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XOXO Valentine's Day Craft
DIY Valentine's Day Sign or Homemade Valentine's Day Cards Made Easy!
This Valentine's Day craft is fun and easy, even for toddlers and preschoolers! Get creative using simple arts and crafts materials. Make a DIY sign, or use for homemade Valentine's Day cards. Here is how to make your own XOXO craft!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Download and print! These printable stencils are free and available for instant download.
WHAT TO DO
Share the Love!
Holiday Crafts and Activities
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Keep your family busy this holiday season with fun and easy crafts and activities.
Most of these are geared towards younger children (up to age 8), given I am a parent to one and my teaching background is as a preschool and Grades 1-2 educator, but the Farmhouse Style Decorations are great for teenagers.
Shaving Cream Santa
This sensory activity is super simple to put together and, more importantly, fun! You just need shaving cream and a laminated Santa (you can get your instant download here). Add plastic cutlery, cookie cutters, and more to make things even more fun. You can also practice sensory vocabulary during the activity to make things more educational.
Paper plate and Cotton Ball Santa
This is another simple and fun activity for little ones, and you likely already have everything you need at your house: paper plates, glue, cotton balls, markers, and construction paper (though you could also use colored markers instead). Check out the entire activity here.
Homemade salt dough ornaments are a great holiday gift, as well as a fun sensory and craft activity. You can find my salt dough recipe and tips for creating ornaments and other keepsakes here.
Gingerbread houses and baking cookies are two great activities to do with kids that are tasty as well! Want more ideas? Try marshmallow snowmen (simply use pretzel sticks and frosting to connect them, then decorate with candy and/or cookies! You can also try making winter versions of my sand cups (do snow cups instead; use whipped cream and/or white frosting instead of blue frosting, and find fun Christmas candy as toppings)
Paper Plate Christmas Trees
I'll be sharing an entire blog post on this one, but here are the basics to get you started:
1. Color paper plates using crayons, markers, or colored pencils
2. Fold in quarters. Cut out 1 quarter of the plate.
3. Roll plate into a cone and glue 2 of the 3 quarters together (one on top of the other)
4. Glue pompoms, ribbon, sequences, or other decorations on.
Christmas and Winter Busy Book
Looking for ways to keep your toddler or preschooler occupied, having fun, and learning? Be sure to check out my busy book pages, worksheets, and more!
Great Santa Traditions and Activities
Make this Christmas extra magical with my tips, tricks, and recommendations for making Santa even more special. Find everything from activities, to ideas for the little details, and new traditions to try. You can find the entire post here.
Pretend snow is a great sensory activity for young kids, and easy to make with baking soda and hair conditioner. There are tons of ways to dress the activity up to be more educational, too. Get the recipes and tips for how to use the snow to promote learning here.
Target Chanukah Banner Hack/Create Holiday Banners
Not every activity has to be put together from scratch. Store bought activity kits are great options, and there are tons of ways to hack them to make them even better. One example is this hack we did with a Chanukah banner kit purchased at Target. You can view all the details via my Pinterest Idea Pin here.
For the Adults: Winter Farmhouse Style Decorations
Create beautiful farmhouse style decor for your home with these easy tips. These projects are great for teenagers and adults, and look great year after year. Read the entire post here.
Even More Great Crafts and Activities Coming Soon!!!
In the meantime, be sure to check out my Pinterest for even more great ideas from around the web!
10 Timid Ghosts
Ghost Themed Activities, Free Printables, Crafts, and More!
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We have a new addition to our seasonal library: Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell
This book tells the story of 10 ghosts in their haunted house, and an unwelcome visitor. It is perfect for teaching little ones counting skills, and unlike many number books, counts backwards.
We have enjoyed reading it again and again. To keep the fun going, here are some great activities to pair with the book! Whether your are looking for a homeschool learning unit, a preschool class theme, or just a way to keep your child occupied and learning during days at home, this list has something for everyone!
Tissue Paper Ghosts (On Paper)
This activity is simple, easy, and perfect for little hands (though big hands can help make it even flashier of a project). Using construction paper, glue, and white tissue paper, have your child form "ghosts" and glue them to the background. You can also use child friendly paint and more construction paper to put together a background scene!
3D Ghosts (More Coming Soon!)
Using a plastic bottle or milk jug, tissue paper, a hot glue gun, and black paint, you can easily create a spooky ghost! Or, use a milk jug and a permanent marker. You can add battery operated lights to either, making them fun evening decorations for Halloween!
Stay tuned for the entire craft, with detailed instructions!
Ghost Sensory Activities
Shaving Cream Ghosts
Print the free instant download (below), laminate it, and grab your shaving cream.... it is the easiest sensory activity you can find!
Ghost Sensory Bin
Use dried black beans, some small toy pumpkins (easy to find at the Dollar Store or online), and add large, stretched cotton balls for your "ghosts" (you can also create more elaborate ghosts by gluing a few together and adding googley eyes). Throw in some cups, mini Halloween buckets, tongs, or serving, and you have a great sensory activity. I also added some pompoms and glitter putty to ours.
Play Dough Ghosts (More Coming Soon!)
Use white and black play dough to create adorable ghosts. Add googley eyes when dry (using a hot glue gun) for even more fun!
10 Timid Ghosts Inspired Activity Book
Grab your 10 Timid Ghosts PDF today!
This activity book has 16 pages of fun and learning for your preschooler! Coloring pages, puzzles, counting activities, same/different activities, vocabulary tracing, and more!
Ghost Themed Activity Book
This activity book has 16 pages of fun and learning for your preschooler! Coloring pages, puzzles, counting activities, same/different activities, vocabulary tracing, and more!
Available for Instant Download
Use this free printable as a coloring page, laminate for use as a sensory mat, or laminate and use to practice tracing and coloring again and again!
More Great Book Recommendations!
If you love 10 Timid Ghosts, check out my list offavorite seasonal books for preschoolers!
More Seasonal Content
Also be sure to check out these great seasonal activities this fall!
SAVE OR SHARE!
Free Father's Day Coloring Pages
The teacher in me loves creating great activities for kids, and holidays are an amazing opportunity to share them with you! With Father's Day approaching, I have put together a number of printables, all available FOR FREE. Last week I published an exclusive Q&A About Dad activity, for my newsletter subscribers, and now I'm bring more exclusives to the Mindfully Scientific Caregivers Group!
These four coloring pages are great for little kids who aren't able to make their own cards yet. Create beautiful homemade Father's Day Cards by having your child color the pages (make sure to edit your print settings to scale down the size!). Then paste onto coloring sheet onto folded construction paper to create a card. Help them sign the inside, and you are done!
You can also have your children color the sheets and put them inside of a store bought card. Or, use these in your classroom if you are a teacher! However your kids play, these coloring pages are perfect for them!
BE SURE TO HEAD OVER TO THE GROUP AND JOIN NOW TO GRAB YOURS!
Looking for even more Father's Day content? Head over to my Father's Day blog post, with gift and celebration ideas perfect for every family!
Free Spring Coloring Pages
Fresh spring coloring pages have hit the website and are available for immediate download!
As I do every season, I am making select coloring pages available for immediate download. This new PDF has 6 different pages that are perfect to brighten the entire season. There is something for every skill level, and the printable pack is perfect for rainy days indoors. Be sure to head over to my main Spring resource page to check them out!
Plus, you'll find access to tons of other great content.
And more! Content is being added regularly, so stop back to check out what's new!
Cotton Ball Sheep
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I'm a huge fan of simple yet flexible crafts and activities for young children! Cotton balls, glue, and paper are three things that I find endless use for in my home, especially in combination with one another. This cotton ball craft is super easy to modify and use for a variety of ages. Here are some ways to do the activity in your home!
Cotton Ball Sheep Crafts for Kids of All Ages
Where to Start
You'll want to either trace a sheep shape, or download one of my templates (they are free and available for immediate download... no strings attached!). You can use these as coloring pages as well as for the cotton ball sheep crafts described below.
Other materials you'll need:
Toddlers are just developing fine motor abilities, and this activity is a great way to help build them! Allow your child to paint glue onto the stencil, pick up cotton balls and place them within the lines of the sheep.
Have your child color the sheep's face, then use glue to apply the cotton balls. Once done, help you child cut out the sheep.
For Elementary Age Kids
Start by decorating the sheep's face; color, paint, or use another medium to give it some color.
Then, laminate the entire paper.
Once the paper has set, heat up a hot glue gun. If your child is super cautious, you may choose to have them help with the glue, but you will probably want to be the one using the glue to help avoid burns. Apply small dots of glue onto the sheep's body, then add cotton balls (they can be pulled a bit to make a more woolen texture, or applied as is).
Have your child cut out the sheep once dry/cool.
Using the hot glue again, apply two popsicle sticks in a cross shape to the back of the sheep. Then, glue two more popsicle sticks together, one on top of the other. Apply those to the bottom back of the sheep, sticking out towards the bottom. Now you have a sheep puppet or planter decoration!
Want to dress up the sheep more? You can use food coloring or water colors to dye to cotton balls for a rainbow sheep, apply glitter using regular craft clue, add googley eyes, and more! Your imagination is the only limit!
Expand on the Activity Even More!
Want to build on this craft with other educational activities? Here are a few ideas!
Sheep Themed Kids Books
Farm Songs and Activities
Old McDonald (Had a Farm): Perfect for toddlers, Old McDonald is a great way to work on animal sounds and vocabulary! We love pairing it with farm puppets or my child's farm yard play set!
Take a trip to the local community farm/farm museum: In our area, we have tons of community farms and farm museums, and growing up, we had plenty near us as well. A quick Google search can help you identify the resources available near you. If you are in the Metro New York area, here are a few options you'll love:
And in the Boston Metro area, be sure to check out Drumlin Farm!
Educational Spring Printables
Use this activity along with these great printables to create a spring thematic unit!!
More Spring Crafts & Activities
Check out these other great crafts, which pair perfectly with the cotton ball sheep craft, books, and printables for a spring thematic unit!
Be sure to save this on Pinterest for easy access to these great ideas later!
Easter Egg Crafts
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Easy Plastic Easter Egg Crafts
Plastic Easter eggs are great for more than just Easter egg hunts! These fun Easter egg crafts use materials you probably already have in home, and are perfect for family members of all ages.
Activities you'll find in this post:
Easter Egg Process Art
This is a great sensory and art activity for children ages toddler and up!
What you will need:
What to do
This activity is simple. Just dip the Easter eggs into paint, coat, and then place on a paper lined cookie sheet (you may want to use tape to make sure the paper stays in place). Lift the cookie sheet and move so the eggs roll from side to side.
You an also use the eggs as stamps, or roll them yourself.
Plastic Easter Egg Stamps
This activity is great for kids of all ages. Older children can help you create the stamps before using them, while younger children will love using the stamps once they are done!
What you will need:
What to do:
You can also skup steps 2-4, and just use the Easter egg halves as circle stamps to create art like the piece below!
Decorated Plastic Easter Eggs
Take it a step further! Using twine or ribbon and a hot glue gun, you can create garland out of the eggs by apply a dot of hot glue to the back, and affixing the eggs to the string. Or, if you have a cute basket, glass vase, or centerpiece bowl, place the eggs into that container as a decorative element you can use year after year!
Or, use the eggs for your Easter Egg Hunt!
Be sure to share this with someone who loves crafting, or pin it for other crafters to find!
You might also be interested in:
Allergy Friendly Easter
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Celebrating holidays with food allergies can be a challenge. Everyday foods and activities may not be safe, and hosting family can mean less control over what you child comes into contact with. Whether you are the parent of a child with food allergies, have food allergies yourself, or are looking to accommodate someone with food allergies; whether you celebrate Easter as a holy day, a secular spring event, or somewhere in between; this guide will help you celebrate Easter safely.
Basic Tips for Managing Food Allergies
Whether it is Easter, another holiday, or a regular day, there are several things that can be done to help stay safe when managing food allergies:
Decorate Easter Eggs (without real eggs!)
Eggs are a top 8 allergen, and that means many families feel dying easter eggs isn't an option. Luckily, I found these great Merry Art Dyeable Decorating Easter Eggs! I haven't used them, but the reviews look incredibly promising.
Dyeing Easter eggs not your thing? Try decorating fake ones with paint, glitter, or anything else your heart desires! You can find eggs made out of a number of materials, like thesewooden ones.
Or, create paper easter eggs using construction paper (and cardboard or cardstock if you choose), scissors, glue, glitter, and pom poms! Be sure to download my egg stencil and print it off to create the perfect Easter egg shape!
Fill Your Easter Eggs with Safer Options, and Use Plastic Eggs instead of Real Ones
Candy Free Trinkets for Easter Eggs
Candy free options are excellent not only for children with allergies, but those who are too young to eat candy (though be cautious, many small trinkets are choking hazards, so I recommend sticking to things like stickers). They are also excellent options for families who want to avoid too much sugar, have metabolic conditions, or food sensitivities.
Here are some highly rated options your family will love!
Allergy Friendlier Candy Options
Our family loves Yum Earth goodies, including their seasonal varieties! Here are some made especially for spring!
Allergy Friendly Easter Basket Ideas
Forget the chocolate bunnies! Keep kids with food allergies in you family safe with these food free Easter basket ideas! Here is a list to get you inspired about what to put in your baskets this year, plus a few highly rated products that your kids will love!
1. Stuffed Animals
Stuffed animals are always an adorable hit in Easter baskets. We usually put at least on in our child's and our niece's!
Puzzles make great activities for kids of all ages, and fit nicely into baskets. We love wooden puzzles, and Melissa and Doug brand puzzles in our home! There are tons of great and educational options to choose from out there. Here are a few!
What kid doesn't love bubbles? They are a great spring activity; a reason to get outside, enjoy the nice weather, and focus on the light spring breeze! With a toddler, we love mess free Fubbles! The design of the container prevents large spills... and if you have a child, you know exactly what I am talking about!
4. Art Supplies and/or Stickers
Art supplies and stickers are another option that we love for Easter baskets. Whatever your child's age, there are plenty of amazing options out there!
Click on the images below to view some fun options for kids of all ages, or here to find all sorts of amazing Crayola products!
Books are always a great gift, if you ask my family. We are all avid readers, and even my toddler gets excited when he gets a new book. Here are a few spring options, but if your child is older, feel free to opt for the latest chapter book in their favorite series, or another hot read for the year!
6. Other Fun, Smaller Toys
Easter baskets are an opportunity to give your child a new, fun toy to freshen up their collection. We don't always do a toy in our child's basket, but do sometimes give gifts to other children in the family (while aunts/uncles/grandparents do the same for our child). It is a way to add something special to the Easter basket they've already received!
And don't forget the basket!!!!
We prefer getting something that can be reused year after year. it is more eco friendly, and makes for a special tradition when my child gets to pull out their basket again from the prior year.
No matter what your Easter plans; whether you give Easter baskets, do an Easter egg hunt, go to church, or just have a nice brunch; when managing food allergies the most important thing is to be INCLUSIVE. Years from now child won't remember what was in their Easter basket, but they will remember whether they felt left out or apart of the fun and festivities.
Managing food allergies is difficult, but with a bit of creativity, you can celebrate holidays safely.
Be sure to share to help others make this Easter food allergy friendly!
You can find more resources for managing food allergies here.
Or, check out other great season activities for your family!
Farmhouse Style Winter Decor DIY
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If you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love DIY decor projects! So this Christmas, I had lots of fun putting together several projects that are perfect for the entire winter season. If there were any year where cheery decor were necessary all year, it would be this one, right? Check out these gorgeous farmhouse designs, plus tips for recreating the looks!
Dining Room Table Centerpiece
Using the same off white recycled jars from this project (see the Thanksgiving jars), I was able to create a beautiful centerpiece! I traded out the autumn foliage for faux pine branches, pinecones, and berries, and used a gold metal tray as a base. I then wrapped twinkle lights (with leaves attached) around the vases, and placed the battery pack in the center vase (beneath the greenery). The finishing touch was the addition of a few pinecones on the tray. I paired the centerpiece with a table runner, plus white and gold candles.
Farmhouse Style Wreaths
These wreaths are super basic and easy to make; just purchase a faux pine wreath and use a hot glue gun to add a few pinecones and a burlap ribbon (the ribbons I used had gold thread intertwined). Because there is no red, no ornaments, and no other holiday related additions, I'll be able to keep these wreaths up all winter!
Birdcage 'Potpourri' Light
I loved the birdcage decor I used for the fall so much that I repurposed the item for winter! I wrapped evergreen garland (which had bells attached) and twinkle lights around the cage, and then filled it with some scented pinecones. This farmhouse style DIY piece is a huge upgrade from your grandmother's potpourri dish, and made for a festive addition to my foyer.
Products You'll Love
Want to try one of these great projects? Here are some products you may love!
Love this? Be sure to share!
Room on the Broom Activities
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For our homeschooling letter W theme, I picked the seasonally appropriate word 'witch'. And what better book to celebrate Halloween and discuss the concept of witches than Room on the Broom. This adorable picture book discusses the themes of kindness and friendship, as a witch is helped by a series of new pals, who she (in return) allows to join her and her cat on their adventures. But that is just the start of how these new friends help one another on a particularly stormy autumn evening! I'll not give spoiler, but I will provide you access to some of the awesome activities I developed (or in some cases, collected) just for this book!
Room on the Broom Velcro Activity
As you read the book, you can use this velcro activity to help children track what is happening in the story. Have your child pick out the appropriate pieces, removing them or adding them to the velcro board. The activity is a great, hands on, visual aid for comprehension.
You can find this activity in my free subscriber's resource library.
Room on the Broom Videos
My little one has been enjoying watching this cute Room on the Broom cartoon on YouTube. It pairs imagery with the classic book text, read out loud.
A second fun version reads the book outloud as a song, with video graphics!
Witch Themed Coloring Pages; Letter W Coloring Page
I'm making a few of these pages available for immediate download. The rest are available in my subscriber's only resource library.
For immediate download:
And for those who have subscribed to the library, check out the newest addition to coloring pages! The letter W page is already uploaded there.
Witch Matching Velcro Activity
Another subscriber's resource library exclusive, I added this activity to my busy book for independent play and learning. Simple laminate two copies, cut out the shapes from one copy, and add velcro to make your own. You can also have your child color the pages prior to laminating (for extra fun).
Witch's Hat Craft
What you'll need:
This activity is super simple! Just cut out a witch's had shape (use the stencil below)- use one plate/piece of paper for the triangle shape, and one to make a flattened oval. Glue them into the shape of a hat, and then decorate!
If you want to make a band, simple place the hat on your child's forehead, use the paper or twine and measure the circumference, and then tie or glue to the hat! Make sure to leave room for your child to pull the hat on and off, though.
Magical Mud Sensory Play
Making magical mud is easy. It is just ooblek! If you've not made it before, the recipe is easy, and uses ingredients you probably already have in house:
That's it! You'll need a 2:1 ratio, so 1 cup of cornstarch for 1/2 cup of water (or whatever sized batch you'd like)
Want to make it extra 'muddy'? Just add food dye; you'll want to add all the colors to make a nice, gunky, brown color.
Then, let your kids play! If you'd like, you can let them cover animals in the ooblek, too (just like the animals cover themselves in mud in the book).
The great thing about ooblek is it really does seem magical. Defying the boundary between solids and liquids, this amazing activity is bound to get your kids thinking.
Witch's Brew Sensory Play
This one isn't my activity, but head over to Tot School Resources for their Spooky Witch's Brew Science Experiment. It is a perfect complement to my Room on the Broom activities!
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May 2020 (Prior to 5/31)
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