Arts and Crafts

Fun and Easy Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year

January 28, 2017

Dragon paper craftThe Chinese Lunar New Year, marking the start of Year of the Rooster, begins today, January 28. To kick off your celebration, create some neat Chinese New Year crafts, like these cute paper dragons and lanterns. They're easy and fun to make and perfect to decorate the house, and make great playdate, school, or scout group activities. They'll also be perfect to have on hand while you watch the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade on February 11 Have your own parade through the living room!

Paper Dragons

Here’s what you’ll need to make your dragons:

  • Gold stickers or paint (red and gold are traditional colors for Chinese New Year)
  • Crepe paper in red, yellow, or orange
  • Dragon head template (download here)
  • Heavy white paper or card stock (letter size)
  • Markers or crayons
  • Wooden chopsticks or other thin but sturdy sticks
  • Tape

Make Your Own Pink and Red Playdough for Valentine's Day Fun

January 19, 2017

Play doughSculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity for kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick and easy Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!

We colored our latest batch pink and red for Valentine's Day projects. You can, of course, use any color you like. If you want multiple colors, it's best to make more than one batch, as you add the food coloring during the mixing stage to make sure the color is distributed evenly.

Pull out your Valentine's Day cookie cutters to make heart-shaped cutouts. Just roll out the dough and let the kids go to town with cookies cutters or by hand.

To make your own dough, get the following ingredients together:

Create Your Own Heart-shaped Crayons for Valentine's Day

January 12, 2017

DIY heart shaped crayons for Valentine's Day

Creating these beautiful DIY custom crayons is a fun craft project that everyone in the family can do. This project really takes minimal effort, so it's perfect for all ages, and the results always exceed our expectations! These make a fun and pretty gift for Valentine's Day, as well as neat party favors. They even look great as decorations around the house.

If you have kids (and you probably do if you're reading this article), you most likely already have the materials for this lying around the house, in the form of broken crayons. So the first step in this project is to round up all the old crayon bits and pieces in your house. If your home is like ours, this should not be very difficult.

Easy Handmade Holiday Bead Ornaments

December 8, 2016

Your kids can exercise their holiday creativity by making these easy and festive bead ornaments for the Christmas tree. They also look great attached to wrapped gifts as a little holiday extra.

These ornaments are simple to make, although the candy cane ornament is easier to put together than the star and probably a better project for younger children. All you'll need to make these are pipe cleaners, plastic beads in various colors and shapes, some ribbon, and scissors.

Make Your Own Holiday Gingerbread House

December 6, 2016

Gingerbread House

Every year we create a gingerbread house using the nice kit sold by Trader Joe's, but last year, after constructing a house from the kit, my daughter decided she wanted to take our gingerbread house building experience a step further and create another one—this time from scratch! Fortunately, as we found out, it's easy to do and fun.

First thing you have to do is come up with a design for your house. We created a template for a basic gingerbread house that's simple to create and put together. (You can download our template, formatted for two letter-size sheets of paper; get page one here and page two here.) You can embellish and elaborate on this little house and make it your own special creation.

ARTifact Opens New Art School in Downtown Corte Madera

December 1, 2016

ARTifact Corte MaderaMarin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from ARTifact in Corte Madera.

ARTifact, a local leading children’s art school, has expanded to a new location in downtown Corte Madera, at 121 Corte Madera Avenue. The children’s art school has been operating in San Francisco for over seven years, serving thousands of students and families from around the Bay Area. “Many families live north of the city, so it was a natural decision to open the second location in the heart of Marin County” says Lauren Sharp, the founder.

The Corte Madera location will offer the same art enrichment programs that ARTifact has become known for: weekly Art Exploration programs for kids Pre-K/Preschool (2.5–6 years old) and After-School programs for K–12 (6–12 years old). The team of teachers also plans to host Summer Camps later in the year.

Ten Fun Family Things to Do on Thanksgiving Break

November 21, 2016

Snow sledding in San Rafael
Go snow sledding in downtown San Rafael at the annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland

Thanksgiving week is next week, and since most Marin County schools give kids the entire week off, you'll probably be looking for ways to keep them occupied before and after Turkey Day. Here are our top 10 activities for families for Thanksgiving break:

  1. Go snow sledding in downtown San Rafael at the annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland.
  2. Go ice skating at a Bay Area skating rink like Marin on Ice at Northgate and the Bay Area Discovery Museum's Iceless Skating Rink.
  3. Get a head start on the holidays at the West End Nursery Christmas House in San Rafael.
  4. Take a fantastic fall hike with the family.
  5. Make a cute pumpkin turkey centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table.

Create a Cute Pumpkin Turkey Centerpiece for Thanksgiving

November 10, 2016

Pumpkin turkey centerpiece craftEvery fall, my daughter is obsessed with pumpkins. She loves all the different shapes and sizes of pumpkins and winter squash, so we end up buying more than we can really use (there's only so much butternut squash soup and pumpkin pie you can eat).

A couple years ago we worked together to create this cute pumpkin turkey centerpiece for Thanksgiving. We've made it a tradition to make one every year! We created it using a small “sugar pie” pumpkin (available at most grocery stores—we got ours at Trader Joe's for $1.99) and craft supplies that we happened to have on hand.

Create Colorful Leaf Prints for Fall

November 3, 2016

Leaf PrintsCreating colorful leaf prints is one of my children's favorite simple fall craft projects. We love to take advantage of Marin's great fall weather and go on family hikes and walks at this time of year. Along the way, the kids collect interesting autumn leaves, which we bring home to use as decorations and to make leaf prints.

Making leaf prints is an easy project that kids of all ages can do, and the results can be really beautiful. To make them you’ll need:

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