Acting Class Review

In the spring, my daughter has acting class. My hope is that the class encourages her self confidence and to speak her mind even if she feels silly. Also, improving her problem solving and creativity skills along the way. Maybe she will become a great leader one day.


Magical Door


This is the first time both my girls took the same class. My oldest daughter has taken classes at Seattle Children’s Theater and Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts.

There are similarities and differences between the two classes but she had fun at both locations which is the most important thing.

Similarities:

  • Both locations exercise my daughter’s imagination.
  • The Magical Door is the last activity at both schools (Pictured above at Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts).
  • Expanding their vocabulary with Theater terms.

Difference:

    Seattle Children Theatre has different classes for specific age groups.
    Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts has a age range, preschool 2-5 years old then 5-8 years old and so on.
    I love the Storytime Drama class at SCT. Kids read a story then act it out. They also color in each class.
    At Redmond Academy of Theatre Arts, teaches different dancing techniques and terms.

Both great schools for different reasons just depends on what you are looking for.

(Magic Door at Seattle Children Theater.)

Bee Craft

To celebrate May Day, we made a bee craft and practiced our use of glue sticks. Without bees, there would not be flowers. They are so important in cross pollination and reproduction of flowers.


Critical Skills to learn before going to Kindergarten.


Gluing is a critical skill preschoolers should learn before going to elementary school. Some other skills according to Education.com included but not limited to:

1. Writing

2. Letter Recognition

3. Beginning Sounds

4. Number Recognition and Counting

5. Shapes and Colors

6. Fine Motor Skills (like holding a pencil)

7. Cutting

8. Reading Readiness

9. Attention and Following Directions

10. Social Skills

A great tool that Education.com refers to a lot is Play Doh because it develops fine motor skills and is a safe object to practice cutting.

Once the bee was assembled, my kiddos ran around the room pretending to be bees. They built a hive aka fort. After resting in the hive, they ran from toy to toy collecting pollen.

I precut all the shapes so they just had to assemble the paper with glue.

Supplies:

  • Yellow paper for the body
  • Black paper cut into strips, triangles, mini rainbows for the mouth and antennas
  • Parchment, tracing or velum paper for the wing
  • Glue sticks

Ceramic Easter Eggs as Kids Craft

As an Easter tradition, we go to the ceramic painting studio and each kiddo paints their Easter egg to add to our collection on the dining room table. I love reminiscing about their techniques and color choices. As a baby, my kiddos did handprints on the eggs.


Color Me Mine


What an interesting name? I love them because the paint is non toxic and washes off clothes. Every Tuesday is 2 for 1 studio fee or Wednesday is 1/2 price studio fee for kids.

This year my oldest daughter is interested in having everything Easter color theme. If you can see her fingernails in the picture, they are a rainbow of bright pastel colors inspired by Easter and her egg matches.

My youngest daughter chose banana yellow, charcoal and pink. Very interesting but I think it will be beautiful. Great color combo for a sitting or living room.

Did you know? If you read in a yellow room, you hold your focus and absorb more of the book. Interested in the other colors, learn more at Kaplanco.com.

Sorry off topic… we can pick them up after Friday at 6pm. So excited to see their cute creations. Happy Wednesday!!

Paint a Pony

Yesterday, my daughter had a play date and when they started to get bored of running around the house I broke out this cute My Little Pony 3 piece painting kit. Peace and calm finally settle across the house.


My Little Pony Craft


I love this set because my 2 daughters and a friend were all able to paint their own plaster figure. Surprising no one wanted the same figurine. My oldest daughter loves Twilight Sparkle while my youngest daughter loves Pinkie Pie and happily our guest wanted Fluttershy. What luck.

My oldest didn’t want me to take a picture until her Twilight Sparkle was completed but her need for perfection caused her not to finish by the time for the play date to end. She will have to finish painting tomorrow. Nice 2 day activity for the price of one.

My toddler decided Pinkie Pie should now be navy blue. Now I wish more ponies on the show were a dark color like Princess Luna. It was perfect for her.

The kit includes 6 paints, a brush and 3 pony plaster figurines. Here is a link to a similar set available on Amazon called Paint Your Statue. Hope you have something like this in your house to add peace and quiet time.

Girl Scout Thank You Postcards

Girl Scout cookie sales are almost done. One more day. As we come to a close, I want my daughter to send her customers a thank you note so they know how appreciative we are for their support. We made postcards from the empty cookie boxes that are littering our house.


Postcard Craft


So a postcard can be cut from every cookie box except Toffee-tastic. That box is too small. Since we already have the boxes to make the postcards, we just have to pay for postcard postage which is cheaper than regular mail at 35 cents. For more info, check out usps.com.

Postcard size:

Min: 5” x 3.5”

Max: 6” x 4.25”

If you don’t have cookie boxes, here is a link to a free Girl Scouts printable thank note.

This could be a great project for the Clover or Gloria Badge. Happy last day of cookie sales!!

Kite Craft for Toddlers

Today, my toddler and I were in charge of the play group at our church. It is a great way to meet other moms and for the toddlers to run off some energy. My toddler took a nap afterwards which is rare these days.


Kite Craft


As part of the play date, we supply a craft for the toddlers. This time they made kites with paper, string and ink bingo dobbers.

I precut a 8×11″ paper into a kite shape. Then let the kiddos dab the ink wherever their heart desired.

Sometimes the toddlers splattered the ink but it was pretty cute. My daughter only used pink, purple and blue. I love seeing her personality show through her choices. Once she was done adding color, I hole punched the two sides and tied a string. With her completed kite, she ran around the room holding onto its string to let the kite fly.

Supples:

  • Medium weight paper
  • Ink bingo dobbers
  • String or yarn
  • Hole punch

Paper Bag Puppet

On Thursday last week, my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop invited a firefighter to visit. He gave an awesome presentation about fire and car seat safety plus ran them through some drills. Words can’t describe what an awesome job he did. Thank You Everett Fire Department!!


Firefighters Craft


After he left, I planned a craft for the kids to make out of a paper lunch bag. Each girl got to create a puppet firefighter to take home with them. I hoped this would spark a conversation about what the firefighter spoke to them about but they were so excited I’m not sure I needed to do a craft too.

Anyways, the project is pretty easy. I precut the basic shapes for each girl so they just needed to make a couple cuts and glue the pieces of paper onto the bag. I made a board with step by step instructions. Here are the steps:

    Add hands and arms
    Add white shirt
    Add outfit
    Add hat
    Add boots
    Add details (so they can personalize them)

At the end of the meeting, the girls got to take home their cute little puppets and knowledge of fire safety. It was a great meeting. Hope they don’t ever have to apply their knowledge but happy the girls now know what to do.

Dance Class

I’m feeling so proud today. It took 6 months but my toddler has turned a corner this week. She walked into dance class with no hand holding or bribes. I know it sounds bad but for moms with ‘attached at the hip’ kiddos they will understand. I feel like this is a huge step in her trust in me that ‘mama comes back.’


Class Overview


My kiddos attend Turning Pointe Dance Centre in Snohomish Washington. The staff is patient, educated and fun. The amount of Ballet terms I know now has sharply increased since my daughters started classes. Both girls started dance class at the age of two.

Dance Term:

  • Relevé – Tip toeing or A rise onto the toes.
  • Sauté – simple jump in the vertical direction.
  • First position – The legs are rotated, while heels are together.
  • Plié – A bend of the knees and the torso is held upright.
  • Tendu – A “stretched” from a flat foot to a pointed foot.

For a full list of terms, check out Orthopt.com.

At this age, I found it hard to find any classes or sports that little kids could attend. There are swim lessons available at 6 months old and gymnastics at 18 months old but this is a class they can do by themselves or with mom.

Dance class works on their gross (full) body control as well as listening to tempo and choreography. There are drop in classes to try for about $8-10 depending on the length. At the end of the year, they have a performance to show off their new skills. I’m looking forward to it.

Happy Dancing!!

Bead Heart

This week at my MOPS (mother’s of preschoolers) meeting, the kiddos made little heart ornaments from beads and pipe cleaners.


MOPS Activity for Kids


Twice a month, my MOPS group meets to discuss current topics and upcoming challenges of being a mother. I have learned so much from the guest speakers. Thus I’m a huge fan of MOPS.

When I had a toddler and going through a rough time trying to conceive my second, the other moms in the group were there to hold my hand and listen to my pain. I am so thankful to be apart of this group of women. I pray that every mom has something like this in their life and if they don’t I’d be happy to introduce you to MOPS in your area.

Anyways, while us mommies are learning about some new mommy skills, our kiddos are learning about Jesus and his love in the church’s childcare.

This is a great craft for preschoolers. During the MOPS meeting, the kids made this bead heart to symbolize Jesus’s love for them. The instructors began the meeting by reading a short story about ‘Children of Jesus’ from My Favorite Bible.

Similar to the snowflake ornament from last week, you can make this more challenging by having them follow a sequence to practice their coding skills. When they are done, the kids will have a cute heart to share with friends. Happy Hearts Day!

Supplies:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Beads

Bead Snowflake Ornament

While on vacation, my family took advantage of their winter activities which included this cute snowflake ornament made of pipe cleaners and beads.


Snowflake for Kids


To start this easy craft, take 3 pipe cleaners and twist them together in the middle then separate the end out to look like a 6 point snowflake. I had to twist it together for the kids before they added the beads to each end. This is a great eye hand coordination activity for the kiddos. My toddler was very focused on adding the beads.

When you get close to the end, you will want to hot glue or super glue the last bead on the end so the beads don’t fall off. On one end, tie a ribbon so you can hang it on the tree.

Viola the snowflake is completed. It is an easy and fun activity for all ages. For a complete diy video, check out Crouton Crafts’s YouTube channel here.

For older kids, I recommend making it more challenging by following a pattern to transform this activity into a coding exercise.

Compliment Cookies and Cupcakes

I feel like I talk about My Little Ponies a lot. I guess you are getting a little taste of what it is like at our house with pony craze. (Spoiler Alert) My kiddos and I recently watched an episode where Pinkie Pie was teaching her students about compliments with a cupcake exchange. I thought:

‘Wow that is a great idea.’


Girl Scouts Mari Badge Idea


My daisy troop recently earned their Mari ‘Responsible For What I Say and Do’ Badge. We started by reading the story of Mari the marigold. Luckily the story includes cupcakes decorating. Then the girls watched the first minute of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, Season 8 Episode 12 “Marks for Effort,” where Pinkie Pie explains and shows her students how to pay a compliment for the exchange of a cupcake. Then we reviewed the compliments we saw in the show before decorating a cupcake for our exchange.

Today, we decorated cookies similar to the cupcakes. The frosting, sugar cookie and sprinkles were supplied to my kiddos. They might have eaten just 2 large spoonfuls of frosting before any made it onto the cookie. So yummy!!

I think I would call these cookies Rainbow Bam!! Every variety of rainbow sprinkle made it onto this cookie adding just the right amount of crunch. Enjoy!!

Dream Catcher Craft and History

Dreamcatchers originally created by the Native Americans but to be more specific dream catchers are believed to be from the Ojibwa Chippewa and Lakota tribe who lived mainly in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Ontario. The Ojibwe word for dreamcatcher is asabikeshiinh which actually means “spider,” which I think is prefect since dream catchers look like a spiderweb.


Dream Catcher History


According to the Ojibwa history, the “Spider Woman” is the spiritual protector of the tribe, especially for children, kids and babies. As the Ojibwe people migrated out across the land, this spirit wasn’t able to protect and watch over all the members of the tribe because of their distance. This is why the first dreamcatcher was created. Traditionally, mothers and grandmothers would create the maternal keepsake as a means of mystically protecting their children and families no matter where they lived (Source: Legomenon.)

Dreamcatchers were originally made from leather and wood, but today we made one from metal and beads. Once the metal ring was complete with beads, tape the ring closed then tie the string to the ring and wrap it back and forth. Make sure the string is tight. The kiddos can wrap it as many times as they want then tie it off with a long tail to make into a loop. This way you have a way to hang it on a hook.

Last the kids add decorations like ribbon and snowflakes gems. Cut a couple ribbons and attach them to the bottom of the dream catcher. Then hot glue the gems like snowflakes.

Supplies:

  • Metal rings about 6-8″ diameter
  • 60-80 beads available at Dollar Tree
  • Colorful string (my girls prefer rainbow colors)
  • Gem snowflake or similar
  • Ribbon

One Dollar Canvas Painting

So I love the dollar store for craft ideas, party supplies and season decorations. The Dollar Tree is my favorite dollar dealer. They have a great idea section on their website and will ship to you when you buy in bulk. Great for a Girl Scouts craft or MOPS activity.


Valentines Alien


I love painting though I’m not very good at it. I don’t have the patience to be a good painter. Layering the pigment and letting it dry to add depth wasn’t my strong suit in school.

Painting is peaceful and I encourage my daughters to paint to bring peace in the house. They sat at the counter so quietly and focused on their little alien. I was so impressed by the toddler’s focus. Using every color on the brush at the same time. There was a lot of shades of pink and red on her canvas.

My kindergarten didn’t understand her little sister’s technique but I reassured her that everyone has their own way of doing things. Now that she is in elementary school, she knows “you color in the lines” and “don’t make the whole painting one color” (Her words). Both paintings are prefect depictions of their personalities that is why I love them so much. As ancient philosophers once said:

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I have to thank my mom for this valentines gift. This cute kit could double as a card. Or the kiddos could give it away as a card when they completed the painting.

Also, I just saw the kit is available for Easter. It is a prefect addition to their bunny baskets. Dollar Tree, here I come.

Do you think Easter is in the store yet?

This adorable little kit includes:

  • Mini easel
  • 4 paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Canvas (4 different picture outlines are available)

Compli-Mat Activity

If you are looking for a fun and bonding experience with your family for Valentine’s Day, I recommend trying compli-mats at the dinner table.


Kindness and Writing Exercise for Kids


Do you know about Love Language? The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman is a self help book about how to express heartfelt commitment to your mate from 1995. Understanding your spouse’s as well as your love language is important but knowing your kids’ language is important too.

The five love languages are:

  1. Touch (hugging and snuggling)
  2. Quality Time
  3. Compliments
  4. Receiving and Giving Gifts
  5. Acts of Service

My love language is compliments while my daughters’ are quality time and compliments.

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, looking for activities to fill our love banks is my goal. I stumbled onto the kindness activity that fills my compliments love language as well as my kids.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

I love this exercise because it teaches my kiddo about kind words. We started by making a list of kind words to help her understand the difference between saying something nice verses mean. Here is the list that we came up with:

  • Loyal
  • Strong
  • Nice
  • Giving
  • Kind
  • Funny
  • Fancy
  • Honest
  • Brave
  • Friendly

This activity takes little prep. All you need is some paper and pens. I found this great free printable available at Teacher Pay Teacher. You will need to sign up for a free account to download the mat.

Once we had all the supplies and kind words list displayed in front of us, we passed the paper around the table. My daughter could copy the words in front of her. She wrote that I (and pretty much everyone) was friendly.

At the end, my daughter loved reading the kind things everyone said about her. Can you guess what her love language is?

Snow Day Activities Outside

It is snowing in the Pacific Northwest. A beautiful winter wonderland surrounds my eager and joyful kids looking forward to touching the snow.


Snow Engineering


My oldest daughter keeps going outside and sticking her finger in the snow to check it’s depth. She is excited to have it up to her knuckles. I’ve already gotten the call that school is canceled today. The excitement to stay home to play in the snow is exploding in my house.

The first order of business is to make a snow angel. My daughter plopped herself down in the middle of the front yard and started to wave her arms and legs.

After a few angels appeared, she set off to collect snow for her annual mini snowman. Whenever she sees snow, she has a strong desire to build a snowman. Side note, don’t try to sing the Frozen song ‘Do You Want To Build A Snowman’ because she will shut you down pretty fast.

The snowman is approximately 1 foot tall that is about all the snow we get around here. We found some rocks for eyes and sticks for arms. Mr Snowman turned out pretty well.


Science Behind the Snow


Why do we have snow?

National Snow and Ice Data Center explains snow as ice crystals (aka. snowflakes) that formed in the atmosphere surrounding the clouds. The ice crystals grow by absorbing surrounding water droplets. In many cases, the temperature on the ground level is warmer than in the clouds were the crystals form so as the crystals melt as it reach the ground. But when the temperatures are freezing outside (below 32 degrees), the crystals (snowflakes) stay frozen and creates snow.

Happy snow day!

Art on an Easel

Happy Monday Everyone!! Today I sit back and drink a cup of coffee while I watch my kiddos draw on an easel. Such a peaceful morning on this non-school day. Yeah!!


Chalk vs Dry Erase Markers


As the teacher get the mid-year report cards ready, my kids sit quietly drawing. Discovery 3-in-1 Tabletop Easel is wonderful. So grateful that my sister-in-law got this easel for the girls’ Christmas present.

The kit includes:

3-in-1 Easel

Paper roll

Oversized Clip

Dry Eraser

My SIL kindly included chalk and markers with her gift. I would highly recommend that if you are thinking about getting this pretty cool gift. You’ll need to pick up some drawing supplies like chalk and erasable markers.

The easel box clearly says for kids 3 years and older but my toddler can safely use the drawing surfaces too. There isn’t any small pieces and the easel is pretty sturdy. Thus my toddler can push pretty hard and it doesn’t move.

Here is my 5 year old’s drawing titled A Flower Growing On Top Of A Mountain. I love the happy face on the sun. Happy child equals happy life.

Octopus Activity and Book

It was octopus day at our house which was inspired by a trip to the local library. I love going to the library. You never know what you are going to find or learn.


Eight Arms


Today my toddler and I visited our local library and it inspired me to write this blog about octopuses. The librarian at storytelling spoke about the importance of introducing math to toddlers. Story time focused on practicing counting forward and backwards which helps build number sense and teaches children to see relationships between numbers.

Then the librarian suggested this book, My Octopus Arms by Keith Baker, which is pictured below.

The first page references the octopus’s 8 arms; otherwise, there isn’t any other reference to numbers. Though as we read the book, we would count the octopus’s arms on each page. Thus making the storybook a little longer (always trying to go over that 20 minute benchmark).

Did you know that the octopus has existed longer than dinosaurs? As well as octopus have arms; not legs or tentacles.

After we were done with the book, we created an octopus out of a paper plate and scrap paper. One of my daughters drew the face on first while the other scribbled a shape at the end. Either approach is fine.

Supplies:

  • Paper plates; cut in half
  • 8 strips of paper (preferably different colors and marked 1 through 8)
  • Glue
  • Markers

Counting the arms over and over again will help my kiddos with number sequence. I’m interested to see how long it takes my toddler to destroy the octopus’s 8 arms. She is notorious for ripping up paper.

Do you have a fun octopus craft or fact?

Please share in the comment field below.

Headband Craft

Today was a pretty chill day at our house. Ran a couple of errands followed by hanging out at the house. Im always surprised by how fast the little kiddos get bored within minutes of walking in the door. Having a few quick and easy kits get the creative juices flowing.


Melissa and Doug Craft


My daughter received this gift to make her own headbands. I’m happy the kit included two so each girl could make one. My youngest loves stickers and this is a wonderful project to develop concentration and focus.

Melissa & Doug has a great 3 pack of Design-Your-Own Jewelry-Making Kits that includes Bangles, Headbands, and Bracelets available on Amazon.

This headband kit is unique because your kiddos decorate a flat glittery strip of plastic with stickers before threading the strip onto a headband. It takes some coordination and strength to press the headband through the sandwich strips. These headbands quickly became crowns for our two princesses.

Each of my daughters would give this project a two thumbs up and it takes about 20 minutes to complete. This is a great project for a road trip or plane ride because it doesn’t take up a lot of space. Plus when the headbands are completed, the kids can wear them while the packaging is thrown away. One less thing to pack back into the stowaways.

Wherever your trip is this year, hope you have a happy and safe trip.

Piano Lessons

This time of year, I reminisce about my childhood as well as plan for the year to come. A new hobby for our family is playing the piano. My kids didn’t take notice of the piano until I began to play again.

Joy of Music


I remember when I took piano lessons as a kid and my mom would take me to a strangers house for my lesson. My mom would sit there waiting as if I was giving a performance at each lesson. Then my mom reminded me to practice at home and all I wanted to do was play with my toys or friends; not practice piano, especially practice songs I didn’t even know. I feel bad for my mom. I’m sure I didn’t make it easy for her either.

I don’t remember having the most fun however I do have a strong desire to want to relearn the piano as well as teach my daughter. So as one of my New Years resolutions, I began to play the piano again. My eagerness to learn is rubbing off on my daughters. As soon as they hear the keys they come streaking over to play with me which sounds like rubbish but we are having fun. When I really want to play, I have each of us take a turn. Each person getting 3 songs to play. Even the 2 year old daughter has a turn. We are loving it.

“Research proves learning musical instruments makes kids smarter… overall better rounded people” states Math Matters 101.

Parents magazine research says there are 6 benefits for children to have music lessons.

  1. Improved academics especially in subjects of math and science.
  2. Improve physical skills in gross and fine motor skills.
  3. Cultivates social skills with speaking volume and speed.
  4. Teaches delayed gratification and patience.
  5. Boost self-esteem
  6. Understanding of our cultures.

Most studies on this subject observe 6 year olds as their test subjects. With my daughter’s 6th birthday around the corner, no better time than now to learn. Plus we were handed down a piano from a family friend whom kids have grownup. Now with the instrument, I just have to find a book we both will enjoy and is easy to understand. So I was on the lookout for a book to teach and relearn the piano. I found this book on how to play the piano at a Usborne Book Fundraiser. Also available on Amazon. The book has a built in keyboard so we can practice anywhere but I really enjoy the songs. My favorite song is swan lake. Usborne has a full series of similar books.

Photo courtesy of Amazon

Instead of using the keyboard built into the book, I wanted to my daughter to play on the piano so I purchased matching sticker shapes from Amazon. Trend Enterprises Basic SuperShape Stickers match the book almost perfectly. The book is wonderful but she is playing with both hands and improving everyday. I’m very proud of her.

I hope music blesses your life like it has ours.

Snowflake Craft

Looking for a cheap but beautiful craft for your kiddos. These snowflakes ornaments are perfect for kids of all ages.

I saw this picture online and it makes the popsicle stick ornament look so elegant.

This project began when I was on Facebook and saw my friend’s son made this popsicle snowflake ornament for his Christmas tree. I showed my daughter and she wanted to make them for our tree too.

I’m lucky all the supplies can be found at the dollar store.

Supplies:

  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Paint and brush
  • Mod podge
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon
  • Hot glue and gun
  • Festive stickers

For toddlers, I recommend pre-gluing the popsicle sticks together to avoid a big mess. But painting can be messy too. Good luck either way. We used acrylic paint because it is permanent. Though washable paint would work fine (just beware the paint can run if it gets wet).

Steps:

  1. Glue 2 popsicle sticks into a plus (+).
  2. Repeat step 1 so you have 2 pluses (+).
  3. Glue the 2 pluses (+) together. Let dry.
  4. Paint the popsicle sticks. Front and back. Let it dry in between.
  5. Once dry, add MOG PODGE then sprinkle the glitter.
  6. My daughter finished the ornament with adding a couple festive stickers.
  7. Add a ribbon loop to one end with hot glue.

Here is the the finished craft. I’m so proud of my daughter!! She loves the color blue and made it just her style. Happy holidays!

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