Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cereal Cookie Truffle Balls: No-Bake Desserts

Cookie truffle balls are possibly my favorite thing to make. I’m not the world’s best baker (to say the least), and these tasty treats are so super-easy. Who doesn’t love a no-bake cookie? As a bonus, the kids can help out and ‘bake’ their own desserts. Usually I use actual cookies to make these. But, this time I went with cereal. I guess that makes these cereal truffle balls.

Cap'n Crunch Recipe

I’ve used Cinnamon Toast Crunch as a garnish for cookie ball treats before. This time I’m going with Cap’n Crunch. Why? Well, it was on sale. And, my son really likes it (I usually get corn flakes for him, so this was a treat).

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        1 box of Cap’n Crunch cereal

·        6 oz. softened cream cheese

·        Chocolate bars – We used both white and regular milk chocolate.

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Crush the Crunch in a food processor until it is a sand-like consistency.
Cereal Recipe

2.     Take a cup of the sandy cereal out and put it aside for later.

3.     Mix the rest of the cereal with the cream cheese. Use your hands (or have your child use his hands), to get a really consistent mixture.

4.     Roll the mix into balls (about the size of golf balls).
Kids' recipe

5.     Place the cereal balls onto a wax paper-covered plate. Pop them into the freezer for an hour.

6.     Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. If your child is working with you, don’t let him do this step or touch the bowl/chocolate when it comes out the microwave. It will be very hot so be careful. Never put your finger directly into the chocolate to test it (I made that mistake, and it wasn’t pretty). Microwaves differ in strength—start at 30 seconds (checking it through the little viewing window) and go from there. Stir it around with a spoon when it looks melted.

7.     Cover the balls in chocolate. Place the first ball into the melted chocolate and use a spoon to coat it completely. You can also stick a toothpick in the ball, so that you don’t touch the hot chocolate at all.

8.     Remove the truffle (with a spoon or toothpick) and place it on a piece of wax paper.

9.     Sprinkle some of Cap’n Crunch cereal powder (the leftover stuff from when you put it in the food processor) over the chocolate.
Cookie Truffles

That’s it! Let the cookie truffle balls cool and you’re ready to go.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kids' Spring Flower Craft with Pipe Cleaners

Spring flower crafts for kids don’t have to be complicated. A few weeks ago I bought a jumbo pack of pipe cleaners. What to do with all of those colorful stems? Make bendy flowers!
Kids' projects

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This art activity is super-simple and totally mess free. And bonus – it’s a great way to boost your child’s fine motor skills. All that bending, molding, modeling and forming really gives her hands a workout. You can even toss a few pipe cleaners into a bag and take them to the park, to grandma’s or on vacation to do this less-mess crafts.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Pipe cleaners – pick a few different colors

·        Scissors

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Bend the top of the first pipe cleaner around to make a circle. Twist it together at the bottom of the shape to make a circle with a stem.
Kids' crafts

2.     Twist a second pipe cleaner around the first, where the circle and stem meet.
Kids' art

3.     Create a loop (this will be a flower petal), and fold the bottom around the circle. Have your child continue doing this until she runs out of pipe cleaner.
Spring crafts

4.     Add another pipe cleaner where the first one ended. Repeat the looping pattern.

5.     Repeat with another color, looping the new pipe cleaner slightly to the side of the first ones.
Children's art

6.     Continue on, adding as many petal layers as your child wants.
Kids' pipecleaner art

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy? If your child leaves behind any loose ends, twist them up or snip them with scissors. Your child can twist and model one flower or make a whole bouquet. Not only is this flower craft a great way to celebrate spring, but your child can also create more to give as gifts for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Are you looking for more creative kids’ crafts? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Butterfly Flower Print-Making for Kids

I may have had my share of spring crafts that look like, are shaped like or in some way resemble flowers. That said, it didn’t really stop me from using the magnolia blooms in my front yard as inspiration this time. But, why make yet another flower when I can use the flower to make something else? A butterfly perhaps?
Flower painting

There’s really no escaping these flowers. They are sort of in my face (literally), the moment I walk out the door. Last year there was a sudden drop in the temperature. It took the blooms out overnight. This year the weather has been constant enough to keep them in the trees for a bit longer. My son is dreading the final fall of the flowers – it’s his job to rake up the blanket of petals.
Kids' spring activities

Print-making is an easy art activity that kids as young as 3 or 4 can try (take a look at our Andy Warhol inspired pop art prints). With some of the flowers beginning to fall, we gathered a few to make these butterfly paint prints…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        A flower—It doesn’t have to be the same kind that I used. Anything with petals will do. You can even use a fake flower if it’s not springtime where you are.

·        Styrofoam—You can buy sheets of the stuff at the craft store. I reused a tray that came with a frozen pizza. You can also find similar sources to reuse from veggie containers. Don’t use the foam meat trays (I include chicken, pork and fish as meat). These are covered in various bacteria and germs in general.

·        Tempera paint

·        A pencil

·        A paintbrush

·        Paper

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Place a flower petal onto the styrofoam. Trace it with the pencil, pressing down into the foam. Your child needs to experiment with how much pressure she uses. Too little and the printing process won’t work. Too much and she’ll punch through. Don’t worry if the pencil color shows through, it won’t be noticeable when she paints it.

Children's crafts
2.     Move the petal, and trace it four more times to make butterfly wings. If the lines aren’t deep enough, your child can retrace them now.

Kids' crafts
3.     Paint a layer of tempera over the design.

Kids' art
4.     Press the printing plate down onto a piece of paper. Rub the back and pat it down gently.

5.     Pull the foam plate from the paper to reveal the print.

Spring theme
6.     Use the flower (or the stem) to paint on a face and a design.

Kids' activity

Kids' crafts

7.     Wipe the paint clean and start over to make a new butterfly flower print. Your child can add a few colors to make a rainbow print. She can also use a stem the remove some of the paint, creating a design where the paper shows through.

Paint print

Butterfly print
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Friday, April 17, 2015

Easy Earth Day Art Ideas for Kids

Earth Day art activities anyone? Did you know that in 2012 Americans created 251 million tons of trash (according to the U.S. EnvironmentalProtection Agency)? Yikes! Of that, we recycled only about 34%, or 87 million tons, of the stuff we tossed. While there are some things that you just can’t reuse, I bet you’ll find plenty around the house that you can magically transform into artsy items.

Recycled art

I’m big on reusing everyday items as art materials. I’ll admit, much of it has to do with me being somewhat cheap. But, my husband is super into recycling. So, when the green can in our garage overflows with plastic and paper, I tend to find other ways of using those items.

With Earth Day coming up, here’s a list of some of my favorite everyday items that the kids can turn into art (I’m including a few activities below, but you can also let the kiddos get creative and make their own ‘junk’ sculptures with the addition of some school glue and tape):

·        Popsicle sticks: Why go out and buy brand new craft sticks when you can save onto these wooden beauties all summer long?

·        Egg cartons: Depending on where you get your eggs, there are two types of cartons – the cardboard and the styrofoam kinds. Your child can use both for art activities (she can also use them to store glitter, sequins or beads, or to sort crayons pieces. The top of the foam type works well for printing projects.

·        Yogurt containers: Not only can your child use these to make art, but she can also use them as water tubs for water coloring painting.

·        Cardboard boxes: So many possibilities. Make a pretend play car, boat or airplane. Or, cut the box up and use the cardboard pieces for painting and drawing on. or make a train table mat!

·        Soda bottles: Cut them or leave them as is to make sculptures with.

·        Glass jars: Cover them with glue, add a layer of tissue paper pieces (collage-style), go for a second coating of glue and get a handmade vase. I also like to use the little ones (baby food –size) to hold paint or my favorite DIY glitter glue!

·        Wash cloths and other assorted fabric: Fabric scrapes make fantastic sensory collage materials. Cut and glue them onto cardboard to make textures galore.

·        Old worksheets: Your child’s teacher sends home more worksheets and random fliers from school. Instead of tossing them in the trash, turn them over and draw on the backs.

·        Holiday cards and gift wrap: Your child can use these to make collages.

·        CDs and DVDs: Transform these into wind chimes!

That’s just a few of my favorites. There are so many more ways to reuse and recycle your would-be trash into art materials.

If you’re looking for a few more Earth Day art ideas…

Try these egg carton ideas!
Egg Carton


Make a cardboard tube mobile.
Earth Day


Create painted stamper letters with this foam print-making project.
Kids' crafts


Stamp with flip-flops!
Children's art

Are you still looking for more creative crafts? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Flower Art Activity for Kids

Spring flower crafts for the kids? Yep. It’s that time of year again. I stepped outside this morning, and suddenly my magnolia tree was in full bloom. It’s one of my favorite times of the year – unfortunately my son’s reaction is not quite the same. At 13, he knows the magnolia blooming means there is soon to be a yard filled with flower petals. Why doesn’t he love the snow-like bloom covering? Because he’s in charge of raking it all up. That said, sometimes a faux flower is more fun for a child than a real one.
Spring art

I’m not saying that you should nix the science and nature lessons. Spring is ideal for exploring the growth cycle and plants. Before beginning this activity, take a trip outside for a nature walk. Look at the flowers, asking your child a few questions such as: What colors do you see? What shapes are the flower petals? Where do you think the flower came from?

Now you’re ready to make some flower-powered art…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Tissue paper

·        Tempera paint

·        Paintbrushes

·        Cotton balls

·        Scissors

·        Clothespins – The flat kind that don’t have clips.

Kids' activities

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Paint the clothespins green. These will become the flower’s stems.

Paint art
2.     Add some texture! Dip a cotton ball in white or yellow paint. Dot the paint onto the clothespin, leaving behind a patterned design. Your child can also finger paint.

Kids' art

Finger paint

3.     Stack several different colors of tissue paper.

4.     Cut the tissue into a circle, oval or amoeba-like shape to make the petals.

Kids' art
5.     Fold the paper stack in half.

6.     Cut a small slit (the size of the top of the clothespin) in the center of the tissue paper, across the fold.

7.     Open the paper up (there should be a slit in the center).

8.     Press the paper through the top of the clothespin (make sure that the paint is dry first).

9.     Fluff the tissue to create craft flower petals!

Art Activity
Are you looking for more spring crafts? Check out this Renoir-inspired flower painting, make paper flowers or create a landscape based on some of Van Gogh's finest works.
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mother's Day Art Activity: Clothespin Fridge Magnets

Mother’s Day art activities for kids anyone? Of course! Mom’s big day is coming up and what’s better than a handmade gift? I’m a bit torn on what to make for this holiday. I have quite the collection of handprint flowers or handprint flowers in handprint vases. I think my son may have made one of these artworks every year, starting when he was 2 and in daycare for the first time.

Kids' art

It’s not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy these adorable art activities. But, sometimes a mom needs something a bit different. And possibly even something that’s more useful than a macaroni necklace? So, if you’re looking for a way to hang up all of those handprint flowers, hearts and other artsy crafts that the kids make, take a look at these tape resist clothespin magnets.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Wooden clothespins

·        Magnet strip

·        Clear-drying school glue

·        Tempera paint

·        Paintbrushes or cotton balls

·        Masking tape

·        Scissors

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Cut the tape into thin strips.

2.     Tape the clothespins. Your child is masking off where she doesn’t want the paint to go. She can create a pattern, random design or even try to make letters.

Mother's Day
Art project
3.     Paint the clothespins. Use one solid color or dab on a texture using cotton balls.

Mother's Day art

4.     Let the paint dry.

5.     Remove the tape.

Clothespin Magnet
6.     Cut the magnet strips to fit onto the back (bottom) of the clothespins.

Magnet Crafts
7.     Glue the magnet onto the clothespins. Let the glue dry completely before you hang the clips on the fridge.

Kids' art
Your child doesn’t have to make a pattern like you see in the pictures. She can create her own design and use whatever colors she wants. Another option is to paint the entire clothespin in one color first. Let the paint dry and then add the tape. Paint another layer on top. When your child takes off the tape to reveal the resist, she’ll have a second color underneath!

Are you looking for more Mother’s Day art activities? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Famous Artist Collage Activity for Kids: Van Gogh

Looking for a famous artist activity for your child to try today? One of my favorite artworks to look at with kids (when I used to teach children’s museum art classes) was Van Gogh’s “The Plain of Auvers”. Maybe it was textures, the colors or the whirly, swirly clouds – I don’t really know. But, the children always seemed to connect with it.
Art lesson

Before creating, take a few minutes to look at the painting and talk about it. So, here you go. Turn the laptop around and show this Van Gogh painting to your child. Ask a few open ended questions such as, “What do you think is going on?” or, “How do you think the artist made this?”.  

Famous Artist
Now, it’s time for the art-making. A while ago I posted a clay landscape art activity based on this artwork. This time, it’s more of a patchwork collage. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to look like the Van Gogh painting – it’s just inspired by it. Each panel of the collage should represent a different landscape or natural item. Easy. Basically, grassy fields and flowers!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        1 12x18-inch or larger piece of poster board or foam (we used a piece of craft foam)

·        Clear-drying school glue

·        Craft foam

·        Scissors

·        Model magic – the plain white kind

·        Oil pastels

·        Felt

·        Card stock paper

·        Tissue paper

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Cut the card stock paper into rectangles. Make them index card-sized or larger.

2.     Create different panels. Your child can try:

Craft foam shape landscapes: Cut shapes from the foam and glue it onto the card stock or a similarly sized piece of foam.
Kids' Activity

Model magic flowers: Mold and press the model magic onto the card stock. Color it with oil pastels.

Kids' art
Felt flowers: Cut pieces of felt into shapes and glue them to the card stock or another piece of felt. Your child can also add embellishments with tissue paper.

Felt art
Tissue garden: Cut or tear tissue paper. Paint a layer of glue across a piece of card stock. Crumble the tissue into balls, and press it onto the glue.

Kids' crafts

Flower Project
Oil pastels: Your child can use the oil pastels to blend a colorful grassy area or a farm field.

Kids' drawing
3.     Glue the panels onto the poster board or foam.

4.     Add flowers or plants to the blank spaces. Cut stems from the felt and glue on tissue as petals.
Kids' crafts

Are you looking for more Van Gogh themed activities? Check out my printable art-viewing activity page.


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