Painting with Spices - a great sibling activity

It has been done.  Many times, many ways...
Here are just a few!

But have you done it?  Painting with spices that is?  If not, it is time to shake those spices out of your pantries and put them to work today... in your kids artwork that is!  Remember it is SUMMER - time for fun projects and making memories.  I know that spices cost a fortune (just use the ones that are old or have been sitting unused, not your favorites)  just take the leap!  Besides, after gluing / painting with spices, I was suprised with how little we actually used.
 I picked out 4 different spices that I don't use much and had way too much of in my pantry, handed the kids a piece of tagboard and a glue bottle each and said, "Have FUN!"  They looked at me with confusion, so I explained that today we were going to do something different - paint with spices.  They would need to put glue on, then shake their spices on top of the glue.  Ahhh.  They got it that time and off they went.  My 2 year old went for the shaken version, while my 5 year old really smelled and thought about the textures of each spice. 

Their pictures turned out looking and smelling amazing. 

So what are you waiting for? Go grab some spices and get gluing!!!!

Join the Fun with Eric Carle

100+ Eric Carle Themed Activities featured on The Educators' Spin On It

Learning about authors and connecting with them can be one of the greatest ways to teach your own child about becoming a writer and an inspire them to read! We've team up with several other bloggers to celebrate one of our favorite authors...ERIC CARLE!  Here's your chance to learn about Eric Carle with your child and see how much fun you can have as you're inspired by his imagination! 

Make your Own Friendship Tea Party

Little Hands that Cook with Books worked so very hard to learn all the skills needed in class to host their very own Friendship Tea Party.  The goal was that all the things on the menu would be created by them as they worked together. 

Before our Tea Party we discussed what should be on the menu.  They decided to create these four items for their menu. 

Friendship Tea Party Menu Ideas

Once the menu was selected they discussed what ingredients we would need to buy for the tea party.  They also decided how to decorate for the tea party and how to create an invitation.  The girls then created their own invitations and a special menu board for the tea party.

Creating Literacy in Playtime
  • Shopping List
  • Menu Board
  • Invitations
It's Time for a Tea Party!

On the day of the tea party the girls were very excited to get everything prepared together! 

Chicken Salad Sandwiches
To make the chicken salad sandwiches we had a team of two mix the chicken, mayo, celery, onions, and a little pinch of salt, pepper and dill.  Next they all received four pieces of bread and spead the chicken salad onto it.  Then they cut it with special heart cookie cutter. 

Princess Fruit Wands
To make the fruit kebabs the girls had to prepare the fruit.  First they washed the fruit and then they cut the fruit all by themselves.  We selected strawberries, pineapple, canteloup and grapes for our fruit kebabs.  For more info {click here}

Fancy Cookies
To make the cookies we choose to make Wedding Cookies and used this recipe.  The girls mixed the ingredients and then rolled them in powdered sugar when they were done. You can just buy store bought to save on time or to make the entire tea party child only prep 

Special Friendship Tea
The girls set out their tea cups and Tea Pot and had a special flavored Mango Tea for their party. 

It's time to decorate! 
While the cookies were baking we got the table decorations ready for the party and put on our princess dresses.  Then it was time to party! 

It's Friendship Tea Party Time!

The best part about our party is that the girls all worked together and brainstormed their ideas together of what they thought would make the best Tea Party.  They were able to follow simple directions in the kitchen and feel a sense of ownership and responsibility from creating their very own Tea Party.  The only thing that had to be done by an adult was to use the oven for baking the cookies.  Friendship is all about communication, respect and having fun together. 

Join Readathon 2012

Here's an adorable book, Lott's Tea Party that goes perfectly with this activity and is a part of MeMeTales Readathon for Week 2 Friendship Week

memetales logo

Lott's Tea Party

Printable Activity Cards from Jane at StickFiggy
Visit Carrots are Orange for more ideas to use with these cards to teach Life Skills. 
Fruit Lesson for our Princess Fruit Wands
For more Little Hands that Cook with Book Lessons {Click Here}

Thank you, MeMetales, for giving us the opportunity to participate in such a great cause! For more information about Readathon 2012, please click here. MeMetales is donating one meal through the Food for Good program for EVERY person who registers. I hope you will consider joining us!

There were many princesses at the Tea Party but we wanted to respect their privacy in sharing photos.  Thank you to the many Little Hands that Cook with Books Chefs that joined us in the kitchen, all 6 of YOU!   I'm so very proud of you and all that you were able to accomplish on your own at Age 5!  Hope you enjoy your own special friendship tea party with your child's friends! 

Disclosure - We will be given free books in compensation for Readathon blog posts, but all opinions about Memetales are solely ours.

ALL about growing ZUCCHINI

Growing zucchini with kids is a lot of fun.  The plants grow HUGE and kids can help pollinate the flowers to help you have a successful harvest!  I usually cut the zucchini off the plant and let the kids "pick" them up as they are hard to remove without tools. The only bummer is that they are not great to eat raw out in the garden (in our opinion)!
You can grow zucchini plants from seed or transplants.   The male flowers will come first (They like to be showy). The female flowers will have a more bulb like stem.  These will become the zucchini.  I give my kids a paint brush and teach my kids to "be the bee" and spread the pollen from the male to the female flowers.  This little video explains the process in more "grown-up" terms.

Here are two more pages with more information on growing, harvesting, and saving the seeds of Zucchini for next years harvest.

The biggest problem we have is squash boars.  These lovely little beetles make their way into the stem of the plant and attack from inside out.  I try and "cut" the stem and remove the first ones I see, but soon, they take over.  The best defense you have to these pesky pests is to cover your plants with a floating row cover.

One of first things I make when my zucchini is ready to harvest is Zucchini muffins.  They are my absolute favorite!  I just add some coco powder to my favorite zucchini spice recipe and top the uncooked muffins with walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips then bake as directed.  Here is a similar recipe to the one I make.  I usually double the batch and throw the left-overs in the freezer so that we can enjoy them all month long!  Oatmeal zucchini bread is also a nice treat!

If you have a bumper crop of zucchini or if you are like me and bought some extra zucchini for preserving at the Farmers Market, there are lots of idea out there for using and preserving. Here are just a few.

Although I would love to have room in a freezer for zucchini breads and muffins, I just don't have the space.  SO, I grate, blanch, cool, and freeze my zucchini in 1 and 2 cup freezer bags full.  Then, I am able to bake with it all year round!

Do you grow Zucchini in your gardens?  If so, what is your favorite dish to make with Zucchini?

Summer Activity - Sidewalk Paint, a great sibling activity

Summer is a great time for trying out new experiences.  My daughter received a Crayola 3D Sidewalk Chalk paint set as a birthday present a while back and we thought that now was a great time to try it out!

I have to admit that I usually just buy the basic art supplies and try to re-use the things we have at home for crafting, but it is OH SO MUCH FUN to get things for birthdays or holidays that help our family create memories!  If you are ever at the store looking for a present, unique crafting experiences may be just the thing your are looking for.  If you already have an art kid (it doesn't have to be sidewalk paint) now is the time to open it and experience it.  These kits are not any fun just sitting in the box!!!

 My kids love painting AND sidewalk chalk, so this project was right up their alley!  We started off with the rollers, but when I realized they soaked up the paint FAST, I encouraged them to try the brushes too.  My tot enjoyed the rolling too much.  I ended up just making a whole bunch of paint piles on the driveway and he rolled them out.  My 5 year old wanted to "paint a picture" and got a little frustrated when it took so long to just make a circle (these paints are more for abstract art!) 

 When she saw her little brother let loose a little with the painting, she relaxed her expectations of what it should look like and just dove in.  LITERALLY.  She had paint everywhere! Their hands, feet and clothes probably had more of the paint than the actual driveway!!!
 Since we ran out of paint after about 40 minutes, it was time to bring out the 3D goggles that came with the kit.  I put them on and it seemed like it made the orange POP and gave it a cool effect.  My daughter tried them on and said she didn't see anything different. (She has some vision issues and we don't know how much 3D she really sees)  My 2 year old tried to put on the glasses, but they just kept slipping off.  He kept putting them back on until the glasses, his hair, and his face were full of paint.  Whoops!  Do you think he would let ME help?  Nope! 

So what is a mom to do with 2 kiddos covered in paint???  Let them run, fully clothed, through the sprinkler.  They thought this was a fantastic treat and spent another hour running through the water! 

So what do you have sitting in your closets unopened? 
 Break it out! 
Have some fun!
Make some memories today!

Let this Activity?  Make Sure you PIN IT to your Own Summer Fun Board!  

Welcome Summer!

Summer is officially here!

Are you looking for summer resources for your kids, we'd love to help you out. We've been pinning so many fun activities for your family on our Summer Pinterest Board. Come check it out & Follow!  

Resources for Summer Activities and Fun
Most importantly remember to enjoy the MOMENTS of Childhood

Share your OWN Summer Activities on our {PLAY  LEARN  MAKE  DO} Summer Bucket List

Learning to Draw with Mo Willems: Virtual Summer Book Club

Mo Willems is our focus for June’s Virtual Book Club!  The fun thing about studying different authors is you get the chance to learn something new about them.  As my daughter and I did a little searching to learn about Mo Willems we discovered all sorts of things about him. Plus he has so many great books that my daughter couldn't wait  to read.  We were surprised to discover that he used to write for Sesame Street where he earned six Emmy Awards for his writing. 

I have a confession, Mo Willems is an author that I have not had the chance to read much with my children, so I was excited to discover a new author to me and to my daughter.  As I did my search, I clearly realized that I was missing out.  I found that he is the author of groundbreaking picture books, including Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!; Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late!; The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!; Time to Say “Please”!; Leonardo, the Terrible Monster; and Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct. He is also the author of the Elephant & Piggie Books, an early reader series, as well as the popular Knuffle Bunny books. Some of his more recent books are Big Frog Can’t Fit In, City Dog and Country Frog, and Cat the Cat; Who is That?

Let's get to know Mo Willems in person! 
One of my goals for my daughter this summer was to get to know a few authors on a more personal level.  Here are’s a quick video of Mo discussing how he gets inspired with his stories.  I think it’s important for young readers and writers to see that writing is a process and it takes time to get inspired and to challenge yourself to create a terrific story.  We searched to get to know Mo Willems a little bit better as an author.  We found out that his books inspired us to write our own stories.  We’ve been working on writing stories in Kindergarten all year long so I felt this would be a great fit for my daughter to get inspired with her own stories. 

"I designed my characters so that they could be easily drawn to create your own story."
Mo Willems

Here's a few fun videos about Mo Willems books

One of the things I like best about his stories are the characters.  They are so easy to identify to and also to recreate on your own.  Once I viewed his videos from above I realized that this was his intent all along... to inspire future illustrators and writers.    Learning how to draw from an illustrator is a great way to learn how to draw.  My daughter spent some time learning how to recreate the characters from Mo Willems’ books. 

Now that she has mastered illustrations she was ready to create her own versions of some of her favorite Mo Willems inspired characters and stories .  Notice the addition of eye lashes to the characters to make them her own, female versions.  Plus I encourage her to illustrate more so we used a quick tip for writing with smaller children.  We allowed her to dictate her story to us as we typed them out onto the computer.  It's an instant way of teaching your child what they are saying has meaning and that they can create their own stories.  I encourage you to try it with your little ones, they'll love it!  Make sure you use a large font for their eyes to be able to follow easily.  

Resources for Mo Willems Books
Go Mo for Games  Activities and Books

Here are some of our favorite Mo Willems Books...Which Mo Willems book  is your favorite? 


We'd love for you to link up your own Mo Willems Activity for June's Virtual Book Club! 
Or just come join the fun this month with Mo Willems and our Summer Virtual Book Club. 
Check out all these great ideas below! 

summer virtual book club How to Host a Mo Willems Book Club For One or More Friends

Summer Virtual Book Club Participating Blogs:

Cat the Cat Series ... why Mo Willems decided to write for younger children. 

WORDS OF WISDOM...Sometimes you have to listen to friends and try a new author
Thanks Imagination Soup for encouraging me to try Mo Willems, love your photos of when you had a chance to meet him in person.

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