My Wonderful Walls Blog — Activities & Crafts for Kids

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Cleaning with Kids Made Easy 3

LET’S CLEAN! Cleaning can be oodles of fun… with the right attitude. Let us break from our typical topic of wall art for a moment and share with you a few fun ideas to help your get the cleaning done and have a great time with your kids at the same time.  

Cleaning With Kids

Spot Check
Mopping can be a lot of fun. Before you begin, put a bandana around your head (just for silliness) and slippers (to prevent slipping on the wet floor). Your child will enjoy helping you dip the mop in and out of the water and squeezing out the excess water. Then give him the task of finding all the dirty areas and spots on the floor. Every time he finds a spot, yell out "Spot Check!"

Laundry Sort and Catch
Here is a quick and easy laundry sort method that works well with multiple kids. Dump all the laundry into a big pile and have the kids stand back from it and apart from each other. Then designate the catchers. One kid is “towels”. One kid is “socks’. One kid is “daddy”. One kid is “Jordan”. The pick up a piece of laundry and throw it at the corresponding catcher. Some they’ll catch and put in the pile at their feet, some will land on their head or they’ll miss completely. One thing is for sure, they’ll be giggling up a storm. If you have only one child, you could use stuffed animal catchers in place of kids. I can get a whole week’s worth of laundry sorted in about 20 minutes this way… and the kids have a blast.

General Laundry Help
Doing the laundry may seem like a boring chore to an adult but an exciting "project" to a toddler. Have your child help you out with all aspects of the tasks. Collect the laundry from baskets around the house, sort, put clothes in washer, add detergent, change the settings, and press the start button, etc. (Caution: Never leave your child unattended around the washing machine.)

Little Helper
While you are cleaning, give your child a broom, rag or scrub brush so that she can "help you" with the cleaning. Of course she probably won't be very effective, but it will keep her occupied for a little while.

Sock Match
When you are folding the laundry, give your child all the socks and present him with the task of matching them all up. This will keep him occupied and away from the clothes that you have already folded.

Arts, Crafts and Exploring Outdoors with Your Little One 1

TAKE IT OUTDOORS: This summer we aren’t just about wall stencils, wall decals and kids canvas wall art. Oh no, sir. We are having lots of fun with arts and crafts and exploration. Today, as part of our summer toddler activity series, we encourage you to get out of the house with your little one. We hope you enjoy this little collection of outdoor ideas.

Outdoor Fun With KidsGet Out and Explore
Just simply get out and explore. Look for objects you’ve never seen before. Talk about what has changed, smells, sounds, etc. Take your shoes off and squish your toes in the grass, mud, and sand. You can even have a special exploring hat and exploring bag for treasure collection.

Water Balloon Splat
Let's face it... kids love to watch things break and explode. Fill up some water balloons and then take them outdoors and splat them all over the place. Another interesting thing to do is break them with a pin. Your child holds the balloon, you stick it with a pin, and the water comes crashing down in a big ball (it's more fun than it sounds).

Stone Soup
Bring a big pot and wooden spoon outside. Collect rocks, leaves, twigs, bugs, or bits of whatever you find to make your "stone soup." (Be careful that your child does not put anything in his mouth.)

Painted Sand Sculptures
This activity puts a fun spin on making sand castles. When you go to the beach, put liquid watercolor in spray bottles. (These are watercolors that come as liquids and can be found at the craft store or online.) After you make a sand castle or mermaid or whatever sand sculpture, simply spray-paint them. Just regular old watercolor in a spray bottle – sand paint! You can also color the sand ahead of time and use the colored sand to mold.

Sand Rainbow in a Jar
Gather up some sand from your sand box or during a trip to the beach. Fill plastic cups halfway with sand and then add several drops of food coloring to each (one color  per cup). She can help with the food coloring drops and the mixing of the sand. Then give her a spoon and watch her layer the colored sand in her own unique pattern into a wide-mouth jar or plastic bottle. And unless you simply embrace the mess or have an extremely neat child, this activity is best done 100% outside. (Make sure to have a jar for you. I found this to be a peaceful activity for me. I was still working on my sand rainbow long after my kids had finished!)

Nature Prints
Bring some paint to the park and pick up leaves, acorns, pinecones, etc. Paint them. Print with them. What makes the best print? Then hang them up in your child’s room as wall art.

Dig for Treasure
Buy some metal confetti from the dollar store and hide a handful in the sandbox. Then give your kids a sieve and let them dig for treasure! You can also use the smooth, colorful stones they sell to use in the bottom of vases. Or, better yet, let them dig for real treasure.... pennies!

Outside Painting
Set up an easel outside for your child and have her paint what she sees (or anything else that might come to mind). If you like, add glitter, glue, or anything crafty (buttons, paper, ribbon). When complete, hang this unique and colorful wall décor up for all to see.

Outside Train Tracks
If you have a set of train tracks, encourage your child to set them up outside in different areas of the yard. An incline can be an especially exciting place for a train to roll along. Under a bush or tree can be intriguing as well. Bring out some of his little people or toy animals and give them a ride on the train.

Nature Walks
Go for a walk with your child and pick up interesting things you see along the way. Then at home, do something creative with them. Paint them. Display them as a kids wall mural. Collect them in a pile. Maybe just hold them and hold them and hold them....

Fall Mask / Fall Play
This is a nice activity for the fall. Walk around the neighborhood with a bag and collect leaves. Encourage your child to find a wide variety of shapes and colors. Cut out eye holes in a paper plate and then glue on the leaves. Attach a popsicle stick to the bottom of the paper plate for a handle. Finally, put on a fall play. Decorate the "stage" with extra leaves, acorns, pine cones, etc. from the walk.

Music Fun with Your Toddler 0

Music FunMUSIC FUN: As a break from our typical blog topics of wall stencils, wall decals and kids canvas wall art, we continue with our summertime toddler activity series. Enjoy this little collection of musical goodies!

 

Music Basket
Designate a basket for rhythm instruments (maracas, drums, tambourines, flutes, bells, gourds, triangles, etc). Set aside a specific "music time" every day or so and make up original songs, or simply play the instruments while listening to music on the stereo.

Dancing With Your Star
You and your child make up silly dances to some of her favorite songs. Use simple hand motions or more complex twists and turns. Go the extra mile and have a "costume" for each song. Put on a performance after dinner that evening.

Kitchen Drums
Explore your kitchen and find bowls that will make varying musical sounds (glass, metal, plastic). Search your drawers for a wide variety of spoons (metal, plastic, wooden). Set up the "drum set" and experiment with sounds. Which materials make the loudest sounds? The softest? The prettiest?

Strike a Pose
Teach your child how to “strike a pose” then either blast the Madonna song Vogue (which you can find easily on YouTube) or put on some music while walk around striking poses every so often… Or for a different variation, have a bell ringer (hit a pot, blow a whistle, etc.) and strike a different poses every time the bell (pot, whistle) is activated. Try to be serious about this.... and you'll probably end up laughing hysterically.

Turn That Dial
Turn on the radio and listen to music together. Start from one end of the dial and go to the other. Talk about the songs and the sounds you hear. Discuss the name of each type of music (rap, show tunes, country, gospel, R&B, pop, etc.). Which types of music do you like or don't like? How does it make you feel? Feel free to dance or sing if a song or sound in particular inspires you. You could also talk about the commercials you hear. What are they selling? Would you like to buy it? Why or why not?

Wake-Up/Bedtime Songs
Make up songs as you get ready for the day and for bedtime. Model this for your child often and she will most likely and most remarkably follow suit.

Musical Chairs
Need I explain how this works? If doing with 4 people, use 3 chairs (5 people, 4 chairs). Start the music and walk around the chairs until the music stops, at which point you run for an empty chair. The person without a seat is out of the game. Repeat. Last person in a seat wins. Don’t be limited by chairs. You can use couch cushions or pillows or even t-shirts.

In the Kitchen with the Kids 0

IN THE KITCHEN: Today, as we enter week 2 of our arts & crafts summer, we hope you enjoy this collection of fun toddler activities to do with your child(ren) in the kitchen.

Fun Cooking With KidsShish kabob with the Kids
Shisk kabobs are a great way to encourage the kids to help out with the cooking/preparing of the family meals. Parents do all the cutting work (of course). Give the kids some wooden sticks (found in grocery store) and let them fill them up with all their favorite meats and veggies. And fruit tastes great grilled as well--pineapple, peach, apple, etc. Littler ones will need help so they hurt/stab/poke themselves, but older ages 3 up can do this by themselves. Final step, grill on the outdoor grill or broil in the oven. Our family does this every year on Father’s Day.

Painted Pancakes and Purple Eggs
Just saying it sounds fun! To make the paint for the pancakes, pour a small amount of milk into a bowl, and mix with a few drops of food coloring. Then paint the pancakeswith a clean paint brush. Add a few drops of purple (red/blue) food coloring to your scrambled eggs before cooking, and you've got a very colorful meal.

Green Eggs and Ham
Read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham, and then head to the kitchen to make your own. Use spinach or green food coloring to color the eggs. Recite from the book as you cook.

Kitchen Pool Party
This is a fun activity for a cold and wintry day. If you have a little plastic pool, bring it indoors and into the kitchen. Fill with warm water, throw in some pool toys, put on yourbathing suits, and enjoy an indoor pool party in the kitchen.

Cookie Dough Letters
Make or buy cookie dough and shape into letters. Then bake and eat them. Yum! And of course, singing the alphabet song as you cook is a must.

Cooking Fun With KidsMini Math Lesson with Cooking
If your child enjoys helping you in the kitchen, pull up a chair and let him help. Allow him to measure, stir, and pour out all the ingredients for the banana bread, brownies,peanut butter cookies, etc. This is also a great place to sneak in a mini-math lesson.

Swimming Fishies
Put baking soda, vinegar, water, and raisins in a bowl and watch the raisins swim up and down.

Pudding Finger Painting
Paint with pudding. Make two or three batches to provide color variety (chocolate, lemon, vanilla, pistachio). Your child will literally eat this idea up!

Coloring Water
Put lots of different clear glass bowls around the kitchen. Allow your child to color the water with food coloring and then make new colors (yellow and blue make green, etc.) using droppers, medicine syringes, spoons, measuring cups... the gamut. At the end, it's all brown, but it's fun along the way. It usually spills all over the kitchen floor, so a bonus is... a clean floor!

Spice-Rack Sniff Test
Get a variety of spices from your spice-rack and smell all of them. For each, talk about what smells good, what smells bad, what the smells make you think of, how you would describe them, what you cook with each kind of spice, etc. Then make something yummy... like cinnamon toast!

Smell Test
Go through your kitchen and find several different food items (with distinct odors). Place in cups, cover with aluminum foil, and poke small holes in the aluminum. Then perform a smell test. Have your child write down or draw a picture of what he thinks the items are. Finally... reveal!

Taste Test
Go through the pantry and refrigerator/freezer and collect a dozen edible items that your child is familiar with. Lay them all out on a tray or in bowls on a tray and cover with a towel. Use a blindfold or just have your child close his eyes as you place the item in his mouth. (You’ll be amazed at what they are and are not able to recognize or what they dislike—ketchup, for example, loved by the most kids as a condiment is almost always spit out with fervent disgust in a blindfolded taste test in my experience). Food item ideas: salt, ketchup, lemon juice, cereal, ice, popsicle, any fruit, salad dressing, cheese, yogurt, milk, juice, bananas, tomatoes, left-overs. After each you can discuss why and how they make their guess (sweet or salty taste, texture, temperature, feel of item in mouth, smell, etc.)

Goop
Make goop together. Use one part cornstarch, one part water, and food coloring if you wish. Mix it and enjoy the unique properties of this odd mixture!

Cornmeal Dough
No cooking required. Mix together 1.5 cups flower, 1 cup salt, 1.5 cups cornmeal, and 1 cup water. Mix well and form smooth dough.

Kool-Aid Dough
Mix 2.5 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 2 packs unsweetened Kool-Aid. Add 3 tablespoons oil and 2 cups boiling water. Once it is cool, mix well with your hands. It smells good but no eating!

Homemade Finger Paints
Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 2 cups cold water, 1/4 clear dishwashing liquid, and food coloring paste.

Kitchen Sink Entertainment
To keep your child busy while cooking dinner, give him a couple plastic cups and spoons and let him play in the kitchen sink with water. Of course please ensure that he won’t be able to fall out and hurt himself.

Rainbow CrayonsRainbow Crayons
Peel old, broken crayons and put the pieces into an old muffin tin lined with aluminum foil. Cook at 300 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Melt them enough to blend the colors but not to the degree that they liquefy and turn into brown sludge. Let cool for 30 minutes, pop out, and draw.

5 Minute Ice Cream
Make homemade ice cream in five minutes in a plastic storage baggie. You'll need: 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 cup milk or half & half, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, 6 tablespoons rock salt, 1 pint-size plastic food storage bag, 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag, and ice cubes.

Fill the large bag half full of ice, add the rock salt and seal. In the small bag, put in the milk, vanilla, and sugar and seal. Place the small bag inside the large one and seal it again carefully. Shake until the mixture turns into ice cream (about 5 minutes). Open carefully, and enjoy.

Pantry Pictures
Glue cereal pieces or other dry foods you have in your pantry to construction paper to create pictures out of them. Use Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Pops, pretzel sticks/rounds or other shapes of pretzels, spaghetti, elbow pasta or other pasta shapes, beans, candy likefruit chews, raisins, etc. Your creativity is the limit here. Make caterpillars, trains, airplanes, butterflies, flowers, robots, or your child's favorite animal. And finally you can hang up as wall décor in the kitchen or child’s bedroom.

Pour, Explore and Play
Give your child some plastic bowls filled with flour, rice, popcorn, etc. Also provide extra bowls, a sieve, a funnel, spoons, etc. and let him pour, explore and play to his heart's content. For easy clean up, do this activity on a large piece of plastic on the floor.

Toddler Activity Ideas - From the Recycle Bin 0

We aren't just all about wall stencils and wall decals for kids! Our Summer Arts and Crafts Fest continues.

FROM THE RECYCLE BIN

Upcycled Crafts With KidsNewspaper Superheroes
This is easy, cheap, and quick entertainment. Make 3-inch-wide newspaper bands for your child's wrists and ankles. Use a scarf or bandana for a cape, and you've got an instant Superhero. What will your superpower be? Aluminum foil also creates an instant space man.

Recycled Storybook
Have your child help you go through the recycle bin and cut out pictures from objects that can make for a fascinating story. When you start paying attention, you'll be amazed at all the interesting pictures on a simple carton of milk or clothing catalogue. Then bind together 10 or 20 half sheets of construction paper. You can bind easily by hole-punching three holes in each sheet and then using twisty ties or ribbon. Next, have your child help you glue the objects on the pages of the book, and you've got your own recycled storybook! Finally, have your child tell you the story that she has created.

Egg Carton Caterpillar
Cut an egg carton lengthwise so you have a strip of 6-egg cups. Turn strip upside-down to form the body. Add pipe cleaners for legs and googly eyes, and you've got a cute and simple caterpillar.

Box Car Train
If you have a train-obsessed little one, here's a simple one (s)he'll love. Gather up some small empty food boxes (mac-n-cheese, cereal, crackers, etc.). Cut out holes in the top of each, big enough so that little stuffed animals can fit.  Next attach them in train-style with yarn or string or ribbon and have your child find the passengers (i.e. stuffed animals) for the train. Your child will enjoy pulling this homemade train around the house. You can also do make a similar train with large cottage cheese and yogurt containers.

Grocery Store
Go through your recycle bin (or pantry), and select items from the grocery story your child will easily recognize. Then turn your hallway or living room into a grocery store aisle by lining up the items in a row. Use a shower caddy or plastic bin for a "shopping basket," and have your child select several items to buy and place in the basket (or ride a tricycle down the aisle with shopping basket in hand). You can be the cashier, and when your child is done shopping, all purchases are taken to the cashier. Depending on the child's age, you can use real or fake money and discuss costs, change, etc. Have a paper bag ready to fill. Repeat until all items are purchased.

Bowling With Creamer Bottles
Coffee creamer bottles make great bowling pins. Once you have collected 10 bottles, remove labels and add a little sand or pebbles to the bottom so they won't knock over too easily. With a permanent marker, draw two stripes around the neck of each and label them 1 through 10. Set them up in the hallway, find a ball, and bowl!

Recycle Bin Blocks
You can create blocks out of a good majority of the boxes you'll find in the recycle bin. They don't have to be perfectly square to classify as blocks. Cereal boxes, mac-n-cheese boxes, and milk cartons all work well. Tape up all the openings and then cover with construction paper or felt (or paint them, number them, color them, etc.) Stack them up and knock down again and again.

Tin Can Blocks
Gather up some empty tin cans (of varying sizes). Tape up the sharp edges with duct tape. Cover with construction paper and color or decorate with pictures from magazines. Stack up and knock down!

Recycle Bin Poster

Recycle Bin Poster
This is good for younger children. Go through your recycle bin and cut out recognizable objects from boxes, papers, and cardboard. Then tape them all to a poster board. Discuss, ask questions about them, point out similarities, etc. Hang up as wall art in your child's room.

Decorated Containers
Go through your recycle bin and find things that would make good containers for your child’s artwork or school supplies (round oatmeal boxes, shoe boxes, Pringles cans, etc.) Then cut out pictures from magazines and decorate.

Guitar
Using a tissue box (rectangular shaped, opening on one side only), 6 rubber bands, and an empty paper towel roll, you can make a homemade guitar. Cut a hole in one of the sides of the tissue box and insert the empty paper towel roll. Tape in place. Wrap rubber bands lengthwise around the tissue box, so that they are in front of the hole in the tissue box. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the sounds that your child produces with this simple and easy project!


Toddler Activity Ideas - Get Crafty 2

GET CRAFTY: As part of our summer craft series, here is the 2nd group of fun activities to keep you and your little ones entertained.  Enjoy!

Crafts With KidsBirdseed Art
Use a big piece of poster board or cardboard as the foundation. Give your child a bowl of birdseed, some glue and some paints and let him go at it. The result will be terrific kids wall art full of color and texture. Let dry and hang for all to admire.

Project Brag Book
Each time you do a project, take a picture of it. Then display all pictures of your projects in a brag book that you fill up as you create.

Rain Mobile
On pieces of construction paper or paper plates, have your child draw and color some large raindrops, clouds, a sun, and a rainbow. Try to make them about the same size. Next help your child cut out the pictures and make a hole at the top of each one. Then thread some string or thin ribbon through the holes and tie each one to a clothes hanger. Talk about what each item is and how it happens in nature (i.e. you will only see a rainbow when it is raining and when the sun is shining / a rainbow happens when the sun shines through the raindrops).  The final step is to hang up. Makes great kid room wall décor.

Squishy Glitter Bag
Put hair gel in a plastic storage baggie along with some glitter. Squish until your child's heart is content.

Bunny Ears Footprints
Dip your child's feet in paint and have him step on a large piece of paper to make the footprints. Then turn it upside down, and the feet become bunny ears. Draw in the rest of the bunny. Glue on googly eyes, cotton balls, etc. for an added punch.

Kid Puzzle
Take a picture of your child and blow it up as big as you can get it. Glue it to cardboard and cut into pieces to make a puzzle.

Paper Plate Masks
Make a simple or extravagant mask with a paper plate. Cut holes in the paper plate for the eyes (and/or nose and mouth). Color with markers. Decorate with feathers, felt or whatever craft materials you have on hand. Staple some ribbon to either side of the plate and tie to the child's head. Or use packing tape to affix a popsicle stick (or paint stir stick or chopstick) to the bottom to use as a handle to hold it up.

Peanut Butter Birdfeeder
Take a potpie tin and spread it with peanut butter and bird seed. Or spread peanut butter onto a pine cone and roll in birdseed. Then hang it outside near a window for easy viewing.

Balloon Hands
Staple a rubber band (two or three times) to the back of a paper plate. Insert palm of hands into the rubber bands, and you've got giant hands. Make two of these per person, blow up a balloon, and pass the balloon back and forth.

Matching With Breast Pads (!?)
Do you have a big box of breast pads under your bathroom sink that you just haven't gotten rid of yet (the cotton, completely flat, disposable type)? If so, don't throw them away. Draw sets of pictures with permanent markers on one side, and you've got a matching game for your child. (Note: You don't need to reveal to your child what they actually are!)

Rubbings
Search your house for flat objects that can be used for rubbings (keys, leaves, paperclips, stickers, etc.). Tape them to a table and then cover the objects with paper that you also tape down. Then using a crayon, rub over the objects, try to figure out what they are, and then reveal. Display your rubbings on the refrigerator or in his bedroom as homemade kid wall decor.

A special thanks to the wonderful mothers who contributed their ideas and activities: Aimee, Alyson, Carolina, Carrie, Celeste, Elise, Heather D, Heather I, Jane, Keely, Laura E, Laura H, Laurie M, Laurie WH, Martha, Nan, and Shelly.