DIY Gift Exchange Ideas

The holidays often provide ample opportunities for you and your Blasters to celebrate with friends and exchange gifts as tokens of appreciate and a means of marking this very special time of year. And while the act of exchanging gifts can have all kinds of different meanings to each person involved, have you ever thought to explore the role of learning and the development of new skills through DIY holiday gift exchanges? Start by cutting the costs and looking for how you might create a homemade present instead!

DIY Holiday
Not sure where to start? Head to our DIY Holiday Gift page on Pinterest for a number of exciting craft ideas that not only promote learning and developmental skills but that also make for memorable and cherished holiday presents. From edible treats to holiday décor and so much more, the possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to creating unique holiday gifts that your friends and family will love.

And the best part is that no matter the project that you choose these are tools for learning in almost all crafts. Remember to highlight the following elements of crafting with your kids if they’re lending a helping hand this holiday season –

  • Counting / Measuring Quantities – How many gifts will you be making? How much of each material will you need to complete your crafting project?
  • Developmental Skills – Crafts can help children approach problem solving, motor skills, creative thinking and more.

Fall Activities: Leaf Rubbing

Photo by Emma Craig, ©2013 Some rights reserved. Licensed by Creative Commons Public Works License.

Photo by Emma Craig, ©2013 Some rights reserved. Licensed by Creative Commons Public Works License.

Make the most of your leaf strewn lawn by incorporating Fall foliage into this fun activity with your kids! It’s simple and uses supplies that you probably already have at home, plus it creates instant seasonal artwork for your home! This is a great opportunity to teach your child about the different types of trees in your neighborhood!

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Mom: The Brightest Start in Your Solar System!

Mom—she cooks, she cleans, helps with your homework, and has been there for you since day one. We celebrate her once a year, taking the time to appreciate all of the work she does that seems completely out of this world. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, have you thought of how you will be celebrating? There are many thoughtful things you can do to help show your mom that you are grateful for all that she does. Here are a couple of ideas on how you can make your mom feel like the brightest star in the universe for Mother’s Day.

Photo By Gabriela Pinto

Photo By Gabriela Pinto

Click here to make mom smile!

Maracas for Cinco De Mayo

Cinco De Mayo gives us a chance to celebrate Mexican culture, and a part of that culture is music. Maracas are simple percussion instruments that are used instead of the common drum. You can have a set of this rhythmic and rattling sounding pair of your own at home as a result of perfect craft opportunity that will have your little ones shakin’-it to the sounds of your May 5th festivities! Here is how you can make maracas with your kids for Cinco De Mayo.

Photo by Steven Depolo

Photo by Steven Depolo

Decoupage Maracas for Cinco De Mayo

 What you will need:

    • Empty plastic bottles (Empty Salad dressing bottles are perfect since they have a long enough neck for the handle)
    • Modge Podge
    • Brightly colored tissue paper (Try sticking to traditional Cinco De Mayo colors like red, orange, green, and yellow)
    • Paint brush
    • dried beans

Steps:

Start by having your little ones tear the colored tissue paper into pieces while you take an empty plastic bottle and coat it in Modge Podge using the paint brush.

Once the bottle has been generously Modge Podged, have your kids place torn tissue paper all over the bottle. Have them layer the tissue paper to cover the bottle as you go over the pieces with the paint brush and Modge Podge.

Once one bottle is covered in tissue paper, set it aside and repeat the process with your second bottle.

Let both bottles dry completely

Once the bottles are dry, fill them with your dried beans and place glue on the cap of the bottle before you replace it for a tight seal.

Creating a set of your own maracas is a great craft that’s suitable for children to enjoy as you celebrate the Mexican culture in an upbeat way! Challenge your kids to try and keep time with a beat, counting down in between shakes to keep a steady rhythm. Make these maracas and enjoy your Cinco De Mayo fiesta with your kids!

 

DIY Space Ship!

Cardboard crafts are genius and so much fun! The materials are budget friendly and they create hours of entertainment in both creating and playing—especially if it is large enough to climb into. So, instead of tossing out the huge refrigerator box from your latest kitchen appliance purchase, bring the final frontier to your living room with these tips on how to build a DIY cardboard space ship that you and your Blaster can enjoy!

SpaceAdventureInspiration

What you’ll need for this project is simple—cardboard boxes or one huge refrigerator box, some duct tape or packing tape, a pair of scissors, paint, and a kid’s imagination!

Start off by helping your Cadet sketch out what they think their space ship could look like, especially they gadgets inside. This way you can incorporate all of your kid’s ideas to make the sketch come to life! Then gather all of your tools and materials and start creating, getting your kids involved with as much of the process as possible.

To make this cardboard vessel more interactive, place bottle caps or corks for “buttons, switches, and knobs” on the inside instead of just painting or drawing them on. To keep your little ones busy for longer, you can create astronaut costumes that they can wear while playing.

After you are done, your Cadet will be so proud to know that they had a hand in making this fun new toy themselves! Help your Blaster equip their newly built space craft with blankets for comfort along with snacks and water to replenish their energy for hours of

out-of-this-world fun! Visit our Pinterest page for inspiration on how you can transform your home into an amazing indoor space adventure, starting with spaceship made of cardboard!

Monarch Butterfly Curiosities and Crafts

Over the years, your child has probably seen butterflies fluttering through the air, or they might have even raised them in their classrooms for a short while. However, did you know that monarchs, just like birds and other animals, migrate to a different region of the world for the winter season?

The Monarch butterfly, a butterfly characterized by its black and orange colors, migrates from the United States and Canada to Mexico for the winter season. This year, however, the number of Monarch butterflies migrated to Mexico decreased by 59 percent, making this year’s number the lowest levels the Monarch butterfly population has seen in 20 years.  There are a variety of factors that could be contributing to this steady decline in the Monarch butterfly population, but there is no certainty as of yet.

You can tie in this specific current event with a special craft for your children. Here are some basic instructions:

Materials You Will Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Marker
  • Paint
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Draw a butterfly shape on the construction paper
  2. Fold the paper in half so that the butterfly is folded down the middle, with two identical halves
  3. Drizzle paint on only one side of the butterfly.
  4. Fold the paper in half, and pat the sides together.
  5. Open up the paper and let the paint dry.
  6. Cut out the butterfly shape, and post these shapes as decorations.

Monarch Butterfly - Process

Monarch Butterfly - Product

Please refer to the images above for demonstrations on the Monarch Butterfly craft. Encourage your child to use their imagination; use different colored paints and construction paper, and perhaps you can even make creative shapes. You might even want to relate this craft to a fun worksheet that helps your child learn how to categorize and differentiate between different items.