December 2011 - momgineer

target practice

My kids are playing this as I type. I was planning on taking them out today but we have had too many 4 and 5 am days recently and I just want to stay home!

What you need:
  • felt
  • velcro strips or stickies
  • lightweight balls
  • tape or marker to mark off a target area
I just stuck the velcro circles (only rough sides with the loops, not the soft ones) to the lightweight balls, made a target on the felt, clipped it onto a hanging blanket with some binder clips, and gave each kid a ball. This is a two-minute setup if you have all the materials! If you have velcro strips you can hot glue them onto the balls instead. I ended up making a few more felt targets after I took the pictures and clipped them all over the blanket, worth different "points" since they love to keep score. I may just have to make an entire carnival of activities for them to do today!

Materials needed.
Balls with the velcro stuck on.
I made the target with painters tape (it was 1" wide, I cut it to 1/2").
A hit! Retrieving the ball.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Easy DIY Wrapping Paper with Homemade Stamps

Easy DIY Wrapping Paper 

Use that packing paper you have lying around from a move or holiday shipments you've received.

What you need:
  • Paper you'd otherwise recycle
  • Something to decorate it with! 
    • stamps are easy - we made our own seasonal ones for winter solstice
    • crayons, paint, pencils, or markers
    • glitter
    • make it 3D by gluing on random objects you don't need
The stamps we used (also used these on our stamped ornaments!)
Stamped paper. Don't worry about it being wrinkled!
Star paper from the back - we used twine to secure the paper.
Use excess paper to write a name tag, hole punch, and string twine through!
Next year at this time I may order extra play silks and we can try out furoshiki, another beautiful way to wrap gifts!
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

borax crystal ornaments

This is another craft that isn't my own, but I was so thrilled with the results I had to share. My kids were excited to see the end product but the cons are that a) there is a lot of waiting involved, and b) little ones might not be able to achieve the shape they want. The simple snowflakes were manageable for my 5.5 year old, but the more complex shapes were not. It is also worth noting that the size is limited by the size of your jar, so even if your child does manage to bend the pipe cleaners into the perfect shape, it might not fit in the jar!

What you need:
  • wide-mouthed glass jars (I first tried in plastic and the results were poor, though you may have better luck.)
  • chenille stems (aka pipe cleaners)
  • borax
  • wire or ornament hooks
  • boiling hot water
  • skewers or pencils
There are already some great images and instructions here. I used ornament hooks and just laid a skewer across the top of the jar. I think this is a bit easier than using wire and craft sticks. You can use white chenille stems or choose another color. The color will be muted after the crystals grow, though you can try to enhance it with food dye. You can reuse the solution for a new ornament, though I added a little more borax for each new batch. When you are all done making your ornaments, reheat the water to help remove any excess crystals in the jar.

Tip: If you are doing this with kids, do them before bedtime. When they wake up, the ornaments will be ready! 

Here are some suggestions for shapes (stars and hearts would also be nice!):

An angel a friend of mine made for her daughter. So cute!
Swirl shape.
    momgineer Meredith Anderson

    STEM education is my passion!

    salt dough ornaments

    We have made these for a few years now and they are always a favorite! Check out these gorgeous salt dough ornaments for ideas:

    great detail!!!

    my inspiration for trying out stamps
    (btw, the snowflake stamps I used I made with foam stickers)
    cute as a button!

    Some the kids and I made.
    What you need:
    • Dough (2 parts flour, one part salt, and one part water)
    • Rolling pin
    • Cookie cutters
    • Straw
    • Ribbon or ornament hooks
    • Decorations: paint, glitter, photos, stamps, pen (optional) Note: The pen seems to run on plain salt dough when you spray the gloss, but not if it's used on top of paint.
    • Spray gloss (recommended - I used satin finish)
    Knead, roll to .25 - .5" thick, and cut out with cookie cutters. Make 1 or 2 holes with the straw for your ribbon. Bake at 200°F for 4 or more hours (you might want to flip them half way through). When they are cool, you can decorate them. H&F love to paint them and then shake on glitter (I found red, green, and silver glitter shakers all in a pack at the local dollar store). Let them dry and then spray them to protect them. If you want, you can then add a photo. These were photo ornaments from last year and the kids gave them to their grandparents as gifts:
    I made an indentation for the photos with the back of a measuring cup.
     This photo is after the ornaments were baked - I colored the snowman's hat with a black permanent marker.
    Who wouldn't love a Christmas rhino?
    Some stamped ornaments.
    F's ornaments
    H's ornaments.
    Hanging with ribbon.
    There really are endless possibilities here. You can even attempt three dimensional objects, though I don't think I'm crafty enough for that!

    momgineer Meredith Anderson

    STEM education is my passion!