Category Archives: Crafts

Toddler Games: Sensory Box Fillers and Tools

This summer I’m trying to keep Emily as busy as possible. She’s going to summer preschool two times a week (that’s been a tough transition!), but that’s still lots of time that she’ll be with me. I’ve already planned Museum Mondays (we have a membership to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis–love) and story time at the library on Wednesdays. We’re part of two reading programs so reading books will be happening all the time.

Petting a tortoise at the library's Critter Chat

Petting a tortoise at the library’s Critter Chat

I’ve also put together some sensory boxes and activities to practice letters, Emily’s name, colors, numbers, and shapes. My current plan is to keep each set of activities around for two weeks, which will last until the end of the summer. So during middle of the night nursing with Piper, I made lists and pinned ideas…

Step 1: Sensory Box Fillers
You can find all sorts of filler ideas on Pinterest. I narrowed my list down to things I already had around the house or could be picked up in a trip to the dollar store.

*colored beans
*tissue paper (cut into squares)
*scrap cloth (cut into strips)
*pom poms

Other ideas:  rice, ribbons, feathers, sand, dirt, beads, popcorn kernels, pebbles, cornmeal, oatmeal, lentils

Colored Beans:
I got the tutorial for coloring the beans from Fun at Home with Kids. Super fast and easy. One thing to note now that Emily has played with the beans for a few days–the color will bleed onto their hands. Since the food coloring is water based, those sweaty little hands will cause some of the color to rub off. We’ve had no problem getting the color off in the bath, but make sure your child is wearing play clothes.
*I used three bags of white beans for about 18 cups of beans–plenty to fill a tub.

photo 1

Step 2:  Tools
I gathered all of these into a large bag and will randomly put them in the sensory boxes. I’ve also pulled them for play dough, water play, “cooking,” etc.

*rolling pin
*practice chopsticks (I wanted a big pair of tweezers but couldn’t find them)
*tongs (Walmart had a cute pair of small ones)
*measuring cups
*measuring spoons
*paint brushes
*plastic knife
*popsicle sticks

*Step 3:  Box
Find a large box with a lid. This way you can leave your supplies in there, store it easily, and keep the moisture out (for things like the beans and pasta). I also have a blanket around that the box has to stay on. That way I don’t find beans all around my house!


Whatever you decide to use, make it easy and inexpensive. Don’t use anything that would be difficult to replace. Most of the supplies you’ll be able to use for another sensory box, but make sure it’s all things you’d be okay tossing if you need to!


The first box and activities we’re doing are to practice the alphabet and Emily’s name. Next week I’ll post the activities we’re using.

photo 2

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Creative Collections: Mother’s Day

So with a new baby and being at home, I’m having a hard time keeping track of what day/date it is. Which means that I only realized today that this Sunday is Mother’s Day (luckily, I gave my mom her gift when she was here watching Emily).  Last year I did a Creative Collection for Mother’s Day. And here are some more great handmade gift ideas…

Terrarium by Front + Main

Photo Pendant by Saving with Sarah
DIY Photo Pendant

Coconut Lime Moisturizing Sugar Scrub by Smart n Snazzy

Freestanding Photo Gallery by The How-To Gal
MD Gift FInal copy

Text Art by Keep It Simple, Sister

I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day celebrating the moms in your life. And as fantastic as handmade gifts are, don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful card. Just make sure you tell her how special she is!



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Creative Collections: Floor Pillows

One of the things I’m planning to make for the girls’ playroom is floor pillows for their reading nook. I’m also planning to recover one of my poufs, because the inside lining got a hole and now the little foamy beads are falling out everywhere. I’m not entirely sure where I think I’ll find the time to sew… but it’s a nice thought! 

Gum Drop Pillows by Amy Butler

Pouf DIY by The Cream to My Coffee

Floor Cushion by DIY Home Sweet Home

Giant Floor Pillows by Oven Lovin’ Blog

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Creative Collections: Toddler Games

Even though our Spring Break has already passed, I’ve been looking for easy games, crafts, and activities for Emily. Things to practice colors, letters, numbers… Quiet activities for when Momma and Baby Piper need to rest… And even though she has some fantastic toys (kitchen set, blocks, coloring books, etc), it’s always nice to have some new and quick games for Emily to play.

None of these are actual busy bags (for another day, because I have quite a collection of ideas!). But all are cheap and easy to put together!

Magnetic Pattern Blocks by Make It and Love It

DIY Wood Instruments by Hello Bee

Colored Beans by Fun at Home with Kids
1-IMG_4354 (1)

Painting with Condensed Milk by ECE Made Easy

Fishing for Friends by Toddler Approved
Fishing Collage

ABC Easter Egg Match by My Sister’s Suitcase

Count and Sort Math Box by The Imagination Tree


This has been on elf the most fun posts to research. There are so many great ideas for easy toddler games that don’t require many materials. I can’t wait to get some of these ready for Emily!

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Creative Collections: Play Dough Recipes

So Spring Break has finally come! Who would have thought with all the cancellations and delays in January that it would have taken so long? Too bad SPRING missed the memo about break. It snowed yesterday. Snowed. I’m so ready for nice weather that will stick around for longer than two days!

But since it’s been cold and since there will be rainy days when spring does decide to show up, I’ve collected some Play Dough recipes that you can make at home. I’ve used the first one in my classroom and the kids loved it! These also would be great little gifts!

Squishy Play Dough by How Does She

Softest Play Dough by Kids Activities Blog

Gluten Free by Fun at Home with Kids

Flour-Free Play Dough by Hands On As We Grow

Kool Aid Play Dough by Pink and Green Mama
kool Aid Playdough

Slime by Teach Preschool


In other news, Emily is fighting nap something fierce. Any ideas to either make napping happen or transition into”quiet time?” Because this momma still needs a nap!

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Quick Christmas Presents

As hard as I try, every year I’m still scrambling to finish up Christmas shopping/making right until the very end. And often, that’s because those hard-to-buy-for people on my list are still troubling me. So I’ve been searching Pinterest for ideas and have come across some great ideas for last minute gifts. Easy, fast, but still thoughtful. Perfect for this busy time!

Mason Jar Soap Dispenser by Park House Love

Glitter Dipped Mug by White House Black Shutters

Tea Wreath by KoJo Designs

Cardigan Embellishment by The Sisters Four
cropped cardi

Mustache Glasses by No. 2 Pencil

For Kids:

Lego Tray by That’s My Letter

Doll Diapers by Bee in My Bonnet
christmas sewing 067

Magnetic Pattern Blocks by Make It and Love It

Cardboard Castle by Mer Mag

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Happy Halloween!

Did you hear about the storm system that pushed through the Midwest last Thursday? Which meant that our trick-or-treating got pushed back to Friday night. Which ended up being a beautiful night! And Emily loved walking around to the neighbors saying hi!


 Monday night I decided Emily was going to be a peacock, Tuesday night I put it all together. She almost was a Colts cheerleader, but as a crafty mom, I was having a hard time with the idea of not making her something (I know, lame, but still this strange guilt came over me whenever I thought about it).


So I saw these adorable wing from KoJo Designs and decided to make my own version.

KoJo Designs

KoJo Designs

What you’ll need:

1.  Cut two triangles from the felt. Each triangle should be the size of the center of your little one’s back to her wrist.

2.  Layer the feathers. Run a stitch across each layer.


3.  Attach the two triangles together where they would cross at her back. Attach a ribbon so the ribbon can tie around her neck (loosely of course).

And if your child refuses to let you tie it around her neck… tack it to another shirt or hooded sweatshirt.

4.  Attach ribbons on the end of each wing so they can tie around her wrist.

*For the tutu, I used this tutorial. Super quick and easy!



I can’t wait to see her using these as dress up clothes too!

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Creative Collections: Father’s Day Gift Ideas

We’ve already had the chance to celebrate all those great Mommies out there, and not it’s time to celebrate the Daddies! Emily has the most wonderful daddy, and I can’t wait to remind him how much we love him.


Smelling the flowers

But thinking of good handmade gives for men is always a challenge for me. So here are some great ideas I’ve collected!

Homemade BBQ Sauce by Inner Child Fun

Super Hero Platter/Plate by Not Just a Mommy

Coffee Sleeve by All Free Sewing

Photo Bookmark by Martha Stewart

Photo Cube by Balancing Home

Ipad Case from a Recycled Book by Man Made

Golf Cupcakes by Innovative Sewing

Lego Cufflinks by Instructables

Etched Beer Glasses by The Shed

Tool Tub and Tote by Sew4Home

Thanks daddies for loving your babies so much!

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Flip Flops

Ahh, the time for flip flops has finally come to Indiana! There were a few weeks that I was wondering if warm weather would ever come!

Since I’m in the process of ending the school year AND moving classrooms (third grade, here I come), I decided I’d repost some of my favorite summer posts during these next two weeks. I hope you can find something to get you ready for hot weather, pool days, and sunshine!


From July 11, 2012

I love flip flops! So comfortable, go with anything, inexpensive, no fuss. Just perfect for summer. But sometimes it would be fun to make them a little something special! So here are some fun ways to jazz yours up!

Keep in mind, some of these are more designed for little kids’ flip flops. But you can absolutely do these with your own! Just add more ribbon/fabric!

Stretchy Knit Straps with Flowers by Make It and Love It

The Knot So Hard Flip Flops by The Mother Huddle

Ribbon Wrapped Flip Flops by Mi Bello Boutique

Braided Flip Flops by By Wilma

Gladiator Wrap Flip Flops by Cut Out + Keep

Beaded Flip Flops by Trinkets in Bloom

Hmm, time to look for some sales on flip flops to try all of these!

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Creative Collections: Wreathes

Last weekend, I painted my front door. Blue. Bright blue. We’re no longer “the brick house with green shutters.” We’re the “brick house with a blue front door.”


Love that.

But now I really want to put a springtime wreath on that beautiful bright door.

Shim Wreath by Tattered and Inked

Jute Twine Wreath by Brunch at Saks

Rainbow Wreath by Wine and Glue

Frame Wreath by A Glimpse Inside
door hanging

Burlap Wreath by Domestic Superhero

Pinwheel Wreath by The Cards We Drew

Here’s a great idea for using pool noodles as your wreath base. So inexpensive then!

Pool Noodle Wreath by Home Stories A to Z

So which one should I make for my front door? Suggestions appreciated!


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