Earth Day 2014

I’m always looking for ways to teach my children about the earth. Be it talking to them about replacing what we use or discussing the importance of recycling, every chance I get, I try to stress the importance of being kind to our planet. I especially enjoy doing kid-friendly activities that focus on Earth Day topics!

Today The Younger and I decided to plant. Planting here in Florida is a bit challenging because the soil is so sandy and it’s hard to keep critters away since they’re out and about all the time rather than hightailing it out of town in the winter months (which is the best time for planting in my opinion). We’ve solved that problem by planting seeds and growing them on our screened-in pool patio and then putting them in the raised gardening bed. Anyway, we decided to use egg cartons, a recycled container from sliced fruit, and the plastic container from those wet mop pads.

She was excited to wash these, and that just added to the fun. She did a good job too, and I’m pretty sure the 30 minutes she spent scrubbing got every single crevice clean ;-)

When she was done (it took some urging), we went outside to fill our containers with dirt, put our seed in, and then lightly watered them. I used a straw-full of water because I didn’t have a mister, and that worked well. I would also like to mention that you should probably poke holes in the bottoms of the containersbeforeyou fill them with dirt, not afterward like I did.

We talked about which ’planter’ we thought would grow the best seedlings and why, and then we decided to cover one of the planters and not the others to see which way would be more successful.

Now, we wait. She’s really excited to grow these, and she wants to be “in charge” of the whole project. Hopefully they’ll sprout and we can move them over to the full-sized garden in a few weeks!

 

 

 

Spring Bird Using Child’s Footprint

I thought this was adorable. The Younger made this in class, so I wanted to share it. It looks easy enough, and I think it would make a great Easter project/gift for Grandparents or other family members. Maybe even a good gift for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Bookmarks

While I’d like to take credit for these, I didn’t come up with the idea myself. I saw it on Pinterest, and all I can say is that I did go to the store myself and I punched the designs into the paint chip cards. Not much effort on my part, but I’m still impressed that I did it…

 

The Younger and I had a good time with these, after a lot of silent cursing and bruised thumbs because I bought the worst craft punches ever. She got to cut the ribbon and told me where to punch the hearts and stars, and then she did some “free” art with the cutouts.

I used the above supplies, but you don’t need anything other than the paint chip cards and the heart punch. I just prefer smooth corners, so I used my scrap-booking corner cutter.

When she lost interest, she moved on to her own artwork. Needless to say, she had a great time! I saved all the tiny hearts she didn’t use, because I’m sure we’ll come up with something fun to do with them!

No Fireplace Mantel for Stockings? No Problem!

We don’t have a mantel, and it was frustrating when it came time to hang the stockings by the chimney with care. I looked around on the internet, but it turned out there was very little to choose from when it came to hanging things on brick! I ended up fashioning something out of what we had here at home, and I was pretty pleased with how it came out!

All I had to do to achieve this was secure one 3M hanger (with the adhesive backs) on either side of the brick face. I let that sit overnight, and then I strung some heavy Christmas-themed ribbon across and tied the ends around the hooks. I then used some leftover wire ornament hangers for the ‘hangers’, and voila! The stockings hung beautifully!

One word of caution: This is not ideal for stockings that are filled. I’d suggest leaving Santa a note and telling him to remove the stockings, fill them, and then place them somewhere else, like on a table or couch.

 

Countdown to Christmas Calendar

We have all sorts of calendars to help us count down to the Big Day. We have Santa with a cotton ball beard, an Advent calendar that was sent home from school that is complete with Bible verses, chocolate countdowns… But this one has turned out to be a favorite for the kids.

I got a simple calendar from the Dollar Store, and I found some ‘miniature’ ornaments. I had these tiny tress that I picked up some years ago (and I still see at places like Michael’s stores), and couldn’t find a good use for, so I decided that I’d fill the days with the ornaments, and the kids could decorate their own tress by removing ornaments from the corresponding day’s pocket.

I love this, because their tress are different every year, and unlike our family tree in the living room, I don’t cringe when they want to cluster the ornaments on one branch or shed a tear when they take the ornaments off and relocate them depending on their mood. They each have their own tree to decorate as they wish, and no one can tell them how it “should” be done; there’s absolutely no fighting about where specific things should go, and that’s wonderful! :-)