Earth Day – Crumpled Recycled Paper Art Project

It may be hard to teach young toddlers the concept of Earth Day and recycling, but there are way to get them accustomed and familiar to it. Our kids usually comes with us when we take the rubbish out since it’s on the way to the elevators.

We have two garbage shoots. One is for general waste and one for recycling. They really enjoy helping us throw empty plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, etc down the garbage shoot. Near our mailboxes, there is also a recycle bin for junk mail (paper). They love helping me recycle the junk mail 🙂 Imagine your kids fighting over hot deals from Safeway.


Today I wanted to do an Earth Day art project using up some of our used construction paper. They were previously used to doodle on.


  • Used and/or new construction paper (Black, Blue, Green, Brown)
  • Scissors
  • Paint (White, Green, Brown)
  • Sponge (or paint brushes)
  • Glue
  • Sticky tape
  • Toothbrush

Music / Videos:

I looked up recycling music and found some goodies on YouTube!

Jack Johnson: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Going Green Song (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)

Tom Chapin: Recycle Song


I tried to find the biggest circle template to fit the paper. I ended up using a tupperware lid. Trace the large circle onto your blue paper. You will use this circle as your planet earth.


Then I did a quick Google search for an image of earth. I searched for the Americas. You can choose your own view of earth of course!

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I found this from Fine Art America. I only used this image to help me draw my version of the Americas (no where as nice haha). You will see it further down the process.

Draw your continent onto a brown or green paper. Cut out your continents.

Have your child decorate the black paper with stars! We used an old toothbrush. Dip the toothbrush in white paint and spray paint the stars onto the black paper. Help little ones as they might not have the dexterity to do so. I had them hold the brush with one hand and scrape the brush head with the other hand’s thumb. Or you can guide them with your hands.


After they’re happy with their stars, put it aside to dry and hand them their blue circles and brown/green continents to crumple! Take care NOT to rip the paper!



After they are nicely crumpled, you can paint over them with your sponges or brushes.

With your blue planet, you will want to use the white paint to make clouds and storms! Tell your littlies that it is OK not to have your planet completely covered because you want to leave gaps for the ocean!


Once they are done painting clouds, set these aside to dry and start painting the continents.

If you have a brown continent, you will want to use green paint. If you have a green continent, you will want to use brown.

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We didn’t have any brown paint, so I mixed yellow with purple. You can basically mix any primary color with its complementary color. Other colors you can mix: blue + orange; red + green


Once these are done, set these aside to dry as well.


While waiting for them to dry, I’ve cut out 3 arrows for each planet to represent the 3 Rs of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Once everything is dry, glue your blue planet onto the black starry backdrop. Then glue your continent onto your planet. Have it at an angle so it looks like it’s on it’s axial tilt. More realistic that way! To geek out your kids, you can explain that the Earth’s axis is tilted at an angle of 23.5° away from the plane of the ecliptic. And it’s because of this tilt that we have seasons here on Earth! Whether you’re tilted towards or away from the sun! Ok, quick lesson over.

To finish the project off, I glued and taped my arrows (with a twist to make it 3-D and look more like the recycling symbol). I wrote the 3 R’s of Recycling on each arrow.

Note my initial typo….”reduce, reuCe, recycle.” The horror!!


OK fixed!

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Mummy brains….

Happy EARTH DAY everyone! Please teach our children to help look after our beautiful planet.

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Alphabet Activities and Games + Name and Word Recognition Games

1. Reading Game – I Spy the color/letter….

I’ve learned that kids love interactive shows like Dora, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates….the list goes on! They also LOVE a good game of “I Spy.” Why not incorporate that into reading?


  • Book
  • Colorful Alphabet letters (We use Melissa and Doug‘s See and Spell letters)
  • Colorful plastic shot glasses (For more color recognition and a bit of extra fun!)
  • Magnifying glass (We bought these from ToysRUs but you can find these at Amazon as well)

We didn’t have a purple shot glass to match J’s purple letter “o” so we used this opportunity to learn a bit of basic color theory.

Red + Blue = PURPLE!


Here J is matching the colorful glasses with each of the colored letters.

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What’s this? We’ve already spotted a letter from our name! “S”!


J having a closer look at the text to spot any other letters from his name.

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Here he is matching the blue sky in the illustrations with his blue “j” and blue plastic glass.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear was the perfect book to do this activity!

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2. Alphabet Rock SMASH

This is revisiting an old post. These are easy and fun for the kids to make and it’s even more fun when they smash them! WARNING: This is a messy activity!!

Here is the link to the post.


Josh wanted to spell “rocket”


3. I Spy

I walk the kids to our local shops every week to get some miscellaneous grocery items. Sometimes it can become a bit of a struggle as they tend to get restless and don’t want to sit quietly in their prams as I get our shopping done. So I thought I’d give them a little (educational) task!

I wrote two letters down in upper and lower cases and asked the kids to spot anything that would start with “A” and “B”. Yes, they’re too young to know, but I’d point them out to them and reinforce their letter recognition and word association by showing them the letter and the item we spot.


Let me just say there are A LOT more “Bs” in this world than “As”! No pun intended!

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4. I Spy – Part II (Name Recognition)

Again, I used index cards and spelled out the kids’ names. Initially, I had the idea of them tallying the letters as we go. Every time we see something that starts with the letter “J” we’d make a tally with the crayon. Then I thought maybe using stickers may be more age appropriate and more fun for my kids. Plus, I had heaps of St Patrick’s Day stickers leftover!


Josh is doing well spotting the letter “J” in “juice”!


5. Name Recognition – Homemade Sand Excavation

I got my pre-made homemade sand (see previous post via link for recipe) out and split it into two trays. I hid two sets of the kids’ names (Melissa and Doug wooden letters) and kept one set out so they can visually spell out their names and to match the letters they find.


Some sifting tools for their excavation!

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Warning! Sand flying! Be prepared for some mess especially with littlies! And don’t worry. Just sweep or vacuum later! You can always top up your sand later with more materials.

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Found our last letter!

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Cardboard Dinosaur Cave

More Dinosaur FUN! We have had a few deliveries from online vitamin shops and Amazon lately which usually come with a good size box and tons of brown construction paper. I knew it’d be a waste to just recycle them and/or use the box as my recycling bin…. Light bulb moment: A dinosaur cave for the kids to pretend play with! So after looking on Pinterest a bit and using whatever creative juices I had left with this mummy brain of mine….I came up with this!


My biggest challenge was finding the time to do this fun project. I had so many ideas but I lacked the patience and wanted to get this done. I figure I can always add to it later on or just build another one and call this the ‘test pilot’. I’ve had this material for two weeks already and I just want to get this to a playable state!


What I used:

  • A good sized box – spacious enough for your dinosaurs to play in
  • Brown butcher paper or construction paper – you get a lot of these from deliveries or buy them at Lowes, Home Depot, Bunnnings, or any art supply stores
  • Tape
  • Stapler – up to you. You might worry about little fingers getting pricked by a loose staple
  • Hot glue gun & glue stick
  • Egg carton – brown preferred but you can paint them
  • Rocks, leaves, bones (homemade), dinosaurs, etc

I would have loved getting craft felt to line the floor of the cave. You can even use some craft moss or fake grass depending on budget. I was thinking of gluing dried used coffee grinds as an idea. But if you read my Homemade Sand blog entry, you’d know I have trouble accumulating enough coffee grinds in a reasonable amount of time!

I’d love to make a little plateau or hill with the egg carton lid as well. Cover it with mache to blend into the backdrop. Another idea was to create an anchialine pool (aka cave pond).

Later on, I’d like to make an erupting volcano to accompany this cave on a dinosaur playing sort of day!

I didn’t have a chance to document this project with too many photos.

I simply crumpled the construction paper up to a shape I liked and started adhering it to the box to make it look like a cave. My little man helped supervise telling if it looked good or not haha. I used stapler, tape and glue gun to complete the project. I would have loved to make use of paper mache to harden the lining and the cover of the box but I lacked time and patience 😉

In this photo, I’m making stalactites out of the pointy bit inside an egg carton. Use hot glue so it sticks more easily.


I left the remainder of an egg carton inside the cave for the kids to play with. N was pretending her little dinosaur was eating one of the egg cups 🙂

J said they were dino eggs!


Then I put my premade dinosaur bones inside the cave along with the more lively dinosaurs.

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The kids loved it!

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I’ve been wanting to do a Dinosaur themed day for the kids and I will definitely incorporate this awesome cave into it. Hopefully I’ll find some time to incorporate some of those upgrades I had mentioned!!

St Patrick’s Day – 5 fun activities with toddlers

1. Leprechaun’s Gold Hunt

I did a simple activity with the kids searching for piles of gold our little leprechaun friend has hidden in our house.

I cut up some green clover stickers


Then I made a little rainbow pompom and green clover trail that the leprechaun has left behind.


Then hid piles of gold

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Easy, simple and lots of fun for the kiddies. They loved counting their loot!

2. St Patrick’s Day Edible Sensory Bin

Our kids. No, KIDS love jelly (aka jello). Bonus: it’s got a color for EVERY occasion! Green jelly it is!

What I’ve added into our St Patrick’s Day sensory bin:

  • Green Jello
  • Whipped Cream
  • Green sprinkles
  • Marshmallows
  • Gold coins (we used chocolate gold coins – none was eaten though)

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Instructions: Put everything together and let them go nuts! It is a bit of a sugary treat. So be warned if you worry about having hyperactive children in the house! Yet, what’s the big deal if it’s only once in a while if you can allow it? I, personally am borderline diabetic so I’ll be watching THEM with a careful eye they don’t “sample” too much!

A good tip is to feed them right before the activity so they’re less likely to gorge themselves with sugars and lollies!

Another good tip is to let your child know they can only taste 1 of each (limit is up to you of course). J was really good about that and N was just not interested in tasting!


The first sampling haha

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Josh found all the coins and sorted them. We also counted his loot together


We even tried to stack the marshmallows. Do you want to build a snowman?


Then Josh wanted to make small bowls of Leprechaun breakfast.

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3. Rainbow Pot of Gold – mosaic using paint sample tiles

If you child need some guidance with the rainbow colors, I’d start them off by putting a few color tiles on the paper for them. I even showed the kids pictures of rainbows on my laptop as a visual example. You can even draw lines across the page so the kids know where to glue their tiles in. Label each line with the colors of the rainbow if you are teaching them to read.

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4. Green Puffy Paint Shamrocks and Mosaic Shamrocks


Instructions can be found here in our previous post.

5. Attend Local St Patrick’s Day Festivities

We live in Dublin, California and they have an annual St Patrick’s Day celebration. This will be the city’s 32nd annual festivity and it will be held on the weekend of March 14, 15 (10 AM – 5 PM) we are really looking forward to all the fun!

Festival, parade and other details can be found at the Dublin official website.


Five Colorful Days – arts and craft


Day 1: Robot and Clover Sun-catchers

A fellow Instagramer had trouble making a plastic robot out of plastic beads and metal cookie cutter. It inspired me to make more sun-catchers out of Elmer’s glue! Here are the instructions from previous post.

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Day 2: Lowe’s Build and Grow Monster Truck and Pull Back Race Car

I found these little gems at Lowes. They were only about $6 each and was quite easy to put together by my husband (with J’s help hammering)! The kids had a blast painting it and they are such sturdy toys.

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Day 3: Rainbow Pot of Gold – paint sample tiles

With St Patrick’s Day around the corner, here’s an easy project to do with the kids. If you child need some guidance with the rainbow colors, I’d start them off by putting a few color tiles on the paper for them. I even showed the kids pictures of rainbows on my laptop as a visual example. You can even draw lines across the page so the kids know where to glue their tiles in. Label each line with the colors of the rainbow if you are teaching them to read.

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Day 4: 3-D Hands Keepsakes

I saw this neat YouTube video showing you how to make 3-D hands! I’m sure you can do similar with other tracing like: feet, shapes, etc

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Day 5: Rainbow-Colored Finger PRINTING / Painting and ABC Stenciling 

The kids are loving their magnifying glass and I thought it’d be neat to have a look at their fingerprints with them. Then I had J tried fingerprinting! I let N go freestyle finger-painting 😉

Then we tried out the new stencils daddy bought for us to learn our ABCs.

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What will you do with your week??

Homemade Dinosaur Bones – fun activity for little paleontologists


I wanted to do more dinosaur related activities with the kids and I was inspired by this page out of J’s book to make some dinosaur bones


I decided to make the bones out of modeling clay.

You can make these bones out of salt dough which is:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup water

You will have to bake it for 3 hours at 325 degrees F.

Since I’d rather save on gas / electricity, I opted for air dry modeling clay instead 🙂

I let the bones dry for at least 48 hours so they are rock hard. As you can guess, the skull took a bit longer as it was pretty thick (thick skull ha ha ha) 🙂

I made some rib bones, spine  segments, a hip bone, and humerus or femur bones…


Once they dry, I decided to add this to my homemade sand to do a little excavation and sensory play!


I also added some colorful beans to add to the texture. The kids loved seeing the extra colors in the sand.



Every discovered bone was met with excitement and wonder.

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Then we asked our miniature dinosaur friends to join the fun!


Mr giraffe decided to join in as well



Then we buried some gold coins like pirates…


Homemade Sand – natural ingredients and safe for tots!


I found a great recipe for homemade sand on How Stuff Works


  • 4 cups dried used coffee grounds (sun or oven dried)
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I used wheat for darker color)
  • 1/2 cup salt

I found it quite difficult to drink that much coffee at such a short amount of time so for my batch, I had less coffee. Maybe about 2 cups. Since this is reusable sand (if you don’t get it dirty or wet), I figure I can always add more dried coffee later on. I just couldn’t wait 🙂

Make sure the used coffee grinds are completely dry before you add it into your mix. It may get moldy and/or clump up with the rest of the sand mix.


I’ve added some colorful beans to add to the texture for the kids to play with.


Simply store it in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap for later usage!