(Photo Credit: Dave Cooper)
I love the idea of a dress up item that is made of natural materials and celebrates the season. Last spring Jude loved his crown of clover, so this fall we decided to make a leaf mask. It was really simple to create and the results, if I do say so myself, are quite stunning. Jude had a blast playing "leaf man" and I think your little one would too!
Want to make your own? Read on for a full tutorial.
Preserve your leaves. We skipped this step and I wish we wouldn't have because after a few days the mask got all curly and crunchy.
Using hot glue, apply the leaves. Start with the largest leaves on the outside and move towards the center with the smaller leaves.
Happy Fall Crafting!
Okay, I am as excited as the next gal for the upcoming joy that is the holiday season. In fact, I can't resist all the awesome ideas on Pinterest and I already have a pretty long list of winter to-makes. But, it's still fall folks. And fall is my favorite. I love the changing leaves and the call to craft without the Christmas frenzy. Plus, Thanksgiving is such an awesome holiday, all about gratitude and food. I'm not ready to trade in my pumpkin spice latte for an eggnog one just yet. So here at small + friendly we are going to savor the autumn season a bit more before switching into snowflake and holly high-gear.
See those beautiful leaves? I've got more than one project in the works for those beauties. But today I thought I'd share a fun process-based art project that turned out surprisingly pretty and fallish.
This little project couldn't be easier to set up: Dig into that wine cork stash, grab a piece of cardboard, a bottle of good old Elmer's, and let your little one get building. I ended up putting a pool of glue on a paper plate so that the corks could simply be dipped and stuck.
Once the glue dries, extend the fun with paint in a fall palette. Jude really enjoyed this simple project and I imagine older children could create some pretty elaborate sculptures.
I hope you'll join me in savoring this crisp and crafty season.
Looking for a fun Halloween craft that doubles as rad door decor? Well, have I got just the thing for you! Plus, an afternoon of not too spooky craft fun is the perfect way to procrastinate making that pesky Halloween costume. Tracing, paper ripping, glues sticks, OH MY! I designed this project with preschooler-favorites in mind, although I must admit I had just as much fun ripping and gluing as Jude did.
Jude is at that age where he is both scared and fascinated with the darker side of Halloween. We decided a life-sized mummy guarding the door was just what we needed to keep the zombies, spooks, and other undesirables at a safe distance. That's right, we've got a mummy bouncer.
Want to make your own?
In the hopes that all of our East Coast friends have braved the storm, I thought it would be an excellent time to bring this post hope. This was a guest post on the fabulous imagine gnats from last year. I hope it brings a bit of California sunshine to everyone.
We all know those winter days, the ones when the weather outside is frightful, and you have tons to get done. Bad enough on your own, but add a pent-up toddler and frightful isn't the half of it. I have assembled a few tips designed to help you deal, or at the very least make you laugh.
Okay here goes:
1. Never disturb a toddler engaged in solo play.
Need a unique gift? Have a few dollars, a few minutes, and a tiny artist in residence? How about creating a useful, lasting piece of art? Jude made this cereal bowl for his Daddy's birthday. Isn't it cool? It was so easy and this photo was taken after many trips through the dishwasher, which means your little one's creation can actually be used!
Here's what you'll need to make your own:
- A piece of white porcelain: a mug, plate, bowl etc.
- This pen
1. Set up your little artist, explain the project and let them go to town. (Be sure they are only drawing on the side that won't touch food, I just set the bowl upside down.)
2. Stop them before they get too wild. (Have more art supplies ready for a quick, tear-free swap.)
3. Let ink dry for 24 hours and then bake your piece at 300 degrees F for 35 minutes.
4. Gift and enjoy!
It's no secret that I'm a big fan of turning toddler art into gifts: t-shirts, birdhouses, bookmarks. I love that they enjoy making it. I get a big kick out of how interesting and beautiful the artwork of very young children can be. And of course, the gifts are given to those that know and love the artist, making them very special indeed. But the thing I love most about this type of gift is the pride children feel in seeing something they created being used. Even if you are hesitant to try a craft like this with your little one, I encourage you to give it a go, the results might just astound you.
Here's to giving (tiny)handmade!
Last year I shared the top five toys that Jude adored between the ages of 1 and 2 (actually, he still loves them, talk about value). This year I thought it would be cool to do the same for 2 to 3 year olds. Jude, being a just after Christmas baby, is the perfect age-based toy tester (Psst, did you hear that Melissa and Doug?). I am a "less is more" gal when it comes to toys (and most other things too, except chocolate and glitter, of course), so with the same intention as last year, I gathered the very top toys that Jude enjoyed all year long. Please note, this post contains affiliate links to Amazon, but as always I encourage you to check out your local, independent toy store.
1. Play Kitchen - Of course I'm a big fan of the DIY option, but there are some awesome and affordable pre-made models. A tool bench is another fun idea. Anything that let's your little one pretend to be grown up.
5. Tricycle - A trike with a handle is a godsend when your little one outgrows (or rejects) a stroller. Plus, before you know it, they will be cruising solo.
Here's hoping this gives you some great ideas for the lucky little ones in your life. Happy Gifting!
In case you didn't get enough pumpkin spice at breakfast, how about adding it to play time? Jude's playdough was getting a bit tired and I jumped at the chance to make a seasonal batch. I think this is my favorite playdough we've made. It smells wonderful and our "secret" ingredient makes it extra smooth and less susceptible to dry outs.
Pumpkin Spice Playdough Recipe (adapted for the recipe found in Unplugged Play)
* Coconut oil is my secret ingredient. I makes the best play dough ever. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it.
For the play portion of our dough we went on a nature walk to gather fall's bounty: leaves, horse chestnuts, acorns. Then Jude got busy rolling dough, making prints, and having a blast.
If you haven't had a chance to try homemade playdough, I encourage you to give it a try. It is so much nicer, cheaper, and more natural than store bought. Plus, the making is part of the fun! I think this autumnal playdough would make a perfect addition to the kid's table on Thanksgiving, don't you? Now, hurry, make some pumpkin spice play dough before everything turns peppermint!
Here's to (seasonal) homemade fun!