Ayyam-i-Ha DIY Gift Wrap

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It is that exciting time in our family when we welcome Ayyam-i-Ha – a Baha’i holiday that is celebrated for 4 days right before the last month in the Baha’i Calendar, The Fasting Month.

We have planned whole lot for the next 4 days:

1. I usually prepare 4 small gifts for each day of Ayyam-i-Ha
2. From the beginning of February, we do an Ayyam-i-Ha countdown and decorate our Ayyam-i-Ha branch with flowers.
3. We prepare decorations.
4. We invite friends over and go out for meals.
5. We sing, dance and play and spend these days in joy and happiness.

Today I would like to introduce to you the last minute craft you can have your children help you with – an Ayyam-i-Ha DIY Gift Wrap. I love making my own wraps and this particular wrap can be made for any holiday or celebration!

Materials needed:

– thing sheets of paper (I used soft paper for calligraphy)
– water colors and brushes
– finger paints and stamps

How to make it:

There is no strict rule! You can either use water colors with more water and a brush to make dots on the paper. Or you can use finger paints to draw designs or stamp the paper.

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Dry your paper properly. It may crumble a bit so thinner paper is better. Our soft calligraphy paper dried within minutes.

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Wrap your gifts now!

Happy Ayyam-i-Ha to you all!

Ten Simple Toddler Activities

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We’ve been home bound for nearly a week now due to cold weather and my cold/sinus congestion. Even though we have plenty of space for my 5 year old and 19 months old to play, lots of toys and craft supplies, there is only that much craft you can do in a week with a sick (and pregnant!) mommy!
So I have keep going back to some of the activities I’ve written about before and more which never get “old” and can be applied for every day to create fun for your little one. They are supervised activities but for most of them you don’t even have to move around much, which is perfect for a new mom or a pregnant mom, or for a mom who is battling a cold!
1. Playing with a handkerchief or a scarf. Both boys and girls would enjoy this simple play! It can be used inside the house or outside while waiting in line or at the restaurant for food.
2. Similar way you can play with a … paper towel or a tissue paper! Add a bread basket or a plastic bowl to the game – and you have about 20 minutes (or more!) of fun! Once the tissue paper starts falling apart, roll small balls from it and throw them into the basket/bowl, scoop them with a spoon or simply pour them in and out of it.
3. Pour small objects from cup to cup – this can take a while! But make sure, of course, that they don’t get stuffed into the nose or ears, nor swallowed.
4. Painting: sponge painting, finger painting, painting, painting, painting! Any toddler likes to get his/her hands dirty. If you want more fun – make it a bath time activity and just next to your tot and supervise the water and paint play!
5. Salt dough and play dough – they never get out of fashion! Use small toys and objects to stick into the dough or make collages.
7. If you have a yard with a sandbox – sand play is your fun! If you don’t or can’t leave the house – make salt/rice trays: simply put the salt/rice in the trays and add some small objects to them. These you can store and keep for later (as long as they don’t get wet and are kept in airtight containers!). You might need to vacuum or sweep afterwards, but it is really worth the trouble! Tip: if you choose this activity, kitchen might be your best place for it and you might want to put some newspapers or a waterproof sheet on the floor under the tray to contain most of the mess.
8. Try on some hats! You can dig out all the hats in the house and offer your tot to wear them or put them on you. It takes 15 to 30 minutes for the hat play at our house!
9. Good old torn paper art is what every tot I know loves doing!
10. If all fails – bring out the cutlery. Spoons, plastic ware, pots, lids, ladles – it may get noisy but you know you’ll enjoy it! If you have plastic bottles with spices that are not easy to open – bring them into the game. Stacking them, placing them from pot to pot – tots love that!
You don’t need to go far to organize a simple and fun play at your house. You probably have everything already.
What are you simple toddler play ideas? Share with me!

Child-Made Christmas Lanterns

I am happy to participate in and be one of the first to post for 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas Ornaments Project, hosted by some of the amazing bloggers from KBN (Kid Blogger Network).

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Living in China where Christmas has become a big deal (while not being an official holiday) and being an ESL teacher, over the past 20 years I’ve taught and made tons of Christmas crafts. I usually try to find something easy and fun for children to make. So, today I am introducing a Christmas Lantern to you! (This lantern is a great decoration for Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival too!)

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What you will need:

2 paper cups

Double-sided tape

Crafting ribbon

Crepe paper

Paint (for finger prints decoration)

How to make it:

1. Put to cups together and secure them with a double-sided tape.

2. Take the paper off the tape and stick the ribbon over it.

3. Using pieces of double-sided tape and a smaller piece of ribbon, make a handle that the lantern will hang on.

4. Apply another round of double sided take on the bottom of the lantern. Tear crepe paper into strips. Take the paper off the double-sided tape and stick the strips of crepe paper over so that they hang down.lantern1

5. Using paint, have children decorate the lanterns with finger prints. This is probably the most fun they get while making this lantern!

6. Dry and decorate the tree or your house with the lanterns (be careful though to keep them away from Christmas lights!)

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 What are your favorite Christmas ornaments? Do you prefer making them or buying?

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Would you like to join in on the fun too?!

Here’s how:

  1. Go to the landing page here, for this series that Melissa at Mama Miss is hosting.
  2. Just link a KID-MADE ornament you’ve created with your kiddos (limited to 2 a day).
  3. Add this pretty little ornament shaped button below to your blog post, or your sidebar, or somewhere on your beautiful blog letting me know you are joining in on the fun too!!
  4. Label the ornament button: 20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments
  5. Link the ornament button to: the landing page for this series.

 

20 Days of a Kid-Made Christmas: Ornaments

 

The link up will be open from December 1st until December 21st for all entries.

Make sure to pop by these other fabulous bloggers too, that are participating in this series…

December 1st

Mama Miss

Here Come the Girls

Creative World of Varya

December 2nd

Housing A Forest

NurtureStore

December 3rd

Twodaloo

Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

Play Trains!

December 4th

Mama Smiles

One Perfect Day

December 5th

Feels Like Home

How Wee Learn

December 6th

My Little 3 and Me

The House of Hendrix

Teach Beside Me

December 7th

The Connection We Share

Scribble Doodle and Draw

FSPDT

December 8th

The Library Adventure

Something 2 Offer

Learn with Play at Home

December 9th

The Pleasantest Thing

Tutus & Tea Parties

Edventures with Kids

December 10th

Nothing if Not Intentional

Kitchen Counter Chronicles

Me & Marie Learning

December 11th

Glittering Muffins

Child Central Station

Happiness is Homemade

December 12th

eLeMeNO-P Kids

Coffee Cups and Crayons

Living Montessori Now

December 13th

Teach me Mommy

Mum in The Mad House

The Craft Train

December 14th

Mama.Papa.Bubba.

MeMeTales

Imprints From Tricia

December 15th

True Aim Education

Sugar Aunts

The Life of Jennifer Dawn

December 16th

Powerful Mothering

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

The Eyes of a Boy

December 17th

Teach Preschool

Plain Vanilla Mom

Lalymom

December 18th

P is for Preschooler

Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes

Busy Kids = Happy Mom

December 19th

Mama Miss

Glittering Muffins

December 20th

Tips From a Typical Mom

Rockabye Butterfly

Kids Co-Op and DIY Cards

Last year, we created some wonderful cards to give to friends for Nawruz – Baha’i New Year. I have never described the process so I decided with the 2 upcoming Baha’i HolidaysBirthdays of The Bab and Baha’u’llah, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hannukah, and New Year. This would be a nice personalized way of greeting people.

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The process is very very simple – we use finger painting here, choose the pattern and then let our imagination flow.

Continue reading »

Creative Tuesday: When To Start Real Paints

There are so many wonderful activities for babies and toddlers to introduce them to safe, edible and fun finger paint and homemade paint.

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The question I am often asked by parents is when it is safe to introduce *real* i.e. commercial paint, especially such as tempura and acrylic.

Continue reading »

DIY Hand print Christmas Tree

This is one of the most popular Christmas Crafts. First time I saw it on Enchanted Learning Website . I won’t be posting any tutorial for you here as you can just follow the link and improvise yourself. Since then I’ve seen it on various blogs and sites – moms and educators have made it in different shapes, with finger paint, from crepe paper, construction paper, from fleece and other types of fabric. I’ve even seen this Hand print Christmas Tree Skirt from Passionate Penny Pincher.

I always wondered whoever came up with it first. Any ideas?

We don’t celebrate Christmas, as I mentioned in another post. But Christmas crafts are actually really fun and they are a great way to encourage creativity, create an opportunity for messy play and develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Here is a tree my 4 year old made. I helped her trace and cut out the prints:

And here are the trees moms and children in my daycare made. They decorated them with stickers!

Home made finger paint!

Finger paint in general is so much fun! However as parents we often wonder whether it is safe enough, how much mess it will create and whether it will easily wash off the clothes and places.

Well, here I am giving you a very nice and simple recipe for homemade finger paint. It is 100% edible and safe and it does easily wash off everything!

Ingredients:

Baby cereal – 1 cup

Water – 2 cups (approximately – add as much as you need to get gooey paint)

Salt – 2 teaspoons (optional)

Food coloring –  couple drops for every color you want

Method:

Mix rice cereal, salt and water thoroughly. Divide into as many parts as you wish into flat plates, add a drop or two of each food coloring for desired color. Enjoy! You can use in fact any cereal or corn starch, flour.

We had tons of fun today with the paint with kids from 16 month to 41 months. It is so engaging!!!

Have fun with your kids and thank you for reading my blog!