Calling On All Homeschooling Families! We Need You!

Sending Out An SOS

This is a backwards post.

You usually go online to find advice and information about something your interested in or want to know more about. Usually it starts with a search for one thing, you see something else, and BAM!. You find yourself on a completely different topic reading about how to crochet a boat cover for a boat you don’t even have. You find a link to someone’s blog and read all about their advice, experience, and suggestions. This is not that blog post. I am seeking YOUR advice, experience, and suggestions. That’s right. I am wanting you to tell me what I should do. I told you, this is backwards.

Since we decided that we will be homeschooling, I have been looking through every blog post on Pinterest, every link to state requirements, reading reviews of different curriculum options, and so on. I know a few homeschooling moms and I have flooded them with questions and picked their brains as much as I could without getting too weird. These ladies were so nice and so willing to chat with me, but let’s be honest. No one wants to sit in a coffee shop for 5 hours and answer question after question about their curriculum choices, daily routines, scheduled play dates, test options, or support groups. I thought I could use this platform to send out a bat signal for help. So let’s start from the beginning….

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Our little one, Lyanna, just turned 2. She has a while to go before having to enter the school system, but as I started to think about that first day for her, I had a lot of doubts and fears. Like most parents, I started to worry about how people would treat her, how other children would treat her, would she be the nice, quiet girl or the talkative girl, how soon would she get labeled as such, how will she do with taking standardized tests, how fast will she pick up reading and comprehension skills, will she need extra help or interventions, and a million other things. The knot in my stomach kept getting bigger. This past school year was my first year in a public school setting and it was definitely an eye opener. I had worked in a private independent school for a few years and that environment is been COMPLETELY different from this new school.

I took a position as an Instructional Assistant for two first grade classrooms. Since I was just entering the public school system, I thought this position would be a good way for me to transition in to public education and still give me more flexibility for our daughter. After a month of being in these classrooms, I had already decided this was NOT going to be the environment we would be putting Lyanna in. What I saw startled me. It reminded me of a boot camp. Timers were always going off, children were walking around like robots to their next destination, and there were scripts written everywhere for them to follow ( and for me to follow, but that’s a different story for a different time ). Sitting in this classroom, I stopped and looked around, taking in all that I saw. I was missing my little one. My heart hurt for these children and I missed my own terribly. And then it dawned on me. No. This is not going to be my child’s future. My child is not a robot. A script is not going to take away social interactions from my daughter. Recess is NOT a ” maybe, if we have time” or ” Let’s have recess in the classroom, for 15 minutes “.

I will do anything and everything in my power to make sure that that is NOT her future.

I know what you’re going to say. I know that every classroom is different and there are teachers that do things completely different. I see that in the other classrooms I visited. I know that there are teachers that disagree with that type of classroom setup. That doesn’t change the fact that that is what some classrooms look like. I don’t want to take that chance with my child’s education. I’m a product of public education and I’m not saying that the entire institute is out of wack. However, the public education of my time is very different from what is happening today. What I’m saying is that path is not for her.  I want our daughter to love learning, to be hands on and involved in her own education, to explore while she learns, and for us to share that experience together as well.

Now that I’ve rambled, I’ll get to the point. As with anything else, I want to know more. I want to know what we are in for. I want to know more about what is ahead of us. I want to know more opinions. Your opinions. I want to know what you know. I want to know the mistakes you made that led you to where you are now. I want to know your families’ accomplishments. Was there something you would have done differently from the beginning? Did you find a support group helpful? What resources do you use? Do you have a planned out budget for every year? Give me anything and everything!

While I am a licensed teacher, and I do feel qualified to teach, I think it is going to be a completely different experience than what I have been preparing for during my degree program. I want to hear your stories, your advice, and anything else you’d like to share. Most importantly, I want to be the best that I can be for our daughter. This post is a signal for help, advice, guidance, and friendship. Please feel free to leave me a comment here. Share this post with someone who has an experience I can learn from. Email me personally. Message me on Pinterest. On Facebook. However you want to share, please do so.

Also, I would like to say thank you for visiting my blog. However you found it, thanks for clicking.

Love Note Books

Love Note Books

Since I have a little one, my focus for project ideas have usually been for her age group. I thought I would change it up a bit and get something together for the older kids and kids at heart. I used to make these cute little books for my Etsy shop. They are great for a small little gift or reminder and they are so easy to make. They are great for little notes in lunch boxes, for packing in someone’s suit case to find when they are away, attaching to presents, or to just leave around the house for your loved ones to find. This project idea, ” Love Note Books “, is super simple and it can actually been done with various age groups with some assistance. Here is what you’ll need and the steps you’ll take to make your own little love books !

Supplies-

Fabric: You can use leftover scraps of fabric for the covering of your books. Just make sure your pieces will be big enough to cover the cardboard covers. If you don’t have any fabric laying around, you can pick up some small portions at most craft supply store and purchase here from Amazon.

Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks: I would highly recommend to use a hot glue gun for this project. I find that other glue doesn’t hold so well, but if you have a different opinion or idea, I would love to hear about it !

Cardboard: I save the thin pieces of cardboard that come with packs of embellishments, but you can certainly use any kind of cardboard you can find. Whether from a box of cereal, old business cards, or boxes from crackers. Just make sure your selection is thick enough to be study for adding the glue.

Paper: You can really use whatever type of paper you want to for this portion. I find that regular computer paper works best for me, but really you can use what you have around your house.

Ribbon: You will be using a piece of ribbon to tie your book shut and add a cute embellishment. Thin, thick, glittery, checkered, or simple and plain. Use whatever kind of ribbon you wish!

Step 1: Cardboard

You will be using cardboard for the front and back of your book. I used some leftover cardstock that I had from a previous project. You can use thin cardboard, leftover business cards, or even recycle a box from crackers. Cut your pieces of cardboard to the size that you want your book. For this project, I cut mine into 2x 3 pieces.

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Step 2: Fabric

Lay out your fabric and place your cardboard on it to trace. You will want your fabric to wrap around your piece of cardboard, so be sure to leave enough fabric around the edges. I try and go out at least an inch from my pieces of cardboard. This way, I know I’ll have enough to fold over the cardboard, but also to completely cover the cardboard on the inside.

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Make sure you have your glue gun all hot and ready to go! Add a line of glue to one side of the cardboard and fold over that side of fabric. I recommend to do one side at a time. Hot glue dries fast and this way, you can make sure that you have each side of your fabric exactly where you want it.

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Step 3: Paper

Since my cover and back pieces measure 2×3, I want my strip of paper to be shy of that. I measured my strip to be 21/2 x 8 1/2. Since you are going to be folding this piece of paper into an accordion, you want it to be long enough to do so.

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Once you have your piece measured out, go ahead and attach it to the inside of one of your pieces of cardboard with the hot glue. It really doesn’t matter if it is the cover or the back. It really doesn’t matter which is which until you attach your ribbon later on.

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Step 4: Ribbon

Now that your book has been made, we need to add a piece of ribbon to be able to tie our book shut. When cut your ribbon, make sure you leave it long enough to be able to go around your book AND make a bow. Once you have it in place, add a small amount of hot glue to attach it to your book. Whichever side you add your ribbon to, this will be the “back” of your book. And now you have a cute little love book ready for love notes!

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I hope you enjoyed this project and please feel free to share. Follow us on Instagram @creativeoutletforlittlehands

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Happy Crafting ! XOXO

Emotion Wheel: Helping children to identify and deal with their emotions

Emotion Wheel

In my recent post ” Benefits of Art for Kids ” I talked about how art can be beneficial to children in various ways. One of these ways was in the expression of emotions. Some children have gone through tragic events in their lives and have closed down to communication or some just find it difficult in general to communicate with others how they feel. For other children, and even for many adults, it can be hard to identify WHAT your feeling and how to communicate what is going on inside of you.

I recently found my way to a page about Art Therapy. In a different life, I think that is the career path I would have chosen. The profession is a very interesting one and it made me think about how therapeutic art can be to people who have gone through trauma in their lives. If you would like to learn more about Art Therapy, use this click through.

Children learn something new everyday. Literally. They go through learning to walk, learning to talk, learning what buttons to press to get their parents to cave. I say this as my daughter is pulling on my arms, crying in my ear because… she doesn’t even know. She thinks she wants more Goldfish, but really, she is just bored. Yes, I stopped working and took her on walk. She is now sitting quietly next to me, typing on her own “laptop”. She is still learning and learning your emotions, what they feel like, and how to cope is all part of the learning process.

Emotion Wheel

Lyanna is still a bit too young to understand her emotions and how to communicate them, but we are working with her. A project I find to be helpful for older children is an Emotion Wheel. For this project, you and your children will create a wheel of the emotions one feels, discuss these emotions, what they feel like, and how to cope with the difficult ones.

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Step 1: Create The Wheel

You can find a print out of an emotion wheel here, or you can create your own with two simple steps. Trace a circular object, we used a stencil, on a piece of paper. Divide your circle into 8 slices. For our wheel, we featured the following emotion: happy, sad, mad, proud, scared, worried, excited, and surprised.

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Step 2: Adding Your Emotions

For each emotion, talk to your children about what the emotion is and how it makes you feel. Next, have your child draw a small picture in this emotion’s slice that represents this feeling. For example, if they say that when they feel proud, they feel tall and invincible, they may choose to draw a picture of a super hero.

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Step 3: Moving Past The Emotions

For certain emotions, such as mad or worried, we need to learn how to cope and move our minds to a better place. Have a discussion with your child about ways to help you calm down and remove the anger that you feel. The ability to calm down when you’re is angry is an essential skill that be so beneficial to your children and yourself.

Continuous Use

The Emotion Wheel you have created can be a helpful tool to keep around for further understanding or when issues arise. Learning is a process and children aren’t going to magically learn everything about their emotions through one art activity. We all struggle with dealing with our emotions, even as adults. Think of the last time you were stuck in terrible traffic. Even though you know how to deal with that feeling of frustration, you probably did say a few bad words! This wheel is helpful when children are feeling a certain way and they don’t know why. It can help them to understand what is going on and provide an opportunity to talk with you through this feeling of uncertainty. It can give them a tool to work through a difficult time.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope it inspired you to have a conversation about emotions with your children. If you have any helpful tips or tricks for dealing with emotions, I would love to hear from you !

The Benefits of Art for Kids

The Benefits of Art for Kids

As an educator, mother, and artist, I believe that art can play a vital role in a child’s life. I have seen the educational benefits of incorporating art into a curriculum. I have seen a child open up and be able to express themselves with a crayon, rather than words. I have seen children be able to get along with one another over a simple craft project. Art is such a valuable and versatile tool. Art can be defined as anything that allows you to express yourself. Whether you are using a paintbrush, crayons, clay, or even a guitar, you can freely express yourself and your emotions however you choose. It’s a beautiful resource that we have right at our fingertips.

I started my business, Creative Outlet For Little Hands, as a way to give parents an outlet for their children to get creative, find their hidden talents, or to just have an hour or two without technology. COFLH does arts and crafts activities for birthday parties and personal, one on one instruction. I wanted to work with children and show them what they are capable of and have an outlet to be themselves. Through this business, I have had the pleasure of working with homeschooling families that wanted to incorporate art concepts into their everyday routines. I have also been given opportunities to have groups of children work and come together to complete an art project. Everyday I get to see how happy children can be, how a concept finally clicks for them, how comforting it can be to draw how they feel, or how relaxed they become when they take an hour away from the hectic world we live in.

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Art can be beneficial to children for several reasons and in various ways……..

Encourages kids to be creative: According to the International Child Art Foundation, ” Children that are exposed to the arts acquire a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property”. This are vital skills in contributing to their personal success, which in turn benefits the world around them. The act of being creative is to think outside the box; To think of different ways and combinations to solve a problem, create a new outlet, or to use the same old techniques in a different manner.

Fires up the brain: Creating art makes our brains go! We experiment and create by painting with bright, bold colors, mixing different medias together, pulling images from our imaginations, or . When we participate in an art project, almost all of our senses are engaged. We are seeing the bold colors, touching the paper, smelling the paint, and hearing the color soaked paintbrush as it touches the canvas.

Builds Fine Motor Skills: When we provide an opportunity for children to engage in art activities, we are encouraging the development of small and large muscles; The muscles needed for optimum control for future writing skills. Holding a crayon, a pair of scissors, or a paintbrush helps activate and build these muscles, while also improving a child’s eye-hand coordination.

Expression: Art provides an outlet for children to express themselves and to understand what they are feeling. Whether dealing with a major event in the life or a world event that significantly effects them, art allows children to take this issue and bring it down to small and more manageable size. It can make the issue seem smaller and give them the confidence to overcome. For younger children, learning their emotions can be a very overwhelming. They don’t know what they are feeling or why they are feeling this way. Children in this position would benefit from art activities that focus on identifying emotions, the characteristics go along with each emotion, and what they can do to come back from this feeling.

Finding Themselves: By participating in the arts, children are given opportunities to find themselves, build their confidence, and discover their skills. By encouraging child to engage in art, we are encouraging them to dive in to their minds and peak in to what is going on in there. We are setting a foundation of understanding and confidence, a foundation that they will continue to build on for the rest of their lives. We offer this learning experience in a safe environment where children can explore and find themselves in a way that can be more comforting than using words.

Problem Solving: Open-ended art project prompts provide children with an opportunity to solve a problem. They are coming to conclusions on their own, making their own choices, and looking over the final outcome of their work. These skills are essential throughout their academic careers and beyond. When these little hands get out in to the big world, these problem solving skills will be essential for every job they have, every relationship they build, and so on.

Happy Crafting !

Crayola’s ” My First ” Easy Grip Washable Markers

Product Review

Our little one turned two last week and for her birthday, she received many lovely toys, clothes, and other gifts. One of these gifts was a set of Crayola’s Washable Marker from their ” My First ” line. That word… ” washable “. HA! I’ve come to understand that word is defined differently by different people. It’s washable, meaning that bright red streak across your kid’s shirt will come out in the wash, MAYBE. If you treat it three times with Oxyclean, wash it more 4 times, light a candle, and pray. Just MAYBE.

I was a little cautious about trying these just yet, but once Lyanna saw them in her art basket, she wanted to use them immediately. I have to say, I did actually like these markers! I loved the bright pigments of the colors and how smooth they were. They reminded me a lot of dot markers. I will say that the one thing I didn’t like was how long it took to dry. With any other type of marker, you do have to give it time to dry before resting your hand on the ink. It seemed like it took a little longer to dry than other markers, but I would assume that is because they ARE washable.

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That’s right…. THEY ARE WASHABLE. In an effort to prove the packaging wrong, I let her color with these markers wearing her clothes still. I usually strip her down to her diaper, but I just wanted to test out this description. After washing it, and of course treating it with Oxyclean, the marks did come out. No trace of them! The description on the packaging also said ” made for little hands ” and I have to say that that is true also. Lyanna had no trouble gripping these markers and enjoyed coloring away.

I would highly recommend this product to anyone looking to color with their kids, especially the young ones. Now we didn’t let her color all over the carpet, I wasn’t going that far to prove if washable actually meant washable. I would still use caution when coloring on, or near, fabric items that can’t be put in the washing machine. If you would like to purchase these markers, there is a link at the beginning of this post or you can just keep scrolling 🙂

*** Please Note: This is a non-sponsored post. I am, in no way, paid for my opinion about this or any other products by the companies mentioned. ***

Click this image to purchase this item

Going Out In Nature

Going Out In Nature

In our technology filled world, sometimes we forget about the great, big, beautiful world right outside of our door. Where the sun shines, birds sing, and flowers bloom. This post will focus on the benefits of outside play and provide you plenty of activity ideas to do while enjoying the fresh air.

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The simple act of just being outside can benefit the mind, body, and spirit. This provides a platform for all sorts of activities. Playing outside can help build active, healthy bodies. 1 in 3 American children are considered obese . To help ensure your children aren’t a statistic, encourage outside play by engaging in activities such as going for a walk or run, playing a sport, gardening or other yard work, hopscotch, jump rope, or swimming. By engaging in these activities with your children, you are also making memories with them and building their social skills.

Playing outside can also raise levels of Vitamin D, which can aide in the prevention of future health issues and protect children from future bone problems, diabetes, and heart disease.

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In benefiting the mind, outside time can effective in reducing ADHD symptoms and students have been scoring higher are standardized tests who’s schools have environmental education programs. Stress levels, of both children and adults, have also been shown to decrease within minutes of being outside and seeing the green world around us. To read more research-based evidence about these benefits, you can visit The National Wildlife Foundation’s website.

Activities To Do IN Nature, WITH Nature

There is an endless list of physical activities you and your children can do outside. You could play a sport together such as basketball, football, soccer, or baseball, or you can all come together to make the outside of your home a beautiful and inviting place by completing chores in the yard and garden. You could also go for a walk around your neighborhood and socialize with your neighbors. The following is a list of arts and crafts activities you and your children can complete while you enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Twig Worms

Twig Worms: Go on a nature walk and collect the items you come across, especially sticks! Using pipe cleaners and googly eyes, you can use these sticks to create little twig worms. Simple wrap a pipe cleaner around the stick, glue some eyes on to the end and you’ve got yourself a cute twig worm. This project is very easy to complete and doesn’t take up a lot of time. ( Note: My daughter DID NOT like the eyes on our twig worm. I’m assuming they freaked her out. She promptly pulled them off )

Spray Bottle Painting: For this project idea you will need liquid watercolors, a few plastic spray bottles, string or yarn, clothespins, and any type of white fabric item you would like to color. For example, in the preschool we did this project with white t-shirts and white totes. You can pick up these items from your local craft store or click the items above to purchase them from Amazon. First, tie your yarn or string to a fence or any kind fencing, much like you would do when hanging clothes to be dried. Next, using the clothespins, hang your fabric items up on the string. Fill up all of your spray bottles with water and add the different colors to your different spray bottles. Now the fun begins ! Make sure your spray bottles are set to ” stream ” rather than ” spray ” and you’re ready to go. Have your children spray their items with the colorful bottles of water and leave them to dry in the sun.

Playdough Fossils: This is another project you’ll need to go on a walk around your yard to gather supplies for. Try and find rocks, leafs, flowers, grass, and sticks. Once you have collected these items, you’ll want to gather some playdough and roll it out flat. Then take your items and press them in to the playdough. At age 2, all my daughter wanted to do was squish things in to the dough. So hopefully you’ll have better luck creating impressions that actually look like fossils !

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Outdoor Classroom With Chalk: Kids can have so much fun with a bucket of chalk and a clean sidewalk or driveway. This activity is a way to sneak in some educational concepts while playing outside. You can have them practice their spelling words, draw different manipulatives to practice mathematics ( draw 5 hearts, count them, add 3 more hearts, how many do we have now ?, etc. ), practice writing their names, etc. The list can go on and on!

Fairy Gardens: This project idea can be an ongoing project you and your family work on together throughout the warm months. I could talk about fairy gardens all day, but to keep this post short, is a link to a previous post I made about this activity.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it encouraged you to shut the laptop, put down your phone, and go out in the sunshine. Playing outside with your family can benefit their little bodies, but it can also provide you with an opportunity to create memories with them and strengthen your relationship. Use this time to teach them about the world around them, show them something new, teach them a skill, or, if nothing else, just enjoy seeing them smile. Thanks for reading !

Dream Catchers

Dreamcatchers

This weekend, my company was hired to take care of the activity portion of a birthday party. The activity …. Dream Catchers ! I love dream catchers. I think they are just so beautiful. The amount of detail and hard work that goes into making a traditional dream catcher shows a level of dedication that few artists have. If you would like to know more about dream catchers and what they represent, please visit this page for more information.

I thought it would be fun to share with you all how we created these pieces. Before the party, there was a lot of prep work. Since we needed to fit this entire project into an hour, there would be a lot of prep work for me to do before the event. If you are doing this project on your own, or with children, all of these steps can be completed together as time may not be such a restriction for you.

The first thing I did was take a trip Michael’s ( <3 ). I stocked up on the essentials for this project,embroidery hoops , lots of thread, various kinds of beads, leather strands, feathers, and for a special touch, paper flowers.

Embroidery Hoops, Thread, Various Kinds of Beads, Feathers, Leather Strips, and Ribbon

To begin this project, the first thing I did was start with the actual woven portion of the dream catcher using the center part of the embroidery hoop. There are several tutorials out there for you to view and get an idea of how to do one. Once you get the technique, it’s fairly simple, but it does take some time to get the hang of it. Since I will be working with children who vary from ages 5 to 9 and only given an hour, I decided to take care of this portion myself.

Step 1

The next step is a bit tedious. I made A LOT of little braids in various lengths and colors. I wanted to make sure that the girls had plenty to choose from, but could also have as many as they wanted when putting together their dream catchers. I left a good amount of the braids with nothing on them. No special knots or beads. Just simple braids to add texture, detail, and color. For the others, I tied a large bead at the bottom portion, or added small, shiny beads throughout the braid. Having a large variety of braids would allow the girls to choose each detail they felt represented them and went with the theme of the dream catcher.

NOTE: In order to attach these braids, I made a small hoop at the starting end of the braid. The ending portion of the braid will then go through this hole when adding them on to the dream catchers ( see picture below to see ). If you don’t know how to make these hoops >>>> Take the threads you will be braiding in your hand. Find the center of the threads and fold over. Now make a knot at this center, tying all of your pieces of thread together. Make sure this ” hoop ” or  circle you’ve now created is big enough for you to thread your finished braid through later on when you are attaching it to your dream catcher. Here is a visual tutorial for you >>>

Step 1- Cut 3 strands of thread to the same size. Find the middle of these threads and fold over.

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The thread I chose to use for this project is the same thread you would use for needlepoint projects. The 39 cent kind! I used this thread because it gives you a decent amount for a good price and when you need a large variety of colors for a project like this, you can’t beat that price.

As you can see in the picture above, I used a variety of feathers as well. The metallic feathers you see on the right were an additional project for me. I remember seeing a cool tutorial a few months ago about “painting” feathers and this is my versus. I used a bag of regular feathers, used some metallic acrylic paint I already had and created these amazing details. To attach the thread to each feather, I simply tied a double knot, wrapped the thread around the base of feather, and then made another, tight double knot. If you find a better way, I’d love to hear about it !

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After all of these details were done, I started to assemble my example piece for the birthday party event. First, I put the outside portion of the embroidery hoop back around the inner portion. I wanted to keep this part of the hoop so that we could use the tightener as a way to help hang our finished dream catchers, but feel free to leave it off if you choose.

Detail Time ! To add the hanging details to my dream catcher, I made hoops in each of my braids to thread through later. Remember the ribbon and leather straps I mentioned earlier ? Yes, those simple, quick, and easy details I am very thankful for. Those are added at this point as well. There is a step by step picture below this paragraph of how I attached each piece. Once you loop each strand through, tighten it up and position this piece just right. I added one detail at a time, thoughtfully placing each strand in a place that I thought complimented the other pieces around it. Or you can just add them wherever you please 🙂

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Once I finished my hanging portion of the dream catcher, I simply tied a piece of black thread to the tightening part of the embroidery hoop in order to hang it. TA-DA ! Now we are ready for the birthday party !

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Success! The girls, and boys, loved the project. They had so much choosing their details and personalizing their dream catchers. This is definitely a project I will recommend for future parties.

SIDE NOTE: For the party, I didn’t want the girls to ONLY get to put the details that I had made on to a frame. I brought lots of extra feathers, thread, and beads for them to create their own pieces as well. Again, given our time restriction, I knew doing this project from start to finish would be way too much. I also brought colorful paper flowers and washi tape as an option for them to add to their dream catchers.

 

Homemade Playdough

Homemade Playdough

Summer is here and it’s time to keep the little one occupied during the day. We’ve already painted with flowers, made galaxy goop, and enjoyed outside time. Lyanna turned two last week and she was showered with all kinds of wonderful presents. One of which was her first Play-Doh set. She loved it ! I’m not the biggest fan of playdough, but if she likes it and is having fun, it’s fine in my book. I hate the smell of playdough and how you find little hard, forgotten pieces for years to come in the carpet, but there are so many advantages to playing with this stuff. It’s a great manipulative when learning about numbers and playing with playdough can also help in the development of fine motor skills. Check out my Educational Connections post about the benefits of playing with playdough. Engaging, hands on, AND educational ? I’m in.

When we first gave Lyanna a ball of the playdough, she didn’t hesitate at all. Usually, she is a bit reserved when it comes to getting things on her hands. After seeing how she jumped right in, I knew we would have to purchase more. And then I went to Walmart. After looking over all of our options, the prices, and getting nauseous from that horrible Play-Doh smell, I started to think of     alternatives. After a quick search on Pinterest, I picked up some supplies and we headed home to make our own, much better smelling, playdough !

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Supplies for Homemade Playdough:

1 Cup of Conditioner

2 Cups of Corn Starch

Food Coloring ( Optional )

Glitter ( Optional )

Steps:

First, measure out your 1 cup of conditioner in a bowl. If you are adding food coloring and glitter to your mixture, now would be the time to do it. As you can see from our pictures, in the first trial we added everything together at once. So this tip is from experience. Ours turned out just fine, but if you want a more blended coloring, I would follow the suggestion in the first sentence of these instructions. I find that the coloring mixes better when you add it to just the conditioner. SIDE NOTE: You may have to use a good amount of food coloring in order to get a bright, vivid color. The light blue dough we made actually had 9 drops of coloring and it was still very light.

Step 1

Make sure your coloring and glitter is thoroughly mixed in with the conditioner and then add your 2 cups of cornstarch. We used a spoon at first to mix these ingredients and then resorted to our hands. Much like when you make pizza dough, just kept kneading until your playdough comes together just right ! And now you have homemade playdough that smells amazing and was also gentle on your wallet.

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Storage Tip: I’m not the only person who has tupperware containers overflowing in their cabinets. Give your new playdough a home and donate one of these containers for storage.

Playing with Playdough

Playing with Playdough

As we were preparing for our little one to turn two, several people called and asked what they could her for her birthday. Like most kids, Lyanna will play with just about anything. Her favorite toys are not toys at all. It was suggested to me that maybe it was time to let her play with playdough. I’ve dreaded this stage as I hate playdough. I don’t like the way it smells and gets stuck in all the accessories for it. I’m just not a fan. I’m allowed to be weird. However, I know she’s going to want to play with it so I started to focus on the positive aspects and benefits of playing with playdough.

Playing with playdough can be very beneficial to children to various age groups. Playdough activities are great for developing fine motor skills for younger children. The action of squishing, flattening, and rolling playdough help develop and strengthen the muscles in their hands. These activities encourage prewriting skills and establishes the strength necessary for cutting, holding a writing utensil, etc.

Playing with playdough can also provide an outlet for children to use their imagination and creativity.  They can create whatever they wish such as monsters, shapes, pretend food, or even themselves.

I have also found that playdough activities can be calming for some children. The action of just sitting down and rolling playdough in their hands can actually help a child calm down, take a breather, and focus. When I was a preschool teacher, I saw that the children that were usually very hyper were completely different children when they had something to manipulate in their hands ( sand, playdough, clay, etc. ).

Using playdough in small group activities can help provide children with a platform to help develop their social skills. By having children think a loud with their peers, they can problem solve together and describe what they are doing.

Playdough can also be used in the development of their numeracy skills. It can be used as a manipulative when learn about number representations, addition, and subtract.

The list of activities you can do using playdough are endless, but here is a list of my favorites:

Counting with Playdough: Playdough can be substituted for any other manipulative when practicing counting and understanding number representation. You can easily make your own placement cards for numbers and have your child roll small balls of playdough to represent the different numbers. This activity allows your little ones to build their fine motor skills, while also helping them begin to understand numbers and what they represent.

Counting with Playdough

Retelling A Story Using Playdough: After reading a story together, have your child recreate their favorite part of the story or create their favorite character using playdough. This activity is great for helping kids learn to how to retell stories they read, recall information, and better understand the story and it’s message.

Self Portraits: This was a cute activity we used to do in the preschool. Provide your child with a mirror and have them create a self portrait of themself. This is a great platform to talk about self-confidence, being unique, and being proud of your individuality.

Word Work: Gone are the days of writing 10 sentences for each spelling word. Simply roll out some playdough and use letter magnets to create words. This is a hands on activity that can make word work fun, while also providing an opportunity to improve a child’s fine motor skills. You can find some great resources and idea

Dramatic Play: Allow your children to be the chef and make you playdough food or be an architect and design their own house. These activities build a child’s imagination and allows them to be creative. Dramatic play is defined as any activity where children take on different roles and act them out. You commonly see this when children are ” playing house “. These activities are an integral part of the developmental learning process by allowing children to develop skills in a variety of areas.

Making Playdough Together: This is a fun activity to do with children of all ages. Check out my post about homemade playdough!

All About Me

The Journey That Brought Me Here

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My name is Brittany. I am a wife, mother, educator, artist, business owner, and now, a blogger. I wear a lot of hats and some days it’s hard, but I love all of my jobs. I have worked with children since I was a teenager. I come from a big family, so there were always children around to play with. I started with babysitting and when I was 18, I started working in a daycare in my hometown in Virginia. I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but my work at this daycare center confirmed that this was my path.

I enrolled at The Academy of Arts of San Francisco with the hopes of becoming an art teacher. Time goes on and things change. Art school was so expensive and after moving to North Carolina, I was worried there wouldn’t be a job for me after I finished my degree program. So I switched gears and decided to get my degree in general education. Throughout college I continued working with children by nannying for a few families and babysitting on the side. I also worked ( and still do ! ) for a company that does head lice removal for families. Another, all be it unusual, way I get to work with children. While this job is a bit… well, itchy?, it has given me so many opportunities to work with and help children and their families. I still run this branch of the company here in North Carolina because it’s hard to find a replacement for such a position. It’s crazy how no one wants to work with lice. I know you’re thinking it, but NO. I do not live with head lice. I’ve actually never had it during my time with the company.

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In July of 2010, my husband and I were married in Virginia. Over the years we acquired our four legged children and had our first daughter, Lyanna, in June of 2014. She arrived a month after I received my Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies.

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Since I was young, I have always maintained a love for art. Over the years, I have painted and drawn items for friends and family. I have done several craft shows and I still have a running Etsy shop. I believe my love and interest in art came from my grandfather. He worked with the railroad for years and after he retired, he created his own model train track set up in the den of his home. The hands on and creative things he did, I believe, instilled a desire in me to do the same.

I currently work at a local elementary school as an Instructional Assistant, but I also started my own business at the beginning of this year. My business, Creative Outlet For Little Hands, is dedicated to giving children an outlet to be creative, hands on, and find their inner artist while also incorporating educational elements through out our sessions together. We do arts and crafts activities for birthday parties and one on one personal instruction. This business means so much to me because I want to have the freedom to be around for my daughter, but to also give children tools to express themselves and learn in different ways.

 

I’m not bad mouthing technology, especially as I come to you through it, but there is a lot to be said for taking time away from our social media accounts, online game, phones, Facebook pages, and blogs. I feel that we, as adults, have all had the opportunity to be outside, enjoying the fresh air, building things with our hands, tree houses, playing in paint, and plenty of time to doodle. Most children have “tech time” and have to be pulled away to do social things, like talking to their families at dinner or saying hi to relatives arriving at their homes. I agree that there are educational benefits to programs that our youth have at their fingertips. For the homeschooling community, these programs are greatly needed when parents need assist in teaching concepts. My opinion is that there is a limit to what technology can give us. It certainly can’t compare to the feeling of holding a pen in your hand and putting on paper what is in your mind.

I named this blog Creative Outlet for Little Hands because that is what I want it to give parents and educators. A bank full of ideas to get children engaged in the arts, to help grow their imaginations, develop necessary skills, and become active in their own education. I hope this blog helps you, or at the very least inspire you. I love talking to people, growing my knowledge, and trying new things. Please feel free to contact me any time with questions, ideas, suggestions, or with what ever you like.

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