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6 + years
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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I’ve been wanting to try a paper cut-out mobile and ended up making this owl.  It was an interesting design challenge, trying to make it look good no matter how the pieces spun, and the mobility gives the owl a lot of character.  I think I’ll put it in the kid’s room. I only used...
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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 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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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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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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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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Yet another request for an addition to the Paper City. A helicopter! And what a great idea, too. I poked a hole and strung some thread through the top to fly it around with. Then I made a landing pad, so you can fly on missions and then return for a smooth landing on the...
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I’ve had a lot of requests (including from my son) for some cars and trucks for the paper city.  So here they are!  There’s a template below if you want to try them out.  Just cut on the black outlines and fold.  Cool! Template: Click on the image below, then print.
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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...
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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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As a child, one of my favorite memories at my Grandma’s house was when all of the cousins would get together and she would rip off big sheets of butcher paper, fold them in half, and with ease and grace, she would cut out these fantastic cowboys for us to color.  I recently found a...
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