Snowflake Craft: Relief Painting

 

With the first snow of the season, it just seemed natural that we do a snowflake craft this week.  My daughter loves to paint, and I honestly don’t get the paint out often enough, so we mixed the two together and did some fun (and pretty!) relief painted snowflakes.

 

sponge painted snowflake craft

 

Relief Painted Snowflake Craft:

 

We started our craft by cutting out a few snowflakes.  I folded two 8 inch squares and allowed them each to create their own large snowflake.

(You can adjust this step depending on the age of the kids.  Older kids can do the folding and cutting on their own.  For younger kids you may want to draw triangles, half ovals, etc. along the paper folds and allow the kids to then try cutting on the lines.  Make the shapes super simple for the youngest ones!  Or, you could even have the snowflakes pre-cut.)

I also provided paper for each of them to make a smaller snowflake.

Once we had our snowflakes, it was time for the real fun!

I poured a little paint, in “winter colors,” onto several paper plates.  (We chose to use white, blue, and purple.)

I gave each of my artists a thick sheet of paper, suitable for painting, and a small square of sponge.

They used their snowflakes like stencils, laying the large snowflake on the paper, first, and using the sponge to dab paint all over the snowflake.

They were thrilled when they picked up the snowflake!

 

snowflake craft

 

 

Laying the snowflake down on the paper again and using a different color paint provided a beautiful picture!

 

painted snowflake craft

 

My oldest chose to use her small snowflakes, mixed with the larger one, to create this lovely design.

 

sponge painted snowflakes

 

 

If you let the paint dry on the snowflake stencils, they look lovely hanging with a pretty little ribbon!  (Bonus!)

 

Have you gotten snow yet this year?  If not, this craft will get you in the winter spirit!

 

Happy crafting!

 

 

VTech InnoTab Max Review and Giveaway

 

 

It’s holiday shopping time, and there are some really neat kids’ products that are new on the market this year.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review one of these products, the VTech InnoTab Max, and to be able to share my thoughts with you.

 

VTech InnoTab Max review and giveaway

This is a sponsored post on behalf of VTech.  I was given a VTech InnoTab Max and $20 of downloadable software in order to review the product.  All opinions are 100% my own.  

 

We are a very low-tech family.  As I’ve mentioned before, to save money as a SAHM we don’t have cable/satellite.  I had my old flip phone for over 6 years before it accidentally got tossed in the wash earlier this year and I wound up with my current phone.  And, unlike most of America, we don’t have a Kindle, tablet, I-pod, or any other mobile devices, either.

With all that said, I know that technology is important for kids to learn and be able to use as they get older.  I don’t want my kids to be unprepared for whatever technology they may face as they get older.  So, when I was offered the chance to review the VTech InnoTab Max,  I jumped at the chance.  

VTech kids tablet -- InnoTab Max

 

VTech’s InnoTab MAX:

I like the durable construction of the InnoTab Max.  A tablet that is geared towards kids 3-9 needs to be able to take a little bit of a beating.  (Especially in the hands of an excited child trying to tap those answers as fast as they can!)

I also love that the cover is attached — no need to purchase some separate carrying case for taking it on the go!  And check out that handle!  It’s perfect for little hands to carry.

That cover also allows the user to stand up the device, which is perfect for viewing videos or working with the VTech tablet at a table.   review of VTech InnoTab Max

 

Some more facts about the VTech(r) InnoTab MAX (Ages 3-9 years, MSRP:  $109.99):

  • VTech’s 4th generation kids’ learning tablet features its fastest processor yet with up to six times the processing power of previous genration and a 7″ high-resolution multi-touch screen display.
  • InnoTab MAX features an enhanced version of Premium VTech Kid Connect(tm), at no additional charge, allowing children and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers in real time between the tablet and a smartphone.
  • The tablet offers the best of both learning worlds with access to more than 650 educator-endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps that can be purchased and downloaded through VTech’s Learning Lodge(r) app store.
  • The kids’ tablet comes with 15 onboard apps, including Premium VTech(r) Kid Connect, My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art Studio, Wonder Cam Max, E-Reader with Story Dictionary and more.
  • InnoTab MAX also comes with one free Toca Boca app and two additional free apps that can be downloaded from the Leaning Lodge.
  • Other features include a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery and kid-safe Wi-Fi so kids can explore appropriate online games, videos and websites that have been pre-selected by VTech.
  • Parental controls allow parents to manage their child’s apps, web access and tablet time, as well as view the progress log.

 

It seems people always want to know what the image quality is like on devices like this.  I’ve already told you that I really don’t have much experience with mobile devices, but to me, the quality is fine.  In fact, the online games and videos had a quality very similar to my laptop.

 

Back to those videos, though…

I discovered that most of the pre-selected videos are on YouTube.  The problem is that once the video is over, up pop the pictures for related videos, just as they normally do on YouTube.  A child can easily click on any of these videos to watch.

More disturbing is the fact that I was able to click on the YouTube icon on the bottom and get to the YouTube search window.  And, yes, some very non kid-friendly sites WILL pop up on the device if you search for them.  (Just to see what would happen, I typed in a 3-letter word starting with “S” and ending in “X.”  Wow!  Talk about being shocked!  I had thought there might be a block built in for that, but apparently that is not the case.

Now, as stated above, there are parental controls where you can choose to block the VTech pre-selected games, websites, and videos.  And, so right now I have all the videos blocked.  YouTube is NOT somewhere I want my kids wandering about freely.

As a parent, I think it’s important for other parents to understand that the “kid-friendly Wi-Fi” doesn’t actually block out sites you may not want your children to see.  And, as always, there is no substitute for parental monitoring of the device while in use.

 

Now that I got that off my chest, I have to say there are literally tons and tons of apps available for the tablet for a wide range of ages.  Many of the apps start at just $2.39.

I particularly like the apps that allow both my kids to use the device at the same time, like solving math problems head-to-head in the game Cosmic Reactor Math.   And, if you are looking for some extra practice in Common Core math, there are apps available for that as well!

 

Thinking of buying a kids’ tablet as a holiday gift?

You can get the Vtech Innotab Max on Amazon (affiliate link provided), OR….  You could win one!

VTech is graciously providing me one VTech Innotab Max to give to a lucky reader.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance!

U.S. residents 18 and older only, please.  Giveaway ends 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 6, 2014.  (Click for full disclosure.)

 

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hand Print Reindeer Sweatshirt

 

 

The first snow of the season is falling, time to get out the warm clothes and do a bit of crafting!  Make this hand print reindeer craft on a sweatshirt and keep ‘em warm and smiling this season!

 

hand print reindeer craft

 

 

Materials needed for hand print reindeer sweatshirt:

    • Sweatshirt (or t-shirt) in a light color  (We chose white.)
    • Red and brown fabric paint (like this fabric paint on Amazon)
    • Fabric markers
    • Large round sponge (Cut a circle from a kitchen sponge or use a round paint sponge.)
    • Paint brushes (optional)

 

Pour a small amount of red fabric paint onto a paper plate.  Press the round sponge into the paint, making sure to coat one side of the sponge completely with paint.  (You could also use a paint brush to cover the sponge in paint.)

Press the sponge onto the center of the front of the sweatshirt.  This will be your reindeer’s nose!

You could also have the child press their hands into the paint, but using a paint brush will be a bit less messy and will ensure a complete coverage of paint for their hand print.  (Tip:  After the first hand print is made, wipe the paint off their hand before doing the second hand!)      You will want to make sure they place their hands far enough from the red circle to add eyes in later!

Let the paint dry completely before finishing the hand print reindeer design.  (We let ours dry overnight.)

Once the paint is dry you can add in eyes and a mouth with fabric markers.  Make sure to let your shirt dry completely before wearing!  (Check the directions on both the fabric paint and markers; each is different!)

 

This hand print reindeer craft makes a cute sweatshirt for little ones to wear, and would look cute on a fabric tote for a gift as well!

 

 

 

Q-Tip Painted Fall Tree

 

For one of the requirements for the Girl Scout Daisy Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden journey our troop decided to make some pretty fall decorations for a local nursing home.  We were looking for something bright and colorful and fairly mess-free, and this simple Q-Tip painted fall tree craft was just perfect!

 

 

q-tip painted fall tree craft

 

 

Materials Needed for Q-Tip Painted Tree:

  • White paper (thicker paper works better for paint)
  • Acrylic paints in fall colors (We used yellow, orange, red, brown and green.)
  • Q-Tips
  • Brown crayons

 

To start with, we had the girls draw tree trunks and branches with brown crayon.  You could also use marker for this, but if it is washable marker the paint may make them run a bit!

We poured a small bit of red, yellow, orange, brown, and green paint into the sectioned portion of an egg carton. Then we stuck several Q-Tips into each color.

It was time for the fun to begin!

The girls used their Q-Tips to dab small amounts of paint onto their trees, creating brightly colored fall leaves.

Of course they added some leaves on the ground below the tree, too!

 

Q-tip painted fall tree

 

As you can see, the pictures turned out beautiful!

And I love that some of the girls chose to draw squirrels in their trees as well.

I know the painted fall trees will brighten up the walls of the nursing home.  I think we may need to do this craft at home and decorate a few of our doors as well!

 

Happy crafting!