Coffee Filter Watercolor Turkeys

Now that Halloween is over, it’s time for a little Tom Turkey in our lives.  Em had a playdate and she insisted that one of the things she wanted to do was a craft, so we decided to do have one ready and waiting for the girls when her friend arrived.  She chose to make Coffee Filter Turkeys, using watercolors to paint the tail.  Super cute!

I laid out two pieces of construction paper and cut out a turkey body, turkey feet, a beak, and a turkey “snood” (which I just discovered is what that red dangly thing is) for each girl.

Coffee Filter Turkeys @ Rub Some Dirt On It

The website where I found this used markers to color in the turkey tail (dipped in water afterward) but Em didn’t want to do that. She loves painting coffee filters with watercolors so she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to do it again.  She had a vision–she wanted to paint her turkey tail in a rainbow.  I love this sweet girl so much.

Coffee Filter Turkeys @ Rub Some Dirt On It

After the “tail” dries, glue it onto the construction paper, leaving room for the body and feet.

Coffee Filter Turkeys @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then assemble your turkey and add some eyes.  Color some in or add googly ones!

Coffee Filter Turkeys @ Rub Some Dirt On It Coffee Filter Watercolor Turkeys @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then step back and be thankful for easy but adorable crafts like this!

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Scissor Skills Pumpkins

I’ve been looking for a fun Halloween craft that wouldn’t be too messy or labor intensive for my afternoon exhausted big kids.  As usual, Nurture Store had just the thing.  Scissor Skills Pumpkins!

Scissor Skills Pumpkins

I loved these because they are cute and the kids could do them in the living room with no real mess or fuss.  While they were watching TV I made dotted lines down orange paper to help Jax and Em cut the paper into strips.  Then I asked them to cut down the dotted lines (dotted so they were less likely to show up with any inevitable errors in the cutting).  Em gave this project her full attention; Jax did not.  Typical.

Scissor Skills Pumpkins @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Hence Jax’s strips are a little…shall we say…asymmetrical.  And this was after I helped clean them up a bit.  Again I say, typical Jax.

Scissor Skills Pumpkins @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then you take all your strips and put them in a star shape with the help of a brass brad to hold them together.  Then you cut out a little green stem out of green paper and have your little helpers curve the strips to create a spherical shape pumpkin.  Secure the top with another brad.  Make sure the paper stem is on top.

Scissor Skills Pumpkins @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Finally, let your kids make jack-o-lantern faces and voila!  A festive decoration that they didn’t even realize was helping improve their fine motor skills.  And cooperation skills, too, because this was definitely a group effort.

Scissor Skills Pumpkins @ Rub Some Dirt On It Scissor Skills Pumpkins @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Well done, my little pumpkins!

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Button & Pipe Cleaner Caterpillars

button & pipe cleaner caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It

This was one of those activities for when Em chooses the absolutely worst moment–when I’m changing a poopy diaper, in the midst of a mountain of laundry, trying to work some culinary magic out of leftovers–to ask me to do a craft.  I always feel badly when I tell her I’m too busy, especially since she’s four and with very little preparation can do the rest herself.  So I set her down a bowl of buttons and a pipe cleaner and asked her to string them.  I turned one end up at a right angle so she wouldn’t keep pushing them all the way off.

Button Caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It

If I had been helping her with this, I would have discussed things like color, size, and pattern with her.  That wasn’t in the cards for this day, so the only adjustment I made was asking her to put a larger button on the end for a face.

So before you get to your very last button, cut a small piece of pipe cleaner off and twist it into a V shape for antennae.

Button Caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It Button Caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It

When you add the final button, loop the pipe cleaner back through for a nose, if you will.

Button Caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then add some googly eyes and you have a pocket-sized pet!

Button Caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Button Caterpillar @ Rub Some Dirt On It

And if you can, don’t forget to do one of my awesome butterfly crafts next!  Such a fun way for your little to keep busy and do some crafts on their own!

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Handprint Butterfly (For Two!)

So when big cousins are here visiting for a week, inevitably at times the clan gets divided by interest or by gender just because that’s the nature of having a group of five kids ages 1-14.  One afternoon Jax was determined to “teach” his big cousin Christian how to play the Wii, so the ladies and I headed outside on the deck for a little arts and crafts leisure time.  Erika picked out a craft she’d like to try on Pinterest, and we put our own twist on it by making one handprint butterfly with two sets of hands: Erika’s hands were the big wings, and Em’s hands made the little ones.

handprint butterfly @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Came out pretty cute, huh?

So first I painted Em’s hands the colors of her choice, and then she placed them thumb to thumb to form the lower wings of a butterfly.


Then I let Em paint Erika’s hands.  I think that was her favorite part!


handprint butterflies @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Little H didn’t know what was going on but I gave her a paintbrush and dry watercolors and she “painted” alongside us.  And yes, in case you’re wondering, I am the kind of mom who lets her kids paint in white dresses.  Doesn’t everyone?

Then we pressed Erika’s hands atop Em’s, turned the other way to be the upper portion of the wings, and then painted a butterfly body and antennae.


After much discussion, we decided against outlining the wings in marker as I was going to do and settled for a sweet smiley face when the paint was dry instead.


This was the perfect gift for Grandma (who snatched it right up the moment my niece showed it to her), or for Mom made by two siblings or for a child and her best friend!  Nothing better than a piece of art that shows how two people lift each other up in life and in love!  Art with a loving message.

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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


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.


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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