Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Can You Help Tom Turkey Find His Feathers?!

I was inspired by Parenting Magazine to do a feather hunt (a la Easter egg hunt) for my little person on Thanksgiving morning. They suggested using the collected feathers to create a headdress. Good idea, but not something that my little guy would really understand.

What he does understand is "turkey."

I made a little turkey out of two styrofoam balls, some paint, googly eyes, construction paper, and cardboard. It didn't take very long to make an assemble, or making him would have never fit into my schedule! A few tips: Make sure the feet are large enough to keep the turkey from falling forward. Also, use a toothpick (or piece of a toothpick) between the two balls to ensure that they stay together! An alternate craft would be to draw a turkey and glue the feathers on!

So tomorrow Ethan will be hunting for hidden feathers. As he finds them, we'll put them back on Tom Turkey. I'm not quite sure how it will go, but sure sounds fun enough to me :)

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Collecting and Saving Leaves Together

On a recent unseasonably warm day, we took a family hike. Ethan really enjoys collecting things, so collecting pretty colored leaves as we walked was right up his alley. His daddy and I were commenting about how pretty this collection of leaves was, especially since it hasn't been a very good year for pretty leaves. Then I remembered seeing leaves preserved with Mod Podge online. Literally, all you do is let the leaves dry out and brush it on (It's a good idea to dry them between newspaper under a heavy weight, but I just left them dry on the table--admittedly losing a few due to over-curling). Then "ta-da!" the leaves are shiny, the color is magically intensified and the leaves are considerably more flexible.

This isn't so much a craft for a young toddler to help other than the leaf collection portion and enjoying the finished product. (Of course, there's always the benefit of that precious time spent having fun together!) Although Mod Podge is non-toxic, it has glue-like properties and so it's not quite suitable for a little person (especially one who frequently puts paint in his mouth). I did have Ethan painting leaves while I Mod Podged, but he was more interested in finger painting--and that's ok too!!!

The results were great, and so quick and easy!

Do you have a favorite way to preserve fall leaves?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fall Leaf Relief Print Painting (and Turkeys!)

Ethan and I had a lot of fun with our most recent Fall Leaf Relief Print painting project!

First step is to collect a few fall leaves. They don't need to be pretty leaves, they just need to be in good shape, and not too dry.

We then used our brushes to paint the underside of the leaves. It's very important to paint the undersides because they have so much more texture than the tops. Ethan definitely needed help filling in the leaves. He did ok to start, and he was enthusiastic, but to fill them in completely he needed Mommy's help. We used a pallet of red, orange, and yellow paint, but go crazy and use any colors you'd like!

After we painted the undersides of all the leaves, we placed the painted side down on a clean sheet of paper. Ethan helped me "SMACK SMACK" the leaves against the paper. We left the leaves stuck to the paper while he painted around them. When he was all done, I peeled up the edges and he helped remove the leaves. I think he was a bit surprised by the bright colored leaf prints that were left behind.

My favorite part is the pretty yellow, orange and red hand smear on the left edge of the page!
When we're done painting, we always tape the painting to the side of one of my cabinets to dry. While I was hanging the leaf prints, I looked at them and said "Oh WOW Ethan, this painting is really good!" He replied "Oh WOW!" Now every time we look at that painting (now framed in his room) and I ask him, "What does Mommy say about that painting?" he replies "Oh WOW!" Love.

And of course, what's a Thanksgiving holiday without making some hand turkeys!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Leaves Tree Fingerpainting

Our latest seasonal painting project was a fall tree. I painted the tree trunk on the paper and instructed 15 month old Ethan to paint the leaves.

I gave him a pallet made out of aluminum foil with red, yellow, and orange fingerpaint on it so that he could have complete control over the paint he placed on the paper. I love seeing all the tiny finger streaks in the paint!

The fall painting was great fall fun! I would like to say that we went out and played in the leaves afterwards, but really we went straight to the bath tub! (this was a messy painting session!) Playing in the leaves was for another day!

In the spring, we created a similar tree painting using fingerprints when he was only 7 months old.


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