Oct 102012
 
 October 10, 2012  crafts, family, Halloween, parenting 9 Responses »

Easy No-Sew Charlie Brown Costume - Alldonemonkey.comDue to the approaching arrival of Baby Monkey at the beginning of the year, this Halloween I took the easy way out and got a store-bought costume for my little Monkey.  Last year, however, I was a tad more ambitious and decided to make his costume, though I made sure it was something easy that wouldn’t require any sewing!

My little Monkey has a sweet little round face, and last year, when he still had more of his baby fat, it was even rounder.  So I thought it would be perfect to dress him up as that other round-faced favorite of mine, Charlie Brown!

I especially loved that Charlie Brown’s well-known outfit was so simple to recreate.  Here’s all you will need:

Materials

Yellow cotton shirt (long-sleeved is best, depending on the weather)

Black fabric markerEasy No-Sew Charlie Brown Costume - Alldonemonkey.com

Ruler

Black pants

Black socks

Dark shoes (black is best, but if you are like me and don’t want to buy a new pair of shoes just for Halloween, a very dark blue is fine)

Instructions

  1. If the shirt is new, make sure to wash and thoroughly dry it first.
  2. Use your ruler to sketch out a basic zig-zag design on the shirt.  The zig-zag should be on the lower half of the shirt.  The exact size and width is up to you, although I opted for one that was neither very narrow nor very wide.Easy No-Sew Charlie Brown Costume - Alldonemonkey.com
  3. Trace the zig-zag in marker, then fill it in.  Be sure to really color it in darkly, since – depending on the brand of marker – lighter marks may fade in the wash.
  4. Let the shirt air dry thoroughly, then wash and dry according to the fabric marker package directions.  (Here are some instructions for how to use Crayola fabric markers.  I must admit I don’t recall following all of these steps closely; we just went with what was on the package and it turned out just fine.  The close-up photos I have included here are from after the outfit was worn and washed several times, and as you can see, I will still be able to use it for Baby Monkey in a few years!)

Enjoy!  What easy costumes have you made?  Easy No-Sew Charlie Brown Costume - Alldonemonkey.com

This post has been shared at The Mommy Club.

Oct 012012
 

Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you for your support!

This morning when my little Monkey woke up, one of his favorite books was waiting on the table, and a game was about to begin!

Although the weather is still incredibly hot here, I am determined to acknowledge the beginning of autumn, so I wanted to make some fun fall activities for my little Monkey.  Since he loves the wonderful Duck & Goose series by Tad Hills, I decided to use their fall story Duck & Goose Find A Pumpkin to create some games for him.

This book is all about Duck and Goose’s search through the woods to find a pumpkin.  They look in the leaf pile, the apple tree, the pond, and so on until a friend finally tells them about the pumpkin patch!Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

We are going to a pumpkin patch in a few days, so I thought my little Monkey would have fun recreating this search in our living room.  I cut ten small pumpkins out of craft foam, using the same template I used for our Pumpkin Suncatcher, just scaled down to a smaller size.

I used various colors because, frankly, I didn’t have enough orange craft foam on hand, but let’s say it was to help him practice his color recognition ;).  To add an extra educational element, I numbered the pumpkins 1-10.

Last night I hid them around our living room, making sure to have some hiding places that were rather obvious and some a little less so.  Of course, you can vary the difficulty depending on the age and ability of your child.  We had so much fun running around finding all of the pumpkins, and afterwards we lined them all up in a row from 1 to 10.  He loves practicing his numbers, so he really enjoyed that aspect of the game as well.

Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

I also made a matching game for the book.  As Duck and Goose look in all of the various places for their pumpkin, it provides the opportunity to discuss what can be found in all of the locations they search.  The pumpkin isn’t in the apple tree, but what is?  Apples!  And so on.

To build on this, I created a matching game that would let my little Monkey match the objects to their proper places (apple to the apple tree, leaf to the leaf pile, etc.)  The first page of the matching game contains the objects, and the second page of the matching game contains the locations.

Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

As you can see, I won’t be illustrating any children’s books soon, but we’re all about developing our kids’ imaginations, right? 🙂

Duck and Goose Find A Pumpkin: Pumpkin Hunt and Matching Game | Alldonemonkey.com

Happy autumn, everyone, and hope you enjoy these games (and this great book!) as much as we do!

This post has been shared at In Lieu of Preschool’s Tuesday Tots, Mama Smiles’ Learning Laboratory, Crystal and Co’s Mommy Club, True Aim Education’s Mom’s Library, the Kid’s Co-op, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom’s Enchanted Thursday, Living Life Intentionally’s TGIF Linky Party, Bowdabra’s Saturday Showcase, Natural Mothers Network’s Seasonal Celebration Sunday, and Say Not Sweet Anne’s Sweet Sharing Monday, and What Do We Do All Day’s Children’s Bookshelf.

Sep 102012
 
 September 10, 2012  crafts, education3, Fall, Halloween 31 Responses »

Pumpkin Suncatcher - Fall Toddler Craft | Alldonemonkey.com

This pumpkin suncatcher is a fun craft to do with your toddler and a perfect way to welcome the new season!

Last year my little Monkey and I were lucky enough to attend a Waldorf-inspired playgroup for little ones.  It was a beautiful, nurturing space for both of us, and it was there that my little Monkey and I really started doing crafts together.  Our playgroup leader, Serena Syn, had a wealth of activities that were suitable for little hands and still ended up looking beautiful.  One such craft was this suncatcher, which I have adapted and share here with Ms. Syn’s permission.

What You’ll Need

Tissue paper (yellow and orange)

Construction paper (orange, yellow, or green)

Pattern for your pumpkin (I used a drawing from this website)

Scissors

Contact paper*

Duck tape (I used green)

*Note: I also tried using self-sealing laminating pouch instead, since I had some on hand, but the adhesive in these is so strong that they are much more difficult to work with than contact paper.

Fall Suncatcher - Alldonemonkey.com

Making Your Pumpkin Suncatcher

  1. Tear your tissue paper into small rectangles.  The shapes don’t have to be exact; in fact, it is better if they are not.  You will only need about a quarter sheet of each color.  This part can be fun to do with your toddler.  Be sure to make some extra squares, since he will likely want to toss them up in the air as you work 🙂Fall Suncatcher - Alldonemonkey.com
  2. Trace your pattern on the construction paper and cut out the middle.  You will be using the outline of the pumpkin as a frame for your suncatcher.  Keep in mind that you will need approximately an inch around the edges of the pumpkin to allow for duck tape frame at the end.Fall Suncatcher - Alldonemonkey.com
  3. Cut out a piece of contact paper twice the size of your sheet of construction paper, allowing a bit extra for fudge room.  This will give you a piece about 18″ x 12.”  Fold the paper in half along the long side, so that it now matches your construction paper.  The fold should be along the bottom of where the pumpkin frame will sit.
  4. Very carefully take your scissors and make a light cut along the fold of the contact paper, taking care to cut through only the wrapper.
  5. Peel away the wrapper on just one side of the contact paper.  You can either place the pumpkin frame inside now or wait until after Step 6, depending on how you would like the back of the suncatcher to look.  Placing the frame now will make sure the pumpkin is visible on both sides, while waiting will give the back a very different look of just the tissue paper squares.  If you choose to do this, you will need about twice the amount of tissue paper.Fall Suncatcher - Alldonemonkey.com
  6. Along with your toddler assistant, arrange the tissue paper squares inside the frame.  Again, there is no need to have the squares perfectly laid out in the frame.  Allow your little one plenty of space to put the squares in as he would like.  Having extra overlaps and even some small blank spots will just add to the character of the suncatcher.  If you did not place the pumpkin frame inside in Step 5, add it now on top of the tissue paper.
  7. When you are both satisfied with the result, peel away the wrapper from the other side of the contact paper and carefully fold it on top of your creation.  Trim the edges, if necessary.Fall Suncatcher - Alldonemonkey.com
  8. Use your duck tape to make a frame around the suncatcher by peeling off four pieces of the tape and folding each over one edge of the suncatcher.  Trim the edges.
  9. Place your suncatcher in a window and enjoy!Fall Suncatcher - Alldonemonkey.com

Variations

One of the great things about this craft is that it is so adaptable.  Here are some variations you can try:

  • Using a single hole punch to make a hole in the top of the suncatcher (through the duck tape frame).  Use ribbon or yarn to hang the suncatcher in a window.
  • Make a turkey or autumn leaf frame instead, using brown or red construction paper and adding red tissue paper to your squares.
  • Instead of making a pumpkin frame, make several small pumpkin shapes out of construction paper, and add the tissue paper squares around them.

This post has been shared at Milk and Cuddles’ Mommy Club, True Aim’s Mom’s Library, One Creative Mommy’s One Creative Weekend, Living Life Intentionally’s TGIF Linky Party, Bowdabra’s Saturday Showcase, My Life’s a Treasure’s Our Favorite Things, and Sweet Tea Classroom’s Great Pumpkin Classroom Projects.

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