make a game: bowling

written by tammy

oven bake clay bowling toy set

While the possibilities for oven bake clay are virtually endless, we always find ourselves going back to the same type of project with ours. We like to make toys for our toys! This oven bake clay bowling set is just one such example. Simply mold a set of bowling pins and a ball, bake, cool and then enjoy hours of entertainment watching the kids play with the “toys” they just made. Strike!

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a house fit for a (tooth) fairy

written by tammy

A wonderfully warm weekend inspired a little backyard clean-up/mini-dance party.

One of my friends recently lost her tooth, and while washing away the winter debris we talking about the tooth fairy and how she would have really liked the awesome recycled fairy houses we made a couple years ago. So, instead of pining over past projects we got busy on a new one…

To begin, we spent some time scavenging the yard for sturdy sticks, dried leaves and debris we thought might make a nice home for our magical friends.

The structure of the house is a simple tee pee design. We collected sticks of almost-equal length and started tying them together with a piece of twine. Add a few more branches and continue to wrap until you form a nice framework.

Use dried leaves to create walls around the tee pee frame (areal view of the tee pee below).

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silly people paper bag puppets

written by tammy

Take your standard paper bag puppet to the next level with a little collaging. These silly paper bag puppets are a combination of magazine clippings, feathers, googlie eyes, glitter, beads pipe cleaner and more…

silly paper bag puppet

We started by going through old magazines and looking for mix-and-match body parts. We cut out eyes, noses, feet, arms and outfits. Then, with a glue stick and the collage box, we got to work assembling funny faces and personalities for our puppets. As we worked, we gave the puppets names and hobbies and voices, and by the time we were done gluing everything together we were ready to put on a show.

The most difficult part of this project was waiting for the glue to dry before we could play!!!

silly paper bag puppets

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bottle fizzzz play fun

written by tammy

fizz ingredients

While fizzing up a bottle may seem elementary…  to a little kid, it’s a blast!!

Simple household ingredients can turn recyclable bottles into fizzing fun for young and old alike. The mixture is simple, baking soda plus vinegar equals a bubbly reaction. Anyone who made it through grade school science probably learned how to make a ‘volcano’ explode in a similar manner.

We realized we were out of baking soda but guess what… baking powder also did the trick.

pour the vinegar

Just fill an empty plastic of glass bottle with a few spoonfuls of powder, add vinegar and watch the kids faces light up with excitement. Yes, bringing joy to a child really is THAT EASY.

fizzy fun

PS.. let the kids scoop, let the kids pour, and let the kids help clean up! My four year old helper was just as capable as her big sister.

PPS..do I really have to say, DON’T DRINK.

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table time (thebabysitter flies)

written by tammy

When I walk in to work, there is one question that I am frequently asked, “Can we do an art project… pleeeeease?”

On occasion, I’ll walk into a very specific request, like earlier in the week when I was asked to help make Palpatine’s house from Star Wars (still thinking that one through), sometimes I will have a project planned, but most of the time I just wing it.

pom pom family

It was already after dinner and bedtime was lingering in the air like sweet reprieve, when the begging began. “Pleeeeease can we do an art project… puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeease?”

Not wanting to disappoint my pint-sized admirers, I dug around in the art bin and brought out a few goods to play around with while we downed desert. What we came up with was simple, a pom-pom family, assembled quite quickly with colorful pom-poms, self adhesive stickers and magic marker faces.

pom pom family detail

We spent a few minutes fiddling around, giving them names and places in the the family lineup… mother, brother, sister, baby, neighbor… babysitter!! And then they went to bed.

Projects don’t always have to be complicated, messy or involved. Sometimes the point of a project is spending quality time together!

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salt dough

written by tammy

The fun of holiday baking doesn’t have to end just yet… just don’t eat these cookies!!

It was a chilly cold weekend, so we stayed in and made salt dough cutouts. This is a fun, squishy, messy, crafty activity that children of all ages can enjoy.

fun with salt dough

** To make the dough add 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and about 3/4 of a cup of water to a large mixing bowl, roll up your sleeves, and squish together until it forms a moldable mass. (this is the fun part!!) Should it be too stiff, add more water a tiny bit at a time.  For more fun, food coloring can be added to the mix. **

After the dough was done, we rolled it out and started cutting shapes with play dough toys. Meanwhile, I started warming the oven to 350, so we could bake the shapes to crispy perfection. (about 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cutouts)

A few story books later, we painted the cooled cooked shapes with tempura paints and played with the fun little character pieces.

Check out another fun salt dough project here.

paint the pretty pieces

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