Tag: crafts

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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20 fantastic ideas for DIY Father’s Day gifts, cards, and printables from the kids: Father’s Day Gift Guide 2015

For those of us with young kids, we know that one of the best parts about Father’s Day is letting the kids participate in making DIY Father’s Day gifts for their dads and grandpas. And because we don’t expect them to be hand-stitching an eyeglass case, forging their own iron tools in 112 easy steps, or drawing his name in perfect calligraphy (can you tell we’ve looked through Pinterest?), we’ve put together tons of ideas for realistic DIY gifts for Father’s Day from the kids. Sure you may have to help a bit — or plonk down your credit card...

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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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A paper block city that’s ready to travel with your kids

If your kids like building blocks as much as mine, you’ll want to check out Paper Punk’s new Urban Fold paper blocks which allow kids 6 and up to build a sprawling metropolis without the bulk and weight of traditional blocks. This is such a great toy to toss in the car when you’re headed out for a few days at the beach, or to keep on hand for one of those hot summer days when just dragging out heavier wooden blocks is more work than anyone can imagine doing. Related: A creative activity book that could make your kid a future Duchamps or Dali Instead...

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DoodleLit by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver: Because, Mr. Darcy coloring pages.

Every once in a while I come across a kids’ book I love as much (or more) than my kids do. It’s even more rare with board books, but the brilliantly creative BabyLit board books by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver are definitely on that list. I have to admit, the English major in me swells just a little bit when I get to read my children playful interpretation of books like Pride and Prejudice or Moby Dick, only for babies.  So I was intrigued when I heard about their newest creation: the clever DoodleLit guided coloring book designed for BabyLit readers’ older siblings. It features nearly 300 pages of coloring...

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10 fantastic summer party themes for kids, and loads of inspiration to bring them to life.

Oh, the joys of the summer birthday party when the nice weather means celebrating with friends out-of-doors. And whether this means gathering everyone into your backyard, meeting at the local park, or even taking over a quiet piece of sandy beach, we’ve put together ten awesomely creative, but totally doable, summer party themes for our kids’ summer birthdays. Because doable? As in, without a $10,000 a day party planner? That kind of detail is important to us.   And we’re so happy to be working with the most perfect sponsor for a summer party theme feature: Carvel and ILoveIceCreamCakes.com. Because hello, ice cream cakes! Visit...

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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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12 fantastically messy projects for kids that let you be That Fun Parent

They may be growing up oh-so-fast, but our elementary-school aged kids are more than happy to get as messy as their toddler selves used to, especially when it’s all in good fun. Our tip: Every so often, it’s okay to get messy. So throw on the play clothes, hold your breath, and get ready for them to get head-to-toe covered in paint, mud, or whatever ooey, gooey substance you have on hand. If all this talk about messy play makes you feel a little squeamish, then remember that the nice weather of spring and summer make the perfect time to take that mess outside....

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17 ideas for last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that won’t feel last-minute in the least

We may have started talking about great Mother’s Day gifts since, oh, March or so, but that doesn’t mean we are totally ready for Sunday either. Hey, we’re moms. We know how busy things can get. Since this special day will be here before you know it, we’ve got plenty of wonderful last-minute Mother’s Day gifts that won’t feel last-minute to the person on the receiving end, whether it’s a special mom, grandma, stepmother, or mother-in law. You can also check out our 2016 Mother’s Day gift guide for dozens of ideas, whether you’re heading out to the stores or looking for a fun...

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7 of the best DIY teacher gift ideas to make gift cards more personal

Back in December, when we asked teachers for the Best Teacher Gift Ideas, by far the most cherished gift mentioned was a handwritten note or card from their students. Just a few words to let them know that all their hard work made a difference to our kids; according to our Very Important Teachers, this small gesture goes a long way. But the other idea that received a lot of thumbs-up for its usefulness was a gift card to either a local establishment or national chain, where teachers could treat themselves or buy something for the classroom.  Turns out, what some think of...

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The Girl’s Guide to DIY Fashion: Sew (ahem) much fun

By the time I learned how to sew, I was already a mama of two and trying to fit what little sewing ability I had acquired into what little time I had to spare. Needless to say, my output wasn’t exactly abundant. If only I’d learned how to sew as a child I would have already been a whiz by the time my kids were born. And they might have ended up with more than just a pair of pyjama pants, or two. A brand new book, The Girl’s Guide to DIY Fashion, is about to make sewists (they don’t call themselves sewers...

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May Day: One holiday worth bringing back

Yes there are about a zillion so-called Hallmark holidays out there, but hearing stories from my own mom about May Day celebrations of her childhood make me yearn just a little for it. Dancing? Singing? Cake? Pretty ribbons? What’s not to love? So it seems Mari from Small for Big and Smallful is once again a woman after my own heart, offering these sweet printable May Day paper baskets in her lovely shop. It doesn’t have to be a big shopping experience in the least; fill it with flowers from the garden, candies around the house, or the printable paper...

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11 messy projects for preschoolers that let you be The Fun Parent

If you find yourself saying Don’t make a mess! to your curious, imaginative, and, yeah, messy preschooler more times than you care to count, we’re going to challenge you to say Let’s make a mess for a change. Wait til you see how good that feels. Oh sure, we couldn’t do this every day, but sometimes it’s fun to let loose and be the fun parent who doesn’t really care how dirty, sticky, painty, or glittery our kids get during no-holds-barred play. Especially as the weather gets warmer, and sending them to hose off outside is one viable option.     Remember, clean-up time...

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The ultimate roundup of last-minute Easter ideas: Crafts, printables, egg dyeing help, and lots and lots of treats.

If you’re looking out for some last minute Easter ideas, we are here for you! You’ve still got a couple of days to whip up some fun treats, set up the kids with cute crafts, print out some coloring pages, or just figure out whether the Easter eggs will be submerged in dye the classic way, or subjected to wads of yarn, sequins, or printable crowns and mustaches. Whatever your plans for Easter, we just hope you all have fun doing it together. And be sure not to miss our last-minute Easter idea guide, newly updated for 2017 with even...

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10 cool free printable Easter coloring pages for kids who’ve moved past fat washable markers

If you’re looking for some last minute Easter crafts for your kids, and making your own hand-stitched Easter bunny doll from vintage fabrics you scavenged from estate sales isn’t quite on the agenda, printable coloring pages are always a hit. At least in my home. (See also: My front door. Any time of year.) Unfortunately, most of the Easter printables I see are kind of cutesie for my own kids, who have outgrown the whole connect-the-dots to make an egg and chick. So taking a cue from the coloring mandalas that they love, I found some more intricate, advanced, free printable Easter coloring pages that will...

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How to dye Easter eggs with food coloring and get just the right shade? Ask the experts.

I am imagining that the McCormick’s website must get more traffic this time of year than any other, considering that it’s pretty much homebase for anyone wanting to know just how to dye Easter eggs with food coloring, and just which exact combo of those teeny little drops will yield the perfect hues. While we’ve shared some cool natural ways to dye your Easter eggs, I also understand that when it comes to kids, sometimes a pale kinda-yellow-brown isn’t going to cut it when what they really want is bright neon orange. And that a kid like mine who loves turquoise (this year) will probably...

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17 of the coolest bunny crafts for Easter we can’t resist. Oh, the kids too, of course.

Many of us are going to turn the calendar over to April and realize, with a start, that Easter is a blink away on April 5. Or today, it’s a week away. So use this last week to decorate eggs, make Eastery treats, and finish shopping for those baskets. And if you need to keep your little bunnies’ hands busy too, we’ve pulled together 17sweet bunny crafts for Easter that your kids and you can make, eat, or play with while you jump around getting everything done. Related: 15 easy Easter crafts for kids and fun printables. No glitter required!   Easter Bunny...

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