- 10-13 year olds
- 5-9 year olds
- All ages.
- Birthday party ideas
- Cooking with kids.
- Earth Day
- Gifts for Pet Lovers
- Good Causes
- Homemade Gifts
- Make Believe
- Mother's Day Gifts
- Outdoor activities
- Paid Endorsements
- Places to visit
- Read and Do
- Recycled Materials
- The Basics
- Valentine's Day
- Wearable art
- Heart-shaped baking tin
- Plastic bowl or container that is wider than your baking tin and about 2″ deep.
- One cup sand
- One-half cup water
- Candle wick
- Small metal washer
- Candle dyes or crayons for color
- Candle scent (optional)
- Double boiler (Note: You can melt wax in the microwave or in a tin can in a shallow pan of water over low heat. Add color and scent after wax is melted.)
Fill bowl with sand and water. Press bottom of heart tin into wet sand. Pull out leaving a heart shape. If the sides fall in, press tin in again and add some more water to sand. Tie wick to washer and place in center of the sand-shaped heart. Tie other end of wick onto a pencil and set on top of container. Make sure wick is taut. Pour melted wax into the heart-shaped hole in the sand. Position wick so it is in the center. Let wax harden and cool, about 45 minutes. Carefully lift heart candle from container and place on newspapers. Trim wick with scissors.
As ubiquitous as they may seem to some in their quaint, kitschy way, who can’t resist homemade cookies? And if you can make the planning and preparation that much easier, you’ve got the perfect gift. Here are some suggestions for those layered cookies in a jar you can pass out to all your friends, relatives and kid’s teachers. Put all ingredients in a Mason jar decorated with some nice fabric, ribbon and a tag with recipe and baking instructions.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Read the rest of this entry »
- Construction paper or copy paper
- Markers, crayons or gel pens
- Optional: Stickers or other decorations
Take a regular-sized piece of paper and place it vertically flat in front of you. Turn one corner down to line up with the opposite side of the paper. Tear or cut off the excess. You now have a perfect square. Fold one corner to the opposite corner to form a triangle. Fold again to form an even smaller triangle. Open up the paper. Take each corner and fold it into the center point so that when you are finished all four corners folded make another square. Flip entire piece over and repeat the previous procedure. You should see eight small triangles. Number each of these. Flip up the flaps and write romantic messages underneath. When you flip it over you will have four squares that act as “pockets” for your thumb and index fingers. Number these too. Place your fingers inside and start playing. Have your child hold the Cootie Catcher and ask her Valentine to pick a number. She then opens and closes the Cootie Catcher that many times. The Valentine child then picks an inside number and when you lift up that flap you will find your special Valentine message.
Using an apple corer, make a straight hole about halfway through the middle of the apple or gourd. Remove the core piece. The candle should fit snuggly inside. If it doesn’t, wrap the bottom of the candle with waxed paper. Repeat for as many apples and gourds as you would like. Place several candle holders on a plate or serving tray covered with aluminum foil. Decorate with leaves, pine cones etc.
I picked up this wonderfully entertaining and delightfully illustrated book at a Scholastic Book Fair a number of years ago and devoured it with my kids. The subtitle, “Green Thumb Magic for the Great Indoors,” says it all. It is chock full of fun gardening related craft projects and science experiments that easily answer the question, “How do things grow?” But that’s not all. There’s legend and lore about a magic turkey that planted the first corn and a mythical dragon that dropped the first peas on the ground. It is sure to inspire your child’s imagination and fascination with nature.
Instead of using the store bought variety of Easter Egg dyes, which are usually just food coloring mixed with vinegar, here are some suggestions for all natural ingredients that work just as well.
- Brown–outer layers of an onion, coffee or tea
- Green– spinach or dandelion leaves
- Orange– ground turmeric, celery seed and or orange peels
- Blue– crushed blueberries
- Red– crushed cranberries or raspberries
- Pink– chopped rhubarb or beet juice
Place eggs in sauce pan with enough water to cover them, add your “dye” and 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Cook your eggs and color them at the same time. How efficient!
This past weekend, my girls and made our favorite spring time treat: “bird nests.” Over the years we’ve come up with different variations and since we couldn’t decide which one we liked best, we made all three.
Bird nest #1
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Jelly beans
Melt chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir in the coconut. Cover a cookie sheet with waxed or parchment paper. Drop by large clumps, a heaping tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and shape into nests. While the mixture is still warm, use your thumb or the back of a spoon to poke a small impression. Then fill it with jelly bean “eggs.”
Birds nest #2
Same as above, but instead of using coconut, mix in 1 cup of chow mein noodles.
Birds nest #3
- 20 marshmallows
- 2 T of butter
- 1 T light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon
- 3 cups toasted oat and nut cluster cereal
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- Jelly beans, Peanut M & M’s, (in pastel colors) or Whoppers Robin Eggs
Melt the marshmallows and butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Add brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Fold in cereal and coconut. Drop by clumps onto waxed paper lined cookie sheets. Fashion into the shape of nests and add the “egg” of your choice. Another variation of this recipe is to add equal parts cereal and chow mein noodles for more crunch.
One of the best ways to help wildlife flourish is to plant a special garden with nectar-rich flowers that will attract bees, butterflies and insects. If you don’t have a lot of room, a window garden or pot garden will do.
The following is a list of flower suggestions.
- Lace-cap hydrangea has lots of tiny flowers that attract bees and butterflies.
- Lavender has a strong scent that butterflies love.
- Hawthorn is a shrub that attracts insects and birds.
- Pyracantha is another shrub with berries that birds like to eat.
- Fuchsia with its sweet nectar attracts hummingbirds.
- Buddleia often called the butterfly bush has scented flowers that attract both bees and butterflies.
For more suggestions ask the salespeople at your local gardening shop
To see what things biodegrade, try burying the following objects in separate holes in your garden.
- Leafy twig
- Styrofoam cup or container
- An empty tin or aluminum can
- A piece of cotton or wool fabric
- An empty glass bottle
- An apple core
Make sure you mark where the holes are so you can dig them up a month later. Make a note of what objects rot and those that do not. Discuss which objects can be recycled and how waste can be avoided.
Because most of our water supply comes from rivers, reservoirs and under the ground, it often starts off dirty. To make it safe to drink, the water we use in our homes has to be cleaned at a water purification plant. Try making a water filter to demonstrate how this is done.
- Two pitchers or large glass measuring cups
- Large spoon
- Grass and leaves
- Coarse sand
- Gravel or small pebbles
- Coffee filter
- A clean flower pot
Spoon some small amounts of soil, sand, gravel, grass and leaves into the pitcher of water. Stir everything together. Stand the flowerpot on the coffee filter and trace around it. Cut it out. Put the circle of coffee filter at the bottom of the flowerpot. Fill the flowerpot halfway with sand and then add a layer of gravel. Stand the flowerpot on top of the empty pitcher. Slowly pour the muddy water into the filter. You will see that the water that runs out of the filter is cleaner than the water poured in because the filter traps a lot of dirt.