Stained Glass Window Decorations

Like plenty of other Mamas I know, I enjoy spending time on Pinterest looking for ideas of crafts and activities to try with Lewis. A few weeks ago when I came across this post for Heart Suncatchers I immediately thought of how well this would work to make Christmas decorations.

This is such a simple project, and easy to do with any age of child. I wasn’t sure how Lewis would do with it. Either he would enjoy and make some beautiful decorations, or he would stick one or two pieces of paper on and be done. We’ve made glue collages before and he never really got into it, but he also has been super excited about Christmas decorations, so I thought maybe this would be a bit more interesting than a plain piece of paper.

I cut out a Christmas tree shape and an ornament shape, and he chose the ornament to start with.

Starting out, carefully placing the tissue paper onto the ornament.

Starting out, carefully placing the tissue paper onto the ornament.

I cut out a piece of clear contact paper and taped it sticky-side up onto the table, then stuck the paper outline on this and let him get to work. I gave him a small pile of tissue paper pieces to choose from and he carefully stuck some on one-by-one. Then he realized that I was holding out on him with the tin full of extra paper pieces, and insisted that he needed the whole thing.

Trying to pile all of the paper pieces on top of the ornament.

Trying to pile all of the paper pieces on top of the ornament.

It was interesting to see his understanding of the sticky paper, and watch him pressing the tissue paper down to help it stick.

Once he seemed “done” with the ornament I asked if he would like to do the tree picture. He was a bit impatient while I got it taped down onto the table, but then got to work on decorating it.

Piling paper onto the tree.

Piling paper onto the tree.

Once he felt done with his tree he started peeling some of the pieces back off and also tossing the loose pieces onto the floor.

Throwing paper is fun!

Throwing paper is fun!

I helped him down from his highchair and together we gathered up the paper into the tin, and then he got to take the tin and throw the paper around on the floor and eventually dump it into his sensory bin full of cotton balls.

Later I cut roughly around each shape, stuck them onto a second sheet of contact paper, and then cut around the edge of each outline. Lewis then helped me pick which window to hang our new decorations in.

Chris came home that night and noticed our decorations but didn’t seem too impressed. The next morning the sun was shining through them and he said “Oh! Your decorations are fancier than I realized!”

A bit of a cloudy day, but the light still looks pretty shining through the tissue paper.

A bit of a cloudy day, but the light still looks pretty shining through the tissue paper.

Lewis had a lot of fun with this, and has also been excited to see them in the window and sometimes asks to be picked up so he can look at and touch them. I think this is definitely a project worth repeating, possibly with star and candy cane shapes next time. It can also be easily adapted to other holidays or made with non-holiday shapes.

When he’s a little older Lewis will also be able to help rip or cut the tissue paper to get ready. He “helped” this time by ripping a piece of tissue paper in half, but then he was done with that.

We’ve been hanging other decorations too! I showed Lewis how I make paper snowflakes, and some of those are hanging in another window. We also have our big archway decorated with all our “tree” decorations since we don’t have a tree.

IMG_2239We’ve had the lights hanging there for about a week already and just added the ornaments and garland after Lewis went to bed tonight. He is going to be so excited in the morning when he spots this!

I hope everyone else is getting into the spirit of the holidays too!

 

 

 

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Mess-Free Painting With Water

I love doing art projects with Lewis and usually don’t mind the mess, but there are some day when I’d rather have something quick and easy with minimal clean-up. I’ve seen the idea to paint with water outside before but it is much too cold for outdoor water play now. I’ve thought a bit about how to convert this to an indoor activity, but had yet to come up with any brilliant ideas. Well, I recently came across this idea for “Paper Towel Artwork” on the blog Fun & Engaging Activities for Toddlers. (Unfortunately it seems this blog is no longer being updated, but looking through the archives I did find several good ideas for activities to try with Lewis.)

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Getting started. Dipping his paintbrush in the water.

Basically the idea behind the paper towel artwork is to color on a paper towel with markers and then give your child water and a paintbrush. When they “paint” the water onto the paper towel the colors all bleed making a neat effect. Easy set up, minimal mess, easy clean up – sounds good to me!

I started by getting out the markers and a few sheets of paper towel. I sat on the floor with it with our big pad of drawing paper since I knew Lewis would be interested in the markers too. He is getting better about knowing to color only on the paper, not put crayons/markers in his mouth, etc. I did one sheet with shapes, one with some flowers, and one with his name and some little patterns. Nothing fancy, just things that would catch his attention and a variety of colors to look pretty with the water. A few times he joined in by grabbing the markers and adding his own marks to the paper towels. When he’s a bit older he’ll be able to do the whole activity himself, drawing his own pictures and then “painting” over them with the water.

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We actually did the coloring a few days before the painting part, so I’m not sure if he remembered coloring on the paper towels with me by the time I got them out again to paint on. The cup holder on his highchair tray worked perfectly for pouring a little water into, since he wasn’t able to tip or spill it. You could also just put some water in a little dish.

He doesn’t recognize his name or letters yet, but I like to give him some exposure to them to start getting his name looking familiar to him. As he painted I talked to him about what he was painting on. “You’re painting on the letter “I”. It is purple. Now you put some water on the squares at the bottom. Look how the color bleeds on the paper towel.”

After painting on his name he chose the sheet with the shapes. He has been very interested in shapes recently, and is starting to recognize some of the “basic” shapes by name.

Pointing to the star, his favorite shape.

Pointing to the star, his favorite shape.

The shape sheet actually turned into a bit of a learning activity. I would ask him if he could find a shape, and then he would paint on that shape with the water. He correctly found star, square, circle, and heart but wasn’t sure about the diamond. This could be a fun way to practice numbers, letters or even sight-words with an older child. Similar to activities I’ve seen where you write letters or words with chalk outside and then have them spray them with a spray bottle as you name each one.

"Can you find the red circle?"

“Can you find the red circle?”

He was starting to lose interest by the time we got to the flower sheet, but I decided to give it a go anyway since he wasn’t asking to get down yet.

You can see some of his drawing contribution across the top of the flowers.

You can see some of his drawing contribution across the top of the flowers.

He decided to try something new with this sheet and dipped his fingers in the water instead of the brush. He tried painting some of the water on with his fingers but also thought it was good to just lick the water off his fingers. I gave him his sippy with some water but he continued to want to dip his fingers into the water. Then he noticed the cup I had for putting more water onto his tray and asked for that. He helped pour the rest of the water onto his paper, then was mad that it was all gone.

"I'm upset because Mommy won't get me more water to make a big mess with."

“I’m upset because Mommy won’t get me more water to make a big mess with.”

He seemed to have fun painting with the water, although it was hard to tell how much he was really noticing/understanding that the water was making the colors spread. We saved the first two pictures and let them dry, then I hung them on the fridge. The flower picture got ripped and went into the trash.

The next day he found a paintbrush and was walking around with it. He brought it in the kitchen, took the pictures off the fridge, and pretended to “paint” on them for a little while with the dry brush. We will definitely be re-visiting this activity!

Photo Friday

Pots, pans, and pom-poms. Some of our favorite toys!

Pots, pans, and pom-poms. Some of our favorite toys!

"I'm so silly sitting in this tray of pom-poms!"

“I’m so silly sitting in this tray of pom-poms!”

He wore his monster coat for a walk one day and insisted on keeping it on for a while after we got home.

He wore his monster coat for a walk one day and insisted on keeping it on for a while after we got home.

Tape paths on the floor. Keeping busy one evening waiting for Daddy to come home. He didn't quite "get" following the paths, but had a ton of fun running back and forth through the room!

Tape paths on the floor. Keeping busy one evening waiting for Daddy to come home. He didn’t quite “get” following the paths, but had a ton of fun running back and forth through the room!

Ready to throw the ball to Mama.

Ready to throw the ball to Mama.

"Hello, are there any chipmunks down in this hole?"

“Hello, are there any chipmunks down in this hole?”

Cutie under the picnic table.

Cutie under the picnic table.