Category Archives: Invitations to Play

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Apple Wreaths

 

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I love to decorate my home with my kids’ crafts projects—and they love to see their creations hanging around our home! That’s why I especially love projects that can be used specifically for decorations. The kids and I made these great apple wreaths the other day and they were so easy and turned out great!

 

What you need:

  • Blog Apple Wreath Template for the apples and leaves—or draw your own. :-)
  • Construction paper in red, green, yellow, and brown—or have your kids color their own.
  • Paper plates with the center cut out to make a wreath
  • Scissors
  • Glue

 

Throughout the morning, we talked about apples, different kinds of apples, what you can do with them, what colors they are, etc. I then gave them each a stack of apples I had cut out ahead of time in red, yellow, and green. You could also have them color the apples in different colors, but this worked best for our timeframe that day. I also gave them each leaves in green and yellow and some brown stems. They had had a paper plate, out of which I had cut the center to create a wreath, and some Elmer’s glue (though my 2 year old switched to a glue stick part way through and it worked just fine.)

 

I let them have at it and here is one of their creations. Fun, Festive, Fall wreaths! :-)

 

-Lydia

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Fall Tree Invitation to Play

photo 1It just wouldn’t be fall without a fresh, fun invitation to play! The kids and I have been learning about the seasons lately, and of course, honing in on fall. Today they used play dough to decorate their own multi-colored fall trees.

 

I use THIS play dough recipe often, so we have accumulated several colors. I gave each child small balls of each color that could work for leaves. Today, I didn’t care that much if the colors mixed a bit as some of these colors were getting quite old. I also gave each child 1 stick (to start with) that they had picked up during a recent fall walk. By the end, we added in several more sticks and a few pom poms for fun.

 

photo 2We talked about fall, why and how the leaves change colors and fall off the trees. We flipped through a book about the seasons and discussed it, and we also looked up pictures of fall leaves on google images to view the many color options. Then I presented each of them with their plate and explained that they were going to get to make their own fall tree and to give it as many fun colors as possible!

 

They loved it. We had all different varieties!

 

photo 3Then of course, they went on to create other things as they often do, but how often do you get to to play with multiple play dough colors that you can mix a bit anyway? :-)

 

-Lydia

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No sew baby doll sling in 5 minutes!

Has anyone else noticed the rising trend of mothers who wear their babies? We have worn all three of our children and I love it, but I’m amazed by how many people tell me “I wish they’d had something like that when I was raising my children,” or “they sure do come up with great ideas these days.” In reality, baby wearing has been around for many, many years, but I think Americans are just reclaiming it in the last decade or so. That said, our daughters see us (and many other mamas) wearing our babies and they want to wear their babies as well. I looked up no sew baby slings for some ideas and found the concept HERE. I felt pretty silly that I hadn’t come up with it myself! It’s so easy and I was able to do it for both my kids using items I had around the house, so the best part was (drum roll please!) it was FREE and only took FIVE minutes!! :-)

 

Here’s how you can do it too!

 

  • Strip of fabric that will wrap around your child from one should to under the other arm and have enough space to stick a doll or stuffed animal in it. (Maybe 1 ½ yards??)

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I actually used an old skirt I didn’t need anymore; cut in half and cut the waistband off. I then cut down the side seam so it would just be a strip of fabric. Unless the fabric frays really easily, it should be fine.

  • Fabric Scissors
  • 3 rings. I used those plastic connecting rings found in the baby toy section of stores for like $2. They come in packages of about 36 I think.image

This picture shows the portion I cut out of the skirt and then you can see where I cut down the side seam.

 

Next, I put the strip of fabric on my son with all three rings near one end of the fabric. I brought the fabric up from the other end and thread it through the rings from the bottom to the top. (So you have fabric going both directions through the 3 rings.) Then, I pushed that same section of fabric (the one that came from the bottom) back through the bottom ring only to hold it in place.image

 

A few adjustments and a baby, and my kiddos now have ring slings to carry their babies in just like me! :-)

 

I tell ya’ the things they come with these days! :-)

image-Lydia

 

Sun Invitation to Play

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“Oh Mr. Sun, sun, Mr. golden sun, please shine down on me…” I often think of that song in the summertime. The big, bright, jolly Mr. Sun just seems to be a part of summertime fun—especially when you have kids! I decided to incorporate this idea recently when I did a sun themed invitation to play with my kiddos. Here’s what we did!

 

I made up 2 batches of play dough using THIS recipe. One yellow and one orange—though I’m no expert on color mixing. My son thought the orange was pink and with good reason. :-) I also had some leftover red play dough that I divided amongst the kids as well. In addition, I gave each kid…

  • 2 blue paper circles for eyes
  • 1 strip of pink ribbon for a mouth
  • 1 pair of sunglasses (we were recently given several for free!)
  • A few cut up circles (I used a design scissors to make it more interesting) for flowers
  • Some strips of green paper for grass

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As always, I used the invitation to play as an opportunity to learn about and discuss the sun. We talked about the sun specifically as well as why we have it and what it does. Then I explained the items on their plates and let them have at it! They enjoyed making their own suns and understood that it can look different colors at different times. Then they also enjoyed making things grow with their suns. If I were to do it again though, I would give them the sun items first and after a while give them the flowers and grass to add to what they had already done. I think it was a little overkill for the younger ones, but they still enjoyed it. Definitely an activity worth doing when you want to do something indoors on a hot day!

-Lydia

A different approach to play dough…

imageI recently posted about our fun Play dough invitation to play where the kids made their own flowers. See the link HERE. Today I’m going to share a fun, but different idea to use play dough and create flowers. I found that all the ages (2–almost 5) enjoyed this, but the almost 5 year old definitely got the most into it! This is great for kids who enjoy coloring or painting. I liked this concept because it encourages creativity, helps the kids use different motor skills than in painting/coloring yet different than typical play dough too. It was SO easy to prep and provided lots of variations. PLUS it’s reusable!

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I simply googled “flower line drawing,” and selected the ones I thought were simple with plenty of wide open spaces. I decided to do one page worth, so I chose 4 and made them ¼ of a sheet in size. I pasted them in Word and adjusted them. I printed and laminated my sheet, cut them out, and presented them to the kids! Here is some of what they came up with!

If you want to use my sheet, HERE (Blog Flower Card Printables) is the attachment, otherwise, be creative and have fun!! :-)

-Lydia

Invitation to Play: Flowers

During the summer, I tend to enjoy incorporating flower crafts into my kid craft times. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I LOVE Invitations to Play, so here is what we came up with for this week!

First, I let the kids make their own play dough. This makes it so special! HERE is a link to my favorite play dough recipe. If you were to do it yourself, it would only take you 5-10 minutes per batch. It’s also super cheap and all common ingredients (as long as you have cream of tartar). Homemade play dough is one of my “go to” activities. This time, the kids chose green, pink, and two different shades of purple. We decided to add glitter to all 4 colors to make it more fun! The kids are all 4 and under, so they did all of the pouring and I did the part on the stove. They loved watching and we discussed color mixing along the way.

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Next, I gave them each a plate with a mound of each color of play dough, a green pipe cleaner cut in half and 2 green leaves. There’s LOTS of flexibility here! That’s what I had on hand, but here are some other ideas.

  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Cut up straws
  • Pom poms
  • Real leaves
  • Fake leaves
  • Real flowers
  • Fake flowers
  • Sticks
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Spices
  • Bay Leaves
  • Paper Circles

Next, talk about flowers, how they grow, and why God gives them to us. They are such a joy! My daughter happened to be wearing a shirt with a large daisy on it, so we talked through each of the parts of a flower as well. I’m always looking for those teachable moments!

The kids spent over an hour on this project! There were some flowers made, but here are some of their creations. :-) image

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Next time, I’m going to share the other super fun activity we did with their play dough.

-Lydia