Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

Huzzah to all my fine readers! Those of you who checked in on my post at our sister site, www.mycrazy8.com, will have found some fun information on this years Arizona Renaissance Festival. I wanted to add a few fun facts to that post as my family and I were able to attend once again this year. There were so many new experiences offered this year and I wouldn’t want you all to miss out on any of it! There is a special offer at the end of this post that you won’t want to miss! So read on! Hope you enjoy and take your own family for some amazing experiences of your own! This weekend is the last weekend of this annual spectacular medieval spectacle and we want to make sure you don’t miss out!

Don't be shy! Get in on the fun and dress up for the fair! You won't regret it as the artisans and performers will heartily welcome you in on the merriment!

Don’t be shy! Get in on the fun and dress up for the fair! You won’t regret it as the artisans and performers will heartily welcome you in on the merriment!

First of all, I would like to second my earlier advice to fully embrace the time period by dressing up as your favorite Renaissance character. Don’t have a costume? No problem! Near the entrance of the fair is a wonderful little boutique where you can rent your costume for the day! There are lots of sizes and fun character themes to choose from. It makes it super easy and convenient as well as exceptionally more fun!

Costumes are available for rent to help everyone fit right in with the fair folk!

Costumes are available for rent at the entrance of the Fair to help everyone fit right in with the fair folk!

A couple of new items we tried this year included some of the food items that are both old and new. If you are curious as to which items are the best on the menu, we have tried many but have yet to find the equal of the “steak on a stake”! Well worth saving your appetite for! This is definitely the finest food item we have found at the fair! It would be enough for small children to split but older kids or adults with appetites will definitely want their own! We sampled the Turkey leg (which has always been a favorite) as well as the corn on the cob which were both wonderful. The corn was especially popular with my kids. A new item we discovered was the frozen orange! Not sure exactly what goes into this one but it consists of an actual frozen orange with a frozen icy orange-flavored coating that is absolutely addictive as well as refreshing on a hot afternoon! We shared one and ended up getting another very quickly! Definitely going to make our “must have” list next year! And no visit is complete without a stop at the chocolate shop located near the entrance…we highly recommend the chocolate strawberries!

The line might be long but it is worth the wait! Plus, you get to be entertained by Captain Drake, the pirate, while you wait!

The line might be long but it is worth the wait! Plus, you get to be entertained by Captain Drake, the pirate, while you wait!

Don't forget to stop in on the fairies as well! Twig and her sister, Juniper, will surely delight every child with an eye for magic!

Don’t forget to stop in on the fairies as well! Twig and her sister, Juniper, will surely delight every child with an eye for magic!

Of course, you have heard of the newest exhibit of mermaids…yes, you read correctly…MERMAIDS! These are live, swimming, performing mermaids that not only swim for show but interact with your kids both under the water and above it! If you have any little mermaid wann-bee’s out there, this is a must see exhibit. It was exceptionally busy though. We were a little slow making our way back to this exhibit and by the time we arrived, it was about an hour wait to get in. So I would highly recommend you make your way back to this exhibit FIRST before you dally anywhere else in the fair to avoid long waits! But if you have to wait, the pirates in attendance are MOST entertaining! Pay attention though, they LOVE to give oblivious passerbys a little trouble!

Captain Drake is always to be found lingering around the mermaid pools! He's quite the scoundrel so watch yourself!

Captain Drake is always to be found lingering around the mermaid pools! He’s quite the scoundrel so watch yourself!

We visited one of the braiding stations called “Twisted Sisters” and were blown away by the talent and service here! Very friendly ladies, very gentle on the hair (for those with sensitive heads, this is a must!) and extremely talented stylists! They use real flowers in your hair which just adds to the magic of the ambiance! Check out some of their handiwork in the photos included here!

Meet Tom Selectomy! He is a crazy, sword swallowing daredevil!

Meet Tom Selectomy! He is a crazy, sword swallowing daredevil!

Don’t forget the Sword Swallower! This show is definitely not for the delicate stomachs but it is quite amazing to behold!

Of course, no visit to the fair is complete without a stop at the weapons shops! There are many available throughout the fair and I highly recommend shopping around as the pricing will vary, in some cases dramatically. This applies to most of the artisans in the fair that have duplicate offerings. We found that the further back into the fair we ventured, the more reasonable the pricing became so don’t be shy about visiting all the artisans…you will not only find different pricing but differing styles, quality and materials. Plus, every artisan is in full character and are so much fun to interact with! They are exceptionally knowledgeable about their trades and love to share their discoveries, wisdom and expertise with all who are interested! The weapons shops are particularly entertaining because you can even get them to divulge secrets behind the proper handling of each weapon and how it was used! My boys are particularly attentive during these interactions! For those interested in the actual process of weapons-forging, make sure you stop by the blacksmiths shop near the mermaid tank! See firsthand how weapons came into being and ask questions of these very knowledgeable artisans.

We brought our hair leathers back this year and the Captan treated us to some free braided coifs!

We brought our hair leathers back this year and the Captan treated us to some free braided coifs!

One of the artisans we discovered last year was the beaded leather braiding shop. Those of us who have long hair but are “braiding-challenged”, this was a unique and super fun discover! They are beaded leather straps that you can use to easily braid your hair in seconds with decorative accessories. Super easy to use and super cute! Plus, any year you return to the fair with your beaded leather, they will style and braid your hair for free! This is quite a deal since most braiding stations in the fair will cost you upwards of $20 or more! He made good on his offer with four of us this year and it was a wonderful treat!

We also were able to meet some new characters this year! One especially fun character was the ever-elusive young dragon, FireFlicker! He is exceptionally hard to find and considered quite the find to capture him on camera! He’s always on the lookout for shiny objects to add to his dragon hoard!

Try to catch FireFlicker, the friendly dragon! He is quite illusive but well worth the hunt!

Try to catch FireFlicker, the friendly dragon! He is quite illusive but well worth the hunt!

A tip on attending the joust…be sure to arrive at least 30-40 minutes early for your joust of choice as seats fill quickly (especially if you want one in the shade!). The first joust of the day is merely exhibition. Skills of dexterity and horsemanship as well as sword and lance handling. Very tame for the feint of heart! But those wishing to see a match to the death should be sure and make the final joust of the day. This joust will see only one winner and is much more violent as all the knights are pitted against one another in defending their honor. Of course, they still maintain the humor and light-heartedness and all the “dead” knights rise once again at the end, much to the cheers of the crowd! But if you have sensitive little ones, stick to the earlier joust. If you would like to congratulate your favorite knight, get to know his horse or ask questions about the more technical aspects of the joust, be sure and stop by the paddocks after the performance as each knight will be available to sign autographs and talk to the crowd!

Make sure you ask for a demo of the dragon flute! You won't be disappointed!

Make sure you ask for a demo of the dragon flute! You won’t be disappointed!

Some of the new musicians we discovered included the traditional dulcimer. This is a harp-like instrument played with a pick. It is absolutely haunting to listen to and very fun to watch a master at work on the strings! We encountered this talented fellow near the mermaid tank. But you haven’t heard real magic until you’ve visited the flute shop and seen what they can do with the “dragon flute” and the “fairy pipes”! Ever seen a wooden saxophone? We have! And so can you if you stop by their store for a demo!

If you haven’t visited the amazing artisan-filled Renaissance Festival yet, don’t worry…there’s still time! The fair runs through April 2, from 10:00-6:00 (rain or shine) Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.royalfaires.com/arizona/. But there is a special contest going on right now to get a free adult ticket with VIP parking over at our sister sites facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MyCrazy8/! Jump on over there and get entered! Contest winner will be announced tomorrow!

Have you been to the fair? Share your experiences below! There are so many things to see that we’d love to hear what new discoveries YOU made! Huzzah!

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If your kids have ever dreamed of pirates, knights, princesses or fairies…then you need to pack up these little dreamers and take them to the place where these dreams can be real! My family and I have found a place where these characters come to life…at the Arizona Renaissance Festival! The Arizona Renaissance Festival is a medieval amusement park, a 13-stage theater, a 30-acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast — all rolled into one non-stop, day-long family adventure! The Faire runs from 10am to 6pm (rain or shine) on Saturdays and Sundays from February 6 to March 27, including President’s Day on February 15th. The Festival is seven miles east of Apache Junction on US Highway 60.

The Renaissance Festival is a place where you and your family can experience over 200 handcrafted items, have a sword fight with a pirate, watch knights joust to the death, dance to the reed pipes of a fairy, laugh with the village fool or even gain audience with the King and his courtisans! Hop on a “man-powered” merry-go-round, ride a giant rocking horse, have a go at the crossbow or just take a load off on the lawn and catch the Bird of Prey show to see how traditional falconry was done! Even the booths are hand-crafted works of art. There are hair weavers, face painters, candle makers, pottery artists, leather and metal workers…the list goes on!

My family of 5 have been attending for several years and we wouldn’t miss it! There has been something for all of my ages to experience, learn from and participate in every year we have attended. We love mixing in with the villagers dressed in our renaissance finest and talking with the various artisans about their unique skills. I have brought my princesses, my fairies, my warlocks, my pirates, my knights and even my robin hood and we fit in perfectly in this fully immersive renaissance experience. Plan to spend the entire day! Munch on traditional turkey legs, steaks on sticks or take a sweet trip to heaven as you pass by any number of amazing chocolate covered treasures to be found all over the faire.

Some of the entertainment can be quite a mixed bag of joyful and inappropriate (this is, after all, the renaissance!). I have attended without incident with all my children on a variety of days (just avoiding the shows with more adult-oriented humor). But if you would like to avoid the “bawdy” all together,  I highly recommend attending on “Student Days” on March 1st and 3rd. This is a very special day when the more rambunctious crowd is toned down to make way for the likes of Galileo, Medicis, Shakespeare, Magellan and so much more! These two days cater especially to teachers and students to help bring to life the language, science, arts, engineering and overall ambiance of the 16th Century.

Tickets are $23 for adults and $11 for kids (ages 5-12). Discount tickets are available  here or check their website for a coupon partner near you. You can also hook up with their facebook page and join in the 16th century fun to win one of their daily giveaways!

Want to come with your teacher and all your classroom friends?? Then you need to enter their “Renaissance in the Southwest 2016 Essay Contest”! Teachers, this is a spectacular way to help your kids get excited about history!

A couple of tips when attending the faire…

  • Traffic can be a problem getting there…plan to leave at least an hour or two early if you can. But once you get there, parking is free and very well organized.
  • They do not allow outside food and drink but when I have come with children under the age of 5, they have allowed me to bring small snacks, bottles and drinks specifically and only for these little ones. But I would try to pack light…they won’t let you bring coolers or any large items.
  • It’s dusty! If you have allergies or are otherwise affected by the dust, be prepared.
  • It can be very warm! Wear sunscreen…a hat…bring a fan…you will be much more comfortable! Bring water…you can refill at drinking fountains throughout the park.
  • There are bathrooms throughout the faire but the lines can be long…try to get your little ones to go before you get there.
  • Leave your pets at home…they will not be allowed into the park.
  • Costumes are super fun and usually will win the attention of the street performers for an even more interactive and fun experience!
  • There are 8 ATM’s located across the Festival grounds but I would recommend having cash on hand. The food can be a bit pricey but well worth the experience and you won’t want to miss out on purchasing some one-of-a-kind souvenirs from your time traveling adventures!

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23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art...come see the artists at work!

Yes, spring break is upon us and if you are anything like me, you are scrambling to keep kids busy with things other than video games and movies! In my hunt for the affordable (and hopefully sneaking in that somewhat educational!) entertainment in the Valley of the Sun, I have discovered a real gem! Today I took my five children (ages 2 through 12) to the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale, AZ.

The show highlights work from over 100 artists, some local and some traveling from out of state to attend. What’s fun about a glorified outdoor art museum you might ask? Well, the coolest thing about this art exhibit is the artists are actually on site WORKING on their art! You can ask questions, see demonstrations of their technique, or just shoot the breeze about the latest trends. My kids LOVE that they can actually see the artists at work and ask questions! My youngest loved all the colors and because many of the artists enjoy bringing their pets on site, he LOVED playing with the friendly little pups resting at the foot of several of the artists. One particular artist today painted birds and could mimic a bird call so convincingly that we had to look around for a minute for the bird before we realized it was her!

Whitney Peckman was one of our favorite artists! Here she displays some of her hand sculpted and painted gourds. Amazing!

Rather than learn from art teachers who are bound by certain techniques they are required to teach, these artists have no such restrictions and they truly let their imaginations go wild with the off-the-wall techniques they’ve invented, the customized processes they’ve had to discover and the media they have developed to answer that creative call!

When we arrived home this afternoon from over 3 hours there, my kids all rushed to our art cabinet and immediately took to making their own wildly creative pieces with all their new ideas!

Looking to get inspired? This is your chance! When we arrived home this afternoon from over 3 hours there, my kids all rushed to our art cabinet and immediately took to making their own wildly creative pieces with all their new ideas!

The event runs through March 24th and is open daily from 10am to 6pm. It’s located on the SW corner of Hayden Rd. and Loop 101 (Exit 35 from the 101). Just look for the big white tents! The best part?? It’s FREE for kids under 12!!! Yes, that’s right…FREE! Adults are $10 but if you go to the 23rd Annual Celebration of Fine Art website, you can download a 2 for 1 coupon for adult tickets.

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October Festival!

October 20th, 2011 7:13pm

Ok, I know this is somewhat limiting to all of you out there not currently in Arizona. But for those of you burned out on the traditional pumpkin patches of Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek or Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert, we’ve got a new alternative for you! Hop on over to DeWitt Stables and let your kids enjoy “The Patch of Pumpkins, Pets and Ponies”! You definitely can’t beat the price! Kids under 3 are FREE and admission is $5.00 for 3 and up. Families can purchase a group ticket for only $25.00! They also have special rates for larger groups.

Besides picking out that perfect pumpkin from their pumpkin patch, kids can enjoy hayrides, a petting zoo, pony rides, a hay maze, a craft fair, games and even more rides! The festival hours are Fridays from noon until dark and Saturdays from 10:00am until dark.

DeWitt Stables is located at 2211 E. Quince in Mesa, just 1/2 mile north of the 202 Red Mountain on Gilbert Rd. For more information, call (480) 717-9540 or visit their website at www.dewittstables.com

Be sure to mark your calendars with our pumpkin graphic to help remind your little ones of the upcoming holiday fun! Halloween is almost upon us!

Kids will love this great petting zoo!

Pony rides are sure to delight those little western rustlers!

Don't forget to stop by the pumpkin patch for the perfect holiday pumpkin!

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It’s time to visit the pumpkin patch!!

October 10th, 2010 10:41am

Are your kids just chomping at the bit to get their little hands on what is sure to be another Halloween masterpiece of Jack o lantern proportions? There are of course very inexpensive ways to make these pumpkin purchases and while Walmart tops our list of cheap alternatives, we’ve got some suggestions for helping you make this festive purchase a memorable experience for your little one! Taking your little one right out into the pumpkin field to retrieve their special pumpkin can be a very fun activity to help your child mark he season. Check out some of these options…

PUMPKIN AND CHILI PARTY

Schnepf Farms, 24810 Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek. Phone: 480-987-3100. Website: www.schnepffarms.com

Description: Voted as one of the best family friendly experiences by Phoenix Magazine, this pumpkin patch festival offers something for everyone. Featured rides are a hay wagon, a mini roller coaster, carousels and trains. Try finding your way through a 4- or 10-acre cornfield maze. And check out the chili.

Times: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
 
Prices: $15, $10 military. $12 discount tickets available at Fry’s. Be aware that a lot of the farm activities are priced a la carte so discount tickets are definitely recommended. This is not a cheap experience but it is sure a lot of fun for the kids!

PUMPKIN PATCH

Mother Nature’s Farm, 1663 E. Baseline Road, Gilbert. Phone: 480-892-5874. Website: mothernaturesfarm.com

Description:  Families can purchase pumpkins and decorate them, plus take part in activities including an inflatable bounce house, hayrides, a straw bounce, animal feeding and Alexander’s Adventure Maze created with bales of hay.
 
Times: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. daily through Nov. 5.

Prices: $7, $3 adults. 

Wherever you decide to purchase your pumpkins this year though, keep your little ones age in mind when it comes time to decorating. Remember, pumpkins don’t necessarily need to be “carved”. Fingerpaints can be an especially popular way for the youngest of your crew to still enjoy the experience. Topping your childs painted creations with a little glow in the dark paint or fingernail polish, glitter glue or the like, available at most grocery stores, and you’re good to go!

Does your enjoy Mr. Potato Head? How about working on the work bench with their play hammer and pols? Well, Paper Magic Group from Creative Seasonal Solutions has some great pumpkin decorating kits available at your local Fry’s Marketplace. The Fright Lights kit allow your child to pound in some transparent colored pegs with a small wooden mallet which then light up when a light is placed inside the pumpkin! Great for ages four and up. You could also try the Pumpkin Push Ins for ages 3 and up that allow your child to decorate their pumpkin with eyes, ears, horns, teeth, mouth and nose in true Mr. Potato Head fashion!

Whatever you decide, have a wonderful time making this years Halloween masterpiece!

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It means so much to our kids when we display their artwork in our home. It can boost their morale, help them feel appreciated and contribute to their confidence in succeeding. But sometimes, we look at our cluttered walls and wonder, “what would this look like if it weren’t covered in scribbles?!” Well, one of our subscribers, Meggin, found a wonderful fun compromise!…

She started with your basic set of fingerpaints, large paper and of course, her two toddlers! She let the kids go nuts outside with the various colors of fingerpaint. Along with their crazy splashing across the page, each toddler thought it fun to make their own handprints on different pieces of paper as well. Once it was dry, she noticed some really fun coloring combinations along with some interesting lines in her little ones artwork. She had some extra frames and decided to see what they looked like. Then she found the pages with the handprints on them and had one of those “lightbulb” moments! She cut out the handprints, framed the large pages and placed the handprint on top of the matted artwork. She finished it off with each childs name and date and voilá! She had a beautiful piece of memorable artwork to perch on her wall that not only looked nice, but was a great positive reminder to her and her little ones of the days fun and the creative powers of those little minds!  Thanks for sharing, Meggin!

If you or someone you know has a great craft or creative activity for young children, please submit them to us at info@mytimecalendars.com with subject line of “creative fun”.

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New spin on child birthday parties

August 9th, 2010 11:29pm

Looking for a new spin on kids birthday parties? We’ve got a great idea for you courtesy of Cheryl Tallman of “Fresh Baby”! When her son turned 5, she decided to play off his particular interests and strengths by providing a cooking party for him and his friends! She hosted a 2 1/2 hr party in their kitchen which she entitled “Cooking School for Brilliant Kids.”

Cheryl’s party was complete with disposable chef hats, aprons and a few kid sized cooking utensils which she used in take home gift bags for each child. The recipes were simple consisting of pizzas, green beans, carrot sticks, pigs in blankets (hot dogs rolled and baked in crescent rolls), and home made ice cream. She had her husband do a short little magic show during the baking time (he read up earlier in the week at the library!).

At the end of the party, she took a picture of her “class” and mailed each child a certificate of completion from the “Cooking School for Brilliant Kids” that had their class picture in it! What a fun idea!

As a former Pampered Chef consultant, I actually did many child birthday parties that were a huge success! Sometimes the mothers even tagged along for a brush up on some kid friendly recipes and demos! These types of parties were certainly a departure from the norm and gave each child an opportunity to participate, start good cooking habits, enjoy some great food, and take home not only fun memories but some actual cooking skills and recipes they could use at home!

Some tips for hosting this kind of party:

1) keep it simple!…easy recipes with a short list of ingredients are best. Mix and match things you can cook with things you can serve right away.

2) keep the party list small!…smaller groups definitely work better in this situation. Keep the number of attendees to 5 or 6 depending on the age and maturity of the group. This gives everyone a chance to participate and helps you maintain some order in the kitchen as well as safety.

3) have a time filler to keep kids busy while the food is cooking…in Cheryl’s case, she had her husband prepared with some “magical” interlude but you could have any number of fun party games prepared. Some oldies but goodies are “pin the hat on the chef”, musical chairs at the dinner table, and hot potato.

4) keep mess in mind…remember to prepare an area where you can have everyone gather and be able to see and participate. In Cheryl’s case, she prepared a ping pong table with a themed table cloth and had everyone gather around it.

5) always be safe!…teach the kids good hand washing and surface cleaning habits. Make sure that no child is left unattended around hot surfaces. It is best to leave the oven and stove preparation to the “master chef” (i.e. the adult!).

And probably the most important tip, cater to your childs interests and food preferences so they and their friends can have a great time making cooking memories together!

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Activities to beat the heat!

June 4th, 2010 11:59pm

If you’re an Arizonan, you know exactly where this article is coming from! Those of us sweltering away in the Arizona summer are on the prowl again for some summer fun that does not involve melting away in the afternoon heat! So we’ve got a few ideas for those of you looking for excursions with your kiddos that will wear them out well before the afternoon sun begins to beat us into submission! Incidentally, we’ve included some pricing here but if you want to get in some of these places for free, get to your local library and check out a “Culture Pass“!

Phoenix Zoo New Baby Zebras

The Phoenix Zoo has welcomed two new baby zebras along with a host of other new little ones!

Visit the Phoenix Zoo! If you have never been to this locale before, then it is definitely time! And if you’ve visited enough to say, “we’ve seen it all!”, then we’ve got news for ya…you haven’t! The Phoenix Zoo has welcomed a slew of new babies into their midst. Zebras, marmosets, big horn sheep and even a couple of year old giraffes have joined the crew. Plus, their new summer hours make it a much more enjoyable experience for all. They open now at 7:00am (or 6:00am if you’re a member) and close at 2:00pm on the weekdays and 4:00pm on the weekends. Enjoy the animal encounters throughout the morning, pack a lunch for a picnic with the monkeys at monkey island, and then cool off at the refreshing waterfall, waterslide and splash pads of Yakulla Caverns before departing for a welcomed afternoon nap! Admission is $16.00 for adults (ages 13 and up) and $7.00 per child (ages 3-12).

Sea Life Aquarium of Arizona

Check out the brand new Sea Life Aquarium at Arizona Mills Mall!

Visit Arizona Mills Mall for a unique experience at their Sea LIfe Arizona Aquarium! You can enter through the mall but once inside, kids will see an underwater playground where thousands of marine animals are shown in 12 distinct habitats. You will even be able to walk through a 360-degree tunneled walkway  directly through a massive tank full of schools of tropical fish, rays and sharks as they swim above, below and all around you! There is a children’s play area, video room and educational center. You can purchase day admission tickets, flex passes, and memberships. A day pass will run you $9.50 for kids 3-12,and $17.50 for adults (these are the online prices which are slightly cheaper than buying at the door).

Public Library Programs

Think the library is just for reading? Guess again!

Think the library is just for reading? Guess again! Our Public Libraries not only have a great summer readers program for kids, but they’ve also got some fun events you might want to put into your calendars!…

  • Every wednesday (except June 16th) from 10:30-11:30am, the Main Library offers Toddler Time for Ages 24 through 36 months and their parents/cargivers (siblings welcomed). 20 minutes of stories, songs and fingerplay fun especially for Toddlers! (Limited to the first 50 people)
  • June 8, 1:00-2:00pm (Main Library) Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium activity…Wonders of the Water: Learn about and meet some cool aquatic and semi-aquatic animals. Also available on June 24th, same time, at the Red Mountain Branch as well as June 30th at the Dobson Ranch Branch.
  • June 9, 10:30-11:30am (Dobson Ranch Branch)…Join the puppeteers for a performance of the classic fairy tale Rapunzel. And at 1:30, bring your older kids to try their hand at making their own “ball” book!
  • June 10, 1:00-2:00pm (Red Mountain Branch)…kids of all ages will have a blast with the crafts and bubble blowing at this event! You can catch this event at the Main Library June 15 from 10:30-11:30am or June 16 at Dobson Ranch Branch, same time.
  • June 19, 1:00-3:00pm (Red Mountain Branch)…great opportunity to get your video game addicts out of the living room and into a library! On the 3rd Saturday of each month, the Red Mountain Branch will test your skills on their Wii along with board games and fun for ages 4-18.
  • June 26, 1:30-3:30pm (Main Library, Dobson Ranch Branch, and Red Mountain Branch)…In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, you might not be aware of the Eclipse movie coming to theaters at the end of this month. Join the Library in celebrating this books release to theaters with Twilight trivia games for prizes (such as Harkins movie tickets, drink cups, and popcorn coupons), raffles for a book purse made from the Eclipse hardback, dress like your favorite Twilight character (JUST BECAUSE!), sink your teeth into some snacks and if you’re into preparing a little, make and wear your own Twilight-themed T-shirt to enter the “Wear Your Own Twilight T-shirt” contest to win a copy of Eclipse!
  • June 28, 1:00-2:00pm (Main Library)…Express your artistic side through the art of silk screen printing. Learn the basics and create a cool t-shirt (supplies and t-shirt provided)!

Looking for some free books for your kids? Barnes and Noble can help! Sign up at any location for their readers program! Just download their Readers Passport to record your child’s progress. Once your child reads 8 books, they get to choose one for free from their local Barnes and Noble!

Well, that should hopefully get you started! Maybe we’ll see you somewhere along the way! Enjoy your kiddos while they’re at home and don’t forget to mark your planned activities on your child’s personalized calendar so they can look forward to and remember all the fun you have this month!

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Fun Valentine crafts for young kids

February 8th, 2010 6:38pm

Valentines Day is about showing other how much we care about and appreciate them. This is such a wonderful holiday for helping kids to think outside of themselves. To consider and show appreciation for the talents, abilities, and importance of others is a difficult but very important skill we all struggle with. Sacrificing time and energy (rather than just mom and dad’s money) to create these messages of thankfulness helps children (and adults!) show a spirit of true consideration. Are you scrambling for some fun, low budget ideas for helping your kids make this Valentines Day truly memorable? Well, we’ve got a few winners for you!

Buying Valentines Cards is certainly easy and sometimes affordable. If you’re little one is working on writing their name, it can be a great way to practice this skill since they will have to write their name several times over in one sitting. If this is a skill you are working on, it can help if you have fairly large valentines cards so that they will have room to write (early writers rarely have the control and coordination required to write very small). It might also help if you draw a line if one does not already exist so that your little one has a reference as they practice their name writing. Without the guidance of lines, you may find this to be a very unproductive and frustrating practice time.

But for those who have mastered their name writing and are looking for a fun alternative to the standard “card”, we suggest a “Valentine’s Mouse”. This little critter requires very little cost for a very fun outcome! The materials you will need are:

  • colored paper
  • red/black marker or glitter glue
  • pipe cleaners
  • bag of Hershey Kisses
  • glue/tape

Take the colored paper, fold it in half, and begin cutting half-heart shapes along the fold (this will ensure your finished heart will be symmetrical). These small hearts will be glued to the bottom of the Hershey Kiss to form the “ears” of our mouse. Next, take a pipe cleaner and curl it around a pencil. The will be taped to the bottom of the Hershey Kiss as well and bent to resemble our mouse tail. Next, take the marker and make eyes (using a black marker) and a nose (using the red marker or red glitter glue)  for your mouse….and voila! You have your very own valentine critter to deliver!

For a fun surprise for a teacher, parent or grandparent…consider giving them a “heart attack”! This is a simple, easy and inexpensive craft that is lots of fun for the giver and truly memorable for the receiver. First cut as many hearts as possible from several different colors of paper (the more sizes and colors, the more fun!). Next, take a marker and write on each heart something you like, admire, or a special memory about the person. If you have children that are not writing, special pictures are also wonderful. Again, the more, the merrier! Take the finished hearts and tape/post them all over the person’s bathroom, bedroom, front lawn (be aware of sprinklers!), office or any other space that the person spends a lot of time in. The key to success here is to not get caught posting the hearts! When the person returns, they will be greeted with their “heart attack” of special messages from their children. This is a wonderful way for kids to learn to “count their blessings” and be truly thankful for this special someone by remembering all the things they love about them and writing them down. The best reward is the look on the person’s face when they enter the room!

Whatever crafts you decide, make sure you take the time to explain why this holiday is so important. Help your kids remember that showing someone you love and appreciate them is truly one of the best ways to not only make their day, but also make your day a little brighter!

Do you have some fun crafts that have worked well with your family or classroom? Share ’em! Visit our Teachers Forum under classroom activities!

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Need help with your bowtieing this year?

November 24th, 2009 1:34pm
No more rats nests on top of my packages!

No more rats nests on top of my packages!

If you are like me who has somehow managed to be born with the non-bowtieing gene, then the holidays are somewhat of a struggle when you are surrounded by beautifully tied packages and offer a large oversized knot in return. But I have found two wonderful sites that have come to my rescue!

For you who appreciate the basics, check out this “how to” from Wikihow.comhttp://www.wikihow.com/Tie-a-Bow

If you are looking to really impress, then SaveOnCrafts.com is where you want to go…http://www.save-on-crafts.com/howtomakebows.html

No more rats nests on top of my packages!

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