Water Bottle Fish Mobile

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We brought home a neat stick from a recent nature hike that was just begging to be incorporated into a mobile of some kind. Plastic bottles soon turned into little fish (to continue our recent theme of under the sea) to round out the project.

First we wanted to spray paint the branch, so I set it outside on newspaper and applied two coats of red and sparkly silver. This gave it such a a neat magical forest look.

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We had empty water bottles in the recycle bin, so we twisted each slightly near one end to make fish “tails”. Now decorate all over your fish with glue and tissue paper. Finally, glue wiggle eyes to each fish and then let dry completely.

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Note: If we were to repeat the project, I would water down the glue and paint it over the squares of tissue paper, to more securely affix them to each water bottle.

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To suspend the fish from your branch, you can use fishing line and a needle if your crafting skills are more advanced than mine. Instead, I simply used floral wire, twisting the wire around the branch at intervals and then around the middle of each “fish”.

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Suspend with additional fishing line or floral wire any place outdoors. The fish theme makes this a nice reminder of summer days, since now our forest branch looked almost like driftwood!

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Sunscreen Paint

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If you’re feeling nostalgic for summer, the smell of this paint will instantly bring you back to warmer days, at least for a moment. Meanwhile toddlers will love the sensory play involved in this craft.

I squirted a tube of old sunscreen into a foil pan, and added three dollops of food coloring around the sides, one each for yellow, blue, and red.

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I handed over paintbrushes and it was time for Veronika to mix it all up. She loved this activity! To start, she was so into the color aspect, seeing what happened when she swirled each color individually into the lotion…

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…and then what happened when they started to mix.

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Truth be told, the mixture did turn a muddy purple-brown, but that didn’t stop her. “It’s beautiful!” she said as she stirred it all around with a paintbrush.

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She didn’t actually do much painting, although I had laid newsprint underneath as a canvas in case she wanted to try a few swirls.

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And the best part about this “paint” is that it won’t matter a bit if your toddler decides to paint him or herself instead of paper. There’s nothing wrong with a little extra sunscreen!

 

Puzzling Plates

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These easy one-piece puzzles are great for toddlers who are just beginning to fit pieces together.

Start by covering the center of paper plates with any easy-to-identify picture. If you have large photo prints of friends and family, those would work great. In a pinch, I cut pictures out of magazines that depicted familiar items (a house, a cat, vegetables) and glued them on.

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Cut one “wedge” from each puzzle pie and scramble them. Now see if your toddler can tell which wedge goes where!

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The hardest part for Veronika, more so than matching a piece to its correct puzzle, was making sure the wedge was oriented in the right direction when she slotted it back into the pie.

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But once she got the hang of it, she aced the game.

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You can make this activity harder as your child gets older simply by cutting multiple wedges from each puzzle pie!

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