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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 »
Another great group activity for a birthday, play date or class project.
Small clay flower pots
Trowel or knife to smooth grout
Decorative objects like tiles, sea glass, sea shells, beads, acorns etc.
Give each child a small flower pot and some tile grout to smear on the outside of the pot. Explain to them that they are going to decorate the outside of the pot with the objects. They can cover the entire pot or make a pattern. It is up to them to use their own imagination and creativity. Once the tile is set and the objects are secure, gently wipe away any tile grout that is on the decorations. If you have time, you can take this project one step further by planting flowers in the pots.
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.
This is a quick and easy fun project you can do with all those extra buttons you have lying around the house. If you need more, you can always buy them in bulk at craft stores like and Beverly’s. This project is also a perfect birthday party activity. Can be adjusted for a seasonal activity using season themed buttons like heart shapes or Christmas trees.
You will need:
- 1-inch wide elastic
- Strong needle and sewing thread
- Assorted buttons in various shapes and colors
Cut a piece of elastic about 2 inches longer than your wrist. Before you start, think about a design or theme idea. You may want buttons of similar colors like all primary colors, all pastels or just black and white. Buttons in the shapes of flowers or bugs could be a garden theme. Try all square or all round buttons. You get the idea. When you have a plan, start sewing the buttons onto the elastic leaving an inch blank on either end. Overlap the edges of the elastic and sew the ends together. Make sure you use a lot of stitches so your bracelet is secure. When you are finished, sew on more buttons to cover the stitches.
Note: You can use 2 or 4 holed buttons as well as shank. Sew the holed buttons on first and then fill in the blank areas with the shank buttons.
I made a lot of labor intensive elaborate cookies over the holidays that were almost too pretty to eat. This one was by far the easiest to make and the kids’ favorite. Make a double batch. They won’t last long. The recipe comes from my late mother-in-law who had a real sweet tooth. By the way, there are no actual peanuts in this recipe since it calls for walnuts, but I suppose you could use peanuts.
unsalted Saltine crackers
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of melted butter
12 oz bag of mini chocolate chips
1 cup of finely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of 11 x 13 cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Layer the crackers side by side to cover the cookie sheet. Mix sugar, brown sugar and butter and pour over the top of the crackers. Spread evenly using the back of a spoon. Bake for 15 minutes. While still hot and bubbly sprinkle on the chocolate chips and nuts. When cooled off, separate from foil and break into “brittle” pieces.
This is super easy, and fun homemade fudge that your kids will love to make and eat.
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 T butter
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups mini marshmallows (a must)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium heavy sauce pan. Bring to full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, chips, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for one minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan and refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan, remove foil and cut into pieces.
My craft class just made these really cool, festive holiday wreaths. I bought wire rims at a craft store and foraged through my garden and the woods for fresh greenery and herbs like rosemary, lavender, bay leaves and lemon verbena. The kids wrapped the greenery in bunches and attached them to the rims. Then they added ribbons, acorns, pine cones, dried oranges slices and cinnamon sticks which they attached with a hot glue gun. These children ranged in ages from 11 to 14 and I was amazed at their creativity.
I just made these with some kids in my craft class and it was a big hit.
Ingredients and materials needed:
- Baking soda
- Citric Acid (available on-line)
- Corn starch
- Soap molds (available at craft stores)
- Soap scents (available at craft store)
- Soap dyes or food coloring (available at craft stores)
- Spray spritzer bottle
- 2 glass bowls, one large, one small
- Metal spoon
Mix 1 cup of baking soda, 1/2 cup of citric acid and 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a large bowl. Knead with your hands to get out all the lumps. Remove about 1/4 cup from the large bowl and place into the small bowl. In the small bowl, add about 10 drops of scent and 5 drops of color. Mix thoroughly with the metal spoon. Then add to large bowl and mix again. While you keep kneading with your hands have someone spritz the mixture with some water from the spray bottle. Do a little at a time until the mixture is damp enough to mold into your hands like a snowball. Don’t over mist because you don’t want the mixture to fizz up. Working quickly, pack the mixture into molds and let set until they are dry. About 30-60 minutes. Molds do not need to be pretreated. Once they are dry, turn the molds over and gently tap to remove. Let sit for another 30 minutes or so until they are completely dry.
For best results choose molds that aren’t too intricate or large. Any excess that doesn’t fit in the molds can still be used as fizzy bath powder. Recipe can be doubled.