Fun Friday – Crayon and Sandpaper Iron-On Transfers

I am notoriously bad at crafts.  I think Pinterest is the devil because my crafts NEVER turn out the way they should, regardless of how easy someone claims the project is.  As such, I have just about given up trying homemade things lately.pinterest 2

However, I discovered a website (The Crafty Collaborative) that features several daring women who try out various crafts and recipes and then let you know the honest scoop on how “easy” they really are!  You get pros and cons from multiple ladies who are testing out the same craft so you know if it really is something worth trying!  I appreciate this on so many levels!

Their most recent art project was making a homemade iron-on design using only sandpaper and crayons!  This looked like a legitimate project to me and the ladies all testified that it was, so my kids and I sat down to attempt it too.

*To try this yourself, you will need the following items:

  • Crayons (old crayons would work great because they will get worn down on the sandpaper)
  • Sandpaper
  • An Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • A plain t-shirt, tote bag, pillowcase, etc. that you can put a decal on

I love that the materials for this project are all things that you probably have just lying around the house!  Cheap and easy? YES, PLEASE!

The kids sat down and colored a design on their individual sheets of sandpaper (we used the thin grit so it was easier to color on).

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

When they were finished, I flipped the paper over, lined it up on an old white t-shirt, and ironed it on.  It only took about 5 seconds to get the picture on the t-shirt!  Then, I put a paper towel over the t-shirt picture and ironed a few times to get the excess wax off.

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

Voila; new art shirts for school (we purposely tested this out on daddy’s old t-shirts because they would be used for messy art projects anyway and I was still a little skeptical of the outcome, given my history of crafting).

showing off their shirts

showing off their shirts

You do have to push down on the crayons a little harder than usual to make sure that the picture is really bright on the sandpaper or the picture will be faint (notice that my son’s shirt is not nearly as bright in certain spots because he didn’t color as hard).

And, if you want to put any words or numbers in the picture, you have to remember to write them backwards on the paper or they will show up backwards on the shirt.  My son forgot that rule and had to adjust his picture accordingly (BUT MOM, HOW DO YOU DRAW A FOOTBALL PLAYER WITHOUT THEIR NAME AND JERSEY NUMBER?! – a question that should have been asked before he started drawing seeing as though I only had 2 pieces of sandpaper at that time), which is why his looks a little wonky – he tried to turn the numbers/letters he drew into helmets on a football field, but he gets his artistic ability from his mama so it is what it is.

The whole point of my rambling is that the project was SO simple and required very little preparation, no specialty tools, little to no money, and very little work on my part – HOORAY!  pinterest 1It is definitely something that I would recommend trying with your kids the next time they get “bored” or if you need a cute gift for a grandparent or family member.

Thanks The Crafty Collaborative for reviewing this fun idea so that I was brave enough to try it myself!

Fun At The Jelly Belly Factory


by the official Jelly Belly van

While we were in the San Francisco area a few weeks ago, we decided to take the kids for a tour of the Jelly Belly factory.  Now, I must confess that I am not a huge fan of jelly beans in general.  I find the consistency kind of gross and the flavors usually remind me of cough syrup and for those reasons I tend to steer clear of them.  However, sampling all of the flavors at the Jelly Belly factory has changed my mind!

entering the factory/store

entering the factory/store

We got there right when it opened and only had to wait in line a few minute before our tour began.

Ready for the tour

Ready for the tour

They offered us all little hats to wear and even Big Trouble kept his on most of the time (except for when we took a family picture with the giant jelly bean, naturally).

He couldn't be bothered with his hat during the photo op

He couldn’t be bothered with his hat during the photo-op

We got to see each stage of the jelly bean making process (sadly, couldn’t take pictures) and taste a new flavor of jelly beans at each little stop.  The first we tasted was cantaloupe and it tasted EXACTLY like cantaloupe!  I was floored at how accurate the flavor was!  We also got to taste plum and marshmallow, as well as 3 more flavors of our choice.  I have to say, they were all pretty tasty, but my favorite was the buttered popcorn!  YUMMY!

Of course, they mentioned that not all of their flavor attempts turn out, but they save these anyway and rename them nasty names and sell them for “fun” (I’m guessing this was inspired by the Harry Potter ‘every flavor beans’ but you know they won’t admit that).  I was not up for trying any gross flavors, but Big Trouble will eat just about anything so he got to try booger, pencil shavings and moldy cheese!  He did not spit them out.  (insert a semi-guilty mom-conscience for allowing him to be the guinea pig for nasty jelly beans, but it was pretty funny)

check out some of the reject flavors

check out some of the reject flavors

Along the way, we also saw some of the cool jelly bean mosaics that have been created over time as the Jelly Belly corporation grew.

hall of presidents

hall of presidents

Ronald Reagan - champion of jelly beans

with Ronald Reagan – champion of jelly beans

We also got to sample some spectacular fudge (who knew they made that too?) and we each received a sampler bag of their most popular flavors, which we shared with other family members.  Might I mention that this entire ordeal was completely FREE?!  Yes, you read that right; it was totally free!

what a great trip!

one more fun shot before we left

I have officially been converted to a fan of Jelly Belly’s and I foresee me purchasing some more of those buttered popcorn jelly beans in the very near future! I will steer clear of the moldy cheese and booger flavored ones though. 🙂

Summer Camp Recycled Crafts – Part 2

As promised in Part 1, I’ve got a few more “green” crafts from Summer Camp to share with you and here they are!

  • Fabric CD Coasters – At the same local shop we found the old VHS cases (The fantastic Sharing Tree if you live in the Tallahassee area – you can fill a huge tote bag full of scrap/recycled materials for only $5!), we also found bulk used CDs and Fabric Sample booklets.  We used these materials to create fun coasters for the kids to give as gifts.  You simply trace the CD onto the fabric with chalk or a pencil, cut it out, glue it on one side of the CD and cover the fabric with Mod Podge to seal it.  We used small pieces of Duct Tape to cover the hole in the back just to guarantee the liquid wouldn’t seep through there and we placed little foam pieces on the back to raise the coasters off of the table a little.  So easy and with so many fabric choices available (even from old shower curtains, drapes, towels, etc., that you have lying around the house), the possibilities are endless if you want to match them to your home decor or create as a gift!
We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)

We used all different types of material (from thin satin and gingham to very thick, almost carpet-like fabric)  These were still wet with glue, but they dried solid and work GREAT!

  • Cereal Box Collages – We cut the front and back cardboard pieces from recycled cereal boxes to use as a mat for creating a collage.  We then let the kids create a theme by using old magazines as inspiration.  The children used animals, fun shaped letters, and other things to create theirs.  This could be a totally free craft to create on a rainy day if you have old magazines, a cereal box (or even a shoe box or mailing box or the back of an old book that is falling apart) and some glue!

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and creating a collage of those.

    My son decided to go through the magazines and find ads from different products that he recognized and create a collage of those – ANY theme would work.

  • Cupcake Liner and Egg Carton “Flower Garden” – For the end of the week luncheon centerpieces the second week of camp, we let the younger kids make “flowers” out of cupcake liners, popsicle sticks, and other tiny odds and ends.  We then placed their flowers into egg cartons which they painted green to resemble a patch of grass.  It was really interesting to watch some kids really decorate the inside of their flowers, while others were content to just glue a single button or pom-pom inside and call it a day.  In the end, it was a simple project but also a colorful one that the kids enjoyed.

    Our little "gardens"

    Our little “gardens”

  •  Crystal Light Find-It Game –  I have done this craft with my own kids (as seen in this post) and they had a blast so when we realized that we had enough random materials to let the pre-K and Kindergarten kids make this, we ran with this adapted version.  Instead of soda bottles, we used empty Crystal Light containers that were donated to our class.  We also had a small package of birdseed so we used that instead of rice.  Turns out, both containers and both “filler” items work just fine.  You simply fill the container 3/4 of the way with whatever filler you choose, add random “treasures” (such as lego pieces, foam cutouts, buttons, beads, Barbie shoes, etc. – whatever items will fit in the container) to the top of the filler, seal it with either glue or duct tape, as shown in the picture below, and shake it up good so that the items are mixed into the filler.  *Remember to make a list of the items you will be searching for, just so you don’t forget!*  Now the kids have a game for the house or on the go!
    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking)

    The birdseed and items to find (pre-shaking) 

    find it 2

    Our finished product (minus the clue card)

Pet Rocks – As an extra time filler, we brought back the 70’s fad, pet rocks!  All you need is paint, little googly eyes, yarn or confetti and rocks from your yard or garden.  Surprisingly, even the older kids seemed to like this.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in "Monsters Inc." :)  Very creative.

I was told that these pet rocks were modeled after the monsters in “Monsters Inc.” 🙂 Very creative.

During the camp we also used the fabric samples to create bookmarks and decorative binder clips (although I failed to get a shot of those).  We really enjoyed finding new ways to use left over materials and recycled materials.  Not only did it make crafting less expensive, it allowed us to repurpose items that you might not think could be repurposed.

Thanks again to everyone who helped me with ideas in my original post and I hope you are inspired to try a few of these projects yourself!

Summer Camp Recycled Crafts – Part I

I have been MIA for the last two weeks or so thanks to my exhausting job as an assistant arts and crafts teacher at a local camp.

I’m happy to report that the kids, including older boys, loved the crafts – many of which came from the ideas y’all sent me earlier this year – and I really wanted to share them with you because if I was able to help kids accomplish these projects (in the midst of dealing with inept babysitters for Big Trouble), ANYONE can do it and it might give you some cool projects to attempt during the long Summer months when moms can start going crazy!

Get ready for a huge photo dump (which is why this will be in 2 parts).  Disclaimer – the photos aren’t fantastic because I was frantically trying to remember to catch the finished projects with my lousy phone in between cleaning up and helping kids, but you’ll still get the gist.

  • Button Bowls (I did a separate post about these when I was testing it out at home if you want directions, but it’s super easy, only slightly messy – unless you are doing it with 10 kids at camp – and only involves a balloon, buttons and glue/mod podge)!
button bowls!

button bowls!

  • Yarn Wine Bottle Vase – We used empty wine bottles, a bit of yarn, and glue to create beautifully unique vases which were used as centerpieces for a luncheon on the last day of camp.  (We also had the kids make tissue paper flowers to put in them but of course I forgot to take a picture of those).  This was a great project for the older kids, 3rd grade and up, because after we tied the top part of the ribbon onto the lip of the bottle, they just painted small portions with glue and started wrapping the yarn.  Occasionally, the yarn would slide down, but it was very easy to just push it back up tightly, even if you decided to use different color yarns and had to tie on another piece.
I actually made this one myself out of one roll of green yarn that changed shades every few feet.

I actually made this one myself out of one roll of green yarn that changed shades every few feet.

  • Toilet Paper Roll Owl – Since owls have been on trend recently, we made cute owls out of toilet paper rolls, leaves, feathers, markers, googly eyes and a few other crafty odds and ends.
This little guy lost a feather wing on the way home, but he still has his leaf wing and nose.

This little guy lost a feather wing on the way home, but he still has his leaf wing and nose.

  • VHS Pencil/Treasure Boxes – When looking around for “green” art supplies, we came across a small store that had a stash of old, clear VHS tape boxes.  We thought they would be perfect and easy for the kids to decorate as a “if I finish early” project.
Each kid used Sharpies to decorate their box however they wished

Each kid used Sharpies to decorate their box however they wished

  • Matisse-inspired Name Art In my original recycled crafts blog, one of my art teacher friends offered this idea as she had done it with some of her older students in her class this year.  We loved this inspiration, but some of the kids were too small to be able to cut cool letters out of paper so we tweaked the idea a little and wrote each kid’s name on a thick mat board and gave them numerous craft supplies (such as broken crayons, pom poms, buttons, beads, feathers, googly eyes, tissue paper, confetti, etc.) to be used to create their own special work of art.
some turned out better than others, but each kid LOVED this project.

some turned out better than others, but each kid LOVED this project.

  • Tile Trivets – This was another time filler project, but the kids really enjoyed it and many of them made them as gifts for Father’s Day.  We just purchased tiles in bulk from Home Depot and let the kids decorate them with Sharpies.  Then, when they were finished, we applied a light sealant over them so that the artwork won’t come off if they have to wash them.  We also added a few small squares of foam squares to the bottom to make sure they wouldn’t scratch any tables or countertops.
If you look closely, you will see a few with hands on them as we traced the hands of the Pre-K and K kids for their parents because you know they have such cute and tiny hands right now!

If you look closely, you will see a few tiles with decorated hands on them.  We traced the hands of the Pre-K and K kids for their parents because you know they have such cute and tiny hands right now!

some of the kids took the "art" part very seriously and came up with some really cool drawings and ideas.

some of the kids took the “art” part very seriously and came up with some really cool drawings and ideas.

  • Potholders – This craft should look very familiar to most of you because it has been around for a long time.  We purchased some inexpensive plastic looms from Hobby Lobby and ordered the already cut pieces of stretchy fabric for the kids to weave potholders out of.  This wasn’t particularly “green” but the original idea was to use old tshirts and socks, cut in the same fashion as the strips we bought, to create the potholders.  We ran out of prep time, but that is definitely a way to create a “green” potholder!
not fancy, but does the job

not fancy, but does the job

These are just a few of the crafts that we did over the past 2 weeks and I will have a few more to share later on in the week.  I hope you are inspired by these projects enough to want to try creating your own masterpieces with your kids! 🙂

Button Bowl (Pinterest DIY Semi-Success)

This past weekend, the kids and I decided to try out one of the crafts that I posted about on my recycled crafts blog party post to see if it was really doable for the Summer Camp crowd.  I had all of the supplies on hand (or at least worthy enough versions of the supplies) so we got them all out and sat down to create our masterpiece.

As it turns out, this is a pretty easy craft to make (I am about to share the instructions for you to try); but, having said that, please know that I had four extra “helping” hands and a toddler who was doing his best to steal the buttons and roll in the glue every 10 seconds so our final outcome wasn’t as pristine as I had hoped.  It did come out in one piece though and after so many epic failures from Pinterest, I have to mark this one in the “success” column.

Anyhow, here’s what we did!  Hope you get a chance to try it yourself (I’m sure yours will turn out much better).  These actually could make really cute gifts.

what we were aiming for

This was the example bowl – ours does not look like this

First, we gathered up the necessary supplies: a balloon, buttons, white glue, a paintbrush and a bowl.

the goods

the goods

Next, we blew the balloon up to a reasonable size, tied it and placed it in the bowl so that it would be balanced.

The balloon "bowl form"

The balloon “bowl form”

You’ll notice that I drew a line on it with a sharpie so that the kids knew where they were supposed to stop with the balloons (or start, however you want to look at it).

Then we used the paint brush to cover the part of the balloon that was above the line with glue.  APPLY LIBERALLY.  I cannot emphasize enough that the more glue, the better.  I actually took a picture of what the balloon looked like after we added the first layer of glue, but then quickly realized that you couldn’t see it in a picture because I used a white balloon like the genius that I am.  I recommend using a darker color so you can see how exactly where the glue is going.

Let that glue dry for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much glue you used.  As long as it is dry to the touch, you’re good.  Then add another layer of glue on top of the first layer.  This creates the base of your bowl and is what ultimately will help hold everything together.

Next, we started the fun part: adding the buttons!

buttons, buttons everywhere!

buttons, buttons everywhere!

As you can see, the kids chose buttons of different sizes (which will still work if that’s what you have laying around the house, but it’s not as easy to keep them in a straight line for purposes of the top of the bowl) and they didn’t plan any kind of color pattern but hey, they did it themselves and that’s what counts, right?  Just make sure that all of the buttons are touching for a more even look (and because it helps the glue adhere better – we had issues so learn from us).

We let these buttons dry overnight just to make sure they were on there good, but a few hours should do the trick if you have the time to glue them on and then come back.  Once the buttons are tightly glued on, you use the glue to paint over the buttons.  Again, the more glue, the better.  We used a sponge brush and found it somewhat difficult to get the glue in the spaces between the buttons so when we do this at the Summer Camp, we will be using regular paint brushes.  It is really important that the glue covers EVERYTHING including those spaces or the bowl will fall apart.

glue on top of the buttons

glue on top of the buttons

Once that glue dries, you repeat the “glue-over” process 1-2 more times, just to add those necessary extra layers of protection for the buttons.  Yes, this is a drawn out process because of the drying time, but it is very simple and the gluing only takes a few minutes each time so it’s a project you can do in between other tasks because you can walk away from it if you need to.

Finally, once all of the glue is dry, we sliced a small hole where the balloon was tied.  This slowly let the air out of the balloon without popping it, which allows the balloon to slowly pull itself away from the glue of the bowl without breaking the bowl.  You don’t have to do a thing until the balloon is completely peeled off.  You may have some jagged glue edges at the top if you weren’t careful about the glue around the base/where the buttons stop (my kids weren’t – SHOCKER) but I had no problem just slicing it off with some sharp scissors or exacto knife.

Our button bowl

Our button bowl

And there you have it.  A bowl made out of nothing but buttons and glue.  Obviously, the bowl isn’t made to be used for anything edible or heavy, but is sturdy enough to hold light things or for decorative use.  We loved this fun way to use old buttons (and some new ones because we didn’t quite have enough just from my sewing kit) and I hope you are inspired to create an even better version of this “green” craft!

Linking Up WIth Side By Side Design

I am linking up with our charitable blog, Mikey’s Helping Place (MHP), and our friends Tami and Lauren, over at Side By Side Design, to bring you an easy and fun challenge to help sick kids.

Head over to Side By Side Design to learn more about their goal of making 200 cards to benefit MHP’s Operation Smile project and how you can help!

Let’s keep working to make sick children and their families smile!


Wordless Wednesday – Super Bowl Party, A La My Kids

**Warning: too many pictures of how I scrambled to keep my kids busy so that my husband could watch the pre-game stuff**

Football strips...

Football strips…


…turned into football chain for the tv.


posters and pennants advertising the game and the teams


up close shot of our “football field” pennant


our special football chips and dip platter

Our football shaped/themed cups

Our football shaped/themed cups

Our Super Bowl football cake that I made from scratch and decorated to perfection (sarcasm people)

Our Super Bowl football cake that I made from scratch and decorated to perfection (sarcasm people)

Keeping Up The Family Tradition

I was 3 when my step-dad brought my mom and me to Kuhn’s florist to see the Christmas windows display for the first time.  They were dating at the time and he was still trying to impress my mom with his ability to impress me.  Guess what?  It worked because they were married the next year and just celebrated their 28th anniversary.  And, despite the fact that I now live in another city, we haven’t missed a year of going in the last 29 years.  It became our family tradition and we continued it with my children.

It’s basically the same set up each year, but they always change at least one of the windows to give it some new pizzazz.  My older kids remember it from the last few years, but my youngest, who just turned 2 in October was pretty clueless until this year.  He went crazy as soon as we pulled into the parking lot.  He saw the huge talking Santa in the window and started screaming, “Santa! Santa!  I GET OUT NOW!”

taking in the splendor of the biggest window

taking in the splendor of the biggest window

Despite the fact that I knew this meant a few minutes of craziness, I loved that reaction.  And, much like I expected, my baby ran like a psychopath from one window to the next and back, OVER AND OVER AGAIN.  (Luckily, my older two were more calm about the whole process and walked peacefully with my mom from window to window).

I caught him before he ran to the next window!  Look at that cheese!

I caught him before he ran to the next window! Look at that cheese!

While it wasn’t the most fun to chase him around, it was hilarious to watch him being so overwhelmed with joy and it was great to watch my dad laugh at his reaction too.  I wonder if I had the same enthusiasm the first time he saw me watch the “show”?

Now that I have my own kids, I have really learned to appreciate the little things like this and I’m so glad we have continued the tradition through the generations, despite our current geographic distance.  I hope we can keep doing it, even when my kids turn into grumpy teenagers.  Maybe they will be able to do it with their kids, too, and I’ll be the grandma watching in delight, thinking back to the good old days.

Fun Friday – A Day At The Corn Maze

Last weekend, I packed up the kids and drove to a little town not too far from our “big” city.  A friend of ours had discovered a small family farm that was hosting its first corn maze this year and we were curious to check it out.  It was a fantastic place; small enough to not completely wear the kids down, but with enough activities to keep them occupied for a significant amount of time!  The only activity that cost money was the actual corn maze and it was a very minimal cost (not to mention that kids 5 and under were FREE)!  Every member of the family who ran the farm was extremely nice and so accommodating (which is important when you are dragging around 3 kids who all want to run in different directions). Needless to say, we had a great time at Aunt Louise’s farm!

We arrived at the farm and the kids weren’t sure what to expect, but the following sight at the entrance made them laugh and they were ready to face the maze!

Standing by the hay bale and ready to enter the maze (notice my youngest is missing as he had already run away from this photo-op in an attempt to find the animals)

We finally corralled baby brother, paid for our admission, and made our way into the maze.

heading into the corn maze, hand in hand (definitely a moment to capture)

I was busy keeping everyone going in the maze so I didn’t get any good pictures, but the kids had a blast and were able to navigate it fairly easily with only a few missteps before we finally emerged unscathed!  We then headed over to the play area.

Who needs a sandbox when you have a tractor tire full of corn?!

The kids loved playing in the tire of corn and didn’t really want to get out.  But I eventually managed to haul everyone out of the corn kernels and we headed over to see the animals.  There were rabbits, chickens, goats, and cows.  We saw the matriarch of the farm collect the eggs from the chickens (my older son finally realized that the eggs she took weren’t fertilized – this involved a pretty funny conversation regarding which eggs will turn into chickens and which are just eggs like we can get at the store); we saw a large white dog which my youngest called a sheep (it really did look like a sheep so I was pretty proud that he was finally able to start identifying farm animals, regardless of it he gets it right every time); we heard a cow but I didn’t see it until my sweet and smart baby finally pointed it out to me (it was right in front of me, beside the goats, DUH).

He found the cow that mommy couldn’t see! (and the goats, Oreo and Chip)

The baby seemed to have a fascination with the rabbits, or should I say, the rabbit cages, and he attempted to climb right in with them.  When he realized that he wouldn’t fit (and that he wasn’t allowed to climb into the cage), he started practicing the lost art of opening and closing the cage door.  That was fun.  Here’s where the farm owners’ calm and easy manner really came in handy because they were completely patient and understanding about my son’s weird fascinations.

He finally got tired of doing that and actually reached in to “gently” pet the bunnies.  No animals were harmed.  Whew.

checking out the bunnies once he got tired of playing with the cage

Then we headed over to where the tractor-pulled barrel train was located.  ‘Aunt Louise’s’ son came over to drive us around and we all climbed into the barrels.  It was a nice little ride around the farm and the corn maze.  We ended up going on the train an extra time later on in the visit, too, because the farm wasn’t busy while we were there (and probably because my daughter’s incessant pleading/whining was either tugging on the motherly heartstrings of ‘Aunt Louise’ – certainly not tugging on mine at that point – or because ‘Aunt Louise’ just wanted to shut her up; either way, we got to do it twice and it was fun both times).

big kids smiling from the first barrel car of the train!  They wanted to sit in the front, which they thought was a good choice, until they realized how much dirt flies around behind a tractor.  It was still fun but we were all quite dirty after that!

little one holding on for dear life while checking out the sights of the farm – he was a little scared in the beginning, but by the end, he was laughing hysterically

mommy and her not so little baby riding on the train (yes, I fit my big butt into the seat with him because I was not about to let him jump out halfway around the farm, something I am sure he was contemplating from the moment he got in)

Afterward, as a special treat, we headed to the snack stand and I got each kid a sno cone to enjoy before we headed home (btw, very grateful for the sink and soap that was so nicely set up for us to use, knowing how dirty our hands would be!).  I bought myself some boiled peanuts and a coke (aka, Southern snack awesomeness) as a reward for getting down and dirty with the kids – totally worth it. 🙂

enjoying a snow cone as you can only do in Florida where it can still be in the 80s in November.  Big brother was not happy because I made him sit down to eat it so his smile is forced, whereas sister was really excited! (baby brother had already dropped his on the ground approx. 2 seconds after getting it so he went back to the corn pit while they finished eating)

What sno cone? I just want to throw some corn around

We then made the quick drive home where I promptly shoved all 3 kids into the tub because, at that point, they all looked like they had been down in the coal mines.  Clearly, it was a good day!  We certainly hope that Aunt Louise’s farm will be open again next year because we would love to have our visit to the corn maze become a new family tradition!

Make Your Own Menu!

My kids love playing restaurant.  It started when my oldest was a toddler and we got him his first pretend kitchen and the love has grown with each child.  We no longer have the pretend kitchen as we have had to make room for other things as the kids got older, but that hasn’t stopped them from pretending to have a restaurant (and trying to actually have their own restaurant when we make dinner).  The one thing that always seemed to be missing from the kitchen play was a “menu” so my kids decided to make their own.

the goal

It’s cute to see all of the little drawings on regular paper and to watch how their handwriting has matured over time, but they still weren’t satisfied.  So, while picking up a few hardware items at Home Depot the other day, we came across a paint sample leaflet.   I usually let the kids pick out 2-3 individual paint samples when we go there as a reward for behaving and they take turns creating all kinds of things out of each new color.  But, I don’t let them go crazy with the samples or get booklets and other things that we don’t need, so they were thrilled when I told them they could each take a leaflet this time for their restaurant.

perfect fold out concept!

Each book had several folded pages, so the menu could be extensive, and they were more sturdy than the usual paper I let them use so they were thrilled.  My son chose a taller leaflet while my daughter opted for a square-shaped one that included more colors.  They each created their own menus through writing the items and/or drawing a picture on each square and then my husband and I were able to “order” what we wanted.  I love that my daughter matched her food items to the colors so that it “made more sense” while my son specified each page for different types of food (drinks, entrees, desserts, etc.).  You can clearly tell how each of their brains works when they make things individually; my daughter with the “fashion styling” train of thought and my son with the more “orderly” mind, very much representative of their individual personalities.

some ideas for the menu

This “craft” was totally free, I didn’t have to help at all other than the initial trip to Home Depot and offering up an occasional food suggestion when called upon, and the kids LOVED making and playing with their new menus.  Don’t you just love it when these sorts of projects just fall right into your lap?! 🙂