Friday, December 7, 2012

Top 25 Ultimate Christmas Kid-Friendly Craft and Winter Craft Round-Up: Favorite Christmas Crafts and Activities from Pink and Green Mama Blog


Here is a list of some of my favorite Christmas activities 
and winter craft projects from my archives. 
I'll be taking some blog and social media breaks this month and next
to spend time with my family. 
Wishing you and yours a Very Merry and Cozy December!
Warning some of these posts were deleted during a blog update so you may encounter some broken links!










(these Kid-Illustrated Art Keepsake Boxes make fantastic grandparent gifts!)
* Salt Dough Recipe HERE - just add glitter! * 


20. Paper Snowflakes on our windows



See you again in January!
Warmly,
Pink and Green Mama
MaryLea


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Thursday, December 6, 2012

* Using Christmas As An Opportunity To Teach That Less Is More


How many of us, as parents, try to buy every item on our kid's wish list
(to the best of our ability or within financial reason)? I know I am guilty of it. 
My girls live a very comfortable suburban existence. They have closets full of clothes, shoes that fit on their feet, food in their tummies, bookshelves full of books and a play room that is stocked with toys, games, and puzzles. Christmas and the winter holidays seem to have shifted, especially in 
our consumer driven American culture, into a feeding frenzy for stores telling us (and our kids) that more is more and we should buy every last toy on our children's wish lists no matter the financial or emotional cost.

I read a great article on The Power of No over at the Mom's Homeroom website. It's a great reminder that you are NOT a bad parent if you don't buy everything your child asks for.
In fact, you really shouldn't. What kind of life lesson are we teaching our children if they always get EVERYthing they want? Do you, as an adult, always get everything YOU want? No, of course not. 
Isn't it more fun to have some things you still wish or dream for?
Isn't it more fun for everyone if mom and dad aren't drowning in credit card debt because they blew their budget buying a bunch of plastic toys that kid's didn't even knew they wanted two months ago before the holiday commercial bombardment started? 

I'd like to suggest some other ideas this year.

1. Keep it Simple = Less is More.
How about, picking 2 or 3 things you know your child REALLY wants and will get a lot of pleasure from and leave the rest of their wish list for another time. Perhaps to carry over to a birthday or other special event? Are they still going to want it then? If so, great. If not, they probably didn't really need or want it.

2. How about the gift of time?
Time with you. Time with grandma and grandpa.That's what they really want. One-on-one time. 
Your complete attention - no computers, no cell phones -- just you.
Take a nature walk, visit a museum together, snuggle on the couch with a stack of books,play a game with your kid(s). Make some art or crafts together. Need some ideas? Check out my blog! (shameless plug) Play in the kitchen - cook something together or make play dough together, or do kitchen "science" experiments together. All of these activities are mostly free and they will build memories.
Your child will remember the afternoon you spent doing a puzzle together, painting watercolors together, or blowing up baking soda with vinegar and food coloring in the kitchen more than that piece of flashing plastic! I promise. 

3. Homemade Gifts
My girls love stuff I've made or picked up at a craft show or Etsy 10 times MORE than anything I buy at the toy store. Here's a link to my Homemade Christmas Gifts Ideas Pinterest Board - all kinds of fun kid-friendly gift ideas on here. Not crafty? That's okay, write a short story.  Make a "mix tape" CD. Record your voice reading a book out loud onto a CD and make your own "read aloud" book kit. Put together a science experiments kit - checkout pinterest for all kinds of fun ideas!

Wishing you all a LESS stressful December
filled with MORE quality time and memories for your family!

Warmly,
Pink and Green Mama
MaryLea


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

* Festive Kid-Friendly Mod Podge Christmas Ornaments!


My girls and I are huge fans of Mod Podge, it is our favorite decoupage medium, 
it makes a regular appearance on our crafting table!
As you can imagine, I was super excited when my very generous friends at Plaid
sent me a goodie box packed with all kinds of Mod Podge products!
We were challenged to come up with a festive holiday craft 
and the girls wanted to make ornaments.


We started our project with a trip to Michaels (our favorite craft store!) 
to pick up some of these plastic ornaments. They look like glass, right?! 
They're shatterproof plastic ornaments - perfect for little fingers and clumsy dogs. 


Then, we set up our art table with a stack of origami paper (also purchased at Michaels)
scissors, a small paint brush, and some Gloss Lustre Mod Podge 
(we used the glossy Mod Podge to compliment our shiny work surface)


We each made a scene with cut paper. 
"E" my 9 year old made this turquoise blue under water scene because she loves 
the ocean and thought her ornament looked like a fish bowl. 


"C" my 5 year old wanted to make a Christmas tree so her ornament 
would look like a snow globe. You can see her carefully cutting out "ornaments" below.
I tried to make a winter scene with snowy trees but liked the girl's projects much better than mine!
Note: If the cut paper part of this project seems too tricky for your kids, you can 
make this same project with original drawings and artwork by your children! 


After they cut out the shapes and made their pictures, 
and the Mod Podge to stick them together, 
then we coated one side of each ornament
with a layer of Mod Podge and attached our scenes. 


We put the scenes facing the inside of the ornament so that you can look through
from the front and it looks like a snow globe.
Note: Everything is on the OUTside of the ornament -- nothing on the inside,
that's what makes this project so kid-friendly! 
Just glue your artwork to the backside of the ornament facing in.

Each scene was "sealed" to the ornament with
 an additional layer of Mod Podge.


While the Mod Podge was still wet, we covered the backsides of our ornaments
with a generous layer of glitter and allowed them to dry completely 
before shaking off the excess glitter. 
We used the Mod Podge Sparkle formula to give it some extra bling!


Then, I carefully glued a piece of ribbon to the edge of each ornament
with my glue gun (a job for a parent, not kids) to finish the transition between 
the glitter and the rest of the ornament. 


It adds a nice polished touch to the project. 


Here are our finished ornaments hanging on our Art Studio Christmas tree!
I love the colors in "E"s underwater ocean ornament. 


Here is "C"s Christmas tree and my winter trees are shown below. 


The possibilities with homemade Mod Podge ornaments are endless,
you can use craft papers, tissue paper, or even (one of our favorites) holiday paper napkins!
Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season filled with lots 
of fun crafts and homemade fun! 

For more great ides check out...
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Plaid Crafts
Like Plaid on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/InspiredByPlaid
Follow Plaid on Twitter: http://www.twitter/com/#!/PlaidCrafts
Sign up for the Plaid Crafts Newsletter for More Great Ideas:
http://www.plaidonline.com/

Warmly,
Pink and Green Mama,
MaryLea
I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid Crafts and Blueprint Social,
all opinions expressed are my own and all art work shown 
was created by my girls and myself with lots of fun and giggles! 


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Monday, December 3, 2012

* Sensory Ball Christmas Ornaments Inspired By Sensory Boxes!


Our love of sensory boxes and terrariums inspired this project! 
While shopping at Michaels (our favorite craft store) recently,
I came across these wonderful acrylic ornaments!
They are just like the glass ornaments we've used in the past to make poured paint ornaments
but, these are even better because they are kid-friendly plastic. 
They're shatterproof - just right for kids and big clumsy dogs! 


For the first ornament we were inspired by our Winter Sensory Rice Box.
We used some sprigs of glittered plastic "greenery" 
from the $1 floral pick area at Michaels. We just trimmed off some 
sparkly greenery with scissors and popped them through the hole at the top of the ornament.
For the snowman, we used one of these little fuzzy plastic snowmen
(they come in a 6 pack at Michaels this time of year -- we love them for our winter sensory box)
I added a glob of Aleene's Tacky Glue to the bottom of the ornament and carefully
placed him inside the ball using my Hemostat tool (see photo below.)
Hemostat tool you say? Yes, it's one of my favorite crafting supplies.
I bought it years ago from a quilting catalog and use it when I'm sewing to pull 
and inside-out small drawstrings and bindings in tight spaces. 
They may have them at Harbor Freight in their random medical supply area!


For the snow we used a mixture of table salt and my favorite 
DecoArt "Glamour Dust" also from Michaels (see above photo.)
Great for adding shimmer to Christmas, Winter, and Fairy projects!
Note: Long skinny paint brushes are good for adding extra dabs of glue 
inside the ornament when needed.


Our ocean sensory ornament was inspired by our still beloved, Ocean Sensory Box.
We glued a seahorse to the ball and used a piece of that floral pick stuff
that looked like coral. Then, we added some tiny sea shells, fish gravel, and blue glitter. 


Finished Ocean Ornament hanging out with one of my clothespin mermaids!


If you want to make your own clothespin mermaid, check out my 


We also made a Woodland ornament inspired by our love of "fairy lands"
with a small "log" (twig), silk flowers, butterfly, 
and a few glittery acorns from the fall glitter and Mod Podge leaf project!



Miniature trees were glued to the bottom of this ornament then 
we added more sparkle dust and salt as snow. 


The possibilities are endless, it was really fun to brainstorm
with the girls and come up with sensory box inspired ornaments!
Happy Holiday Crafting!


Inspired to make a sensory box?

Warmly,
Pink and Green Mama
MaryLea


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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Winter Craft: Snowflake Printmaking Project Using Found Objects




This project can be found in my Pink and Green Mama Crafts: Winter FUN Ebook
It was an art lesson I used to teach to my preschoolers and kindergarten students.
It's a bit messy but manageable, quick to do, and the results are beautiful!

For this project you will need:

* Square Paper (we use black and blue) cut into 12"x12" or 9"x9" squares 
(hint: scrapbook paper comes in these sizes!)

* White washable tempera or acrylic craft paint and a plate or dish

* Found Objects: Popsicle sticks, empty thread/ribbon spools, 
foam shapes/beads, bottle caps, toothpicks, buttons, etc. 


1. Start by dipping a popsicle stick in your white paint on the skinny edge. Make a print (line) by pressing the skinny, painted edge of the stick onto your paper to create 4 lines making a "plus" or "T" shape. Then, print four more lines to create an "X" shape. See photo below. 



2. Dip objects into paint and begin printing your snowflake by stamping each shape onto each line, one at a time. Work your way around the design, systematically printing shapes on each "spoke" of the snowflake. 

3. Repeat with different shapes and patterns until you have created a design that makes you happy. You will need to dip your shapes into the paint to "re-ink" several times. 

Hint: Keep a rag, washcloth, or baby wipe nearby to clean up messy hands and fingers!





Even big sister likes to make these! 
Fun for your whole family or classroom.


No two snowflakes will be alike - just like real ones!
Make as many as you wish, when they are dry hang up and display.



Happy Winter Printmaking!

For More Winter Fun Check out my Winter Fun Ebook here!


Warmly,
Pink and Green Mama
MaryLea


Saturday, December 1, 2012

* How To Encourage Compassion and Generosity With Children


I wrote to you in November about the importance of 
finding time for community service as a family and about 
building compassion through service with your children. 
I want to focus this month on how to encourage generosity 
and compassion with your children as a way of giving back at holiday time
and teaching our children to be thankful for what they have. 

To embrace the spirit of the holidays 
you can work as a family to give back to others
with family-friendly activities such as: 

Shopping as a family for  recipients of a local "giving tree" or "angel tree"


Collecting and donating canned food for a local food pantry
or food drive at your local grocery store.
Throw a holiday housewarming party and collect canned goods
from your guests for the hungry
or pet food for the animal shelter (or an animal rescue group)

Let your children pick out and shop for toys to donate
to "Toys For Tots" and other similar toy drives.
You can visit their website and find your state for a drop-off location.
My daughter's school collects toys this way every year.

Adopt a family - find a needy family through a local shelter,
church, or non-profit group like "The Box Project"
and collect items they need (clothing, toys, books, food, toiletries)
My family enjoyed supporting and getting to know a single mother and her son
for many years through this wonderful group.


Forgo presents and make a family donation to charity. 
Our family really likes to donate animals to Heifer International,
a non profit group that gives animals and training to children and families 
around the world to help them become self reliant. 

Drop some coins in every Salvation Army bucket you pass. 

A free way to give to others is to just go caroling in your neighborhood!


Warmly,
Pink and Green Mama
MaryLea


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