Modeling Clay

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My nine year old makes some of the coolest stuff with modeling clay (the kind you can bake and harden) and she comes up with the ideas all on her own.  This is a tooth jar for the tooth fairy.  I usually collect her crafts on a little shelf that sits on the back of our stove and then when there are enough of them, I bake them all at once.  Isn’t this adorable?

Cadoo

Five stars for Cadoo! We finally got around to playing it last night and it is awesome. This is a really fun game for parents to play with kids between the ages of 6-10. It really helps if kids are reading on a basic elementary level. Our youngest, Avril, couldn’t play but we sat her with us and we gave her her own pieces to hold and the sculpting clay kept her busy while the rest of us took turns. I think this might be our new favorite thing for a while.

Baking Pies With Dad


After we picked apples on Saturday, Norah and her dad made two pies that evening. Dwayne did an incredible job with Norah. I overheard him saying things like, “1 slash 3 means one-third of a cup. Look for the cup with 2/3 on it. Okay. Half of that cup or up to that middle line is one-third. Fill it up to there.” and “Packed brown sugar… What do you think ‘packed’ means?” What he covered with Norah in that one evening already puts her so far ahead of where I was when I started baking and cooking as an adult.

How I Deal with Boredom During Free Time

I’ve been making an effort to keep new puzzles, Lego projects, paints and paper, etc. on hand to keep my kids occupied. Even with all they do for school, they still have a lot of free time, especially in winter when they can’t run around outside.

So when they show any signs of boredom, I usually “assign” some new project that will fill up a half hour or so. They buck my suggestions at first, but I insist and so they sigh and start working and then settle into a happy groove till they’re done. And, when they’re done, the boredom has passed and I give them freedom to move on to something else, something of their choice. And I must add that they usually always know exactly what they want to do with their free time. Voila! Boredom solved!

Homemade Playdough Recipe

Playdough

2 Cups of Flour
1 Cup of Salt
2 Cups Water
4 Tablespoons Cream of Tartar
2 Tablespoons Oil
Food Coloring

Combine all the ingredients except food coloring. Cook over low heat for approximately three minutes. Stir continuously. When mixture is like a ball, remove from heat. Add food coloring. Store the play dough in empty containers or zip lock bags.
If your kids want different colors, you can separate the finished batch of dough into piles and use generous drops of food coloring on each pile, following the proportions on the back of the food coloring box, adding more and more to produce darker and darker versions of the colors you want. We keep a box of rubber gloves under our sink for messy crafts like this and we wear them when we are mixing the dye into the dough to keep our hands from staining.

To keep play dough accessories organized in one place, we use a clear plastic bag with a zipper, the kind of bag that quilts and/or sheet sets come in when they are purchased new. My kids have collected quite a few play dough accessories over the years and this bag still provides plenty of space for everything, including her play dough.

I prefer this home made play dough to the brand name version since it doesn’t get so hard when it sits without use. The store bought play dough can be difficult for little hands to manipulate until it has been played with for several minutes. It also smells great and keeps for a really long time.


Make an Egg Carton Memory Game


Egg Carton Memory Game

I saw a version of this game at a toy store and got the idea. That egg carton was plastic and it had little round barnyard animals in the sections. The manufacturer was charging somewhere between ten and twenty bucks for it.

Sometimes I’ll see things like this for sale and say to myself, “I can make that!” But, I usually don’t end up making whatever it is I am talking about. However, this time I actually did!

I saved an egg carton and used little things I have have around to go in the sections: pom pom animals we’ve made, an empty bobbin, a ceramic heart, a glass rock, a spare key, a piece of candy, etc.

We gave ourselves a point for every thing we could remember.

And you can move the pieces around to make the game different every time.

How to Make a Marshmallow Train


Here’s a fun activity for kids who love trains.

Materials:
Large marshmallows
Pretzel Sticks
Round cereal, such as Cheerios or Fruit Loops
Licorice
Peanut Butter

Have kids connect the marshmallows (train cars) with the pretzel sticks. Make the train as long as you want. Dip the cereal pieces (wheels) and a short piece of licorice (smoke snack) into the peanut butter and attach them to the appropriate places on the train. You can practice counting the train cars, wheels, etc. then let them eat the train when they are done with it!