Posts in Endless Summer
Simple Shibori for Kids
Bring fresh pattern and process to tie dying with your children through the ancient art of Shibori! A simplified process that's fun to follow.

Bring fresh pattern and process to tie dying with your children through the ancient art of Shibori! A simplified process that's fun to follow.

Every once in a while (pretty close to once a year), I work up the momma guts to brave the world of fabric dye with my children. My excitable young artists are drawn like happy moths to the flame of the permanent, color-rich saturation that only a dye can create. My thought this year? Let's go all in. Enter the beauty and variation of shibori.

Have you heard of shibori? I was first introduced in this post, and I recall admiring the beautiful results of folding, wrinkling, and twisting. Shibori dates back into ancient Japanese art forms of the 8th century using indigo powder to design patterns.

Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique used to dye and create patterns on fabric. Take the basic process and simplify it for a fun outdoor craft with the kids!

Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique used to dye and create patterns on fabric. Take the basic process and simplify it for a fun outdoor craft with the kids!

Using the basic concepts of shibori and capitalizing on modern liquid fabric dyes, my kids and I made some simple and modern shibori shirts. To give this a go, make sure you have these supplies:

  • White cotton shirts
  • Fabric dyes (squirt bottle versions work really well for kids)
  • Rubber bands
  • Cardboard tubes and squares
  • Twine/rope
  • Gloves and clothes you don't mind also dyeing
  • Glass bowls 

I highly recommend using an outdoor space to create when possible. We chose a sunny, warm day in our backyard, and we definitely dyed our grass!!  So be prepared that when you're working with kids (or clumsy parents, eh hem), you'll have permanent spills.

We tried four different techniques to find very different results. Hover over each photo to peek into the process. Follow the instructions on your fabric dye to ensure the desired effect. For all of our patterns, once the dye was fully applied, we wrapped the entire shirt (plus the tube in one case) in plastic wrap and set it aside for 24 hours. After a full day we unwrapped the shirt, rinsed and untied the shirt until water ran clear through it. We then hung them over a drop cloth to drip dry. Be sure that you wash these shirt separately, at least initially to avoid color bleeding.

Wrap t-shirt  on a diagonal  around a cardboard tube. Secure twine in a criss cross fashion all the way down the tube. Scrunch shirt as you go. 

Wrap t-shirt on a diagonal around a cardboard tube. Secure twine in a criss cross fashion all the way down the tube. Scrunch shirt as you go. 

THE WRAPPED TUBE

My 5-yo used two different dyes (one starting on each end) to make a very cool and unintentional ombre effect. The wrapping and folding of the shirt allowed the color to saturate on the edges and form stripes. This technique was a great one for young hands. With just a thin layer of material around the tube, my son could see and saturate the fabric as he wanted to. No mystery involved there, and it made for one happy camper in the end.

Bring fresh pattern and process to tie dying with your children through the ancient art of Shibori! A simplified process that's fun to follow.

Bring fresh pattern and process to tie dying with your children through the ancient art of Shibori! A simplified process that's fun to follow.

THE TWIST AND TIE

This is a fun design for the more adventurous soul because the unpredictability brings its own magic. To create this feel you tie the four corners of the shirt and twist each until they meet in the middle. Since the bound shirt is pretty thick be sure to saturate this one in dye for a while.

Take each corner of the shirt and tie a knot. Once you have all four knots, twist each knot until they meet up in the center. Keep the bundle tight together with overlapping rubber bands.

Take each corner of the shirt and tie a knot. Once you have all four knots, twist each knot until they meet up in the center. Keep the bundle tight together with overlapping rubber bands.

THE FLAT FOLD

Create a square from cardboard. We made ours 4 inches and then folded the entire shirt around it. We then bound the bundle with crosshatching rubber bands for a truly unique final product!

Create a square from cardboard. We made ours 4 inches and then folded the entire shirt around it. We then bound the bundle with crosshatching rubber bands

Create a square from cardboard. We made ours 4 inches and then folded the entire shirt around it. We then bound the bundle with crosshatching rubber bands

SPIRAL ROUND

This one is hippy tie dye meets shibori. This is a classic tie dye technique that works particularly well for adding a rainbow of colors. My 8-yo could easily see the sections that she wanted to color and could put them in the order she wanted them to spin. The spiral round becomes a large ball of thickness so be sure to soak the shirt thoroughly with dye for a bright finished product.

The classic tie-dye pattern derived from shibori methods. Find your center point, and twist the entire shirt to create a spiral-galaxy-like bundle. Section off areas to focus dye by adding 2-4 rubber bands.

The classic tie-dye pattern derived from shibori methods. Find your center point, and twist the entire shirt to create a spiral-galaxy-like bundle. Section off areas to focus dye by adding 2-4 rubber bands.

We all loved exploring the varieties of possibilities these new methods offered! Having you given Shibori techniques a try? I'd love to see what you created!

xoxo, MJ

Make Sponge Bombs
Sponge bombs are created from strips of household sponges. Follow this easy DIY to make these in a few minutes and play all afternoon long!

Sponge bombs are created from strips of household sponges. Follow this easy DIY to make these in a few minutes and play all afternoon long!

The summer weather has finally turned warm here, and we've been looking for ways to keep cool. I ran across this video from Inner Child Fun and decided we needed to add sponge bombs to our summer projects. Spoiler alert: these take 2 minutes to create!!

Sponge-bomb-supplies

Here's what you need: scissors, three sponges, and a hair tie or rubber band. Cut each sponge vertically into three pieces. You'll then have a total of nine thin strips.

Gather these in your hands, turn a few of the strips to make a round fistful. Tie together with the rubber band or hair tie.

Spread out the strips evenly in the ball and dunk in a cold bowl of water. (Ok, it doesn't have to be cold, but that definitely adds to the drama). We played catch in pairs with the sponge bombs, tracking how many consecutive catches we could make. These are also a lot of fun to throw AT someone in a sponge bomb fight.

Hot weather and time to play? Make some sponge bombs.

Hot weather and time to play? Make some sponge bombs.

And for a fun twist: have one person hold a bowl on their head. They work with a partner to try to catch the sponge bombs in the bowl. Play as teams to see who can catch the most (and get the wettest) in their bowls.

Are you ready to beat the heat?

xoxo, MJ

Crayon Scratch Off Fireworks
Do you remember making crayon scratch offs as a child? Enjoy the same fun with your children with firework art.

Do you remember making crayon scratch offs as a child? Enjoy the same fun with your children with firework art.

Crayon scratch off art is a fun project that shows off the bright colors that lie just below the dark, top layer. The contrast of the bright and dark make a great backdrop for firework art!

Did you make these as a child? I remember pressing so hard against a piece of white paper with my crayons, covering every last bit of white space. And then grabbing the black crayon to cover over it all. 

For this firework art, you'll need:

  • Posterboard or heavy paper
  • Crayons or oil pastels
  • Black tempera or acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush
  • A scratching tool like broken tip pencil or dull pen

Begin by covering your entire paper with color. We wanted to create a firework sky perfect for the fourth of July so we made a spiral of blue and red. Be sure to go all the way to the edges.

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Next, paint on an even coat of the black. Let it dry completely. To be sure that the black is a solid, deep tone, add on another coat of black paint and let it dry. This whole process took less than an hour.

Once dry, take your scraping tool and draw fireworks of various shapes and sizes. Be sure to leave enough black on the paper to illustrate the night sky. Add in bits of sparkle and stars that shine through the shapes that you create.

Keep in mind that sometimes the paint will require a few strokes to remove completely. And some will remain on the poster board, making a scattered fizzle like we all love in our favorite fireworks!

These would be a great craft to set up for the kids at your July 4th celebrations! Fireworks before it even gets dark!

XOXO, MJ

P.S. If you're joining in the 18 Summers Challenge, and making the most out of this summer with your children, join us tomorrow as we make some marbelized paper from shaving cream and food coloring.

The Best Biggest Bubbles
These bubbles are amazing! A must-try for summer. Great for any age.

These bubbles are amazing! A must-try for summer. Great for any age.

Bubbles.

If they aren't the quintessential childhood amusement, they're pretty close. I've seen some fantastic images on Pinterest of these amazing giant bubbles, and I wanted to include some of these in our 18 Summers Challenge. There are a TON of great options for the perfect blend of liquids for the bubble solution as well as just the right wands to make. Our favorite is Valerie's, from Inner Child Fun. Head over to her site (and then come right back) to see the fabulous videos on how to make a great wand and the perfect bubble solution!

The best 30 minutes we've spent all summer - creating these bubble wands and magic solution from Inner Child Fun. You have to give these a whirl!

The best 30 minutes we've spent all summer - creating these bubble wands and magic solution from Inner Child Fun. You have to give these a whirl!

I sort of assumed that this kind of project was one that would either take a long time (nope) or not really work for little hands (totally wrong). And I know I say it a lot, but this is one you really do need to try. All three kiddos were loving bubble creation for almost an hour, and I was asking if I could please have a turn, too!

Use household string to measure one arm length and cut. Measure another for the entire wingspan. With the long string in hand, thread on a metal washer. Tie strings to eyehooks on dowel rods, and you're ready to roll!

Use household string to measure one arm length and cut. Measure another for the entire wingspan. With the long string in hand, thread on a metal washer. Tie strings to eyehooks on dowel rods, and you're ready to roll!

We took a trip to the hardware store to get all we needed:

  • One 3/8" dowel rod (I cut this in half with a steak knife because they are both thin and soft enough wood, and I was not ready to break out the power tools) So you have two wands from the one dowel.
  • Two small eye hooks (you can easily hand screw these in)
  • Household string
  • One metal washer
  • Scissors
  • Paint, markers, glitter to make the wands super fabulous

Screw one eye hook into one end of each dowel. Measure one arm span and cut the string. Measure the full arm span, and cut another string. Tie each end of the short string onto the eye hooks. Thread a metal washer through the long string and tie both ends into the eye hooks. The washer will slide freely on the string.

I told the kids they could decorate their wands, and they went hog wild! My oldest created an abstract bubble pattern on the ends of hers, and my youngest drew stripes up and down his. And my middle child spent an hour to create a fantastical rainbow set. Pretty beautiful stuff, even without the bubbles.

Once your bubble wands are made, your children are going to want to get right to making the bubbles! If possible, make the recipe below and let it sit out for a few hours. Bubble experts suggest that the Dawn liquid needs a few hours to release certain ingredients that could deter the bubble's longevity. This is hard core stuff!

We made our solution in the kitchen and let it sit for 30 minutes (we're not good at waiting). We made sure that it was kept pretty dust free, small particles will deter bubble making.

These bubbles work best on humid, windless days. But the best part for me was seeing that they worked from the first try to the last.

Use a flat pan on some kind to hold the solution, and be sure to dip your entire length of string into the solution. Slowly pull up and out of the pan and walk backwards to create long, large bubbles!

Bubbles are great for every age. You have to try these easy-peesy giant versions!

Bubbles are great for every age. You have to try these easy-peesy giant versions!

Each child developed their own method, and it was amazing to see their faces light up every. single. time. We will definitely be making more of the best biggest bubbles this summer, and I can't wait to have a playdate with friends to give them a try, too!

This recipe and wands would make a wonderful birthday present for some playful kids (or adults) in your life!

XOXO, MJ

P.S. We have a great Father's Day banner coming your way using tape resist and watercolors!

P.P.S. If you haven't yet, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get all you need to know for next week's Out of this World activities.

Rainbow Water Music
A quick and fun way to bring music into your summer! Create a scale with water and food coloring and let your children try out their own music.

A quick and fun way to bring music into your summer! Create a scale with water and food coloring and let your children try out their own music.

Water makes beautiful music! And through this simple activity with food coloring, eight identical glasses, and water, you can discover an entire musical scale.

In our home, we always have music playing (or are playing music) so when I saw this graphic on E is for Explore, I knew our kids would enjoy creating their own color-infused instrument. The beauty of this activity is that it's great for any time of year, uses what you already have, and clean up is super fast, too. It also teaches measurement and fractions, pitch, color mixing, and so much more!

We used 8, 8-oz. glasses and filled them in with measurements of 8 oz., 7 oz., 6 oz., 5 oz., 4 oz., 3 oz., 2 oz., and 1 oz.. Once the glasses were full, we began the color process. Everyone was able to mix their favorite color with a wooden skewer until we have a spectrum of eight colors.

We used our silverware as the mallet for the water xylophone. At first, the kids just wanted to hit the full run of notes, up and down, along the sides. But the more they hit the glasses, the more they began to recognize music within the collection of sounds.

Can you name the tune we're playing?

We tried recreating simple songs that we all know. And as we did so, we adjusted the amount of water in each glass. Did that note sound too sharp? Or too flat? And we'd add or pour out water accordingly.

A quick and fun way to bring music into your summer! Create a scale with water and food coloring and let your children try out their own music.

A quick and fun way to bring music into your summer! Create a scale with water and food coloring and let your children try out their own music.

Have you ever tried this out for yourself? The food coloring is not necessary, but it definitely adds to the fun!! And perfect for a sunny day.

XOXO, MJ

P.S. Don't forget to check out all the ideas for the 18 Summers Challenge by searching for #18SummersChallenge. We're continuing with explosions and transformations tomorrow with our own volcanoes and soda pops!

Summer Reading Printable
Make summer reading goals fun! Use this gumball machine printable to set goals and show progress. Printing now!

Make summer reading goals fun! Use this gumball machine printable to set goals and show progress. Printing now!

The best part of summer is . . .

We'd all fill in the blank just a little differently, right? For me and my oldest daughter, summer reading would be right at the top of the list. The freedom to select any book, the great expanse of time (at least in childhood) to immerse yourself in the story, spending lazy afternoons in a hammock with your favorite characters!! So good.

Our local library does a wonderful job of incentivizing time spent reading, encouraging children to track every 10 minutes spent reading or listening to someone read to them. For every 10 minutes, they color in a bubble on a big sheet to keep track of how much reading they're doing. Once they build up to 250 minutes, they receive a fun pack of restaurant coupons and stickers. The 10-minute increment feels like just enough for my 5-year old, and my 8- and 10-year olds can't wait to rack up bubbles. I like that it's time spent reading and not number of books or pages because those often move all of us to speed read or breeze over some of the best books!

Is reading a favorite part of your summer? Try this to help your children adopt the same interest! Free printable.

Is reading a favorite part of your summer? Try this to help your children adopt the same interest! Free printable.

Inspired by the good work of our local library, we created our own goal this summer - a family goal. How much time will all five of us (parents included!) spend reading? Knowing that the girls that spent 24 and 27 hours in reading last summer, we went big and bold with 100 hours as a family!

We're already digging in.

Set a family reading goal this summer! Let your children know that reading is important to you, too.

Set a family reading goal this summer! Let your children know that reading is important to you, too.

To track our family progress, we created this poster-sized gumball machine printable. For every ten minutes any of us reads, we get to stamp on a gumball. We have a ton of the dot markers from preschool days so we're using those as the gumballs, but colored circles or dot stickers would work just as well.

We've only just begun, but it's already fun to see all that we can accomplish together. And from previous summers I know that the joy of filling in a bubble or stamping a gumball quickly transitions into the delight of a good plot and the joy of moving the bookmark.

I created a letter-sized printable for your children to track their goal and work to reach it! Post the gumball machine somewhere that everyone can cheer along (and make sure it's cheer only and not criticism). You can, of course, do individual tracking with this free printable or subscribe to the newsletter and get a free printable poster to track family goals.

DOWNLOAD YOUR PRINTABLE

SUBSCRIBE FOR THE POSTER

We haven't pinned down what our final goal will obtain - maybe a trip to the bookstore with a book for everyone? Or a field trip into the library in Chicago? Undetermined but I love that none of us are too worried about it. It's the reading in between that brings the most fun.

If you're joining us in the 18 Summers Challenge and are wondering what's up for tomorrow, we're making the most of strawberry season with an easy strawberry shortcake that you and the kids can create together. Or you can make it all for yourself because strawberries are good for you, right?

xoxo, MJ

Photo Transfer Journals: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

It's always awesome to end with a grand finale, right? Well, Miss Amy of This Heart of Mine has pulled it out for us! Today brings us to the close of our Endless Summer Projects series.

I'm a journal hoarder...err, I mean, I appreciate a beautiful journal or sketchbook. Amy has this great process for showing us how to transfer your photographs to journal covers. The final result is spectacular! What a great gift these would make.

These makers are so good at what they do, and I've been truly blessed to work alongside them yet again. Oh, and we have a few more projects up our sleeves... with sparkle and disco balls and all that jazz. It's not the end of this collaboration by a long stretch!

To catch all of the Endless Summer Projects, catch up with the series here:

What was your favorite project of the summer?

xoxo, MJ

PS. For all of you headed back to school today, like we are, best of luck for an amazing year!

 

 

Shell Memories: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

Endless Summer Projects returns this week with the perfect way to combine travel and nature. Ali has crafted these adorable shells that capture their summer adventures. They are a sweet way to relive a wonderful experience, and I think they'd make a great conversation starter when put out during dinner parties, too.

We took the family to the ocean for the first time this summer, and the experience of the ocean's tide was a beautiful discovery for my children. Seeing the constant movement and listening to the waves...as well as experiencing all the fresh leftovers the waves reveal...shiny bits of shells, running crabs, bubbles upon bubbles.

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Now we have a new way to savor the memories within our shells!

Don't forget to catch up on all of the Endless Summer Project posts:

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Upcycled Camping Lanterns: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

Summer is the perfect time to travel, even if it's just to your backyard. Last weekend, we even perched our tent in my son's bedroom so that he could have a special sleep over with his sister. Since then we've had camping on the brain. Staycations are always great on the budget, and here's an idea to up the imagination on your next adventure at home. I'm delighted to share my last (how can summer possibly be coming to a close?) Endless Summer Project for this season: an upcycled camping lantern.

Using oatmeal containers that a friend had given to us for our crafting, we painted and doodled our way to a working camping lantern. To create, grab:

  • A battery-operated candle (pull out a few from the Christmas stock)
  • An oatmeal container with the wrapper and plastic ring around the top removed
  • Acrylic or poster paint and paintbrush
  • Wire, rope, or heavy string
  • Transparency sheet
  • Construction paper

1. Hole punch one hole on either side of the top of the canister.

2. Cut large rectangular holes on either side. This is an easy job for an X-Acto knife, but even child scissors can cut through the cardboard cylinders with some assistance.

3. Put little hands to work on painting. We chose campy green to make our lantern look like official camping gear.

4. Cut a large circle out of the construction paper. Cut a line into the center. Overlap and glue the excess paper to form the cone top of the lantern.

5. Cut a letter-sized transparency in half. With a permanent marker, doodle your design. Remember that the light will shine through these two panels so color to your heart's desire. Consider even making shapes to create special shadows on your tent wall.

6. Attach the transparency to the interior of the canister with invisible tape.

7. With double-sided tape or a hot glue gun, attach you candle to the bottom of the canister. *If your candle has an on/off switch at the bottom, cut out a small hole to reach the switch before gluing into place.

7. String wire or rope through the holes punched on the canister and through the cone roof.

The warmth of the candlelight makes a charmed evening feel like one of the best of childhood.

The kids are excited to use theirs inside and outside. We haven't yet done an overnight in the tent (outside), but these upcycled camping lanterns might be the inspiration we need to stay brave in the dark.

We've had such a blast sharing these creations with you throughout the summer, and there's still more to enjoy! Join in next Wednesday for another great Endless Summer Project! Here's the entire list in case you missed them:

Here's to the last glorious weeks of summer, friends!

xoxo, MJ

 

Vacation Mobile: Endless Summer Projects
This post is sponsored by Bing.

I stink at scrapbooks and photo albums, but a vacation mobile? I can get behind that. Today's Endless Summer Project is a sweet one from Jen over at Classic Play. It's a three-dimensional way for your kids to put together the images, words, and memories of their special trip, and I know my kids are excited to give this one a try.

We had our first visit to the ocean this summer. Living in landlocked Indiana, we rejoice at sport lakes and adore Lake Michigan, but wide-open, amazing ocean space is a whole different story. They were clearly blown away in the most positivie ways. During our long drive and leisurely dinners, we wrote down and sketched our memories so that they would always remain fresh in the pages of our journal. I'd love to see how they'd turn these doodles and writings into a creative mobile like this.

There's still plenty of time to soak up all of the Endless Summer Projects:

Next week we'll be hosting Endless Summer Projects with an outdoor project that you can enjoy well into the fall!

And thank you for your patience with my two posts-a-week schedule lately. Summer is so full, and it's been a wonderful one, but I almost miss investing time here. But that, too, will soon change! Lots of great ideas coming your way in August.

xoxo, MJ

Outdoor Cooking with Kids: Endless Summer Projects

 

Summer to us means a whole lot of outdoors. Playing, swimming, chalk, bubbles, and eating! I'm delighted to try out the incredible recipes and ideas that Melissa of Lulu the Baker has for us today on the Endless Summer Projects series.

We use our grill a ton in the summer for kabobs and corn and s'mores in the summer, and Melissa is taking this to a whole new level... Chicken and bacon for dinner! Peach cobbler! I can't wait to try these out.

Here are all this year's Endless Summer Projects:

What do you love to cook outdoors? Isn't there something just grand about the experience?

xoxo, MJ

Screen Printed T-shirts: Endless Summer Projects

Screen printing t-shirts are a great way to give your child something really unique that they love. Our next Endless Summer Project comes from Amy over at This Heart of Mine blog. Her kids are adorable and so is this fabulous project.

We love to tie dye, and I'm excited to take our creations to a new level with this tutorial. Also, you need to check out all of the cute designs that Amy created for his kids wearables.

Next week Melissa of Lulu the Baker has an awesome project that the whole family will love! Tune in on Wednesday.

Catch up on all of our Endless Summer Projects:

Don't forget to tag your projects #endlesssummerprojects so we can see your creations and join in the fun!

xoxo, MJ

Endless Summer Projects: Super Soaker

Today is definitely an oxymoron around here. It's the end of Endless Summer Projects!! When the four of us conceived this series way back when, it seemed like August was worlds away.

Here we are.

Huge thanks to my collaborator girls - Melissa (the brains behind the series) of Lulu the Baker, Jen of Classic Play, and Alexandra of AlexandraHedin.com. We have something cooking already to help with the happiest holidays ever.... stay tuned.

Today's project is over at Classic Play, and it's such a great one to close the summer fun. The Super Soaker is made right from items you have in your kitchen, and your kids are going to love it!!

In my house, we're in T minus 6 over here for the start of third and first grade as well as preschool. All my kiddos will be at the same school this year, and it's getting me all emotional...and all excited that my commutes will be just a bit more efficient!!

I'm taking off tomorrow in blogland, but I'll see you here next Tuesday for the final Celebrate the Normal post. Please join in!! It's going to be a beautiful way to mark the close of summer.

xoxo, MJ

 

The Entire Series of Endless Summer Projects:

Mosaic Stepping Stones by Lulu the Baker

Weeknight Barbeque by Alexandra Hedin

Sharpie Dyed Tee Shirts by Pars Caeli

Endless Summer Projects: Shoebox Frames
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I cannot believe it. Here we are at my last Endless Summer Projects! We've been planning these and posting them for so many weeks now, that I can't believe we're at the finish line already. And that feeling of quick endings is all around us as we squeeze the literal juice out of the remaining two weeks of summer.

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In our house, August brings the start of school preempted by one of our favorite (made up) holidays, Siblings Day! To foster great relationships and celebrate the special people we have right around us, our family indulges in a special dinner, a lasting craft, silly games, some storytelling of great memories, and silly pictures together.

My children are 8,6, and 3, and although rather close in age, their ability levels and interests can seem light years apart at times. Lots of "he's not old enough" and "she's too big" get thrown around in conversation. I wanted a way for everyone to see each other on a level playing field... So we spent some time going through baby pictures as a family. Each sibling heard stories of the other sister or brother and their habits as babies, the toys they loved, the ridiculous noises and first words they said.

And each one selected a baby photo of their brother and/or sister to hang in their rooms. Sometimes it's good to remember that your bossy older sister was once an adorable baby, too. And that annoying little brother, well, he was super huggable with those pudgy cheeks.

Once we had our photos selected and printed, we were ready to get to work.

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Wanna make some, too? Super simple supplies for this one: sturdy shoeboxes, quality paint, brushes, photographs, scissors, and washi tape

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My daughters picked the box lids, and my son wanted the box bottom, (and either side can turn out quite nicely)! Have children paint the boxes, likey 2-3 coats, depending on the coverage.

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Once the box lid is completely covered in paint, assist your children in trimming the baby photos to all the same size. For the size boxes we had, I trimmed the photos to 3" x 3".

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Line up photographs on the long flat surface of the box or box lid, and carefully adhere to the box with washi tape. I also glued the photos onto the boxes to insure that the washi tape would have some assistance in keeping the pictures in place.

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Finished boxes make cute photo bricks on dresser and shelves.

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Add fun washi tape patterns to add some visual interest to your frame.

And don't forget to find a spot on the wall to show off your new creation.

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Endless Summer Projects: Spray Tablecloth

Just two more weeks left in our amazing summer series of Endless Summer Projects! We have had so much fun getting our hands dirty and getting crafty over these summer weeks. My kiddos start back Aug. 22 so we still have more days to enjoy before the fall routine hits.

I'll be posting some great end of summer activities and beginning of school ideas for you and yours so stay tuned!!

In the meantime head over to Alexandra's site to see her fabulous new tablecloth, fit for any kiddo celebration.

Have any projects you want to share? Add the hashtag #endlesssummerprojects to any of your tweets, instagrams, or FB posts.

xoxo, MJ

Endless Summer Projects: Marbelized Paper

Another Wednesday and another great Endless Summer Project to share with you! Today Miss Melissa of Lulu the Baker is whipping up some marbelized paper with her kids. If you have not had the experience of shaving cream + kiddos, you are in for a treat.
We plan on cutting giant letters out of these, and making a banner for one of the people we love the best!
An entire list of go-to Endless Summer Projects:
Next week we join in the party with Alexandra!
xoxo, MJ
Endless Summer Projects: Friendship Charm Bracelets
This Endless Summer Projects post is sponsored by OgoSport. Tell OgoSport your favorite playground, park or outdoor space to play and your favorite place to refuel with a bite to eat using hashtag #playrefuel or by visiting them on Facebook and you'll be entered to win a $250 OgoSport gift basket and other prizes. Contest ends August 31st. Unrelated to sponsorship (and uncompensated), we love our Ogo stuff. If you're looking for a fun summer birthday present, pick up some Ogodisks for the great kids in your life.
Jen over at Classic Play has this week's project, these adorable friendship charm bracelets! These creations turned out so cute. I love all the details that she's added. My oldest has been making anklets and bracelets for her friends and her sister this summer so these are right up our alley. Head over to Classic Play to check it out!
Here's a recap of all the fun of Endless Summer Projects:
Join us next week for a fabulous new project from Melissa over at Lulu the Baker!
xoxo, MJ
Endless Summer Projects: Memoir Boxes

Hi y'all!

It's time once again to offer you some fresh ideas on how to craft the summer away with your kiddos, and today I have a great rainy day project to engage the whole family. I hope you've been creating along with us and following the other amazing mamas: Alexandra, Melissa, and Jen (put Bloglovin' or Feedly to work and keep up to date with these go getters).

Have you ever returned from vacation or a great outing and wished that you could capture the entire experience? The why didn't I take some video? The I should have written down some of our favorite memories?

Let's write a memoir. Too daunting? Clear your head of the anthology, giant biography kind of dust collector and envision more of a memory collector, short and sweet. A friend and fellow teacher opened up my eyes to the beauty of memoir for capturing our children's stories (and I'm so glad she did!). And you can do it, too, through six simple, well chosen, words. Need some ideas for what I mean? Check out these great examples from Tara and this awesome collection of six-word memoirs.

Our first step was to narrow in on the topic. We chose our summer...so far. I asked my three kiddos (ages 8, 6, and 3) to think about all the activities, trips, and experiences we've had thus this summer. We talked as a group initially so that even my littlest could get some ideas of happenings before snacktime today. :)

For my oldest, she could and did write a whole list of everything she enjoyed and filled half a page with sketches and writing. My 5-year old wrote two large sentences, and we talked through a few more ideas as I wrote down some additional words to describe her favorites.

And my youngest and I sat down and drew pictures together of what made him smile about summer. He drew some elements, and I helped with more difficult concepts. See our masterpiece below with one of our butterflies, some squirt tubes, his new bicycle, and a castle.

No matter the skill level, everyone can find a way to enter into the idea gathering. Adapt for what's best suited for each family member.

Once you have ideas down, select 1-5 favorites. This was super tough for my crew, but with a little encouragement and prodding, we were able to find the best.

Here's the challenge! You now have a page of ideas from which to choose...but which ones do you capture? For us and our memories of summer, we decided we didn't need to be comprehensive but focus on moments that we will remember long after summer is gone.

This process was easiest for the youngest. He knew right away what he wanted, and all I had to do was make sure he could count 1-6 and confirm his final writing. My younger daughter needed some help with adjectives to add some interest to her list, but she got into the idea of playing with limited words and giggled through her version of cheerleading accomplishments that turned into "jumping marshmallows." And my oldest decided to go much more with a list with details coming only for her very favorite experience.

Once you have your memoirs written, the accordion book and box will be an easy way to store these treasures.

Find a box that you can use or re-use. We upcycled a brie cheese container and used it mostly because we all loved the circular shape. Each child added some color to the interior and exterior of the box as well.

For the pages of the accordion, I folded cardstock. Each writer used only the right side of the folded card, and we glued the left sides of each under the written-on right sides from another piece to make one long chain of words.

Once the glue dried, I refolded the chain to a back-and-forth accordion fold. I added an extra card on each end so that the expanse of book was a bit wider.

With the folded accordion now assembled, I glued the first and last flap to the insides of the box lid and base.

We added our title on the back as a sneaky way to display the project, without anyone else seeing our special memories.

And when we're ready to store our memories away, we have a great little box fllled with magic to hold them all.

Happy writing and crafting, friends! Don't forget to tag your projects with #endlesssummerprojects and come on back next week for the delightful Jen and her latest project (btw, head over to Camp Classic Play when you're done here. Lots of great ideas!!)

xoxo, MJ

Endless Summer Projects for big and little kids

Welcome to Wednesday, friends! We, Americans, have a dynamic holiday coming up tomorrow, and my family is looking forward to heaping helpings of berry trifle, hotdogs/hamburgers, and bowls of watermelon.

But before we bust out into full-out holiday fun, I have some great projects for you!

First up, a drawing challenge for anyone who's game. put out the offer to join her in the #30daysketchbookchallenge. That's right, every day for the next 30 days, the task is to sketch, photograph, and post with that hashtag. Simple, right?

At first I was all about cheerleading for these brave ladies like Kim of Design Life Kids. What guts do these women possess to share their doodles with the world, heh? And then it was me sitting with a legal pad and a great ink pen, scribbling away, and snapping a few shots. I am such a sucker for a good challenge. So, here I am, putting my brave on (no judging please), and I'll be sharing my sketches along with a growing community of others.

We are only on day 3 so there's still plenty of time to come along! The two shots above are my #1 and #2 sketches. I'm working on my prizes for AltNYC friends which will incorporate some of the best quotes from the conference along with some handlettering to make a great piece of New York that we can all keep alive!!

Following the brilliant lead of Elizabeth from the Note Passer, I've begun a Sketching Thoughts Pinterest board that you're welcome to follow for some drafting ideas.

What you see here below is what I'm calling: Persuasive Doodling. Yes, I just made it up. Here is my 30-reason manifesto as to why you should join the 30 Day Sketchbook Challenge.

Sorry for the lack of order. This is how my brain works.

Incorporating such nagging questions as - What is your go-to doodle? You know, the one you find yourself making when you're terribly bored in a meeting or stuck in a waiting room.

And great reassurances like, "Hashtags make things real, right?"

Check out #30daysketchbookchallenge to see all the sketches coming at you daily.

(And go ahead and add yours while you're there.)

And for the children in your life, the bubbly Alexandra has this week's Endless Summer Project with Bubble Painting! Bubbles are still great fun for all three of my kiddos, even at 8, 6, and 3. Swapping turns from bubble makers to bubble poppers, and chasing wherever the wind might blow.

And now Alexandra has a way for kids to create that pop of color with some fun outdoor art. This would make a fabulous addition to your family fun for the 4th.

Thank you so much, Alexandra!! I so love being a part of these projects every Wednesday, and I can't wait to show you what I have in store for next week. :)

xoxo, MJ

Endless Summer Projects: A House Fit for a Bug

Hello lovelies!

Shouting out to you from the road today. I'm on a crack-of-dawn flight out of Chicago this morning, and I'm on my way to meet some great friends and enjoy a delicious dinner in New York City.

I'm not leaving you lonely though!! I have a fabulous project to share from the incredible Jen of Classic Play. I have had a handful of mommas ask me how we're filling our days this summer. Well, guess what? We are making bug houses! That's a great response, right?

We're growing caterpillars/butterflies right now, and my children have been mesmerized by the growth cycle. I can get all three of them calm and excited (interesting combo) just by sitting down next to the butterfly netting to observe for 3 minutes. It's a great transition method. My son calls these four creatures our new pets. And what would a new pet want more than.... a beautiful house.

So head on over to Jen's blog and check out all the details. We'll be back next Wednesday with another fun project from Melissa over at Lulu the Baker. Stay tuned.

And speaking of Lulu, I'm in her kitchen today! Well, you know, on her feature In My Kitchen - though I would love to head over to Melissa's home because I know I'd grab a handful of these, and she'd support me all the way. Can you guess how I answered this question... In my kitchen, I cook up...

Hint: it's not edible.

Don't forget to follow the madness that is my first trip to NYC and AltNYC on Instagram and Twitter at #ParsCaeliatAltNYC

xoxo, MJ