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Seaweed Art Cards
  • Now that the kids are out of school you will need fun activities to entertain them and keep them busy and occupied. When my children were small they loved to finger paint, which, as you all know, is  messy. When the weather got warmer, I would put my girls in their bathing suits and give each of them a paper plate “palette” with several  dollops of finger paint colors. Then I would put a  white  shower curtain liner on the driveway and let them paint away. More often than not they ended up painting each other, but I didn’t mind. At the end of the day I hosed them down along with everything else.  They had a blast. It was moments like that, watching my children experience sheer creative joy that I thought to myself, “Do not for one minute ever tell me that you did not have a wonderful childhood.”

    Note: Make sure the finger paint is washable. I have learned from experience that certain colors, like green, don’t always come out. Just in case, make sure you and your kids wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a few stains on. Happy painting! If you try this project, please write in and leave a comment so we can all hear about how much fun you had.

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  • Fizzy bath bombsI 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
    • Water
    • 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.

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  • Young children especially love shaping these little soaps to look like semi-precious stones. Make sure you make enough to keep for yourselves.

    Ingredients:
    2 1/4 cups grated transparent glycerin soap
    1/4 cup glycerin (available at drug stores)
    1/4 cup water
    Wax paper

    In a medium sauce pan over low heat, or in the microwave, melt together 2 cups of the glycerin soap along with the glycerin and the water.  Let cool slightly and add the remaining 1/4 cup grated glycerin soap.  When the mixture is cooled, but not hardened, scoop out small, walnut-sized amounts and roll into pebbles of different sizes. Set on a piece of wax paper and let cure. This could take a few days.

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  • This is the perfect gift for grandparents or a favorite aunt or uncle.

    Materials:
    2 packages Sculpey clay (if you use two colors you get a great marbleized effect)
    Rolling pin
    Small glass oven-safe  bowl about the size of your child’s hand
    Blunt knife

    Preheat oven to 270 degrees. Have your children mash the Sculpey clay in their hands until it is soft and pliable. Roll out onto a hard surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Lay your child’s palm in the center of the clay and trace the outline with a blunt knife. Remove the hand print lifting very gently with a spatula. Lay it over the bowl. The curve of the bowl will curve the spoon rest as it bakes. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool.

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  • There are lots and lots of variations on the traditional Play-Doh recipe. Here are just a few.

    Traditional

    Ingredients:
    1 cup flour
    1 cup water
    1/2 cup salt
    1 T cream of tartar
    1 T oil
    food coloring

    Directions: Heat all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When dough gets to the consistency you want, remove from heat and let cool. Make lots of batches in different colors. Store in a zip-lock bag or plastic container.

    Variation: Substitute cake decorating food coloring pastes for richer, darker colors.
    Another variation: Add some glitter.

    Koolaid Play-Doh

    Ingredients:
    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup salt
    3 T of oil
    1 package of Koolaid powder

    Directions: Mix all ingredients together and cook over medium heat stirring constancy until reaching desired consistency. Remove from heat and cool. Keep in airtight container and store in the refrigerator.

    Uncooked Play-Doh

    Ingredients:
    3 cups boiling water
    3 cups flour
    1 1/2 cups of salt
    1 1/2 T oil
    3 tsp. cream of tartar

    Directions: Mix all ingredients except the flour in a large bowl. Mix well and then add the flour. Stir until dough scrapes off the sides of the bowl. Transfer to floured surface and knead to mix completely. Store in airtight container and refrigerate.

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  • We made this one year for Christmas for Grandpa and he loved it. It is a great gift for all the gardeners in your life.

    Materials and Ingredients:
    1/2 cup soap pieces
    1/2 cup cornmeal
    2 T vegetable oil
    Few drops essential oil or lemon extract
    1 T warm water
    Piece of heavy twine about 24-inches long

    Place the soap pieces and cornmeal in a blender or food processor and process into a coarse powder. Transfer to a bowl and add the warm water, scent and oil. Let your children mash everything together with their fingers and form into a ball, pushing the twine down into the center. Allow the soap to dry for a few days before wrapping.

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  • I got this recipe from my children’s preschool teacher. Apparently this is very popular with the toddler set. Makes for great fun and an opportunity to vent pent up frustrations.

    Ingredients:

    3 cups oatmeal

    1 1/2 cups flour

    1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

    1 1/2 cups butter or margarine

    1 tsp. baking soda

    Put all the ingredients together into a bowl and knead with your hands. You can’t mix too much. When the kids are satisfied that they mixed it up enough, drop by rounded teaspoons onto  ungreased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees  for ten minutes.

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  • How many of you remember the salty taste of Playdoh as a kid? Come on, admit it. You tasted it. We all did. That is why I prefer this version better. Just be  sure to work on a clean surface with clean hands.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup honey
    2 1/3 cups powdered milk (for finer texture, blend powdered milk in food processor)
    Embellishments: mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, M & M’s, jelly beans, gummy worms, shredded coconut, etc.

    Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix and knead until completely combined. Create. Eat. Have fun!

    Another version, different ingredients:
    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup nonfat dry milk
    2/3 cup powdered sugar

    Mix together in bowl and add embellishments if desired.

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  • Good for making ornaments, beads, volcanoes and more.

    Ingredients:
    12 cups flour
    12 cups salt
    7/8 cup water
    2 T. vegetable oil
    Food coloring

    Place flour and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Pour in the water and mix well. Pour in the oil and mix again. You can knead with your hands (more fun) or stir with a wooden spoon. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a clean, smooth surface that has been sprinkled with a little flour. Knead the dough until it is firm and wrap in plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag. Put in the fridge for at least a half hour before using.

    To color the dough, divide the dough into sections. Take one section at a time, roll into a ball and then punch down a little well into the center of the dough. Add a few drops of food coloring into the well. Fold the dough over the top of the well and start kneading until the color is mixed in. Add more color is desired.

    Now you are ready to make stuff. You can roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut with cookie cutters or you can shape into beads to make jewelry. Use a chopstick or toothpick to poke a hole in your shapes if you want to hang ornaments or string beads.

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  • When my children were small, like most children, I had a hard time getting them to take a bath. (Now that they are teenagers, I am lucky if I can get them out of the shower.) We had just about every bath toy you can imagine, but few offered the inspiration to “Get in the tub!” quite like the following homemade concoctions. Your children will enjoy making them as much as they will enjoy using them and when they are finished, they will be clean. Woo hoo!

    Bathtub Crayons

    Materials:

    1 cup grated Ivory soap or any mild soap like castile or glycerin.

    *Do not use Ivory soap detergent flakes. When applied directly to the skin they can be very irritating.

    1 cup warm water

    Food coloring

    Plastic cookie cutters

    Combine water, soap and food coloring in a medium size bowl. Stir the mixture until it begins to stiffen. Remove mixture from the bowl and knead with your hands until it reaches the consistency of a thick dough. You may need to adjust the amount of water or soap. Spoon mixture into the cookie cutters and have your child mold their own shapes. Place in freezer for ten minutes. Pop them out of the cookie cutters and allow to dry overnight or until hard. Make several batches of different colors. Children can draw on the bathroom tiles or on each other.

    Bathtub Finger Paints

    Materials:

    Mild liquid soap or baby shampoo

    Cornstarch

    Food coloring

    Squirt bottles (Available at drugstores and craft stores.)

    Pour 1/3 cup liquid soap into a squirt bottle and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and several drops of food coloring. Shake figurously until mixture dissolves. Make several bottles of different colors. My children liked to mix colors into cups and save their “concoctions” for days. This is a great opportunity to teach your children about color mixing.

    While they are sudsing up, read them one of these three great books: Mousepaint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, Color Dance by Ann Jonas and Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni.

    Critter Soaps

    One of the latest novelty trends in soaps is to put a “critter”, a bug or some small object inside the soap. This is supposed to motivate children to wash themselves quite often with the soap in order to get to the object inside. These soaps sometimes cost as much as $5.00 a bar! Here is a simple and affordable way to make them yourself.

    Materials:

    Glycerin soap. (Available in some craft stores and on-line. Or you can use the inexpensive glycerin soaps found in supermarkets and drugstores.)

    Soap colors chips or small bits of crayons. (Available at craft stores.) Optional

    Essential oil or extract for scent (Optional.)

    Small object or critter of your choice.

    Pint sized milk or juice container, rinsed and dried.

    Microwave safe measuring cup.

     
    Place a large chunk of glycerin and optional color in the measuring cup. Melt in microwave until completely dissolved. Let cool slightly and add scent. (Scent and color are optional here because the really cook thing is having a bug in  your soap.) Pour into clean, empty milk/juice container about a third full or 2 inches from the bottom. Let soap harden only slightly so that when you place your object on top it will not sink.  Then pour more melted soap until the object is completely covered. You may have to remelt the soap in the measuring cup. Let the soap harden completely. Tear the container away and PRESTO, you have homemade bug soap.

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