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Curly Birds

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Feather your nest with these colorful birds made from loops of paper.

What you'll need

  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Tacky glue
  • Clothespin
  • Toothpick

How to make it

  1. First, use this guide to measure and cut the card stock strips you'll need for each bird:

    Body: 5 (1-inch-wide) strips, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 inches long
    Head: 2 (1-inch-wide) strips, 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 inches long
    Tail: 5 (1 1/2-inch-wide) strips, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 inches long
    Beak: 1 (1- by 2-inch) strip
    Eyes: 1 (1- by 1 1/2-inch) strip

  2. Roll the body strips into circles, overlap their ends about 1/4 inch, and secure with tacky glue.

  3. Nest the circles and glue them together. Tip: Use a clothespin to hold the pieces until the glue dries. Do the same with the head strips, then glue the head to the body.

  4. Trim the tail strips into long triangles, then curl them a bit before gluing them together. Glue the tail to the body.

  5. Curly Birds - Step 5

    Fold the beak rectangle in half, then cut off the two folded corners at an angle, as shown. Fold in the tabs and glue them to the bird's head.

Garden of Weavin’

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What you'll need

  • Yellow paper plate
  • Yellow yarn
  • Brown yarn
  • Green paint
  • Stick

How to make it

  1. To make a yarn sunflower, first cut an odd number of petals around the edge of a yellow paper plate. Tape the end of a length of yellow yarn (we used 16 feet for the dinner plates) to the back. Wrap the yarn around the plate, going from one notch to its match across the plate. Tie the two ends together at the back.

  2. Next, to make the weaving easier, wind up a bobbin. Start by anchoring the end of a 5- or 6-yard length of brown yarn by winding it around your forefinger a couple of times. Then wrap the rest of the yarn around your whole hand. When you have about a foot left, carefully pull the wound yarn from your hand. Wrap the loose end around the center of this yarn a few times and tie it to secure.

  3. Garden of Weavin' - Step 3

    Find the end of the yarn inside the bobbin and tie it around the intersection of the yellow yarn on the plate's front. Weave the brown yarn around the spokes of yellow yarn, as shown. The yarn should pull neatly from the inside of the bobbin. If you run out of yarn, make and tie on a new bobbin.

Minnie’s Bow-Tique Butterfly Bow Mobile

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Be as goofy as Goofy! You, too, can release Minnie's beautiful butterly bows onto the wind. Cut this printable version out and make your own fluttery butterfly mobile! The project is easy to print and makes a delightful decoration for your child's room.


Download Minnie's Bow-Tique Butterfly Bow Mobile Template

How to make it

  1. Print all of the pages of the Butterfly Bow Mobile on regular paper or white cardstock. You can print out the pages as many times as you like to get your desired number of butterflies.

  2. Fold each sheet of paper along the grey line and cut out each butterfly. Be sure to leave the butterflies attached at the line.

  3. Cut a piece of fishing line, ribbon, string, or twine as long as you would like your mobile to be.

  4. Tape the top end of your string or ribbon to a flat working surface to hold it steady. Remember to leave some room at the top so you can tie your mobile to the object it will hang from. Next, choose your first butterfly and open it so that the blank side of the butterfly is facing up. Lay the string or ribbon directly in the middle of the butterfly. Tape the string or ribbon to the center then cover it in glue. Fold the other half of the butterfly over and press down firmly to ensure that it sticks to the string or ribbon.

  5. Repeat Step 4 with as many butterflies as you desire, adding them down the line. You can put them in any order. For a fun effect, fold the butterfly in half to make it appear like it is flapping its wings.

  6. When you finish, you may cut the excess string below the last butterfly to complete your vertical mobile, or you can tie both ends of the mobile.

Cut-Up Collages

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Give your photos a silly makeover with this creative cutting and pasting project.


What you'll need

  • Photo (portraits work best)
  • Colored paper
  • Glue

How to make it

  1. Print out a large color photo — portraits have the most dramatic effects! Cut it into long strips, vertical and horizontal pieces, or various geometric shapes (as shown).

  2. Reassemble the photo on a piece of colored paper, spreading out the pieces to let some color come through.

  3. Once you're set on a design, glue the pieces in place.

Beyond Mud Pies: Mud Cupcakes

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The classic mud pie needs no improving, but there may be days when your kids want to get more creative with their dirty work. That's when old kitchen supplies come in handy, for these decorative cupcakes or for a more utilitarian variation: Mud Bricks.


What you'll need

  • Cupcake liners
  • Cupcake pan
  • Mud
  • Nature objects (we used berries, flowers, and pebbles)

How to make it

  1. Simply place liners in a cupcake pan and fill them with mud batter, then decorate the cakes with natural objects, such as berries, flowers, and pebbles.

Personalized Notebooks

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Customize plain notebooks with collaged covers tailored to each recipient. Brown paper bags make sturdy covers, and they're free! If you have guests, make sure there are enough scissors to go around.

What you'll need
  • brown paper bags
  • scrapbooking paper and colored card stock
  • glue dots
  • pencil
  • blank notebooks (such as composition books)
  • glue stick
  • scissors
Helpful Tip:

THE 3-D VERSION: To add dimension to your collage, bend up the edges of your shapes before gluing them to the cover. Use this method to create a flower with pop: glue petaled circles in a stack from largest to smallest. 

MONOGRAM: Top your cover with simple cutouts of your recipient's initials.

How to make it

  1. Trace a notebook onto a paper bag. Cut out the shape and use a glue stick to adhere it to the front of the notebook.

  2. Cut shapes from the decorative papers and arrange them on the notebook, adhering them with a glue stick or glue dots.

Silly Sunglasses

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Let your kids have some fun with their very own cooky personalized shades.


What you'll need

  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Sunglasses

How to make it

  1. If your child wants to make a truly eye-catching summer fashion statement, simply have her use tacky glue to stick googly eyes on the frame of her sunglasses.

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This project is a mash up of modern art and the art of recycling. It's inspired by the work of Gene Davis who was known for painting vertical stripes of color. It'd make a great Earth Day project. Or make a bunch for May Day and fill them with flowers for your neighbors.


What you'll need
  • class jar (spaghetti and olive jars work well)
  • painter's or masking tape
  • glass paint
  • paint brush

How to make it

  1. Remove any labels from your jar and wash it with warm soapy water. Let dry.

    Then place tape in vertical strips around the jar.

  2. Time to paint. Experiment with colors—go for bright and bold or soft and pastel. It's up to you. Let the paint dry overnight.


  3. You can fill the vase with water and flowers or pencils for your desk.

    You can find more of Jennifer's playful ideas on her blog Classic Play. You can also find her on facebook and twitter.

Spongy Bungee

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Our bungee-jumping bath pal loves to just hang around, although he´s more than happy to help out when it´s time to wash.


What you'll need

  • Scissors
  • Rectangular sponge
  • Permanent marker
  • Braided nylon rope
  • Suction cup hook

How to make it

  1. Using the scissors, cut Spongy Bungee from the sponge; he is shaped like a gingerbread man with his arms up. Make two 1/2-inch horizontal cuts in his sides to hold his bungee rope in place.

  2. With the marker, draw a face and any other features on your jumper.

  3. Tie the nylon rope onto the suction cup hook. Trim any excess rope.

  4. Slip the rope into the slits in Spongy Bungee´s sides. Dampen the suction cup, stick it to the wall alongside the tub, and let Spongy dangle over the bathwater.

  5. When it´s time to wash, slip him out of the rope and lather up. After the bath, reattach him to drip-dry.

Bookmark Gift Tag

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Top off gifts with these handmade gift tags that double as bookmarks.


What you'll need

  • 8- by 2 1/2-inch piece of card stock
  • Craft knife
  • Glue
  • Pencil
  • Colored markers
  • Con-Tact paper
  • Ribbon

How to make it

  1. Draw a simple shape, such as a fish, a flower or a curvy earthworm on the card stock.

  2. With a craft knife, cut out the shape (a parent's job) and discard it. Next, glue the card stock onto a slightly larger piece of card stock that's been cut from a contrasting color.

  3. Use markers to color in the design and print the name of the person who will be receiving the gift.

  4. Make a hole in one end of the tag and tie a loop of ribbon through it for tying the tag to its package. Finally, laminate the tags with Con-Tact paper to make them long lasting.