Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Father’s Day Footprint Art

Credit for this “foot-tastic,” Easy DIY kid’s craft goes to Etsy’s “Mama Don’t Blink.” My pre-school class was used to hand crafts, but taking off shoes and socks was new. Painting feet elicited a bunch of, “That tickles!” Fun!

Step 1. Gather supplies: paint, white paper and either construction paper or cardstock, hard surface such as a clipboard, newspaper to catch drips, paintbrush (a foam paintbrush worked well), chair, washcloth or wipes to clean feet, glue or double-stick tape, marker.

Step 2. Sit child down. Paint bottom of feet. Clip paper to clipboard to create hard surface. Press feet against paper, angling feet to create a heart. Let dry.

Step 3. Glue or tape dried feet-heart to construction paper or cardstock.

Step 4. Write, “I” above feet-heart and “you DADDY from the tip of my nose to the tip of my toes!” under feet-heart. Date.

Step 5. Add fun messages to the back of the picture.

Easy DIY Winter Kids Craft, Felt Mitten Bookmarks

Snow Day Activity

I’m re-posting this Easy DIY Winter Kids Craft because it’s quick and creative. Though my K-2 After School Enrichment students enjoyed making their own Felt Mitten Bookmarks, pre-schoolers can also assemble them (Supplies for my Two’s are portioned out in our “Virtual Learning Bin.”) Don’t have suggested supplies? Use what you have. Set up a workstation, fill bowls with decorations, and invite kids to assemble, glue and decorate. Fun and done!

Gather supplies.

Measure ribbon and cut out mitten shapes.

Sandwich ribbon between back and front mittens. Decorate. Let dry.

Felt Mitten Bookmarks
Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, I’d add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Draw mittens on the felt. Cut 4 mittens out of the felt, making sure they are the same shape so that when they’re glued together, they match up.
  4. Match up the felt mittens, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the mitten. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  5. Decorate mittens, either one side of each mitten or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

Sorbet for the Soul, Modern Art

Big Blue Man statue by French artist Xavier Veilhan.

One of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done was volunteer to teach Art Appreciation in my children’s elementary school. Before I entered kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, I thoroughly researched artists. I learned so much about Modern Art, and came to appreciate work I hadn’t understood before. The students and I discussed artists, examined paintings and sculptures, and worked on related projects. Fun? Being called “The Art Lady.” Fantastic? Getting a call from a mom who said that when her family visited a Chicago museum, her son remembered learning about Rene Magritte from an Art Appreciation class.

Stanley Whitney, Fly the Wild, Oil on linen canvas

Helen Frankenthaler, Western Dream, Oil on canvas

Piet Mondrian, Composition, Oil on canvas

Pumpkin Patch Memories

Hubby’s headless horseman.

Posting about pumpkin carving with pre-schoolers led me down a crunchy leaves lane of nostalgia. Decorating our house and preparing costumes weren’t our only Autumn traditions. Cherished were our drives to Ort Farms in Long Valley, NJ where we’d take a hay ride to the pumpkin patch, pick as many pumpkins as we could carry, and load up on apple cider, doughnuts, and honey sticks. After saying hi to the farm animals, we’d head home. Every year, Hubby got increasingly skilled at carving pumpkins. (Check out his haunted house below.)  

Hon, what Fall traditions does your family share?

Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers, Debut Picture Books

One of the positive aspects of writing Kidlit is the supportive community, and writer/illustrator :Donna Marie has been more than supportive; she’s volunteered countless hours to NJSCBWI. When the pandemic hit the U.S., :Donna wanted to find a way to help kids understand Covid-19 and why their routines were disrupted, and show how they could stay safe. She turned her idea into a reality by publishing  Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers, which are available in 6 different versions with 2 more inclusive versions on the way. In addition, on the website Pippinherohelpers.com, :Donna offers additional info and tools for kids and adults and free printable downloads to post anywhere from bathrooms to classrooms that illustrate hand hygiene, wearing/handling face coverings, and more.

What’s the story about? 

One morning in March 2020 a child wakes up and gets ready for school only to be told by Mom that he/she has to stay home—it’s a rule. The child doesn’t understand, is upset about no longer being able to play with friends and do many “normal” things like go to the playground, the movies, school or anything outside their home or family. The mother then tells the child about the pandemic—the deadly virus that’s “sneaky and quick.”

Accompanied by illustrations, she explains how easily the virus spreads, how it can make some people very sick, who the heroes are who help the people who need hospital care, along with the many essential workers we count on. The child learns that by doing “stay safe” things like staying physically distant, wearing masks and washing hands they become “Hero Helpers.”

Highlighted are many positives about staying home, and lots of “stay at home” activities, including a surprise “fun” idea Mom has the family do. The child is reassured that, until the doctors say it is “safe” again, they will visit friends and family virtually, continue to be grateful for the good things, and how they will stay strong till this pandemic passes.                          Kathy Temean on Writing and Illustrating 

In :Donna Marie’s words: 

When this pandemic hit the U.S., I saw the plethora of wonderful stuff being offered by the KidLit community, librarians and teachers to families with children to help them get through the whole stay-at-home situation and was blown away by it. My natural inclination was wanting to contribute and what came to mind was a book I wrote back when my son was in maybe 3rd grade, so 1993ish. It was called The Rainy Day and in it were ideas of what to do on a rainy day. I figured maybe I could list them and post it in a blog post, but quickly poo-pooed that since it really wouldn’t offer anything more than what was already out there, so why waste my time? But one thought led to another, I ended up writing an almost totally new story, and when I realized I had the power to execute these books digitally to make diverse and inclusive versions, there was no stopping me!

Where can people find Pippin Pals are Hero Helpers?

Check out  Pippinherohelpers.com to order ebooks on Kindle and Apple Books. Paperback versions may be ordered on Amazon.

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Author/Illustrator Bio:

:Donna is a proud and blessed mother and grandmother, and as a woman of love, hope and faith, she has loved stories since the first time she held ARE YOU MY MOTHER, THE CAT IN THE HAT and MADELINE in her hands. Passionate about storytelling in all forms, the wonder of words and pictures in books has long inspired her to tell stories of her own. As a small voice amid the glorious chorus of book creators, her hope is to add some small measure of value and joy for her gracious readers. And all of this while doing her best not to consume more “goodies” than good books! 😀

Easy DIY Kids Crafts: Spring Felt Bookmarks

Fun with Felt!

K-2 students made these cute, Spring-themed, animals bookmarks using the same steps as the Easy Winter Kids Crafts, Felt Mitten Bookmarks. Pick an animal and get creative with whatever decorative supplies you have on hand. Possible animals and insects besides puppies and birds? Cats, horses, unicorns, lions, butterflies, caterpillars, etc.

Happy crafting, hon!

Gather supplies.

Spring Felt Bookmarks
Suggested Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Sourcing supplies: Michael’s, Oriental Trading, Target or any local crafts store.
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. Measure ribbon. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Create a paper pattern by drawing animals. We drew a profile of a puppy head and  a whole bird. Also draw a coordinating pattern for the bottom of the bookmark. We drew a bone to go with the puppies and eggs and nests to go with the birds.
  4. Cut out paper patterns.
  5. Trace shapes on felt: two side of the animal and two sides of the coordinating object. Make sure the two sides are the same so that they line up when glued together.
  6. Match up animals and objects, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the cut-outs. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  7. Decorate bookmarks, either one side of each animals or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.

All You Shining Stars, A Poem

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Farm-themed b-day party.

Teddy, Hannah and Morgan at their elementary school.

Triplets plus one.

I read “All You Shining Stars” by Christian Wiman in the December 23, 2019 issue of The New Yorker, and the poem was illuminated by my four shining stars.

All You Shining Stars 

Three kinds of hair in the brush one love

has left on the kitchen counter.

Four kinds of cries when it occurs as one

to blow off school and go to the mountains.

And later, over the river, when the upturned duck

never turns over, five kinds of silence.

 

Always our elsewheres are also here,

like tributaries so intuitive they seem

almost incidentally literal, tiny trickles

in wildernesses too immense to enter,

the cold clefts and the drastic drops.

cliffs of unthinkable ice.

 

Three kinds of sleep in the hum home

down the dark valley back to New Haven.

Four kinds of dreams behind the headlights,

the world springing into being ten feet at a time.

Five kinds of time when one love wakes up

and wonders where we are, and one wonder

wakes up another, and another, and another.

Travel Bug, Crayon Box Burano, Venice, Italy (Part 1)

Burano, Venice, Italy

In honor of Hubby’s and my upcoming trip to Europe, I’m re-posting these photos from Burano, Italy. We’re headed to England and France where I’m sure to be bitten by the travel bug. If I was independently wealthy, I’d travel the world! Hey, I can write anywhere, and what better way to get inspired than to meet new people and visit new places?

And, as for my love of children, ask my own kids–language barriers aren’t barriers at all when a child’s smiling eyes meet mine. If that sounds sappy, so be it, but consider…

  • in an airport security line, a mom handed me her baby to hold while she struggled to open up her stroller,
  • in a store, a toddler giggled at our silly game, then threw her arms around me for big hugs,
  • in Sienna, Italy, a 5 year old German boy and I  played hide and seek at breakfast,
  • in a shoe department, a 3 year old boy slid over to me and let me tie his shoes,
  • in a bookstore, a 4 year old girl and I read books together,
  • on a train from Manhattan, a 6 year old girl and I played I Spy,
  • in a restaurant, new twins parents and I bonded over being parents of multiples and then took me up on my offer to hold a baby so the mom could eat,
  • at the store where I work, two 5th grade girls asked me to be in their  Tic Toc video (umm, yes!), and then hung around for hours chatting about their siblings, parents and teachers,
  • And so many more wonderful encounters here and abroad.

So, while we travel, I’ll be on the lookout for smiling eyes because those connections, no matter how short, are joyful.

And hon, I need a whole lot of joy just about now.

Shops along the canal, Burano.
Shops along the canal.

School boys meeting by a first floor window.
School boys meeting by a first floor window.

Photographer's delight.
Photographer’s delight.

Hubby and daughters.
Hubby and daughters.

Lovely Poem, On Children by Kahlil Gibran

Darcy 2011

Darcy 2019

This poem by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) made me weep.
On Children

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
     And he said:
     Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
     For they have their own thoughts.
     You may house their bodies but not their souls,
     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
     For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
     The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
     Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Easy Winter Kids Craft, Felt Mitten Bookmarks

Got kids?

Are they stuck inside because of snow, ice, and the polar vortex? Do they have a case of cabin fever? Do you need an idea for an activityHere’s an easy craft that my K-2 After School Enrichment class made. My list of supplies is a suggestion. Get creative and use what you have on hand.

Ooh–I have another idea! This craft would be a great winter birthday party activity. Pre-cut felt mittens and ribbon. Set up a workstation. Place mini pom-poms, googly eyes, foam shapes, sparkly stars, etc. in bowls. Let the kids assemble, glue and decorate their bookmarks. Fun!

Happy crafting, hon!

Gather supplies.

Measure ribbon and cut out mitten shapes.

Sandwich ribbon between back and front mittens. Decorate. Let dry.

Felt Mitten Bookmarks
Supplies:  
  • felt (or a thick fabric), small pieces will do
  • fabric glue
  • grosgrain ribbon (or satin ribbon), about 14 inches per bookmark
  • tiny pom-poms
  • small googly eyes
  • any other things to use for decorating such as glitter glue, thin ribbon, foam shapes, sparkly stars
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • marker
  • craft stick (or cotton swabs)
  • newspaper, wax paper, tin foil, or cloth (whatever you don’t mind getting glue-y)
Steps:
  1. Set up craft area with newspaper, wax paper, etc.
  2. What size book is the bookmark being made for? A picture book? A chapter book? Measure the book, then add 6 inches to that measurement, which will allow ribbon to stick out of the top and bottom of the book and to be sandwiched between the felt. For example, if a book measures 8 inches, I’d add 6 inches and cut a 14 inch piece of ribbon
  3. Draw mittens on the felt. Cut 4 mittens out of the felt, making sure they are the same shape so that when they’re glued together, they match up.
  4. Match up the felt mittens, figuring out which will be the fronts and which will be backs. Using craft sticks (or cotton swabs), spread fabric glue on the insides of the mitten. Sandwich 1 inch of the ribbon between the fronts and backs. Press to help glue adhere.
  5. Decorate mittens, either one side of each mitten or both, there’s no right or wrong.Let dry.

Tips:  Trim excess felt. Check seams for gaps and, using craft stick (or cotton swab), add extra fabric glue where needed.