Posts Tagged ‘snow day kid activity’

Make your own holiday cards!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Father ChristmasIt’s December! Time for your annual reach out to friends and family. As the weather gets colder, you and the kids may be spending more time indoors. If you’re looking for an activity that’s fun for all, try making holiday cards.

When making homemade holiday cards with the kids, remember that safety should come first. Always supervise the use of scissors, glue and other adhesives, and make sure that they wear something over their clothes if they’re working with paints or permanent markers. Encourage your kids to cover mistakes with new pictures rather than trashing an entire card, and make sure that they help you to clean up afterward.

You will need some supplies such as card stock or construction paper. You could also use paper plates! Add glue, glitter, stickers, markers, glitter pens, cotton balls, and rubber stamps/ink to your supply list. Pull out your ribbons and bows for texture. Take some snapshots of the family and pets and print them out on your color printer. You can buy greeting card sized envelopes at your local office supply store.

There are hundreds of ways in which your kids can make homemade holiday cards for relatives. Encourage your kids to be creative with all of the supplies, and to make each card unique. If they are old enough, they can write messages inside the cards, or you can do that for them while they work. If you know how, you can even write in calligraphy or another old style of writing to make the holiday cards more festive. You can use colored construction paper to fold in half and make snowmen, Christmas trees, and hearts. Or make cut-outs of holly or berries to paste onto the card.

Mini Grandma Helper WoolieYou can also make “pop-up” cards by pasting pictures or drawings to the inside of the card that will stand up when the card is opened. One of the best ways to do this is by using construction paper on the inside of card stock.

You can use coffee machine filters to make different shaped snowflakes. Show your kids how you can fold the filters and cut into them in different places to make unique snowflakes each time.

Try a hand-print Santa card: Cut Santa-hat shapes (minus the pom-poms and white trim) from the craft paper, then glue one onto each card. Draw eyes or glue on some googly eyes about a fingertip width below the hat. Turn the card upside down so the hat is on the bottom.

Pour white tempera paint onto a paper plate, and a dollop each of red, black, and pink (mix some red and white) onto another. Put a hand in the paint, and then stamp the hand-print above the hat and eyes. Turn the card back around, then use fingertips to stamp the trim on the hats, and a nose, mouth, and cheeks on each face.

If you wind up with more cards than recipients, please consider sending a card to service members who are on active duty away from their families. You can send a card to the Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes program, or reach out to your local charity for more information.

Rocking HorseFrosted Pine and Berry Wreath

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to MySpace Post to StumbleUpon

Honey Rock Candy Recipe

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Honey PotWith the kids out of school, you may be scrambling for a fun family activity. Ever made rock candy?

Rock candy (also called rock sugar) is a type of confectionery mineral composed of relatively large sugar crystals. The candy is formed by allowing a supersaturated solution of sugar and water to crystallize onto a surface such as a string or stick.

Making rock candy is relatively simple and is an entertaining activity. Kids will get excited about watching the candy grow in the form of crystals (over the course of about 4 hours). As a reward for their patience, they get to eat the candy at the end of the week. Making rock candy is also a great science experiment! You can make it with either a string or a stick.

To make honey rock candy, you will need:

2 Cups of water
3 Cups of sugar
1 Cup of honey
A Glass jar or glass-measuring cup
A Pencil
A Paperclip
String or long wooden stick (longer than a Popsicle stick, maybe a wooden kabob stick)
A Saucepan
A Paper towel
Food coloring to make colored rock candy

You may want to experiment with mixing the food coloring before you add it to the candy to make sure you get the right colors you want. Otherwise, you might end up with a batch of brown candy.

Make sure your glass jar or cup is completely clean before you use it. Measure a piece of string to be a little higher than the jar/cup, or use a stick longer than the height of the container.

Blueberry SyrupIf using a stick: bring water to boil in a saucepan first. Add sugar to the water one cup at a time while stirring. Add the honey and continue stirring until it has all melted and blended in with your sugar water. If you are using food coloring, add it now. Take the mixture off of the stove top. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into your glass-measuring cup.

If using string: tape one end of the string to the middle of the pencil. Take the second end of the string and attach a paper clip to it. This will keep the string hanging downward. Wet the string and roll it in a little bit of sugar. This will get the process started a little faster. Place the pencil over top of the glass jar with the string hanging down. Set it aside. Then place the water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add sugar to the water one cup at a time while stirring. You want to watch for the previous cup of sugar to dissolve before adding more. It will be much harder toward the end. Add the honey and continue stirring until completely melted and blended in with your sugar water. Add the food coloring at this point. Take the mixture off of the stove. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Pour the mixture in to your glass-measuring cup.

Maine Maple SyrupIf using a stick: moisten the stick and roll in some granulated sugar. Tape the stick to the pencil, or use some string to tightly fasten the two together. Place the pencil over the mouth of the glass or jar, and position the stick so that it is completely covered in the already prepared sugar water.

Set the cup somewhere in your house where it will stay cool and not get any light. Make sure that you cover it with a paper towel, so that no dust or dirt gets in it.

Although you will see the rock candy begin to form within four hours, you should wait seven days before taking your rock candy out to eat it. One cup makes one serving.

If you want to add flavor by means of an extract, add after combining the sugar and honey with water. About 5-10 drops of flavored extract will be enough to create flavored rock candy; if you would like the taste to be very strong, add 15-20 drops to the mixture.

Try using maple or blueberry syrup.

If you are not a fan of honey, you can also use fruit to flavor the rock candy.

For fruit for flavoring, you will need to bring the mixture to a simmer. Drop a few small pieces of fresh-cut fruit into the saucepan, and continue to simmer for 3-5 minutes. You will need to strain the fruit pieces from the mixture using a spoon or a colander before transferring the mixture into a glass.

Try creating different flavors and colors and setting up multiple jars of the mixture to see the varied results you get! Have fun!

Cherries Spoon RestBaker Lady Apron

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to MySpace Post to StumbleUpon

Batteries not Needed – alternative entertainment for kids

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Checkers GameYou may have seen in the news lately that lithium batteries are becoming an increasing safety hazard to kids. According to the Los Angeles Times, swallowing a battery can cause: “vocal cord paralysis, esophageal narrowing, and destruction or perforation of the trachea or gastric wall, causing bleeding that can be—and has been—fatal to some children.” In today’s world, it’s hard to find toys that capture a child’s attention like the bleeping, flashing, moving do-dads you see in the toy store. Here are some ideas that require a little imagination and provide hours of fun.

Puppets! Puppets are great for bringing out the inner comedian in your child. Listen to the fun voices they use for the puppets and watch them talk to themselves. Children relate to puppets from their earliest years because they are used to making inanimate characters come to life. They try on personalities and take them off again. The puppet can be whatever the puppeteer and the child make it. It can be the child’s friend without demanding something in return. It can say what the child thinks and feel what the child feels. Ask your kids to put on a puppet show for you and see what they come up with!

Checkers and tic-tac-toe. These simple games go fast, but they require strategy and critical thinking skills. They can also teach kids to take turns and share. Many sets now come with large boards made out of rug so you can play on the floor. The pieces are larger too and less of a choking hazard.

Doghouse GameHave a large number of children to entertain? How about a round of bingo? Of course, bingo is the perfect game for groups of all sizes. Great for teaching numbers and letters, you can also use bingo to have kids make geometric shapes (square, railroad tracks). Some experiments say that bingo players were more accurate and faster in tests that measured memory, mental speed and their ability to absorb information from the environment around them, than those who did not play the game. One of the other benefits of bingo for kids is the concept of time. Hand-eye coordination needed for bingo may not be as challenging as for other games, but the time constraint in which players must check their numbers is key to the sustenance of mental agility. Whenever someone makes a bingo, have everyone sing the bingo song!

There are a number of card games that you can teach kids. A popular one uses more than one deck. The cards are divided equally among the players, then the players try to diminish their hand by laying down cards in the order they appear in the deck, face down. The object is for the player to discard all the cards from their hand. This is done by placing one or more cards, ostensibly of a stated value, on the discard pile. Others are allowed to challenge the veracity of the player’s claim about the cards being played. The game has many nicknames, but you can use ‘Kiwi’ or ‘No Way’ or ‘Bluffing’ for the kids.

So try a new activity for your child that doesn’t involve bells, beeping, or batteries! Sometimes an imagination is a child’s best play accessory.

State Fair Bingo GameTic Tac Toe Game

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to MySpace Post to StumbleUpon