Friday, August 21, 2015

Special Delivery: Kiwi Crate

Enjoy $10 off your own Koala, Kiwi, or Tinker Crate subscription here!

We were so excited to find this waiting at the door for us one sleepy, sunny morning! We began a subscription with Kiwi Crate ~ a discovery, craft and activity box for kids with a new theme each month. Logan was very excited to find out that August's box would help him create his own lemonade stand.

Here's what we got in this crate:

Each craft/activity comes with a child-friendly instruction book and all the materials you need to construct the craft. Every box also comes with an Explore! magazine beautifully illustrated and organized around that month's theme.

Check out their site KiwiCrate to view the subscriptions and a huge database of free DIY projects similar to what you might get in a crate. We love, love this company!
Enjoy $10 off your own Koala, Kiwi, or Tinker Crate subscription here!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Name Art Crayon Resist

Perfect for Back to School name plates or Pre-K name recognition!

Materials Needed:

  • printed name on white paper (card stock works well)
  • white glue
  • crayons
  • water colour paints and brush
Start by typing up each child's name. I used Kimberly Geswein's font Second Chances Solid which is free for personal use. Then I changed the text fill to No Fill and added thicker black lines giving me the outlined text you see below. I fit two names per page, then cut each page in half.

Next, trace the letter lines with white glue. It's best if there are no bubbles in the line of glue so move steadily and avoid tipping the glue bottle up and down while writing. I kept a toothpick near by for popping bubbles at the end. Let it dry completely.

Now colour with crayons! My four year old did his very best to fill in all the white inside his letters. My one and a half year old thought the bumps on her page felt pretty neat to draw over that she managed to colour just where her name was on the page. Very creative of her ;) Any one to purchase this for way too much money?  The wax and glue will resist the watercolour paint allowing the black outlined text and colours to show through the paint.

Then it's time to paint and watch those beautiful crayon marks shine through!

I love how well this activity works with children over a broad age range. For the littlest one, this activity can help your toddler with name recognition. I traced my toddlers' names in glue about 20 minutes before we did the activity. The raised glue line makes tracing and colouring the letters a breeze for little hands just learning how to write.

Grade 2 students can do this same activity, but allow them to trace their own letters with glue. Children who struggle with fine motor skills may need your support as a steady hand is helpful. I found a Q-tip worked well for wiping away extra glue. Tell your students that this is great practice for making "bubble letters" as that seems to be a favourite request. According to my class each year, only the teacher and one or two special students are capable of making bubble letters. Now they can all do their own name!

Monday, July 06, 2015

Powerpoint: Cropping Photos in Shapes

Did you know you can crop a picture into any shape available on Powerpoint? Want a circular photograph to fit in a round frame? How about unique star clipart with some flashy digital paper you purchased? Need a quick card with your cute baby's face in a heart? Powerpoint. I tell you I like Powerpoint more and more everyday. It's super simple.

1. After you have inserted your photo or digital paper onto the slide, choose the FORMAT PICTURE tab. Then select the drop down menu by clicking the downward facing triangle beside the crop option.

2. Select MASK TO SHAPE.

3. Choose any shape from the ones provided. I went with the oval in the example above to create a circular photo that will fit in a round frame.

Here's my cheesy example of some of the other options I was talking about. Please don't judge me on this alone ;)

If you use this technique please add a link in the comments below to your blog post or to a product you made to inspire others!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Now every time I go to the mailbox...

Doesn't snail mail make you feel like you're walking on sunshine?! Seriously! It's so exciting to find an envelope or package with your name on it when you know it's not a bill inside. This household has received our fair share of day-brighting packages through product subscriptions. You can order a one time delivery or save money and subscribe for a monthly delivery of new items. I'm not just talking about subscriptions for razors and contact lens - yes, we have subscriptions for those things. Just ask Harry and Clearly Contacts.

Exciting Subscription #1:
We recently ate our way through Nature Box.

The Sriracha Roasted Cashews and Honey Crunch Crisps were my favourites. The kids loved the Strawberry and Blueberry Greek Yogurt covered Pretzels. And my husband enjoyed sampling a variety of creative, healthy snacks with every single box. Yes, we love snack foods! And we love mail! So this was a winning combination.

Oh! And if you are ordering Nature Box in the fall, I highly recommend the Praline Pumpkin Seeds. Sprinkle it on a spinach salad, toss it on ice cream, or eat it straight from the bag. Fall in a bag, should.

Now that you are salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs, may I introduce you to another little ray of sunshine also delivered to your mailbox,
Inspiring Subscription #2:
The Kiwi Crate Family

These boxes look amazing! In every crate you receive "a new theme each month with materials and inspiration for kids to build, make, and develop their creative confidence." The company has 4 different crate subscriptions:
1. Koala Crate for ages 3-4
2. Kiwi Crate for ages 4-8
3. Tinker Crate for ages 9-14+
4. Doodle Crate for ages 9-16+
As of tonight, I have ordered the Kiwi Crate. We will be anxiously anticipating its arrival. The site also has a ton of DIY activity and craft ideas. Head over there to be inspired and drop back in with me for the unveiling of our very own Kiwi Crate!

To save $10 off your first purchase please use this link:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Launch of PI Digital Art!

I'm several slices short of Pi Day...but know that I was working on this project during that overlooked special day.

The art "shop" currently consists of digital and hand-drawn borders to beautify your creative TPT products. Each pack comes with 5 borders saved with 3 different fills:

Here are the newest packs (links are below the pictures):

Look for digital papers and perhaps, clipart in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy this free sample.

I hope you have your pie and eat it too.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Fun with Freebies

In our house, laundry has become a favourite activity. Particularly, when clothes pegs are involved. I decided to add to their enjoyment by making an alphabet game with clothes that are easy enough for small hands to hang up.

We used yarn for our clothesline. Logan suggested that next time we use the clothes drying rack. We also use that for hanging our drying paintings.

I found these small clothes pegs at the dollar store or Michaels craft store…I can’t remember now. Extras from our wedding over 6 years ago – see Brendon, I told you those clips were worth saving. Yes, I’m a craft hoarder. And I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ll hang on to anything with a glimmer of potential for a wonderful day. I digress.

Want to do some ABC laundry?! Not to be confused with ABC gum… It’s free!

The laundry game, not the gum. I wouldn’t just give that away for free.

Click on the picture above for a link to my alphabet freebie! It also comes with an upper case letter maze – free!

We also LOVE this super hero upper case and lower case matching game by B-Inspired Mama! It’s free to download and print from her blog. Click on the picture for a link to her free printable.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fun with Letters

Here are several variations of the letter activities we do along with Learn with Homer and Letter and Sound Recognition pages. Most can be done without any prep work and with items you most likely have on hand. We focus on one letter/sound a week and refer to it as our “special letter”.

Letter Hunt – Logan walks around the house with his magnifying glass to spy the special letter (occasionally, his treasure map helps us too). We look at food products in the kitchen, a calendar, labels on his toy bins, the mail that comes that day, etc. When Logan finds the special letter, he gets a jewel to put in his treasure box. Then when he is done his letter hunt, he counts the jewels to see how many letters he found that day. I found these jewels at the dollar store in the floral arrangement department. We use them all the time!

A Tisket-a-Tasket – “A green and yellow basket. I wrote a letter to my friend and on the way I dropped it…A little boy picked it up and put it in his pocket.” This nursery rhyme implies that a letter (mail) was dropped, but we pretend it’s our special letter that was dropped around the house. Logan knows where we have alphabet collections (in flashcards, fridge magnets, foam bath letters, building blocks, puzzles, and games). He goes to the collections and looks through to find the special letter. Then he makes his own collection of the special letter.
A Tisket-a-Tasket Variation – We do this activity together and help each other find the letters. Logan uses the special letter of the week and writes a different special letter for me to find. What makes this version interesting for Logan is that some alphabet collections have missing letters, so someone can win by finding more letters than the other person. Although, I think he’s catching on to which letters are missing. I seem to get the short end of the stick when we play these days.

Sound Search and Find – This activity focuses on the initial letter sound of objects around the house. Logan gathers objects, usually toys, that start with the sound of our special letter. We did N last week and he brought a knight to his collection. I congratulated him for finding the correct sound and then we talked about how some words have a silent letter in front. He later found a gnome, which was very helpful in reinforcing silent letters!

Here are 2 more ways to use the letter mats from the Letter and Sound Recognition package:

Do you have letter and sound activities you do with your little one? Please share in the comments! I’d love to hear more ideas.