Now that I've moved my very few plants inside and can't just rely on mother nature to water them I find myself in need of a watering can. I mean, sure, I can use a cup, but where's the fun in that? My hope is that buying a cute watering can will help me remember to water my plants regularly. I want my lemon tree to grow, dang it!
The life of a bookworm is a magical one. You get lost in crafted worlds that catch your imagination and leave you there for days. But what if you could capture that magic and bring it into the real world? That's what these gifts do.
Lately, I've been inspired by interactive installations. I love that the art pieces that are formed as much by the participating audience as by the artist themselves, like this piece installed in the Make-A-Wish Foundation's Seattle office. I really wanted to make one for myself, but obviously, I don't have a gallery to display such a piece in. But what I do have is a house and a holiday coming up.
So I ended up making some small installation piece to be used during Thanksgiving, which double as really easy Thanksgiving decorations. These are just simple tags that ask people what they are thankful for. Hang them in your living room, in the doorway, from the ceiling above the table, anywhere that needs some extra this holiday season. If you would like to add these to your own home, scroll down to get the link to the pdf!
Monsters have always had a place in my heart. There's something about misunderstood creatures that just makes me want to cuddle them up and show them some love. If you've met my cat you know it's true, show me a monster and I will try to give it a hug. This love instigated calling Ronan "little monster" while he was still in the womb. Of course, our boy has so far turned out to be not a monster at all, with a wonderful disposition (last night he slept for 7 hours. What baby does that!?), but the name has stuck.
So, in honor of our "little monster" being born, I've dreamed up a few activities that are perfect for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon. There's a bunch of printable parts, so you can either download just what you want to use, or download the full kit (link at the bottom of the page). I personally recommend downloading the whole kit to share with your own little monsters!
All right, we are going to get our monster day started with a couple games. Both of these activities will use the die I have created, so you'll need to print that out and fold it up. I usually fold it to make the cube and then put see-through tape on all the seams.
The first game is called the Monster Wiggle. Turn on some music, and have your kid roll the die. Whatever "part" it lands on is the part they need to wiggle. The great thing about this is not only is fun, but it gets there brain working. It takes some imagination to choose where their spikes (for example) would be, so encourage them to pick out the spots on their own.
The second game is intended for children a bit older. For this activity you will need the monster die, a regular 6-sided die, and a pre-drawn monster coloring sheet. You can either print out the one I have created or have the kids draw their own.
In this game, we are using the dice to design a monster. Have the kids roll both the normal six-sided and the monster parts dice. Let's say it lands on a "3" and "eyes:" their monster will have 3 eyes. Keep going until their monsters have all their parts, even if you get repeats! (Monsters with 23 eyes sound so cute)
I know all that wiggling would make me hungry, so I think it's time to talk about a snack. Any juice can be made into "monster juice" by adding food coloring. And everyone knows that monsters love cookies, so be sure to give your kids a giant one! You might even be able to sneak in oatmeal and raisins! Or, if you're up to trying something a little bit more complicated, check out my "Monster Book" snack tutorial here.
To take snack time up a notch, put a customizable monster doll on your kid's plate to greet them (directions for this DIY are below)!
After snack time comes craft time! I've got two crafts created for this kit. One is a mask and takes minimal prep time. Just print out the sheets. If your kids can use scissors let them cut everything out themselves, if they can't have them pick out their favorite parts, then you can cut them out for them to color.
Now it's time for the star of this show: Monster dolls. I've included a pattern for the adorable felt monsters you see here. It's a little bit of extra work to put these together, but it's something your kids will be able to play with for a while! These little guys are the perfect size to keep next to you during a stormy night, or to put in your backpack, to help keep you safe from the things you're scared of. I keep mine in my nursery to help keep my little one safe. :)
Step one: Print the pattern and cut it out, then trace and cut two monsters out of a felt color of your choice. Step two: Use bright colored embroidery floss to sew around the edge. Since this is a monster, stitches don't have to be perfect. Leave open some room at the top, use stuffing to give your monster some padding, sew around the curve of the head, then come back for the horns. Optional: Embroider little claws at the end of its hands and feet. Actually knowing how to embroider doesn't really matter here. Just keep going over your stitches until you have a solid triangle. Step three: Decorate! If you're using tacky glue or school glue leave at least 24 hours to sry. School glue does not hold as well as tacky glue, and hot glue is the best.
To make mine hairy I glued rows of yarn across his body using school glue. It was tedious but turned out cool. If you're trying to do this activity with really little ones, skip the craft supplies all together and just provide some fabric markers.
No day is complete without storytime, so I'm wrapping up this monster party with a list of my favorite monster books. Reading these out loud is a blast, especially There's a Monster at the End of this Book and Don't Push the Button. Make sure to check your local library to see if they have any of theme. They are worth the time, I promise.
Julie's Home for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke
There's a Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone and Mike Smollin
Don't Push the Button by Bill Cotter
Fingers for Lunch by Brandt Lewis and Cori Doerrfeld
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
Marilyn's Monster by Michelle Knudsen
There's a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Suess
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak