Painting with Crayons & Water Colors

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 1

This was one of those super-simple craft projects that’s nearly free.  You may already have all of the supplies on hand, but this changes things up from a normal painting or coloring project because it mixes the mediums.

It’s also a lot of fun.

What we did was create a drawing with crayons, and then color it in with watercolor paints.  We did some regular pictures (butterflies and flowers) and some that were patterns of lines and shapes.

And don’t mind the ancient crayon box full of mixed crayon types…. this is a “rediscovered” conglomerate of art supplies from my own youth. We use what we can here… it’s part of what makes this craft free, or nearly-free (the water colors are new).   We keep a craft drawer of leftover supplies from other projects, too, and sometimes we have a free-for-all craft with whatever we can find.

The kids love it.

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 2

We discovered that the crayon looks much better if you draw thicker lines to help it stand out against the paint.  It also creates a neat, smooth texture.

And we experimented with the paint as well.

My older daughter tried painting with her fingers, instead of the brush, and she also would tilt the paper in different directions to see what happened when the excess paint dripped across her picture.

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 3

My youngest daughter tried different things, like using multiple paintbrushes at one time.  This project gave them both the freedom to be creative in their own ways.

This project was cheap (free if you already have the crayons, paint, and paper) and easy to set up.  It gave them a creative outlet, and it kept them busy for a long time.  It had a lot of benefits on top of the fun-factor.

Plus, I had some beautiful fridge-worthy artwork at the end of it.

Here are a few of the finished products, including one of mine:

Painting with Crayons and Water Colors 4

Happy Crafting!

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When I Love You At Christmas {a book review}

When I Love You At Christmas:  a book review at RoamingRosie.com

Really, to be perfectly honest, I could talk about books every day.  But today I wanted to share with you a Christmas book that we’ve been reading quite a bit, because, you know … it’s Christmas!  :)

The picture book When I Love You At Christmas, written by David Bedford and illustrated by Tamsin Ainslie, with its brief but charming text and adorable paintings is a delightful read for young children.

It’s a cute story narrated by a stuffed lamb telling us about how much he loves his little girl.  He goes through all of the activities that the little girl engages in around Christmastime, such as when she is wrapping presents, baking cookies, writing out Christmas cards, acting in a nativity play, and getting excited about Christmas day.

The double-page spreads are decorated with bright watercolor artwork and the text itself if very simple, but also very sweet.

One of the aspects I love about the story is how the girl gets so excited about Christmas, but she’s always thinking of others.  The book demonstrates things that are sharing activities, like wrapping presents, baking cookies, and sending out Christmas cards.  Things that emphasize a spirit of love and giving.

Even though the girl has trouble sleeping on Christmas Eve because she’s anticipating the big day, and even though she rushes quickly to find her own presents on Christmas morning, she takes the time to share a present with her stuffed lamb, too.

The lyrical text is short enough to hold the attention of toddlers and preschoolers, the illustrations are detailed enough to give their eyes plenty to explore, and the underlying message is subtle but lovely.

My girls, who are about 2-1/2 and 4-1/2-years-old, love it … but so do I!  This is definitely going to be a regular for us around Christmas, but is still worth a read throughout the rest of the year, too.

*Update:  I know the picture says you can get the book from my Usborne site, but it has been discontinued.  There are, however, sometimes copies available on Amazon.

Merry Christmas!!!

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Decorated Rice Krispies Treat Marshmallow Christmas Trees

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

My girls love Rice Krispies Treats, but, then….. I’m pretty sure everyone else does, too.

I wanted to do something a little different with them this holiday, though, so we made Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees.

And they looked kinda cool.  :)

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Anyway, it’s the normal base recipe for the trees, plus some food coloring, and then some royal icing and candy to decorate them.

For our Christmas tree “ornaments,” we used miniature M&Ms and Confetti Sprinkles.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

I think the easiest way to color the trees is to mix the food coloring into the melted {melting} marshmallows before mixing in the cereal.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees
Doesn’t that look neat?

And you can see I made the icing ahead of time.  If you do, too, just make sure you cover it with some plastic wrap to avoid the top layer drying out.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

I drizzled the icing onto the trees with a spoon, decorating only 2 or 3 of them at a time.

The icing hardens pretty quickly – which is great for storing and eating them, but you have to decorate them quickly if you want the sprinkles and candy to stick.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Mostly, for the shaping of the trees, I did that part myself.  My 4yo didn’t really like the feel of it.

You need to coat your hands {quite heavily} with a nonstick cooking spray so that the marshmallow mixture doesn’t stick to you.

Then grab a handful of the stuff and shape it into a cone.  Voila.  Time to decorate.

THAT part my kids loved.

How to Make Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Tree Ingredients:
1 package (10 oz., about 40) marshmallows
3 Tbsp. butter
6 cups puffed rice cereal
Green food coloring

For the Icing and Decorations:
2 cups confectionery (powdered) sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons water
Green food coloring
Miniature M&Ms candies
Large or “confetti” sprinkles

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Stir in green food coloring (I used about 25 drops of liquid food coloring) and continue to stir until the marshmallows are completely melted and the color is fully incorporated. Stir continually to avoid burning the marshmallows at the bottom of the pan. (Alternatively, you can heat the butter and marshmallows in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 3 minutes, stirring after 2, then mix in the food coloring.)

Stir the cereal into the marshmallows and mix well with two spoons until all the cereal is coated. Allow to cool for a minute before handling – it will be hot!

Liberally spray your hands with a nonstick cooking spray. Grab a handful of the cereal mixture and shape into a cone. Allow to sit for a few minutes to continue cooling and to harden into shape while you make the icing.

Combine the powdered sugar and meringue powder in a bowl with a fork. Stir in the extract and water, starting with 3 tablespoons and increasing the amount of water until you reach a consistency that is still slightly thick but easily pourable. Stir in green food coloring. (If you make the icing ahead of time, simply cover bowl with plastic wrap until you’re ready to use it.

Use a spoon to drizzle the icing over two or three cereal trees at a time, and sprinkle on some M&Ms and confetti sprinkles. Place a yellow M&M at the top to represent a star, if desired. Allow icing to dry.  Store covered at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for 6 weeks. Makes about 15 trees.

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Click here for the free, printable PDF version of the recipe:  Decorated Rice Krispies Treats Christmas Trees

Enjoy!

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Easy Christmas Craft: Toilet Paper Roll Ornament Painting

Easy Christmas Craft Toilet Paper Roll Painted Ornaments

Painting Christmas ornaments with toilet paper rolls was another fun craft for my kids that was super easy to set up.

We just used the rolls to stamp red and green circles of paint onto a piece of white paper, and, once the paint was dry, we colored in the “ornaments” with colored pencils.

And hung the finished product of the fridge.

Easy and super fun.

But then, paint is always fun for kids.

Easy Christmas Craft Toilet Paper Roll Painted Ornaments

My suggestions include:  covering your creating space with newspaper to catch extra paint, put some paint into tiny paper plates, and suggest making patterns with the colored pencils when they color in the “ornaments.”

And don’t forget to check out these other Christmas crafts:

DIY Lifesize Cardboard Gingerbread House

Felt Fashion Christmas Tree

Easy Christmas Craft: Paper Cone Christmas Trees

Crystal Snowmen

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Easy Christmas Craft: Paper Cone Christmas Trees

Easy Christmas Craft:  Decorating Paper Cone Christmas Trees at RoamingRosie.com

Decorating these paper cone Christmas trees was a fun craft for my kids and easy for me to set up.

I simply took some green construction paper, rolled it into a cone, added some tape to keep it in shape, and snipped off the bottoms with scissors to make them stand.

Easy Christmas Craft:  Decorating Paper Cone Christmas Trees at RoamingRosie.com

I covered their art table with some scrap paper, set out the trees, some glitter glue and some sequins, and let them at it!

I actually had set out a bowl of gold and a bowl of red sequins, but my 4yo mixed them both together.  She thought it looked better.  :)

And I did help them a little with the glitter glue, just to make sure there was enough of it on the tree.

The sequins {our little ornaments} stick to the glitter glue, and when the glue dries, the glitter is still there, so it looks a little like a snowy garland.

Easy Christmas Craft:  Decorating Paper Cone Christmas Trees at RoamingRosie.com

Ours are by the big Christmas tree right now.  :)

And don’t forget to check out these other Christmas crafts:

DIY Lifesize Cardboard Gingerbread House

Felt Fashion Christmas Tree

Easy Christmas Craft: Toilet Paper Roll Ornament Painting

Crystal Snowmen

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DIY Fine Motor Skills Craft for Toddlers with Pipe Cleaners

DIY Fine Motor Skills Craft for Toddlers with Pipe Cleaners at RoamingRosie.com

I like to make homemade activities for my girls by recycling things we have around the house.

We use pipe cleaners {or chenille sticks} fairly often, so we’ve always got those on hand.  I usually get them at the dollar store.

For this project, I used 4 pipe cleaners and cut them into inch-long pieces with a pair of strong scissors.

Then, the goal was simply to put them into an old spice container.

This is the type of spice container that holds dried herbs, like parsley or oregano.  You’ll notice the top has only 6 large holes.

It’s a great way to work on fine motor skills and helps with prewriting skills.

The only drawback to this is that the metal inside the pipe cleaners can be a little sharp.  There are a couple of ways around this.  One:  ignore it.  And two:  use pliers to curve over the very ends of the metal pieces, making sure that the sticks still fit through the holes in the spice container.

We chose option one.

Really, it’s not terribly sharp and you can insert them without pushing the ends anyway if you manipulate the pieces by holding them on the fuzzy part.  Or pushing gently, which is what I showed my girls.

Or, if you’re really worried about it, you could just use pieces of yarn instead.

My favorite part is that all the little pieces fit inside the container, and, thus, it is self-contained and easy to store.

For more kid activities using items around the house, check out:

Practice Measuring with Rice

Painting With Chalk

Our Colorful Backyard: Color Matching Activity for Kids

Blustery Day Water Play

Free Kid Activity: Developing Fine Motor Skills with Crayons

Pretend Play: Makeup

Free Kid Activity: Chalk on Construction Paper

Free Kid Activity: Painting Newspaper

Make Your Own Color Shadows

Dirt Soup: In Contact With Creation

Have fun!

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Just How Long Can A Long String Be {Book Review}

Just How Long Can A Long String Be by Keith Baker

We recently read Just How Long Can A Long String Be?! by Keith Baker.

My 2-year-old picked it out because of the bird on the cover, and both my girls liked it.

It’s a simple rhyming text about a bird and an ant discussing that they can do with a long string, such as tie up a package or make a nest.

Just How Long Can A Long String Be? By Keith Baker {Book Review}

My 4-year-old got excited about finding the ant on each page, then her sister followed suit.

So each time we read it, they point out the little bug:  “There’s the ant!”

It’s a cute book, and both girls liked it and have requested it over and over.  It was a library book, and we’ll definitely be borrowing it again.

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