An Elephant and Piggie Inspired Christmas–and The Pigeon, too

We love Mo Willems books, especially Elephant and Piggie.  They are a super fun series for kids who are learning to read. I think I enjoy them as much as my kids do. Gerald the Elephant and his best friend, Piggie, are simply hilarious. 

Elephant and Piggy

 My daughter and I set out to make some holiday ornaments inspired by the Elephant and Piggie books, but guess who kept showing up? The Pigeon! Ideas for how the Pigeon could be a part of this project just kept popping into my daughter’s head. “How about he pops out of one of the presents?”, she giggled.  Then later, “What if we dressed him up like an angel and put him on top of a tree? Wouldn’t that be hilarious?”  Yes, just like in all the Elephant and Piggie books, the Pigeon always finds a way to be included. He’s spunky like that.  [Read more…]

Nature Explorers: Painting in the Woods

The pairing of children with nature.  

Because when given the opportunity to experience nature in an unstructured, organic way, children are more likely to carry that experience with them throughout their lives, where they can, in turn, create those experiences for future generations.

Learning with kids in a natural environment. How to gather a group to explore and learn together.

Our group of 5- and 6-year-old explorers and their siblings meet about twice a month to make friends, have fun and explore nature in a very unstructured way.  

The Premise:  Provide a set of tools to the kids, little to no instructions, and let them choose the direction of their play. Watch creativity and learning unfold, and friendships, too. 

This weeks’ tools:  Paint brushes, washable non-toxic paint and large pieces of paper. 

The Place: A wooded area with large boulders.

After a brief safety discussion about climbing on the boulders, we spread the sheets of paper out and showed the children where the washable, non-toxic paint (not harmful to plants or wildlife) and brushes were located.  Some ran to climb the rocks first. Some asked for paint right away. Nearly all the kids painted at some point. Some painted on the paper, some painted on sticks, rocks, boulders, logs, leaves and nuts that had fallen from the trees.  Some painted collaboratively, some painted alone.

The children decided when they had enough of painting and ran off to explore the woods, with a few of the grownups.  They played with sticks and built a tipi, climbed on the rocks, and explored the paths.  Games of pretend play abounded.

We used a large jug of water to wash away the paint on the rocks and ground. The next rain will take care of any traces that are left.  Some children chose to take their paintings home, others seemed content to have enjoyed the process of making something.

Pictured below: Two of our Nature Explorers running through the woods after painting. 

 Rachel Carson Quote

{This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, it costs the same, but I receive a small commission to buy more art supplies, books or coffee. Thank you! Also, I only link to products that we use and love.}

 Resources

  • Recommended reading:  Rachel Carson’s, The Sense of Wonder
  • Our favorite paint.  Simply Washable Tempera paint from Discount School Supply. We’ve been using this paint for all projects requiring washable paint for the past six years. Click on the photo below to see (awesome) prices.

Summer Crafts for Kids ~ Summer Memories Book

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® Elmer’s and Wet Ones, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #CraftandCleanUp http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

 

Summer’s end is drawing near. We’ve packed a whole lot of good, simple fun into this beautiful season. I want my kids to have wonderful memories of summers spent doing amazing things together: swimming, collecting shells at the beach, riding roller coasters, making s’mores around the campfire, going for long bike rides to nowhere in particular.  

How to make a summer memories book with your kids.

We have a fun way to preserve those memories and it’s also one of those summer crafts for kids that is perfect to do together, in these last remaining days of summer. We’re going to get messy with sand and glue, but that’s okay. These memory books will not only be a great keepsake but fun to show off to friends, family, classmates and more.

summer crafts for kids to make

 You will need:

  • Sand
  • Seashells
  • Elmer’s Glue/Wet Ones Combo pack (available in select Target’s Back to School section, while supplies last)
  • Cardstock
  • Printer
  • Small pocket photo album
  • Favorite photos printed out

Summer Crafts for Kids

How to Make a Summer Memories Book With Your Kids

  1. Gather your supplies. I found these 4×6 “brag book” style photo albums for $1.99 at a local craft store. Sometimes I’ve seen them in the dollar spot/dollar store bins too. We used regular play sand (the type you put into sand boxes) and seashells we’d collected from the beach. I found the Elmer’s Glue/Wet Ones combo pack at Target (available at select stores).
  2. Choose whatever colored card stock you’d like and cut it to 4×6 size.
  3. Have your kids spread Elmer’s glue at the bottom of the card to represent the beach, then sprinkle the sand on, tapping off any excess.messy summer crafts for kids
  4. Add small seashells and affix with Elmer’s glue.sea shell crafts for kids
  5. Allow to dry.  Clean up with Wet Ones wipes.
  6. Use card stock to make the title: “The Summer I was [insert age]”. We used the fun fonts and a banner at PicMonkey (free) but you can do this in any program or have the kids write it out in their own handwriting. Glue it to the card. Insert in front pocket of photo album after drying.beach crafts for kids
  7. Insert photos into the photo album pages.
  8. We added little descriptions to each photo. I asked the kids to tell me in their own words what was going on in the photo and what they liked about this memory.photo crafts for kids

 This was the best part of the project for me, hearing what they got excited about, what they remember, seeing the smiles and joy as they recalled this beautiful summer and ran to show their books to Daddy. They carried their books along when we went to visit friends and over to Grandma’s house. 

photo books for kids

 How will you spend the last days of summer with your family this year? I’d love for you to share in the comments. 

Fun Art Projects for Kids ~ Painting On Trees

Did you know you could paint trees? Never really thought about it, did you? Me either. Until the other day, when my kids and I stumbled upon the idea, playing with art supplies outside. If you’re looking for fun art projects for kids this summer, add this to your list. It’s fun and can be done over and over again. All you need is a little paint. . 

Summer Art Projects for Kids ~~ Painting Trees from Creekside Learning

No trees were harmed in this art project.  We used {affiliate link*} Washable Liquid Tempera Paint.  Indeed, it washed off with a rain storm later that night. 

We painted with brushes…

Paint a tree. Info on paint that won't harm trees. From Creekside Learning.

…and, we painted with our hands. What a great sensory experience! The cool paint going onto hands with tickly brushes, feeling the rough bark of the tree and the patterns in the lines of bark.

 Sensory Art: Painting Trees With Our Hands | Creekside Learning

 You might also enjoy…

Summer Art for Kids:  Painting Trees from Creekside Learning.

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Learning About the Great Artists: Homeschool Artist Studies

learning about the great artists: homeschool artist studiesWe are so excited to be learning about the world’s greatest artists this year!  Here is how we are approaching the wonderful study of art.

Our main goal is not to do an in-depth artist study but to do an introduction of the various styles and works of the masters, with some information about each artists’ life. If the kids choose to linger over one particular author, as my daughter has done with Faith Ringold and my son has done with Vincent Van Gogh, then that is fine. We will linger. Otherwise we spend a couple of days very focused on a particular artist. I leave the materials out for at least a week, so they can come back to them when they want to.

Flower paintings for our Georgia O'Keeffe artist study.

Flower paintings for our Georgia O’Keeffe artist study.

A Place for Our Artist

I set up an area that includes [Read more…]