• The moment a child figures out how to pick up a crayon, she begins an adventure through art from scribbling to realistic creations. Just like with learning how to read or write, children go through levels of development in art - and it is a fun and educational journey. And, with summer right around the corner, there are lots of exciting ways to keep those little hands busy - and out of trouble!

    The Scribble Stage

    Viktor Lowenfeld, an art education professor at Pennsylvania State University, published Creative and Mental Growth in 1947, detailing the development of art in children. His writing teaches the Stages of Artistic Development, which ties together the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic growth of art in children. According to Lowenfeld, the first stage of a child's art development is the scribble stage. Youngsters, from birth to the age of four, explore their abilities to make marks using various materials, including that pen you left out on your home's

    Read More »from The Scribble Stage: Fun art activities for your little scribbler
  • Did your kids love Pirates of the Caribbean 4? Bring some of the magic of the movie home with fun pirate crafts inspired by scenes from the movie.



    Make your own likeness of Captain Jack, just like the one in the zombie scene, see how to create a Jolly Roger flag, and more! These quick and fun instructions for pirate accessories, treats, and loot will definitely make your little swashbuckler smile.



    PLUS:


    Top 20 Pirate Crafts


    Top 20 Toy Story Crafts


    Top 15 Tangled Crafts


    Top 10 Cars Crafts

    Read More »from Jack Sparrow voodoo doll and more "Pirates 4" crafts
  • Easily create and personalize this cheerful sign to decorate your garden.

    What You Need:
    • Tracing paper
    • Scissors
    • Tablecloth plastic: yellow, orange, red, and green
    • Self-healing mat, ruler, and rotary cutter (optional)
    • 3/16-inch hole punch
    • Blue plastic cording
    • Fabrics glue
    • Teal paint pen
    • Black permanent marking pen or black paint pen
    • Drill and 3/8-inch drill bit
    • Two sticks, one bigger around than the other
    • Wood glue (optional)
    • Paintbrush
    • Orange acrylic paint
    • Sponge brush
    • Water-base, nontoxic gloss exterior varnish

    Instructions:
    1. Trace the patterns (see link below) (flower, flower center, leaf) onto tracing paper. Make a mirror image of each shape along the dashed line. Cut out paper shapes. With scissors, cut out an orange flower, a red flower center, and green leaves from tablecloth plastic.

    2. Using scissors or a self-healing mat, ruler, and rotary cutter, cut

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  • photo credit: getty imagesphoto credit: getty imagesBaseball Party
    Ages 5 and up
    By Lauren Guerriero

    Invitations, Activities & Goodies
    It's easy to transform your backyard into a ballpark for a big-league bash!

    Play ball!
    Cut circles from white card stock. Print or write out party details. Then, using craft glue, attach two strips of ric-rac to resemble a baseball.

    While the little sluggers are busy at bat, take an instant photo of each child. When the game's over, have them make a craft foam frame for their pictures. (Cut out a frame shape from a sheet of craft foam. Make sure the window is large enough to fit the photo. To decorate, use precut self-adhesive foam shapes and letters. To finish, tape photo to the back.)

    Fill an old-fashioned popcorn box with major-league treats. Write or print each guest's name on white card stock. Cut into popcorn shape, glue to a wooden skewer, and stick in box.

    Party Resources
    • Colorfoam, 39¢ per sheet from Jo-Ann; call 888-739-4120 for locations.
    • "Play Ball" self-adhesive foam shapes;

    Read More »from How to host a baseball party for your kids
  • Gifts for Teacher

    Show your child's favorite teacher some well-deserved appreciation with these awesome teacher gifts just in time for graduation!


    To see even more ideas, click here!

  • photo credit: getty imagesphoto credit: getty imagesDoes the start of your child's summer vacation take you by surprise?

    Sure, you know your kids are spending oh, about 12 weeks without school. And you also know it takes time to get into that summer vacation groove. (You can expect this "getting into the groove" time to occur during the wait for the start of summer camp. Naturally.)

    And yet? The last day of school arrives and you're wondering how your kids will pass the time over the next few months.

    Fear not, anxious parent. We have five activities you'll want to pursue during the early stages of summer vacation.

    • Plan a Do Nothing Day. Maybe it's the first day of summer vacation or a few days into the break, but pick a weekday where the kids can wake up and just hang out in their PJs all day (if they so choose). You have nothing on the schedule but time to just chill out. Let the kids decide what they want to do with two rules: the activity has to be relaxing and not involve spending money!
    • Make the kids take swimming
    Read More »from School’s out! Five great early summer activities for kids
  • Every parent who has a child on a sports team has signed up for snack duty for after a practice or game. And that parent usually faces a small dilemma the morning or afternoon of the event. It's that mild panic of "Oh no! Today's my day for snack duty!" mixed with "Oh no! What am I going to feed the kids?" Because even though you know snack duty is coming, that day arrives at the most inopportune time. Like when you're stuck in a meeting all day and have to pick up treats on the way to the event.



    It's easy to run to the store and grab a box of donuts or cookies and a pack of Gatorade, but are those snacks the best foods to be feeding the team after a workout?



    "Every parent wants to be the cool parent that brings the cool snacks," said Julie Matel, clinical dietician at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. "You want to avoid snacks loaded with sugar. Don't eliminate fun foods from diets. But a sporting event should be centered on health and what is healthy for our body. And these are

    Read More »from Snack Duty: Best snacks for after school sports
  • Munch on these pre-natal powerfoods to keep both you and baby healthy.

    By Kristin Koch for TheBump.com


    Lean Meat
    What it's got: Sure, you know it's a great source of protein, but lean beef and pork are also packed with iron and B vitamins.
    Why it's good for both of you: Your body needs a lot more protein now (about 25 extra grams a day) to help the fetus grow and to ensure her muscles develop properly. Same goes for iron: Not getting enough of this mineral can impair your baby's growth and increase the risk for preterm delivery and low birth weight. Iron is important for mom, too -- it's necessary for red blood cell formation (to prevent anemia). During pregnancy, your blood volume increases, so you'll need to up your iron intake (to around 27 milligrams a day). Bonus: Meat supplies a hefty dose of vitamins B6 (helps baby's tissue and brain growth, while easing mom's morning sickness) and B12 (helps to maintain healthy nerves and red blood cells).

    Are you and baby getting

    Read More »from 10 Foods Moms-to-Be Should Eat for Baby
  • With the weather finally seeming like spring (what was up with that rain last week?!), summer is right around the corner. I am dedicating myself to spending more time outdoors and using the grill this summer. You see, the wonderful grill was out on our newly renovated spa deck, which was great and all, until it was time to grill. The deck is right off our bedroom located down the stairs and around the corner from our upstairs kitchen. Who wants to trek raw meat through the house? Not I! So, last summer that grill sat in the corner of the spa deck collecting wasps.

    Really.

    After we re-did the deck, the grill ended up in a much better location, and I was ready to entertain again! When having guests over, I like to keep things light, simple, and super easy. This way I can keep one hand free for eating and the other for helping out the wee tot if she needs assistance. I found some fantastic ideas for eating nice and light from my friends over at Ladies' Home Journal, which

    Read More »from Summer outdoor art activites
  • We survived our spring garden cleaning spree and have been enjoying the benefits of a nice green yard and some happily sprouting veggies. Amazingly, the wee tot has really gotten into gardening and actually has been listening when asked to stop pulling the plants out, but instead to put them back IN the ground. So, now she happily digs up the few plants in her little garden and then re-plants them.

    Hey, it keeps her busy.

    A few flowers are starting to raise their heads to the sun and the temps are steady in the upper 70's and low 80's making me feel more like summer than spring. But, our indoors reek of winter. There are big blankets everywhere, a fireplace that needs cleaning, and some dowdy place mats and dishes hanging about. The real issue is the wee tot's room. Now that she's progressing from baby to toddler, it was time to up-date her room with some summer style.

    Those flowers were my inspiration for my complete Internet search, looking for some fun ideas and

    Read More »from Recycled plastic bag pompom flowers

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