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

Crafts and Projects · Jobs of a Preschooler · Ramblings

Hands-On Science: Raising Butterflies

(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. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I greatly appreciate all purchases you make using these links. Thank you!)

A couple of months ago I mentioned how it can be fun to find butterflies and moths while out on a walk.

Today, I thought it would be fun to talk about a hands-on experience to teach your “little scientists” more about caterpillars and butterflies. Raising your own butterflies!

Jobs of a Preschooler- I'm a scientist...

I have used caterpillars purchased from Insect Lore twice now, and we have had positive results both times. (You can find more information about Insect Lore here if you are interested.)

If you do order through Insect Lore, you will receive a butterfly net (which you can use multiple times), a voucher code for caterpillars, and instructions. Once the caterpillars are ordered, they are shipped in the mail to your location. There may be an additional charge to receive the caterpillars.

The caterpillars arrive in a small cup with “food” on the bottom. They stay inside of the cup, eating and growing. Eventually, they form a chrysalis (moths form cocoons) on the top of the cup on an insert. Once all the caterpillars have turned into chrysalises (also known as chrysalides), you must carefully remove the insert and secure it to the top of the butterfly net with a safety pin.

Then, you wait until the painted lady butterflies emerge. Here you can see the insert hanging on the top of the net with some of the butterflies emerging.

butterflies emerging from chrysalis

Here is another picture taken after some of the butterflies have emerged.

butterflies emerging from chrysalis

The second time we did this, the butterflies laid (super tiny) eggs, and we had a bunch of teeny tiny caterpillars shortly after. Although this isn’t a great picture, all of those little lines are teeny tiny caterpillars.

teeny weeny caterpillars

When we were releasing the butterflies, one of them landed on my daughter’s finger.

painted lady butterfly

If interested, ask your local nature center if they offer some kind of a Monarch Butterfly program. You may be able to help tag butterflies, release butterflies, and possibly even take home a caterpillar to raise.

I have talked to some people who have raised monarch caterpillars and then released them as adults with tags. One book my daughters and I have enjoyed looking through that talks about raising monarchs is How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak.

More information about tagging monarch butterflies can also be found on Monarch Watch here.

I took the picture below at a monarch butterfly program my daughters and I attended. I enjoyed watching the caterpillars munching away at the milkweed.

monarch caterpillars on milkweed

What will you learn today?


Crafts and Projects · Ramblings

Display Spring and Summer Activities

The first day of spring was already 24 days ago!

I’ve mentioned in the past that my daughters and I brainstorm a list of activities to do for spring and summer in early spring and a list of activities to do for fall and winter in early fall, and we find a fun way to display them.

We had “bucket lists” for quite a few years using buckets I had purchased at the Dollar Tree (2/$1) and clothespins.

After my daughters each decorated a bucket, we wrote the activities we wanted to complete for the upcoming two seasons individually on the clothespins. These clothespins were then placed inside of the buckets. As we completed the activities, we clipped the clothespins to the outer rim of a bucket.

bucket lists

The buckets were fun, but we have since moved on to other ways of displaying our seasonal activities.

We’ve built ice cream cone scoops for our spring and summer list for a couple of years. As the activities were completed, they were added to the ice cream cone.

display your spring and summer activities

We’ve built a wreath with paper leaves and light bulbs for our fall and winter list.

Display your winter and fall activities!

This past fall and winter, we decided to write on leaves and light bulbs again for our fall and winter activities, but we decided to display them differently as they were completed.

We created a tree with the completed activities using the paper leaves and light bulbs.

Fall and winter activities

Now that it is spring, it is time to create a new list of activities for the upcoming spring and summer months. We have done the ice cream cone for a couple of years now, and we decided we wanted to try something a little different this year.

After some brainstorming, we decided to show our spring and summer activity list this year with bubbles.

We had a large circular hole punch that we were hoping to use for the bubbles, but it unfortunately broke after making just a few circles. So, my daughters traced circles on white card stock using the few circles that they were able to punch out.

They wrote the activities individually on each of the bubbles, cut them out, and added a small line on the top of each circle trying to make them appear more like bubbles.

Then we taped them to a wall using painter’s tape.

spring and summer activity list

On the adjoining wall, we taped a bubble wand one of my daughters drew on yellow construction paper and cut out. As the activities are completed, they get moved to this wall.

We’ve already completed some of the activities, so they have been moved.

spring and summer activities

When we do activities that weren’t written down, we will create new bubbles to add to the completed list, too. That way at the end of spring and summer, we can look back on all of the activities we have done.

Show spring and summer activity list.

I have always enjoyed doing these lists because it gives us some ideas of activities to do on days when we may not have anything else planned, makes me more intentional with doing activities with my daughters, and shows us what we have been able to do together.

It’s fun to listen to my daughters as they remove the activities from the previous seasons because they talk about some of the activities in detail recalling what we had done.

What will you be doing this spring and summer?


For more information on seasonal lists, check out these posts:


Crafts and Projects · Writing Appearances

Simple Valentine’s Day Craft

Can you believe we are already almost done with January?

Did you celebrate any holidays in January? There were so many to choose from! New Years Day (January 1), National Spaghetti Day (January 4), National Cuddle Up Day (January 6), National Popcorn Day (January 19), National Penguin Awareness Day (January 20), and National Compliment Day (January 24) are just some that you could have celebrated within the comfort of your home.

If you are looking to celebrate a national holiday this Februrary, you may enjoy National Wear Red Day (February 1st), National Groundhog’s Day (February 2nd), National Send a Card to a Friend Day (February 7th), Valentine’s Day (February 14th), National Random Acts of Kindness Day (February 17th), and President’s Day (February 18th).

Recently I had a post published on Hands On As We Grow that goes into detail about a simple stamped heart Valentine’s Day pipe cleaner craft, which my daughters and I had tried for the first time last year.

Create stamps using pipe cleaners

This simple craft doesn’t only need to be used for Valentine’s Day, though. It could be used on a card or letter for National Send a Card to a Friend Day or for National Random Acts of Kindness Day.

Pipe Cleaner Heart Project

What will you celebrate in February?

Check out these posts for more National Holiday fun.