Category: DIY

5 wonderful MLK Day crafts to help inspire important conversations with kids

My kids, like so many, have this Monday off of school to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and I always find that craft activities are a good way to engage kids around any important day. So I’ve tracked together some really fun craft ideas for MLK Day that my kids can create to help us celebrate diversity and inclusivity — and hopefully get some important conversations rolling around any household. And if for some reason your school isn’t off for the day, these could be great classroom activities as well, along with a watching of King’s famous I Have a Dream speech (linked...

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18 pretty, printable 2017 calendars, lots free! Because free is a good way to start a new year.

If you’re looking to plan ahead for 2017 and impose some organization on the post-holiday chaos, we’ve scoured the web for beautiful printable 2017 calendars and put together 17 of our very favorites. There are tons of cool designs available online, whether you want a clean, structural design or illustrations pretty enough to blend in with your wall art. Plus, plenty of these options are free, so you can switch motifs mid-year if the calendar you liked in January isn’t jiving with your mood in July. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: One-word New Year’s resolutions: The trick to making one you can finally...

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15 Glitzy and glam 2017 New Year’s party printables, recipes + DIY decorations to help you kick 2016 out the door

While every year we put together our favorite New Year’s printables for those of you partying like it’s…well, the beginning of a new year, this New Year’s Eve feels a little different for a lot of us. Maybe you’re saying goodbye to a really tough 2016; maybe you’re throwing a glam, glitzy shindig as a brief respite before the reality of what may be a tough 2017 sets in. Or hey, maybe you’ve got a lot to celebrate in your own life. As I stare at my own personal fire hazard (A.K.A. the Christmas tree) and dread taking down the lights and ornaments...

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13 of the cutest printable coloring pages for Christmas, to keep kids away from those presents just a little longer.

I know that the days before Christmas can seem unusually long, especially when kids are out of school and the presents are taunting them (my nieces’ word, not mine). So if you’ve got a household of over-excited kids, we’ve got just the thing to help you keep them occupied and away from those presents under the tree. All you need is a printer and some freshly sharpened colored pencils. Or crayons, or markers too. From your basic coloring pages, to wall art, cards, foldable villages, and even placements, these coloring pages — most of them for free! — are just the...

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15 festive, fun, and free printable gift tags for the holidays. Now, get wrapping!

On your mark, get set, wrap those gifts! And, as always, we’re coming to the rescue with 15 of the most festive, fun, and free printable gift tags for all your holiday gifts. Some of the printables on this list were in our round up last year, and we love them so much we had to include them here again. Others are brand new finds that we hope you’ll love just as much as we do. And thanks to the amazing, talented designers who offer up all kinds of fantastic — and did we mention free? — printable gift tags for us all to...

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Creative holiday gift wrapping ideas to make your presents even more amazing.

I love the simplicity of brown paper packages tied up with string as much as the next person, but sometimes I’m in the mood for more creative holiday gift wrapping to make my presents really stand out under the Christmas tree or by the menorah. There are no shortage of cool gift wrap options and ideas out there; you just have to know where to look. And we’ve done that part for you! From free color-your-own printables to reusable bags, here are some of the coolest and most creative holiday gift wrapping ideas I found — including a way to pretty up a regular old brown paper...

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6 DIY holiday classroom gifts that are festive and fun

So apparently giving out holiday classroom gifts are a real thing. How I’ve managed to get my kids from preschool through middle school not knowing about this, is a mystery to me. But this year, I was tasked with searching for ways to make cute DIY holiday classroom gifts that are festive and fun, and I found so many great ideas to pull off this really sweet gesture just in time. Related: 6 DIY holiday gifts for teachers from the kids that will get an A+ While there are tons and tons of ideas for easy and inexpensive DIY gifts out there on some...

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3 artsy, whimsical craft kits for kids with big imaginations

For the little girls in my life, ages 6–9 has been a craftaholic phase. One that’s moving away from cardboard and pipe cleaners and more toward DIY craft kits for kids that result in beautiful finished products they can keep themselves or give to others — like to their favorite aunt on Christmas (hint). And since crafting can be a fun bonding time for us, I’ve been looking for artsy DIY kits for kids that don’t require too much painstaking detail work and that are totally self-contained, so we can eliminate any frenzied last-minute trips to the art supply store. Three cheers...

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6 DIY holiday gifts for teachers from the kids that will get an A+

When it comes to holiday gifts for teachers, as a former teacher myself I know first-hand that there is no way to really thank the fantastic teachers of the world enough for all that they do. All day long. Every day. But there are still meaningful holiday gifts for teachers that I think start to do the trick. And, take it from me, a gift with meaning doesn’t have to mean it’s pricey. Truthfully, even when I received a generous gift card to my favorite book store, I usually used it to purchase more books for the classroom. But really it was the handmade...

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The papercraft book that makes Christmas crafting so, so easy.

Houses up and down our street are starting to turn on their holiday lights, and it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas in our neighborhood. My craft-loving kids would like for us to DIY everything holiday around here — cotton-ball snowmen, reindeer food, glitter wreaths…you name it. So when I discovered Papermade’s new book Paper Holiday, I knew I’d hit the holiday craft jackpot. The book includes 20 Christmas ornaments you can make in about 10 minutes each — just punch-out, fold up, and hang on the tree. No scissors, glue, or tape required. It even includes paper hooks. The ornaments are definitely Christmas specific,...

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Free printables + activities that help grow kids’ hearts 3 sizes this Grinch-mas

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. We read that line in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas every year, but it can sometimes be difficult to drive home the message with kids who are a bit more focused on their shiny, wrapped presents. (Not that we blame them entirely.) Related: Deck the house with the coolest Christmas printables, lots of them free If you want to find the strength of 10 Grinches plus two this holiday season — and mobilize your kids to do good in the community...

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14 festive and fun advent calendars to count down to Christmas.

I, like Buddy from Elf, loooove Christmas. Christmas is my favorite. So once November gets here, I start planning my holiday decorations, meals, and festivities. And one of my favorite ways to kick-off the season is with advent calendars. For my family, nothing creates more excitement than counting down the days until the Big Day. Getting a treat each day makes it even sweeter. Every year, Cool Mom Picks searches high and low for all kinds of advent calendar options for our homes so that our families — and yours! — can count down to Christmas in fun, festive style. From...

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Color your home grateful with these cool printable Thanksgiving posters from Caravan.

If you’ve been following us this season, you know we’ve already discovered some amazing printables for Thanksgiving. And while these activities should buy you at least some free time Thanksgiving morning to conquer your cooking, we thought a larger-scale printable could be helpful too. I was excited to discover these printable posters from Caravan, which encourage kids to creatively express their gratitude and decorate the walls — all without damaging the interiors of your home. I love the GIANT Thanksgiving Coloring Poster that offers a mind-boggling amount (seriously, whoa!) of Thanksgiving-themed detail for kids to fill in with a marker or crayon. And check...

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4 fun DIY mobile kits that you won’t be able to stop looking at either.

As a first-time pregnant lady, I’ve been dreaming up color schemes for a nursery for oh, the past 5 months or so. And with my recent gender reveal party (it’s a boy!), I’m now even closer to honing in on colors, patterns, and styles for my baby’s room. And one thing I’m really on the lookout for is a bright, fun, friendly mobile. Which is why I was so excited to find these really cool DIY mobile kits on Etsy that let you create the perfect mobile for your baby’s nursery. None of these seem to require too much skill, and they all look amazing....

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How to make a DIY Thankful Turkey with your kids in 4 (very) easy steps.

Our favorite crafts around here are simple ones that don’t require an MFA, and it’s a big bonus when we don’t even have to head to the craft store for supplies. And if these crafts help us have conversations about the world around us, allow our kids to get in touch with nature or our community, or teach them the importance of gratitude, then even better. This cute DIY thankful turkey craft is a very easy and fun craft that fits all these categories. I’ll be making these with my kids this year while we wait for our turkey to cook, because we really do have...

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13 amazing, free Thanksgiving printables from a cute pie box to a fun I Spy game for kids.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and although I have been looking forward to it for weeks now, it feels like the events of the election may loom over the dinner table like 50-foot floats in the Macy’s Day Parade (except not as cute and friendly). It’s been an emotional November for many of us, but at the end of the day, Thanksgiving is all about gathering together, practicing gratitude, and remembering how important our friends and family are. So in the spirit of this special holiday, I’ve rounded up 13 free Thanksgiving printables — games, coloring pages, decor ideas, and more — to help us...

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8 fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for preschool kids beyond tracing a hand to look like a turkey.

I truly love spending autumn weekends doing fall crafts with my nieces, and now that we’re done with pumpkins and ghosts, I’m looking into cool craft projects for Thanksgiving. I searched around and found some favorites — corn on the cob, the Mayflower, and of course, turkeys (so many turkeys!) — that are perfect for even the youngest preschool kids. Here are 8 of my favorites — all super fun and easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids. And all fridge-worthy.  Related: 6 adorable pinecone crafts that go way beyond wreaths. Hello, fall! Love that this Fork-Painted Turkey Craft at I Hear Arts n Crafts, doesn’t even require a...

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What to do with leftover Halloween candy: 10 creative ideas besides you know, just eating it.

We’re always happy to offer up parents lots of ideas for what to do with all that leftover Halloween candy you’ll surely end up with. Well, at least after the small gorge-fest that your trick-or-treaters may be entitled to after all their hard work. So I’ve put together some crafts, causes, recipes, and even experiments you can do with leftover Halloween candy that are just as much satisfying as eating it all. Well, kind of. Top Photo: Sam Howzit on Flickr via Compfight cc 1. Donate Halloween Candy to a Good Cause One of our favorite ways to get candy out of the house is to send...

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Down with masks! 7 quick, easy face paint tutorials for kids this Halloween

Take it from an ex-face painter: Face painting doesn’t have to be hard for you — or on your kid. The first rule of Face Paint Club is to avoid using the crummy cheap face paints that are sometimes sold at grocery stores — they tend to be coated in chemicals and are sometimes expired too. It’s important to buy quality face paints for kids, which you can probably get at your local craft store. I’m a big fan of Snazaroo face paints, which are non-toxic, washable, paraben- and fragrance-free, and made for sensitive skin. You can order that brand on...

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How to get some Hamilton on your front porch this Halloween.

Look around, look around, at how lucky we are it’s Halloween right now! Why? Because the awesome people at the Hamilton Facebook page have released the official instructions to create a #HamiLantern. And who wouldn’t want a little Lin-Manual Miranda hamming it up on their porch this Halloween? At top: #HamiLantern Hamilton pumpkin by Olivia Rose Lee via Hamilton Facebook page   Related: The 13 most outrageously awesome carved pumpkins you just have to see. Because, whoa. Choose from one of three versions, then, remember these few quick tips if it’s your first Hamilcarving: Leave those dull kitchen knives behind and...

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7 fun political activities for kids to do on election night. No mudslinging included.

This election in particular has been a tough one for me to wade through all the issues with my kids, so I’ve been getting creative with how I’m involving them in our family’s political discussions. I’ve been implementing Kristen and Liz’s great tips for talking politics with your children in a nasty election year, and I’m also planning to take mine with me when I vote so they can see firsthand what that experience is really like. I’ve also been looking for some fun political activities for kids to help mine get a little involved and learn a thing or two about our election process....

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Celebrate Everything by Darcy Miller: The party planning guidebook so inspiring it will make you celebrate…oh heck. Tuesdays.

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s party season! I’m thinking all about Halloween this week, but before you know it we’ll be planning New Year’s parties. Not to mention the, oh… 1,285 family birthdays that my family seems to celebrate in November and December alone. I could use a little fresh inspiration to make each of these parties really special, and I’m finding lots of it in the wonderful new party idea book, Celebrate Everything, by Martha Stewart Weddings editor and party planner extraordinaire, Darcy Miller. Whether you’re looking for something as simple as a fun cocktail recipe, a jolt of inspiration for a central...

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15 of the best free Halloween printables for kids. Even better than candy.

Every October, we round up our favorite free Halloween printables from around the web, because we know so many parents who are trying to distract kids from the troves of candy that keep showing up at grandparents’ houses and doctor office waiting rooms, even before the big day arrives. Or in my case, these Halloween games and crafts help me distract my nieces from wanting to pay a small fortune to attend something called a “zombie paintball hayride.” Which is apparently a thing that happens in Nashville. So here they are: some of the best free Halloween printables — games, lunch box notes, masks, and...

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The coolest free printable Halloween paper dolls with costumes from sweet to steampunk to Star Wars

Some of my favorite posts here come from the things my kids ask me to find — in this case, printable Halloween paper dolls. They loved some incredibly adorable paper dolls we’d featured here years back, but now they’ve gotten older and so have their tastes. So I’ve put together just some of the faves from around the web. Some are in color, some let you color them in yourself, and some even feature paper dolls that offer other outfit options representing other holidays and seasons, should your kids want them to last. As for my kids, I imagine they’re going to be...

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The 13 most outrageously awesome carved pumpkins you just have to see. Because, whoa.

Let’s be honest…I’m lucky if I can get two eyes, a triangle nose, and a mouth carved into our pumpkin each year, but for some truly talented and dedicated pumpkin carvers out there, insanely intricate carvings become a masterful work of art. If you want to try your hand at this sort of intricate, layered carving, you may want to start with a template you can find online. Just Google whatever you want to carve (Harry Potter, Star Wars, monsters, etc.), and a bunch of choices should pop up. The pros suggest using Exacto knives, clay sculpting tools, and lemon zesters as...

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A fabulous resource for cool Halloween printables, from coloring pages to banners to party games

It’s officially that time when my kids beg to decorate our door for Halloween and here come our friends from Caravan Shoppe to the rescue! Mom and graphic artist Alma Loveland — make of the Ollieblocks we can’t get enough of — has just come out with a super affordable, giant printable Halloween coloring poster that I know will keep my kids busy for the next couple of weeks. It’s something you can have a group of kids go to work on at a Halloween party, or just leave it out for something creative your kids can do — besides...

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6 super cool ways to decorate pumpkins with black Sharpie. Lazy? Or brilliant!

If you’ve been following our Halloween coverage this year, you won’t be surprised that we’ve been seeking out cool Sharpie Halloween pumpkin decorating ideas. After all, we’re busy! So we’re all about cutting down on fuss, days of excessive pre-Halloween parental labor, and of course, the mess of pumpkin guts. Don’t get me wrong — I  appreciate a creative jack-o-lantern as much as the next person; but I also recognize many parents have their hands full already this time of year. So I’ve gathered up 6 really fun and (mostly) mess-free ways to decorate pumpkins with black Sharpie, whatever your skill level. Just uh,...

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12 awesome kids’ Halloween costumes made with pajamas. Comfy, easy and cool.

For years, I’ve had tons of fun using plain pajama sets — like the ones you can find at Primary or Hanna Andersson — as the base for my kids’ Halloween costumes. With some head-to-toe monochromatic pajamas, all I’ve had to do is add some detail — a DIY that’s easy enough for me to pull off even with a busy schedule. I’ve cut strips of white duct tape to turn a basic black pajama set into a skeleton, and I’ve glued green triangles down the back of a red pair of pajamas to make a dragon. What I love most about kids’ Halloween costumes made with pajamas...

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Crafting with Feminism: Smashing the patriarchy with a hot glue gun.

My daughter is 10 and already bemoaning her leg hair and asking why the boy who used to be her friend now teases her mercilessly. No wonder she gravitated toward a fabulous new book the moment it landed in our mailbox. Crafting with Feminism by noted geek and author Bonnie Burton (whom you might know from Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Book Club? No? Okay, anyway she’s awesome…) has put together 25 cool, easy, and fun crafts centered on taking pride in feminism. So far, my daughter is determined to make matching NOPE necklaces (for herself and me), Monster Week Maxipad Cases, and Food...

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16 seriously creative no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas for all of the fun, none of the pumpkin guts!

Welcome to the no-stress portion of our Halloween coverage, as we track down some of the coolest, most creative no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas that are perfect for kids. After all, for me, Halloween’s swarming bats, cackling witches, and stumbling zombies provide plenty of that fun, healthy spook factor without having to add in children wielding sharp objects at pumpkin carving parties. We’re big fans of low-stress pumpkin decorating parties that are safe and fun for the whole family — and if you are going to carve, there does happen to be some really good kid-friendly carving tools you can use. But if not?...

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