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Monday, April 29, 2013

Noah's Ark - Canvas Painting Craft

For our last Sunday school class of the year, I wanted to remind the children that God always LOVES them.  We decided to do a craft on the theme of Noah's Ark.  I wanted the children to have a special craft that they could keep - possibly even hang somewhere in the house as a reminder of God's LOVE for them.

(The complete lesson plan is included after the instructions for the craft)

This is what we did for the craft:

  1. I purchased one canvas for each child.  The canvas was sold in 3 packs and cost $3.00 per pack at JoAnn's (on sale for 50%).  (Example of God's grace.  I told myself that I would only do this craft if I could buy a canvas for each kid at no more than a dollar.  I went to the store and they happened to be 50% off!)
  2. I used painter's tape to mark a cross on each child's canvas.
  3. The kids used a paint brush and tempera paint to create a RAINBOW on the canvas.
  4. After the paint dries, simply remove the painter's tape to reveal the cross.

I found the inspiration for our craft project on Pinterest: canvas art inspiration and this one too canvas art inspiration!

The Lesson:
*  I introduced the lesson using our puppet, Scotty the Lion.  Scotty placed a mirror in a sealed bag.  The kids pass the bag around to try to guess what Scotty brought.  The clue was:  God loves whoever you see in this bag.

*  I showed the kids a picture of the Bible story:  Noah's Ark.  The kids explained what they saw in the picture.

*  I used a model of Noah's Ark complete with animals and shared the Bible story with them.  The kids each held an animal while I told the story and at the right time placed the animal on the ark.

*  I explained that the rainbow is a sign from God that He LOVES us!

*  We completed the craft activity.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

May Day Basket Craft

We are getting spring fever! To express our excitement for the nice weather, (which we hope will arrive by May) we created a May Day Basket to hang on our inside door.

Here is what you need:

Construction paper
Pipe Cleaners

Here is what we did:

1.  We used stamps made out of sponges and created our own fancy designs.
2.  We let the paper dry.
3.  We cut out the stamped pages in flower shapes.
4.  We poked holes through the paper to add our pipe cleaners for stems.
5.  We cut a piece of construction paper in half for the basket.
6.  We then placed the pipe cleaner on the top of the basket for a handle.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Water Bead Sensory Bin

Sometimes Little Guy doesn't want to participate in our craft projects but still wants to feel like he is part of the action.  A water bead sensory bin is a simple solution!  He LOVES the slippery texture of the water beads and there is literally no mess, which I LOVE !

This is what we did:

  1. I purchased a bin at the Dollar Store.
  2. I purchased four containers of Water Beads (Floral Section) at the Dollar Store.
  3. I put little toys in the bin.
  4. Little Guy played next to Big Guy while he completed a project.  Super!
The water beads are definitely a CHOKING HAZZARD.  Please don't let a child who puts toys into his mouth play with water beads!!!  I store the water beads in a sealed container.  I think they will last indefinitely.  They feel like slimy/wet, smushy super balls.  They even bounce a little bit!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Alternative Science Experiments for Kingdom Rock VBS

I've been working on alternative science experiments for Kingdom Rocks VBS.  I found some at Steve Spangler's website:  Cool Science Experiments.  You can use this link to get directions for his science experiments.  Maybe you will find more that will work even better!  Leave me a comment if you do!

I created another blog post with what I think are BETTER alternative science experiments.  Make sure you check it out!  You can find it by clicking on the category:  Sunday School Lessons on the right hands side of this screen.

This is what I found:

Day 1:  God's Love Helps Us to Stand Strong
- Instead of puchasing the tumbler (with the marble choking hazard) we may use Exploding Art.  Fill a film canister with paint and alka-seltzer tablets.  They should explode leaving a colorful mess on the paper. I liked Spangler's quote:  A canister at rest stays at rest until "pop".  God's Love = Pop!   I found this experiment/art project on Pinterest.  Here is the link: Exploding Art

Day 2:  Family and Friends Help Us to Stand Strong
- Instead of purchasing the aqua boosters kids can make their own Diving Ketchup.  I'm hoping the kids will be able to draw stick people with sharpie markers on one side of the ketchup packet (which I'm going to ask a fast food restaurant chain to donate).

Day 3:  Prayer Helps Us to Stand Strong
- Instead of purchasing the balancing birds I will set up a station of Balancing Nails.  I think the balancing trick is a bit more impressive than the birds and will take the kids longer to figure out how to do it!

Day 4:  Trusting God Helps Us to Stand Strong
- Instead of purchasing the Anti-Gravity Tube kids will do a simple Huff and Puff Challenge.  The air inside the bottle represents God.  Even though we can't see it (the air) it is always there.  Even though you can't always see God, He is always there for you.

Day 5:  The Bible Helps Us to Stand Strong:
- Instead of puchasing Way-to-Glow Pens I hope to do Black Light Secret Message.  If I'm not able to get mini-black lights donated then I'll purchase a black light for a couple of dollars from Menards (they sell industrial black lights - those long tubes).  Another thing to know - Tide Laundry detergent glows in the dark under a black light.  You might be able to figure out something fun with that.

I hope this helps you plan for a God-Inspired week for your kids at VBS!

A Blast Of Blessings

The calendar says it's Spring, but the weather says something different.  We awoke once again to more low temps and another blast of snow!   It made me wonder if winter will ever depart and allow spring flowers and green grass to take their rightful place.  After shoveling the driveway and sidewalk one more time, I took a moment to clear my head.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the air was crisp and clear.  I realized it was a morning to be grateful, a morning of immeasurable beauty. 

A LOVELY April Gift



Straw/Wind Painting

Big Guy taught me a new style of painting.  He was learning about the letter "W" at school so they did WIND painting.  It was a cute idea.  I LOVE the finished project.  I'm going to try to frame the pictures I took of his finished work and hang them in his bedroom.

This is what we did:

  1. I laid a cloth down on my counter top in case of a mess.
  2. We used regular white copy paper.
  3. I put big globs of washable paint on the paper.
  4. The boys used a straw to blow the globs of paint.
  5. I cut the straws shorter.  It seemed to make blowing the paint easier.
  6. After most of the page was covered, we took another sheet of paper and laid it on top of the painting to make replicas (and help dry some of the excess paint).
The boys worked on their pictures for about a 1/2 hour.  I helped to blow through the straws - but they didn't really need my help.  I think these pictures will look cool if I make prints and frame them.  I know you can get the same effect using simpler techniques but I think it is fun to paint using different styles. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sulfur Shelf Mushroom

While camping last summer in a state park I came upon an unusually large mushroom that was growing upon a tree stump.  My brother-in-law identified it as a sulfur shelf mushroom.  I LOVE nature's beauty and "this beauty" is worth sharing.  It's form and shades of yellow are so striking!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Robin Babies

While taking a walk yesterday I paused in awe!  Dozens and dozens of robins filled the trees and neighboring yards.  It was truly an amazing sight!  I LOVE Spring and can't wait to experience all the new life it brings.  What a wonderful reminder of God's many blessings!

So Cozy!

My Prayer - April 17

Dear Lord, Even though I can't always hear your voice, I know that you are with me and that you never leave me.  I know that if I seek you, my prayers will always be answered - not necessarily in the way that I hope but according to your will.  Lord, I ask you to be my shepard, to be my guide,  to lead me in the ways of your will,  to reveal to me your path for my life in my daily interactions with people and the greater purpose for my life.  Help me Lord to listen carefully and to be obedient.  In your Holy Name - AMEN!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Prayer - April 16

Lord, Almighty Father - I need you.  I come to your feet and ask for healing.  There are so many people in my life who are suffering, Lord.   I know that you have a plan for them in their suffering and a plan for me too.  Use me Lord to lessen the burden that others carry, to testify of your greatness and your love, to take new land for your Glory.  Lord, if it is your will, all those who suffer may have miraculous healing.  I pray for my friends and family who are feeling lost, broken, and pain that they humbly come to you and boldly ask for healing and to recognize the grace you pour out on your children.  Nothing is impossible with You - Our STAR BREATHING God! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bible Super Hero Capes (Queen Esther, Good Samaritan)

The boys and I decided to do a project using the Bible as our inspiration.  Big Guy chose the story of Queen Esther.  Queen Esther was a Jewish Queen who saved God's people by exposing the high official Haman to her husband, King Xerxes of Persia, by asking him to save her life and the lives of her people.  She risked her own life to save thousands of others.  The essence of the story is that Queen Esther was brave and that God protects those who are brave in His name.  So we decided to make Super Hero Queen Esther capes.  You could make a cape for any "Brave Person" in the Bible. It doesn't have to be Queen Esther.  The boys LOVED LOVED LOVED this project! (and so did I)  I used this project again.  This time we made Super Samaritan Capes.  The pre-schoolers LOVED this project.  Its high impact for very little preparation!

This is what we did:

  1. Cut a brown paper bag down the sides so that it opens the full length.
  2. Trim off the sides (and extra length if it too long for the child).
  3. Use a paper punch to make two holes.
  4. Use ribbon to make a neck hole. Slide the ribbon into each hole punch and tape it down. Make sure that it is large enough to fit over the child's head. I wouldn't use string. I think it would cut the child's neck when he/she ran with it on.
  5. Decorate. Be creative!
  6. Big Guy drew pictures of all the BRAVE people he could think of (Real - his karate instructor and Imaginary - Rudolph)
  7. Little Guy put faith stickers on his cape and colored it.
  8. Mom wrote her name and used Bible verses.
We decorated our capes for at least a 1/2 hour or more. When we were finished we ran around the house trying to make our capes fly. It was so fun to talk with the boys about bravery as we made the capes.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Marshmallow Treats - Flower Bouquet Take Two!

I decided to try my own version of my Aunt's marshmallow flower bouquet.  I think its cute!  I'm going to bring it to the birthday party for my twin neice and nephew!  It was super simple to make!

This is what I did:

  1. I purchased supplies at the Dollar Store.  (cute flower pot and styrofoam)
  2. I gathered my supplies from home (skewers, Easter grass, cupcake liners, and toppings:  white chocolate chips, mini chocolate chips, mini cherry chips, and sprinkles (I used ice-cream sprinkles).
  3. Cut skewers to size.  You want the tallest in the middle and get shorter as you work your way out.
  4. Slip the marshmallows onto skewers and place in the freezer.
  5. Melt the white chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave.
  6. Put the toppings in cups.
  7. Take the marshmallows out of the freezer.
  8. Dip a marshmallow in the melted white chocolate and then dip into the topping.
  9. Slide a cupcake liner onto the skewer.
  10. Poke the skewer into the center of the styrofoam inside the flower pot.  Make sure you do the tallest skewer first.
  11. Continue the process until the flower pot is full.
  12. Place the entire thing in the freezer until you are ready to display and serve.
  13. Before you display and serve add a little Easter grass to the top of the flower pot.
Isn't it cute?  It took me about 30 minutes to make two flower pots (1 for each kid).  The entire project cost me less than $5.00 if I don't include all the leftover toppings that I have!  I think kids would be able to make their own marshmallow treats.  Wouldn't it be fun to set up a toppings bar??

Hot Wheels Car Painting

Big Guy came up with Hot Wheels Car painting.  I was feeling un-creative when he suggested painting with his cars.  I'm not sure where he heard of this idea.  It sounds like something he did at preschool?  Both boys had fun.  I LOVE how they are starting to generate their own ideas for projects!

This is what we did:

  1. We dug through our THOUSANDS of toy cars to find ones that didn't work very well, were too light, or came from a McDonald's Happy Meal box :).
  2. I drew a road for Little Guy on paper but Big Guy drew his own road.
  3. The boys dipped the cars into the washable paint and drove the cars all over the paper.
  4. Big Guy made his road three pages long!
I didn't save their final projects.  This was a project just for creativity and playing!  They worked for about a 1/2 hr before moving on to something else!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Immature Great Horned Owl

Few people have had an opportunity to observe the reclusive Great Horned Owl in the wild, so when a pair chose our yard for its nesting site we had good reason to get excited.  We invited neighbors and friends to stop by often throughout the summer and experience this rare event for themselves.  In spite of the noisy crows that relentlessly antagonized these great birds daily (and us too), it was so worth it!  When the pair of fledglings finally left the nest and ventured out into neighboring yards, I was able to get some great shots.  I LOVED getting "up close" to these young birds.

Backed In A Corner
A Post Worth Posting!
Perched On A Roof  & Hiding In Some Hops

                                                               Standing His Ground

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Adjustable Straps

I recently made some aprons for several people in my family.  When "one size didn't fit all," I added an adjustable neck strap.  It was so easy and I LOVE that it fit everyone! 

This is what I did:

I slipped the left strap into the first clip and sewed the strap to the backside of the same strap (Photo 1). 

Photo 1
I slipped the right strap into a second clip and then inserted the right strap into the clip of the left strap (Photo 2).
Photo 2

I pulled a large loop in the second clip of the right strap so I could slip the end of the right strap through the clip again but inside the large loop (Photo 3). 

Photo 3
I finished by sewing the right strap to itself near the end (Photo 4).

Photo 4

Adjustable straps can be used for many items.  I'd LOVE to put one on a beach bag!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Aluminum Foil Painting

We LOVE to paint at our house.  Big Guy commented during this craft activity, "Nothing is going to stop me from making a beautiful picture".  Today, we decided to explore painting on a different surface - aluminum foil.  I think our creations are cool.  I'm excited to see how they will look when the paint is completely dry!

This is what we did:

  1. We added a little dish soap to our washable paints.  I guess the soap makes it stick better to the surface and prevents flaking after it dries.
  2. We wrapped aluminum foil around a piece of cardboard - I just grabbed some out of our recycling.
  3. I taped the cardboard and foil to the counter using masking tape so that it didn't slide around on the boys.  I'm not sure I had to do that.
  4. Let the kids paint.
LOVE that we started with exactly the same supplies  and each of our pictures turned out differently.  This project was really simple.  It took about 15-20 minutes to complete.  Since we used washable paint, the clean up was fairly easy too.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Flower Garden Craft

Little Guy and I made a flower garden today!  The weather was too cold to actually be oustide and we can not wait for spring!

This is what we did:

  1. I cut apart a cardboard box and folded it like an accordian.
  2. I covered it in blue and green construction paper with Elmer's school glue.
  3. I drew flowers on white construction paper.
  4. Little Guy painted the flowers with washable paint.
  5. I cut strips of green construction paper for stems.
  6. Little Guy glued the stems onto the paper.
  7. I cut out the flowers after they dried.
  8. Little guy glued them into place.
Don't you just LOVE it?  We used this project as our inspiration:  flower garden inspiration.  The project her girls completed involves many more materials and is super cute.  Check it out!

Prayer Rocks

We are going to make prayer rocks at Sunday school.  I LOVE how each rock will be  different and there will be virtually no clean up.  The kids don't even need glue!

This is what I did:

  1. I purchased supplies at the Dollar Store.  (1 bag of rocks - approx. 36 rocks/bag, containers - 5/$1.00)
  2. I purchased supplies at Walmart. (Easter Grass, multi-colored craft wire - 36 ft for $3, bag of glitter Faith Stickers - $5.00, sequins and pony beads - I already had them at home)
  3. I cut a piece of wire (about 8-12 inches depending on the size of the rock).
  4. Wrap the wire once around the rock and make a tight twist to hold it in place.
  5. Use a glue gun and secure the wire to the bottom side of the rock.  Be generous with the glue.
  6. Let the kids string beads, sequins, and anything else that you can think of onto the wire.  We made a rock for each member of the family.  They used each family member's initial to mark each rock. Twist the wire so that the beads don't fall off.
  7. Add Easter grass to the container.
  8. Put stickers around the container.
  9. Cut a circle to fit inside the lid.  I traced the label that came on the container and cut out the circles for the kids. 
  10. Color a picture and label it, "Prayer Rocks", and glue onto the lid.
I'm also going to put a copy of the Lord's prayer on the inside of the lid.  The kids can choose a rock each day as a reminder to pray for a family member or themselves!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hermit Crab Paper Plate Craft

We've been taking care of my cousin's pet hermit crab for the last couple of months while her family stayed in Costa Rica.  My husband and I have agreed to be a "no pet household" but we seem to take in small creatures for other people while they travel.  The crab is a bit creepy (I can hear it crawling around the rocks at night) but also fairly interesting.  Its time to return him to my cousin so Little Guy and I made hermit crab craft this morning.  This craft is all over Pinterest so I don't know who to give credit for the original.

This is what we did:

  1. We painted his hand with WASHABLE red paint and then set it down a a piece of white paper and waited for it to dry.
  2. I cut a squiggly line (about the same size as his hand) from a small paper plate.
  3. I drew lines on the plate to make it look like a shell.
  4. Little Guy used watercolor paints to paint the shell.
  5. I cut two rectangles from red foam (construction paper would work just fine) and glue on a pair of wiggly eyes.
  6. I taped his hand print and the googly eyes to the back of the paper plate shell.
I LOVED the simplicity of this project.  It took just a few minutes this morning to complete it.  Little Guy kept painting after we finished the project. I'm sure that he will be showing this project to people who visit our house!