Simple Valentines--Made by a Preschooler

Well for the past few days, Hazel has had a low-grade fever. We have spent several days now cooped up inside cancelling all of our plans. On Monday night, I got an email from her teacher with the class Valentine guidelines. I figured it was the perfect thing to do while she was sick. We pulled out some supplies that she could use. The guidelines are simple, no computer generated images, characters, glitter or candy, child-made and since they cannot read and write yet, we were to use their class symbols for names. Hazel is the lady bug. Luckily I had stamps for most of the symbols. I gave her wooden beads, doilies, felt hearts and flowers, paper flowers, yarn and ribbon plus a variety of rubber stamps and paper punches. And of course a box of crayons. Here are a few she came up with above. The pink cards are for the girls and the brown cards are for the boys. She started with the girls and teachers and then realized with the brown cards that she could fold them to have more surfaces to decorate. I think all the boys' ended up with a giant felt flower on the front now.

Then today we started making some for family members. I gave her heart cards this time and gave her the idea of gluing on tissue paper squares. Inside she rubber stamped "Happy Valentine's Day" and an "I love you" stamp.
I know I bought these double heart cards for a dollar at one of the craft stores. I love picking up cards we can use for our crafts to mail people. She also made a few birthday cards. One belated for my goddaughter and then one for her grandmother and her daddy since their birthdays are coming up. She mostly just rubber stamped them.

One last thing we did today was make a paper chain. She brought home the supplies from Sunday School, but they ran out of time to finish them. She had not made a paper chain before, so she was very interested. We worked on sequencing while doing it. And she is modeling her newest Mommy-made pajamas. She loves them since they have a princess on them (and I have to say I love them because it is a nice thick flannel)! She also wanted to be funny by wearing the paper chain on her head. We eventually hung it on her seasonal tree.

How are your Valentines coming?

International Book Giving Day

Designed by Viviane Schwarz
Did you know there is an International Book Giving Day? I didn't, however I love the idea of it. It is simple to participate. All you have to do is give a child a book or donate a book to a charity or leave a book in a waiting room or lobby. (Have you seen these book exchange set-ups locally yet? I have. Several of the local hospitals have children's books in all the waiting rooms with a sign saying any child can take a book home from the collection and anyone can leave a children's book there for the collection/swap.) And the best part is it is on Valentine's Day. So instead of giving your child candy or a toy, how about a book?
international book giving day poster by priya kuriyan
Designed by Priya Kuriyan
Or donate a book to your child's classroom or school library or to your public library? It seems to me like the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your child's teacher or favorite children's librarian. I know several local charities around here give books to children. In fact the charity we collect for at Hazel's birthday parties every year gives each child a book with a week's worth of clothes when a social worker requests aid.
Barney Saltzberg was inspired to write this poem after International Book Giving Day 2012.
Designed by Barney Saltzberg after International Book Giving Day 2012

Now the really neat thing is that you can download for free bookplates at the International Book Giving website. They even have some for books that are just a gift to a child you know.

There are also some great ideas for everyone to help get involved and give back to your community and children worldwide. Check out their Help Organize Page. Ideas from hanging the colorful poster above by Priya Kuriyan, which you can download here, to Beer for Books (get a local bar or restaurant to participate) to organize a storytime or book swap. Finally you can add your name and how you are going to celebrate International Book Giving Day at their website. So will you join me in celebrating this day to encourage children to read?

Fairy Tales in Different Cultures-Vasilissa and Baba Yaga

Today we will look at a Russian version of Cinderella. I found two picture books with basically the same story and we will look at both today, but first a bit about Russia. Somehow after a week of a deep freeze in New England, Russia seems like the right country to talk about. (I literally heard a radio host mention a town in Russia for having the record for lowest temperatures. She kept checking them because it made our temperatures seem so much better.)

Face Painting, Pirate Birthday Party and a Dollhouse

Sharing Saturday is open until Wednesday if you would like to stop by to share a child-oriented craft or activity and check out the features!!

Today was the pirate birthday party that Hazel was invited to. We all went and had a good time. They had the most amazing face painter. Check out Hazel's rainbow butterfly.
She loved it! They also made clay sculptures that they decorated with feathers, buttons, beads and beans. Then they served a wonderful lunch and had this gorgeous cake.
Then they had a pinata and a treasure hunt! She had so much fun and did not want to go home.

Front Views
When we did get home Steve and I moved some furniture around so we could bring up the dollhouse I made that I have been saving for her. After I spent some time making some changes to the furniture (so she doesn't break the expensive stuff) and making it easier to play with instead of worrying how it looks, she played with it until dinner.
Interior when I first built it
Here is a view of the interior details before furniture and such were added. I originally was going to light it, but something happened with the wire and they didn't all work so I didn't bother with it.

Then this is how the interior looks now.
I took out the fancy master bed and put a plastic one in that I had when I was a child. I also took out the fancy kitchen and put in the basics so it would be easier to play. Needless to say she is loving it!! We pulled out all of her various dollhouse people from her tree house and elsewhere and she was making up stories and such all afternoon.

Sharing Saturday 13-4

Thank you to everyone who shared with us last week!! I know we were blown away by the ideas and creativity. Michelle over at Having Fun at Chelle's House has the most clicked and a few of her favorites, so make sure you go and check out hers as well. Here are a few of my favorites from last week!
1) From Happiest Mom on the Blog: I Spy Bags (Class holiday gifts, but could be used as Valentines)
2) From Pinkoddy: Snowman Indoor Activities and Crafts (So many great and different ideas!!)
3) From 4 kids, 2 guinea pigs one happy family: Lessons on London (Wow, some great activities all to review after trip to London to see the Olympics)
4) From Ginx Craft: Sophie the Dutch Doll (What great memories to share with her daughter and hopefully have her daughter create her own with the adorable doll)
5) From KiKi's Korner: Scratch Card Valentines (Such a cute idea and great tutorial!)

Thank you to everyone who shared last week!! I hope you will join us and share again!! If you are featured here or earlier this week, please feel free to grab a featured button to display proudly on your blog. 


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This week we had several multicultural and book posts plus a couple pirate posts. I will share a link to my pirate ship one.
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A New Pirate Hat

As I mentioned previously, Hazel is going to a pirate themed birthday party this weekend. Since pirates scare her, I wanted to make a friendly pirate hat for her to wear. I used the tutorial on From The Hive. I sewed it on my machine and did the seam inside. Here she is modeling it.
My cute, friendly little pirate! What do you think?

A Belated Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Snack

So in the book we took out of the library on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it defined celebrate with the word party in it. That is of course what Hazel took as the meaning. So she wanted to have a party. She called Nonni and asked if they could have a party since Nonni usually has her on Mondays. Nonni planned a pizza party for them. I got to wondering about snack/party ideas. I googled and really only found ideas for classes like have everyone bring a different fruit for a fruit salad or doing an entire multicultural meal. I did not have time to plan this and wanted something fun to do with Hazel. I had been saving a sugar cookie mix from Trader Joe's (they only sell them around Christmas, but we love them). So we pulled out our hand cookie cutter (that I bought for our church's Stewardship campaign last year) and made some sugar cookies. Now with more planning I could have been more creative. Next year I am thinking we will do this but the colors will be frosting using the book The Colors of Us as a guideline. You know start with white frosting and make different skin tone shades by adding food color similar to what we did with paint in this post.

Our first task was to bake the cookies. I had pulled out our hand cookie cutter as well as a dove one. Hazel wanted to make more doves, but luckily I was faster than she was so we got more hands.

While the cookies cooled we organized our decorations which was a task in itself since they were all in one bag. I thought of using M&M's since they are one of Hazel's favorites. In fact I bought a bag or regular and a bag of Valentine's Day so we would have pink, white as well as the brown, yellow and red. But I got to thinking about how the red is so red and they no longer do the tan. Then I thought of the candy store at our big furniture store where you can buy M&M's by the color by the pound as well as jelly beans. Since they did not have skin tone shades of M&M's there, I went with jelly beans. (And yes one of the local furniture stores has crazy attractions in it. The one near us is themed as Bean Town and has a candy store, a local ice cream stand, liquid fireworks, Omni theater and more. The one near where I use to live was themed as New Orleans and had a whole multimedia show of Bourban Street and looked like a theme park.)

Then we got to decorating. We did one hand of each color and then we did some of mixed colors to represent mixed races. Then we decorated one dove in white. The rest I told Hazel she could do what she wanted. While she finished them, I arranged the hands and put the white peace dove in the center.
Then to make her happy we put all the birds in the center.
And a close up of her birds:

So next year we will do something similar but take the time to make the different shades of frosting. I am also going to think of some other fun foods/party foods we could make to celebrate the day. Do you have any ideas? I would love to hear them!

Ahoy, Matey! I made a pirate ship and some peg priates

This weekend we are going to a birthday party for one of Hazel's best friends from school. He is a boy who has just about everything. Since his party is pirate themed, I thought I would make him a pirate ship and some peg pirates. I found some inspiration on Esty and then found some easy to follow cardboard ones on  Molly Moo and Red Ted Art. I used Molly Moo's image as a pattern and cut them from cardboard. Then I cut wool felt a bit larger. I glued the felt to the cardboard and then started sewing the pieces together.
On one of the many sites I looked at homemade pirate ships I saw a neat storage compartment in the back, so I added that.
Then I used a 1/4 inch dowel for the mast and to get it to stand up I bought a package of these wooden wheels.
I covered it with brown felt by gluing it on and then glued it in place on the boat.
Then I cut a white mast from white wool felt and made a black flag with skull and crossbones to complete the look. I also used a paint pen to put the child's name on it as the name of the ship. Next it needs some pirates, so I painted with paint markers some peg dolls.
The captain I gave a felt hat, peg leg and a hook. The first mate has the eye patch and gold earring as well as bandana on his head. Now it is set to be played with. Oh, and did I mention Hazel wants a non-pirate ship done in blue with a pink flag. And I'm going to make a pink pirate hat for her for the party. I pinned lots of pirate ideas here if you are looking for any.
I considered adding a plank to the ship, but Steve didn't think I should. Since he is our model ship expert, I went with his opinion.

Valentine's Day Wreath and more

After my multiple posts yesterday and today, I thought I would just share a simple craft with you. (In case you missed it, Virtual Book Club for Kids, Fairy Tales from Different Cultures and a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Round-Up were the multiple posts.)
First I am going to shamelessly ask you to vote for me. I need as many votes as I can get to get near the top 25. Just click on the emblem above and then click vote at Crafty Moms Share. It only takes a minute and I would really appreciate it!!

Next I am going to tell you about a really cool giveaway at Castle of Costa Mesa.  I know Hazel would LOVE those dolls!! They would go perfect with her castle blocks and play mat from Christmas!

Ok, now on to our simple Valentine's Day wreath. I was inspired by a wreath somewhere, but I don't remember where. Anyway, I cut many hearts out of scrapbook paper in different sizes. (I happen to have heart templates from my quilting days.) Then we took this Fourth of July wreath and removed the garland.
Then I traced it on paper and cut a layer around it so we could glue onto the paper and not ruin the wreath. I attached the paper ring with crepe paper leftover from Hazel's birthday and tape. Then we just glued the hearts on. I am happy with how it turned out. I do wish I had added the ribbon before gluing the hearts, but oh, well.

Now we have a bit of Valentine's Day on our front door!! More decorations to come I'm sure.

Virtual Book Club for Kids--Waddles by David McPhail

If you are looking for my Fairy Tales in Different Cultures for this week it is here!

I join many other wonderful bloggers to bring you the Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month we have picked David McPhail as our author. So each of us has chosen a David McPhail book to feature and do an activity with and will share it in a blog hop. If you have an activity to go with a David McPhail book please join us in the hop this month!

The host blogs are:

Now I must admit I had not checked out David McPhail previously. After looking at some of his books we fell in love. I also am happy to find he was born and grew up on the North Shore of Boston in Newburyport and is still a New Englander. That makes it all the more special for us!
Our Waddles
This month we choose Waddles as our feature book. After all I have a daughter who loves ducks so it only seemed fitting. Waddles is an adorable book about the life of a raccoon who waddles due to his size and therefore is called Waddles. He lives in a park near a pond where his best friend, Emily lives. Emily is a duck. (Did I mention that Hazel's latest new doll is named Emily? She got her shortly after we read this book a few times.) Waddles and Emily spend each day together until one spring Waddles finds Emily sitting on a nest. She has laid her eggs. Since Emily cannot leave the nest, Waddles brings her food each day. Then when Emily is yearning to swim, Waddles sits on the nest for her. That is the point a red fox decides to come and get an egg. After Waddles scares the fox away the eggs hatch. Waddles now has six best friends--Emily and her five ducklings. Life is wonderful until autumn arrives. The ducks need to fly south for the winter. Waddles is heartbroken throughout winter. Of course spring does return and so do his best friends.

For an activity we decided to make some finger puppets. I had seen this duck finger puppet at I thought it would be perfect to make finger puppets and use up some old pill bottles. We found different size bottles for the different animals and used some felt. Now I am going to say that I let Hazel decorate them for the most part and let her choose colors. She cannot wait to play with them. For the heads of the bigger ones we cut felt and used a bit of stuffing. We tried to make the fox and raccoon noses as well, but they are not perfect. She loves them just the same.

Our Emily

Our Ducklings
Apparently all the ducks had to have red feathers. Now I will admit we are a bit low on feathers, but she for some reason really liked the red ones.
I had a bit of difficulty with the fox's head and didn't get it glued or stuck as well as I had hoped. I'll try some more later. Hazel is very excited to act out the story now.

Now it is your turn to share any David McPhail book activities you have done. Or if you haven't, visit the ones shared here so you can learn about some more of his books!