Expression Face Magnets DIY

Monday, September 21, 2020

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 I've always found it interesting how expressive eyebrows are. Maybe it's because I draw a lot of faces, and a slight tilt of an eyebrow can change a character from normal to "determined and a little angry" in 2.5 seconds. It could also just be the fact that I can't raise just one eyebrow at a time and therefore I often find myself with extreme eyebrow envy. Whatever the reason, through my years I've learned to watch for the tilt of a brow or the quirk of a mouth to read people's emotions. 

Obviously, my almost-three-year-old has only the beginnings of these skills. I know its something he will develop over time, but I thought I could help him along with this fun little toy! With a few basic shapes, you can show a wide range of emotions. Also, you can just make silly faces, which is just as important.

Sticky Back Magnet Sheets
Metal Pan or Magna Doodle



Step one: Cut out your patterns. Feel free to use the image above as a template, or freehand it!

Step two: Trace the pattern onto the back of the magnet sheets. If you plan on using these as magnets you will need two each of the long trapezoid, the small half oval, the eye shape, and the circle.

Step three: Cut out your shapes.

Step four: Peel off the back of the magnet and attach it to paper. Trim it to size.

And that's it! This simple craft took me about 20 minutes to make. I had so much fun challenging myself to create as many expressions as I could!

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Play Road Printable

Monday, September 14, 2020

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Hello! As you've recently learned, we are all about cars in this house. In my constant quest to find the perfect road toy, I came up with the idea of interchangeable square map pieces that could potentially build the most epic road map ever. I used the little bit of free time I have to create a simple rendition of my idea and after we played with them for a day it was deemed good enough to share.

This kit includes 13 different .pdfs. There are 4 variations of straight road, a roundabout, a 4 way stop, a railroad crossing, and many other pieces that will help you make an awesome map. I kept the design for everything simple to encourage kids to decorate them however they wanted!

We ended up making a map that filled our living room, but with this particular type of map the possibilities are literally endless. If you want to download your own map scroll to the bottom of the page!

Download the Road Printable .pdfs here!

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Ten [CAR CAR] Things...

Monday, September 7, 2020

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Monster's first word was "cat." We have two of them, so that wasn't a big surprise. Then we got out our little IKEA blocks that come in a wagon, and bought a book all about wheels. So his second word was "car" and for a long time it seemed he might have decided that he can just stop there.
Unsurprisingly, we are all about cars in this house. Of course this means I spend a fair amount of time looking for cute car toys and car toy accessories. There are some that I buy right away, but many more get put on my "in my dreams" list, so I decided that a ten things was a perfect place to share them with you.

This road toy is so cool! It is durable and can be used almost anywhere. 

This road tape could turn any drab old kitchen into an epic town.

This Etsy shop sells colorful shirts that double as a road map! Let your kid play while you enjoy a (hopefully) soothing back rub!

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Bug Stamps DIY

Monday, August 31, 2020

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These are a DIY version of this adorable Bug Stamp Set you can get from Moon Picnic. Using simple supplies and an afternoon of work I created my own set with all sorts of options for making creative and sweet little bugs!

Sticky Back Foam Sheets
Ink Pad

Step one: Stick your foam together.
You want your stamp to be at least two pieces of foam thick, so you will need to take the back off of one piece, line it up, and carefully press it on top of another piece.

Step two: Draw your bug parts.
On the paper side of your foam pile draw various bug shapes including bodies, heads, wings, legs, and antennae! Print the picture above and cut out the shapes you like if you need a pattern!

Step three: Cut out your stamps and place them on the cardboard.
Make sure you place the pieces far enough apart that you have room to cut them out. When you're putting on the legs or antennae remember to leave enough room for the body and head! If you want on one of the stamps to have texture use a sharp pencil to draw or poke your pattern. For stripes, you want to make sure there is space between every line.

Step four: Cut out your stamps!
I tried to follow the shape of the piece so placement would be easier when you are stamping!

Mixing and matching these little stamps give you endless possibilities for bug creations! For the bugs here we just used a black stamp pad. The layering of ink made some really neat designs! Ro and I both had a lot of fun creating our very own insects. It's easy to store, and a great toy for rainy days.

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Flashlight Book Basket

Monday, August 24, 2020

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This book basket is perfect for a late summer night, with crickets chirping and fireflies shining. We brought our basket outside, laid out a blanket, and had our storytime as late as we could, right before bedtime.

I used the flashlight theme for this basket, and I found some really cute books to include! You can find a complete list at the bottom of the page, but I will tell you right now that my two favorites were Flashlight by Liz Boyd and Flashlight Night by Matt Forrest Esenwine.

For our activity I grabbed some clear plastic packaging out of our recycling bin attached it to shapes I had cut out of paper. We used the flashlight to make shadows on the side of our garage. Ro loved it!

Here's the list of books I included in this basket. The interactive ones were amazing, and I think Ro would have played with them all night if I had let him!

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DIY Geometic Camping Puzzle

Monday, August 17, 2020

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This puzzle makes me think of crisp mornings with fire-heated drinks and birdsongs to relax you. Using recycled materials and color scheme inspired by vintage national parks posters really make this activity something that you want to pack into your camping bag and take with you on your next trip!

Exacto or Scissors
Template (optional)

Step one: Draw a grid.
This step is only necessary if you do not plan on using the template. I measured out my squares to be 1 in. by 1 in.

Step 2: Draw your ground and your tent.
Using a ruler and your grid as a guide, draw your lines for the ground and the tent. Try to keep everything as symmetrical as possible.

Step three: Add the trees.

Step four: Add the sun rays.

Step five: Label your pieces by color.
This step is so important because after you get everything cut out it's nearly impossible to tell which is which! My labels were Y=Yellow, W=Coral (changed my mind after labeling, oops!), DG=Dark Green, G=Green, Bl=Blue, and B=Brown. You can see that I had a few mess ups on my labeling (the tree on the left should just be G), but because the lower pieces are symmetrical I could just look at the similar piece to see what color I needed! 

Step six: Cut out your pieces.
If you are using an Exacto knife, use multiple cuts to cut through the layers of cardboard smoothly. You can use scissors, but an Exacto knife will give you a better finished puzzle.


Step seven: Paint your pieces.
This might take several coats. I painted both sides, but it's not necessary. Wait for your pieces to dry completely before putting it back together! You don't want to have your pieces stick together!

I took a picture of the completed puzzle and put it into the bag with the pieces so I could put it together again later. I have to be honest, this puzzle is one of my favorite things I've ever made. Besides, like, my kid. And this lemonade I made this one time. But definitely in my top ten!

And if you want to make your life a little easier, I've included a template below that you can use as a guide for making your own, or just cut up to use as the puzzle itself! Enjoy!

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Tent Structure DIY

Sunday, August 9, 2020

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This DIY is one that is really fun with your children around. It's a cute craft project when it's all finished, but I created this with the idea that Ro could learn about structures and framework through play. Making it is as fun as playing with the finished tent!

Pipe Cleaners

Step one: Cut your pipe cleaners and straws.
You'll need 3 longer straws (6 inches), 4 medium straws (5 inches), and 2 shorter straws (4.5 inches). You will also need at least 13 (2 inch) pipe cleaner pieces.

Step 2: Make the sides of your tent.
Bend a pipe cleaner and put through one side of your 5 in. straw, then through another. The pipe cleaners will act as joints for you structure. Repeat the process attaching two 5 in. pieces to one 4.5 in. piece. You should end up with 2 triangles.


Step 3: Make your triangles into a tent!
Add pipe cleaners to all three joints and then bend them at a 90-degree angle. This will give you something to attach the long sides to. Do this on all three points, then again to the other triangle, attaching everything together.  


Step 4: Trace the front, back, and sides of your tent.
Make sure to leave space around the edge of the straws. You want the shape you cut out to be a bit larger than the straw frame. Decide which triangle piece you want to be your front and cut a slit about 3/4 up to make the door.

Step 5: Tape together your tent.
Tape naturally has more give than paper so you will be using the tape for the folding part of your structure. To do this you want to lay out your tape strip, then put the two paper pieces onto the tape strip about 1/4 of an inch apart. Lay another piece of tape over the paper and tape to secure it and to cover up the sticky part. When all of your folds are all secured trim the tape to be even with the edge of the paper. For the fold that was going to be the top of the tent, I used two pieces of tape on each side (four total) to give myself more wiggle room.

The most difficult to tape is obviously the last side. I put tape on one piece of paper on the inside, then lined it up and pressed the second piece of paper down the second side. Then put tape over the layers and trim, and voila! You have a tent top!

Step 6: Add your decorations.
If you want to add a flag cut out a long triangle, add some decorations, and  tape it to a short straw. Once you've put the tent onto the frame attach your flag to the top front straw using another pipe cleaner.

In the grand scheme of things making a tent was pretty easy. I think so many other cool things could be made with this method. I would love to see a big top tent, or maybe a two-story mega fort for a  hamster!

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