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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

DIY Finger Paint

 

You Will Need 

  • Large Bowl 
  • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour 
  • 2 Cups Cold Water 
  • Food Coloring 
  • Small Muffin Tin or Small Bowls  
  • Stirrers (One for each color) 
  • Spatula, Spoon or Whisk 

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Start with the large bowl, two cups of cold water and two cups of flour. 

 

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Pour the two cups of cold water into the large bowl. 

Gradually add flour and stir constantly until the flour is fully incorporated and totally smooth. 

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Divide the flour mixture into the muffin tins (or small bowls). 

 

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Add a few drops of food coloring to each muffin tin. 

 

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Stir each mixture, adding more food coloring if needed, until you achieve the colors you want. 

 

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Encourage your little one to get messy and have fun creating original works of art! 

 

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How to Become an Expert Photo Organizer

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Whether you’ve got boxes of printed pics or you’re at full storage capacity with digital photos, these organizing tricks will help you keep track of your precious memories.

Printed Photos

Start by gathering, sorting, and identifying your photos, says Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and author of Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed. Make one pile for album-worthy photos, one pile for art projects, and another for irreplaceable photos that will go in a photo-safe box. Use the 20/80 rule when sifting through photos: Keep 20 percent (the ones that tug at your heartstrings or help tell the story of your or the subject’s life) and toss the rest. Get rid of duplicates, blurry images, and most scenery shots. On the back of the photos, note the date, location, and people with a pencil (try Stabilo All pencils, which won’t bleed through). Then decide if you want to organize chronologically or thematically (birthdays, holidays, vacations) and what type of photo storage you’re going to use (archival photo box or binder). To hedge against damage or loss, scan your prints—services like Fotobridge can do it for you (up to 10,000 images at once) in about three weeks.

Digital Photos

Your most beloved images—scans of prints and ones you took digitally—should be stored in three places (think a flash drive, a computer, and a form of cloud storage). If you’re overwhelmed by zillions of digital photos, use Google Photos, which lets you search images by person, date, and place, so you can find what you need instantly without creating albums if you don’t want to. Make sure to set aside about 30 minutes every month to clear out clutter on your phone’s camera roll and complete a backup. When you’re done, pick some recent favorites to actually do something with: Post a video montage of your vacation on social media or print a few recent photos of your kids to send to older relatives who aren’t online.

 

This article was written by Tamara Kraus from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Easy Indoor Activities to Promote STEAM Skills in Your Kids

Simple ways to get your child thinking critically.

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Turning everyday tasks into learning opportunities with your children can greatly benefit them in the classroom. And STEAM education, which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, is a great way to get your kids to brush up on their critical thinking skills. Here are five ways to incorporate STEAM (or STEM) into fun activities without having to set foot outside.

1. Make soup together.

Science: Through this activity, children will become early scientists as they compare and contrast how the texture of vegetables changes throughout the cooking process.

Technology: Ask: How does heat cook soup? How will you time the cooking? How do you keep veggies fresh before cooking? Have the kids think of the everyday uses of technology that help them and you make soup. In addition, have the children come up with different ways they might cook their soup if they didn’t have a stove.

Engineering: Using a knife can promote an early engineering experience of a simple machine, such as a wedge. The discussion alone around the process of cooking is a wonderful form of engaging engineering skills.

Art: Follow your soup-making process by reading a story! Our favorite is the story of Stone Soup by Marcia Brown. After storytime, invite children to draw a picture of their favorite part of making homemade soup.

Math: Through cutting vegetables, children may learn halves or fourths, exploring fractions or simply counting and measuring. Adding spices and measuring the vegetable stock also provide opportunities for children to begin to understand the properties of measurement.

Play with bath toys.

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Make bathtime educational.

Photo: Pixabay

Gather various water-safe objects that sink and float through exploring, observing and predicting.

Grab plastic measuring cups and spoons, plastic bowls and other water-safe items and toss ’em in the tub. Ask:

  • Why do some things float and some sink?
  • What do you notice about the shape, weight and feel of the objects when they’re in the water? How does that change when you take them out?

Bake together.

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The science of turning raw ingredients into something mouthwatering.

Photo: Pixabay

Make prepping a treat even sweeter with these tips and questions to incorporate into your kitchen adventures.

  • Talk through measurements as you mix dry ingredients together.
  • What do we predict will happen when dry ingredients are mixed in with the wet ingredients?
  • What makes the batter change color?
  • What do you think might happen when we bake the batter? What makes the batter go from wet to baked and delicious?

Ease into a bedtime routine with flashlight shadows.

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Nothing like old-school entertainment.

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Grab your flashlight and small objects, like a favorite stuffed animal, toys, or even a shoe, and see how many different ways you can make shadows move and play across the room.

  • Place objects or your hand in front of the light and observe how shadows change and move around the room.
  • Create a story about the object’s shadow.
  • How do you make the shadows dance?
  • How can we make the object look bigger or smaller?
  • How many different ways can you make a shadow disappear and reappear in a different place?

Build a shadow theater.

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Bring the inner director out of your child.

Photo: iStock

Materials: Shoe boxes or pieces of cardboard, tape, white or waxed paper, flashlight, variety of objects to cast shadows

Cut off the top and bottom of the boxes. Help the children to tape paper across one of the openings. Ask: What else could we use to attach the paper? Place different objects in the box and light them from behind. Allow the children to select objects and have others guess what each object is while viewing from the other side. Encourage the children to experiment with moving the object and the light.

  • Can you make the object look bigger? Ask children to think of other ways to make a shadow theater.
  • What else could we use to let the light shine through? Do we need a frame?

Allison Wilson is the Director of Curriculum and Innovation at Stratford School, a leading independent private school founded on the belief that education is a significant influence in the life of a child. She is passionate about developing teachers and students, bringing more than 15 years of experience to the early-childhood sector through teaching, school leadership, teacher training and innovative curriculum development. Stratford offers an accelerated, balanced curriculum from preschool through eighth grade with an emphasis in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) that incorporates music, physical education, foreign language and social skills development.


 

This article was written by Allison Wilson from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The 5 Best Outdoor Family Activities for the Most Time-Pressed Moms

Outdoor family activities don’t have to require a lot of planning or trips to the store. Here are five easy, low-cost ideas for working moms.

For any mother, time with your family is extremely valuable, especially when balancing that time with a career. You want to plan fun, entertaining activities to do with your children, but you also need ideas that don’t require a lot of time or an unwanted trip to the craft store.

Now that spring is in the air, you’re likely looking for ways to have fun outside as a family. These five outdoor activities are perfect for working moms who need simple yet creative ideas that don’t require much preparation.

1. Sidewalk chalk art

 

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Take the coloring outside! Sidewalk chalk is a great item to have on hand for when your children get bored. You can take turns tracing each other, turning yourselves into superheroes and other fun characters. Develop your child’s gross motor skills by playing hopscotch together. You can also use sidewalk chalk to build your child’s knowledge of shapes, letters or numbers. For example, try having your little one run or jump to circles, squares, triangles and rectangles as you name each shape.


2. Sensory scavenger hunt

 

Children playing in nature

 

Photo: iStock

This can also be an opportunity to teach your kids about nature.

Turn scavenger hunts into sensory scavenger hunts! Identify the smells and sounds of nature together. It’s a simple way to have a scavenger hunt without requiring time to develop clues or buy additional resources. See what your children can find, whether it’s birds chirping or flowers blooming. If something sparks their curiosity during the scavenger hunt, let them explore and ask questions.


3. Car wash

 

Girl washing the car with mom

 

Photo: iStock

A fun activity that checks a chore off of your To-Do list.

As a working mom, your to-do list may be a mile long, so get the whole family involved with chores like washing the car. Your little ones will enjoy splashing in the water and playing with bubbles! They can also wash their trikes, bikes or toy cars! Car washes are fun, and doing them together is a great way to check something off your to-do list.


4. Bubbles

 

Family blowing bubbles

 

Photo: iStock

Kids of all ages love bubbles.

If your children love making bubbles during car washes, they’ll love blowing bubbles too. The best part? You don’t even have to purchase bubble solution, which can go quickly with accidental spills. Homemade bubbles are fun to make and may save you a little bit of cash.

The simplest recipe only requires one part liquid dish soap to 15 parts water. Combine the soap and water in a large dish or bucket and stir gently. Dip your favorite household wand like a slotted spoon or coat hanger. Have some fun cookie cutters available? Those are great for making bubbles into different shapes!


5. Evening walk

 

Family walking together

 

Photo: iStock

Going for a walk is also great exercise for the whole family.

After a work day, get outside with the children for a walk around the neighborhood. You can even grab a couple slices of bread and walk to a nearby park to feed the ducks.

An evening walk is a great way to release the stress of the day and let your children get rid of excess energy before bedtime. Take this time to catch up as a family and learn about each other’s day. You may notice this quality time together becoming a treasured family ritual.

Activities that are engaging don’t have to be complicated or expensive. After a long day of work, you’re ready for quality family time. Make it fun and easy with these activities.

Leslie Marley is the Director of Education and Curriculum at U-GRO Learning Centres, a premiere provider of early childhood and preschool education in Central Pennsylvania. Marley has worked in the field of early childhood education for more than 20 years. She is passionate about serving and empowering children and families.

 

This article was written by Leslie Marley from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Cardboard Tube Bird Feeder

This cardboard tube bird feeder craft is a fun way to invite feathered friends to your yard! Watch as birds come to feed, and talk with your little one about all the different birds that visit the feeder. You can even look up the birds you see online to learn more about them. Audubon.com and National Geographic Kids are great resources.

What You Need

  • Plate
  • Birdseed
  • Nut or Seed Butter
  • Cardboard Tube (toilet paper size or half of a paper towel roll)
  • String

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Instructions

Pour the birdseed onto the plate and use a spoon, butter knife or popsicle stick to coat the outside of the cardboard tube with the nut or seed butter.

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Roll the coated tube in the birdseed. Fill in any gaps as needed until the whole tube is covered.

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Thread a piece of string through the cardboard tube and tie the ends of the string together.

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Hang it from a tree for the birds to enjoy!

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How To Fold a Paper Boat

Ahoy! Are you looking for a fun Valentine’s Day craft?! Look no further! Have your children practice their fine motor and math skills while they fold a spare sheet of paper into a floating masterpiece. Let your children decorate it with hearts or fill it with candy, then sail right into Valentine’s Day!

1. Fold a piece of paper in half crosswise.

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2. Fold paper in half lengthwise and open it back out.

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3. Fold the corners down the center crease.

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4. Fold the long bottom strip up and fold the corners over.

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5. Flip the paper over and repeat the previous step.

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6. Fold the opposite corners together and turn it sideways to make a diamond.

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7. Fold the bottom corner up halfway, turn it over and repeat.

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8. Open the triangle and fold the opposite corners together.

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9. Hold the paper at the tip and gently pull the sides apart.

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Ship ahoy!

 

 

Snowflakes: A Great Analogy For Teaching Children That It’s Good To Be Unique

In today’s world, we worry more about fitting in than sticking true to ourselves. Peer acceptance is an especially strong concept among young children. When children are starting school, their priority and the thing they may fear the most is simply making friends. Instead of wearing their favorite shirts and risk having other children make fun of them, our children may be holding back and wear something less themselves to fit in with others. Instead of sharing their favorite movie, they may give in and share a friend’s favorite movie so no one laughs at their opinions.

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It’s important for our little ones to understand that they are talented and what they like or dislike does matter. Their other opinions matter too. Our children should feel comfortable expressing themselves; just as each snowflake is unique, so is each child different from the others. Completing a snowflake activity is a good way to explain this concept.

Gather a stack of white computer paper and cut each sheet to form a perfect square. Once in a square, fold the paper diagonally and then diagonally another three times. Next, cut the tip off, cut out shapes and slits in the paper and then unfold for the final product. Repeat and see how each snowflake is different from the others while each snowflake is itself beautiful.

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We see that no two snowflakes are the same. It’s similar with people; even twins are not exactly the same. Teach your children that it’s okay to be different and to be confident in being different. Your children are more likely to become leaders when they’re confident in themselves, their likes, their dislikes and their overall decisions.

What are some ways your children openly express themselves?

How to Make Edible Nut- or Seed-Based Butter Play Dough

Inspire your child’s creativity (and appetite) with some edible nut- or seed-based butter play dough!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup smooth nut- or seed-based butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar or milk

Combine nut- or seed-based butter and honey in a bowl and stir. Add powdered sugar or milk, ¼ cup at a time, kneading into mixture until it is no longer sticky and has the consistency of play dough. Ask your child to wash his or her hands before handling play dough if he or she plans on eating it afterward.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Total Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, the moon will cover the sun, causing rapid temperature drops throughout the United States. This is known as a total solar eclipse. You can complete a simple craft with your children to help explain what the solar eclipse is and how it will look.

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Items that you will need:

  • Two sheets of black construction paper
  • One sheet of yellow construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Directions

Guide your child in cutting out a large circle from the yellow sheet of paper and glue it to one of the black sheets. Next, take the second black sheet of paper and cut out a circle slightly smaller than you cut from the yellow sheet. Slide the black circle across the yellow circle to show the different phases of the eclipse. Once you are done discussing the phases, glue the black circle to the center of the yellow circle so that just the edges of yellow are showing. This representation is a great way to explain to your children how the solar eclipse will look.

While completing this craft, discuss with your child why solar eclipses happen and how often they occur.

Five Benefits of Imaginative Play

Imaginative play benefits the growth of the cerebellum. This part of the brain is “responsible for key cognitive functions such as attention, language processing, sensing musical rhythms, and more” (Brown & Vaughan, 2009, p. 34). Here are five other benefits of imaginative play for children.

1. Play fosters the development of imagination. Imaginative play encourages children to be anything they want to be. This anything-goes thinking allows them to come up with ideas that they might not think about in a more structured environment.

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2. It encourages the development of problem-solving skills. Problem solving requires the ability to think creatively. Imaginative play involves experimenting with different activities, such as building with blocks or sculpting with modeling clay (White, 2015). Engaging in these playful activities helps children become more creative, which gives them the ability to solve different problems (Roskos & Christie, 2000).

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3. Play allows a child to fail without consequences. For example, when children play house, they imagine themselves as parents or spouses. They learn from those scenarios without dealing with negative consequences. Imaginative play, in other words, gives children the freedom to fail and try again without feeling defeated (Lillemyr, 2009).  

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4. It encourages social-emotional development. When pretending to be, say, a mother or a father, the child must imagine being in that person’s shoes. As a result, the child learns to interact and think about things as a parent, which helps the child become empathetic and practice language that is more in a parent’s vocabulary than a child’s.

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5. It helps children unwind. Unstructured imaginative play gives children the opportunity to be in their own world for a while without worrying about anything except playing and having fun.

 

References

Brown, S., & Vaughan, C. (2009). Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul. New York, NY: Avery.

Lillemyr, O. F. (2009). Taking play seriously: Children and play in early childhood education—An exciting challenge. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Roskos, K. A., & Christie, J. F. (2000). Play and literacy in early childhood: Research from multiple perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

White, R. E. (2015). The power of play: A research summary on play and learning. Retrieved from http://www.childrensmuseums.org/images/MCMResearchSummary.pdf