Fling into Spring with These Cute Kids Crafts

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring stir crazy kids. If you are struggling to figure out what to do with your little ones, craft time might just be the perfect option. Here are some fun spring crafts for young children, sure to please and calm.

Flowers, flowers everywhere! There are any number of cool and cute bouquets to make when the weather outside is less than delightful. Paper flowers are a classic and a favorite. String several sheets of tissue paper (or coffee filters, if you are in a bind) on to a pipe cleaner with one tip folded over. Crumple the top sheet over the second most sheet, etc, to create a lovely floral effect. If that sounds too tough, you can also cut out tissue paper in the shape of daisies and glue to a pipe cleaner, using a button as the middle bud.

For a cherry blossom tree, take a toilet paper role and cut one end into strips, or “branches”. Gluing very tiny pieces of pink tissue paper balled up, form blossoms on these “branches.” For a tougher bunch of flowers, glue colored popsicle sticks into a snowflake pattern with one outlying green popsicle stick as the stem. Once you’ve made your flowers, wrap a bottle or vase in yarn or cover in paint to finish your decorations. If you can only give up the bottom of a liter bottle, blot paint onto paper using that soda bottle to create the template for finger paint flowers.

 

plant

You can start your garden inside in a couple of ways.  Kids can learn that roots always grow down and that stems always grow up with this experiment:  Take a quart size zip lock baby and place a slightly damp paper towel in it.  Take your seeds (bean seeds are great because they are big) place them on top of the damp paper towel and tap the bag to the window.  The seed should sprout in a few days to a week.  When they do spout you can turn them and the roots and stems should switch directions to keep going down.  After the seeds have sprouted they can be planted in small pots, the bottom of milk boxes or 2 liter  pop bottle bottoms.  Then when Spring arrives for good, the plants can be planted outside with a healthy start on the summer growing season!

For Easter time, consider getting your little guests together to build a better bunny. You can cheaply and easily set up paper plate bunny kits with some crayons, plates, and pink pipe cleaners. If you have a lot of glue and a lot of time, glue cotton balls to a tennis ball to make a pom-pom bunny you can toss around later. Enjoy traditional egg dying using either food die or natural dyes (such as onion skins and tea). Or, for very little ones (or vegans), buy wooden eggs and have little ones paint or draw  design before the eggs get hidden for an Easter egg hunt. There’s no end to the affordable, educational, crafty fun you and your little ones can have this spring.

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Easy Spring Activities and Crafts for Kids

Spring is wonderful time to explore the outdoors with your children, and many activities feature ideas pertaining to flower bulbs, the changing weather, and animals. Try to incorporate as many hands-on activities as these not only help young children learn concepts faster, but it keeps them better engaged longer.Make rainbows together. Use prisms if you have them or make your own prism out of a clear glass cup of water. Place either in front of a sunny spot by the window and have the kids aim it towards some white paper. You’ll soon see a rainbow appear.
butterfly greenPlay in the rain. April showers are coming so grab your children, the raincoats and boats and play. Jump in the puddles, while explaining how the rain helps the new grass grow. Draw rainbows and flowers in sidewalk chalk near the puddles, since the colors always seem twice as bright when wet.

Make wind chimes out of household objects. Initiate a treasure hunt looking for items that make noise when they touch like shells, stones, and decorative beads. Assemble items with a hole punch and string, and then find a sturdy decorative top for the wind chimes, and hang it in a tree.

Create a play garden for your children to help plant and play. Teach them how to plant flowers in the dirt. Store old muffin tins, sand buckets, and watering jugs out there to help with the planting and for sensory play.

butterfly brown and pink
Plant a butterfly garden together.  Kids love butterflies and digging in the dirt so this is perfect. Choose a sunny spot away from the wind. Find a few flat stones that the butterfies can rest on and make a small pond of water in the mud. Use some blooming plants like hydrangeas or cornflowers, as well as food for the larva.
Make a DIY kite and fly it at a park.  See our last blog on kite making or here’s another method: attach two pieces of wood together and make it tighter with string. Outline the shape with more string. Cover the outline with a trash bag, or butcher paper and secure it tape. Cut two holes and lace your string through them to fly your kite. Add strips of an old towel for the tail and watch it fly through the air.

Let your kids play with natural play dough made with garden herbs.  Mix up your own play dough and add your own herbs from the garden like dill or basil for aroma. Show them how to make goop cupcakes and decorate them with flower petals.
Decorate Easter eggs.  Gather spring leaves from your backyard like ferns, dill or fennel. Place a flat leave over a cooled hardboiled egg. Cover both with a small part of pantyhose and stick it a cup of water and coloring for 20 seconds. Remove it and you’ll have a colored egg and a leaf design.

easter eggs

As you can see, there are numerous ways to celebrate and explore Spring without spending extra money. Most children get excited about digging in the dirt, splashing in puddles, or learning something new.

 

Fun things to do at Home: Kite Flying !

It's Spring

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and April begins National Kite month so here’s some kite information you can use to have fun with your kids.

Kites can be great fun on several levels.

  •  You can craft them at home with bags or even duct tape.
  • And kites are one of the fun things you can do to hang out outside that are not routine.

 delta kite

Different kites work for different wind speeds.

  • Diamond shape, Delta shapes and Dragon shapes are best for light to medium winds.
  • While Box kites and Parafoils do well in medium to high winds.

All types of kites need60 to 100 ft. of string and more if the wind allows.

The best winds are from around 5 to 25 mph.  The leaves and bushes will be noticeably blowing, but will not be leaning—they will still be fluttering.

Medium winds are the most fun because you can make your kite “dance” by letting string out and reeling it in.

The best places to fly kites are in parks or fields.  Trees “eat” kites and it’s dangerous to be near electrical or phone wires.  Never fly a kite in a storm!

toddler kite

Here is a list of websites with great instructions for making your own kite:

http://www.freehomeschooldeals.com/how-to-make-a-paper-bag-kite/

http://www.nationalkitemonth.org/plans/boca.php

http://doecdoe.blogspot.com/2011/07/go-fly-kite.html

http://www.joann.com/totally-cosmic-duct-tape-kite/prod703769/

http://www.makeandtakes.com/colorful-stained-glass-kites

 

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Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Kindness vs Entiltlement

There’s always a lot of talk about what’s the matter with kids today, and these days one of the biggest discussions centers around “entitlement”…. Way More.  It can be seen over “stuff”- always wanting more, not taking care of what you have.  It can also be seen when kids treat other kids poorly.  In fact bullying is a form of entitled behavior.

Angry tween
 There are many theories about the cause of entitlement behavior: One may be that kids have so much more things than former generations-within the past two years the percentage of kids under age 9 who’ve used smartphones and tablets soared from 38 percent to more than 70 percent!  They are constantly bombarded with media images of kids who have EVERYTHING with no consideration for family finances or the fact that they did nothing to earn it.  TV families seem to have unstoppable resources, When that’s nearly all they see on TV and movies, we can’t expect them to understand that  their lives are not those of people on TV or that TV is not real life. 

Also, in an effort to boost self esteem we often weaken it.  Kids know when they didn’t do their best or as well as someone else.  But when we tell them they did instead of saying “you weren’t the fastest today, but  you are great at reading” we actually lower self-esteem (and leave them thinking we are either liars or gullible).  Books that say “I’m special” because my favorite toy is Tonka Trucks nothing for self esteem.  Books that say “I’m special because I can tie my shoes by myself” do.

Here are a few things you can do to raise healthy, kind kids:

Teach them the difference between needs and wants.  Make the “wants” something to look forward to  on birthdays, special occasions or as random rewards

Include them in the finances of their wants.  Let them help around the house or use their allowance to help pay for the new Legos, or bike or game.  When it’s not free, it’s usually better taken care of and appreciated more anyway

Create an atmosphere of gratitude.  Thank the kids and your spouse for getting you a glass of water, or shoveling.  Thank the waitress who brings your food.  Send thank you notes and help your kids do the same on holidays and for birthday gifts.

Everyone has a job in the family.  Very young children can bring silverware to the table with napkins.  They can pick up toys they use.  As kids age, give them jobs that are more complex with more responsibility.  Allowances are just that- money they are allowed to have.  Chores are a part of being in the family.  Everybody eats, so everybody can help clean up.  Everyone sits around the TV, so everyone can make sure there’s not too much clutter to do that.  Everyone rides in the car so everyone can bring out his or her trash.  Families help and take care of each other.

If you do offer an allowance, stick to it.  If your child gets 5 dollars a week that’s it.  He can save for something or spend it all at once, but there is not more money until the next “payday”.

Finally, while it’s not okay to intentionally cause your child  pain, It is OK to let your child experience pain … not pain that you can prevent physically, but pain that you can’t necessarily prevent emotionally. If your child  forgets his lunch, don’t drop off a McDonalds Happy Meal.  Forgotten coats mean a cold day, that will probably not be repeated.  His homework is not your homework…

We all want to raise kids who are strong, and independent.  Entitlement mentality creates adults who are whiney, and dependent.

 

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

 

Crafting Month Continues: Fun Things to do with Cherios

We are continuing with ideas made with things easily found around most homes.  The crafting item today is CHERIOS and/or FRUIT LOOPS. 

                             fruit loops

  • It’s easy to make a rainbow with Fruit Loops.  Just draw draw six concentric arcs.  The kids can glue the cereal pieces on the arcs.  (Use glue or frosting if you think the cereal will be eaten no matter what) The smallest arc will be for purple loops, the next blue.  The next arcs above will be for green then yellow loops. The last loops should be orange and red.  This color scheme is the closest to a real rainbow, so you can also use it as a mini science class.  (As sunlight passes into a drop of rain, water acts as prism & the ray is bent as it enters the drop and is separated into colors.   We see the colors when the light is bent – the rays are different lengths that create different colors. The visible colors from shortest to longest wavelength are: violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.)                                                                                                                                                                                                    rainbow bowls 
  •  Of course, if your child is very young, or you don’t want to deal with  science on a Saturday, you are still honing small motor skills if your child just picks up and glues the cereal to the paper.  It builda coordination to pick up pieces of cereal one at a time.
  • If your child is just learning colors, set out some bowls and let her sort the cereal by colors                                ramekin
  • If She is learning  her alphabet or to spell her name,  let her use the cereal loops to create letters, or to spell.  Again, you can pencil a large letter shape and your child can follow the lines to create
  • letters or words
  • Letters on chalkboard

 

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831

Parenting Tips: It’s National Crafts Month! Easy Bird Feeders

birds feeding

We’re going to focus on fun, affordable, kid friendly crafts to do with your kids all month to celebrate National Crafts Month.  Our first entry is for 2 simple bird feeders (squirrels like ’em too)

pinecones

I. You will need a pine cone, peanut butter, and bird seeds or sunflower seeds and yarn or twine

Just cover the pine cone with peanut butter- use a plastic knife and spread it, or roll it in peanut butter- whatever works for you is fine.

Now roll the peanut butter cone in birdseed that you’ve put in a shallow pan until the cone is covered with seeds,

Finally, use the twine or yarn to hand the pinecone from a tree or eave.  You can watch the animals feed on it.  It’s the end of Winter and they’re hungry!

II  Don’t feel like picking up birdseed?  No worries.  You can use stale bread or bread crusts and yarn to make a great feeder too.  Just put a pencil sized hole in the bread and let it dry out.  Thread a string through the dry bread and hang it where ever the birds can find it.  Yum (for the birds anyway)

bread crumbs

You can also help the small animals by putting out a bowl of water.  And it’s fun to just put pieces of yarn in the yard.  It will disappear into bird nests.

CTA

Thomas Learning Centers provides NECPA accredited preschool and childcare at the most affordable rates in the Denver Metro Area.  Check us out at http://www.thomaslearningcenters.com , click on the offers below, drop in for a visit to get to know more about us. We’d love to meet you!

Call  877-938-1442 for general info

Lakewood 303-237-0917 or Westminster 303-427-8831