Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DIY: Kid Activities

There are a lot of awesome DIY (Do-It-Yourself) projects that I have been wanting to try with Liam, so maybe if I can post them all in one place and write about the than it will help me find the time to actually get the stuff together and do them.  So I have decided that I should do this as a monthly thing and force myself to try a couple of things and then post how it all turned out.  I would love any suggestions for other DIY projects that I may not have come across on my own. 

Mind Jar

The alternative for a Time Out, I came across this one today and it is sparkly and fun, and possibly effective.  Although the original calls for a glass jar, I am more inclined to try this using plastic as it cannot be broken as easily.  I know when it is time for time-out for Liam, he is usually in a place where he is not at his calmest and may be inclined to throw something that I had to him regardless of how sparkly it is.  It was describes as:
"A Mind Jar is a meditation tool to use whenever a child feels stressed, overwhelmed or upset. Imagine the glitter as your thoughts. When you shake the jar, imagine your head full of whirling thoughts, then watch them slowly settle while you calm down". 

This can provide a nice alternative to a traditional timeout, and it encourages the child to refocus without punishing them. Although the kids and I just like to shake it up and sit and watch the glitter swirl around and around. Perhaps next time we'll make our own snow globe by gluing an object on the inside of the lid.

- Plastic Bottle (or you can use the mason jar or baby food jar that was in the original post)
- Glitter Glue
- Food Coloring
- Warm Water

Mix about 1 tablespoon of glitter glue with 1 cup of warm water...depending on the size of your jar. My jar was a bit bigger so I used 2 tablespoons of glitter glue and 2 cups of warm water. I also added some blue food coloring since my kids like the color blue.

Note: The warm water is to help dissolve the glue. I had a hard time dissolving I heated the water up in a microwave safe cup for 30-60 seconds. While the water is warm...the glitter will fall quickly. I noticed that it only took about 3 minutes for the glitter to fall while the water was warm...but it took a little over 5 minutes to finish falling once the water cooled down. If you do use this as an alternative to time-outs and think 5 minutes is too long for your child, you should play around with the water and glue ratio.

*My main question is, does this mean that you need to warm it up each time?  No one will have time for that if it is used as a possible timeout alternative.  I would find that you need to gauge it by what it is like cool and skip the warm water step.

 Salt Painting

This is a great and easy way to have a fun painting time at home with not too much of a mess.  I have seen a lot of people try this and similar things out in the past and have been wanting to try it with Liam since he is totally into creating different works of art. 

-Construction paper/cardstock
-Paintbrush and/or medicine dropper
-Colored water (we used about a tablespoon of water with 6-7 drops of food coloring)
-Little bowls for colored water

Have your child draw a picture with glue.Then sprinkle the glue with salt.  We did this on top of a piece of cardboard, but a baking sheet will work well too. Next have your child take a paintbrush or a medicine dropper and drop colored water, one drop at a time onto the salt.
Some tips: Make sure they lightly touch the salt with the brush.  It also helps to have a bowl to clean the brush in between colors...otherwise you lose the colors start blending together and you lose the vibrant colors because they become murky.

Kool-Aid Dyed Rice & Pasta

This is a great way for what many people call "Sensory Learning."  It is suggested that you get a sensory bin (any kind of plastic shallow tray or bin) and then you want to have various colored objects of all shapes and sizes and then you child can learn from these things and play with them.  Personally I think that a lot of these things can double as art supplies if you have some glue on hand, to include this project.  

1 Cup Rice or 1 Cup Pasta
1/2 tsp Kool-Aid
1 tsp Rubbing Alcohol
Gallon or large plastic Ziplock bags
Tin Foil
Cookie Sheet

Gather your tools and start by standing up and opening your large freezer bag. A freezer bag (and not just a regular gallon bag) is imperative for the dying process because of it's thickness--the bag will stand up on its own and will also hold up better to leakage than a standard bag. Use one bag for each color you wish to make.
First, have your child add 1 cup of rice to each bag. Then, have him or her scoop out a 1/2 teaspoon of power out of each Kool-Aid packet. (Each Kool-Aid packet typically has 1 teaspoon of powder in it.) Pour the powder on top of the rice. For the last step, which is a mama step, add 1 teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to each bag on top of the previous two ingredients.
Seal the bag shut (because I can attest that wet Kool-Aid rice is NOT a fun experience to clean up!) and shake it up (this can be a fun part in the process for the kids to do too)! Let it sit for at least 15 minutes to saturate.
Next, pour the wet rice out onto a tray and get it as flat as it will go so that you can dry it overnight (or for at least 6-8 hours). When I dye rice or pasta, I usually make little tin foil sections in the tray to separate the colors. When it is dry, the rice will be all clumped together; separate the rice grains with your hands. (This is also a fun step for kiddo involvement too!)

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