Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hanukkah Melting Menorah: Science and Art for Kids!

Celebrating Hanukkah in my house hasn’t always been ‘traditional’. I’m Jewish, and my husband is not. That means our son gets eight nights of presents, plus Christmas. It also means educating him about both holidays. That said, adding in some artsy fun is always welcome when it comes to teaching.

Kids' science

Ok, so my son has never been in love with art (of course, because I am an arts educator—sarcasm very much implied here). So, I’ve always tried adding another type of activity in with the art. This menorah art exploration also includes science as well. It’s also part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Hanukkah for Kids series!

I’m a fan of coloring ice cubes and letting them melt into swirling, whirling water colors. Not only does the melting ice teach your child about the solid-to-liquid transformation, but it also adds in a lesson on color mixing. If you’re beginning to ask, “What does this have to do with Hanukkah?” – here it is. You can’t let your child play with the real menorah. Lit candles and a kid just don’t mix. With that in mind, you can make a crafty menorah. You and your child can also try this melting ice science/art menorah. Unlike the slowly burning flames of the menorah’s candle, these melting ‘candles’ won’t burn anyone or anything.

Before you begin, ask your child what he thinks will happen to his ice block menorah if he leaves it out. Dig a bit deeper and ask him to predict what it will eventually turn into (also ask how long he thinks it will take to melt).

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Ice cube trays

·        Food coloring

·        Gold glitter

·        Card stock paper

Here’s What to Do:

1. Make the ice for the menorah. You need enough to make a base and ‘candle holders’. Keep in mind you need eight holders (one for each night of Hanukkah) and a center shamash candle. The shamash is the ‘attendant’ candle – the one that you use to light the others. Drip a few drops of food coloring into each compartment of the trays (sprinkle in some glitter too, if your child wants). Pour in water. Freeze.

2. Drip a few drops of yellow food coloring into another tray. You need at least none pieces to make nine flames. Sprinkle gold glitter on top to make sparkling flames. Freeze the flame cubes.
Glitter craft

3. Pop the frozen cubes out of the freezer.

4. Stack the ice in the shape of a menorah on thick card stock paper. Encourage your child to explore and experiment with the engineering aspect of it. Let him stack the cubes in any way that he wants, making sure to count out the nine total candle holders. He can also make the center shamash holder taller than the other.
Ice blocks

5. Add the ‘flames’. Stack the yellow and gold glitter cubes on top of the candles.
Hanukkah project

As the ice begins to melt your child can start spreading the flowing water colors around. By moving the different colors of ice he can discover what happens when the colors mix.
Kids' Science

Eventually the menorah will melt. But, it won’t be gone. Save the remaining water color paint paper as a reminder of this Hanukkah activity.
Chanukah Kids

Are you looking for more art and science activities? Follow my Pinterest board for more ideas!
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Star Wars Crafts for Kids: Lightsaber Painting

Star Wars crafts for kids? Yep, the kids are practically foaming at their mouths to see The Force Awakens or they’ve watch all of the other movies something like a zillion times (I’ve been there too). You’ve managed to buy up every piece of movie merchandise that you deem reasonable, and now the kids want – more?

Kids' craft
Your junior Jedi can try out this lightsaber painting project. If lightsabers and painting aren’t exactly two things that seem to go together, you’re line of thinking is probably right. But, it’s also entirely possible. I’m not talking about using your child’s precious play lightsaber to get artsy. Instead, he can transform a paintbrush into one. How?

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        A paintbrush

·        Kitchen foil

·        Black electrical tape

·        Scissors

·        Tempera paint

·        Paper

Here’s What to Do:

1. Tear a sheet of foil off of the roll. Fold it in half.

2. Place the paintbrush (brush side towards the bottom) at the end of the folded foil. Your child will cover the brush part and paint with the opposite end.

Art activity

3. Fold the foil around the brush, creating a few layers. Your child only needs to cover half of the paintbrush. The foil is the lightsaber’s handle.

Paintbrush art
4. Use the tape to add accents to the handle. Cut the tape into pieces and wrap it around the foil. Your child can craft any designs he wants to.

Kids' art
5. Pour a few pools of paint onto a paper plate or make a wax paper palette.

6. Finger paint the tempera onto the paper.

Art project
7. Use the lightsaber to ‘draw’ in the paint. Make abstract patterns, designs or create a favorite character from the movie (who doesn’t like Chewbacca in paint?).

Star Wars
And, there you go – Star Wars crafts for kids! Your child can also use the end of the lightsaber to directly paint with. Just dip it into the paint.

Children's art
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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kids' Art Supply Gift Basket

Need a gift for a crafty kid? Looking for children’s art supplies that fit the bill for the upcoming holidays? Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other holiday, putting together an art supply gift basket is an easy way to spark some creativity in your child.

Kids' art
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Not only does Santa have to bring gifts to your house, but you’ve got some gift-giving to do when it comes to other people’s kids. There are cousins, friends and the occasional holiday party to bring presents to.

Every year my son and I donate a gift basket to our karate school’s holiday party auction. Honestly, I usually don’t put a huge amount of thought into it. There’s so, so, so, so much else to do. What happens? I stuff a basket with a few various scented lotions and shower gels, and call it a ‘pampering yourself’ basket. This year I decided to do something a little different.

I put together a few of my favorite kids’ art supplies. Ok, so I have more than a few favorites. That said, I couldn’t possibly fit them all into one gift basket. Even though I didn’t want to cheap-out on the basket, I also didn’t want to spend a crazy amount on it either. What did I do? Here are a few suggestions for putting together an arts and crafts materials basket for kids:

1. Go with the basics. Instead of stocking the gift with ultra-fancy artsy stuff that are a bit out of your price range, opt for simple materials that most kids know (and love). This means crayons, tempera paints, clay or colored pencils.
Craft basics

2. Add a few tools. I added paintbrushes, but you could also include clay tools or even pencil sharpeners.
Painting tools

3. Highlight one ‘special’ item. I picked out a set of glitter glue pens.

4. Pack a variety. You could pop in one paintbrush, or even a set of them. Or, you could get an array. I chose different sizes of brushes, along with sponge-tipped versions.

5. Give the gift recipient ideas on how to use the supplies! You can include an index card with a few art projects or print some out. I made these art activity printables to include in my gift basket. You can download it, print it and add it as well. The parents (especially those who aren’t particularly arts-inclined will appreciate the ideas). You can print out one or pick and choose depending on what types of materials you include.

Painting ideas:

Kids' art

Clay play:

Kids' art

Drawing ideas:

Draw art

Are you looking for more artsy ideas? Follow my Pinterest board for activities!

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Pecan Pie Cookie Ball Truffles

Cookie truffle balls are one of my favorite things to not bake. OK, so they might also be one of the few things that I ‘cook’ well. Pecan pie might not be anyone’s immediate thought when hearing the words, “Cookie balls”, but maybe it should be!
Cookie Balls

You’re looking for an easy dessert solution to your Thanksgiving and holiday party baking woes. This is super-simple, and the kids can even get in on the baking action.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        1 cup pecans

·        Golden sandwich cookies (Oreos or other cookies, with a cream filing)

·        6 oz. softened cream cheese

·        1 cup brown sugar

·        ½ cup cornstarch

·        ¼ cup water

·        2 egg yolks

Here’s What to Do:

Make the cookie balls—

1. Crush the cookies in a food processor.

Cookie recipe

2. Mix the cream cheese in with the cookies.

3. Shape the mix into balls that are slightly smaller than plums.

4. Pop the cookie balls into the freezer for one hour.

5. Take the cookies out of the freezer.

Make the pecan mix –

1. Chop the pecans – if you didn’t already buy pre-chopped ones.

2. Measure and mix the brown sugar and cornstarch (if the kids are helping, this is a perfect opportunity to sneak in some math).

3. Add the water and egg yolks, mixing in a saucepan over a low heat.

4. Stir in the pecans. Continue mixing until you’ve got a pecan pie filling consistency.
Holiday recipe

Complete the recipe –

1. Coat the cookie balls with the pecan pie mix – be careful, it will be hot.
Thanksgiving dessert

2. Serve! I served mine with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum!
Pie cookies

Are you looking for more cookie truffle recipes?

What about pumpkin pie truffles?

Cookie recipe

OR, how about chocolate pretzel cookies?

Cookie balls

Or, you could follow my Pinterest board for ideas galore!

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Sensory Slime Science, with Feathers!

What kid doesn’t relish the chance to make slime? Even though my son is 14 now, he still totally enjoys the ooey, gooey science-y stuff.

Science kids

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information).

Earlier in the week I made a vain attempt to use up my stockpile of glitter. The result? Disco slime! It was pretty cool (according to my now-teen). But, I also had an equally as impressive stockpile of craft feathers. There are only so many Thanksgiving turkey crafts that one family can stand, so I had to find another use for the rest of the faux feathers. I kind of imagined that adding feathers to slime wouldn’t work – or it might be totally awesome.

I can’t say it was genius or that the feathers fluffed out in the slimy mix. They did add a playful mix of color and a let’s call it ‘unique’ texture. So, the feather slime experiment turned out to be a pretty neat sensory exploration.

I’m going to suggest that you start this activity by making a few predictions. Set the feathers out in front of your child and ask him what he thinks will happen to them when he adds them to the slime mix. Invite your child to touch the feathers first. He can then think about (and talk about) how the feathers might change when they meet the gooey stuff.

Feather craft

And now on to the activity...

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        ¼ cup school glue – We used clear (not white) Elmer’s glue

·        ¼ cup liquid starch

·        ¼ cup water

·        Craftfeathers

·        Scissors

Here’s What to Do:

1. Measure and mix the glue and water. Use this opportunity to sneak in a math lesson. Not only can your child measure the glue and water, but he can also compare the two quantities (as equal).
Slime mix

2. Add a handful of craft feathers to the mixture. If you’re using larger craft feathers, cut them into pieces.
Children's activity

3. Slowly mix in the liquid starch. The glue and water should now start turning into a gelatinous consistency.
Messy activity

4. Play, explore and experiment with the sensory slime!
Kids' project

Are you looking for more slimy science for kids? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Disco Slime!

Disco slime! Ok, so it doesn’t play a Donna Summer song or a Bee Gees tune. But, it does sparkle like a disco ball. And, who doesn’t love a glittery kids’ art and science activity?

Disco activity
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information).

A little while back we made disco play dough. I thought I’d take it a step farther and try a slime version. It was super-simple to make, and my 14-year-old even enjoyed it (and lately he doesn’t enjoy much of anything that doesn’t involve the word ‘Xbox’ in it).

Slime recipes are fairly common. Go ahead and google it. You’ll probably find page after page that features a very similar how-to. There are a few varieties – this one is the liquid starch kind. Even though the ingredients are kid-friendly, they are far from edible. If you have a child who enjoys eating everything or regularly puts what he’s playing with into his mouth, hold off on experimenting with this slime. It is not in any way taste-safe (i.e., do not eat it!).

I made a small batch, but you can mix up more goo if you double the recipe. You’ll notice that each of the many ingredients come in equal quantities. You’ll also notice that you need to do some basic measurements. Why not throw in a little math lesson and let the kids do the measuring themselves?

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        ¼ cup school glue (I’ve used regular white glue before. It works pretty well. This time I used clear Elmer’s glue. I have to say, I did like it better – if you like a clear slime).

·        ¼ cup water

·        ¼ cup liquid starch

·        Glitter!!!!!!

Here’s What to Do:

1. Measure ¼ cup of glue. Pour it into a bowl.

Kids' craft
2. Measure ¼ cup of water. Mix that in with the glue.

3. Sprinkle in the glitter. Now, add some more. Do you have enough? Probably not. So, go ahead and add even more. Use lots of different colors to get that disco ball effect.

4. Measure ¼ cup liquid starch. Slowly mix it in, adding it bit by bit.

Liquid mix
5. Continue to mix the slime (your child can use his hands to do this) until it is like runny gelatin.

Kids' science
You can add some more glitter now, if you don’t already have enough!

Are you looking for more slime ideas? Check out how to make alien slime.
Science recipe

Do you need some more kids’ art and science activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas.
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Thanksgiving Table Toppers Kids' Art Activity, With Turkeys!

Thanksgiving table toppers range from perfectly pricey little pieces to handmade (or rather, kid-made) creations. When my son was younger we used to make crafty little place cards, napkin rings and other holiday accessories every year. These turkey-themed notecards are a favorite.

Kids' crafts

Not only does this Thanksgiving art activity result in a cute little craft that helps you set the holiday table, but it also gives the kiddos something to do while you prep for a mega meal. Gather the family in the kitchen and start the crafting as you prep for Thanksgiving dinner. This gives you the chance to supervise the kids and join in on the art-making too! Assign each child a family member or guest to create for. Even if there are only three of you having a family meal, your little artist can still craft up a card for you or your spouse.

And now, on to the art…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        8x10-inch card stock paper – choose any color that you and your child want

·        Craft felt sheets – in a few different colors

·        A marker

·        Scissors

·        Googley eyes

·        Clear-drying school glue

Here’s What to Do:

1. Position the card stock paper vertically. Fold the paper from the top to the bottom.

2. Cut the paper at the fold. Now you have two cards for two different family members or guests.
Paper craft

3. Fold one of the card stock pieces in half (from top to bottom), making a tent shape.
Kids' craft

4. Cut two circles from one of the felt sheets. Make one bigger than the other (both need to fit on the front of the folded card). The smaller circle is the turkey’s head, and the bigger one is its body.

5. Cut ‘feathers’ from other colors of felt. Have your child draw and cut oval shapes.

6. Glue the feathers to the front of the card, making a fan. Overlap the edges a bit.
Thanksgiving art

7. Glue the turkey’s body onto the center of the feathers. Add the smaller circle (with glue) to the top.
Place card

8. Draw and cut a small triangle from another piece of card stock paper to make a beak. Glue the beak to the turkey’s face.

9. Add two googley eyes with glue.
Craft felt

10. Write the guest’s name onto another piece of card stock with a marker. Cut the name out, making a circle shape.

11. Glue the name to the center of the turkey.
Thanksgiving table-topper

Place card

Hey wait! Your child didn’t just make a cutesy craft, she also got in a bit of learning. She explored geometry (the turkey’s shapes), puzzled together pieces while learning about the part-to-whole relationship (when she put together the turkey) and even got in a mini writing lesson.

Are you looking for another Thanksgiving art activities for the kids? Follow my holiday Pinterest board for ideas!
Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Thanksgiving Kids' Activities on Pinterest.
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