July 4th Fireworks Painting and Cookies

July 4th Fireworks Painting Activity and Iced Cookies with Roaming Rosie

Happy Fourth of July!

This year, my kids and I did a painting activity and a cookie project that mimicked fireworks.  First, we stamped fireworks with toilet paper rolls, and then we baked some chocolate cookies and iced them in patterns to represent bursts of color.

Both of these things were done on dark backgrounds to make it look like our paint and sugar fireworks were exploding against a nighttime sky.

Even threw in some glitter (edible and not-so-much) for a little extra spark!

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 1

First up:  the painting project.

We reused some toilet paper rolls by transforming them into stamps.

To make the firework-shaped stamps, cut slits around one side of the cardboard roll, making the incisions about a quarter-inch wide (my kids made a few slivers; don’t aim for uniformity here), and then bend back the strips against the palm of your hand to make the pieces stick out.

I put some red, white, and blue (washable) paint into three small paper plates, and we dipped the stamps into the plates and then pressed them into the paper to make our fireworks.

To get a neat effect, overlap your stamps.

Fireworks Painting with Toilet Paper Rolls and Glitter 2

After you’ve covered your paper in fireworks, sprinkle with glitter for a fun sparkly touch!

Allow the paint to dry before shaking off the excess glitter and displaying your art.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 1

These cookies were not only fun to make – they were delicious too!

Just like the painting activity, we used the red, white, and blue colors against a dark background (in this case chocolate) to represent the fireworks bursting against a night sky.

We used the recipe that I made for my Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies, but I made double the batch of icing.

You don’t actually NEED to double the icing – the recipe already makes plenty – but I wanted to make extra, double, totally sure that we’d still have enough icing if my girls ended up squirting most of it onto the counter instead of the cookies.

It turned out, one batch probably would have been more than enough . . . except that one of my containers burst and half of the blue icing spilled out onto a couple of cookies.

But that’s an anomaly.  (Hopefully.)

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 2

When you make the icing, be sure to stir it well until there are no lumps and it drips easily from the fork or spoon in thin ribbons.

Not watery – just thin.  If it’s too thick or clumpy it will clog your spout.

I used my Wilton Candy Making Decorating Bottles.  Mine are quite old but they usually work fine only sometimes explode.  (But seriously, this is the first time I’ve had a problem.)  I’ve been meaning to pick up some new ones anyway.  They’re pretty easy to clean and my girls just love using them.

But if you don’t have bottles like these, you could just as easily put the icing into three separate plastic baggies and snip off the ends to squeeze out the patterns.

If you’re using the bottles, I poured the white icing into them and then mixed in the food coloring with a wooden skewer, the kind used for making shish kabobs.  You could do the same with the baggies, or, if you’re not lazy like me, you could put the icing into three bowls and add the red and blue food coloring to two of them, and mix them before pouring them into the containers.

I made the icing while the cookies were in the oven.  You could make it much earlier in the day, but the longer it sits, the more likely to thicken and then you’ll have to worry about mixing in more water or stirring it to thin it again.

Fireworks Chocolate Iced Cookies from Roaming Rosie 3

As you can see, we took the easy way out with these “cut out” cookies:  no cookie cutters.  We just sliced them up with a pizza cutter.  Easy Peasy.  Re-roll and slice again.

(If you’re wondering, that’s cocoa powder sprinkled over the counter to keep the dough from sticking, which you can use instead of flour when making chocolate cookies.)

We made the cookies into rectangles or large squares, all slightly different.  Once baked and fully cooled, I spread some waxed paper to catch the drippings and we all drizzled the icing onto the cookies, overlapping the colors, in a bit of a star burst pattern so that they would kind of look like fireworks exploding.

And, before the icing could harden, we added some white sparkling sugar to add a little extra spark to our cookies and to match the glitter on our paintings.

Again, you can find the cookie recipe on my post for Chocolate Almond Mummy Cookies.

Happy Fourth!

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Elsa’s FROZEN Cracked Ice Easter Eggs

Elsa's FROZEN Cracked Ice Easter Eggs

We had actually purchased a regular FROZEN Easter egg dye kit from the supermarket, and we did use it.

We used the egg wraps and cardboard Olaf egg stands and Elsa and Anna stickers….

But we made our own version of FROZEN Easter eggs, too.

We’ve made these cracked eggs before, and called them dinosaur eggs, but this year we called them Elsa’s Cracked Ice Easter Eggs.

Because we can never have too much Disney in our lives.  :)

Elsa's FROZEN Cracked Ice Easter Eggs

The process is surprisingly easy:

1.  Make hard-boiled eggs.  Cool completely.

2.  Crack egg shell all around by gently rolling the egg on the counter with just enough pressure to cause cracking without causing the shell to detach or the egg inside to break or split.  (Admittedly, the eggs my 3yo did definitely split through – but don’t worry, they’re still totally edible.)

3.  Put the eggs with their cracked shells into a plastic baggie.  Generously add food coloring in your color choice (blue is best for “ice”) until the shell is covered in the food coloring.

4.  Allow to sit for a few minutes.

5.  Dump the colored eggs, along with their still-attached shells, into a mesh colander and rinse with cool water in the sink until the excess food coloring is washed off and the water runs clear.

6.  Splash the eggs in the colander with a little white vinegar (optional) to help the color set.

7.  Gently peel the eggs.

You’re done!  Except that I usually rinse them again, just to make sure I’ve actually removed all of the little shell pieces.

Store them in the refrigerator and eat them within 4 or 5 days for the best freshness.

Elsa's FROZEN Cracked Ice Easter Eggs

Peeling off the shell and revealing the cracked pattern underneath is really fun for kids.

My 3yo didn’t want to touch the eggs, but watched with great interest as her 5yo sister and I peeled them.

Even the inside of the removed shell looks amazing!

And they taste just like regular hard boiled eggs.  The food coloring doesn’t change the taste or anything.  I’ve eaten them just like that, with a little salt, for breakfast, and also made them into deviled eggs.

Elsa's FROZEN Cracked Ice Easter Eggs

Have fun!

And check out some of my other Easter crafts and recipes:

Easter Empty Tomb Resurrection Rolls

Top 50 Non Candy Easter Basket Gift Ideas

50 Easter Things to Make and Do

Easter Resurrection Garden

Easter Bunny Spiced Sandwich Cookies

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“Chalkboard” Valentine’s Day Hearts

"Chalkboard" Valentine's Day Hearts Activity for Kids

This is a fun little activity I did with my girls to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

I cut some hearts out of black construction paper and drew on them with white and silver colored pencils to show my girls how it looked.

The fun mini hearts look like little chalkboards and my girls were delighted with how the light colors looked so vibrant on the dark hearts.

They spent quite a while drawing on the hearts and experimenting with different colors {though mostly after I took the photograph}.

The picture shows just a few of the hearts, but one of the things I also made sure to do was to cut out hearts in varying sizes.

And next time I’ll probably let them help me cut them out, but this time they were too busy coloring.  :)

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How To Make Pom Pom Acorns

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

These cute little Pom Pom Acorns are not adorning our home as festive fall decorations.

And they were SO simple – and cheap – to make!  {Have you noticed that’s a theme with me??}

Anyway, the pom poms can be picked up at the dollar store or any craft store, and the acorn tops were free.  You know:  from our yard.

The girls had fun collecting the acorn tops all around the driveway and sidewalk.  They were easiest to find in the cracks in the cement.

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

You can see from the photo that the pom poms we used are pretty small.  Some of the acorn tops we found were even smaller, and really unusable.  I tried to pick out the largest ones, but even they weren’t terribly big.  I guess it depends on what kind of trees you have near you.

I set out the pom poms in a little art palette dish that we have, and let my daughters match up the acorn tops with which color pom pom they wanted.  This made them feel more involved in the assembly, even though I wouldn’t let them touch the hot glue gun.

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

To put the acorns together, I squeezed some hot glue into the acorn tops and pressed the pom pom into it.

It only takes a second or two for the glue to start working.  Just be careful – if you add too much glue it will squeeze out the sides.

How to Make Pom Pom Acrons

I think these little things are just adorable!

I intended to use them mostly for decoration, but we’ve also practiced some counting and color matching with them, as well.  So if you’re homeschooling, they’re a great tool for lessons in autumn.

And as I mentioned, I usually pick up my craft pom poms in the dollar store, but if you’re having trouble find them in a store near you, here’s my recommendation for ordering some online {because you can never have too many pom poms}:

Half Pound Bag of Pom Poms for Crafts

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Pretend Play: Raking Autumn Leaves

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

This is such a wonderful fall activity!

My girls have had – and are still having – so much fun with this Pretend Play activity of Raking Leaves.

And it’s so simple, too!

I bought 3 bags of 50 leaves each at the dollar store, and we already had the rakes – although I think we bought them at the dollar store in the spring.

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

I do suggest using plastic rakes because they’re safer for indoors.  We also have metal and wooden rakes, but plastic worked best for this.

Also, I prefer doing this activity on the carpet, but it does work on the tile and wood floors.  To be honest, though, I found raking the leaves up on carpet with the plastic rake to be somewhat soothing.  Meditative, even.

To store the leave we use a basket that we already had, but you could also use a plastic baggy.  {That’s what I plan to store them in at the end of fall.}

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

Another thing these leaves are perfect for is throwing.

Rake up a pile and toss them into the air!

Seriously:  these are made of fabric, so they kind of flutter down gently.  The whole reason I decided to do this with my kids is because they adore the Elefun Game so much.  And, really, the Elefun game isn’t perfect.  The butterflies/fireflies come out too quickly and there aren’t enough of them, but my girls still love catching them AND collecting them afterwards.

But that’s why I bought 150 leaves for this activity – so there would be enough to entertain both of them.  Plenty to keep them busy with raking and throwing.

And organizing.

My 4yo would make piles of the leaves, sorting them by color and counting them.  And my 2yo made piles that were her “birds nests.”

The options are limitless.

Pretend Play:  Raking Autumn Leaves ...... a fun fall activity for kids!

And, like I said, this activity can be extremely affordable.  I already had the rakes and the basket, and I bought the 3 bags of leaves for a buck a piece at the Dollar Tree.  The plastic rakes can also be found in the outdoor toy section or garden section of places like Target or Kmart even Walgreens – at certain times of the year.

BUT, if you’re having trouble finding the items you need, here are some Decorative Fall Leaves and a Gardening Tool Set from Amazon:

Decorative Fabric Fall LeavesPlastic Gardening Tool Set for Kids

And please let me know if your Little Ones enjoy it – and if they come up with any games of their own!

And check out these other Pretend Play ideas, too:

Pretend Play:  Makeup

Pretend Play:  Post Office and Mail Carrier

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Felt Lacing Pumpkins

Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillow Craft for Fall / Halloween / Thanksgiving

These Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillows are so cute, and my girls really enjoy them.

And I say “enjoy them” in the present tense instead of “enjoyed making them” in the past tense, because they’re still playing with them.

They make pretty nice Fall decorations, too… except that they keep walking off and getting lost in the baby doll’s beds…

Anyway, this is a great project to do with kids in autumn.  I made a step-by-step photo of how we made them {see below}.  I didn’t post any patterns or anything, since I did it all by hand.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 sheet of orange felt per pumpkin
brown yarn
scissors
hole punch

To make the pumpkin pillow:

1.  Fold the felt in half and cut it along the crease to make two pieces.  With the two felt sheets together, cut out a shape resembling a pumpkin.  Sort of an oval with a stem on top.

2.  Use a hole punch to make holes around the edge.  This may take a few minutes if you {like me} don’t own an ergonomic hole puncher with a cushioned grip.  Place the pumpkin with the holes on top of the pumpkin without the holes, and using a pen or marker, mark where each hole is, so that when you cut out the holes on the second pumpkin, they will line up with the first.

3.  Cut a piece of yarn about a yard long for each pumpkin.  Wrap some clear tape around one end of the yarn to make it sturdy enough to thread through the felt.

[I did steps 1 through 3 the night before, while my kids slept.  If your kids are a little older – and you have an easier-to-use hole punch than me – you may want to let your kids help with those steps.]

4.  Let your kids sew together the pumpkins, just like a lacing card, leaving a few holes {about a 1/4 of the pumpkin} open.  See the 4th photo below.

5.  Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper and stuff it inside the pumpkin.  Alternately, use cotton balls or a some cotton batting.

6.  Finish sewing up the pumpkin and tie off the yarn.

Felt Lacing Pumpkin Pillows

It’s a pretty easy project, and the best part is if you don’t have any felt, you could always substitute construction paper!

Plus, we made ours before Halloween, but if that’s already passed, these look great for Thanksgiving, too!

Have fun!

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Halloween Mini Pumpkin {Easter Egg} Hunt & Decorating Glitter Pumpkins

Halloween Mini Pumpkin Easter Egg Hunt

This Mini Pumpkin Hunt is just about one of the easiest Halloween projects you can do, and your kids are just about guaranteed to completely freak out over how awesome it is.

Well, at least those kids who love Easter egg hunts will freak out over the awesomeness.  But I don’t know any kids who don’t love Easter egg hunts.

The setup is simple:  buy a bunch of mini pumpkins, hide aforementioned mini pumpkins in your yard or house, hand your kids a bucket or basket in which to collect them, and stand back while they stampede.

Halloween Mini Pumpkin Easter Egg Hunt

Unfortunately for us, on the day I told my girls we were going to go outside and search for mini pumpkins, it rained.

A lot.

So, we relegated the search mostly to areas of flora that could be easily accessed with feet still firmly planted on the sidewalk and out of the wet grass and mud.

It didn’t even matter to them that it only took a couple of minutes to find all 10 that I’d hidden.  They were so excited about it that they hid them again so I could find them.  And again.  And again…

Halloween Mini Pumpkin Easter Egg Hunt

Eventually we made it inside to decorate our mini pumpkins.

I’d pulled out some glitter glue and some glitter in silver and gold.  Neutral but shiny.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

I spread a disposable table cloth over the floor and some newspaper in the middle of it, opened up the containers of glue and glitter, and stood back.

Well, not very far back.  They insisted I help, and, really, it’s pretty fun to bury your hands in glitter sometimes.  :)

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

And the end result looked rather pretty.

Some had designs, some were completely covered, but they all looked so fun and sparkly.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

It was much easier to clean up, by the way, than it looks.

Once you move the pumpkins and glue/glitter containers, simply fold the paper in half to make it into a partial funnel, and let the glitter slide back into the container again to be reused for another project.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkin Decorating

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