Friday, May 31, 2013

Summer Sensory Play: Blue Water Table Fun

Now that it is finally getting warm enough to be outside, we have really been utilizing our water table and deck. My son is a bit of a wild man (to say the least) and VERY sensory seeking (hence being very active) so sometimes it's nice to just open the door and let him do what he wants on our deck. It's fully enclosed with no stairs or gate down to the yard. So it's like a giant play yard. Nice for me when I need to get something done in the kitchen, cook dinner, or work on school work with the girls. Kellan LOVES being out there. And he LOVES playing in the water table out there. We're starting a routine that at 8:30am the morning television watching ends, and after next week when the girls are home for the summer, we'll do our summer school work at that time. Kellan will play on the deck and all should be happy!

So this week I've started getting him used to this new routine. I'm doing a blue themed week. The other great thing about the water table is I can easily put some warm water from the kitchen sink in the table. This kind of extends the play a bit more.
 Playing with chalk in the water was fun because it turned the water blue!
 We have white beans in his sensory box in the house and he decided to add a handful to the table.
One day I did more of a sensory bin idea with putting blue objects in, including a magnet and magnetic discs. He really seemed to like that!
Look for some more fun water table ideas as the summer progresses! Now, if all our rain would just stop and we had a few more warmer, sunnier days, I definitely wouldn't complain!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sensory Activity: May Sensory Bin

I decided to do a sensory bin this month that was red/rescue vehicle themed! I hadn't used beans in awhile for box filler so I picked up some white beans at the store. Added some emergency vehicles, some wooden play pieces, magnetic dots and a magnetic tow truck piece from a puzzle we have, and there you have it!

Since I tend to keep our sensory box around for a month or so, I tend to switch things up a bit throughout the month. We started off with our new Flipzle puzzle in the box (I'll write a separate post on these fun and creative puzzles!). Then I removed it after some initial play.
I tend to overcrowd the sensory box at first because I come up with all these great things to have in there. But after initial photos, I tend to take some of it out. ;-)
Kellan likes this box quite bit. He mostly enjoys running his hands through the beans. But he always likes first investigating a sensory bin to see what I've included.
 He really liked the magnetic dots and tow truck magnet this time!
 He used the helicopter puzzle piece as a scooper.
 How the bin looked at the end of round 1 of play.
After a couple weeks, I taped some tubes to the side of the table. I thought it would be fun for him to pour the beans down the tubes. The clear tube is from our Marble Racers car track. He particularly liked being able to see the beans drop in the box through the tube.
 He experimented with using his hands and the scooper...

The Best of Pour Paint

We LOVE pour-paint projects around here! They are messy, fun, and they always turn out beautiful! I thought it would be fun to post them all together in a "Best of" post! Click on project titles to head to the post and directions for the project!

Pour-Paint Vases

Pour-Paint Glassware
Wine Glasses

Pour-Paint Christmas Ornaments

Pour-Paint Pumpkins

Pour-Paint Flower Pots

Pour-Paint Handmade Cards

Craft Project: Pour Paint Handmade Cards

We made a second round of pour-paint flower pots this spring, and while I was watching the paint drip down to the cardboard, I was mesmerized by the amazing pools of paint on the cardboard. I thought, "What a waste of paint!" and "How can I do something with these great pools of color?"
The pooling kind of reminded me of Suminagachi projects I'd seen. Which made me think of paper! So I grabbed some thick watercolor paper we had, cut it up into smaller squares and tried laying them gently in the paint. I used both hands to pick up the paper trying not to smoosh it into the paint too much.
The girls came out to see what I was doing, and they wanted to give it a try too!
Ella wanted a bit more control over what the paint was doing so she tried just touching the paper to the bottom of the pot as it dripped down.
The end result of this experiment was pretty fun and cool!
We used these as Mother's Day cards. Writing on the back. Sometimes I turned the paint image into something, like this butterfly for my Grandma's card.

Craft Project: Pour Paint Glass Flower Vases

We've created pour paint wine glasses and pour paint flower pots. I thought it would be fun to combine the two and create pour paint glass flower vases! We gave these away for mother's day gifts!
Here's one of them with flowers in it after we gave it to my stepmom:
In the above photos, I just masked the bottom of the vases. Below, I masked the top and bottom of the vases. We poured paint along the sides with a spoon as we did for the wine glasses we made in another project.
Just be sure to cut along the edge of the tape before you pull it up, after the tape has dried.

I happened to be at the Dollar Tree and noticed they had cosmo-style glasses. I decided that we needed to make pour paint cosmo glasses to add to my glassware collection!
 I really LOVE how these turned out! They are so fun to drink out of!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Craft Project: Handpainted Garden Art

I came across this post for painting glass plates and turning them into garden art. I decided these would make some fun and creative Mother's Day gifts. So the girls and I set out to make some pretty garden art for grandmas and great-grandmas.

What you'll need:
--glass plates/bowls from Dollar Tree
--Gloss Enamel acrylic paint and Crystal Gloss Enamel Paint
--Triple-thick Glaze spray
--3/8" coupling
--threaded rod
--UV6800 industrial strength glue (You might also want to try Gorilla Glue--We had a couple of our gift plates separate from the coupling during some really strong storms that have come through in the last several weeks. The plates survived, but the coupling had to be reglued.)

The nice thing about this project is that you can buy the plates and paint, and just go for it. You don't have to add glazing medium (unless you want to and we did add a bit on a few of the plates). We chose to paint the BACK of the plate because you can use the pattern detail in the plate as a guide. It also creates a smooth look on the front.
We did some pour paint on a few of the plates.

  Our art room turned into a glass painting studio.
 We used both big plates, small plates, and a bowl.
The four plates on the left half of the image were Mother's Day gifts this weekend. The three plates on the right are for our landscape bed and they are not quite done yet. I'll add a photo of them when they are.

As I did with our pour paint wine glasses, I baked the plates to cure the paint into an enamel surface. 350 degrees in the oven for 30 minutes. Starting with a cool oven and letting the glassware heat up with the oven. Remove items once cool.
I had no issues with the paint baked on wine glasses. I did have some issues with the paint on a few of the plates bubbling up once baked. I think this may have happened because we applied the paint thicker on the plates than we did on the wine glasses.

It ended up working out that we painted on the back of the plates. Even though the paint bubbled up, it still looked smooth and great from the front of the plate.

Once the plates were baked, I further sealed the painted side by spraying Rustoleum Triple Thick Glaze spray on them. When that was dry, I used UV6800 industrial strength adhesive to glue the two painted pieces together. I let that sit for a day and then flipped it over and glued the coupling on the back. I let the whole thing sit for two more days. It seems like it has an incredibly strong bond so I'm crossing my fingers that it stays attached for a long time. (EDITED TO ADD 6/28/13--You might also want to try Gorilla Glue--We had a couple of our gift plates separate from the coupling during some really strong storms that have come through in the last several weeks. The plates survived, but the coupling had to be reglued.)

And finally here they are with the threaded rod attached and in the ground. Unfortunately, our landscape bed doesn't quite look like spring yet (even though it's May 12th) because our winter hung on for soooo long this year. We gave this one to my mom for Mother's Day.

And here is one in my Grandma's flower bed on Mother's Day!
I'm excited to finish our last three plates that will go in our yard! Maybe spring will finally arrive in Minnesota so we can enjoy them with our beautiful flowers in our landscape bed.