Q-Tip Art For Everyone

Having all three kids at home has put a bit of a cramp on my arts and crafts style; I assumed Little H was too young to do anything but eat the paint or stuff crayons up her nose, and the big kids are way more interested in playing outside than sitting quietly at the kitchen table.  But after a few rainy days I knew that the kids were tired of doing the same old thing, and I decided to risk getting Little H involved in the name of creativity.  So I pulled out an old standby–painting with Q-tips!

I shouldn’t have worried about Little H, although she did give the paint a taste or two.  She was psyched to be included in the fun!

Q-Tip Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It Q-Tip Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The big kids were happy to have some quiet play; they even asked me to trace a design in pencil so they could express the picture they had in mind.  Jax got frustrated quickly because the Q-tips were taking too long to fill in his Tranformers symbol, so he switched to a regular paintbrush, but Em thought a spotted elephant was just the way to go.

Q-Tip Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Q-Tip Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

My littlest Picasso made her first-ever painting (and you’ve got to love her little toes on the table!).  Sometimes a little work to prepare a craft is worth every contemplative and creative moment thereafter.

Q-Tip Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Pipe Cleaner Fireworks

Just in time for the 4th of July!  Get in the spirit with some messy fun!  Pipe Cleaner Fireworks!

Pipe Cleaner Fireworks @ Rub Some Dirt On It

For every participant, put four pipe cleaners together and then fold them in half.  Twist the bottom half together and then splay the top into a star shape (directions originally found here).

Pipe Cleaner Fireworks

Then let your kids dip the star side into the paint, dipping, stamping, and swirling.  We added a little bit of glittery confetti left over from Em’s Frozen birthday party for pizzazz.

Pipe Cleaner Fireworks

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Jax was more into twisting his designs into swirls, and Em preferred to make a big mess and then stamp over it.  The creative process is half the fun!  Let the kids experiment to determine which technique is more successful.

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So pleased with the final products, and psyched for the 4th of July!

Pipe Cleaner Fireworks! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Simple Symmetry

Just when I take for granted that my kids already know how to do things or already understand how the wonders of the world work, I show them something simple–like how yellow and blue make green or we check to see if bubbles freeze–and they are besides themselves with youthful enthusiasm and awe.  The same thing happened the other day when I told Em we can paint symmetrical butterflies by folding a piece of paper in half.  She looked at me like I was speaking another language and I realized–somewhat gleefully–that she hasn’t done this yet.  She doesn’t know how to make symmetrical butterflies.  So we did.

painting with symmetry @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The trickiest part was making sure she only painted on half of the paper, and to be sure that the butterfly had a thick enough body.  Em is a precise and particular little soul, though, so she was delighted to create the perfect butterfly that would look the same on both sides of the paper.  Like magic.

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After we made a few butterflies, I asked her what else we could paint that could be the same on both sides of the paper.  She immediately said, “A rainbow!” and asked for more colors.

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What a fun, simple, lovely way to spend time with my girl.

Painting With Symmetry @ Rub Some Dirt On It IMG_9521

Leaving the world more beautiful than we found it.

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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.

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 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.

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

Thank goodness we have friends in colorful places.

To make your own wooden peg dolls, the step-by-step instructions can be found here.

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Out Our Window Art

Okay I’m going to be honest, we have don’t have a trio of snowmen out our window, but my kids didn’t think painting mountains and mountains of boring old snow was any fun.  The weather is supposed to get up into the 40s this weekend–a heat wave!–and if so, we will try to turn these works of art into reality!

Out Our Window Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

All you have to do is ask your children to look out the window and paint what they see.  We chose blue paper to represent the sky, and the kids and I painted a scene worthy of a winter’s day in Vermont.

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Each kid put their own touches on their scene, giving their snowman hats, earmuffs, scarves, and smiling faces.  Fat snowflakes fell to the ground and even landed on their carrot noses.

Jax’s Snowmen

Out Our Window Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Em’s Snowmen   Out Our Window Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Mommy’s Snowmen

Out Our Window Art @ Rub Some Dirt On It

In the end I cut out black paper to make a window frame, and I intended to put black lines across the center of the image like this so it would really look like a window.  However, Em got her hands (and scissors) on my leftover black paper and so I ran out.  I like it better this way, though.  I love these snowmen and wouldn’t want to block them at all!

Let your children express and illustrate the world around them.  What is the view outside your window right now?  You may be surprised at the things they notice, and how the view changes over the course of the year.  I will definitely be doing this again in the spring, and all year long!

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Popsicles & Play Dough

February vacation is here, the snow is falling like crazy, and I have had enough of my kids literally climbing all over me and telling me they’re bored.  It’s only been 2 days!  So I pulled out an old simply busy standby that we did when Em was first learning her numbers, with an added degree of difficulty for Jax: Popsicles & Play Dough!

Popsicles & Play Dough @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Basically have the kids knead and roll some play dough into a long line, then give them a bunch of Popsicle sticks numbered 1-20.  Em got 1-10 and Jax 1-20.  Then ask them to put them in order, standing upright in the play dough.

Number Line @ Rub Some Dirt On It

This is great for numeral recognition but also fine motor skills.  The kids learned that they had to pinch the play dough around the sticks to get them to stand up.  Then we added some extra challenges–numbers 11-20 and putting them in color order (by writing the colors on the back)–and I introduced Jax to the concepts of odds and evens by writing an O or E at the bottom of the sticks.  Differentiated fun for everyone!

Popsicles & Play Dough Fun @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Of course when this was done they continued to play with the play dough, which I don’t usually love, but on a snowy day when they have had little more to say than I’m Bored! I was glad for some simple, quiet fun!  Only 5 more days of vacation to go!

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Raining Hearts Math

This is my favorite Valentines activity yet, and I have had oh-so-many favorites.  Based on one of our favorite books, The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond and a great idea I found here, the kids and I did some snipping (as Em calls cutting), pasting, and a bit of math and writing as well!

Raining Hearts Math @ Rub Some Dirt On It

While I assembled our materials (construction paper, card stock, markers, glue, scissors), Jax read the book to his sisters.  He is such a sweet and smart big brother!

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Then I let the kids pick out which pattern they’d like for their umbrella as well as what color hearts they’d like (Jax chose red, Em chose purple, of course).  I let them cut out their own umbrellas and glue them to the paper while I cut out the handles.  Then I impressed the heck out of them by showing them how to make many little hearts by folding paper; every time I made the final snip and a bunch of hearts fell onto the table, Jax and Em gasped like there were fireworks.

They pasted their hearts above their umbrellas as though it were raining…

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…and then we did a bit of math, just for fun.  Jax says he really loves “hard math, like 11 +12,” so we counted the red and purple hearts and wrote it out.  Just simple addition, but it is a first for Em to see it written out that way.

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They both wrote in their numbers and colors, which is more writing than Jax usually does in one sitting.  It’s all in capturing his interest, I suppose!  Don’t they look wonderful?  I just love that Em chose to make a cheetah umbrella.  She’s a sassy one, that girl.

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 Take cover, everyone!  It’s raining hearts!

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