I’ve been on a roll with my holiday-themed joke tellers, so decided to create one for St. Patrick’s Day as well. Sometimes called “fortune tellers”, “chatter boxes” or “salt cellars”, these simple paper crafts have been popular for decades. My twist on them is to insert jokes instead of fortunes – a fun way to connect with friends (without screens) and spread a few laughs this St. Patrick’s Day 🙂
My son Jacob and I were talking about Thanksgiving coming up and he tells me “I’m looking forward to your activities”. I paused, not understanding what he was talking about and asked “What activities?”. He replies, “Like your Thanksgiving Joke Teller“….. While I was happy he appreciated my efforts last year, I felt bad I hadn’t come up with anything new for this year. Not wanted to let him down, I decided to design a Thanksgiving-themed placemat with fun activities including a maze, word search, how-to-draw and one of their favorites – a secret decoder message to solve!
Jacob was such a fan of the Secret Agent Valentine I designed for him, that I thought I’d use a similar concept to come up with an activity for Evan’s class Valentine’s Day party.
I created a series of worksheets where the kids get to tap into their inner Secret Agent and are challenged with the task to find Cupid’s stolen arrows. Using some of our favorite Love/Heart/Valentine’s Day themed books, the kids dive into the stories a bit deeper to investigate clues, decode messages and figure out who the Arrow Thief is.
With 8 to 14 inches of snow expected today, schools in the area were cancelled for a rare occurrence — SNOW DAY!! Needless to say, the kids were very excited and we spent most of the morning outside. This afternoon, we decided to stay warm and stick indoors for a Valentine’s Day themed craft.
Using these cute doilies from the dollar store, (click here for a similar product on Amazon) I simply cut out a heart shape from the middle of the doily and attached a square of contact paper (larger than the doily) to one side. Then, with Valentine’s Day inspired colors, I cut small squares of tissue paper and put them in bowls.
Sticky side up, the kids selected their preferred tissue squares and attached them to the contact paper heart in the center of the doily.
When their Valentine heart decorating was complete, I trimmed any excess tissue paper that was hanging over the lace part of the doily, then sealed their heart with another sheet of contact paper. After trimming around the outside of the doily (to cut off excess contact paper), we hung their masterpieces in our window to enjoy the beautiful stained glass colors!
These Valentines also make perfect gifts to send to family and friends! 🙂
“Close your eyes and picture of the sun. That’s what it felt like to love her, warmth.” – Atticus
Celebrate all the wonderful teachers in your life during Teacher Appreciation Week! Whether it’s a school teacher, sports coach, or even a caretaker – these real life superheroes cannot be thanked enough for taking the time to help us learn and grow!
This year I created a “Thank you” coloring page that’s easy for even the littlest of ages to provide a gift to their teachers with their own personal touch. For the boys, I also included a questionnaire on the back of their coloring page.
Click HERE or on above image to download FREE printable.
Click HERE or on above image to download FREE printable questionnaire.
Click HERE for more options on my Etsy Page.
Looking to give your teacher a little something extra? Below are some fun ideas:
A couple of years ago, we had to remove most of the trees around our property due to Ash Borer. Now we hardly have leaves in our yard during Fall. Seriously, this is the leaf “pile” the kids were playing in yesterday…
The kids had a blast – but without a ton of leaves, it hasn’t felt much like fall (to me anyway). So I decided to create a fall-themed craft to set the mood for the autumn season. My boys loved the Stained Glass Sun Catcher Ornaments we made last winter, so I created a similar craft using a leaf shape… Super-easy, no-mess, and perfect for all ages!
To get the project ready, print any of the following leaf shapes:
Cut out the CENTER of the leaf shape with an X-Acto knife or scissors.
Prepare colored tissue paper by cutting them into squares.
Note: I separated the tissue paper squares into coordinating cup colors for easy selection. I’m not pointing this out to show how overly organized I can be, I’m sharing this to show one of the MANY ways I’ve re-purposed the cups provided in our Easter egg dying kit – Great cups to save and reuse!
Adhere a piece of contact paper to the FRONT of your pre-cut leaf print-out, covering the entire outline. (Don’t have contact paper? Packaging tape works as a wonderful substitute!) Then lay the paper down, sticky side up.
Now it’s time for your little artist(s) to decorate their leaf… Have them select their tissue paper pieces, and press them down onto the contact paper.
When complete, seal the back with another piece of clear contact paper. Trim around the outside of the leaf shape with scissors and tape or hang your masterpiece in a window to enjoy the beautiful stained glass colors!
Shortly after the boys turned 2 years old, they started finding Cory or I in the mornings and asking, “Is Dad home all day?”. If the answer was “no”, I often times had two crying kids on my hands. Understandably (in their minds), they were upset that Cory had to run off to some unknown “work” place, instead of staying home to play with them. Unfortunately for me, I had to break this news to them every Monday through Friday and they would be super angry with me – like it was MY choice which days Cory went to work.
While it was neat watching them realize the concept of days, I wanted to avoid the unnecessary tantrums and help them understand their schedules better. As a visual person myself, I decided to put together a weekly calendar *showing* them which days Dad was “home all day” (by putting a picture of Cory’s face on Saturday and Sunday). I printed out the calendar, put it in a sheet protector, and hung it on their bedroom door with a clothespin to mark the current day. Each morning, they would wake up and move the clothespin to the new day.
Both Jacob and Evan responded to the calendar extremely well, so I started adding images for almost everything – doctor’s appointments, swim class, holidays, etc. The boys quickly started understanding weekends vs. weekdays and were excited when something new would pop up on their calendar. Although our weekly events pretty much stayed the same, when I knew a holiday or special event was coming up, I would print the future week in advance and simply slide the sheet behind the current week (in the sheet protector) so that it was ready to go.
Avery is 2 years old now, and starting “toddler school” this week, so I started using the weekly calendar for her. She is loving the new responsibility of updating her marker for each day, and super excited for her 1st day of school. No more tantrums and full cooperation for the day’s activities (well, most of the time anyway). Either way, a definite WIN!
All things outer space has been a huge interest of the boys lately. They enjoy star gazing, identifying planets in the sky, and were thrilled to see the Super Blood Moon this past summer.
Although it would be amazing if the moon were really that huge, it’s enlarged for effect 🙂
Jacob’s favorite thing to wear are his constellation pajama pants (as seen above) and he’s always asking us to point out the Big Dipper, especially after reading Touch the Brightest Star – one of his favorite interactive books, where you trace the Big and Little Dipper with your finger as part of the story. (Great book for any toddler’s bed time collection!)
I wanted a fun way to teach them the basic constellations, and ones that are easy to spot in the sky, so I came up with the following craft worksheets…
Click on individual worksheet above for FREE printable, or HERE for pdf with ALL Worksheets.
First I had the boys place star stickers on the grey dots, then using the picture as reference, draw lines to create each constellation.
After learning the constellations, the boys got creative with their worksheets – connecting the dots without stickers, outlining the constellation in all star stickers, putting other stars in the sky, tracing the letters to spell the constellations, etc. I enjoy watching them explore whatever materials I give them. It’s fun when they think outside the box and come up with new ways to do things… A great hands-on way to learn while using imagination and creativity!
“Don’t wait for the stars to align. Reach up, rearrange them the way you want them to be. Create your own constellation.” – Pharrell Williams