Thursday, August 23, 2012

Painting Shells With Watercolors

What a great little project this was. I just started painting our shells with watercolors from our beach vacation and C joined right in. Many times it has to be "her idea" to make something so I was thrilled she painted alongside me.  She even wanted to paint more later.

Painting in progress...

Some painted shells...even the paper underneath is a work of art!

What have you done with sea shells from beach vacations?

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Land Art on the Beach

Last week we just got back from our Ocean Beach Vacation and we missed it so much that we decided to go to our Local Lake Beach for some fun before school starts next week.  It is a little more than an hour away but worth the drive.  It was a gorgeous day... beautiful blue skies, warm water, and a nice breeze. We may be back for another day or two.  While we were there we swam, collected rocks/sea glass (not many shells), flew a kite, and created some awesome Beach Land Art.  There was an abundance of rocks and seagull feathers so that became our medium of choice.  Check out some of our fabulous work and please be inspired!

Flying a Kite!

Beginnings of our Mandala Rock Sun.

C adding feathers.

My face with feather hair.

C's HUGE feather mandala.


Good Bye Lake Beach for now we had fun...

Have you created Art on the beach?

Art comes so naturally on the beach...sand castles, land art....

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sorting Sea Shells

We just got back from our beach vacation and we collected bunches of shells.  They are such treasures and I loved collecting them as much as my daughter.  We've looked at our shells over and over. Then we decided to sort them and it was fun to invent all the different categories.  It was a great learning experience too.

Here are our categories:

Spiral Shells.

Black Long Shells. (Mussels)

Clam Shells 

Oyster type shells and a few scallops.

Scallop Shells.

Pieces of shells that were worn down.

Slipper shells.

Tiny Scallop and Clam shells (below the big one).


An invented creature by C made of crab parts and pieces of shells.

I'm sure we'll doing more with sea shells. 

What fun things have you done with sea shells?

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Magna-Tiles and Glow Sticks

I've raved about Magna-tile building toys before and here I go again.  We've done so many things with them I cannot recommend them enough. This time we built with Magna-Tiles and glow sticks.  The clear building set make the combination with glow sticks perfect. The clear set are much cooler as compared to the opaque kind.

Here are some of our Magna-Tile and Glow Stick structures. 

Tall House

Triangle House

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Starfish Pretzels

We made starfish pretzels after seeing them in my daughter's favorite magazine: The Big Backyard.  If you are a nature lover and want your kids to have a magazine to promote a love of nature then I would suggest getting a subscription. You can view the recipe we followed online here. These pretzels were quite yummy and we put a new twist on it by adding cinnamon and sugar instead of salt on some of them.  This seemed to be the perfect recipe since we are going to the beach soon.

For the pretzels you'll need:

-1 package of active dry yeast
-1 1/2 cups warm water
-3/4 teaspoon regular salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
-4 cups flour
-1 egg
-2 tablespoons coarsely ground salt
(melted butter and cinnamon/sugar if you want to make some like the one pictured above)

For the dough:

1. Stir the sugar and regular salt in the warm water.  Mix in the yeast and let set for 5 minutes.

2.  Stir in the flour a little at a time until a dough forms. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes.

3.  Roll out the dough into a long snake.  Cut 5 pieces of dough into 2" or 3" pieces. 

Push the pieces together to form a starfish shape.

For cinnamon and sugar pretzels, brush the dough with butter. 

Sprinkle the butter covered pretzels with cinnamon and sugar for sweet tasting pretzels. For salty pretzels, brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Here are our golden cinnamon and sugar starfish pretzels.

Here are our salty starfish pretzels. 

We really enjoyed these pretzels! We can't wait to go to the beach. Maybe we'll see some real starfish!

Be sure to check out the July issue of The Big Backyard to find out more about starfish and other creatures.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Soap Bubbles and Colored Ice Play

My daughter loves ice....eating ice, making ice, and playing with ice.  We have had a really hot summer here and any ice project has been well received.  So we continue to play with ice every now and then. We've done a few Ice Play Ideas  the past couple years and you can check them all out here. We've also done a couple soap bubble projects that you can check out here and here. We decided to combine two loves: Ice and Bubbles for some fantastic play. Keep reading to find out more.

To create the colored ice we filled an ice cube tray with water and added food color to each section. Then we froze the water to make the ice. My daughter played with the colored ice for a little bit in a huge rectangular tub, but then decided to add water and then soap bubbles.

She had fun fishing the ice out of the soapy water. A great sensory experience: Cold Colored ice and fun bubbly soap! My daughter always enjoys playing in the sink with the kitchen soap and bathroom soap so it was the perfect combination for her.

I had fun creating an ice circle. Mom always has to involve art into every project. (Big Surprise!)

My daughter had a blast with just the bubbles and observing their formations in her hands.

Then the ice began to melt and make some beautiful colored water on the pavement.

My daughter continued to play with the soapy green water that the melted ice created in the plastic tub. It is amazing what can occupy a child.

What simple things occupy your children?

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