Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sweet Easter Peep Recipes

Easter Peeps. Who doesn’t absolutely adore the gooey marshmallow treats bathed in a colorful sugar coat? Ok, so there are probably plenty of you who can’t stomach the super-sweet treats. But, if you share my love for the chicks and bunnies (or, more likely, your child does) let’s take a look at a few fun recipes.

Peeps Recipes
I use the word ‘recipes’ loosely here. After all, we are talking about Easter Peeps. Recently I made over-stacked s’mores and chocolate crème-filled egg cupcakes with the marshmallow candy. The little treats that I’m about to outline couldn’t be easier not to bake. Your preschooler or young child can create these sprinkle-dipped goodies with very little help from you.

The Easiest Easter Treats

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Peeps

·        Frosting

·        Sprinkles

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Spread the frosting onto the sides and back of the chick where the wings and tail go (you’re making frosting feathers).

Kids' recipe
2.     Add sprinkles!

Sprinkle recipes
Cute Cars

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Peeps

·        Sprinkles

·        Jelly beans

·        Frosting

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Cover the entire chick with frosting. Now it looks a bit like a VW Bug!

2.     Add sprinkles over the entire Peep.

3.     Press two jelly beans on each side as wheels and one on the front as the windshield.
Holiday Treats
 

Umbrellas

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Peeps

·        Sprinkles

·        A cupcake liner

·        A plastic straw

·        Frosting

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Frost the Peep.

2.     Cover it with sprinkles.

3.     Press the straw through the bottom of the Peep.

Holiday Treats
 
4.     Push the bottom of the straw through the center of the cupcake liner.

5.     Move the cupcake liner all the way up to the top.

Easter Activity
 
Are you looking for more Easter desserts? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!

 
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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Preschool for Grownups at Home: Art Activities You Need to Try

Preschool for grownups? Yep, that’s a thing. Two Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs have created an adults-only ‘preschool’ program that caters to those who need to rekindle that magic of being young at heart. While I can’t say that this idea would go gangbusters in my little minivan-filled, paddle tennis-playing suburb, I can certainly see the appeal.

Preschool adults
Who doesn’t want to go back to their youth? I’m not talking about the brace-face, pimply, totally awkward days of seventh grade (I got glasses and braces at the same time, and was about a foot taller than all of the boys in my grade). I mean those princess dress-wearing days of preschool. To tuck the work emails away and put all adult responsibilities on hold for a few hours is a precious commodity that many of us don’t have the luxury of doing. How often to you turn your cell off? Stop checking emails? But social media on hold? If you just burst out laughing at the thought of doing any of those things, you aren’t alone. That’s part of the reason why a preschool for grownups sounds so darn good to so many of us adults. It’s freeing, inspirational and puts you back in touch with who you were at a much simpler time.

If the whole go back to preschool thing is starting to sound good right about now, you don’t have to jet off to NYC just to take a try at it. I usually write about kids’ art activities. But, today it’s all for you! I know, I know – you spend 78 percent of your day covered in goo, gack and what was supposed to be DIY finger paint (but, really turned our looking more like oatmeal) already. So, why do art in the afterhours? I’m all for helping the kiddos out with their crafting, but isn’t it really all about them? Now it’s your turn. Whether you put on a suit and head off to the office all day or you’re at home with the kids in your yoga pants, making time for your own preschool for grownups is a way to relax, de-stress and forget about your mortgage, taxes and whatever else is cluttering your mind. I’ve put together a list of a few artsy activities that will make you feel young again.

Art Activities
 
Before you head back to preschool (mentally, not when you drop your 4-year-old off in the morning) remember: BE A CHILD! Don’t act like one, don’t pretend to let go. Really, truly let go and enjoy the process of creation. Forget about the mess you’re making, and stop worrying that you’ll chip your manicure. Throw down a tarp, newspaper, a garbage bag or whatever else you need to make yourself feel better about the impending clean-up. Turn your cell off, or at least turn the sounds off and put it somewhere you can’t see it light up when you get a call, text or email.

No we’re ready to make some preschool-inspired art. I always tell parents that when it comes to their kids’ art, it’s all about the process and not so much the product. I stand by this for adult-made art. Don’t worry about making ‘something’ or a picture. None of these requires an MFA in studio arts to create. Just enjoy!

Clay paint. This is an easy one if you’re still slightly afraid of the mess. Instead of finger painting, smooth modeling clay onto a piece of cardboard. Same motion, equally as relaxing, but no spills.

Glitter and glue. Draw squiggles, circles, zig-zags or anything else with clear-drying school glue onto a piece of paper. Sprinkle gobs of glitter on top and shake off the excess. Keep on repeating the process until you’re all sparkled out.

Finger paint plus. Are you ready for the preschool staple yet? You can start with a basic finger paint activity. Step it up by adding glitter, craft sand or just about anything else you want to the tempera. Toss in a teaspoon of baby oil for a moisture-rich slick feel or add course sugar crystals for a scrubby texture.

Shaving cream paint. Use your hands or a paintbrush to mix up a batch of DIY puffy paints. Little kids love this, and so should you! Drip some tempera into pools of shaving cream and paint a textured masterpiece.

Torn-paper collage. You have no idea just how relax tearing pieces of paper up can be until you try it. Tear up tissue paper and glue it onto a piece of card stock, collage style.

Craft Project
 
Color-mixing. Make your own rainbow by mixing paints. Name the colors that you make with the most creative titles you can think up.

Mixed-media buffet. Set out a buffet of all kinds of art materials for yourself. Use paint, glue, craft feathers, sequins, markers, oil pastels and anything else you have on hand. Put it together on a piece of cardboard in any way that you want to.

A preschool for adults is kind of a genius idea that I wish I would have thought of. Sure, we don’t all have this type of program down the street. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t ‘homeschool’ yourself. Put the kids to bed, go on a technology fast and let your inner child loose.

 

Easter Peeps Get Crafty: Kids' Painted Sculptures

What can you do when Easter peeps go stale? You could toss them in the trash, you could try cutting them up with a fork and knife (I don’t recommend this), you could use them as oddly shaped golf balls or you could use them for your child’s art activities. Last year we used the marshmallow, sugar-covered sweet treats to make picture frames. This year we’re using them to make super-simple sculptures!

Easter Peeps
 
This kids’ craft couldn’t be easier, and as a bonus it’s perfect for building fine motor skills. Your child can go all-out and finger paint a color-mixing – well, mess. Or, she can create a patterned design. One way that we decorated the little Easter chicks was to turn them into famous artist-inspired works of art. Take a look at our Monet’s Water Lilies peep sculpture.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Stale Easter peeps – If the chicks aren’t very solid, pop them into the freezer. Painting a mushy marshmallow treat is far from easy.

·        Tempera paint

·        Paintbrushes, cotton balls or any other ‘painting tool’ that your child wants to use.

·        Clear-drying school glue

·        Optional: Glitter

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Pour the paint into pools on a palette (or use my favorite – a piece of wax paper).

2.     Dip a brush, a cotton ball or any other tool into the paint. Your child may also choose to finger paint the peep.

Paint Project


3.     Paint away! Your child can create her own design or try a theme. We made a Monet themed chick, but your child could try polka dots, a Jackson Pollock paint splatter, swirly whirls or make color blocks. She can also imagine her own creative paint idea!

Peep chick
 
4.     Wait for the paint to dry.
Chicken crafts
 

5.     Coat the Easter sculpture with a coat of clear-drying school glue. This adds a layer of protection and gives the paint a special shine.

Kids' crafts
 
6.     Optional: Sprinkle glitter over the glue (your child doesn’t even need to add paint is she tries this technique).

Craft glitter
 
Are you looking for something else to do with the peeps that aren’t stale yet? Try our:

Holiday Desserts

Or

Kids' recipes

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Easter Jelly Bean Water Color Paints for Kids

Jelly beans are more than tasty Easter candy treats for your kids! Admittedly, I enjoy candy much more than my son. Not that he doesn’t eat it, but when we pop open a bag of jelly beans it’s me who is eating the majority of it. That said, this time I decided to use the candy for a water color paint project (instead of letting it go to my hips).

Jelly Beans
About a million years ago when I first started teaching children’s art classes I thought I was a total genius for ‘inventing’ scented Kool-Aid painting. This is kind of the same idea – your kids get a super-sweet smelling paint from something that should be food (kind of, at least). It also adds in a little bit of science too. Before you make the paints, ask your child a few open-ended questions such as:

·        What do you think will happen to the jelly beans when we add them to water?

·        Why do you think that will happen?

·        What do you think jelly beans are made from?

·        How do you think we are going to paint with jelly beans?

As you go along with the activity, keeping the questions coming. For example, “What’s in the water?” (the waxy coating on the jelly beans comes off in the water) or, “Why are the jelly beans turning white?” You can also study the make-up of the beans beforehand. There are a few different types of jelly bean-making processes (one of them includes beetle byproducts!).

And, on to the art-making…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Jelly beans in bright colors

·        A cupcake tin

·        Paper

·        A water color paintbrush

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Separate the jelly beans into colors. This is a great way to get your child into a sorting activity and build basic math skills. Have her count the beans as she puts like colors into cupcake tin sections.
 
Easter Treats

 

2.     Add a few tablespoons of very warm tap water. Don’t use burning hot water, and always supervise your child. Don’t let her touch the water if it’s too hot.

Kids' crafts
3.     Wait and watch what happens! Your child can also mix more than one color of jelly beans into each section of the cupcake tin. For example, blue and yellow beans melt to turn green.

Children's paint


Kids' crafts
 
4.     Paint the jelly bean water colors onto the paper. As the beans sit in the water, the color releases. Make an Easter egg, a spring flower or a piece of abstract art.
Kids' art

 

Are you looking for more Easter arts and crafts for kids? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Color Mixing Art in a Bag

Color mixing just got messier! Ok, so some of this is actually less-mess- but your child can make a creative color concoction that she uses later on for a collage craft or other art activity.

Art Activity

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure statement for more information).
I’m all for mixing new colors. I spent years teaching children’s art programs at a museum. In the studio we never, ever, ever, ever gave the kids anything to paint with other than the primaries and white. Taking away the rainbow makes your child problem-solve and think about how she can make those purple butterfly wings when she only has red, blue and yellow.

This art activity lets your child mix away in a totally random way. She needs to think about which colors she’s using, and then use her fine motor skills to mix and mash them up! The result? Rainbow swirled paper that she can use later on for other artsy adventures.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        White card stock paper – Your child can use construction paper, but the thicker stock stands up better to the paint.

·        Tempera paint – Red, yellow, blue and white.

·        Plastic baggies

·        Optional: Glitter—Who doesn’t love a special sparkle?

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Pour a few dollops of at least two paint colors into a bag. Go over the art vocabulary, giving your child the word “primary” for the red, yellow and blue and “secondary” for the orange, purple and green. Your child may opt to add three or all four colors into a bag.
Kids' art

Children's crafts

2.     Repeat to make a few more baggies of paint.

3.     Tear paper shapes.
Paper craft

4.     Add the shapes to the paint bags.
 
Paint crafts

5.     Close up the bags by pressing or twisting them shut.

6.     Mush, mash and squish the bags. Isn’t it fun? Add some glitter if your child wants.
 
Tempera crafts

Sparkle crafts

7.     Open the bags and pull out the painted paper shapes.
 
Kids' art

8.     Set the paper aside to dry before using it in another craft.

When the paper is dry your child can glue it down onto a piece of cardboard to make a collage or even use it in a paper mache project!


Add in a book to the activity. Check out some of these colorful titles:

My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss


Mouse Paint, by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Andy Warhol’s Colors, by Susan Goldman Rubin

Planting a Rainbow, by Lois Ehlert
 

Are you looking for more creative kids’ crafts? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas.

 
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Easter Cupcakes with Creme Eggs

Who doesn’t love a Cadbury crème egg at Easter? I have clear memories from my own childhood of splitting open the chocolate shell and scooping out the creamy white and yellow yolk-like center. I still love the eggs (but, maybe not as much as my son does now). Even though I’m completely fine with eating the Easter treats as is, I figured – why not make a cupcake out of them?

Kids' recipe

So, I’m not the world’s best chef. When it came to baking a chocolate crème egg into a cupcake, it took me a few tries to get it right. First, the whole egg doesn’t fit into the cupcake. Second, when you cut it in half and turn it upside down, the ‘yolk’ leaks out, bakes into the cake and virtually disappears. But, if you turn it over the cupcake works.

After baking the cupcakes I wanted to decorate them with an Easter theme…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Cake mix – Use your favorite recipe or what comes in a box.

·        Frosting—Again, use a favorite recipe from scratch, or go with the ready-made kind.

·        Cadbury crème eggs

·        Green sprinkles

·        Easter peeps

·        Chocolate bunnies

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Mix the cake batter.

2.     Pour the batter into a cupcake tin, leaving some room at the top.

3.     Cut the crème eggs into halves.

4.     Pop the egg halves into the batter (one per cupcake). Make sure that the open part is facing up and above the top of the batter-line.

Cupcake recipe
 
5.     Bake the cupcakes.

6.     Let the Easter cupcakes cool.

7.     Frost the tops. I used orange icing. When I added green sprinkles on the frosting it reminded me of a bunny’s carrot or a spring scene.

Holiday cakes

8.     Add a chocolate bunny or Easter peep on top.

Rabbit treat
 
Holiday treats
 
Are you looking for more cupcakes? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Easter Egg Butterfly Kids' Print-Making Art

Plastic Easter eggs are so much more than candy holders. While the chocolates, jelly beans and other assorted goodies are all together awesome in your child’s eyes, why not reuse the eggs for some artsy activities?

Kids' crafts

So, this kids’ craft really started out as bunny art. But, once it got started it morphed into a butterfly. If your child wants to make a bunny (or any other animal), applaud her imagination and encourage her to create her own crop of cute little critters!

Even though this activity is super-simple, it also teaches your child a lesson or two. Take the time to point out the shape that the eggs make (bringing in geometry) and show her how the circles come together to create one picture (the part-to-whole relationship). You can also have her mix the primary colors (red, yellow and blue) into the secondaries (orange, purple and green) with the eggs. Adding a color-mixing focus allows for even more art exploration and includes a pinch of science too!

And now for the art-making…

Here’s What You’ll Need:

·        Plastic Easter egg halves

·        Tempera paint

·        A paint palette – I like to use wax paper. It’s an inexpensive palette that holds the paint well.

·        Cardstock paper

·        Googley eyes

·        Clear-drying school glue

Here’s What to Do:

1.     Pour the paint onto the palette, making golf ball-sized pools.

2.     Open the plastic Easter eggs.

3.     Dip the open end into one of the paint pools.

Easter egg
 
4.     Press the paint-covered end of the egg onto the paper, making a circle-shaped print for the butterfly’s face.

Holiday art
 
5.     Clean the paint off with a paper towel and dip it into a new color (or use another egg).

Easter crafts
 
6.     Press the paint onto the paper under the face to make a body.

Print-making activity
 
7.     Repeat the paint dipping and printing process to create butterfly wings.

8.     Turn the egg over and use the rounded side to mix a few paint colors. Press the colors onto the paper above the head to make the antennas.

Kids' art
 
Easter project
 
9.     Print a rainbow of colors onto the inside of the butterfly’s wings.

10.   Glue two googley eyes onto the face.


Easter crafts

Are you looking for more Easter crafts for kids? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!
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