Activities and fun with Children of All Ages.

What wonderful ideas Doodle has! I wish I had read this post last week when I was with my 2 year old grand last week! I hope you all try this with your little ones.

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Hop Along

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Hey all, I’m in Colorado having fun with my grands for a few days. I went hiking with my DD, my DH and grand-dog a few days ago in the Cheyenne Mountains.

Today I’m going to help E finish her paper mâché pig and we’ll have lots of fun on the playground.

What are you doing with your grands this week?

My DD and I went fishing today.  What fun, even if the biggest fish caught was about 1.5 inches in length.  This trip reminded me of all the times we took our girls fishing as they were growing up like the time DD and I were helping our oldest pull a fish out of the lake while keeping a close eye on the younger sitting on the grass.  Next thing we know someone is saying “Oh gross!” just when the younger daughter is slurping a worm into her mouth.  Ah… good times.

Fishing is a wonderful activity for most ages.  You might want to wait to take the grands until they are at least three or four.  There are pint sized rods for just such occasions.  Though their attention span is short, they can also catch crawdads, throw rocks in the water (don’t expect to catch any fish yourself), play in the dirt or water or what ever is around.

There is nothing more wonderful than seeing these things through the eyes of a child.  Today as I was walking around I met a beautiful 4.5 year old little girl on a fishing trip with her grandparents.  This was the first time she had been camping or fishing.  She was very busy putting rocks into a circle to make a fire ring that soon became a fairy ring.  She told me all about the bugs she catches to give her grandma’s chickens and we took pictures together.  Today she saw an osprey catch a fish and an eagle take it away from him.  Her grandpa caught a big fish and shared his knowledge on techniques with us.  She watched her dog chase chipmunks and dragon flies.  This is a day she will remember.

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Torn Landscapes

You may have figured out that I am an artist. Many of my activities involve art or art supplies. This is another one that I am re-blogging from Aupair. It should be for older kids, maybe five and up. Enjoy.

Go Au Pair- New Jersey

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Usually paper and scissors go hand-in-hand, but not for this project. We’re tearing paper and layering the pieces to make colorful landscapes. Each one turns out completely unique and beautiful, and all you need is paper and a glue stick.

Choose a background paper and tear a strip from your first color. Leaving some paper at the top for the sky, glue down your first piece.

Work your way down the page, overlapping and gluing each piece. Experiment with your tearing – try making big mountains, rolling hills, straight plans, or wavy fields.

Have lots of paper handy – some of your tears just won’t be right!

Continue adding torn layers until you reach the bottom of your paper. If you like, add torn paper details like trees, clouds, sun, or flowers.

Stand back and admire your beautiful landscape. This is such a quick and easy project with very little…

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One of the things Grandparents need to do is teach the grandchildren how to save money.  A good way to do that is give them a piggy bank.  Here is a paper mache tutorial on how to make their own.  Depending on the age of the child(ren) they can make it all themselves or you can help them.  My granddaughter is almost 2 and my grandson is less than six months old.  I’ll be making N’s bank for him.  I’m going to make most of E’s bank and have her put the finishing touches on with Mod Podge and fabric scraps.

Materials

9 inch round balloon

Newspaper for tearing up

Paper egg carton

Masking tape

Flour

Water

Fabric scraps cut up into small pieces

1 pipe cleaner

Mod Podge, glossy

Bowl (for mixing the paste)

Directions:

1.  Make the paper mache paste by mixing the flour and water.  I’m not sure of     the exact measurements but it should be the consistency of thin pancake batter.  Start with equal parts of flour and water.

2.   Blow up the balloon and tear the newspaper into strips.

3.   Dip each strip in the paste and cover the balloon completely. Let dry completely then put 3 more layers on, letting it dry between each layer.

The Body

4.     After the last layer is dry cut the egg carton into sections.  You need 4 legs, a snout and 2 ears.  The legs and  snouts are made out of the cups where the eggs sit.  The ears can be cut from the corners of the top of the carton.

        

5.  Make more paste, tear more paper, paper mache over and around all the new parts, covering the whole kit and caboodle.  It should be looking like a pig around now.  Let it dry completely then put one last layer on all over making sure to keep the general pig shape.

6.  When the pig is dry, use an exacto knife to cut the money slot in the top and cut an X on the back for a place to put the tail.

7.  Use the pipe cleaner to make the tail.  Wind the pipe cleaner around your finger to curl it.  Poke one end into the X you cut with the knife.

8.  Use the Mod Podge to attach the fabric scraps.  Put some Mod Podge on the pig, place the fabric on top, then cover the fabric with Mod Podge.  Be sure not to cover the slot for the money.  Be sure to secure the tail in well with the Mod Podge and fabric.  Let dry completely.

VOILA!

College, here we come!

What have you created today?

It’s been a hot, hot summer so far!  Wednesday, when I picked up my dog from the vet, it was 116 degrees!  This is the perfect weather for making a solar cooker with your grandchildren.  I found these directions on Home training tools with great explanations on the science happening.

Have fun and make some memories along with some hot dogs.

Build a Solar Oven

<<Solar & Alternative Energy Kits

You can use the sun’s energy to heat up a tasty treat with this simple solar oven! (Get an adult to help you with the cutting.)

Download our Solar Oven Recipes to get ideas for what to make with your solar oven.

Materials:

  • Cardboard pizza box (the kind delivered pizza comes in)
  • Box knife or scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear tape
  • Plastic wrap (a heavy-duty or freezer zip lock bag will also work)
  • Black construction paper
  • Newspapers
  • Ruler, or wooden spoon

What to Do: 
diy solar oven

  1. Use a box knife or sharp scissors to cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box. Cut along three sides, leaving about an inch between the sides of the flap and the edges of the lid. Fold this flap out so that it stands up when the box lid is closed.
  2. Cover the inner side of the flap with aluminum foil so that it will reflect rays from the sun. To do this, tightly wrap foil around the flap, then tape it to the back, or outer side of the flap.
  3. Use clear plastic wrap to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter into the box. Do this by opening the box and taping a double layer of plastic wrap over the opening you made when you cut the flap in the lid. Leave about an inch of plastic overlap around the sides and tape each side down securely, sealing out air. If you use a plastic bag, cut out a square big enough to cover the opening, and tape one layer over the opening.
  4. Line the bottom of the box with black construction paper – black absorbs heat. The black surface is where your food will be set to cook.
  5. To insulate your oven so it holds in more heat, roll up sheets of newspaper and place them on the bottom of the box. Tape them down so that they form a border around the cooking area. The newspaper rolls should make it so that the lid can still close, but there is a seal inside of the box, so air cannot escape.
  6. The best hours to set up your solar oven are when the sun is high overhead – from 11 am to 3 pm. Take it outside to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the aluminum foil and onto the plastic-covered window. Use a ruler to prop the flap at the right angle. You may want to angle the entire box by using a rolled up towel.
  7. You can make toast by buttering a slice of bread, or sprinkling cheese on it, then letting the sun do the rest. Cooking a hot dog or making nachos with chips and cheese are also fun treats to make in your solar oven! It would also work great to heat up leftovers. So the paper at the bottom doesn’t get dirty, put what you would like to cook on a clear plastic or glass plate. A pie plate would work well.
  8. To take food out of the oven, open up the lid of the pizza box, and using oven mitts or potholders, lift the glass dish out of the oven.

What’s happening?

The heat from the sun is trapped inside of your pizza box solar oven, and it starts getting very hot. Ovens like this one are called collector boxes, because they collect the sunlight inside. As it sits out in the sun, your oven eventually heats up enough to melt cheese, or cook a hot dog! How does it happen? Rays of light are coming to the earth at an angle. The foil reflects the ray, and bounces it directly into the opening of the box. Once it has gone through the plastic wrap, it heats up the air that is trapped inside. The black paper absorbs the heat at the bottom of the oven, and the newspaper make sure that the heat stays where it is, instead of escaping out the sides of the oven.

Your solar oven will reach about 200° F on a sunny day, and will take longer to heat things than a conventional oven. Although this method will take longer, it is very easy to use, and it is safe to leave alone while the energy from the sun cooks your food. If you do not want to wait long to have a solar-cooked dish, try heating up something that has already been cooked, like leftovers, or a can of soup. Putting solid food in a glass dish and liquids in a heavy plastic zip lock bag works well. You can also pre-heat your oven by setting it in direct sun for up to an hour.

Other recipes you may want to try are making baked potatoes, rice with vegetables, chocolate fondue, s’mores, and roasted apples with cinnamon and sugar. Even on partly cloudy days there may be enough heat and light from the sun to slow cook a special dish. Here are a few tips for having success with your solar oven:

  • Stir liquids (if you’re cooking something like fondue, rice, or soup) every 10 minutes. You can rotate solid food every 10-15 minutes as well, so it cooks evenly.
  • Reposition your solar oven when needed, so that it faces direct sunlight. You should be checking periodically on your oven, to make sure it is in the sun.
  • Make sure that the foil-covered flap is reflecting light into the pizza box, through the plastic-covered window.

I have updates to this blog. I kept the play dough to see how long it stayed playable. I kept them in ziploc type sandwich bags in my studio. Well, after 2 weeks the purple rice flour recipe started to get slimy, then the dogs got it and that was the end of that. The cornstarch and baking soda batch, however did not start to go bad until last week. Before it went bad I used it for a mixed media paining. The texture was smooth and silky, however, I had to keep dipping my fingers in water to work with it because it tended to be on the dry side. I will post photos of the painting soon and you can be the judge of how well the clay looks. Enjoy!

Grandma's Fun Factory

What a fun day!  At the request of my daughter I found then made two gluten free playdough recipes that I found on the web to see which one, if any, are worth the bother.

Recipe 1: from the Celiac Disease Foundation

Ingredients

1/2 cup rice flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup salt

2 tsps cream of tarter

1 cup water

1 tsp. cooking oil

food coloring if desired

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Directions

Mix ingredients in medium sized saucepan.  Cook and stir on low heat until it forms a ball.  Cool completely before storing it in a seal-able plastic bag.

I made the mistake of doing this on a day when the arthritis in my hands was acting up.  It hurt to stir the dough in the pan.  If you have a similar issue either wait for a less painful day or have someone (an older grand?) stir it for you.

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This is where my hands started hurting.  It gets…

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