This year we went as characters from the movie The Greatest Showman. I was the bearded lady, Derek was the ringmaster, Lillian was the acrobat, Arthur was the strong man and Alan was the small man dressed as Napoleon. I feel like our costumes turned out great and you can read on to see how I pulled it all together!
The ringmaster costume was easy. Derek already has a top hat and cane as well as black pants and boots and a white shirt so, I just ordered him a jacket from Amazon. It looked great and was cheap. Done.
My costume was also relatively easy. I thought I would luck out and find a cheap prom dress at Goodwill but that did not work out and I ended up buying a cheap dress on Amazon along with a taffeta underskirt. I already had some flowers for my hair. For the beard, I researched how to apply a fake beard which is surprisingly easy. You can see the video I used here. All I needed was fake hair and spirit gum. Done.
The strong man costume was also pretty quick and easy. I did take a few liberties and went with a more traditional strong man costume, omitting the tattoos because it seemed like a lot of work and I was not feeling it. I purchased his muscle suit, red shorts, and inflatable bar bell on Amazon, drew a mustache on his face with some waterproof eyeliner, slicked his hair back and done. Yes...I know his shoes are on the wrong feet. We are working on that. He just likes them that way. lol.
The acrobat costume took a bit more work. I ordered a leotard, cape and pink wig on Amazon but the cape and leotard needed to be embellished. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased some gold trim and purple ruffle material and hand sewed them onto the leg holes of the leotard and the neckline. I also glued on gems onto the mesh portion of the neckline. I added the gold to the edge of the cape as well but got lazy there and just hot glued it. I gave her a little bit of pretty makeup and pulled the hair back after attaching it to her head and done.
The Napoleon costume took the most effort. I had to make it entirely from scratch but, it also turned out to be the most awesome one in my opinion. I used a Martha Stewart tutorial as my guide but did make some changes to the steps. I purchased a navy blue long sleeved shirt and cut it down the middle creating a curved edge on both sides. Then, I glued bias tape to the cut edge on both sides. After that, I cut out red felt with angled edges, double layered it and then hot glued it to the neck of the cut shirt. Then, I hot glued little gold buttons on both sides of the cut shirt. To finish off the jacket, I took navy blue felt and created epaulets to which I added some gold fringe and then hot glued those to the shoulders of the shirt. Finally, I followed the Martha Stewart tutorial exactly for the hat using black felt, hot glue and gold trim. I put him in blue pants with blue rain boots and a white button up shirt to finish it off. I did not modify the white shirt because I felt like it was unnecessary and would ruin the shirt for future use.
I was super happy with how all of our costumes turned out this year! I hope you had a great Halloween too!
As you might already know, I am a high school teacher. This week we had parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday and then had Wednesday off so, while sitting in my classroom between parent meetings I worked on a little plan for entertaining my kids and keeping my sanity during our day off together. As always, we didn't finish everything but, we did have a lot of fun that was pretty low effort on my part and extremely inexpensive too! You can print out my plan at the end of this post!
We started the morning with some indoor fun because it was a bit chilly outside. So, I set up an invitation to play with play dough by giving them some spider rings, plastic eyeballs, gems, silk flowers and orange play dough and asked them to make me a monster. You can give them any doo dads you think they might like. I hit up the halloween aisle at Wal-Mart to have a few spooky things like the rings and eyeballs.
After the play dough fun, we headed outside for a little bit of messier play. I set up a container with colored water and googly eyes and placed a few large spoons next to it for them to create an eyeball stew. I also had a pumpkin painting station, pumpkin washing station and a pumpkin hammering station. For the washing station I just filled a container with soapy water and for the hammering station I provided a few small hammers and golf tees. They all enjoyed various areas more than others and they were all entertained for almost two hours!
We also made some boo hand print art and were going to make a monster wreath but, Arthur wasn't interested and wanted to play with play dough more and Lillian didn't want to make a monster wreath. Instead, she made a "pretty" wreath using ribbon and glue. They were happy so I was happy. If we end up with some free time before Halloween I will try to do the activities we didn't have time for and I'll post about it if I do. There are several fun science ones that I couldn't do because I didn't have any vinegar! So be sure to check out the document for those!
We ended the day with a trip to chikfila and I have to say, it was a pretty great day!
Download my very basic but serviceable plan below and enjoy!
This weekend we celebrated my daughter's 8th birthday with a very fun, panda-themed party! I wrote about my plan in a previous post which you can find here.
When my daughter stated that she wanted a panda themed party I thought, "No problem!" but when I started trying to plan activities for a bunch of 7 and 8 year olds to do, I struggled. So, I built off of the teddy bear picnic idea and added in a tea party element for the craft focus. I think everyone had a great time despite the fact that it was a bit hotter outside than I would have liked.
For the food, I went pretty easy and basically cheated by ordering chinese food from our favorite place. We had chicken and veggie fried rice, chicken and veggie lo mein, eggrolls, crab rangoon and, of course, fortune cookies. I also made a fruit salad and a pineapple, sprite, hawaiian punch. To make it a bit more fun looking I dolled it up a bit by transferring the food to small, cute chinese food containers that I purchased on Amazon. I also stuck a pair of plastic chopsticks and chopstick helper for anyone who was not skilled in the art of chopsticks (also purchased on Amazon) inside each container. As a bonus, the kids got to take home their chopsticks and chopstick helper.
The thing I am most proud of is this cake. I MADE this! I found an image of a cake on Pinterest that I really liked and for a brief moment, the stars aligned and everything went perfectly in the baking of this cake. It is EXACTLY like I wanted it and looks super similar to the original photo here from bloglovin. I cheated and used a box cake mix and pre-made icing for the layers. But, I did make the ganache using white chocolate chips, mint green food coloring and heavy cream. It was super easy to get the drip effect and I will definitely be using this cake style again in the future. I followed directions here for making the ganache.
The kids not only had the option of playing outside on the trampoline and swing set but, they also had the opportunity to play badminton and participate in several craft activities.
They were given the opportunity to paint a tea cup, color a panda bear coloring sheet and make a tea party hat. No one was very interested in the coloring table but everyone seemed pretty pleased with their craft opportunities.
I made the tea party hats by taking a white paper cup and hot gluing it to a piece of cardstock that I cut into a circle. Then, I hot glued it to a black, plastic headband blank that I purchased on Amazon. Additionally, I hot glued a few fake flowers to some of the hats. For decorating, they had pre-sticky gems, washi tape and markers.
At the tea cup table, kids were provided tempera paint and white, plastic tea cups that I purchased on Amazon. Unfortunately, the tempera began peeling off (I thought it might happen but figured I would take the chance instead of giving kids permanent paint) but, the cup was still usable so, they can paint them again and again or not!
When it was time to chow down, they sat at a custom picnic area that I set up using pallets wrapped in plastic table cloths with a table runner made of black and white striped wrapping paper and balloon centerpieces. They sat on color coordinated pillows. I ended up buying the bigger pillow covers for only $10 total to add the pop of black and white and just stuffed them with plastic grocery bags (of which I always have a million). The other pillows were actual pillows inside of pillow cases I already had.
Aside from the tea cups, party hats and chopsticks, guests also got to take home a custom panda bear and panda bear mask handmade by ME!
I spent a good chunk of labor day weekend making the panda bears. I based my pattern off of this one but modified it quite a bit to get a shape I was happy with. I also did not sew it. I do not like to sew, even though I can, and instead created the pattern from felt and then hot glued it and flipped it inside out just like you would if it was sewn. Then, I stuffed it and sealed the stuffing hole shut. I cut out felt of a different color for the eyes, paw pads, legs, nose and ears to mimic a panda's markings and hot glued them down as well. I finished it off with black fabric paint for the eyeballs and mouth. I think they turned out amazing and my almost 2 year old quickly decided that "Bobo" was his new favorite lovey.
For the masks, I used one of my sons PJ Masks as a base for the panda face and then created my template by hand. I thought I had captured a few photos but upon looking through my camera, I realize I didn't. Oooops. Anyway, I used my template for the white base and then cut out the black eye, nose and ear areas all from felt. Then I hot glued again and attached ribbon to tie them on with. I made them over the course of two afternoons after work and probably only spent about 2 hours total. Not bad. Plus, I find this kind of crafting kind of zen like. After creating the pattern, it's just a repetitive cutting and gluing process and it is kind of like a form of meditation.
Oh! I also made the birthday girls shirt at the absolute last minute at 1am the night before. I created a panda face design in Silhouette and cut out a stencil. Then I used silver and pink glitter fabric paint to fill it in. It took no time at all and I think it looks adorable. She also had a black and silver tutu and panda leggings.
It was a fun party with all sorts of personal touches that I am very proud of accomplishing. I know that we are nearing the time when she will no longer want a big party with activities and I plan on cherishing the last few moments where she is my little girl and wants me to go all out so, until she decides it isn't cool anymore, I'll keep up the hard work for the big payoff that is her smiling face at the end of the day and hope that when she has a little girl of her own she remembers and is able to do the same for her.
Lillian is in love with pandas so her party had to focus on them this year. But, I struggled with planning activities and ended up combining the idea of a picnic and tea party into the panda theme. I made my plan above and have started getting to work!
Unfortunately, I couldn't find any stuffed pandas that were a good price and quality in bulk and decided to make my own. So, I spent a good chunk of the labor day weekend in my own personal sweat shop for stuffed pandas. However, they have turned out to be super adorable and my 1 year old won't put his, newly named Bobo, down. So, hopefully the 2nd graders will love them just as much.
I'll make another post detailing all of the projects and results after the party! Until then!
I enjoy painting and have several paintings throughout my home that are my original work. However, an unframed canvas lacks that expensive, sophisticated look so, I decided to remedy that by creating my own frame of sorts. This is a quick, easy and cheap fix that makes the painted canvas look super expensive.
- thin wood boards (used to be called hobby boards at Home Depot)
- thin nails
- sand paper
Head over to Home Depot (or another store that carries wood and has helpful employees) with your canvas dimensions. I was creating frames for a 30x40 canvas and wanted to make sure the edges of the wood pieces overlapped each other on the edge so, I ended up getting the 40 inch long boards cut to 41 to accommodate for the overlap. I found a helpful employee and he cut them for me for free!
Once I had 4 of each length (I was framing two canvases.) I headed home with my wood and grabbed a box of small nails on my way out of the store.
Once home, all I did was sand the edge of the boards where the Home Depot guy cut them, line up the boards to be flush with the front of the canvas and hammered in a few nails down the side. I put about 4 on each side to make sure they were secured properly without any gaps. It took very little time and only cost about $20 to frame both canvases!
A few years ago I made a post about an easy-change gallery wall. Well, I've just updated it to be a more substantial, grown-up project. We finally managed to get the living space walls painted and I was ready to commit to a bigger project.
For this one, I headed to my local thrift shop and selected a bunch of picture frames of various sizes. I even laid it out on the floor of the shop to make sure it would all work together. I managed to get all of the frames for only $30!
Once I had my frames, I headed home and took out all of the art and taped the mirrors. Then I spray painted them all white. It took several coats and about 4 cans to make them all even. I just used a white primer spray paint.
Once they were dry, I used tacks and twine to create strings for hanging photos. Two of the frames were plastic and I had to hot glue the twine. Then, I used large paper clips for hanging the photos onto each string.
I am in love with how this project turned out and hope you like it too!
Sorry for the delay in posts recently! School started back and I've been busy juggling the myriad things at work along with dealing with the kids and general everyday stuff. So, yeah...
Right before school started back, I had a blast on a girls weekend getaway and I just had to shower my girls with some fun swag. So, I made girls trip goody bags full of fun stuff.
For the shirts, I found some cute tanks at Old Navy on sale for only $3 each. Then, I made a stencil using my silhouette machine and used white paint to paint the shirts.
For the bracelets, I used embroidery thread, seed beads and sterling silver findings along with plastic letter beads in gold and silver and created a trio for each girl with their name, a simple friendship bracelet and a f*** it bracelet.
I used my silhouette machine again for the cups, which I found for $2 each on clearance at HomeGoods. I was going to paint them with stencils too but that didn't work and I ended up ruining one of the cups with that adventure.
To finish out the bag I hit the Dollar Tree hard and grabbed snacks as well as the adorable flip sequin bags! Total score! Which worked out great for my friends since several hadn't remembered to bring a clutch for our night out.
The bags took a bit of time but not too terribly long and at under $6 each were definitely economical. We all had a great time on a short, nearby trip to Memphis and stayed at the Graceland Guesthouse which, by the way, I totally recommend! It was super swanky and exactly what we needed to get away from it all and chill poolside! It was definitely a fun-filled weekend!
I introduced the animal by reading a few books and letting them color their own turtles and place them on our habitat mural. We also watched a few you tube videos about sea turtles. While Arthur colored his turtle, Lillian was learning how to draw one and Alan was completing a do-a-dot. But, Lillian got a phone call from her best friend and immediately dropped everything she was doing to chat and Arthur became very frustrated with the voracity with which Alan was banging his do-a-dot markers on the table. I fixed the problem by giving him a pair of headphones to muffle the noise. So, that is why he is wearing them the next few photos.
Then, Arthur and I did some letter and sound recognition practice with a turtle themed activity and discussed the life cycle of a turtle and read a few books about it. We finished up with a turtle themed snack.
We started zebra week like most others by learning about our animal and its habitat, coloring a picture of it and placing it on our habitat mural. Then we read a few books and watched a few videos and Lilly learned how to draw a zebra.
Then we made zebra face masks and worked on some reading and handwriting practice.
We wrapped up zebras with some black and white open painting and zebra cakes! Yum!
We started out with talking about penguins and their habitat. Then we colored a penguin and placed it on our habitat mural. We finished up our introduction by reading a few penguin books and watching a few youtube videos.
Then, Lilly worked on a reading activity while the boys did some do-a-dot penguin sheets and Lillian insisted on doing one too. After that, we conducted a science experiment to learn how penguins feathers keep them dry by coloring a penguin with crayons to create a waxy layer and then spraying it with water and analyzing how the water beaded up instead of being absorbed by the paper. Alan got pretty bored during the science experiment and enjoyed playing with his wooden train instead.
We finished up the learning about penguins by getting some cutting practice with an icicle cutting worksheet I created, trying our hand at indoor ice skating and watching Happy Feet. For the indoor ice skating, we taped some paper plates on our feet and slid around on the floor. It kinda worked. lol.
The day started with such promise. I had it all planned. We would hit my gym so I could begin the day feeling super kick-ass about myself. Then grab a smoothie and treat the kids to build-a-bears on their first ever pay your age day. I knew there would be a bit of a wait but I was prepared with some snacks, my phone for Netflixing, the double stroller and well-fed kids. It wouldn't be an easy hour+ but it would be worth it for the discounted toys and would be a nice little lesson in patience for them. If only time-travel existed. I could prevent myself from making what would be one of the worst decisions of my life.
When we arrived at 9:35 I expected a line. This line was a bit longer than I anticipated but, I could see the storefront far in the distance. "Surely it wouldn't take too much longer than originally anticipated. I could give it more than an hour, 2ish was acceptable. Plus, I knew the person behind me from work which made the wait less terrible." I thought to myself. By 10:20, I had purchased some Dip'n'Dots from a vending machine we stood next to for a bit to calm the irritation starting to show in my children's sweet, innocent faces. In addition, Netflix was entertaining the older two and my youngest was having a blast walking around in my general vicinity. At 11:30 a friend farther up the line by about 20 people shared some of her snacks with us. We had long run out of the few I had brought for my anticipated hour long wait. The kids happily scarfed down pretzels and juice boxes while finishing up their movie and the baby had a blast running around showing off his toothy grin to his new friends in line. "I got this." I thought. They're good for a bit longer with the snacks.
By 1pm I realized that I had made one of the worst mistakes of my life. At this point the storefront was still just a speck in the distance and my current position in front of the exit doors to the mall was beginning to get uncomfortably hot. I was also forming friendships with my fellow linemates. We were all regretting our day' s choices but it had gone too far now. We had to finish. Wasting the last few hours was an unacceptable alternative. "Surely it wouldn't take too much longer. The line seemed to be moving a little faster now." I thought to myself.
At 1:30, a BAB store representative came by offering us $15 vouchers if we wanted to leave and come back another day. The fine print (which the employee did not mention) stated that it was only redeemable on certain animals. My fellow line tribe and I all politely declined and upon her departure immediately began to discuss how insulting the offer was. "Does she understand how long I've been in line?! I'm going to need more than a lousy $15 voucher to leave now!" Said one of my brethren.
Around 2pm my husband showed up with reinforcements. "Thank goodness for tacos!" I thought as the new friends in line looked at me with only slight jealousy as they ate their pretzels from the mall food court. They understood my need. This was hell. Find happiness where you can. Just as I finished my tacos and the kids finished up their chicken nuggets, I saw a woman with four children, one on her chest, two trailing along behind and one flailing on the ground in a fit of tears and outrage. I felt an intense desire to help her. It was an extremely distressing scene. I dug in my bag and found three back-up bags of gummies and ran across to her. I attempted to console the raging toddler and his older siblings by offering help to the mom and asking if they could have some gummies. The toddler was reluctant but soon cheered up enough to gather himself off of the ground and walk with his mom the rest of the way to the BAB storefront to collect their $15 vouchers. The mom said she just couldn't wait any longer. Her children were losing it and she had to leave. I wished her luck and in my mind gave her the two finger salute from "The Hunger Games". "I feel ya sister." I thought as I struggled to keep my 1.5 year old from running away.
By 3pm my phone was dead. My 4 and 7 year old's were barely holding it together and the 1.5 year old was a crazy mess who kept running off and was surprisingly adept at bobbing and weaving through the now busy mall foot traffic. Luckily, my new friends in line had children that were playing with mine, and we were all helping look out for each other's kids whenever one tried to run off or we had to take a trip to the bathroom and didn't want to lose our spots. We were all in this hell together. Why make it harder than it had to be by being jerks?
By 4pm the storefront to BAB was so close we knew it couldn't be much longer. I wondered if I needed to cancel my daughter's 5pm piano lesson. "Yes.", I thought. There was no way we'd make it. Then I began to ask myself deep questions like, "Who am I? How did I become this person? What led me to be the kind of crazy person you read about on the news that waited in line for more than 6 hours simply for a deal on silly, stuff it yourself teddy bears? What happened to me?" I could sense my new, equally tortured friends asking themselves the same questions as their brows furrowed and they shifted the weight from one foot to the other in a vain attempt to ease the pain caused by holding a 30lb human for hours on end.
With my phone dead I asked one of my new friends to borrow their phone so my husband could cancel piano. "We'll probably be done at 5pm but I don't think we can make across town in time.", I naively stated.
At 5pm we finally entered the coveted entrance guarded by the giant plastic bears dressed as drummers. "We made it!", I screamed with my now best friends. We even took a celebratory photograph to document the achievement. Little did we know that the real hell had not even begun.
After being handed stickers with the ages of my children quickly scrawled with sharpie on them, we were then forced to wait another 15 minutes watching the other deranged patrons wander the store perusing the accessories, selecting their animals, stuffing them and checking out. My 1.5 year old was literally flailing in my arms screaming at the top of his lungs due to his inability to enter the stuffed animal version of Shangri-La while the BAB attendant smiled happily at us and stated it would only be a few more minutes.
At 5:20 we finally entered the store and quickly selected our new furry friends. With joy and excitement we began to walk towards the stuffing station when, to our horror, we realized that the entire interior perimeter of the store was the line for stuffing. "Holy F***", I thought (Ok, maybe I said it out loud. I mean, every one there was thinking it. Besides, we've been through things together. No one will fault me for some vulgarity at this point.) Then we began the long, horrific, tear-filled journey to the stuffing station. The baby threw multiple fits and continually ran off, my son asked me to have "a really cool" accessory for his purple unicorn every five seconds and my daughter, well, actually, she was pretty ok. She was in an outrage over the prices for the accessories, "This costs $18!", she exclaimed about a particular sparkly outfit. "That's crazy!". Mind you, she was only investigating prices of accessories because I told her she had to pay for any she decided she decided her giant pink bunny needed.
At 6:00pm we finally reached the check-out a hot pink bunny, purple rainbow unicorn and tiger had now joined our crew. Tired, broken and hungry, we left the mall in a hurry. My children toting their newest prized possessions with immense pride and gratitude. They gained a new toy and learned a valuable lesson about patience, determination and the importance of supporting those around you. I basked in the glory of victory and the joy on my son's face as he hugged his unicorn tightly against his chest and gleefully named it Candy Fain.
We did it. We survived pay your age day. There were tears, laughter, smiles, and frowns. There was even a little blood from when my 1.5 year old bumped his mouth on a counter top in the store. We all learned valuable lessons and made new friends. It was an experience that I will forever remember and will cause those new fluffy friends to always be members of this family, passed down generation to generation and their story along with them. We did it. We survived. And we will never do it again.
We learned about the cheetah this week including talks about its habitat, camouflage and African culture. It was a lot of fun so read on to learn all about it!
The kids woke up to find cheetah prints leading them to the play room. I decorated with some grass tablecloth and doorway items and pulled out the diy feltboard from years ago with safari felt board pieces I found from a free printable that I laminated and stuck some velcro on the back of. I also threw in a few plastic safari hats leftover from a bday party a few years ago and placed some plastic figures of African animals on the table. Admittedly, it was a little less engaging than usual. I was struggling with fighting off a cold and was definitely feeling sub-par. Overall, Alan enjoyed removing all of the felt board pieces and not putting them back.
We kicked off the week with making cheetah masks and cheetah feet. Then we colored a cheetah for our habitat mural after reading about them from the National Geographic mini book on cheetahs. Lilly wasn't into making a mask and did her own thing instead. It turned out pretty nicely.
Our next activities were to read about the origins of the kente cloth with the book "The Spider Weaver" and watch a video of people making it. Then we started a craft to make our own kente cloth paper art. But, they quickly grew bored and the project never got completed. The were not feeling the paper cutting. So, I pulled out stuff for the next craft which was to make some African tribal inspired necklaces with toilet paper rolls. Arthur didn't want to paint them and made his own masterpiece instead. However, once Lillian's were dry he wanted to make some and ended up with a necklace too. Alan found a new love of paint and truly enjoyed himself.
Another activity we managed to accomplish this week (they were somewhat ornery all week and weren't in the mood to participate is several activities) was an African sunset silhouette art piece. It was a two day project because we had to paint them and let them dry before adding the silhouettes. They had a great time painting their watercolor silhouettes the first day. The second day I cut out some silhouettes from black paper and let them glue them onto their sunset art. They are both very different but I think they are both great. Alan enjoyed watercolor painting too but didn't quite end up with a sunset. lol.
We did manage to talk about camouflage and conduct an experiment. We talked about what it is and why animals camouflage themselves then, we participated in an activity where I placed red, yellow and orange skittles and m&m's on a plate and told the kids they were m&m birds and only ate m&m's. So, they used their "bird beak" fingers and tried to only get m&m's out of the mix on the plate. They had a hard time at first because they did look very similar. It was a great way to illustrate the idea and they enjoyed the candy too.
This was definitely not the most active MC week ever with me fighting a cold and the kids being toots about participating but, we did a good chunk of the activities I had planned and we mostly had a good time doing them. You can check out all of the activities we didn't get to and find links to the ones we did by downloading the MC PDF for this summer here.
We started our new animal today, the penguin so check back soon to read all about that fun! See ya soon!
Our first full week of Mommy Camp is a wrap! We had tons of fun with various activities including crafts, reading and writing, dramatic play and even a little cooking.
The week started with a dramatic play area where the kids could play panda hospital and build a tower with some "bamboo" I made out of pool noodles. They also had some new books about pandas to look through and for us to read together. To finish the space, I created a mural of bamboo on some brown craft paper and hung some panda banners that I printed out.
I usually set up the dramatic play area the night before so that they find it when they wake-up the next morning. This year, I also have animal footprints that I can print and cut out to place on the floor. These footprints match each animal and guide them to the dramatic play area. They thought it was pretty neat. Alan loved pulling them off of the floor and promptly destroyed them.
After playing for quite a while with the dramatic play area, we headed to my craft room to read a few of the books and learn about pandas. Arthur was a little irritated about doing some word and letter tracing in a book about China but he ended up getting on board. I just love his concentration face.
After learning about their habitat and the country in which they live, we colored a panda and placed it on our habitat mural
For lunch, I used a panda rice mold set and created some pretty adorable rice panda bears with seaweed for the black parts of the panda. (The mold set came with the press for the seaweed too.) We also tried using chopsticks to eat our lunch. It was interesting but they managed to make it work.
After lunch it was nap time for Alan and Lillian and Arthur had fun watching Kung Fu Panda. After nap, we baked some panda cupcakes. Not only were they adorable but, they were also delicious and easy!
Over the rest of the week, we did multiple crafts including panda play dough, learning how to draw a panda, some worksheets about pandas and the letter "b", fork print panda painting and black and white process art. The links to all of these activities are in the MC PDF available at this post.
I made the play dough using a recipe from pinterest that calls for corn starch and conditioner. It created a really smooth and white dough that was great for making a panda. I provided them with black and white pom poms, green pipe cleaners cut into pieces and some googly eyes to complete their creations.
I was really proud of their panda drawings. They used the tutorial sheet that I created for Mommy Camp.
The fork print panda painting was fun and quick. You just need white paint, red and black paper, scissors, googly eyes and forks. They use the forks to create the "furry" panda and then you cut out black paper for the accents. The paint acts as glue for the black paper and then you glue the eyes.
Before we started the process art I told the kids that there were no rules. I provided them with black and white paint, several different paint brush sizes, some black and white paper pieces and paper with the edges taped off so that when they are dry we have a frame around their art.The idea was to experience the paint and paper and to create. Arthur really enjoyed this and spent about 35 minutes on his creation. Lilly wanted to create something less abstract and painted a panda bear. They both enjoyed themselves.
Lilly had some fun with a pastel project where she drew a panda on a tree branch. She did a great job but kept getting frustrated and ended up trashing her art before I could stop her. She's a bit fiery sometimes. I have no idea where she gets it.
Alan is not usually really into the activities or he is unable to participate so I often have something else for him. He generally enjoys coloring and/or playing with some "toys" I've created including my genius decision to keep a bunch of puree food tops and baby puffs containers for him to dump out and then put back into the container over and over again. Even Arthur enjoys doing this.
I also took some popsicle sticks and stuck tiny velcro circles on the ends of them to create some building sticks. He doesn't quite understand how to play with them but they did keep him entertained for about 15 minutes straight so I call that a win. Also, please ignore his lack of clothing. Babies. Am I righ? SMH.
We had a great time and we're ready to learn about our next animal the cheetah! So check back next week for all of the deets!
We spent a few of our first days of summer break relaxing and now we are rocking and rolling with Mommy Camp! We kicked off the summer lessons with a day devoted to learning about habitats. This is a theme that we will discuss with every animal throughout the summer so, the goal was just to establish the idea of a habitat and then build with more detail each week.
We started by reading a few books about habitats and watching a few videos on Youtube. The books I used and the video clips are all linked in the Mommy Camp 2018 free PDF which you can download here.
After introducing the idea of habitats and talking about them for a bit I let them dive into the habitat sensory bin that I made! It was inspired by several other sensory bins that I found on various sites. The difference is that I included all of the habitats into one bin. They really enjoyed it, destroyed it and were ready for something new as kids do.
This is my favorite. Alan was really enjoying himself and decided to take a chance by putting a rock in his mouth. It didn't make it in all the way and he is fine.
After making a mess with the habitat sensory bin, we made a habitat mural. I rolled out some brown butcher paper, taped it to the floor and then started a discussion. I asked them if they remembered what a habitat was and then asked for some examples. Then, I began to draw an area for each habitat on the paper. Once we had drawn something for each habitat we had learned about, I let them color! Well, by "them" I mean Lilly and Arthur. Alan was really into his corn and sitting on the mural but not so much into coloring it unless you consider corn tidbits and butter an artistic medium. The plan is to add the animals we learn about each week to the mural. So, after it was all done, I taped it to the wall in the hallway for us to add to throughout the summer.
He was just so stupid happy with that corn! He kept giving me the biggest "cheese" smile every time I took a picture.
To finish up the lesson, Lilly did a few worksheets while Alan and Arthur colored. Then, Arthur played a letter matching game with different animals in their habitats on each card and Lilly played a matching game where she placed different animals in their habitats. While they did that, Alan was basically the worst and tried to destroy their games, scream at be and be generally terrible. So it goes. The worksheets and games are also linked in my Mommy Camp PDF post previously mentioned.
They had a great first day of MC and I'm positive they will love our first animal day! Check back next week to see all of the fun we have while learning about pandas! And, if you haven't downloaded the free PDF get on it so you can join in on the fun too!
My friends over at Education.com wanted me to share this great worksheet just in time for Spring!
They have tons of free worksheets covering all sorts of things. I link to several of their activities in my new Summer 2018 Mommy Camp too! All you have to do is click the image for the FREE download!
Springtime is here so let's get in the spirit as we search for these words in this fun word search. You'll find more spelling resources, games, and printables like this at Education.com!
Enjoy the free worksheet and if you want the answer key you can click here!
Rachel is a mother of three, high school Spanish teacher and part-time blogger who loves crafting, creating fun and engaging activities for her children and students and hanging with her friends and family. She blogs about what she's doing and her interests at any given time which vary. She's a little OCD and always looking for her next project. Her husband calls it, "focusing her crazy", but she just calls it fun.