Oct 08

Preschool Music Crafts

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on Preschool Music Crafts

Let’s make some noise! Well, okay not too much noise. We all want our ear drums to last a good long time.

These three musical crafts will keep little fingers entertained, and they won’t be too hard on your ears either.

Music Crafts


#1 Rubber-Band Band

Tissue box guitar

Take and empty sandwich, tissue, or cracker box. Any small box will do. If the box doesn’t already have a hole on one side, you might need to cut one. Then place a pencil on one edge of the hole, and wrap a few rubber bands around the box. The pencil acts like a bridge so you can more easily pluck the “strings.” You can glue the pencil in place if you want to be more permanent about the instrument, but the pressure from the rubber bands will also keep it in place. It’s fun to use a few different sized rubber bands because this will produce different pitches.

#2 Paper Plate Tambourine

paper plate tambourine

You’ll need two paper plates, a handful of small noodles (like macaroni), and something to attach the plates together. I used hot glue, but staples or tape would work, too. We drew on our plates before putting them together. It extends the craft and adds that personal touch. :) Shake, shake, shake it!

#3 Plastic Pan Flute


Straw fife


You’ll need about twenty plastic straws, two flat wooden sticks, and hot glue. Lineup all the straws and put hot glue on one of the stick. Press the stick with glue into the straws and let cool. Then glue the second stick on the other side of the straws. Once the glue is dry, cut the straws at an angle, so that they are all different lengths. You play the pan flute by blowing across the tops of the straws. It will make very soft and windy notes as you blow.

Oct 01

Patriotic Paper Dolls

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on Patriotic Paper Dolls

These patriotic paper doll are to honor the women and men serving our country. I have so much respect for those in uniform and their families–hats off to you!

I know, I know…I could have done more to explore all the branches of service (maybe someday I will), but I had to chose one for now. My choice of navy is for my neighbor.

By the way, the naval ceremonial wear for women comes in several options, both pants and skirt. In the full-color version, I display the pants and in the black-and-white version I drew the skirt. You can choose which version you like best.

I hope you enjoy!

Military Paper Dolls


For a pdf of the color version click here.

Military Paper Dollsbw


For a pdf of the coloring page click here.

Sep 24

20 Kitchen Activities for a Rainy Day

by Hannah Holt »



Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day…

We can wish all we want, but it looks like the rain is here to stay. We’re keeping cabin fever at bay on these rainy, rainy days by staying busy. I have two three-year-olds, so we need to stay really busy if I don’t want the laundry dumped all over the house or Vaseline smeared on the walls. Here’s how we create, engineer, grow, and explore in our kitchen.

Part I – Create


1. Grease cake pans and dust with flour. Instant finger painting.

2.  Cut a round oatmeal container in half. Using a strip of thick construction paper of thin cardboard, create a handle for the top. You now have a basket to decorate.

3. Using markers, crayons, and string, make a paper plate mask.

4.  Glue dried beans and pasta to a paper plate to create an artistic mosaic.

5. String penne, macaroni, or rigatoni noodles together to make a necklace. The fatter the noodle hole the easier it will be for little fingers.

Part II – Engineer


6. Use toothpicks and marshmallows to create shapes, structures, and more.

7. Build a tower out of clean food storage containers.

8. Hand your child a straws and have them blow feathers or small strips of paper across the floor.

9. Race canned foods on an incline. Try different sizes and weighs of containers. Guess which can will win.

10. Turn coffee filters into parachutes. Will the parachute still work if you attach a toy?

Part III – Grow

bean sprouts11

11. Place a handful of dried beans in a ziplock bag with a slightly damp paper towel. Over the next week, watch them sprout.

12. Cut a bunch of celery down to its base. Place it in a bowl of shallow water. It will regrow. This also works with lettuce heads and green onions.

13. Open a bell pepper and plant some of the seeds in cup with potting soil. Keep the seeds moist and place by a window with sunlight.

14. Cut a potato in half and place the cut side down in a mason jar with water (you will need to suspend it part way in the water with tooth picks). Make sure at least one of the potato’s eyes is below the water level. Place in a sunny spot and watch it grow.

15. Place a piece of white bread in a plastic bag with small helping of mud. Watch the mold grow.

Part IV – Explore

cups 16

16. Using a pencil, punch holes in a Styrofoam cup. Let the kids splash in the sink and watch the water drain out the holes.

17. Empty a cupboard, and turn it into a child’s hideout for the day.

18. Give children a cupcake pan and an assortment of colored beads. Have them count, sort, and arrange the beads.

19. Freeze toys in ice. Place the ice blocks in a big storage bin and have children chip away at the ice until the toys are free.

20. Create a masking tape grid on the floor. Have the kids jump from square to square. They can also make their own roads with the tape and design a city.

I hope all your rainy days are happy days!

Sep 11

Rainbow Drums

by Hannah Holt »

one comment

Yesterday, after washing out a couple of milk jugs, we were tapping the jugs together. I thought, this is a pretty good drum, but do you know what would make it even better? PAINT!

Paint in milk jug

We took off the lids and added some cheap acrylic paint. Then we put the lids back on and kept banging and shaking the jugs.

That was fun, but we decided we needed MORE paint and MORE colors.

More paint

Much better!

milk jug paing final

In the end we had two beautiful and unique drums.



My girls loved playing their “rainbow drums.”

If you try it here are a couple of tips:

-This craft will probably work with other types of paints. Just make sure the paint is runny enough to slop around, but not so thin that it won’t stick to the milk jug sides. The cheapest brand of acrylic paint seemed to work perfectly.

-Watch that the kids don’t unscrew the lids. My girls kept trying to add more paint by themselves. If you do this with a group of children, you might want to fill the jugs with paint right before the activity. Then screw the lids on really tight or glue them shut.

-Don’t add so much paint that the colors blend together too quickly. I recommend about 1/8 cup of paint per color. For a more vibrant display of colors, shake in one color at a time and allow drying between.




Jun 11

Strawberry Fruit Leather (No Added Sugar)

by Hannah Holt »

Comments Off on Strawberry Fruit Leather (No Added Sugar)

I might have been a little over zealous with berry picking on Saturday…

straw fresh

It turns out 40 lbs of strawberries is a lot. I know, duh. But seriously, I made jam and froze berries and the kids ate more fresh berries than a digestive system really should have.

And yet, I still had gobs and gobs of berries. At eleven at night I was out of freezer space, so I started pureeing it by the bucket-load.

What can you do with berries when you have no more fridge or freezer space?

Make fruit leather, of course!

strawberry leather steps


Here’s the recipe I used. It’s sort of a choose your own adventure recipe depending on how sweet you want it. Let’s just say making fruit leather is not an exact science. Everything is plus or minus 20 minutes, but this will get you in the ball park…

Strawberry Leather

  • 3 cups pureed strawberries (about 1.5 pounds)
  • (You can sweeten it with up to 1 cup of sugar for super-sweet, but if your berries are really ripe you won’t need it. Also adding sugar, will increase the cooking time…and your dental bills.)

Step 1: Strain the pureed berries through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds.

Step 2: In a thick bottomed sauce pan, bring the berries to a low boil over medium low heat. Then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 50 minutes. (The mixture will be thick enough to mound slightly at the end.)

Step 3: Preheat oven to 200ºF and line a 15×10-inch pan with parchment paper.

Step 4: Pour the thickened puree into the prepared pan and spread as evenly as possibly.

Step 5: Dry the puree in the oven until it feels sticky but will not stick to your finger (about 2 hours). Or you may cook it for 90 minutes and the turn to oven off and leave it in there over night. If you choose not to leave it in the oven overnight you will need to let the dried puree cool on the counter for at least 3 hours before eating it.

Step 6: Using kitchen scissors, cut up the cooled leather on the parchment paper and roll it up. It may be stored in a plastic bag at room temperature for about a month.

straw done


FYI, many fruits can be dried in the oven at low heat over long periods of time. Here are some bananas I dried the next day.



The strawberry puree dipped ones were my favorite, but they were all delicious.