Friday, March 7, 2014

5-minute recipe- Cloud Dough

If you know me, I'm all about easy & quick and this 2-ingredient recipe is just that.  All you need to make "Soft as a Cloud" dough (not to be confused with the myriad of other cloud doughs out there) is cornstarch and a cheap conditioner (we used a cheap coconut-scented one).  You can add food coloring if you wish, or leave it as it is, a crisp snow white.

I had Ocean squeeze out the entire bottle of conditioner (great fun!) and then just kept adding the cornstarch until it was the right consistency.  We mixed in a bit of food coloring for some pastel colors. 

We then raided the "junk drawer"- I'm not ashamed to admit that we have quite the collection of hodgepodge and miscellanea- and selected some choice pieces.  Viola! Our junk-drawer, cloud-dough, amorphous creature family was born.  I think they're quite endearing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


       I've seen variations of this project allover Etsy and Pinterest and it's something I've been meaning to make for over a year (yes, it took me over a year...).  All the stones were hand-selected from the beach, but, to save time, you could always just buy a bag of polished stones at the craft shop.

       After a couple of failed attempts with a paintbrush, I used paint markers (genius invention!) for the letters and then outlined them in permanent marker.  They are lowercase on one side and uppercase on the reverse.  I then finished them off with a thin coat of Mod Podge for a bit of extra gloss.  There is something very appealing about the size and weight and smoothness of them.  They are the perfect, multi-sensory alphabet for little hands.   

My initial picture said "word up b*tches" and although I found that humorous, I didn't know how appropriate it was for a kids blog ;)

I also made these little math babies, which will be for my next rock project- math rocks!  I just need to collect a bunch of baby-shaped rocks for "counting babies" and some more round(ish) ones for the numbers.  I think another visit to the beach is in order.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The "Me Tree"

We had so much fun home (really un-) schooling last year, that we decided to do it again!  A common theme in many schools at the start of the school year is "All About Me."  Mini egotists that they are, young children love doing projects about themselves!  It's also a fun way to record what they are like at a particular age, and for comparison at the end of the year, as well as future years.  One of our projects for September was a "Me Tree."  I was inspired by a lovely drawing that Ocean did, which was a tracing of her hand with tiny leaves decorating the fingers.  We traced her hands and arms to make the trunk and branches of the tree, which I hot-glued (alas, you can tell I'm no Martha Stewart with the glue gun!) to a piece of (slightly warped) cardboard from the recycle box.  I then cut out leaves, on which Ocean wrote out things that she loves right now, at five-and-a-half (unicorns, dogs, books, etc.).  We glued them on along with some pictures of favorite things from magazines.  She completed the project with a self-portrait.  Maybe we'll put this aside and make another for comparison at the end of the school year, to see how she's grown and changed.

I feel like this craft has so many possibilities.  With a classroom, you could make a huge tree with branches and leaves for each child.  Another thing that came to mind was expanding on this idea to include "roots" for a genealogy lesson. You could add photos of relatives and ancestors with *their* favorite things.  Maybe we'll do that someday.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Art: Watercolor Trees

All you need for this art activity is: masking tape (we used green craft tape), watercolor paper, and watercolors.

First, you tear the tape into strips to use as branches and a trunk.  Press the tape down firmly in the shape that you want.   

Mine is on the left and Ocean's is on the right (she decided to add "snowflakes" to hers).

Add your watercolors:

Once the paint is dry, remove the tape.

We may do this project again, but with darker paints for a greater contrast.  Maybe we'll make grids or road maps...or spider webs?  I also liked the way it looked with the tape on so we might do some like that as well.  

Science: The Naked Egg

This week, we did a really easy & fun science experiment.  All you need is an egg (or two, in case one breaks), some white vinegar, and a jar.  You put the egg in the jar, cover it with the vinegar, and then let it sit for 3-4 days (changing the vinegar once, after the first 24 hours).  The acid in the vinegar breaks down the eggshell (base), so that you're left with just the translucent membrane.
To supplement our experiment, we read "The Egg," which is a Scholastic "First Discovery book."  I love these books as they let you "look inside" things.  After 4 days, we found that the egg was soft and bouncy (we bounced it -carefully- on the kitchen table).  We also held it up to the window so we could see the "nucleus" (yolk) and the "cytoplasm" (the whites) inside.  Ocean also enjoyed looking at it with a flashlight.

 This is what it looked like right away, you can already see the shell breaking down.
 Ocean's drawing of the experiment (although, of course, our egg did not produce a chick...I think that was wishful thinking on her part).  She also practiced writing the word, "egg."
 So cool how it glowed in the sunlight.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Carlos the Monarch

A couple of weeks ago, Ocean (very excitedly) found a nice, plump caterpillar. We carefully carried him home with some of the plant he was munching on, dubbed him "Carlos" and put him in a small habitat with the plant and a small branch, hopeful that he would morph. Two days later, he started to attach to the branch (see the two silk strands?). We read that cocoons usually change to blend in with their environment, and Carlos' chrysalis has since changed from green to brown. I'm now wondering if he'll overwinter since he hasn't emerged yet. We'll keep an eye on him!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Ocean Art

I really like these, she was designing different fashions, suitable for the most prestigious of stick-limbed beings ;)
and the "Goodie Girl"!