Painting With Cars To Welcome Spring!

Painting with cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

With all these color choices at her fingertips, it was no surprise what Em decided to paint.

Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Little H was a little more abstract and mostly just thrilled to get her hands dirty.

Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It Painting with cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Even Mommy made one. I couldn’t resist!

Painting With Cars @ Rub Some Dirt On It

And don’t forget about the added bonus–they get to wash the cars when all the artwork is done, taking this springtime craft to a fabulous new level!  Your house has new art, the mess is cleaned up, and everyone has had a ton of fun.  It’s spring!  Let’s celebrate!

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Bubble Wrap Stomp Painting!

For those of you who are like me and have done a good deal of online shopping this holiday season, here’s a great activity for the kiddos who desperately want to hear the bubble wrap “pop” but aren’t quite coordinated enough to do it well.

bubble wrap stomp painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Bust out a piece of paper (for this we used our trusty butcher paper), wrap the kids’ feet in bubble wrap, and coat the bottoms in paint.

bubble wrap painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then be sure to remind them that they have to be careful (stomping is much safer than skating), and ready, set, pop!

bubble wrap painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It

They thought this activity was hilarious and asked me to paint their feet again and again.  They wanted to paint every square inch of the butcher paper, and I finally just squirted dollops of paint directly on the paper in order to keep up with their demands.

bubble wrap painting @ Rub Some Dirt On It IMG_2271-2

In the end, I had big plans to cut out some kind of holiday shape out of the mural, like a Christmas tree, but it never came to be.  It was a beautiful work of art all on its own!


A fun way to get the kids moving while stuck inside this winter!

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Butcher Paper Map

My little guy has a BIG imagination.  There is really nothing that I enjoy more than listening to Jax narrate his Playmobil battles, superhero conquests, or construction at the Hess vehicle work site.  One thing that can make him lose interest, though, is his lack of setting–while he’s comfortable helping his imaginary comrades have lengthy conversations, he often lacks spontaneity in the turn-this-table-into-a-battleship arena.  He’d rather me just buy him a battleship, and Mommy isn’t always in the mood to drag castles and whatnot up and downstairs.  So sometimes I need to orchestrate a little playspace to let his imagination run wild–and to help his independent play last a little longer!

Butcher Paper Town @ Rub Some Dirt On IT

So this time I used our trusty butcher paper–which has given us so many hours of fantastic play–and we made a map of our town.  Just the major landmarks and thoroughfares, with friends’ houses and ours clearly marked so that we could better coordinate the troops, who were apparently preparing for some sort of invasion.  The two of us did it together, which was a very cool conversation about what goes where and eventually I hope soon he’ll be able to write the words himself.

Butcher Paper Town @ Rub Some Dirt On IT

He had the most hilarious ideas–and requests!–determining that the best place to house the troops was the local elementary school, the rendezvous point should be the town square,  and of course he determined that the best place to trap bad guys was on the ski lift of the local ski hill.  One bad guy per lift, then he would trap them all up in the air.  A keen strategist, that Jax.


Butcher Paper Town @ Rub Some Dirt On IT

He even knew when to call in the cavalry.


Finally, after he exhausted all his creative fun, I simply folded the butcher paper town and stored it away for another day, another battle.  I saved myself a little time and energy for next time, and Jax and I had a lot of fun working and talking together.  Reason #3870 why every house needs a roll of butcher paper for hours of creative fun, and yet another opportunity to listen to my boy and his always entertaining narrations!

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Our Gratitude Tree

Last year, the kids and I made Gratitude Turkey Treat jars, which were a nice, simple way to introduce the idea of thankfulness to them.  This year they understand the concept more clearly so I decide to take it up a notch and make a Gratitude Tree, where we can write down all the things we are grateful for, once a day for the month of November on leaves.

I wrote the words “Give” and “Thanks” on pieces of white paper in white crayon.  Then the kids painted over them in watercolors, at which point the words reappeared.  They were totally enthralled to see the word “appear” out of nowhere!  I used my trusty butcher paper to cover the floor and the big kids had a grand time together, painting away.


2 Then I cut a tree out of more butcher paper and hung the signs above it.  Using some foam leaves I bought at JoAnn Fabrics on clearance, the kids alternate telling me what they are grateful for every other day.  So far, Jax has been grateful for his birthday presents and Em for her princess puzzles.  What’s nice is that there’s 30 days worth of gratitude, so hopefully they kids will have an opportunity to realize there is more to life to be grateful for than toys!


There’s plenty of time left to make a Gratitude Tree of your own!  It’ll brighten up your home and keep the spirit of the Thanksgiving season in mind.

Gratitude Tree @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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Butcher Paper Town

I was recently inspired to buy a $10 roll of building paper at Home Depot because I could see its limitless potential.  The kids have been in  a bit of a playtime rut lately, facilitated by the fact that I keep buying them the same kind of toys (aka superheroes and princesses) and they aren’t being as spontaneous as they have in the past.  Less open-ended, more thinking inside the box, and I wasn’t liking it.  I want the kids to revert back to their unscripted, original playtime ways, but I found the storylines sounding the same every day.  Until today, when I unleashed the power of the butcher paper and the kids and I built a kickass town!

Create a butcher paper town with Rub Some Dirt On It

Designing a town with a three- and four-year-old is fascinating and insightful.  What do they think is important to a community, how do they like to play, what do they recognize as attributes of their own town?  Our town has a lake so that was the first thing Jax and Em thought of as a requirement, followed by our home, a school, a post office, and a “food store” (grocery store or restaurant, who knows?).  Then they let their toys dictate some of their ideas–a castle with a moat, a quarry complete with rocks and construction vehicles, an airport, a fire station, a shop, a jail.  They would come running back into the kitchen with a new toy that had to be part of our town.  So we added more and more until they felt satisfied, labeling all the areas for a touch of literacy.


And one of the best parts?  There were no princesses or superheroes in sight, unless you count the McDonald’s toy Ninja Turtles who guarded the jail.  They even had me climb into the back of our coat closet and unearth vehicles that I had put away as potential yard sale fodder.  Old toys unearthed and loved all over again.

PicMonkey Collage


The quarry was definitely their favorite.  Mine, too!

They have been playing with their town for over an hour and a half now, with no sign of stopping!  So happy that this is how we decided to spend our afternoon, and glad we seem to have dusted off our imaginations for (hopefully) the rest of the summer!

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