Painting Inside a Box

We had some boxes that were recently unpacked. One was pretty big so I put Isabella (4 yrs old) inside the box with paint and a few brush choices. The mess was completely contained and she had a great time for about an hour. This is a good craft idea for the little kids on a gross rainy day (which is what’s going on here today).


Summer Challenge Notebook


This is a fun summer project for teens, tweens, and older kids. I made this for my 12 year old. I bought the little notebook at Hobby Lobby craft store. There is a small pocket in the back of the notebook for her to save tickets and things. I preferred this idea to the summer jar that we did last year because she can save this and look back on it years from now.


I split each page in half and then wrote a goal that seemed appropriate. Each goal has a small box next to it that she can place a star sticker in upon completion. There ended up being over 300 activities/goals in this book! I will now include a list of some of our ideas to get you started on making one for your child (or yourself).

  1. Swimming
  2. State Park
  3. Bakery
  4. Go to a friend’s house
  5. Beach
  6. Mall
  7. Make cookies
  8. Library (Listed a few different branches that we have near by)
  9. Paint
  10. Make a bird house
  11. Play fetch with a dog
  12. See a mountain
  13. Ice-cream cone
  14. Scavenger hunt
  15. Make rock candy
  16. Putt-putt golf
  17. Watch a movie made before 1983
  18. Borax crystals
  19. Flea market
  20. Farmer’s market
  21. Learn how to cook an egg
  22. Make a dream catcher
  23. Paper plate craft
  24. Draw
  25. Read a book (This is listed 10 times)
  26. Neighborhood walk
  27. Fly a kite
  28. Root beer float
  29. Plant seeds
  30. Yard sale
  31. Make something to wear
  32. Flip-flop redo
  33. Paint with straws
  34. Candy store
  35. Tie Dye T-shirt
  36. Pasta Salad (one of our summer traditions)
  37. Arboretum
  38. Play a board game
  39. Finger paint
  40. Go out for Ice-cream
  41. Visit Grandma
  42. Water balloon fight
  43. Drink an orange soda
  44. Go to a state park
  45. Go somewhere new (Listed multiple times, space left for her to fill in where she went)
  46. Make pizza
  47. Squirt Gun Fight
  48. Baseball game
  49. Make a craft you find on pinterest
  50. Make a bracelet
  51. Play in the hose/sprinkler
  52. Pudding painting
  53. See a waterfall
  54. Make cookies
  55. Friendship bracelets
  56. Paint a rock
  57. Eat a new fruit
  58. Go out to eat
  59. Eat something new
  60. Visit Grandpa
  61. Disney movie night
  62. Eat watermelon
  63. Bake bread
  64. Pet store
  65. Museum
  66. Water slide
  67. Side-walk chalk
  68. Go hiking
  69. Do a science experiment (Listed a few times)
  70. Make a tent/fort
  71. Have a friend spend the night
  72. Pet a farm animal
  73. Make slime
  74. Paint nails and toe nails
  75. Walk in the woods
  76. Lemonade
  77. Jump rope
  78. Spend a day outside
  79.    Family game night
  80.   Go for a walk
  81.    Wish on a shooting star
  82.    Go fishing
  83.    Listen to music
  84.    Hiking
  85.    Watch a sunset
  86.    Watch a sunrise
  87.    Catch bugs
  88.    Swing
  89.    Go down a slide
  90.   Color a picture
  91.   Picnic
  92.   Ride an amusement park ride
  93.   Eat a hotdog/hamburger
  94.   No electronics for a whole day
  95.   Lay on a big blanket outside and read
  96.   Watch a movie
  97.   Eat corn on the cob
  98.   Make S’mores
  99.    Dance

There’s a whole list of options! I hope your summer is a memorable one!


Glitter Pumpkins


We are currently living in a third floor walk-up with no balcony so trying to find a place to put our carved pumpkins was an issue. I came across this idea while cruising pinterest. It is super easy and even 2-year-old Isabella could do it without help. You simply paint a white mini pumpkin with Elmer’s glue and then sprinkle with sparkles, continuing until the entire pumpkin is covered. We used Q-tips to spread the glue on them. I also opted for the glitter in a shaker bottle. It’s like using a salt shaker. Super easy!

The girls had fun making them and we can keep them on our kitchen table. I highly suggest this to anyone, especially those families who have no outdoor space of their own!

Cost – under $10 with leftover glitter and glue for another project

Happy Halloween!

Repurposed Kids Toys and Craft Projects

The toys that little kids love the best are very simple. You can repurpose things around the house into hours of free kiddy entertainment! Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:

1.) Shakers – This is a great way to multipurpose old plastic jars, plastic spice containers, and plastic Easter eggs (Isabella’s favorite). Add uncooked rice, dried beans, or stale cereal to the containers. If it doesn’t close tightly or you’re worried about your kids opening it, add a strip of packing tape around the opening. Note: Watch small kids closely! They  could choke! Even with the tape they could get this open. (6 months – 5 years)

2.) Junk Mail – Instead of tossing your junk mail, allow your kids to draw and color on it. Glue it, tear it, fold it, and so on. You can still toss it in the bin when they finish. (1 yrs +)

3.) Used gift wrap – Rip it in small pieces and let your kids use a glue stick to attach it to an index card or piece of paper. This is a great post-holiday or birthday party craft. Save a little of each type for a colorful end result. (This has kept Isabella occupied for over an hour!) (2 yrs +)

4.) Old Books – Books in bad shape can be reused as a memory book. Glue decorative paper, photographs, tickets, postcards, and other memorabilia to the pages. You can paint the pages before or use paint and glitter to decorate after. Let your kids create a custom cover by painting or covering with paper or other items. They can add their own art work to the mix. If the spine is peeling, use packing tape to repair it before they start. A ripped page can be removed, you can glue paper to it as a repair, or you can leave half a page for visual interest. This project is for the older kids or small kids with the help of an adult. Makes a great gift! (5 yrs – adult with emphasis on the 9-12 year olds)

5.) Paper Towel Rolls – Decorate with crayons or construction paper for a fun day of playing pirate! (2-5 yrs old)

6.) Out Grown Baby Clothing – Baby clothing can make the best baby doll clothing! Kids are also very forgiving of stains. Try to find a doll roughly the size of a newborn and save the clothing this size and small 0-3 months. Place them in a drawer or container for the best doll wardrobe around! (1 – 7 yrs old)

Making a “What Will We Do in Summer?” Jar

We began with a family sized spaghetti sauce jar that we washed out, removed label from, and dried throughly. I used card stock scraps to make bright-colored squares (about 1×1) and rectangles (about 2×1). All were cut free hand and varied slightly in shape and size. I put the scraps in a small shopping bag.

We all sat at the table and took turns pulling out a paper scrap without looking. The green scraps are for weekend ideas and the rest are for weekdays. After we pulled our scrap of paper, we would write something to do that day. (We used sharpie markers to write because the pen did not show up as well. Except Isabella who scribbled on hers in ink pen.) We could write a place to go, an activity to do, a craft to make, something to learn about (Learn 5 words in Italian or Learn something about Bee Keeping) or a question to answer (“What do they eat in Japan?” or “Where is Belize?” or “Who is Tony Blair?” or “What is the tallest mountain in the United States?” etc, etc, etc). It was then folded and placed in the jar. Ivy was so excited when she would get to pick a weekend option! There were a few rules for picking outings. Weekday outings and activities had to be less than $5 to do. Many of ours were completely free! Weekend outings had to get approval. We agreed to things that were not too expensive and were not more than a couple of hours away. I also made sure that there was educational value in at least 90% of the ideas.

Every morning during summer break, the kids will pull one thing out to do that day. The scrap of paper will then go into a small bag. At the end of summer we will use the scraps of paper and some photographs taken to add to our family scrap-book so the girls will always remember what they did the summer of 2012.

P.S. Toddler Note: We wanted Isabella to feel included in the process so she put hers in too. After we had finished I dumped them in a bag and fished hers out before replacing them. When she had a true idea we included it. She came up with color pictures and see fish. She loved being part of it!