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 ­čśë 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┬áHumphrey 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 ┬áhanded 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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National Sorry Day, Australia – Aboriginal Art – Dot Painting

May 26 is National Sorry Day in Australia. It has been an annual event since 1997 to remember and atone for policies that ripped 50,000 Aboriginal children from their families, resulting in a “Stolen Generation.”

Image from GetUp , a not-for-profit organisation. See link for more information on National Sorry Day.

I thought today would be the perfect day for the kids (and myself haha) to try dot painting!

Image from Kirkland Museum.

Dot painting is a traditional visual form of storytelling by the Aborigines of Australia. Natural canvas such as leaves, bark and wood are painted with paint made of sand, ochre, and seeds. Paintings often depict elaborate patterns and symbols. These symbols often help create Dreamtime stories which taught about life and Creation. To read more about Dreamtime stories, the origins of Aboriginal Dot Painting, or to see more examples of Dot Painting, visit:

Didges We Doo

National Museum of Australia

Kate Owen Gallery

For our dot painting lesson, we’ll need:

  • Q-tips (cotton swabs or sticks)
  • Paint (we stuck with our Crayola Washable Paints but acrylics is preferred)
  • Construction paper (or you can use leaves, rocks, tree bark, etc)
  • Didgeridoo music

For our little gnomes, I first showed them some pictures of dot painting on the laptop. I explained to them the origins of dot painting and how the paintings were used by Aboriginal elders to tell stories to children. Then I found some symbols used in Aboriginal art.

Aboriginal Art Graphic Symbols and Meanings

Image from Aboriginal Art Shop

aboriginal symbols

Image from Didges We Doo

Then I drew an outline of a sea turtle on each of their white construction paper

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Then I helped demonstrate and explain the technique behind dot painting. Tell your child to gently dip their Q-tip in their paint and dot along the outline of their picture. If you push too hard, the dot will be wider. Keep your Q-tip as straight as possible or your dots will look more like inconsistent blobs. ­čÖé This is a great way to practice our fine motor skills! It does take some concentration.

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So far so good….

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Uh oh! The temptation to use our fingers and hands was too great!

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Well, that escalated quickly!

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Haha I wonder what story this tells….of poor sea turtle.

Managed to save one. Here’s the unsullied version of a fish and an Aboriginal symbol for “meeting place.”

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Easter Activities for Toddlers

Easter is just around the corner and we’ve been busy doing lots of Easter activities and artwork! Here are a few things we did the last couple of weeks.

1. Egg Rolling and Animal Figurine Tracks

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I got this idea from  marble painting. With marble painting, you take marbles, dip them in paint, drop them in a paper-lined tray and move the tray around to paint your picture! So instead of marbles, we used boiled eggs! You can probably use craft eggs as well.

Our kids shared a single tray so this was a collaborative art project. Instead of moving the tray around, we used little cocktail stirrers to move the eggs around.

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For the stamping activity, we thought it’d be a lot of fun to use our animal and dinosaur figurines to stamp eggs on paper!

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Our kids love getting paint all over their hands and paint with their fingers/hands. So I usually let them go crazy with less structure at the end of our project. It allows them to practice following instructions and also let their creative juices go wild.

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2. Bobbing for Easter Eggs

It’s only the start of Spring here in California and it’s been warm!! So I thought it’d be a great day to let the kids with with water! Let go bobbing for eggs!

Instead of using your mouth with apples, I handed the kids some spoons. Great way to practice their fine motor skills!

Again, we used craft eggs. These were purchased from Michaels and they are kind of like ping pong balls. Very light and hallow. They float, making them perfect for this activity.

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I also colored the water with some food coloring to make it more festive haha

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It wasn’t long before they got in!!! Surprised?

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3. Easter Stamp Art – using toilet paper rolls and cotton balls

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Five Colorful Days – arts and craft

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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 ­čśë

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??

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┬ásay 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. ­čśë

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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┬áthat, 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┬áfond 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.┬áThere 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!!