Search Results for: wooden peg dolls

Penguin Peg Dolls

Jax, my budding young ornithologist, loves birds–specifically owls, and because of his recent school study on penguins, they are high on his list, too.  When his teacher and I brainstormed a list of possible ways to extend his learning for enrichment, she came up with the idea of doing a diorama based on a species of penguin we saw at the New England Aquarium in February, one that he didn’t learn about in school and one he could share with his classmates.  Thus, penguin peg dolls were born.

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The kids and I took what felt like forever at JoAnn Fabrics, trying to come up with the best way to create a model penguin.  When we saw the wooden peg dolls, however, that we have used for so many crafts in the past, I knew we had found our medium.

I traced the outline between the black and white parts of their bodies on the peg dolls with pencil.  Then Jax colored them in.

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

After finishing the bodies, we worked on the eyes, beaks, and wings.  We didn’t bother with feet.  They came out super cute in the end!

Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It Penguin Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax and Em had a lot of fun while she cut out an amazing house out of card stock and he was writing interesting facts on African penguins for his presentation.  These two always crack me up, and each other, apparently!

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I’m so proud of my little rockhopper!  We got to see his class’s presentation on penguins yesterday morning, complete with singing, dancing, and my little guy’s awesome emperor penguin, drawn to scale.  The kindergartners, second graders, parents and teachers were all there cheering them on, and then we walked around to hear the “experts” tell us all about their chosen penguin.  It was really impressive, especially all their enthusiasm.  I love when schoolwork ignites a fire inside a child’s imagination.  It certainly has in the case of Jax.

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And his sister, too, it looks like!  She looks so interested and proud!  Next year she’ll be the one in the penguin hat, and I bet she is counting every second!

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Number Gnomes!

Last Christmas, I had big plans to make some number gnomes for my kids to help them with their number recognition and basic math, like I had seen on Etsy.  Well, up until a few days ago, those unfinished wooden peg dolls sat in a box for the past twelve months! So one Sunday afternoon, while we watched football, Em and I decided that the wait was over.  Time to make some Number Gnomes!

NumberMath Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Number/Math Peg Dolls @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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My kids LOVE these, especially Jax! I’ve kept them on the kitchen table and he plays with them first thing in the morning.  Yesterday, he came up with a different idea, to put the answer to the math equation inside the equal cup.  So creative!


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Friends In Colorful Places

Sometimes I’ll admit, I’m a bit more crafty disaster than crafty connoisseur.  But these wooden peg dolls that I made three years ago are still holding up and are still a family favorite!  For a baby girl whose new favorite pastime is sorting, colorful people (even colorful people who have lost half of their hair due to baby slobber) with colorful cups for homes are fantastic friends to have when waiting for dinner.

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She’s getting so big and communicating so well; I can ask Little H a question and she will (usually) shake her head “no” vigorously, because of course she knows what she wants.  Most of the time it’s food, but a lot of the time it’s these guys.


 I’m proud of the effort it took to make them, proud of the fact that all three of my kids have had a great time playing with these wooden peg dolls, proud of the fact I created something she loves and will keep her quiet for the three and a half minutes it takes to microwave Easy-Mac.


With vegetables!  I swear!  Okay, I microwave the frozen vegetables, but it still counts.

Thank goodness we have friends in colorful places.

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Etsy Finds For The Birthday Girl

Em is a very loved, very special, and very spoiled child.  She had three, count ’em, THREE birthday parties last month!  The first was just with us, the second was with extended family, and the third was with friends.  On her actual birthday, we kept it low key and celebrated as a family of four, with guest appearances by Nana, Papa, and Auntie Jenny to help make it special.  We let her open her presents from us and had a very small cake which she picked out at the grocery store.  Yes, we bought the cake at the store!  We had three parties and I made one cake, which my dog eventually ate, so you can’t expect me to be any more domestic and make her three.  She was content with her pretty pink by cake from Hannaford and Princess water bottle.

JDubbs and I were able to still be minimal in the gift department and Em was still so unbelievably happy.  Birthdays at this age are such a surprisingly joyous occasion for little ones–they really are happy with anything.  We bought her a pink silk scarf like the one she loves at school, a floor puzzle, some Golden books, a doll, and my two favorite gifts which I found on Etsy.  First, a fairy ring that I absolutely love and the kids enjoy, maybe not as much as me.  I got one for each of them (click the photo to be sent to the shop).

Not only are they beautiful, simple, and fun, they make great props for photo shoots, as I found out last weekend!  Kids of all ages love playing with these, pretending to be fairies creating rainbows or just running like mad with the ribbons streaming behind them.  Simple pleasures.

And my only nod to her Disney princess obsession, knowing rightly that she would be inundated with that stuff at her family party, were these fabulous Disney princess-inspired wooden peg dolls like the kind I made for my kids a couple years ago.

To say she loves them is not quite sufficient.  They’re precious and well worth the money if you’re trying not to sell your soul to Walt Disney; I am trying and failing.

So more on her fabulous You Are My Sunshine party tomorrow, but I believe in supporting small businesses, and wanted to share these wonderful shops by letting you know about my Etsy finds!  There are so many gorgeous handmade gifts out there that can make an extra-special gift for someone you love.  I’m so happy that I bought these for my two kids–worth every penny!

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Rainbow Scavenger Hunt

I really enjoyed not only orchestrating this scavenger hunt, but also watching my kids at work on it.  I’m sure it could be much more elaborate and spontaneous–let the kids search for the items themselves, for one–but I wanted to contain this to my living room and give them an array of different types of items to find, not just what was laying about.  It kept their attention for quite some time and was a great activity for both kids.

I collected a bunch of things from around the house–buttons, pom poms, beads, foam letters, homemade wooden peg dolls, toys, trains, cars, hair clips, play food, feathers, Legos, etc.  I tried to do many shades of the basic colors and different textures and sizes.  I was happy with my assortment.

Then I took a few large pieces of paper and wrote the names of different colors across the top to create columns.

Then the kids went at the box and organized it all by color across the papers.

It was funny to see how each kid tackled this.  Jax went to work finding the smallest things, like buttons and beads, while Em gloried in her favorite colors–pink, purple, green–and brought me everything in those shades she could.  She was also a big fan of the foam letters and liked placing them on the words atop the paper.  I was so impressed–I had no idea her grasp of letters had progressed that far!  And they didn’t fight at all; there were so many items to go around.

Em’s attention wavered before Jax’s.  She escaped to play with the Legos but he kept right on sorting.  Each pile was organized just so and he made sure he had something for every color.  A meticulous one, my boy.

And then, the most miraculous part, they had just as much fun helping me un-sort it and put the items back in their respective homes.  I don’t know how it happened, but I was using a kind of sing-songy voice and they were just buying into it.  Sometimes one really can take notes from Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar!

This was one of my favorite ways to pass an afternoon, not only because they loved it, but because you’ll learn a lot about your kids by observing them participating in it.  Colors and letters recognition, fine motor skills, matching–a thoroughly fun way to play!

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Worth the Effort

You know me and my crafty side (or lack thereof).  It has great intentions but seems to sabotage itself every now and then.  I don’t put a lot of forethought into my crafts: I tend to be spontaneous.  I know when I describe them to JDubbs, his mind starts cataloging the many ways that one of these crafts could go very wrong, but I just don’t think that way.  I may be naive, but with naivete comes a general hopeful expectation that all will go well.  I’d rather be pleasantly surprised every now and then than to expect the worst all the time.  So, as I say, sometimes our crafts are worth the effort, and sometimes not so much, but I almost always learn a valuable lesson from them nonetheless.  Ah, have the paper towels ON the table.  Got it.  Don’t open the door with a mountain of snow on the other side and expect it won’t pour in.  I’ll remember that for next time.  Let the paint popsicles defrost at room temperature for a while rather than submerging them in warm water, and thus, melting them.  I see.  Lessons learned.
Therefore, all crafts are worth the effort, really.  Kids have fun, we gain experience and with it, knowledge.  But I found a craft the other day and just had to give it a try.  I want my kids to play happily with homemade wooden dolls, too!So I went to JoAnn Fabrics and bought these little wooden peg dolls and cups in their unfinished wood section.  Cost me less than ten bucks.

Things to consider:  What type of paint should I use?  For me, better not to have to worry that Jax may accidentally share one with Emmy, especially since I’m always begging him to share with her anyway.  Too much to think about and mixed signals.  Keep it simple. So I went with fingerpaint.  Maybe not the best solution, but it is what it is.  Fingerpaint doesn’t go on as smoothly as other types of paint, so be prepared to do a few coats if you are going for craftaliciousness.  I just go for get ‘er done and let’s paint the darn things.
Something else to consider:  Should you let your toddler help you paint them?  The easy answer is yes!  Let them experiment with all things artsy and beautiful!  The other easy answer is heck no!  Are you insane?  I think my current answer to that question is yes, let them paint one cup and then make sure you have a spouse, friend, family member around to haul them straight to the tub because they will be a freakin mess.
Crafting with friends (and cocktails) is always more fun, anyway.  And you will want to keep painting since you went to all the effort to get all the stuff together and ready, so best be able to hand the kids off to someone else when they look like this:
Proud but filthy.  That is why I did this in the lull between dinner and bedtime.  He was getting in the bath anyway, so no extra work for the parents.
Okay, so kids are now in bed.  You can now focus and actually finish this darn thing, which has become more work than you realized you were signing up for.
This may seem obvious to you, but it wasn’t to me so I’ll just tell you which way I found to be the simplest to paint these.  Stick a finger in, paint the bottom and sides, then top, then inside last from above.  That way you won’t have to touch parts that have already been painted.  Probably pretty obvious, but it took me three cups to figure that one out.  I’ll just save you the trouble.
Then you can paint the dolls however you’d like.  Save yourself the trouble of painting their faces and just let their faces be wood-colored.  I used colored pencils to draw the face and a few blobs of brown paint for the hair.  (Jason was actually impressed with my hairstyles; they were all slightly different and Justin Beiberish).  And viola!
Eight new friends with eight little homes.
I finished them that night and Jax was psyched to find them on the kitchen table the next morning.  He said, “Our dollies!” and then “They are so cool!”  Wow, he’s getting big.
But not too big for dollies!
So final consensus is that this was the messiest and most labor-intensive craft I’ve done yet (meaning it just took the longest, but mostly because I had cheap paint and paintbrushes and because I did multiple layers of paint and the dots).  Probably could have been quicker if I didn’t let Jax help or if I was more truly crafty, but my slightly disfunctional craftiness makes it fun and I’m glad Jax got to help.  I’m doing this for them, not me, anyway. He loves playing with them at the table while I prepare his lunch or dinner!  And he is definitely not a dollie kind of guy.  He really just loves sorting them and putting them in and out of their homes.  I think any kid would really like them and they are definitely worth the effort!
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