Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Christmas Countdown 2018

Can you believe December is right around the corner? I am in complete disbelief because November shot by quicker than grease lightening! I may still have 90% of my shopping to do, christmas cards to write and a tree to pick and decorate but guess what? I have finished our Christmas Countdown Calendar (priorities right?) and as so many of you said how much you loved following along with last years countdown I thought I would share this years with you all too. Its revamped, we kept some of our favorite pieces because my kids LOVE traditions and I've added a few new surprises.  Just like last year you can download it for free right here and now.   Your going to want to pop back to this blog for a few of the activities as we go through December because I'll be adding a couple blog posts to go along with a couple of the days - I will pop the posts up a day or two before you need the information and share them on Instagram too so follow along with the #bluebarnchristmas hashtag.

So what do you need right now? Well all you need is this link to get yourself a copy of our countdown printed 4 to page ready to cut out and add to your advent calendars or alternatively print it out slightly larger and create a desk calendar by printing this PDF instead with the days 2 to a page and slightly larger.

Below is an example of our daily desk prompts.

And here is the smaller size printed mounted on to a board with tiny pegs to create a daily countdown.

So what do we have this year? Everything from decorating Santa's beard to creating your own kid friendly wrapping station to visiting an elderly neighbor and spreading Christmas Cheer. And remember its not meant to be stressful these ideas are fun prompts to create holiday memories, if you miss one day because your busy or your little one just isn't interested don't stress about it just save it for a different day or even file it away for a cold day in January and dig it out then instead!

December 1

Print out your Blue Barn Christmas Countdown and find a way to display it for the kids.

December 2

Write a letter to Santa, set out paper, stickers, pens etc and have your child write Santa their wishes. Don't forget to mail it!

December 3

Whip up a big batch of Peppermint Playdoh, add rolling pins, cookie cutters, sprinkles the works its time for a cookie workshop.

December 4

Decorate Santas beard. You've seen the new trend for glitter beards right? Well why not Santa, pop to the Blog December 3rd because I'm sharing a fun blog post complete with a printable to give Santa the jazziest best beard in town.

December 5

This was one of my kids favorites from last year, I packed up a big thermos of hot chocolate and took it into the woods along with a blanket, candy canes and marshmallows. It doesn't have to be the woods, your backyard, the beach, a local park just get outside if you can. And if its hot and sunny where you live why not replace it with chocolate  ice-cream and pretend its super hot or if its raining make a hot chocolate picnic somewhere unusual in your house.

December 6

Planting Paperwhites - my favorite Christmas flower and a great activity for children to see the bulbs grow into plants because its quick and the roots can also be seen. So they they can get an idea of what goes on above and below the soil. To see how to plant paper whites visit this blog post of ours.

December 7

An act of kindness. So important for children to think of others during this holiday season so they can truly gain an idea of giving. Have your child think of a kind act for a neighbor or a stranger.  Cant think of something to do I like to have my children pack a Samaritan Shoe Box for more info see this website in the US.

December 8

Decorate a Christmas tree.  Why not have a small tree your children can decorate all by themselves? Don't have a small tree try drawing one on paper for your children to color and decorate with stickers, beads, pipe cleaners, glitter etc.

December 9

Christmas card making.  Set out card and all the bits to create some gorgeous homemade cards for the special people in your lives. Handmade is always best.

December 10

Dress an elf today. Check out our fun blog post today as Elfie gets a set of new clothes.

December 11

Holiday Slime Time, so my kids wouldn't let a christmas craft marathon pass by without a little slime play. Red or white, glitter or candy canes a slime making sensory session is needed.

December 12

Christmas books. There is nothing better than curling up with a good book, so take a trip to your local library fill your bag with all the holiday books you can find and then come home, snuggle up and have a big readathon together.

December 13
A candy cane bath. Another favorite from last year, run a warm bath, add a few drops of peppermint oil and some bubble bath. Then quickly pop in some red glow sticks before turning out the lights! It won't disappoint!

December 14

Spread Christmas cheer. Carol singing, visiting an elderly neighbor and baking them some Christmas cookies, or maybe just wishing everyone that passes you by a Merry Christmas! 

December 15

Decorate a gingerbread house, store bought or homemade spend time as a family decorating it together. 

December 16

Create your own Christmas instruments, scented sleigh bells, or nutcracker drum. Then sing christmas songs loud for all to hear. 

December 17

Set up a wrapping station for your little one tissue paper, tape and scissors along with objects to wrap up, blocks or small toys. let them wrap and unwrap as much as they like. Have older kids? Why not put out some ribbon, card, stamps and ink, pens, sprigs of holly etc as an invitation to create their own gift labels and embellishments.

December 18

Snow Play, no snow no problem mix up a batch of fake snow and set up your own North Pole Winter wonderland to play with.

December 19

Take a walk or stroll around your neighborhood after dark and take in all the Christmas lights. 

December 20

Lets feed our feathered friends today, try your hand at making some simple feeders feeders out of pine cones or go for something more fun and create one of these gingerbread bird houses.

December 21

The solstice is here, lets create a solstice candle if you'd like to read how we make ours see how to here

December 22

Its time for a Christmas movie, pick a good one, get your PJs on, pop some popcorn.

December 23

Time to mix up some reindeer food - we like oats, raisins and a little bit of fairy dust (glitter) be sure to sprinkle it outside your house on christmas eve so the reindeer know where to land!

December 24

Yippee its christmas eve, time to leave Santa a special treat to eat. Take one last look out the window for his sleigh and get an extra special early night.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Create a Turkey or Peacock collage

So for those of us in the United States I couldn't let November slip by without a little turkey craft.  However, knowing that many of you will not be feasting on turkey and stuffing this week I thought I would include an extra peacock/swan bird template so that you can totally join in the fun and create a bird too using this really cool transparency film method. 

So these super duper awesome feathers were created using a really fun process. The process involves painting and color mixing first on transparency sheets. The painting of which are just SO good to paint because the paint glides onto the smooth surface so effortlessly the kids will have a great time swirling and splurging all the yummy colors together. But what I like best about this collage is that we end up using the reverse side of the film so you get these really cool color mixing reverse brush strokes which are lost usually when you paint on paper.

Anyway not to prattle on too much please check out our super simple bird collages below, which by the way I am totally in love with. 

You will need:

Transparency paper
Bird Template
Acrylic Paint

Step 1

To begin have your child paint with acrylic paint all over the transparency film. This is a great opportunity to practice color mixing - but remember only use two of the primary colors unless you want a brown sludge. For example yellow-red-orange or red-blue-purple or yellow-blue-green. Once you have painted a couple of films leave to dry completely - this might take overnight especially if the paint is thick.

Step 2

Paint a sheet of white paper in a solid color we chose red for our turkey but any color would work. Once your paper is dry take our template which you can find here and cut the shape that you would like to use.  

Step 3

Once your painted transparency is dry cut lots of feather shapes out of it. If you have younger children you might want to do this for them. You really will need a lot of feathers to create one bird, try and cut the feathers so you get a range of shimmery color on each feather.

Step 4

Glue the turkey or peacock body to the center of the piece of plain paper. Try not to glue right to the edge of the body shape as you'll need to tuck feathers in underneath the edge in a minute.

Step 5

Begin by tucking in the feathers around the edge of the shape. I like to glue the feathers paint side down, this allows all the wonderful color mixing swirls to show through giving the feathers some texture. When you add the feathers be sure to overlap them slightly.

Once you have begun the first layer build up layers behind tucking the base of the feathers behind as pictured below.

Build up to fill all the space behind your turkey. When you run our of feathers give your bird a face - we used some sticker eyes and an off cut of the transparency film for a beak but really anything works - you could have you children draw on the face.

Our finished turkey, heres wishing those that celebrate a very, 

Happy Thanksgiving

And for those that don't celebrate why not use this method to create a Swan or a Peacock, who says turkeys get all the fun!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Dress a Scarecrow

Anyone else feel like Fall is hurtling by at record speed? I feel like I just recovered from Halloween and today I see my calendar has me almost half way through November how can that be? In part I know the answer is because of my children's crazy enthusiasm for every season, no idea where they get that from (hehe). This past weekend we did all those good fall activities like leaf raking, apple cider drinking and cinnamon baking before settling around a nice log fire and crafting. Perfect, I love fall.

I created a simple fun scarecrow printable for the kids to cut out and decorate. It ended up being such an easy and simple activity for all ages I thought it worth sharing here too so that you too can go make your own scarecrow and enjoy a warm fall crafty afternoon thats easy peasy and only requires access to a printer, scissors and glue.

You will need:

  • Scarecrow printable download your own here
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Patterned paper and or fabric (Download free patterned paper we created here)

Step 1

Print the two scarecrow PDF's from here. Then have your child cut the templates out for cloth sizing, and also have them cut out the different faces and the hat if they wish. If you have young children you might want to do the cutting part fir them and let them do the sticking.


Step 2

Gather your patterned paper and fabric or print your own from our selection here. Then using the template have your child cut various t-shirts and trousers for the scarecrow to wear.

Step 3

Once you have a few different options lay out the decorate a scarecrow sheet and have your child fashion their scarecrow. Encourage them to add extra details not included with the printable, maybe they'd like to design their own hat or draw their own face - let them get creative. 

Want to extend the activity color the hat or add other items in the background. Or why not offer buttons, yarn or ribbon to embellish their outfits, add real straw for hair etc.

We hope you enjoy a fun crafty scarecrow session as much as we did with these. Drop us a note and let me know what you think if you use them, I'd love to hear from you.