2014
Jan 14

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Crafts

by Hannah Holt »

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We were washing dishes the other night when my son said…

Him: There’s this song I really like, but I can’t remember all the words.

Me: What do you remember?

Him: Something about…deep in my heart…

Me: We Shall Overcome?

Him: Yes, that’s it. I love that song.

His singing reminded me Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is coming. We’ve done a few crafts this week to celebrate.

I Have A Dream Self Portraits

I have a dream

Each of the kids drew a self portrait. We cut out the portrait and put it on colored construction paper. Then we glued on cotton balls to make dream clouds.

It was a good chance to talk about Dr. King’s dreams and what dreams my own kids have.

The Q-tip People March on Washington

qtip people

I cut a bunch of Q-tips in half. By mixing small amounts of burnt sienna (brown) and ivory acrylic paint, the kids and I were able to make a variety of skin tones. We dipped their heads in paint for hair and applied eyes using toothpicks.

After the paint dried, we glued the Q-tips to a printout of the Lincoln Memorial. Here’s a blank copy of the Lincoln Memorial just in case you want to make your own march on Washington picture:

March on Washington PDF

March on Washington

(Note: Because of the fine motor skills required for this craft, I recommend it for ages seven and up.)

The best part about these crafts were the conversations I had with my kids. My five-year-old was surprised to learn some people used to not be able to eat at certain restaurants or sit on buses because of the color of their skin. We talked about how unfair that would be and how even today we can find ways to choose more kindness.

We shall overcome hate and hurt with a little more love. Thanks Dr. King!


2012
Sep 12

DIY: Toy Maracas

by Hannah Holt »

7 comments


A craft with a beat.

What you’ll need:

  • cardboard tubes
  • Saran wrap
  • packaging tape
  • rice
  • decorations of your choosing… we used finger paints

Step 1) Pull Saran wrap around the end of a tube and secure in place with packaging tape. Then place more packaging tape over the end of the tube. (The Saran wrap by itself is prone to punctures. The packaging tape provides a firmer seal.)

Step 2) Fill the tubes with 1-2 handfuls of rice. Using a funnel helps keep the mess down.

Step 3) Repeat step 1 to seal the other end of the tube.

Step 4) Decorate the maraca. We finger painted copy paper and used more packaging tape to secure it around the maracas.

Step 5) Have a dance party with the new maracas! (I like crafts that end with a party. Don’t you?)


2013
May 24

Pinecone Pets

by Hannah Holt »

9 comments


The trees in our backyard are dropping pinecones at a dangerous rate. Little pinecone missiles have been falling almost constantly for the past two weeks. Between the pinecone land mines and all the tree sap on our deck, one of these days my toddlers will learn to appreciate shoes.

However, in the meantime, I’ll keep scrubbing their feet each night, and we’ll do pinecone crafts during the day.

We’ve found that you can stack the big female cones almost like LEGOs. You can also add construction paper and turn the cones into silly animals:

bear pinecone

But we probably had the most fun just painting them and adding wiggly eyes.

paintint pinecones

In the end they kind of reminded me of the Yip Martians from Sesame Street:

pine cone pets painted

We put them out in the garden. I wish I could say they were defending us from slugs and snails (they aren’t!). But they are sort of cute.

pine cone pets in garden

I’d better watch myself or I’ll start collecting lawn gnomes and plastic flamingos next. :)


2013
May 08

DIY Microwave Popcorn

by Hannah Holt »

13 comments


You don’t need a popcorn machine or expensive prepackaged bags to make popcorn at home. All you need are popcorn kernels (I buy them in bulk for super cheap) and a paper lunch bag.

diy microwave popcorn

It’s soooo easy. Just take a handful of kernels (about 1/4 a cup) and pour them into the bag. Fold the top of the bag three or four times and cook them in the microwave until the pops are one second apart. The “popping time” will vary depending on your microwave’s power. For my microwave 1 min and 30 seconds is the perfect time. DO NOT USE THE POPCORN BUTTON.

Other options:

Lightly Buttered Popcorn: Before placing the bag in the microwave, drop a pat of butter into the bag with the kernels. Most of the butter will end up on the bag, but the popcorn will have a buttery aura. Yum!

butter butter bag

Caramel Corn: Melt 2 Tbs of butter and mix in 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Chill the mixture in the fridge until it’s solid (about 30 minutes). Place this with the kernels in the bag and pop for slightly less than the above method. For my microwave this is about 1 minute and 15 seconds. Some kernels will be left unpopped, but if you do it for the full length of time the caramel will burn. If it burns, it will taste very, very bad. When in doubt, under cook it.

Why DIY popcorn?

Making your own microwave popcorn is cheap and easy. Also most prepackaged microwave popcorns contain TBHQ (or a similar preservative). In small doses TBHQ has no observable side effects, but in larger doses it is linked to stomach tumors and all sorts of other nasty stuff.

Will eating a bag of store bought popcorn give you stomach cancer? Probably not. But these added ingredients have no nutritional value and making your own microwave popcorn isn’t any more difficult than throwing a store bought bag in the microwave. So why not skip the mystery ingredients all together?

Happy snacking!


2012
Mar 26

The name of the game is SAME

by Hannah Holt »

6 comments


In this game, there is no peeking. Feel to find the match you’re seeking.

An activity for children ages 3-5

Vocabulary: Same, Different, Match

Print these directions.

What you’ll need:

  • paper lunch bag
  • 2 buttons (same size/shape)
  • 2 feathers (same size)
  • 2 chenille sticks
  • 2 pom-poms (same size)
  • crayons (optional)
  • tape (optional)

Step 1: Twist the chenille sticks into circles so that they fit into your bag. Like this…

Then place the chenille circles, buttons, feathers, and pom-poms in your bag.

Step 2: Reach into the bag (without looking) and pull out one object.

Step 3: Reach into the bag again and feel for the object’s match. If you pull out a mismatch, place it back into the bag and try again until you find the match.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you’ve found all the matches.

Step 5: (optional activity) Once you’ve found all the matches, use the tape, crayons, bag, and matching pairs to form a funny face.