DIY Cardboard Valentine’s Day Mailbox

Out of all the Valentine’s Day crafts out there, gift ideas, floral arrangements, date night ideas, and cooking recipes, this is the one craft/DIY I’ve had my eyes on the entire month!!!! This DIY Valentine’s Day mailbox, brings excitement to my little one, and his classmates, while they pass out their valentine’s day cards in class! It also keeps it all in one place, organized, and ready to take home for my kindergartener to open! With a few simple tools, and supplies, you can create this DIY mailbox before you drop off you little one to school!!!! Let’s go!!

Supplies:

  • Cardboard Box (I used a moving box we still had in the garage)
  • Duct tape
  • Scotch Tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Blue Giftwrap (DollarTree)
  • Heart Stickers/Foam Hearts (DollarTree)
  • Blue Construction Paper (Optional)

So there really were no directions when I did my mailbox. I literally took a look at a Pinterest pin, and freehanded everything else. BUT if you are the type to follow step by step directions, here’s a higher lever rough step by step process of what I did.

Directions:

  1. Start by cutting out 2 equal round sides for the mailbox.
    It’s important that each side is equal in size, so the mail box isn’t lop-sided.
  2. Cut out the bottom to the mailbox.
    The sizes to the mailbox, is to your desire, whichever size you do, just be sure everything is to scale.
  3. Duct tape the edges of the bottom to the bottom edges of the side panels.
    From here you have already made the main sides and support of the mailbox.
  4. Once both sides and bottom are attached, you can create the top curved part of the mailbox. Simply, cut the width of the mailbox, and have it curve at the top. You can also do this in two parts, if your cardboard isn’t long enough.
  5. Duct tape as much as you can to support the curved cardboard, to create the mailbox shape.
  6. Next you can use a x-acto knife to help cut out the mailbox opening.
  7. I also made a pull-out drawer for the bottom half of the mailbox.
    When creating the open tops/drawer, you may have to create a “stopper,” towards the back of the “pull-out,” drawer, so it would fall out.
  8. Next you can decorate!!!!!!
    I used a royal blue gift wrap I purchased at the DollarTree.
    Wrap the mailbox all around, including the sides of the pull-out drawer.
  9. Add hearts, decorative stickers, or customize the mailbox with your child’s name!
  10. …..Viola!! That’s it!!!
    Take this mailbox to your child’s school, and have he/she and the class enjoy dropping his valentine’s in his customized DIY Cardboard mailbox!!!

Have made a Valentine’s mailbox, or swag bag for your little one?! Comment below! I’d love to see your ideas!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

100th Day of School

My youngest son has celebrated his 100th day of school today!!!! As a parent, and also a teachers assistant for a Kindergarten class, this is definitely a big event to celebrate for our little kindergarteners. Here are two fabulous ideas to do, for the special day to celebrate the 100th day!!!

Flashback: 100th Day – Transitional Kinder

In TK, my son was assigned to come to school on the 100th Day with a t-shirt that shows 100 of something. As always, I wanted an inexpensive, but still DIY-able project that shows effort, and fun for myself, and my son to enjoy. I created a fun One-Hondo Monster, using 100 different sized googley eyes, and some acrylic paint I already had.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • T-shirt
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brush/Sponge Brush
  • Googley Eyes
  •  Fabric Paint
    EXTRA’S:
    Water, and plastic or cardboard

Directions:

  1. I first started out painting my monster on the t-shirt. Using a plastic reusable bag, I used it as a backing surface to separate the front and back part of the t-shirt, so the paint won’t soak through.
  2. I free-hand painted my monster, using different paint colors.
  3. Set to dry, as said on the acrylic paint bottle. (I had set mine to dry for the evening.)
  4. Have your child help in the next part. He/she should be able to count along with you, as 100 is the theme of day. Your child was probably expected to count to 100 at this point of the school year as well.
  5. Using the fabric glue, glue on the googley eyes to the monster painted.
  6. Get creative!!! I had purchased a pack of assorted googley eyes, so the monster would look goofy and just, darn right adorable!
  7. Set to dry again, to allow the plastic of the googley eyes stick to the acrylic paint on the fabric.
  8. Enjoy and sport your new DIY’d 100th Day tee at school!!!

If you don’t have any of these item’s, I promise you, this will cost you no more than $8-$10. All these items are relatively inexpensive at the craft store, and can even be purchased at the Dollar store, and WalMart!! I’m talking about savings here!!

This next 100th day celebration project, is a poster displaying 100 items. What is something you probably have in your kitchen pantry already, will probably also save you a few dollars, and also a treat to enjoy will crafting! This year, as I’m a kinder aid for a local school in my area, our class was to come to school with a poster, or project, to display 100 items. A few children celebrated using beads on a necklace, other’s used pennies, and other’s plastic insects from the DollarTree. As the children arrived to school with their posters/projects, one of my students stood out the most, and gave me the great idea to try it as well, with my son right after I picked him up from school that day.

Here’s are great flavor blasted treat to celebrate the 100th day of school with some extra cheddar for your craft!!

What you’ll need:

  • Gold Fish
    (I had actually had a huge box of them, in my pantry already!)
  • Blue Poster Board
    (DollarTree has these posters at $0.40-$.050 a pop!)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Green Streamers/ or construction paper

Directions:

  1. Cut out a huge fish bowl out of the blue poster board.
  2. Count out 100 gold fish with your child, and create a fun pattern as the fish were swimming together.
  3. Glue on the gold fish.
    Be really, really patient as the gold fish we’re falling off with our Elmer’s liquid glue.
  4. Using the green streamer, cut out a few pieces to create sea-weed. Twist, and glue firmly.
  5. Set to dry.

 

…And viola!!! Another fun, inexpensive craft to enjoy with your children, using supplies you can find around the house, or can just spend a few dollars for (that’s a latte!!)

I’m a huge fan of the 100th day of school! I can’t remember celebrating it at all back in elementary school, but I’m so happy to celebrate the day with my kids, and also my students! What have you done with your kids for the 100th day of school? Comment below!!

Charlie Brown Christmas

Last week, my Kindergarten class had a field trip to the Roseville Theatre Arts Academy to watch ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ Taking the kids to live theater is a wonderful experience. I still have yet to take my own children. Growing up, I was fortunate enough to attend live broadway shows with my parents. From Mama Mia!, Hairspary, Wicked, The Lion King, and later on as an adult I saw Jersey Boys. So I speak very personally of this joy.

How I prepared myself for this field trip.

Like I said before, I haven’t even taken my own children to live theatre, so handling 24 other 5 year olds, be prepared with a balanced breakfast and coffee!! If a child needs to be consoled for any reason, take them out to the lobby. Do not allow an upset child to remain in the theater and disturb his fellow audience members. (Luckily, this didn’t happen!) BUT, on the bus ride, and seated in the theatre I made sure I sat next to my not so behaved students.

Roseville Arts Academy

Address:

 241 Vernon St, Roseville, CA 95678

 

If you’re local in the area, come give the theatre a visit!

Their last showing of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ is tomorrow the 17th!

See schedule HERE.

photo-dec-11-2-36-56-pm

The expressions on my student’s faces when they walked into the Musical Theater show. It was truly a new world opening up for them.

charliebrown

Preparing you kids to visit the theatre:

  • It’s a good idea to start off by taking the very young child to a Kids Theater Production…Specifically a short production (many times,less than a hour) that is produced with children in mind. Kindergarten is definietly a good age.
  • If this is your child’s first time seeing live theater, it may also be a good idea to get an aisle seat. This will be helpful in the event your child doesn’t react well and you need to leave the theater for any reason.
  • Once you have verified that this is a good production for a child, and you have purchased your tickets, you should begin to prepare your child for the trip. I highly, highly suggest starting off with community theatre, such as a the venue we visited.
  • Explain what they will be seeing, that you are taking them to an exciting live theater performance. Familiarize them with the characters, the plot, the setting, etc. If there is a book about the play read it with them. The following day, we showed them the actual movie of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’ From there, we did a venn diagram to do a compare and contract exercise.
  • Instruct the child as to how they will be expected to behave.

I can’t wait to check out another live theatre with my own kids! After this field trip, I’ve been obsessing in doing research for the next live musical in our area. Of course, community theatre, then we can move on up to real broadway!

Have you taken your child to see a live theatre? How was your experience?

Comment below!!

Art Beast + City Exploring

Moving to a new city is always scary. Leaving your friends and family behind, and starting all over again, making new friends is hard. But that’s only one bad side. With the move to Sacramento, my family and I are exposed to so much more places to discover in our new area. Sacramento’s midtown is one of our favorite places. This past afternoon the kids and I were casually walking around Midtown, and a little bit of Downtown Sacramento. As we learn familiarize ourselves with the city, we came across this fantastic art studio called Art Beast located on K St.

The Art Beast Studio

2226 K St.

Sacramento, ca 95816

Midtown

YELP

Parent TIP: When exploring the town, where lots of walking in involved, bring out the kick scooters for the kids!

Balance and direction helps improve coordination and can be use at any age, but particularly when kids are young and learning out to balance their weight. Both my children already know how to ride a bike, but I always keep the scooters in the car, just for our city exploring. (which is all the time/every weekend)

++Gross and Fine Motor Skills++

While opening up doors to exploration, creativity and learning, scooters help develop both sets of motor skills kids need everyday. Scooters must be transported to a place of play, perhaps assembled. Maneuvered properly, and can even be used as a centerpiece for imaginary play…….Going down a steep hill.

I’m all about indoor place places that don’t include a trampoline or jumpy houses!!! ArtBeast let’s your children explore three levels of fun play places. I came in on a weekday afternoon around 3:30 and admission was $8 for all 3 of us (my two boys ages 6 &9).

ArtBeast is a space filled with active play (indoor and out), creative art space with activities set for you at the table, arts & crafts stocked with rolling pads and open paint jars, to a baby and toddler corners with padding and soft toys.

Developmental toys, dolls and dollhouses bring ArtBeast to life, as this business creates rooms of exploration. It caters from 0-12 months, all the way up to 5-7years. 8 years and up, with your child is respectful or has a sibling, and knows how to play well near young children.

I’ve been to similar play places in Berkeley (Studio Grow) that were the same. Some may think that the $8 admission fee is kind’ve expensive, but for being able to come in and out as many times as you want throughout the day (until closing) I’ll def take it.

Fan Of ArtBeast:

++OPEN PLAY

+++UNLIMITED ART SUPPLIES TO HAVE YOUR CREATIVE JUICES FLOW

++++OUTDOOR PLAY SPACE

…I CAN GO ON…

This place is awesome.

Skills:

ArtBeast aims also toward many types of skills for you to highlight:

Artistic

From a simple standing double sided kid-sized art easel, there’s little waiting for the next art piece as there’s a wide paper roll clipped and ready!

Easels, as well as white boards/chalk boards, are recommended for building fine motor skills and proper pencil grip — (great for writing beginners!)

Auditory

Exploring musical sounds (downstairs with the instruments, guitar wall, piano, and wash board,) can honestly, start a solo career. Just enjoy exploring musical sounds! Watch out Bruno Mars, kids at ArtBeast can join you on tour with their tambourine, cymbals, maracas, clackers and a triangle! Strike up a band and play with all the cool instruments!

Cognitive

Pattern blocks, PVC pipes, magnets, and legos! Kids need to explore shapes, and colors hands-on. Matching, and mosaics — connecting, building, all gorgeous ways for kids to develop fine motor skills. Rotate, manipulate, and create!

So many ideas to spark the imagination!

Emotional

Soft pillow furry friends rule our children’s rooms. Multi-colored plush toys inspire endless creativity. These furry friends are the catalyst for imaginary adventures. ArtBeast as a room with a shelf of furry friends. Let’s now forget as parents that these plush simple toys are not just a centerpiece in the room, but also friends to our children.

Fine Motor

Constructive playtime awaits at ArtBeast with exciting blocks, magnet wall puzzles, shapes, and work vehicle play.  Just a few steps away is the indoor sandbox, and craft area where your children can enjoy a craft activity with paint, brush, and glue. Rinestones, stickers, and anything press-on art help with fine motor skills. Grab a pair of scissors with your mommy,and cut multi-colored large or small construction paper ready at hand.

Imagination & Large Motor

Real life play areas, such as this outdoor kitchen display — kids can reach inside, and out, serving up “sand” soup, or what my son made was lasagna. Serve imaginary food to your new friends you meet at the ArtBeast. Reach, pull, storage, pull apart all the supplies provided in the outdoor kitchen.

The wooden kitchen comes stocked with plenty of play pieces, so kids can make and serve everything.

Open Play:
The concept at ArtBeast is awesome. You and your child are free to explore, from musical instruments, a dramatic play stage and puppets downstairs, to the 2nd floor of art and crafts, clay, and paint, to a cozy room with more imagination!

Nowa days our overscheduled and overstimulated children need to start using their imaginations. ArtBeast creates the space for you and your child to inspire open-ended thinking and encourage kids to see the fun alternatives then just the screen.

LOVE LOVE LOVE the ArtBeast.

Check out more of my Sacramento discoveries on my Sacramento Page of my blog!

helloSAC

Pumpkin Plate

Fall is here, which means pumpkins, apples, and Halloween is our main focus for home-schoolers, parents, and teachers alike! Fall is such an enjoyable season for festive crafts, and also tuning into our creative side for DIY costumes, and home decor! One of my favorite mediums to use for crafts is construction paper. The colored sheets of paper, gives great opportunity to create in so many ways!

Using construction paper, children will practice their tearing skills to create a few fall favorites. From an apple core, pumpkin, candy corn, to an owl. Tearing is a great small motor practice and enjoyable even for students who can cut!! I did this craft with both my boys ages 5 and 9. I gave my 5 year old the easier one, and my 9 year old a more difficult one. Check them out below!

Supplies Needed:

-Colored Construction Paper

(Colors: Red, Black, White, Orange, Yellow, Green)

-Paper Plates

-Glue

On A Budget?

These supplies are fairly inexpensive. Check out your local Dollar Tree or WalMart for supplies! I’ve seen glue, paper plates, and colored construction at both locations under $3!

Tear Art | Pumpkin/ Jack-O-Lantern

Great for ages pre-schooler to 1st grade (4-6)

Directions:

  1. Take a paper plate, flip it over to the back/flat surface so it facing up.
  2. Using Brown construction paper, tear out a large “finger” sized piece for the stem of the pumpkin.
  3. Glue the stem on the top middle part of the plate.
  4. Tear out 2 inch piece of the Orange construction paper, and glue all over paper plate, leaving no white exposed.
  5. (OPTIONAL step) Take green construction paper, tear out a few pieces for the vines of the pumpkin.
  6. Using the Black construction paper, tear out your jack-o-lantern’s eyes, nose, and pieces for mouth.
  7. Tear, glue, set to dry.And voila! A pumpkin/jack-o-lantern made out of teared art!! As mentioned, this is a great, fun and easy exercise for fine motor skills.

Try this craft this month of October, as we prepare ourselves for Halloween! Jazz up your home or classrooms with different pumpkins, made by out littles –that’s one great festive way (and cheap way too!) to decorate! Nothing like DIY/Craft to help add charm to a space!

pppin1

Be sure to check my blog out daily, as this month on I’ll be continuously posting fun cool crafts, decorating tips, and other creative content to share!

Happy October!!!