The local MOMS Club is at it again this summer, hosting an Arts and Crafts Camp every week. Two moms host, come up with a project and provide snack together. Today was the first week of Arts and Crafts Camp. Little J, Little K and I make some Handprint American Flags inspired by and originally posted by Muffin Tin Mom.
It is a simple craft, geared towards any age, friendly to the “creative interpretations” kids like to put on craft instructions, and it’s perfect for this time of year in the U.S. when the fireworks and celebrations of independence commence. We will be going to a friends’ party this weekend, and we plan on waving our little handprint American flags.
Little J did not want to paint his hand, so he painted mine and we printing the flag with my fingers and palm. He enjoyed painting the popsicle stick the best. Little K did not want to paint his hand either, so just applied the red, white and blue paint to the flag. He enjoyed the star stickers the most.
Supplies on the Table:
red, white and blue paint
blue construction paper, cut to 4 by 5 inches
small star stickers
thin ribbon in red, white, or blue
Paint the palm or have the child paint their own hand blue and the fingers red and white alternately.
Place the child’s hand, palm and fingers down, onto the construction paper and let dry.
Apply mini star stickers to the palm area.
Apply glue to the top half of the popsicle stick and paste to the flag
Punch a hole in the upper left corner of the flag.
String whatever combo of the thin ribbon you wish.
Tie the ribbon off and you are ready to celebrate!
For his 5th birthday, Little J receives a canvas packet containing small tubes of acrylic paint, paintbrush and paint palette. The canvas has a fire truck printed on it. Little J pulls it out while we clean in the Studio and wants to get to work. Little K feels left out, so I grab a canvas for him and ask him what he would like drawn on it. Blanchita, his special friend and co sleeper is what we decide upon. I draw a portrait of Blanchita on the canvas with a Sharpie marker.
While Blanchita sits on the Studio table and watches, Little K chooses his palette of colors from a box of acrylic paint…whites, yellows, oranges and browns. He sets to work filling in the drawing with color. I’ve never seen him so dedicated or spend so much time on a drawing project.
Canvases are inexpensive and often found on sale. You can draw something special on a canvas for your kids, or have them draw an idea of their own. This makes for unique, special and beautiful wall art for your home or as a gift.
An Easy Bake Oven is posted on the local Freecycle and I respond with, “My boys would love an easy bake oven!” I don’t know who will love the idea more, me or the boys, but I go ahead and pick it up. It has all the working pieces and is ready to go after we unscrew the back and make sure the oven has a working bulb inside. Little J and K love the screwdriver and bulb part. I have very warm and fun and sweet memories of playing with my Easy Bake Oven when I was a wee little lass.
While I unpack the box, we also find some leftover “treat” mix packets. I’m leaning WAY towards making things from scratch and am pretty sure those packets aren’t made with children’s health at heart, so I encourage the boys to make a pretend mix. They use scissors to open all the packets and mix them in a big bowl with water, flour and corn meal, while I pursue a great Easy Bake recipe online. I find a whole website dedicated to “from scratch” recipes for the Easy Bake Oven. I easily narrow it down to a simple and fast pizza recipe.
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1 dash Salt
1 teaspoon margarine
2 1/4 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon pizza sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon mozzarella cheese; shredded
Preheat Easy-Bake Oven 15 minutes.
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt and margarine until dough looks like medium-sized crumbs. Slowly add milk while stirring. Shape dough into a ball and place into a greased pan. Use your fingers to pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan, then up the sides. Pour the sauce evenly over the dough, and then sprinkle with the cheese. Bake in Easy-Bake Oven 20 minutes. Remove.
Our first couple attempts are a little disastrous. The dough, sauce and cheese are too high and get scraped off when we stuff, I mean, slide the mini pie into the oven. The third and fourth try are a success. A thinner crust is highly recommended. I don’t see why you couldn’t try this recipe in a toaster oven with a small pan if you don’t have a Easy Bake.
I don’t get a chance to capture an image of the actual pizzas. Even the scraped off cheese ones are gobbled up faster than they can cool off.
There is a mini heatwave that coincides with the last 2 days of school. The last couple of days of school for Friend H, I can only guess, the kids are cleaning out their cubbies, watching fun movies, drawing tables and playing games with friends. I know for sure Friend H and her friends were folding fans. She hops off the bus on Friday and declares her desire to set up a fan stand at the driveway. She pulls out some old paper from her backpack, folds it back and forth, finds the colored tape dispenser and tapes it closed at one end. She decorates the pleats with more colored tape.
Friend H sets up a table and some chairs to the edge of the driveway and hangs a sign. 5 cents a fan. Lemonade stands are illegal without a permit from the health inspector here in town, so this is a perfect idea for kids on a hot day. It is the time of year for this “craft.” Paint Cut Paste recently had a post about folded fans and father’s day cards.
I advertise to local friends on Facebook. Friend H waits for about 20 minutes in the heat and gives up, lured by the need to swim in the pool after no one stops. Her Dad comes and picks her up. Ten minutes later, a MOM friend stops by with a quarter and an order for 5 fans, 1 for each person in her family.
Jonah and I put together 5 fans. Little J wants to use “boy colors” and “girl colors.” He chooses red for the girls and green and orange for boys. He rainbow colors in the pleats with markers in “boy and girl colors.”
Do you remember making fans? Did you ever assign gender to color?
…So simple… I love to feed the kids fruit for snacks, but after the same old thing, they get bored, and we’re left with lots of fruit that’s not getting eaten. I end up putting this fruit in the freezer and using it for smoothies.
Today, we have a play date at someone’s pool, and I’d love to bring a fruit salad. I want to come up with a way to make the fruit more fun to eat, so I buy a $3 melon baller and scoop watermelon, honeydew and cantelope melons into a salad.
It’s beautiful, and the kids love it. The melon is a great snack for a very hot day, the second day of our summer.
It is the first very hot day of the season and it’s the first day of summer.
We plan to go to a local swimming lake to stay cool.
There is a huge mound of sand in the middle of the beach. The boys perch themselves up there for about 90 minutes and dig a hole at the very top, creating lots of rivers coming down the sides with little shovels. Where the water settles, they pile sand to make dams. They are so involved and satisfied by their play that I actually am able to do a little reading, looking up every 10 seconds to count little heads. They mingle and play and share ideas and toys with other kids, cooperating like a dream. There was no complaining, no whining, no correcting inappropriate behavior. They are happy.
We eat lunch. We move everything to the water’s edge where the boys, some new friends and I continue to dig holes and rivers, these empty into the lake. Each boy has their own hole so they can alter it without negotiations. The boys are starting to feel the heat. After about and hour of this, we dive into the water. The water is cold. The boys laugh and splash and practice their swimming and go as deep as they dare. They run out of the water and back in as fast as they can. We stay in the water for about an hour.
After rinsing off toys and toes, we head back to the car, change into dry clothes and make a detour to the homemade ice cream shop on the way home.
It was the perfect summer day. I sat quietly as the kids set the pace and were engaged with natural materials and friends. We were able to keep cool in the heat, and we ended the excursion with ice cream. What could be better?
We went camping with lots of friends this past weekend. We worked together to organize meals and in hind sight, I have the perfect camping meal for all y’all out there that enjoy sleeping outside and eating by the bon fire.
Kabobs, marinade your meat ahead of time, combine with veggies, slip onto wooden skewers and pop on a grill above the bon fire.
Corn on the Cob, soak corn in a bin of water, husk and all, wrap in foil and throw onto hot coals.
Baked Taters, wrap in tin foil and also throw on the coals. Both corn and taters cook for about an hour. Dress with butter, sour cream or whole plain yogurt, chives, whatever you like.
Smores, of course.
I think I must have posted about pesto at least 4 times on HappyLittleMesses. (Click the pesto link to get to the post with the original recipe.) It’s a healthy staple in our house…everyone likes it, it has dark leafy greens in it and my recipe makes more than one batch that can easily be frozen, defrosted and used for a simple and complete meal.
Barilla has been making mini pasta wheels that are infused with extra veggies.
We have 2 new friends joining the HappyLittleMesses team on Tuesdays and Thursdays: Miss Lil and Friend E.
Today we teach them the art of volcano bites. We’re having pesto wheels. A volcano bite was invented by Little K, aka the gremlin, who has always taken monster bites of everything. A volcano bite is defined as: an awfully big bite of something really yummy…(but not too big that you choke, please)
The boys love the pesto wheels and say, “Can we have wheels for dinner?” This reminds me of a book we rented from the library, called Otto The Boy Who Loved Cars. He only wants wheel cereal for breakfast.
While you are setting up the tent and prepping a tin foil bon fire dinner, you can get the kids going on this simple and beautiful project.
Save some of your cans from the recyclables, fill them with water and place in the freezer, giving a little of space at the top for water expansion. Use these icy cans to keep some of your perishables cold in your cooler on the way to your camp site.
While unpacking the car, set up on a picnic table: frozen tin cans, hammers and nails.
Younger kids might not have the strength to punch a hole though the tine, but with a little bit of help and patience, they will master the task.
Direct the kids to punch holes in the tin all over and around. My kids also liked to hammer the ice inside the cans with the nails.
We put the tin lanterns around the camp fire at night.
We have a paper covered table set up in the kitchen with several jars of paint, each with it’s own paintbrush, some chunky pencils. Wrapping a table in paper, whether it be large poster paper or newspaper, is almost always a simple and winning project. It’s open ended and any age friendly.
The first to notice the table is Miss Lil, age 4. Little K, age 3 quickly follows. They sit shoulder to shoulder, criss crossing arms to reach favorite colors. Miss Lil looks over to Little K’s scribbles of paint, and says, “that’s not how an artist paints. He’s not doing it right.” Miss Lil is at a stage with her art where she is drawing representationally. She paints with with product intention. Little K is still at the stage of feeling as he paints without an intentional end point.
Friend E comes around after Miss Lil and Little K leave the table and he paints spirals and circles with each color, making all the colors blend.
The 5 year old boys join in and are focused on mixing colors. They fill the rest of the paper with color. They choose smaller pieces of paper and make lots of prints.
Here is a representation of painting at different ages.
From the left to the right…Friend E 2 years old, Little K 3 years old, Miss Lil 4 years old.
We string a rope on the sliding doors. The kids use clothes pins, hanging the papers to dry.