Crafts and Projects · Ramblings

Simple Crafts for Kids to Display Gratitude this Thanksgiving

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This year has been quite the year! Need I say more?

I’m sure you have all kinds of thoughts about how this year has not gone as originally planned. Through everything, though, I know I still have a lot to be thankful for. And every morning I thank God for what I do have.

I think Thanksgiving Day serves as a reminder for many to focus on the blessings they have in their lives. So, I figured I’d round up some simple Thanksgiving crafts to do with kids I’ve shared before that show gratitude for what we have.

Thankful Tree

Thankful Tree
Thankful Tree

Each year, my daughters and I create our own thankful tree using a small artificial tree, construction paper, a hole punch, yarn, and writing utensils. We write one item we are thankful for on each of the little tags, which we display on the tree.

You don’t need an actual tree to create a thankful tree, though. You could use construction paper to create your own tree (like the fall leaves one my daughters and I created below).

Fall and winter activities

Thankful Chain

thankful chain
Thankful Chain

Not only are these thankful chains a great way to decorate your house with what you are thankful for, but they can also promote cutting, writing, colors, and pattern making practice for the little ones.

I wrote step-by-step instructions on making a thankful chain in a post published on Hands On As We Grow. You can check it out if you are interested here: Make Your Own Simple Thankful Chain for Thanksgiving.

Thankful Wreath

Thankful Wreath
Thankful Wreath

And another fun fall-inspired decoration. Again, I created step-by-step instructions for this thankful wreath, which was published on Hands On As We Grow. If interested, click here: Kid Made Thankful Wreath to Show Gratitude.

With everything going on this year,

what is (at least) one thing you are thankful for?

Crafts and Projects · Ramblings · Writing Appearances

Simple Science Experiments for Kids in the Kitchen

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My daughters and I have done a lot of science experiments together over the years!

Some of them we have only done once. I don’t think I’ll ever soak chicken bones in vinegar again. Not sure if we did something wrong, but that reeked!

Other science experiments have been so much fun (and simple) to do that we have done them multiple times. One such experiment is elephant toothpaste.

You can make your own elephant toothpaste using the step-by-step directions I provided on Hands On As We Grow (here). Make sure to scroll towards the bottom of that post if you’d like to download a PDF that includes the needed supplies and directions.

I also recently wrote an article for The Old Schoolhouse magazine about some more fun science experiments to do in the kitchen.

Make sure to check out “Science in the Kitchen” if you are interested in experimenting with roux, toast, yeast, and baking powder in your own kitchen.

All of the science experiments I shared in that article were adapted from the book The Science Chef: 100 Fun Food Experiments and Recipes for Kids and the course Breadmaking Devotional (found on

I also mentioned some additional books that encourage science in the kitchen including a few cookbooks for kids. Here they are for easy reference:

So, learn how to make elephant toothpaste here. And check out some fun science in the kitchen experiments here.

I’d love to hear what your favorite simple science experiment is. Please let me know in the comments below.

For even more simple science experiments, make sure to check out these posts:

Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

Simple Sunflower Craft for Kids

The snow has melted, the grass is green, and the flowers are growing!

My daughters and I had fun earlier this year creating our own spring pipe cleaner flower craft, which you can check out on Hands On As We Grow if you would like (here).

The idea for this craft came to me while I was organizing some of our art supply bins. The sunflower seeds were just a fun addition to use up some pickle-flavored sunflower seeds I had at home.

Ever since publishing Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles, finding pickle-flavored items has been kind of a joke in my family. So when I saw these pickle-flavored sunflower seeds at Dollar Tree, I decided to purchase them.

pickle flavored sunflower seeds

Interestingly, even though my book is titled Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles, I don’t think I have ever actually liked the flavor of any pickle-flavored food I have tried. I like bread and butter pickles, but not pickle-flavored sunflower seeds. And since the rest of my family didn’t plan to eat the rest of the seeds, we decided to use them for our flower craft.

I thought the flowers turned out really cute with their pickle-flavored sunflower seed addition.

What do you think?

Check out these posts for some books to go along with the flower theme:

14 Children’s Books about Flowers

14 Children’s Books about Seeds, Plants, and Gardening

Aah! Blown Away · Crafts and Projects

Free Teacher’s Guide and Printables Now Available for Aah! Blown Away, Crash!

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Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure is ready to take flight into the world. The softcover version is officially available on Amazon (here) and the hardcover version is available for pre-order on Amazon (here) and (here).

Aah! Blown Away, Crash! Cover

This was a project I had started years ago but filed away until I felt the timing was right. And that timing came when my 12-year-old daughter agreed to do all of the illustrations for it. I had a lot of fun working on this project with her!

Recently, I’ve been busy creating Fun Extras to go along with Aah! Blown Away, Crash!, and I am excited to announce they are all officially available.

The first “Fun Extra” was a shadow puppet printable, which I released last week (as seen here).

free shadow printable

A 19-page teacher’s guide, which can be used at home or in a classroom setting is also now available.

Teacher's Guide Cover

It includes activities for English language arts (reading comprehension, vocabulary, alphabet practice, and writing practice), science (birds, shadows, clouds, and wind), math (counting, adding/subtracting, word problems, and shapes), social studies (map skills, decision making, and further discussion), and art (sculpting, drawing, painting, and crafting).

It also includes the shadow puppets printable, a printable of pictures for math practice, and a maze printable.

Practice adding and subtracting with these printables that feature a palm tree, shark fin, and cloud. Print on card stock for durability. Word problem examples are included within the teacher’s guide.

The bird in Aah! Blown Away, Crash! (named Finch) crashes on a deserted island but figures out he can zoom away. Help Finch find the deserted island again with this simple maze.

And the last “Fun Extra” that I mentioned in the teacher’s guide but didn’t actually include is an alphabet recognition printable.

These can be printed on card stock for increased durability and used in a variety of ways to practice letter recognition. One way would be to play Memory with the cards. Another way would be to hide the letters and go on an “alphabet scavenger hunt”.

All of these activities and other activities to go along with other books are available on Fun Extras.

I hope you enjoy them!

Aah! Blown Away · Crafts and Projects

Free Shadow Puppet Printable for Aah! Blown Away, Crash! Now Available!

Aah! Blown Away, Crash! An Alphabet Misadventure is about to take flight into the world!

Aah! Blown Away, Crash! Cover

In the meantime, I am working on a teacher’s guide and some fun extras to go along with Aah! Blown Away, Crash!

The story itself is told in alphabetical order and has only one to three words per page. So, the entire story has less than forty words.

Even though the story doesn’t have many words, I feel the character’s personality shines through the illustrations and his actions.

Here is his biography found in the back of the book:

Finch's bio from Aah! Blown Away, Crash!

Finch is a comical character who gets Blown away by the wind and Crashes on a Deserted island. As he struggles with trying to figure out how to get off the island, he keeps getting scared of…his shadow.

So, it only made sense to have shadow puppets as one of the fun extras to go along with Aah! Blown Away, Crash!

My daughter and I created these printables, which you may now download for free. The shadow puppets include a tree, a cloud, and Finch.

I printed my own set out on cardstock, which is definitely more stable (and durable) than regular computer paper.

Once they were printed, I cut them out. Little ones might be able to cut out the cloud, but Finch and the leaves on the tree are more challenging.

Then, I taped straws I had on to the backs of each of them. Craft sticks should work, too.

Finally, my daughters and I had a photoshoot with them. We went into a dark room and shined a flashlight at the puppets to create shadows on the wall.

My daughters positioned the cloud so that it looked like the deserted island.

These shadow puppets can also be used to act out the story as it is being read. They would also go great with a study on shadows!

Well, that’s it for today. What fun extra should I create next?

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