Rolled Paper Beads

Here is an easy afternoon activity for your kids that used things you already have around your house – magazines, decorative paper, etc.  The beads can then be used to make special pieces of jewelry such as bracelets, pins or necklaces.

Items Needed:

  • magazines, decorative paper or other items
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • glue
  • ribbon, string or cord

Directions:

  1. cut 1 1/2″ by 12″ strips from the magazine pages or decorative paper
  2. draw a diagonal line with the ruler from one corner to the opposite corner creating 2 triangles
  3. cut along the line
  4. wrap the wide end of the paper around a pencil
  5. place glue on the inside top edge of the strip
  6. contiue to roll the strip all the way, making sure you keep it tight
  7. glue the end of the strip and slip off pencil
  8. allow to dry
  9. use the ribbon, cord or string to string the beads to make your desired piece of art

Have fun and see what other ideas your kids have to make gifts out of the beads – let the creative juices flow!

Catch Me if You Can! – The Joys of Bug Hunting

Setting a bug trap is very simple.  All you really need is a sheet of some sort.  Spread it out underneath a tree or a bush and them gently shake the branches and see what types of bugs fall out on to the sheet.  Collect the bugs and place them in a bug aquarium you can easily set up at home.  Make it a home away from home for your bugs by adding grass, water, leaves, twigs, rocks, food, soil and be sure that it gets shade and plenty of air.

Hunting in the dark is also a good time to catch live bugs.  June, July and August are good months to catch fireflies.  Use a net to catch them.  You gotta be quick to catch them while they are lit up.  If you are super quick, you can even catch them in your hands.  Moths are nighttime creatures and will fly towards light.  You can use a flashlight to attract the moths and then use a net to catch them. 

Happy Bug Hunting!

 

Going on a Bug Hunt

A favorite summer activity for kids is to go bug hunting.  All you need is your backyard and alittle patience.  It is best to catch them alive so you can watch and learn from them.  No need to kill them as they are much more interesting to observe alive.  Remember to be humane.  The bug’s life is very short and they can die within a few days when held in a “bug house”.  So watch and learn right away and then let them go back to their natural habitat.

Here is a great bug house from the Parents Toy Collection by Manhattan Toy

Bug Bungaloo

Bug Bungaloo

 
Or you can generally find everything you need around your house.
  • small boxes – be sure to poke holes in it to let air in
  • magnifying glass – to find the small little critters
  • small net – to help catch them
  • camera – to take pictures for your photo album
  • hand shovel – in case you need to dig in the dirt
  • food – for the bugs
  • tote bag – to carry all your items

Now you are ready to go on a bug hunt!

 

Bottle Cap Pin Project

Ever wondered what you could do with the metal bottle caps form bottles?  Make a pin.  You can make a customized art pin using your favorite pictures and handmade art.  Give as gifts, collect or trade with your friends.  It is a good thing!

Items Needed:

  • metal bottle caps – cleaned
  • magazine or decorative paper
  • scissors
  • white glue
  • pin back

Directions:

  1. use the bottle cap as a template and trace around on a small picture or detail from paper
  2. cut it out
  3. trim if necessary so that it fits nicely inside the cap
  4. add glue to the backside of the picture
  5. place it in the cap and press down
  6. you can add decorations such as glitter, beads, sequins, etc
  7. glue the pin back to the back of the cap
  8. let dry completely before wearing

Sampler Pillowcase Project

This project takes an ordinary pillowcase and transforms it into an embroidered sampler. 

Materials Needed:

  • pencil
  • tracing paper
  • white cotton pillowcase
  • needle
  • embroidery floss

Directions:

  1. draw a simple design on a piece of tracing paper
  2. put the drawn side down on a hard surface
  3. take a soft lead pencil and rub over the back of the drawing until it is completely covered
  4. place the tracing paper with the pencil rubbed side facing down on the pillowcase where you want it
  5. use a pencil and retrace the design onto the fabric, pressing lightly as you trace
  6. remove paper when finished
  7. embroider your design as you wish
  8. when done, wash in cold soapy water to remove pencil smudges

 

Kids Lunch Money Wallet Project

This handy little wallet is a perfect size for kids to put their lunch money, library card and anything else they may need to keep safe.  They can personalize it to their own liking and treasure it for years to come.

Items needed:

  • pencil
  • ruler
  • pins
  • scissors
  • 8 x 3.25″ piece of felt or fleece
  • large eye needled
  • embroidery floss
  • 2 buttons
  • 4″ piece of thin string or ribbon

Directions:

  1. cut out a 8″ x 3.25″ rectangle from felt or fleece
  2. measure 6.5″ up from the bottom short edge and draw a line straight across
  3. fold the bottom edge up so that the edge is on the line drawn
  4. made a crease on the fold so that it stays
  5. pin the sides together to form a pocket
  6. thread the needle, tie a knot in the end and sew around the all outside edges of the pocket and then across the flap using a blanket stitch
  7. fold the top edge down so that the fold is where the top of the pocket is – make a crease
  8. sew a button in the center of the top flap and a button in the center of the pocket so that when the flap is down, they line up
  9. tie one end of the thin ribbon or string around the top button – this is the tie wrap to secure the wallet – to secure, crisscross the string and the bottom button and then wrap twice around the top button to close and secure it

Voila!  A special handmade wallet for your kids.

lucnh box

lunch box

 

Browse our selection of kids lunch boxes at http://www.cowandlizard.com/category/lunch-boxes

A Train of Envelop Animals

Is it raining out and looking for an activity for your kids to keep them busy?  Try making an animal train made from leftover envelops.

Items Needed:

  • envelops
  • pencil
  • colored pencils, markers or crayons
  • scissors

Directions:

  1. use one envlop for each animal
  2. with the side of the envelop down,draw your animal on the right side of the envelop
  3. color your animal
  4. cut out the shape leaving the top or flap fold of the envelop uncut

open and display

Circus Mobile
Circus Mobile

Soothing tunes complement mobile design, North American Bear Company mobiles come complete with wind up music box and easy to assemble crib arm attachment.  Check out other baby musical toys and mobiles at http://www.cowandlizard.com/category/baby-musicals-mobiles

 

 

Spring Ahead – We Lose An Hour Today

Last night we set our clocks ahead one hour and we lost an hour.  The good news is that it stays light an hour later in the evening, but the bad news is that it is dark again in the morning when we get up.  I prefer the Fall Back instead of the Spring Ahead as we gain an extra hour.  That extra hour of sleep is wonderful and getting up in the morning is much easier.

spring a ling wire & bead maze

spring a ling wire & bead maze

 

Totally Amazing!  These hand powered wire & bead mazes encourage fine motor skills, creative problem solving and early critical thinking.

Be a Nut and Make Decorative Jewelry out of Acorns

Feeling a little nutty?  How about gathering some fresh acorns and making some decorative necklaces and bracelets.  You make have to wrestle with the squirrels to get some, but there should be plenty leftover for them to store for the winter.

Items Needed:

  • old board
  • acorns
  •  hammer
  • nail
  • large-eye needle
  • heavy string
  • colored beads

Directions:

  1. collect about 20 or so acorns that still have their caps on
  2. put the acorns on an old board and gently pound a nail through the side of the acorn just beneath the cap to make a hole
  3. thread the needle with a piece of string about 18″ long, leaving a 2″ tail on both side for tying
  4. tie a knot at one end
  5. string the acorns and beads in a pattern of your choice
  6. when done, tie the two ends together

    Folkmanis Squirrel Puppet

    Folkmanis Squirrel Puppet

 

Moon Journal – Keeping Track of the Moon Phases

Today we use a calendar to keep track of the days of the week, but in years gone by, they didn’t have calendars to do this.  Native Americans used the moon as a guide to track the time of year and season.  The Moon makes one orbit around the Earth about once every 27.3 days but since the Earth is orbiting around the sun at the same time, it takes about 29.5 days for the Moon to show the same phase to the Earth.  The Moon phases are from a New Moon to the First Quarter to the Full Moon to the Last Quarter and back to a New Moon.

Keep a Moon Journal and keep track of the phases of the moon every night for the next month.  Draw pictures.  Record what you observe – is the moon close or far?  Is it big or small?  What color is it?  Where in the sky is it?  Is it bright or dull?  How well does it illuminate the night sky?  Can you see the man in the moon?

Goodnight Moon Game
Goodnight Moon Game

Goodnight Moon is a beloved children’s book that has been read to children for generations now.  For family night, try playing the Goodnight Moon Game for a good time.