Category

3-5 years
A few months ago Parents Magazine asked me to design the Thanksgiving craft for their November issue.  I just picked it up at the grocery store last night!  If you want to try making one then you can see the craft and instructions here on the Parents website. And I also have instructions for wooden...
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Last October my son was 2 1/2 years old and loved asking me to draw “scary cats.” See below. (I tried to make them as friendly as possible while still satisfying his requests for more claws and teeth.)  So this year I thought it would be fun to use the drawings for another match game. Just draw...
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Artist Hazel Terry recently told me about Science Toy Maker, which is a site run by a brilliant technology educator and filled with great toy projects including this oscillating woodpecker.  It’s such a fun toy!  Easy enough for my 3 year old kids to use.  Yet, there are some adjustments that can be made, such as how tight or...
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I recently scored a free box of wood scraps and in it was this fabulous old cedar block.  I decided to paint it and turn it into a “city block”.  I think it might be a good block for the Vintage Wood Figures to hang out with.
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My first craft column appeared in the new issue of LMNOP magazine today.  Pull toys have been making a come-back in our house, so I decided to make some box pull toys that slide across the floor.  They turned out to be really fun and very easy to make.  There are full instructions in the...
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La Petite Magazine released their new online issue today that features some paper dollhouses I made.  I had a lot of fun designing different houses and little pieces of furniture.  Then I put them all in a mint tin so they can be played with on the go.  If you want to try it out,...
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The kids love collecting things while playing outside, so we made a little mobile with some of their treasures.  It was very easy to make.  I just used thread to tie the items onto the stick, then tied fishing line to each end of the stick to hang the mobile from.  We had fun pressing...
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A few days ago I made these little puppets with paper clips and cardboard.  The kids were really coming up with some entertaining stories for them.  If you want to try it out, they’re very simple to make.  First, bend the middle of a paper clip so it stands up.  Then cut out the puppets,...
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A couple of years ago we bought some Stockmar Beeswax Crayons, and they came with a little plastic tool for doing Sgraffito.  Sgraffito comes from the Italian word sgraffiare (“to scratch”), and the technique works great with crayons.  All you do is make a light color background, then color a dark layer (black is best) over the...
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Here are a few things we’ve been enjoying in the great weather we’ve had this month: The kids really love riding their bicycles on our driveway.  Last week we spiced things up by drawing a track with some sidewalk chalk.  They love practicing their turns while trying to stay in the lines.  I was impressed...
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While we were drawing today, I decided to make one of those match games where you draw a line to match the silhouettes to the correct figure.  The kids really enjoyed the idea of a drawing game.  It took a little concentration too, and they were very proud when they finished.  Tess wanted to do...
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The other day, while I had the paper clips out, I thought it would be fun to make a barrel of monkeys type game by bending them into hook shapes.  Jack had a good time figuring out how to get them all linked together, and also how to get them apart.
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I’ve always loved zip lines.  As a boy I even made a real zip line from my treehouse.  Jack and Tess aren’t quite ready for that though, so I thought of this idea for a little zip line toy.  I bent some paper clips and taped them to the wall, then tied a long string...
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I was digging around in my box of vintage wood scraps, and decided to make some little figures with a few of the small colorful pieces.  We used paint pens to draw on them, so it was an easy way to make a fun set of dolls to play with. And look at this great...
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I was talking about stilts with a friend the other day, and remembered the old coffee can stilts that were popular when I was a kid.  For Jack and Tess, I thought the tall coffee cans would make me a little too nervous, so I used some pieces of 2×4 wood instead.  They were a...
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This idea popped into my head the other day when trying to think of something fun to do with cereal boxes.  I always loved marble runs when I was a kid, and this one was very easy to make.  Jack and Tess really loved it too.  We had to go finish off some more cereal...
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Yesterday we were drawing and decided to cut out some of the people and glue them onto cardboard.  Cutouts are always fun to make.  This time I taped on some little “kickstands” onto the backs so they stand up.  One of my characters was inspired by a certain movie character that my son is loving....
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I just designed some coloring sheets for a cool little restaurant, Blackfish Cafe, at the beach in Lincoln City.  So here are some more fish!  If you want to try them out, click on the images below.  After coloring, you could even cut them out and use them in your Box Aquarium. Click on the images...
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I really like using boxes we get in the mail for other things before recycling them, so I made this small aquarium toy.  Instead of taping the fish to the top of the box, I decided to make it more interactive by cutting slits in the top and tying buttons to the threads.  This way...
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We just got back from the beach today, and had a great time.  Before leaving, I quickly made a couple of sand combs for the kids to play with.  They added a nice and relaxing element to our sand playing.
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