The Crayon Connection

I am so happy my friend Shanna agreed to write for us about crafts today. She’s a mom of two under age three and I am inspired, not only by her and her crafty-ness, but by the simple truth she shares with us today. Thanks Shanna!!!

(PS: Crayons rock. You two have inspired me. I have our crayons out today) … 😉

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I’ve done a million crafts with my daughter and for the most part, they have been really fun and educational. So when Suzanne asked me to write about crafts and connection, I must admit, I kind of panicked. As I thought back to all the crafts we’ve done, my mind kept going back to one thing…crayons. Silly, right? I thought so. I kept saying to myself, “Crayons just won’t do.”

I pondered and pondered what I could write about. What would be the best craft to help us connect with our kids?

Thinking…thinking…Crayons…Really? That’s still in my head?

After sleeping on it, I finally realized why crayons were so prevalent in my thoughts about this post. When I color, simply color and draw with my child, that is when I feel the closest, the calmest. I notice it in my daughter, Grace, as well. We clear the table and the excitement builds as she’s helping me. I go to our art station and grab the crayons and A LOT of paper. She asks me to let her carry them and she’s so proud to do so. We get ourselves set up and we are off to the races.

The crayons allow us to tell a story to one another…Grace has great stories.

The crayons allow us to talk about fear, love, sharing and caring.

The crayons allow us to learn together.

The crayons allow us to encourage and complement each other.

Grace is only three years old, but has a vast vocabulary. I enjoy talking to her and hearing what she has to say and I want her to know that I am always willing and excited to listen. But let’s be honest for a moment. When I’m cooking or cleaning, I’m not doing my best listening as to how she just saw the COOLEST ladybug. And when she’s really focused on her dolls and giving them checkups with her doctors kit…well, Mommy is the last person she wants to tell about the nice dragon that visited her and who would now like to be her friend.

But I want to hear about that ladybug and the adventures they have together. I want to hear about the nice dragon and I don’t blame him for wanting to be my daughter’s friend…she’s AWESOME!

When we color, I get hear those great adventures and she gets to know that I’m 100% listening…we’re connected.

I always stand from the table feeling like I know my daughter better than when we started. I always feel closer. We get to laugh together and tell secrets and share our creations together.

It may not be a huge craft with themes and glue and buttons and glitter and pom-poms…those are really fun and we do them all the time. However, there is something special about the connection I get with my daughter through a simple crayon.

That little waxy, colored tube gives me a window into my daughter’s heart and mind and I can’t help but think that somehow, in her own little three year old way, she gets an understanding of mine.

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By guest blogger Shanna C. of Momma C. Designs.

How To Make A Jet Pack

If your little one is as imaginative as mine is, then you absolutely have to do this project.  Not only will it spark your child’s imagination, but it will get them moving, too.  Perfect for indoors or out, this jet pack will have your kids soaring!

All you will need are 2 empty chip cans, 4 full pieces of construction paper in any color, 1 piece of red or orange paper, glue, tape, decorations (stickers or glitter), and an old back pack.

This can easily be modified by omitting the back pack and using yarn.

First thing you will want to do is have your child decorate 2 sheets of construction paper any way they want.  I let my son have at the glue and glitter.  For a much less messy version, you can use markers and stickers.  :-)

While your child is decorating, you can take the other two sheets of construction paper and trace circles on them.  I used a salad bowl and it worked just fine.  Grab anything about 7-9 inches in diameter.  Trace the circle and cut.  You will then want to cut a slit in the circle that reaches the center.  Now turn the paper onto itself to make a cone.  Use glue or tape to hold the cone shape.

Now cut strips of the red or orange paper.  Cut a piece of tape long enough to fit completely around the circumference of the chip cans (an estimation will be just fine, no need to measure).  Lay the strip of tape down sticky side up and place the strips of paper on them.  Be careful to only put the strips on the lower half of the tape.  You want there to be enough tape to still attach to the can.  Now place the tape inside the open end of the cans just along the edge.  You can affix on the outside or on the inside.

Your child’s artwork is about to become the decoration of the rockets.  Glue or tape their embellished construction paper around the chip can.  Carefully run a bead of glue around the rim of the closed end of the cans.  Now just place your cones onto the glue.  I strongly recommend using glue instead of tape for this part, I know from experience.  If you want this instant, you can always use hot glue and not have the long drying time.  I tend to not use hot glue since I have four little hands “helping” me with projects.  I am worried my two hands aren’t going to cover all four from reaching for a hot glue gun.


Lastly, glue your rockets to the back pack.  We got this back pack at our thrift store.  If you do not have a back pack you can easily use a pencil to poke 4 holes into each can.  Two holes near the top (parallel, but closer to one side so they easily lay against your child’s back) and two holes near the bottom.  String one piece of yarn or twine through the holes at the top and another through the bottom holes.  Now you can tie the rockets to your child’s chest area and waist.

I created the back pack version because I did not want to be asked a hundred times a day to tie the rockets on.  A back pack can easily be put on and taken off by my 3 year old.  Now the only problem is I have to make another one, because my youngest wants one too.

This could be your child running off to explore strange new worlds. :-)

by Expert MommyKim Young

How To Make an Alligator Puppet

This is an easy and fun way to make a homemade alligator hand puppet.  The things you will need to make this simple project are: 2 empty macaroni and cheese boxes, tape, glue, scissors, and construction paper (2 green, 1 red, and 1 white). [Read more…]

How to Make Holiday Keepsakes

So you’ve just created the perfect holiday card! And you’ve sent it to all your friends. But do you keep one for yourself? Do you have an archive of all your sweet, personalized cards from years past? That was my dilemma. Every year, we display all the cards we receive from everyone else and it’s so great to see how much all the children have changed from year to year. But what about your own? Their pictures aren’t really tugging on the heartstrings in some drawer or file folder, are they?

Since my kids were born, I’ve made ornaments out of our annual holiday card. Each one is a little different. One year, I found a company online that would actually print your picture on a glass ornament. I’ve used wooden picture ornaments and silver ones… it’s fun to see the collection grow. My kids looooove putting them up during our First of December Tree-trimming Extravaganza and ooohing and aaahing about their cute, changing selves!

Really… I’m NOT Martha!!! But not only is it a great way to preserve those holiday memories… it’s also a way to get my holiday projects to do double-duty! Practical, see?

Click to see the matching card and ornament!

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon. Click the links for Practical Mommy’s recommendations for travel car seats, affordable and fun diaper bags (skip hop bag), and the best-selling crib brand, Da Vinci Crib.