Category Archives: Crafting with Kids

DIY Wind Chime for Kids

As a stay at home work at home mom, my days require a lot of creativity in order to keep Pistache busy while I keep busy.  I aim to do at least one cool thing a week that’s out of the ordinary, because she’s such a crafty kid.  Plus, I feel like since I run a business based on craftiness, it’s important to pass that on to my daughter. This week (honestly, a couple of weeks ago, but I had to work out the details), she requested that we recycle some of our grocery store cans into something fun and “rainbow colored.” I love this kid.  She’s awesome, if I haven’t mentioned that before.  Our result?

Tin Can Wind Chime

Ta Da! A tin-can wind chime!

Once I worked out the specifics on how to turn a collection of tin cans into a wind chime, it was really pretty simple.

Materials needed:

  • approximately 8 tin cans, cleaned of labels and glue
  • Paint in “rainbow colors”
  • Twine or string
  • 1 old embroidery hoop (or other circular item, preferably recycled)
  • hammer
  • nail
  • hot glue

Once the cans were cleaned, I just let Pistache go to town painting the cans.  It’s a kids’ craft, so I didn’t think it needed to come out pristine!  I wasn’t thinking, though, and let her use her usual paints, so a lot of it washed off in the rain.  I think a coating of clear spray paint will help in the future!

We let the cans dry for a few days, and then took a hammer to the tops, in order to create a hole.

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(Don’t worry, I was right there. No fingers got smashed during this project).

After all of the holes are punched, we carefully threaded the string-cut into differing lengths- through the hole and tied a good knot on the inside.

As an added precaution, I also put a dab of hot glue on the top to keep it extra secure.

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Finally, we attached each can to the embroidery hoop with another good knot and added two more strings across the top in an X pattern to hang the wind chime.  The final result really is pretty colorful and fun, and Pistache is incredibly proud of her newest project.

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Building Fairy Houses the Natural Way

If you’ve got a little girl like I do, you are probably familiar with this new fascination with building fairy houses.  Ever since Pistache watched Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, she’s been obsessed with the idea of building her own fairy houses. While I allowed her to make her first house out of an old milk carton, I quickly realized how much I didn’t like it.  First off, it required a lot of guidance and help from me.  Secondly, I realized once she wanted to put it outside that it was going to quickly turn into litter in my yard that I’d have to clean up.

I did some research online and found out that natural fairy houses are a big past-time, especially in Maine.  There are books, folk-lores, and stories surrounding the practice.  It just seemed perfect!  So, we bought the book “Fairy Houses” by Tracy Kane and it’s become a night time favorite.  The book includes a story as well as instructions, the rules of building fairy houses, and ideas for each season.

fairy house

The sign says “Fairies Welcome”

This weekend, Pistache finally had a chance to try her hand at her own natural fairy houses.  She did them almost entirely by herself and it kept her busy for hours! I think we’ve found a new favorite outdoor activity. She wanted to invite all sorts of fairies to the yard, so we have this one set up under the bushes, along with a snack of acorns, as well as another house set up where our gutter drops off, creating a pond, or stream.

For the water fairies

For the water fairies

The rules of building fairy houses are clear.  You can’t use any artificial materials (such as plastic, glass, or metal) and you can’t harm anything living.  This is a big bonus for me because it keeps Pistache from picking my flowers and tearing leaves and bark off the trees to do her crafting.  She now knows that actions like these makes the fairies sad and they won’t visit.

So, instead, we walk the yard and look for materials such as dry leaves and grass, bark that has fallen off the trees, or a few of our fire logs such as the one pictured above.  You could also use rocks, shells, feathers, moss, and fallen nuts or berries.

I have a feeling this will become a new favorite activity in the Cage Free household.  Pistache has already taught her cousin the art of building fairy houses as well.  Try it out with your kids!

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Easter Egg Dying with Kool Aid

Are you dying Easter eggs this weekend? Traditionally, we always do it the Saturday before Easter, so we’ll be doing ours after dinner this evening.  While we normally use a basic egg-dye kit, last year I decided to get creative and we used Kool Aid instead, and I’ll admit it was a lot of fun! It smelled good, too!

Kool Aid Easter Eggs

It was really easy, too.  Definitely not any more difficult than using a dye-kit like we usually do.  If you’ve never dyed eggs with Kool-Aid, there are really great instructions here.

Pretty Kool Aid Dye

I loved the smell, and the different colors we were able to get by mixing Kool-Aid flavors.  Plus, I didn’t mind when Pistache did this:

Hand dipped

How are you dying your eggs this year? Do you have any great techniques? Please share!

 

 

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Painting Seashells – Nature Crafts with Kids

Sorry for the radio silence this last week.  It started out with a fabulous family beach vacation, and ended with us on pins and needles hoping for some good news for our family.  We’re not quite ready to share anything, but hopefully in the next few weeks we’ll have an exciting announcement!

In the meantime, we thoroughly enjoyed our beach vacation, despite the weather forecast.  Tip of the day, just because the weatherman says there’s a 60% chance of thunderstorms all weekend, doesn’t mean you won’t have beautiful weather!  We spent the entire weekend on the beach building sand castles (well, I built them, Pistache just played Godzilla and crushed them all), and collecting seashells to learn about nature. We discussed how hermit crabs and muscles lived in these shells and the ones we collected were no longer useful to the sea creatures.  Pistache loves learning about nature and exploring new things, so we even take the time to discuss these things in the back yard and at the park.

love collecting seashells with kids.  It brings back the memories of me doing that as a kid, and it’s a tradition I’ve passed on to Pistache.  We walk the beach and collect seashells in a bucket while talking about the creatures that live in the sea, and then they are the perfect afternoon craft while the sun is at it’s strongest.

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Painted seashells are a great busy craft for toddlers!

Pistache loved painting seashells, and this kept her busy for quite awhile our last day at the beach and even after we got back from the beach-she collected a lot of shells.

Once she was bored with painting shells, we let them all dry and then collected all of the shells with little holes to make a decoration for her room.  We used fishing wire, a darning needle (to make it easier to control the fishing wire with her little hands), and all of the seashells with holes and began lacing them together.

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Pistache got a chance to practice lacing with her shells. And yes, she’s crafting in a Princess dress!

Nature can provide hours of entertainment for young kids, and crafts like these have really opened Pistache’s eyes to the world around her.  So next time you’re at the beach, try collecting seashells and talking to your toddler about their purpose and then plan a craft!

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