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!

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on a link and make a purchase.)

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?

You are welcome to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, so you never miss out on fun extras as they are added.

Success! You're on the list.
Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

Pumpkins and Potatoes

What can grow in a garden, be turned into a variety of tasty foods, and be fun to play with? Did you think pumpkins?

It is October, which is a perfect time for pumpkins. And pumpkins do grow in gardens (like these two we grew in a pot this year).

pie pumpkins on deck

Pumpkins can be turned into a variety of tasty treats (like the pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin seeds my family has made and enjoyed).

Our Grand Pumpkin Experiment Results

And pumpkins can be a lot of fun to carve, paint, and read about. Check out these 22 children’s books about pumpkins if you missed it!

22 Children's Books about Pumpkins

But, another answer to what can grow in a garden, be turned into a variety of tasty foods, and can be fun to play with is…Potatoes!

Our family grew a lot of potatoes in our garden at our previous house. I loved having plenty of potatoes to enjoy ourselves and share with the local food shelf.

red potatoes

Potatoes are so versatile and can be made into many different tasty foods. Did anyone celebrate National Potato Chip Day this year?

lays dill pickle chips

Potatoes can also be a lot of fun to play with. Isn’t this potato creature interesting?

Potato hedgehog

And you can even be a scientist with an a-maze-ing potato experiment!

Potato experiment

But, have you ever thought of painting with potatoes?

Well, potato drop painting was the topic of the most recent post I had published on Hands On As We Grow. You can check out Messy Fun Potato Drop Painting for Kids (on Hands On As We Grow) if you are interested in seeing how my daughters created this masterpiece with potatoes and paint.

Will you try a potato drop painting?


For more posts about Hands On As We Grow writings, check out:

What Does Cotton Ball Transfer from Room to Room Mean?

Fine Motor Paperclip Activity

Science Experiments to Try at Home

At-Home Learning Activities

Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

What Does Cotton Ball Transfer from Room to Room Mean?

I’ve enjoyed writing a number of posts for Hands On As We Grow as a monthly contributor. Completing the activities and projects that I write for them gives me some motivation to do even more fun activities with my daughters. It also keeps the creative juices flowing as I try to come up with new ideas.

Recently, I was asked to come up with an activity that involved a “cotton ball transfer from room to room”. If you were asked to do that, what would you do?

I wasn’t quite sure what to do at first. I ended up grabbing some painter’s tape and started making designs from my kitchen to my living room.

From there, I invented an activity that ended up being great practice for color recognition (different colored clothespins), counting (cotton balls in shapes), shape recognition (how many sides), gross motor skills (walk the lines), and fine motor skills (using clothespins).

Even my cats wanted to check out the activity, although I don’t think they learned anything!

You can find more information about the cottonball transfer challenge for kids on Hands On As We Grow here.


For more posts about Hands On As We Grow writings, check out:

Celebrate National Penguin Awareness Day

25+ Books About Owls

Celebrate Dinosaur Day!

Build Sand Castles Inside Using Brown Sugar