Shredded Paper Play

Shredded paper play

shredded paper sensory paly

shredded paper play

shredded paper sensory play

The 2014 spring issue of Lawrence Kids Magazine is out! You can view the virtual version HERE. This season for “Reuse” (on page 66), I invite kids and parents to give the magazine a second life by shredding it and using it for sensory play for their toddlers and preschoolers. Shredding one magazine = 30 minutes (at the very least!) of fun playtime.

Also, for you educator/library-types that read my blog, I recommend reading “Project Create: Cultivating Responsible Enriched Artistic Tech-Savvy Enthusiasts” (on pg.51).

Sadly, this will be my last “Reuse” feature for Lawrence Kids, since we’re moving to Chattanooga, Tennessee this summer. I’ve loved being a contributor for the last couple years.  I also want to send a shout out to Derek Helms, an all around rad guy who is creating a stellar niche magazine empire for the Lawrence community. It’s been great working with you.




Shoe Painting!

Let Kids Paint Your Shoes

Yesterday, I let my kid paint my shoes.

I bought these cheapo, boring, white shoes a couple of days ago and thought it might be a fun project for the kiddo to add a splash of color to them. So, we went outside with the shoes and paints and presto chango! Instant fun!

boring white shoes

painting shoes

Wanna let kids paint your shoes? Or their own shoes? The process is ridiculously simple.

Find a pair of canvas shoes, used or new. Any color canvas works. If the shoes have laces, remove them. You can also tape the rubber soles like I did with these glitter shoes awhile back, but I opted not to here.

Grab some acrylic paint in whichever color(s) you’d like. A paintbrush is also handy.

Next, find a kid or two. I used my own (please ask before using someone else’s). She LOVES painting, so she was down with sprucing up these kicks with her own artistic style.

After the child is done painting, let dry. That’s it! A fun, wearable art project.  Since she had a blast painting mom’s shoes, this weekend we’re going to repeat the project with a pair of her own.

shoe painting


art sneakers

Now I have a sweet pair of kicks that fill my heart with happy. Like any proud mama, I think everything my child makes is all kinds of wonderful. Every time I look down at my toes, I smile.





Suncatcher Heart Collage


Oh my heart! I’m over at Library as Incubator Project today with the latest Pages to Projects post, HeARTs!

Pages to Projects is a series on how to incorporate art education and art appreciation into library storytime. This Valentine’s Day inspired post focuses on teaching kids about the heart shape, as well as simple collage construction and color theory, by reading the book My Heart is Like a Zoo, and creating this lovely Suncatcher Heart Collage. I’m still on maternity leave, so my artist-in-residence demonstrated how to construct the featured craft. Here’s the link:

Pages to Projects: HeARTs!

If you enjoy the Pages to Projects series, be sure to check out the Pages to Projects Pinterest board for more art-infused storytime ideas!

And if you’re looking for more Valentine’s Day ideas, my Valentine’s Day Storytime post has a few fun books and craft ideas. Also, the amazing duo from Jbrary have put together this rocking Valentine’s Day Pinterest board full of songs, rhymes, books, and more!



Halloween Cut Paper Pumpkins

Halloween Cut Paper Art

Please take a minute to swing on by Library as Incubator Project today for my latest Pages to Projects post: Halloween Cut Paper Pumpkins!

Pages to Projects is a series I write for Library as Incubator Project about how to incorporate art education and art appreciation into library storytime. This most recent post focuses on how to teach kids the technique of cut paper art during the Halloween season by reading One Spooky Night by Kate Stone and creating cut paper pumpkins. It also provides the opportunity with sneaking in a few simple math concepts.

If you enjoy the Pages to Projects series, be sure to check out our Pages to Projects Pinterest board for more art-infused storytime ideas!



Featured on Red Tricycle

How cool is that?

The pencil topper craft I created for Back-To-School Storytime last year was featured on Red Tricycle!

Hop on over and check it out!



Yarn Magic

Hey folks! I’m over at Library as Incubator Project today talking “yarn magic” for my latest edition of Pages to Projects. Pages to Projects is a seasonal series about how to incorporate elements of art education and appreciation into storytime.

Please be sure to check it out!



DIY Sweet Gum Ball Garland

Do these pokey alien-looking things that fall from the tree look familiar? They currently litter the sidewalks in our neighborhood and I never knew what they were called until the other day. Sweet Gum Balls. They’re the fruit from sweetgum trees. I learned this when my coworker, Linda, happened to mentioned that she used to string them up with her girls to decorate their Christmas tree with when they were young. I thought that was such a wonderful idea that I would try it out in our own home.

First you have to go on a hunt for sweet gum balls. It isn’t too hard to do around our neck of the woods. Linda was also so kind to collect a few as well while she was at the dog park.

The only other materials I used other than the sweet gum balls included scissors, glitter, spray adhesive, a needle, and embroidery thread.

Outside, I placed the sweet gumballs in a box, coated them with spray adhesive, and sprinkled glitter on top. I shook the box around so they would be evenly coated.

After I was done, I took the sweet gum balls inside and shook them of excess glitter.

I threaded a needle with a long piece of thread and punctured each ball with the needle and threaded the string through. Don’t want use a needle? Linda said you can also wrap one of the spikes on a ball a couple times and that should also hold.

Continue that process to your desired length, equally spacing each ball.

And that’s it! Dress your tree with your sweet gum ball garland, hang over a mirror, or over a doorway.

I used this one to decorate our chalkboard in the dining room.

Do you bring a bit of outdoors in when you decorate for the holidays? Please share in the comments below!



A Tree of Her Own

My 2-year old daughter, L, is getting to the age when the holiday season means something. Something mysterious. Something wonderful. Something magical. She’s been especially fascinated with: Snowmen (specifically Frosty), Santa Claus, and Christmas Trees. The other day, we were walking around a craft store when she spotted a display of metallic, miniature Christmas trees in an array of colors on display.

“Mama! Mama! Look! Christmas trees! Look! Christmas trees everywhere!”

She had that sparkle of excitement in her eyes. They were cheap. I caved and let her choose one. But it’s not really a Christmas tree unless you decorate it, right? Instead of purchasing ornaments, we decided to make our own toddler-friendly ornaments and garland that she could use to decorate and un-decorate as she so chooses.

It would be a Christmas tree of her very own.

Materials used: Pom pom balls, embroidery thread, a needle, felt, fabric scissors, cookie cutters,  jar lids, a pen, tacky glue (school glue will also work), gift wrap ribbon, and  star sequins.

Making pom pom ball garland is a cinch. Cut a long piece of thread. Thread a needle and then thread your pom poms onto the thread. Kabaam! Pom Pom Garland!

Space them as desired. Double knot both ends of the garland.

Now for the ornaments. I used some cookie cutters and jar lids to trace shapes onto the felt.

I cut the shapes out with fabric scissors.

I also cut holes in the top of the ornament and adorned each one with loop of ribbon.

Now it’s time to decorate.

She chose these star sequins out at the store and didn’t want to use anything else. With a little help she glued the sequins on the felt ornaments. Don’t have sequins? Buttons, felt, glitter, glitter glue, construction paper, and fabric scraps are materials that would be fun to use for this project.

Oh my stars…

After the the ornaments dried it was time to decorate!

I wanted to use lights for the full Christmasy effect, so I wrapped her little tree with at 35-light strand. Since I decided to add lights, when it’s plugged in it is out of reach and under supervision.

After the lights were added we strung up the pom pom ball garland.

And then trimmed the tree with her homemade felt ornaments.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree…

I think we just started a new crafty holiday tradition. The great added bonus of her having her tree is that it makes for a great distraction for the family Christmas tree. You know… the one with lots of breakable glass ornaments? That one. Now all I have to worry about are the cats…



Snow Day

It was the sort of day you feel like staying in. Taking time to lounge and relax day. Read a book cover-to-cover day. A tea and popcorn day. A snow day.

Except there wasn’t any snow.

So I made my own.

The weather in eastern Kansas has only had a few winter-like dips in climate, but nowhere near necessary elements that produce snow. For fun, and because I like to recycle,  I thought I would make these snowflakes colorful and bright by using pages from a magazine.

The only materials used were magazines and scissors. Easy peasy supply list.

Tear a page out of a magazine and fold in half width-wise.

With the crease facing you, fold to make a crease marking the middle.

Fold the bottom right hand corner (B) up so that its crossing over the middle.

Fold the bottom left hand corner (A) up so that the fold lines up with the right side’s edge.

Fold in half so that both sides line up.

Cut off the top 2-3 inches so that you’re left with a triangle.

Cut shapes into the triangle, open, and you have a snowflake! I used this website and this pin from Pinterest to get a few ideas on where to cut.

Once you’ve finished cutting, carefully, unfold.


Best of all, they don’t melt even on the warmest of days.

Wanna make these snowflakes with the kiddos? Check out this list of snowy books that pair nicely. Snow day or no snow day….



Summer Kicks

Saw this post on How to Make Summer City Shoes over at Joy the Baker on Friday.

Made a kid sneaker version for L on Saturday.

She wore them all day Sunday.

It was a glitterific glam weekend.

Here’s how I made L’s new groovy blues…

Materials needed: Canvas shoes for toddlers/kids, duct tape, glitter, Mod Podge, a paint brush, scissors, and a container to make the glitterness.

First, remove the shoe laces; then, duct tape the sides of the soles.

To make the glitterpodge, I used little less than 1/2 cup Mod Podge with 1/4 cup glitter. If making toddler shoes, you’ll have some left over and it should be more than enough for older kid kicks.

Like in Joy the Baker‘s how-to, I painted on the first coat thin. Waited 30 mins. The second I globbed it on. Waited 30 mins. Then the third was only touch ups.

In between coats, they dried in some afternoon sunshine.

Side Note: I did take the duct tape off before the shoes had completely dried. I guess I was worried I had applied too much of the glitterpodge on the taped off soles and if I had waited until completely dry, the tape might have torn the glitterpodge off the shoe canvas.

Did this entire craft during L’s afternoon nap.

Ready to kick it this summer. Park and poolside.

Might just have to make a pair for myself…