Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Manner Ladder

Make the please and thank you fun!

You will need:
  • Popsicle sticks (we used colored ones)
  • Glue
  • Picture of your child
How to:
This is a very simple one. Glue the popsicle sticks to form a ladder. Place a piece of tape on the back of child's picture and place on the bottom rung. Hang somewhere that it will be easily reached. (We clipped ours onto the fridge.)

The story:
Every time we catch Elliott using manners, without being prompted to do so, he gets to move up the ladder. (Please, thank you, excuse me, sharing, playing well with friends, etc.) When he gets to the top, he gets a special treat. (A small toy, an extra television show, a special snack, etc.)

The rules are pretty easy. No moving up the ladder if he asks to move up the ladder or if we have to remind him of his manners. I made a no punishment rule for us as well: We are not allowed to move him down a notch for misbehaving. (Who, my angel?) I want this to be about the behaviors that he is rewarded for, not taking away something that he has earned.

This ladder has gone over very, very well. We have had it up for a couple of months and Elliott still loves getting to move his picture up a rung. Plus, he seems to be picking up some good habits. He shakes hands with people he meets, thanks people who hold doors for him and blessed a sneezing man at the store.

Elliott's Evaluation:
That is my manners ladders. It has letters on the side and Elliott gets to go up, up, up and up and I get a special snack time or prize because Mommy lets me pick.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Earth Day Tote

Get on the Tote Bag bandwagon with an Earth Day tote!

You will need:
  • A tote bag (We found our's in the dollar bin at Micheal's Crafts, but you may want to shell out for a higher quality bag if you'll be using it often.)
  • Blue and green felt sheets
  • Fabric glue
  • Earth pattern
  • Circle shaped plate that will fit on bag (for tracing)
  • Black marker

How to:
    Trace around the plate to make Earth.
    The simplier the pattern, the better!
  1. Trace the plate onto the blue felt. This will be your Earth. Place blue sheet on top of green and cut circle out of both sheets of felt.
  2. Draw an Earth pattern on the green felt. Remember, the simplier the better! Cut pieces out and arrange on blue circle. When placed to your liking, glue backs with fabric glue.
  3. Glue Earth onto bag. Let dry.

Who knew OnDemand had a Craft Channel? That's where I found the idea for this project. We were on our Earth Day (Earth Week) kick and we (try) to use reusable shopping bags often, so I thought this would be a fun one.  I originally thought Elliott could use this as his Library bag, but the dollar bin material is not very book friendly, so we use ours to carry lighter loads now.

The highlight of this craft (for me) was discovering that Elliott was perfectly capable of doing something I didn't think him capable of...tracing. I handed him the marker and asked him to "pose" with it so I could take a picture and he started to trace the plate himself. Lesson learned, on my part. I now always let him give something a try on his own before I step in to help.

Elliott's Evaluation:
Can we do that again? I love doing that because you can carry it on your arm. I like to carry toys in my bag.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Earth Sun Catcher

A simple introduction to the Mother Planet 

You will need:
  • Coffee filters (you'll be working on the smooth, inner circle)
  • Blue and green food coloring
  • Earth pattern (optional)
  • Plate
How's that Earth pattern working out for you, E?

How to:
  1. The directions I found online for this craft stated that you should place drops of food coloring in the pattern of the Earth, green for land and blue for sea. I say go ahead and try just that and when you have finished laughing hysterically after your failed attempts, do this: 2 drops of green on each side of the filter and 5-6 drops of blue sprinkled along the middle. The drops will spread and meet up. It may not look exactly like Earth, but we are talking kid's crafts here.
  2. Let dry.
  3. Trim edges of filter so that only center circle remains.
  4. Hang in a sunny window.
Thanks to Wall-e and The Three R's song by Jack Johnson, Elliott is obsessed with recycling. Since Earth Day was approaching, I decided to introduce him to some Earthy crafts.

I still find it incredibly amusing that the original directions suggested placing drops in an Earth pattern. Next to impossible, even if you aren't three years old! We made several of these and only one semi-looked like Earth, but they all looked nice and even if not geographically correct, you could tell what the general idea was.

Elliott's Evaluation:
I love those because you hang them in the window.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bubbling Volcano

Egads! Stand back before the lava gets you!

You will need:
  • Small bowl
  • Tray (for spills)
  • Tablespoon baking soda
  • Tablespoon white vinegar
  • Food coloring (optional)

How to:
  1. Place small bowl on tray. (We used an old cookie sheet.)
  2. If using food coloring, tint vinegar in a separate small bowl.
  3. Pour baking soda into bowl.
  4. Add vinegar.
  5. Stand back!! (Or not.)

Thoughts from me:
The vision I had? This super-cool creation that would bubble over the bowl and pour onto the tray. We even doubled the recipe for more thrills.

What we got? 30 seconds of fizzy bubbles. Elliott was VERY into the fizziness, but when it was over, he looked up and said, "Is that it?" Exactly, my friend, exactly.

New feature!!
Elliott has expressed an interest in taking part in the blog, so his thoughts (and words) on each project will now be included...

Elliott's Evaluation:
We did this craft. It bubbled a lot. But then it didn't do anything. But I liked doing this craft a lot!