I cannot believe it's already halfway through January. This past holiday season flew. Thanksgiving sprang up on me, and then Christmas - I was still running around buying gifts a few days prior, which is really unlike me.
Now that it's a new year, I'm getting back to my old ways and getting myself organized ahead of time. There's so just so much unnecessary stress when you are running behind.
That being said, I've already been working on this year's Valentine's Day crafts! Wahoo!
And, this is a good one - Valentines finger puppets!
They are so simple and so cute - it's the perfect Valentine's activity for kids. Not to mention, I made them from scrap materials.
My son is a little obsessed with nursery rhymes - Wheels on the Bus, Hot Cross Buns, and most recently a song called "The Finger Family," which essentially uses finger puppets for family members. He sings it probably about 50 times a day.
The other day he took off all the marker caps and placed them on his fingers and started singing "Mommy Finger, Mommy Finger, Where are you?"
Before I chimed in with, "Here I am, Here I am, How do you do? (I'm not helping the obsession), I realized he needed some real finger puppets.
I thought about using photos and using our family - or just drawing some pictures with him - but then I thought I could tie it into a fun Valentine's Day activity.
For the finger puppets, it would have been super simple to use the fingers on a pair of gloves - but gloves are way too precious around here.
So, I used my go-to material - felt.
I was determined to use all scraps for this project - and I successfully did so. I didn't spend a penny.
Here are the materials:
I used just one sheet of felt for all ten fingers. I liberally traced my pointer finger eight times and my thumb twice.
I then cut slits in between each of the traced fingers, so I could quickly fold them up (to be double sided) after I hot glued them. This worked like a charm.
Here's a picture I quickly snapped of going over the outline with hot glue - and then folding it up.
Next, I cut off the excess felt. This took a little patience, since the glue/outline was inside. I roughly cut them and then ended up putting my pinky finger in each puppet and then carefully cutting off any additional excess.
I now had one hand ready to go :)
At this point, my son was begging to play with them. He was so excited about the finger puppets that I didn't have the heart to say no.
So, I gave him these five and decided to make a second hand.
After both hands were done, it was time to get creative with heart-shaped animals.
I used a small cookie cutter to get the shape of the heart perfect and consistent for all of the fingers. It worked out really well :)
Before I knew it, I had a frog, chicken, penguin, panda, fox, lady bug, fish, fox, bunny, and a dog/mouse that was originally a bear.
You can see in the top of the picture (below) that I used garage sale stickers to put some quick faces on the puppets while my son waited for the animals.
You can be as creative as you like with the animals. Aside from the cookie cutter, I cut the rest of the hearts freehand. One of those heart paper punches would have been perfect for this - but I was determined to make this a no-cost project :)
I also had some heart stickers lying around, but I liked using the card stock colors and patterns. I put some googly eyes on the lady bug - they were a little big - but it shows how you can incorporate some other crafty materials, too.
After, the animals were done, I hot glued each to a finger puppet - and voila! We had an Animal Finger Family.
My favorite is the chicken. It turned out so cute :)
Here are a few more close-ups:
For longevity, you could laminate the animals (before the googly eyes and before gluing to the finger puppet) either with a home laminator or using packaging tape.
I've used both, and each works well :)
And my son, well he LOVED these puppets. Needless to say, all we've been hearing is "Froggie finger, Froggie finger, where are you?"
And of course, we keep the song going :)
Want to see more? Check out our similar projects.
With the holidays over and those playrooms bursting with new toys, it's about time to start sending thank you notes.
I'm strong believer in the importance of thank you notes - when somebody puts the time and thought into buying a gift, they should get a special, handwritten note in return.
With my son still being a toddler, I'm doing most of the writing for his gifts; however, he still helps make the cards - and I try to make them as creative yet simple as possible.
Today, I'm sharing four simple cards. It's well-suited for toddlers as well as older kids - older ones can do more of the tasks themselves.
You could also use these ideas for any occasion - not just thank you notes :)
1. Cut-Out Cards
This type of card is my favorite and the simplest for younger kids. First, use a cookie cutter to trace a few shapes on card stock. We used stars, hearts, Christmas trees, and gingerbread people.
As far as paper, I always use card stock because its thicker than construction paper. So when the paint is layered on, it doesn't bend. I also like the colors of card stock better than ordinary construction paper. They are brighter and more fun, which definitely ups its refrigerator-worthyness.
Then, simply cut the shapes out for your child to paint on.
You can also do a variation of this - which is great for younger kids: Have your child paint all freely over a piece of card stock. Once dry, you can trace the cookie cutters and cut out the shapes.
I did something similar with the below Christmas trees. Using my toddler's painted paper, I cut out strips and shaped them into trees.
After, glue your cut-outs onto another piece of cardstock and fold into a card.
Your child can continue to decorate - my toddler used q-tips and paint to further decorate the trees. You could also use stickers or ribbon - or scribbled marker works too. :)
2. Potato Stamps
Always looking for new sensory play activities, I decided to give potato stamps a try. It was way easier than I thought it would be - and my son had a ball.
This might just be our new go-to card.
First, cut off the top of the potato. Then, press in a cookie cutter of your choice.
I thought only metal cookie cutters would work; yet, the plastic heart cookie cutter (below) went into the potato without a problem :)
After that, use a knife cut the excess from around the cookie cutter, slowly moving your knife around the border of the cookie cutter.
You are left with an awesome stamp that's easy for kids to paint.
I got a little creative and did a double-sided stamp on this potato - with a star on one side and a heart on the other.
This encouraged my son to be more involved - getting messy and flipping the potato to see the shapes.
This could also be a fingerpaint activity or a paintbrush activity.
3. Painters Tape Letters
Use painters tape to spell out a word - such as "Thanks" and then have your child paint freely.
When the paint is still a little tacky, remove the tape.
Definitely use painters tape for best results. I lazily used electrical tape this time and it peeled terribly.
4. Fingerprint Balloons
Handprint, footprint, and fingerprint cards are usually not my favorite.
It's usually too structured for my little one, but we got a really cute card with a few single fingerprints.
We turned them into letter balloons which my toddler loved.
Simply put a little of each of the colors you are using on a palette or piece of paper, and have your child dip their finger into each color and then make the print.
The number of prints will depend on the number of letters in the word.
Once dry, use a sharpie to write on the letters and draw the balloon knot and string.
A few tips...
My son had a great time making these. Arts and crafts is one of his favorite activities, as it's special time we spend together. He also takes such great pride in giving his cards to his special family members, which is super cute :)
Not to mention our family members love the creativity involved and appreciate the time we took to make them something special.
The cards definitely make the fridge :)
Want to see more? Check out our similar projects.
Posted by Eileen
Looking for a last-minute gift idea that's a little more special than a card? Fillable ornaments are an easy-to-make, thoughtful present.
My sister-in-law Zaleina, who is very crafty, made these as alternative to cards this year.
Zal is so talented - her parties are always filled with the most creative details. Her holiday gifts always come in the sweetest packages, and she's filled with awesome ideas. She should definitely start her own blog :)
Here is Zal, sharing how she made these fillable ornaments:
Well….you caught me at an awkward moment (excuse me as I find a new hiding spot for my hoard of Hershey Kisses).
Are you looking for a delicious and affordable way to spread cheer during the holidays?
Here’s a craft that’s fun to make: Clear Ornaments filled with Hershey Kisses!
I made these as alternatives to greeting cards for my neighbors and for the support staff at my child’s school. It’s an edible gift and they can reuse the ornament.
There are four key elements:
As you can see, they are very easy to put together. You can also use different types of ornaments – just make sure the candy can fit through the top.
And, if you’re having a bad day, it’s not so difficult to shake a few out…. Oh, there I go again! ;)
Want to see more? Check out our similar projects.
With the Christmas season upon us and holiday traditions in full swing, making and decorating cookies definitely holds a special spot in my heart.
This year rather than just exchanging cookies, think about putting together a cookie decorating box for kids and their families to enjoy. This gift provides a festive activity that kids will long remember.
I made one of these boxes for my niece years ago. Each Christmas, we would always bake and decorate cookies together - it was our special thing.
However, one Christmas I had just had my son, so I made my niece this little box, so she would still be able to decorate Christmas cookies that year.
In addition to putting together a cookie decorating box for others, you could also make one for your family.
Save it until Christmas Eve, when you can then decorate cookies to leave for Santa:)
Not only is this box super easy to make, but it doesn't involve screen time nor is it another toy.
And, if you are even a little bit of a baker or crafter, you probably already have a lot of the materials.
First, you'll want to bake your cookies and let them cool.
My family eats pretty healthy these days (one day I'll share that story), so I always make things as healthy as possible.
I made these cookies without dairy, egg, or gluten. I've gone through quite my share of recipes, as well as trying to use substitutes on my own recipes.
Hands down, the best one is from The Unconventional Baker. She shares recipes for chocolate roll-out and vanilla roll-out cookies.
Her instructions were great, and the cookies rolled out very well! Not to mention - they don't use cane sugar, and they taste just as a roll out cookie should.
After they cooled, I placed about eight of each type of cookie in a stack and put them into a ziploc bag. I folded the bag, so you wouldn't see the zipper part when placed in the box.
Then, I adorned the top gingerbread man from each pile with a little bow:)
Next, I took the candy melts and poured them into ziploc bags.
I also tied ribbon around these to make them look more festive.
I found these cute little containers at Dollar Tree (10 for $1) and filled them with sprinkles and candies for decorating.
I had all of these items in my pantry - so no additional cost for decorating materials :)
Next, I arranged everything into this Michael's box. They have the cutest boxes for all holidays and seasons - and I always seem to shop when they are 70% off, which made this box $3!
The last thing I did was add a few candy canes because they make everything look so festive.
If I had a little more room in the box, I would have added hot cocoa, paper cups, and cute straws, which would have made for a nice touch.
I spent only around $7 on this box, as I already had everything but the box and candy melts.
Spending only $7 on a gift is quite amazing, right?
This year, as you get caught in the whirlwind of the holiday season, remember that decorating cookies is something simple, thrifty, and delicious to give!
And, I'm sure if you start this Christmas Eve tradition of decorating cookies for Santa, your kids will remember and blissfully look forward to it each year.
Want to see more? Check out similar projects.
Hi! We're Ash and Eileen, and we are sharing our home project stories with you. From crafty projects to home maintenance to more ambitious DIY endeavors, we hope our stories inspire you to check a few things off your project list! :)