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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Firework Poppers DIY

Friday, July 3, 2020

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Originally the plan for this DIY was just to make "reusable fireworks" by making them into a pushup pop. Then after I created it I realized all it needed was a cone on top to make it look like an actual firework! I love it when DIYs evolve into something better while you are creating them.

Paper Towel Rolls
(That link is to an Amazon listing but I found mine in our local grocery store.)
Colorful Paper
Ribbon, Fabric, or String

Step 1: Cut your tube. The long side should be approximately 6.5 inches long.

Step 2: Cut out the pieces for the ends of the tube. Cut down the side of the leftover tube, making a flat piece of cardboard, then trace the end of your tube twice, putting some distance between the circles. You want the two pieces to resemble the template above, one circle with tabs and a large hole in the middle, another that's just a circle. When the circle without tabs is cut out you will need to add two holes that the straw can fit through. When you are done it should look like a button.

Step 3: Attach the end of the tube. Attach the circle with tabs to the end of your tube by folding up the tabs and taping them to the outside of the tube.

Step 4: Make the "fireworks". Extend the straw and fold it. Tie your ribbon to the bend of the tube. I went for a more primitive look with torn fabric scraps for the one I'm showing, but I also used gift wrap ribbon for one and it was just adorable. 

Step 5: Add your stopper. Insert the two sides of the straw into the holes in the cardboard circle. Slide it up as far as it will go, then tape the two straws together. You can use this circle as a base for taping on more decorations if you wish.

Step 6: Make the cone for the top of your firework. Cut a circle out of colored paper. Cut a slit to the middle of the circle, then bring the edge of the slit around until you've made a cone shape. Tape it when you have created the size of cone you want. 

Step 7: Decorate your firework. Wrap a piece of paper around your tube. Cut the paper so it overlaps when wrapped around the tube. The top of the paper should sit flush with the top of the tube, while the bottom of the paper should hang over about a half-inch.
When this is done cut a small strip of paper about 1 1/2 inches long. Fold this in half. Tape one half to the inside of the tube, and the other half to the inside of the cone. This topper will have to be pushed to the side when the firework is popped, so keep that in mind when attaching it.

Step 8: Load your firework. Slide the popper into the firework straw side down, pulling the straw through the slit at the bottom. Pull until the stopper hits the bottom. Tuck the ribbon into the tube and put the lid on.

These poppers are removable and make excellent wands for dancing! Ro ran all over our yard with them, and then used them to decorate our fence!

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Pennant Placecard

Monday, June 29, 2020

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These pennant place cards were simple to put together and can double as a party favor! 

Hot Glue Gun

1: Cut out your pennants. I made mine small enough that I could cut them all out of two sheets of felt. About 3 inches at the top by 6 inches to the point.

2: Cut out your letters and stars. I suggest drawing out your stars first. I freehand cut them and you can definitely tell! I tell myself it adds to the charm.

3: Hot glue the decorations onto your pennants. Ro helped me place the decorations so there were a few pennants that had backward letters. I was so focused on gluing that I didn't notice until everything was dry. Doh!

I love the way these turned out! Using the red and blue color scheme gives them a very Americana feel, making they are a perfect DIY for the 4th of July. But with a simple switch of colors, they could work for any holiday, birthday, or even a wedding! I can just picture them with a yellow base and blue decorations. Man, I might have to make another set! 

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DIY Color Frames Game

Friday, June 26, 2020

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As someone who naturally loves to teach, having a two-year-old has been magical. As with many kids this age, Ro is a sponge. He has learned so much in so little time. And he loves to show off what he has learned, which means he is constantly practicing. I try to encourage this practice by introducing activities that make learning into a game. This activity is a great example of that. 

This DIY is awesome because it checks off the three boxes that I feel like every great DIY should. It's recycled materials, it's easy to do, and it doubles as both a toy and a teaching tool. It's incredibly simple to make and not too time consuming. I was able to complete the whole project in about two to three hours.

I used recycled cardboard for my frames. I cut them into 6 inch by 7 inch rectangles, then cut out a square in the center, leaving more room at the bottom so I could write the names of the colors. I ended up making ten frames for all of the colors I thought he knew already. (red, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, black, gray, white.) I then painted the frame the base color with a few coats, then added some details with lighter paints. The patterns aren't necessary, but they give the frames a more finished look.

Ro has really enjoyed matching the colors on the frames to things around the house. He particularly loves to put the green frame around the power button on the Roomba, and the black frame on the TV. When I came into the room today, one of the frames was hanging on our night light. Quite an art piece!

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Monster Maker DIY Felt Toy

Friday, June 12, 2020

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This is a simple DIY toy that uses colorful, zany shapes to create a situation where imaginative play comes naturally. That play can easily lead to conversations about how bodies are structured and why different creatures have such extraordinary shapes.


This is one of those projects that has almost too much possibility. It kind of leaves you thinking "where do I start?" I would start with the big shapes first. Cut a few out of each color you have available. I did a triangle, square, circle, the normals. And then I also did a few U shapes and a few abstract ones. Then, with the felt I had leftover, I cut out my smaller shapes. Triangles, stars, zig zags, rectangles, eye shapes... whatever I could think of. Feel free to use any of the pictures below as inspiration for shapes! When I was done with this project all I had left of the felt were itty bitty scraps. It's a great craft for using all of your leftover materials!

The best piece of advice I can give you is that you should try to cut out all of your smaller shapes in pairs of two. That way any zig-zag can be an arm, and a triangle can be an eye. I also loved cutting some "fringy" pieces. They worked well for hair, whiskers, beards, skirts... 

I'm going to admit, it was so much fun to set up the felt for the picture below. It was a stretch for me, creatively, and kind of soothing. This DIY isn't just for kids!

And I couldn't leave this post without showing you some of our beautiful creations. I think my personal favorite is the blue guy with the big ears. Now that I'm looking at these again, though, I kind of want to make a mega-monster using as many of the shapes as possible. How far do you think I'd get before my two year old got bored and tried to destroy it?

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10 [birthday wishlist] Things

Sunday, June 7, 2020

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It's my birthday month! I am totally one of those people that celebrates my birthday in little ways all month. My family has been bugging me about what I want, so I thought I'd put together a little wishlist of the things I've been eyeing.

Happy Birthday to all of the other June babies out there!

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Putt Putt Golf at Home!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

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Today I am showing you guys an adorable printable pack that I am thrilled to share. With this pack, you will able to create one of my favorite activities right in your own back yard, driveway, or living room! So what has me so excited? I am talking about the ultimate vacation sport: Putt Putt Golf.

This pack includes flags for 12 holes, including a page for the back of the flags, and scorecards for courses that have 3, 6, 9, or 12 holes. I wanted to make sure that even people with small spaces could have a scorecard for a simple 3 hole course.

When we put together our flags we used sticks that we found around the yard, but it would work just as well with pencils, or even taped to a chair. For our holes we used paper cups, and the obstacles were just things we had around the house. You can create barriers with bricks, cups, or even rolled up towels.

My parents have a huge yard, and I'm dreaming of how cool it would be to host a party where everyone came up with their own putt putt hole. I think ours would have to be dinosaur themed. What would yours look like?

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