Happiness Is…rainbow handprints

This comes as a surprise to no one who hangs out here, but I love crafts that use my kids’ handprints–they delight me–but this one was especially fun because Jax was being so darn funny.

He had to wait patiently while I painstakingly painted each of his fingers a different color to create the rainbow I wanted.  I originally got the idea here, where they weren’t quite so literal about the rainbow, but I really liked how they came out.  Worth the effort for me, and a good lesson in patience for Jax.

And since at that point I didn’t know what to do with them (even though I have a zillion hand print ideas pinned on Pinterest), I just did the usual and made them into birds.

 ¿Trés belle, oui?

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Want your kids to be happy like this?

Just add dice and M & Ms!  Here’s how.

Materials: scissors, white card stock, markers, pack of M & Ms, dice


Cut the card stock in  half.  On one half, write the numbers 1-6 and assign an M & M color.

For #6, I originally meant the kids could add their choice of M & M  to the rainbow, but with two kids staring down three bowls of M & Ms, I had to change it to Eat Your Choice of M & M.

On the other half of the card stock I traced a quarter a bunch of times into an arc to create a rainbow.  There’s a printable version at the site where I found this idea, but I don’t have a printer at home, so I made do.

See those numbers and colors on my arc?  Bad idea, I did that first, then started tracing, and obviously ran out of room.  Use the separate card stock for that stuff.

Then I separated the M & Ms by color.  That is when the kids started salivating.

Then the rules are simple.  They roll one die and if they roll a one, they get to add a red to the rainbow arc, roll a two and they get to add an orange to the rainbow, etc.  If they roll a six, they would eat one.  If they rolled a number of a color that has already been filled on the rainbow, they got to eat one.  I started cheating halfway through to make sure they weren’t going to eat more than we played!

The goal is to fill up the the rainbow arc with M & Ms, by rolling the dice.

Let’s just say that they BEG ME to play, at least once a day.  So far I have been able to discourage them, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings!

Enjoy the rest of my 8 Days of Rainbow Crafts!  Just two left!

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A Rainbow As-Sort-Ment

One thing I keep hearing about preschoolers is that it’s great to give them a chance to work on their fine motor skills, and one easy way to do that is with sorting. I don’t know the science behind it, but I do know two things: it’ll help them with writing and they love it!

For my 5th day of sharing rainbow crafts, I have a simple one.  Sorting beads into color piles, and making fun bracelets while we’re at it!

I used a muffin pan to hold our different colored beads, some of which had letters on them.  I dumped a huge pile of them on the floor, and the kids loved sorting them and finding the letters for their names!

Then I made them each a bracelet, and one for each of Em’s dolls (Baby Lovebug and Baby Rosie), working on our fine motor skills even more while lacing!

And they didn’t even realize they’re cleaning up, they were having so much fun!

See you tomorrow for more rainbow fun!

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Counting On Rainbows

Day 3 of sharing rainbow activities and crafts to celebrate the coming spring and St. Patrick’s Day!  This is a good one for any day, any season, and any age–well, any age that doesn’t try to eat paper or pom poms.

This is a good counting, sorting, and color-identifying activity that I found here, one of my favorite kid-friendly sites.  Em was content to identify the colors and sort through pom poms, but Jax loved it all.

First I took 10 different color pieces of paper and wrote the numbers 1-10 on them.  Rainbow order is fun, but not necessary.

I found brown eventually.

Then Jax stacked bristle blocks on the paper.  Each paper had the corresponding number of bristle blocks.  One on 1, two on 2, three on 3, etc.

After that we sorted through my stash of pom poms and  he put the correct colors on each paper.  This is when Em danced around happily yelling, “Green!’ and “pink!”  Surprisingly, she’s usually right.  When did she grow up so fast?

Too fast for a picture anyway.

Seems simple enough, right?  Not a lot to it?  Well, sometimes the simplest things pass the time most pleasantly.  Both children were amused and maybe they learned something.  Plus I kept the papers for another day–hopefully we’ll use them once or twice more in this way before I tape them to the kitchen floor for hopscotch!

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Losing Our Marbles

Another fun way to play with paint and keep in the St. Patty’s Day spirit to is to create rainbows in a more unorthodox way.  With marbles (or Mar-Balls as Jax calls them)!

Yup, I’m getting art, holiday, and fine motor brownie points for this one!  Thanks to The Mother Huddle for a great idea!

Materials: paper, paintone marble and one bowl for each color you plan on using, a cake pan

We were going for a basic rainbow, so we needed 6 bowls and 6 marbles.  One glob of paint in each.

We created marble rainbows two ways.  First, we dipped a marble in the red paint, then rolled it around on a piece of paper inside a cake pan.  We did the same for each color, doing one at a time.

At first, Jax just tipped the pan up down up down from one side to the other.  The marble just kept rolling straight across along the edge of the pan.  So I helped him hold it flatter and we played a game of “Don’t let the marble touch the sides!”  Anything said with a sense of urgency is immediately more fun for him anyway, so he liked this tag team method best.

Then we did the same for each color, letting each one run its course and use all the paint.  It looked cool–you could trace each individual color’s path as it ran across the paper.

We both loved it and it took a bit of time–double bonus.  Then we decided to dip the marbles in a different color each, but let them race across the page at the same time.  This took a monumental amount of effort for Jax to not touch the marbles until they were all ready.  But he exercised self-restraint, sweet boy, and we talked while I set it up about how we thought it would be different to let all the colors go at once instead of one at a time.  He’s not much for hypothesizing, however.  Much more interested in getting to the action.

I didn’t like the result as much–the marbles just ran into each other and then started creating rainbow tracks that eventually became a little brown–but Jax thought it was super cool and more like a “race.”  We still had to play the “Don’t let the marbles touch the side!” game, but this time it was funnier to him because of the marble collisions.

He thought it was hilarious how one of the marbles got stuck in another one’s path–he still talks about it when he sees the painting hanging on the fridge!

This activity was more than just a pretty picture–it definitely required fine motor skills to pick up the marbles and dip them in the paint, and coordination to guide them across the paper.  It was a lot of fun and I think this may be my favorite way of painting yet!

Have fun chasing rainbows!

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Creating Rainbows With Pencil Erasers

Day #1 of  sharing beautiful rainbow crafts in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day!

Click the image above to be taken to even more fabulous rainbow crafts!

This one was fun and easy for both kids, one and three years old.  We painted using pencil erasers and failed attempted to make rainbows.  I found it, as always, on Pinterest.  The kids were definitely not inclined to be steered in any creative direction–they were feeling very abstract that day.  Although the finished product wasn’t what I was suggesting, they still had fun and made works of art that were all their own.  And I’m sure it wasn’t hard on their fine motor skills, either.

Surprisingly, it was far less messy to paint using the pencils rather than paintbrushes.  I think it may have been because a lot less paint could be slopped on a little eraser than all over a brush.  Em seemed to have a vision and worked with a diligence that usually evades her during craft time.  But soon all that paint at hand was too tempting for her meager stores of self-restraint and she added a touch of hand print art for extra flair.

Ha!  Caught red-handed!

This art project was fun and novel because it was really the first time my kids have ever used pencils.  Not that we used them the correct way, but who’s counting?  Letting them choose one from a brand new pack was super exciting to them.  Then when I told them that they got to use them the wrong way (upside down), it became even more fun.  It was like we were being crafty rule breakers.  I’m such a rebel.

In the end, the kids had a great time together–

–and our kitchen decor is much more cheerful!

It was so fun, I couldn’t resist making one myself!

Come back tomorrow for another fun rainbow craft that is sure to intrigue even the grumpiest leprechaun!  Jax’s hint: painting with Mar-Balls!

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Favorite Craft #6: Coffee Filter Butterflies

This was the first day we attempted to paint with watercolors.
I liked it a lot better than regular paint. Just as colorful, half as messy. Unless you count the potential for flooding, but if you keep the dipping water to a minimum, you should be all right.
For our maiden voyage, we wanted to go easy. I found a really simple and low-mess idea for watercolors for preschoolers. Painting on a coffee filter.
Apparently since coffee filters are a porous material, it creates a more watery watercolor, meaning that the colors bleed and blend into each other in a very cool Impressionist kind of way. You could also use paper towels for the same effect.
We taped ours to newspaper so that it would lay flat. It was impossible to get off so I just cut around it.
And voila! Pretty coffee filter art for one and all!
The last step is to take your coffee filter and morph them into butterflies.  I think they came out awesome.
Don’t you love it?  I just pleated the coffee filter like a fan, pinched the middle and then wrapped half a pipe cleaner around it.  Leave a little for antennae!  It made such a big difference from just a plain colored coffee filter.  Now it feels like a little work of art!We gave them as gifts to my sister and niece for their birthdays: a simple, great way to make someone’s day! 
Teachable moment idea:  as you’re transforming the coffee filter into a butterfly, you can talk to your kids about metamorphosis.  You could even pull out Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar for reference.  Jax was hardly intrigued by the folding of the filter, which was the most exciting part, so it would not have been a very useful lesson for me, but I think an older preschool kid would get a big kick out of it!  Let me know if you give it a try!
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