Finger Painting Orcas and Crumpled Paper Art

I’ve been soooo quiet lately in the blogging/instagraming world lately. Lots have been happening with this little family the last few weeks and compounded with GORGEOUS summer weather, we are hardly at home! Then…I started POTTY TRAINING with N. That means: All HANDS on DECK! Anyhoo, long story short, we hardly had time to do much arts and craft!

Last week, my uncle asked if J can help draw or paint an orca for his FB banner. Unfortunately for uncle T, J’s main subjects for painting and drawings are rockets and dinosaurs. Even then, they sometimes look like amoebas 😉 I also (jokingly) offered to draw him an “ugly” whale if he wants something whimsical and child-like.

Even hubby made a submission….not bad! But it’s not a killer whale…

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To build up the children’s existing interest in these marine mammals, we hired out a few library books on whales, orcas, and dolphins. We learned that orcas are a type of dolphin! It’s not a whale!

They loved reading Humphrey The Lost Whale. It’s a true story about a humpback whale which deviated from his usual Mexico to Alaska migration by entering the San Francisco Bay. In fact, he got “lost” twice! Once in 1985 and another time in 1990.

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We also watched Meatball (aka Nemo) a few times….even saw a Nemo fish at the mall!

Who’s that behind you Dory and Marlin??

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Where’s Meatball?

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Orca Arts and Craft

What you’ll need:

  • Construction paper – white, dark blue, light blue, pink/orange
  • Paint – black and white
  • Sponge
  • Cotton ball
  • Black pen
  • Scissors
  • Glue

First, I  handed the kids some light blue paper to crumple. The more crumpled the better. Then I asked them to flatten the paper out with some assistance from mummy. Once it’s flattened, I had the kids lightly paint over the paper with sponges and white paint. This makes it look like snow.

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While we are waiting for the mountains to dry, I drew some orcas with a black pen. Then I asked the kids to fill in the BLACK part of the whale with their fingers using a dotting technique. I figure this is better than using a brush since they always end up using their hands when they’re painting.

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Looks pretty good! For N, she’s younger, so I helped guide her hands to where we want the paint to go.

Once the mountains were dry, I cut the paper into mountain landscapes.

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Then glue the landscape on top of an orange or pink piece of construction paper that will become your sunset sky.

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Then I tore the blue construction paper width-wise to make the ocean.

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Glue that underneath your mountains.

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Then glue your orca onto the picture.

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Take a cotton ball and dab a little bit of white paint onto the picture to make it look like waves and splashes in the picture. If your child is older, they can help tear/cut the paper, and dab the white paint.

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And voila!

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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.

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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.

Materials:

  • 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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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

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

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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!!

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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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St Patrick’s Day Arts and Craft

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We’ve been BUSY! Lots of art projects, messy plays, exploring, and outdoors fun on sunny days.

I finally have some quiet time (fingers crossed the neighbors moving house doesn’t wake the kids!) to do some blogging.

St Paddy’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century. The Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol was lifted for such occasion. Thus, creating an ever so popular holiday’s tradition of drinking or BATHING in alcohol!

We visited Target the other day to get some GREEN gear. It’s our first year celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Dublin….California! Apparently it’s quite big here for obvious (name-sake) reasons! The weekend before St Paddy’s Day is going to be huge. Performances, parade, Fun Run, markets, green pancakes and beer served…just to name a few. For more information, go to Dublin’s official website!

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To get the kids into the spirit, I’ve been showing them pictures of rainbows with pot of gold, little green leprochauns, clovers, shamrocks, and all things green! I’ve also shown them clips of, bagpipe music, Celtic music, and Irish dance. Ahhh really put me in the mood of having me pint of green ale! If only Mummy and Daddy can be two sheets to the wind by the end of all the celebrations!

Puffy Paint (Abstract??) Shamrocks

I made some green and gold puffy paint to do some puffy paint stamping and painting. Recipe can be found in my previous blog: Homemade Puffy Paint

I gave them Q-tips, eye droppers, and an empty bottle as their painting tools. Lots of fun! I used cleaned yogurt containers to mix/hold our paint.

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Using a bottle top to stamp shamrocks:

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Using eye droppers to make pretty splatters:

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Q-tips are inexpensive and easy for little hands to use:

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Look at J’s 3 Q-tip techniques! Love how inventive he is!

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After they are done, pop them in the microwave (place a piece of paper towel underneath to absorb excess liquid) for 30 seconds and voila!

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Mosaic Shamrocks

The kids love gluing. Any chance to get messy right? I drew up some not-so-pretty shamrocks out of green permanent markers and cut up some green tiles from paint sample cards. Then here’s the cool bit, I put a couple drops of food coloring and water in our Elmer’s glue to color it and to thin it out a bit. The kids LOVED “painting” the shamrocks with the green glue.

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Then they placed pieces of green tiles onto their shamrocks:

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Aren’t they pretty??

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Happy Chinese New Year – lion dancer mask made from coffee filter art and egg cartons

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Happy Chinese er…or Lunar New Year everyone!!!

Now, I’d like to say we are traditional and doing it up with the festivities. Unfortunately, that’s not the current case! We’ve just moved from Australia to the States. Yes, we are physically closer to our Chinese side of the family now, but with work, NY day on a weekday, grandparents’ car’s in for repairs, AND extended family just had a new baby so it’s all a bit difficult to get everyone together. Luckily, we will be able to drive down to Popo and Gong gong’s house this weekend and celebrate with them then!

If you saw my previous blog post, you’d seen that the kids made some beautiful coffee filter art. Coffee filter watercolors!

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Yesterday, after the filters were dried completely, I made them into an over-sized carnation! Beautiful and perfect for maybe Mother’s Day in the near future??

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Ok so went off track there a bit. Haha but I thought I’d throw that in there.

SO! I really wanted to make something for New Year. I looked and and researched and with the materials I had in hand, I decided to make a Lion Dancer Mask! It took me a lot longer than I had planned. Nearly the kids’ entire nap. This is because I wasn’t 100% sure if I wanted to make it into a puppet, a figurine, or a mask!

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I layered the filters like I did with the carnation and stapled the middle to keep it together. Then I lined two egg carton cups in the middle to make my lion’s FIERCE eyes.

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Then I scrunch up the middle to frame the eyes.

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Then color in the iris with permanent marker. You can use googlie eyes if you prefer. Or buttons?? Fun to explore various options! I also used another egg section to make it into the red nose. I used tissue paper to cover the nose. Again, try different options! Use buttons, bottle caps, whatever you like!

For the whiskers I used a green pipe cleaner. Easy.

I also made a mouth out of colored construction paper.

I used glue and staples to put everything together. I’m sure you can find other more practical options. Please make sure to share if you do!!

Glue the face onto a paper plate and adhere a stick behind it. Tada! A mask.

You can even attach this to a sock to make it into a sock puppet or attach the rest of the egg carton to the head and make it into a stick puppet? So many ideas….so little time….the kids woke up. 😉

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Indoors Play – stuck at home waiting for my new Dyson!

It’s been a rough few days for me. It’s not because the kids were acting up more than usual or I lacked more sleep than usual. It just seemed with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, became a recipe for “bad days.” To top things off, it hasn’t been warm or sunny enough to take the kids out. Not that I could anyway because I’ve been patiently waiting for the delivery of my very first Dyson vacuum. Yes, it’s a bit sad…but I’ve been really excited about my new vacuum! I’m not exactly fond of the act of vacuuming, but I’m not big on picking up crud off the floor by hand either.

So here are a few activities I’ve drummed up with the kids for the days of waiting:

Day 1: vacuum due to arrive but somehow UPS decided I was not available 2 feet away from the door watching telly while my kids were napping.

  • Played with our tent AKA rocket ship AKA bed

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  • Coffee Filter Art – coloring the filters with color pens and seeing what happens when you drip water on it with an eye dropper. I’m going to use these beautifully colored filters to make something else! Keep your eyes peeled!

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  • Crayon Rubbing – using leaves and dinosaur stencils

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  • Homemade Light Box – okay we actually did this on the night before Valentine’s Day but this would be a great relaxing activity right before the kids’ nap or bed time.

You can find many instructions on how to make your own. There are a few different versions out there. However, with limited supplies, I simply emptied out one of the kids’ clear plastic toy bin, flipped it over (Our lid is a solid white. If you have a clear lid, you can use that as the table top) and placed two small LED lights underneath. We used battery operated ones from Target about $5 for two. Since we were going with the Valentine’s theme, we looked for mostly red items to look at like plastic shot glasses, J’s dinosaur tracing, plastic cocktail stirrers, and hearts I had cut out using tissue and construction paper. Look how pretty it all turned out!

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Day 2: Where is my vacuum?! Online tracking said attempt was made around 3pm but receiver was not available (I was sitting a couple feet from the door watching TV while the kids napped). FAIL!

So another day of waiting around…

  • Colored Noodle and Jelly Sensory Play!

I boiled and colored some noodles with food coloring and added to a big bowl of jelly for the kids to play with this morning. Being that we are in a unit and don’t have a backyard (plus it’s a bit chilly this morning), I set it up in our kitchen. It’s genius really. It contains the mess in a waterproof area and the kitchen sink AND bin are within an arm’s reach! Oh, I also lined a plastic lid (or plate) with aluminum foil. At the end of their activity, I just rolled up the foil and all the perishables went into the bin. Easy.

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Still no UPS…

  • Legos Race Track

Ok, we only have a small collection of Mega Blocks so I only created a “Finish Line” that had a RED, BLUE, and GREEN finish. The kids had a blast shooting their cars down the lane towards the finish line. We guessed which color the cars would end up and we tried to aim our cards towards a color of our choosing.

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Hurrah! Mummy’s Dyson’s HERE!!

Would YOU Kiss that Mouth?! – teeth cleaning activity for toddlers

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I’m pretty sure that many parents struggle to get their toddlers to brush their teeth properly…or just brush! Sometimes they brush with no hassle! Great! Other times…and most times, we have to encourage, assist, bribe, and hogtie them down and brush their teeth ourselves! Just kidding about the hogtie thing! Guilty for thinking about it though…

A few days ago, I saw a post from one of my favorite Instragram friends: Growing Little Minds. They are a curriculum-based daycare center in E-Elmhurst, NY that follows Pre-Kindergarten NYS Learning Standards. I love their educational tips, learning ideas, and wonderful photos on their Instagram.

The post that stood out for me the other day was a picture of their students “brushing” teeth on Dental Care Week! They used white paint to paint over teeth drawn on construction paper. So I came up with the following idea!

What you will need:

  • Paper plate – grease and cut resistant (I bought mine from Target)
  • Construction paper
  • Permanent marker
  • Washable color markers
  • Glue
  • Cotton ball
  • Leaf
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss

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Cut your paper plate in half and cut individual teeth on each side of the plate. There are already grooves on my plate so I used them as a guide.

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Then I lined the two halves so it looked like a smile. I trimmed the top half a little so it looks more like a smile.

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Then I glued both halves together.

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What a gorgeous smile

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Time to get creative! I started to color the teeth with the kids’ washable color pens to make the teeth look dirty. Since the plate is waterproof, it will be hard to keep the color on the plate. Just keep going over it as it dries. I added bits of broccoli leaves and cotton ball fibers in between the gaps. Will you look at that!

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Would you kiss these guys?

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Then I got everything we needed for the kids to start brushing.

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I added some toothpaste into a small bowl of water so the kids could dip their brushes in. I found some cute “Brush Your Teeth” songs on Youtube and let them start brushing!

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Because the plate is waterproof and the ink from the pens are washable, the kids were able to brush them off with the wet toothbrushes. I helped guide their hands to brush in circular motions as it was taught to me as a little girl. They brushed off the stains and I helped “wipe their chins” with a baby wipe. The pearly whites were starting to shine! The kids had a sniff of their friends’ teeth and they smelt minty fresh!

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After the teeth were mostly clean, I pointed out to the kids that even with all that vigorous brushing, it’s still a little dirty between the teeth! So we got the floss out and flossed.

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This activity turned out so well! They learned a bit about colors, brushing and flossing techniques, the importance of brushing thoroughly, and they had fun!

Happy Chinese New Year (Year of the Ram)! – Bottle stamping & cotton ball rams / sheeps

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Yes, yes I know. Valentine’s Day is before Chinese New Year! However, this is just too fun and too cute not to make! So I decided not to wait. Plus we’ve got the grandparents coming on Thursday so I’d love to give one to them.

This year, Chinese New Year falls on the 19th of February. The year of the RAM! If you are 1, 12, 24, 36, 48, and so forth this year, you are a ram! I’m a monkey. I’ll let you guess my age.

I’ve been surfing around on Pinterest for some fun CNY activities for the kids. From a few different inspirations, namely a post from Top DIY Ideas.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Plastic soda bottle – any bottle with a floral pattern on the bottom
  • Paper
  • Black marker (or paint if you prefer)
  • Pink paint (or any other blossom colors you prefer)
  • Cotton balls
  • Glue

My little gnomes are still quite young so while they were busy playing on their own this morning, I got a few sheets of paper out and drew black cherry blossom branches and rams on each sheet.

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For the rams, I drew their heads, horns, lets and outlined their furry bodies so the kids would know where to stick the “wool.”

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Then I set up the paint and bottles for the kids to stamp their blossoms! First they had some practice runs on some scrap paper. Once they knew what to do, I let them stamp the pictures I had prepared earlier.

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After the blossoms were completed, I had them work on the rams’ woolly coats. My son LOVED this part! Maybe because the cotton balls were soft to touch and fun to pull apart. Or simply because how cute the baba sheeps looked!

I help put glue on the paper and he stuck them on. If your child is older, s/he can do all the steps I helped prepare for mine 🙂 They will love the whole process! You can even prepare a sample one so they have some inspiration.

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Look at how proud he is of his beautiful work!

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And here are the finished products:

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Happy New Year!