Harry Potter’s Getaway Treehouse

Over the summer the kids have enjoyed making dozens of fairy houses with flowers and objects around the yard. But yesterday my son and I decided to make a mini treehouse. I used a design in my friend Derek’s book. (He’s a master of DIY mini houses and forts. I’ll post info for the book below.) We cut the walls out with my scroll saw, …

Dinosaur Kid Crafts and Activities

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 simple paper clip cutout …

DIY Tree Branch Broomsticks For Halloween

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 decoration. There are some very simple directions below …

Fall Colors for the Dollhouse

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 use nature objects for toys! Another thing that would be fun and …

Easy DIY Modern Platform Dollhouse

I came up with some simple modern dollhouse designs for my book, Made to Play. This is one design that didn’t make it in the book, so I thought I’d share it here. It’s very fast and easy to make. All you need is a board, (any length is fine) and two small strips of wood for the feet. Then glue or nail the feet to the main board. It …

Poetry River Craft

Here is a simple poetry river craft that I made for the newest Issue of LMNOP Magazine, which is all about books. We’ve been enjoying the book, A River of Words, which is a brilliant introduction to the poet William Carlos Williams. This book contains many of his wonderful poems and talks about beautiful things that are part of everyday life. …

Beach Crafts and Activities

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 in the comments! Click on the links or photos below. …

Flamenco Flower Dolls

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 said, “wow, that looks like a flamenco dress.” Then I went into the house and …

3 Activities for Outdoors!

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 simple paper flower basket …

Etsy How-Tuesday: Kid-Friendly Bird Mobile

Etsy just posted their How-Tuesday video recently filmed in my studio! We made a Paper Bird Mobile that works nicely as a Mother’s Day present. I’ll attach the template below, but you can view the entire Etsy post and more info here. Thanks, Etsy! [vimeo 23216545 640 360] “This week’s Etsy how-to unfolds in the Portland, Oregon …

Branch Trees

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 turned it into a scene for his Lego figures. It might also be a …

Mobile of Thanks

I’ve seen people make trees of thanks and thought it would be fun to make a mobile of thanks. It was a fast and simple project, similar to the nature mobile I made a few months ago. We just cut out pieces of paper, drew or wrote things that we were happy for and taped them onto long pieces of thread. Maybe we’ll hang it near the dining room. …

Paper Kite

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 kite!  I was really surprised to see that it actually flew.  The best part was the …

Nature Mobile

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 flowers for it too.  We put the flowers between some wax paper …

Driftwood Fish

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 wood and rocks can be.  We had a great …

Modern Alphabet Game

We went to the beach last weekend, and I picked up a bunch of smooth flat rocks with the idea of painting them.  Then I thought it would be interesting to come up with a way of using the rocks in a game.  The kids have been starting to show interest in recognizing letters in the alphabet, so I came up with this game which provides a nice blend of …

May Day Flower Baskets

I had vague memories of weaving paper baskets for May Day as a kid, but when I started making these, the memories came flooding back. I love it when that happens. Making them is easy. Take a square piece of paper (I used some old magazine covers), and fold it into 9 equal parts (just draw a tic-tac-toe game and fold on the lines).  Cut out the corners …

Walnut Boats

When I was a boy, I remember making walnut boats like this with my Grandma.  My sisters and I would play with them in the bathtub.  They were so simple and fun.  This morning we had some walnuts in the kitchen, so I made some boats with the kids! Just melt some candle wax into a walnut shell.  When the wax gets a little firm, stick a toothpick in …

Fishing!

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 of old wooden spools, wire, two magnets (stolen from the fridge), and made …

Modern Doll House

I finished the dollhouse!  At least for now.  I’m sure I’ll never stop making furniture for it.  It’s too much fun.  My son especially loves organizing and arranging the furniture.  The guys in the family are playing with dollhouses and the girls are out riding bicycles.  Nice.