Category Archives: Kids Crafts

GreenKid Crafts

I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t enjoy getting crafty. Some like it more than others, but all seem to like it to some degree. And with winter right around the corner, that means less playtime outdoors, and kids will need some great crafts to keep boredom at bay.

GreenKids Crafts is offering lots of great deals right now on their monthly subscriptions for crafts sent right to your door to keep your kids busy this winter.

Check out the Black Friday sales going on untill Dec. too.  Your kids will love these creating with these fun activities!


Disclaimer:  I am an affiliate of GreenKid Crafts.  I appreciate your purchases of these fine products that help support the upkeep of my web site.  Thank you. 

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Pumpkin Science Craft

We recently held a Pumpkin Science program in the park.  You can read about it here

To reinforce our science learning of the parts of a pumpkin, we made this fun pumpkin craft at home.

Vocabulary we are learning:
Skin or Shell
Pulp or Flesh
Seeds  (seed coat and nut)
Brains (slimy stringy stuff)
Cavity (holds the brains and seeds)

This craft was so much fun to make.  We started by tracing a large circle on orange construction paper.   We used a variety of circle shapes from around the house, such as bowls, saucer from a planter, and canning rings to trace our circles for different sized pumpkins.  But for the sake of this specific craft, the saucer was the right size.

Next, we drew the lines and shaded in parts of our pumpkin to look like a pumpkin before it has been cut open.  See pictures of this part farther down below.  This will be the back side of our pumpkin craft.

Next, we cut out seed shapes from an off white construction paper and glued them onto the other side of our pumpkin.

Next, glue on strips of yarn.

Here is one finished side.  This side shows the skin or shell, with its bumps, lines (called ribs), color variations, and the stem.

Here is the other finished side, and resembles the inside of the pumpkin that the children discovered during our Pumpkin Science program last week.

This side shows the flesh, pulp, brains (slimy strands), seeds (seed coat, and nut), cavity, surrounded by the outer skin (shell).

My nine year old wanted to do his own version of what he saw inside the pumpkin last week when he first opened one.

He was really proud of his creation.  He used a pencil to draw the ribs and bumps on the skin.  Then he cut the lid off his pumpkin and glued on brains to the lid that he made from paper.  He glued seeds onto his paper brains too.

Good Job!

So, there you have two fun craft options for recreating and studying the parts of a pumpkin.

If you would like the recipe to one of our favorite snacks, Pumpkin Bars, check out the link here.

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
Science Sunday
ABC and 123
Raising Homemakers

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Spelling With Beads

                              Beads Are A Literacy Tool

Whats In The Workbox?  Beads

Beads are a really neat medium for arts and crafts.  You can do so many things with them.  They are also really useful for teaching math, colors, sorting, and patterning concepts.   They can also help strengthen a child’s eye hand coordination, fine motor skills, and more.  But did you know they could also be used for literacy?

My ten year old son, does not like to write.  He loves to talk.  He will dictate a story for you to write.  He loves to draw.  He loves word puzzles, word search and crossword puzzles.  He loves to read and gets in plenty of reading time.  He loves math, and is a whiz at it.  His favorite subject is science and engineering.  But he doesn’t want to write sentences or work on spelling words. 

His test scores are high in every category, except when it comes to spelling.  I know this is normal for a boy of his age, and I choose not to worry about it.

I was brainstorming how I could incorporate more fun ways for him to work with letters. He loves legos and working with his hands.   So rather than writing worksheets, spelling tests, or journaling which he just doesn’t seem ready for, I was trying to think of other ways to build his word skills, including typing on the computer, magnetic letters, letter puzzles, letter tiles, and such. 

When we were at the local craft store, I found some really nice alphabet beads.  I bought a package of colored alphabet beads for $4.   I figured I would get him involved making something with letter beads.  Even if he didn’t want to, at least I could use them with the younger kids.

I wasn’t sure how my son would take to this activity, but he surprised me and was very interested.  At first I told him I needed his help sorting them and spelling a word for the younger kids so they can get used to how it is spelled. 

( I know, I should be re-named the sneaky mother, as I am always finding ways to get him to participate even if it is a subject he hates.  You should see what I sneak into his meat loaf!  But it works with him and with his dad and siblings too.  His personality is geared so that if I say I could really use his help, he will help even if it is a task he doesn’t like.  His younger siblings?  Forget it.  You could beg and plead and if they don’t want to, they won’t!  It takes lots of different “sneaky” strategies to make this house of seven flow.)

We are doing activities this month with the color “green” and I asked him to find the letters to spell “green” for me.  As I mentioned, these letters were going to be used later in a letter activity with the younger kids.

He organized the whole container of beads by color, and found all the letters for the word “green”.  He attempted the words of the other colors, but there was not enough letters to spell the colors.  I was proud of him, as I didn’t ask him to go to that step.  So, now I knew this was a manipulative that was peaking his interest.

After sorting out the colors and the word “green”, we put the other beads away.  I gave him some cord and pony beads, and clear beads and he strung a necklace.  He counted how many pony beads he wanted on each side. Then how many clear beads to place next to each letter bead and he came up with a nice pattern.

As he worked, he changed his mind a few times and unstrung the beads.  Then he started over with counting and spacing them again.

He was really proud of the outcome.  He especially likes it if he thinks it was all his idea. Shhhhhh.  We won’t tell him he was set up…

He remade this again, taking it all apart and adding in black pony beads.  You can see that version in the middle of the table below.

His brothers also wanted to work with the beads and spelling words, so we brought out a package of black and white alphabet beads also purchased from the same store for around $4.

This turned out to be a very good activity for boys.  I knew girls enjoy making necklaces, but I never thought my boys would enjoy it and want to wear them.  This is really a great activity for boys and girls.  I think using colors that appeal more to boys, and using alphabet letters, made it seam like a guy thing.  I am sure if we were using pink, purple, and delicate colors and flowers, my boys would not have been very interested.

In the picture below, the six year old is making a necklace with a message for his dad.  We talked about making a pattern.  He doesn’t yet have the insight to make the pattern first in his mind.  He needs to lay out the parts and then follow the steps.  Where the ten year old is able to see the pattern in his head and work from there.


The eight year old could not quite get the concept that if he picked up the necklace, before tying an end closed, his beads were going to slide off.  I bet we picked up his beads at least a dozen times.

For some reason, he wanted to show me the necklace he made in a vertical position.  Yep, you guessed it.  Beads went everywhere over and over.  He just wanted to hold it this way, but would forget to hold on to the bottom, at all times.  Once he let go, we had beads all over the room.  (I think he might have enjoyed this.)

When the ten year old had a huge array of alphabet letters to work with, his language skills really started to show.   He made up all sorts of words, quickly and easily.  Then he used two pipe cleaners, and put on the words “Back Jack”.  Then he started chuckling and adding more beads and presented me with his funny necklace “Back Jack This Means You”.  He laughed and laughed.  I am not sure why it was so funny.

He continued making more words with the letters.  I it was really obvious this was working as a learning tool for him.

Later that night, he wore his creation to the 4 H meeting.  (To my horror. I hope
d no one would see it as disrespectful, because that wasn’t his intention, he just thought it was funny.)   But he was so proud of his creation, I just couldn’t say no when he asked if he could wear it to the meeting.

Making beaded necklaces was a great activity, because various skill levels can participate and still have fun.

All of the boys had a lot of fun.  We will definitely make this a regular activity in our workboxes.  I would like to create spelling worksheets or various printables to go along with this. 

I will keep you posted.

How do you incorporate words with your reluctant speller? 
Leave a comment.  Thank you!

This post will be linked up with
Kids Get Crafty
The Play Academy
Learn and Link

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P Is For Pasta

                                    P Is For Pasta

We have been learning about the letter “P” for our Letter Of The Week.  You can read a summary of our Letter Of The Week “P” here and I will add more links as I get them published.  Be sure to check the side bar for more stories and helpful how to’s for the Letter Of The Week.

Making colored pasta is very easy and a frugal craft to do with your kids.  Pictured below is about $0.20 worth of pasta in the containers, and we will have left overs to use again.  It can be used later in lots of different ways besides this letter art project today.  It can also be used in a bin to hide learning objects in, to fill containers to make musical instruments, to use it as a medium to make collages or other art projects, to string and make jewelry or sew it onto a card or use a funny button on a felt outfit or puppet.  You can also make it a fun science project when you include the children and let them experiment with various colors and learn about staining objects.  See our colored rice project here for ideas on using pasta in place of rice for a science project and lots of other ideas.

To see the directions for making colored pasta, read here.   We made ours pink for the letter “P”.

Activity Tray:

On a tray, I placed a piece of white paper with the letter “P”.    I traced a lid for the circle and a book edge for the line of the letter P.  Then I free handed the inner circle.  I traced it in pencil first and then with a pink crayon over the pencil line (if you are setting out this activity for older children, you can let them make the letter ‘P” themselves too).   I also set out some glue, a Q tip, and pink pasta on the tray.

Playing with colored pasta is a really fun sensory experience.  My 3 year old loves to feel it flow and move between her fingers as she scoops up a handful and then lets it slowly fall back into the pile.  She can hear it go “tap tap” as it falls.  It makes a “whoosh” sound as she scoops it up again.  Visually she sees a single piece of pasta as well as a mass of pieces together.  She can mound them up or press them down.  She can remove one, or some, to see how they look individually too.    

After my daughter had her fill of playing in the pasta, it was time to make the letter “P”.

I squirted dots of glue inside the “P” .

She used a Q tip to spread the glue.  I asked her if she thought she could paint the glue inside the lines and she said “sure I can” and I was impressed that she kept it all in. 

Sometimes how you present the idea makes all the difference in a child understanding the concept.  On the other hand, if they are not ready, they may not understand, no matter how many ways you present the idea.

About this time, younger brother age 2 decided he wanted to make one too.  I had anticipated this and had a tray ready for him, minus the plate of pasta.  I wrongly assumed they could share the same container of pasta.  Oh boy, an argument ensued!  This is what I mean that even if you try to explain a concept, (such as today we are sharing one plate of pasta to make our letter p) they may not quite understand or agree.  In this case, neither child wanted the other child to have the container with the special valuable sensory exploding pasta, so I ended up dividing it into two plates of pasta, one for each.

I was quite pleased that they went right back to the activity as soon as a second container of treasured pasta came to the rescue.

The two year old would add some pasta and then go back and paint a little bit with his Q tip in the next spaces.  I think he had more fun with the Q tip as he was exploring how it smeared the glue and then how the glue made the pasta stick to the page.

They both had a lot of fun with this activity, and next time I will use the leftover pasta to practice learning to spell their names.  Maybe we will use a rainbow of colored pasta next time.

I thought it was interesting how both the 3 year old and the 2 year old followed directions, but ended up with a slightly different looking “P”.


How do you play and learn with pasta?  Leave us a comment.  Thanks!

This post will be linked up with

Tot Tuesdays
Play Academy
We Play
ABC and 123
No Time For Flash Cards

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Colored Pasta

How To Make Colored Pasta

I made this colored pasta for less than $0.20 

Similar to making colored rice, making colored pasta is fun and frugal.  You can read how we made colored rice here.

You will need two cups of pasta.  1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol.  A few drops of food coloring of your choice.  A plastic bag (reuse an old one if available, ziploc or bread bags or any left over bag will do).

Add all of your ingredients to the plastic bag and zip or tie it shut.

Then shake it around for several minutes to evenly distribute the color.

Leave it in the bag for about 1 hour and shake it now and then to be sure the color stays evenly distributed.

Spread it out on a paper towel to dry for a couple of hours.  Now it is ready to use.

You can make just the color you need or make lots of colors for future projects. 

Have FUN!

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Colored Rice

Colored Rice Science with Kids In The Kitchen.

In The Kitchen

You can make an edible colored rice by using mashed cooked peas to color the rice green, carrots to color it orange, and red cabbage or red beets to color the rice pink.  

Just cook the rice in the pureed vegetable to create the color of your choice.   Add in the amount of pureed vegetable to the water, or chicken broth, and reduce the amount of liquid required to cook the rice by the amount of puree you add.  The rice will absorb the cooking water with the coloring of the pureed vegetable you added.  There will also be small pieces of the vegetable left and this really enhances the overall color you will see.  You can also use cooled cooked rice as a thickener in hot soups, or in cold smoothies such as with strawberries for pink, blueberries for purple, or with peaches for orange.


However, we are not eating today’s creation, so we made it with food coloring and rubbing alcohol.  Each of the five kids participated on their skill level.  The older children measured the alcohol, coloring, and rice.  The younger children helped prepare the table with needed items, helped shake, and spread.  

We made this colored rice for a science-art project, comparing colors, and to use in upcoming letter boxes, sensory bins, and arts and crafts.    We learned that if you add more or less drops of colors together, you get a new color.  For example, if you mix six drops of red with two drops of blue, you get a dusty rose color.

I encourage everyone to give this simple experiment a try.


This is so simple and frugal to do.  It costs approximately $0.50 a pound, but I am sure it could be done cheaper if you can get larger quantities of rice at a good price.  I bought a two pound bag of rice for $1 at the local dollar type store.  We used so little food coloring and rubbing alcohol that I didn’t even factor the cost in.  But a container of mixed colors cost us under $4 and a large bottle of rubbing alcohol was $1.  But we barely used both of these so the actual cost of using them was negligible.  If you want to, you could add on a few pennies and say you can make this project for under $0.55 a pound, but again I did not calculate actual values of the coloring and alcohol.

Two pounds of rice can be used to make a 2 lb batch of one color, or divided into either 2-1 lb batches or 4-1/2 pound batches, or 8-1/4 lb batches, or mix and match to equal the 2lbs (this is a great math lesson extension) depending on the colors and projects you want to use it for.  We made used the mix and match idea and made 1 lb of green, and 1/4 pound each of pink (dusty rose), blue, and yellow.

How To Make Colored Rice

Start with measuring the amount of rice you want to color into a plastic bag.  I did not have a lot of nice new bags on hand.  And in the spirit of keeping this project frugal, I just improvised.  So we re-used several plastic bags including one large and one small ziploc, a reused bread bag, and the original package the rice came in. 

Add a spoon of rubbing alcohol.

Add a few drops of food coloring.

Observe.  We noticed the color spread to several rice grains very quickly.

Now shake.  Make sure your bag is closed!

Shake some more.

Observe again.

Leave the bag closed for about an hour, and shake a few more times when you think about it.  Then after about an hour, pour the contents onto a paper towel lined cookie sheet, and allow to dry for a few hours.  Then place in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.

We repeated the above process three more times to make other colors.  Then let them sit in the bags for an hour.

Then came the fun unveiling of our colored rice. 

Remember we started with plain white rice.  This is what rice looks like after the outer bran has been removed.  Set out some plain rice for the children to observe again.  Then have them compare it to the colored rice they made. 



Children really enjoy the sensory experience of playing in the colored rice.  It is beautiful to look at, and feels cool, stimulating, and relaxing to the hands. 

Tots, Preschoolers, and lower Elementary age kids really like playing “I Spy” and “Hide and Seek” games with object hidden in the colored rice. 

There are so many fun possibilities with using this as a prop and learning tool in their play.

Get the broom ready!

We had so much fun making this today.  Just look at what we made for about $1.

Now we will add some funnels, scoops, spoons, hide some objects, put in some cars or construction equipment, some little animals, make some crafts, and have so much fun!!!

I will post some links here to related stories playing and learning we did with this colored rice as I get them published.  I have a lot of toddler and  preschool learning and sensory activities in mind, and art projects with all age groups too.


To continue the learning of rice, show the children pictures of rice plants growing in a rice paddie and show them what rice looks like when it is harvested. 

You could also cook some rice in water for 20 minutes and let them compare it in the learning process and eat it too. 

You can also look up where rice is grown in the USA and where it is grown in the world and mark the locations on a map.

Older children can write down their observations from coloring the rice, or make a graph of the amount of drops used for colors, or mixing different color combinations and the new colors it created. 

They could also write out a recipe for making colored rice.

Make an I spy activity using the rice.

Make a letter box or spelling box using the rice to hide words or items that start with a letter.

Make crafts using rice as the medium.

Use the rice as a background for other play similar to using a sandbox.


The children will not want you to put this away.  It is way too much fun!!!

How do you use colored rice?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  Thank you.

This post will be linked up with

The Play Academy
We Play
Kids Get Crafty
ABC and 123
Tot Tuesdays
Sunday Science
No Time For Flash Cards

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Valentine Goodie Bags

Working Together To Accomplish A Common Goal.

Do you ever long for your kids to cooperate with each other?  One way to give them some practice working together is to set up some common goals.  With Valentines Day just around the corner, we have been practicing working together to prepare for this special holiday.

Here is a quick and fun activity you can do with your kids and help them learn to work together.  Let them prepare Valentine Goodie Bags to share with their friends.  All five of my children ages 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, each had a “job” in putting these bags together.  But no ones job could accomplish the goal alone.  Instead they had to work together as a team, and they had lots of fun. 

These were very inexpensive to make.  We found most of the items at the dollar store.  We were able to make 24 goodie bags for less than $0.70 each.  We had several leftovers too, and could have doubled up on some items and made 48 goodie bags for approximately $0.60 each. 

You can make these with lots of variety, and more or less expense.  You could spend more and add toys, or cookie cutters and play dough, or other options too.  We stuck with candy and a pencil to keep costs down.

We set up an assembly line and each child had a category they were responsible for putting into the bag.
The eight year old started the process off with a bag and pencil. Then passed the bag.
The three year old added her candy. Then passed the bag.
The six year old added his candy. Then passed the bag.
The two year old added a sucker. Then passed the bag.
The ten year old added more candy and helped the two year old with his task.  Then placed the bag in a box.

The oldest and youngest worked together.

Our ingredients for the goodie bags included a heart sucker, heart pencil, a box of conversation hearts, a candy bracelet, and some chewy taffy candy.  

I also made some personal gift tags.  I found a nice graphic online, added a personal note, and our family names.  I printed them on business card sheets, which gave me 10 tags per sheet.

The 10 year old hole punched the tags.  The eight year old separated the tags.

The two and three year olds sorted the twisty ties for the bags.

The eight and ten year olds tied the tags to the bags.

Then the three year old placed the finished bags back into the box.

The children were very pleased with their gifts they prepared to share with friends.

They worked together and reached their goal.  This success will benefit them by building confidence and will strengthen their relationship skills.

I was pleased with the outcome too.  I wish I had printed off a little math graphing game, and a tic tac toe game, to go along with the conversation hearts.  I didn’t think of adding it until the bags were already closed, and I didn’t think I had the time to fix it.  Perhaps the game could have been printed on the back side of the gift tags.  That would be a really fun addition to these goodie bags, and made them even more special.  Maybe I will remember to do it for next year!

What goodies are your kids sharing with friends and family this Valentines Day?

If you have a Valentines Day craft, recipe, celebration, lesson theme, or activity you would like to share, please join our link up or leave a comment.  Thanks. 

You can find our VALENTINES DAY LINK UP  at the bottom of the Valentine Bag Craft article.

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Valentine Bag Craft

We are going to a Valentine Party on Valentines Day and there will be valentines to exchange, roller skating, and snacks to share. 

The kids are so excited today because we are making our Valentine Bags to collect our friends cards in for the party.
                                                                                        Posted at the bottom of this story is a Link Up. 
                                                                                Be sure to link up your Valentines activites to share with us.

On the table I set out a white paper bag for each child.  In the middle of the table is a container with various hearts cut from foam, glitter glue sticks, pencils, etc.  You can make the foam hearts yourself or buy them in kits from the dollar store.   Except for the glue and crayons we had on hand, all the other supplies for this craft came from the dollar store.  In a bowl on the table are some small glittery hearts.  And in another bowl are crayons in various shades of pink, white, and red.  There are some letter stickers for making our names.  There are some bottles of glue and scissors too.

The first step was to spell their names with letter stickers some where on the bag.  I figured if we didn’t do that first, there wouldn’t be enough room in the end to do it.

The 3 year old was so proud of her bag.  She loved putting her hearts all over her page.  We found letters in pink tiger print for her name.  She was super pleased.

The 2 year old was more into grabbing the glue sticks and putting them in his pockets than decorating his bag.  I didn’t get a picture of him placing his hearts on his bag after I helped him put glue on the back side of his hearts.  My hands were to sticky with glue.  But here you can see him running off with another glue stick.

Here the 8 year old was thinking through his design and what he wanted his bag to look like.   I noticed he started out placing his hearts in patterns and then tied them together with glitter glue chains.

The 10 year old decided to cut out some of the pictures from the packaging rather than just use the foam hearts.  He found all sorts of neat valentines things to cut out on the stuff that was meant to throw away.

The 6 year old was filling his space with lots of hearts in all sizes.

We decorated the back side of the bags too.  Here my 3 year old is using a glitter glue stick to make swirls and circles, and used some of her brother’s cut outs.

With this activity she practiced several fine motor skills.  She learned about the HEART shape.  She learned about the colors RED, PINK, and WHITE.

We had so much fun decorating these bags.  The kids are very proud of their creations.  They are super excited about Valentines Day and the upcoming party.

We have several more Valentines Day crafts and adventures planned, so stay tuned for more stories.

If you have a Valentines Day craft, recipe, celebration, lesson theme, or activity you would like to share, please join our link up or leave a comment.  Thanks.

Valentines Day Link Up

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