Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY Project: Basement Bungee Swing

Okay, so I admit it. This particular post is quite a bit off topic for the focus of this blog. But I had to post this because it's so fun!! :-) Two of our three kids have sensory seeking tendencies which means they are quite active, love messy play, and anything that will give their bodies some sort of "input" as we like to call it. This whole project stemmed from a trip to Target with Abbie from Greening Sam and Avery. While we were there, she pointed out the bungee cord chairs and said she heard from somewhere (sorry, I can't find the source) that you can remove the legs and turn it into a bungee swing.

I had to do this!! I knew the bungee cords would be great sensory input for my kids' bodies and when you add in the movement from the swing. BONUS input!! LOVE it!!

I bought two of the chairs from Target. We put one in my oldest daughter's room. And I gave the other to my awesome Father-in-Law who made THIS:
Here are some more photos:
Close-up of where the legs were removed:
 Hanging hardware. This is screwed right into the support beams going across our basement ceiling (the hook and eyes can hold up to 800 lbs!).
 He strung the rope through and used electrical tape to cover any loose ends.
 Whoo hoo!! Swinging away!
You can also put both rope loops on one hook and make it more like a tire swing:
add pillows and blankets to make it similar to a hammock swing!
I've even tried the swing out myself and it's great!! Thank you, thank you, thank you to my father-in-law for making us such a fun thing for our basement. It will be great with the winter months looming ahead!

Craft Project: Our "Pinterest" Pumpkins

Anyone who has visited this blog before will know I'm pretty addicted to Pinterest. ;-) So when I saw several fun and ARTISTIC ways to decorate pumpkins other than carving them, we just HAD to try them! So here are our three "Pinterest" pumpkins. All of which were NOT "Pinterest fails". I've used that term a bit as I have tried a few things that just did not work the way they look in the Pinterest pins. My younger daughter seems to get a kick out of saying it because after we decorated each pumpkin, she informed me, "Mama, that pumpkin was NOT a Pinterest fail!" She's so sweet it cracks me up!
I asked my husband to go out and pick me up three pumpkins while he was out and about with the kids a couple weekends ago and they picked these beautiful pumpkins out! Such perfect size and shape! My daughters and I spent three evenings last week doing one pumpkin each night.

First, we started with a ribbon pumpkin. I saw this image on Pinterest:
It's from a Better Homes and Gardens site. How EASY is that?! You just adhere ribbon to the pumpkin with hot glue.
 These were our "halloween-y" choices for ribbon already in my stash. We ended up throwing the shiny white, sparkly gold, and the gray to the side.
We just cut lengths of the ribbon in a pattern. And started gluing. My daughter wanted to glue the top and I did the bottom.

And by some crafting miracle, we actually picked the exact right number of colors to repeat so that we made it around the pumpkin with three repeats without even really trying. I figured we would end up with an odd pattern where the end met up with the beginning. But that didn't happen!! :-)
The next night we experimented with pour paint pumpkins. I swear I saw this idea somewhere, but I can't find a pin for it on my boards so maybe I thought to do it on my own (though the idea itself is not original at all). We used this technique last spring when we made our pour paint flower pots. I just absolutely LOVE how this turned out!
 All you need for this one is acrylic (or tempura paint works too) and a pumpkin. So easy!!
Keep pouring small amounts of color over and over again in the same spot and watch what happens! Less is more in this project. You will have to start pouring in a few different spots to cover the whole pumpkin.
We leveled out the bottom of our pumpkin by putting a toilet paper tube (squished) beneath it. So the pumpkin would sit evenly. I asked each girl to pick out 4 or so colors of paint from our stash and one sparkly paint.
 Ella's blue/green section
 Lily's pink/purple section
 I filled in with "halloween" colors. :-)
This turned out sooo fun! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! The flat acrylic paint dried matte and the glitter tempura paint dried shiny. Great play with texture and finish.
And our third and final "Pinterest" pumpkin was inspired from this post on The Swell Life blog. We have not done any melted crayon art yet. I've collected the random crayons around our house and I've even organized them into their color groups. But they have just sat waiting for me to decide what project to do. When I saw the melted crayon pumpkin, I knew that had to be our inaugural melted crayon project!

I had the girls each pick our eight crayons. Then I broke them in half and took the paper off. I used Alene's Fast Grab Tacky Glue to adhere them to the pumpkin.
Then the girls each took turns using the blow dryer to melt the crayons. The funny part was I completely didn't realize we had the hair dryer on 'low' until we were almost done. But I think that actually ended up working well.
We were in our garage and it was a pretty chilly and windy day. So the cool air dried the crayon faster and the lower heat kept it from splattering so much.
We ended up with these really cool melted pieces that weren't even touching the pumpkin they cooled so quickly!
Perfectionist that I am, when I was photographing this one, I wasn't getting the light I wanted in the garage to do the colors justice so I braved the yucky weather and took some on the driveway. I really love these photos. I just love all the color pop!
And here's all three of our "Pinterest Pumpkins" outside (five days after we made them. Our weather has been so cold and dreary lately. Not conducive to taking photos!)
For me, these were soooo fun! And I love how all three of them turned out. So bright and colorful. I will definitely be doing more of these in the future. And we may have to venture into canvas melted crayon art too.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Toddler Sensory Activity: Halloween Sensory Bin

It's October 1st! Time to change our sensory bin! I collected a ton of things from the dollar store and around our house for this month's bin.

This month's bin has the following:
--dry black beans
--pom poms
--magnetic discs
--plastic eye balls
--small orange and halloween themed toys
--mardi gras necklaces
--orange measuring cup
--fake pumpkins
--sensory ball

I think this bin would look AWESOME in a room with a black light. That would be a way to add even more sensory input with it. 

These are the toys I put in the bin. I'm planning to print this out as an 8 x 10 and use as an I Spy card.
I realize some of these are choking hazards. My son is always supervised at the sensory table. Every parent has to make their own decisions about what their children are ready for in terms of play.
These plastic eyes were a big hit with Kellan. He took them out of the tray put them in the bowl, put them in the measuring cup, poured them out. Tons of fun! I got all three items above at Dollar Tree. We counted with them as he played.
My daughter received that cute pumpkin magnet from her bus driver a couple years ago. And the colored discs are magnetic discs from Lakeshore Learning.
 I put them in the bin so you can use the pumpkin magnet to pick them up!
 Kellan learned "apple" last month. I asked him where the pumpkin was and he showed me! ;-)