Saturday, September 17, 2011

Magazine Fashion Bead Necklace.

A simple beaded necklace project that I wouldn't actually mind getting for mother's day. I came across this project while I was student teaching at an elementary school.

1. Cut 8-10 inch long triangles an inch to an inch and a half wide from a gloss thicker magazine page. National geographic or Nordstrom fashion mailer booklet work really well. High quality print on a slightly thinker paper.

2. Run a thin strip of white glue lengthwise down the center of the triangle

3. Starting with the 1 1/2 inch side, roll the triangle up. For young kids have them roll the triangle around a pencil so they create a nice big hole for easy threading.

4. (Optional) glaze the beads with a thin coat of clear or translucent finger nail polish. I like clear with glitter. That way I can still see the colors of the paper and still have a little sparkle. You can also experiment with the with and length of the paper to make a different look.

5. Use yarn or dental floss to thread the beads. Tie the ends together when you reach the desired length.

Card board play house

As a kid my family moved around a lot. Not those quick moves across town where you can borrow your friend's truck but country to country move, across oceans. Thus I spent much of my childhood waiting for my toys to come by sea freight. Consequently, I have a number of memories of playing with boxes. Making a house, an airplane, or a tank, anything seemed to be possible. I actually cringe as I remember my five year old self running around with a serrated knife, plunging it in to the cardboard to make working doors and windows.

Still it was a lot of fun and my creations stretched my imagination and took me so many places farther than my own back yard. 

As a parent, card board boxes are great tools for all kinds of play. And it's so simple. Anyone can cut a hole in a box for the door and a smaller one for the window. Give your kids some markers and they can decorate the walls of the house all by themselves. Put a few smaller boxes together and you have a network of tunnels. When your kids grow tired of them (or you do) just recycle.  It's simple, easy, can entertain your kids for hours and it's free.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sending an email.

If this sounds simple it's because it is. My four year old loves to send his dad emails at work. And he's not just hitting a bunch of random keys, he's actually typing stuff.

Most for year olds' know the alphabet. Some can even write their own names. My son has a hard time writing his name. His fine motor skills are just not that great. But he can type his name. A few days a go I was writing a blog post and left to go check on one of my other kids. When I came back my son was "writing a letter to dad" He had typed his name and a some other letters.  I asked him if he wanted to send his dad a real email. He said yes and I opened up the composition page on my email account.

He typed the word  dad and his name and then proceeded to ask me how to spell other words and the names of some of his favorite toys.  I would spell them slowly so he could locate the letters. Occasionally he needed some prompting but for the more part he was able to find the letters by himself.

This is a great activity to develop those pre-academic skill's like letter recognition your child will need for kindergarten. It also encourages communication between child and parent at a young age and may payoff when your child hits those horrible teen years.

It's important that whomever received the email writes back and you read the reply to your child. Sending a picture will make it funner.

Just a tip hit the cap lock button to start since children usually learn to recognize capital letters first.

Facebook slide show

One of my husband's favorite things to do with our kids is to have a facebook slide show. They sit on his lap while he clicks through the photos of Grandma and Grandpa, aunts  and uncles and friends. I love this, because it helps the kids learn about family relationships, and helps them learn the names of people who love them. this activity can be especially helpful your child is shy or has a speech delay. Each picture can be a catalyst to initiate conversation. Ask questions like who is that? and what are they doing? Get them to tell you a short narrative. Yes and no questions are okay but to really have a conversation ask questions that take more to answer. If your child is shy then this is a good importunity for him or her to become more comfortable around the extended family before the next trip to grandma's. And if you live far away from family it's an especially good way for young children to remember cousins and extended family members between visits. 
I know not all facebook pictures are appropriate for kids so this activity should be done with a parent at the controls.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How to make Jack Sparrow's tricorn pirate hat.

So your kids want a hat like Captain Jack Sparrow?
I wanted to learn how to make an authentic tricorn hat but the cost was just to high and the process to long.  but after doing so reading and looking up how to make different hats i came up with this.
The following is directions on how to make a tricorn hat from cheap materials that can be found at your local fabric store and even some wal-marts.
Felt (wool would be awesome but i just used the regular craft stuff)
White glue
needle and thread
ribbon or bias tape
rubber band
First measure your head circumference and find a bowl or a ball that has a slightly larger circumference.   This will be your hat form.   I used a bowl.
Next cut two pieces of felt that are large  enough to be pulled down over the hat form. Run the first piece of felt under the facet until it is soaked.  Stretch it over the hat form  and secure it with a rubber band.  Keep tugging on the felt until you get it as stretched as possible.  Let the cloth dry for a few hours.  It doesn’t have to be dry just make sure it’s not soaking.  You could seed up the process by putting it under a fan.
Next, cover the hat with glue and stretch a second layer of wet felt over the hat securing it with the same rubber band.  Let the hat dry completely.
Trim the hat to about an half inch below the rubber band.
to make the brim of the hat cut two large circles of felt.  then cut a hole in the center about a half an inch smaller in diameter than the hat for.
take the hat off the hat form and place it on top on one of the circles centered above the hole.  Put the other circle on top of the hat and gently pull it down.  Stitch the two circles together at the opening, catching the hat in the middle.
Glue the to circles together forming the brim of hat.  Pin the ribbon or bias tape along the edge hat and sew. (I think bias tape would work better.)
If the brim of your hat has dried so that you can’t bend it get it damp until you can.  position it with three edges up and pin it.  let the hat dry.   Try it on and you’re done!

Play Purse

Pretty Pink Play Purse 
Pattern available here.
Cut one of everything of the outside fabric (except the strap cut two) and then one of everything (except the strap) of the lining material.   I also cut a layer of felt or interfacing and basted it to the back of the outside fabric to make the purse stiffer, but that is optional.
Basically you sew two different purses one of the outside fabric and one of the lining. For the strap you pin the right sides together and sew turning the strap right-side out when you are done an attach it to the outside layer fabric.  Then sew the the two purses right sides together leaving a small 2 inch hole to turn the purse the right side out.   then use a needle and thread to stitch it closed using a hidden stitch.
For the purse I made for my daughter, I made a braided yarn strap instead of  cloth one. Depending on the material you use and if you have a serger   you may not have to make a lining.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Counting, Potty training and Stickers!

Most kids are potty trained around age three. Around age three is also the time kids start getting an interest in numbers, in counting. Why not combine it?  For my kids after that initial day where you take them every 20 minutes, I make them ladder charts. I start with charts that count to three. Each chart has 3 squares. Every time They go I place a sticker in a square. After three stickers they get a prize. I usually get dollar store prizes or make them friendship anklets. Some people use candy but i prefer not to. If my child needs a little more intensive then a sticker each time they go i'll give them a grape. (just make sure you don't give them grapes any other time) They can have other fruits for snack.
Once they start burning a whole through your pocket going three times in a row, make the ladder taller with more rungs. Five, seven, up to ten rungs.
Be sure to write the number in each square so they start to associate the oral number with the written form. They won't get it right away (unless you have a little genius) but it's good to provide them with lots of exposure so they can learn those pre-academic skills for before kindergarten.
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