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Spin art is definitely making a comeback. Two families (mine being one of them) brought spin art kits as gifts to a recent birthday party. It was for twins, so it turned out to be OK! But for a simple take on spin art you can always use a dreidel! The new holiday kits from the crafting subscription site Kiwi Crate, provide all the materials needed for a little Hannukah spin art! The Handmade Hannukah kit comes with a wooden dreidel and Hebrew letters to decorate it with. There are also little square papers with holes punched in them so that they fit right over the dreidel. As the dreidel spins (in the cardboard crate, or another box) kids can squirt paint on the paper, watch it spin and see what they create. It worked fabulously, and was so fun for both of my kids, ages two and four! The kit also includes materials for menorah making, including reusable lights! The line includes Crafty Christmas and Gifts Made by Me kits too. ~ What kind of holiday crafts do you make with your kids? ~

 
 
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Credit: Artkive
Which came first: the creative mom who wanted her kids to do lots of art projects so then they wanted to keep them all, or the creative kids who wanted to make so much fun art their parents wanted to keep it all? In my house it's both! Since both of my kids could literally put pen to paper, I have kept every scribble on a hotel note pad, colored in coloring book page and school collage. What to do with our growing art collections is a big topic of conversation among parents I know. Some answers involve taking photos and ultimately throwing out the original works. Some parents do this themselves, some outsource it to willing grandparents and some just keep talking about it while the pile grows. If you want an easy and electronic way to store your art project photos, then the Artkive app is fun to try out, and free for now. You, or even the little artist, can snap a photo of an artwork, and store it and then share it through email. Soon you will easily be able to get books and mugs made using the images too. Bottom line is, it's stored, and can even be printed if you start to miss the original, assuming you actually threw it away! Founder, Jedd Gold  described the app saying, "Artkive is a win-win for parents and kids. Kids get to see their art saved forever, and can view it anytime on the iphone or ipad, and parents get to remove clutter and no longer feel guilty about throwing stuff away." ~ What do you do with all of your children's art projects? ~

 
 
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We have a little friend named Mia in Austin. For her first Halloween her parents dressed her up as the most adorable sunflower, complete with flower pot, and they carried her around their neighborhood. I am so flattered that they looked to us for a creative flower idea! My recent My Right Brain article highlights simple crafts and cooking projects to do with kids at home. Mia and her mom chose the Cupcake Flowers, and made three of them to give as Father's Day cards to Mia's daddy, uncle and grandpa. They made the project their own by adding stickers and glitter paint to the actual cupcake liners. Her mom said they turned out beautifully, and I couldn't agree more. ~ What new craft projects have you tried recently? ~

 
 
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Tiny received these Do-A-Dot Art Markers from some friends during her second Chanukah. She immediately loved them, and still does. I still remember when she created this first dot drawing, carefully making lines of dots down the page. Then she realized she could draw with the markers too, and that's when she really started to hone her artistic style. A babysitter left here one time with a poster she made for school using the markers. So I guess they're good for getting a message across. ~ What  are your favorite children's art supplies? ~

 
 
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When it comes to crafting with kids, a real go-to is taking any container with a top or lid and decorating it. I covered a Twinings tea box with white paper, and Tiny decorated it with her favorite Hello Kitty stickers. We filled it with a variety of paper baking cups for my mom for Mother's Day. She had wanted new cute cupcake cups, but I know she was more excited about the container itself. This could also work well as a jewelry box or a place to keep said sticker collection. ~ What innovative gift wrapping ideas have you tried? ~

 
 
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I didn't make up this idea, but I did make these for my friend (and reading specialist) Melissa's daughter's third birthday party!  The party theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and although we live out of town I wanted to help. The original I saw used little pretzel sticks and grapes. Since I would be mailing these I needed sturdier and less perishable snacks. I chose the Jumbo Raisin Medley and Multi-Grain Pretzel Nuggets, both from Trader Joe's. I filled one half of a zip top snack size bag with each treat and twisted a pipe cleaner around the middle to create the antennae. Tiny made some too which we brought to a local backyard playdate. The crafty treats were enjoyed by all. These would also be fun to make using pieces of colored tissue paper in each side. They would last longer too. ~ What  creative treats do you serve at playdates or parties? ~

 
 
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What do you get when you combine a dad who eats too many Eclipse mints, and a mom whose creativity eclipses many others? Eclipse Mint Tin Mezuzot! I went to Tiny's preschool class yesterday to make these with her and her classmates. The teachers, parents and I may have been more excited about the whole project, but they each had fun creating a Mezuzah of their very own. We used adhesive sheets cut to fit around the mint tins, which the kids all colored with washable markers. I brought in mini Torah scrolls printed from the internet, which they each got to put inside. They topped the Mezuzah off with a letter "shin" sticker made by their Hebrew-speaking teacher. A square of sticky foam was placed on the back, so that it can be stuck in any doorway to bless the home.  Doorposts should be so lucky. ~ What crafts have you created from discarded objects? ~

 
 
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If a picture is worth a thousand words, than any thank you note or card written by a toddler says it all! Let them decorate your next batch of thank you notes or birthday cards any way they want to. You can always add a short note, or let their drawings literally do the talking. They can use pens, crayons, markers, stickers and more. I like to photograph Tiny's artworks that get sent out so that we always have a copy. ~ How do your toddlers help with your correspondence? ~

 
 
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Credit: Habitot Children's Museum
As an artist in a former life, I am always looking for new craft projects that are easy to do at home.  I asked Lauren Levin, Development Associate at Habitot Children's Museum, for a new crafting idea. She gave me the directions for Ice Cube Painting, a project that was recently featured in Habitot's Tot-Mail as well.  

Ice Cube Painting 
Materials: ice cube trays; food coloring; water; popsicle sticks; paper and coffee filters (optional) 
Directions: 
1. Mix Concentrated solutions of water and food color in a measuring cup.
2. Fill each cube of an ice cube tray with one of the colored waters.
3. Insert a popsicle stick into each cube to make the cubes easier to handle after freezing.
4. Freeze ice cube trays 24 hours.
5. When ready to paint, spread paper on table.
6. Pop out frozen colored cubes and let children paint on paper with the ice cubes.
7. For something different, paint on coffee filters or other textured paper and see what happens. 

Very nice.  Can't wait to try this at home. 
~ Parents: What craft projects do your tots enjoy? ~