Sitters Unlimited of Southern CA

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Archive for the ‘Kid Crafts’ Category

May
08

Make Your Own Plastic Beads with Recycled Soda Bottles

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This is one of those crafts where the process is just as much fun as the finished product. And anytime that we can combine a fun craft, using free materials, that is also eco-friendly, we get ultra excited.

Start by using a knife to cut the top and bottom section from a clear plastic soda bottle.Use scissors to cut down the middle of the resulting tube to make a rectangle. If there are any portions where the glue from the label is hanging on, just trim those portions away.

Use Sharpies to draw or write whatever you like on the inside of the rectangle.

Cut this rectangle into strips anywhere from 1/4-inch to 3/4-inch wide following the curve of the plastic so that the strips will roll inward.

Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F.

Roll each strip around a pencil (or pen) and tie with a piece of string or twine. Don’t use tape because it will melt in the oven. Please the strips on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at for 2 minutes.

Take the pan out and slide the string off of one bead. If it stays curled up then the beads are ready. If it doesn’t stay curled up then put the tray back in the oven for another minute or two.

When the beads have cooled trim off any ragged edges.

No go use your beads to make a bracelet, a necklace, or string them up to make long strands that you can use to decorate a Christmas tree, or hang in a doorway or window.

Note: you could use colored plastic bottles and skip the Sharpie step.

Feb
26

Kids Birthday Party Invitations

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Are you getting ready to throw your little one’s first birthday party, or maybe a second or third birthday party? If you have older children you’re probably already familiar with the pressure to come up with an idea that your child will be excited about AND the party guests will talk about for weeks afterwards. And no doubt you stumbled upon this article because you’re on the hunt for a fantastic kids birthday party invitation idea. Let’s start off with some favorite themes and see what we can do to make them unique, complete with home-made birthday party invitation instructions.

Basic Kids Birthday Party Invitation Instructions

If you want your invitation to look as if it was hand written there are quite a few fonts that will give you that look. Experiment with them a bit to see which gives you the look you want and is still readable. Pay close attention to the numbers as they can look strange with some of the handwritten fonts.

When constructing a home made invitation make sure to measure your envelope and subtract 1/4 inch from each side including the top. Use these measurements to make a template for the finished sized of your invitation. Slip it inside the envelope to make sure that it’s a good fit.

After placing the finished invitation inside the envelope you can sprinkle some shaped confetti into the envelope to make opening it even more fun. Decorate the outside of the envelope with a sticker or two so the recipient has a hint of the fun inside.

Circus Party Invitations

Popcorn Bag

This is a simple kids birthday party invitation to create but the finished product has a nice WOW! factor. Use a computer program to create a simple party invitation that will easily fit inside a folded popcorn bag. Alternatively you could hand write the invite and make copies. Then just tuck the invite inside the popcorn bag.

Popcorn Bag 2

Use the same idea as above but print the invite onto cardstock. Fill the popcorn bag with popcorn, slip the invite into the popcorn leaving it sticking out of the top of the bag. Place the popcorn bag inside a cellophane gift bag, tie with a ribbon and hand deliver.

If you want to make your baby’s first birthday party invitation truly memorable you can dress up like a clown or other a ringmaster when you deliver the invites!

Balloon Invitations

Materials:

  • balloons
  • Sharpie markers
  • ribbon
  • envelopes, optional

Write your party information on an inflated balloon with a Sharpie marker. If you’ll be hand delivering the invitations, fill the balloons with helium and attach a ribbon. If you’re mailing the invitations, deflate each balloon after writing the party info. Place the balloon into an envelope with a note instructing the recipient to blow up the balloon to reveal the invite details.

Circus Tent Invitations

Materials:

  • brightly striped paper
  • white card stock
  • envelopes

Make a circus tent template for your finished envelope that will fit inside your envelope by measuring the envelope and subtracting 1/4 inch from each side including the top. A circus tent is basically a square with a triangle on top. Slip it inside an envelope to make sure that it’s a good fit.

Use your template to make the back page of the invitation from the white cardstock.

Use the template to make the front of the invitation from the striped paper. Cut a line up the center of the square to the point where it reaches the triange. Cut straight across from the top of the center line to the left and right stopping 1/4 to 1/2 inch short of the edge of the “tent”.

Print the party information onto the white cardstock, arranging it so that the information will show when the tent flaps are folded back. Glue to the back of the tent, checking the first one you do to make sure that the party info shows when the flaps are folded back.

Fold back and crease the flaps on each invitation. Then close the flaps and use a sticker to hold them closed.

Sources for downloadable circus clip art:
PicGifs Circus Clip Art

Fotosearch Circus Clip Art

Luau Party

Luau Party Invitations

Materials:

  • white or light blue blank cards or card stock
  • envelopes to match your cards or card stock
  • sandpaper
  • blue glitter
  • beach toys, beach umbrellas, palm trees, boats, sea animals, sun, etc. – these can be stickers that you purchase or you can cut them out of magazines or comics or make them yourself with colored paper

If using cardstock cut it to the size you want your finished invitations to be.

To represent a beach, cut sandpaper to fit the bottom 1/3 of your card. Glue in place. For the water and sky, spread glue over the rest of the card and sprinkle the blue glitter over the glue. Allow to dry completely before proceeding onto the big finish.

Now the fun begins! Glue on all your beach items. You can make each invitation unique, using different add ons.

Write the details of your birthday party on the inside of the card. You can do this by hand for each card but I would suggest either writing everything out by hand and making copies or using a computer program and a fun font. Then just glue one sheet to the inside of each invitation, or use a sticker in two or four corners to hold it in place.

Resources for Luau Party Clipart:

Clipart Gallery – Luau

Canstock Photo – Luau Clipart

 

Pirate Birthday Party Invitations

Materials:

  • white card stock
  • envelopes

You can have a lot of fun with the wording for a pirate themed party invitation.

Here are a few suggestions to get your invitation started:

  • Shiver me timbers, it’s Derek’s Second Birthday! Ye be invited to celebrate with us on our pirate ship!
  • Avast ye landlubbers! Ye are invited to Kayla’s First Birthday Party!
  • Hey maties! We’ve discovered a map to a treasure chest, so come wearing your pirate best. We’ll use the map to find the way to loads of treasure at Hayley’s 1st Birthday!
  • Ahoy me mateys! You’re invited to a Pirate Party in honor of Bobby’s First Birthday.
  • Ahoy there me hearties! Ye be invited fer some fun at a Pirate Party to celebrate Matthew’s 3rd Birthday!
  • Join our crew while we plunder for treasure and treats at a birthday celebration for Jonnie’s 2nd Birthday!
  • X marks the spot. Come find the treasure at Billy’s 4th Birthday.

You can even apply pirate lingo to the party information:

  • Ship sets sail from the pier at 1000 Main Street on Saturday the 3rd day of April at three bells (3pm). Be there or be left behind!
  • Chart yer course towards 1000 Main Street on June 7th at 2 o’clock sharp.
  • Grub and grog will be served at 3 o’clock, on the Jone’s ship docked at1000 Main Street on July 21st.

If you want your guests to come dressed in pirate gear make sure to let them know:

  • Don your eye patch and wear yer best hook or you may be mistaken for a landlubber.
  • Come dressed in yer pirate best!
  • Anyone dressed as a landlubber will be forced to walk the plank!

If you want guests to RSVP, state that at the bottom of your invitation:

  • A-r-r-r-r you coming to the party matey? Better contact Captain Bob at (949) 829-2273 by the 3rd day of June in the year 2012 or ya may find there’s no treasure left for ya to grab.
  • RSVP by August 30th or you’ll be walkin’ the plank mate!
  • Be a mate and RSVP before the 26th of April to First Mate Cindy at (714) 444-1400.
  • Sign on to our crew by contacting First Mate Kelly at 619-467-0572

The right font and graphics for your pirate-themed birthday party invitation can make all the difference.

Gothic fonts work great for the front of the invitation but because they can be hard to read you may want to format the party information on the inside of the invitation in a plainer font.

Check out these sources for free pirate graphics for your invitation:
Lee Hansen Pirate Clip Art

Squidoo Pirate Clip Art

Daily Clip Art Pirate Section

The Disney website has a fun pirate birthday party invite you can download and print directly onto card stock.

Now add some style to your Pirate Theme Party Invitation:

With the piratey wording, clip art and fonts you can place it all on your invitation, print it out, slip it into an envelope and be done with it. If you want to have a truly unique party invitation check out some of the ideas below:

Insert any of these items into the envelope: plastic gold hoop earring, eye patch, skeleton parts or any other piratey items you find at your local party store.

Message in a Bottle – use clean plastic water bottles these are little bottles you can mail by placing a label and postage directly on the bottle! They come with a lei (which you probably won’t use) and sand. If you want to make it more pirate-y, add in some skeleton parts.

More Kids Birthday Party Invitations

Printable Party Invitations
Zooniversity Animal Party Ideas
Martha Stewart Party Invitations
Pirate Party Invitations For Kids
Sports Parties For Kids

Well I hope this collection of resources and ideas helps to get you on your way to a fantastic birthday party invitation and that you have fun with the whole process. If however the idea of making your own party invitations is a bit overwhelming then hopefully this little article has given you some ideas to use when working with a professional party invitation designer. Either way – here’s to the start of a fantastic birthday party!

May
17

Rainy Day Activities For Kids

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If you’re afraid you’ll go stir crazy with your little munchkins running around the house all day check out these ideas, many submitted by parents:

Hanging Out on the Homefront

Sitters UnlimitedKid Crafts.

Treasure Hunt – hide 10 to 50 small similar objects such as marbles, beans, plastic eggs, army men … Whoever finds the most gets to be the one who hides them for the next round.

Magazine Scavenger Hunt – make a list of items for the kids to find, give them a stack of old magazines and let them go for it. First one who finds all items on the list gets to choose what’s for lunch or dinner, depending on what time of day you’re playing.

Indoor Ball Games – place a coin or a bean inside a balloon, blow it up and you have an indoor friendly ball to use for catch, soccer, volleyball …

from Twitterer @Teach_Preschool
We play an inside relay. I make a list of 10 actions for example “Go upstairs and knock on the bedroom door”. We time how long it takes each child to go through every action on the list. Then we make a new list and play again. Other actions: jump up and down five times, sing mary had a little lamb, give everyone a hug, walk down the hall backwards …

Activities For Kids in Hotel Rooms – COMING SOON

 

Cabin Fever? Get Out of the House

From Twitterer @leighsarti
Dad Tip of the Day: Raining outside? Take your kids to the bike store and have them ride all the different bikes. Fun, free and you stay dry.

from Twitterer @mamarenew
Put on the rain gear and go out for a walk in the woods! Count the slugs …

Pet Store Window Shopping – hang out at a pet store where they can pet puppies, hold hamsters, gaze at strange looking fish …

Toy Store Hang Out – find a toy store in your area that has hands on demos.

Download Mom Maps to find kid-friendly places near you.

Check out your area for children’s museums such as:
Pretend City in Irvine, CA
Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA

Kids Bowl Free at participating locations throughout the U.S. all summer long.

Take the family out for a meal at a fast food restaurant that also has an indoor play area. Take a book and relax while the kids go crazy climbing through tunnels, sliding down slides, and climbing rope walls.

Family Favorite Rainy Day Movies


Your Own Rainy Day Ideas

If you have a favorite rainy day activity or idea please help us out by adding your comments below.

May
09

Beautiful Butterflies From Coffee Filters

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This is a fun craft that kids from toddler age thru elementary age will enjoy. I’ve even had teens get a kick out of this one.

Materials:

  • pipe cleaners (assorted colors)
  • coffee filters (large size)
  • water-based markers
  • small spray bottle filled with water (optional)

Give each child a coffee filter and have them color on it with markers.

Hold up the coffee filter, and spray with water or dip fingers in water and shake them at the coffee filter. Watch as the colors spread and run together.

Once the filter is dry, bunch it in the middle and wrap a pipe cleaner around it. Make sure you leave a little extra pipe cleaner to make two antennas.

Dec
17

Stretchofoam Recipe

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I don’t claim to have come up with this recipe but it is an old standby in our Fun Activities For Kids Book which we give out to all of our prescreened babysitters here in the Orange County and San Diego County offices. Just a word about this book which I think is unique to the licensed babysitting agency business. Our Fun Activities For Kids Book is chock full of summer activities for kids, cool kid games, outdoor activities for kids, fun arts and crafts activities. The following Stretchofoam recipe is one of several goop and slime recipes in our book.


Fill a coffee mug with about a quarter inch of acetone. Acetone is the key ingredient in nail polish remover.

Place Styrofoam in the acetone. It should fizzle. Keep adding more Styrofoam until you have a good sized blob. At this point you can pick it up and play with it.

You can wash your Stretchofoam if you don’t want to get acetone on your hands. The acetone might dry your hands out, but washing it will cause it to lose some of it’s stretchy properties.

Sep
21

Homemade Book Cover

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Construct a cover for a homemade book from salvaged cardboard. You can wing it or check out the ideas on the web sites below:

http://www.cs.uiowa.edu/~jones/book/cover.html

http://www.geocities.com/jackiekoller/publish.html

Sep
21

Kids Craft: Using Outdated Jewelry

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These kids craft projects are super simple. Instead of throwing away outdated or broken bead necklaces use them to make any of the following kids craft projects.

Candle Tray

Glue large beads of the same size to the four corners of a piece of tempered glass or under the bottom of a clear drinking glass. If you wish you could also glue beads along all four edges of the top side of the glass piece to create a lip for your tray or along the top edge of the glass for an embellishment. Set votive candles or tea lights on glass tray or inside drinking glass.

Light & Fan Pulls

Remove the cheap-looking metal bell at the end of your light and/or fan pulls and replace them with beads which have a hole large enough for the chain to fit inside. Squirt a little glue into the hole and insert the chain. Secure with tape if needed until glue dries.

Shade Pulls

Remove the tacky plastic pulls from your window shades and replace them with several beautiful beads. Secure with a knot under the bead or a drop of glue.

If you have your own ideas for a kids craft project, please share it with a comment.

Aug
21

Make Your Own Shrinky-Dinks

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Get ready for a cool crafts for kids project, which is a great indoor activity for children. Remember Shrinky Dinks? Well did you know you can make your own Shrinky Dinks from styrofoam trays that are packaged with supermarket meat and veggies. That’s right, those trays make a great styrofoam craft project.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash and dry your tray(s). Draw simple pictures on the bottom of the tray. Coloring pictures with permanent markers is the easiest way to do this but you could also use colored pencils. Don’t color with crayons though as they will melt in the oven. Cut around the outline of each picture and place each shape on a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil.

Place shapes in the oven for a few minutes. When they stop shrinking take them out of the oven.

You can make your own jewelry by by punching or cutting a hole in the top of each shape before putting them into the oven. When your shapes have cooled thread the Shrinky Dinks onto yarn or colored string.

Note: You can use a Styrofoam plate instead of a meat tray, however it will curl up so that your picture is inside. This can be half the fun though, when you end up with a secret picture inside a tube that you can see when you hold it up to your eye. Tip: you can cut away the turned up edge of the plate before placing it in the oven and it will not curl up.

Now that you know how to make your own Shrinky Dinks you’ll never throw away another styrofoam tray again. Right?

Aug
14

Play Activity for Children: Broomstick Horse

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Another easy kids craft project which is also a play activity for children. Make a simple broomstick horse using an old broom handle and an old or mismatched sock. Families.com has published an excellent project sheet for how to make a broomstick horse. Click on over and check it out.

Aug
07

Kids Crafts Projects Using Old Appliances

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In the interest of home safety for children, before starting this kids craft project, make sure to check all pieces you’ll be using in this kids craft project for rough or sharp edges and do not give children anything that is small enough that it could be inserted into their mouths, ears, noses, etc. That said, an old appliance can be a treasure chest for the artist within you or your child.

Use the “inards” for craft projects such as:

  • Toddlers can stick the parts into balls of clay to make “machines” or “aliens”. Make sure that you wean out any parts that are sharp enough to hurt a child.
  • Glue parts to inexpensive frames to decorate a techie’s room.
  • Glue parts around the edge of an unframed mirror.
  • Attach jewelry backing to parts to make brooches, barrettes, necklaces, earrings. You can find jewelry backings at craft stores or use your own jewelry that you no longer like.