We did it! We participated for the first time ever in INTERNATIONAL MUD DAY! Thanks to an inspiring post from Crystal at Growing a Jeweled Rose I was made aware of this annual slop fest! You can read her post that highlights 30 ways to celebrate this kids' "holiday" here.

I have been anticipating this day all week long for my son, with, I admit, a little trepidation. I know from personal experience from when I was a kid how incredibly fun is it to play with mud — I remember fondly making mud pies and muddy stew and just losing myself in play. Looking back on how magical this experience was for me I realize how important it is to stage enticing imaginary play settings for my son. I feel that children are more supervised in their play nowadays by adults and there seems to be a lot of "Nos" coming from these towering figures hindering their otherwise unbridled play. I'm guilty of it sometimes that's for sure! But I try my best not to be. I think children need to be allowed to just be themselves, and not always have older people constantly telling them "do this, don't do that". Muddy play challenges parents to let go of their tendency to control the clean factor of the situation. I had a sprinkler and a towel on the sidelines ready for a preliminary wash when my son was done playing, and also plans for a bath so I didn't let the dirtiness factor of this Mud Extravaganza get in the way of the FUN! AND boy, did he have FUN!

I didn't know exactly how Mud Day would manifest for us, I just provided the props. I filled up my son's old baby pool with mud & had another container nearby filled with water. I put his sand toys out, some pie containers, & bowls of pebbles and sand. I told him "this is your Mud Day, you can do whatever you like. You can even climb in the mud if you want to!" He looked at his options and surprisingly ruled against a mud bath and decided to make mud pies instead.

We found an old window frame and used it as the store front. My son named the business "Pie Prickles". His friend came by to help him out.

I was a repeat customer. I would place my order, and the kids would get to work, a few minutes later I would hear a flute being blown, which was my cue that my order was ready.

He and his friend worked hard making their pies, using rocks for berries, sand for sugar, and of course mud for chocolate. The sticks were useful for stirrers.

Pies, fresh out of the oven! Don't the flowers and cherries make them so inviting?

 They even served candy apples, dipped in caramel "mud".

They had quite the creative menu.

I was able to support their business as I had a lot of "green" currency that I kept kicking down.

 As the business expanded they installed tables for sit down customers.

And they even had a "to go" container for my uneaten portion!

Happy International Mud Day! Hope you got dirty today!

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! Have a wonderful day
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Patriotic Ice Cube Painting and Kids Co-op Linky Party

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

Yesterday my son and I made a trip to the Dollar Store and found star shaped ice cube trays for, of course, only A BUCK! What a score!

When we came home, I filled each star with red, white, or blue tempera paint, and stuck a dibble stick in each. Then I placed the tray carefully in the freezer.

Today we pulled the iced paint cubes out of the freezer, and took them out of the tray.

We (both!) had fun playing around with them , moving them around on a piece of paper and watching the marks that they left as they warmed up. Of course as time passed the iced paint melted more readily and more distinct marks were made.

Because I didn't dilute the paint with water (which I usually do when I freeze paint) I found the texture was creamy and moved smoothly on the paper.

This is a fun activity that I think children of all ages would enjoy!

Happy 4th of July everybody!

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! Have a wonderful day! 

Now for our weekly link-up! This week Mama's Little Muse is linking up our Glittery Fireworks Craft post, our Seahorse post, as well as our Patriotic Ice Cube Painting Post.

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Sea Horse Craft

This week is Eric Carle's birthday, the beloved author and illustrator of many modern classics, including, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?", "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", and "Papa, Please get the Moon for me".

We love his books in our household. In celebration of Mr. Carle turning 83, I decided to read his book "Mister Seahorse" and do a colorful textured craft with my son reminiscent of the paintings in his book. "Mister Seahorse" is about a male seahorse who is going to have babies! Mrs. Seahorse deposited the eggs in his pouch and he goes about meeting other male sea animals who also care for their unborns in unusual ways. As he meets each creature, many are hidden at first, and it was fun to have my son try to spot them. When the pages were turned, the creatures became unobscured. This provided a good opportunity to discuss the word "camouflage" with him. This was a sweet book, and my son enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now onward to our craft!

First we gathered up the materials:
  • 3 colors of tempera paint (I had my son choose his favorites, yellow, orange, blue)
  • 3 textured materials to apply the paint: a sponge, bubble wrap, and an egg carton
  • 3 containers/surfaces to hold paint that will accommodate size of textured materials (for sponge I used a simple little bowl, for bubble wrap I used a meat tray, and for egg carton I used a cafeteria food tray
  • Paper cut out in shape of a sea horse (I used this image as a guide to hand-draw the outline)
  • A googly eye

First my son used a sponge and stamped yellow paint over the entire surface of seahorse shape.

Then my son pressed the bubble wrap onto 2nd paint color (spread out on meat tray) and then stamped it on paper.

Then he pressed the egg carton into the 3rd color of paint and stamped it down onto the paper, covering the entire surface. 

As the last step he glued on the eye.

Voila! How do you like it?

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! Have a wonderful day!

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Dramatic Fireworks Display Craft: a Fourth of July Activity

Here is a super fun 4th of July craft to do with the kids. YES it requires the dreaded glitter, BUT the end-result is SO well worth it!

Materials needed:
  • black construction paper
  • glitter in all different colors
  • Elmer’s glue thinned down with water and mixed well.
  • container for thinned down glue
  • water
  • a spoon
  • a straw
  • a tray for paper
  • optional: Folded piece of paper (for clean-up)

1. Take a spoonful of thinned-down glue and place blob on construction paper.

2. Have child blow air through the straw onto the glue. Encourage the child to blow the glue blob in all different directions. This part can be a little challenging. I had my son actually touch the straw to the glue to make it easier. Also tip the tray so that "gravity" helps the glue go in the direction you want it to go. Rotate the tray and the direction of the air being blown. I think a lazy susan would be helpful for this, but we didn't have one around.

3. Have child pour glitter (one color) onto the glue.

Adult job- For easy clean-up pour loose glitter onto folded paper and pour back into the container.

Repeat steps 1 to 3 with different colors of glitter. Don't worry about the new glue being blown onto the other glitter shapes. It ends up being interesting that way. 


Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July!

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! 

Have fun!

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Summer Bucket List and Kid's Co-op Linky Party

The Weekly Kid's Co-op

So now since it is summer, I figured I'd better get a post out on our "Summer Bucket List". It is actually kind of gratifying to get it out so late because that means I get to cross a few things off that have already been completed! And that just feels cool! I want to just say a word about the idea of a bucket list. A very inspirational co-worker turned me on to the idea of making a life bucket list for myself. She is pretty young — a mere 30 — and she made hers years ago. She has gone bungee jumping, she has jumped out of an airplane, she has traveled around the world, she gone on kayaking & rock-climbing adventures, she is in a dance tribe, she has been a "Rodeo Queen", and she has run a marathon. She is continuing to add to and check off things on her list as she goes through her life. These are all ideas that were born out of her head and that she wrote down and pursued them with dedication and passion. Her life already sounds so incredibly rich with experiences and I am inspired by her. What wonderful memories she has created for herself.
As a result of hearing my friend's stories, I, for months, have been compiling my own personal bucket list. It was about a month ago however, I discovered that some of my fellow bloggers had put together Summer Bucket Lists of their own for their family, and I thought HOW PERFECT! Of course I would have to compile my own specifically geared toward my little family for the summer.
When creating the list I was particularly inspired by a guest post that Danielle from 52 Brand New wrote for Imagination Soup...... where she emphasized how important it is to expose your children to lots and lots of varied experiences in life. It fosters their growth, and evolution as individuals. Here is her wonderful article  here.

Here goes the Summer Bucket List for my son and me:

  1. Help my son plant his very own garden
  2. Plant a butterfly garden
  3. Raise butterflies from caterpillars
  4. Go swimming in a natural setting
  5. Sleep in a tent in the backyard
  6. Help my son set up a lemonade stand
  7. Make mango ice cream
  8. Make Fourth of July popsicles (the Magic Onions)
  9. Go on a picnic
  10. Visit the beach
  11. See Fireworks
  12. Take my son fishing for the 1st time
  13. Bike on the bike path many times!
  14. Start a Plant I.D. book
  15. Pick a bouquet of flowers and give it to someone
  16. Gather river rocks and make pet rocks
  17. Go for an extended camping trip
  18. Start potato plants from cutting the eyes off and planting them
  19. Root a avocado pit and plant
  20. Make a cherry pie from harvest of cherry tree
  21. Go stargazing
  22. Read the Flat Stanley Series with my son
  23. Make a tee shirt using freezer paper templates
  24. Make a shell mobile
  25. Paint seashells
  26. Make a sundial
  27. Visit waterfalls
  28. See a movie in the park
  29. Go to the County Fair
  30. See an outdoor concert
  31. Go strawberry picking
  32. Make strawberry jam
  33. Go blueberry picking
  34. Make blueberry pancakes
  35. Grill up shish kebabs
  36. Make caprese with fresh tomatoes from the garden
  37. Dance at the local Farmer's market's dance stage
  38. Make a picture using vegetable stamps
  39. Go to a baseball game
  40. Make a stepping stone
  41. Make solar prints
  42. Make a sand casting
  43. Go to an outdoor summer concert 
  44. Build an Ice Sculpture 
  45. Submit son's artwork to Mayor's Art show 
  46. Make an ocean in a bottle 
  47. Let my son take a bath with glow sticks!
You should check out the bucket lists too put out by other bloggers. Creative Family Fun, 52 Brand New, Iowa's Farmer's Wife, Quirky Mama, Digital Reflections. Famiglia&Seoul,& Creekside Learning.  If you have a list of your own or an idea that you would share, please be sure to add it to the comments!

I will be happy if we are able to cross off 75% of this list. I am sure as the days go on, I will think up more ideas, and add to it. I'm going put this on its own page on my blog for my own reference. I hope you were able to find inspiration also.

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! Have a wonderful day!
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Ocean watercolor and crayon picture

I remember making these under the sea pictures when I was a child. A wash of watercolor over a crayon drawing lends itself perfectly to an underwater painting. It is always a delight to see how the watercolor resists the waxy area on the paper, and how the picture turns out when all is said and done. 

First I had my son draw creatures, plants and objects that he might find under the surface of the ocean. I encouraged him to press hard with the crayon, and to color in the objects.

My son referred to the tutorials in my favorite drawing book "Let's Draw Animals" by Ann Davidow, when drawing some of his sea creatures. This gem of a book is still available through Amazon here.

I also found the Hello Kids website which has many easy step-by-step tutorials on drawing sea animals as well as other kinds of animals.

I decided to draw my own picture alongside of him. I could tell by his energy that he really enjoyed his mama partaking in the activity rather than just directing it. That felt so good to me, and I made a mental note to "draw" more often with him. I made inquiries about my drawing out loud to stimulate his thought about ocean life. "Hmmm, I wonder what I would find at the bottom of the ocean. What should I draw?" He came up with creative answers, yet accurate, "volcanoes, anchors, seaweed". I taught him some facts that I know about the ocean, such as:
  • In some places you might find coral at the bottom of the ocean. Some corals are hard, like a rock, but it really is a plant, and as such it breathes in carbon dioxide and lets out oxygen which we need to breathe. 
  • Male seahorses give birth, not the females, as in most species.
  • Fish can't close their eyes, because they have no eyelids
  • An octopus can squirt out a dark ink to escape from predators
  • Blue whales are the biggest living animal in the world — they weigh as much as 30 elephants put together

After he was done drawing his ocean scene, I then had him paint a wash of blue watercolor over the paper. He was thrilled with this part.

This is a fun, easy and highly gratifying craft. I recommend it to kids of all ages (even the grown-up kind)!

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! Have a wonderful day!

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Make an Ocean in a Bottle & Kid's Co-op Link up Party

Lasso the Moon

I personally love this craft! I made this with my son about 2 years ago, and thought that we would revisit it. The materials are easy to gather, and the bottle takes minutes to put together.

 First we gathered up the materials:
  • Oil (I like to keep on hand the cheapest oil I can find at the store specifically for crafts like this, or playdough, etc)
  • An empty plastic bottle with cap
  • Blue Watercolor (ours is from Discount School Supply), food dye would work fine too
  • Glitter
  • Other objects that represent the ocean (sand, shells, a shark)
  • Funnel
  • Liquid measuring cup (only because it is easy to pour from, we didn't use it for measuring)
First, I had my son pour water into the bottle to about the half-way mark, and then I had him put in the watercolor.
 Then I had him add the glitter.
We squeezed the rubber floaty shark in, and then poured some oil in. Next time I will remember not to use ocean creatures that float, and use instead the solid plastic ones that sink to the bottom — that way the sea creatures stay in the ocean part.
Before the oil reached the top, we put the sand and the shells in. 

We then poured oil as high up as it could go to the top and capped it, turning it as tightly as I could. Last time I think I put special glue inside the cap to make sure it stayed sealed. I didn't do that this time, as I felt secure that I screwed the top tight enough that it wouldn't come loose.

Voila! My son had fun putting it up to the light and watching the waves tumble back and forth. Such a gratifying easy craft that I highly recommend!

Things Bode learned:
  • Oil and water don't mix
  • Oil is actually lighter in weight than water and floats to the top.
  • The watercolor mixes with the water and not with the oil, because it is water-based.
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! Now onto the Link-up Party! Have a wonderful day!

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