DIY Fairy Door…Gnome Door…

In our garden the fairies and gnomes live amongst each other. Their village spreads around the yard with lil houses, patios and ponds hidden beneath the flowers. Throughout the year, L and I like to collect and make things to add to our garden…this morning we made a lil fairy door.

Materials needed:

  • sticks
  • florist wire
  • a button


First, have your kids collect some sticks and twigs around the yard. Sort through the sticks, finding ones that are particularly straight. Lay these sticks side-by-side, getting an idea of what your door will look like.



Next, cut two pieces of florist wire about 2-ft long each. Fold them in half.



Take the first stick you have laid out for the door and place it in the middle of one of the wires. Wrap the wire around the stick, about an inch from the bottom, and twist the wire once to secure it.



Do the same with the second wire about the an inch from the top of the stick. Continue adding sticks, one-by-one, wrapping and twisting the wires as you go.

When all the sticks are connected, hold the door in two hands and very gently squeeze the sticks together.



Cut the end of the wire, leaving about half an inch, and fold back the extra.



Next, have your child select a button for a door knob. L chose this cute lil heart button…probably not the one I would have chosen, but it was perfect for a fairy door! (Kids just know when it comes to these things.)



Thread the button onto a 4-inch piece of wire, twisting the wire a bit to secure it. Then, deciding where you’d like the door knob to be, wrap and twist the wire around one or two of the sticks.



To ensure that the button won’t slide down the door, you can thread the excess wire up and over the wire that holds the sticks in place as well.



Now the fun part…find a little piece of wall, fence, or a tree trunk to prop the door up against! Add some buttons, pennies, or broken tile pieces for lil fairy stepping stones… Adorable!



This project was so quick and easy, I think we’ll make another to sneak into our neighbor’s garden. He’s got the perfect tree for a fairy or gnome door…


New Ways to Paint

I have never met a person, young or old, who didn’t love to paint! So here are over 10 new ways to paint…time to get messy and have some fun!!!


Some tips before we start:

  • Use an old shirt or apron for a smock shirt…or on a hot day, have your kids take off their shirts!
  • When using finger paints, tempera paints or liquid watercolors squirt the paints onto food container lids (Gladware, Tupperware, etc.). Then you can just rinse and toss into the dishwasher to clean them…better for the environment than paper plates!
  • After your child’s done painting outside, find a big rock or brick for them to paint too…this will hold the paper down and keep it from blowing away while the paint dries. We just keep the rocks outside and the rain washes them clean so they’ll be ready for next time.


New Ways to Paint:

“Clean” paintingPaint with water!

This is a great activity for the beginner painter! Inside, have your kids paint with water on construction paper. As the water dries, the paper can be used over and over again. Outside, kids can paint with water on a cement driveway or sidewalk with the same effect. It’s simple, clean, and kids love it!



Paint in a Bag

So quick, so easy and no mess! Put any kind of paint in a gallon-sized bag and tape it to a window! It’s fun to mix and swirl the colors together, making different textures in the paint with your hands. *hint: To get the white label off your plastic bags, just use an alcohol wipe! Easy peasy!



Paint with Flowers

This is definitely a Spring or Summer-time craft! Have your kids walk around outside, picking different sized flowers and grasses to paint with. The outcome is pretty cool!



Paint with Bubbles

I remember doing this one as a kid in school. In a small cup or bowl mix together a lot of paint, a tablespoon or two of dish soap, and a very little bit of water. Then, using a straw, have your kids blow bubbles in the cup until the bubbles rise up and over the edge. At this point you can quickly lay paper over the cup to leave a bubble print. You can also place the cup on a piece of paper before you start and let the bubbles pour over the cup and onto the paper. This one is fun to experiment with!



Paint with Cotton Balls

Clip clothespins onto the cotton balls and use in the place of brushes. L enjoyed making dots with this one. I’ve seen “cloud” pictures before where you make a cloud stencil with a piece of cardboard, lay the stencil over blue paper and use cotton balls and white paint to paint the clouds.



Paint with PomPoms

This is similar to painting with cotton balls. Here are some of my friend Katie’s kids using pompoms instead of brushes. So many colors and so much fun!



Finger Paint

This one is not new, but it is fun! You can always take it to the next level and paint with your feet instead! At Easter this year, we used finger paints and our knuckles to make knuckle carrots.



Paint with Household Brushes

We made fireworks with kitchen brushes this 4th of July. Old toothbrushes would work great too!



Paint with Sponges

Similar to household brushes, use sponges to paint. You can cut up sponges into shapes to stamp with or you can also find a variety of sponge-brushes at your craft store.



Paint Each Other

You don’t have to use face paint to paint your face. Watercolors work great too and wash off in seconds with warm water. I mean, why not let your kid paint green dots on your face?



Paint like the Masters

There’s no reason not to teach even the youngest kids about the extraordinary masters of the paint world. You can let your kids paint like Michelangelo and set-up a mini-Sistine Chapel; using Q-tips have them paint dots like Georges Seurat; or lay paper under the swing-set out back, having your kids swing on their stomach, paint brush in hand, creating a Pollock-like masterpiece.



For some Monet inspired art, check out this post:

Playing Monet.

I’m sure there are other fantastically fun ways to paint that L and I haven’t tried yet. Which ones have you done??? Please share in the “comments” section below!

Sunshine Experiment

We call this one the “sunshine experiment”…it’s an oldie, but a goodie. It’s a great experiment to help kids learn about the harmful effects of the sun and why it’s important to always wear sunscreen. L is only 2 years old and was surprised at the outcome, but didn’t understand it 100%. I imagine a 4-year-old would get it and even a 10-year-old would have fun with the experiment!

Materials needed:

  • construction paper
  • old cardstock or thin cardboard (just look in the recycling bin!)
  • scissors
  • a handful of rocks
  • a sunny day

First, have your child dig through the recycling bin to find some pieces of thin cardboard or card stock. (We love any reuse-recycle activity!)

Next, cut out some big and basic shapes. We went with a night sky theme and an under-the-sea theme.



Take the cardboard cutouts and a couple pieces of construction paper outside. In a sunny spot, arrange the cutouts on the paper.



To ensure that they don’t blow away, put a few small rocks on top. Coins would work too! And now you have to wait and wait and wait…go for a walk, a swim, eat some lunch…wait a few hours.



Next is the best part…take the cardboard pieces off the paper and discover the picture left behind, all thanks to the sunshine!



I’m sure older kids could get really creative with this and make up their own themes and scenes. Fun times ahead!

DIY Sock Bunny Rabbit

This project was inspired by a dear friend Libby, who left this world way too early in life. When I was 10 years old I was diagnosed with type I diabetes. As my doctor came to the hospital that evening to diagnose and take care of me, his wife, Libby, got out her sewing kit. She stayed up late that night making me a precious bunny rabbit that I still have to this day.



So when one of my best friends’ babies, my godchild, was in the hospital for surgery last week and ended up staying much longer than expected, my first thought was of Libby and the bunny. I knew I had to make one.

Materials needed:

  • one pair of socks (regular or knee high)
  • needle and thread
  • stuffing material
  • embroidery floss and embroidery needle
  • buttons (optional for children 3+)


First, take one sock and open it up so the heel is facing you. Lay it flat. The heel of the sock will be the bunny’s face.



Then, make a cut in the middle of the toe of the sock, cutting towards the heel. This will be the bunny’s ears. Don’t cut all the way to the heel though, remember the heel becomes the face. Next, make a cut from the opposite end of the sock for the bunny’s legs. Again, don’t cut all the way up to the heel…this time you need to leave room for a body too.




Turn the sock inside-out. Starting at the tip of an ear, stitch down one ear and up the other. Next, sew the legs in a similar fashion, but this time leave about a 2-inch opening.




Turn the sock right-side-out. Through the 2-inch opening, carefully stuff the bunny’s ears, body and legs. Sew the opening closed.




Now take the other sock and cut off the toe, close to the heel. Lay this part flat, like you did the first sock, and cut it in half. These will be the arms.




Turn one sock piece inside-out and, starting from the tip, stitch the side closed. Turn it right-side-out again and fill it with stuffing.




Next, fold the open edge inwards and pinch it together. Sew the arm closed, attaching it to the body at the same time. Repeat with the other arm.




Your bunny’s adorable already, isn’t it? But, it still needs a face! Using embroidery floss, stitch on little eyes or attach buttons (if the child receiving the bunny is 3 years old or older) and sew a lil nose. All done!




As you can see from the picture below, using knee socks gives you a tall and skinny bunny and using slightly smaller socks results in an adorable, baby bunny rabbit. Now to deliver them to my godchild and her 3 yr old sister…I can’t wait to see those happy faces!

“Making something is one way to say, ‘I love you.'” -Daniel Tiger

DIY Capes…Wizard Capes…Superhero Capes

Before I move on to any other posts, I thought I ought to share how to make a cape to go with your magical wand! Now this can be a wizard cape, a superhero cape, a cape for a child or an adult.



Materials needed:

  • jersey knit fabric
  • ribbon (about 5 ft, depending on the size of the wizard)
  • thread and needle
  • sewing pins


First, you must determine whether you want a short or a long cape…both have equal flying abilities. Lay the fabric out on a flat surface and cut out the cape, a little wider at the bottom than the top. If you like, you can measure and draw the cape first…I just eyeballed it. Using knit fabric makes this a super easy craft because the edges will not fray and there is no need to hem the sides.


Next, lay the ribbon out along the top edge of the cape and pin it in place. If you know how to use a sewing machine, this next step should be quick and easy…if you want to do it by hand it is also fairly quick and easy. All you need is a simple, straight stitch across the top of the ribbon and one along the bottom.

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Your cape is done! Too easy, right? If you want to add some embellishments…some beads or buttons…you can sew them on as well. To make my nephew’s cape extra wizardly for his birthday I sewed an owl in the middle. (See above, top photo.)


I like to avoid tying anything around a child’s neck, so to attach the cape put the ribbon over the shoulders, then back under the arms and tie it in the back. Off to flying school!


Wizard Wands…Fairy Wands…Magical Wands

This is such a simple craft to do and, paired with a wizard cape or hat, it makes for a fun gift too! I first made these for my nephew’s birthday party…and they were a big hit! Depending on your kid’s age, he or she can help with some and maybe even all of the steps.




  • sticks from the yard
  • acrylic paint
  • glitter paint
  • a small marble
  • glitter hot-glue-gun glue and glue gun


Collect sticks! If you don’t have good ones in your yard, go on a nature walk around town collecting some. The more twisty-turny they are the better! Make sure they are strong ones and won’t break easily. Brush sticks off, gently removing any loose bark.



Paint! Most of my acrylics are not labeled “non-toxic” and they are permanent, so I did this step on my own. Sometimes I let L paint with acrylics, but I cover the kitchen counters and nearby appliances with garbage bags, cover the chair she stands on with a towel and make sure she’s wearing her smock. You be the judge on this one! After the paint dries, apply another coat if needed and then paint with the glitter paint. You could stop here if you want and have a pretty awesome wand…I like to add the marble on top though to make it a little safer!


Attach marble! Find a marble that’s the right size and color you like. Old marbles are another great thing to find at antique stores…whenever we see a jar for a good price, we snatch em up. Using the hot glue gun, apply a little dab of glue at the tip of the stick and quickly push a marble in place. To secure the marble, apply more glue around the base and then make a little dripping effect down the wand. Plan on using about one whole glue stick per wand. And that’s it!




Too easy, right? It’s fun watching your kid’s imagination soar while playing with their wand. L likes to think she can make the leaves of a tree dance or birds fly with hers. I always remind her of two rules though… #1: No hitting anything or anyone, and #2: No running with the wand. If you make a wand, please share your pics with us! I’d love to see what else you add…ribbons, jewels, etc.


Water Play

Have a lot of yard work to do this week? Want to keep your kids busy and cool while playing outside? Set up a water station! Whether it be dishes, a waterproof baby doll, a garden owl or a soccer ball, my kid LOVES washing things!




Washing supplies:

  • 1 or 2 wash basins
  • empty soap dispenser filled with water (This is a must! It’s L’s favorite part!)
  • wash cloth
  • drying cloth
  • sponge
  • old toothbrush
  • shaving cream


Things to wash:

  • dishes, utensils
  • toy cars
  • waterproof baby doll
  • stuff out of the garden (rocks, soccer ball, garden owl, figurines they can’t hurt)

First off, expect your kids to get wet…don’t even try to tell them not to! I usually take L’s shirt off and replace it with a smock shirt (one of my old shirts), or on a really hot day she just strips down to her diaper. Afterwards we just hose any excess soap off and, if the smock shirt happens to be covered in shaving cream, we roll that off too.



The key to keeping your kids going with this activity is to NOT give them everything all at once. Start with a wash cloth, soap dispenser and a few dishes. About 20 minutes later, add in a fork and spoon. 5 minutes later say, “Hey, want a toothbrush to clean with? I’ll get you one!” Look around the yard to see what else they can clean…that old, dirty gnome figurine could use a bath. Then, if all else fails, pull out the cheap can of shaving cream!



This is a great activity to do after painting or playing in dirt…your kids will have never been so clean!

DIY No-Sew Teepee

What kid (or adult) doesn’t like to play in a fort, tent or secret hideaway?! This teepee was so incredibly easy to make, I was able to construct it in about 5 minutes, just after the sun came up and before my girls awoke. Breakfast in a teepee anyone?


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What you need:

  •  6 x 72 in. bamboo stakes ($3-$4 for a pack of 6 at Home Depot)
  • twine
  • 10-12 clothes pins
  • a large bed sheet (I used a king-sized one, queen would probably work too)

First, arrange the stakes in a circle, pushing them about an inch or two into the ground. Leave one opening a little wider than the others, making room for the door.


Second, tie your twine in a knot around one bamboo stake. Gather the stakes at the top, one-by-one wrapping the twine in-and-out and around. (It’s much harder to explain than it is to actually do!) After the last stake has been gathered and wrapped, tie a bow so it is easy to undo when your teepee is ready to come down.


Next, wrap the sheet around the teepee frame and clip a clothespin in the middle to secure it at the top.


Then, starting at the front and the top, clip the sheet to the stakes using the clothespins. Make sure you keep enough fabric up front for a “door.” As you clip the tops of the stakes and the bottoms, smooth out the sheet and pull it taut. Tuck any excess fabric under at the bottom.



And there you have it…a teepee in under $10 and under 10 minutes! Not only did L eat breakfast in her teepee, she read books, colored, and played with her dolls for HOURS! The teepee’s been going up and down for a couple weeks now…it’s about time to put it away and out of sight for a couple months so it doesn’t lose its luster. Perhaps we’ll bring it out again this Autumn for a special lunch among the colorful falling leaves!


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Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (aka Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood)

Our crafts come from many different directions, with many different goals in mind…the day we made Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood my goal was to turn the T.V. off and keep it off for as long as possible! So I decided to bring L’s favorite T.V. show neighborhood to life! You really could do this with any neighborhood, real or make-believe.

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 Using items found in our recycling basket, kitchen cabinets, and craft closet we pieced together the houses, castle, clock factory, etc. After all the buildings were up, I used painter’s tape to make a road for “trolley” to drive around on. Painter’s tape should be in everyone’s craft pile…it sticks when you need it to, but comes right-up no problem once you’re done playing. We use it allll the time!


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Daniel Tiger’s house: old cookie dough container and construction paper

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O the Owl’s House: toilet paper roll, tissue paper, construction paper


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 Jungle Beach: cookie tin lid, beans, construction paper

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Prince Wednesday’s Castle: shoebox, random round packaging from recycling basket, construction paper


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Museum-Go-Round: round hat box, cookie dough container, construction paper

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Trolley: vintage Little People bus, construction paper….Ding! Ding!

And there you have it. Random stuff pieced together in the form of a neighborhood. Whose neighborhood will you make today?