Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Black Chickie Song

This gave me such a smile when it was happening and every time I have watched it since. I hope that it makes you smile too!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stars, Stripes, & Coffee Filters - Toddler Art Project

Stars, Stripes & Coffee Filters

Age: 18 Months - 5 Years or older (younger ones need more supervision)

Time: 10 min (+ Prep)

Theme: Patriotism, 4th of July

Books: Hats Off for the Fourth of July by Harriet Ziefert, McDuff Saves the Day by Rosemary Wells, Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet Wong (for older kids)

Red Construction Paper
Blue Party Streamers
Basket Style Coffee Filters
Glue Sticks
Adults get to use Scissors

Prep: Cut stars from the red construction paper (if you make them about 2” - 1 sheet will yield 12 stars). Cut strips of blue steamer about 12”. Cut lengths of yarn 18” – 24”.

Activity: Each child gets 1 star, 1 coffee filter, 2 streamers and a piece of yarn. Glue the coffee filer onto the banner by putting glue all over the inside then folding it in half over the yarn. Do the same with the streamers. Then glue the red star onto the white. Have an adult help make loops at the ends for hanging.

Notes/Tips: You can make these as long or as short as you want by adding extra pieces (then challenge your tot to identify the pattern)! You can use blue stars and red streamers too. For an older kid version, have them draw on the filters with red and/or blue washable markers, then spray or drip water on them in advance. Just be sure to let them dry before it is time to assemble the banners.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Life as A Venn Diagram - Letter to a Home Town

Margret "Peggy" Walsh

I envision our lives as a Venn diagram; a dome like bubble over each of us, with a fat flower petal where we overlap. In my mind’s eye they are filled with colored light. My companion and I are yellow and blue. The petal that we share shines with the green of spring time. That is where we are now, in that place where our lives intersect. This is the way it might always be, but in this moment I am distinctly aware.

This past week his life has been dominated by his mothers rapidly failing health. She reached that point when loved ones were called to gather. All seven of her children came to spend time. No one needed to be reminded that each day might be her last.

In the windows of time he pushed open he visited her in the hospital. He missed work, dinners and family outings. He arrived home tired or wired or sometimes both. I ask him how it was. “Quiet” he’d tell me. Inside the dome of her last days words were oft spoken in hushed tone.

I am in the supporting role. I take up as much of the slack as I can; making sure meals are available to accommodate random schedules, the right clothes are clean, that the tasks of daily life are taken care of. Even time with the Figlet, at least the hours based on the hours I work, becomes optional. He rearranges priorities as needed. I get flustered when there are things I cannot remove from his path. It highlights the strength of our partnership; still I am relieved that this is a temporary situation. 

In our Venn diagram, the place where we overlap keeps growing. This year we have added supporting each other in time of death. In my grandfathers final days when the family took turns sitting bedside he was there for me. He kept little ones occupied, dried dishes, held me tight. He helped to assure that the tasks of daily life were taken care of so that I could rearrange priorities as needed.

On the day that they thought his mother was out of the woods, she’d only just come to the meadows edge for a last clear glimpse of the sun. Both she and my Grandfather died in a way that most of us hope that we would: without prolonged suffering, with family nearby, and with dignity. They left this world buoyed by the love of their children and grandchildren – the same love that kept them anchored in life.

What if all of our lives are a great Venn diagram, overlapping here, there everywhere? What if all of the colors that surround us in this world are the petals of light where we all overlap? What if a soul could overflow with color fed by the ways they touched others? What if a rainbow is one of those souls ascending, leaving streaks of light color across the sky?

Margret Walsh, mother of my companion, left a rainbow.

I hope that this letter has found you and yours in good spirits and good health. Until I write again…

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sunshine Growth and Pride (Card) – Toddler Art Project

Sunshine Growth and Pride - Tri-fold Card

Age: 18 Months - 5 Years (younger ones need more supervision)

Time: 15 min (+ Prep)

Theme: Greeting Card, Sun, Flower, Lion

12 x 18 Construction Paper of any color other than green, orange or yellow (I used brown)
Yellow, Green & Orange Construction Paper
Glue Sticks
Coloring and/or writing materials
Adults get to use Scissors and Pinking Sheers

Prep: The card: Cut the 12 x 18 paper in the 18” direction at an angle from 4” from the top to 6” from the top. This will make 2 cards 18” long. Fold into thirds at the 6” and 12” points.
The pieces: Fold a full sheet of Orange paper into ¼’s on the 9” side (folded like M a sheet should yield 6). Using Pinking Sheers cut out circles leaving the folded edges intact. With normal scissors cut flower stems (1/card) and yellow circles slightly smaller than the orange ones (2/card). Finally cut lion bodies out of yellow paper (1/card).

 Activity: Each child gets a card, an orange 2ply circle, 2 yellow circles, a stem and a body.
Open the card and glue the Orange circle overlapping the center edge of the center card panel. Glue a yellow circle onto each side. Add a stem to one side and the lion body to the other. Refold the card and see how one thing became three! Color or write a personalized note on the card.

Notes/Tips: Don’t be afraid to freehand the lion pieces – Bumps for paws and a strip for a tail and you’re fine! There is no need to glue the body or the stem on first – Kids rarely glue edge-tight so they slip easily under the flower/lion head. This can easily be a big kid project by prepping only the card blanks and letting them do the rest themselves.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Family Programing

Today in NYC the Figment Festival on Governors Island was the place to be.
This is the kind family programing I could sit and watch all day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Love Chasing Butterflies – Toddler Art Project

I Love Chasing Butterflies – Toddler Art Project

Age: 18 Months - 5 Years (younger ones need more supervision)

Time: 15 min (+ Prep)

Theme: Butterflies, Hearts

Books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall, The Day the Babies Crawled Away by Peggy Rathmann   

Construction Paper of any color
Tissue Paper Scraps
Craft Sticks
Pipe Cleaner(s)
Glue Sticks
Adults get to use Scissors
Prep: Cut out pairs of matching hears by folding the construction paper into ¼’s. Make sure you start on the folded edge. Hearts cut to this size will be about 4” x 5”.
Activity: Each child gets a pair of hearts, a craft stick, a pipe cleaner and glue. Wrap the pipe cleaner several times around the top of the craft stick to form the body and antennas and then set aside. Overlap the hearts pointing tip to tip and glue them together to form wings. Glue the body to the front of the wings. Decorate the wings using small scraps of tissue paper. Chase Butterflies!
Notes/Tips: I like to use the ‘smart stick’ craft sticks for this project because the little notches keep the antennae from sliding off. The wings get in the way when adding the antennae so do this step first. Putting glue on both the stick and the paper helps make sure they stick together. Distribute the tissue paper on plates to save on clean-up. Add a strip of magnet - these are adorable on refrigerators and metal doors.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Shooting Star for Your Super Star - Toddler Art Project

These Shooting Stars are essentially the same technique as the Cloudy Day Fun Project but with a star shape instead of a cloud. They are a great project for letting Dad know he is the Best Super Star you could ever wish for! For a Big Kid version, use extra streamers and write things that make Dad special on each one!