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Posted by on Jul 2, 2013 | 0 comments

DIY Kids: Woodworking 101

DIY Kids: Woodworking 101

Last week when it was my turn to host Camp Del Ray (our 5-day, 5-family summer camp co-op), I wanted one big activity that would take a lot of time and not require buying extra stuff. So when I found a pile of wood scraps at a friend’s house and in my basement, I thought a woodworking activity would be a lot of fun. After all, it was something I would have loved to do when I was a kid. I explained to the campers that they would be making wood boxes or shapes that they could paint and use for whatever they wanted — a storage box for desk supplies, a house for a small stuffed toy, etc. However, when I told them they had to start from scratch, the blank stares I got made me realize they didn’t all have the advanced spacial reasoning skills needed for this project. With a little help from me and my husband, they started to understand. I encouraged them to start...

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Posted by on Jun 25, 2013 | 0 comments

Homemade Bubbles and Beaded Bubble Wands

Homemade Bubbles and Beaded Bubble Wands

This week, Katie and I and three other Del Ray families are participating in a week-long summer camp co-op, which we’re calling Camp Del Ray. Each day of the week, one family hosts everyone else’s kids for the day. I started out the week yesterday with six kids piled into my living room at 8 a.m. ready for an entire day of fun and games. Needless to say, my personal goal was to have several crafts, outings, and cooking activities up my sleeve so not one single kid (boys and girls, age 5-9) would ever utter, “I’m bored.” Here was one activity that worked out well: We made personalized bubble wands with alphabet, glass, and wooden beads, and we used a DIY giant bubble wand and homemade bubbles. Easy DIY Bubble Solution You can find various recipes on the Web, but the basic idea is to mix dish soap (Joy, Dawn, for example, or in my case, Palmolive) with corn syrup (or glycerin), and water. The ratios differ based...

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Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 | 0 comments

DIY Kids: Making Finger Paints

DIY Kids: Making Finger Paints

When I learned how easy it is to make finger paints at home, I swore I’d never buy a set from a store again. A box of food coloring costs less than $5, and you probably already have the other ingredients in your pantry: corn starch, salt, and sugar. Other than that, the recipe calls for water. And it only takes 20 minutes or so to make a batch. We made some on a rainy weekend morning recently. In a sauce pan, mix a 1/2 cup of corn starch… Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt… Stir in 3 cups of warm water and stir over medium heat constantly until the mixture thickens. This took about 4-5 minutes. Distribute among containers… Mix in as much or as little of the food coloring, in any color combinations you like… This is a nice opportunity for kids to practice color mixing….see how blue and red make purple. Let the finger paints cool… And let the kids have...

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Posted by on Jun 5, 2013 | 0 comments

The Del Ray Farmers’ Market: A Child’s Photo Essay

The Del Ray Farmers’ Market: A Child’s Photo Essay

Nadja, my 5-year-old daughter and I, arrived at the Del Ray farmers’ market early enough on Saturday morning to beat the crowds. We started off with donuts and then I taught her the phrase “getting the lay of the land” as we strolled from vendor to vendor to decide what to bring home for the week and what to put in a fruit salad for an afternoon potluck. I gave Nadja my smartphone for a little while so she could wander around and take some photos herself. The results are this photo essay showing what’s in season at our neighborhood market, shot from her unique vantage point. What are you enjoying at the farmers’ market these days?...

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 | 0 comments

In Praise of 1970s Crafts: The Tin Can Lantern

In Praise of 1970s Crafts: The Tin Can Lantern

I often head for the children’s craft section at the library and find the old 1970s craft books with the coolest projects. The tin can lantern is a project from one of the very best books from that era — Making Things — that you might remember if you grew up then. My neighbor remembers making them in cub scouts. You gather some tin cans of varying sizes, wash them and then take off the paper. Then, you fill them with water and put them in the freezer for a day. The idea is to pound holes of varying sizes into the can to make a design, but if you don’t have frozen water in the can, the nail bounces off or else dents the can. Don’t worry about the swelling at the bottom. It doesn’t affect the working of the lantern. Next, you mark a design on the cans with a Sharpie. Then, you find nails of varying thicknesses. And hammer nails into the cans. The kids loved doing this part. When...

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