Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Moments Matter: May Photo Prompts

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Last month, I started a monthly photo challenge with the idea that it would help bloggers and readers to connect online.  Throughout the course of the month, however, I found that I wanted a different focus on this photo project.  I want the monthly photo challenge to be about focusing on something else.

Life gets hectic and busy.  There are so many days when we’re go, go, go and before I know it, it’s bedtime and I’ve no idea where the day actually went.  And looking at my albums in my phone and computer, I’m noticing I don’t take nearly as many pictures as I used to.  That’s when I got the idea to use this project as a way to focus more on the small details of our days and to reconnect with my family in the moments in between our comings and goings.  It’s in these little moments that life happens, love is shared, and memories are made.  And I want to capture them, which is why I’ve renamed the photo project Moments Matter. 

You can join me in this project in several ways:
  • Use the photo prompts to capture moments in your day that fit them.  Join me on Instagram and share them or keep them for just you and your family to enjoy.
  • You can also use the prompts as inspiration for activities for you to do with your children. 
  • If you can’t participate every day, no worries.  Just post when the prompts speak to you and relate to the moments in your day.
  Here are the photo prompts for this month:


 I can’t wait to see the moments that matter to you…

 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Monday, April 28, 2014

DIY Super Mario Wooden Mushrooms

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This is just a brief little post to share with you how I made the mushrooms for our Super Mario sensory bin.  I looked high and low and couldn't find any pre-made wooden mushrooms at our local craft stores that were short and squatty like I needed.  So we ended up in the wood crafts aisle at Hobby Lobby searching for bits and pieces to make our own. 
 
I ended up using 1" wooden split balls for the tops and 1/2" x 5/8" candle cups for the bottoms.  I painted the flat sides of the split balls and the bases first.
 
 
After the paint was dry, I glued the split balls to the bases. 
 
 
After the glue was dry, I was able to paint the rounded top portions of the mushrooms.  I did it in this order so that I could hold onto the bases while painting the tops (and avoid getting too much paint on my fingers).  After the red and green paint had dried, I used my little finger to add the white dots on the caps.  The last step before they were ready for the bin was to add their little oblong eyes with a permanent marker. 
 
 
The final result are these fun little guys.  They fit perfectly into our Super Mario sensory bin!  Although I think I see us using them for some other activities in the future.
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Super Mario Sensory Bin

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Super Mario Bros. is a favored play topic for Bear {5.5 yrs} right now.  I found little Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool figurines at a local consignment shop for a couple bucks awhile ago.  Bear loves to play with them.  One night, I was chatting with a friend, and all of a sudden, it hit me... an awesome way to extend his play....  A Super Mario Bros. sensory bin!! 
 
I was able to do some of the prep work in front of Bear without him being able to guess what I was doing.  I painted the tubes and the yellow stars around him.  He even helped me build the Lego castle.  
But by the time, I started making the little mushroom guys, he knew it had something to do with Super Mario.  
 
Once he saw the whole sensory bin put together, he flipped out, jumped up and down, and shouted how awesome it was.  He said it was even better than the board game sensory bin and the firefighter sensory bin {which are his two favorites}. 
 

What I used:
2- 2lb bags of elbow macaroni
Super Mario Bros. figures
3 toilet paper rolls
wooden stars
wooden handmade mushrooms
paper mustaches
shiny red craft pom poms
wooden cubes
plastic coins
brown castle made from Legos

How I did it:
The two bags of macaroni were the base for the bin.  Aside from the plastic Mario, Luigi, and Princess Toadstool figurines, plastic gold coins, and paper mustaches, I had to prepare everything else.  I was originally going to cut out the mustaches out of black felt, but found cardstock gift tags for 99 cents and figured it was easier to go that route.  We built the castle from brown Legos. I painted flat wooden stars yellow and used a permanent marker to draw eyes on the bigger ones.  The brick blocks are small 3/4" wooden cubes painted brown with the cement lines drawn in permanent marker. I painted 3 toilet paper rolls green like the tubes that Mario goes in and out of.  {You could also use pvc pipe pieces spray painted green}  And then the shiny red craft pom poms are supposed to be the fireballs that Mario and Luigi spit out when they get the fire power flower.  You can see how I made the wooden mushrooms here.  I also gave him white gloves like Mario and Luigi wear to use  while he played, but he opted not to wear them. 
 
It's been a few days and Bear has played with it every day since.  It's so neat to sit and watch the mini-stories he plays out with the characters and bin pieces.  His little imagination is definitely getting a work out! 


You can find more fun sensory bin ideas from myself and lots of other bloggers on my Sensory Bin Pinterest board
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

25 Ways to Inspire Pretend Play

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Pretend play... Dramatic play... Dress up...  whatever name you want to call it, is so important in nurturing the creativity of children and in helping them to explore the world around them.  There are so many important ways that pretend play helps kids and even more ways that this type of play can be encourage in children.  Here are 25 super fun ways I've found to inspire pretend play at  home and in the classroom. 


Create a pretend play Doc McStuffins clinic for your little fixit fan.

Keep the Doc McStuffins play going this felt stethoscope tutorial from American Felt & Craft.

Or arrange a doctor's office/hospital area using these great ideas from Sunhats and Wellie Boots

Add some realism to a pretend tea party with diy tea party accessories like The Artful Child did.

Set up an indoor campsite like Rainbows Within Reach did.

Let the pretend lunches begin with a sandwich shop play center. {Growing in Pre-K}


Create pretend play makeup with this tutorial from 4Eighteen.

Start building the fun with these construction pretend play props.
 
Give your little pretend builder a printable work order they can build their play off of. {Melissa and Doug}

Set your sight on fun with this pretend optician's office from Crystal's Tiny Treasures.

Open a classroom shoe store in the dramatic play corner. {Sunhats and Wellie Boots}

Set up a pretend ice cream shop using this easy tutorial from Life is a Party.


Make a pretend paint pallet for your little artist to play art studio with.  {Happy Hooligans}

Let your little teacher do their own lessons in a pretend play school setup. {Word Playhouse}

Don't let the calendar stop the birthday fun using this pretend play birthday party idea from Kids Activities Blog.

A grocery store pretend play center is a great way to talk about healthy eating, as No Time for Flashcards points out.

Add a taste of Italy to pretend play with this homemade felt pizza from Sugar Aunts.

Pop up some fun with a pretend play popcorn stand like this one from Mama Papa Bubba.

 
Take the play outside like Teach Preschool did and create an outdoor café for dramatic play.

Let your kids catch their own fun with this pretend play fishing idea from Childhood Beckons.

Create a pretend play coffee shop that offers all the fun and none of the caffeine like The Imagination Tree did.

Make a corner beautiful with a pretend play flower shop. {Sunhats and Wellie Boots}

Kids can practice their literacy skills with a classroom Post Office. {Kids Activities Blog}

Get your Post Office stocked and ready by creating this mailbox and play-friendly letters.

Have some water fun washing baby dolls like Pink and Green Mama suggests.
 
 
What are some of your favorite ways to encourage or support pretend play with your children?
 
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fire and Ice Candles {preschool melting experiment}

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Making a candle with wax and ice is an activity that I did over 25 years ago in Brownie Girl Scouts.  {How's that for dating myself?}  My version of it sat in my mom's curio cabinet for many, many years.  It's a simple project with few materials needed, but the products are so cool and so different depending on how you do it.
 

You can use store bought candle wax or just melt down an existing candle, like we did.  To prepare the candle to be melted down in the microwave, I dug out the metal wick plate in the bottom of the candle so I could pull the wick out. {metal and microwaves don't mix}
 
 
Then we placed the candle in a microwavable bowl that I didn't mind tossing after we used it.  We covered the bowl with a piece of tupperware to catch splatters.  It took about 15 minutes for the whole candle to melt down.
 
To give the candle its shape, use a waxed cup.  The wax liner will allow for easy removal by peeling the cup away.  Insert the wick, then fill up the cup with ice.  For this project, I would suggest using crushed ice.  Regular-sized ice cubes are too big and will make for a crumbly candle.   Bear put as much crushed ice as he wanted in the cup, then I poured the melted wax over it until the cubes were completely covered.

Both of us thought it was interesting to watch the immediate reaction that occurred when the hot wax and ice cubes met.  We checked back frequently to look at the progress on the melting of the ice cubes.  I should note that you may want to occasionally gently tip the cup over the sink to drain out melted water. 

I waited about 6 hours to make sure all of the ice was fully melted before I peeled the cup off of the candle.  The result is exquisite.  All of the little nooks and spaces that the ice left in the wax are so beautiful to see.
 
 
I think that the best part about this project is that it's educational and productive at the same time.  These would make for great Mother's Day gifts if made with scented wax.  This one is going to Gramma's house so it can sit in the curio cabinet for many, many years just like mine did.
  




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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

eBundles of Joy

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I'm one of several personal friends and bloggers that are welcoming new little bundles of joy into our families this spring.  I wanted to celebrate these precious gifts of new life by raising awareness and money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 
 
One of the most amazing things that drew me to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital when I started donating years ago, is that no family every has to pay for the care they receive.  That means that families can receive medical care for their child that might not otherwise have been available to them.  That fact alone is a miracle!
 
Here are a few quick facts about St. Jude (source):
  • St. Jude has 67,000+ child patients each year.
  • It costs $1.9 million to run St. Jude each day. Those funds mainly come from individual contributions.
  • The treatments developed at St. Jude have helped to raise the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent in the past 50 years.

So how can you help?

It's easy.  Make a donation of $6 to benefit the mission of St. Jude and get the awesome eBundle of printables and ebooks below:
All of those amazing products were donated by the following bloggers:
Crayon Freckles
Enchanted Homeschooling Mom
Golden Reflections
Kids Activities Blog
Mama Smiles
Small + Friendly
SohoSonnet
Teaching Mama
True Aim Education
Upcycled Treasures

 Just click the button below to donate $6 and receive your eBundle of Joy. 
 
Donate Here
 
If you wish to donate more than $6 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, you can do so here.  Then just send your receipt to me at andiejaye@cox.net and I will send you the eBundle.
 
If you'd like to help promote this great cause, feel free to use the badge below:
 
 
eBundles of Joy
 
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.

April Photo Challenge: Connect Thru Pics

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Are you on Instagram?  I am, but not as much as I'd like to be.  So to get myself in gear, practice my photography skills and start catching more of those wonderful moments that happen in my house, I'm starting the Connect Thru Pics monthly photo challenge.  Here are the prompts for the month of April to inspire you. 
 

I'll see you on Instagram! Don't forget to use the hashtag #connectthrupics so I can catch all of your great shots!
 
 
Keep in touch with Crayon Freckles on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great activities! You can also follow Crayon Freckles on Pinterest and Twitter.
Check out Why Does My Teen?, which is an informational site for the parents teens.
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