Thursday, April 17, 2014

Homemade Gifts Kids Can Make: Sandpaper Printed Towels

We love finding simple homemade gifts to make for family members, teachers, and friends. 

A few years ago we made sandpaper printed thank you cards and sandpaper printed t-shirts and they were really fun to make and looked so cute!

This week we decided to make some sandpaper printed towels. These would be easy to make as gifts for grandparents and teachers or to simply personalize for each member of your family.

I love to buy flour sack kitchen towels from Target (REI brand) because they are cheap and work really well to absorb water like towels should... unlike some of the other more expensive towels I have. A few years ago we stopped spending money on paper towels and now instead we have several of these towels that we rotate through. I love them and they are even cuter when they are personalized! We made a few stenciled ones for Earth Day a few years ago and I've been dying to make more.

Materials Needed: towels, crayons, rough sandpaper, and an iron 

I did this activity with my preschooler and kindergartener. I let my toddler color on the sandpaper with crayons and feel it and play with it... but he wasn't interested in making one. He prefers to eat crayons right now... so he only gets to use them for a few minutes these days.


Start off by drawing your picture on sandpaper.

Make sure to press hard. This can be hard for littler ones (though is great for building their finger strength). You can always go over the lines for them afterwards.

If you are going to write any words make sure that you write them reversed (so they'd look correct if you held them up to a mirror).

I wrote out the words reversed on another piece of paper for my kindergartener so that he just had to copy what I wrote. For my preschooler I just wrote he name for her and she picked the color.

Next turn the sandpaper upside down and place it onto the towel. Cover with another thin towel so that you don't get any crayon on your iron.

Hold the iron down on top of the sandpaper for 30 seconds using the cotton setting. I moved it around to make sure it covered all parts of the image.

Pull the sandpaper off and admire!!

I made one first to make sure it would work out ok and then the kids joined in once my sample was done!

My biggest mistake was letting the kids see my version. I hate when that happens... so don't do that. It totally squelched their creativity for a bit.

After some coercing I convinced my 6 year old he didn't have to draw a flower like I did and he decided to make a super cool bunny and Easter egg. He decided that it would be awesome to have seasonal towels so he is on a mission to draw one for each holiday now.

I was hoping my daughter would make an awesome creation filled with lines and squiggles, but she didn't. She wanted a flower like me too and would not be swayed. She also didn't want to draw it.

I relented and drew a flower for her and then let her loose to add details to it. I loved it once she finally started adding her own colors to it to make it more her own. She was loving blue and she really got into the pressing hard part. I wrote her name backwards for her.

The towels are now hanging in our kitchen and the kids are so excited to wash and dry their hands now that they have their own personalized towels.

In order to set the color on the towels you'll want to cover the imaged with a paper towel and iron a bit of the color off. Then pop them in the dryer for 20-30 minutes to help the color set.

We still need to do this with ours before the kids use them... although I think they are going to make that difficult! They are already trying to steal them for drying.


Need some other homemade gift ideas... made by kids? Check out a few of our favorites below...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cool Science: Spring Salt Painting

We have seen salt painting all over the place for awhile and have been wanting to try it. This week we are doing Easter crafts and activities every day while my kids are on spring break so it finally made our "to do" list. 

We broke out our liquid watercolors, glue, and salt yesterday and did some spring themed salt painting! 

If you aren't familiar with salt painting, it is seriously so easy! All you need are a few basically supplies. We originally saw salt painting over at Happy Hooligans and One Perfect Day so head on over there for more specific instructions and tips!

Salt painting can be for a variety of ages if you just adapt it a bit. I did this activity with my preschooler and kindergartener. 

We decided to make spring themed salt paintings so my kids drew eggs and flowers. I had to join in too and made my own alongside of the kids.

I had way too much fun taking photos of this process since it was beautiful!

We used medicine droppers and paintbrushes as we created. The medicine droppers required a lot more control (so that kids didn't squirt out tons of paint and flood the page).

It was a great fine motor control activity to only squirt little drops of liquid watercolor onto the salt/glue image. 

When they did flood the page with too much paint we easily sucked some of it back up by using the edge of a paper towel. That was like magic to watch too.

It was fun to see the different creations my kids came up with for our spring theme! I think my 3-year-old wanted to squeeze the entire bottle of glue onto her page! We'll see if that ever dries!

Using the paintbrush was a bit easier but didn't get as much vibrant color onto the paintings.

Once we were done adding the colors, we just admired our creations and talked about them.

Science activities are so great for toddlers and preschoolers because they allow for so many great conversations and observations!

We shared several other awesome science activities over at Playing with Words 365 and even talked about how they promote language and communication. Go and check it out!

Do you love science activities? Check out our Cool Science Ideas pinterest board or scan through a few favorites below.

Favorite Science Ideas...

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