Lazy Mom's blog

Kids crafts

Teaching kids how to recycle and reuse

How to show to small kids what's recycling and reusing is really all about.

We all recycle paper and plastic and glass in our homes. We all know how important it is to reduce the waste and reuse old objects. Thanks to my city’s initiative I even do compost. But I realized that my kids don’t really understand the very essence of recycling nor they understand why we do it.

So I decided to show them the meaning of recycling in a way that they can understand, and that’ll look appealing and useful to them: reusing their old and broken crayons!

We took our crayon box and sorted all the broken crayons aside. I asked them first what should we do with these broken crayons, and my older daughter proposed throwing them away. Now, that was a clear signal to me that I should put more effort in teaching her about the importance of reusing things!

So without explaining to her what exactly are we doing, I asked her to help me with taking the papers off the broken crayons. I wanted her to first see for herself how we can recycle broken objects in to something useful, before telling her what will happen.

How to show to small kid what's recycling and reusing is really all about: a simple craft that can help!

We sorted the crayons in to colour groups : yellow with orange, blue with purple, and green with brown. We’ve put every group in to a different silicone cup, and off to the oven set up for 300F for around 15 minutes.

When I took the melted crayons out of the oven, my daughter was very surprised, but she still didn’t understand why are we doing this.

When the melted crayons finally cooled down, and I popped new and funny shaped crayon cups out of the baking sheets, finally she understood: we made something new out of something old! Yes. Instead of creating waste we reused what we already had.And that is recycling and reusing.

She’s still a bit young for learning about the climate change, the polluted oceans and Arctic ice melting. I spread her all the explanations about the dangers of not reusing what we have. I think that simply seeing the utility of this craft made her see why it’s better to reuse then to throw away things.

And then she started drawing with her new crayons, and later in the afternoon she used them as cupcakes for her dolls. And so I think that she understood what it actually means to recycle. And how fun it is, when we can make something new out of something old!

How to show to small kid what's recycling and reusing is really all about: a simple craft that can help!

And hers what you’ll need to make your new crayons:

Broken crayons
Cupcake moulds (I suggest silicone)
Oven

Take the papers off your crayons, place them in a cupcake moulds, and put in the oven heated to 300F for around 15 minutes so they’ll melt completely. Take them out to cool down. Add some glitter. Pop out once they’re cooled down, and have fun!

Valentine’s day card, that your child can make on its own!

Valentine's day card that your child can really make!

Valentine’s day is approaching, and I know you’re hungry for new ideas! Remember how I was writing about paying attention to not overstimulate our kids? And guided crafting was one of the things to look at? So, I’m happy to say, that this craft is equally a fruit of unguided creativity, and of a guided crafting with mom. So kids get to express themself, and then they can make something really nice too, a win-win!

My girls love crafting, and this card here is their collaborative work, with just a tiny bit of help from my side. But if your kids are confident with scissors, then they can make this card entirely on their own!

What you’ll need :

A big sheet of white paper
Red and pink paint

2 pink cardboards
scissors
Glue

Valentine's day card

First step is unguided painting. Let kids ( even an older baby or a toddler ) paint whatever they want with pink and red paint. You could even give them pompoms to paint with (especially toddlers love painting with unusual materials!) Then let it dry.

Valentine's  day car

Take two, equal in size pink cardboards. Set one aside. Fold another one in half, and cut a half-heart. Set it aside.

Valentine's card

And now cut the painted sheet of paper in to long stripes. Take the other pink cardboard, and glue on it the pink and red stripes. Make sure there’s no space in-between stripes left.

Valentine's day card

Now place the cardboard with a heart on top ( add glue to the edges so it stays).
Your Valentine’s card is ready!

Valentine's day card

We’ll be making more of these, since my daughter decided that she wants to send one to each of her grandparents, and aunts and uncles. And are your kids making cards for friends and family?

Recycled cardboard Christmas tree: easy winter craft

Easy winter craft

When the first snow appeared out the window we decided that it was about time for a winter craft. Because homeschooling isn’t only about letters and numbers, but also about fine mother skills, creativity and simply having fun together ( and making mess, just wait and see!).

This little winter craft is really fun for all ages. If you have toddlers on your hand, let them paint the cardboard Christmas tree. If you have preschoolers, they can even cut the tree out and assemble everything all alone. And if you don’t mind cleaning the glitter for days and days to come, then both of them can sprinkle their trees with glitter ! (Yes, I did have glitter for days after.Yes, it did drive me crazy..)

What you’ll need:

Cardboard ( can be old envelopes or a cereal box)
Scissors
Glue
Paint ( green and white)
Glitter

Winter craft

Cut out the Christmas tree. Cut two at the same time, so you have two matching shapes.
It doesn’t need to be perfect! If you’re using a cereal box, or an old cardboard envelope, just glue the printed sides together, and then cut out the tree (this is what we did with one of the pre-assembled-tree-in-making)

Now cut a line from the bottom up in the first one, and from the top down on the second one.

Winter craft

Paint them in green or white, and sprinkle with glitter. Although if you don’t want to have glitter everywhere, just skip this step. Although it’s much more pretty with glitter..

Winter craft

Slide the matching tree sides together, and let it sparkle!

Winter craft

If your kids are older (and I’m assuming more patient then mine are) you could give them some mini pompoms to glue to their trees, or cut out little stars and add them too.

Winter craft

Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll have fun!

Montessori homeschool: letter tracing with paint.

These Montessori inspired homeschooling activities teach your child about letters and their shapes, using simply paint, brush and paper. #preschool #homeschool

It’s been over two months now since I decided to start our part-time home preschool. Although my daughter didn’t really realise that there’s something new going on, since we would always paint and craft on the days when she’s staying with me at home. The only difference now, is that we paint and craft including letters and numbers. So even though I call it homeschool, for her it’s playing, crafting and creating with mommy.

This is really the core of Montessori approach to learning: allowing a child discover and create, while using natural, every day objects. It definitely means less iPad games and apps, and more paint and crayons! ( But if you know me, then you know that I believe in balance, so my kids do get to use technology..just reasonably, like when mommy is exhausted and needs a break 😉 )

Montessori homeschool : tracing letters

So while learning about letters, what’s important is recognizing the sound, connecting it to the shape, being able to recognize the shape and naming objects starting by that letter. My daughter would come to me and say that L is like her name, and M is like mommy, before she would be able to recognize the shape of these letters.

And so these activities let kids learn the shape, while connecting it to the sound. Also, it’s easier for little hands to trace instead of write right away. That way they learn the movement of the hand while tracing and are ready to learn to write the letter later.

What you’ll need:

Paper
Pencil (for you)
Paint and paintbrush

Draw letters with little circles. You can start with one big letter A : on the very first day I think this is exactly what we did. Here, I drew a couple of both capital and small letters a for her to trace with a paintbrush.

Montessori homeschool : racing letters

We repeated the sound, and we came up with words ( in polish) starting by the letter that she was tracing.

Montessori homeschool : tracing letters with paint

Tracing letters with pompoms :

This is basically the same activity, but since we’re using a different material, it gets a whole new dimension for a child. It’s like a mix if sensory play with letter learning, and my daughter really loved this one!

Montessori homeschool: training letters using different materials, like paintbrush or pompoms, teaches letter recognition and shape without being overwhelming for a preschooler.

What you’ll need :

Paper
Pencil ( for you)
Paint
pompoms

Homeschool

Of course while we did that with Lili, my toddler Rose wanted to join in, and so she was painting with pompons, and I had a quiet 30 minutes for another coffee 😉

Training letters, great Montessori activity for learning letter shape

As you might have read before, I’m raising my kids bilingually, so all the activities we do at home are only in Polish, while her three-times-a-week daycare is in French. That’s why I don’t have any printables here for you, I’m simply sharing my experience. But I do have a very we’ll curated Pinterest homeschooling board with plenty great printables and resources!

Montessori homeschool : activities with baking pans

Montessori homeschool activities: teach your child to count and develop their fine motor skills while having fun together !

During our halftime homeschooling adventures, we do a lot of Montessori inspired activities. Usually right after breakfast, still in our pyjamas, we sit at the kitchen table and we take on the letters and the numbers. I want my daughter to feel like we’re playing, creating and discovering, so I usually use the playful approach to learning.

Here are two activities that look like a great fun for a child ( while secretly, are learning situations). I don’t know about your kids, but as soon as I take any baking gear out, for them it’s a party! So here I use baking sheets and muffin tins, for sorting and convenience. And for captivating my preschooler’s attention obviously 😉

This first one is a counting activity that also develops fine motor skills.

What you’ll need :

Muffin tin
Scraps of paper
Small objects:
pom-poms and pipe cleaners cut in pieces

Write numbers ( up to 12) on paper scraps and place them in muffin tins. Then let your preschooler match exact number of small objects ( like our pom-poms and pipe cleaners) with correct number.

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

Encourage your child to count aloud with you every time they fill another tin with tiny objects. At the end of this activity my daughter finally stopped forgetting the umber 4, so for us it was a success.

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Now this one is using a baking sheet in order to prevent all of the small pieces of paper to end up on the floor ( nobody here wants that, right? I don’t know about you, but me, I’m usually planning our activities around one simple rule: is it going to end up as a huge mess?). Oh, and also to interest my preschooler.

So, this activity is an invitation to create. With a baking sheet full of shapes, piece of paper and a glue your child has only one instruction : make something. It can be an animal, a bug or a car. Or a monster. Sky is the limit. So here, apart from developing imagination and creativity, your child will also advance their fine motor skills. And you might get a 30 minutes of calm. ( it’s a win-win!)

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

What you’ll need :

Baking sheet
Colourful crafting paper
White sheet of paper
Scissors
Glue

Cut the crafting paper in to different shapes: circles, half-circles, triangles and rectangulars. Keep the size diversified, so your child can have a choice of shapes and sizes.

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

Talk to your child while they assemble their creature; ask them what is it, where can it live, what does it eat. If they are making an object, ask them what’s the use for it, and who can use it.

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

These Montessori inspired homeschool activities are perfect  for learning how to count and for developing imagination and fine motor skills

And what are your favourite playful homeschool activities?

DIY giant colouring pages

Make these DIY giant colouring pages with your kids and keep them occupied on a rainy day

Didn’t you always want to draw on the wall as a child? I did! And actually once, just before painting the house, my mom did let me draw on the walls. I remember I loved it so much! But obviously I’m not letting my kids to paint on the walls. But recently I came across giant colouring pages on Etsy, and that inspired me to make my own.

I’m not an illustrator, but my kids still loved colouring it. So if you don’t feel like an artist yourself, you can either get the Etsy one, or try making some simple colouring pages yourself. Smily clouds, flowers and fishes are simple enough! If you’re more talented than I am, you can add some animals too.

Colouring pages

Here’s what you’ll need:

Big roll of paper ( like the one from ikea)
Black sharpie
Tape

Colouring pages

Draw some simple things like: clouds, banners, little houses, fishes, flowers and stars.
Hang your colouring pages on the wall. Let them colour.

Colouring pages

And then they started to colour it, and draw on it. And I had piece and quite in the house :). It’s a win-win situation, wouldn’t you say?

Colouring pages

I let them try different tools too: crayons, pensions and some colourful chalk. It did look like a quite messy drawing at the end, but that’s the way it should be 🙂

Colouring pages

Do you think your kids would like it?

perfect summer series: ice sensory play ideas

Ice sensory play

It wouldn’t be a perfect summer for my kids if they wouldn’t get to explore the ice sensory play! What a pleasure it is for a child, to get to play with cold, melting and intriguing material on a hot summer day! Both of my kids ( now 17 months and three and a halth years old) loved these two activities, and where occupied for over 30 minutes ( my older one even longer). And they didn’t took me more than 5 minutes to prepare, so I got to be a cool mom, without no real merit!

Ice sensory play

Here is what happens when you freeze some plastic toys : all of the sudden they become irresistible! That’s why:

– they are hidden and hard to get
– they are intriguing and surprising
– your child needs to come up with the way to get them out

And I think that it teaches them:
– patience
– creativity
– and they learn about water and it’s qualities

Ice sensory play

So get some plastic figurines. Put then in a plastic container with water, and dump in a freezer over night. Get it out the next day, and let them explore.

Ice sensory play

You might add some cloth wipes, and warm water in another bowl.

Ice sensory play

At some point I helped her with the melting process, and we’ve poured some hot water on it (in a sink in the kitchen). And when the dogs where free, all of a sudden they’ve became my older daughters favourite toys for a whole day! ( oh, the amazing effect of the new toy).

Ice sensory play

So I’ll be for freezing some more toys this summer!

Ice sensory play

And this ice cubes sensory play was my baby’s favourite: she was mesmerized by the colourful cubes, melting there and painting the sidewalk.

Ice sensory play

All you need is :
Ice tray
Water
Food colouring

Make ice in the ice tray, and add a drop to food colouring. Let it freeze.

Ice sensory play

And let them play. I added some paint brushes, and they really liked it!

Ice sensory play

Just remember to dress them in cloths that are easy to wash, because thy will get dirty!
But since we can either have clean or happy kids, I guess that’s fine.

Ice sensory play

Do you organize ice play for your kids ?

Montessori play: salt dought figurines

Montessori play

There is something special about toys that you can make yourself, and Montessori play approach encourages that even with the little ones. Playing with natural elements that you can find around the house, imaginative play, toys that are simple and that leave space for children’s creativity: that’s what Montessori play is all about. So without knowing it, you might have been encouraging it with your children already!

There is something special about a toy that a child can make on their own. Click To Tweet

Of course sometimes (ok, I won’t lie, most of the time) my kids play with the store-bought plastic toys, but I try to help them imagine and create simpler and in the end more educative activities, just like this one here. And if you have younger and older kids, they could both participate, just let the younger one mix the salty dough while the older one can sculpt the figurines, and then they can each paint their own!

Making little figurines from scratch, painting them and then giving them all names, was something that my three and a half year old adored. It’s been more than a month now since we’ve made them, and she still plays with them!

You could keep them simply white, or like us you can let your kid paint them ( in which case they’ll end up looking quite funky ). Either way, I’m sure you’ll have fun!

Montessori play, salt dought kitten

Simple salt dough :

1 cup flour
1 cup salt
2 spoons warm water

Let your kid mix the salt dough ingredients together. If your dough is too runny, just add more flour, if it doesn’t want to hold well together, add more warm water. Oh, and there is no need to bake them, they’ll dry within 24 hours! So you can get painting almost right away:).

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To make a cat you just need to make one cylinder shape, that you make thinner on one side, and a ball with ears for the head.

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Now let your kid get creative with painting them. If your figurines are still drying try using paint that is thick.

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Lili started by painting eyes..

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and then she decided that they need much more colour..

Montessori play

And then she gave them all really funny names that she made up, and then she made them dance and cuddle together ( while I was happily checking my Facebook )..

Montessori play

I think that she really loves her cat family!

Montessori play

Oh, and here are the faces that I painted ( on the other side) with a sharpie; her faces got slightly over painted at some point ;).

Montessori play

So next time when you don’t know what to do on a rainy day, try making a cat family like we did, I’m sure your kids will love it :).

Art with babies

Art with babies

I know you’ve been all waiting for some art with babies ideas, right? For sure I was very impatient to introduce my baby Rose to painting and sculpting :)! But much less egar to deel with the mess that comes with it. So I came up with three art activities that are perfect for a baby and for a lazy tired mom!

First imagine this : a no-mess-painting activity! Sound like a dream, right?

Easy baby art ideas

What you’ll need :
A zip bag
Paint
Tape
Baby seated at a high chair.

Easy baby art ideas

So, if you’ll lock all the paint in the zip bag, and if you’ll tape this zip bag on to a table, then I guarantee that there will be no mess at all! And your baby will get to play and explore colour mixing! While keeping their hands clean! How convenient ;)!

Art with babies

Now, I thought that my one year old is too young for play dough. I was scared that she would eat it and then get sick. But if you’ll buy the non toxic,eco-kids Dough then it’s all good (although I still make sure that she’s not eating it). And it turned out that she really loves playing with it!

Art with babies

As you see I prepare her a bunch of play dough balls, and then she’s happy with segregating, squeezing and changing their shape.

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Another genius idea is edible baby paint! Yes, they can paint with it, massage their hair with it and then eat it. Just like all real artist do, right 😉 ?

Easy baby art ideas

What you’ll need :

Thick Greek yoghurt
Food colouring
Paper
Tape

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Mix yoghurt with food colouring, tape a piece of paper to the table wher your baby is seated, and let them explore the art of hand painting!

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And at what age did you start introducing your kids to art? How did it go?

Valentines salt dough craft two ways

Valentines day salt dough

You might not know it, but making a valentines salt dough craft is a very satisfying activity. First, the pleasure of making a toy from scratch ( littearaly ), second, playing with it’s soft texture, and third creating vimiscal valentines craft that’ll decorate you or your place :).

You see, I love to show to my daughter that we can make something lovely from nothing. I believe that it teaches her creativity and it gives her the feeling that anything is possible!

But coming back to our salt dought: it’s really fast to prepare, and so versatile! We didn’t make a big quantity, just enough for one kid to play with, so if you have more kids, or if you’d like to make a longer garland, just double this recipe.

And as you see, the creative process took us in two directions: we made one garland, and one small neckless :). I’m not saying I’ll wear it every day, but it’s a great accessory for our dressing out sessions 🙂

Here’s what you’ll need:

1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons warm water
3 drops of red food colouring

Mix all the dry ingredients, then add water and food colouring, and mix it really well together. Now it’s ready for your imagination 🙂

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Start by cutting your shapes with a cookie cutter. This is a great toddler / kid activity, Lili was all concentrated and amused and it made her calm for more than 30 minutes (bliss).

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Place your shapes on a cooking sheet , and if like me you’re planning to make a neckless or a garland, than poke little holes with a chopstick. Then bake on 350F for around 20 to 25 minutes.

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Now put them on a string, hang on a window, in your kids room, or make a valentines neckless with it! You could also use them as valentines day gift tags ! Have fun :).

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