Boing! Boing! Bouncing Characters!

Hello and welcome to The Kids Niche once again! πŸ™‚ Today we’re going to put a little bounce in your step! Or maybe a little bounce into some fun characters that you make yourself. Ready, set…let’s go!

You will need some strips of paper…approximately 1″ wide and at least 7″ long, but they could be a little different from that and still work. Construction paper or scrapbook paper works great. I used some paper that was printed on both sides, but that isn’t necessary. Then you’ll need some scraps of paper, glue or double-sided tape, markers, scissors and a pencil.

Begin with the 2 strips of paper.

Put a small amount of glue or double-sided tape on the bottom edge of one strip.

Place the second strip at a right angle to the first one on top of the tape or glue.

Now you will fold the strips of paper across each other…one at a time…keeping them straight to the corner.

Continue folding the strips until you come to the end of the strips.

This is a side view of what it should look like.

Here we are at the end of the strips.

Fold the last bits over and glue or tape in place.

Another side view…this is the part that makes the bounce. It’s rather like an accordion.

Now let’s make the character’s face. Start by cutting out a circle from your scraps of paper. I used a very small cup to trace around.

Draw a silly face on the circle.

Put some glue or double-sided tape on the top of the accordion piece.

And stick the circle on top.

Put your bouncing character on the tabletop and press it with your finger. It will bounce up and down. πŸ™‚

I also made a bouncing cat by folding 2 more strips of paper together. I cut out an orange circle and 2 orange triangles.

Draw a cat’s face on the circle, color in a bit of the ears and glue or tape it together.

Tape it onto the bouncing part you made and you’re ready to play with your bouncing friends!

I hope you’ll have fun bouncing these guys all over the house! πŸ˜‰

M&M Picture Fun for Spring!

Happy 1st Day of Spring!! πŸ™‚

Whoohoo! I am so ready for Spring! How about you? The calendar says it is Spring, but boy, it is cold and windy outside! Let’s pretend not to notice and have some fun inside today! We can have some great fun making pictures with Mini M&M’s candy pieces! You will need a white plate or a white piece of paper and some Mini M&M’s.

And a bowl will make it easier to pick out the color of M&M that you want to use.

This project is so simple! All you do is arrange the M&M’s in such a way that it makes a cool picture. Like this simple flower…

When you are done with the picture, just dump the M&M’s back into the bowl and start over! πŸ™‚ Here’s a more elaborate flower…

You could try a smiley face…

Or maybe a fish in water…

Or how about making a lady bug with blue antennae? πŸ˜‰

The things you can make are endless! πŸ™‚ And the best part? You can eat the M&M’s when you are finished! Super simple, but lots of fun! πŸ™‚

Food Fun for St. Patrick’s Day

Here’s a fairly simple food idea to help celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns love Lucky Charms cereal and gold coins, right? So this is a way those sneaky leprechauns can leave a special treat for your kids. πŸ™‚

I found these black pots like the ones leprechauns hide their gold in at our local Dollar Tree store.

You will also need some Lucky Charms cereal.

And you’ll need some mini Oreo cookies and a can of gold food spray.

Lay some mini Oreo cookies out on a disposable plate. (Lay some newspaper down under the plate to catch the overspray.) Spray one side of the cookies and allow them to dry for the time mentioned on the spray can.

While the cookies are drying, fill the black pots not quite full with the cereal.

When the cookies are dry, turn them over and spray the second side. After the cookies are dry the second time, add a few cookies to each black pot.

And your leprechaun pots are ready to serve to your favorite leprechauns! πŸ˜‰ You can add to the fun by hiding the pots and letting your little leprechauns search for them. I hope this brings some fun to your St. Patrick’s Day! πŸ™‚

Fun With Your Own Stencils

Today we’re looking at a way to make your own stencils AND make a really cool looking picture with them! I tried this 4 different ways, so I will first show you the way that I think worked the best. But if you don’t have those supplies on hand, there are some other fun things you can try that still come out looking pretty great. πŸ™‚ Here’s a sneak peek!

You will need 2 sheets of white paper. I used a sturdy type of construction paper. (I am showing you how to do this project 4 ways, but if you’d rather you can use just one piece of paper and still make 2 pictures.) πŸ™‚

Cut or fold and tear each sheet into 4 equal pieces.

Take 4 of the smaller pieces and fold each one of them in half. Leave 4 smaller pieces of paper flat.

On the folded edge, draw half of a shape. For example, draw half of a heart, triangle, circle, square, etc. Leave some space on both the top and bottom edges.

While keeping the paper folded, cut out the shape. Cut through both pieces of the folded paper at the same time.

Now open up the folded paper and you should have the complete shape cut out of the middle of the paper.

You might want to lay down some old newspaper or paper towels to put your project on. Pick one stencil and lay it on the newspaper.

For the first example, I used water color crayons. They gave the best color to the finished picture.

Pick out 3-5 colors that you want to use. Begin by coloring dots on the edge of your stencil. I like using colors in the same order all around the edge of the stencil. It’s great practice for the kids to help learn about making a pattern.

Make colored dots all around the edge of your shape.

Next lay your stencil on top of one of the flat pieces of paper. Make sure that the 2 pieces of paper stay together all the time for the next step. Use one end of a Q-tip to brush from the colored dot onto the paper laying underneath the stencil. Use the same Q-tip to do all of one color.

Then switch to a new Q-tip end for each color.

Doesn’t it look amazing?! πŸ™‚ Remove the stencil and look at the beautiful design you’ve made underneath.

For my second design I tried using sidewalk chalk. It worked too, but the colors came out very light and rather hard to see, especially in a picture.

I used colored pencils for another try, but this time I didn’t use the Q-tips. I simply colored little patches both on the stencil and the paper underneath. I think the circle and heart shape worked better than the triangle shape did.

And then with the stencil removed. Still made a neat picture!

For my last attempt, I used regular crayons and colored circles or ovals on the stencil and the paper underneath. I think it would look better if I had colored bigger circles, but it still is pretty.

Without the stencil…looks rather like a picture frame. πŸ˜‰

You can, of course, simply use a pencil to trace inside the stencils and then color the shapes without having the stencil there.

It was a fun experiment! I definitely liked using the water color crayons the best as they gave the best results. I hope you’ll give this project a try! πŸ™‚

Egg in a Basket or Whatever You Call It!

There is a fun way to cook an egg and a piece of toast at the same time in the same skillet. But there are MANY names for it. πŸ™‚ This is what it looks like…

I found all these names that seem to refer to the same food. ..Egg in a Basket, Egg in a Hole, Egg in a Nest, Toad in a Hole, Bullseye Toast, One-Eyed Gypsy Bandit and Spit in the Eye. Wow! I am very curious to know what you call it at your house! But let’s talk about how to make it, in case you’ve never seen this idea before. πŸ™‚

All you need is a slice of bread, some butter and an egg plus a skillet to cook it in.

Cut a hole out of the center of the slice of bread. I used raisin bread but you can use your favorite bread.

Save the circle of bread and fix it in your favorite way. Maybe add a bit of butter or jelly or toast it and add some cinnamon and sugar.

Melt some butter in the skillet. When the skillet has warmed up, lay the bread in the skillet.

Crack open the egg and pour it into the hole in the bread.

Cook over a medium heat until the egg reaches the stage of doneness that you like. I flipped my Egg in a Basket over and cooked it some on both sides.

Once your egg is cooked, serve it up with a smile! πŸ™‚ Don’t forget to add the circle of bread to your plate! I’m thinking this would be very tasty with a little maple syrup drizzled on top.

This dish is yummy and easy any time of the day! πŸ™‚ Enjoy! And let me know what your family calls it! πŸ˜‰

Looking For Signs of Spring

It’s that time of year again! πŸ™‚ It’s time to take a walk and see what signs you can find that Spring is on the way! Now if you live in a place that has a lot of snow right now, I’m sorry! We are in Ohio and we might still get some snow, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we are done with snow for now!

We live in the country and I love taking walks around to see what new signs of Spring I can find. It gives me hope that one day soon it will be warm outside again! So what do you think you might find? Look for new flowers peeking up through the ground. Like our mini daffodils…which actually have a few flowers blooming now!

I even spotted this lone little dandelion. πŸ™‚

Our trees are getting buds on them.

Our Daylilies are peeking through the ground and last year’s foliage.

And so is another type of lilies.

The ice cream store in a little town close to us is open again! πŸ™‚ Watch for birds that are gone in the winter, but show up again in the Spring. We’ve seen Robins, Bluebirds and a Red-Winged Blackbird! Every time I see one, I get excited!

You will know that it’s almost Spring when the greenhouses open up again and this happens:

Haha! That has been me a few times in the past! πŸ˜‰

The daylight hours are getting longer and this Sunday we will set our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings time. (If you live in most states in the United States, it’s probably not your favorite thing to do.)

Do you love Spring? What are your favorite things to look for that tell you Spring is not far away? The sun is shining today, but the temperature and the wind are making it feel cold yet. But Spring is on the way, so keep your chin up and have fun looking for signs of Spring! πŸ™‚

Making Your Own Paper Surprise Boxes

The other day I opened up a box of cream cheese and I noticed that if I opened it up completely and laid it flat that I could use it for a pattern to make another paper box. πŸ™‚ So that’s what I want to share with you today. The next time you buy cream cheese, save the box!

I used a piece of cardstock for making my box. Lay your pattern on the piece of cardstock. My pattern box fit just right in one direction on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of cardstock.

Trace around the outside of the pattern box using a pencil.

Cut it out along the line you just drew. Erase any pencil marks that you can still see after you finish cutting.

Using the pattern box as a guide, make a fold on your box every place the pattern has a fold. It’s very helpful to lay a ruler across the paper in the place you want the fold to be. This will give you an edge to press against and keep the fold straight.

I made all my folds that go in the same directions first.

Then turn your box and make all the folds in the other direction. For a lot of the folds, you can see easily where the fold should be and use the edges for a guide for your ruler. One place that there wasn’t an easy mark was the part on the top of the box that folds down inside the box when it’s closed. I laid the pattern back on top of my box, bent the pattern up and made 2 small marks where the fold needed to be.

Now all the folds have been put in our box and it’s time to put it together!

Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself! πŸ˜‰ Before you glue/tape the box together, turn the box over and decorate the outside.

Since St. Patrick’s Day is in March, you might like to make your box for that holiday.

NOW to put it together! πŸ˜‰ Fold the box up and put a little glue or double sided tape on the small tabs that fold inside the front of the box.

Do the same for the back side…put glue or tape on the small tabs that fit inside the box.

Close the top of the box and stick the front tab inside. Great job! You’ve made your first paper box! πŸ™‚

Don’t forget to hide something fun inside the box before you share it with that special person! These could be used for any holiday or special occasion that comes along. Just decorate your box to fit the occasion. And maybe even hide the box to be found at the end of a treasure hunt! πŸ™‚

I hope you will have fun making your own surprise boxes! πŸ™‚

Making a Melting Snowman

Today is the last day of February! Who is ready for Spring?! πŸ™‚ To celebrate that winter will (hopefully) be leaving us soon, we made a melting snowman!

You will need some shaving cream (I used Barbasol), some Elmer’s glue, 2 big wiggly eyes, a piece of cardstock (a darker color shows up the best), some brown or black pipe cleaners, 3 small black pom poms or buttons and some colored paper. (You can make the snowman parts all out of colored paper if you’d like to.) You will need a bowl and spoon for mixing and a disposable bowl and spoon works best for easy cleanup.

Mix 1/2 Cup of shaving cream and 1/8 Cup of Elmer’s glue in the disposable bowl.

I suggest you wash your measuring cups right away to prevent the glue from drying in them. After you’ve mixed the shaving cream and glue together, spoon it out onto your piece of cardstock.

Spread the mixture using the back of the spoon until you have the shape you want for your melted snowman.

I cut 2 brown pipe cleaners in half and wrapped one half-piece around another to make some stick arms for the snowman. You can also cut some arms out of paper instead.

Stick the arms onto the melted snowman. I started out with my arms too high and I moved them down a little farther.

Add 2 wiggly eyes, some black pom poms or buttons and an orange carrot nose and a black hat cut from paper.

I cut a thin squiggly line from black paper for the snowman’s mouth.

Allow your snowman to dry for a couple of hours. It will still be puffy and soft to the touch but not sticky. And there you are! The last of the snowmen have melted on this last day of February! (Keeping my fingers crossed that we are done with snow, but we might not get that lucky!) πŸ™‚