20 Adorable And Easy DIY Valentine’s Day Projects For Kids, by Vanessa Beaty

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you have kids – or grandkids – and are looking for projects to keep them busy and help spread the love, I’ve found a great collection of adorable crafts that you can make together. All of these are so easy that even toddlers can help with them, and they are all so cute your kids will love them.

I love Valentine’s Day. From the candy and flowers to the wide array of crafts, there’s just so many ways that you can show someone how much they mean to you. I also love DIY, which is why this collection of Valentine’s Day projects is perfect. Whether you want to make cards for teachers or grandparents or you and your little ones love baking together, I promise there’s something in this collection that will thrill you and your kids.

From marshmallow pops to homemade heart ornaments that you can display all year long, these projects are as lovely as they are simple to complete. Looking to dress up your little one for the holiday? There’s a great homemade heart barrette, or you could do her nails with these gorgeous Valentine’s nail art designs.

Whatever you and your littles are planning for the day, you don’t want to miss these projects. Let your little one make a Valentine box to hold her special treasures or help them create butterflies from doilies. There is something in here for kids of all ages, and several that we parents will love, too.

1. Bee My Valentine Mailbox

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Remember making those great Valentine’s boxes when you were in school? This project is very in keeping with that tradition, and is really easy for kids of all ages. Kids will love putting their Valentines in their own little “Bee My Valentine” mailbox, and you can customize the cards that they pass out at school to match this great little box. I love the bee theme, and you only need a small handful of supplies to make it.Tutorial: momendeavors

2. Valentine’s Day Countdown

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I simply love this idea! It’s 14 small hearts that you use to countdown to Valentine’s Day. Just create the hearts with little messages of love on the backs and they look great displayed in a vase or mason jar atop lollipop sticks or straws. This gives kids a way to spread the love for two entire weeks before the big day, and they will adore decorating their hearts and choosing their messages

Tutorial: makeandtakes

To read more of this post, please follow the link below…

http://www.diyncrafts.com/22787/crafts/20-adorable-easy-diy-valentines-day-projects-kids

Also, check out this Valentine’s Day Post, which also has ways to teach kids about the history behind Valentine’s Day…

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/valentines-day-celebrating-love-with-our-kids/

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“What do you See?”: Unlocking kids’ imaginations through art, by Sharon Reynolds, Redemptive Artist

 

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I was asked to write to you about how art in particular has been useful for my whanau, so let me start by saying that art has been an enormous part of our journey as a family and I’m not sure that all of that can easily be conveyed in just one article but I will try to share with you in this short article the synopsis of my thoughts and experiences thus far.

One of the greatest gifts I believe my mother installed into me was the gift of imagination.  I hear you already cringe and think hmmmm…. how is that a gift, isn’t it just something we have?

It is at this point that I share my opinion that it may have been at one time something we just produced naturally however over time I have seen imagination become so repressed that children are no longer able to tap into their ability to create, as they simply just don’t know how.

I was raised with imagination at the forefront of my childhood and I have taught my own children and grandchildren to imagine which has in turn developed their creative side and abilities to problem solve.  Many a morning my neighbourhood got to see my toddlers, laden with backpacks full of tasty treats and teddy bears, launch into a huddled pack as they peeped from behind trees on the sidewalk venturing forth on dangerous adventures and explorations and a bear hunt or two!

Sadly following procedure and doing things a certain way is often more of what is taught and makes for very rigid thinking and they get locked into a prescriptive way of doing almost everything.   What happens when things don’t go according to plan? Meltdown after meltdown!

The prescribed step by step process is not always what’s needed and often it is said that the journey is far better than the destination.  The process of art making rather than the focus on the final product often brings greater satisfaction and many more benefits that can be seen externally.

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Allow me to give a brief demonstration of exercising/releasing creative imagination.

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Figure 1: “What can you See?”

I picked a limited number of colours as seen in Figure 1: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Black. I then choose the word CONNECTIONS and invited a group of children to use fingers, brush, fabric wipes in whatever way they wished, with any movement they choose to freely express  themselves in response to this word.

Most of the class drew pictures of animals, people, houses, landscapes.  It was all very orderly. They basically drew what they knew and saw every day.  I then began to do squiggles, lines, flicked the brush, wiped the colours across the page, moved myself and the paper in different ways and angles.

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As this took place the children began to ask if they could have another piece of paper and I watched as they then took what had been modelled in front of them and with great glee let the freedom of their imagination and creativity flow!

At the end of our time together I held up my artwork (Figure 1.) and asked – “What do you see?”  Some of their answers are below…

  • A galaxy
  • Spiders
  • Under the sea, like a coral reef place
  • Explosions
  • Ribbons
  • Birds flying through a storm

These were just a few of the ideas that came from the children as they engaged with the artwork.  Then I turned it and many new creations began to emerge from what they could see.

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Once we begin to value the gift of imagination I believe we will see the creative ability emerge more and more.  This is just one example of a very quick work with a group of children who were struggling with a number of complex issues in their lives who were able to dive in deeply to the seabed of imagination and surface with a tangible feeling of achievement in making something fantastic!  They all felt their day had brightened and that for me is what being a Redemptive Artist is all about, taking something not so good and seeing it transform into something great.

CREATIVITY,   CONNECTIONS,   IMAGINATION

That’s what I see.

These words embody the very essence of what it is that I want to communicate to children when I teach them about the power of their imagination and work alongside them to discover their ability to create.

(Please feel free to explore for yourself and replicate the session I’ve described here.  I’d love to know, “What do you See?”)

SHARON REYNOLDS, BIO:

sharon2Sharon Reynolds and her family live in Christchurch, New Zealand.   She is a mother, grandmother and an artist.  Sharon works in community within a variety of roles as a Redemptive Artist and delivers her gift of creativity to bring hope and healing to those places that need it most.  This has taken her around New Zealand to Papua New Guinea and USA to date sharing her experiences and helping others bring their stories to life in their own unique ways.

The Benefits of Art for Kids, by Jean Van’t Hul

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Everyone says art and creativity are important, but are you wondering what the actual benefits of art are for kids?

Today I’m sharing some of the many kids’ art benefits as well as a quote about children’s art that I just love.

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THE BENEFITS OF ART AND ARTFUL LIVING

The Artful Parent Book by Jean Van’t Hul

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(Excerpted from The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art & Creativity, © 2013 by Jean Van’t Hul. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications Inc., Boston, MA.)

Educators tell us that art encourages fine motor skills, neural development, and problem-solving abilities and that it can be used effectively to teach and understand other key subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science. Therapists tell us that art is valuable because it allows children to process their world, to deal with sometimes scary emotions in a safe way, and because it gives them critical sensory input. Artists tell us that art is important for its own sake—as a source of beauty and expression, as well as simply for the process of creating. Kids tell us that art is fun, an activity they enjoy. Parents tell us that art is vital to their families because it keeps everyone engaged and happy and helps with the sometimes difficult transitions of the day. Art is naturally linked to creativity, an attribute that is increasingly being touted as one of the most important factors for the success of individuals, organizations, and cultures.

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The truth is that art is vital, if somewhat intangible, and that if children engage in hands-on art activities, they learn much better in all disciplines. Here are some of the reasons why children thrive when they make art:

Art Promotes Creativity

Creativity is the ability to think outside the proverbial box, to string two unrelated ideas together in a new way. Solutions to major problems and breakthroughs of all kinds are linked to creativity. The ability to be creative is vital to the success of our children and the well-being of our world, now more than ever, as we face incredible challenges such as racial discord, wars, global warming, and mass extinctions. Individuals, organizations, and governments seek innovative solutions every day. According to the International Child Art Foundation, “Research indicates that a child who is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property—key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century.” The world needs more and better thinkers.

Art Encourages Neural Connections

Art is an activity that can employ all the senses—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste—depending on the activity. Children’s brain synapses fire away as they experiment and create, squishing paint between their fingers, mixing colors and materials, or drawing from imagination or what they see in front of them.

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Art Builds Fine Motor Skills

Gripping a paintbrush, drawing dots and lines, mixing colors, cutting with scissors, controlling a glue stick or squeezing a glue bottle, kneading and rolling play dough, tearing paper—all of these tasks require increasing amounts of dexterity and coordination, yet they are so fun and rewarding that children want to do them over and over. As kids engage in art activities over time, their fine motor skills improve.

Scribbling is a Precursor to Writing

Babies and toddlers begin by scribbling randomly, back and forth. The more they scribble, the more they are able to control the crayon and its movements across the paper. As children learn to control their scribbling, they make a wider variety of shapes, eventually making all the shapes necessary to write the letters of the alphabet—any alphabet.

(To read more of this article, please follow the link below…)

http://artfulparent.com/2016/01/the-benefits-of-art-for-kids.html

Creative Crafts to do with Kids this Easter By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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As Easter draws near, I thought I’d share some of the crafts we’ve been doing at our house– ideas shared are fun multiplied and great for all our children everywhere!

  1. Easter Boxes

These are made from egg cartons with the labels peeled off.   “Easter Bunny” can put each child’s Easter Eggs in their own special container on Easter Sunday… an especially good idea if you have more than one child and want to avoid arguments about whose eggs (or bunnies or chickens or whatever) are whose.  Remember to get each child to write his or own name on their box.  Use your imagination: they could be painted, decorated with cellophane,wrapping paper or glitter.  So long as you keep an “Easter theme”.  Here are some our children made:

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            2. Big Easter Egg Poster

Draw a large egg-shaped outline on some paper.  With your kids, create a “collage” of shiny Easter Egg paper, Easter stickers, chickens, Easter bunnies, crosses, lambs or anything else you like that relates to Easter.  Make sure every gap is filled so no paper shows (that can be the challenge for the kids).  After it’s finished you can laminate it and then you’ll have a poster to use ever Easter.  (You could do shapes other than eggs too, like crosses or chickens).

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FY Easter 9   3. Crosses

These crosses can be cut out of cardboard then covered with tin foil.  The tags here are the ones you get on bread bags… a good use for them, we thought.  My 8 year old made this one at school.

 

   

4. An Easter Mural

FY Easter 10Our kids seem to always enjoy making murals where they can let their imaginations run wild.  This one was no egg-ception (sorry, couldn’t resist an egg joke).  We bought blue and green paper and I cut the shape of hills out of the green and stuck them onto the blue “sky”.  The kids did all the rest using Easter stickers and felt pens.  We got our Easter stickers from the $2 shop, $2 for a big sheet.  (None of the crafts here were particularly expensive to create).

Creating an "Easter Mural"

Creating an “Easter Mural”

 

5. An Easter Tree

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Every year the kids and I create an “Easter  Tree”.  Usually we start by going for a walk in the bush somewhere to collect dry twigs and branches.  Then we come home and put our “collection” in a bucket (anchored with bluetak so the whole thing doesn’t fall over).  We decorate it with anything related to Easter.  This year we put toy chickens and rabbits, eggs and crosses made out of pipe cleaners on it.  There are some beautiful ribbons with Easter patterns on them which can be used as “streamers”.  We bought some years ago and bring then out each Easter.  (Japanese friends came to stay one Easter, so the “tree” had their Easter decorations on it too).

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6.   Learning about Faberge Eggs

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Last Easter the kids and I learned about “Faberge Eggs” and created this poster (we Google searched these images).  We also looked at why Faberge created them for the Russian Royal Family and what materials they were made out of.

 

7. Free Drawing

Just doing drawings of anything related to Easter can be fun too.  Our six year old created this picture.

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We here at “The Forever Years” hope you have a Happy Easter with your children.  We hope you have found these ideas helpful and would LOVE to hear of anymore you might have.

Creativity with Cans! By Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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Recently I discovered a simple, but very effective way to organise a lot of our kids’ clutter.  It’s also great because it recycles tin cans and it costs next to nothing.  One of our goals here at “The Forever Years” is to support parents and carers as they raise their children.  This idea has reduced a lot of headaches in our house (and also fighting over items like scissors), so I thought I’d share it.

Here’s what I did:

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  1. Took a used tin can and washed it out thoroughly.  Different sized tins are good for different items, for example, I used a tall, thin can for paint brushes, another tall thin one for long rulers and a shorter, wider, fatter one for crayons.  Any can Is OK, although I personally decided not to use our cat or dog’s meat tins, as, even after washing, they still seem to have a yucky, residue jelly meat smell.  Also it’s important to remember that people will be putting their hands into the cans regularly, so make sure there are no jagged edges to the tin.  Try to create a “smooth cut” when you use your can opener or, if there are jagged edges, hammer them down or cover them with strong tape.
  2. I didn’t bother removing the labels fromCan 2 the cans, as I found most of them were glued on quite solidly.  Instead, I covered the outside of the cans with white paper, which I glued over the labels.  I made sure they went right round the cans and were glued on well.
  3. Can 3I created labels for various items using “Picmonkey” and “Ribbet”.  If you’re not keen on using aps like these, the can labels could be created using scrap booking stickers or by hand… make them your own.  We don’t have a printer at home, so I saved my labels onto a memory stick and had them printed off at our local “Warehouse Stationery” shop.  Four labels were able to fit on one A3 piece of paper, so cost me $3 to print 4 labels.  This was the only cost associated with creating these– unless you also count the glue used to stick the labels onto the cans, which wasn’t very much.

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In a busy household with six people frequently wanting things like scissors, crayons, felt pens and so on,  I have found our new “storage cans” have taken away a lot of stress and chaos.  We mainly use them for stationery items, but I also made some for our kids to put pocket money in (see the header at the top of this post).  These were fun, because I was able to really personalize them.  Our daughter, for example, likes cats, so we put cats on her can.  One of my sons has dogs on his and another trains, and so on.

The limits are only your imagination…  kids could become involved and create their own containers for pens or other items for their rooms with their own drawings and names on them.   As mentioned above, the cans are cheap to create, but as well as that they are a great way to recycle.  Please leave a comment and let us know how your creative efforts with cans went, especially if you come up with any other great uses for them which we haven’t mentioned here. (One other idea I thought of was that you could glue the cans together, to make a kind of “stationery storage unit”  The individual cans could also store things such as hair ties or clips, jewellery, first aid or bathroom items or small pieces of Lego).  Have fun and enjoy!

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Have now placed these labels on our “Free Charts & Other Printables” page 🙂

https://theforeveryears.wordpress.com/free-printables/

Tissue Box Movie Theatre or “Box TV”, by Kirsteen McLay-Knopp

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Part of our goal at “The Forever Years” is to share ideas that parents and carers might enjoy doing with their children.  I remember doing these “box TVs” as a kid and loving them, so tried them again recently with our kids.  They really enjoyed them too and love seeing “their” videos played back over and over.

You need a cardboard box, two pencils, some sellotape and some paper.  Open one end of the box and cut a hole in one side of your box (to be the “TV screen”).  Cut the paper into strips that are wide enough and high enough to fit in your box.  With your child, write a story and draw pictures on the strips, one page of the story for each strip (numbering the strips keeps them in order).   Our kids enjoyed making up their own stories from scratch, while I wrote them down.  Tape the strips of paper together in order and tape one end to a pencil.  Then roll the strip around the pencil, after first inserting it into one end of the box.  The ends of the pencil should be sticking up so you can “turn” your story on your TV.  When you get to the last strip of paper, tape it onto another pencil, which will be inserted at the other end of the box.  Close the open end of the box and seal it with tape.I will put videos of the ones we made below, as these show clearly what the “TVs” should look like when finished.

This idea is simple, but very effective and kids love it… there’s something entrancing about seeing your own story rolling past.  I hope you and your kids will enjoy it too… let me know, there may be other creative ideas using this basic one too (one of my older sons has already suggested making a long steam train with lots of carriages, as he loves trains).  Good luck!

My daughter’s “TV” in action:

My son’s “TV” in action: