Happy Hooligans http://happyhooligans.ca Art for Kids, Kids Crafts, Kids Activities and Play Ideas Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:00:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 25 Easy Art Techniques for Preschoolers http://happyhooligans.ca/25-easy-art-techniques-preschoolers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=25-easy-art-techniques-preschoolers http://happyhooligans.ca/25-easy-art-techniques-preschoolers/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:13:40 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15814 It’s no secret – my daycare hooligans love creating art! For me, the funnest thing about kids’ art, is finding

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It’s no secret – my daycare hooligans love creating art!  For me, the funnest thing about kids’ art, is finding unique and interesting ways for my little budding artists to get creative. The kids and I have tried a lot of creative processes over the years, and today, I’m sharing with you, 25 of my favourite easy art techniques for preschoolers!  They’re easy, inexpensive, super-cool, and each of these projects can be done using things you have in your kitchen cupboards and around your home!

25 easy art techniques for kids

 

Put away those paints and paintbrushes! This round-up of creative art processes will have your kids exploring and experimenting with all kinds of different materials, substances and tools! From resist art to sensory art, from smooshing and scraping to dripping and ripping.  In this collection, you’ll find lots of different ways for your little ones to get artistic and express their creativity.

Each of the activities described here contains a click-able link which will take you to the step-by-step instructions.  Just click on the coloured, underlined text.

 

25 Unique and Easy Art Techniques for Preschoolers!

 

sharpie art and golf ball painting technique

Make a gorgeous “tie-dyed” bookmark with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol!  Great fine-motor exercise, and a super homemade gift for kids to give a parent, grandparent or teacher!

Little ones will love “shaking up” a colourful masterpiece with this fun and energetic golf ball painting process!

Sharpies are the star again in this simple “stained-glass” art project.  You’ll never guess what we coloured on to get such glossy, vibrant results.

 

chalk art, ice art and drip art for toddlers

Take your sidewalk chalk art to a new level with a little dipping pot of water!

The hooligans spent ages exploring water absorption and strengthening their fine-motor skills with this drip-art technique.

Here’s a great warm-weather art project!  Little ones will love painting with coloured ice outdoors on a sunny summer day.

 

3 simple paint processes for kids

One of our absolute favourites!  To make homemade puffy paint, all you need are 3 kitchen ingredients and a microwave!

Dyeing coffee filters is always popular with the hooligans.  See how we used ours to make a pretty paper plate wreath.

Your child can stamp up a one-of-a-kind piece of art for his or her bedroom using a thrift shop canvas and some cardboard rolls.

 

melted crayon art, smoosh painting for toddlers

Without a doubt, melting crayons to make Van Gogh’s Starry Night art is one of my all-time favourite art processes for kids.

See how we turned an old thrift shop painting into a custom piece of art for our playroom using this mess-free smoosh painting technique!

 

3 easy art techniques for preschoolers

Make your own gift wrap in a matter of seconds using this awesome hair-dryer painting process!

These cork-stamped flowers were my very favourite spring art project this year.  Not only because they’re so pretty, but because they’re so versatile!  You can use this technique to make homemade cards and wrapping paper or to embellish a wreath or a tote-bag!

Cotton-pad art teaches kids about water absorption and colour blending, and the process helps develop fine motor skills.

 

painting with feathers, sponges and blocks

This “big art” post  is chock-full of ways for a little one to explore a variety of painting tools on a large art surface on the floor.

 

Art processes for preschoolers and toddlers

Tape resist art is so much fun!  It’s simple enough for toddlers to enjoy, and older kids will appreciate the cool results.

Scrape painting is another one of my all-time favourite art techniques for kids.  The process is easy yet fascinating, and the results are always just beautiful!

Kids who enjoy messy play will love this sensory art process!  It’s fun for one, but also a great group activity for the backyard.

 

salt and glue painting, wax resist painting

This salt, glue and watercolour process was a really neat (and gorgeous) way to work on letter and name recognition.

Crayon resist art is always a hit with kids of all ages!  Even I can’t resist a good resist-art project!

 

techniques for painting rainbows

Transform your driveway art with this simple chalk and water technique!

Paint a perfect rainbow every time, with this nifty technique!

 

3 art techniques for toddlers

And lastly, here are three of my all-time favourite art techniques for preschoolers:

Creating stained glass art with bottle lids and washable paint.

Making marbleized prints with shaving cream and food colouring.

Creating beautiful Monet-like art with markers and paper towels.

 

If you’re looking for another terrific round-up of kids art ideas, check out these 30 Art Techniques from Buggy and Buddy!

Buggy and Buddy Art Technique Round Up

 

Want to see even more cool and creative activities for kids?  Check out our:

Easy science Experiments for Toddlers

Homemade Paint Recipes for Kids

Disney’s “Frozen” Crafts, Activities and Recipes

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Simple, 3-Ingredient Concoctions for Kids to Make http://happyhooligans.ca/simple-3-ingredient-concoctions-kids-make/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=simple-3-ingredient-concoctions-kids-make http://happyhooligans.ca/simple-3-ingredient-concoctions-kids-make/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:29:56 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15802 Do your kids love mixing concoctions? Oh boy! Do I ever have a whopper of a concoction collection for you!

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Do your kids love mixing concoctions?  Oh boy!  Do I ever have a whopper of a concoction collection for you! 35 of the best slime, goop, goo and play dough recipes that I could find!  Science and sensory exploration never looked, felt or smelled so good!  And best of all?  All of these mixtures require 3 ingredients or less!

Click here to see all of the mixtures and their recipes!  Here’s a sneak-peek:

3-ingredient concoctions for kids

 

And speaking of Kids Activities Blog… Have you seen the fantastically, amazing book that they’ve just published?

101 of the bestest, funnest kids activities ever!  I’ve got it, I’ve read it, and I LOVE IT!!  It’s jam-packed with easy, activities that kids of all ages will absolutely love!  CLICK HERE to get your copy now from Amazon.com!

101-kids-activities-that-are-the-bestest-funnest-ever-book-cover-650

From 101 Kids Activities by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, printed with permission of Page Street Publishing June 2014.

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20+ FROZEN Activities & Recipes {for Anna and Elsa Fans} http://happyhooligans.ca/20-frozen-activities-recipes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=20-frozen-activities-recipes http://happyhooligans.ca/20-frozen-activities-recipes/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 14:17:20 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15727 20-plus Frozen activities, recipes, science experiments and printables that Elsa and Anna fans will love!

What do you do when

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20-plus Frozen activities, recipes, science experiments and printables that Elsa and Anna fans will love!

What do you do when you have 4 Frozen-obsessed little girls in your daycare?  You think up as many frosty and icy-themed activities as you can to keep them happy, busy and learning. I had a lot fun coming up with our Anna and Elsa inspired activities, and each one was a hit with the kids.  I’ve rounded them all up here for you, along with a few others that I’ve come across in my internet travels. All in all, this collection contains over 20 Frozen activities and recipes for you to enjoy with your little Anna and Elsa fans! Have fun!

20 Frozen Activities and recipes for kids

Happy Hooligans’ Frozen Activities:

* Each title is a click-able link which will take you to the activity instructions or recipe.

  Melting Elsa's Frozen Hands Activity

Melting Elsa’s Frozen Hands – a salt and ice experiment

 

 

Frozen-Fractals-Soup-Ice-Play-Activity

Frozen Fractals Soup – Ice and Water Play

 

 

Frozen-Sensory-Bin-

Frozen Sensory Bin 

 

 

4deffc3f093400f856a1c4f3f01fbf5a

Frozen Clean Mud - a “frozen” twist of our traditional clean mud recipe

 

 

Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures

Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures – building with coloured ice cubes

 

Other Frozen Activities and Recipes from around the web:

Frozen Recipes:

132645151494542297_rnld7tzx_c1

Blue Rock Candy  – Do It and How

 

 

blue-velvet-cupcakes-3

Blue Velvet Cupcakes - Pint Sized Treasures

 

 

frozen-ice-jello3

Frozen Jello Ice Cubes - Bubbly Nature Creations

 

 

disney-frozen-party-blue-punch-with-snowballs

Frozen Party Punch - Comfy in the Kitchen

 

Frozen Sensory & Science Activities:

 

 

Frozen-themed-play-dough-680x453

Frozen Play Dough – The Imagination Tree

 

 

Frozen-Silly-Putty-Top-Shot

Frozen Silly Putty – Paging Fun Moms

 

 

Frozen-Erupting-Snow

Frozen Erupting Snow – Paging Fun Moms

 

 

frozen-vinegar4

Frozen Vinegar Science Activity - Inspiration Laboratories

 

Creative Frozen Play Ideas:

 

 

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Frozen Paint - Growing A Jewelled Rose

 

 

Frozen-Crafts-Story-Stones

Frozen Story Stones – Red Ted Art

 

Frozen Discovery Bottles:

 

Frozen-Craft-Disneys-Frozen-Inspired-Chill-Out-Relaxation-Bottle-from-Lalymom

Frozen Chill Bottle - LalyMom

 

 

Disneys-Frozen-Olav-in-a-snow-storm-bottle

Frozen Olaf Snowstorm Bottle - 30 Minute Crafts

 

Frozen Printables:

 

Disney-Frozen-Printable-Actvities-Coloring-Pages

Frozen Printable Activities & Colouring Pages – Mom Endeavours

 

 

Frozen-Crafts-Puppet-Printable

Frozen Craft Puppets – Red Ted Art

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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The Fastest, Easiest, Cheapest way to Add Running Water to your Backyard Play Space http://happyhooligans.ca/running-water-backyard-play-space/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=running-water-backyard-play-space http://happyhooligans.ca/running-water-backyard-play-space/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 03:39:29 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15686 Wouldn’t it be great if your kids had access to a water supply at the sandbox or in the mud

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Wouldn’t it be great if your kids had access to a water supply at the sandbox or in the mud kitchen?  Well guess what!  They can!  I’m going to show you how you can add a source of running water to your backyard play space in minutes.  It’s a simple solution that’s fast, easy and cheap.  In fact, it may not cost you a dime!

 

How to add water to an outdoor play space

If your kids love water-play as much as the hooligans do, you’re going to love this post!  Listen up!  I’m going to show you how I added a source of “running water” to our backyard play area.

The quest to add running water to our play area:

Now, to be honest, what I really wanted was a water pump like Teacher Tom’s.  I mean, what kid wouldn’t love to pump his own water from an antique hand pump?

For a while, I kept my eyes open at auction sales and flea markets hoping to come across an old in my price-range, but they’re a little hard to come by I guess.  I never managed to find one.

That’s ok though – because, resourceful thinker that I am, I realized there was a super-easy, super-inexpensive way  to provide the hooligans with their very own backyard water source.  In fact, I had it set up in just a few minutes, and it didn’t cost me a thing!

IMG_3277 copy

Some of you may have to fork out a few bucks for this contraption, but trust me, it will be worth every penny!

There’s a good chance that for many of you, installing running water in your mud-kitchen will require nothing more than a quick trip to your storage room!

The 20 dollar (or less) item that transformed our outdoor play space.

toddler pouring water from camping water carrier

 

Ta-daaaa!  It’s the water carrier that we use for camping!

Brilliant or what?  If you’re not a camper, and you don’t happen to have one of these in storage at your house, don’t worry.  You can pick them up in the outdoor section of most hardware stores or big box stores.

Also, check out second-hand stores and thrift shops!  Our local consignment shop has a shelf full of water carriers in all shapes and sizes.

Likewise, you can use my affiliate link to see a variety of water carriers here on Amazon.com.

This is the one that we have that we have:

 

A portable water carrier is perfect for water play in the backyard!  The carrier is easy to fill with the garden hose, it holds a LOT of water, and I can easily move it to wherever we’re playing in the backyard.

Who knew the humble camping water-jug had so many uses?

Sometimes I set the water carrier on a stool beside the sandbox, because hey, wet sand is WAY more fun than the dry stuff.

You have to have running water when you’re getting messy in our mobile mud-pit.
.

IMG_1893

Running water is a must when we’re making concoctions…

IMG_2741

and having tea parties…

Pouring water at the tea party

 

and playing “coffee shop”

IMG_9749

The kids love having complete control over that simple, little tap.

It’s handy too, for rinsing off when we get really sandy or muddy.

washing hands at the camping water carrier

The kids love gathering around the water spigot to fill their containers.Kids filling up at the water jug

Cranking that handle is a bit tricky.  It requires strength and co-ordination to turn the tap off and on, but they work together and help each other to make it happen.

IMG_1889

To conserve spills and wasted water, simply place a large bowl or container underneath the spigot of the water carrier.  Your kids can use it for play or for watering the flowers.

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Sidewalk Chalk and Water Painting Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/sidewalk-chalk-water-painting-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sidewalk-chalk-water-painting-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/sidewalk-chalk-water-painting-activity/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 17:21:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15668 Kids can create unique “watercolour images” with sidewalk chalk and water!

We’re huge fans of sidewalk chalk here. We always

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Kids can create unique “watercolour images” with sidewalk chalk and water!

We’re huge fans of sidewalk chalk here.  We always have a bucket of chalk stashed just outside our front door. It’s our go-to activity when we’re waiting for daycare drop-off and pickups, when we want to get creative, or when we only have a few minutes to spare.  The hooligans love using chalk in the traditional way of course, but over the years, I’ve come up with some fun and creative ways to use our chalk too!  Here’s our most recent outdoor art activity.  It’s super-simple to set up and do, and the results are really pretty!

sidewalk chalk and water activity

4 simple materials for sidewalk chalk painting:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • water
  • large paint brush

Creating outdoor art with sidewalk chalk and water:

We often do our chalk activities out in the driveway, but honestly, our favourite place to play with chalk is on the patio stones in front of our front porch.  The stones are all different sizes, and each one provides the perfect canvas for individual chalk paintings.  That’s where we set our activity up today.

To create our chalk and water paintings, we simply decorated the individual patio stones with our chalk.  We drew all kinds of different designs using lots of colours.  For each drawing, we tried to cover as much of the patio stone as we could.

Then, we floated water across our drawings using a large paint brush.  This is a great way to use those old paint-brushes that are too scruffy to use for home-decorating projects anymore.

child painting with water over sidewalk chalk drawing

This resulted in the chalk blurring together to create a lovely, soft, water-colour effect.

The toddlers and preschoolers really enjoyed the process because hey, what toddler or preschooler doesn’t love painting with water.  I’ll tell you though – I totally loved the process too, so I think it would appeal to kids of all ages.  I created quite a few images of my own.

Check it out:

First,  my chalk drawing:

painting over sidewalk chalk with water

Now, look at how the water blurs and softens the chalk lines and colours.

Wet sidewalk chalk painting

creating watercolour images with chalk and water

Isn’t that cool?

Our wet chalk painting was perfect for making hand-print art!

making handprints in wet sidewalk chalk

What an easy, fun way for kids to get creative with sidewalk chalk!

wet sidewalk chalk rainboe

For more outdoor art activities, check out:

Sensory Art

Painting with Shaving Cream

Window Art with Foam Shapes

Painting the Snow

Homemade Sidewalk Paint

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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10 Christmas in July Crafts for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/christmas-july-crafts-kids-make/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=christmas-july-crafts-kids-make http://happyhooligans.ca/christmas-july-crafts-kids-make/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:20:36 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15631 If you celebrate Christmas in July, you’ll love these simple “Christmas in July crafts”. All of these ornaments are made

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If you celebrate Christmas in July, you’ll love these simple “Christmas in July crafts”.  All of these ornaments are made with common, every day materials found in and around the home all year long.  No need to go digging through boxes of Christmas supplies to make these decorations!

10 simple Christmas in July Crafts

Christmas is actually the furthest thing from my mind in the middle of July, but two years ago, I was at my aunt’s cottage, and they were celebrating it there. It was a hoot to see everyone decorating their yards with plastic Santas and blow up snowmen in the midst of a summer heat-wave.  They went all out, stringing Christmas lights, and blasting Christmas carols through the neighbourhood. What fun!  I’ve rounded up 10 of my all-time favourite easy Christmas crafts for you and your kids to get busy with if you’re planning on decking the halls for a celebration of your own this summer!

 

10 Easy Christmas in July Crafts!

Each title is a clickable link that will take you to the instructions for the craft featured in the photo.

Easy plastic icicle craft

Plastic Icicles

Twig Star Ornaments

Twig Star Ornaments

Toilet Roll Reindeer

Toilet Roll Reindeer

Glittered CD ornaments

Glittered CD Ornaments

Wool-wrapped twig christmas ornaments

Wool-Wrapped Twig Trees

Styrofoam Meat Tray Christmast Ornaments

Styrofoam Meat Tray Ornaments

Bead and Pipe cleaner icicle ornaments

Beaded Icicle Ornaments

Button Christmas Tree Ornaments

Button Christmas Tree Ornaments

Seashell Bird Ornaments

Seashell Bird Ornaments

Coffee Filter Christmas Tree Ornaments

Coffee Filter Christmas Tree Ornaments

And one more for good measure!

These rascally reindeer are my version of “elf on the shelf”.

Rascally Twig Reindeer

  These are so easy to make! Wouldn’t they look cute peeking out from behind the plants in your garden?

There you are!  10 simple ways to decorate for Christmas in July!  Have fun!  Enjoy your festivities!  Ho, ho, ho, MERRY CHRISTMAS (in July)!

See all of our easy Christmas crafts for kids here!

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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30+ Fairy Crafts and Activities for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/30-fairy-crafts-activities-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=30-fairy-crafts-activities-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/30-fairy-crafts-activities-kids/#comments Sun, 06 Jul 2014 15:58:54 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15571 If you have a child at your house who loves fairies, I think you’ll love these activities! I’ve rounded up

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If you have a child at your house who loves fairies, I think you’ll love these activities!  I’ve rounded up 30+ Fairy crafts and activities from my own blog and from those of some of my favourite fellow-bloggers.  Fairy crafts, fairy recipes, fairy art ideas and fairy sensory bins and party ideas, even a fairy bath!   This is your one-stop-shop for all things “fairies”!

30+ Fairy Crafts and Activities

Fairies!  Oh my!  So magical and enchanting!  So elusive and intriguing!  Were you as smitten with fairies as I was as a child?  As kids, we hunted for pixies in the garden and nearby wooded areas.  I wished at dusk, to catch glimpse of Tinkerbell flitting about my yard. And at night, I’d imagine a team of sprites sprinkling fairy-dust over my bed as I drifted off to sleep.

Garden Fairies come at dawn,

bless the flowers, then they’re gone.

~ Unknown

 

30+ Fairy Crafts and Activities that Kids will love!

Click on the following links to see the detailed instructions or recipes.

 

fairy mud

2-ingredient Fairy Mud - an amazing sensory experience with 2 simple ingredients.

 

fairy soup

Fairy soup is a wonderful way for children to explore in the garden while enjoying water-play and strengthening their fine-motor skills.

 

fairy garden

Build a fairy garden for your neighbourhood fairies to cozy up in at night. – Tinkerlab

 

clothes peg fairies and fairy art

Clothes Peg Fairy Doll - Wildflower Ramblings.

Flower Fairies : garden for toddlers – Childhood 101.

 

winter pinecone fairy

Winter Pinecone Fairies: an adorable winter ornament – Life with Moore Babies

 

3 fairy wands for kids to make

Beaded magic fairy wand and an edible fruit wand too! – Nurturestore

Twirling Ribbon Sticks – Happy Hooligans

Melted Bead Fairy Wands - The Artful Parent

 

Music for fairies to dance to

Music for Fairies to Dance to - Kids Play Music.

 

fairy houses for kids to make

Paper fairy house - Nurturestore.

Milk Carton Fairy Home  - Coffee Cups and Crayons

Tea-Cup Fairy House - The Fairy and the Frog

Fairy Door - Danya Banya

fairy house made of twigs

Build a twig fairy home at the park for others to discover as they play. – Kitchen Counter Chronicles

 

Fairy Bells, Acorn Toadstools, Nature Fairy House

Fairy Bells to entice fairies to enter your garden.  - Buzzmills

Acorn Toadstools for weary fairies to rest upon – Twig and Toadstool

Natural Fairy House with items found on a nature walk. – My Nearest and Dearest

 

Fairy Sensory Bins

 

Fairy Playdough Activity with beads and treasures. – The Imagination Tree

Glittery Garden Fairy Playdough – Fantastic Fun and Learning

Writing in Fairy Dust. – The Imagination Tree

Playdough Fairy Cookies  – The Pleasantest Thing

Fairies and Flowers Sensory Bin - The Imagination Tree

 

faire tu-tu, fairy taira, fairy wings

 

No-Sew Fairy Tutu – The Imagination Tree

Paper Bag Fairy Tiara - Happy Hooligans

Cereal Box Fairy Wings - Red Ted Art

 

fairy bread and fairy sprinkle sticks

Fairy Bread - Smart School House

Sprinkle Sticks - Picklebums

 

rainbow science fairy party cover

Mama Pea Pod throws a Rainbow Science Fairy Party and shares lots of fun fairy science experiments for kids!

fairy birthday party ideas

The Imagination Tree shares fairy games, treats and activities from her 3-year old’s “Enchanted Garden” Birthday Party.

 

fairy lights and fairy jar

Egg carton blossom lights - Red Ted Art

Glow-stick fairy jar - A Moment in our World

 

tissue paper fairy lights

Tissue Paper Fairy Lights – Red Ted Art

 

fairy lights in a jar

Simple Fairy Light Jars  – Sweet C’s Designs

 

woodland fairy bath

And at the end of a fun, fairy-filled day what child wouldn’t love to a relaxing soak in this Woodland Fairy Bath?

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Window Art with Foam Shapes and Water http://happyhooligans.ca/window-art-foam-shapes-water/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=window-art-foam-shapes-water http://happyhooligans.ca/window-art-foam-shapes-water/#comments Fri, 04 Jul 2014 03:51:44 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15552 Toddlers who like to create and play with water are going to LOVE this easy art activity! We’re making window

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Toddlers who like to create and play with water are going to LOVE this easy art activity!  We’re making window art with foam shapes and water.

window art with water and foam shapes

Water and windows and foam, oh my! Creating window art with foam shapes is always popular among my toddlers and preschoolers.  It combines two favourite kids’ activities: art and water play!  It’s such an easy activity to prepare and clean up, and it will keep your little one entertained for ages!

kids sticking foam shapes on window

To make window art with foam shapes you’ll need:

bowl of foam shapes, bowls of water and paintbrushes

See?  Does that sound easy or what?

Ok!  Let’s create some window art!  Hand out the brushes, and let the kids “paint” away!

painting with water on glass doors

They can brush their water directly onto the window or on to their craft shapes.  Then they’ll press their shape against the glass window or sliding glass door, and voila!  Instant art!  The foam adheres very well to the window.  All of our shapes stayed on the window, and we were playing for about an hour on this day.

3 kids creating art on sliding glass door

You can create your art on a window or a mirror, or you could do what we’re doing, and use a sliding glass door.  Our patio door makes the perfect canvas for group of little ones to gather around.

The hooligans had a great time brushing the window with water, and arranging and re-arranging their foam shapes.  The built a zoo, and they paired baby animals up with their mothers.

Depending on your foam shapes, you could also play around with patterning, or your child could group shapes, sizes and colours.  You could use foam letters or numbers to work on early literacy and math skills or… you could simply play, which is exactly what we were doing here.

One little hooligan discovered that the wet foam pieces stuck together!  Cool!  That made for some fun layering!

2 foam flowers

What a great outdoor art activity for a warm day!

child standing in front of glass window

Another way to play with foam shapes and water is in the bathtub!  They stick to the tiles like magic!  Your kids will love decorating the the sides of the tub and the walls as they’re playing in the bath!

Know of another way to create with foam shapes?  I’d love to hear it!

 

More fun window & mirror art for kids:

tissue paper art on a window

painting with shaving cream on a window

painting clouds on a mirror

sensory art on a mirror

dry erase art on a mirror

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Zen Garden Sensory Play http://happyhooligans.ca/zen-garden-sensory-play/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=zen-garden-sensory-play http://happyhooligans.ca/zen-garden-sensory-play/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 15:30:40 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15504 If you’ve ever trailed your fingers through a miniature Zen Garden, you know just how soothing and relaxing it

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Zen Garden Activity for Kids
If you’ve ever trailed your fingers through a miniature Zen Garden, you know just how soothing and relaxing it can be.

Our tiny zen garden sensory bin provides kids with a calming and relaxing way to explore natural materials through play.

Take the following link over to CBC Parents to see the hooligans assembling and enjoying their zen garden activity tray.

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Frozen Fractals Soup Activity – Ice Play for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-fractals-activity-ice-play-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=frozen-fractals-activity-ice-play-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-fractals-activity-ice-play-kids/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:43:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15531 When temperatures are on the rise, playing with ice is a great way for kids to keep cool. And if

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When temperatures are on the rise, playing with ice is a great way for kids to keep cool.  And if your toddlers or preschoolers are fans of the Disney movie “Frozen”, I have just the ice play idea for you!  A Frozen Fractals Soup Activity; a mix of ice and water play to keep your kids cool and refreshed hot, summer day!

I’ve mentioned before that I have a daycare full of Elsa and Anna fans this year.  Have you seen all of the Frozen activities we’ve been doing lately?  I’ve had fun coming up with themed activities that revolve around the girls’ favourite Disney movie.  Because the girls also LOVE to play with coloured ice, this Frozen Fractals Soup Activity was a big hit!

Frozen Fractals Soup Ice Play Activity

I often freeze a big batch of ice cubes or ice blocks for the hooligans to play with when the weather gets really warm.  We don’t have a water table, so we just set up a bunch of containers and instruments on a second-hand coffee-table in the backyard.  It’s not fancy, but it’s perfect for a group of children to gather around and a great way to put in the morning splashing and concocting with ice and water.

IMG_3162

For our Frozen Fractals Soup Activity, I used:

  • large bowls/containers
  • ice cubes coloured with food colouring (make lots!)
  • VERY cold water for play (you don’t want the ice cubes melting too quickly)
  • tongs
  • turkey basters
  • syringes
  • spoons, scoops and funnels
  • small bowls and containers

Making our Frozen Fractals Soup:

Blue and Purple frozen ice cubes
First up: ICE!  Lots and lots of ice!  You want your “soup” to be chock full of “frozen fractals”, so you really can’t make too many ice cubes.

I froze about a dozen ice-cube trays full of blue, purple and pink ice.

The best way to freeze coloured ice:

Rather than adding food colouring to the individual sections of an ice-cube tray, I added several drops of food colouring to a jug of water, and use that to fill a few ice-cube trays.  I did it this way for two reasons:

  1. far less food colouring is required
  2. I wanted cool, light, pastel-coloured ice.  Had I done it the other way around, my ice cubes would’ve been much darker and too intense.

Fill as many ice-cube trays as you have on hand, load them on to a baking sheet, and set the baking sheet into the freezer.  Once your ice cubes are frozen, transfer them into a plastic bag and leave them in the freezer.  Give your ice-cube trays a rinse, and begin again with a new colour.

Playing with our coloured ice cubes:

I presented the girls with their big bowl of coloured ice, and we filled some containers with very cold water, and they got straight to work.

They scooped and poured and transferred water from one container to the next using scoops, ladles and funnels.

Kids scooping and pouring blue and purple water and ice

Turkey basters are always a popular tool among toddlers when we’re playing with water.  It takes some co-ordination and patience to figure out how to make them work, but they eventually get it, and they just love sucking up water from one bowl, and squeezing it out into another.

kids playing with turkey baster and purple water

Tongs are excellent for fine-motor development.  I always provide a few sets with our sensory bins and water table activities.  They’re super for helping with scissor-skills because the same open-and-close motions are required to operate them.  Here, the 2-year old is using a pair of scissor-like tongs, and a pair of tweezer-like tongs.

toddler using tongs to scoop purple and blue ice cubes

Using your hands to move the ice from bowl to tray is great fun too!  There was lots of talk about how “freezing cold” the water was as they plunged their hands in and out of it.  No doubt!  Look how much ice is in that water!

toddler putting coloured ice in ice cube tray

And here we are…  A delicious bowl of Frozen Fractals Soup prepared just-so for a friend.

bowl of frozen fractals soup

What a terrific icy play activity for a hot, humid day!

 

More ice play activities for kids:

Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures

Painting with Coloured Ice Pops

Melting Elsa’s Frozen Hands 

Ice Age Excavation

Ice Soup

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Backyard Tightrope http://happyhooligans.ca/backyard-tightrope/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=backyard-tightrope http://happyhooligans.ca/backyard-tightrope/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 20:52:57 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15498 If you’re looking for an amazing (and free!) addition for your backyard play space, a backyard tightrope is da bomb!

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If you’re looking for an amazing (and free!) addition for your backyard play space, a backyard tightrope is da bomb!  Our tightrope is, hands down, one of the most popular stations in our yard.  Kids of all ages – from 1 right through to 7 absolutely love this thing!
The kids use it all year round.  Even when they’re bundled up in snow-suits!   Head on over to Kids Activities blog to find out how to make a simple tightrope for your own backyard.  simple backyard tight rope for kids

 

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Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Ice Pop Painting http://happyhooligans.ca/ice-pop-painting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ice-pop-painting http://happyhooligans.ca/ice-pop-painting/#comments Fri, 27 Jun 2014 01:44:11 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15492 Want a super, cool art activity to entertain the kids on a hot summer day? Click this link to check

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Want a super, cool art activity to entertain the kids on a hot summer day?  Click this link to check out our Ice Pop Paintings over at Kids Activities Blog.  The process is really fun, and we produced some pretty spectacular works of art all with our intense homemade coloured Ice Pops! Ice Pop Painting

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2-Ingredient GOOP Recipe http://happyhooligans.ca/2-ingredient-goop-recipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2-ingredient-goop-recipe http://happyhooligans.ca/2-ingredient-goop-recipe/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2014 01:23:49 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15474 2-Ingredient Goop Recipe: Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? Yes! It’s BOTH? What is this mysterious substance? It’s

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2-Ingredient Goop Recipe:  Is it a solid?  Is it a liquid?  Yes!  It’s BOTH?  What is this mysterious substance? It’s GOOP – one of the funnest, most amazing science activities ever!  It’s a fabulous sensory experience too, and all you need are two basic ingredients to make it!

We’re no strangers to simple scientific concoctions here in my home daycare.  We love clean mud and cloud dough,but Goop..  Oh, Goop!  It’s the most fascinating sensory substance of all!  If you’ve never made it before, you’ll wonder why you waited so long!

 

2 ingredient goop recipe

 

This goop recipe calls for just two simple ingredients: water and cornstarch.  If you’ve ever combined the two while cooking or baking, you have an idea of what happens when you mix them together. Apply pressure to the mixture and it becomes solid and crumbly.  Release the pressure, and it magically transforms to an ooey-gooey liquid.  It’s kind of mesmerizing, isn’t it?

Now, just imagine sinking your hands into this extraordinary substance.  It’s crazy!  You should’ve heard the hooligans shrieking and squealing as they played with it.

 

IMG_3548

 

It held their attention for about an hour, and they would’ve played longer but we had to clean up for lunch.

2-Ingredient goop recipe:

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  • cornstarch (known as cornflour in the U.K.)
  • cold water
  • shallow pan, bin or baking sheet
  • Liquid Watercolors
    (optional)

Let the kids mix it by hand!

I started by dumping a generous amount of cornstarch onto a baking sheet.  I didn’t measure but it was probably a cup and a half.

I gave the hooligans a minute to explore the starch with their hands.  The fine powder feels so silky and soft.

Then I poured about a cup of water onto the tray, and asked them to mix it and mash it together with their hands.

 

exploring cornstarch and water goop

 

I added more cornstarch and water as they were mixing until we got the consistency we were looking for.  You’ll know it when you get there.  Your goop will become solid when you squeeze it or push it around on the tray, and it will transform back into an oozing liquid when you release it.

 

IMG_3544

 

Add some colour if you like:

We played with the all-white goop for a while, and then I thought it would be fun to add some colour.

 

IMG_3567

 

I sprinkled about a half-dozen drops each of red and blue Liquid Watercolors on to the surface of the goop, and the hooligans got to work mixing it in to the concoction.  This took a while because of how resistant the cornstarch and water mixture is to pressure.  We really had to work hard to blend the colour with the goop.  It was great exercise for those little fingers and hands.

Of course, we ended up with purple goop, which was a great little lesson in colour-mixing.

 

IMG_3563

 

Isn’t it amazing?

 

IMG_3576

Squeeze it together, and you get a solid lump.

 

IMG_3588

 

Let it go and it slithers away between your fingers.  Marvellous!

 

IMG_3586

 

The girls loved it when I scooped a big handful of goop and held it up high, and let it drizzle down over their hands.  They’d grab for the gooey strands of goop and watch as their own grasp would turn them back into solid form again.

 

cornstarch and water goop sensory play

 

What a wonderful, hands-on way to explore the properties of cornstarch and water!

 

IMG_3602

Easy clean up!

Cleaning up our goop experiment was a breeze!  It all washed away in seconds with a spray from the garden hose!

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4th of July Twig Ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/4th-july-twig-ornaments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=4th-july-twig-ornaments http://happyhooligans.ca/4th-july-twig-ornaments/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 04:07:06 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15436 Looking for a fun and easy Independence Day Craft for your kids to make? These 4th of July twig ornaments

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Looking for a fun and easy Independence Day Craft for your kids to make?  These 4th of July twig ornaments incorporate painting, glittering, using a glue gun and tying knots.  And you’ll end up with a cute, patriotic ornament that you can hand on your patio or deck!

Being in Canada, I don’t celebrate the 4th of July, but  a lot of you are in the U.S., and with the American holiday coming up, my son and I thought it would be fun to whip up a little red, white and blue craft just for you. And we’re using twigs!  One of my favourite, free crafting materials!  

 

4th of july twig ornaments

 

These simple patriotic twig ornaments will add a festive splash of American pride to your yard or patio.  They look great standing on their own or strung together in a garland.  Bonus:  they’re really fun to make!  Let me show you how we did it.

 

red white and blue stars against a rustic watering can

 

 

To make your 4th of July twig ornaments, you’ll need:

  • twigs (5 per star)
  • red, white and blue acrylic paint
  • white glue and glitter
  • glue gun
  • snippers
  • fishing line

 

Preparing your twigs:

Gather up a bunch of twigs.  We went with sticks that were about the same diameter as a pencil.  This can be a fun way for little ones to get involved in the project.  What kid doesn’t love collecting sticks?

With your snippers, cut your twigs so they’re all roughly the same length.  You can vary the size of your stars; just make sure that all of the twigs belonging to one star are the same length.

Remove any loose bits of bark.  This is fun, and a great fine motor activity for young children.

painting white twigs for stars

Paint your stars.  We went with one star each in red, white and blue.

Gluing your stars:

You’ll want to play with your twigs a little, laying them out to form your stars.  When you’re arranging your twigs to form a star, make sure all of the intersecting points touch.  You’ll be gluing at these points.

 

hot gluing red twig stars together

 

When you’re happy with your stars, glue them together at the pointed ends and at the intersecting points.

To prevent burnt fingers, keep a bowl of cold water near by.   If you get any glue on your fingers, dip them into the bowl for instant cooling.

Add a little glitter:

Adding the glitter is optional.  I just wanted to get a little shimmer on my stars so I mixed a couple of tbsp of white glue with a generous amount of glitter and brushed it all over all of the stars.

 

PicMonkey Collage

 

Let your stars dry thoroughly.

 

That’s it, that’s all!

 

Now, you just need to find a place to show off your 4th of July twig stars.

 

Up against a watering can perhaps?  Ours looked cute perched atop the old washing board that I display on our deck.

 

red white and blue stars displayed on watching board on deck

 

Or maybe you’d like to string them?

 

IMG_3247

 

They’d look sweet hanging vertically from your deck or patio or even from a branch in a tree.

For more 4th of July crafts and activities, check out this Independence Day round-up by The Measured Mom!

 

Happy 4th of July!

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Teaching Spreading Skills with Blocks and Shaving Cream http://happyhooligans.ca/teaching-spreading-skills-shaving-cream/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=teaching-spreading-skills-shaving-cream http://happyhooligans.ca/teaching-spreading-skills-shaving-cream/#comments Sat, 21 Jun 2014 17:02:03 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15392 Want a super activity for teaching spreading skills to your preschooler or toddler? Break out the building blocks and shaving

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Want a super activity for teaching spreading skills to your preschooler or toddler?  Break out the building blocks and shaving cream!  And prepare yourself for a little bit of mess and a whole lot of fun.

Recently, while preparing some crackers and peanut butter for snack, I got thinking about helping the children develop their spreading skills.  All I knew was I wanted to use non-food items because I wanted a fun, engaging activity that we could fill a morning with.  I was certain that I’d come up with something if I mulled it over for a few days.

 

Learning to spread with blocks and shaving cream

 

Sure enough, the light-bulb went on earlier this week when I was looking through all of my shaving cream posts.  I thought “Hey!  Shaving cream is spreadable!, and it’s most definitely fun and engaging!”  The hooligans LOVE playing with shaving cream!

All that was left was to figure out WHAT we could spread the shaving cream on.  It didn’t take long to come up with the answer:  our foam blocks!  The hooligans could work on their spreading skills while building structures!

Let me just tell you – this activity was FABULOUS!  Not only was it a great activity for teaching spreading skills, it was a wonderful construction activity, it incorporated messy play, imaginative play and fine-motor skill development, and at the end of it all there was some water-play as well.  Could it get any better than that?

Let me show you all the fun!

When teaching spreading skills with shaving cream and blocks, you’ll need:

 

foam blocks, shaving cream, bowls, pate spreaders

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  • foam building blocks
  • foaming shaving cream (as opposed to gel) – canned whipped topping or foaming bath paints could also be used
  • small pate spreaders, plastic knives etc.
  • flat, non-porous surface (suggestions below)
  • small bowls

 

Getting started:

To start, choose a flat work surface.  If it’s something like a plastic tray, a baking sheet or a table that you’re not too fussy about, you’re good to go.  If you’re concerned about the surface of your table however, I would advise protecting it first with a table cloth or towel just to be safe.  I’m not entirely sure what effect shaving cream might have on it, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Place the blocks in the middle of the table.

Fill a small bowl with a generous squirt of foamy shaving cream.

Give each child a pate spreader or plastic knife and let them know that they’ll be working on their “spreading skills” while building their structures.  For the benefit of the youngest hooligan, I did a little demonstration.  Ok, maybe it wasn’t entirely for her benefit.  Maybe, just maybe I couldn’t resist.  It all looked so inviting and fun!  Whatever the case may be, I dipped the spreader into some foam, scooped it up, spread it on a block, and “splat”, smushed the block to the table to start things off.

 

toddler stacking blocks spread with shaving cream

 

Everyone followed suit, dipping into their bowls of shaving cream and carefully covering a block with foam.  The fun had begun.

 

spreading shaving cream on blocks

 

Spreading, dipping and stacking ensued.

 

teaching spreading skills with shaving cream

 

According to their conversations, some were baking cupcakes, some were building towers, and some were building cities.

 

toddler spreading shaving cream on a foam block

Honestly.  What fun!  Open-ended building always sparks so much creativity, and adding the shaving cream just took it to a new level.  And all of the fine motor skills – manipulating those knives, little fingers turning those blocks over and over to coat them with shaving cream, and then of course, the critical thinking – the planning, the stacking, the building.

 

foam blocks and shaving cream structures
This activity was such a winner in my books, and one that we’ll repeat over and over I’m sure!

Teaching spreading skills couldn’t have been any more fun.

And how did we end our morning?  WIth a good, ol’ soapy block-wash of course!

 

washing blocks in shaving cream and water

 

If you have a favourite activity that teaches spreading skills, I’d love for you to leave a suggestion in the comments below!

Be sure to check out all of our shaving cream activities and our structure activities before you leave!

 

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Water-Bottle Whirligigs http://happyhooligans.ca/water-bottle-whirligigs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=water-bottle-whirligigs http://happyhooligans.ca/water-bottle-whirligigs/#comments Fri, 20 Jun 2014 18:46:53 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15385 If you love using recyclables for crafting, and you’re a fan of homemade outdoor ornaments, you’re going to love our

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If you love using recyclables for crafting, and you’re a fan of homemade outdoor ornaments, you’re going to love our water-bottle whirligigs!  We hung ours in a tree in the backyard a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve been spinning in the breeze and sparkling in the sunshine ever since!

Pop over to Kids Activities Blog to see how you can make these whimsical water-bottle whirligigs for your own backyard!

 

water-bottle whirligigs

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20 Science Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers http://happyhooligans.ca/20-science-activities-toddlers-preschoolers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=20-science-activities-toddlers-preschoolers http://happyhooligans.ca/20-science-activities-toddlers-preschoolers/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 05:30:43 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15353 I’ve been sharing a lot of simple science experiments for kids on my facebook page lately, and the response from

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I’ve been sharing a lot of simple science experiments for kids on my facebook page lately, and the response from you guys has been terrific!  Wow!  You really love your science, don’t you?  Well guess what!  I’ve rounded up a whole bunch of my favourite science activities for fodders and preschoolers for you.  Pin this post, or bookmark it, and you’ll have it handy any time you need a fun and easy science-based activity to do with your kids!

 

15+ Easy Science Activities for toddlers and preschoolers

 

20 science activities for toddlers and preschoolers

 

colour laboratory

Set up a colour laboratory with water, bubbles and an assortment of containers and fine motor instruments.  It’s a great way for kids to explore liquids, colour and colour mixing.

 

IMG_1213

Watch a bar of Ivory soap expand to 6 times its size in a minute and a half!

 

water displacement activity - happy hooligans

A few rocks, a jar and a small toy animal are fun for teaching kids about water displacement.

 

salt glue and watercolour experiment

Kids can practice spelling their name or simply create stunning pictures with this salt, glue and watercolour experiment.

 

salt-and-ice-and-watercolours

Watch and learn how salt helps to melt ice in the following FANTASTIC activities!  (Bonus:  They’ll all keep your kids busy for a good, long time too)

 

 

Giant Homemade Bubbles Science Activity

Kids AND adults will absolutely love blowing these GIANT homemade bubbles!  They really are the best bubbles EVER!

 

grapes to raisins experiment

Watch a the slow process of a grape turning into a raisin.  You’ll require a little patience, but it really is cool!

 

3 ingredient puffy paint

Puffy Painting:  Kids can watch their paintings go from flat to fluffy in a matter of seconds in the microwave.

 

Ocean in a bottle

Observe how oil and water behave together with an Ocean in a Bottle.  Your finished bottle will have a wonderfully mesmerizing and calming effect too.  Never a bad thing!

 

 

crayon resist cards

Through this beautiful, artistic process, kids can see how crayon wax and water resist each other.

 

homemade watercolour paints fb

Watch baking soda and vinegar react while you mix up a batch of homemade water colour disks. 

 

 

How to make homemade butter in a jar

Kids of all ages will get a kick out of making their own butter with nothing more than jar full of cream.

 

 

paper towel art

Learn about water absorption and colour blending with these simple experiments:

 

 

colouring daisies with food colouring

And lastly,  there’s this classic science experiment.  Dyeing flowers with water and food colouring.  I haven’t a post to go along with this photo of mine, so I’ll send you over to  Twig and Toadstool to see how they recently coloured a bouquet of rainbow daisies.

 

Happy Experimenting!

 

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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(Easiest-Ever) Homemade Bubble Blower http://happyhooligans.ca/easiest-ever-homemade-bubble-blower/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easiest-ever-homemade-bubble-blower http://happyhooligans.ca/easiest-ever-homemade-bubble-blower/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 04:12:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15324 Bubbles, bubbles, who loves bubbles? And who loves it when you can’t find the bubble wands? Or when the kids

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Bubbles, bubbles, who loves bubbles? And who loves it when you can’t find the bubble wands? Or when the kids knock over the bubble mix within minutes of playing with it? Yeah, well, those are the downsides to bubble blowing, but fear not, Mama! I’ve got a couple of solutions for you! The first being this easiest-ever homemade bubble blower made from a cardboard kitchen tube!

 

easiest-ever homemade bubble blower

 

We love blowing bubbles here.  Remember our giant homemade bubbles? Oh yeah!  Well, the hooligans wanted to blow bubbles the other day, but I couldn’t remember where I’d stashed the bubbles stuff at the end of the season last year.  That didn’t stop us.  We set out to make some homemade bubble blowers out of some common kitchen items.  This one is simply a cardboard kitchen roll!  And our bubble solution?  About 2 tbsp of straight dish soap!

Hey, don’t laugh. Not only did our cardboard bubble blower work, it worked REALLY WELL! And check out our straw and coffee-filter bubble pipe! It was great too!

So how did we “make” our homemade bubble blower?

Simple!  Grab a cardboard kitchen roll and a bottle of dish soap!

 

cardboard tube and dawn dish soap

 

What kind of cardboard roll works best?

We started off with a paper towel roll, but it got soggy fairly quickly.  It will do in a pinch though!

What we found worked best was the sturdy cardboard roll that holds aluminum foil or cling wrap.  It held up very well.

Using dish soap as bubble mix:

To blow our bubbles, I simply poured a couple of tbsp of Blue Dawn Original (un-concentrated) Dish Soap into the bottom of a shallow bowl.

We dipped the end of the tube in, and blew, and wow!  It totally worked!

Just go slow with the dipping, and try not to work up too much of a froth in your bowl.  Too much foam will prevent your detergent from working.  Just dip, hold, lift.  No swishing or tapping up and down with the cardboard roll, okay?

 

bubbles blown with cardboard tube

 

Do you have to use Dawn Dish Soap?

I would imagine any dish soap would work, but I don’t know for sure.  We used Dawn because it’s what we use when we make our Giant Bubble Mix.  That stuff makes the best and biggest bubbles EVER so I figured it would work for this.

You’ll start to play around with your technique when it comes to flicking the wand to release your bubbles off the end of the wand.

I also found if you puff into the tube making “puh” sounds: “puh-puh-puh-puh-puh”, you’ll make a series of bubbles, one after another, after another, after another.

It was pretty cool!

And easy enough for the preschooler to get the hang of quickly!

 

child blowing bubble with cardboard tube

 

cardboard tube bubble blower

The toddler much preferred to chase the bubbles around. :)
child chasing bubbles

 

Want to see another super-cool and easy homemade bubble blower?  Check out the bubble snakes over at Housing a Forest.

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Frozen Clean Mud http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-clean-mud/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=frozen-clean-mud http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-clean-mud/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:59:43 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15296 I have lots of cool Frozen activities for your Elsa and Anna fans! Today’s is an ooey-gooey, beautifully scented batch

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I have lots of cool Frozen activities for your Elsa and Anna fans!  Today’s is an ooey-gooey, beautifully scented batch of Frozen Clean Mud!  You’re going to have a hard time keeping your hands out of it!

The hooligans are just crazy about the latest Disney Movie.  They sing the Frozen theme song all day long, and they play “Elsa and Anna” every chance they get.  So I’ve been having fun thinking up lots of “Frozen” activities to make things extra-special around here.  In this latest activity, I took our 3-ingredient Clean Mud recipe, tweaked it and turned it into, what else… FROZEN clean mud!

Frozen Clean Mud

 

If you’re not familiar with Clean Mud - here’s the scoop.  Clean mud is an amazing sensory substance made with a few very basic supplies: soap, toilet paper and water.  You mix it and mash it into this amazing, mushy, mouldable dough, and it smells absolutely heavenly.  Playing with this wonderful dough is a true sensory experience.

It’s a basic recipe that you can tweak to suit whatever theme you’re focusing on.  Have a look at how we made our Fairy Mud last spring.

 

Now, let me show you how we made this latest batch of clean mud.

 

To make your Frozen Clean Mud, you’ll need:

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

  • roll of toilet paper
  • bar of  Ivory soap (any mild white soap will do, but Ivory smells amazing)
  • blue food colouring
  • warm water
  • glitter
  • shallow storage container
  • grater

 

girls playing with blue clean mud

 

How to make your Frozen Clean Mud:

1. Start by having your hooligans take all the toilet paper off the roll.  

This is FUN!

I always start by tossing the roll high into the air and letting it fall to the ground.  Then the hooligans throw, pull and kick it around the yard until the roll is empty.  Set your t.p. aside for a few minutes.

 

throwing toilet paper around the yard

 

2.  Grate your soap.

If your child is very young, and you don’t think they can handle a cheese grater, you might do this step yourself.

My preschoolers are pretty handy with the grater, and they know to use it carefully to avoid grating their fingertips or knuckles.

 

grating soap to make frozen clean mud

 

3. Combine the soap and toilet paper in your container.

4. Add several drops of blue food colouring to 1 cup of very warm water, and pour it over the soap and toilet paper.

 

girls mixing frozen clean mud with hands

 

Now, mash, mix and mush the water, soap and toilet paper all together.

You’ll have to work it for several minutes until it becomes a mouldable dough.  Because every brand of toilet paper is different when it comes to roll-size and paper thickness, you may have to add more water or toilet paper.

 

IMG_2904

 

There’s really no right or wrong way to make clean mud.  You just want to work it until you get a mucky, mushy dough that you can mould in your hands.

 

playing with clean mud

 

Finish by adding a generous amount of blue and silver glitter to your clean mud!

 

coloured, glittery "frozen" clean mud

 

Isn’t it gorgeous?  Now, tell me…  how will you play with your Frozen Clean mud?

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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Tin Can Stilts – Classic Childhood Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/tin-can-stilts-classic-childhood/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tin-can-stilts-classic-childhood http://happyhooligans.ca/tin-can-stilts-classic-childhood/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 04:59:58 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15268 Who remembers clomping around on a pair of tin can stilts when they were a kid? Remember how fun that

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Who remembers clomping around on a pair of tin can stilts when they were a kid? Remember how fun that was? And how about the balance and co-ordination it took?  Getting your hands and feet and ropes and tins to all work together…  What a blast.

I do love a good, old-fashioned childhood classic, and that’s exactly what these coffee can stilts are.  I recently made this set  for the hooligans as an addition to our growing assortment of backyard balancing activities.  The kids love them!  And it didn’t take long at all for the preschoolers to get the hang of walking on them!

 

homemade tin can stilts

 

Tin can stilts are super-easy to make!  This project is a great way to upcycle a couple of tins that were destined for the recycle bin, and as long as you’re a coffee-drinker, they won’t cost you a thing to make.

To make a pair of tin can stilts, you’ll need:

 

coffee tins and rope

 

  • 2 empty coffee tins,
  • 2 lengths of rope (or skate laces, heavy-duty twine or string etc.)
  • electric drill
  • file or rasp (optional)

Making stilts from a pair of coffee cans:

Remove the labels from your coffee tins.

You can paint your tins like Red Ted Art did, but I kind of liked how shiny and new ours looked, so I left them as is.

Drill 2 holes, opposite each other, about an inch from the bottom of the tin.

If the drill leaves any rough or sharp edges, you can smooth them quickly with a rasp or file.

Thread a length of rope through the holes and knot each end tightly inside the tin.

 

tin can stilts

 

And that’s it my friend.  You’re done!

Now take your stilts out into the yard and have your child give them a try.

 

child walking on tin can stilts

 

Depending on the age of your kids, it may take a few attempts before they get the hang of things.  It really does require concentration and co-ordination to operate these things.

Once they figure out the mechanics though, they’ll love them!

It only took the 4-year-old a few attempts to master it.  She found success as soon as she kicked off her flip-flops!

 

preschooler on homemade stilts

 

It was fun to watch the determination and pride on her face as she made her way down the length of our backyard.

Sure, there were some tippy moments, and she toppled a few times and flopped into the grass, but that didn’t stop her.  She’d hop right back on those stilts and keep on going.

 

falling off coffee tin stilts

 

How fun!

And in case you’re wondering… of COURSE I tried them out!  I love ‘em!  What a blast from the past!

If you want to put a different spin on this childhood classic, check out these simple wood block stompers by I Can Teach My Child, and the rad Dinosaur Feet that Lalymom made from baby wipes boxes!

 

What classic childhood toys and games do you remember from your childhood?

 

 

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More Homemade Bookmarks for Kids to Make http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bookmarks-kids-make/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-bookmarks-kids-make http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bookmarks-kids-make/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 15:05:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15193

 

Here’s a great, last-minute Father’s Day gift for kids to make! 2 kind of bookmarks: Duck Tape and

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homemade duct tape bookmarks

 

Here’s a great, last-minute Father’s Day gift for kids to make!  2 kind of bookmarks:  Duck Tape and Tie Dye.  Both are easy and fun for kids of all ages to make, and they look great too!

Pop over to CBC Parents to check ‘em all out, and to get the step-by-step instructions!

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Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures Activity for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-fractals-ice-sculptures-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=frozen-fractals-ice-sculptures-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-fractals-ice-sculptures-activity/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 06:14:12 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15239 If you have any “Frozen” fans at your house, this Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures activity will be a hit! It’s

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If you have any “Frozen” fans at your house, this Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures activity will be a hit!  It’s so easy to prepare, and your Anna and Elsa fans are going to love it.

We’ve done a number of  “Frozen” activities here in my daycare recently, and they’ve gone over very well!  Ice play is always a hit here, and the girls’ obsession with the latest Disney movie made it easy to come up with this latest one.  I knew when I was freezing my ice cubes last week, exactly what I’d be calling this activity!  Frozen Fractals anyone?

Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures

 

For your Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures Activity, you’ll need:

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

A few days in advance:

Freeze as many coloured, glittery ice cubes and ice blocks as possible.  The easiest way to do this is to mix up a jug of water, colour it, dump in your glitter, and then fill a few trays with it.

 

coloured, glittery ice cubes

 

Fill the jug again, tint it a different colour and repeat, repeat, repeat.  Load your ice-cube trays up on a baking pan or cookie sheet and put the whole thing in the freezer.  You can skip the baking sheet, but I find it keeps the ice-cube trays level, and catches any dripping/spilling that might occur.

If you’re wondering about the long, skinny ice cubes, those are for water bottles!

You can buy them here on Amazon.com.

If you’re in Canada, you can get them here.

In the UK, you’ll find them here.

 

On the day of the activity:

Simply pop your ice out of the ice-cube trays, and put them all in a bowl.

Provide a second bowl filled with cold water.

Set out the ice cubes and water along with some paint brushes.  I set up the activity in the shade, on our outdoor activity table (read: thrift-shop coffee-table).

 

Coloured ice cubes, paint brushes

 

I explained to the girls that we were going to try to build an ice sculpture.  They wet their brushes and pressed them to the big block of ice, and we took turns pressing coloured cubes to the larger blue block.

 

Stacking coloured ice cubes

This was a bit tricky because the weather was so hot.  In winter time, the wet blocks stick together in seconds because the water between them freezes so quickly.

 

bowls of coloured ice cubes
Quite honestly, the girls preferred to scoop, pour and mix the ice cubes in the bowl of water. Hey, that’s to be expected.  They’re 2, 3 and 4 years old.  I, on the other hand, had quite a good time building my frozen fractal structure!

 

Structure built with coloured, glittery ice cubes

Isn’t it beautiful?

And…  I have loads of glittery ice cubes left in my freezer!  And I have more activities planned for them!  Stay tuned!

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Cloud Dough (No Baby Oil Recipe) http://happyhooligans.ca/toddler-friendly-cloud-dough-baby-oil/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=toddler-friendly-cloud-dough-baby-oil http://happyhooligans.ca/toddler-friendly-cloud-dough-baby-oil/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 01:43:57 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15213

 

There’s no doubt about it, Cloud Dough is amazing for sensory play.

Recently, we figured out how

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Blue Cloud Dough - no baby oil

 

There’s no doubt about it, Cloud Dough is amazing for sensory play.

Recently, we figured out how to colour our Cloud Dough, and even more recently, we tweaked our recipe to make it toddler-safe.  See, I often hear from parents who are concerned about their toddler playing with something that contains Baby Oil.

Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore!  The ingredients in this recipe are completely non-toxic!

Yay!  Now, even the youngest hooligans can safely play with cloud dough now!

Head on over to Kids Activities Blog to get our Toddler-Safe Cloud Dough Recipe!

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Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Simple Homemade Bubble Pipe http://happyhooligans.ca/simple-homemade-bubble-pipe/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=simple-homemade-bubble-pipe http://happyhooligans.ca/simple-homemade-bubble-pipe/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 06:19:10 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15158 A Homemade Bubble Pipe made from a straw and a coffee filter! Pair it up with some dish detergent straight

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A Homemade Bubble Pipe made from a straw and a coffee filter! Pair it up with some dish detergent straight out of the bottle, and blowing bubbles just got a whole lot cheaper and easier!

Blowing bubbles is one of those classic childhood activities that never gets old!  Normally, every spring I whip up a batch of our  Giant Bubble Mix, and we spend the day making the biggest bubbles you could ever imagine. Today our weather was perfect for bubble blowing!  Overcast skies and high humidity.  I didn’t have any bubble solution on hand though.  I certainly hadn’t made any, and I couldn’t even find a jug of dollar store bubble mix.  What to do, what to do…

 

Homemade Bubble Pipe

 

Well, I’ll tell you what we did.  We got out the dish soap and a few household items and started experimenting.  And we discovered that we could make some pretty fine bubbles with things we had around the house.

This is one of the homemade bubble blowers that we had the most fun with!

Homemade Bubble Pipe:

 

blowing bubbles through a straw and coffee filter

 

It’s a homemade bubble pipe! Remember bubble pipes?  I never quite understood their purpose when I was a kid.  I thought a bubble should take flight and float up and away over the roof-tops.  Not so with the bubble pipe.  What was up with that?   Recently I saw these amazing bubble snakes over at Housing a Forest, and it all made sense!

And so today, I decided we’d see if we could make a bubble pipe one with some stuff we had on hand.

To make your homemade bubble pipe, you’ll need:

dawn dish detergent, drinking straw, coffee filter, tape

 

  • drinking straw
  • coffee filter
  • tape

To make your bubble pipe, simply tear off a small piece of the coffee filter.  Not a big piece at all.  You know the size of a square of toilet paper?  Probably about a quarter of that size.

Place that piece of coffee filter over the end of the straw and twist the loose stuff snugly around the straw.

Wrap a piece of tape around it a couple of times to hold everything in place.

Using straight dish soap as bubble solution:

I’ve heard for years that when you’re making bubble solution Blue Dawn Original (NON-Concentrated) dish soap is the best brand to use, so I figured if any detergent was going to work as a bubble mix straight out of the bottle, it would be this one.  Guess what!  It was GREAT!

I poured 1-2 tablespoons into a shallow bowl.  Just enough to make a small puddle for the girls to dip the end of their bubble pipes in.

Bubble solution tip:

The trick here, as with all bubble mixtures, is to try to avoid rapidly stirring or swishing soap.  That will create a lot of foam and froth, and you’ll have problems blowing any bubbles.  You want to keep the detergent as close to its normal, liquid state as possible.  I just kept encouraging the girls to dip their straws in and out of the soap slowly and gently.

Check it out!  I was so amazed at how well these bubble pipes worked!  We were actually able to gently transfer our bubble blobs to a solid surface and then we’d blow another string of bubbles and gently transfer it on to the first blob.  We’d repeat again and again, and we ended up making some decent bubble structures!

toddler using homemade bubble pipe

 

Not bad for a straw and a coffee filter, is it?

And now you know, when you’re in a pinch, that you don’t need bubble solution and a store-bought bubble wand!  You can make your own bubble-fun with a few simple things that you already have on hand!

Stay tuned!  The next homemade bubble blower I’ll be sharing requires only ONE common household item!

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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Painted Cardboard Name Puzzle http://happyhooligans.ca/name-puzzle-cardboard-cut-outs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=name-puzzle-cardboard-cut-outs http://happyhooligans.ca/name-puzzle-cardboard-cut-outs/#comments Sat, 07 Jun 2014 14:49:28 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15138 Here’s a fun way to help your child learn to spell his name? It’s an easy, colourful homemade name puzzle

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Here’s a fun way to help your child  learn to spell his name?  It’s an easy, colourful homemade name puzzle made with painted cardboard cut-outs!

I’ve made a variety of homemade name puzzles over the years for the children in my home daycare.  A name puzzle is a great way to help your child with letter recognition and to help him learn to spell his name.

 

cardboard cut-out name puzzle

 

I especially love cutting the letters for a name puzzle out of colourful,l textured paper.  Children learn best when their senses are engaged, so puzzle pieces that are bright and colourful and lovely to the touch not only add interest, they actually enhance the learning process.

 

toddlers doing homemade name puzzle

 

In the past, I’ve used wall paper samples and scrap-book paper to make our name puzzles, but today we’re re-using some simple materials that were headed for the recycling bin:  a liner from a box of chocolates, and a thin piece of corrugated cardboard.

To make a Cardboard Cut-Out Name Puzzle, I used:

 

painted letters cut out of corrugated cardboard

  • a crinkly, slightly puffy liner from a box  of chocolates.
  • thin, white piece of  corrugated cardboard
  • acrylic paints
  • paintbrush
  • scissors

How to make your name puzzle:

First off, put a quick coat of paint on your textured cardboard.

Then you’ll need some upper and lower case letter templates.

Print those off, and cut them out.

Trace the letters on to your textured material, and cut those out as well.

Once you’ve cut your letters our, you can chop each one into two or three pieces.

 

cardboard letters chopped up

 

That’s all there is to it!

Now just hand those puzzle pieces over to your child!

 

scissors and letters cut out for name puzzle

 

Explain to your child that each letter is in pieces, and he or she can piece the letters back together, and put them in order to spell his or her name.

toddlers doing homemade name puzzle

 

For toddlers just learning their letters, you may not cut the letters up at all.  You may just let them play with the letters while learning to put them in the correct order.

For preschoolers, you may want to write their name out for them so they can use it to refer to as a guide until they become familiar with the shapes of their puzzle pieces.

What a fun way to explore letters and learn to spell your name!

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Coffee Can CD Wind Chime http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-can-cd-wind-chime/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coffee-can-cd-wind-chime http://happyhooligans.ca/coffee-can-cd-wind-chime/#comments Fri, 06 Jun 2014 04:58:27 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15107 Need a homemade gift idea for a music-lover or coffee lover? Our easy Coffee Can CD Wind Chime is perfect!

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Need a homemade gift idea for a music-lover or coffee lover?  Our easy Coffee Can CD Wind Chime is perfect!  It’s quick, it’s simple, and the only tool you’ll require is a one-hole paper punch!  Sounds too good to be true, but it’s not!!

We love making homemade wind chimes – we’ve made a bunch over the years, and I’m so excited to share this particular wind chime craft with you today!  It’s super-easy to make.  It requires minimal supplies.  And it makes a perfect gift for kids to make and give to someone who loves their music and their coffee.  Hint, hint:  Father’s Day is right around the corner!

 

coffee can cd wind chimes

These wind chimes are a great project for kids of all ages, and they work well as a group project too.  If you’re working in a group, everyone can decorate and contribute their own chime to the project, and an older child can work on decorating the coffee can while the younger children are colouring their CDs.

Let me show you just how easy this was to make and put together!

To make our Coffee Can CD Wind Chime, you’ll need:

 

coffee can, cds, sharpies, hole punch, fishing line

 

CDs are great for crafting with!  They’re really versatile, and upcycling them into an ornament that can be enjoyed for years is a great way to keep them out of the landfill.

 

IMG_2529

 

I also really love crafting with Sharpies!  Check out some of our other Sharpie projects to see why!

Recently, after making our Tie Dyed Sharpie Bookmarks for Mother’s Day, I started experimenting with Sharpies to see what other smooth surfaces we could create some neat art with.  I discovered that CDs work beautifully, so I had the toddlers and preschoolers in my daycare coloured up a whole bunch of them.

 

IMG_1486

 

Aren’t they gorgeous?

 

IMG_1729

 

I knew immediately we had to use them outdoors, because of how beautiful they would look spinning in the wind, reflecting the sunshine.  That’s how I came up with the idea for homemade wind chimes!

 

Coloured CDs hanging in the wind

 

Because of the size of the CDs, I wanted to use something large and shiny for the body of the chime, to keep things in proportion and similar.

A coffee can fit the bill perfectly. It was easy enough to colour.  The 6 sections were exactly what we needed for using all the colours of the rainbow, and using a couple of coffee can lids on the top and bottom of the can meant I required no tools to put this baby together!  Yay!

Assembling your wind chime:

Once your cds and can are coloured, you’ll need to put everything together.  This is really easy to do!

IMG_2340

In one coffee can lid, punch as many holes as you have CDs.  Space the holes fairly evenly around the edge of the can.  No need to measure.  I just eye-balled it.

IMG_2298

Cut a length of fishing line, and slip one end through the hole of a cd and through a hole in the coffee can lid.  Tie a knot up near the lid.

Repeat until all cds are attached to the lid.  I staggered the cds so they weren’t all hanging at the same level.

 

Pop this lid on the bottom of the can.  That’s right.  The bottom.  Take a minute to ensure any loose ends of fishing line are tucked in and hidden underneath the lid.

To hang the can, take the other lid and punch 2 holes – one across from the other near the edge of the lid.

IMG_2306

Thread a piece of fishing line through the holes.  Knot it and pop the lid back on the can.

That’s it!  You’re ready to hang your gorgeous wind chimes!

We took our chimes outside and hung them in a tree beside the playhouse where the children can enjoy them.  They look amazing spinning in the wind, and they sound so lovely too!

IMG_2548

 

For more easy, outdoor ornaments, check out our:

Summer Stars Deck Ornaments - twig ornament

Recycled water bottle wind chimes

Rainbow (painted sticks) wind chimes.

Painted rocks

Pringles Can Wind Sock

 

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Turning Grapes into Raisins – Science for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/grapes-into-raisins-science-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=grapes-into-raisins-science-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/grapes-into-raisins-science-for-kids/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 04:35:51 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15037 My daycare kids love grapes. They also love raisins. Now, we all know that a raisin is simply a dried

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My daycare kids love grapes.  They also love raisins.  Now, we all know that a raisin is simply a dried up grape, but that probably seems a little puzzling to a toddler.  After all, a raisin doesn’t look anything like a grape!  To help the hooligans really understand, we conducted this easy science experiment.  We turned grapes into raisins right here at home.  The hooligans got to see for themselves, the transformation that takes place as a green, juicy, round grape shrivels up into a dark, dried, wrinkly raisin.

 

turning grapes into raisins

 

It a pretty cool process.

Even I was rather impressed.

And the best part was how simple it was!  You just need a little time and patience.  Ok… maybe a lot of time and patience.

Check it out!

Supplies for turning grapes into raisins:

  • grapes
  • bowl

Seriously!  That’s it!

We stared with 5 juicy, ripe grapes.

They actually look like they were a little past their best, don’t they?

They might have been.

Oh well!  They were perfect to start our experiment with!

 

Day 1

grapes to raisins experiment day 1 mar 17

For weeks, the two-year old would head straight over to the grapes upon arrival to see if there had been any changes from the previous day.

DAY 10

mar 27 Day 10 of our grape/raisin experiment

 

Of course the changes were hard to detect day-to-day, but it was cool to see those grapes gradually dry up and get smaller and darker as the weeks passed.

Day 21

april 7

Flash-forward a couple of months…  Sorry for the lack of photos in between days 21 and 64!

As much as the hooligans were checking on our grapes regularly, I got a little lazy about pulling the camera out to document the changes.

But hey, look at this!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have RAISINS!

Day 64

raisins in a bowl

 

How cool is that?

And there you have it.  Grapes to raisins in a mere 2 months, and we watched it happen!

For the record, we didn’t eat our raisins.

They’d been sitting out, uncovered for 2 months.

I can just imagine the amount of dust harboured in each little crease and wrinkle!

If you want to eat your raisins, you may want to use this process to turn your grapes into raisins.  You won’t have to worry about your grapes collecting dust with this one!

For more awesome, easy science experiments for kids, check out our:

Expanding Ivory Soap Experiment

Water Displacement Experiment

Ocean in a Bottle

Dino Dig – Melting Salt with Ice

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Framed Photo Paper Art for Kids to Make and Give http://happyhooligans.ca/framed-photo-paper-art-kids-make-give/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=framed-photo-paper-art-kids-make-give http://happyhooligans.ca/framed-photo-paper-art-kids-make-give/#comments Sun, 01 Jun 2014 13:29:25 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15061 Here’s another easy gift for kids to make and give to someone special: Framed Photo Paper Art!

We recently discovered

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Here’s another easy gift for kids to make and give to someone special: Framed Photo Paper Art!

We recently discovered the joy of drawing on glossy photo paper with Sharpie markers. It’s a fun and vibrant process, and today we’re pairing it up with some dollar store frames for a quick and easy Father’s Day gift.

 

framed photo paper art

 

You’ll need just three simple supplies, to make this simple art project.

To make your framed photo paper art, you’ll require:

 

sharpies, photo paper and clear plastic frames

For your convenience, affiliate links are included in this post.

 

If you’re working on a surface such as a good kitchen table, be sure to protect the area with a plastic table-cloth.  Sharpie ink is permanent.

Making our art:

The preschoolers concentrated on drawing specific images and colouring then in.

 

drawing on photo paper with sharpie marker

 

The toddlers had fun exploring all of the sharpie colours and covering their photo paper with beautiful doodles and scribbles.  This project provided a great opportunity for those little hands to work on pencil-grasp and mark-making. practiced their mark-making.

 

toddler doodling on photo paper with sharpie

 

The Sharpie ink dried instantly on the photo paper.  There’s no smudging or smearing.  Just clean, clear, colourful images.

The markers glide so smoothly over the glossy paper.  I think I love the process just as much as the kids do!

 

toddler making art on photo paper with a sharpies

 

Didn’t they produce some some lovely works of art?

 

collection of drawings done with sharpies on photo paper

 

When they were done, we slipped the photos into upright, plexi-glass frames that I picked up at the dollar store.

What an inexpensive way to display a child’s artwork.

 

framed sharpie and photo paper art

 

What I love about this framed photo paper art project is that you can put two pieces of photo paper in the frame, back-to-back so each side displays a different drawing.

*note – the frames we used were larger than the photo paper, so I slipped a piece of white paper into them first to serve as a mat behind the photo paper art.

You can frequently update your frames with any new artwork your child creates too!

Looking for more easy gifts for kids to make and give?  Check out our:

Tie Dyed Sharpie Bookmarks

Painted Rock Paper Weights

Summer Stars Patio Ornaments

Rainbow Windchimes

Paper Mache Bowls

 

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Ocean in a Bottle with 3 Simple Ingredients http://happyhooligans.ca/ocean-in-bottle/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ocean-in-bottle http://happyhooligans.ca/ocean-in-bottle/#comments Sat, 31 May 2014 05:54:30 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=15023 Make an ocean in a bottle with 3 easy ingredients. It’s a fast, easy and fascinating science experiment for toddlers

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Make an ocean in a bottle with 3 easy ingredients.  It’s a fast, easy and fascinating science experiment for toddlers and preschoolers!

I love making discovery bottles for learning and play.  They always look so beautiful, and it doesn’t matter what kind of items we fill our bottles with, they always look so pretty.  This ocean in a bottle has to be the most amazing looking bottle we’ve made yet though!  It was SO easy to make, and you likely already have everything you need on hand.

 

Ocean in a bottle

 

This oil and water experiment isn’t new by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s a classic preschool science activity that’s been around for years.  I actually can’t believe we haven’t done it until now!  Yesterday, I happened upon this learning discovery bottle over at Play Trains, and I decided we’d make an ocean bottle of our own today.

 

bubbles in ocean bottle

To make our Ocean in a Bottle, we used:

  • water
  • cooking oil (we used canola, but vegetable would work well)
  • blue food colouring
  • large bottle (2 litre pop bottles work well, but we used a mouthwash bottle with a child-safe lid)
  • funnel

If you want to explain the scientific details to your child, pop over and check out this article explaining why oil and water don’t mix.

Making your ocean bottle:

I didn’t have a 2L pop bottle on hand, so we used an empty mouthwash bottle.   I like that the lid is child-safe, and too challenging for little hands to twist open.  If you’re using a bottle that’s not child-safe, you might want to run a little hot-glue around the inside of the bottle lid.

Fill approximately 1/3 of your bottle with water.

Add several drops of food colouring.

Have your child shake the bottle to disperse the food colouring.

 

child shaking bottle of water and food colouring

 

Now, simply top up the bottle with oil.  I filled ours right to the top and then popped the lid on.

Let the fun begin!

Tip the bottle upside down and watch your ocean come to life.

 

Ocean in a bottle

 

The pictures really don’t do this activity justice.

You have to see it in action.  The way the waves roll cascade inside the bottle is just beautiful!

 

IMG_2268

 

To see the big blobs of colour swoosh and fall through the yellow oil is really fascinating.

The more you agitate the bottle, the more the bubbly the ocean becomes.  Set your bottle down occasionally to let the bubbles settle, and then start all over again.

 

bubbles in oil and blue water

 

Doesn’t it look amazing?

 

For more easy, awesome science experiments for kids, check out our:

Water Displacement Experiment

Salt, Glue and Watercolour Art

Wax Resist Art

Melting Ice with Salt and Water

Colour Mixing Experiment 

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Melting Elsa’s Frozen Hands Activity http://happyhooligans.ca/melting-elsas-frozen-hands-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=melting-elsas-frozen-hands-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/melting-elsas-frozen-hands-activity/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 19:20:09 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14973 Melting Elsa’s Frozen Hands activity: It’s a blast whether you’re a “Frozen fan” or not! It’s a great science experiment

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Melting Elsa’s Frozen Hands activity:  It’s a blast whether you’re a “Frozen fan” or not!  It’s a great science experiment for kids, and you likely have most or all of the supplies around your home!

We are ALL about Frozen-themed activities these days! I have some huge Elsa and Anna fans here in my daycare.  I’m embracing this fleeting (it is fleeting, isn’t it?) passion, and to give ‘em more of what they love I came up with this frozen hand activity the other day.  It’s definitely going down as one of our all time favourite simple science activities. My little Frozen fans were super-excited over this one.

Let me show you how we prepared this activity and all the fun we had with it!
Melting Elsa's Frozen Hands Activity

To start things off, I collected some pink, blue and purple odds and ends from our craft room. Then I gathered up a few instruments and tools (see below).  A few latex gloves and some salt and food colouring, and we were good to go!

For our frozen hands activity, we used:

tools and supplies for melting frozen hand activity

Tools and instruments:

  • latex gloves
  • water
  • driveway salt (in bowls, coloured with a few drops of food colouring)
  • table salt (in shakers)
  • small spoons/scoops
  • syringes
    and medicine droppers
  • pate knives
  • paint brushes
  • and turkey basters
    (not shown)
  • shallow pans or baking dishes
  • bowl of room temperature water

odds and ends for frozen activity

 

To fill our gloves, we used:

The hooligans first dropped all of their treasures into the latex gloves.  This was a great fine-motor activity in itself.

Then I filled the gloves with water, and secured each one tightly with a twist tie.  For fun I added some curling ribbon to the top, and I placed all of the hands on a baking sheet and set it in the freezer over-night.

*You want to space the fingers out before they go into the freezer so the gloves are easy to remove once frozen.

 

This is what the gloves looked like before they went into the freezer:

IMG_1947

 

And here they are after.  The girls inspected them closely, and were fascinated by how cold and frosty they were.

IMG_2013

Removing the latex gloves from the frozen hands:

To remove the gloves from the hands, run them under a light flow of very cold tap water.  Using scissors to cut away the latex, slowly slide the gloves off the hands.  It’s important to work gently so you don’t snap the fingers.  Use the cold water to help melt away any stubborn bits.  *For the record I broke one thumb – all in all, not bad.  I’ve done worse in the past.

Let’s melt those hands!

I set the activity up on our old thrift shop coffee table in the backyard.  It works wonderfully as an outdoor activity table.

 

IMG_2124

 

Each hooligan received her frozen hand in a shallow baking dish, along with a set of tools for excavating, a bowl of driveway salt coloured with food colouring, and a shaker of plain table salt.

I placed a bowl of water on the table, and they got to work!

They had a blast scooping, pouring, shaking and squirting the salt and water to start the melting process.

 

kids melting ice with salt water

 

Quite quickly, they were able to start digging away at the frozen treasures.

 

kids melting ice with salt

IMG_2126

 

The turkey basters were very popular.  A baster is a great tool for helping with co-ordination and muscle control.  There’s quite a knack, as you know, to drawing water up into a baster, but even the youngest ones catch on quite quickly.

 

IMG_2133

 

The syringes are always very popular as well.  And they’re not just used to melt the ice!  Much fun was had trying to jet a perfect stream of water out across the yard or up above their heads.

 

IMG_2150

 

I have visions of another water-play activity following close on the heels of this one, and it will definitely involve these syringes!

The girls worked away for about an hour using all of the equipment I’d set out for them.

 

IMG_2179

 

They dug and chopped and picked and poured until they’d freed almost every last treasure from their icy hands.

Going, going…

IMG_2138

 

Gone!

 

IMG_2166

What a wonderful way to spend a warm, spring morning!

 

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $8.99!

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Painted Rock Paper-Weight Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/painted-rock-paper-weight-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=painted-rock-paper-weight-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/painted-rock-paper-weight-craft/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 02:53:30 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14947 A gorgeous painted rock paper-weight craft that kids can make for themselves or to give as a gift!

If you’ve

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A gorgeous painted rock paper-weight craft that kids can make for themselves or to give as a gift!

If you’ve been with us a while, you likely know how much we love playing with rocks and stones here in my home daycare. Most recently, we used some of our larger beach rocks to make painted paper-weights for Mother’s Day.  We had so much fun making them, and they turned out so well, we decided to make a bunch for Father’s Day too!  Hey, a family can never have too many paper-weights, right?

painted rock paper weight craft

 

Let’s get started!  You’re going to love how easy these are to make, and if you’re like me, you won’t be able to resist getting in on the fun yourself!

To make a painted rock paper-weight, you’ll need:

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

Before painting your rocks:

Make sure your rocks are clean and dry before you start.  This will ensure your paint adheres to the stone.

A little rock-washing activity might be in order before making your paper-weights.  Set the kids up with a bucket of soapy water and some old toothbrushes, and let them scrub their stones clean.

Making your paper-weights:

To start, have your child choose a base-colour for his or her rock.  The hooligans chose one colour for the top, and another for the bottom.

It only took one coat of paint to cover the rock, and the paint dried very quickly in the sun. Within a few minutes, we were able to flip our rocks over to paint the underside.

kids painting rocks

*Like those aprons?  I make them out of the pant legs of our old jeans.  You can get the step-by-step instruction here.

 

When the rocks were dry, the kids selected the colours for their detail painting.

With very young children, if you want to prevent the paint colours from being blended into that infamous shade of preschool-brown, simply offer the colours one at a time.

Ask your child which colour they’d like to start with and while they’re painting, have them think about what colour they’d like to add next.  This way, the paint goes on in layers, and their design and brushstrokes are quite defined.

Continue until the child has added as many colours as he pleases, and he announces that he’s finished.

When the finished rocks are completely dry, give them a coat or two of craft varnish/sealer.  This really makes the paint colours pop!

painting rocks

Just look at how gorgeous these rocks are!

This next one painted by a little one who’s just turned three years-old.

Pink and aqua are my two absolute favourite colours, so I was a little envious of the mom who was receiving this paper-weight for Mother’s Day!

IMG_1612

This was the one that I got a little carried away painting.  I couldn’t help myself.  I love to paint, and will happily admit that I had just as much fun with this project as the hooligans did.

 

IMG_2053

And here are a couple of the rocks that will be given as homemade Father’s Day gifts next month!

IMG_2054 IMG_2052

 

To see more cool homemade gifts that kids can make and give, check out our:

Gorgeous Paper Mache Bowls

Rainbow Wind Chimes

Recycled Wind Chime

Natural Wind Chimes

Summer Stars Patio Ornaments

Tie Dyed Bookmarks

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Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Pringles Can Windsock Craft http://happyhooligans.ca/pringles-can-windsock-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pringles-can-windsock-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/pringles-can-windsock-craft/#comments Mon, 26 May 2014 04:24:06 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14913 A Pringles Can Windsock is a super spring craft for toddlers and preschoolers! It’s quick and easy, and requires just

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A Pringles Can Windsock is a super spring craft for toddlers and preschoolers!  It’s quick and easy, and requires just a few basic supplies that you may already have on hand!

The hooligans and I love making outdoor ornaments for our backyard play space. The tree beside our playhouse is home to 2 sets of wind chimes, a homemade bird feeder, and now this colourful windsock!  All of these ornaments are made from recycled or found materials along with a few odds and ends from our craft room. I love it!  Not only are the hooligans decorating their outdoor play space with their own projects, they’re learning the importance of recycling and upcycling, and how fun it is to turn trash into treasures!

pringles can windsock

You’re going to love how short and sweet this supply list is!

To make our Pringles can windsock, you’ll need:

pringles can, foil, sharpies, ribbon

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

How to make a windsock from a Pringles can:

  1. Wrapping your Pringles can in a piece of foil:  Take the lid off the can and line up the open of the can with edge of the foil so there’s no over-hang. Roll it up.
  2. Scrunch/compress any excess foil at the other end of the can, pressing it flat to the bottom of the tin.
  3. With your hand, quickly smooth the foil on the sides of the can.  Don’t worry about wrinkles.  They’re fine.
  4. You might need to run a bit of glue along the lengthwise seam to seal it if it gapes at all.
  5. Have your child colour the foil with the Sharpies.  Completely cover the foil in a multitude of colours.

Once your foil is covered in colour, you can do one of two things.  You can leave it as is, and add your ribbons, OR, you have fun creating this rubbing alcohol and Sharpie tie-dye technique that we recently learned how to do!

How to create a tie-dye effect with Sharpies and rubbing alcohol:

To get this marbled tie-dye effect on your aluminum foil, you need to drip a little rubbing alcohol on your coloured foil:

Dip a craft stick or the handle of a paintbrush (or something similar) into the rubbing alcohol and tap a couple of drops on the can.  You don’t want the alcohol it to run down the side of the can, because it will take your colour with it.  You just want it to puddle and evaporate. You may have to twist the can a bit to counter any running should it occur.

When the alcohol evaporates, repeat the process with a couple more drops of alcohol, and keep repeating until all of the colours are blended.

sharpies and rubbing alcohol mixed on tinfoil

Attaching ribbons to your windsock:

I LOVE how easy this process is!

  1. Punch several holes around the edge of the Pringles lid.
  2. Cut several long lengths of ribbon in various colours and sizes.
  3. Thread the ribbons up through the holes in the lid and knot them together on the “inside” of the lid to secure them in place.
  4. Pop the lid back on the can.

assembling wind sock

To finish, poke a couple of holes near the top of the windsock, and thread some yarn through for hanging.

Voila! Instant Windsock!  Wasn’t that easy?

Foil covered pringles can windsock

We couldn’t wait to see ours in action, so we quickly took it out to the tree beside our playhouse, and hung it on a low branch, where the girls had fun swatting at the ribbons.

toddler running with windsock toddlers playing with windsock ribbons

Isn’t it beautiful!  I just love how those ribbons dance in the wind!

pringles can windsock hanging from tree homemade windsock hanging in tree

If you enjoyed our easy windsock craft, be sure to check out our:

Recycled Wind Chimes

Twirling Ribbon Sticks

Rainbow Stick Windchimes

Summer Stars Ornaments

Sharpies and Photo Paper Art

Tie Dyed Bookmarks

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Frozen Sensory Bin http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-sensory-bin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=frozen-sensory-bin http://happyhooligans.ca/frozen-sensory-bin/#comments Sat, 24 May 2014 04:36:06 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14874 If you have Elsa and Anna fans at your house, I have some great Frozen activities for your kids to

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If you have Elsa and Anna fans at your house, I have some great Frozen activities for your kids to do at home,!  You’re  going to love this Frozen sensory bin!  It’s so easy to pull together using simple items you already have around your home!

Disney’s Frozen!  Oh my goodness. Are your kids as crazy about this movie as my daycare hooligans are?  As it happens, I have only girls in my daycare this year, so you can just imagine how much Frozen-talk, Frozen-singing and Frozen-play we have going on here these days. Because the girls are so into the movie at the moment, I thought it would be fun to do some Frozen themed activities here over the next few weeks.  The hooligans love sensory bins, so we kicked things off with this simple Frozen sensory bin today.

Frozen Sensory Bin

This activity was a huge hit with the girls, and it was so easy to set up.  I simply pulled out a few Christmas decorations, and raided my craft room and toy room for all things silver, blue and purple.  I think I was as excited as the girls were when I presented it to them!

For our Frozen Sensory Bin, I used:

Setting up the Sensory Bin:

I have two mirrored tiles that we use for our dry erase activities, so I began by setting those in the bottom of my storage container.

I poured my rice around the inside edges of the bin, leaving the mirrors (the ice) exposed in the middle of the bin.

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Then I piled cotton balls in all 4 corners of the bin.

I leaned the plastic snowflakes and reindeer up against the edges of the bin, and scattered the plastic crystals and glass beads all around.

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Then I curled some blue and purple ribbons in and around everything.

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I finished by adding a few Polly Pocket characters to the bin, wiggling them into the rice so they would stand up.

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A few glass jars, silver spoons, plastic scoops and some tart tins and we were good to go!

While I was gathering the materials and assembling the bin, the girls were playing in the toy room, keeping a close eye on what I was up to.  When I finally told them everything was ready, they couldn’t wait to get their hands into it!

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They dug in, and sifted through the rice, scooping and pouring it into the jars and tins.  They sorted the beads and crystals,

scooping and pouring

 

and they examined all of the goodies in the bin.

Frozen Sensory Bin Collage

There was lots of Elsa and Anna pretend play too.  They easily spent a half hour exploring and playing in the bin.

They “washed” Anna and Elsa with the cotton balls and the small beads became food for Sven.

Of course after a few minutes, the bin looked like a winter hurricane had hit it, but that’s only natural.  With all the exploration going on, I never expect a sensory bin to remain orderly for long.  It’s important that the children explore an activity like this freely.  Keeping things in place is never an expectation.

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When they’re finished playing, it only takes a few minutes for me to set everything up again for next time.  I have a feeling there will be many “next times” with our Frozen Sensory Bin!

Stay tuned because we have another Frozen activity coming up next week!  Here’s a sneak peek!  And nope, it’s not a sensory bin!

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Felt Flower Buttoning Toy http://happyhooligans.ca/felt-flower-buttoning-toy/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=felt-flower-buttoning-toy http://happyhooligans.ca/felt-flower-buttoning-toy/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 16:15:40 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14858 I’m so excited to share our latest buttoning toy with you!

Pop over to Kids Activities Blog to see how

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I’m so excited to share our latest buttoning toy with you!

Pop over to Kids Activities Blog to see how to make our Felt Flower Buttoning Toy!  This easy, no-sew version of our Button Snake, is a great toy for fine motor development and teaching buttoning skills!Felt Flower Buttoning Toy

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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10+ Stone Activities for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/10-stone-activities-for-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=10-stone-activities-for-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/10-stone-activities-for-kids/#comments Tue, 20 May 2014 03:57:51 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14809 10+ stone activities for kids: ways to add stones and rocks to your child’s play space for fun and learning.

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10+ stone activities for kids: ways to add stones and rocks to your child’s play space for fun and learning.

Kids just love playing with stones, don’t they?  One of our favourite annual treks is a hike on the beach where we collect a bunch of new stones and rocks to replenish our collection at home.  We load up our pails, cloth bags and our pockets and we haul our our new stones home.  Over the weeks and months to come, they’ll find their way into almost every little corner of our yard and home, and they’ll be played with daily in so many different ways.

stones

10 Stone Activities for Kids:

 Here are 10 of our favourite, simple stone activities here in my home daycare.

 

 Letter stones

letter stones

Letter Stones – I painted uppercase and lowercase letters, with acrylic paints, on small flat beach stones.  When the paint was dry, I gave them a quick coat of spray varnish to weather-proof them.   Younger children can explore the letters through play, while older children can form sight words with them.

 

Water Displacement Activity

rocks and bucket of water

Water Displacement Activity:  The hooligans love to drop the small, round stones into a jar of water so we did this fun water displacement experiment so they could see just what happens to the level of the water when you add rocks to it.

Activity Bins

Activity-Bin

Activity and Sensory Bins:  Rocks make a great addition to a sensory bin or activity bin.  Check out our Dinosaur Activity Bin and our Deep Blue Sea Bin to see what I mean.

 

Chocolate Box Rocks

chocolate box filled with stones

Chocolate Box Rocks: Fill an empty chocolate box with a variety of small colourful stones.  Toddlers will have fun simply putting the stones in and out of the box, and older children can pay closer attention to the shapes of the stones, trying to match them with a similar shaped space in the box.

Stacking and Building

playing with Rocks on the deck

Stacking larger beach rocks: We always have a stack of larger beach rocks piled up in one corner of our back deck.  The hooligans play with these daily.  Most often they stack the rocks, but they also love scrubbing them with toothbrushes and soapy water, or simply “painting” the rocks with a paintbrush dipped in water.

Story Stones

small collection of story stones

Story Stones:  Story stones are lots of fun!  I had a blast making them, and the hooligans love playing with them.  They are wonderful story-telling prompts.  A child reaches into the basket, draws out a stone, and must use whatever is on the stone in a sentence i.e. “I was riding a blue elephant“, and either they or another child draws another stone and continues, “when I saw a dog playing with a red ball“.  We have a collection of about 50-60 story stones, so it’s a new game every time we play.  You can see how I made our story stones here.

Stones in the Outdoor Kitchen

stones in the sandbox

In the Sandbox:  There’s always a batch of stone-something-or-other being cooked up in the the sandbox or on the play logs.  You just HAVE to have stones and rocks in an outdoor kitchen!

Domino Stones

domino stones

Domino Stones:  Little ones have fun counting the dots and making matches, while older kids can actually play a game of dominoes. Make your dots by dipping the end of a paintbrush handle in black acrylic paint and press it to an oblong beach stone.  When the paint is dry, finish with a coat of spray varnish or polish with a bit of bee’s wax.

Number Stones

number stones

Number Stones:  These stones have numbers on one side and corresponding dots on the other side.  Much like the letter stones, I painted these with acrylics, and gave them a spray of clear coat varnish when the paint had dried.

Painting Rocks

painting a rock blue

Painting Rocks: Painting rocks with colourful paint is always fun!  We’re working on a special project in this photo.  I’ll be sharing the finished results with you in the very near future!

Tea Party with Loose Parts

pouding stones into plastic bowl

Tea Party with loose parts: Often we just mix up a bunch of loose parts – stones, pinecones, shells, artificial flowers etc., and we have a little tea party.  It’s a simple activity, but there’s lots of opportunity for exploration, fun and learning in even the simplest of activities.

And you might like these stone activities from a few fellow kid-bloggers:

Five Little Ducks by Red Ted Art

Shape & Colour Rocks by Fun-a-day

Pebble Puzzle by Strasilo

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25+preschool activities by 25 bloggers, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

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Three to Five Playful Preschool e-Book http://happyhooligans.ca/3-5-playful-preschool-e-book/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-5-playful-preschool-e-book http://happyhooligans.ca/3-5-playful-preschool-e-book/#comments Sun, 18 May 2014 06:00:11 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14691 Three to Five Playful Preschool! An e-Book filled with gorgeous photos, printables and step-by-step instructions for creative,

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Three to Five Playful Preschool!  An e-Book filled with gorgeous photos, printables and step-by-step instructions for creative, hands-on, play-based activities for kids aged 3-5!

Download Playful Preschool e-book

 I am SO excited to finally be able to share Three to Five Playful Preschool, a terrific e-Book I’ve been working on with 24 other fabulously talented kid-bloggers from all over the globe!

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Jam-packed with fun and learning!

We’ve put together a beautiful e-Book jam-packed with creative activities for the 3-5 age group.

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Fun, engaging and inexpensive ideas…

All of our activities are engaging, inspiring, and filled with fun, skill-building opportunities for your child.  Best of all, all the activities can be done at little to no expense with simple materials you likely already have around the house!

three to five playful preschool ebook

In Three to Five Playful Preschool, you’ll find:

  • 25+ fun-filled, engaging activities ranging from science and language to art, crafts and play ideas
  • Gorgeous photos and easy-to-follow guides
  • 50+ clickable links to additional activities by the authors
  • 10 free printables
  • countless, creative ways for your child to play, develop and learn

10 free preschool printables

Your printable resources include:

  • City Scape Play Scene
  • My First Journal pages,
  • recipe card,
  • numbers game
  • weather charts
  • unique hand-drawn art pages
  • conversation cards
  • block building challenge cards
  • bookmarks
  • alphabet play mats

Doesn’t that sound awesome?  You know what?  It looks awesome too!   I received my copy yesterday!

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What’s the price for this terrific resource?

Believe it or not, it’s just $8.99!

Prices are in U.S. funds, but the book can be ordered from anywhere in the world, and PayPal will take care of the currency conversion.

Get your copy of Three to Five Playful Preschool today!

 

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PLEASE NOTE:

You can buy 3-5 Playful Preschool now, on any device, and download the ebook when you are ready. Depending you operating system and apps, you may be able to download on your mobile device. If however, you have any doubts or problems, I recommend using a computer to download the book and then share it to your mobile devices.”

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Homemade Twirling Ribbon Sticks http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-twirling-ribbon-sticks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-twirling-ribbon-sticks http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-twirling-ribbon-sticks/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 02:41:39 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14693 On a whim yesterday, I made a couple of homemade twirling ribbon sticks for the girls, and they had a

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On a whim yesterday, I made a couple of homemade twirling ribbon sticks for the girls, and they had a wonderful time running and spinning around the yard, watching their ribbons dance in the wind!

Twirling ribbon?  Ribbon stick?  Twirling ribbon stick?  I’m not exactly sure what they’re called, but they were so easy to make! They’re great for pretend play, princess dress-up and fairy activities!

We were outside, making our Pringles can windsock, and the girls were fascinated by the way the ribbons danced and fluttered on the breeze.

They were having such a great time shrieking and squealing and chasing those ribbons around, it occurred to me they might have a lot of fun with some actual twirling ribbon sticks.

I had no supplies with me other than the ribbons we were working with, so these ribbon sticks are basic.  REALLY basic.  They took all of 5 minutes to make.

Homemade Twirling Ribbons

Ready to see how I made these awesome Twirling Ribbon Sticks?

  • Stick
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

That’s it, that’s all. Pretty easy, huh?

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I grabbed a couple of sticks out of the garden, snapped them to about 10 inches in length, and the girls picked out their ribbons.

I probably tied about 5 ribbons to each stick and each ribbon was different in width and weight.  No need to have everything matchy-matchy here.

I tied the ribbons to one end of the sick, and knotted them a few times to secure them. Then I handed them over to the toddlers.

ribbonCollage

The were amazing!  The girls danced and spun and jumped and twirled, they fell down, they hopped up, and they ran around and around in the yard.

What’s so great about twirling a ribbon?

Our twirling ribbon sticks help develop a number a skills:

  • gross motor skills (large arm movements)
  • balance (spinning while twirling the ribbon stick)
  • exercise (running around waving ribbon stick in the air)
  • co-ordination (moving stick in a way that makes ribbons flutter)

 

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What a beautiful and fun way to stretch and exercise those little muscles.

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Looking for more easy, cheap and awesome backyard play ideas?

Bucket and Rope Pulley System

Back Yard Tight Rope

Easy, Homemade Water Wall

Portable Mud-Pit

Pretend Play Coffee Shop

Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

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Coloured Cloud Dough – How to Colour Cloud Dough for Sensory Play http://happyhooligans.ca/coloured-cloud-dough-colour-cloud-dough-sensory-play/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=coloured-cloud-dough-colour-cloud-dough-sensory-play http://happyhooligans.ca/coloured-cloud-dough-colour-cloud-dough-sensory-play/#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 05:55:08 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14655 How to make coloured cloud dough with 3 easy ingredients.

We’ve done it! We’ve successfully made a batch of vibrantly

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How to make coloured cloud dough with 3 easy ingredients.

We’ve done it!  We’ve successfully made a batch of vibrantly coloured cloud dough!  Now, if you’ve never heard of it before, you can find out how amazing cloud dough is, over here, in an article I wrote a couple of years ago.

If you are familiar with cloud dough, you know how heavenly it is to run your hands through a bin of the stuff.  It smells so good, it feels just amazing, and it looks so… umm…  pale and pasty.  Am I right?  How can something so awesome look so boring?  Every time we play with it I can’t help thinking that it needs a big punch of colour, and then it would be just perfect.  I’ve been unsure about how to colour it though because cloud dough is oil based, and food colouring is water based and the two don’t mix.  The oil in the dough resists the food colouring in the water, and you end up with a very pale, speckled dough at best.

coloured cloud dough recipe

I put my thinking cap on the other day however, and the hooligans and I experimented.  We did quite a bit of experimenting actually until we found something that worked!  Check out how VIBRANT our this cloud dough turned out!

So, you want to know how to colour cloud dough?

Well, first let me tell you how NOT to colour cloud dough.

#1 Do NOT add 2 packets of Cherry Coloured Kool-Aid Packets. Your dough will not turn red.  Your dough will not smell like cherries.  Try it if you don’t believe me, but really, you should just take my word for it.  It’s a waste of time, and those two packets of Kool-Aid would be put to much better use making a batch of homemade playdough.

#2 Do NOT add a box of Cherry Jell-O Crystals.  Once again, no colour, no scent – I think the oil must trap and smother the life out of the scent molecules (listen to me thinking I’m a scientist – I’m not. I just know the Cherry Jello-O was also a bust).  Bummer.

So, after two failed attempts, I was feeling rather discouraged that we were still staring into a bowl of pasty white dough, and then it hit me…

Want to know what we use to make our coloured cloud dough?

Tempera paint powder!  YEP!  That’s how you’re going to colour your cloud dough!  You’re  just going to add a big ol’ spoonful of Tempera Paint powder to it.  Yay!

Ok, here’s your coloured cloud dough recipe from start to finish:

flour, baby oil and tempera paint powderFor your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

In a large bowl or container, stir your oil and flour together well.  A pastry cutter or a potato masher  work well to get everything really well blended into a smooth, crumbly powder.

mixing flour and oil in a large bowl

Add a heaping tablespoon of Tempera Paint Powder . spoonful of tempera paint powder in bowl of flour

Continue to mash and blend until the colour is completely mixed into the dough.

mixing coloured cloud dough with potato masher

Add some scoops, cups, moulds and play dough toys to your gorgeous bin of coloured cloud dough, and you’re ready for play!

child scooping coloured cloud doughred cloud dough in bin with playdough tools

Want a cloud dough recipe that doesn’t contain baby oil?

 

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Get our toddler-safe, non-toxic cloud dough recipe here.  No baby oil means its perfect for little ones who may still be tempted to taste while they’re playing.

*Cloud dough can be messy.  I personally advise playing with it outside.  If you’re playing indoors, I would suggest placing a  plastic tablecloth or drop cloth on the floor to make clean up easy.

*Although we’ve never had any problems with staining, you might want to protect your child’s clothing with a smock or apron.

Looking for more awesome, easy activities to keep the kids engaged for long stretches of time?  Try our:

GIANT Homemade Bubble Recipe
Dino Dig – Melting Ice with Salt and Water

Easy, Homemade Water Wall
2-Ingredient Clean Mud
Fairy Mud
Garden Soup

Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

 25+preschool activities, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014.  Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th.  Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

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Sharpie Art with Photo Paper http://happyhooligans.ca/sharpie-art-photo-paper/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sharpie-art-photo-paper http://happyhooligans.ca/sharpie-art-photo-paper/#comments Sun, 11 May 2014 18:27:21 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14614 Sharpie Art with Photo Paper: create glossy stained glass artwork with sharpie markers and photo paper!

I’m so excited about

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Sharpie Art with Photo Paper: create glossy stained glass artwork with sharpie markers and photo paper!

I’m so excited about the cool art project I’m sharing with you today!  We just LOVE Sharpie projects here, and today, we’re creating glossy, vibrant stained glass art with Sharpies and photo paper!  This is an art project that’s great for kids of all ages!  Toddlers will love doodling with their sharpies on a piece of slick photo paper, and older kids and grown ups can get really creative making vibrant colourful designs and pictures like the these!

Glossy Stained Glass Sharpie Art

I’ve never actually seen photo paper used as an art canvas before; it was something that I kind of came up with by accident.  I was trying to think of an art project that the hooligans could make and frame for Mother’s Day, and it occurred to me that photo paper would be perfect for framing.  After all – photo paper is meant to be framed, right?  So I was turning that thought around in my brain, and that’s when it hit me:  SHARPIES and photo paper.  I know how smoothly a Sharpie slides across a plastic surface, and I wondered if it would do the same on a glossy piece of photo paper.  I tried it out, and ohhhh myyyy.  It sure does!  And with the photo paper being glossy, the shine and intensity of the marker ink was just gorgeous!  And so the idea for this unique art project was born!

Starburst sharpie art

To make Sharpie art with photo paper, you’ll need:

Glan 80s sharpies and glossy photo paper

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

A note about my Sharpies:

*I love the 80′s Glam Sharpies because the colours are way funkier than the regular primary coloured Sharpies.

If you’re in the U.S., they’re 53% through the above link at Amazon.com at the time of this writing.

If you’re in Canada, they’re 19% off through this link at Amazon.ca at the time of this writing.

If you’re in the UK, they’re 33% off through this link at Amazon.co.uk  at the time of this writing.

Creating our glossy stained glass art:

If you’re working with young children, you’ll want to protect your work surface with a plastic table-cloth or newspapers.  Sharpie ink is permanent, and if your little one happens to scribble outside of his photo paper, you want it staining your table top.

It’s probably a good idea to have your child wearing clothing that you’re not too worried about too.  Sharpie ink doesn’t come out of clothing, as far as I know.

kids colouring with sharpies on photo paper

To create their art, the hooligans drew whatever they wanted on their photo paper.  Colouring on photo paper is a such a cool experience.  The markers glide so smoothly over the glossy surface!

For my art, I used a black sharpie to make my outlines, and then I filled the areas in with the colours of my choice.

Sharpie art made to look like stained glass window

Aren’t they so cool?

Rainbow coloured rectangles - graphic Sharpie ARt

These photos really don’t do the project justice – you can’t actually tell how glossy and reflective the artwork is.  You’ll have to take my word for it.  These turned out amazing.  They really do look like stained glass.

As you can tell, I found this art process to be a little addictive!

4 pieces of art done with glossy photo paper and 80s Glam Sharpies

We never actually did end up framing our art for Mother’s Day; we opted instead to make these gorgeous Sharpie/Rubbing Alcohol Bookmarks instead.  I do think these drawings would look great in a frame though.  And they WOULD make a great gift for a child to give a parent or grandparent.  Hey, Father’s Day is right around the corner!

Looking for more cool art activities for kids?  Try our:

 

Starry Night with Melted Crayons

Sharpie & Rubbing Alcohol Art

Glue, Salt and Watercolour Art

Mess-Free Smoosh Painting

Paper Towel Art

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Playing with Coloured Water: Backyard Activity for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/colour-laboratory/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=colour-laboratory http://happyhooligans.ca/colour-laboratory/#comments Sun, 11 May 2014 05:00:11 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11204 Is there a child who doesn’t love playing with coloured water? This backyard water activity is a super way for

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Is there a child who doesn’t love playing with coloured water?  This backyard water activity is a super way for kids to learn about colour-mixing, to strengthen fine and gross motor skills, and it’s a terrific way for children to keep cool on a hot, summer day!

This water activity is one of our favourites from our collection of simple science activities for toddlers and preschoolers.

colour laboratory

Ah, good-old water play!  What child isn’t happy when they’re playing with water?  The hooligans love it when I set up a water bin in the backyard. Truth be told, we have some kind of water bin or water activity set up almost every day in the warm weather.  The kids especially love playing with water tinted with food colouring.   I add colour to almost all of our water bins because colour makes any water activity a little more exciting.  With this particular activity, the coloured water IS the activity, and it’s always a big hit with the toddlers and preschoolers.

We called this the “colour laboratory” because the children work away like little chemists throughout the morning, pouring and mixing and measuring with a variety of containers and instruments.  This kind of water activity is very easy to pull together, and it doesn’t have to cost you a cent.

kids mixing colours

 

Setting up your colour laboratory:

 

supplies for setting up a kid's colour laboratory

for your convenience this post contains affiliate links

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

What do they learn by playing with coloured water?

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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Wet Sidewalk Chalk Activity for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/wet-sidewalk-chalk-activity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=wet-sidewalk-chalk-activity http://happyhooligans.ca/wet-sidewalk-chalk-activity/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 04:37:43 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14589 Add a “dipping cup” to your sidewalk chalk activities and instantly create creamy-smooth, vibrant works of art in the driveway!

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Add a “dipping cup” to your sidewalk chalk activities and instantly create creamy-smooth, vibrant works of art in the driveway!

We LOVE drawing with wet sidewalk chalk!  Anyone else feel the same?   I think drawing with wet chalk is so much better than drawing with dry chalk.  It’s a whole different experience!  Dry chalk is, well…. dry,  and umm… chalky.  The feel of it on my hand and that hollow clinking sound it makes kind of give me the heebie jeebies.  Wet chalk however…  Ahhh, wet sidewalk chalk is  creamy and  vibrant.  It goes on so slick and smooth.  I love it!

Wet Sidewalk Chalk Activity

We only ever used to have wet chalk when we left it out in the rain, but now I just go ahead and add water to our chalk activities, either with the garden hose or with individual “dipping cups” like you see here.

For our wet sidewalk chalk activity, you’ll need:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • plastic containers or cups
  • Jug of warm water (for re-fills)

I like to use yogurt pots for our dipping cups.  They fit nicely a little hand, and they hold the perfect amount of water for this activity.

wet sidewalk chalk soaking in water

No need to pre-soak your chalk;  just dip and draw!

Fill your dipping cups with water, and pop a stick of chalk into each cup.  Have the kids participate here because you may hear some fizzing.

The chalk will absorb water quickly.  It will be ready to draw with in a couple of minutes.

When the chalk starts looking dark, you’re ready!

wet sidewalk chalk art on patio stones

Go forth and create!

Isn’t it amazing?  The coverage is amazing and the colours are so vibrant.

finished wet chalk drawing

Of course when it all dries, the colours don’t remain as vibrant, but the thick coverage is still there so your art will really stand out!

So, what do you think?  Will you add some water to your next chalk activity?

 

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Homemade Bookmarks – Tie Dye technique with Sharpies http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bookmarks-sharpies-rubbing-alcohol/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-bookmarks-sharpies-rubbing-alcohol http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-bookmarks-sharpies-rubbing-alcohol/#comments Wed, 07 May 2014 05:31:28 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14561 Grab your Sharpies and rubbing alcohol! We’re making homemade bookmarks for Mother’s Day, and we’re using an awesome Sharpie marker

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Grab your Sharpies and rubbing alcohol!  We’re making homemade bookmarks for Mother’s Day, and we’re using an awesome Sharpie marker tie-dye technique to decorate them!

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the hooligans been working on some simple Mother’s Day crafts here in my home daycare.  Our most recent project was these gorgeous homemade bookmarks that the kids will give their moms this Sunday.  I’m so excited to share the process with you!

Homemade Bookmarks for Mother's Day - Happy Hooligans

If you’ve ever seen the Sharpie tie-dye technique, you can probably guess how we made our bookmarks.  If you’re not familiar with the process, let me explain.  When you colour with Sharpie markers and then drip rubbing alcohol on to your drawings, something very cool happens.  You get this awesome tie-dyed effect.  A lot of people colour tee-shirts this way.  I wanted to know if we could get that same tie-dye effect on plastic, so I grabbed an empty vinegar bottle and experimented.  I was completely impressed with the results, and so the idea for homemade bookmarks was born.

These bookmarks are so simple to make, and the supplies are minimal!  You gotta love that!

To make our homemade bookmarks, we used:

supplies for sharpie tie dyed homemade bookmarks

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

 Cut out your bookmark:

To remove the label from the vinegar jug, I filled the jug with very hot water, and let it sit for 10 minutes.  The heat from the water softens the glue, and the label peels off easily.

To make our bookmarks, I traced one of my own bookmarks on the plastic with a pencil, and used a pair of sharp scissors to cut it out. I repeated the process, getting 4 bookmarks out of one vinegar jug.

Colour your bookmark:

Next, we coloured our bookmarks.  Using a variety of bright colours, cover your entire bookmark with your Sharpies.  There’s no right or wrong way to do this.  Just fill in the whole bookmark.

Plastic bookmark coloured with sharpie markers

Now for the magic!

The Sharpie and rubbing alcohol tie-dye technique:

Fill a dropper/pipette with rubbing alcohol and drip small drops on to your bookmark.  You can tap your dropper against your bookmark – that will deposit tiny amounts  on to the plastic, or you can just drip the alcohol randomly over your art.

rubbing alcohol and sharpies on a plastic bookmark

 

Then let it sit.  Do not move the bookmark, or tip it, or all of your colours will run together.  Just watch it, and you’ll see the colours start to blend and fuse together.  It’s so magical and beautiful.

dripping rubbing alcohol onto sharpie art

You can experiment with the amount of alcohol you use.  If you’re not happy with the way things are going, you can swipe the bookmark clean and start again.  A paper towel is good for this.

Isn’t it amazing?  I love watching this process!

sharpie and rubbing alcohol dyeing process

Let your bookmark dry completely.  It doesn’t take too long because the alcohol evaporates fairly quickly. 

Setting the colour:

To prevent your Sharpie art from rubbing off, you need to give it a shot of spray varnish.  Do not brush on a liquid varnish as it will likely dissolve your art.

Lightly spray your bookmark with the varnish.  If you use too much, it will activate the Sharpie ink like the alcohol did, and your colours will start to bleed again.

homemade bookmark made with sharpies and rubbing alcohol

Allow your varnish to dry, and spray with a second coat if you like.  You don’t have to be quite as careful with your second coat of varnish because your art has been protected by the first coat.

Once your varnish has dried, punch a hole in the top of your bookmark, thread a ribbon or some cording through, and if you like, embellish with a pretty button.

homemade bookmarks tie dyed with sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol

What do you think?  A beautiful homemade bookmark, perfect for Mother’s day.

And, if you want to try this process on a shirt, head on over to Mama Pea Pod, and check out their Sharpie-dyed tees!

homemade bookmarks kids can make and give

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Looking for more cool art ideas?  Try our:

Sharpies and Photo Paper Art

Starry Night with Melted Crayons

3-Ingredient Puffy Paint

“Stained Glass” Painting with Bottle Lids & Wax Paper

Scrape Painting with Credit Cards

Wax Resist Art

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DIY Wind Chimes – a Recycled Craft for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/diy-wind-chimes-recycled-craft/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=diy-wind-chimes-recycled-craft http://happyhooligans.ca/diy-wind-chimes-recycled-craft/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 02:24:49 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14529 These DIY Wind Chimes, made from a plastic bottle and some beads and buttons, will add a burst of colour

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These DIY Wind Chimes, made from a plastic bottle and some beads and buttons, will add a burst of colour to any outdoor play space or patio! A great recycled craft for kids to make for Mother’s Day.

I have a real soft spot for homemade wind chimes.  We’ve made several sets of wind chimes here over the years, and each time, they’re so unique and whimsical.  I’m really excited to share our latest DIY wind chimes with you!  We worked on these as a collaborative project and hung the chimes in our back yard play space, right beside our playhouse.  I think these wind chimes would be wonderful for a toddler or preschooler to make for Mother’s Day!

DIY Windchimes from recycled plastic Gatorade bottle

I love that these particular wind chimes were made using recyclables and craft items that we had on hand.  We love crafting with stuff we already have around the house, don’t you?  Grab a plastic bottle, and hit the craft cupboards!  It’s time to gather your supplies!

To make our DIY wind chimes, you’ll need:

IMG_1133

*If you’re using yarn for your chimes, I would recommend using a synthetic yarn (i.e. acrylic), as it will be much more durable than a cotton.

Making our wind chimes:

To start, I cut cut off the tapered, top portion of the plastic bottle.

Then one little hooligan painted the each section of the bottle a different colour.

When the paint was dry, I punched some evenly-spaced holes around the bottom of the bottle.  I wasn’t sure how many strands of beads (or chimes) we were going to make, so I punched 8 holes.

We ended up only using 4 of them.

A coat of craft varnish gives it some shine and will help protect your homemade wind chime from the elements.
threading beads for plastic bottle wind chime

Stringing our beaded chimes:

We made 4 outer chimes and 1 inner chime.
Beaded strands of yarn for homemade wind chies

fFor the outer chimes, I gave each of the hooligans a piece of black yarn which they loaded up with lots of colourful plastic beads. I encouraged the hooligans to put a large black bead in the middle of their chimes, for weight and sound, but otherwise, the bead and colour choices were their own.

While the hooligans beaded their 4 outer chimes, I worked on the inner stand of beads.

For the inner chime, I threaded a flat black button (with a hook on the back) on to a long length of yarn.  Then I doubled the yarn back, threaded both ends through a needle, and filled the length of yarn with sections of black straws and coloured beads.

Leaving a few inches of space at the top of each strand of yarn, I slipped each one through a punched hole, and knotted it in place.
beads hanging from diy wind chime

Attaching the centre chime:

To attach the centre chime, I had to make a hole in the top of the bottle.  In hind-sight, I should’ve just drilled a small hole – it would’ve been MUCH faster, but I was too “lazy” to find the drill (my husband has a tendency to not put things back where they belong), so I spent about 15 minutes twisting a very small screw driver ’round and ’round and ’round until it FINALLY poked through the plastic.  I think you could probably heat  the end of a skewer and it might push through the plastic quite easily, but I didn’t think of that until after.
Once I had the hole in the bottle, I poked the yarn for the centre chime through the hole, but there’s something you need to know before you do that:

You need some “stoppers”!

You need a stopper on the inside and outside of the bottle to prevent that centre chime from sliding up and down through the hole, so this is what I did:

I knotted the yarn a couple of inches down from the top.  This would be the stopper INSIDE the bottle.  See what I mean?
how to attach chimes to plastic bottle wind chimes

Then I threaded the yarn through the hole, and slipped it through a pony bead, knotted the bead in place, and tied a loop for hanging.

You could hand your wind chime using this loop, but just for fun, I added a metal key ring.
 
Metal Key Ring to hand recycled DIY wind chimes

Tada!!

Then we headed out into the yard to find a place to hang our gorgeous homemade wind chimes!
We decided on a tree back beside our sandbox and play house, where we can enjoy them when we’re playing in the backyard.

child batting at DIY wind chimes

Aren’t they beautiful?  Don’t you think  our DIY wind chimes would make a great homemade Mother’s Day gift?

What if you don’t have a plastic bottle?

Not a problem!  Head on over to Rainy Day Mum to see how they made their simple wind chimes using a common household item!

homemade wind chimes for mother's day - hanging in a tree

 

Looking for more cool, inexpensive stuff to make with your kids?

Summer Stars – Gorgeous Twig Decoration for the Patio

Easy, Recycled Water Wall

Rainbow Stick Wood Chimes

2 Minute Twirling Ribbon Sticks

Gorgeous Paper Mache Bowls

Beautiful Bookmarks with Sharpies & Rubbing Alcohol

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Cutting Practice – 5 More Scissor Activities for Kids http://happyhooligans.ca/cutting-practice-5-scissor-activities-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cutting-practice-5-scissor-activities-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/cutting-practice-5-scissor-activities-kids/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 03:38:21 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14505 Cutting practice – 5 more fun and easy materials to help kids develop their scissor skills!

I’m not sure what

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Cutting practice – 5 more fun and easy materials to help kids develop their scissor skills!

I’m not sure what it is about scissors that toddlers find so fascinating.  Is it the cutting action? That unmistakeable “snip-snip-snip?  The paper clippings fluttering to the floor?  Whatever it is, kids just love cutting.  But cutting can be quite challenging for toddlers to get the hang of.  Paper, in particular, is challenging for beginners to cut through.  It’s flimsy and it tends to get jammed sideways between the blades when kids are just learning to cut.  Instead of regular paper, I like to set up a cutting station, where the children have access to a variety of different materials to practice cutting with.   

5 More Cutting Activities for Kids

Each of the following materials is easier to cut through than paper, and they vary in texture, weight and thickness, adding interest and making cutting practice fun.

5 Fun Materials for Cutting Practice Exercises:

Craft Foam:  Craft foam is thicker than paper, but surprisingly, it’s quite a bit easier for little ones to get their scissors through .  There’s a certain “springy-ness” about craft foam that makes it fun to cut through.

Cutting practice with craft foam

Curling Ribbon:  Scissor blades slice easily through curling ribbon, and because the ribbon is very narrow, it’s a quick and easy snip.  A perfect beginner material for practicing cutting.

cutting practice with curling ribbon

Shredded Paper Strips:  When your child is just learning to use scissors, a narrow strip of paper is much easier to cut through than a full size piece of paper.  A thin strip of paper is easy to grip with one hand, and it requires one quick snip of the blades to cut through it.  What a feeling of accomplishment when a toddler picks up a strip like this, and chops right through it.  Once they get the hang of it, they can pick up several strips, or even a handful, and chop through them all at once.

Shredded paper for cutting practice

Yarn: Depending on the type of yarn and the age of your child, this can be a great material for cutting practice.  Like the shredded paper and curling ribbon, A piece of yarn is easy to hold and a doesn’t require a lot of cutting to get through.  The hooligans love to chop a long length of yarn into a million teeny pieces.

Strings of beads:  This one has become a favourite around here.  Fine strands of craft beads or plastic dollar store necklaces are excellent for cutting practice! Fine motor control and hand eye co-ordination are required to line the scissor blades up in between the blades, and there’s just enough resistance to the strand that you get a neat little “click” or “snap” as your blade slice through.

cutting practice with beads

And one more for good measure – our all-time favourite:

Drinking straws:  Know why they’re our favourite?  Have you ever cut through a straw?  BOING!  The kids LOVE this cutting activity!  Pieces of straw literally fly all over the room.  It’s amazing how far one little piece of plastic will launch itself when the blades go through it.  The hooligans get down-right silly when they’re cutting straws.  Fits of giggles, shrieks of laughter; all that good stuff.  So no matter what you’re loading up onto your tray for cutting practice, be sure to include a handful of straws!

Cutting practice with drinking straws

Now, be sure to check out my first post about beginner cutting activities.  There are some cool materials in that one for kids to start cutting with too!

IMG_1345

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Ivory Soap Microwave Experiment http://happyhooligans.ca/ivory-soap-microwave-experiment/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ivory-soap-microwave-experiment http://happyhooligans.ca/ivory-soap-microwave-experiment/#comments Wed, 30 Apr 2014 06:49:24 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14477 Ivory Soap Microwave Experiment: “Wow” kids and grown-ups alike with a quick and easy science experiment that you can do

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Ivory Soap Microwave Experiment:  “Wow” kids and grown-ups alike with a quick and easy science experiment that you can do at home.

We do the expanding Ivory Soap experiment a couple of times a year here in my daycare, and it never fails to impress and excite us.  It’s one of our favourite quick and easy science experiments, but the process and the results are nothing short of awesome!  This is an experiment that never gets old, no matter how many times we do it.

Today, I’m going to show you how you can do the Ivory experiment at your house or in your classroom, and at the end of the post, I’ll suggest a few ways to use your soapy results.

You’ll need 3 things to conduct the Ivory Soap Microwave Experiment:

Bar of Ivory Soap ready for the microwave

  • bar of ivory soap (do not try this with any other brand of soap)
  • microwaveable dinner plate
  • microwave 

Getting started:

Before you begin, you can take a few minutes to let the children examine the soap.  Use descriptive words as you take turns holding it, feeling it and smelling it.  If you have an extra bar of Ivory, you could drop the spare bar into a bowl of water to see how it floats.  I just wouldn’t wet the bar that you’re putting in the microwave.  I’m not sure how that would affect the experiment.

Conducting your Ivory Soap Experiment:

  1. Place your Ivory on a microwaveable plate
  2. Put your soap in the microwave
  3. Run microwave on high for 1-2 minutes.  Today I set my microwave for 1:20.  You can’t really over-cook it, but it will reach a point where it stops expanding.

You’ll want to pull up a chair or stool for your child to stand on so they can watch what happens to the soap in the microwave.  This part of the process is fascinating!

Ivory Soap expanding in microwave

The soap will start to rapidly expand at about the 15 second mark.  To see it rolling, writhing and expanding as if it were alive is really exciting!

When your microwave stops, remove the soap and examine it.

kids examining expanded ivory soap

Doesn’t your kitchen smell amazing?  Don’t worry, that smell should leave your microwave quickly, and it will not affect the flavour of any cooking you do.

microwaved Ivory Soap

Caution!  The plate and soap will be quite hot for a minute or so after being removed from the microwave.  They cool down quickly but give the soap a few minutes before letting your children handle it.

Examining your fluffy Ivory soap cloud:

Once your soap has cooled, it’s time to have some fun!  Let your children investigate how the soap has changed.

crumbling microwaved ivory soap with our hands

Today, I placed ours in a large baking dish and the girls chopped it all up with pate knives.  They also rubbed it between their hands to crush and crumble it.  This is such an amazing sensory experience.  The soap is so smooth and silky.  It feels lovely, and it smells incredible!

chopping up ivory soap out of the microwave

What can you do with the results of your Ivory Soap experiment?

We usually do this experiment when it’s time to make a new batch of our Homemade Laundry Detergent.  Grab the recipe for my detergent, and your children can help you turn your soap powder into laundry soap.

Our favourite way to use our crumbled soap though, is to use it for sensory play!  We grab a roll of toilet paper and some water and the hooligans whip up a batch of ghost mud or fairy mud.  It’s a mouldable dough that smells wonderful and keeps them entertained for hours.

Today however, we used our soap powder for an entirely new activity, so stay tuned!  I’ll be writing about it soon!

Ivory Soap Experiment

Head over to Steve Spangler Science to find out the science behind the Ivory Soap Microwave Experiment!

 

Looking for more easy, inexpensive experiments to do with your kids?  Try our:

Giant Homemade Bubbles

2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

2-Ingredient Ghost Mud

3-Ingredients Puffy Paint

5-Ingredient Homemade Watercolours

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Painting Activities for Toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/painting-activities-toddlers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=painting-activities-toddlers http://happyhooligans.ca/painting-activities-toddlers/#comments Tue, 29 Apr 2014 05:38:46 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14407 Painting Activities for Toddlers: big art, painting without brushes, and some unplanned body-painting.

Kids love to

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Painting Activities for Toddlers: big art, painting without brushes, and some unplanned body-painting.

Kids love to paint.  Kids love a BIG, clean canvas, and kids love to experiment.  These were all things that I was thinking of when I set out these painting activities for the 2 year old a couple of weeks ago.

Big Art Ideas for Toddlers - lots of painting activities for toddlers

Miss 2 was the only one here on this day.  Miss 2 LOVES painting.  And Miss 2 is not afraid to explore whatever materials you place in front of her.  I thought it would be fun for her to work with a variety of different painting tools on a huge cardboard canvas.  I was right.  It was fun.  It was VERY fun!  When I say she got right in to it, well… that’s putting it mildly.  Read on to see what I mean.

I expected that things could get a little messy, so I protected the floor with a plastic tablecloth.

Then I put down a large cardboard “canvas”. I am fortunate to have a friend who works in a packaging factory.  She gives us these huge end-rolls which serve as a base for many of our projects.

I arranged several groups of painting “tools” around the mat in an inviting fashion.

Tools for painting with and without brushes:

  • paint brushes
  • credit cards
  • craft feathers
  • wooden blocks
  • dish scrubbers
  • sponge brushes (we’ll call these stompers)
  • styrofoam meat trays to hold the paint

Enter the toddler!

She started at the top of the mat, and worked her way, counter-clockwise, around it, testing and painting with every tool hat that she came to.

Big Art Painting Activities for Toddlers:

First up were the paint brushes – a painting tool that she’s very familiar with.  I found it interesting that she went to those first.  I guess because in her mind, there was no doubt about what their purpose was, and how she would use them.

  

painting activities for toddler set out on a big cardboard canvas

Painting with dish scrubbies:

Then I clued in that she didn’t realize the other items were there for her to PAINT with.  It was obvious to me, but of course, she wouldn’t recognize those items as painting tools.  So I explained that she could paint with all of the items on the mat, and I encouraged her to try a scrubbie.  This was a first for us, and it was fun; stamping, pouncing, pounding and scrubbing.  She made some lovely marks.

toddler painting with a dish scrubbie

Next up were the credit cards.  This is where things started to get really fun!  We’ve done lots of credit card painting activities over the years.  This is one of my favourite processes for colour-mixing and making collages.

She scraped and blended the colours together, splattering her legs and feet in the process.

PicMonkey Collage

Then she used the credit card to blend the colours on her paint-splattered legs. And when she was happy with her work, she moved on.

toddler painting her legs

Painting with blocks:

Painting with blocks is a great art activity for toddlers.  Wooden building blocks are easy for little hands to grip, and great for stamping shapes and adding interest to an art project.  You can dip your block and stamp with it, or you can paint the block and press it on to your canvas.

toddler painting with blocks

Painting with feathers:

Moving around the mat, she came to the feathers next. I think this might have been my personal favourite. This was another process that we’d never tried before.  I love the marks that the feathers made on the cardboard; squiggles, straight lines and wispy, wavy lines. We’ll be painting with feathers again for sure!

toddler painting with feathers

Then Miss 2 discovered the best canvas of all: herself!

Toddler painting her hands and feet

She couldn’t resist.  And I didn’t stop her.  She was having the most wonderful time.  I knew it would all come off with soap and water, so I let her explore.  She was in her glory.

Toddler with hands in paint tray

And when she was satisfied with the art she’d created on her body, she went back to the paintbrushes, blending, and mixing the rest of the colours in her paint trays.

toddler painting big art

It was a beautiful thing.

And what will we do with this new gorgeous canvas of ours? Oh, it’s going to come in very handy! Keep your eyes open for it. You’ll catch glimpses of this work of art popping up here and there in lots of future blog posts!

Stay tuned! We’ll be doing more big art painting activities for toddlers.  I’d like to explore some car-painting like Fantastic Fun and Learning did, and painting with bouncy balls like they did over at Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds!

Paint splattered toddler feet

But for now, you’ll have to excuse me; someone needs a bath!

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5 Handmade Mother’s Day Gifts for Kids to Make http://happyhooligans.ca/5-handmade-mothers-day-gifts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-handmade-mothers-day-gifts http://happyhooligans.ca/5-handmade-mothers-day-gifts/#comments Sat, 26 Apr 2014 05:37:37 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14434 5 Easy and beautiful handmade gifts to give for Mother’s Day!

What mom doesn’t love to receive

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5 Easy and beautiful handmade gifts to give for Mother’s Day!

5 mother's day gifts for kids

What mom doesn’t love to receive a handmade gift from their child for Mother’s Day?  The toddlers and preschoolers in my daycare have a lot of fun each year making their handmade Mother’s Day gifts, and the results are always beautiful.  Here’s a small collection of my favourites from recent years.  You’ll find something here for kids of all ages to make for Mom on her special day!

 5 Handmade Mother’s Day Gifts for Kids of All Ages to Make!

summer stars - twig ornaments - patio decoration

Summer Stars – these rustic twig ornaments will add some glam to Mom’s patio or deck this summer.  Twigs, raffia and a glue gun are all that you’ll require to make these beautiful “summer stars”.

 

 

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Paper Mache Bowls - My favourite handmade Mother’s Day gift of all time!  These toddler-made, one-of-a-kind bowls were a big hit with the moms in my daycare a couple of years ago.

 

 

Frosted Mason Jars - 1 of 5 handmade mother's day gifts

Frosted Mason Jars – These jars look so pretty on a desk or counter, holding pens, pencils or paint-brushes… This project is a great one for older kids, as a light touch is required.

 

 

Homemade windchimes for Mother's Day

 Rainbow Wind Chimes – Take your child on a nature walk to gather sticks.  Back home, they can help you turn them into a colourful set of wind chimes for Mom.

 

 

cork-stamped flowers for Mother's Day

 Toddlers and Preschoolers will love stamping up a bouquet of these Cork and Button Flowers!  This process would be perfect for making a Mother’s Day card too!

 

Stay tuned!  We’ll be making and sharing more new Mother’s Day gift ideas in the days and weeks to come!

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How to Dye Pasta the Easy Way! http://happyhooligans.ca/dye-pasta-easy-way/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dye-pasta-easy-way http://happyhooligans.ca/dye-pasta-easy-way/#comments Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:00:02 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14387 How to dye pasta the easy way for kids crafts and sensory play! No mess, no waste and no rubbing

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How to dye pasta the easy way for kids crafts and sensory play! No mess, no waste and no rubbing alcohol!

How to Dye Pasta for Sensory Play  and Crafts - Happy Hooligans

We always have a big batch of brightly coloured pasta on hand here.  It’s great for threading activities, for sorting and learning about shapes and colours, and it’s especially wonderful to use as a base in our sensory bins.  Today I’m showing you how to dye pasta using the easiest method I know.  It’s quick and fun, there’s no mess, and unlike other recipes out there, it doesn’t contain rubbing alcohol.

To dye pasta, you’ll need:

Supplies for Dyeing Pasta

  • various types of dry pasta
  • food colouring (we use Wilton Icing Gels because of their vibrant colours)
  • white vinegar
  • small bowl
  • toothpicks
  • container with lid
  • baking rack

To keep the little hooligan busy while I preparing the activity, I filled a sectioned container with the pasta we would be using.  She happily explored the pasta and scooped and poured it into a few different bowls while I got things ready. This, in itself, is a great activity for little ones.

Dyeing your pasta:

We dye our pasta the same way we make our dyed rice for sensory play.  Ours is a mess-free way to colour rice or pasta.  There are no wasteful ziplock bags involved, and we don’t use rubbing alcohol to dilute and set the colour.  We use vinegar  Here’s how we do it.

1. Pour your pasta into a container that has a tight-fitting lid.

2. In a small bowl, mix a generous dollop of food colouring with a teaspoon of vinegar.  This helps to disperse the colour evenly over the pasta, especially if you’re using gel colouring which is quite thick compared to liquid colouring.

toddler dyeing pasta

3.  Place the lid on (make sure it’s tight!), and let your little ones shake it like crazy!

Shaking a container of pasta and food colouring

Pop the lid off to check on things.  If your colour isn’t evenly distributed over the pasta, simply sprinkle in another tsp of vinegar.  Don’t worry if your pasta looks wet or soggy.  It will dry quickly.  The smell of vinegar will also dissipate as it dries.

That’s all there is to it!

Pour your pasta on to a baking rack, and set it in a warm sunny place to dry.  Ours only required a couple of hours beside the fire.  Depending on the temperature of your home, you may need to let your pasta dry over night.

Coloured Pasta drying on a baking rack

When ours was ready, the wee one scooped all of the dyed pasta into a storage container.

toddler playing with dyed pasta

How to store your coloured pasta?

Your dyed pasta will keep indefinitely as long as you store it in a dry place.  I keep mine in a storage container with a lid or a large jar with a lid.  Just make sure it’s thoroughly dry before packing it away for storage. We still have a little pasta left-over from a batch that we made two years ago!

Hand Dyed Pasta for Sensory Bins

Check out some of the ways we’ve used it:

Sensory Play on a Mirror

Pasta Necklaces for Mother’s Day

 

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White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies http://happyhooligans.ca/white-chocolate-chip-cranberry-cookies/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=white-chocolate-chip-cranberry-cookies http://happyhooligans.ca/white-chocolate-chip-cranberry-cookies/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 03:16:20 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14357 White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies: sweet but tart, crisp but chewy. A cookie-lover’s dream!

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White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies:  sweet but tart, crisp but chewy.  A cookie-lover’s dream!

White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

Is there a more decadent combination than white chocolate and dried cranberries? I’m a sucker for anything that contains white chocolate.  Pair it with tart, tangy, dried cranberries, and ohhhh, baby, I’m in heaven! Remember my  Oatmeal,  Chocolate Chip and Canberry Cookies? Mmmm! Those are amazing too. I tend to make those cookies around the holidays though.  That recipe yields a crazy amount of cookies (like 8 dozen or something), so it’s perfect if you like to bake for friends, neighbours and teachers at Christmas-time.

The cookies you see here are much quicker to make! They’re totally delicious, and the recipe yields a mere 2 dozen cookies. Much more practical for every day baking!

Ok! Let’s get started!

white chocolate and cranberry cookie dough

Ingredients for White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies:

  • 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine (I personally use 1/2 cup butter plus 1/4 cup margarine)
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 1/2 white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1.75 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking SODA
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

cranberry white chocolate cookie dough

Let’s get baking!

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In large bowl, with electric beaters, blend butter/margarine, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth.

3. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda.

4.  Stir in white chocolate chips and cranberries

5. Drop by rounded tsp on baking stone or ungreased  baking sheet.  Space about 2 inches apart.

Bake until lightly browned (12-15 minutes).  Wait a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Pour yourself a tall glass of milk, pile a few cookies on a plate, and sit back and enjoy!

White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

 

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15 Easy Homemade Paint Recipes Your Kids are Going to Love! http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-paint-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=homemade-paint-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/homemade-paint-kids/#comments Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:56:56 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14308 15 Easy homemade paint recipes to make at home for toddlers and preschoolers!

Making your

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15 Easy homemade paint recipes to make at home for toddlers and preschoolers!

15 Easy Homemade Paint Recipes to Make for Your Kids!  - Happy Hooligans

Making your own paint is a lot of fun and an inexpensive way for toddlers and preschoolers get creative.  All 15 of these homemade paint recipes here are easy to make, and use simple ingredients found in or around your home!  Your kids are going to love these!

15 Easy Homemade Paint Recipes!

 

homemade solid watercolours

1. Homemade Solid Watercolour Paint - made from a few simple kitchen ingredients!

 

 

Homemade Liquid Watercolours from Markers

2. Vibrant Liquid Watercolours – made from old, dried out markers! 

 

 

Shaving Cream and Food Colouring Paint

3. Shaving Cream Paints  - great for the tub or outdoors!

 

 

Homemade Microwave Puffy Paint

4. 3-Ingredient Puffy Paint  - 3 ingredients and a microwave are all you need to make our cool puffy paint!

 

 

Easy Sidewalk chalk paint recipe

5. Easy Sidewalk Paint – just 3 easy ingredients for tons of outdoor fun!

 

 

Frozen Smoothie paints with shaving cream and ice

6. Homemade Smoothie Paints - a true sensory art experience for toddlers!

 

 

Textured Painting with Epsom Salts

7. Kids can create colourful, textured art with this 1-Minute Salt Paint Recipe!

 

 

Skittles Painting

8. Painting with Skittles - what a “sweet” way to create some glossy candy art!

 

 

Edible Paint Recipe - Baby and Toddler Safe (8)

9. Colourful, Edible Paint for Babies - perfect for little ones who like to “sample” their work!

 

 

Painting with ingredients from nature

10. Kids can combine art and the great outdoors when they paint with ingredients found in nature!

 

 

Baby-safe paints made from fruit

11.  Baby-Safe Fruit Paint - an excellent way for babies to express themselves creatively!

 

 

Homemade Liquid Watercolours made from solid watercolours

12. Super-Easy Homemade Liquid Watercolours – you won’t believe how easy (and genius) it is to make these!

 

 

Homemade face and body paint for kids

13. Homemade Face and Body Paint – this easy recipe lets kids enjoy a full-body art experience!

 

 

Foaming Koolaid Finger Paint

14. This yummy smelling “magic” Foaming Paint packs some vibrant colour and a surprise chemical reaction!

 

 

Toddler-safe yogurt paints

15. Babies and toddlers can safely explore their artistic side with this Scented Edible Finger-Paint!

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Get the 3-5 Playful Preschool e-Book!

25+preschool activities, 10 printables, 50 links to activities not featured in the book all for $6.99 until May 25, 2014. Price increases to $8.99 after the 25th. Download your copy today:

3-5 Playful Preschool 3-book

 

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Easy Paper Plate Flowers (for Toddlers and Preschoolers) http://happyhooligans.ca/easy-paper-plate-flowers-kids/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=easy-paper-plate-flowers-kids http://happyhooligans.ca/easy-paper-plate-flowers-kids/#comments Sun, 20 Apr 2014 15:05:40 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14286 Quick and Easy Paper Plate Flowers: What signals spring more than a colourful flower? You’re going to love how quick

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Quick and Easy Paper Plate Flowers: What signals spring more than a colourful flower? You’re going to love how quick and easy our paper plate flowers are to make! They’re the perfect, little spring craft for toddlers and preschoolers!

 Paper Plate Flowers - Happy Hooligans

Hooray for Spring!  I think it might finally be here!  Tiny green shoots are sprouting up in the garden and the buds are on the trees!  We’ve been doing lots of Spring crafting these past few weeks, and the paper plate flowers that I’m sharing with you today might just be my favourite yet!

easy paper plate flower craft

These cheerful flowers were so easy to make, and a lot of fun too!  It’s a simple craft, but it packs in lots of opportunities for learning: painting, colour-mixing, shape recognition, cutting, and gluing, to name a few.

Aren’t paper plates just the best when you’re crafting with young children? I love how versatile they are! You can turn them into just about anything! Rainbows, animals, wreaths etc. Check out some of our favourite paper plate crafts here.

Ok! Let’s gather your supplies!

To make your paper plate flower, you’ll need:

Supplies for Paper Plate Flowers

 

  • paper plate
  • paint (bright spring colours)
  • paint brush
  • scissors
  • glue

Making our paper plate flowers:

I set out a paint pallet filled with bright spring colours, and the hooligans painted their plates. Older children will use more thought as to the placement of their colours, but toddlers will just be happy to slap their paint all over that plate!  Let ‘em! That’s fun! That’s learning!

painting paper plates to make flowers

When the paint is dry, simply snip through the outer rim of the plate and cut out the inner circle. Depending on your child’s cutting skills, he or she may be able do to this step with little or no assistance.  Toddlers, of course, will require some help.

painted paper plate with centre cut out

When the rim of the plate has been removed, set the centre aside, and chop that rim up into chunky pieces. These will be the petals for your flower.

Rim of painted paper plate chopped into pieces

Putting your flower all together:

Grab the centre of the flower that you set aside a minute ago.

To finish have your child glue the shorter edge of the flower petal to the back of the round center piece.

TIP: Because those petal pieces are curved, we weighted our flowers down with small glass bowls to prevent the petals from popping away from the centre while the glue was wet. 

What do you think?  Aren’t these just the cheeriest, little paper plate flowers you’ve ever seen?

Colourful Paper Plate Flower for Spring

I think they’d be lovely to do as a classroom or nursery project. Wouldn’t they look lovely suspended from a ceiling or displayed together on a bulletin board!

Like this activity?  Here are 10 more easy spring crafts to do with toddlers and preschoolers!  

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Quick and Easy Pizza Dough – Ready in 20 Minutes! http://happyhooligans.ca/quick-easy-pizza-dough-ready-20-minutes/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=quick-easy-pizza-dough-ready-20-minutes http://happyhooligans.ca/quick-easy-pizza-dough-ready-20-minutes/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:11:03 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14261 This quick and easy pizza dough is perfect when you’re making pizza with kids! From start to finish, it’s ready

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This quick and easy pizza dough is perfect when you’re making pizza with kids! From start to finish, it’s ready for the oven in 20 minutes! And it tastes GREAT too!

20 minute pizza dough
Recently the hooligans and I made homemade pizza for lunch, and the results were absolutely delicious! Most kids love helping in the kitchen, and most kids love pizza. What most kids don’t love however, is waiting. That’s why I love this recipe! You don’t have to wait for the dough to rise like you do with traditional pizza dough recipes. It’s fast. It’s easy. And you might just be surprised by how delicious it is!

To make our quick and easy pizza dough, you’ll need:

  •  1  pkg dry, active yeast (equivalent of  8g or .25 ounces or 2.25 tsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2.5 cups bread flour (we use all-purpose flour)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In large bowl, stir yeast and sugar into the warm water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it looks creamy like it does in the picture below).

kids watching active yeast in warm water

3. When yeast is frothy, add flour, salt and oil, and stir until well mixed. It will be loose and kind of messy looking. That’s ok. No need to form a smooth ball or anything.  

Mixing quick and easy pizza dough. 

4. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

5. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and roll or pat into one 12″ crust or 4 individual crusts.

Child rolling out pizza dough

 

6. Transfer to a pizza stone or a lightly oiled pan.

Topping your pizzas:

Now have the kids splash a little pizza sauce on to each crust and spread it around with the back of a spoon. Top with a handful of mozzarella cheese and whatever else you fancy. :)

kids putting sauce and cheese on their homemade pizzas

Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes (large pizza) or 10-15 minutes (smaller pizzas).

Mmmmmm! Don’t they look delicious?

Quick and Easy Pizza Dough - making pizza with kids!  - Happy Hooligans

With pizza dough this fast and easy, you’ll be able to whip up homemade pizzas anytime – lunchtime, after-school snacks, family movie night…  any-old time you please!

eating homemade pizza

 If you liked this post, you might also like our easy Bread Machine Dinner Rolls!

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Adorable Cork-Stamped Flower Wreath for Spring http://happyhooligans.ca/spring-flower-wreath-kids-stamping-corks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=spring-flower-wreath-kids-stamping-corks http://happyhooligans.ca/spring-flower-wreath-kids-stamping-corks/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:04:42 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=14194

Looking for an adorable spring craft to do with your kids? Grab some corks and buttons and

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Looking for an adorable spring craft to do with your kids?  Grab some corks and buttons and head on over to CBC Parents to see how we made this cork-stamped flower wreath!

IMG_9944

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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!

 

Looking for more inexpensive sensory play ideas?  Try our:

Fairy Mud

Sensory Art

Garden Soup

2-Ingredient Cloud Dough

Easy, Homemade Play Dough

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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

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

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.

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!

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 ours for

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We’ve recently discovered the joys of Liquid Watercolour Paint here in my daycare, and while I absolutely love ours for their vibrant colour and versatility, 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. I’ve made my own solid watercolour paints for years, and we love those, so I figured it was time for us to make liquid watercolours too.

homemade liquid watercolor paint for kids - happy hooligans

These liquid watercolours turned out SO well! 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 I’ve always wanted to make a Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window with contact paper and tissue paper. Today with just

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I’ve always wanted to make a Tissue Paper Stained Glass Window with contact paper and tissue paper.  Today with just one little hooligans here, I decided we’d 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.

Valentines tissue paper stained glass window - happy hooligans

 

You can use any shapes you like, but we cut our tissue paper into heart-shapes for today’s project. 

tissue paper stained glass window

 

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

 

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  

The following 10 fine motor activities for babies and toddlers encourage creative thinking and problem-solving. They help develop a

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The following 10  fine motor activities for babies and toddlers 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 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 The best homemade laundry detergent recipe with Borax, Washing Soda and Ivory Soap. Cut your laundry costs to less than

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The best homemade laundry detergent recipe with Borax, Washing Soda and Ivory Soap.  Cut your laundry costs to less than 10.00 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 liquid laundry detergent 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 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 white 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, it is ideal for HE machines, but it 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. Those boxes will make many, many 5 gallon pails of detergent in the year to come.
  • 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 old detergent.  That smell wasn’t really “mountain fresh” anyway.  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’ve heard you can use any mild bar soap, but I’ve not tried any brand but Ivory.
  • I’m sorry, but I don’t know where to get these ingredients if you are in the UK, you can use a product called Borax Substitute.  In Australia, Borax and washing soda are available, they are known by different brand names though.  Google can probably help you with that.
  • You can also read 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.

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:

How to Wash Hockey Equipment in the Washing Machine

Homemade Giant Bubble Mix

Repurposed Denim Aprons (repurposing a denim pant leg)

Repurposed Denim Bibs (repurposing a denim pant leg and old tee-shirt)

Giant, Reversible Flannel Receiving Blankets – the Ultimate Baby Gift

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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!

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 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 and fine motor fun for toddlers and preschoolers.

Sometimes

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Mirrors and dry erase markers with glass beads: a drawing activity and fine motor fun for toddlers and preschoolers.

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!  Now, you probably know I love setting up activities on a mirrored surface.  The kids just love exploring and creating when they can see their reflection, the refection of the items they’re playing with.  It’s also really fun for the kids to look down and see the ceiling or the sky – something that they’d normally have to look up to see.  It’s neat to do an activity with this totally new perspective.  Well, this morning, we were doing something new with our mirrors.   We were drawing on the mirrors with dry erase markers and decorating them with colourful glass beads!  Have a look!  It was so cool!

Drawing activity with mirrors and dry erase markers and 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 kids

I 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:

DIY Reusable Drawing Sheets 

5 Ways to Use Your Magnadoodle as a Teaching Tool

Drawing with Tracing Paper

Magazine Makeover

Free Art

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Sand Play Idea – DIY Sand Table For Kids Without a Sandbox http://happyhooligans.ca/sand-play/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sand-play http://happyhooligans.ca/sand-play/#comments Mon, 27 Jan 2014 18:14:18 +0000 http://happyhooligans.ca/?p=11381 No doubt about it, kids love to play in a sandbox, but what do you do if you don’t have

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No doubt about it, kids love to play in a sandbox,  but what do you do if you don’t have one in your yard?  You create a DIY sand table!  Check out this small sand play idea!  It’s perfect for kids who don’t have a sand box! Sand play Sometimes it’s fun to take an activity that your child enjoys regularly, and present it in a new way.  It can breathe new life into the activity, spark creativity, or simply provide your child with a “change of scenery” so to speak.  That’s what I was thinking when I decided to create this DIY sand table.  It’s a great sand play idea for kids who don’t have access to a backyard sandbox!

a spoon and a cup of sand

Our sandbox is probably the most popular place to play in our backyard.   There are lots of things to do in our yard, but not every one will climb the ladder to the playhouse.  Some children aren’t comfortable with the tire swings and the slide.  Not everyone is confident enough to walk our tightrope or to climb on the the play logs, so the sandbox provides a safe place to have a ton of fun.

pressing buttons into a mud pie

Kids love sand! IMG_3629 And this is a great way to provide them with a sand activity when you don’t have a sandbox.

pstting mudpie with a spoon

Make a DIY sand table – a great sand play idea for small spaces:

Pick up a bag of sandbox sand at any Home Depot or Garden Center, and dump a generous amount into a big bowl or a shallow storage container.  You could even do this indoors if you placed a large vinyl tablecloth down on the floor.  I think we may have to try that this winter when our outdoor sand is frozen. IMG_3623 I added a little water to our sand today so the hooligans could make mud-pies, and I provided some items of interest: buttons, chopped up straws, spoons, cups and scissors. tools and items of interest for playing in a bowl of sandworking on scissor skills while playing with sand I set the bowl of sand and the various tools and items on a table in the back yard, and the girls played at it for almost an hour.

playing in a bowl of sand on a table

When they were done, I simply let the sand dry in the sun for the afternoon, and then I dumped and swept it back into the bag where it will stay until the next time we want to play with sand out-of-the-box again. :)  Then I simply gave the table and the tools a spray from the garden hose. pushing buttons into muddies  

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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 – 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!  This is such a fun and easy science experiment for kids. 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.

 

Melting Ice with Salt and Watercolours

 

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

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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

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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 and

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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 project or simple science activity as well.

writing our names with salt, glue and watercolour art

 

 

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 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 Kids can create cool greeting cards using a crayon resist art process. A white crayon and some watercolour paints are

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Kids can create cool greeting cards using a crayon resist art process.  A white crayon and some watercolour paints are all you’ll need!

Crayon resist (or wax resis)t is a really cool art project for kids of all ages and a fun science activity as well.  Toddlers and preschoolers can easily do it, and even adults will have fun with a crayon resist project.  I sure did!

What is Crayon 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!

Crayon Resist  Art - Thank You Cards for kids to make

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 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

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

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 Christmas

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

The hooligans and I have made some pretty cute Christmas 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!
seashell bird 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 Hide these Rascally Reindeer around the house for kids to look for in the mornings leading up to Christmas!

Meet

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Hide these Rascally Reindeer around the house for kids to look for in the mornings leading up to Christmas!

Meet The Rascally Reindeer – our alternative to Elf on the Shelf!  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.

rascally reindeer - twig reindeer ornaments

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

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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 to your hats, my lovelies!

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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?

CD Christmas Ornaments with paint and glitter

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.

painted and glittered cd christmas 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