Category Archives: Arts & Crafts

Make Your Own Scratch & Sniff Paint

This is the final post about activities we did in March. Our last craft was creating scratch & sniff paint.
Scratch&Sniff Paint
Here are the directions:

Mix flavored gelatin as directed using very little water. There are many flavors available. We chose strawberry. You don’t want the paint too watery, but instead, stiff and grainy so add very little water.

The first time we made the paint, we used too much water and accidentally ended up making jello, which we threw away because we don’t eat this “frankinfood.”  As you can see from the above picture where A.J. is hunched over the bowl smelling the liquid, we used too much water. The mixture in the the last photo above is a better texture. Simply use the mixture as paint.

From our experience, the dried paint gets really hard which makes scratching the paint very difficult. However the aroma of the “paint” while making it and painting actually smells great!

Scratch&Sniff2Venturing to the library on Wednesdays are a lot fun for us all. Going consistently is a great way to meet new kids and their caregivers. We had an especially good time a few weeks ago when A.J.s friend Yasmine celebrated her second birthday. Her grandmother brought mini cupcakes, goody bags with treats. We also had an Easter Egg Hunt that day, so the day was full of surprises. Instead of hunting for eggs, A.J. was more interested in eating the cup cakes sitting on the tables.

I helped organize an Easter Egg Hunt for our subdivision that turned out really nicely, except I left my phone and digital camera at home. So no pictures. A.J. didn’t have a nap that day and you can guess what happened outside in front of all the neighbors right after I finished praying a grandiose prayer talking about how we want our kids to know that we love them and how they should obey their parents…yada yada yada…and my child starts rolling around the grass screaming because he is now sleepy.

After I dragged and carried him home, he settled down and returned to the egg hunt with his dad like nothing ever happened.

Yasmine's 2nd B-day PartyDo you have any fun paint recipes to share?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

-Asia

The Power of Imagination

ImaginationOriginally when I planned our activities for the month I didn’t realize Easter falls in March this year. I will include some Easter crafts as well as material about how we at Hillside interpret the meaning of Easter. To put it short, it’s about resurrecting your mind with new thoughts and ideas, something you can do anytime!

A.J. is playing with Easter grass in the photos above. It was his idea to take the grass and feed it to the cow in the picture. He’s really starting to use his imagination.

When we read books he enjoys acting out the various parts and loves when I join him. Usually I don’t mind, but I must admit that sometimes I just want to sit down and read instead of getting up every other second to pretend to climb a mountain or whatever the book is talking about. trainimaginationSince this month’s theme is “All About Me,” A.J. shared about some of his favorite things/people. Talking about what he enjoys encompasses a lot, but I tried to write what he said instead of what I thought he should say. Because I’m going to laminate this project and turn it into a place mat, I helped out more than I probably should have with the placement of the pictures. A.J. did glue most of the pictures.Favoritethings100_2901 100_2902 100_2903I often catch him looking at the pictures with a beautiful smile on his face. PRICELESS!!

How does your little one use his or her imagination these days?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

-Asia

Indulging Our Senses with Homemade Soap

Soaptastic

I finally took the plunge and learned how to make handmade soap. I’ve wanted  to do this for so long, but it seemed too complicated and overwhelming. NOT!!! This was the easiest project ever and A.J. enjoyed it, too!

Trisha at Two Big, Two Little inspired me to “just do it already!” Once I saw there were kits for this with instructions, I knew that I could do this sooner than later.

I ordered my kit from Lorann Oils. The evening it came, I made a test bar before involving A.J. I used a pipe cleaner with alphabet beads to spell his name. It turned out pretty well for my first attempt.

The instructions are simple and they come with the kit. Here is a simple version:

1. Cut glycerine bar into 1/2 inch chunks (You don’t have to cut the whole block, just enough to make the amount of soap that you want.)

2. Place chunks in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 seconds.

3. Make sure it melts, you may have to heat and stir for another 10 seconds.

4. Add color (if desired) and essential oil fragrance.

5. Pour into a mold and let set for about 40 minutes and you’re done. (You can add trinkets ect. to the soap by pouring half into the mold, adding your trinket, then pouring more liquid into the mold.)

A.J. helped by choosing what he wanted to add to the soap. I gave him a choice of coins and foam sea creatures. He chose the money. He also placed the cut pieces into the container, added the coloring, and stirred the mixture. Melt and pour soap making requires adult supervision. The soap is really hot when you first remove it from the microwave.

The kit comes with lavender and cucumber melon fragrances. We’ve only used the melon so far and it smells divine.

EasyhomemadesoapHave you made homemade soap before? I’d love to see your photos!!

Pray, Persist, & Prosper!

-Asia

Prayers for our Children

prayersforourchildren2February is the month of love and when the rest of society celebrates Black History. I added learning opposites for February and will also celebrate my B-day this month, so you will read posts about the February happenings surrounding Valentines Day, Black History, opposites and my birthday this month.

I began the month by decorating A.J.’s door with hearts. I saw this idea on Pinterest and added my unique twist. Instead of writing phrases like, “You’re awesome!” or “You’re cool!” I decided to write prayers for our children. Each day I walk into A.J.s room I remove a heart from the door and pray the prayer written on the heart over him.

Although the prayers are from Bible scriptures, I translated them into more simple language. I wrote the verse at the bottom of each heart so that I could remember where the prayer originated.

I plan to keep all of prayers and place them in an album so that we can refer to them time and time again. I do think I should take the hearts down and laminate them. A.J. likes to choose which heart we will read in the morning and he is a bit rough on the construction paper when pulling the heart off of the door. Laminating them will make them more durable.

What prayers have you prayed over your children lately?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

-Asia

Winter Theme Wrap-up!

winterwrapupOur theme for January was Winter. As a wrap-up, here are a few activities that we did during the month. I didn’t photograph some activities because I was engrossed in the moment. Nevertheless, I hope what I share is useful to you or to someone  you know.

Arts and Crafts

Snowmen printable cut out from Teachmama.com. Oh you don’t know how badly I wanted to jump in and help out during this activity! I checked myself and let him do it all by himself.

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I downloaded the snowman below and snowflake craft from Learn Create Love, home to over 300 printables.100_2532

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Miscellaneous Activities

A.J. loves to match things, so we did some mitten matching. The mitten printable is from Prekinders.com.

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He played with ice…

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and even went ice-skating. A.J. enjoyed this activity most.

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We learned about arctic animals and read several books. I hope to have the amazon book feature working the next time I share about the books we are reading.

What was your kid’s favorite winter activity?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

-Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fine Finger Play the Montessori Way


My sister recently visited. As usual, we had a  blast! I love it when she comes. She is full of jokes and laughs which are key ingredients in FUN!

A highlight of her visit was our trip to the pumpkin patch at Yule Forest. Although A.J. was a little  standoffish when it came to the animals, he enjoyed the hay ride and the “idea” of the animals. I could tell by his repeating the word hayride along with making sounds of the different animals he saw.

After my sister’s visit, we painted our pumpkins and resumed activities to enhance A.J.’s fine motor skills. 

We focused on the three-finger (pincer) grasp and added an activity to strengthen his circular wrist motion.  

Here is what we did.

Three-finger (pincer) grasp activities included: Stringing beads, using a ladle for scooping the beans and placing Cheerios around spaghetti sticks.

I love his concentration!

Hey Mom! Look at what I did!

He used a ladle to scoop and transfer the beans using the three finger pincer grasp and also did this activity using his whole hand to transfer the beans.

I was totally impressed by this feat! But even more so by his determination to keep trying until he succeeded!

By the time we did the cheerios activity, I must admit that I was a bit tired. My patience was becoming short and I really wanted to stop after a few tries. A.J. however was determined to keep going until he placed all 10 cheerios on the thin, easily breakable, spaghetti stick. Despite my urging to try again later or perhaps tomorrow, he pushed through. I was so proud of him! More importantly, he was super proud of himself!

Circular wrist motion – Using a wisk

Whisking yolks for scrambled eggs

Amira has been observing our activities, too!

What other fun fine motor skill development activities have you done?

Pray, Persist & Prosper,

DIY Face Painting for My Little Warrior

Homemade face paint

I made some fun homemade face paint for A.J. that I discovered through my absolute favorite site, Pinterest. The site Kleenexmums.com  had the recipe and I just so happened to have all the ingredients on hand. 

1 tsp face cream (I had a generic brand from right aid)

1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp water

drops of food coloring 

I didn’t leave the paint on long as I wasn’t too sure about how our skin would react. Everything turned out fine. There’s no staining or breakouts to report! 

I showed A.J. photos of people in other cultures who paint their faces and bodies.  

The look on A.J.’s face was priceless, too bad I didn’t have my camera available to capture the shot.

Do you have another recipe for face painting that you use?

Pray, Persist & Prosper!

7 Brain Boosters for Tots (Part 2)

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post, 7 Brain Boosters for Tots (Part 1).

Eye Drop Art – I made the design in the middle and A.J. made the rest. We used food coloring and an eye dropper to create these masterpieces! During this art project, A.J. unknowingly practiced his three finger (pincer grasp) which helps in the preparation of writing among other fine motor skill activities.

Even his favorite stuffed animal, Fievel, got in on the action!

A.J. enjoys Fievel's company.

Popscicle Puzzles –  I learned about this project over at the blog, Impress Your Kids. Additional insight into the benefits of puzzles is from Patricia Bentham of Kindergarten Lessons. According to Ms. Bentham, puzzles:

  1. Develop vocabulary
  2. Increase small muscle development
  3. Develop eye hand coordination
  4. Improve memory skills
  5. Increase problem solving skills
  6. Build spatial perception
  7. Build literacy skills
To make this puzzle:
1. Tape popsicles together
2. Turn it over and place picture on to the sticks
3. Glue picture to sticks then cut with a sharp object such as a box cuttter
4. I used markers for the numbers, but next time I will use stickers for ease of removal. You can also choose not to add numbers to up the challenge level of this activity.

Although this was challenging to A.J., he enjoyed looking at the picture of himself with his Auntie "Gee Gee" and playing with the popsicle sticks. In due time he will better understand.

Pasta Stick Rings – This is a wonderful activity to further develop fine motor skills and the three-finger (pincer) grasp. I saw it on Mya and Me blog and had to make one for A.J. It’s usually done with pasta sticks stuck in play dough, but I didn’t have any play dough on hand so instead, I used a salt container. This worked out perfectly.

A.J. had difficulty with this when he used his right hand. But when he used his left hand, his dominant hand, he could do it.

Pipe Cleaner Fun – The objective is to make designs putting the pipe cleaners through the holes of a strainer. I filled the holes on this activity and A.J. was more than happy to pull them out and more! I found this idea from the blog Nobody Has More Fun Than The Adams.

Here is a bonus activity for you that we also did. I’m not a big fan of posters, but I do what I can to make it come alive and get A.J. moving. I took this color and shapes poster and re-created the shapes. A.J. places the shapes onto the shapes on the board. There are creative ways to use these cut outs, but for his age level, this is all that we do for now.

I do my best to credit the source of activities on this blog. If you share your activities with me and I use them, I will be sure to give you credit as well.

With that being said, are there any activities that you’d like to add to this list?

Pray, Persist, & Prosper!

 


Circle Time Surprise

A.J. and I have Circle Time everyday. During our Circle Time we review the calendar by singing songs and focusing on the day’s date. Yesterday, when I pointed out December 7th as the date, A.J. went to his numbers puzzle and grabbed the number 7. I was shocked that he made this connection and even chose the right number.

When I asked him to bring mommy other specific numbers, he brought me random numbers instead. Nevertheless, it still was a pleasant surprise that he made the connection between the numbers on his puzzle and the numbers he sees  on his calendar.  He did however pick-up the zero puzzle piece and began pointing to the different zeros on the calendar. WOW!

A.J. is holding the number 7 in his right hand.

After meals, A.J. wipes off his table and chair. This is a practical life activity that I encourage on a daily basis. He is making good progress.

For the first time this month, A.J. was ready to finger paint again. In the past I would help him by demonstrating what to do, so the art was done more so by me. This time I let him do it all by himself. I provided him with a paint brush that he also chose to use.

I wrote the date on his paper and took a picture. I plan to date and take pictures of all of his creations so that stacks of paper won’t pile up. I do plan to keep some to display, but I will produce a book containing his art work so that he can see his progress.

Check out his pincer grasp. His Grand da-da taught him that!

The Finished Masterpiece

What art activities does your little one enjoy?

Stay Tuned for tomorrow’s post: A Fantastic Homemade Carpet Stain Removal Remedy

Pray, Persist & Prosper!