Friday Finds – Feb 25

Another week and another group of fantastic ideas from around the web! After spending lots of time traveling in the car this week, I’m looking forward to setting Claire loose to work off some energy. Thanks for sharing your own strategies via Facebook and Twitter. It seems I’m not the only Mom out there who loves audiobooks for kids and snacks to get through long car rides! Parents have been traveling with kids for eons, I suppose keeping the little ones safely occupied has always been on the minds of parents, thanks for sharing your methods!

And without further ado - here are my Friday Finds:

Featured Posts1

{1} Easy Batik Pillow Cases @ Zeah Renaissance
{2} Ice Mandalas @ Garden Mama
{3} Origami Tutorials @ Origami Club
{4} ABC Mat House @ Hands On As We Grow
{5} Toddler Sewing Frame @ TinkerLab


Crafty Treasure Unearthed Deep within Cellar

Nearly half a year has passed since Claire’s great-grandfather died (you can read my long rambling post on taking Claire to the viewing and funeral here). We’ve been slowly cleaning out the house preparing it for sale and I can’t help but smile at some of the things found beneath a rather thick layer of dust in the basement. Record players, dresses, cameras, a plastic blow up Santa from 1960 (and used every year since). Really, it’s quite astounding.


How Make a Colorful Venn Diagram

I'm planning a little something special this week with an old favorite - crayon shavings and wax paper sun catchers! I thought I'd post this little tidbit for those people about to teach color combinations:

(two separate circles - they're overlapped in the photo)

If you could make a few of these in primary colors (and manage to get the shavings more even than I did) I think it could be a great hands on way to teach color theory. Can you see the purple where the red and blue intersect? 

Oh man, I think I just created a very artsy Venn Diagram.

And if you were wondering about my most excellent photography of the sun pouring through those sun catchers - think again, I scanned them!


Friday Finds –Things On My To-Do List

I’ve got about 30,000 starred items in my feed reader, it’s high time to share some of these great ideas floating around the blogsophere. Have a special idea you’d like to see featured? Send me an email

Featured Posts
{1} Magic Nuudle Garland at The Chocolate Muffin Tree
{2} Crinkly Owl Teethers at Homemade by Jill
{3} Painting With Salt at A Bit of This and A Bit of That
{4} Rainbow Letters at The Wonder Years
{5}  Two Year Olds With Hammers at Teacher Tom


Oh My Sweet Beets! We Love This Dip.


Beets were the one veggie that really thrived last year in my garden. Tucked under the soil, they were safe from the deer and Claire’s busy little fingers. My cherry tomatoes didn’t make it to the table with my daughter’s constant snacking and let’s not discuss my zucchini plants that didn’t produce ANY zucchinis.

This is three years in a row I’ve had zero luck with the most “prolific” of garden veggies. I was led to believe that zucchini were like the rabbits of the veggie kingdom. What on earth am I doing wrong?

When I saw this recipe for Beet and White Bean Hummus over at Weelicious, I knew I had to try it out. Given Claire’s adoration of hummus (remember the hummus costume?!)  and her love of beets, I predicted a winner.

Guess what? I was right. And I think I’ll be planting at least 3000 beets because I intend to eat this at least once a day year round.


Loving Our Buddha Board!

DSC_0831I love when other parents share what their children enjoying playing with – it always helps me figure out what to introduce into our own toy rotation. One of Claire’s favorite art tools since Christmas has been the Buddha Board. Everyone loves it! I’ve caught Dan doodling away many times and it was a big hit at Christmas dinner.


How To Make Bathtub Puffy Paint

I'm all about celebrating process oriented art, especially messy tactile experiences! My Cuisinart has been roaring away this past week shredding soap and mixing paint as I perfected this recipe for bathtub puffy paint. Using a cake frosting tip and a squeeze bottle, my three year old daughter created some fantastic 3D art in the tub! Clean up was a cinch. Handling the shower head and watching the colors run under the water spray was part of the fun!

Don't want to stain your bath tiles? Use these liquid watercolors. At $13 for 6, they're cheap and last forever. They are super-duper concentrated but don't seem to stain, promise!

I’ve got a kiddo with sensitive skin so I used her Johnson’s Buddies soap to yield 1 cup of finely grated soap flakes. A lot of recipes call for Ivory soap, but I don’t think this is a brand specific thing – especially if you gradually add the water in the next step. Make sure it’s hot!

DSC_0060 copy

Use your blender, food processor or mixer to get a thick and sticky consistency. A bit of foam is fine, but slowly add the water or else you’ll wind up with bubbles…and only bubbles. The 3/4 C of water is a suggestion, stop once you’ve got a thick but squishy texture (I know, I’m just SO technical and descriptive).

DSC_0066 copy

I tried two methods for mixing the dye in – ziploc bags and tupperware with popsicle sticks. Take my advice and put the frosting tip in BEFORE you mix it if you are going to ziploc bag route.


Mixing in the tupperware allowed Claire to slowly watch colors blend, a practical lesson in color theory. We used our trusty liquid watercolors to dye the paint. Food coloring would work just as well but these watercolors seem to wash off everything and I wasn't taking chances with white marble tile.

paint recipe for children

I took the picture below standing on the edge of the tub and looking down. Look at those colorful snakes and flowers! The thickness of the paint really let the texture stand out.

Claire seemed to find the most success by moving the paint towards the tip and then using her thumb to push it out. Pipe away kid!

preschool 3d paint recipe

Once the paint was emptied from the bags, Claire went on a fingerpainting bonanza happily squishing colors between her fingers and smearing large circles on the wall. She then hosed down the tiles with the shower head and I'm happy to report (to my husband's delight) that no colorful stains were left behind.

What a fun afternoon activity! I wound up with a clean kid AND a clean tub after a painting session, how often can you say that?
DSC_0256   DSC_0265   homemade puffy paint tutorial  rainy day preschool activities        

If you try this, don't forget to share your photos on the Chalk In My Pocket Facebook page, I'd love to see your twist on our projects!

And PS - if you haven't seen it already I had an EPIC CRAFT FAIL when I tried to turn this recipe into molded bath soap. It's rather hysterical and if in need of a good laugh that's the place to get it! Looking for more artful adventures and craft tutorials? Check out my C R E A T E tab above.




A Little Giveaway to Celebrate Love -- CLOSED

I made this video when Claire was 8 months old and I still love watching it now and again. I can't let my sisters know I'm reposting it because one of them cries every time she watches it.

I thought I'd say "Happy Valentine's Day" to a lucky someone here and create a video montage for a reader!

So, if you have a bunch of digital photos gathering virtual dust and a favorite song in your head, leave a comment to enter. I'll pick a winner Friday night, details below the video. And try not to cry from all the cuteness - especially during the last 30 seconds. :)

You can enter this giveaway a total of 4 times -
Comment here on who the star(s) of your video would be
Like "Chalk In My Pocket" on Facebook {}
Follow ChalkInMyPocket on Twitter
Tweet, blog or post on Facebook about this giveaway with a link back here
Be sure to leave a comment for each thing you did so I can use to pick by comment number. Good luck! Winner will be announced Friday night, check back to see who won!


PS - This is not limited to those with pint-sized Valentine's like Claire. I'm happy to celebrate the love between you and your partner, grandparents, siblings, pets - you get the idea.

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much for entering.


Homemade Art Materials Recipes

Ohdeedoh has a great round up of art materials that can be made at home. I posted this on my Facebook page but thought it worth mentioning here too - check it out!

I'm a big fan of homemade playdoh, we've had great luck with it and I often dye it with our liquid watercolors. Below is one of my favorite playdoh creations. On our last camping trip the kids gathered bits of grass and leaves and created little playdoh people. What fun!


Lovely Stained Glass Windows


We're putting a Valentine twist on the Tissue Paper and Window Collage over at Filth Wizardry. The colors are just gorgeous and I couldn't be happier with the finished result.


Great Valentine's Reads In Books and Online

I visited my local library Monday, really sad that the due date had arrived for our Valentine's story books. After reading "Sweethearts" by Jan Carr every night for the past two weeks, I've grown rather attached to the sweet family of panda bears who inhabit its pages. Of all the holiday themed books we checked out, this was by far my favorite.


Keeping A Toddler Happy Indoors

There are days when we're stuck inside all day - due to weather, illness or just my general lack of enthusiasm about completing laundry. On those days, I find it pays to have a special "something" up your sleeve. My newest device? The sensory bin.


Is There Value in Digital Art Programs for Preschoolers?

Portrait of Mommy, "Drawing Pad" app for iPad

I'm working up a post about digital art programs for kids and would love to hear your thoughts!

I'm torn. My daughter is a prolific artist so I see occasionally surrendering my iPad as a way to save paper. We also email the pictures around to family for all to enjoy (that's a spider below if you were wondering).

On the flip side, I know art for young children is all about the hands on process. Rolling up those sleeves and diving into a mound of playdough or cup of fingerpaint is a childhood textural experience that shouldn't be missed.

So, what are your thoughts? Do your children virtually finger paint? Is there a particular program or app you love or does your family stick to the real stuff? 

Join the conversation on Chalk In My Pocket's facebook page or leave a comment with your thoughts here. 

Spider created in the "Drawing Pad" App


Top Secret Love Notes

This is one of the coolest valentine ideas I’ve seen on the web yet. Write your loved ones a secret message in invisible ink. All you need is some lemon juice and a heat source. For the full how to, head on over to MiniEco. This blog is one of my favorite stops on the Internet - colorful photography and a plethora of crafts that are easily accomplished at home.

Wouldn’t this be a fun activity to encourage a budding writer or artist? I’m planning to give my daughter a message full of hearts to show my love.

Shhhh! don’t tell her, it’s a secret!


Tech for Tots: Google's Art Project

Thank You Google, You Rock!
If you haven't seen it yet, you must check out this site: Google's Art Project.

Starry Night

I am enthralled.

What’s so cool about this is that in addition to the EXTREME closeups of the artwork (that’s a portion of The Starry Night in the screenshot below) is that they rode this steady-cam style bike thing around and gave us Street View…in a museum! For me at least, part of the excitement of a museum visit was experiencing the atmosphere of all these great works in one place. And while this can’t compare to actually being there, I can see so many opportunities for this in education and even in my own family.


DIY Heart Stamp

I’m sure I can’t be the first person to come up with this concept – but what a great (and frugal) alternative to the overpriced Valentine stamps at the local craft store. I mean, come on – $5 for a HEART?

I raided the container of $1 foam hearts (with stickers!) from Target and stuck them on Claire’s blocks. I doubled them up to make sure the surface was really raised, makes stamping things easier for the chubby-fisted toddler in my life.


The Snowy Day, Literature Brought To Life

One winter morning Claire woke up and looked out the window. Mother nature had dumped another foot of snow and her Mommy was desperate for something new to do. They decided to act out a favorite children’s book, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.


After breakfast Claire put on her snowsuit and ran outside. The snow was piled up very high. The doggies had made a path through the snow for her to follow.


Potato Head Snowmen

Got snow? 

Got a toddler?

Got a potato head toy?

Then you too can have an awesome squadron of wee snowfolk in your yard.

Full Size {FREE} Alphabet Chart!

11 x 8.5 pictobet

I had a few requests for a larger version (8.5 x 11) of that little alphabet chart I created to show off the free font featured here. Well here you go, just print and color away! And thanks, but no you don't need to pay me for this LOL!

Here's the link to the full sized landscape version:

And here's the link to the full sized portrait version:

By the way - I didn't watermark this because what kid is going to want to color all over something labeled "Chalk In My Pocket" but I'd love if you'd link back or email me if you share this somewhere.

I'm linking this post up to: