Cereal Box Puzzles and other kid crafting goodness

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Today’s toddler fun is totally brought to you by Jamie Dorobek’s book C.R.A.F.T.(Creating Really Awesome Free Things). Jamie is the innovative force behind the blog of the same name.  Several months ago I received a copy of the book for review and with my dad’s passing and my own sickness, I haven’t been able to sit and enjoy this book until now. However, I’m super excited to have it in my arsenal of fun toddler activities for our upcoming summer.

The book is full of very inexpensive and creative arts and crafts projects to do with your children. It is definitely inexpensive because most if not all need materials that you can easily find in your own home. My 11 year old was stoked to get the book, but was a bit disappointed that many of the activities seemed geared towards really young children. However, there are few crafts in there that I think we can elevate for her older standards!

I sat down with my 3 year old and we perused the book together to find something to do. He immediately took to the cereal box puzzle! He kept yelling, “Pineapple Puzzle!!!”.  My son LOVES puzzles. We’ve never made our own before. All it took was part of a cereal box (which we definitely had some that were already on their way to the recycle bin). However, any thin cardboard will do!

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I drew the outline of the pineapple and my son colored it in.  I added background colors just to make the whole puzzle vibrant and to help provide even more clues for solving. This is a perfect activity for visual-spatial recognition, shapes geometry, sizing, and math.

I noticed my cuts for each puzzle piece were a bit of a challenge for my 3 year old. So we made another one with the help of my 1 year old daughter.

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For this one I added swirls and made the shapes basic rectangles. It’s a good “starter” puzzle!

What I love about the book is that each project has 4-color photographs to help provide great instruction. These activities are designed to help develop a child’s creativity, imagination, and fine motor skills. Therefore, it is perfect for toddlers, preschool-age children, and young homeschoolers. I intend on using the book from here on out to supplement my preschooling efforts at home!

~Lani

 

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Peonies Are My Latest Obsession

You would think I’ve seen peonies before, and I have, but lately I have been obsessed with peonies. I was sad to miss the window in planting bulbs this year, but I’m determined to have a little peony garden next year.

So my latest art piece was based on this gorgeous flower. I knew I wanted to do something related to collage art (another one of my obsessions). I love how you can put multiples of something small together to make something beautiful on a larger scale.

I saw this plaque at Goodwill. Of course I fell in love with it because it is wood!!

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Sorry piggies…I had to spray paint you silver…

I had seen this piece on a different Goodwill trip and thought the vibrant colors (and eventually the frame) woukd be great raw materials for something repurposed.

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Upon dismantling the picture, I discovered that the painting was done on foam board. Not exactly the easy, quick project I was anticipating. However, unexpected surprises can lead to something beautiful.

Here is my finished piece!

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Deciding where to put each piece was fun. Darker edges give the flower depth.

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I love how the foam board pieces give it a three-dimensional effect. The best part? I still have so much more raw materials to make more down the road! Who wants one?

Have a Happy Monday!

~Lani

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Wood Map of the Philippines

Last fall I picked up this sign from Goodwill for $2. I tend to fall in love with anything on wood with potential to strip and make a new canvas. This piece was absolutely perfect. It was a great size for something significant, about 1.5 X 1 ft. I originally wanted to make a sign for Christmas, but things got so busy that it ended up sitting in my office in a bag until now (yup, 8 months later).

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Since I’ve been so inspired lately, I wanted to make a tribute piece to the mother land of my parents, the Philippines. I wanted something simple and classic. I know I’m stumbling along the way in figuring out how to repurpose things, so I knew this was going to be a flawed piece. However, I knew this was a piece I definitely wanted in my home, flaws and all would make it seem even more special to me. I think I treasure all of the pieces I do where I make mistakes, imperfect execution.

Stripping the paint was a nightmare. I”m not sure if it was the product I used, my technique, or both. However, I know I definitely was rushing and ended up puting tons of scratches in the wood when I was scraping the old paint off.

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I kinda like the character the scratches bring.

Once I stripped the paint (which I still need to fix), I had a blank slate. I found a template for a coloring book page of the Philippine Islands online. Once I taped it, I had no clue of where to start. I had no exacto knife or sharp tool. So I took a screwdriver and started scraping the outline of each island away.

This was a small time-consuming task, but that’s the beauty of these projects for me. It is teaching me patience. It is teaching me to stop, exhale, and breathe. I’m slowing down and existing in the moment.

I desperately need this stress reliever.

With my Grave’s disease, these art projects are a form of therapy for me. Actually, meditation may be more accurate. Even if I can squeeze in 10 minutes of working on the piece in a day, I’ve spent those 10 minutes completely with myself and focusing on my art.

It does bring an inner peace.

Once I outlined, I filled it in with chalk paint.

It will be a lovely addition to a wall gallery I want to assemble.

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