Easy To Hold Sponge Shapes and Stamps

The Younger was getting frustrated when we would do activities with stamping or sponge painting. It was hard for her little fingers to grasp onto the stamps, and a lot times she would drop the sponges into the paints or wasn’t able to control them to paint how she wanted to on the paper. She was getting to the point of refusing to use sponges or stamps anymore, so I tried to come up with a way to decrease her frustration level and bring the joy back to our painting activities.

I took a few days and collected a bunch of plastic bottle tops from gallons of milk, soda, and water bottles.

Then I pulled out some of our sponges and a few foam cutouts.

I glued the sponges and the foam cutouts onto the top part of the bottle tops, let them dry overnight, and voila! They became easy-to-hold stamps and sponges for The Younger to play with.

I gave her some paint and some paper, and she had an absolute ball. There was no frustration, and she was so proud of how nicely her creations turned out!

I found this worked really well, and it helped her focus on other things like colors and shapes rather than the difficulty of manipulating the tool she was using to paint/stamp with. Nothing like increasing the learning and decreasing frustration, right?


Lightning Bug Jar- Without the Bugs

We don’t have lightning bugs here. I have lived here 12 years and have seen them only a handful of times while on vacation elsewhere in the state, yet growing up in the north we had tons of them. I have vivid memories of laying in the grass and watching the bugs blink in the fields and marveling at their brightness, and this Memorial Day I wanted to share some of that with my kids. However, seeing that I couldn’t think of anywhere to take them where they would experience the same sort of event, I decided we should make our own memories in a different way.

First I went out and bought some glow-in-the-dark paint, and then I attacked our art supply closet. I found glass jars, paint brushes, paper clips, and a pencil; everything we needed!

I explained to the kids (and The Daddy who joined in on the fun)  that we were going to make ‘dots’ on the outside of the jars to represent the fireflies, and that hopefully they would glow in the dark just like the real things.

The Older added the paint using the handle of the brush, and The Younger used a pencil eraser. I started out using an unfolded paperclip, but I got tired of that quickly because it took forever. Patience is not my thing!

As usual, once we got going, the project changed. The Older decided to paint a moon and stars on his jar, and The Younger wanted to pain inside her jar. The Daddy didn’t keep to the guidelines at all, and he actually painted portraits of us…But whatever. Who am I to squelch creativity?

Here they are, finished and waiting to dry. As you can see, they all came out differently, and I loved that.

Although it didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted (I still have to figure out how to get the paint to glow brighter), we had a great time. Plus, I now want to try something else with them: Painting the entire jar, letting it dry, and then scratching out pictures/stars and see what we create :-)


May is for… Barns

I decided today would be the day we made the barn to house the sheep we made the other day . I figured that we’re going to need a home for all the animals we’re going to make this month anyway, so it made sense to make the barn today rather than wait until the weekend.

We started with a standard cardboard box turned upside down:

Then I got the paint ready. (You could use whatever you want, such as markers, stickers, stamps, but paint is what The Younger wanted to use) . I use an old veggie tray container from our grocery store to help keep the paints somewhat separated. It works great!

Then she got to work painting the side of her barn.

When it was done we set it out to dry for about 2 hours. After that, I cut off one of the inside flaps of the box to create the roof, cut out the barn door, and voila!

I had to use the cut out flap of the box to make the triangular-shaped roof. Otherwise, the two sides wouldn’t touch, and she was adamant that her barn needed a sloped roof. Alternately you could use construction paper, but I ran out…

Anyway, she had a great time playing in her barn! She used her Little People and the sheep we made last week, and she then decorated the front area with trees from our train set. She’s excited to do our pig tomorrow!


Bubble Wrap Valentine’s Day Craft

We have this big roll of bubble wrap here in our garage, and I’ve been trying to come up with a way to use it. I’ve heard great things about painting with bubble wrap, so I decided to try this today with The Younger. I cut some bubble wrap into a square and then set out the tempera paint and some brushes.

I put each color in a separate Dixie cup, and then showed her how to paint the bubbles. She was so excited! I should have known that the activity would take a different turn, and it did. She just wanted to mix all the colors in the cups, so I let her go to town and do whatever she wanted. Messy? Yes. Fun? Yes yes yes!!!!

This is her final masterpiece. She loved the way the colors mixed, and I have to say I think it’s pretty amazing myself. Biased maybe, but whatever ;-)

I was going to cut this into a heart shape, but then I had a much better idea. I cut hearts out of construction paper, lay them on the bubble wrap, and then lifted them up to create these:

She had a great time doing this, and she was thrilled that I didn’t have to “destroy” her final masterpiece after all…


Toddler Creative Painting

Today I was pressed for time between the gym and work. I decided to set up some painting for The Younger because she seems to be happiest when she’s painting, and this falls into the category of one of my favorite activities for toddlers.

I set up everything we needed which only took about 2 minutes. I like to use different things when we do this, because she is always amazed at the different patterns she can come up with. I managed to find two cars from The Older’s room that had been unpacked (and I had seen this idea on Mess For Less and thought is was great!), so I grabbed those along with some stamps and a paint brush.

At first she stuck with the stamps, and I think that’s because she was familiar with those tools.



I let her experiment for bit with those, and then showed her how to run the truck through the paint and how the tires made different patterns. Boy, did she get into it!



I find this activity so much fun! I love watching her come up with all sorts of different pictures and just love the way she gets so excited when discovering something new. Most of all, it’s easy and a quick clean up :-)