So, let’s see a show of hands – who’s snowed in?
Yeah, me too. And even though my boys are teenagers and can entertain themselves (for the MOST part), I know some of you out there (judging by your Tweets!) are having a hard time keeping your children out of the boredom zone. Because when it’s even too cold to go outside and play? You know you’re in trouble.
Maybe I can help.
As you probably know, I adore the Family Fun website. I routinely go there to get ideas to post links on the school websites I maintain (I’m uber cool like that. :D) and what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t pass this fun information on to you? Exactly. So … here you go.
(Disclaimer: Family Fun is not, and has never, compensated me for promoting their website. I just like them THAT much so please, relax and enjoy the read).
Okay, so even though I just got through telling you that it’s probably too cold for your kids to get out, I had to share this activity because it’s about more than just your kids, it’s about feeding your poor neighborhood birds.
Kids can delight their feathered friends by decorating a snow angel with a mosaic made of birdseed.
* Various types of birdseed (like thistle, corn, sunflower and safflower)
* Pine boughs
1. This angel is easiest made by a team: One partner lies down to make a snow angel while the other partner stands by to help the maker get up without messing up the imprint.
2. After the imprint is formed, pour cups of birdseed into the angel, filling the head and body with bands of variously colored seed.
3. For a finishing touch, add pine boughs for the angel’s spreading wings.
Now come on, you have to admit, this is pretty cool. Not only are your kids busy and having fun, they can sit back and watch the birds peck their way out of hunger. A win-win situation, honestly.
String up a few of these crystals, made of pipe cleaners and beads, and get ready for a flurry of compliments. For a cool twist, use silver pipe cleaners and pom-poms too.
* 12-inch white iridescent pipe cleaners
* Clear tri or sunburst beads
* Needle and fishing line
* White iridescent pom-poms
1. Cut 6 pipe cleaners in half to create 12 pieces. Hold 11 pieces together and tightly wrap the last piece around the middle of the bundle, as shown, twisting its ends to secure it.
2. Spread the pipe cleaner pieces into a starburst shape and thread about 5 beads onto each pipe cleaner half as shown.
3. Using the needle, thread the pom-poms on the fishing line, then tie the snowflake to one end of the line.
Critters That Keep Out the Cold (Homemade draft blockers)
Stationed in a window or up against a door this winter, these charming homemade draft blockers will help keep indoor temperatures up and fuel bills down — provided they don’t get coaxed off the job for a playdate, that is. Both are simply fashioned from a pair of tights and filled with rice, which makes them posable enough to tuck tightly into nooks and corners.
* HEAT-SAVING SNAKE
* 1 pair striped women’s tights
* Uncooked rice (ours took a full 5-pound bag)
* Needle and thread
* Fabric glue
* Googly eyes
* DOGGY IN THE WINDOW
* 1 pair women’s tights
* Uncooked rice
* Needle and thread
* Fabric glue
* Googly eyes
* Paper clips
* Old belt or bracelet
1. HEAT-SAVING SNAKE: Cut off one leg from a pair of striped women’s tights and fill it with rice (ours took a full 5-pound bag). An easy, spillproof method is to use a plastic cup with the bottom cut out for a funnel.
2. Pinch the open end of the leg into itself to form a tapered snake tail and stitch it closed.
3. Glue on googly eyes. Lastly, sew on a felt tongue, using the same technique described for attaching the dog’s ears (see step 7 for Doggy in the Window, below).
1. DOGGY IN THE WINDOW: Cut one leg from a pair of women’s tights and fill it with rice. Leave enough room to tie the open end into a tight knot.
2. For a tail, apply fabric glue across the base of a felt triangle (ours was about 2 1/2 inches wide and 7 inches tall) and sandwich it around the knot.
3. Apply more glue to the sides and then fold the felt in half. Secure the tail with paper clips until the glue dries.
4. Glue on googly eyes. Attach felt ears by draping each one over the head, as shown, and then sewing the base in place. This way, when you flop the ear down, the stitching won’t show.
5. For the finishing touches, sew on felt feet and a button nose (we used a triangular shank button). Then use your hands to shape the nose and body. Don’t forget a collar: an old belt trimmed to fit, or even a bracelet.
Take a cue from professional innkeepers and invite your guests to record their names and memories in a guest book. Next visit, you can all look back on your time together.
* 8 ½ x 11-inch hardbound sketchbook with acid-free paper
* Colored markers
* Mementos such as children’s drawings, pressed flowers, and ticket stubs
* Restickable glue stick
1. Start with an 8 ½ x 11-inch hardbound sketchbook with acid-free paper to help preserve photos. (Art supply and craft stores offer a variety of sketch- and scrapbooks that would work as well.)
2. Keep a cup of colored markers nearby, and include mementos such as children’s drawings, pressed flowers, and ticket stubs.
3. For mounting, consider using a restickable glue stick, which allows you to reposition items without destroying the pages.
4. Leave plenty of space to add photos later.
Turn gloves into palm-size pals.
* Knit glove
* Rubber ball
* Mini pom-pom
1. Knit Wits – Step 1 Tuck the ring finger of the glove into the palm and stitch the hole closed.
2. Fill the glove (all but the cuff) with rice and tie it off tightly with a piece of yarn.
3. For the doll’s head, fit a small rubber ball (or a Ping-Pong ball) into the cuff. Then, sew the glove closed to hold the ball in.
4. Make a wig by loosely wrapping yarn around your hand about fifty times to create a think hank.
5. Tie the strands together at one end of the hank, then cut the loop opposite the tie.
6. Stitch the tied portion to the top of the doll’s head.
7. Finish up by stitching on button eyes and a tiny pom-pom nose.
You can find many, many, MANY more fun winter crafts on this page.