Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q-Tip Pointillism

After reading a quick post on Q-tip pointillism on The Artful Parent, I decided to give it a try with the kids. It seemed very low on the mess and high on creativity.  And it's always nice to paint with something other than paintbrushes and fingers!  Besides, my babes have a strange fascination with Q-tips.  It was nice to just let them at 'em!
I cut down card stock into three smaller rectangles, so the little artists wouldn't get overwhelmed by all that white space meant to be covered with just a bit of Q-tip!  Smaller canvases are just the ticket when we're in a "letter-size" paper rut!
My oldest jumped right into it.  He has more patience than me and didn't stop until he had 3 paintings done - and I had dinner done!
Easy-peasy and the kids loved it.  I'd like to go BIG on this next time around with large circle-shaped sponges on door-sized sheets of contractor's paper!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Too - Easy Foam Sheet Shampoo Visor

Bath time just got a lot more pleasant for this mama!  Taking a cue from a Filth Wizardry post on using foam sheets for bath play, I created a little foam sheet visor for shampoo time.  Really too, too easy and yet so very useful!
I simply took my rectangular foam sheet, cut a hole through the middle of the sheet and then cut some curved edges around the sides of the sheet for a wee, little bit of style.  That's about as snazzy as it gets around here.
Make sure to cut the hole on the small side as the foam sheet has a good amount of stretch.  When these wear out (at 20 crowns a pop per sheet), I'll have the kiddos make and decorate some more for themselves for a good "kids in the kitchen while mama's cooking project"!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sidewalk Chalk Revisited - Drawing Bicycle Paths

A great post on Made by Joel inspired me to get the sidewalk chalk out again!  My younger cyclist really enjoyed the little wiggly bike path I drew her, while the oldest was into making signs and arrows about which way to go.  This could be great fun, for creating a mini traffic park of our own in the future!!! This is a great activity for young preschoolers that we will definitely be revisiting!!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Over the weekend - packing up and getting OUT!

For all those who have small kids, there's no place like OUTSIDE!  That wonderful space where messes can be made, snacks can be eaten while tramping about, and little discoveries can occur on a daily basis.  Because our flat has no outside space to stomp and romp around in, I've taken to declaring the street in front of our building to be our "front yard". There we create special bike paths, do creative projects and more - pics of this to come!
But some weekends, we really get OUT... all the way to Babicka's cabin in the forest.
And, there's been no place quite like Grandma's cabin in the forest...
With blue skies and autumn around us, it was a good time to pack up and get out...
A friend of mine made my kiddos the best pick up and go bags ever as one of her first sewing projects.  These bags (inspired by Soulemama), have been great for packing up each child's clothes and small treasures for a quick weekend away! They're useful and remind me of how very much my kids are loved by one of our most esteemed family friends. 

Good memories made out and about as we prepare for wintry whimsies indoors.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Homemade Lego Table and the Best Kid's Desk Ever

Recently I found the most useful and doable Ikea hacks for a lady with no tools! The Lack Lego Table inspired me to create my own Duplo Lego table of sorts on the adult Ikea desk we use as a kid's play table. With some adhesive putty (cheap and available at Tesco stores) I stuck some Duplo boards to one half of the kid's table.  I love it - all the fun, without any of the commitment of another purchase, or permanently altering the table in any way.  The kids are enjoying the more stable foundation for building their Lego creations too!
Speaking of the kid's table - it's probably my favorite piece of furniture in the kid's room.  My genius mil gave us her combination Galant Ikea desk a year ago and suggested we use them for both adults and kids.  How can such a big desk be used for kids?!  Again, my mil pointed out that the legs of the table are adjustable.  We got them down to the lowest height possible, picked up some stools and voila a LARGE, SPACIOUS (read: no fighting about being elbowed by sibling) workspace!
We use two of the original three piece combination in our work space and we placed the other one in the kiddos' room. Plus, we can have plenty of friends over for Art Group - a group I was inspired to start after following the artful adventures of Jean over at the ArtfulParent.  Six kids easily fit around the desk and when we have had more, we have simply brought in one of the two desks from the adult work space, lowered the legs and added it on!  Another great benefit - the desk will work for the kiddos for their entire childhood and on through college!  Worth it - don't you think?!

Crepe Paper Window Decorations

Today I handed my daughter a transparent, liquid glue stick and asked her to spread the glue all over the windows. The twinkle in her eye said, "Now those are the kind of directions I like to hear!"  For ALL of my dinner prep, my little one spent her time decorating our window with crepe paper cutout shapes (tissue paper would work just as well).  Ahh, the peace - and BEAUTY of it all!!!  I think there's still life to this craft yet too!  Next time around I might try using just smaller squares in more colors and encourage my older son to create a mosaic!  Thanks to FilthWizardry for the creative idea of turning our windows into works of art!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MP3 Love. Recording Kid's Books

I got my MP3 late - like last year! I'm loving how much I can use this for the kiddos now that they are old enough to follow a story - without (so much) the need for pictures!

Here's how I do it.  While I'm reading a story to one of them, I set out the MP3 on "voice", choose "record now" and start a-readin'!  That's it! Later on when we are in long lines or long car rides, perhaps a restaurant, I whip out my little technological wonder (with headphones/earbuds attached) and voila - happy, quiet, EDUCATED, ENTERTAINED children!  Did I mention that relaxed momma part?!  Oh yes, I love that part very much indeed! We also have some MP3 listening time at home during quiet time for the non-nappers! My oldest son (5) can handle a reading without pictures, whereas my daughter (3) still uses them to keep her focused on the story.  For her, I make sure that the recorded stories she listens to are ones we have read many times together so she is very familiar with the pictures that are read along with the text.

One more tip I look forward to applying to our own family!  We're bilingual - Dad is Czech.  I'm planning on having him record some books in Czech (with page turn signals for following the book in hand) - so the kiddos also get more reading from the parent who spends more time outside the home. 

I'm looking forward to how far I can go with this as the kids get older!  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Celebrating the joy of painting and turning 1 !!!

The Bear loves to explore!  He likes things big and he doesn't mind a mess (like boy #1 did).  For Bear's birthday, I set up a large canvas of sorts and let him have at it. I kept dipping the paintbrush in the paint for him (located on a high table).  I at least had to make a decent attempt at keeping things halfway clean round the kitchen!
The paper is called archa (pronounced arka) - that's the way the lady at the Papirnictvi store pronounced it anyway! It's available at the bigger papirnictvi stores (paper stores).  But, you're gonna have to ask, possibly using your arms to describe exactly what you mean by BIG.  They usually keep the stuff - in the back!  Isn't that where all good stuff is?!  Otherwise I'm thinking a great big role of contractor's paper would be just as good.  I have two nails in the walls to push the top corners of the paper through.  And I stick an extra piece of masking tape over each nailed section of paper to reinforce it so the kiddies don't pull it down during their artful adventures.
It's cheap and has a variety of uses for many kids (plus one Bear) to have a good time!  And don't we love groups of cooperating kiddies!


Thanks Connie for inspiring me to blog!  Hopefully this doesn't turn into a "Dear Diary" :)  Looking forward to keeping connected (without the help of FB;)