Posts Tagged ‘toddler crafts’

Daddy Rocks!

June 19, 2009

To celebrate Father’s day, I looked for an easy craft my daughter could make for her daddy. I wanted something she could make mostly herself and something he could keep at work to put a smile on his face during a stressful day. I found this simple craft for a paperweight at Family Corner.

photo courtesy of

photo courtesy of

I love salt dough! My daughter really enjoys mixing the ingredients together and then squishing the dough. It’s a wonderful sensory experience that even toddlers or young preschoolers will enjoy. I let her smash the dough into whatever shape she wanted…this meant mostly a giant lump.

I didn’t have any pea gravel as called for in the directions, but I did find some nice glass rocks in my craft box. These are the kind of rocks you would use to put into a vase or candle arrangement. The directions state to arrange gravel pushed into the dough to spell out “Dad Rocks”. Since I wanted this craft to be hers as much as possible and since at almost 3 she can’t spell, I let her arrange the beads as she wished. She thoroughly enjoyed smooshing them into the dough.

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I placed the dough onto a cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. I baked it for 2 hours at 250 degrees. Then it cooled for about an hour. It looked pretty nice just plain as it was.

But I thought it would be much more fun to let her paint it too! Daddy is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan so I happened to have navy and silver acrylic paint on hand. That part was pretty fun too!

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I made sure to let her know that this was a surprise for Daddy for Father’s day. But in true preschooler style, when Daddy asked her about her day that evening, she described the wonderful surprise she had made him! We couldn’t help but  laugh at her excitement. The best Father’s day gift for him and any dad is the adoration and love of a child. My husband has that gift 365 days a year!

What a cool paperweight!

What a cool paperweight!

Happy Father’s Day to my awesome husband who is a wonderfully loving Daddy!

For complete instructions and ideas for other Father’s day crafts visit: Dad Rocks at the Family Corner website.


Sweet nothings

May 19, 2009

It was yet another week of steady Florida rain. In and of itself, the rain is not an issue. But when it is preceded by a week of a sick kid cooped up in the house waiting to feel better so she can GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY, well…it’s an issue. So there we were, desperate for diversion and crankiness loomed on the horizon.  We had made some paint crafts the previous day and when I suggested a similar project, my daughter’s lack of enthusiasm could be felt from across the room, where she sat begging to watch TV. So I countered with a cheerful “let’s make cookies!” Now that got her moving!

I was almost knocked down by the  powerful SWOOSH of a child dashing by me and into the kitchen. By the time I made it in there after her, she had already pulled the kitchen chair up to the counter and was demanding a wooden spoon. At that moment I thought, “gee I really hope I have ingredients to make cookies”. Something I probably should have considered sooner. Thankfully, I had the makings for a batch of sugar cookies. Well, technically I didn’t have enough butter. But part butter, part margarine, part shortening sugar cookies would do just fine!

Ingredients in...

Per the recipe (which I quickly took off the back of the sugar bag), I needed to chill the dough for an hour. To an almost-three-year-old an hour might as well be forever, so we went ahead and rolled the dough out anyway. It was definitely stickier than if we had chilled it. Here’s a handy tip to help with clean up when making cut out cookies…parchment paper.

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I cut out a large piece of parchment paper and used painters tape to attach it to the table. It serves two purposes. First, it keeps the mess off the table so all I have to do is roll up the paper and toss it into the trash. Second, because it is a fairly nonstick surface, less flour is needed. When you have a child who likes to toss the flour all around, the less flour the better! If you haven’t used parchment paper in your baking, I highly recommend it. It will help your cookies brown evenly and reduce the need to grease the pan (works great for cakes too)!

My daughter is getting pretty good at using the cookie cutters. I help her roll the dough out by using a mini sized rolling pin that I purchased just for her. After that, she chooses the cutters she wants and presses them into the dough.

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My original intent is to have her cut out all the cookies. I know she will have a lot of fun with this. But while the first batch is in the oven, the baby lets me know in no uncertain terms that she needs to be nursed NOW. One look at the clock reminds me that it’s past lunch time and nap time is coming up too. I decide to take care of the children’s bellies and deal with the cookies later. During nap time, I cut out cookies from the remaining dough. My daughter’s disappointment will be eclipsed by her delight of the next step…decorating!

I had planned on whipping up a quick batch of icing…powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, milk. Simple. Quick. Then I look at my sink. My sparkling clean sink. Next to my sparkling clean sink is my sparkling clean mixer and my sparkling clean mixing bowls. I had just washed everything. Did I really want to do it all again? A quick peek in the pantry reveals…

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Thank you Pillsbury for making life a little easier!

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And thank you sprinkle makers for making sprinkles look so darn colorful and cheerful!

Nap time is over and the fun begins!cookies 033

After frosting a few cookies she informs me that her hands are too dirty and that “you should frost them mommy”. The sprinkling of happy sprinkles is what she is really after anyway.

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And boy can she sprinkle! I mean, thick coats of sprinkles on each cookie. I have to go behind her and shake off the excess. But what a beautiful collection of happy rainy day sugar cookies we created!

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Salty Rainy Day Fun

April 24, 2009

A powerful Florida rainstorm was looming. The kind of day that pre-children, I might have spent with the windows open, curled up on the couch with a good book. But instead of looking forward to the dark and cloudy day, I wondered how I was going to entertain my daughter and keep my sanity while we remained indoors all day. I needed an activity that would take up a substantial amount of our day, but that could be broken down into steps that we could squeeze in between nap, lunch and the like.

I discovered a wonderful activity that fit my quest nicely on the Slugs on the Refrigerator blog…salt dough beaded necklaces! Each step incorporates a different type of activity…mixing, shaping, baking, painting, stringing. It’s like five crafts in one. Just what we needed to amuse ourselves on this rainy day.

When I informed my daughter that we were going to make necklaces, she was happy. When I broke out the mixing bowl she was thrilled! She loves the opportunity to mix anything in the bowl, mostly because it usually results in some sort of sweet treat, but also because she gets to be a big girl in the kitchen.  We began by mixing the dough ingredients and while she was more than happy to help me measure the dry ingredients, I had to remind her that this was not something we wanted to taste test! Of course the best part was digging our hands into the dough to knead it to the right consistency. I made the whole recipe, but only used half and stored the rest in the fridge. Half of the recipe was more than enough for one child to make enough beads.

Careful measuring

Little hands...careful measuring

Next, we sat at the table and shaped the dough. Her shapes were far more creative than mine! I was careful not to tell her to make them the exact way I was. She watched the neat little balls I was rolling and flattening, but had more fun making hers into various shapes. As we made each bead, we laid them on a cookie sheet that we sprayed with non-stick spray. When she was otherwise occupied, I made holes in each bead with a wooden skewer. That was one step I just felt she wasn’t ready to handle…maybe next time. After making the holes, they went into the oven to bake. This was a perfect time to stop for a nap!

By the time naptime and lunch was over, the beads were cooled and ready to be painted. This is a messy step, but oh so much fun! She chose the brush she wanted and we sat down and painted each individual bead. Yes, there was alot of paint on our hands, but the end result was really pretty. She got very creative and used different colors on each bead. Normally, my daughter likes to mix all of her paint colors into one shade of muddy brown, but today she preferred to keep them separate. While I would have loved her muddy brown beads, it was definitely more fun to see the beautiful colors instead!

The beads awaiting their turn

The beads awaiting their turn

After painting, I placed the beads on a baking cooling rack to dry. Once dry, we were ready to string them. The original project calls for twine, but our twine was a mess, all splintered and unraveling. I envisioned nothing but rope burns on our neck if we used it. I searched for an alternative and decided wrapping ribbon was a perfect choice. Next time, I would plan ahead and use pretty fabric ribbon instead. I cut the ribbon and she picked the beads she wanted on each necklace. In the end, we made about eight necklaces. She designated each one for herself, mommy, daddy, and a few friends. ‘

A rainbow of beads

A rainbow of beads

She was so thrilled with her creation. A few days later, we met friends at the mall, and she brought them their necklaces to wear and we wore ours too! She was so proud when other shoppers noticed and complimented her jewelery. This is one project I plan on using again and again. It would make a great Mother’s Day gift for mommies and grandmas!

Wearing her creation

Wearing her creation

For the recipe and complete instructions, visit the article “I know you want one!

Magic Butterflies

April 22, 2009

Magic Butterflies float above my daughter’s bed. They flutter and fly sending sweet dreams tumbling into her sleepy head.

These peaceful butterflies were born out of a morning of aggravation and a commitment to not be wasteful. In one of my delusional moments where I refuse to accept the fact that life is more complicated with two little ones, I decided to venture into the grocery store to do some shopping. And by grocery store I mean Walmart…on a busy Saturday…you get the picture.

With the baby strapped into a front carrier and my toddler in the shopping cart, I felt like productive Super Mommy! After an hour of maneuvering around oblivious shoppers and trying to keep my toddler happy while also attempting to continually bend down without spilling the baby out onto the floor, I was turning into Super Cranky Mommy instead. So by the time I got to the coffee filter aisle, I just wanted to get the trip over with. I didn’t even glance at the package in my hand before flinging it into the cart and making a mad dash to the checkout lane.

It wasn’t until the next day when I went to make that glorious pot of morning coffee that I discovered I had bought filters that were too small.   So there I was stuck with 150 filters that I couldn’t use, but refused to throw away. They had to be good for something right? And so began the search for craft projects that involved coffee filters. I was thrilled to learn they can serve a purpose after all when I discovered the butterfly project. You can find the complete instructions for this project at

My daughter loved painting with the watercolors and the colors bled very nicely and quickly onto the filters, which was perfect for a 2 year old attention span. I placed old dish towels underneath the filters as we painted them in order to absorb all the water.

The filters' metamorphis

The filters' metamorphous

After we finished painting, we laid them on a baking cooling rack to dry and went outside to play. By the time we had run around the yard for awhile, the filters were dry. After we folded them into a fan shape, I used pipe cleaners (she picked purple ones) to twist around the filters creating the antennas. I then used fishing wire and tied each butterfly to one of my daughter’s hangers. I was able to tuck the hanger under some heavier items on the shelf above her bed as an anchor. You could easily tape these to a shelf also for the same effect.

Now she lies in her bed and watches her butterflies float and tells me proudly that they are “so pretty Mommy and I painted them myself”. Her love of the project was completely worth the aggravation that preceded it. Five coffee filters down…145 to go!

Magic Butterfly

Our Magic Butterfly