-tray http://happyhooligans.ca/build-snowman-activity-tray/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 03:25:20 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12199  

Snowman Activity Tray: a fine motor, winter activity for kids…

Over the weekend, I put together this snowman

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"build a snowman" activity tray

 

Snowman Activity Tray:  a fine motor, winter activity for kids…

Over the weekend, I put together this snowman activity tray for the hooligans, and I couldn’t wait for then to get here this morning, and try it out!  The idea for this activity came to me Friday afternoon, when a reader commented on the black bean “eyes” on the toilet roll snowmen we made a few years ago.  I  got thinking about those snowmen with the beans and fabric scraps, and soon enough I was raiding my craft cupboards for bits and pieces that I could make a snowman activity with.

child building a snowman on a table top with craft scraps

 

I really like how creative and open-ended this activity is, and how it’s never the same thing twice.  It kind of reminds me of Mr. Potato Head that way; the parts are always the same, but the possibilities are endless depending on how you mix and match them.

Ok!  Let’s put this activity together for YOUR kids, and then I’ll show you the fun that the hooligans had with ours.

What I used to make my snowman activity tray:

supplies for snowman activity tray

For your convenience, affiliate links have been included.  Thank you for supporting us! 

I placed everything into the tray, and set it on the table along with several styrofoam meat trays (always sterilize your meat trays in the dishwasher before using them for crafting or play).  I also placed a thin fleece blanket on the table.   It had a kind of “felt board” effect, and kept the pieces from sliding around.

IMG_6178

The oldest chose to work within the defined frame of the styrofoam tray,

craft scraps snowman in a styrofoam tray

 

while the youngest preferred working directly on the table-top.

fine motor snowman activity

The middle hooligan loved simply collecting all of the bits and pieces and stacking and piling them in her tray.

stacking and piling items from the snowman activity tray

There were so many choices to make when it came to colours, shapes and patterns so the girls really got to exercise their decision-making skills!

 

indoor snowman building activity

 

For the youngest hooligans, there was much experimenting with the placement of their shapes; learning how to stack their snowballs, and where to place their snowman’s clothing and features.  For the preschooler, it was more about “styling” her snowman, and creating different looks with the various buttons, hats and scarves.

snowman building indoor activity

This snowman activity also tests fine-motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination.  Picking up and manipulating tiny objects like the buttons, beans and twigs in our tray are great ways to develop those skills.

This really was a huge hit here.  The girls played with it off and on all morning.  It’s a great indoor winter activity, and a fun way to keep the kids entertained AND learning.  Let us know if you try this at your place!  Better yet, share a picture on my Facebook wall if you do!

snowman parts on a fleece blanket

You can find all of our easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts and activities on my Hooligans Xmas pinboard!

Christmas - pinterest

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CD Christmas Ornaments with Paint and Glitter http://happyhooligans.ca/cd-christmas-ornaments-paint-glitter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cd-christmas-ornaments-paint-glitter http://happyhooligans.ca/cd-christmas-ornaments-paint-glitter/#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 03:12:26 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12133  

 

CD Christmas Ornaments with paint and glitter: an easy Christmas craft for kids…

Hang on

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CD Christmas Ornaments with paint and glitter

 

CD Christmas Ornaments with paint and glitter: an easy Christmas craft for kids…

Hang on to your hats, my lovelies!  We used GLITTER!  Lots and lots of glitter!  Yep!  You heard me right.  Those of you who’ve been following us for a while, know I’m a total glitterphobe. Truly, the thought of crafting with loose-glitter actually makes me a bit dizzy.  What’s come over me, you ask?  Well, a few weeks ago, I had to kill over an hour in Michael’s (yeah, torture, I know…),  and I guess being surrounded by all that dazzling, crafty goodness, I lost my senses for a moment.  I threw caution to the wind, and I picked up a dozen or so teeny-tiny packets of glitter, thinking we MIGHT just give it a go here.  Sooo, last week, we took plunge, and you know what?  It was AWESOME!  It’s true!!  Glitter DOES make everything better!  Check it out!  We made these gorgeous CD Christmas ornaments with paint and glitter!  Ohhhhh!  Aren’t they pretty?

painted and glittered cd christmas ornaments

I actually think my irrational fear of the stuff might be gone!  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  It really wasn’t bad at all!  We used the super-fine glitter, so that might have helped.  It didn’t go everywhere, and it didn’t get tracked all over the house like I thought it would.  It was really a very pleasant experience!  Let me tell you how we made our beautiful ornaments.

Supplies for CD Christmas Ornaments:

supplies for cd Christmas ornaments with paint and glitter

For your convenience, this post contains Affiliate links. 

How we made our CD Christmas ornaments with paint and glitter:

The hooligans started out by choosing a few paint colours to work with, and they painted their cds.  Some chose to keep their colours separate, and some blended them all together.   I chose to dip my brush into a couple of colours at a time, and kind of swirl the brush tip on the CD.  This made a really pretty effect.

CDs painted with acrylics

After the acrylics had dried (I gave them a blast with the hair-dryer), the hooligans squeezed on a generous helping of glitter glue and brushed it all over their CDs.  The more the merrier here.  You want those disks good and sticky to ensure the real glitter stays put.

glitter glue and glitter on a cd

If you’re not keen to jump aboard the glitter-train, you could totally call it a finished project right here.  They looked great at this point, but there was no stopping us;  it was full steam ahead.  Next stop: Glitter-town.

The hooligans selected 3 or 4 packets of glitter each, and they quite liberally dusted their cds with the stuff.  Ooooh my!  Can you even believe this is happening?

glitter covered cd and table top

Then we tipped the CDs upside down, and tapped any loose glitter off (I’ll add a couple of tips about this step at the end of the post), and we oooooh’d and ahhhh’d over what we’d created!

CDs covered in paint and glitter

Seriously!  Are you as excited as I am?

Then we placed the CDs by the fire, and when they were completely dry, I used a long length of gauzy ribbon to make a loop and a bow for each one.

painted and glittered cd christmas ornament hanging in tree

Aren’t they just the prettiest CD ornaments ever?

What do you think?  Are you up for making some?

painted, glittered cd ornaments

A couple of Glitter tips from the pros:

1) Suzanne from Interaction Imagination advises that you work over a tray when crafting with glitter.  That way you can tip any excess glitter into a baggy or a container, and save it for next time.

2) Anna from The Imagination Tree suggests having a ball of homemade play dough handy for your kids to use to pick up the excess glitter.  If you didn’t already know it, Anna is the QUEEN of play dough.  If you need a homemade play dough recipe, she’s your girl.

CD Christmas ornaments with paint and glitter

To see all of our easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts, be sure to click the following link and check out my Hooligans Xmas Craft board!

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Button Christmas Tree Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/button-christmas-tree-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=button-christmas-tree-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/button-christmas-tree-ornaments/#comments Fri, 22 Nov 2013 04:25:00 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12101

Button Christmas Tree Ornaments: an easy Christmas craft for kids, and a fun paint technique too…

 

These Button

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Brown and Red Button Christmas Tree Ornament

Button Christmas Tree Ornaments: an easy Christmas craft for kids, and a fun paint technique too…

 

These Button Christmas Tree Ornaments were really easy to make!  If you’re looking for a simple Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers, I think you’ll like this one.

The supply list is really basic, and and we’ve used a fun paint technique here as well!

This paint process is one that we’ve done many times, usually with golf balls.  Because our button trees are quite small, and golf balls are not, I looked for a substitute.  A lot of people use marbles for this process, but we don’t have any, so I figured pony beads would be the next best thing.  They worked well!

Supplies for making Button Christmas Tree Ornaments:

Colourful buttons and paint for button christmas tree ornamentsFor your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

Making our Button Tree Ornaments:

To start, I gave each of the hooligans a panel from a cereal box, and they painted it with several shades of green acrylic paint.  We could’ve just used one shade of green, but it’s way more fun to mix and swirl a few colours together, and using a few shades adds interest and dimension to whatever you’re painting.

After they’d painted their cardboard panels, I sped up the drying process with the help of a hair-dryer.

The girls then chose the colours they wanted to decorate their trees with.  One went with bright colours, the other chose metallic reds and golds.

Painting with pony beads:

One at a time, we popped their green panels into a cardboard box, squeezed in a few drops of each paint colour, and tossed in a few  pony beads.

pony beads and paint in a cardboard box

Then the hooligans shook and bounced their beads around the box, splattering the coloured paint around.

Next, I drew a triangle on the back of each painting, and the girls cut out their “trees”.  Older children will be able to do this by themselves, while younger ones will need some assistance.  Help only as much as necessary.  An important part of the process is giving your child the opportunity to develop his or her fine-motor skills.  The hooligans get lots of scissor practice here, and Miss 3 required no help at all, following those lines like a pro.  Miss 2 is beginning to master skill of cutting paper, but the cardboard was challenging, so I kind of put my hand over hers, and (a little awkwardly) helped her cut through the cardboard.

child cutting along lines of triangle

With their trees cut out, they got down to decorating with their buttons.

Squeezing glue from a bottle is great for building hand muscles and co-ordination, but to be honest, most of those bottles are hard even for ME to squeeze, so I like to pour a bit of glue into a small paper or plastic ketchup cup, (ahem, yes, I have been known to pocket a few of those every time I find myself at a fast-food restaurant.  Coffee stir sticks are another favourite of mine, but I digress… ) and they dip in with a paint brush.

Each girl got a handful of buttons to glue all over their Christmas trees.

To finish, they each painted a craft stick and stuck it to the back of their tree.

painting craft stick "tree trunks"

Aren’t these trees sweet?  They remind me of something you’d see in Whoville!

Button Christmas Tree Ornaments

And there you have it!  Super-cute, super-easy Button Christmas Tree Ornaments.   I hope you’ll give these a go at your house this Christmas!

Yellow, Pink and Blue Button Christmas Tree Ornament

Looking for more easy and affordable Christmas crafts for kids?  See all of our holiday projects and activities on my Hooligans Xmas Pinboard!

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Milk Jug Bird Feeder http://happyhooligans.ca/milk-jug-bird-feeder/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=milk-jug-bird-feeder http://happyhooligans.ca/milk-jug-bird-feeder/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2013 06:03:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12068 An easy milk jug bird feeder to make with kids:

We didn’t set out to make this milk jug

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Milk Jug Bird Feeder made from plastic container
An easy milk jug bird feeder to make with kids:

We didn’t set out to make this milk jug bird feeder today.  This idea was born when I needed a couple of plastic circles for a Christmas craft that we were making here in my daycare the other day.

As you probably know by now, I’m a big fan of crafting with recyclable materials whenever possible.  Not only does it keep our crafting costs down, using our spent cardboard and plastics to craft with, is a great way to teach children about the importance of re-using and re-purposing, and taking care of our earth.

Back to our bird feeders!  As I was saying, we were doing some Christmas crafting, we needed some sturdy plastic circles, so I grabbed a couple of these plastic jugs (which are actually vinegar jugs, but vinegar jug bird feeder just doesn’t have a great ring to it), and I cut out our circles and set it aside.  We did our crafting, and then we headed outside to play.playing with corn and chestnuts in the outdoor kitchen

We’re still enjoying the corn cobs and kernels that a friend dropped off for us a couple of months ago, We’ve got almost all of the cobs stripped now, and we’ve dumped all of the kernels into a bin with along with the chestnuts we collected back in October.   We often have this all set up on a table in the backyard with a few pots, pans, bowls and spoons, as a sort of play kitchen.

As I watched the hooligans “cooking” up their corn and Chestnuts Thursday morning an idea came to me:  We could use the cast off plastic jug from this morning’s craft to make a Milk Jug Bird Feeder!  And this is what we did:

What you’ll need to make a milk jug bird feeder:

How to make your bird feeder:

Using a pen or pencil, trace a circle onto the side of your plastic container.  You want to leave enough space at the bottom for your feeder to hold a few inches of bird food.  You can cut a hole on each side of the container like we did, or you can choose to have a hole on just one side.Milk jug with holes cut in side for bird feeder

Cut out the circles using a craft knife or scissors.  I found it easiest to start the cutting with the craft knife, but after an inch or so, I switched to scissors.

Fill your container with corn kernels or bird seed, and using the handle of the jug as a “hanger”, place your feeder in a tree.

children filling milk jug bird feeder with corn kernels

When the hooligans had finished filling our bird feeder, our youngest little one proudly walked it back to the corner of the yard where our playhouse and sandbox are located.  Not far from our slide and playlogs, we have an oak tree.  It’s not a huge oak tree, but a very important one none-the-less.  It holds our homemade wind chimes, our bucket and rope pulley system, and it supports our tight rope/pool noodle abacus.

toddler carrying milk jug bird feeder to the back of the yard

 

And now it has one more responsibility.  It’s the home for our new milk jug bird feeder!  Hopefully with the cooler, fall weather here to stay, it won’t take long for the birds and squirrels to find it.  I’ll let you know when they do!

milk jug bird feeder hanging in our tree

Tune in later this week to see the Christmas craft that we made with those plastic circles!

If you’re looking for some more simple bird-feeders to make with your kids, you’ll have to check out our:

Orange Cup Bird Feeders

Cheerio Bird Feeders

Corn and Chestnut Hearts

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Craft Stick Snowman Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/craft-stick-snowman-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=craft-stick-snowman-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/craft-stick-snowman-ornaments/#comments Sat, 16 Nov 2013 07:12:29 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12028  

Craft Stick Snowman Ornaments (and tips for crafting on a budget).

If you popped in earlier this week, you’ll

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Craft Stick Snowman Christmas Tree Ornament

Craft Stick Snowman Ornaments (and tips for crafting on a budget).

If you popped in earlier this week, you’ll know that we’ve started crafting for Christmas!  It’s early, I know, but many of you have told me that you like to plan ahead, so we’ve dusted off our holiday craft supplies, and we’re all geared up to inspire you!

Did you see the Coffee Filter Christmas Trees we made the other day?  They were really easy to make and very pretty – a perfect Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers.  They provided a great lesson in water absorption and colour-mixing  too!  Today we’re making Craft Stick Snowman Ornaments!  These snowmen are easy for young children to make too, using basic craft supplies.  And just look at them! Won’t they look adorable on your Christmas tree?

IMG_5511

Crafting on a budget:

If you’ve been following along with us for a while, you likely know that I like to keep things easy and affordable when it comes to crafting.  We generally use things that can be found around the house, or in nature, or in our recycle bin.

Crafting with kids doesn’t have to be fancy, and you can keep costs down by using common household items. Styrofoam produce trays, yogurt cups, stir sticks, plastic strawscereal boxescardboard tubes, paper bags and tissue paper are all highly prized items here! Keep your eyes open at thrift shops and second-hand stores for ribbons, buttons, yarn, beads, artificial flowers and fabric scraps.  And before you throw something in the recycle bin, ask yourself if you can use it for crafting.   By using free or cheap essentials as the “bones” for your kids’ craft projects,  you’ll can hit the dollar store for a few key craft supplies like googly eyes, foam shapes, pompoms, gems, paints, glue and pipe cleaners, and you’ll be able to craft right along with us.

Ok, let’s make ourselves a snowman craft!

Supplies for craft stick snowman ornaments:

supplies for craft stick snowmen ornaments

 For your convenience, this post contains Amazon links.

Making your Snowman Ornaments:

Before we got started, the hooligans explored the fabric and ribbons, and played around in the bowls of buttons and googly eyes.  While I cut their chosen fabric into strips for their scarves, they painted their craft sticks.

painting craft sticks for snowman ornaments

There was a bit of a wait while the paint dried, so they messed around in the buttons again, and then they spied the scissors in the craft bucket, and wanted to do some cutting.  I gave them some thin strips of paper, and they worked on their scissor skills for a few minutes while I dried the craft sticks with a hair dryer.

preschooler cutting strips of paper

Before moving on to the next step, I tied the fabric scarves around the craft stick.  A preschooler could likely do this herself, but my 2′s and just-3′s haven’t worked on “tying” yet.

With their scarves on, we were ready to decorate our snowmen.  The hooligans glued on their buttons and googly eyes, and their carrot noses.  In hind-sight the noses look more like duck beaks than carrots.  Cut your orange pieces narrower than I cut mine. :)

adding buttons to snowman ornaments

And for the final touch – the hat!  When I was planning this craft I was a little stumped about what to use for the snowman’s hat.  But it eventually hit me – tissue paper.  The hooligans glue crumpled up tissue paper the tops of their craft sticks.

craft stick snowman ornaments with tissue paper hats

To finish, I used a glue gun to attached a loop of silver yarn to the back of each stick.

And that, my lovelies, is all there is to making our craft stick snowman ornaments!  What do you think?

Craft stick snowman ornament hanging in christmas tree

 

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Coffee Filter Christmas Tree Ornament http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-filter-christmas-tree-ornament/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coffee-filter-christmas-tree-ornament http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-filter-christmas-tree-ornament/#comments Wed, 13 Nov 2013 18:56:01 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=12000

Coffee Filter Christmas Tree Ornaments – easy Christmas crafts for kids…

We officially kicked

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coffee filter christmas tree ornament

Coffee Filter Christmas Tree Ornaments – easy Christmas crafts for kids…

We officially kicked off our 2013 Christmas crafting season the other day by making these coffee filter Christmas tree ornaments!

This is an easy Christmas craft for toddlers and preschoolers to make.  Not only will they enjoy the artistic process, there’s an opportunity to learn about water absorption and colour blending, and of course there are the jewels.  The hooligans love the jewels for their sparkly beauty.  I love them for the fine-motor work out that they provide.

This is our second coffee filter craft in less than a week!  Pop over to CBC Parents to see the gorgeous Coffee Filter Poppies we made for Rembembrance Day, and then come on back and gather up your supplies.

Supplies for coffee filter Christmas trees:

supplies for Coffee filter Christmas tree ornaments

for your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post

* To contain messes and spills we worked on a plastic table cloth.  The ice cube tray was placed in a baking pan to prevent it from being tipped.

How to make a coffee filter Christmas Tree:

I put a little water in an ice cube tray.  You don’t need much; you want your colours to be intense.

I added a few drops of food colouring or a squirt of liquid watercolour to each section of the tray.  We used different shades of greens and blues for each section. In some sections I added two colours so the hooligans could stir them together and see some colour-mixing.

painting coffee filters with food colouring

When they’d finished stirring, the fun began.

Each hooligan dripped, brushed and tapped the coloured water onto their coffee filters.  Some chose to crumple their filters up and dunk them into the water.

If the colours weren’t intense enough, I would add a few drops of food colouring directly onto the wet coffee filters so the kids could swish those around.

green and blue coffee filter dyed with food colouring

Drying the filters:

You can lay the filters out on a baking sheet to air dry them, or do like we did, and hold them under the heat of a hair-dryer to speed up the process.

green coffee filters dyed with food colouring and liquid watercolours

Shaping and decorating our coffee filter trees:

Once dry, fold your filter, acordion-style, in half and then in half again.  Don’t aim for perfection here.  It’s nice to see the layers at the bottom of your “Christmas tree”.

Add a little glue between the layers to hold everything in place.  Now it’s time to add some bling!

craft jewels and painted dyed filters

The hooligans brushed their coffee filters with glue, and added their jewels to the tree.  I love how our one year old preferred to add her glue directly to the jewels, and place each one individually exactly where she wanted it. Manipulating these tiny jewels provides such a great fine-motor work-out for little fingers!

gluing gems on coffee filter Christmas tree ornament

When the jewels had dried in place, I punched a hole in the top of each tree, and added a silver thread for hanging.

coffee filter chirstmas tree decorationAren’t  they pretty?

coffee tree ornament made by toddler

 

Stay tuned!  We’ll be sharing many more easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts for kids in the days and weeks to come!

You can find all of our Christmas Crafts from past years here:

Happy Hooligans Christmas Crafts on Pinterest

on Pinterest on my Hooligans Xmas Crafts board!

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Fall Sensory Table http://happyhooligans.ca/fall-sensory-table/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fall-sensory-table http://happyhooligans.ca/fall-sensory-table/#comments Mon, 11 Nov 2013 06:55:17 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11964  

Fall Sensory Table Ideas…

Now that Hallowe’en is over, I’ll be sharing all the Fall activities we’ve been

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Fall Sensory Table for toddlers and preschoolers

 

Fall Sensory Table Ideas…

Now that Hallowe’en is over, I’ll be sharing all the Fall activities we’ve been doing. To start, we’ve had this Fall Sensory Table set up for week, and the hooligans have been exploring the colours, and textures of various fall items.

Wooden bowl filled with artificial sunflowers, pumpkins and apples on a mirrored fall sensory table

 

What is a Sensory Table?

If you’re not familiar with benefits of sensory play, please read Teach Preschool’s “Every Day Sensory Play in Preschool“.

Adding a mirror for play:

Earlier in the Fall, I kept our table outside with the items displayed on a mirror.  Mirror play adds an interesting dimension to an activity like this.  See other ways we’ve used our mirror for play: sensory play on our mirror and painting clouds on a mirror .

toddler exploring Fall Sensory Table

Suggested Materials for a Fall Sensory Table:

All of these items were thrift-shop finds or found around my home and yard; a sensory activity doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

We’ve used:

  • leaf-shaped candles
  • artificial leaves and flowers
  • small gourds and decorative balls
  • Indian corn
  • large plastic gems
  • small plastic apples.

You could also add real leaves, seed pods, chestnuts, acorns, mini pumpkins and corn kernels.  Choose items with interesting colours, shapes, patterns and textures.

gourds, flowers and decorative balls and bowls on a Fall sensory table

 

Tools for exploring at a sensory table:

Offer a variety of tools to promote fine motor development, and containers for sorting and transferring your treasures into.

sorting fall items into bowls and a muffin tin at the Fall Sensory Table

We have wooden bowls, containers and trays, and of course, a muffin tin is always fun.

Indian corn on the Fall Sensory Table

Tongs, tweezers and scoops help to prepare a child for using pencils and scissors, and using them requires co-ordination and concentration.

Stacking items on a Fall Sensory Table

Now that the weather is cooler, I’ve moved our Fall Sensory Table items indoors on a table in my living room. Over the past several weeks the hooligans have spent hours at the table, chatting and playing and exploring the beauty of Fall.

toddlers and preschoolers around a Fall  Sensory Table

At the end of the day, I simply re-arrange and tidy it up a little and leave it set out as a Fall display in our home.

wooden bowls for sorting into on a fall sensory table

How are you exploring Autumn in your home?  Do you have a Fall Sensory Table?  I’d love to hear about it if you do!

 

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Homemade Paper Dolls http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-paper-dolls/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-paper-dolls http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-paper-dolls/#comments Fri, 08 Nov 2013 11:38:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11926 Homemade Paper Dolls with fabric scraps, buttons and ribbons…

 

The hooligans and I have been working on an

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homemade paper dolls

Homemade Paper Dolls with fabric scraps, buttons and ribbons…

 

The hooligans and I have been working on an ongoing project for the past week or so.  We’ve been making a set of homemade paper dolls, using scraps from my fabric bin.

Making paper dolls is a great way to explore textiles with your child:

I don’t know about you, but I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to fabric and buttons and crafty odds and ends, and the hooligans love them too.  Rummaging through a bin of fabric scraps is such a wonderful sensory experience for kids.  There are so many textures to explore: satin, flannel, tweed, felt, cotton, fleece etc.  I’m a quilter, and most of the quilts I’ve made have been for babies and children, so many of the fabrics I have are bright, colourful, kid-friendly patterns, so they are a delight for children to look at and pour over.

Sifting through a pile of buttons is also a great sensory activity.  There are so many colours and styles to look at, and the feel of the buttons, and the sound that they make as they rattle together is wonderful.  You wouldn’t believe how many adults I’ve heard from who say that one of their fondest childhood memories is playing with their mother’s or grandmother’s button collection.

Homemade Paper Doll supplies:

buttons, ribbon, fabric scraps and wool for making homemade paper dolls

 

Where can I get white cardboard?

Many of our craft projects start out on a piece of cardboard.  Cereal boxes are perfect for most of what we do.  However, there are times when we need to start out with a piece of white cardboard.  Some food packaging is white on the inside, so I always keep those boxes, but here’s where I get large pieces of white cardboard:  I have a friend who works for a food packaging company (they make cake boxes, cereal boxes, and such).  She brings me the cast off ends of their large rolls of board.  Sometimes these are large sheets, and sometimes, they’re narrow strips a couple of feet long.  Either way, they’re perfect for all of the crafting we do.

IMG_5163 homemade cardboard "paper" dolls

 

How to make your paper dolls:

I began by drawing a very basic paper doll on a sheet of white paper.  I more or less used a “gingerbread man” shape.

Then I folded the piece in half, right down the middle of the drawing, and cut it out, using one side of the drawing as a guide, so the cut-out would be perfectly symmetrical.

I traced that shape on to my white cardboard, and cut it out.  Voila!  A Paper Doll!  Ok, so technically it’s a cardboard doll, but you know what I mean.

How to make hair for a homemade paper doll:

To make the hair for our paper dolls, I looped a long length of yarn several times, knotted it in the middle, and cut through the looped ends. You can add a ribbon to cover the knot in the hair if you want to.

2 homemade paper dolls

 

Decorating our paper dolls:

For the clothes for our paper dolls, the hooligans picked the fabrics and ribbons that they liked, and I roughly cut the pieces to fit the dolls, and they glued them in place.  Don’t worry about being too exact here, you can trim them to fit later.

They dressed their dolls with skirts, tops, leggings, belts, buttons and shoes (which we cut from craft foam pieces).

To finish, we used googly eyes, pink craft foam circles and markers to make the dolls’ faces.

paper dolls made from cardboard and fabric scraps

Aren’t they just the sweetest?

Looking for more easy and inexpensive toy ideas?  Check out our

Cardboard Construction Set

Easy, Indoor Hopscotch

Flat People

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Coffee Filter Poppies http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-filter-poppies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coffee-filter-poppies http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-filter-poppies/#comments Wed, 06 Nov 2013 19:30:48 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11939

Coffee Filter Poppies – an easy Remembrance Day craft for kids…

For those of you who observe

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coffee filter poppies

Coffee Filter Poppies – an easy Remembrance Day craft for kids…

For those of you who observe Remembrance Day or Veterans’ Day, pop over to CBC Parents to learn how to make these lovely Coffee Filter Poppies.  Not only is this a beautiful craft to do with your children, and an opportunity to gratitude and your country’s history, it’s a great lesson in water absorption as well.

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I Spy Sensory Bin http://happyhooligans.ca/i-spy-sensory-bin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=i-spy-sensory-bin http://happyhooligans.ca/i-spy-sensory-bin/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 16:10:38 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11332 I Spy Sensory Bin: fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers

On the last evening of summer vacation, before

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I spy Sensory Bin

I Spy Sensory Bin: fine motor activity for toddlers and preschoolers

On the last evening of summer vacation, before the Hooligans returned from their 2 month summer break, it occurred to me to make a sensory bin for the kids to dig into on their first day back.  I put together this I Spy Sensory Bin, and they loved it!  The inspiration for my I Spy Bin came from the brilliant  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Sensory Bin over at Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes. Thanks for the great idea, Sandi!

I Spy Bin - a sensory treasure hunt

Rainbow Rice base:

For a base in our I Spy Bin, I used our Homemade Rainbow Rice.   Making coloured rice is super-quick and easy.  We use a mess-free, kid-friendly method to make ours.  Get the recipe for our Rainbow Rice here.

As for the goodies in the bin, I collected odds and ends from our toy room and craft cupboards.

What to put in your sensory bin:

small items and coloured rice in a sensory bin

Anything goes really.  Just have a look around, and collect small colourful objects that you think your child would enjoy exploring.

Tools and instruments for a sensory bin:

instruments for scooping and sorting

  • scoops
  • small spoons
  •  tweezers
  • tongs
  • Meat Ball Scoop (always the most popular tool in the bin)
  • glass jars
  • coloured cups and bowls
  • ice-cube trays
  • muffin tins
  • sectioned trays (I love re-using the plastic trays that chocolates and cookies come packaged in)

use plastic chocolate and cookie trays for sorting

 Dig in!

That’s all there is to it.  Now invite your child to explore and discover the contents of the bin.


IMG_2460

The hooligans have spent hours scooping, pouring and sifting through the rice.

A sensory bin is a great fine motor activity.  Using small spoons, scoops tweezers and tongs encourage muscle development, and help prepare a child for holding a pencil or scissors.

child transferring 2 glass bead on a small spoon

A sensory bin also helps develop math and counting skills children sort and group items ms into the bowls and containers.

recycled, sectioned cookie tray for sorting items

And above all, it’s just a whole lot of fun to dig your hands into a bin like this. The feel and sound of the rice, and the vibrant colours are so inviting.  The hooligans spent hours and hours playing with this one throughout the month of September.

What do you say?  Will you give an I Spy Bin a try?

child scooping rice from I Spy bin into a sectioned bowl

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Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds http://happyhooligans.ca/roasted-pumpkin-seeds/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=roasted-pumpkin-seeds http://happyhooligans.ca/roasted-pumpkin-seeds/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 23:27:17 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11802 Super-easy recipe for perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds…

Aside from the chocolate, one of my favourite things about Hallowe’en is

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pumpkin seeds

 Super-easy recipe for perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds…

Aside from the chocolate, one of my favourite things about Hallowe’en is that when it’s all over, we make  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

If you’ve never tasted them before, oh MY, you don’t know what you’re missing!  And if you love them, but you’ve never made them, what are you waiting for?  It couldn’t be easier!  Honestly!

The hooligans and I whipped up a batch of perfectly roasted pumpkin seeds this morning, and they were heavenly: all nutty, crunchy, perfectly golden-brown, salty deliciousness!  Mmmmm…  my mouth’s watering again just thinking about it!  Let’s get you started so you can make some of your own!

Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe:

pumpkin seeds and sea salt

for your convenience, this post contains affiliate links

Ingredients:

  • pumpkin seeds
  • olive oil (or butter, vegetable oil, canola oil etc.)
  • Sea Salt

coating pumpkin seeds with olive oil

 How do you roast pumpkin seeds?

  1. In a colander, rinse the seeds under  cold running water to remove all pumpkin pulp and stringy bits.
  2. To dry your pumpkin seeds, COULD lay them out on a paper towel and pat them dry, but to keep things easy, I just leave them in the colander, and stir them around for a minute or two with a paper towel in my hand.  If the paper towel gets too soggy, I swap it for a dry one.  Don’t worry if your seeds aren’t completely dry; they’ll be fine.
  3. Transfer the seeds to a bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil, and give them a stir until they’re all coated.  Go easy on the oil.  A little goes a long way.  I probably used 1 tsp oil for about 2 cups of seeds this morning.
  4. Now sprinkle them with Sea Salt, stir well, and spread in as single layer on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Take them out, give them a stir, and pop them back in for another 8-10 minutes.

Oven temperatures vary.  In my oven I’m good at the 9 minute mark both times.   You’re looking for your seeds to be a beautiful, golden brown, but they can burn quickly if you don’t keep an eye on them.

When they’re done, roasted pumpkin seeds are HOT!  You’ll hear them sizzling and popping, so be sure to give them a few minutes before eating them.    I know.  It’s torture.  They smell soooo good.

toasted pumpkin seeds

Psst….  anybody out there love a little sweet with their salty?  Want to know what I tossed in with my toasted seeds this morning?

candy corn

Candy Corn.

Oh yeah.

THAT’s what I’m talking about!

candy corn and roasted pumpkin seeds

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Simple Painting Technique for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/simple-painting-technique-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=simple-painting-technique-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/simple-painting-technique-for-kids/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 04:02:52 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11505

“Scrape Painting” with a credit card – a simple painting technique for kids

Have you ever tried painting

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Scrape Painting with a credit card - happy hooligans

“Scrape Painting” with a credit card – a simple painting technique for kids

Have you ever tried painting with a credit card?    This simple painting technique for kids is a fun way for children to explore colours and colour blending in a new way.  The process is fun, and the results are always beautiful.

Whenever we try an abstract painting technique, we like to use our finished work as the canvas for another project.

In the past we’ve done that with our smoosh-painting, and apple stamping projects, and today we turned our finished paintings into Autumn collages.

So what is this simple painting technique for kids?  We call it “Scrape Painting”; let’s have a look!

Gather your supplies:

supplies for painting with a credit card

  • a “canvas” (we used styrofoam produce trays sterilized in the dishwasher)
  • paints in Fall colours
  • expired credit cards/gift cards
  • items from nature
  • glue

Painting with a credit card:

Lightly drizzle and dot your canvas with paint.  Because the scraping process spreads the paint thin, a little goes a long way.  

Now have your child drag a credit card through all of the paint colours.

scrape painting - a simple painting technique for kids

Doesn’t it look amazing?

Colours blended with a credit card

Young children tend to enjoy this paint technique so much that they repeat it over and over and end up blending all of their colours into one. Don’t sweat it.  If they love what they’re doing, roll with it.   The most important thing here, is not what the artwork looks like, but that they’re learning and creating, and having fun.  They can always add a few more drops of paint to get those colours streaking through again, like we’re doing here:

drizzling and scraping paint colours together

 When the hooligans were happy with their work, we left the paintings to dry, and we went for a walk through the neighbourhood to collect items from nature for our our collages.

Autumn collage on srape-painted background

We gathered leaves, seeds, pods, dried blooms and twigs, and back home, the hooligans glued them to their paintings.

Aren’t they lovely?  What do you think?  Will you give this simple painting technique a try with your kids?

Scrape Painting - a simple painting technique for kids is used as a backdrop for a Fall Collage

 Looking for more easy painting techniques for kids?  Check out our:

Painting Fall Colours with Golf Balls 

Marbleizing with Shaving Cream and Food Colouring

Smoosh Painted Fabulous Fall Collage

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Pumpkin Art for Toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/pumpkin-art-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pumpkin-art-toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/pumpkin-art-toddlers/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 15:34:17 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11735 Pumpkin Art for Kids – a simple Halloween project for toddlers and preschoolers, which combines art and fine motor

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pumpkin art for toddlers and preschoolers - happy hooligans

Pumpkin Art for Kids – a simple Halloween project for toddlers and preschoolers, which combines art and fine motor development…

I have one last, little Halloween craft to share before the big night arrives, and I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, this may be the only pumpkin craft we’ve done this Halloween season.

There were no defined expectations of what the art should look like; this was just an opportunity for the hooligans to explore colour mixing and to combine a few fine motor activities: painting, stamping, ripping and cutting while creating some Halloween art.

Supplies we used:

  • paint (red, orange, yellow, and a very small amount of brown)
  • paint brushes
  • small cube of styrofoam
  • strips of white paper
  • black paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • large piece of cardboard or construction paper (for the canvas)

Making our pumpkin art:

I gave each of the hooligans a large piece of white cardboard, and three small containers of paint (red, orange and yellow).

Paint & glue tip for toddlers: Ketchup cups from fast food restaurants are perfect for holding small amounts of paint or glue when we’re crafting.

 

The girls painted their canvases as they liked, mixing and blending their paint colours.  They knew we were making pumpkins, but I left it up to them to paint whatever sizes/shapes they wished.

toddler mixing paint colours

I love how she ended up stretching right out on the floor and getting into her work.

Painting Pumpkins - a lesson in colour mixing

As we waited for the paint to dry, they worked on their pumpkins’ eyes and teeth.  Depending on the ages of your children, they can either rip their shapes or use scissors to cut them.

For the teeth, have your child cut a strip of white paper into small pieces.

For the eyes, they can cut or rip a couple of black circles/ovals/triangles.

pumpkin painted by preschooler

Introducing your child to using scissors:

Our littlest hooligan is determined to master the art of cutting.   Every day, as soon as we enter the craft room, she asks to “snip”, and she’ll sit for easily a half hour working patiently away with a pair of small scissors and narrow strips of paper;  she’s really gotten the hang of it this past week.   There’s proof here that there’s no real rule to follow when it comes to the age at which to introduce scissors to your child.  This little one isn’t yet two, but she has advanced fine motor control, so she was ready.  Just know your child, and follow his or her lead, and of course, be near by to supervise.  Here are some terrific scissor exercises for children  if you’re looking to get yours started.

one year old learning to use scissors

They finished off their pumpkin by dipping a styrofoam cube into some brown paint, and stamping a stem (or maybe I should say many stems). :)

stamping "stems" onto pumpkin art

Happy Hallowe’en!

finished pumpkin paintings done by a toddler and preschooler

Looking for more Halloween art ideas for kids?  Check out our:

Smoosh & Stamp Pumpkins

Easy Skeleton Hands

Paint Print Ghosts

Sponge Painted Ghosts

 

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Skeleton Foot Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/skeleton-foot-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=skeleton-foot-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/skeleton-foot-craft/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 03:25:26 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11724 Did you see the adorable Skeleton Hands that we made yesterday? If not, pop over and have

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Simple Skeleton Foot

Did you see the adorable Skeleton Hands that we made yesterday?  If not, pop over and have a look, and then come on back to see the equally cute Skeleton Foot Craft that I’m featuring today.

Ok, so when we finished our hand craft yesterday, we had plenty of styrofoam “bones” left over,and I thought “hey, why not do another skeleton craft to use them up?”

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the ‘bones” were simply pieces of a painted styrofoam meat tray that I cut into narrow strips, and the hooligans further chopped into small pieces.

painted styrofoam strips are the "bones" for a skeleton foot craft

We changed things up a little bit with our skeleton feet, but for the most part the process is the same as it was in yesterday’s post.

To make our foot craft, you’ll need:

  • white paint
  • black styrofoam meat tray (sterilized in dishwasher)
  • strips of painted styrofoam (see yesterday’s skeleton craft for details)
  • glue
  • paintbrush
  • bowl of warm, soapy water/towel (optional, but makes for easy clean-up)

To make the hooligans’ footprints, I sat each child on a low stool and painted their foot with black paint.

This is of course a wonderful sensory experience, and each child was happy to share how the paint felt on the sole of their foot: “It’s slippery”, “it’s cold”, “it’s soft”, and “it’s ‘wery wery’ wet” were a few of the descriptive phrases we heard.

Then I helped each child to carefully step down onto the styrofoam tray, and I gently pressed each toe down so we’d have a solid impression of the foot.

A quick blast with the hairdryer had the painted footprints dry in a matter of seconds, and the girls proceeded to glue the “bones” to their skeleton feet.

3 white painted footprints on styrofoam meat trays

And at the end of the day, this is what each hooligan took home with them!

skeleton hand and foot crafts

 

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Easy Skeleton Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/easy-skeleton-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-skeleton-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/easy-skeleton-craft/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 00:11:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11702 Make skeleton hands with some paint and a styrofoam meat tray…

I was over at The Crafty Crow the

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Skeleton Hands Craft
Make skeleton hands with some paint and a styrofoam meat tray…

I was over at The Crafty Crow the other day when I happened upon these adorable DIY Spook Pops by Fellow Fellow.  I sat looking at my screen for a few minutes, in love with those simple little skeletons, and ta-da…the idea for this easy skeleton craft was born.

We kicked off our morning today, with a little lesson about skeletons.  I wasn’t sure how much the hooligans knew already – they’re only 2, 3 and 4, so I talked about how your skeleton is a framework of bones inside your body, and that the bones are all connected to each other.

I also explained how the Doctor can take a picture of your bones using an x-ray machine, and we looked at images of a skeletons and of x-rays on the internet.  Then we got down to work.

The supplies for making our skeletons are very basic:

supplies for skeleton hand x-ray craft

  • for the “bones”:  black styrofoam meat or produce tray (sterilized in dishwasher)
  • square of white cardboard (alternatively, you could glue a piece of white paper to a panel of a cereal box)
  • white and black paint
  • paint brushes
  • glue

How to make your skeleton hand:

Have the kids brush the black styrofoam meat tray with some white paint.  No need to ensure full coverage here.  If there’s some black peeking through that’s totally fine.  Actually, that’s great.

While that’s drying, have your child make his handprint on the white cardboard.  I brushed each hooligan’s hand with black paint and helped press it to the card.  You want your child’s hand to make full contact with the card, so help them by gently pressing and jiggling their hand against the card.

a palm and fingers painted black makes a great skeleton handprint

 

A bucket of soapy water and a towel on the floor beside us made for a quick clean up.

While the hooligans were waving and blowing on their handprints to speed up the drying, I quickly cut the styrofoam meat tray into long thin (very thin) strips.

styrofoam bones for skeleton craft

 

Then I had the hooligans cut those strips up into small pieces.

cutting styrofoam - great fine motor / scissor skill development

Then, using a paint brush, they covered their handprints with glue and filled them in with their styrofoam “bones”.

gluing styrofoam "bones" onto hands for an x-ray craft

I LOVE the way they turned out!

kids x-ray craft - 3 skeleton hands

If you liked this simple Halloween Craft, be sure to check out our:

Skeleton Foot Craft 

and our

Monster Hands too!

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Why is it called Candy Corn? http://happyhooligans.ca/why-is-it-called-candy-corn/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=why-is-it-called-candy-corn http://happyhooligans.ca/why-is-it-called-candy-corn/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 02:51:31 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11683

I finally figured out why they call it Candy Corn, and it only took me 46 years…

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Why do they call it Candy Corn

I finally figured out why they call it Candy Corn, and it only took me 46 years…

Ok, tell me I’m not alone.  Tell me I’m not the only one who never quite understood how Candy Corn ever got its name.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve liked the stuff, but the name has always puzzled me.  I never quite understood the “corn” part.  Why corn?  I mean it’s a striped triangle.  Candy CONE maybe, but candy CORN?  It just didn’t make sense to me.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, candy corn is a treat that, in some parts, is associated with Halloween.  The candies are soft and sweet and a little chewy.  They kind of taste a little like a marshmallow.

why is it called candy corn

I can remember, as a kid, wondering what the “corn” bit was all about, but I guess I just accepted it.  I think about it briefly every October when the candies make their appearance, but it’s only ever a fleeting thought.  I’ve never bothered to actually look into WHY it’s called what it is.

And then one day a couple of weeks ago – BAM.  I had my A-HA moment while sitting in the driveway with one little hooligans who was waiting for her Mom to arrive.  We were picking kernels off our corn cobs (a project that’s kept us busy for a few weeks now).  I thought it would be fun to line a few kernels up to see if they looked like teeth, and THAT’s when it hit me.

real corn kernels look like candy corn

How had I missed this?  Every fall we spend days or even weeks plucking all of the kernels off a couple dozen ears of corn.

How had I not seen these bands of yellow and orange, and the white tip that connects the kernel to the cob.  

kernels of real corn look like kernel corn

Candy CORN.  Of COURSE!  It was so ridiculously simple.  Too simple.  How had I not figured it out before now?

candy corn kernel beside real corn kernel

I had a good laugh about it, and then excitedly shared my big news with my boys and my husband, and guess what.  THEY had always wondered why it was called candy corn too!

Tell me we’re not the only ones!!

If you’re looking for a super-sweet candy corn craft, check out these totally easy and adorable Candy Corn Paper Sculptures by Creative Family Fun!

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Cork Owls http://happyhooligans.ca/cork-owls/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cork-owls http://happyhooligans.ca/cork-owls/#comments Sun, 27 Oct 2013 05:20:19 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11672

Cork owls with buttons and fabric scraps…

In case you hadn’t noticed we kinda like owls

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Cork Owl Craft - happy hooligans

Cork owls with buttons and fabric scraps…

In case you hadn’t noticed we kinda like owls around here.  Actually, we kinda love them.  One little hooligan in particular is crazy about them which is just fine by me ’cause there’s nothin’ cuter than an owl craft.  Just check out our Spooktacular Halloween Owls, our Paper Plate Owls and our Adorable Owls if you need proof. :)

The hooligans weren’t involved in  hooligans in making these owls.  They were just a little somethin’ I whipped up one weekend as a surprise for Monday morning.

They were super-easy to make with a glue gun and a few craft scraps:

What you’ll need to make your cork owls:

  • glue gun
  • corks
  • buttons
  • flannel scraps
  • felt
  • stick

How to:

For the wings, I cut narrow, pointy ovals from a piece of felt, and then cut a smaller version from a scrap of flannel. I layered those and hot-glued them to the sides of the owls.

For the eyes of one owl, I glued small black buttons onto a couple of larger white buttons and glued them in place.  For the other owl, I found a couple of large white buttons that had a small metal centre.  They looked perfect as they were, so I didn’t bother adding a black button to them.

Then I added a small felt beak.

cork owls with fabric scraps and buttons

To finish the craft off, just for fun, I hot-glued both owls to a sturdy stick.  What do you think?  Cute or what?

The girls think so!

Child carrying cork owl on a stick.

 

And if you think these are sweet, you have to pop over and check out Molly Moo’s Wine Cork Animals!  You’ll love those too!

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Painted Ghost Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/painted-ghost-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=painted-ghost-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/painted-ghost-craft/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 18:50:32 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11654 Hallowe’en Stamping with sponges and corks…

I had only my two youngest hooligans here today so we kept things

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painting ghosts with sponges and corks

Hallowe’en Stamping with sponges and corks…

I had only my two youngest hooligans here today so we kept things sweet and simple with this painted ghost craft.

The girls loved this activity because it combined two favourites: paint and stamping, and I loved it because it was easy enough for them to do with very little help, and they turned out super-cute!

sponge painted ghosts

Supplies for stamping ghosts:

corks, sponges and paint for stamping ghosts

  • black and white paint
  • sponges
  • corks
  • cardboard (we used long narrow strips, but the inside of a cereal box would be perfect)
  • styrofoam meat tray (always sterilize in the dishwasher first)
  • jar lids
  • raffia & hole punch

The process:

Trim the top two corners of your sponge to round the top of your sponge a little.

Pour some white paint into the styrofoam tray and let your little ones dip their sponges and stamp onto the cardboard.

Painting with a sponge dipped in white paint

The sponges soaked up quite a bit of paint so I had to frequently add more white paint to the tray.  I showed the girls how to press down hard enough on their sponges to flatten them right out, using two hands if one didn’t make a dark enough print.

stamping ghosts with sponges and paint

We didn’t bother to let our painted ghosts dry before moving on to the next step; I poured a little black paint into the jar lids and they dipped their corks into it and stamped eyes all over their ghosts.  You won’t need as much black paint as you see in the photo; I ended up scooping some out because I could see it was going to be far more than they needed.

stamping ghost eyes with corks

When they were finished, I punched two holes in the top of each piece of cardboard and tied some raffia through the holes so they can hang their ghosts on a door knob when they get home.

Purple and orange raffia for hanging ghost craft

Aren’t they sweet?  And how easy was that?!

stamped halloween ghosts with sponges and corks

 

ghost door-hanger craft

 Want to see some more simple but adorable ghost crafts?  Check out our:

Paint Print Ghosts

and our

Cotton Ball Ghosties

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Salt and Ice Experiment http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-and-ice-experiment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=salt-and-ice-experiment http://happyhooligans.ca/salt-and-ice-experiment/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 04:33:50 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11625 Put a spooky spin on a classic salt and ice experiment…

A salt and ice experiment is always a

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Haunted Hallowe'en Hand Melt - happy hooligans

Put a spooky spin on a classic salt and ice experiment…

A salt and ice experiment is always a huge hit here in our daycare.   You can see how we’ve done it before with our Ice Age Bin and our Dino Dig.

We talk about why salt melts ice, and watching how quickly the erosion process takes place is pretty amazing, but I’m not sure how much the whole scientific aspect means to the hooligans.  It’s the digging that they remember from year to year.  The task of freeing a bunch of treasures frozen in a block of ice always is so captivating that they always stay at it until every last goodie has been hacked, chopped or melted out of its icy tomb.

Last week I thought to turn this simple kids’ science experiment into a Hallowe’en activity, using surgical gloves, food colouring and some hallowe’en craft items.  It was a hit, and although the hands were quicker to melt than the solid blocks of ice we’ve used in the past, it still kept the girls entertained and learning for close to an hour.

To make our Haunted Hands we used:

surgical gloves and treasures to freeze in the icy hands

 

  • surgical gloves
  • twist ties
  • craft items and hallowe’en dollar store items (beads, buttons, googly eyes, chopped up straws, craft foam pieces etc.)
  • water
  • food colouring

To start, the hooligans dropped the items into the hands and we worked them down into the fingers of the gloves.

Then I filled the hands with water, and holding the glove at the top, I added a few drops of food colouring.  There was a lesson in colour mixing here too, as we didn’t have any orange food colouring, and had to add drops of red and yellow to one glove.  I gave each glove a a twist and secured it tightly with a twist-tie.  You’ll likely have to give them a little shake to distribute the food colour throughout the water evenly.  To be safe, you might want to do this over the sink.surgical glove filled with purple water and halloween items

 

Then we placed the gloves on a cookie sheet and popped the whole thing into the freezer.

A few days later we took them out, and to remove the gloves, I quickly ran the hands under some cold water.  Then with a pair of scissors I made several cuts in the glove, from the wrist as far down to the fingers as I could go without putting too much pressure on the fingers.  Then I gently slid the glove off the hand and fingers.  Take your time and work carefully and gently here so you don’t snap the fingers off.

frozen, water-filled surgical gloves for kids' science experiment

 

Tools and instruments for melting ice with salt:

coloured salt and instruments for melting ice in kids' science experiment

  •  coloured salt (several spoonfuls of salt mixed with a few drops of food colour)
  • syringes and medicine droppers
  • pate knives, small spoons
  • wide paint brushes
  • large shallow storage container
  • bowl of water

We took the whole thing outside to our handy-dandy second-hand coffee table (the best 6 bucks I’ve ever spent), and they got to work:

sprinkling and pouring…

sprinkling salt over ice - kids science experiment

pouring water over ice in a kid's science experiment

and they chopped and scraped and scrubbed…

using pate knives, small spoons and brushes to melt ice with salt in a kid's science experiment

They continued to shake and spoon salt over the ice and they used the syringes and droppers and scoops to transfer into the larger container.

 

kids working together to melt ice with water

And they worked together until they got the very last halloween goody out of the ice.

kids melting frozen ice-hands with coloured salt and water

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Kid’s Birthday Party Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/birthday-party-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=birthday-party-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/birthday-party-activity/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 03:23:04 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11597 It’s a party game, it’s a craft, it’s a group project! This is the perfect Kids’ Birthday Party Activity

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3 foot birthday cake craft - birthday activity - birthday party game for kids

It’s a party game, it’s a craft, it’s a group project!  This is the perfect Kids’ Birthday Party Activity for creative toddlers and preschoolers…

I’m so excited about this post!

We had a birthday here in the daycare today, and I thought it would be fun for the hooligans to collaborate to create something fabulous for the birthday girl to take home at the end of the day.

And so I provided them with a 3-foot tall, 3 tiered “birthday cake” that they could decorate together.

3 foot birthday cake craft that kids can decorate

I didn’t really have a plan other than the drawing and the foam stickers, and therefore, no real idea of what the finished project would look like.   It all just played out, with several of the ideas, like the “icing” and the “candles” coming to me as the kids were creating.  So when the hooligans finished up, just before lunch, I was thrilled with how it all turned out, and that our just-turned-three-year-old would be taking such a great keepsake home with her!

You know what else I’m really excited about?  How versatile this activity is!  It could be a group activity at a kid’s birthday party, or you could make smaller one or two-tiered cakes for preschoolers to decorate individually.  Cupcakes would also be a cute and easy version of this craft too!

Provide a blindfold, and you’ll have a kids’ party game similar to Pin the Tail on the Donkey!

Because we were working on a vertical work surface , I wanted the hooligans to use materials that wouldn’t require glue, and with the exception of the tissue paper and craft sticks, I did.

Supplies we used:

supplies for best kids' birthday party idea for your shopping convenience, I’ve included Amazon affiliate links in this post

How we made our giant Birthday Cake Craft:

I started by drawing (in pencil) a very basic three-tiered birthday cake.  You don’t have to get fancy or worry about any imperfections because the kids will cover much of it with their decorations.

Then I traced over my pencil lines with coloured Sharpies.  Then I tacked the cardboard to the wall, and let the hooligans get to work.

Birthday Party Idea for kids - decorating a giant paper birthday cake

They got busy sticking stickers and dabbing dabbers, and licking and sticking the Magic Nuddles (if you’ve never heard of them, check out the link I provided above – they’re awesome!).

TWO hours of fun and creativity!

The hooligans were positively in their glory, and are you ready for it?  They were at it for close to TWO hours!  Yep.  Two hours.  They LOVED it.  This was one of the reasons I was so excited to share this with you!  If you little ones like crafting, having a huge canvas like this to work on will keep them happy for a good long time!

The Icing:

tissue paper icing for birthday cake craft

To make the “icing” look puffy, we used tissue paper.  I tore full sheets of coloured tissue paper in half, and the hooligans gently twisted and crumpled the pieces.  They then “painted” some glue onto the “icing” area of the cake, and then I helped them crunch and stick the tissue paper onto each of the tiers of the cake.

IMG_4577

The Candles:

craft stick candles and yellow foam flames

While the kids were busy sticking and dabbing, I painted 3 craft sticks (I trimmed one end to a point), and I cut three “flames” out of yellow adhesive craft foam.  The birthday girl stuck the flames on the candles, and I used a glue-gun to stick the candles to the back of the cake.

When the hooligans finally decided they were finished, I cut the cake out of the cardboard.

And here it is, as tall as the birthday girl! Isn’t it awesome?

IMG_4609


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Paper Plate Owls http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-plate-owls/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paper-plate-owls http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-plate-owls/#comments Fri, 18 Oct 2013 04:06:16 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11574

Turn a paper plate and some craft scraps into an adorable Paper Plate Owl..

We made these paper

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paper plate owls

Turn a paper plate and some craft scraps into an adorable Paper Plate Owl..

We made these paper plate owls on a total whim today!  This morning, one of the hooligans said she’d like to make another owl craft.  We’ve made adorable toilet roll owls, and more recently , our Spooktacular Hallowe’en Owls, so I had to put my thinking cap on to come up with something a little different for today’s craft.   I took a peek through our craft cupbiards and I came across a stack of paper plates just itching to be put to good use. :)

These owls involved several fun and interesting process, and I think they’re too cute for words!   Ready?

Gather your supplies:

 

supplies for making paper plate owls

(for your convenience, Amaazon Affilifate links have been added to this post)

  • Paper plates
  • Paint
  • White foam circles or white circles cut from paper (for eyes)
  • small black buttons
  • foam or construction paper (for claws and beaks)
  • Fabric Scraps (in contrasting colours) cut into 2 sets of “wings”, one large set and one smaller set.

The Process:

The morning was cool so we started off inside; I began by having the hooligans decorate their plates.  I set out a variety of Crayola paints and the children used several different techniques to apply their paint.

3 methods of toddler painting on a paper plate

When our paint was dry (a blast from the hair dryer helped!), we headed outside and decorated our owls.

We tried using various gluing methods.  Glue sticks (not bad), and glue bottles (a bit too tough for little hands to squeeze), but we ended up doing what we usually do, which is dipping paint brushes into a small container of glue, and brushing it onto the project.  This is my favourite way for really young children to use glue.

First they layered on their wings.  For the wings, I’d cut two sizes of contrasting fabric swatches. A pointy oval that follows the curve of the paper pate works well.

Once they had their wings where they wanted them, they added their white foam piece eyes, and they added black button to those. 4 paper plate birds

For the final touch they added their feet!  I’d chosen a star-flower type of shape; you’ll see a few of them in this next photo.  I simply cut those in half, and they looked like perfect, little claws!  Those were stickers so the girls merely peeled the backs off, and placed them at the bottom of their plate.gluing beaks and feet to paper plate owl

To finish, I taped a loop of yarn to the top/back of the owls so they could be hung up and displayed. :)

What do you think?  Aren’t these just the cutest little things you ever did see?3 paper plate owls hanging in pine tree

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paper bag alien hat http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-bag-alien-hat/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paper-bag-alien-hat http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-bag-alien-hat/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 10:30:46 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9208  

Turn a paper bag into a monster or Alien hat with some paint and a few craft supplies

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paper bag alien or monster hat - happy hooligans

Turn a paper bag into a monster or Alien hat with some paint and a few craft supplies  Head on over to CBC Parents to check out the details!

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Tissue Paper Fall Wreath http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-fall-wreath/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tissue-paper-fall-wreath http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-paper-fall-wreath/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 14:20:14 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=4071 This simple but beautiful Tissue Paper Fall Wreath remains to be one of our all-time favourite Fall crafts…

Tissue Paper Fall Wreath

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This simple but beautiful Tissue Paper Fall Wreath remains to be one of our all-time favourite Fall crafts…

It poured rain for the better part of the day today so we finally had an excuse to pull out the craft supplies and make this tissue paper fall wreath.

tissue paper fall wreath cover pic

You’re going to love this one.  It’s super-easy to prep for, it looks great, and kids of all ages will enjoy making this craft.

Gather your supplies:

  • paper plates (or cardboard cut into circles – the panels of a cereal box are great for this)
  • tissue paper
  • glue
  • brown construction paper or a paper bag
  • artificial leaves or flowers

supplies for tissue paper fall wreath

How we made our Fall Wreaths:

We used paper plates with the centers cut out as the base for our wreaths.

Each Hooligan tore a piece of brown construction paper into strips.  These strips were supposed to look like twigs or branches.  

Once the “branches” were glued around the wreath, we crumpled 3×3 inch squares of fall coloured tissue paper and glued those where-ever we pleased.

Next we got out our low-heat glue gun and the Hooligans tried that out for the first time, adding a couple of artificial fall leaves and a ribbon for hanging.

I didn’t think of it when the Hooligans were here, but after they’d gone home I added a couple of artificial sunflowers to my wreath for a pop of colour.

And this is what the two youngest Hooligans created.  I was running short on paper plates, so they made Fall Trees by gluing our wreath materials onto a narrow strip of cardboard.  

Happy Fall! :)

If you’re looking for more simple but beautiful Fall crafts appropriate for toddlers and preschoolers, be sure to check out:

Bark and Paint Swatch Trees

Tissue Twig Trees

Fall Hand Trees

Popcorn Trees

Fabulous Fall Collage

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Hallowe’en Necklaces http://happyhooligans.ca/halloween-necklaces/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=halloween-necklaces http://happyhooligans.ca/halloween-necklaces/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 04:07:43 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11549

 

Hallowe’en Necklaces – great for hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills…

We made these Hallowe’en necklaces in the

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Hallowe'en Fine Motor Fun

 

Hallowe’en Necklaces – great for hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills…

We made these Hallowe’en necklaces in the daycare the other day.  The hooligans loved the process for the festive colours, and because they created something they could wear.  I loved the process for all of the learning that took place.

You’ll need:

black yarn and coloured straws for hallowe'en necklaces

  • scissors
  • coloured drinking straws
  • black yarn
  • child’s sewing needle
  • button or bead (to serve as a “stopper”)

Have your child cut the drinking straws into short pieces.  This is an activity in itself, and one of my favourite ways for getting children started with scissors.

Now, thread your needle with a long length of black yarn. To prevent the straws from sliding off the yarn when your child is threading them, tie a large button or bead to the end of the yarn.  You will remove this when the necklace is finished.

Black yarn and a child's sewing needle

 

Hand it all over to your little one and let them get to work.

I know it looks like a very simple craft, but your child’s hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills will be challenged as they line up the needle and push it through the straw.  The concept of holding that needle with one hand, while pulling the straw down the length of yarn, until they hit the stopper, can be tricky grasp at first too, so you may have to demonstrate that action yourself.  Resist the temptation to over-help your child.  I know it’s tough when it just seems so natural to help with your own hands, but see first if you can talk your child through a new concept, using words and actions. This might be just as challenging for you as the new concept is for your child, but it will give your him a chance to really figure it out for himself.

If your child is very young, there’s an opportunity to talk about colours as they thread their necklace, and for older children, they can experiment with creating patterns.

Your child may choose to thread only a few straws onto her necklace, or she may fill it right up.  Let her decide when she’s satisfied with the way that it looks.  When we let our children make their own choices when they’re crafting or creating art, it not only helps to foster a love for creativity, it helps them to learn to make decisions with confidence, and they can be truly proud of their efforts knowing that their work is their own.

Halloween necklaces made with orange, green, purple and black straws

Looking to make some more easy Hallowe’en jewellery?  Check out our Hallowe’en Button Bracelets!

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Toilet Roll Mummies http://happyhooligans.ca/toilet-roll-mummies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=toilet-roll-mummies http://happyhooligans.ca/toilet-roll-mummies/#comments Sun, 13 Oct 2013 04:01:41 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11420

Toilet roll mummies are one of our simplest Hallowe’en crafts. Kids of all ages will enjoy making these adorable,

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Toilet roll mummies

Toilet roll mummies are one of our simplest Hallowe’en crafts.  Kids of all ages will enjoy making these adorable, little guys, and you likely already have everything you’ll need on hand in your home.

Gather your supplies:

supplies for toilet roll mummies

  • toilet roll
  • white tissue paper (or crepe paper or medical gauze)
  • white yarn
  • googly eyes
  • glue

The Process:

This is fun and really quite easy.  Even the youngest hooligans can manage with very little assistance.

Begin tearing your tissue paper into long, narrow strips.  Don’t worry if your edges are all ragged and uneven.  That’s perfect!  Don’t fret too much about the width either.  It really doesn’t matter.  Our strips were probably about 2 inches wide.

Next, give your entire toilet roll a thin coating of glue.  Older kids can apply it straight from the bottle, but little ones might prefer brushing it on with a paint brush.

brush your glue all over your toilet roll

Now it’s time to wrap your mummy.  Press an end of a strip of tissue paper into the glue.  Then simply wrap the strip around the toilet roll until you get to the end of the strip.  Press that end into the glue, and wrap a second strip around the tube if necessary.

wrap the strips of tissue paper around your cardboard tube

 

Lastly, wrap a long length of yarn around the tube several times, and glue the ends in place, and attach the eyes.

toilet roll mummy wrapped tissue paper and yarn

 

How adorable are these guys?

toilet roll halloween craft mummy


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Button Bracelet http://happyhooligans.ca/button-bracelet/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=button-bracelet http://happyhooligans.ca/button-bracelet/#comments Sat, 12 Oct 2013 03:54:47 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11523

These Hallowe’en Button Bracelets are easy enough for the youngest crafters to make, and they’re great

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Hallowe'en Button Bracelet

These Hallowe’en Button Bracelets are easy enough for the youngest crafters to make, and they’re great for fine motor development…

 

We made some very simple, very cute, little Hallowe’en button bracelets today.  These bracelets don’t require much prep at all, and even the youngest crafters will be able to do this one with very little assistance.

Want to know who thought up this idea?

Miss Mess!  Our schools had a P.A. Day today, so a couple of our graduates joined us for the day.  Miss Mess bounced in the door this morning, eager to get crafting, and she had an idea in mind.  She suggested we make bracelets with pipe cleaners and beads. I thought “Yeah!  HALLOWE’EN bracelets!”, but when I checked our stash of beads, I found we didn’t have enough black ones to go around. Plan B:  buttons!

Let’s do it!

Your supplies:

supplies for Hallowe'en Button Bracelets

  • Black Buttons and/or beads
  • Pipe Cleaners in Hallowe’en colours

That was easy wasn’t it?

Making a button bracelet:

 

I have a large collection of vintage buttons which were perfect for our bracelets.  For most of the buttons, I chose ones with a tiny metal loop on the back of them because they lay flatter than ones that have 2 or 4 holes through them.

Have your child thread the buttons onto the pipe cleaner, leaving a little room at each end of the pipe clearner to fasten them together.

Child threading black buttons onto orange pipe cleaner

Tie your bracelet off by wrapping the ends around one another.

IMG_4332

 

The little one’s wrist is so tiny I wrapped the bracelet around it twice.

 

Aren’t they sweet?  Miss Mess wore hers all afternoon.

black and green button bracelet

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Painting Spiders and Cobwebs http://happyhooligans.ca/painting-spiders-cobwebs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=painting-spiders-cobwebs http://happyhooligans.ca/painting-spiders-cobwebs/#comments Thu, 10 Oct 2013 04:01:45 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11467 Painting Spiders and Cobwebs – a hallowe’en craft that has you painting with golf balls and making handprints…

We

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painting spiders and webs

Painting Spiders and Cobwebs – a hallowe’en craft that has you painting with golf balls and making handprints…

We were painting spiders and cobwebs today using two of our favourite painting techniques: painting with golf balls and making handprints!

We actually made a slightly different version of these a couple of years ago, but this painting process is great for spider webs, so we’ve done it again.

If you haven’t painted with golf balls yet, you have to try it!  Your kids will love it.  Handprints are always a lot of fun too, and if you’re concerned about the mess factor, take it outside like we did, or at the very least, have a big bowl of soapy water and a towel nearby so your children can clean their hands quickly and easily after making their prints.

Gather your supplies:

 

supplies for painting spider webs and handprint spiders

  • construction paper or card stock
  • white paint for webs
  • coloured or black paint for spiders
  • glue
  • googly eyes
  • paintbrush
  • a couple of golf balls (marbles or bouncy balls work well too)
  • cardboard box (one with a lid is good, but not necessary)

Painting your web with golf balls:

Place your paper into the cardboard box and drizzle it with white paint.

white paint drizzled on blue paper

 

drizzling paint onto paper

Drop in the golf balls and put the lid on the box and shake the heck out of it.  If you’re not using a lid, remind your hooligans not to go TOO crazy with this part of the project or you’ll wind up with painty golf balls bouncing out and onto the floor.

shaking a box with golf balls and paint in it

Every now and again, pop the lid off the box to see how your “web” is coming along, and have your kids continue to shake away until you get they’re happy with how it looks.

We placed our webs in the sun for a while until they were dry, and then we moved on to the next part.

The handprint spiders:

When the webs were dry, the hooligans picked out the colour of paint they wanted for their spiders, and I painted the palm and 4 fingers of one hand.  Do not paint the thumb.  Then they pressed their hand down onto their paper to make one half of the spider.  I brushed more paint onto their hand, and helped them overlap their palm onto the palm-print they’d already made, and they pressed to make the other half of the spider.

Yellow hand print spider on black and white painted web

After a quick wash in the bowl of soapy water, they decorated their spiders with the googly eyes.

applying glue with a paintbrush to the handprint spiders

 

adding eyes to the handprint spiders

Lots of goggly eyes. :)

pressing eyes onto pink handprint spider

What do you think?

3 hand print spiders and webs painted with golf balls

If you’d like to see more of our golf ball painting projects, check out:

Painting Fall Colours with Golf Balls

Golf ball webs and Finger Spiders

Golf Ball Candy Canes

Sparkly Easter Garlands painted with Golf Balls

 

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Bark and Paint Swatch Trees http://happyhooligans.ca/bark-paint-swatch-trees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=bark-paint-swatch-trees http://happyhooligans.ca/bark-paint-swatch-trees/#comments Sun, 06 Oct 2013 10:00:40 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11431

Bark and Paint Swatch Trees: kids can explore nature’s colours and textures while creating beautiful Fall art.

At this

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bark-and-paint-swatches

Bark and Paint Swatch Trees: kids can explore nature’s colours and textures while creating beautiful Fall art.

At this time of year, the hooligans and I are still spending most of our hours outdoors, playing in the yard and neighbourhood and observing the changes of the season.  Yesterday, I thought it would be fun to explore, the colours AND the texture of the trees that are starting to take on the shades of Autumn with these bark and paint swatch trees.

We set out on walk, looking for bark. I talked to the hooligans about how important bark is to the health of a tree, protecting it from bugs and disease, and that we shouldn’t peel bark from a live tree.  We do however have some play logs in our yard which we were able to remove some bark from, and we found lots of it in my neighbour’s wood pile.  We also found a few pieces in some bark mulch in another neighbour’s garden.

Back home with our treasures, we set out about making our trees.

Supplies:

paint chip samples and bark pieces

  • paint chip samples, in an array of Fall colours, cut into small “leaves”
  • glue gun
  • glue
  • paintbrush
  • sturdy white cardboard as a canvas (you could paint the inside of a panel from a cereal box)

a bowl of bark and paint chip "leaves"

 

I set out a few “pots” of glue for the hooligans to dip their paintbrushes into.  While learning to squeeze a glue bottle is an essential skill for preschoolers, I find the paintbrush method easier and less frustrating when crafting with toddlers.  Fast-food ketchup cups are perfect for holding the glue.gluing bark to a cardboard canvas

The glue didn’t do a great job of holding the bark, so we resorted to a glue gun for that part.  Low-heat glue guns are safe to use with and around children, but if you’re using a high heat gun, please use caution.

gluing fall paint chip "leaves" to our project

Once they had their bark glued in place where they wanted it, they used their brushes and glue to decorate their “trees” with leaves.

Aren’t these pretty? 2 finished "bark and paint chip trees"IMG_3993

 All it needs now is a twig frame to give it a finished look!

IMG_3989

Looking for more Fall Art projects to do with your hooligans?  We have lots!   Check out:

Popcorn Fall Trees

Sandpaper Apple Trees

Tissue – Button Apple Trees

Paint Chip Fall Trees

Fall Tissue Twig Trees

Handprint Tissue Trees

Apple Stamping

&

Apple Stamping with Real Leaves

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Turkey Craft – toilet roll and paint chips http://happyhooligans.ca/paint-chip-toilet-roll-turkeys/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paint-chip-toilet-roll-turkeys http://happyhooligans.ca/paint-chip-toilet-roll-turkeys/#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 10:00:00 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11402

Thanksgiving turkey craft for kids with a toilet roll and paint chip samples…

If you’re looking for

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paint chip turkeys

Thanksgiving turkey craft for kids with a toilet roll and paint chip samples…

If you’re  looking for an adorable Thanksgiving craft this toilet roll turkey craft should fit the bill.

It might seem a bit early to be sharing turkey crafts, but we celebrate Thanksgiving more than a month before they do in the U.S.  American friends and followers, you might want to pin this for next month.

Ok!  Let’s talk turkey!

Toilet Roll Turkey craft supplies:

supplies for paint chip - toilet roll turkeys

for your convenience, this post contains affiliate links 

Ok, forgive me for the lack of children in the photos today.  We got started crafting in the basement, and it occurred to me, when the 1 and 4-year-old were well and truly into the paint and glue, that I had left my camera upstairs; so just pretend that this post is full of adorable hooligans crafting happily.

3 paint chip / toilet roll turkeys

Putting your adorable turkey craft together:

Cut your cardboard roll to the size that you want it.  We took our toilet rolls down to about 3 inches.

Paint the toilet roll brown.  Not necessary of course because toilet rolls are already a greyish-brown which is a very turkey-appropriate colour, but painting makes every project more fun, so why not?

While your paint dries, cut a few paint chip samples into “feathers” (I just cut narrow ovals with pointy ends).

When your paint is dry (a blast from a hairdryer helps speed that process up),  help your child staple the feathers to the back of the cardboard tube.  The hooligans LOVE the stapler, but going through this many layers required some extra muscle, so I placed my hand on the stapler along with both of theirs and we worked together to secure everything in place.

Lastly glue on your turkey’s eyes and beak (cut from a yellow paint chip sample) and a bit of crumpled, red tissue paper “wattle” under the turkey’s beak.toilet roll turkey

Special note:  For the record a turkey does NOT have a red comb on top of its head like ours do in the photos.  For some reason, I thought they did, but when I googled an image of a real turkey, to show the hooligans, after we’d made our craft, I discovered I was wrong.

Oopsy!

For more simple and creative ways to use paint chip samples, please check out our:

Paint Chip Apple Trees

Paint Chip Mosaics

Paint Chip Candy Canes

and if you’d like another turkey craft, check out our Turkey Footprint Craft.

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Paper Towel Art with Markers and Water (and a lesson in water absorption) http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-towel-art/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paper-towel-art http://happyhooligans.ca/paper-towel-art/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 11:00:15 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11358 Paper Towel Art – an easy art project and a lesson in water absorption!

Originally, I’d planned to do

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Paper Towel Art – an easy art project and a lesson in water absorption!  

Originally, I’d planned to do this process with coffee filters and markers.  Then I remembered the  paper towel butterflies that we made using watercolour paint and paper towels, and I decided to save the coffee filters for another project.  I’m happy to say that for this project, paper towels were the perfect choice!  The results were just gorgeous.

paper towel art - happy hooligans

 

I’m not exactly sure what we’re going to use our colourful creations for, but I’m sure we’ll work them into a craft of some kind, and when we do, I’ll share it with you.

For now, here’s how your hooligans create some paper towel art of their own.

Supplies for making your one-of-a-kind paper towel art:

 

supplies for making marker and paper towel art

  • washable markers (not permanent markers – the ink needs to bleed when wet)
  • paper towel
  • paintbrushes (or a cup of water and a medicine dropper).
  • water

How to dye paper towels with markers and water:

This is actually a great way to test your markers and find out which ones are good, and which ones have dried up.

Whatever you do, do NOT throw out your dried up markers!  Have a look at how we turn our old markers into the most vibrant homemade liquid watercolour paint you’ve ever seen!

colouring paper towels with markers

Simply scribble all over your paper towel, filling it up as much as possible.  An older child can do this on his own, but a younger one may be overwhelmed at the prospect of covering the entire paper towel, so you may want to work together for this part.

paper towel covered in marker scribbles

Once you’ve finished filling in your paper towel, lay it out on a hard surface.  Don’t put anything absorbent, such as a towel or even paper underneath, as it will pull some of the colour from the paper towel.  A plastic tray or a cookie sheet would work well.  We worked on the plastic-y/veneer surface of our second hand coffee-table/craft table.

Now, have your child wet the paper towel by either brushing water onto it with a paintbrush, or by dropping water all over it with an eye dropper.

brushing water on to a marker-covered paper towel

This part of the process is a great lesson in water absorption.  The hooligans watched the colours bleed and blend as the paper towel absorbed the water. Their art work was instantly transformed right before their eyes.

 

paper towel art

marker ink bleeds together on paper towel

 

Drying your art:

Dry your paper towel somewhere that the air can get under it and all around it.  I hung some of ours on the clothesline, but  I also put a couple on a cookie sheet so the would dry from underneath.  Just be sure to lay it on a surface that will A) not absorb the colour or B) not stain!

paper towel art drying on clothesline

Our art did fade a little as it dried, but it was still very pretty.

To finish, we tore our paper towels into long strips and smaller pieces.

paper towel art torn into small pieces

Now I just have to figure out what we’re doing with it!  Got any suggestions?

For more easy and affordable art ideas for kids, check out our:

Homemade Water Colour Paints

Homemade Puffy Paint

Crayon Resist Painting

Art with Melted Crayons

Art with Glue, Salt and Water Colours

Smoosh Art Painting 

Tape Resist Painting

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Spooktacular Halloween Owls http://happyhooligans.ca/spooktacular-halloween-owls/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spooktacular-halloween-owls http://happyhooligans.ca/spooktacular-halloween-owls/#comments Tue, 01 Oct 2013 04:01:26 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11309 Spectacular Halloween Owls: toilet rolls, buttons and feathers, oh my…

I am such a sucker for “cute”. And I’m

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spooktacular hallowe'en owls

Spectacular Halloween Owls: toilet rolls, buttons and feathers, oh my…

I am such a sucker for “cute”.  And I’m a huge fan of recycling when it comes to crafting, so these Spooktacular Halloween Owls have totally won me over!

These toilet roll owls were actually inspired by the Adorable Owl Craft that we did a few years back.  This year, our  youngest hooligan is quite smitten with owls, so I thought it would be fun to put a new spin on an old favourite for her.

This is sweet and simple, and kids of all ages are going to love it.

Gather your supplies:

supplies for toilet spook-tacular toilet roll halloween owls

  • toilet roll tubes
  • paint
  • large buttons
  • craft feathers
  • glue (I thought we might need hot glue, but school glue was fine)
  • yellow felt or cardstock (for beak)

How we made our owls:

I cut our toilet rolls into various lengths so each of our owls would look unique, and the little one had  a great time painting them up.

painting a toilet roll

 

When they were dry, she brushed on a generous amount of white glue.  The “generous” bit was perfect because our button-eyes were large, and therefore, quite heave, but they held in all that glue.

brushing glue on to the toilet roll owl

Next came the beak and the feathers.

sticking the eyes and beak onto the toilet roll owl

 

applying more glue to the owl

Then we sat them in the sun and let them dry.

black halloween owl with blue and green feathers

 

turqoise halloween owl with orange feathers

Ok, is it just me, or are these just too cute?

black toilet roll owl with orange and purple eyes

I can’t decide which I love best, our new Halloween Owls or our vibrant Adorable Owls.   Which ones are your favourite?

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Paint Chip Apple Tree http://happyhooligans.ca/paint-chip-apple-tree/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=paint-chip-apple-tree http://happyhooligans.ca/paint-chip-apple-tree/#comments Sat, 28 Sep 2013 04:01:05 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11301 A few twigs and a handful of paint swatch cards are perfect for putting together a Paint Chip Apple

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Paint Chip Apple Tree

A few twigs and a handful of paint swatch cards are perfect for putting together a Paint Chip Apple Tree.

Remember the beautiful art we created last week when we were Apple Stamping with Fall Colours?  And remember I said I’d need to think of a way to use this colourful cardboard canvas we made?

apple stamping collage

Well, here’s what I came up with:  a Paint Chip Apple Tree.

I just love crafting with paint chips.  We have a drawer full of them, and we use them for all kinds of arts and crafts projects.  We’ve made Paint Chip Mosaics, Paint Chip Candy Canes, we use them for cutting practice when working on our scissor skills, and there’s our fine motor game: the Pringle’s Can Paint Swatch Drop.

I used to grab a few paint sample cards whenever I was in the paint section of the hardware store, but one day I asked at a Paint Shop, and the owner was happy to hand over about 25 sleeves of cards in their least popular colours.   They’re not awful colours at all.  They’re just not terribly popular when it comes to room colours – bright orange, navy blue, teal green etc.  Great colours for crafting with!

For our Paint Chip Tree,  we simply gathered some twigs from the backyard, and I cut out a couple of dozen leaves from a variety of green paint swatch cards.twigs and paint swatches for paint swatch apple trees

We used our low-heat glue gun to attach the twigs to the apple-stamped backdrop.  The 4-year-old started using our low-heat glue gun when she was about 3.5, and she’s a whiz with it.  The gun doesn’t get hot enough to really burn, but even so, because we were working with really skinny twigs, I gave her a hand so the hot glue wouldn’t drip off the twigs.  I held the twigs, she manned the gun, and we got the job done.

Once the twigs were in place on the cardboard, she used a glue stick to decorate the tree with leaves.paint swatch apple tree collage

Simple, sweet and perfect for apple season!

To see more of our unique and fun Fall Tree art and craft projects, be sure to check out:

Button Apple Trees

Sandpaper Tinfoil Apple Trees

Fall Popcorn Trees

Fall Hand Tissue Trees

Twig Tissue Trees

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Painting Clouds: Shaving Cream Art on a Mirror http://happyhooligans.ca/painting-clouds-mirror/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=painting-clouds-mirror http://happyhooligans.ca/painting-clouds-mirror/#comments Wed, 25 Sep 2013 13:30:04 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11277

Painting clouds: gorgeous shaving cream art on a mirror. The ultimate sensory play idea!

Okay! I have

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Mirror Play - Cloud Painting - happy hooligans

Painting clouds: gorgeous shaving cream art on a mirror.  The ultimate sensory play idea!

Okay!  I have another crazy-cool mirror-play idea for you!  I’ve been dreaming of this one ever since I set up some Sensory Play on a Mirror a couple of weeks ago.  Did you see that activity?  Quick!  Pop over and check it out, but come right back because you won’t want to miss this one:  today we were painting clouds on a mirror!

Painting clouds on a mirror with shaving cream

Gather your supplies:

shaving foam and paint brushes on a mirror

for your convenience, this post contains affiliate links

This activity is very simple to set up.  You just need a mirror, a paint brush and a can of shaving cream.  We used the “foam” kind of shaving cream as opposed to the “gel”.  As the morning progressed, we also added some food colouring, but that step is optional.

Setting up:

You definitely want to do this on a day that the sky is sunny and blue.  If there are a few fluffy clouds up above that’s even better.

I set our mirror on a table (I use a second-hand coffee-table when we’re crafting outdoors) in the middle of the yard where there wouldn’t be any reflections of trees or houses or anything in the mirror.  I wanted the mirror to simply reflect the blue sky.

Have your child look into the mirror, and ask them what they see.  It takes a second or two for them to process the fact that they’re looking DOWN, and yet they’re seeing the sky and clouds.  There’s a real moment of surprise when realize what they’re looking at.

Now it’s time to invite them to paint their own clouds in the sky’s reflection.

Get painting:

I sprayed a puddle of shaving cream in front of each of the girls.  I learned later that pressing gently on the button would prevent the splattering that you see here (not that anyone really minded).

painting clouds on a mirror

Then the girls got to work swirling and painting their clouds.

Painting clouds on a mirror

It wasn’t long before they abandoned their paint brushes, and were exploring the shaving cream with their hands, finger-painting and sliding and gliding their hands all over the mirror until it  was completely covered.

getting their hands covered in shaving cream while painting on the mirror

A couple of times, I hosed the mirror down and quickly dried it off so they could start again.

poking their fingers into a pile of shaving cream

After they’d been mucking around for quite a while, I asked them if they’d like me to add some food colouring, and of course they said “yes”.  So I brought out some red and blue food colouring, and dotted their shaving cream with it, and they had a great, old time mixing and blending the colours on the mirror.

rubbing their hands through blue and red food colouring in the shaving cream

All said and done, they were probably at this activity for close to an hour.  It’s a wonderful sensory activity.  The scent of the shaving cream is amazing, and not over-powering when you’re playing with it outside, and the foam..  Oh that fluffy, slippery, lovely, luxurious foam!  Who wouldn’t enjoy playing in it?

Covering a mirror with shaving cream and food colouring

Easy clean up:

I keep a large bowl of water and a towel nearby when we’re getting messy in the yard like this.  It makes clean up a snap.  The mirror and the table got a spray from the garden hose and sat in the sun to dry.cleaning up in a large bowl of water

Shaving cream is one of our favourite sensory materials.  We’ve enjoyed it many times for both art and play.  You can check some of the ways we’ve used it in the following posts:

Marbleized painting

Shaving Cream and Food Colouring

Giant Shaving Cream Magna Doodle

Painting with Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream and Glitter Bin

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I Spy Bottles http://happyhooligans.ca/i-spy-bottles/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=i-spy-bottles http://happyhooligans.ca/i-spy-bottles/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 20:19:33 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11250 I Spy Bottles – beautiful discovery bottles in a rainbow of colours…

Every year, here in my daycare, we make

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I Spy Bottles – beautiful discovery bottles in a rainbow of colours…

Every year, here in my daycare, we make a set of I spy bottles or discovery bottles.   The hooligans love the process of making these bottles.  It’s a great combination of water-play, fine-motor development and colour exploration.   I love that the bottles cost nothing to make and that they end up being a great source of learning and entertainment in our play room or yard.

I Spy Bottles

This particular set of I spy bottles might just be my favourite yet, because we set out to specifically make one for each colour of the rainbow.

I spy bottles lined up in rainbow order

 

What you’ll need to make a set of I Spy Bottles:

bowls of blue and green bits and pieces for the I Spy Bottles

Part of the fun is gathering all of the goodies that you’ll use to fill the bottles.  The hooligans and I went on a “treasure hunt”, searching through the toy-room, craft room and kitchen drawers, looking for small, colourful objects to use in our bottles.

Suggested items for your I spy bottles:

  • foam pieces
  • bread tags
  • crayons
  • chopped up straws
  • pipe cleaners
  • pony beads
  • buttons
  • glass beads
  • sequins
  • lego pieces
  • barbie/polly pocket shoes
  • rubber bands
  • marker lids

Once we’d collected lots of goodies, I set each child up with a bowl of coloured items and a clean, empty plastic bottle.

Clear bottle and green odds and ends on a styrofoam tray

Fine motor-fun and water play, what toddler doesn’t love that combination?

Dropping the items in the bottle is great for fine motor development, and lots of fun of course (they probably poured the items out and dropped them back in 3 or 4 times before I had to convince them that they were ready to move on to the next step).

child dropping blue items into plastic bottle

Next, they filled their bottles with water, all the way to the top, and put the caps back on the bottles.  I gave each lid a super-hard twist to prevent little hands from removing them.  Our bottles are outside for play, but if you’re going to keep yours inside, a little hot glue around the inside of the lid, before you put the cap on, isn’t a bad idea.

child filling I spy bottle with watering can

Aren’t they pretty?  I love how they reflect the sunlight.

close up shot of I spy bottles lined up on their sides in the sunlight

We have ours set up on a table in the backyard, and they look so colourful and cheery.

I spy (or discovery) bottles lined up in rainbow order

The hooligans have fun tipping the bottles upside down to watch which items float to the top, and which ones sink to the bottom.

Red I spy bottle being tipped upside down

And of course, it’s fun trying to find and identify all of the objects inside of our colourful I Spy Bottles.

To see more of our easy, inexpensive homemade toys and games, check out our:

Homemade Light Box

Cardboard Drop Box

Cardboard Construction Set

Button Snake Toddler Toy

DIY Shape Puzzle

 

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How to Wash Hockey Equipment http://happyhooligans.ca/wash-hockey-equipment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wash-hockey-equipment http://happyhooligans.ca/wash-hockey-equipment/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 15:36:29 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11228 Get the stink out of your hockey gear: How to wash hockey equipment in a washing machine!

 

This isn’t

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Laundry equipment hanging on the clothes line.Get the stink out of your hockey gear:  How to wash hockey equipment in a washing machine!

 

This isn’t the kind of topic I typically write about, but I know there are a lot of hockey-moms out there, and what with hockey season starting up, I thought you might like to know that you don’t have to put up with the stink that starts seeping out of the hockey bags at this time of year.  I’m going to share how I wash our hockey gear in the washing machine, effectively removing all traces of odour from it!

If you’re the mom of a hockey player, or the wife of one, you know the stink I’m talking about!  That, “don’t come near me ’til you’ve washed your hands” stink.  That “don’t bring that hockey bag into the house” stink.  That “nose-offending, toe-curling, rotten-cheese” stink that, believe it or not, our hockey-playing kids and husbands find familiar and oddly comforting.  GROSS!!

As much as a hockey player may be oblivious or even somewhat “attached” to the stench wafting out of their hockey bag, it really shouldn’t be ignored.  The fact is that odour is the result of the sweat and bacteria that has permeated the equipment, and not only does it smell disgusting, if left unattended to, that bag becomes a breeding ground, and eventually you can expect mold and mildew to start appearing on your gear, and possibly fibres in your equipment to start breaking down and deteriorating.

hockey players skating up the ice

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The best way to get rid of the stink in your hockey equipment:

The most obvious and easy way to help keep the smell under control, is to air the hockey bags out after every practice and game, laying all of the equipment out on the garage floor, or on the deck in the sunshine.  But every so often, the most effective thing I do to banish the bacteria and odour is to throw it into the washing machine!

How to wash hockey equipment in a washing machine:

Did you know you can wash all of your hockey equipment, except for the helmet and the skates, in your washing machine?

Yep!  Your washing machine!  Chest protector, elbow pads, shin-guards, jock, pants, socks, neck guard and even the GLOVES can ALL be put through a regular warm-water cycle in your washing machine.  Depending on the size of your washer, you may need to divide your equipment into 2 or 3 loads.

Front-loader or Top-loader?

For front-loaders:  Front-loading machines work best for this because they tumble clean the equipment, where-as in a top-loader the equipment may tend to float at the top of the water.  To help prevent this from happening in a top loader, you can fill your machine, and then let your equipment soak in it for 10 or 15 minutes to help saturate and weight down the equipment before starting your wash cycle.

chest protector, pants and shin=guards drying on the line

Detergent and laundry booster:

As I do for all of my laundry needs, I use my homemade laundry detergent (get the recipe here) when washing our hockey gear.  I like that it’s chemical free and gentle, but contains enough natural and powerful stain and odour removers to get the job done.   A commercial detergent is fine if that’s what you use, as long as it doesn’t contain bleaching agents which could deteriorate the fabrics/materials in your equipment.

Because of the smelly/dirty nature of the equipment, to help combat odour and bacteria, I add an extra half cup each of Borax Laundry Booster and Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
to the load.  You can do this whether you’re using homemade laundry soap or not.

Softener/Rinse Agent:

I only ever use vinegar as a softener or rinse agent in my washing machine, even when doing my regular laundry, and especially when washing our equipment.   Vinegar is a natural odour remover, removes any soap residue from your laundry and your machine, and it won’t coat your equipment with chemicals and a waxy film like commercial softeners will.

Drying your hockey equipment:

The jock, socks, jersey and neck-guard can go in the dryer on low heat, but the rest should air-dry.  I personally prefer to hang ALL of it on the clothesline on a breezy, sunny day.  If you don’t have a clothesline, you can lay it all out on the patio or deck in the sunshine, turning it over occasionally until it’s dry.

hockey gloves washed in the machine and drying on the line

The gloves:

The gloves in particular should never be forced to dry quickly in a dryer or by the heat of a fire.  Allowing them to dry slowly and naturally, prevents the leather palms from cracking.

The helmet:

As I’ve mentioned, do not wash your helmet in the washing machine.  I follow the simple steps listed here when washing a hockey helmet.

As for the skates:

Well, there’s not really much you can do about the skates, but I have heard that some people remove the insoles after every game/practice, and place newspapers in the skates to help speed up the drying process.  In my experience though, the skates are the least stinky of all the items.  It’s the gear and the GLOVES that smell the worst, and thankfully, you now have a solution for dealing with those!

washing hockey equipment in the washing machine
 

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I love

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Set up a colour laboratory for a morning of measuring, mixing and wet, watery fun…

colour laboratory

I love setting up open-ended activities like this for the hooligans.  This colour laboratory was very easy to pull together, and it didn’t cost me a thing.  It was bright and inviting, and kept the girls busy for over an hour one morning.

kids mixing colours

 

Setting up your colour laboratory:

 

supplies for setting up a kid's colour laboratory

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Raid your bathroom and kitchen cupboards and your recycle bin to gather up an assortment of interesting plastic containers and instruments such as:

*white bowls and ice cube trays are best for viewing the changes in water colour

We filled each bottle up with warm water and a drop or two of dish soap.  Then we added a few drops of liquid water colours, and gave it a good shake.

liquid water colours

 

Liquid water colours are very vibrant, and you only need a few drops to get intense colours.  Wilton Icing Gels are an excellent alternative; a small amount will produce a really rich colour. Liquid food colour will work too.  You’ll just need to add a generous amount if you want intense colours.

Let the fun begin!

squeezing red water from a shampoo bottle into a white container

After colouring the water, the girls were pretty excited, so they quickly donned their aprons, and got started.  They poured, filled, squeezed, scooped, transferred and dumped the water from container to container, ooohing and aaaaahing as the colours changed before their eyes.

pouring, squeezing and transferring coloured water

It looks like child’s play, but there is so much brain and body development happening here.

Little hands are learning how to grasp and carry wet and sometimes heavy containers without spilling or dropping.   Through trial and error, they’re figuring out how to pour just the right amount to fill a container, controlling then slowing and finally stopping the flow.  And they discover what happens when there’s an overflow.pouring purple water

Look at the concentration as this little one lines up the test tubes and transfers water from  one to another, and how she’s managed to hold two test tubes in one hand.

transferring coloured water from one test tube to another

Fine motor skills and strength are required to open lids and to use the syringes and droppers.

fine motor: opening bottles and squeezing droppers

Muscles are challenged as they lift full and manipulate heavy bottles.  As this little one struggled with the green bottle, she huffed and puffed and said “too heavy” several times, but she stuck with it, and was able to line it up, and fill the container underneath it.  Success!

gross motor functions and muscles are challenged lifting heavy bottles

They stirred and whisked the water to revive the dish-soap bubbles,

whisking soap bubbles

and of course they learned about colour mixing…

squeezing water into an ice cube tray

…and wonderfully wet, colourful messes on a late summer day.

pretend play colour laboratory

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Fall Colour Apple Stamping http://happyhooligans.ca/fall-colour-apple-stamping/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fall-colour-apple-stamping http://happyhooligans.ca/fall-colour-apple-stamping/#comments Tue, 17 Sep 2013 18:39:11 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11180 Fall Colour Apple Stamping – exploring the colours of the season.

The gorgeous colours of Fall are

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Fall Colour Apple Stamping – exploring the colours of the season.

Fall colour apple stamping

The gorgeous colours of Fall are right around the corner, and the apple season is upon us, so yesterday we did some fall colour apple stamping.  It was a beautiful way to talk about and explore the colours of fall, and a great way to use up a couple of apple that were past their best in our fruit basket.

I started by cutting some apples both top to bottom, and side to side.  The hooligans love when I cut an apple cross-wise to reveal the star pattern that the seeds make.

apple cut cross-wise reveals star

We talked about the colours of Fall, and I poured 4 puddles of paint (orange, red, yellow and brown) into styrofoam produce trays.

apples and paint for stamping

We took it all outside, and I laid out some brown paper bags that I’d cut open, and some white cardboard.

4 colours of paint for fall colour stamping with apples

We stuck forks down into the apples to make them easy for little hands to manage, and we got stamping.

fork stuck into apple

 

The hooligans had a great time with it, and I must admit – so did I!

children stamping with forks stuck into apples

I learned that twisting the apples made a really pretty effect.  That wasn’t so easy for the little ones to do, so they more or less just stamped and rubbed their paint over their paper.

child stamping with apples

What do you think?  I’m amazed by how much the circles and swirls look like real apples!

stamping fall colours with apples collage

Now I just have to figure out what we’re going to create on this beautiful Fall coloured backdrop!

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Sensory Play on a Mirror http://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-play-mirror/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sensory-play-mirror http://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-play-mirror/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 04:19:16 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11152

Sensory play on a mirror takes your activities to a whole new level…

Earlier this week, I

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sensory play on a mirror - happy hooligans

Sensory play on a mirror takes your activities to a whole new level…

Earlier this week, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.  I set up a sensory activity on a mirror, and it was very, VERY cool.  If you’ve never used a mirror as a play surface, you need to do something about that! :)

rocks, shells, corn kernels, coffee beans and dried pasta on a mirrored surface

On this day, the hooligans were merely investigating a variety of natural items with tongs and tweezers, but placing the materials on top of a mirror added an entirely new perspective to a rather ordinary type of activity.

The Mirror:

The mirror that we used is one that normally hangs in the dress up area of our craft-room.  It”s slightly smaller than the average  full-length mirror, and it has a wooden frame around it.  I simply set the mirror on the second-hand coffee-table that we use as a craft and activity table.  It probably goes without saying, but just to be safe, I feel the need to say:  be sure to place your mirror on a table or flat surface that completely supports it.  You don’t want your child leaning or stepping on it and shattering the glass.

The Activity:

Present sensory materials in a wooden "lazy susan".

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I provided the hooligans with a tray full of natural items:

I had all of the items arranged in a wooden “Lazy Susan” and I provided an assortment of tools for the hooligans to examine them with: tweezers, tongs, scoops, wooden bowls and a magnifying glass.

scattering sensory materials over a mirror

The hooligans began by sprinkling and scattering handfuls of the goodies across the mirror just as I expected them to do.

But what happened next was not so ordinary.  They noticed something; they noticed that the sky was underneath them!

blue sky and clouds reflecting in the sensory table

And then they noticed the clouds, and that the reflection changed as the clouds moved across the sky.

And later when I moved the table underneath the tree, the littlest one said “ohhh, leaves!” when she looked down into the mirror.

I can’t describe how strange it was to look down only to find yourself looking up into the branches and leaves of our massive maple tree.  I’ve definitely never looked at the tree in quite the same way before.  It literally gave us a new perspective.

green leaves and branches reflected in the sensory table

And of course, they noticed themselves. They got a real charge out of seeing themselves and each other looking back at them from their play surface.  children discovering themselves in the mirrored sensory table

The frame around the mirror contained all of the objects on the mirror, and they seemed to know this, and they pushed and plowed all of the goodies around the table, knowing that they wouldn’t spill off the edges.small hands experience sensory play on a mirror

And the sound of the pasta, stones, buttons and kernels clattering around on the glass was wonderful.

I hope you’ll try this one.  It’s one of those things that you have to experience first-hand to really appreciate.  Don’t worry if you don’t have a full-length mirror.  Any picture frame type mirror will do.  Even a hand mirror would provide your child with an interesting surface to play on!  tweezers and an assortment of materials to be explored on a mirror

We’re definitely going to use our mirror as a play surface again.  I have a few activities in mind, and you can bet I’ll be sharing them with you just as soon as I can.

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Duct Tape Bracelets – Fun and funky Cardboard Bracelet Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/duct-tape-cuff-bracelets/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=duct-tape-cuff-bracelets http://happyhooligans.ca/duct-tape-cuff-bracelets/#comments Wed, 11 Sep 2013 17:15:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11126 Got a little girl who loves to make her own play jewellery? She’ll love these easy and funky duct tape

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Got a little girl who loves to make her own play jewellery?  She’ll love these easy and funky duct tape bracelets made from cardboard rolls!

Did you see the toilet roll cuff bracelets that we made last year?  Well, they were the inspiration behind today’s bracelet craft.  If your kids like making their own homemade play jewellery, they’re going to love these funky, little toilet roll and duct tape bracelets.

Duct Tape Cuff Bracelets - happy hooligans

 

To make your duct tape and toilet roll bracelets, you’ll need:

supplies for duct tape bracelets

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  • cardboard tube  (from a roll of toilet paper, paper towel or gift wrap)
  • Duck Brand Duct Tape (I just LOVE this stuff!)
  • scissors

Making your bracelets:

Simply wrap the Duct Tape around your cardboard tube two or three times to make it nice and sturdy.  If you’re making more than one bracelet, you can do what I did here.  I wrapped the tape for 3 bracelets on one cardboard kitchen roll.

making 3 bracelets on one paper towel tube

Then I snipped through the roll to separate the bracelets.  I trimmed up any loose bits of tape along the edges of the bracelets.

IMG_2707

The final step was to slice long-ways through up the tube so it could be opened up and worn on the wrist.

child putting on two duct tape bracelets

And there you have it!  Duct Tape Cuff Bracelets! Or in this case, ankle bracelets!

Duct Tape Cuff bracelets worn as ankle bracelets

Aren’t they fun?

4 varieties of duck tape bracelets

And if you’re looking for something just a little more up-scale, check out these gorgeous Washi Tape Bracelets from Mama Miss!

Looking for more super-cute and easy toilet roll crafts for kids?  Check out our:

Gorgeous Homemade Rainsticks

Adorable Owls

Toilet Roll Structures

Toilet Roll Mummies

Toilet Roll Bunnies

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Fall Tree Craft – with twigs and tissue paper http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-twig-trees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tissue-twig-trees http://happyhooligans.ca/tissue-twig-trees/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 04:31:24 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11106 Kids can explore Autumn’s colours and textures while making a fall tree craft with tissue paper and twigs!

If you’re

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Kids can explore Autumn’s colours and textures while making a fall tree craft with tissue paper and twigs!

If you’re looking for fall craft ideas for kids, you’ll find lots of them among the pages of my blog.  In particular, I have quite a few colourful fall tree crafts for toddlers and preschoolers!  We do live in Canada after all, where we’re known for our vibrant fall colours. There’s no shortage of crafting inspiration at this time of year!

Fall tree craft with twigs and tissue paper  - Happy Hooligans

If you’ve been with us a while, you know I’m all about inexpensive and easy crafts for kids.  I love keeping our crafting cost low by using items from nature or around the home or even the recycling bin.

Today, we’re crafting with tissue paper I’ve saved from birthdays and celebrations.  Tissue paper is one of the best materials for kids crafts! Check out our tissue paper apple trees,  hand and tissue paper trees, and our colourful fall wreaths to see what I mean!

The vibrant tissue paper and the twigs in today’s fall tree craft allows kids to explore the colours and textures of the Autumn.

Let’s get started!

To make your twig and tissue paper fall tree craft, you’ll need:

Twigs and tissue paper for a fall tree craft

I placed the tissue paper squares in a plastic bowl so the kids could just reach in and grab whatever colour they wanted.  Keeping them in the bowl also prevented our tissue paper leaves from blowing away.

Make a base for your trees:

Twigs supported in styrofoam and a basket of tissue paper

So the twigs would stand up while we worked on them, I pushed them into a sheet of styrofoam.  You could stand them in a jar, but they’d be fine just laying on the table.

Attaching your tissue paper leaves:

The hooligans generously dabbed and coated their trees with glue, and then stuck the colourful tissue “leaves” all over their branches.

child applying glue to twigs with a paintbrush

For very young children, who find a glue bottle too difficult to manage, I often set out small bowls filled with our glue. The children can simply dip a paint brush into the glue and they’re off to the races.

gluing tissue paper onto twigs

Oh yes, we are SO proud of our efforts!

toddler making a fall tree with twigs and tissue paper

Don’t these little trees look lovely?  I just love how vibrant their “leaves” are in the sunlight.

close up of vibrant "leaves" made with tissue paper

These colourfully decorated twigs will add a splash of colour to any table in your home.  You could display them in a vase, or in a jar filled with small sties.  You could even fill a miniature post with soil!  We painted small styrofoam blocks and decorated those with tissue paper.

3 versions of our tissue twig trees

Have you ever seen such an adorable, fall tree?

Looking for more awesome fall tree crafts? Check out our:

Popcorn Fall Trees

Paint Chip Fall Trees

Hand and Tissue Fall Trees

 Button Apple Trees

Sandpaper Apple Trees

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We’re back! http://happyhooligans.ca/were-back/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=were-back http://happyhooligans.ca/were-back/#comments Wed, 04 Sep 2013 16:43:47 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11053 A few heartfelt words as we begin a new daycare season…

We’re back!! Yesterday, after being on

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A few heartfelt words as we begin a new daycare season…

Children climbing onto and jumping off rock.

We’re back!!  Yesterday, after being on holiday for two long, glorious months, my boys headed back to school, and the Hooligans returned!

As much as it was absolutely wonderful to have those lazy, hazy summer days with my boys, I was ready to get back to work, and so excited to see my little people yesterday!children running in a field

Several of last year’s hooligans have headed off to Kindergarten, so there are slightly fewer children here as we start up our season, and, and so far they’re all girls!  We’ll likely have a few more hooligans hop on board throughout the season, but for now, it’s lovely to transition back into the swing of things with a smaller group.

We took things nice and slow yesterday.  I didn’t have any structured activities set out, although I have some planned for later in the week.  On our first day back, I simply wanted to allow the hooligans to re-familiarize themselves with their surroundings and with each other.

It was a beautiful day, so we spent most of it outdoors, visiting all of our old haunts around the yard and neighbourhood.hooligans looking into pond

We started off in our yard, spending some time around the pond, observing how the fish and plants had changed and grown over the summer, and of course the kids explored our playhouse & sandbox, the play logs and tire-swing.

Then we set off on our adventure, heading first to our neighbour’s pond and garden where we found her herbs in abundance.  We plucked basil and mint leaves and crushed them in our hands to release their wonderful fragrances.child picking basil

 

children crushing and smelling basil leavesNext we wandered down to the street to the Jumpy Rock.  This is a favourite, little spot for us.  We’ve spent countless hours at this rock over the years, jumping, climbing, sitting, chatting, pretending, or simply resting and relaxing.  We never miss an opportunity to stop here when we’re out trekking around.hooligans sitting on rock

Then we headed into “the meadow”, a span of green-space behind some of the houses on our street.  Another neighbour has offered us an open-invitation to visit her cow, and enjoy a ride on her garden swing whenever we’re out and about.

children petting a cow structure in the garden

hooligans climbing onto garden swing

Her lawn slopes off to the back, which is fun for running and rolling down, and we generally spend a good half hour or so here.child rolling down hill

children running down hill

And then we move on through the meadow, stopping to investigate the plants, leaves and trees that surround us,children examining leaves on a tree

hooligans playing under a treeuntil the children find the “secret sidewalk” that leads us back to our street.children running down sidewalk

It was an absolutely delicious way to spend our first morning back together, and a profound reminder of how much I enjoy this job of mine.  I truly consider myself blessed to be spending my days with these amazing little people.  They force me to slow down, and live in the moment, to experience life at a child’s pace, and see the world through a fresh set of eyes.  There is wonder all around us; something new and magical in everything we discover, and it’s right there in front of us every day.  I am so grateful that I have these little people to remind me of that.toddler walking on sidewalk

Welcome back followers, and welcome back HOOLIGANS!  I’m so looking forward to our year ahead together!

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Cloud Dough Bake Shop http://happyhooligans.ca/cloud-dough-bake-shop-cbc/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cloud-dough-bake-shop-cbc http://happyhooligans.ca/cloud-dough-bake-shop-cbc/#comments Sat, 17 Aug 2013 14:14:19 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=10214

Set up a cloud dough bake shop with 2 basic ingredients and a handful of house-hold items:

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cloud dough bake shop

Set up a cloud dough bake shop with 2 basic ingredients and a handful of house-hold items:

Today, I’m sharing one of our favourite sensory materials.  Cloud Dough: a silky, moldable dough that crumbles into a fine, soft powder when you run your hands through it.  Pop over to CBC Parents to get the super-easy (2 ingredient) recipe!,

cloud dough bake shop

 

 

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Water Displacement Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/water-displacement-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=water-displacement-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/water-displacement-activity/#comments Sun, 04 Aug 2013 03:23:48 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=10415 A simple but fun activity to teach children about water displacement:

I recently thought it would be fun to do

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A simple but fun activity to teach children about water displacement:

I recently thought it would be fun to do a water displacement activity with the hooligans.water displacement activity - happy hooligans

When I was young, I was fascinated by a fable called The Crow and the Pitcher, a story about a thirsty crow who knew all about water displacement.  He dropped stones into a pitcher half-full of water, to raise the level of the water high enough that he could take a drink.  

We re-created that story using a few items that we had here at home.

Items needed for this water displacement activity:

water displacement activity supplies

  • a clear, plastic container
  • stones and rocks
  • plastic turtle
  • permanent marker

How we conducted our experiment:

We experimented with a few different containers, and discovered that the one with the largest opening worked best.

We filled our container with water, and I marked the level of the water on the container so we could monitor our progress.

.mark the water level on a partly filled container of water

Then I hooked our toy turtle to the top of the container, and the fun began…

The children worked together, dropping the stones into the container.

dropping stones into the container to raise the water level

They were amazed to see how quickly the level of the water rose.
watching the water level rise
water displacement activity  - adding stones to the water
And they grew more and more excited as the water rose higher.
adding larger stones to the container
After using up the small stones, the water still hadn’t reached the top of the container, so we got out our larger beach stones and rocks.
experimenting with different sizes of stones to raise the water level
The medium-sized stones still didn’t do the job completely, so the children removed some of them, and experimented with the largest rocks, moving them this way and that, to get them to fit into the container.
IMG_0878
adding the largest rocks to the container
It took lots of thought and co-operation to get it just right, and then finally…  SUCCESS!
the last rock raises the level of the water to the top of the container

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Homemade Musical Instruments for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-musical-instruments-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-musical-instruments-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-musical-instruments-for-kids/#comments Fri, 02 Aug 2013 03:00:41 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=10190 Looking for some easy-to-make musical instruments? We have 5 ideas you’ll love! All of our instruments are made from simple

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Looking for some easy-to-make musical instruments?  We have 5 ideas you’ll love!  All of our instruments are made from simple materials you likely have around the house or in your recycle bin!

cymbal collage

Pop over to CBC Parents to see how we made ours!

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Backyard Balancing Activities http://happyhooligans.ca/10-backyard-balancing-activities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-backyard-balancing-activities http://happyhooligans.ca/10-backyard-balancing-activities/#comments Mon, 29 Jul 2013 14:15:22 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9999 10 balancing activities for your backyard play space.

Here are a few of our favourite backyard balancing activities.

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10 balancing activities for your backyard play space.

10 backyard balancing activities - happy hooligans

Here are a few of our favourite backyard balancing activities.  Most of these can be provided with little or no cost, and often make use of items that you may already have in your home or outdoor playspace.  And they all provide the hooligans with plenty of opportunities to develop their muscles, gross motor control and balancing skills.

Tightrope:

String 2 lengths of ropes between two trees, fence posts or deck rails to create a tight-rope. Our ropes are looped several times around a couple of trees and secured with a few good knots.  Place one about a foot off the ground, and the other high enough up that your child can hold onto it while walking across or balancing on the bottom rope.  It will be shaky going at first, but you’ll be amazed at how quickly your little ones will get the hang of it.  Even our one year old loves balancing on ours.

backyard balancing activities - tight rope

If you’re looking for a TRUE tightrope experience for kids AND adults, Amazon.com has these awesome things called slacklines.   Challenging at first, they’re supposed to be really fun and quite easy to catch on to, and they provide the real deal when it comes to walking and performing jumps and tricks on a tightrope.  See how we use pool noodles to turn our tightrope into a backyard abacus too!

Balance Beam:

one year old on homemade balance beam

 Our balance beam is about as basic as they come.  It’s just a 1×6 or maybe a 1×8 with a couple of wider chunks of wood screwed to the bottom at each end of the beam. My own boys built it to serve as a skateboard “rail”, but I regularly borrow it for the hooligans to play on.  You wouldn’t believe how much enjoyment they’ve gotten from this simple contraption.  Alternatively, a well positioned log would make a fantastic, natural “balance beam” in an outdoor play space.

homemade balance beam

Stumps:

When my Dad took down a large tree for a neighbour, I asked him to set aside a few pieces of the trunk so I could add them to our backyard play space.  I placed three upright, close enough for the hooligans to step or jump from one to another.  The other stump, I placed on it’s side.  This one is a little trickier to balance on, but even some of the youngest have mastered it.

balancing on tree stumps

 If you know anyone having a tree removed, see if you can score a few pieces of the trunk.  Dig them into the ground by about an inch or so, using sand to level and settle them.  These are fantastic for balancing on, or for stepping from one to another.  You might also ask a local Tree Removal Company, if they would consider parting with a few stumps or small logs.  Read more about our Play Logs here.

Large Rocks:

Large rock for balancing

This rock actually sits near the bus-stop in our neighbourhood, but if I ever had the opportunity to get one for my yard, I wouldn’t hesitate.  Not only is a rock like this great for standing and balancing on, it provides endless opportunity for imaginative play.  Over the years it’s been a pirate ship, airplane, rocket-ship, diving board, restaurant counter, horse, an elephant…  It’s been a gathering place, a podium for singing and speech-giving, a trading post where we examine and swap the treasures we find on our nature walks…  A rock like this is truly priceless.

Stepping Stones:

IMG_0720

Smaller rocks in the form of “stepping stones” can help to develop a little one’s sense of balance.  The hooligans spend lots of time following this short path of stones from our porch to our front yard, and circling back to do it again.  I’ve always found that there’s something quite magical about a stone path set into a garden or forested area.

Chalk or Rope Lines:

IMG_0727

Lay down a long, winding piece of rope, or draw a curving chalk-line in the driveway for your child to walk along.  Have fun with different styles of lines: zig-zags, long and winding, or a circular labyrinth for example.  In the photo above, our chalk line just happens to be drawn a long a low brick wall, which also serves as a perfect place to practice a balancing act.  See more of our creative chalk activities here.

Climbing the slide:

Supervision and common sense are called for here, but as long as no-one is waiting to go down the slide, I’m all for this activity.  Core strength, balance, risk assessment and decision-making skills are all challenged here.  By the end of June, our 1 year old (seen in this photo) could make it to the top of the slide and into the playhouse.

balancing activity - climbing the slide

Standing on the Swings:

balancing on the tireswing

Kind of up there with climbing on the slide, you need to exercise some common-sense and supervision here, but this is another activity that helps a child to develop his or her sense of balance. Standing on a moving object is tricky, but a steady and slow-moving tire swing is the perfect place to practice such a trick.  One look at these faces gives you an idea of how proud these little ones are about their accomplishment.

Balance on a Bench:

 

balancing on a bench - happy hooligans

Relax your rules a bit when you’re outside, and let your child climb on the “furniture”.  Remember the thrill of walking along a picnic table bench when you were young?  I sure do!  Just because a bench or stool wasn’t designed with standing in mind, it doesn’t mean a child can’t explore it that way when it’s not in use.

And last but not least…

This is not in our yard, in it’s halfway around the world, and it belongs to Jenny of Let the Children Play.  I do believe this old rickety bridge is my absolute favourite pieces of backyard balancing equipment ever!

rickety old bridge - balancing activity

Maybe, just maybe one day, I’ll make one of my own.

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Bottle Babies – Loose Parts for Play http://happyhooligans.ca/outdoor-play-link-up-bottle-babies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=outdoor-play-link-up-bottle-babies http://happyhooligans.ca/outdoor-play-link-up-bottle-babies/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 11:16:48 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=3977 Bottle Babies – inexpensive, open-ended loose parts make a great addition to an indoor or outdoor play space.

Bottle Babies – Loose Parts for Play

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Bottle Babies – inexpensive, open-ended loose parts make a great addition to an indoor or outdoor play space.

bottle babies - open-ended, loose parts for your indoor or outdoor play space

I first learned about Bottle Babies over at  Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School.  Inexpensive, easy and fun to make, bottle babies are a wonderful, open-ended addition to any play-area, providing countless opportunities for creative and imaginative play.

bottle babies for large muscle development

What are loose parts?

If you’ve never heard of “loose parts” in a play space, I highly recommend reading Lesley’s post titled MOVEABLE FEAST: The Beauty of Loose Parts.  In it, Lesley describes the benefits of providing open-ended, moveable, and somewhat random materials for children to play with, and how these loose parts spark a child’s imagination in ways that factory-manufactured toys cannot.

You’ll also want to visit Lesley’s gallery of photos to see dozens of examples of children at play with various open-ended objects at Takoma Park.   Take the time to click through the photos to see the looks of determination on the childrens’ faces as they construct, create, collaborate and problem solve when playing with the loose parts in the classroom and in the playground.  Lesley’s post and her photos can help us to better understand how essential this kind of play is for young children.bottle babies - loose parts in play space

What the heck IS a bottle baby?

Because another blogging friend of mine recently made her bottle babies and wrote a wonderful post about them, I’m going to send you to her for the details.  Cathy from Pre-School Play will tell you what the overall purpose and benefits of the bottle baby are  and what the name “bottle baby” is meant to suggest to a child.

Meanwhile, I’m going to take the easy road here, and just share the photos of the Hooligans making and playing with ours.

Making our bottle babies:

supplies for making bottle babiesI set out an assortment of items that would sink and float:

 **I should mention that we added the baby oil to one bottle, and it didn’t really do much, other than make the inside of the bottle look greasy, so I personally wouldn’t bother with it again.

children making bottle babies

Cups and funnels make filling the bottles fun, and they’re great for developing hand/eye co-ordination.  Adding food colouring can provide a lesson in colour mixing, and fine motor skills are tested when the children fill their bottles with their collection of small objects.

Playing with our bottle babies:

cups and funnels make filling the bottles fun, and they’re great for developing hand/eye co-ordination.  Adding food colouring can provide a lesson in colour mixing, and fine motor skills are tested when the children fill their bottles with their collection of small objects.

chidren playing with bottle babiesbottle babies - loose parts in the playground

Aren’t they neat?  The Hooligans have been hauling, heaving, carrying, pushing and sliding their bottle babies around for days.  They love ‘em!  And I’m betting your little ones will too!

I’m editing this post to say that our bottle babies survived the winter in one piece, and 10 months later, the hooligans are still playing with them!  If you leave a little space in the top of the bottle to allow for expansion when the water freezes, yours just may make it through a long, cold winter as well!

bottle babies - easy and inexpensive loose parts

Want to see some more terrific ways we’ve added inexpensive but engaging loose parts to our space?

a rope and a bucket

a rope and a hoola hoop

pool noodle abacus

playing with sponges

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Cheater Cheesecake: quick and easy alternative to cheesecake http://happyhooligans.ca/cheater-cheesecake-quick-and-easy-alternative-to-cheesecake/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cheater-cheesecake-quick-and-easy-alternative-to-cheesecake http://happyhooligans.ca/cheater-cheesecake-quick-and-easy-alternative-to-cheesecake/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 06:24:22 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=10033 Cheater Cheesecake: this 2 minute dessert is a quick and easy alternative to cheese cake, and it’s lower in fat

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Cheater Cheesecake: this 2 minute dessert is a quick and easy alternative to cheese cake, and it’s lower in fat and calories too!


cheater cheese cake - 2 minute alternative to cheesecake

Let me tell you about the inspiration behind this 2 minute “Cheater Cheesecake”.  Every Saturday, I invite kid-bloggers from all over the globe to share a favourite post or two on my facebook page.  (If you haven’t popped over there on a Saturday, you really must!  We had over 30 GORGEOUS arts, crafts, activities and recipes linked up there yesterday! And if you’re a blogger, feel free to pop over next weekend and share a kid-friendly post with us!).

Yesterday, one post that jumped out at me, was this gorgeous Canada Day/Fourth of July dessert that Valerie from Glittering Muffins shared with us (us being me and my lovely facebook followers).

Canada Day/Fourth of July cake by Glittering Muffins

Doesn’t it look divine?  Perfect for a summer family BBQ or Potluck!

Well, today, my hubby and I figured we’d better go out and get some fresh, field Strawberries before the season ended, so we came home with a couple of baskets-full, and I put together this super-easy, super-quick dessert for us tonight.

It was amazing!  I had Valerie’s recipe in mind, but I didn’t have cool whip or graham crackers so I improvised with what I had on hand, and the results were delicious!  I’m a sucker for cheesecake.  It’s my all-time favourite dessert EVER, and that’s what this dessert reminded me of, but it was a lighter, more refreshing version.  Lower in fat and calories, but really, REALLY good!

For my Cheater Cheesecake, I used:

ingredients for cheater cheesecake

  • vanilla yogurt
  • strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • “Dad’s” oatmeal cookies, crushed (1.5 cookies per bowl)

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That’s IT!  I scooped some yogurt into some cute, little parfait bowls, dropped in a handful of whole blueberries and raspberries and a few sliced strawberries, sprinkled it all with the crushed oatmeal cookies (which I’d placed in a sandwich bag and crushed with my hand).  Then I finished with a couple more berries.

cheater cheesecake - quick, easy, healthy dessert

How easy is that?  And it was CRAAAZY good.  And such a healthy alternative to real cheesecake.  I would actually serve these to company.  And you can bet I’ll be making them a few more times for us before the rest of the strawberries are gone!

How about some more delicious dessert recipes to really get you drooling?

Black Forest Trifle

Best Ever Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Pumpkin Chip Cookies

Big, Soft Ginger Cookies

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls (bread machine)

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Sensory Art with Shaving Cream and Food Colouring http://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-art/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sensory-art http://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-art/#comments Sat, 06 Jul 2013 13:24:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=10004 Sensory Art: exploring shaving cream and food colouring with our hands.

We had another wonderfully messy experience the

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Sensory Art: exploring shaving cream and food colouring with our hands.

We had another wonderfully messy experience the other day, creating sensory art with shaving cream and food colouring. You may have seen our Giant Shaving Cream Magna-Doodle a couple of weeks ago when we covered our 6 dollar, thrift-shop table in shaving cream and doodled the morning away.sensory art - with shaving cream and food colouring (happyhooligans)

 

This time, at the suggestion of two of my lovely facebook followers, we added a couple of things that took the activity to a whole new level:  food colouring and craft sticks.

for your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post

Our sensory art “ingredients”:

Added suggestion: bucket of water and a towel

I started by covering our table-top with shaving cream.  Don’t worry about buying expensive shaving cream.  This stuff was not.  It dribbled and dripped out of the container, but hey, we weren’t looking for a close shave here, we were just looking to get messy.

I sprinkled a few drops of food colouring on top of the shaving cream and we were good to go!

IMG_1089

Then I passed around some large craft sticks.  Using craft sticks until the food colouring is mixed in is a good idea.  It prevents having to put your hands directly into the food colouring.

shaving cream, food colouring and craft sticks on a table top

The hooligans scraped and doodled and spread the food colouring around in the foam, and it quickly began to look verrrry cool!

sensory art: painting with craft sticks in shaving cream and food colouring

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And very inviting!  It wasn’t long before they ditched the craft sticks and got their hands into it.  IMG_1096

And they had a great old time, smooshing and smearing the colours all together. IMG_1109

When the shaving became all one colour, I would simply dribble some more on top, and add a few new drops of food colouring, and they’d start all over again.IMG_1113

We continued adding layer upon layer o food colour and shaving cream until the can was empty.

A bucket full of water and towel made clean up easy, and was handy for those who wanted to rinse while they were painting.easy way to clean up when playing outside

sensory art - gorgeous, open-ended, sensory art experience by happy hooligans

Similar activities that may interest you:

Life-size Shaving Cream Magna-Doodle

Shaving Cream Car Wash 

Marbleized Painting with Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream Paints

 

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child’s sewing basket http://happyhooligans.ca/childs-sewing-basket/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=childs-sewing-basket http://happyhooligans.ca/childs-sewing-basket/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 19:26:38 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=7529 Fine motor development, sewing skills and a whole lot of fun! Pop over to CBC Parents to see

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Fine motor development, sewing skills and a whole lot of fun!  Pop over to CBC Parents to see how we put together this child’s sewing basket using simple materials that you may already have at home.

child's sewing basket

I think this would make the perfect gift for any toddler or preschooler!

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Fairy Soup http://happyhooligans.ca/fairy-soup/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fairy-soup http://happyhooligans.ca/fairy-soup/#comments Fri, 28 Jun 2013 05:40:38 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9946 Fairy Soup: fine motor and sensory play in the garden!

You may remember that I recently mentioned

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Fairy Soup: fine motor and sensory play in the garden!

fairy soup - sensory and fine motor play in the garden (happy hooligans)

You may remember that I recently mentioned that on Thursdays in my home daycare this year, I have only girls here.  Last week we had quite the girly day, and we made Fairy Mud, you can click here to see how wonderful it was!  This week, keeping with the theme, we headed out to garden and spent the morning making Fairy Soup, which was a fabulous fine motor and sensory activity, and a great way to keep cool on a warm, humid morning.

Tools for making Fairy Soup:

supplies for fairy soup

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Extra “ingredients”:

extra ingredients for fairy soup

Making our Fairy Soup!

I filled up a large stock pot with water, added some food colouring, set it on the table and called the girls over.making fairy soup in the garden

They went for the glitter first.  I kind of thought they would.

IMG_0987

If you know me at all, you know that the hooligans are a little glitter deprived.  I’m a total glitterphobe, but after the success that we had using it in our fairy mud last week, I was happy to bring it out again today.  I’m really making progress, aren’t I?  Mind you, it helps that we’re outside.  I’m pretty certain you’ll never see us generously dusting our crafts with the stuff.  It’s just not gonna happen!

They spent the next hour or so adding the shells and stones, and collecting flowers from the garden.IMG_0998

Our rose bushes are in full bloom right now, so the blossoms are plentiful, and they were really fun to pull apart and decorate the soup with.

adding roses to the fairy soup
snipping flowers into the fairy soup

They scooped and poured and transferred their soup from the pot into the bowls and back into the pot again.pouring and scooping fairy soup

The glitter shakers were quickly emptied, so the girls would pop the lids off, fill them with soup, and sprinkle the coloured water into the bowls.IMG_1002

They spent ages adding ingredients, stirring and then scooping out handfuls of shells and stones for sorting.IMG_1013

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We ended up colouring a couple more batches of water before the morning was over, and when it was all said and done, we removed all of the shells and stones from the bowls, and we poured it all into the garden.

.fairy soup - fine motor, sensory play in the garden (happyhooligans

Easy, inexpensive, engaging and fun!  It was the perfect activity for a warm summer’s day

Similar posts that you may enjoy:

Garden Soup

Sensory Soup

Mud Kitchen

Coloured Ice Play

We’re not the only ones celebrating fairies right now.  Pop over to Nurturestore, and check out the fairy crafts that they’ve been making this week.

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Shaving Cream “Magna Doodle” Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/finger-painting-in-shaving-cream-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=finger-painting-in-shaving-cream-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/finger-painting-in-shaving-cream-activity/#comments Wed, 26 Jun 2013 05:00:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9913 Create a giant “Magna Doodle” with 2 simple items: a table-top and a can of shaving cream.

We love playing

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Create a giant “Magna Doodle” with 2 simple items: a table-top and a can of shaving cream.

We love playing with shaving cream!  It’s such a great sensory material, and kids just love rolling up their sleeves, getting right into it with their hands and creating art on a table covered in shaving cream! This morning, I created a shaving cream magna doodle using 2 simple items:  a table-top and a can of shaving cream.

life size magna doodle - shaving cream on a table top

If you’ve been following along with us, you’ve likely heard me mention the 6 dollar, second-hand coffee table.  It serves as an indoor craft table during the winter months, and an outdoor activity table during the warmer months.  I love it because it’s large enough for the children to gather around comfortably, and its laminate top makes it stain and water-proof.

Creating your shaving cream magna doodle:

This morning, I took a can of shaving cream to the table, and presented the hooligans with this:shaving cream invitation to play

At the sound of the spray-can, they came running, and gathered around, curious about what I was up to. “Is it for us?” they asked.  ”Yep”, I said.  ”What do we do with it?” one of them asked.  I replied very simply:  ”Whatever you’d like”.

There was a moment of hesitation, and then a few cautious fingers poked at the cream.exploring shaving cream sensory play

And it wasn’t long before they were burying their hands in the foam, and spreading it around the table, making swirls and pattern.  Then they would wipe it all out and start fresh.  That’s when I realized that what we had in front of us was just like a giant Magna Doodle!shaving cream magna doodle - incredible sensory experience

Who doesn’t love a Magna Doodle?  Make it life-size, and add a sensory twist and it’s better than ever!  We made hand prints,handprints in shaving cream

drew pictures, and created oodles of doodles, writing our names and swirling our hands and fingers around in the foam.doodling in shaving creamIt was such a wonderful sensory experience.  The soft, fluffy shaving cream, little hands gliding around on the slippery table-top and it smelled amazing!swirling shaving cream on a table

When the table became covered with patterns and drawings, they would slide their hands down the length of the table, swiping the surface “clean” to start again.swirls in shaving cream

Cleaning hands:

We had a large bowl and a towel sitting beside the table, so the kids could rinse their hands whenever they wanted to.

hands covered in shaving cream

For those who don’ t enjoy messy play:

One little guy wasn’t big on getting his hands as messy as this activity required, so after a while, I handed out some paint-brushes and they had a go with those.IMG_0905

Shaving cream is an absolutely delightful substance to in your sensory activities, but as always, you know your child best.  If there are skin sensitivities or a risk of your child eating it, please hold off until your child is a bit older.

For more ways to play with shaving cream, please check our other posts:

Playing with Shaving Cream

Shaving Cream Car Wash

Marbleizing with Shaving Cream and Food Colouring

Window Painting with Shaving Cream

You may also appreciate:

5 Learning Activities for the Magna Doodle

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Fairy Mud http://happyhooligans.ca/fairy-mud/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=fairy-mud http://happyhooligans.ca/fairy-mud/#comments Mon, 24 Jun 2013 05:36:41 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9887 Whip up a batch of “fairy mud” with a roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, a handful of

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Whip up a batch of “fairy mud” with a roll of toilet paper, a bar of soap, a handful of seashells and flower petals and, if you’re brave enough, a container or two of glitter.

Fairy Mud - 3 simple household ingredients (happy hooligans)

Hold onto your hats, Mommas!  We’ve busted out the glitter!  I know you must be thinking that I’ve completely lost it, because it’s a well known fact that I’m a self-proclaimed glitter-phobe, but every Thursday is an “all girl day” here at my daycare, and I got it in my head a week or so ago to take our clean mud/ghost mud recipe, and transform it into a batch of truly girly, glittery goodness for my Thursday gang.  Long before we made it, I had decided to call it “fairy mud“, and I knew it couldn’t be done without glitter, so I pulled up my big girl panties, and went for it!

And you know what?  It was AWESOME!  Ok, so it helped that we were outside (I never could have been so brave inside), and the glitter was contained in the mud (I still can’t imagine crafting with “loose glitter”), but it really was awesome, and added the perfect sparkly touch to this awesome sensory activity.

To make our fairy mud, I simply tweaked our ghost mud (or clean mud) recipe, a pure white sensory dough which yields a slightly smaller amount.  

Fairy Mud ingredients:

for your convenience, I’m including affiliate links to some of the products in this post

Fairy mud ingredients

  • 2 rolls of toilet paper
  • bar and a half of Ivory Soap (grated)
  • 1.5 to 2 cups  WARM Coloured Water (food colouring and water)
  • a couple of tubes of glitter

Oops – I guess that’s actually 4 ingredients.  I wasn’t really thinking of the glitter as being an ingredient when I titled the photo.  Sorry!

Tools that we used:

Tools to use with Fairy Mud

  • plastic ice cream cones
  • meatball scoop
  • playdough cutters and stampers
  • scissors

and for embellishments, we added some rose petals from the garden, and a handful of sea shells.

Making your fairy mud:

I started by having the hooligans take all the toilet paper off the rolls.  This was an activity in itself, and they had fun running around tossing the rolls into the air, and pulling the paper off the cardboard tubes. When their mission was complete, we gathered up all the t.p., and put it in a shallow plastic storage container.pulling the toilet paper off the rolls, to make fairy mud

Then we grated our soap and transfered it into a plastic container.

grating the ivory soap to make fairy mud

We added the warm coloured water into the soap shavings and the hooligans mashed and mushed the shavings until the mixture was fairly smooth.  It smelled so good.

mashing soap and coloured water together to make fairy mud

Then we poured the coloured soapy water mixture over the toilet paper, and the girls squeezed and squished it all together, until the t.p. had turned into a pulpy, moldable dough.mixing toilet paper and coloured soapy water together to get fairy mud

*I started out with 1.5 cups of water, but I had to add a little more (a wee bit at a time) to get our mixture to a consistency that I was happy with.  The amount of water you’ll require will depend on the amount of t.p. on your rolls.

And when we were happy with the consistency of our mixture, we dumped in the GLITTER!

adding the glitter to "clean mud" to make "fairy mud"

And THAT, my friends, is how you make FAIRY MUD!

Fairy Mud:  Clean Mud with a sparkly twist

Now add a little bling: some flower petals, seashells, or whatever else you have on hand – sequins, plastic jewels, glass beads etc., and get playing!

Fairy Mud - a sparkly, gorgeous sensory material made with toilet paper and ivory soap

The girls created cookies, ice cream cones and cupcakes, and had a great time just mucking around in their beautiful mess!

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fairy mud ice cream cone

fairy mud

Keep a bowl of water and a towel handy for those who like to clean their hands frequently while playing with messy materials.

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 For more fairy fun, check out our fairy soup and pop over to The Imagination Tree to see how they’ve been playing with fairy dust!

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rope and hula hoop activity http://happyhooligans.ca/rope-and-hula-hoop-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rope-and-hula-hoop-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/rope-and-hula-hoop-activity/#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 02:13:53 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9855 Add a simple rope and hula hoop activity to your oudoor play space for imaginative play and gross-motor development.

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Add a simple rope and hula hoop activity to your oudoor play space for imaginative play and gross-motor development.

rope and hula hoop activity

I’ve you’ve seen our Pool Noodle Abacus and our Rope and a Bucket, you may have gathered that we like playing with ropes around here.

Ropes can be classified as “loose parts” in your play space.  What’s a loose part?  Well, Jenny from Let the Children Play says it best in a post called the Theory of Loose Parts, but basically they’re materials that have no pre-defined purpose in the play space.  They can be moved and used in whatever manner the children like, giving them the opportunity to explore, build, transport and create.  Small loose parts such as sticks and stones can be manipulated by little hands to be whatever the player wishes, and larger loose parts such as our rope and hula hoop encourage physical exercise and help to strengthen muscle tone, balances and co-ordination, not to mention imagination and creativity.uch as ourPlaying with loose parts often requires some form of physical exertion, co-ordination and balance, so not only are they fun to play with, they’re great for the body and the brain.You can see a couple of examples of ways that we’ve used ropes and other loose parts here in two of my previous posts:  Pool Noodle Abacus and A Rope and a Bucket.

pulling hula hoops along the clothes line

Best of all, it was quick to set up, and it didn’t cost a thing, because I already had the hoola hoops and the rope. I simply strung a very long length of rope over our clothes-line, and tied a hula hoop to each end of the rope.

This simple contraption provided hours of physical play for the hooligans during the week or two that it was rigged up.good old fashioned play - a rope and hula hoop activity

tossing balls through the hoops,

tossing balls through a hula hoop

swinging and swatting at the hoops, and climbing and crawling through them.

climbing through a hula hoop - gross motor development

There’s really not much else to say except that it provided hours of fun, and the kids got a ton of muscle and co-ordination-building exercise while playing with them.

I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves:

rope and hula hoop activity - hang it from a clothesline or tree branch

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4 kids gathered around a hoola hoop and rope activity
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Sensory Soup – exploring fresh herbs http://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-soup-exploring-fresh-herbs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sensory-soup-exploring-fresh-herbs http://happyhooligans.ca/sensory-soup-exploring-fresh-herbs/#comments Wed, 19 Jun 2013 10:57:06 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9830 Sensory Soup: strengthen fine motor skills while exploring fresh herbs with this warm weather activity.

We’ve been exploring fresh herbs

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Sensory Soup: strengthen fine motor skills while exploring fresh herbs with this warm weather activity.

We’ve been exploring fresh herbs from our garden in a wonderfully wet and watery activity that we’re calling “Sensory Soup”.

Sensory Soup - fine motor, sensory fun and water play
Every year at about this time, when the garden is in full tilt, we break out the bowls, buckets and the scissors and we spend the morning making “Garden Soup”.  It’s one of our favourite Springtime activities.

Sensory Soup - exploring fresh herbs and flowers

This year, I decided to change things up a bit, and instead of having flowers as the main ingredient in our activity, I gathered fresh herbs from around the yard and garden, thinking it would be heavenly to enjoy the pungent aromas as the kids snipped and chopped the sprigs into their “soup”.

To make our herb kitchen, I used:

Herbs for the herb soup sensory activity

  • Herbs:  we used cilantro, basil, oregano, dill, chives, tarragon, thyme and mint
  • scissors
  • ladles and spoons
  • bowls
  • cups or scoops
  •  large stock pot filled with water
  • flowers, shells and stones (added as an afterthought)

We started off by exploring the different herbs, crushing and smelling a few of the leaves, and I explained how they’re used to add flavour to our food: oregano and basil in spaghetti and pizza sauce, mint in gum etc.

Then the hooligans gathered around our 6 dollar thrift shop coffee table , which is perfect for crafting and play at, and they chopped, plucked and snipped their leaves and stems into their bowls; perfect for fine motor and scissor skill development.

chopping and plucking fresh herbs for sensory play

They scooped water from the big stock pot and added it to their bowls,

making Sensory Soup with fresh herbs and flowers

pouring water into fresh herbs sensory activity

and they spent the better part of an hour mixing up their concoctions.

stirring fresh herbs into water activity

sensory soup

When most of the herbs had been used up, someone ran to the deck and fetched a bowl of stones and shells to add to their soup,

Adding stones and shells to herbs and flowers for Sensory Soup

 and I clipped some incredibly fragrant peony blooms garden, and they used the petals to garnish their bowls.

chopping up peonies for Sensory Soup

What a wonderful way to spend the morning!  Water play, sensory play and fine motor development all rolled into one  super Springtime activity.

And when we were finished, we scooped out the shells and stones, and dumped our “soup” into the compost bin. :)

!sensory soup table

If you’re looking for more ways to make learning fun with water, click through to check out our water-works, dino-dig and baby bath station.  They’ve all been super-popular here.

If you’re curious about the denim aprons the hooligans are wearing, I make them from the legs of our old jeans.  You can find the tutorial here: 

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, I’d love for you to pop over and LIKE us on facebook.  I update my page daily with easy and affordable arts, crafts and play ideas.

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You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

See you there!

 

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Bucket and Rope Contraption for Backyard Play http://happyhooligans.ca/a-bucket-and-a-rope/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-bucket-and-a-rope http://happyhooligans.ca/a-bucket-and-a-rope/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 04:57:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9799 Rig up a simple bucket and rope contraption in your backyard! It will provide hours of open-ended play for toddlers

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Rig up a simple bucket and rope contraption in your backyard!  It will provide hours of open-ended play for toddlers and preschoolers!

bucket on a rope, filled with pool noodles

When it comes to outdoor activities for toddlers and preschoolers, I’m all about keeping it simple; especially when it comes to our backyard play area.  Open ended, simple play equipment like our play-logs and sandbox encourage children to use their imagination, take calculated risks and play creatively.  What’s not to love about that?  This simple bucket and rope contraption is a proof that the simplest activities are sometimes the best. When I rigged up this bucket and rope in our backyard a couple of years ago, it quickly became one of the most popular pieces of outdoor play equipment.  Two years later, it still is!

kids lined up to use our bucket and rope contraption

Despite its simplicity, this “pulley-system” has provided hundreds of hours of open-ended, imaginative play since I rigged it up. And making one couldn’t get any easier!

How to make a bucket and rope contraption for your own backyard:

Simply type a rope to the handle of a bucket.  Toss the rope up and over the branch of a tree, and tie the loose end of the rope to something at ground level.  For us it’s either the clothesline pole or the base of the tree.

2 preschoolers having fun with the bucket and rope contraption

The hooligans fill the bucket with whatever treasures they can find: pinecones, sticks, stones, mud, dirt, water, you name it; if it’s not tied down, it’s likely found itself in the bucket at one time or another.

loading up the bucket with sticks

Then they hoist the bucket as far into the air as they can get it, and they lower it down again.two kids hoist the bucket

To prevent anyone from getting bonked on the head, I encourage them to lower it slowly, which is an added exercise in co-ordination.investigating the bucket

Occasionally a single hooligan can be found playing at the bucket, experimenting with the mechanics of it all, but most often, two children will gather there, collaborating over a joint task,

bucket and rope

working together, lifting their loot high into the air.

working together to lift the bucket

It’s amazing really, the bucket doesn’t lead to anywhere, and it doesn’t do anything particularly exciting.  In fact it does the same thing every single time someone decides to operate it.   And yet, every single day,

winter play - a bucket and a rope

every single time we’re outside, summer, spring, winter or fall, they come back to that bucket time and time again.

The youngest ones raising it only a foot or two with a single pull,

toddler hoisting the bucket and rope

until they learn the hand-over-hand method necessary to lift the bucket high off the ground.

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The bucket has been changed up a few times over the years, most recently to this galvanized metal bucket, which I love.

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It’s bigger than our old plastic buckets, so they can really load it up, and there’s no fear of it getting brittle or cracking in the winter time.

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The only thing is it’s a little heavier than the plastic buckets we’d used up until now.

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I’m not sure that the children would consider that a drawback though.  They just have to put a little more muscle into their work than they did before, and that’s half the fun of it.

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, I’d love for you to pop over and LIKE us on facebook.  I update my page daily with easy and affordable arts, crafts and play ideas.

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You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

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mud kitchen activity http://happyhooligans.ca/mud-kitchen-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=mud-kitchen-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/mud-kitchen-activity/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 05:26:24 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9773 Simple to set up, our mud kitchen activity requires only a bucket of mud, a few kitchen items and a

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Simple to set up, our mud kitchen activity requires only a bucket of mud, a few kitchen items and a handful of “past their best” pantry items.

mud kitchen with expired pantry items (happy hooligans)
If you’ve been following along with us for a while, you know how much I love coming up with unique mud play activities!  The inspiration behind today’s mud kitchen activity was the awesome pretend “coffee shop” which kept the hooligans busy all last Friday morning.   It was a huge hit, and required nothing more than a few basic supplies and some sand, water and dish soap.

I’m happy to say that our mud kitchen today was also a complete success, and once again, the hooligans were engaged for most of the morning cooking up a storm with a bunch of stuff I already had on hand.

For those concerned that we wasted food doing this activity, I want to say that all of the items you see in the round tray, are materials that we’ve used previously in many of  our sensory bins.  When we’re finished with a bin, I seal up the pasta, lentils, rice etc. to be used again and again.  We’ve been using these same dried food items for a couple of years now.

As for the shaker bottles, I used a small amount of oatmeal, which lasted the entire morning, and some old, dried dill that was past its best.

Supplies we used to create our mud kitchen:


supplies/ingredients for mud kitchen activity

For your convenience, I’ve added affiliate links for some of the products in this post:

To make our mud:

play mud: 50/50 sand and potting soil mixed with water

I used a mix of approx 50/50 sand (from our sandbox) and potting soil, and stirred in just enough water to make it moldable.

I set the whole kit and caboodle up on our handy-dandy 6 dollar thrift-shop coffee-table, and the cook-fest began.IMG_0037

The hooligans spent the better part of the morning scooping, pouring, mixing and garnishing their concoctions.

tweezing, ladeling, scooping, cutting

And I gotta say:  they looked fantastic!

a shaker bottle dispenses rolled oats

I was impressed with how deliberately the preschoolers worked, carefully arranging and decorating their plates.

decorating a mud pie with dried pasta and lentils

We snipped some herbs and flowers from the garden and they added those to their creations.

The most popular items at the table were the shakers – perfect for adding the final touch to a dish.IMG_0141

The children first filled their pie plates, and then moved on to the bowls and tart tins. mud cupcakes

After about an hour, I suggested that they use the water from our camping jug, to make soup.

Our water dispenser:

Our camping water jug is a much-loved addition to our outdoor play space when the weather is warm.  They love having their own personal supply of “running water” in the yard.  It’s great for activities like this, because it saves me from running in and out of the house to refill pitchers with water, and the kids don’t soak themselves at the dispenser  like they tend to if they’re using the garden hose.IMG_0097

I’d placed the water-jug a short distance away from the mud table, so they ran back and forth, filling their small bowls with water, and dumping them into the large bowl of mud, until it was brimming.  Then they added flowers, cut grass and their food items, and stirred and scooped the soup into their bowls.adding water to the mud kitchen

Fun?  You bet it was!  Messy?  Sure, but what a wonderful experience!  second hand coffee table set up with mud kitchen actvitiy

I had them wear their aprons to keep their clothes from getting too messy.  These aprons are THE BEST!  I made them a couple of years ago out of the legs of worn out jeans so they’re really durable, and water and stain resistant.  They’re easy to make, requiring only basic sewing skills.  Click here to see my tutorial.  re-purposed denim aprons - happy hooligans

Clean up was a snap:

At the end of the morning, I drained the water in the big bowl off into the garden, and then I dumped the contents of the plates and bowls into the bowl.  I used the cookie lifter to scrape the mess on the table into the bowl, and then we dumped the whole thing into our compost bin.  A quick spray with the hose had all of the tools and table clean.

When it comes to good, old-fashioned fun, you really can’t beat a bucket of mud for keeping kids engaged and entertained.

mud kitchen activity pie plates and small bowls

If you’d like to see a few more of our favourite mud activities, check out our muddy car wash and our one-of-a-kind portable mud-pit.

 

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, I’d love for you to pop over and LIKE us on facebook.  I update my page daily with easy and affordable arts, crafts and play ideas.

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You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to all kinds of kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

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homemade natural wind chimes http://happyhooligans.ca/wind-chimes-for-cbc/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wind-chimes-for-cbc http://happyhooligans.ca/wind-chimes-for-cbc/#comments Wed, 12 Jun 2013 00:19:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9275 We recently made vibrant rainbow wind chimes here in my daycare, using sticks we’d gathered on a nature walk. They

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We recently made vibrant rainbow wind chimes here in my daycare, using sticks we’d gathered on a nature walk.  They were so beautiful and easy to make, we were inspired to make a couple of natural versions for the hooligans to give to their parents.These natural wind chimes make a perfect homemade Father’s Day gift, and they’re being featured right now over at CBC Parents.  Click here to pop over to see the various chimes that we made, and to get the how-to.
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coffee shop activity http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-shop-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coffee-shop-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-shop-activity/#comments Sun, 09 Jun 2013 13:30:10 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9736 This coffee shop pretend play activity with sand, soap and water provides hours of open-ended, imaginative play for kids of

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This coffee shop pretend play activity with sand, soap and water provides hours of open-ended, imaginative play for kids of all ages.

Last Friday was a P.A. day so a few of our “graduates” joined us for the day.  Because of the larger group and the wider age-range (1 to 7), I wanted to offer an engaging outdoor activity that would appeal to everyone.  I came up with the idea for this coffee shop activity just a few short hours before they arrived Friday morning, (cuz some of my best ideas come to me in the 11th hour) and I have to say, it was without a doubt, one of the best activities we’ve ever done here.

If you’re wondering where the inspiration came from, my hubby and I had picked up a couple of Timmie’s coffees the night before, and when I saw empty coffee cups in the recycling bin, a “light-bulb” went on.coffee shop activity with sand, soap and water (happyhooligans)

If you’ve been following us for any length of time, you know that I’m all about activities that are easy and inexpensive, but at the same time offer my daycare children lots of opportunities for exploring, experimenting and learning.  And I especially love an activity that is captivating enough to hold their attention for a long period of time.  Our coffee shop met all the criteria and then some.kids working at the pretend play coffee shop

In the past, other super-popular activities that have held the hooligans attention for the better part of an entire morning have been our Muddy Car Wash,  Baby Bath Station, and our Ice Age Bin.  Please click on the links to see what they’re all about.  Each one is easy to prepare, and requires basic items that you likely already have around your home.scooping sand "sugar"

This one was no different.  I simply gathered some odds and ends from the toy room and craft room, and the only “ingredients” we used were sand, water and dish soap.

What I used to create our coffee shop:

  • metal or plastic tea pots, coffee pots or pitchers
  • milk foamer/frother (you could probably use a whisk or a hand-held egg-beater or even a blender)
  • clean milk/cream carton
  • plastic mugs, disposable coffee cups
  • stir sticks
  • spoons
  • spice shaker with large holes (ours still had popcorn flavouring in it)
  • small “sugar” bowls
  • sand
  • water
  • a few squirts of dish soap
  • plastic serving tray or cardboard take-out drink tray
  • our camping water jug so the children had access to and control of “running water” in the yard

This is what the coffee shop looked like before the hooligans descended on it.  The photo isn’t great, but the kids pounced on everything so quickly I wasn’t able to get a better one shot of the set-up.coffee shop activity set up

Inexpensive work table:

The table that we use for a lot of our activities is a really light-weight coffee table that I picked up at a second-hand shop.  Because it’s so light, it’s easy to move around the yard or in and out of the house to where-ever we need it.  I paid about 6 bucks for it, and I don’t know how we ever did without it.pretend play coffee shop

Easy prep:

I simply filled the teapots and coffee pots with water, and I added some sand to the “sugar bowls”.  I added water and a few squirts of dish soap to the milk foamer, and I pumped the handle a few times to produce the beautiful foam that you’ll see in the following photos.

Coffee time!

It was an instant hit!  They all crowded around, and there was a frenzy of activity that continued for most of the morning.IMG_9753

The milk frother was a big hit.  When the kids pumped the plunger up and down, the soap and water produced loads of gorgeous foam that was perfect for scooping or pouring onto their “lattes”.

soap and water in the milk frothersoap "milk" for the pretend coffee shop

Our camping water-jug is always a popular, warm-weather addition to our outdoor play space.  The kids enjoy having access to “running water”, and they love to crank the spigot to refill their containers or to rinse their hands.

a camping water jug in the outdoor play space

They poured “cream”,IMG_9719

scooped sugar, IMG_9742

stirred and shook,IMG_9725

IMG_9755

and served up some of the best looking play-coffee I’d ever seen.

IMG_9737

And shortly before lunch, they realized that snowball bush was in full bloom,IMG_9833

so they spent the rest of the morning running back and forth, gathering blossoms to garnish their drinks with.IMG_9844

Mmmmm Mmmm!  Muddy, sandy play never looked so good!

So good, in fact that this activity has given me an idea for another one that I think will be just as fun!  Stay tuned because we’ll be doing that one next week!

 

 

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, I’d love for you to pop over and LIKE us on facebook.  I update my page daily with easy and affordable arts, crafts and play ideas.

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You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to all kinds of kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

See you there!

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pool noodle abacus http://happyhooligans.ca/pool-noodle-abacus/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pool-noodle-abacus http://happyhooligans.ca/pool-noodle-abacus/#comments Fri, 07 Jun 2013 03:50:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9703 Pool noodle abacus: use pool noodles as loose parts in your outdoor play space.

Ok,

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Pool noodle abacus:  use pool noodles as loose parts in your outdoor play space.

pool noodle abacus (happy hooligans)

Ok, so technically ours is not a true abacus, but it could be with the addition of just a few more ropes.playing with pool noodles

Whatever you choose to call this activity, the fact is: we’ve been playing with pool noodles here in our backyard play space, and they’ve been a big hit!  I was going to save this activity for an upcoming post in my “Backyard Series”, but it’s so darn colourful and cute, I’m sharing it here on its own ahead of time.

.playing with pool noodles on a rope

Making a backyard abacus is a piece of cake.  All you need is a few pool noodles and some rope.

Prepare your pool noodle:

I simply used a sharp, serrated knife to “saw” through my noodles, cutting the noodle into many pieces.  To make things a little interesting, I did not cut my pieces all the same size.turn a pool noodle into an abacus

Then I simply cut a length-wise slit into the pieces, going as deep as the center hole so I could “open” the noodle up at the slice.  This is how you’ll place the noodles on the rope.  And it means the hooligans can easily take the noodles on and off the rope when they please, and use them as loose parts in our play space.

Never heard of loose parts?  Jenny from Let the Children Play has written an excellent piece describing them.  You can find it here.

Ropes:

Find a couple stationary objects in your yard that you can tie your rope(s) to.  I tied mine to a tree at one end, and my clothesline pole at the other.  pool noodle abacus

Doesn’t it look fun?

IMG_8552

If you’re wondering about our colourful rainbow wind chime, hanging above the abacus, it was really fun and easy to make, using sticks we gathered on a nature walk.  You can find my tutorial here.

Add your noodles:

Pop those bad boys onto your rope and let the children at them!
IMG_8610

It’s such a simple concept, but these have gotten a ton of use.  The hooligans push them back and forth, the take them off and play with them in the sandbox, and they pile them into the coupe car and our pulley bucket.
IMG_8612

A stick and a bowl of sand provided the base for an interesting activity for this little one.IMG_8622

And at the end of the day, we slip them all back onto the rope for a quick and easy clean up.pool noodles and rope for loose part play

Looking for more easy and one-of-a-kind activities to keep your hooligans entertained for hours on end this summer?  Check out our Dino Dig and Baby Bath Station.  Your little ones will be captivated!

You may also enjoy this awesome Giant Bead Abacus from The Imagination Tree!

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, I’d love for you to pop over and LIKE us on facebook.  I update my page daily with easy and affordable arts, crafts and play ideas.

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You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to all kinds of kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

See you there!

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Rain Sticks – Kids Can Create the Sound of Falling Rain! http://happyhooligans.ca/rain-sticks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rain-sticks http://happyhooligans.ca/rain-sticks/#comments Thu, 06 Jun 2013 02:32:30 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9684 How to make a rainstick with a cardboard roll and some basic materials. Pretty, easy and inexpensive! Ideal for toddlers

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How to make a rainstick with a cardboard roll and some basic materials.  Pretty, easy and inexpensive!  Ideal for toddlers and preschoolers.

rain sticks

You’ll find lots of super spring crafts for kids here, and today’s rain sticks are no exception!  They’re easy to make, the kids loved decorating them, and they sound great!  Before we get started though, you might be wondering…

What IS a rain stick?

Traditional rain sticks are instruments made with hollow cacti, thorns and lava pebbles, and are used in some cultures to invoke the rain spirits.  Ours are simplified rain sticks, and I’m not sure how effective they’d be for calling up any spirits but they were fun to make, and they sound lovely when you up-end them.

When I say ours our “simplified”, I mean that we didn’t put nearly as many nails (or tacks) into them as we should have.  Pop over to Planting Ideas to see how to make a real rainstick.  It requires many more nails than what we used, which would slow the flow of the materials inside, producing a longer and gentler sound.

I think ours turned out just great for the hooligans though, and the process was easy, using materials we already had on hand.

To make our rain sticks, you’ll need:

for your convenience, affiliate links have been added to this post

IMG_9499

I suppose you could use a paper towel roll for this project, but I’m thinking it might be too flimsy.  We used some sturdy rolls that had once held plastic wrap (i.e. Saran Wrap) and aluminum foil, and I also had a long, sturdy tube that a poster came packaged in.

Because some of our tubes were too small in diameter to insert nails into, without them poking out the other side, I brainstormed up a couple of alternatives:  thumb-tacks and brass-tacks.

IMG_9506

How to make a rainstick:

Push, hammer or tap your tacks and nails into the tube.  (I made small cuts with an exact-o knife to insert the brass-tacks into).

IMG_9508

Once you have all of your nails and tacks in, (remember: more is better than less), roll your tube up in aluminum foil.

IMG_9513

Give a good squeeze all the way around so the foil is tight to the tube, and stuff the excess at ONE of the ends into the the tube, plugging that end good and tight with foil (see the cover photo for this post).

Now, pour your filler items (beads/rice/small corn kernels etc.) into the open end of the tube.  Keep your items small (rice is ideal) so they don’t get jammed between the nails and tacks.  Now seal up the open end just like you sealed the bottom.

To decorate our rain sticks, we brushed then with some watered down white glue, and then covered them with squares of coloured tissue paper, giving the tissue a light coating of the watered down glue.IMG_9496

When they were dry, we jazzed them up with covered them craft-foam stickers.  The hooligans love these things because, well, what kid doesn’t love a sticker?  And I love them because peeling the backs off the stickers gives little fingers a real fine-motor work out.

When you’re finished decorating your rain stick, tip it end to end, and hear how the rice, cascading through the tube, sounds like the soft, soothing pitter-patter of rain.   IMG_9566

Looking for more Easy and Inexpensive Springtime crafts?  How about our:

 Styro-framed art

 rainbow collages

Paper Plate Birds

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Dino Dig – melting ice with salt and water http://happyhooligans.ca/melting-ice-with-salt-and-water/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=melting-ice-with-salt-and-water http://happyhooligans.ca/melting-ice-with-salt-and-water/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 02:29:15 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9614 Dino Dig: Melting ice with salt and water. Science, water play, and fine motor development all wrapped up in a

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Dino Dig: Melting ice with salt and water.  Science, water play, and fine motor development all wrapped up in a fun, icy activity!

Last year, we played around, melting ice with salt and water, with our Ice Age Bin which completely captivated the hooligans for well over an hour.  I’ve been itching for the weather to warm up so we could do it again, but I wasn’t sure if this year’s crowd would get into it as seriously as last year’s did.

melting ice with salt and water experiment for  kids

Well, I’m happy to say that they loved it just as much as the gang did last Spring, and this year, I made our ice block quite a bit bigger, and they were at it for 2 solid hours.  Yep, you read that right.  TWO solid hours.

If you’re looking for an activity to keep your hooligans engaged for a good looong time this summer, THIS is the one for you!  It’s really easy to prepare, and won’t cost you a thing!

What you’ll need for your ice block:

supplies for dino dig activity

  • toy dinosaurs
  • stones
  • shells
  • plastic crystals
  • large container

We froze our ice in layers, over the course of a couple of days, adding a few items to the water, placing the container in the freezer, and repeating with another layer when the previous one was frozen.  toy dinosaurs and shells frozen in ice

When our ice block was frozen, I decided to make it bigger, so I placed it in a larger container, and we added cold water and a few more items and popped it back into the freezer.  On Friday, I ran a little hot water over the container and our large ice block slipped right out.

Now you’ll need some “equipment”:

I set out an assortment of tools for the hooligans to dig their frozen treasures out of the ice:

  • salt coloured with a few drops of blue food colouring
  • a shaker container for the salt
  • small pate spreaders
  • syringes
  • plastic test tubes
  • turkey baster
  • tweezers
  • bowl of hot water

I placed everything in a shallow storage container, and set it on a small bench in the backyard.

Let the digging begin!kids gathered around a sensory bin of ice and salt and water

The first thing the hooligans went for was the coloured salt.  They sprinkled it liberally all over the ice block which started the melting process.sprinkling blue salt on a block of ice

Then they used the syringes, baster and test tubes to pour the hot water over the ice.IMG_9197

The salt mixed with the water, and turned everything an icy blue, which was really neat.

As the salt ate away at the ice, and the warm water did its work, deep wells started to form in the block, and the ice took on a bumpy, crystalized texture.dino dig:  a sensory, fine motor and science activity

The hooligans worked with their “knives” to cut and chop and dig at the ice.

They tried digging the treasures out with their fingers, but soon learned that the most efficient way to get to the goods was with the water.dino dig: science activity.  digging toys out of an ice block

The syringes and turkey baster required lots of co-ordination and fine motor control, and they concentrated and gave it their full effort.dino dig: melting ice with salt water

The little girls wandered away from the activity from time to time, but I am not kidding when I tell you that the boys did not leave the bin once in the two hours that it took them to complete their mission.

They worked away, pouring and digging, and hollering excitedly when they freed something from the ice.  The shells and stones and crystals produced small celebrations, but the loudest cheers would go up  when they got a dinosaur.

I refilled their bowl with warm water once, and after that, they were happy using the water and melted ice in the bin.

After about an hour and a half, I moved the activity into the shade and at that point, I flipped the ice block over to see if they wanted to go at it from the under-side.

IMG_9236

dinosaurs and shells frozen in ice

The littles loved the smooth feel of the bottom of the ice block after working with the bumpy salt-eaten side, but the boys flipped it back over, preferring to continue with their mission as they had been.

digging a dinosaur out of the ice

freeing the last of the items from the block of ice

Slowly, the ice block got smaller and smaller, and they were able to break off chunks of ice, and hold them to remove whatever was encased in them.

And finally, at almost the 2 hour hour mark, they freed the last of their treasures.

shells and stones frozen in ice

I’m so thrilled that this activity went over this well two years in a row.  I’m already thinking of doing it again this season.  I just have to think of what to freeze in the ice to put a bit of a different spin on it.playing with plastic test tubes

Isn’t it wonderful that a simple activity like this can engage a child for so long?  Their determination and perseverance truly impressed me.  And, it was a ton of fun and learning, and a great way to keep cool on a hot morning!

See more of our cool outdoor water play ideas for kids?

Waterworks activity

Deep Blue Sea Bin

Coloured Water Laboratory

Fairy Soup

Coffee Shop Pretend Play

 

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coloured water activity http://happyhooligans.ca/coloured-water-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coloured-water-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/coloured-water-activity/#comments Thu, 30 May 2013 02:37:00 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9565 Experimenting with coloured water for fine and gross motor development and a lesson in colour mixing:

This coloured water activity

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Experimenting with coloured water for fine and gross motor development and a lesson in colour mixing:

This coloured water activity is one of our warm weather favourites.  We do this activity every year, and the hooligans always love it.

Experimenting with coloured water (happy hooligans)

I like it because it’s so simple and virtually cost-free, and yet it’s educational, entertaining and provides lots of  opportunity for learning and fine and gross motor development.

Gather your supplies:

clear squeeze bottles and food colouring for colour mixing activity

  • empty squeeze bottles
  • water
  • food colouring
  • large clear or white bowls or baking dishes

Use what you have to make an outside work surface:

When we’re crafting or “working” in the backyard, we use an inexpensive coffee table that I picked up for about 6 bucks at a thrift shop.  When it’s not in use, it lives on our deck, where it’s exposed to the elements, but because it has a laminate top, it weathers well, and cleans up easily with a wet or soapy cloth.
Alternatively, you can use a tall(ish) storage container with a lid as a water-proof work table.  If it doesn’t have a lid, simply flip it upside down and make the bottom your work surface.  A child’s wagon also doubles as a water table or work space when you’re outdoors.

Let’s get to it:

To start, set your bowl(s) or pan(s) on your work surface.  Clear or white bowls are best so the kids can see the true colours of the water, and what happens when they combine colours.

Now fill your bottles almost to the top with water.  We used the garden hose for this, which was an activity in itself, and then we added several drops of liquid food colouring to each container.  We popped the lids on and…

mixing coloured water

…sang the shaky song:  ”Shaky, shaky, shaky, shake it all you can.  La la la la la la.  La la la la la la la, HEY!”   Lots of la la’s there because we’ve never bothered to come up with a second line to the song.

Now they can pop open the bottle tops and and squeeze, squirt, dribble and mix their little socks off.
popping top on squeeze bottle - fine motor

We have lots of great stuff going on here!  Water play for one;  I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love some good, old-fashioned water play.

squeezing water out of bottles - great for hand muscle development

Fine motor skills are put to the test, opening lids and twisting the tops on and off the bottles.

 squeezing, lifting, squirting water - gross motor development

Lifting those heavy bottles, holding them high and squeezing the water in to the bowls give those little arms and hands a work out.

colour mixing activity - 2 pans of coloured water

And of course, there’s the colour-mixing.  Kids are always fascinated by this process, and I have to say, as much as I’ve seen it a thousand times, it always looks a little magical to me too.

What a fun way to get some learning in while having fun and keeping cool on a warm Spring morning!

If this is your first visit to Happy Hooligans, I’d love for you to pop over and LIKE us on facebook.  I update my page daily with easy and affordable arts, crafts and play ideas.

follow happy hooligans on facebook

You can follow me on Pinterest too!  I have over 90 boards dedicated to all kinds of kids’ crafts and activities, as well as some personal interest boards too.follow the Hooligans on Pinterest!

See you there!

 

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magna doodle activities http://happyhooligans.ca/magna-doodle-activities/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=magna-doodle-activities http://happyhooligans.ca/magna-doodle-activities/#comments Mon, 27 May 2013 02:30:13 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=9533 5 ways to use your Magna Doodle as a learning tool!

Our original Magna-Doodle has been kicking around for about

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5 ways to use your Magna Doodle as a learning tool!

Our original Magna-Doodle has been kicking around for about 13 years.  It’s dented and dinged, and the screen is permanently marked in some places, but it’s still one of my favourites among our toy collection, not only because of the  fun my boys had with it, but because I always enjoyed coming up with educational Magna Doodle activities that we could do together.

magnadoodle learning activities

Don’t have a Magna Doodle?

For those of you who don’t have a Magna-Doodle, they (or similar brands) can be found in most toy stores.  Alternatively, you browse and shop by clicking here on my affiliate link.

Over the years, we have spent countless hours of quality time, playing educational drawing games together.  Often, part of our bed-time routine would be to snuggle up with the Magna Doodle, and I would use it as a tool to help teach my sons their letters, numbers and basic drawing skills, and over the years, I’ve come up with a number of games to make the learning fun.

My boys are now tween/teenagers, but I still play these games today with my daycare hooligans.

I’ll start with the most basic of the games, which you can play with young toddlers, and work my way through to the most challenging, which are great for older children.

Basic Magna Doodle Activity:

This one is so basic I don’t even have a name for it, but it’s a the perfect game to get started with when your child is really young.   It’s great for hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills.

placing rocks on circles on the magna doodle

Fill your Magna-Doodle screen with circles, and give your child simple objects to place in the circles: pom poms, stones, blocks etc.  When your child is ready to move on to something a little more challenging, you can try this next game.

Shape Match:

Similar to our DIY Matching Game  which is played on paper, this activity helps with shape recognition. matching game on the magnadoodle