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Outdoor
Over the summer we got a family pass to the Portland Japanese Garden. Our son found a cool miniature Zen garden toy at the gift shop. Inside was a beautifully written pamphlet explaining Zen meditation, and how raking and caring for your rock garden can be a great way to clear your mind and attain...
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I was cleaning up my shop corner in the garage today and decided to select a few nuts, bolts, and other odds and ends for the kids to play around with. They’re always fascinated with screws and tools. Then I gave them some wrenches and screwdrivers and let them build. It reminded me of the...
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Warmer weather is coming, and last week I made cutoff shorts from some holey jeans. A couple of springs ago, I made this ball, and I always wanted to try narrowing the panels to make a football shape. So yesterday I gave it a go and it worked! In addition to some regular stuffing, I...
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My son is really enjoying dinosaurs these days, so in case you have any dino-fans around, I thought I’d share some of the activities we’ve been doing – paper clip cutout toys, building dino skeletons in the yard, a pretty awesome interactive dinosaur book on the iPad, and jurassic artwork. This first one is some...
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While outside today, the kids were finding some nice old branches inside our laurel hedge, and we got the idea to make some broomsticks for Halloween. We used some old hose clamps, which made them very easy to make. It might be a fun addition for witch or Harry Potter costumes, or even just porch...
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The kids have been really excited to see beautiful yellow leaves starting to fall in the yard, and they wanted to collect some for the dollhouse. My son also found a small nut shell and some seeds, and made this really cool miniature bowl that we put on one of the tables. Always great to...
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Many people have been asking me about crafts and activities for the beach, so I thought I’d do a little beach roundup post. Below are three crafts, as well as a couple of beach inspired coloring sheets. And we would love to hear about your favorite beach activities too, so feel free to share them...
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I have to give the credit to my son for this craft. The other day, we were out in the yard and the kids were picking flowers off the azalea bush. My son, who loves building things, took the flowers and poked them all onto a short stick. When he showed it to me, I...
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We’ve been enjoying our first week of summer break, and spending a lot of time playing in the backyard. Planting sticks, I mean trees, playing in the playhouse I made two years ago, and drawing a lot of chalk art. A couple of weeks ago on the Made by Joel Facebook Page, I asked for...
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With the beautiful weather we’ve been having, I thought it might be fun to do an “outdoor” roundup of some popular previous posts. So here they are! Click on the links or photos below! Driftwood Fish – At the beach? Create some fun toys with driftwood and a paint pen. Flower Baskets – Weave a...
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We’ve been having some more windy days with small sticks falling into our yard. So I took a piece of scrap board and drilled some holes into it and made a little forest building toy. It was fun sticking the branches in to build the forest, but it was even more exciting when my son...
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There were some warm, windy days last week and many sticks were blowing off the trees into the yard.  We had the spur of the moment idea to try making a kite.  So we gathered a few sticks, cut some thick paper, got out the tape and string and in ten minutes we had a...
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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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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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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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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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We’re headed to the beach again this weekend, so I was in the mood to get out the driftwood pieces from our last trip and paint them.  I ended up using non-toxic paint pens (Painters Opaque Paint Markers by Elmer’s), which made it really fast and easy.  It’s amazing how much fun a bunch of...
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Last weekend we got a large tin of Tinker Toys at a yard sale.  The kids really enjoyed talking into the empty can, which gave me the idea that we should make tin can telephones.  Yet another thing I remember doing as a kid.  It’s so fast and easy too.  Just open a can of...
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We were at the park over the weekend and I spotted some very nice tree branches on the ground and decided it was time to make some fishing poles! The kids each picked out a stick and we carried them home.  I took my knife and whittled down the bumps, found some string, a couple...
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