Cinnamon Ornaments

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This one is for my sister in law who wanted to learn to make cinnamon ornaments — it’s so easy and is a great project to do with kids!

First, you can find a lot of different recipes, but it’s pretty basic.  Mix equal parts of cinnamon and apple sauce, maybe a cup of each.  You can add in a tablespoon each of ground cloves and nutmeg and also a couple tablespoons of regular white school glue if you like.  (This is the recipe I used.)  Mix the ingredients together until they form a smooth dough.  If it’s too sticky, add a bit more cinnamon.  If it crumbles apart, blend in a little more applesauce.  After a little stirring and kneading, it should look like this:

Cinnamon Ornaments

Sprinkle a little cinnamon on a rolling pin and roll out the dough.  You’ll want to keep it at least a quarter inch thick so your ornaments won’t be too fragile after they dry.  Then use cookie cutters or freehand cut out shapes.  (I used a wine glass and a smaller glass to shape simple wreaths.)

Cinnamon Ornaments

Cinnamon Ornaments

Use a pencil/chopstick/dowel/straw/whatever to make a little hole in each ornament for hanging.  Knead the scraps back together and roll it back out again to use as much of it as possible.  Keep dusting cinnamon on your rolling pin as needed to avoid sticking.

IMG_0382

Transfer them to an ungreased cookie sheet.  You can either leave them out for a couple days until they dry, or bake them at very low heat (200F) for several hours.  When they’re completely dry, they’re ready to use.

Cinnamon Ornament Tie Ons

You’ll end up with wonderfully scented ornaments for your tree or package tie-ons!

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Chalkboard Flower Pots

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Happy Cilantro

Transforming a plain terracotta flower pot using a little tape/primer/chalkboard paint makes for a very happy little cilantro!  I think I’ll use a few more chalkboard pots so that I can label my little seedlings, then change the look of their pots as they grow more recognizable.

It might be more fun with the entire pot painted, don’t you think?  And just imagine how kids would love to start their own seeds, then scribble words of encouragement to their tiny plants as they grow!  It might be fun to line a walkway before a party with congratulations and words of welcome hidden among beautiful blooms.

As it is, I’m going to leave my happy little cilantro and a piece of chalk in the kitchen window and wait to see what it becomes next.

The Easiest Game of Catch Ever

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Craft Supplies

If you anticipate having a bored child at some point this winter, it’s a good idea to have a stash of knit gloves, Velcro dots and practice golf balls hidden away.  I took these along when visiting with my tiny nieces and nephew at the holidays, and they helped me with these pictures.

First you want to stick the scratchy Velcro dots to the practice golf balls.  (Don’t stick the scratchy dots on the gloves or the gloves will stick to themselves and you’ll end up with a frustrated child.  Not what we’re going for here!)

Crafting lets you sneak in all kinds of other learning.  If you want the kids to work on their counting skills, give instructions like, “Let’s put five dots on this ball.”

Stick the Rough Velcro to the Wiffle Golf Balls

You don’t really need the softer Velcro dots on the gloves, but the kids will probably like sticking them on.

"They Go Here"

My little niece really enjoyed this part.  She put her hands in the gloves to see how far up she needed to put the dots, and then imagined herself much bigger and put the dots way above her fingertips.  The gloves themselves will work as the soft Velcro to catch the balls, so no correction was needed.  Let them imagine big grown up hands, it’s all good.

When it’s time to play, it’s better to just use one glove to catch and keep one hand glove-free to pull off the ball and throw back.  Tell them it’s like baseball, you just wear one.

Suddenly they’re WAY better at playing catch than they’ve ever been before!  All you need to do is toss the ball to their hands and it will stick.

Just TRY Not to Catch These!

Catch played this way helps younger kids and older kids to play together with much less “can’t catch” drama.  My sports minded brother in law noticed that gloves made it easier to catch the “right” way, either over or underhanded, and thought it would help in their sports development.  I just liked having quiet craft time with a group of small kids of different ages, and they ended up with self-made toys they could keep.  This craft was a winner all the way around!

Paint Your Family

Do-It-Yourself Family

I purchased this little unfinished wooden family from Goose Grease Undone as a Christmas gift for my brother and sister in law’s family.  They’re home schooling, and I thought this would make a creative art project and keepsake to let each of the kids paint their own self portrait.  It will be interesting to see the details the different aged kids see in themselves, and even a messy, multicolored little one would be absolutely adorable.

The kit comes in a wooden box that makes gift giving easy – I added a ribbon and a tag and it was ready to go!

Simple Wrapping

Who knows, maybe one of them will see themselves as a ninja.

Tiny Ninja

(This one is from MooShooPork.  My kids asked for “tiny ninjas” for Christmas.)

Snowball Soap

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Snowball soap is a quick easy craft to do for or with children.  (I’ve also given snowball soaps to adult friends who seemed to like it.)  Start with bars of soap, one bar for each snowball you’d like to make.

Ivory Soap

Use a cheese grater to shred the bars.  I like Ivory because it’s less dense than most soaps and grates so easily.  (This part should be done by an adult or a careful older child.)  Looks like cheese, doesn’t it?

It's Not Cheese, It's Soap

Add water, a little at a time, and stir it around with your hands until your soap foams a little and is easy to form into balls.  You can make plain snowball soap if you like, but if you want to add a little extra fun (or encourage the kids to wash their hands more often), you may want to add a little prize.  Little balls work well, of course, but I like to hide little toy animals or dinosaurs inside.  I found these at Tractor Supply.  They were a little more expensive than what I might have found elsewhere, but the models were so well made I couldn’t resist.

Soap "Prizes"

Form the shape of a ball with your sudsy, shredded soap, starting with your little prize if you want to add one.  Then set them out on a rack to dry, which may take a day or so.

Snowball Soap

If giving them as a gift, once they’re dry you can wrap them in plastic wrap and tie them with a pretty ribbon.  This is an easy, inexpensive gift for kids to make for friends, classmates and relatives – and since it’s soap it’s a really easy craft to clean up after.

sarahsigres