Puffy Shamrock

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This easy shamrock makes the perfect good luck charm for your front door this St. Patrick’s Day!

Older kids can trace a shamrock shape themselves on green cardstock, but I took care of that part for Travis and helped him cut out along any tricky curves.

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Originally the plan was just to cover it with green pom poms and we had quite an assortment: small ones, medium ones, and sparkly ones!

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As soon as Travis saw some wiggle eyes in our craft bin, though, he knew our shamroock needed them, so those got glued on first.

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He began adding drops of glue and filled in all the remaining space of the shamrock with pom poms, sometimes having fun with a pattern (“3 sparkly, 1 plain!”), and sometimes just in random order.

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He was very precise about filling in any tiny gaps with the small pom poms near the end.

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Once the glue dried, I added a loop of green ribbon on the back so we could hang it from the doorway. Here’s hoping for the luck of the Irish!

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Ice Sun Catchers

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We’re in the very last days of winter here, so Travis and I wanted to try one last icy project! To start, he ventured outside to collect a few late winter/early spring nature finds, including old pine boughs, pine cones, and the first of the tulip petals!

Inside, we arranged these in the lids of Tupperware containers, along with a loop of ribbon for each. Travis was very deliberate about placing the items.

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If it’s still icy winter where you live, set them outside to freeze. We cheated a bit and used the freezer!

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Once completely frozen, run a little warm water around the edges of the lids and the sun catchers should release easily. Now hang them to sparkle in the sun!

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As a bonus, the nature items will simply fall back to earth once these melt, and all you have to do is collect the ribbons.

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Veronika has only been walking for a couple of weeks, but she already has a few nature forays under her (tiny) belt. Today when we headed outside, I brought along a small bag so she could collect treasures along the way.

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She loved dropping sticks and other finds into it!

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Of course, she didn’t know that I had plans for these items once home. I set out the items she’d found, along with a bright red beach bucket to be a “vase”.

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Note: You can use anything for the container, but I liked that the bucket wouldn’t break, unlike a glass or pottery vase. You could also try upcycling a milk carton for this project.

She’s at the helpful age where she likes to put things “in”, so one by one, she arranged the items.

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I cheated a bit with a few tulips we already had at home, since these added a nice pop of color. But look at the centerpiece she was able to create!

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I put this on the table as the family dined, and made sure she knew that it was her masterpiece. In sum, this was a really sweet way to engage a young toddler with nature.

Pipe Cleaner Sculpture

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Pipe cleaners are a fantastic way to introduce your toddler to the idea of 3-D and sculptural art. Because the ends of pipe cleaners can be pointy, this is definitely an activity that you want to supervise the entire time, not something for a toddler busy box. I loved taking time today with Veronika to show her how to manipulate them.

To start, I dumped out a package of multi-colored pipe cleaners in front of her. So needless to say, the game was already a hit!

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I started by making a few fun shapes. Using our imaginations, this one looked like a dog.

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She got quite a kick out of mommy’s art skills as we made the pipe cleaner say “woof”!

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Her next request was for a sheep, so I wound together white pipe cleaners into a semblance of a woolly lamb..

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She then loved pulling off the curly “wool” pieces.

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I tried to think of the safest way to make her a “sculpture” without resulting in any poking and pricking, and circles seemed ideal. Loop these together in a pattern or in rainbow order, or any other way that strikes your fancy!

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Veronika loved holding long chains of the loops, and also decided that individual circles made great bangles and anklets!

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In sum, you’ll have a great time together discovering all the ways you can manipulate the pipe cleaners, whether tight curly-cues, or interesting shapes, or more.

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