My boys recently turned 4 years old (WHAT?!) and given all of the changes our family has faced over the past year, I wanted their birthday to be extra special. I came up with this DIY Handprint Family Tree to visually capture how loved they are by their family and friends. I wanted them to know that even in the face of a divorce when it feels like your family is broken, your family goes so far beyond just Mommy, Daddy and Sissy. This handprint family tree was “signed” by everyone who attended the birthday party that day…beloved friends, Gramma & Grampa, Mommy, preschool teachers, favorite babysitters, loyal neighbors…all of the people who selflessly love on my children. Our family.
Thanks to my mastermind gal pal at CereusArt, their birthday party theme was “Picasso, Baby!” Hosted at our very own The Studio Hampton Roads, we decorated from top to bottom with little paint cans, brightly colored streamers, artists’ palette lollipops, paint splotch tablecloths and more. We had art projects on hand, along with little art aprons, for our tiny Picassos, who made face masks, applied paint splotch tattoos and got their faces painted by one very special Gramma, who was in absolute heaven doting on so many sweet kiddos.
The DIY handprint family tree was a perfect addition to our art-themed party. The supply list was a breeze:
- Large blank canvas
- Finger paint in several colors
- Makeup sponges
- Colored Sharpie markers
- Baby wipes
- Paper plates
I laid the canvas on a large table (The little drawing of the boys was done by Gramma! She’s the artist behind Rise Woman Rising.) with different color paints poured onto paper plates. Each party guest used makeup sponges to blot paint onto their hand. They then picked a spot and put their hand print on the canvas. They used the baby wipes to clean up and then signed their name or a special message next to their hand print with the Sharpie markers.
The finished product looked just as I had imagined. Each hand was a different size, color, texture. Some families intertwined their hands, some special friends overlapped. We even had a baby smudge for our resident little guy. It was like one giant colorful hug, one happy high five, one strong hand to hold. Our family. This year, we have so much to celebrate. I know my little dudes don’t even realize it, but I do. The gratitude I have for the many people in our lives who have stood by us (in truth, carried us) through the past year…it’s indescribable. Our handprint family tree doesn’t just remind my sons of how loved they are…it reminds me.
Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Series: Kool-Aid Sprinkle Art
It’s Monday!! You know what that means…it’s time for another Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Series challenge! This week…Kool-Aid. Last week, I thought I hit the bottom of the barrel as far as low cost, spending less than $6 on an afternoon of family fun with Paper Bag Maracas, but I blew it out of the water this week! Kool-Aid was on sale at Target for $2. I already had the rest of my supplies, so $2 and we were ready to go! Time to get messy and creative with Kool-Aid Sprinkle Art.
Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Series: Kiddy Noodle Carnival
10 Sorting Games for Your Math-Loving Child – Sorting Bears by Eureka
When J’s teacher told me he really enjoys math and that sorting toys would be a great idea for Christmas, I ran straight over to Amazon Prime and began the hunt for the perfect toy. I bought about a million puzzles, little projects and a whole slew of other games. But none so far can compare to these bad boys:
Before I get started, here is my only CON for this toy. These bears are a relatively good size and really hard, so they don’t scream “Put me in your mouth!” But, as all mothers know, this means nada. So…while they are awesome, this is a toy that requires some observation on the parent’s part. This is not the toy to busy your kid with while you hop in the shower or run the vacuum.
Now, the good stuff.
The opportunities are endless for free play with these little dudes. Here are the 10 sorting games I play with the boys (and they then play with each other – which is super cute):
1. What color is this? I have them identify the color and then place the bear in its matching cup.
2. Here are 3 bears (different colors). I have them identify each color and count them back to me as they place it in its matching cup.
3. Pick a “red” bear and give it to Mommy. I line up all of the bears (or even dump them in a big pile) and give them a color to pick out and give to me. This can be taken up a notch for more advanced kiddos, by asking them to give you a certain number of bears of certain colors.
4. Count our colors. We separate the bears into piles of their colors and then count them together back into the cups.
5. Clean up the bears. Seriously, they love this one. It’s like 52 pick up with animals instead of cards.
6. Line up your colors. Everybody loves to build a mini army of color-coordinated bear squadrons.
7. Stack and unstack the cups. Tower! When the bears get old, I swap to the cups. Some simple towers always bring a smile.
8. Flip cups – Bears on top. Instead of lining up the bears or grouping them in piles, we switch it up by using the upside down cups as platforms for whatever game we are playing.
9. Color patterns – What’s next? I set up simple patterns and ask them to pick the bear that fits next.
10. Give me “7” bears and count. I give them a number of bears that I want and they get to pick what colors they give back to get to that number.
One final twist that they love…turn the tables! They’re in control and get to ask me the questions. They LOVE to ask “Mommy, what’s this?” or order me to “give them a red bear.” Let them play teacher for a bit and you’ll keep them busy for hours!