Spring Kids Craft, Edible Birds Nests

Denver Botanic Gardens.

Edible Birds Nests.

When I taught After School Enrichment classes for grades 3-5, one of the projects we made was Edible Birds Nests. I didn’t take good pictures–think sticky-from-marshmallows-hands–so credit must be given to D Magazine’s Jessica Jones for these project photos.

Edible Birds Nests are easy, fun and perfect for celebrating Spring. Need an Easter activity for a party? This one is egg-cellent!

Gather ingredients.

Mold chow mein/melted marshmallow mixture into a cupcake tin.

 

Once the Birds Nests have hardened in the fridge, pop them out of the cupcake tin and fill with jellybean eggs.

A teeny-tiny nest with one egg is perfect as a cupcake topper. (thanks, Jessica Jones, for the suggestion.)

EDIBLE NESTS RECIPE (yields about 12 cupcake-sized nests)

Ingredients:

•1/4 cup butter

•3 cups marshmallows

•5 cups chow mein noodles

•Cooking spray

•Candy to fill nests

Directions:

1. Melt butter and marshmallows together over medium-low heat. Remove from heat.

2. Add chow mein noodles, and mix til combined.

3. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray, as well as your fingers. Mold the mixture into nest shapes in the cupcake tin.

4. Place in freezer for at least an hour. Remove nests using a knife.

5. Fill with your choice of candy.

Source: DMagazine

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

DIY Silk Flower Arrangement

Flower Power

Middle grade author Darlene Beck-Jacobson generously offered to share tips on visiting classrooms via Skype. Since we were talking about school, it wasn’t a stretch for me to Show and Tell. When I held up my latest creation, she invited me to post How-To instructions on her blog. Click here to check out my guest post on her blog Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life, where you will find photos and instructions on how to create your own DIY silk flower arrangement.

Darlene is the author of Wheels of Change, a middle grade historical novel. Click here to learn more about her book.

Thanks Darlene, have fun crafting, and happy Mother’s Day!

Pretty peonies!

Pretty peonies.

DIY Back-to-School Stress Ball

DIY Stress Balls

DIY Stress Balls

Back-to-School

Are you anxious about a new school year? Know any kids that are dreading homework? Not in school, but could use something besides yoga breaths to release stress? My daughter made her Stress Ball at camp and, since I liked it so much, she taught me how to make my own.  It’s sooo fun to squish!

When my daughter was helping me fill the balloon, I said, “Wow, I didn’t think it could fit that much flour.” My teen daughter replied (visualize an eye roll and sarcastic voice), “Mom, it’s a balloon.”

Point taken.

Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional

Supplies: a balloon, flour, spoon, permanent markers, pom-pom optional

1. Fill balloon with flour.

1. Fill balloon with flour.

2. Knot balloon closed. Draw on face. Tie pom pom to balloon under the knot.

2. Knot balloon closed. Draw face. Tie pom-pom to balloon under the knot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Stress Ball Supplies:

–balloon

–flour

–spoon

–permanent markers

–pom-pom, optional

Stress Ball Directions:

  1. Two people are needed.  One person holds the balloon open and one spoons in the flour. Flour will get everywhere, so fill over a bowl or plate. We used a lot of flour, filling until the balloon reached a squishiness we liked.
  2. Knot the balloon closed.  Draw a face.  Tie a pom-pom around the balloon knot, making sure the pom-pom knot is secured under the balloon knot.

Pom-Pom Supplies:

–yarn or string, same or different colors

–cardboard (we used an old cereal box)

–scissors

Pom-Pom Directions:

  1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half.  Trace a circle around a glass.  Draw another circle inside, about 1 to 11/2 inches from first circle. Cut out circles.
  2. Starting with about 2 arm spans of yarn, wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles. If you run out of yarn and/or want to change colors, attach a new piece of yarn to old one and continue wrapping.
  3. When yarn has been wrapped around cardboard circles several times, slip a scissors between the circles.  Cut the outer perimeter of yarn.
  4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.
  5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.
  6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle. Cut out circles.

1. Fold a piece of cardboard in half. Trace a circle within a circle, about 1 to 1/2 ” from 1st circle. Cut out circles.

2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.

2. Wrap yarn around doubled cardboard circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.

3. Slip scissors between cardboard and cut around perimeter of outer circles.

4. Slip a separate piece of between the cardboard circles and draw to center.

4. Slip a separate piece of yarn between the cardboard circles. Keeping that piece of yarn taught, draw it to the center of circles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5. Cinch separate piece of yarn tight. Knot that yarn, securing the cut yarn in the middle. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.

5. Hold pom-pom yarn still while bringing taught yarn ends completely around circles. Tie tightly and knot. Remove pom-pom from cardboard.

6. Keep end of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon.

6. Keep ends of knotted yarn hanging out. They will be used to secure the pom-pom to the balloon Stress Ball.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stress Balls hanging out.

Stress Balls hanging out.

Stress Balls with personalities.

Stress Balls with personalities.

Easy DIY Summer Treasure Jars and Highlights Article

Decorated Mason Jars.

Decorated Mason Jars.

DIY Summer Treasure Jars

Camp visiting days are an opportunity for kids to show and tell. They’re also a great source of craft ideas. This year, I was particularly excited about the Treasure Jars so I included them in my Highlights article, 12 Ways to Reboot Your Summer. My daughter said the camp provided glow-in-the-dark paint. Turn out the lights and let summer memories shine!

Supplies:

–mason or mayonnaise jar

–any combination of stickers, pom-poms, paint, paint markers, permanent markers, colored tape and feathers

–craft glue that adheres to glass

Directions:

–Decorate jars.

–Add summer keepsakes such as seashells, souvenirs, movie stubs, show stubs, cards, letters, etc.

–For a personalized touch, label with name and year.

Party Favors or Take Home Party Activity:

How fun would these DIY Treasure Jars be as a take-home party activity for ages 8 and up? Or, decorate smaller jars, fill with candy, and hand out as party favors. Come to think of it, that’s just what I did a few months ago. Check out Quick and Easy Candy Jars to see how I carried the middle school musical, Little Shop of Horrors, theme through the candy jars. Hon, you know I love a theme!

Colorful tape, stickers, paint markers, paint, pom poms and thread were used to decorate these jars.

Colorful tape, stickers, paint markers, paint, pom poms and feathers were used to decorate these jars.

 

Another Snow Day? Valentine’s Marshmallow Snowmen

Valentine's Marshmallow Snowman

Valentine’s Marshmallow Snowman

Another Snow Day?  Kids are home?  Run out of ideas?

Here are mine.

Valentine’s Marshmallow Snowmen (and Snowladies):

My K-2 After School Enrichment class made these Monday and, believe it or not, they waited to taste the “art supplies”…ummm, candy….until everyone was finished.

IMG_1112

“Art Supplies”:

–large marshmallows

–lollipop sticks (or assemble these on a plate w/o sticks)

–icing (or “glue”)

–red candies, such as red M & M’s, red hots, red candy melts, licorice, sour belts, etc.

–candy melts for hats and noses, other options:  candy corn, cherries

–food coloring and toothpicks (or “paintbrushes”) and/or edible markers

–edible candy eyes

–pretzels (for arms, we used brown food coloring to paint the branch arms)

–OR use whatever you have in the house.

Orange candy melts, which are just white chocolate with food coloring.

Orange candy melts, which are just white chocolate with food coloring.

Cut orange candy melts into small, narrow triangles for carrot noses.

Cut orange candy melts into small, narrow triangles for carrot noses.

Assembling Snowman.

Assembling Snowman.

Assembling:

Each child got a plate with a glob of icing, marshmallows, a plastic knife and candy eyes. The rest of the candy was in bowls, so they could choose how to decorate their red-candied Snow-people.  Easy peasy!  The kids made Snow-families, some carrot noses stuck out and others were iced to the side of the face.  Branch arms were drawn on with toothpicks dipped in brown food coloring.  Pretzels make nice branch arms, too.

Warning:   Eating too many Marshmallow Snowmen in one sitting will cause a sugar rush!

Snow-family.

Snow-family.

  

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Other ideas:

My other ideas are mainly food related because one of my mottos raising triplets plus one is “If all else fails, bake!”

Valentine’s Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies

Valentines Sugar Cookies

Melted Snowman Cookies 

Melted Snowman Cookies

Melted Snowman Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Cup

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Cup.

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Cup.

Indoor Spa Day

Tween Daughter with avacado mask

Tween Daughter with avacado mask.

Happy Snow Day, hon.