Tag Archives: activity

Melt a Rainbow

15 Sep

I saw this really cool painting/art thing on pinterest.com the other day, and decided to give it a try.  It looked easy enough – a bunch of crayons glued to the top of a canvas (in rainbow order) and then melted so the colors are running down in a big drippy mess.  I had to try it!  I showed my kids a picture of it, and they were really excited to try it, too.

A friend of mine (who also happens to be a kindergarten teacher) made one of these on an old chalkboard, using an embossing gun for the heat.  It turned out great!  But as I had neither an old chalkboard nor an embossing gun (what is that, anyway??), I had to improvise.

It's already beautiful!

I bought a large piece of black foam board at Target and a 64-count box of Crayola crayons.  The kids helped me line all the crayons up in rainbow order the best we could.  (Initially, we took out all the browns and grays, but ended up adding them in at the end of the rainbow, to fill in the board a little better.)  The only color I didn’t use was black, since it wouldn’t show up on the black foam board.

Once all the crayons were laid out, I cut off the extra bit of board at the end, so the width of the board was exactly the same as the crayons.  Once my kids went to bed, I got out my hot-glue gun and got going.  I glued all 63 of those little suckers on there, and of course I faced them all neatly where the “Crayola” label was showing.

Ready for the sun

As I mentioned, I don’t have an embossing gun.  A hairdryer might have worked, but I decided to use something even more readily at my disposal – the blistering sun!  After a cool snap last week (the temperature got all the way down to the 90s, wow), our highs in North Texas have gone back up over 100 degrees.  Today was projected to hit 107!  So all I did was lean that board up against my fence – on top of an old sheet so it wouldn’t get the grass all yucky – and wait.

Getting drippy

It didn’t take long at all.  After about half an hour, the blues and purples had started dripping.  My son was with me, and we both felt like we were catching a rare glimpse of something magical!  Another hour or so later, and it was definitely done – maybe a little too done.  I think I probably should have brought it in sooner.  The crayon wrappers were mostly empty shells, and the hot glue on one of them even melted and it fell off the board!  (Like I said, it’s HOT here.)

After round one in the sun

But even if it’s not “perfect,” it’s really cool.  A beautiful, melted rainbow, that my kids and I made for about six bucks.  And now we have a beautiful piece of art that we can hang in the house!

And the most amazing part, according to my son, is that the white crayon didn’t melt at all.  Not a drip.  I tried to explain to him about light colors reflecting heat and dark colors absorbing it, but his 5-year-old eyes sort of glazed over.  But even if he didn’t understand it, he still thought it was cool.

After another round in the sun - blobby but really cool!

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52 FEATS – NUMBER 27 (Winging It)

7 Jul

For the original 52 FEATS blog entry, click here.

UPDATE (Thursday):

This Feat is going along perfectly with my summer attitude.  Fun, relaxed, and just enjoying the heck out of my kids before school starts.

On the first morning of this Feat, I told my kids that we could do whatever they wanted that day – they could pick.  They both immediately shouted, “Summer Fun Bowl!”  Of course, they quarreled about who got to pick (and stupid me, I couldn’t remember whose turn it was), so I let them each pick something out of the bowl.

I wasn’t prepared for the fact that my daughter didn’t like what she picked, “Explore outside with a magnifying glass.”  I thought about making a rule that we HAVE to do what we draw out of the bowl, but then I figured that sort of defeated the whole purpose.  So I let her pick again, and she drew “Go see a movie,” which brought shouts of delights from both my kids.  (And me, too – two hours in cool darkness is fine by me.)

My son picked “Angry Birds water balloon and sidewalk chalk game.”  (See here for details.)  He was excited, because he’d been wanting to do that for quite a while.  I really didn’t want to go sit outside filling up water balloons, but much like my week of Playing (see Feat Number 25 here), this Feat also feels like an exercise in saying YES to my kids – something I’m sure I don’t do nearly enough.

The movie was funny and the Angry Birds game quickly turned into a water balloon free-for-all fight in which we all got soaked.  After at least a dozen deep-down belly laughs with my kids, I knew I was right where I needed to be.

ABOUT FEAT NUMBER 27:

I’m a planner.  A planner and a worrier.  If I could manage it, I’d love – LOVE! – to have a detailed schedule that organized every moment of my day, from craft time with the kids to doing laundry and yes, even down time.  I just crave that kind of organization.  I haven’t (yet) reached that level of control over my daily existence, but I do have my week fairly well planned most of the time.

But what a drag that can be for my kids!  I think they’re getting sick of all the “stuff” I have planned.

When Lori posted her great boredom-buster blog (see it here), I followed up with my list, too (here).  I made a comment to Lori that I thought about making a list of all those fun things and just letting the kids pick one every day.  I liked the idea, but then I realized a couple of problems.  First of all, the kids would pick their favorites right off the bat, and then when only a few items remained, they might moan and groan about what’s left.  Furthermore, I’m sure they would NEVER agree on anything!

So instead, I typed all those fun things up, cut them into little strips of paper, folded them up, and put them into a fishbowl.  Voila – our Summer Fun Bowl!  I told the kids that whenever we can’t think of something to do, we’ll just draw something from the bowl.  They get to take turns drawing.  And they think it’s the coolest thing ever!  Every day they want to choose something from the bowl, and so far, there’s been no grumbling about it.  (They do understand that sometimes what we draw may not be possible to do that day, like when my daughter picked “Go roller skating” last week on a day when the rink was closed.  When that happens, it just goes back into the bowl for another shot on a different day.)

For this week, I’m going to throw scheduling out the window as much as I can.  Each day, I’ll let my kids pick what they want to do for the day – whatever that may be.  (Within reason, of course – no 24-hour TV allowed!)  They may want to choose from the bowl, or maybe something will just pop into their heads.  Either way, I’m game!

Roundtable Discussion – Boredom Busters

23 Jun

A couple weeks ago, Lori wrote a great blog about Boredom Busters (click here to read it).  I loved it – I always enjoy peeking inside another mom’s head to see what cool ideas they use to keep their kids entertained.

I wanted to expand on Lori’s list a little bit, and encourage everyone to throw in their two cents.  Summer is the time when all of us need a hand in filling the long days!

What are some creative, free OR inexpensive things you do with your kids?  Here’s my list.  I think I’m going to print it out and let my kids pick one every day until we’ve done them all!

  • Summer reading club at the library
  • Read It Again kits at from the library
  • Learn a new skill (for my 5-year-old, we’re going to work on tying shoes and cartwheels)
  • Spraygrounds
  • Arlington Museum of Art (it’s free, they only ask for donations)
  • Bowling (we signed up for kidsbowlfree.com – you just pay for shoes)
  • Roller skating (the Arlington Skatium on Cooper has a “cheap skate” night for $1.99)
  • Levitt Pavilion concerts
  • Summer movie series at Studio Movie Grill or Cinemark (cheap tickets)
  • YMCA (my kids love going there while I exercise, and we often swim there together)
  • Keep a summer journal
  • Make giant bubble wands
  • Angry Birds sidewalk chalk & water balloon game (found here)
  • Make lemonade
  • Start up correspondence with a pen pal
  • Go on a scavenger hunt (even in your own house!)
  • Have a picnic (even in your own house!)
  • Go outside, sit on the shade, and blow bubbles
  • Bake cookies
  • Make puzzle planks (found here)
  • Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes in slices of watermelon
  • Have a family jam (everyone play a different instrument!)
  • Go fly a kite
  • Play follow the leader, freeze/melt, head, shoulder, knees, & toes, or I Spy
  • Fill up a box with objects around the house that all start with the same letter
  • Explore outside with a magnifying glass
  • Make a living room fort
  • Cut out pictures from old magazines and make a collage
  • Paint a picture outside
  • Play dress-up
  • Play with playdough
  • Do a puppet show
  • Trace your bodies on giant pieces of paper and draw in some clothes
  • Have a water balloon fight

Traveling with Kids

22 Jun

All summer long, parents will be traveling with their kids.  Automotive or air travel can bring a family closer together and be a really positive, fun experience with kids, or it can be a complete and total drag (we’ve all been trapped somewhere with a screaming kid at some point- NOT fun!)

Every year, our family takes a road trip to the coast, which entails being in a car upwards of twelve hours (with plenty of breaks along the way!)  On the trip this year, I turned around and flew with my youngest to Austin for a 24-hour period to watch my Godson complete his First Communion.  Overall, it was a very pleasant experience and I’ll tell you what worked for me.

Any travel takes planning.  The more I plan, the more I feel prepared.  This time around I made a ton of lists (I know, I know, I’ve already broken one of my resolutions for the new year, but I just didn’t see any way around it).  I made lists for what I needed to do to prepare for the trip as well as a running list of what I needed to pack as well and what would need to be purchased.

I organized the way the car was loaded.  I made sure the kids had snacks and drinks that were accessible to them at all times.  For the older two kids, I filled baskets with things to keep them busy on the long trip.  For my 5 year old, I packed activity books with markers, sticker books (Usborne makes some awesome ones), regular books for reading, her school work, an MP3 player with headphones, and a book of mazes.  For my three- year old, I packed tons of little trinkets she could play with (a mini lunch box filled with dinosaur figurines, mermaids, etc,), a mini etch a sketch, dry erase activity books, lift the flap books, and a TAG pen with books (and ear buds to attach).  For the baby, I loaded the seat back pocket nearest him with baby toys, a scarf, touch and feel books, etc.

When the going got tough and I needed some quiet time, I would pop in a DVD movie.  (In fact, a friend of mine very generously loaned me a complete system that attaches to the backs of the headrests).  It was a life saver on the way home!

I also purchased a few decks from Usborne books, one of which is called 50 Travel Games and Activities.  The kids enjoyed taking turns drawing from that deck and playing new games together as a family.

As far as traveling with my youngest (11 months), I had to get creative at times.  He had a blast for almost an hour playing with an empty water bottle!  When we were at the airport, I made sure he walked/crawled around as much as possible before we would get on the plane.  I packed a carry on with a small inflatable ball, which I blew up while waiting in the terminal, and we would literally play “fetch” with it.  I packed lots of clean healthy snacks (like dried fruit) in the no spill snack cups that he could reach in and help feed himself with.  I made sure he had a sippy cup with water in it (just in case), but he ended up nursing both times on take off and landing, so we did not end up having any trouble with his ears popping.

On the actual plane, I used the mystery box toy Jen had made.  It completely entertained him for an hour.  He would pull one toy out; discover it for a few minutes, then move on to something else.  There was a scarf inside, which was a big hit too, because we could play peek a boo and hide the other toys with it as well.  Because I had worn him out so well in the terminal, he slept the entire leg of one flight.

In the carry on I also had lift the flap & touch and feel books, as well as a travel pouch of tissues (I figured if I got really desperate, I would let him pull them out one by one and/or tear them to shreds), a glowing spinny toy we got at the circus, a Cheerios board book (it’s really cute- there are cut outs in the book where you put actual Cheerios and the baby can eat them while you read) and a few baby toys he hadn’t seen in a long time.  (I tried to think ahead and put away things he really liked for about a month before we traveled, so he’d be really excited to see them).

In the past, I have exchanged books and toys with friends of mine (meaning I would lend them things to take on their trip that would be “new” to their kids and they have done the same for me).  That’s nice because then you don’t have to go out and buy anything and typically other moms have a ton of things that your kids love to play with.  Jen also has a really cool Hang Man puzzle by Melissa and Doug whereby the letters and hangman pieces are tethered to the board with bands.  It would be great for road trips.  I’ll be looking for one in the near future!

Feel free to share what works for you!

Lazy List of Boredom Busters

8 Jun

With summer right around the corner, I’ve got my calendar out and the planning has begun!  I got this brilliant idea from my close friend, Jean Marie Lopez, for putting together a list of fun/interesting things to do.  Why have a list?  Because it’s an easy way to find something to do in a pinch, like when it’s raining outside or the kids are whining the ever annoying, “I’m bored.”  (I’m not at all saying that I am committed to doing every single thing on this list.  I just like knowing I have a quick place to go to find something fun- instead of straight to the TV or computer, which could otherwise easily become my default).

I included my kids in making my list.  Here it what we’ve got so far:

(Items with an * next to them are FREE, items with a ** I plan to blog more about- so stay tuned!)

  1. Visit Dinosaur Valley State Park
  2. Participate in the library summer reading program*
  3. Indoor or outdoor obstacle course *
  4. Make playdough **
  5. Play in the sprinklers *
  6. Get an Arlington Parks & Recreation Passport and visit a park we’ve never been to *
  7. Go on a nature hike *
  8. Watch a movie at the Omni theater
  9. Make friendship bracelets
  10. Paint a canvas
  11. Make an A frame tent
  12. Find a Geocache **
  13. Hide a Geocache **
  14. Go letterboxing
  15. Do a science experiment
  16. Teach the kids to play four square **
  17. Visit Don Misenheimer splash park*
  18. 10 Terrific Weeks (Usborne Book program)
  19. Made homemade popcicles **
  20. Visit the Dallas Zoo
  21. Go to the Lakeshore Learning store
  22. Attend a concert at Levitt Pavillion *
  23. Have a backyard scavenger hunt *
  24. Have a messy day*
  25. Take the kids to Krispy Crème
  26. Recycle crayons **
  27. Go to the $1 movie
  28. Take care of the Webkinz
  29. Board game
  30. Complete a 1000 piece puzzle
  31. Learn a new song on the piano *
  32. Write a letter to a pen pal*
  33. Let the kids be mom for an afternoon*
  34. Visit the bookstore
  35. Ride the carousel at the mall
  36. Explore Internet Linked books online (Usborne books) *
  37. Visit PetSmart *
  38. Teach the kids to play kick ball *
  39. Visit Howard Moore Play Pool
  40. Bake a cake from scratch
  41. Draw a card and play one of the 50 games (Usborne books)

I’d love to know what you’re putting on your own list!  Feel free to share ideas!

Weekend Calendar Reminder

25 Feb

Here’s a quick look at what’s going on this weekend – click on the links or check out our calendar for all the details!

Friday, February 25:

Pinkalicious at CATS

Saturday, February 26:

DMA Autism Awareness Celebration

Black History Festival at SE Library Branch

Free Kids’ Crafts at Lakeshore Learning

Curious George at Barnes & Noble (Parks Mall)

Kids’ Fishing at Bass Pro Shops

Kidtoon Movies at Studio Movie Grill

Kids’ Dental Health Event at Whole Foods

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs at Dallas Children’s Theater

Pinkalicious at CATS

Sunday, February 27:

Kidtoon Movie at Studio Movie Grill (Arlington Highlands)

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs at Dallas Children’s Theater

Pinkalicious at CATS

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