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Seaweed Art Cards
  • This is a great activity for kids to do at a birthday party, especially a sleepover, and it also makes a wonderful gift for grandparents. Can be transferred onto a sweatshirt too.

    Plain white T-shirts (cotton/poly blends work best)
    Fabric crayons (available at craft stores)
    Plain white paper
    Iron and ironing board
    Piece of cardboard

    Using the fabric crayons, have the children draw a design on the piece of paper. Set your iron on the cotton setting and place the cardboard between the front and back of the T-shirt. Place the design on top with the drawing side down. With the iron, apply an even pressure across the entire design. Remove the paper and the design will be transferred onto the shirt. Tip: Remind the children that the design will be reversed so if they are writing words or a message they should write it backwards because the finished result will be the mirror image of the original. Caution: Children should be warned that the iron is hot and adults only are to touch the iron.

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  • These go very nicely with the Button Bracelets.

    You will need:
    Decorative shank buttons
    Pipe cleaners in assorted colors

    For each ring, cut a pipe cleaner about 4 inches long. Thread it through the hole in the back of the button, placing the button in the center. Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner together to form a ring, lengthening or shortening depending on the size of your finger. You may need to trim it a little bit. Be sure to twist the ends securely so that you don’t pinch your fingers. Wear them and be glamorous!

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  • Planning a birthday party at home and stuck for an idea for a theme? How about having a “crafts party”? Begin your party by having the children decorate their own party hats.

    Plain cardboard party hats
    Decorations like sequins, beads, jewels and stickers
    Markers or crayons
    Ribbons, long fabric strips and lace (optional)

    Give each child a hat, some glue and an assortment of decorations. Watch them have fun using whatever materials are available to make really inventive, creative hats. It is a good idea to write each child’s name inside the hats so there aren’t any mix-ups. If you cannot find plain party hats you can always improvise with oak tag (available at art and crafts stores). Older children can cut out their own hats either cone-shaped ones, crowns or tiaras.

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  • Nothing seems to fascinate a child more than the science of homemade crystals. Since crystal making is a popular classroom project, why not supplement your child’s education at home with the following experiments? All can be made with ingredients and supplies commonly found in most households. Be sure to have a magnifying glass on hand so your child can examine her creations more closely.

    Charcoal Crystal Garden

    6 or 7 charcoal briquettes
    6 T. warm water
    6 T. liquid bluing (available in the laundry section of the grocery store).
    4 T. table salt
    1 T. ammonia
    Food coloring (optional)

    Layer the charcoal in a shallow pan. In a separate bowl, mix the water and bluing together, stir in the salt and ammonia. Pour evenly over the charcoal. In a little while, you will see white fluffy crystals forming on the crystals. For different crystal colors, place a few drops of food coloring onto the coals after pouring the solution. You can keep the garden growing  by adding more solution every day.

    Rock Candy

    This is the one crystal-making project your child can actually eat!

    Powdered sugar
    Hot water
    Glass or wide-mouthed jar
    Heavy string,  a pencil and paper clips.

    Pour 1/4 cup hot water into a mixing bowl and add enough sugar until absolutely no more will dissolve, approximately 1 cup. Next, tie two or three lengths of string to a pencil, and fasten a paper clip to the other end. Pour the solution into a glass with the weighted strings in the solution. Several days later, as the water evaporates, you will see the crystal formations on the string.

    Borax Crystals

    These crystals look like snowflakes and make great winter, window-hanging decorations. They can also be used to decorate Christmas trees.

    Wide-mouthed jar
    Pipe cleaner
    1 cup boiling water
    3 T. Borax
    Food coloring (optional)

    Take the pipe cleaner and fashion it into a shape like a star or heart. Tie a piece of string to one end and suspend it into the jar until the shape is about 1/4″ from the bottom of the jar. Tie a pencil to the other end of the string and rest on top of the jar. In a large measuring cup, mix together the Borax and boiling water until dissolved. If you like, you can add some food coloring. Pour solution into the jar and in just a few hours, a hard, crusty crystal will form on the outside of the pipe cleaner.

    Rock Garden

    Small, smooth rocks
    2 oz. Alum (found in the spice section of grocery stores)
    1/2 cup boiling water
    Clear glass bowl

    Wash the rocks and place them in the bowl. Mix alum and water together in a small measuring cup until completely dissolved. Pour over the rocks and in a few hours you will see alum crystals forming as glass-like squares.

    Pass the Salt…

    Hot tap water
    Aluminum pie plate or plate covered with foil.

    Pour hot tap water into the cup until it is about half full. Add two teaspoons of salt and stir until dissolved. Repeat until no more salt will dissolve. Pour  enough liquid into the pan until just the bottom is covered. Let it sit undisturbed and check occasionally over the next few days. The longer you let the crystals grow, the larger they become.

    Pass the Epsom Salt

    This experiment is particularly effective when performed with the one above. It illustrates the different types of crystals that form when using different types of salt. Repeat the steps as in the above replacing the table salt with Epsom salt. Be sure to pour any leftover liquid down the drain. One difference you will notice is the Epsom salts are made of the mineral magnesium sulfate. As the water evaporates, the molecules in the Epsom salts join to form long, overlapping crystals. Regular table salt is made of the mineral halite and when halite molecules are joined again they form in a cubelike pattern.

    Crystal Hunt

    Crystals are all around us.  They are in the ground and on jewelry. You have probably eaten crystals at meals. Sugar and salt are both made of crystals. Have your children hunt for crystals and hold them up to the light or under a magnifying glass to determine if they are indeed crystals. Take a trip to the library and read up on the many different types of crystals and the minerals that crystallize in them.

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  • It’s amazing what you can do with paper and few other household items. You can make projects that fly, float and spin through the air.

    Regular notebook paper
    Large paper clip
    Handkerchief or square piece of fabric
    Pipe cleaner or twist-tie
    Light weight small toy
    Crayons, markers or water-based fabric pain

    Paper Airplane

    Fold a piece of paper in half. Then fold down the corners as shown.  Fold the paper in half again. Then fold each side down to the center point.  When you fold down the two sides you make the wings of the airplane. (fig. D.) Put a small piece of tape across the wings to hold your plane together. If you choose, you can decorate your plane with crayons or markers. Happy flying!

    Paper Helicopter

    Cut a piece of paper into two rectangles 2-inches by 8 1/2-inches. Follow the diagram and make the three cuts shown with  scissors. Cut #1 will be the helicopter blades. When you make that cut, fold the blades in opposite directions at the fold line. Cuts #2 and #3 will help you fold the bottom of your helicopter into thirds, as shown. When you have the folding done, fold up the bottom about 1/2 inch and use a large paper clip to hold it in place. Color the blades with crayons or markers. When you drop the helicopter, watch it twirl to the ground!


    Start with the a handkerchief or square piece of fabric.  If you like, your child can decorate it with markers or fabric paint. Cut four pieces of string each  exactly  4-inches in length. Tie each string to the four corners of the cloth. Tie the loose ends of the strings to a small loop made from the pipe cleaner or twist-tie. Cut another short length of string, tie it to the bottom of the loop, and tie a small lightweight toy to the other end. Drop the parachute from a high spot, like a stairwell, or throw it up in the air and watch it float to the ground!

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  • Homemade Valentines are much better than the store-bought kind and these butterflies are truly unique.

    Red or pink construction paper
    Red string licorice
    A stick of gum
    Valentine stickers and heart shaped sequins
    Markers or crayons.

    Cut heart shapes from the construction paper and place on either side to the gum to form wings. Secure with tape or a heart-shaped sticker. Using two pieces of string licorice, fashion antennae and tape in place at the top of the stick of gum. Decorate the “face” of the butterfly with mini heart stickers or sequins. Have your child write a Valentine message and sign her name on the wings.

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  • This is a great gift idea for friends or relatives who live far away. We plan to make two this year to send back East to both sets of grandparents.

    Small store-bought picture frame. (Dollar stores and drugstores sell ones very inexpensively.)
    Conversation hearts, little heart-shaped candies available at drugstores.
    Glue gun
    Modge Podge (optional)

    Lay conversation hearts on frame to decide which way you want them arranged. Glue onto frame. Let glue dry. You can cover with a Modge Podge glaze if you like. Place picture in frame and present or send to your loved ones.

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  • Materials:
    Pipe cleaners in variety of colors cut in 6″and 2″ lengths
    1″ and 1 1/2″ pom poms and tiny ones for noses
    Wiggly eyes
    Cardboard or paper plate for backing
    Sequins, beads or small buttons
    Magnetic tape(available at craft stores)

    Glue pom poms to cardboard and trace around them. Cut out tracing to form a backing. Scrunch up pipe cleaners like an accordion, to forms legs and glue onto the cardboard backing at the bottom of the bug. Take two 2″ pipe cleaners, bend slightly at the top to form antennae and glue to the cardboard backing at the top of the bug. Glue on wiggly eyes and nose and decorate. Affix a magnetic strip to the back.

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  • Materials
    Big beads with large holes.
    20 gauge wire, about a yard (available at bead stores and some craft stores)
    Needle-nosed pliers
    Wire cutters or scissors
    Heart- shaped cookie cutter (optional)

    Fold the wire in half and make a heart shape at the top. You can bend it around a heart shaped cookie cutter if you have one. Twist wire a few times with pliers. Thread on beads to form a 2 -2 1/2 inch length. Save your biggest bead for the bottom. Cut off one of the wires even with the beads. Leave the other one long. Thread on the last bead. Curl the wire with the pliers to keep the beads from sliding off. Dip in bubble solution and blow some Valentine bubbles.

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  • nature coasterI got this idea  from FamilyFun magazine and we made it as a project in my daughter’s third grade class. Hers did not turn out as uniformly as the ones in the magazine, but she had a lot of fun and took pride in her results. Click on leaf-imprinted coasters to learn how to make your own.

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