DIY Recycled Kid’s Art Calendar


DIY Kid's Art Calender - This activity is easy peasy lemon squeezy! Find some kid art, staple a printable calendar to it, and that's it!

DIY Kid's Art Calender

Have some extra kids’ art laying around the house? This DIY Recycled Kid’s Art Calendar is a simple craft to talk about and prepare for the new year ahead! Plus, it’s a makeshift way to decorate your home or office with your child’s art. Here’s how it’s done…


  • Child’s artwork
  • Free printable monthly calendar (like this one or this one)
  • Stapler

Recycled child's painting on 18x12 paper for DIY art calendar

First, sift through the pile of your child’s artwork that has been piling up that you swear you’ll go through on day. I picked out this painting on a 18×12 piece of  paper.

free printable yearly calendar for DIY kid's art calendar craft

Go online and find a printable calendar of the months of the year. I used this one, but anything you find to your liking will do.

Kid's Art Calendar

Simple kid's art calendar craft

Staple the calendar printout (make sure the months are in order!) to the child’s art project and hang for all to see and share throughout the new year!

Recycle children's art into a wall calender via SfCT

This doesn’t have to be a recycled art work project– You could invite kids to paint or draw or collage or however they enjoy expressing themselves on a large piece of construction paper, watercolor paper, or poster board and then staple the printable calendar once the artwork is completed. Regardless if the art is new or old, this is a simple and artful way to celebrate the new year. After your calendar is done, mark important dates like birthdays and holidays and/or enjoy reading a story about the months of the year.

Happy New Year!




DIY Light Table + Light Play Explorations

DIY Light Table for Kids

…. Or perhaps the post should be titled “A Tale of Two Light Tables”?  Below are two DIY light table methods, one I created last year and one I put together this month. After reading more about the Reggio Emilia educational approach and being inspired by the photos in this post by Racheous, I’ve been trying to find more opportunities to provide light play in our home. Light play is a creative, open-ended learning experience for children with so many outlets for inquiry, experimentation, and most importantly — FUN! It can be a platform for discovering color theory, light and shadows, creating art, construction, and sensory play to name a few explorations. When we moved last spring, I gave away the first light table I made and decided to try an entirely different method making a new one. Both light tables have pros and cons, but ultimately I have a favorite that will be revealed at the end of the post. Which will it be…..? Method #1 or method #2?! THE SUSPENSE!!!


DIY Light box for kids


  • Clear Plastic Storage Container with a flat surface. The size I used was 28-quarts, so a bin like this would do the job.
  • 2-3 Strands of White Holiday Lights
  • Parchment Paper
  • Scotch Tape
  • Extension Cord (optional)

Okay, here we go. Take off the lid of your container, connect two or three strands of holiday lights, and lay them in the bottom of your plastic container. You could drill a hole in the side for the plug, but I let the plug hang over the top of the bin and that seemed to work just fine for us.

DIY Light Box for kids 1

Next, tear a piece of parchment paper the size of your lid, trim with scissors for exact size, and tape it to the underside of the lid with clear scotch tape.

DIY Light Box for kids 3

DIY Light Box for Kids 2

DIY Light box for kids

Snap the lid on, plug in your light box, and you’re done. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!



DIY light table 6


DIY light table 1

Open your storage container and lay it so that the interior of the bin exposed. In a well ventilated area, spray the inside of the bin with the frosted semi-transparent spray paint covering all interior parts of the bin. Leave to dry. Spray additional coats if needed.


DIY light table 4

DIY light table 7

DIY light table 6

Once the container has completely dried, adhere your LED lights inside the bin.  Turn the lights on, snap on the lid, and voila!



While Light Table #1 was much easier to put together and far less expensive, the big downside of Light Table #1 is that it requires an electrical outlet. It limits where you can play and is also a safety concern. Light Table #2 required a bit more work and was more expensive, but is battery operated which allowed the table to be in any location. I also didn’t have to worry about the safety factor of being near an outlet or using an extension cord with the kids. After awhile though, the frosted paint would flake off where the lid snapped in place to the bottom of the container and would eventually in time need a new coat of paint.

Which out of the two do I prefer?  Light Table #1. Hands down. It’s low-cost (most of the materials were found around the house), easier to assemble, and the light is more evenly dispersed across the surface. The only thing Light Table #2 has going for it was that it was battery operated, which was handy because we could transport it anywhere.

If you’re interested in creating your own light table, the following posts served as excellent references:

{Easy, Low-cost} Light Table from TinkerLab
Super Simple DIY Light Table from Kara’s Classroom
Homemade Light Box from Happy Hooligans 


DIY light box 1


The below explorations are just a few of the ways we use our light table. Many of the ideas were inspired by Artful Parent (like THIS POST and THIS POST). See if you can notice the difference between the two tables in the pictures and how much these little hands have grown over the past year!


light table color blocks 2

light table blocks



waterbeads baby

light table watercolors 1


light table magnatiles 1

DIY light box

Light table explorations in the order of appearance from top to bottom:

  • Blocks with transparent centers — I learned about these wonderful rainbow staking blocks and kaleidoscopic blocks from my daughter’s preschool. The girls love playing with them with and without the light table.
  • Water Beads — My then 4-year-old enjoyed sorting the water beads and my then baby had such a good time exploring their texture.
  • Drawing with watercolors on the light table – Illuminates art projects in a whole new way.
  • Magna-Tiles — Magna-Tiles are so versatile and offer both color play and construction when using them in conjunction with the light table.


Have you built your own light table? I’d love to hear about how and/or the tools you use for light table play!




Autumn Fairy Dust

Autumn Fairy Dust Nature Activity

This Autumn Fairy Dust activity is a unique, whimsical way to play outside and learn about the autumn season that calls on phenology, imagination, and a touch of magic.


  • Autumn leaves
  • Dried flowers and spices (We used cloves, cider spices, roses, clover buds, and lavender)
  • Flower seeds
  • Small empty glass jars
  • Edible glitter*

Autumn Fairy Dust Provocation

Before we got started, I set out all the materials and ingredients in bowls. We observed, handled, and smelled the items. The more brittle the leaves are, the easier they’ll be to tear and crumble. Using an empty bowl and a spoon or a stick, she tore autumn leaves, added dashes of spices and dashes of dried flowers, mixed and mashed, and sprinkled, and made up her own rhyming spells while doing so (which is a great little literary exercise!). “Alacazam, alakazoo, bibbity bobbity, stars and moon!” After she finished concocting her Autumn Fairy Dust mix, we poured it into a small recycled glass jar. She repeated this process until we ran out of jars.

Autumn Fairy Dust 1

Autumn Fairy Dust Craft

Autumn Fairy Dust

Autumn Fairy Dust 3

Autumn Fairy Dust 6

Autumn Fairy Dust 7

A couple of the Autumn Fairy Dust jars were saved as fall gifts for friends, but the others were gently sprinkled over bare soil in a sunny spot in our yard; a good place for the seeds in the Fairy Dust mixture to germinate. We also gave the seeds a nice, firm pat. The seed packets the kids selected to include in this provocation were butterfly snapdragons, moonflowers, and chocolate sunflower seeds and while I have no clue if these seeds will make it to next year, it’ll be a fun experiment to see if they bloom come springtime!

Autumn Nature Acitvity Autumn Fairy Dust

autumn fairy

Learning Moment: This activity is an opportunity to talk about why leaves fall from the trees during the autumn season and how leaves help fertilize the soil and give sustenance and protection to animals in the winter months. It is also a chance to discuss the natural cycle of annual wildflowers and how they release their seeds in the summer and autumn and how those seeds sleep under leaves all winter long until the warmer spring and summer months.

Book Recommendations: There’s a connection with flowers, herbs, and fairies in folklore. Read the collection of poems featuring autumn fairies in Flower Fairies of Autumn by Cicely Mary Barker (Public Library | Local Bookstore). Also, a sweet picture book about the life cycle of seeds and the seasons is highlighted in Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler (Public Library | Local Bookstore), another wonderful companion title to pair with this activity.

Sing: Let’s Play Music has an Autumn Fairy Song you can learn to sing when mixing fairy dust or sprinkling it on the ground.



*I was hesitant to use regular craft glitter or sequins (ingredients requested by my daughter) because I didn’t want an animal to choke or get sick. Instead we used edible glitter purchased at a bake shop thinking this would be a safer alternative. In hindsight, we should have scrapped glitter all along because even though the edible glitter is non-toxic, it’s still glitter and does not belong in the ground. Next time we’ll stick to seeds, dried herbs, and items exclusively found outside. Maybe we’ll even mist the Autumn Fairy Dust with water for a natural sparkle.



Painted Lanterns + Moonlight Lantern Walk

Painted Lanterns Craft and Moonlight Lantern Walk

Lanterns have a way of making any evening magical. Inspired by the Super Blood Moon and Mid-Autumn Moon Festival this past Sunday, the kids painted paper lanterns and went on a moon walk in the evening hours. They enjoyed this art project so much that I thought it would be a good one to share and it’s also a great craft for Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, Diwali, St. Martins Day, a community lantern walk, or just a good excuse to paint and play in the twilight hours.


The lanterns require little prep and materials and the results are lovely. Here’s how we made them…

Painted Lanterns

Painted Lanterns 2

Place the paper lantern on a bowl before painting, which will help stabilize the lantern. This painting process required no assistance for my 5-year-old. She happily painted while singing to herself alone in our little art space. When she finished she found me and I hung her lantern to dry. For my almost 2-year-old, I sat with her and held the lantern and turned it for her after she as need until she decided she was finished. Easy, peasy process art both kids enjoyed.


Painted Lanterns 4

Hang lanterns to dry for several hours. I hung ours from our ceiling fan chain and them moved them to a clothesline outside.

While waiting for the lanterns to dry, find a few sticks to attach the lanterns to. Once they have fully dried, tie a string of yarn (or thick string or twine) about a yard in length to the end of your found stick and tie the other end of the string to the top of the lantern. Wrap excess string around stick to create desired length. We used flameless tea lights to illuminate the lanterns, but if you have glowsticks or these LED lights on hand I recommend using those. I had an awful time jimmying the tea lights so they would hold in the lanterns. Word to the wise.

Painted Lanterns Kids Craft Moon Walk I thought I’d prefer the lanterns more in the daylight, but when the sun went down they transformed into these floating orbs of light. After watching moon rise up, we went lit our lanterns and took a moonlight lantern walk in our neighborhood.

Painted lantern Craft

painted lanterns lanter walk

Lantern Walk Kids

Lantern Walk

Lantern Walk Kids Activity

An enchanting twilight walk around the block turned into a delightful adventure with our painted lanterns. Just imagine an assembly of these lanterns flickering about… What a sight that would be!

For more lantern projects check out:

These leaf lanternscolorful paper maché lanterns, and sweet mason jar lanterns with beaded handles via Kleas.

Grace Lin, author of Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (and so many other fantastic kids books!) has a fun Bunny Lantern Craft tutorial on her blog.

Children’s Art Lanterns using paper bags and kids’ artwork is definitely on our project to-do list via Artful Kids.



Pages to Projects: Wild About Shapes

WIld About Shapes


Look closely and use your imagination… Shapes are everywhere! The newest Pages to Projects series post is up on Library as Incubator Project. Please take a moment to check it out: Pages to Projects: Wild About Shapes



DIY Black Light Booth Provocation

black light booth painting 5

Looking for a fun way for kids to explore a variety of senses playing with light and color? I made this Black Light Booth on a dime and it has been a favorite indoor activity in our home ever since. It’s portable and durable, so it is also a great feature in a classroom or library. I’ve had a lot of interest in how I made ours since posting about via Twitter, so here we go!

Black Light Booth Materials:

Making the booth takes probably 10 minutes max to assemble.

black light booth 3

Attach the black light to the top of the container. Attach the mirror to the back (bottom) of the container with duct tape. Boom. Done.

black light booth 6

black light booth 4

black light booth 5

I set our Black Light Booth on a chair, but a short, secure bookshelf or table will also do. Then, I draped a piece of black fabric over the both to block out light, turned on the black light, and that’s it. After that bit of construction is done, the possibilities to explore and excite the senses are endless! Here are a few kid-approved provocations we’ve explored…

black light booth pom poms 2


black light booth pom poms

White gloves

black light booth pipe cleaners 2

 Pipe cleaner construction

black light booth book

 Reading a glow-in-the-dark book. Here we are reading The Game in the Dark, by Herve Tullet.

black light booth highlighter

black light booth highlighter 2

black light booth highlighter 1

 Drawing and writing with highlighters.

black light booth molding dough

Sensory crafting with glow-in-the-dark foam modeling dough.

black light booth paper

black light booth paper 1

black light booth paper and highlighter

black light booth paper 2

black light booth paper highlighter glue

Experimenting with neon paper cutting, glue, and highlighters.

black light booth halloween

black light booth halloween 2

 For Halloween, I bought glow-in-the-dark stickers and poster for some spooky holiday fun in the Black Light Booth.

black light booth painting

black light booth painting 1

black light booth painting 2

black light booth painting 3

black light booth painting 4

black light booth painting 6

black light booth painting 7

Last but not least! Painting with neon paints.

Really, any materials that are neon, white, or glow-in-the-dark are fair game. Many of the materials I found I already owned or purchased at my local dollar store. Using the Black Light Booth has been a great way to dive into the science of florescence, light, and color. It’s an excellent prompt to spark creativity and inquiry and most of all, it’s a great way to light up playtime.



Colorful Acorn Caps (The Easiest Acorn Craft Ever)

Acorn Craft

Aren’t these stunning? I learned about this craft from a couple of my coworkers and had to share. The 4-year-old and I made these with the large stash of acorns we’ve been collecting over the fall season. She used them as a form of fairy currency for pretend play. We also turned them into necklaces, and even used a handful as decorations for our holiday tree.

Materials you’ll need:

  • Acorns (any variety will work)
  • Washable markers
  • School glue

Here’s how we made them… (It’s SO easy!)

acorn kids craft

 First, I cleaned a ton of acorns using this method.

Then we colored the inside of the acorn caps with washable markers.


 You can even experiment with multiple colors.


 Fill the colored cap with school glue.


 Put caps in a place where they can dry. I used half-dried-out-playdoh to support the ones that were a bit on the wobbly side.


The acorn caps will look like this after a day of drying.


 And they will look like this after a couple days.


And this is what they will look like when they’re finished!

Our acorn caps were completely dry in 3 days.


acorn necklace


 We turned a few into necklaces by tying the acorn to hemp cord.  (The inspiration behind this idea.) We also used yarn and whatever string we had laying around the house and turned them into ornaments. We’ll be keeping this craft in our pocket come next fall!



Pages to Projects: Weaving a Tale

Weaving a Tale

kids nature weaving

Nature Weaving for Kids

I invite you to head on over to Library as Incubator Project for the latest Pages to Projects post, “Weaving a Tale”. This month, Thanks for the Animals, a picture book about gratitude and migration is the inspiration for a nature weaving extension activity. This weekend, I’ll post a flannel board I haven’t quite finished yet to go along with this beautiful picture book!

Pages to Projects: Weaving a Tale 

Also, be sure to check out the Pages to Projects pinboard for storytime book recommendations and projects!



Art for Babies

art sensory bag shampoo baby activity

In the midst of the moving madness (we’re move to Chattanooga this weekend!), the girls and I were able to sneak in some art exploration time highlighted in the latest Library as Incubator Project post featuring 3 DIY Art Sensory Bags for babies as well as a fun little art rhyme I wrote paired with famous works of art.

Art Rhyme for Babies

Read the full post here: Art for Babies

Check out the Pages to Projects pinboard, which includes other artsy sensory and/or tactile activities for littles!

It’s never to early to start exploring!

Art Sensory Bag for Todders and Preschool




Milk Painting

Milk Painting



milk painting

I’m over at Library as Incubator Project today with the latest Pages to Projects: Milk Painting! It features this nifty milk painting art (and science!) project paired with the classic picture book, It Looked Like Spilt Milk. Also, there are quite a few tips for how to do projects that are a bit on the messy side in the library.

Please be sure to check it out!