Quick Butterfly Craft from magazine pages

I thought I would write a post on a very easy and simple butterfly craft you can do with your children. All you need are scissors, magazines, a pipe cleaner, and fishing line (optional). At the time of this writing a Butterfly Blog Hop just went live at Plain Vanilla Mom and I wanted to submit this tutorial. You all should hop on over there and see what other ideas people came up with pertaining to butterflies.

I like this project because:
  1. Children of all ages love it  
  2. It reuses magazines that might otherwise be tossed  
  3. It requires minimal preparation.
Children under 5 may need one-on-one assistance in helping with the folding and the cutting.
First have the children choose 2 magazine pages to use. I encourage them to look for pages that are brightly colored, or that have an interesting repeating pattern.
On the Paper #1 (the bottom set of wings) fold the paper in half. With scissors cut the corners so they are nice and rounded.
On Paper #2 (the top set of wings) Fold a triangle down and cut bottom strip, so that when it is unfolded it is a square.
When the pages are unfolded they should look like this.
Take Paper #1 and make an accordian fold going all the way up to the top of the paper.
 On paper #2 turn the paper diagonal and fold as shown.

I like to fold the resulting folded papers in half so I know where the center point is on each.
This is so easy! I like to attach a short length of fishing line to the butterflies with a loop on the other end so that the kids can "fly" them on the playground. This craft is always a big hit!

Thanks for coming by and checking this out. Remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page if you want to stay informed of more kid craft ideas I post or find around the blogosphere!
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Designing a Garden from pictures; and a gardening blog hop!

One of my favorite crafts to do with preschoolers this time of year is to have them design, on paper, their own garden plots. Children from 2 years up to 6 years of age enjoy this activity. The materials used are easily accessible — just construction paper, scissors, glue and pictures of garden plants are all that are needed. It is a great way to recycle garden catalogs (I use them for my Rainbow Collage images also, see the post here).

This craft is beneficial to children in that:
  • it is an opportunity to practice and develop cutting skills
  • it is an opportunity to practice and develop gluing skills
  • it is an opportunity to categorize plant foods and to differentiate between fruits and vegetables
In addition, if the child will be planting in their own garden plot it will help them to have a clearer vision of what they would like to plant.

I did this project one-on-one with my son at home, as this year, he has his own "real" garden plot to fill. We had fun discussing what fruits, veggies, and flowers he would like in his garden. Of course the collage is more of an exercise to get him thinking about it, and design and choices are not set in stone!

First I had my son cut out all of the pictures of plants that he would like in his garden.  He is four years old, and I found that he at times needed help stabilizing the flimsy catalog paper, as well as reminders that the thumb on the cutting hand should be above the rest of his fingers. Younger children may require hand-over-hand positioning and cutting and verbal cues (open, close, open, close) as well as help in stabilizing the paper.

I then had my son apply glue to the paper. I told him that the brown paper represents the soil in his garden bed.

He then placed the pictures where he wants them. Easy "pea"sy!
Many of the plants that he glued on the paper we did in fact plant in his garden (corn, teddy bear sunflowers, and sugar snap peas).
A few days after he completed this collage we went to the nursery, and he had many of the plants that he viewed fresh in his mind. I believe this activity helped to mentally prepare him for the next step. I will be posting soon on how planting the seeds turned out!

Have fun and happy gardening!

If you like what you have seen on this blog and you want to stay informed of future posts I would love if you "liked" Mama's Little Muse Facebook Page here.

Check out the Gardening Blog Hop down below: the co-hosts are

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Book made out of one sheet of paper and scissors

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

I am a Member of the Weekly Kid's Co-op. I feel so fortunate to have found an incredible group of friendly, creative bloggers. If you have a fun kid friendly activity that you would like to link up to our Weekly Party, see below for details. Also be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to see what other bloggers have come up with. The following is my blog post that I am linking up:

I think it is important to set up environments for our children which invite them to engage in creative play in a natural organic way. That being said, I do let my son watch TV and play video games, but only a very limited amount per week. He does plead for them at times, and it has reached a degree where my patience wears thin. Instead of being the bad guy all the time, saying "No, no, no!" I realize that it is my responsibility as a parent to offer him alternatives that will engage him.

Partly inspired by Screen-Free Week which happened a couple of weeks ago, and also my feelings surrounding my son's media obsession, I came up with the following idea: I set out on his drawing table all of his markers he enjoys drawing with. In addition I set out a large blank book for him to draw in. He loves drawing pictures and making up stories to go along with them. Often he has me write down words to accompany his pictures. However, in the past his pictures were on single sheets of paper, never in multiple sheets in book form! He would love this!

My hunch was right, when he saw the blank book and the markers he wanted to dive right in. And dove right in he did! He worked on the book in one sitting for about an hour, and that is huge! We also took it with us to places he otherwise might get bored and restless, so that the time would be enjoyable to him.  With each completed page, I was sure to write in my neatest handwriting in bold black ink the story he recited to me. I made sure that he signed his work, as any author or artist would be sure to do; and, of course, I had him give the book a title.

I was lucky because I scored gargantuan (I mean GARGANTUAN) sheets of quality paper from our local material exchange store called M.E.C.C.A. (check it out here) for a song. I'm talking $5 per inch of stack! That's a deal if I've ever seen one! Thanks M.E.C.C.A. The paper makes for a great book, but you can use any size rectangular sheet (I have even made itty bitty books with 8.5 X 11" sized paper!) Here are the directions:

Thanks so much for stopping by! If you like what you see here on my blog and want to keep abreast of more posts in the future, as well as links to other fun ideas that I have found around the internet, I would love it if you liked my Facebook Page here.

Have fun!
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Trials and Tribulations of a Boy with Tresses

This post was written as a contribution to the Boys Have Long Hair, Too Blog Carnival.  The participating bloggers are sharing their experiences, struggles, and opinions surrounding having a son who has long hair.

"You hold him down, and I'll brush his hair!"


I have never had to go to that extreme of a route to get my kid's hair brushed, but at times I have certainly understood the sentiment. If you have a kid with longish hair, chances are you know EXACTLY what I am talking about! The number of times I've had to chase my son around the house with the hair brush while he holds his head shrieking "no, no, no" is just too many to remember distinctly.  And let's just say, he has usually won in the battle, I get one or two hair sweeps in and bow out in defeat. No matter how soft I brush it, he doth protest!

My son, at age 2

The thing is, his hair to me, has always been a blessing. At times, though, it has no doubt felt like a curse. From the time his hair grew long enough to see what he's got — that is, a head full of thick wavy curls — people everywhere in passing would stop to comment. "WOW, What amazing curls!"

Of course I had to let it get semi-long. To cut such abundant tresses would be a crime! Sure I live in the Pacific Northwest where boys with long hair are not such an uncommon site, but even my conservative mom from the east coast made me promise not to cut his hair short.

It made me smile, yet shake my head at the same time when people would say "Oh what curls your little girl has". I couldn't blame them; he made a pretty cute little girl, if I do say so myself, but because I knew him, I couldn't see him anything but a boy. These comments were made even at times he was dressed from head to toe in full boy garb. I never minded, or made the people feel embarassed about it — it was totally understandable. The important part was that it never seemed to bother my son, and the comments ceased as he got older, around 3.

This post is about celebrating his locks, and also troubleshooting and finding ways of avoiding and preventing the hairbrush battles.

Keepsakes I have created that involve my son's hair:

1. On his first birthday, I put together a Time Capsule for him. Relatives and friends from far and near contributed to this box. It got filled up to the brim with signs of our times, from newspaper articles, Barack Obama pictures, written family histories by his grandparents, and family photographs. And of course, I had to include a lock of his baby hair that I enclosed in an envelope. I thought about opening it and sneaking a peak but the stencilled words on the top warned me against it — It is not to be opened until my son's 18th birthday!

Time Capule
2. Early in his life, I became heavily involved in digital scrapbooking. I created the following scrapbook page based on his hairdo that he woke up with one morning. Every time I look at it, it endears me. It is entitled, "We called the Tsunami  Curl".

3. For Christmas 2 years ago, I made a silhouette portrait of my son to hang on the wall.  His curls are his key feature and I wanted to create a visual memento so I could remember how they looked. Kids grow up quickly and I know it is my responsibility to preserve memories to help me and my son remember them better.

How I dropped the hairbrush battle:

As a parent, my job is troubleshooting conflicts and coming up with peaceful solutions. Obviously running around the house wielding a hairbrush after my son isn't going to solve any problems. Just make the experience way worse.

Things I learned throughout the years when dealing with my son's hair:
  1. Use conditioner! He has always had a clump of hair that tangles up in the back. Using conditioner and combing out the tangles while wet helps them not dread so easily!
  2. Use a detangler spray when combing/brushing his hair. This has worked miracles! 
  3. Brush only when needed! I used to try and brush every single day. When curly hair gets brushed it often ends up as poofy fluffy hair and the curls are gone, as was the case with my son! Now I only comb/brush his hair probably 2 or 3 times per week, and it doesn't look messy.
  4. Make brushing hair a fun time! Finally I came up with a solution that my son enjoyed. After baths, we play "Barber Shop". We take turns spraying and combing/brushing each other hair. Sometimes when necessary I trim his hair as well. See photos below!
Draping always makes it feel more like a Barber Shop Experience

Spraying with detangler to get out those stubborn knots!

Combing with a large tooth comb

Trimming bangs just a tad

Happy Handsome Boy!

We'd love it if you stopped by to read submissions by the other amazing carnival bloggers

My Happy Hippie Boy -- Andie from Crayon Freckles shares why she and her husband have chosen to let their 3.5 yr old son’s hair go uncut. 

Boys Have Long Hair, Too: A Father’s View -- Alex from Glittering Muffins says it happens that not only does his son, Nico have long hair, he as the father has no problem with it either. He personally does not find that long hair emasculates a boy (or adult alike)...

Boys Have Long Hair, Too: A Maman’s View -- Valerie from Glittering Muffins son has been called a cute little girl for about a year and a half (he’s 2.5 yo). So she corrects people and tells them he’s a boy and loves his long hair (Once in a while she even throws in a “he also loves to watch Strawberry Shortcake”). 

Boys Have Long Hair, Too --The Monko from Taming the Goblin explains why she likes it when her son is mistaken for a girl and asks the question "Do mums of girls feel this guilty when their child doesn't like having their long hair brushed?"

Sampson -- Kellie from Our Mindful Life reflects on how long hair gives her son power.

His Hair, His Decision -- Lyndsay from Our Feminist {Play}School asks the question “why shouldn't a boy have long hair?”. Her 'answers' are historical, personal and family-specific.

Boys Have Long Hair, Too -- Sarah from This is Me…Sarah Mum of 3 is mum to 3 children a boy aged 10, girl aged 8 and a boy aged 5, Always loving the longer hair styles for boys her two boys have had many different hair styles over the years but always seem to resort back to the longer locks even against the negative comments they sometimes recieve.

I wanted to express a big THANK YOU to Andie from Crayon Freckles for organizing this! And also a "thank you"! to all the other bloggers who participated!

Thanks for stopping by and checking this out! If you have any relevant stories you'd like to share I'd love to hear them!

Also if you have enjoyed what you've read, I would love you to like my Facebook Page where I share links to my blog posts and many more ideas that I have found around the blogosphere!
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Last Minute Mother's Day Gifts Round-up

If you are anything like me, you live with an illusion that there is an abundance of time before a holiday, or an important person's birthday. You have a ton of ideas up your sleeve about what you will do to celebrate that special day. And then, as if in a blink of an eye, that day is here, and your mountain of ideas have fallen to the wayside. You rush around haphazardly putting something together, but it is never as good as if you actually took the time and planned it out.
Luckily we have 2 days left before Mother's Day. I scoured the internet last night searching for the cream of the crop in terms of last minute creations. Here is what I found:

This handprint vase tutorial I found at Mama Mia's Heart here

Mother's Day Handprint Apron found at B-Inspired Mama here
"Hanging around" bookmark. After finding this tutorial on Pink and Green Mama's site here, I made some of my son for his grandfather's birthday (see our rendition, here). I think moms and grandmothers alike would like them as well, don't you?

I found this tutorial years ago via Crafty Crow. It is from Fun with Mama. Check it out here. When my son was only two years old I made a few for presents. Now that he is 4 I want to do it again!

Happy Mother's Day to all you mamas out there! Have fun! And don't forget, if you have to, it is completely OK to create these keepsakes for yourself with your child if nobody else is going to do it. These relics will create memories that you will cherish throughout your life; it is well worth the time and effort!

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The Carrot Seed: Activity Board

Find book here
Danielle at Mommy and Me Book Club and Christina and E.J. at Toddler Approved hosted April's Virtual Book Club for Kids and the book that they chose for April is "The Carrot Seed", by Ruth Krauss. Along with a couple dozen or so other bloggers, I chose to read the book and create an activity to share on their blog hop. I encourage you to click on the thumbnails at the bottom of this post to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with in regards to the book. They are a creative bunch and I have enjoyed seeing their ideas, many of which I plan to try out in my classroom.

First of all, I want to tell you that I was truly delighted to be introduced to this true gem of a book. It is very simple in its wording and structure, yet the message of the book serves as a great metaphor for persevering in your goals despite the opinion of naysayers surrounding you. This book is more than 60 years old; it was first published in 1945. I feel its content is, and always will be, timeless.

Since I teach small children from 2 to 6 years of age, I thought something akin to a felt board would be a perfect activity for the children. Instead of a felt board I used laminated pictures with ticky tack backing to serve the same purpose.

Here is the story acted out...the star — my son, and the narrator — me.
Pieces needed for Story: 3 "NO" signs, a carrot (no taller than the ground area of the picture) - the carrot is attached at the top by a looped piece of fishing line, a seed, 5 weeds (I chose dandelions), a watering can, and the Story Board with sun, sky, grass, dirt and carrot sign. I used ticky tack to adhere the pieces, and a bull clip to hang the board.
To make the Story board, I glued 2 pieces of construction paper together: Blue for the sky, green for the grass and a little brown strip (glued to the green paper) for the dirt. *Note- I just glued the edges of the green paper (the non-dirt area) onto the blue so that there is a hole in the center to plant the seed and to "hide the carrot". When I put contact paper over the paper, I cut a slit with the edge of scissors where "the hole is". Behind the green construction paper I taped a piece of paper, so that the seed and the carrot don't fall out of the bottom. I drew all the pictures for the "pieces" of the story, laminated them with contact paper, and cut them out.

Set up: Place the carrot into the hole. Make sure the fishing line loop is sticking out. Place the 5 dandelions on the grass area.
Adult reads story: "A little boy planted a seed". Have child put seed in "hole".
"His mother said, "NO! I'm afraid it won't come up!" Child sticks "NO" sign up on board. Please note: I have added the word NO! to each of the comments by the little boy's family. It is not in the original text by the author.
 "His father said, "NO! I'm afraid it won't come up!" Child sticks 2nd "no" sign up on board.
 "And his big brother said, "NO! I'm afraid it won't come up!" Have child stick 3rd sign up on board.
"Every day the little boy pulled up the weeds around the seed..." Have child pick off 2 dandelions and stick them on side board.
"And sprinkled the ground with water" Child uses watering can and pretends to water the seed. I encourage sound effects "shhsshhshhhshh".

Adult turns page and reads "but nothing came up".

Turn page again, "And nothing came up".
"But he still pulled up the weeds around it every day and sprinkled the ground with water."
"Everyone kept saying, "NO, NO, NO", it won't come up." Either child or adult points to each "NO".

"And then, one day, a carrot came up... " (Adult pauses) "...Just as the little boy had known it would". Child pulls up carrot by the fishing line.
My son and the preschoolers LOVED this. At the preschool they all took turns doing a step. Of course the most popular part came to be pulling the carrot up at the end. 

Please check out the links below for more ideas! Thanks for stopping by! Remember to like my Facebook Page where I share links to many more ideas that I have found around the crafty blogosphere!
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