Our Earth Day Pledge

Earth Day is an important day of celebration in my household.

I want my son to grow up with a sense of reverence for this great planet that we live on. I try my best to be a good role model to him in this regard — I bring my own bags to the market, I buy in bulk, & I try to consume less on the whole.  But despite my efforts, I know that I still need reminders, just as he needs to be taught good habits and behaviors. Earth Day may technically fall on a mere single day each year, but I would like my son and I to live consciously and make "Every Day Earth Day".

We spent the week that led up to Earth Day reading the following books on how we can take care of the Earth. Click on title below book to be led to Amazon site

The Earth Book, by Todd Parr

10 Things I Can Do To Help Save My World, by Melanie Walsh
Love your world, by Dawn Sirett
All of these books were wonderfully written and successfully engaged my son. They offered a multitude of ways we can care for the earth - by not littering, by using both sides of the paper, by growing a garden, by turning off the lights when leaving the room, etc. The Earth Book, by Todd Parr, offered a very silly way to take care of the Earth, and it got the biggest laugh from my son, thereby becoming the most requested. I recommend all of them highly.

Various views of our completed project
After reading the aforementioned books, we brainstormed ways that we would like to help the Earth throughout the year. We called this "Our Earth Day Pledge". I typed up the list on my computer (I found a kid font that I thought would be perfect called "rayando". Find it for free here). I printed out our intentions and cut them into strips. I mod podged them onto one of Earths we made out of paper mache (see the last post here for directions). *Note: for this Earth I used green paint for the land masses, not glitter.**If you don't know about Mod Podge yet, you should! It pretty much makes everything look better! Check out Mod Podge Rocks website for great tutorials on how to use it.

Close-up of tag hanging down
I then hung a strip of paper tied to a fishing line down from the bottom of the Earth that said "Earth Day Pledge" on one side, and "We love Mother Earth" on the other. The fishing line was suspended from a toothpick I pushed up through a drilled hole in the Earth.
Full shot of Earth and tag

We hung our finished Earth from the ceiling in my art studio, so that we can be reminded of our pledge each day.

Let us all try to embrace ecologically sensible habits. Efforts put forth by each of us can make a difference.

Thanks for visiting!

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Glittery Paper-mache Earth Hanging!

I was feeling really brave last week when I decided to tackle paper-mache with my son!


Really messy!

As a parent, I have a love/hate relationship with messes.

BUT I am happy to say... the LOVE part wins out when I realize how this kind of sensory activity can be one of the greatest joys of childhood!

(I know, I remember!)

Therefore, we threw the smocks on, rolled up our sleeves and dove in!

After all, our Earth Day Celebration wouldn't feel complete without building a model of our big blue planet itself, in tribute.

For Paper Mache part we used: flour and water mixed to a thick-like soup.  We dipped strips of newspaper in the paper-mache, removed excess pulp with our fingers, and then placed on round balloon.  We built it up 3 layers thick.

Mixing up the paste

Placing the strips. Bode LOVED this part! He was very careful to lay them on flat and smooth them out.

Our paper-covered balloons drying in the sun. I eventually moved them inside and set them over our heater vents, turning periodically. Once they dried completely, I could feel the areas that were thin, and applied more strips of newspaper, and let sit again for a few days.

After the paper-mache dried, we sanded down the surface to smooth it out.

Painting gesso on to prepare surface for paint.

It was a nice day, so we took the acrylic paints outside, and painted the "Earth" blue.

Our Earths drying
After the blue paint was dry, I did my best to paint on the shapes of the continents green. This was harder than I thought! Next time I think I will sketch it out in pencil first before commiting with paint — my continents tended to cluster on one side of the globe...who knew North America and Australia were so close to each other? LOL. I then painted glue on with a brush on top of the green. Bode sprinkled green glitter onto the glue.
I let each side dry and then we turned it over to do the other side.

We drilled a hole in the top. My boyfriend found a spring hook at a recycled building materials store that attached. I wish I could tell you the exact name of it (my google search was unsuccessful). Although I think an eye hook toggle bolt would work just as well. I then attached fishing line, and hung it up! The glitterized hanging Earth now graces my art studio! It is about 6.5 inches in diameter. Later in the week I will post about what Bode and I did with the other paper-mache Earth that we made alongside this one — it was fun, as well as educational! Stay tuned!

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Make a bowl out of old magazines!

Recently I discovered "A Little Hut", a blog about paper crafting by Patricia Zapata. It was voted the #1 Mom Craft Blog on Babble.com. Surfing the pages of her blog I saw that the recognition was well earned. The site catalogs a plethora of innovative paper designs with concise, easy-to-follow directions accompanying them. I urge you to check it out. You will be happy you did! Anyway, in my exploration I discovered a tutorial on making a bowl from old magazines! This was a perfect activity for me to do — sometimes I need a craft to do all on my own — for myself, and this one called to me. You can find directions here. Please go check it out, and leave her a little comment love. We all like it :)

Here is a visual walk-through of the process.

Simple materials needed — Magazines and a glue gun! That's it! The strips were made by folding the magazine pages in half 8 times length-wise.

The beginning coil. A thin bead of glue keeps it together.
I discovered the use of a clip not only keeps the fold of the leading magazine strip secure, but it also serves as a placeholder later on in the project.
When the coil base got to be about 5 inches in diameter, I started building the walls up gradually. (Raising the "walls" about an eighth of an inch at each go around.) Note that the neater side of the coil base should face up as this is the side people will mostly see. When building the walls up, however, I flipped the position of the strips, so that the neat-sided fold was shown on the outside of the bowl (which means the neat side was found on the bottom edge of the strip)
Here it is done! The diameter of the lip of the bowl measures 10 1/2 inches. The height of the bowl came to 5 inches.
View flipped over.
I used almost one Woman's Day magazine, one William-Sonoma catalog and probably 1/2 of a Martha Stewart's Living Magazine. Next time I will omit Woman's Day, as I realized I don't really like the colors of the inks, and the paper seems low quality. I liked the sheen of the Williams-Sonoma catalog, and the colors seemed more organic. It would be fun to be more conscious of a color scheme next time.
My BOWL! A few hours of work was well worth it for this lovely utilitarian piece of art that cost pretty much nothing! I like that!

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DIY Jump rope: Made from Marker Caps!

Spring is finally kicking in where I live — that is in the Pacific Northwest — and sunnier, warmer days translate to a complete transformation in people's energies around here. So for the past week, my son and I have found ourselves outside every chance we could get: riding bikes, visiting parks, and taking nature walks. It has been fun, but I have sadly neglected my blog. Now I am back and I am refreshed. I look forward to the week ahead —  for I have a lot of activities in store to share as we lead up to my favorite day of celebration, Earth Day!

Yesterday, I had a friend come over, and she brought her 2 children along for a play date with Bode. Her daughter is nine, and I had a perfect craft up my sleeve for her. I had been planning to do this craft/activity for awhile now — that is making a jump rope out of old dried-out markers. Not only was it perfect for a girl her age but it also goes along with the theme of Earth Day. It feels satisfying to recycle materials that would otherwise go into our waste stream. And having this craft cost next to nothing isn't too shabby either!

At the school that I work at and at my house, I have been collecting marker caps for months. I saw the idea of making a jump rope using them somewhere along the way (I wish I remembered where!) and wanted to try my hand at it. Now was the perfect time.

Materials we used:
  • Crayola marker caps from dried-out markers
  • 2 crayola marker bottoms, (Just the capsules, the inside "ink" part removed)
  • twine
  • pipe cleaner
  • scissors
  • Drill with a drill bit 11/64 in size
  • glue gun (not shown in picture above)
First I drilled through each marker cap. This is an adult job! Hold the marker caps tightly and securely on the side. Please be careful! At first my grip wasn't tight enough on the marker cap causing it to spin around fervently. After a while though, I figured it out, no harm done!

Have child hold twine as if they were holding a jump rope to determine the length plus a little extra.  Cut the twine and tie one end in a knot. Create a "sewing needle" with the pipe cleaner by bending it in half over the other end of the twine. Twist the pipe cleaner to secure it.

Thread the first cap so that the knot is positioned inside the cap. This will be one of the handles of the jump rope. Attach the bottom of the marker (the "capsule" part) onto the cap, so that it looks like a regular marker. The knot is hidden, and twine is coming out the top.

Add marker tops, one by one, until desirable length is reached. Thread the last cap the opposite way as when you began. Tie a knot big enough so that it won't fall through the hole. Attach the bottom of the marker for the other handle. There will be an inch or so of slack, which is fine. At this point I heated up the glue gun, and glued the caps and bottoms of the handles together to prevent them from coming undone.

My friend's daughter tested it out and WOO-HOO! It was a success! And she was a good jump roper (if that is a word!) too!

My son trying it out. His feet kept getting in the way!

Soon after my friend's son (who is 6), and my son (who is 4) both gave it a whirl, and let's just say, it made me realize that learning to jump rope is something that comes with age and practice. A few more years and they will master it too, I am sure!

Have fun!

*****Update: I realized where I heard of this idea originally...I did a search and found it on Crafty Crow's website. The post was contributed by Mommy on a Shoestring. You can find the her post here. (I always want to give credit where credit is due!:)

Along with linking up at my regular places (see Link-ups and Blog Hop page), I also linked up to The Earth Day Celebrations Blog Hop at Mommy Labs. Check it out here.

Also I have linked up to: 
Little Wonders' Days

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Bunny Bread

I came across an adorable recipe for "Teddy Bear Bread" in The Family Fun Cookbook, and just had to adapt the idea to the Easter theme. So here is my rendition: may I present to you "Bunny Bread"!

First, I had my son wash his hands thoroughly with soap and water, and emphasized the importance of washing up always before cooking!

After I washed up too, we then gathered the ingredients. I spoke to Bode about the importance of having all the materials "in place" before starting because it makes cooking so much easier that way. I threw around the fancy French term for this, "mise en place" (literally "putting in place"), that I learned in a cooking class way back when.


Ingredients used:
1.5 cups warm milk + .5 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar
5.75 cups of all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
Dried fruit (raisins, dried cherries, blueberries, etc)

Step one: Pour milk-water combination into a bowl, make sure it is warm. Add a packet of yeast and then sugar. Whisk until dissolved. Here I talked about how yeast is actually alive but it has been "asleep" while in it's packet. The sugar and warm liquid "wake" it up and helps it to grow.

Step two: Measure 2 cups of flour and whisk it into the mixture. I talked to Bode about the "proper" way to measure out flour- fluff it up first and then spoon it into the measuring cup, then level off with the flat edge of a knife (although he kept wanting to smoosh it down with the spoon, oh well!)
Let dough sit for 10 minutes. While the dough "proofed", I showed Bode the bubbles that were being formed and told him that that meant the yeast is now awake and working. The bubbles will create air in the dough and help the bread to rise when left to sit and the process will continue in the oven as well.

Step three: Stir in salt and then add the rest of the flour, adding in increments.

Step four: Turn dough onto a floured surface; Knead by folding dough in half and away with heel of your hand. Rotate and repeat until blended well. I gave my son a small amount of dough to knead himself. He seemed to really enjoy the sensory aspect of this step.

Step five: Place dough in oiled bowl. Flip over so that entire surface of dough gets coated. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for an hour until it doubles in size.

Step Six: Knead again to get out air bubbles.

Step Seven: Cut dough with knife and create different shapes for the bunny's body. I pinched the dough best I could to connect the pieces. As you assemble bunny, place on a baking tray lined with oiled parchment paper.

Step Eight: Decorate Bunny's body with dried fruit. We used a raspberry for nose, dried cherries flattened and cut in half for whiskers and claws, and dried blueberries for eyes and belly button.

Step Nine: Cover Bunny with plastic wrap and let sit again for 30 min. Preheat oven (to 400 degrees) as the time approaches 30 min.

Step Ten: Brush egg wash over bunnies body (one egg + 1 Tbsp. water, whisked).

Step Eleven: Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Step Twelve: Serve warm, or seal tightly with plastic to save for later.

Despite some minor cosmetic imperfections, I think our bunny turned pretty cute. AND not only that it tasted delicious as well! We coated our pieces with softened butter while it was still warm! Mmmm, mmmm, good! :)

Here are some more "bunny breads" that I found on the internet. I googled it, out of curiosity. They were pretty amazing. I found this Bunny Bread here, in which a hole is made in the belly and filled it with dip. Pretty clever and I think a perfect addition to an Easter Potluck! I also found this one here that I thought was so artistically crafted. I would love to try sculpt the bread in the same manner next time. It's such a charming bunny!

If you liked this post and you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere, remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page! Thank you! Have a wonderful day!
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April Showers bring May Flowers: Springtime Tissue art

This adorable Springtime craft is the perfect activity to do with children as we enter April. Flower-shaped tissue paper glued down onto an umbrella shape represents the sentiment "April Showers bring May Flowers". I found this adorable activity via Crafty Crow. The post is from Everything except the Grill. I used it for inspiration, but like most things in life, I deviated from the original directions and did it slightly off kilter. :) I liked that this craft represented the quintessential Spring...with all its rain that inevitably brings the colorful flowers, in abundance. And believe me, we in Oregon, know the wet weather very well...in Springtime, and all throughout Winter too.

Materials we used:
  • Paper plates cut into an umbrella shape
  • tissue paper in all different colors, cut into flower shapes
  • a paintbrush
  • Sta-flo liquid starch
  1. Have child cover the whole umbrella with liquid starch (with the paint brush).
  2. Then have them cover the umbrella by pressing the flowers flat onto the plate. I have them do this one flower at a time. Encourage them to overlap the pieces.
  3. Have the kids brush more liquid starch over the tissue paper flowers every once in a while to flatten it out.  
  4. All done! Wait to dry and hang up!


Keeping with the theme of "Umbrellas" I found a treasure of a book from the library to read with my students alongside this craft.   The Yellow Umbrella, By Dong Il Sheen & Jae-Soo Liu, is a precious gem that is a must-have for any children's book collection.

A CD of beautiful piano music comes with the book, and is to be played along while the successive pages are turned. The book doesn't have words, rather it is through the music one can "hear" the story. The children at the preschool looked on in awe, as the pages were shown. It was lovely in an auditory way, as well as visual...beautiful paintings grace each page. I highly recommend this book!

If you liked this post and you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere, remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page! Thank you! Have a wonderful day!
Have fun, and thanks for visiting!

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