arts and crafts« Previous Entries
I have a confession. I have not picked up my knitting needles since March. It isn’t that my life long love of knitting has gone away. I simply have a new yarn passion. I now consider myself a hooker… –er crocheter. Most evenings, I find myself with my hook in hand working on a project with yarn to decompress at the end of a busy day. Crocheting does not bothering my wrist injury, so it seems to be a better fit in my life right now.
What started as learning how to get a rhythm with crochet and trying a granny square, has warped into a large project that keeps on growing. At first, I used some recycled yarn from another project. Then, I kept adding new colors. To date, I have used eight colors and made 62 squares. Each of the squares is about 7 1/2 inches. I have 10 more squares to make with the colors currently in my house. Here is a peek of what I have done.
As you can see in the photo on the bottom right, the patch work granny square afghan was not big enough. That’s when I went out to add the two new colors seen in the bottom middle. Just to share all of the colors, I put them in a semi-rainbow order to display. I know I am adding a deeper yellow/orange color to the mix and may add a lighter peach/coral color in before connecting them together.
So yes, aside from three small dish cloths, this is my first crochet project. It is a large one, but it will be fun to see finished. Now I just have to get all of the squares set, figure out a pattern, and actually connect them. Oh and that is another debate.
What will my next project be? Well, my little guy has requested a Pete the Cat doll that I found online. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear patterns that you love. Meanwhile I need to decide, should I make the textured single crochet connect in gray or black?
Raise your hand if you often forget to take time to put yourself first. No really, I’m being serious. I think the majority of us could probably say that with the hustle and bustle of our every day lives we tend to neglect our own need for a sort of time out.
While the boys were on Spring break, the stress of some items in the weeks leading up to it left me sick. I had a fever, chills, aches, and was miserable. Thank goodness NHL and JSL were amazing during that time and played together and make sure I was able to rest.
After being sick, I was unable to travel with TechyDad and the boys to a family birthday party that was out of town. I was home alone the entire day. The house was quiet and I had time to do what I wanted to do. I had no work to get done and could rest, relax, and unwind.
Imagine this…time to read with no interruptions.
Yes, it happened and I was not attempting this at night when my eyes were heavy. Many times, I fall asleep reading a book. It isn’t because the book is bad, no it is because I was so exhausted. TechyDad has had to close a book, move my Kindle, or pry my phone and Kindle App out of my hands while I was sleeping too many times to count.
Then, I had control of the remote, Roku, and Netflix. There was no giving in to watching something the boys wanted. I was able to play some more catch up on Arrested Development since new episodes are coming in May. Oh and while I was watching, I could work on some of my crochet project.
While I never wish I was sick, I enjoyed the quiet day to just relax, recoup, and do things that I enjoy. Had I been feeling better, I would have added a long walk while listening to an audio book.
So, what would your perfect YOU day look like? Think about it and remember that from time to time we all need to put ourselves first to make sure we do not crash and burn.
During the summer months, I looked to Pinterest a lot for ideas. I was searching for items to do with the boys if it was too hot, rainy, or to save for the winter months if we were snowed in. I pinned craft items, science items, writing items, books, and fun recipes. Most of the time, I would just pin them into a board so I could check back later. There was one instance when I immediately went out to get supplies.
In July, someone pinned Tot Treasures’ post about making Slime. I was in love with this idea. Both of my boys love playing with Playdoh, Silly Putty, and other similar items. So, I noted the two ingredients that we needed and bought them when I found a store that had them.
For some reason, we never made the slime before the boys started back to school. This week, I really wanted to test it out since the kids were home for February break. Saturday afternoon, the kids were restless and it was raining outside. We tried a craft kit that I bought and it flopped miserably. Thanks to this, I pulled out the liquid starch and clear glue. NHL was very excited about this process.
It had been months since I read the post, so I quickly went to Tot Treasures for a refresher. Basically, it is equal parts of glue and liquid starch. I say basically because we learned that is not always the case (had I read the comments again, I may have avoided the mistake).
The process is really kid friendly, but sometimes you have to wait a bit for the glue to absorb the liquid starch (apparently humidity factors into this as well). If you put too much starch in, you can always add more glue if you have any more. If not, you may notice that the slime is a bit too wet and lumpy. It does not smooth out. We figured this out after the first batch of slime and made a perfect second attempt.
JSL’s second batch came out perfect. Meanwhile, NHL’s first batch was a mess, literally. We did not have additional clear glue to put into the mixture. So I went on a search for more glue in the house. I found a container of white glue and set to make him more slime. How did the white glue compare? Well, here is the result below.
TechyDad said he actually liked the consistency of the white glue more, even if it stayed a bit more sticky. The “recipe” noted using food coloring, but we opted to skip this step. Our goal was for fun without making colorful hands this time. JSL also figured out a fun way of playing with the slime. ACHOO…
Yes, they had fun laughing, playing, and being creative with their slime. After three hours, we packaged up the slime in containers and are going to see how it holds up for another day of play.
Have you ever made slime before? I would love to know your thoughts on this fun activity.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to TechyDad that we had not seen anything from school about the 100th Day of School. I was sure that I had seen kindergarten children doing things last winter, so I knew it would be coming. Sure enough, a week ago, JSL came home with a sheet announcing the project and when it was due.
When NHL did his kindergarten project four years ago, he made a banner to bring into school. We went to the craft store and picked out a few items to make it work. JSL’s teachers reminded families that it should not cost a lot and hinted at multiple ways to go with this. The minute the kindergarten kid heard the option of making a book, he was sold. YES, he even asked if we could laminate it.
JSL and I brainstormed on items that he could use within a book. We both agreed that stickers would be a lot of fun. We pulled out my giant sticker box from teaching and began our search. He picked Winnie the Pooh, pirates, Disney, penguins, animals, hats from around the world, dinosaurs, and snowflakes.
We did allow JSL to get three new packs of stickers for his book. He really wanted new Toy Story, rainbows, and shiny smile faces. Everything else was already at home, or at Nana and Papa’s house (they had the pipe cleaners to bind the book). Once he was finished with each grouping of ten stickers, we moved to the next page. Then, we went back and JSL wrote titles on each page and counted by 10s on the bottom of each page. When he finished all of these, we pulled out a front and back page for the book.
JSL wanted to use the ABC stickers to write his name. Then, he used the new smiley faces in patterns around the number 100. The back, was just a fun end to the book with random stickers that were left over from inside.
Once JSL was finished, I went to the thermal laminator that we have and put pages back-to-back to make the six pages. Then, a hole punch was used and pipe cleaners helped to connect everything together. This was the perfect project for JSL who loves to make books. Thanks to the laminator, he will be able to keep it to remember what he made in kindergarten.
So my question to you this week:
What are some of the 100th Day of School projects that your children have done, or you have seen? I love hearing about different options since I’m sure we will have another one to do down the road.
Thanks to Kailani at An Island Life for starting this fun for Friday. Please be sure to head over to her blog to say hello and sign the linky there if you are participating.
We are always working on crafts. I love making fun things with the boys, but I have another rationale for doing these items. Most crafts involve working on fine motor skills while being creative. Although NHL has received Occupational Therapy over the years, we need to practice to reinforce items at home. Doing these skills also helped JSL to stay on top of his game.
The photos above were taken a few summers ago when working on a project with the kids. It reminded me of a post that I wrote for another project about working on fine motor development with young children.
It is no secret that I love to do arts and crafts. As a teacher, I used to make sure that there was always some way for children to express themselves artistically. Rewind to when my oldest was a toddler. We were having NHL evaluated for Occupation Therapy based on some fine motor delays. Suddenly, I was being asked why my child had no idea how to use scissors.
You mean I was supposed to introduce my child to scissors before this point? I am not kidding. I had never thought to use them with my young first born child when he was a toddler. We did plenty of activities with crayons, markers, Play-Doh, and beyond. Yet, all of my child friendly scissors were far, far away from NHL. I think I was a bit too worried about the trouble he could get into, if they were near him.
We quickly changed this. I bought a Play-Doh set that included an extruder, scissors, and other items that would assist NHL with more fine motor skills. At daycare and at home, we would make a lot of holiday themed activities. Small scissors were also purchased to help NHL to become more familiar with them. It is not the easiest thing to help a child learn to hold and use scissors properly. Their small hands can be awkward when first learning the motions needed for cutting. Luckily, there are now videos online to give assistance to families. We made a lot of projects to work on cutting.
Toddlers need to have plenty of fine motor activities. When my youngest, JSL, was a toddler, he used Play-Doh scissors early on. Regular scissors came soon after thanks to watching big brother use them. An easy activity to do with your child is making a collage. Collect a few magazines. Allow your child to cut pictures that they like. Let them use glue sticks to secure their pictures onto a larger piece of paper. The smile on their face when they are finished with their masterpiece will be priceless.
As your child gets more comfortable using scissors, the possibilities are endless. During the fall, you can trace leaves with construction paper, cut them out, and decorate them to use around your home. Take your child’s hand, trace it, then make a turkey to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving. Have your child be a coupon cutting helper. Show them the dotted lines on the coupons to cut. Not only will they be working on a skill, you can start using them to save for more arts and crafts projects.
What activities do you like to do with your children to promote or work on fine motor skill development?
Disclosure: Parts of this post were previously published on a project I worked on. The text is mostly the same, but I placed a new introduction to go along with a topic that continues to be important for families.
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