Joanna Anastasia

Kids crafts

How I keep my kids occupied at home & free blooming activity printables

Today I wanted to share with you a couple of ideas for keeping those kids at home occupied! Because at this point of this crazy year, with many of us still not knowing if kids will be back at school this September or not ( and if yes then for how long!?) I bet we are all out of ideas on occupying our children!

So today I wanted to share with you some activities and toys that have kept us sane lately and some free printable activities that I designed and that you can download and print at home for your kids! I have designed these printable activities that you can find at the end of the post ( I spy game, memory game & colouring pages) around the blooming theme that was the subject of our recent home activities!

So here are some activities and toys that have kept us sane lately:

1.Playing pastry chefs.

So first, let me show you my girl’s new favorite activity- sweet treat creations with Chocolate Pen! We received the Chocolate Pen as a blogger gift but it has quickly became a favorite in here since it mixes together two of my girls favourites- art and baking!

Basically it’s a pen that automatically loads chocolate and a melting tray kit that keeps colors melted and ready to go- and with the candy bars included it makes for a perfectly sweet activity! It’s kid friendly and easy to use, and with a bit of experience I believe we’ll be decorating cakes like real pastry chefs soon! We even made some homemade chocolates with it and let me tell you, they where so yummy!

How you too can play pastry chefs at home:

  1. Get kids dressed in matching chef hats ( you can make them from paper)and some aprons.
  2. Bake simple cookies and decorate them with Chocolate Pen or melted chocolate and some colorful sprinkles.
  3. Set up playdough pastry chef station for younger kids.
  4. Make homemade chocolates in silicone ice cube molds with melted white chocolate and food colouring.
  5. Ask your kids to draw their imaginary pastry creations .

2.Playing imaginary games

I really believe in imaginary play and toys that encourage imagination and all sorts of make believe. And the toys that have saved my sanity lately and kept my girls occupied for days are both cute, encourage imaginary play and creativity! They are called Blume dolls and they are my kids new absolute favourite! They have also inspired me to design the printable activities for you!

Now, since an image is worth a thousand words I have this little video of the Blume Rainbow Sparkle Surprise  experience- because I can tell you that the dolls really bloom when you first water them up , but would you believe me if you wouldn’t see it?

These dolls are both cute, have removable colorful and squishy hair and lot’s of accessories; and their packaging can be reused for flower planting and crafting!

I also love the different skin tones of both Blume dolls and Blume babies!

We even got one that was all white and Rose could make her hair exactly as she wanted! Next on our activity list is planting flowers in their pots, but that will have to wait for our new house!

3. Crafting and drawing

So these new Blume dolls that girls have received have inspired me to design a set of printable activities for them and for you: the I spy game a memory game , and some colouring /drawing pages all inspired by blooming, flowers and summer fun!

When I printed these out for my girls they where occupied all morning long and so excited!

For the memory game simply glue the printed sheet on a darker piece of paper ( so kids can’t see the images through) and then cut it out and play!

You can download your printable activities here!

I hope these activities and ideas can help you have more fun at home these days – and while this year haven’t been the easiest, we are all in this together, it will pass, and our kids will hopefully remember this time as the months of family time at home most of all!

Disclosure- While the Blume dolls and Chocolate Pen where gifted to me and my girls all opinions and enthusiasm remains completely our own!

Easter surprise craft & printable

Easter surprise craft

There’s so many reasons to be exited for spring and Easter! There’s the gorgeous spring weather that finally let’s us explore nature and the outdoors, the traditional egg painting and the egg hunting with kids. Then there are Easter family gatherings and last but not the least, new Amazon’s award winning children’s series springtime special, the Tumble Leaf ” Spring-a-ling Surprise”!
And while I’m quite strict when it comes to screen time and kids, I’m always so happy when I can find new educational and well made kids shows!

So to celebrate spring and Easter, we got inspired by this sweet whimsical and beautiful episode, and decided to make our own version of the Tumble Leaf Easter eggs. And my girls could not have been happier!

So if you your kids still don’t know the Tumble Leaf series, then let me assure you, that they’ll love it! This series is beautifully made, with gorgeous aesthetics and captures my kids attention every single time! But what I love the most about it, is how it inspires my girls to craft and play after they finish watching it! And when I look at them, concentrated and with their eyes wide opened, it melts my mama’s heart!

Easter surprise series and craft

Easter craft

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So after watching this new spring episode, we decided we’ll make our very own spring surprise eggs! And you can craft along with us, since I have prepared a printable for you, that you can cut out and color with your kids! Just download and print the 3 page sheets and you’re ready to go!

Easter surprise craft

Easter surprise craft

Easter surprise craft

Printable Easter preschool activity


All you need to do:

  1. Print out the coloring sheets I made for you.You can get the full three pages printable coloring sheets here
  2.  Let your kids color them, and then help them cut the eggs, pots, butterflies and bunnies out!
  3. Prepare glue, and let them put together their own Easter Surprise eggs!
  4. Don’t forget to watch the episode, and find out what are the names of your eggs and what signs of spring has Fig the Fox uncovered !

As for my girls, we might make many more Easter surprise eggs, because as Rose pointed out, we need to have as many as Bloom the bunny in the Tumble Leaf!

And how many will you make?

Easter surprise craft

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, all opinion remain my own.

Teaching kids how to recycle and reuse

How to show to small kids what's recycling and reusing is really all about.

We all recycle paper and plastic and glass in our homes. We all know how important it is to reduce the waste and reuse old objects. Thanks to my city’s initiative I even do compost. But I realized that my kids don’t really understand the very essence of recycling nor they understand why we do it.

So I decided to show them the meaning of recycling in a way that they can understand, and that’ll look appealing and useful to them: reusing their old and broken crayons!

We took our crayon box and sorted all the broken crayons aside. I asked them first what should we do with these broken crayons, and my older daughter proposed throwing them away. Now, that was a clear signal to me that I should put more effort in teaching her about the importance of reusing things!

So without explaining to her what exactly are we doing, I asked her to help me with taking the papers off the broken crayons. I wanted her to first see for herself how we can recycle broken objects in to something useful, before telling her what will happen.

How to show to small kid what's recycling and reusing is really all about: a simple craft that can help!

We sorted the crayons in to colour groups : yellow with orange, blue with purple, and green with brown. We’ve put every group in to a different silicone cup, and off to the oven set up for 300F for around 15 minutes.

When I took the melted crayons out of the oven, my daughter was very surprised, but she still didn’t understand why are we doing this.

When the melted crayons finally cooled down, and I popped new and funny shaped crayon cups out of the baking sheets, finally she understood: we made something new out of something old! Yes. Instead of creating waste we reused what we already had.And that is recycling and reusing.

She’s still a bit young for learning about the climate change, the polluted oceans and Arctic ice melting. I spread her all the explanations about the dangers of not reusing what we have. I think that simply seeing the utility of this craft made her see why it’s better to reuse then to throw away things.

And then she started drawing with her new crayons, and later in the afternoon she used them as cupcakes for her dolls. And so I think that she understood what it actually means to recycle. And how fun it is, when we can make something new out of something old!

How to show to small kid what's recycling and reusing is really all about: a simple craft that can help!

And hers what you’ll need to make your new crayons:

Broken crayons
Cupcake moulds (I suggest silicone)
Oven

Take the papers off your crayons, place them in a cupcake moulds, and put in the oven heated to 300F for around 15 minutes so they’ll melt completely. Take them out to cool down. Add some glitter. Pop out once they’re cooled down, and have fun!

Valentine’s day card, that your child can make on its own!

Valentine's day card that your child can really make!

Valentine’s day is approaching, and I know you’re hungry for new ideas! Remember how I was writing about paying attention to not overstimulate our kids? And guided crafting was one of the things to look at? So, I’m happy to say, that this craft is equally a fruit of unguided creativity, and of a guided crafting with mom. So kids get to express themself, and then they can make something really nice too, a win-win!

My girls love crafting, and this card here is their collaborative work, with just a tiny bit of help from my side. But if your kids are confident with scissors, then they can make this card entirely on their own!

What you’ll need :

A big sheet of white paper
Red and pink paint

2 pink cardboards
scissors
Glue

Valentine's day card

First step is unguided painting. Let kids ( even an older baby or a toddler ) paint whatever they want with pink and red paint. You could even give them pompoms to paint with (especially toddlers love painting with unusual materials!) Then let it dry.

Valentine's day car

Take two, equal in size pink cardboards. Set one aside. Fold another one in half, and cut a half-heart. Set it aside.

Valentine's card

And now cut the painted sheet of paper in to long stripes. Take the other pink cardboard, and glue on it the pink and red stripes. Make sure there’s no space in-between stripes left.

Valentine's day card

Now place the cardboard with a heart on top ( add glue to the edges so it stays).
Your Valentine’s card is ready!

Valentine's day card

We’ll be making more of these, since my daughter decided that she wants to send one to each of her grandparents, and aunts and uncles. And are your kids making cards for friends and family?

Recycled cardboard Christmas tree: easy winter craft

Easy winter craft

When the first snow appeared out the window we decided that it was about time for a winter craft. Because homeschooling isn’t only about letters and numbers, but also about fine mother skills, creativity and simply having fun together ( and making mess, just wait and see!).

This little winter craft is really fun for all ages. If you have toddlers on your hand, let them paint the cardboard Christmas tree. If you have preschoolers, they can even cut the tree out and assemble everything all alone. And if you don’t mind cleaning the glitter for days and days to come, then both of them can sprinkle their trees with glitter ! (Yes, I did have glitter for days after.Yes, it did drive me crazy..)

What you’ll need:

Cardboard ( can be old envelopes or a cereal box)
Scissors
Glue
Paint ( green and white)
Glitter

Winter craft

Cut out the Christmas tree. Cut two at the same time, so you have two matching shapes.
It doesn’t need to be perfect! If you’re using a cereal box, or an old cardboard envelope, just glue the printed sides together, and then cut out the tree (this is what we did with one of the pre-assembled-tree-in-making)

Now cut a line from the bottom up in the first one, and from the top down on the second one.

Winter craft

Paint them in green or white, and sprinkle with glitter. Although if you don’t want to have glitter everywhere, just skip this step. Although it’s much more pretty with glitter..

Winter craft

Slide the matching tree sides together, and let it sparkle!

Winter craft

If your kids are older (and I’m assuming more patient then mine are) you could give them some mini pompoms to glue to their trees, or cut out little stars and add them too.

Winter craft

Whatever you decide, I hope you’ll have fun!

Montessori homeschool: letter tracing with paint.

These Montessori inspired homeschooling activities teach your child about letters and their shapes, using simply paint, brush and paper. #preschool #homeschool

It’s been over two months now since I decided to start our part-time home preschool. Although my daughter didn’t really realise that there’s something new going on, since we would always paint and craft on the days when she’s staying with me at home. The only difference now, is that we paint and craft including letters and numbers. So even though I call it homeschool, for her it’s playing, crafting and creating with mommy.

This is really the core of Montessori approach to learning: allowing a child discover and create, while using natural, every day objects. It definitely means less iPad games and apps, and more paint and crayons! ( But if you know me, then you know that I believe in balance, so my kids do get to use technology..just reasonably, like when mommy is exhausted and needs a break 😉 )

Montessori homeschool : tracing letters

So while learning about letters, what’s important is recognizing the sound, connecting it to the shape, being able to recognize the shape and naming objects starting by that letter. My daughter would come to me and say that L is like her name, and M is like mommy, before she would be able to recognize the shape of these letters.

And so these activities let kids learn the shape, while connecting it to the sound. Also, it’s easier for little hands to trace instead of write right away. That way they learn the movement of the hand while tracing and are ready to learn to write the letter later.

What you’ll need:

Paper
Pencil (for you)
Paint and paintbrush

Draw letters with little circles. You can start with one big letter A : on the very first day I think this is exactly what we did. Here, I drew a couple of both capital and small letters a for her to trace with a paintbrush.

Montessori homeschool : racing letters

We repeated the sound, and we came up with words ( in polish) starting by the letter that she was tracing.

Montessori homeschool : tracing letters with paint

Tracing letters with pompoms :

This is basically the same activity, but since we’re using a different material, it gets a whole new dimension for a child. It’s like a mix if sensory play with letter learning, and my daughter really loved this one!

Montessori homeschool: training letters using different materials, like paintbrush or pompoms, teaches letter recognition and shape without being overwhelming for a preschooler.

What you’ll need :

Paper
Pencil ( for you)
Paint
pompoms

Homeschool

Of course while we did that with Lili, my toddler Rose wanted to join in, and so she was painting with pompons, and I had a quiet 30 minutes for another coffee 😉

Training letters, great Montessori activity for learning letter shape

As you might have read before, I’m raising my kids bilingually, so all the activities we do at home are only in Polish, while her three-times-a-week daycare is in French. That’s why I don’t have any printables here for you, I’m simply sharing my experience. But I do have a very we’ll curated Pinterest homeschooling board with plenty great printables and resources!

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