Category: DIY

Kiwi Crate’s new Halloween crafts for kids keep hands busy with something besides sneaking candy

Though I feel like it was just summer, my kids’ thoughts have turned to costumes, candy, and creating Halloween crafts to decorate our house before trick-or-treaters arrive. It’s scary how quickly Halloween is coming, and I am probably not alone in needing a little help finding easy Halloween crafts that will appeal to my kids of different ages and abilities. So I’m thankful that CMP favorite Kiwi Crate has created new Halloween-themed craft crates for kids that appeal to several different ages, from preschoolers with Koala Crate, to older kids with Tinker Crate or Doodle Crate. Along with the original Kiwi Crate Halloween...

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The motherlode of free construction party printables for your little builder

If you’ve got a construction themed party on the brain, well first, you have to check out the awesome DIY dumptruck cake idea we included in our post on how to 18 easy cake decorating ideas for a store-bought cake. Then, you have to sign up for emails from our friends at Tiny-Me, esigners of some of our favorite printables. Because now they’re offering a totally free, and customizable set of construction party printables and they’re adorable. Free. Seriously. Oh, and did I mention there are 19 pages in the downloadable PDF? Wow. Pretty great, right? I love that you can just change the...

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9 easy Halloween crafts for preschoolers with just the right amount of spookiness

It’s that time of year that we’re all digging up all sorts of easy Halloween craft ideas for kids to share with you. And yet I’ve said it before (and I’m sure I’ll say it again): I’m not a very crafty mom. I hardly ever have the urge to DIY, and my hobbies have nothing to do with paint, scissors or glue. My son, on the other hand, loves to do art projects, which challenges me to come up with crafts that are manageable for the both of us So I’ve been busy bookmarking Halloween crafts easy and fun enough for preschoolers, to keep us busy through October...

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10 cool printable chore charts to motivate kids of all ages to clean up. Even your toddlers.

Have your kids been slacking on their daily chores lately? Or really, have you been slacking on enforcing them? First, give yourself a break; summer just unofficially ended. Second, I’ve got help for you: download one of these cool printable chore charts for kids. They will help. I find this time of year is perfect to introduce (or reintroduce, as the case may be) daily chores and tasks, as kids are in adjustment mode. The new school year means new routines — at home, at school, and on the field.  And yes, even toddlers and preschoolers can be tasked with daily...

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12 fun, easy fall nature crafts for preschoolers: Let the season begin!

Our kids are all officially back to school this week — whoo! — but that also means that some of us now have bored preschoolers at home part of the time, missing their big siblings. They don’t want to miss out on the excitement their big brothers and sisters are experiencing, and our terrific sponsor KinderCare is here to help. We are so happy to discover tons of cool activities and craft tutorials on their Adventure Ahead website, which is inspiring us to help our preschoolers get creative with what nature has to offer us this season. Our readers know we’re all about messy imperfection when...

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How to make your own photo-real gifts and gear: One cool trend you can totally DIY easily.

You may not have heard the term “photo-real,” before — I hadn’t — but you’ve most likely seen this trend all over boutiques, fashion spreads, and your kids’ own gear, since it’s been growing steadily for the past few years. From backpacks to leggings to cell phone cases, we’re seeing photographs of real objects replacing illustration and other patterns. It can look so cool, and our kids are kind of going crazy for photo-real gear. So we thought we’d share some tips for how you can hop on this trend too, and even DIY your own photo real gifts. It’s easy, we...

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How to decorate plain sneakers: 9 DIY crazy cool sneaker makeovers for your white canvas kicks

Labor Day is around the corner, which means this is your last week to wear those white canvas sneakers until next Memorial Day if you’re a traditionalist. Personally, I’m not, so I’ll be sporting my white Converse low-tops until my toes crave the warmth of wooly socks and boots. But if you’re bored after a summer of kicking it in plain white sneakers, then by all means it’s time for a change. Related: 13 outrageously cool sneakers for kids not satisfied with the same old same old. Instead of a trip to your local shoe store, maybe popping over to the closest...

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16 adorable free printable lunchbox notes for kids: From Minecraft, to Star Wars, to fill-in-the-blank with your own words of love.

I am never going to be the mom who makes that impressive bento lunch for my kids, featuring a Chewbacca made out of sesame noodles. But I am in fact that mom who stashes a bunch of free printable lunchbox notes in the drawer under the kitchen counter, and when I remember to tuck one in, I  know it always makes them smile. Not because I’m the kind of mom who does this thing all the time, but probably because I’m the mom who doesn’t. In other words, if I can do it…why not give it a shot? To...

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We’ve got 21 of the coolest coloring books for adults. Pass those markers over, kids.

It’s so easy to find yourself on-the-go all the time as a parent, but having downtime is important. In fact, I think it’s vital to being a good mom or dad. Of course, a few hours alone to get a manicure or go for a walk is so nice, but I like to find ways to unwind with my kids too. That’s why I’ve been absolutely thrilled to see adult coloring books blow up, and I’m fascinated by research I’ve seen lately saying that coloring happens to be a really effective way for adults to relax. So if you need a break from crosswords or Netflix or...

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Break out the new crayons for this awesome coloring book from indie illustrator Laura Palmer

Who doesn’t need more coloring books in their lives? Well, okay, if you look in my kids’ craft drawer, maybe we don’t. But, we do need awesome ones. The cheap, thin, licensed ones can get tossed and we’ll replace them with cool, creative coloring books that the whole family can sit around the table and color while we eat our snacks after school. Because, don’t you have the best conversations while you’re sitting around the table coloring? Right now we’re loving this cool little tablet of doodles that your kids can tear off and color in. It’s created by the fun...

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Print your own Monopoly money. Then say, wouldn’t it be great if this were real?

Yes, wishing Monopoly money were real may be the biggest cliché, but close behind it is wishing you had more of the fake kind. At least if you’re like us and somehow manage to lose it over the years. So I’m not sure why I never considered this before, but I’ve found free printable Monopoly money thanks to Ryan McFarland. Evidently it used to be hosted by Hasbro then was taken down (presumably so they could sell it instead for 16 bucks?) but I kind of feel considering this has just been reposted by people who got it legally from...

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Free printable kids stationery. Since you’re already spending enough on camp as it is.

I’m all for splurging a bit on special camp stationery as my kids head off later this week (sniff), especially since it seems to compel them to use it more. But after about 25 cards or so — wishful thinking, I know — the costs add up.  So I like the idea of supplementing with either an affordable stationery pad, or making my own with some free printable stationery for kids. I just spotted these cute templates at Kiki + Co, featuring fun mermaids and not-too-scary sharks; and if you click over to The 36th Avenue, you’ll find some of her more generic free printable stationery designs featuring pretty...

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9 fun, easy crafts using shells to remind the kids of your summer vacation

With temps in the high 90s and crazy humidity here, I’m really, really looking forward to the beach trip we have planned later this summer. So I’ve sought out lots of fun, easy DIY crafts using shells,which are an easy way for the kids to get creative and use up the collection they’ll be gathering in the morning down at the shore. And hopefully I can tackle my summer reading list while they’re at it. Related: 13 fun summery crafts for kids that can keep the boredom away. If you aren’t heading to the ocean, you’re not out of luck. You can still channel the...

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Free printables for happy campers.

With my girls heading off to sleepaway camp in a few weeks, getting everything together has been definitely consuming many brain cells. And with a few of our writers in the same boat, that explains why you’ve been seeing recent posts here for awesome care package treats, camp labels, and cool camp stationery. Now here’s one more — and it’s free! Our friends at Tiny Me have created this super cute new updated 2015 free printable, personalized camp journal that I totally love. Related: 6 cool sets of summer camp labels for kids There are two beautifully designed cover options, each...

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Enjoy safer sparklers with 6 fun Fourth of July crafts for kids

We expect to hear plenty of  ooh’s and ahh’s to accompany all the bright and sparkly things we’ll see on the Fourth of July, but I hope to eliminate any ow’s with these safera alternatives to sparklers that they can enjoy on Independence Day. Or heck, all summer long. I hope these 6 fun Fourth of July crafts for kids help create a safer holiday for all. Related: Free printable Fourth of July temporary tattoos   Pipe Cleaner Sparkler Craft for Fourth of July (tutorial, Kix Cereal) Metallic pipe cleaners make great faux sparklers, especially in red, white, and blue colors. Follow the easy Pipe Cleaner Sparklers tutorial at...

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Nature Bingo! A free printable project to keep the kids busy all summer

We’re all about helping you with summer boredom busters for kids this week. First, there’s that awesome giant coloring poster for indoor creativity when the weather gets icky. But when the sun is shining and you need one more trick up your sleeve to lure the kids outside, you have to check out these smart free printable nature Bingo cards found on Handmade Charlotte. Related: 13 fun summery crafts for kids to keep away the boredom   It think this would be fantastic to send off to the whole bunk in a summer camp care package. Or, just use it at home. Now of course...

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Free Fourth of July temporary tattoos! Because you may not want those stars and stripes forever.

Before you go to the Fourth of July parade, fire up the grill, or lay out the blanket to watch the fireworks fall from the sky, I like the idea of getting inked up with some beautifully designed DIY Fourth of July tattoos. Just like fireworks, these tattoos are temporary, but sure look pretty while they’re around. Created by crafter, creator, and talented handwriting illustrator Alexis of Persia Lou, her Watercolor Fourth of July Tattoos are so nicely designed, I want to wear them just as much as the children do.   Related: 9 fun, easy, no-bake 4th of July party treats...

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Fight boredom with the huge, and hugely fun, coloring poster from Pirasta

I’ve been fighting boredom this summer with a bunch of magic markers and one really huge (like, seriously huge) and cleverly illustrated coloring poster for kids from a new company called Pirasta. And the beauty of these posters is that there’s room for everyone to get in on the action. The recycled-content paper is sturdy enough to let it take over the dining room table for a while, spread it out at a birthday party, or hang it on the wall. And at a whopping 63″ x 36″there is plenty of room for multiple people to color together. We’ve even rolled up...

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Tons of beautifully designed, free printable bookmarks to get kids just a little more excited about cracking a book.

We’re always looking for ways to keep kids reading, especially once the school year ends and those 20 or 30 or 45 minutes a day aren’t exactly “required” any more. (Well, depending on your house rules.)  Plus, that lure of all that extra daylight after dinner can be pretty tempting. So hey, why not use it get a little more reading time in before bedtime? Related: 14 smart ways to get your young kids excited about reading this summer One of the most simple things I’ve done to get my kids excited about books is giving them their own bookmarks. No...

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Calling all makers and other indie businesses: American Made nominations are open

We love supporting Martha Stewart American Made competition each year, in part because we’ve always had the mission of helping small local brands get to the next level; and in part because it’s how we’ve discovered so many of our favorite makers over the last three years that we feature here. And now it’s back! If you’re a maker, the Audience Choice Award is open for nominations in categories of crafts, design, food and style. Win and you get a whole lot of press, a trip to NYC to attend the big MSL kickoff event, $10,000 to grow your business, and...

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Fab free Father’s Day printables for fans of great design. And making him cry.

We just keep finding more and more fun, free Father’s Day printables for you all. Which is good news whether you’re looking for a token that’s sweet but not spendy, or even if you already have some big splurgy gift, but really want something a little personal to go along with it. In this case, this free printable Father’s Day survey comes from our friend Lonela at the Tiny Me blog, who we can always count on for just gorgeous, thoughtfully designed printables that she is kind enough to offer up free to her readers. No comic sans here, my friends. This is the good stuff....

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7 Father’s Day photo shoot ideas of the kids that you can totally do.

If you missed the boat on photo gifts…no, wait! You didn’t! We all live in the land of the Smartphone Camera, after all, and if you’ve got a camera and a place to print a photo, you’ve got the makings of a wonderful surprise Father’s Day gift. Here are just a few Father’s Day photo shoot ideas I’ve found from crafty parents around the web that don’t require a $6000 camera or any crazy skills. Which is just how I like it. Hey, I love that photo within a photo within a photo multi-generation portrait as much as anyone, but...

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Turn your kids into toymakers this summer

Wow, is our email box and social media feed getting packed with parents stressing out about what to do with kids during downtime this summer. Seeing as how we can’t let kids play in the park by themselves without 8 “concerned” neighbors calling 911 (grrr…but that’s another post for another time), we’ve been actively seeking out fun crafts, projects, and educational activities that keep them busy until you can get out with them. Or even just let them have a little fun time indoor on a rainy or zillion percent humidity day. Related: summer fun Now our friends at Cate +...

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A clever, very simple reward system to keep kids reading this summer.

We just finished putting together a ton of great educational activities for kids to keep them sharp over the summer, and now of course I find one more I’d love to add to the list. This free printable paper chain reading log from Eighteen25 is so brilliant! It combines so many of the things my kids love most: reading, crafts, hanging random stuff on their walls, and reward systems. Related: The year’s best children’s books: all the lists, all in one place The idea is really simple: Print out these cute reading log strips, fill them out, and tape them...

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Educational activities for children this summer? Reader Q & A

Hi Cool Mom Picks! Any suggestions for workbooks or activities to help prepare my child–and keep them out of my hair (ha)–for the summer between kindergarten and first grade? -Chaitali   Ahhhh, summer! No school lunches to pack, no buses to catch, and yet, now you have a curious, energetic, and sometimes b-o-r-e-d child to entertain for weeks on end. We love that you want to keep your child busy and engaged with educational activities that will help them get ready for the next year of school. We’re all big believers in tucking in some fun learning activities in between beach...

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7 of the coolest printable birthday crowns for the true ruler of the household

We’ve got a lot of summer birthdays for the kids in my family, so party planning is definitely top of mind for me these days. But I realized, as I’ve looked around the web, that while there are lots of gorgeous handmade birthday crowns on Etsy or instructions for making your own out of felt if you’re super crafty, it’s really hard to find printable paper birthday crowns that are fun, modern and well-designed. In other words, Crafting Lite™. So, I kept looking. And behold! some great options, from free to just a little bit extra. But totally worth it. Related:...

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Retro-cool printable gift boxes full of summer fun. And yummy treats.

We’ve been smitten by Claudine Hellmuth’s clever gift boxes that look like ovens and popsicles for a while now. So we just visited her Etsy shop again, and wow, she has so many fun printable gift boxes at her site now that I’m tempted to give away little treats all summer. What I love best about these is that she’s made it possible for a small treat to be really memorable. With dozens of kid birthday parties and teacher-appreciation gifts to give, that’s something I really appreciate. Of course, your kids could just print these and make them as a fun DIY project that they can use for imaginative...

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13 fun summery crafts for kids that can keep the boredom away.

Oh, summer. The kids wait and wait and wait for it, and then, how many minutes in are they complaining about how hot it is? Or how you won’t take them to the pool (for the second time that day)? Or that they’re simply bored? So I’ve tracked down a whole bunch of really cool summer crafts for kids from around the web that you can bookmark, and stash away for those very moments. Some take a little planning and a few supplies, while others are as simple as printables. Which means print out a whole bunch now for...

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Free summer printables that make you want to get crafty. Or eat ice cream.

I am so digging these adorable free summer printables that I just spotted at Oh Happy Day, courtesy of talented designer Amy Moss. I love the idea of printing a whole bunch on card stock and stockpiling gift tags for summer birthday parties — which will also save us a ton of money and hassle buying those teeny ones that are like $2.50 at the local toy store. But I bet you crafty mamas can think of all kinds of fun things to do with the two page PDF of ice cream cones, popsicles, and watermelons. Click over and you’ll...

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What’s better than custom portraits of your kids? Free custom portraits of your kids.

I always feel so grateful to those amazingly talented illustrators and graphic designers who create free printables that we get to share with you. We’ve found so many cool ones over the years. But the one I’m really excited to have discovered are the custom illustrated portraits of your child from designer Susie Ostrowski of The Little Umbrella, because they’re totally 100% free. Seriously. She happens to be the designer of some of my favorite free printable Valentines cards so I shouldn’t be surprised at her lovely, customizable selection of both boy portraits and girl portraits. There’s an impressive diversity in the looks of the kids...

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