Melting Crayons Art on Canvas + Watercolor Resist

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas with WatercolorsWe tried doing melted crayon art on canvas yesterday.

If you saw my Instagram pictures yesterday, you know that I initially planned to try out crayons in the hot glue gun, an idea I saw on Pinterest a while back.

This did not go so well, so we resorted to our standby of putting the objects in question (the canvas panels) into the oven to heat up and then drawing on them with crayons (which melted as they touched the hot surface).

This worked beautifully!

Melting Crayons Art on Canvas


A Build A Fort Kit for Kids by Fort Magic

A Build a Fort Kit for Kids by Fort MagicWe had a submarine in our house last week.

A big one.

This week it’s been a house, a tattoo parlor (I relaxed while Daphne and Maia each painted designs on my arms and shoulders), a hide-out, a store, a restaurant, a reading nook, and a place to snuggle in sleeping bags for family movie night.

The amount of pretend play in our house has always been pretty healthy, but it’s been taking a whole new level recently with the arrival of a hefty box on our doorstep.

The kids were excited to open it and find a build a fort kit for kids sent to us by Fort Magic, one of my blog sponsors…. 

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Peanut Butter Playdough (Or, how to make an edible, snail-riding, snow woman.)

Peanut Butter Playdough - (Or... how to make an edible snail-riding snow woman.)Have you made peanut butter playdough with your kids yet? It’s so quick and easy, which is a good thing since it is often requested in our home. We first made it after seeing this edible playdough post on Make and Takes several years ago and have made it regularly since. In fact, I think we’ve made peanut butter playdough three times in the last two months!

The kids make “food” with their edible playdough. Kinda funny, but the food in question was spaghetti and meatballs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and cupcakes.

And they make faces and people.

And a snail-riding snow woman. (We recently watched both The Neverending Story and um, I’m blanking on the name of the other movie we watched that had a snail as steed. Help me out someone? It’s a newish movie about a forest fairy world…)

I thought I’d share our favorite peanut butter playdough recipe as well as some recent pics of the playdough in action.

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe

Peanut Butter Playdough Recipe


  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup honey (just enough to make it stick together)


  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. It’s as easy as that!

Note: We’ve tried a number of variations on the peanut butter playdough, sometimes including a cup of powdered milk in place of a cup of the powdered sugar, sometimes adding cocoa powder for a more chocolate-y experience, etc, but we usually come back to this basic recipe.

However, the lovely ladies at Kids Activities Blog recently shared that you can mix peanut butter with marshmallows for a tasty, two-ingredient edible playdough. I haven’t exactly shared that newsflash with my kids yet, because I know I wouldn’t hear the end of it until we went to the store for big, puffy marshmallows and made the stuff. I won’t hold out forever, but I’m keeping that one up my sleeve for a special treat.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Once the peanut butter playdough is mixed together (usually by the kids), we divide it out between the number of children in the house at the time, placing each ball of dough on a clean plastic placemat, and let them go at it.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Sometimes they just make things with the playdough itself, sometimes they include pretzel sticks (ever since we made peanut butter pretzel nests, they think pretzels should usually accompany peanut butter playdough), sometimes toothpicks, raisins, mini-chocolate chips, etc.

Peanut Butter Playdough

As for tools, a butter knife is sometimes handy. But mostly they like to use their hands. And the garlic press (for awesome spaghetti, hair, and just plain interesting designs).

(The bowl of spaghetti and meatballs above was made with a peanut butter playdough recipe that included both powdered milk and cocoa powder, btw.)

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

They love modeling with the peanut butter playdough AND they love eating their peanut butter playdough creations. Even the snail-riding snow women.

Peanut Butter Playdough for Kids

Have you made peanut butter playdough? Or another edible playdough recipe?  Please share your experience, favorite recipe, link, or ideas in the comments!

P.S. For those families with peanut allergies, here’s a list of 10 edible playdough recipes on Family Corner, many of which don’t include any nuts.

A Keepsake Handprint Plaque by Memories in Clay

Capture their childhood with a keepsake handprint plaque - we used a kit and it was super easy!We moms like to preserve the precious hands of our children. Look at the popularity of handprint kits, crafts, ornaments, and gifts! We want to remember just how small they were, just how unique.

I’m no different. When Maia was just a couple months old, I invited another mom and her baby over to make sweet baby handprints and footprints. I remember painting their tiny hands and feet then pressing them to paper. I sent some of the prints to grandparents and great grandparents and kept some for myself as a keepsake.

The thing about children’s hands, though, is that they keep growing! And you want to capture the teeny-tiny baby hands, the toddler hands that are into everything, and the “I’m a big kid now” five-year-old’s hands.

So you can imagine that when Memories in Clay, now one of my blog sponsors, invited me to try out their process of making clay plaques out of children’s handprints, I said, “Yes, please!” What mom wouldn’t want a keepsake plaque of their children’s hands?

As I have two daughters, we decided to go with a sisters plaque and have both of their handprints together with their names.

I wanted to share photos of the process, since I think its rather unique, then I’ll show you the girls’ reaction to receiving the finished plaque in the mail, and finally a photo of the plaque in their room.

The process of making the handprint plaques was very easy—basically a four-step process once we decided which plaque we wanted (there are lots of keepsake plaque options in the Memories in Clay shop).

How to Use the Handprint Keepsake Kit Step by Step Photos#1 Memories in Clay sent us a handprint kit with some special molding material, a tube for rolling it out, aluminum foil, a prepaid and addressed return envelope, and simple instructions.

#2 We rolled out the molding material on a sheet of foil using the tube provided. Maia and I took turns doing this. It wasn’t hard to roll out, but I wanted to make sure it was evenly rolled and also that it was big enough to hold both their hands.

#3 The kids pressed their hands into the material, side by side. I helped coordinate the arrangement before they placed their hands down. We did it in one try, but the nice thing about this kit and the molding material is that if you don’t like the first attempt, you can roll it out again and make a new handprint. As many times as you want.

#4 I baked the handprints in the oven following the instructions provided, let them cool, then popped them into the return envelope and put it out for the mailman to pick up. Easy peasy.

(You can read more about the process of making the handprint plaques, including what happens after you send in the mold, on the Memories in Clay site.)

A Keepsake Handprint Plaque by Memories in Clay

A few weeks later we received another package from Memories in Clay, this time with our finished clay plaque! I don’t know who was more impressed and excited by the handprint plaque—me or the girls.

A Keepsake Handprint Plaque by Memories in Clay

They tested their hands against the relief handprints, commented on how it was like their real hands, and spent a lot of time smiling and giggling.

The handprint plaque in the girls bedroom

We hung the plaque in their bedroom, between their two beds—the perfect place for a special plaque commemorating their sisterhood.

A Sisters Keepsake Handprint Plaque

If you’d like a keepsake handprint plaque of your own, Memories in Clay makes the entire process easy. We are so happy with the plaque they made for us! There are a variety of keepsake plaque options available in their shop—everything from newborn baby hand and footprint plaques (with birth date, time, weight, etc), mommy and me handprint plaques (and daddy and me plaques, too, of course!), sibling plaques, handprint ornaments, and “Best Grandparents Hands Down!” plaques.

Who wouldn’t want a keepsake plaque of their children’s hands? I think this is such a lovely thing to do for yourself, for your children, or as a gift.

Memories in Clay is offering $10 off orders placed through the end of the day Sunday, February 23rd with the discount code ARTFUL.

Note: The process takes a little while, so plan ahead for Mother’s Day and all that. This isn’t a last-minute gift.

Memories in Clay is an Artful Parent sponsor; all opinions expressed are my own.

Painting a Map of My Heart :: A Family Valentines Day Art Activity

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Our family participated in a lovely Valentines Day art activity this morning with each of us painting a map of our hearts. We included images and words for the things and people we love and value.

This is not the first time we’ve done this Map of My Heart painting activity. Maia and I painted our first heart maps three years ago when I came across the activity in Mariah Bruehl’s great book, Playful Learning. But Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect time to revisit the activity.

Watercolor Heart Activity 2

This time around I added in an idea from another blog friend, Alissa of Creative with Kids. I’ve been wanting to try Alissa’s make-your-own paint with water pages since she first posted about them. I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally did (3 years later!), in combination with the Map of My Heart activity.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The two ideas worked wonderfully together!

I cut out large hearts from watercolor paper, squeezed little dots of watercolor paint (from tubes) along one side, let the paint dry, and wrote “Map of My Heart” in small letters across the top.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The family woke up to DIY paint-with-water heart maps at their spot at the table, a black pen, a paint brush, and a cup of water. And everyone drew and painted the things that they held near and dear to them on their maps — all before breakfast.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Nothing like a little family bonding and reflection time disguised as a Valentines day art activity to make this mama happy.  :)

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The little dots of dried watercolor paint worked surprisingly well–better than I expected. And the kids loved the idea!

Note: The watercolor tubes I bought were the cheapest possible ones from Michael’s and the paint cracked a bit as it dried. Not a big deal, and the project still worked well, but if you want a paint that doesn’t crack, then maybe buy a mid-priced watercolor tube rather than the bargain basement stuff.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

We grouped our family heart maps on the side of the fridge above our motley collection of cookbooks for now. I’ll probably migrate them over to the kids art display wall soon, though.

How about you? Did you do any family Valentines day art activities today? Another good spur-of-the-moment one is the interactive heart mandala. And, of course, either the Map of My Heart or the interactive heart mandala can be made any time of the year, not just at Valentine’s Day.

Light Table Toys and Tools

Tools and Toys for Light Exploration -- And for  Inspiring Creativity on the Light TableAt the end of my post yesterday about the heart suncatchers, I promised to share what else we’ve done so far with the light table.

Thank you first though for your ideas for light table play, both in the blog comments and on facebook! I can’t wait to give those a try with my kids!

As I mentioned yesterday, our light table is a super easy DIY version (a clear plastic storage box with white Christmas lights!), and we’ve only had it for about a month.

That said, here’s what we’ve tried so far:

Note: When I finally decided to make the light table, I placed an order with Discount School Supply for some things I thought would be fun to try on the light table, so these items are all from there, although some you might be able to find elsewhere.

Light Table Toys and Tools


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A Heart Suncatcher with Mosaic Tiles from the Light Table

Make Heart Suncatchers with Light Table Mosaic Tiles -- A fun Valentine's Day activity for kids!I set up a quick version of a DIY light table about a month ago (after years of saying I would make one) and it has been absolutely wonderful during these past few weeks of snow days and illness. The kids have gravitated toward it again and again.

The light table is simply a large clear plastic storage bin with a string of white Christmas lights inside. It’s the easiest and cheapest light table possible, yet the kids would call it Fun with a capital “F” and I would call it a sanity saver.

Most recently Maia and Daphne made heart suncatchers with some of our translucent mosaic tiles. They are really quite gorgeous!

What began as a mosaic design and symmetry activity on the light table became lovely heart suncatchers when we sandwiched the lightweight tiles between sheets of contact paper.

Here are some photos of the process from light table to suncatcher:


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From Cardboard Box to Lighted Dollhouse

Make a Lighted Cardboard Dollhouse -- An easy and fun collaborative art project to do with your kids!We’ve been building and decorating dollhouses with cardboard this past week. Mostly Daphne and me, really, with a few cameo appearances by Maia. It’s been a nice change of pace from all the 2-dimensional creating we often do around here and the kids are loving the finished dollhouses!

We added stained glass windows, as we did last time, as well as a string of lights, so they are extra lovely for low-key playtime in the evening before bed or first thing in the morning.

The girls have moved their little figurines in, as well as some horses and unicorns. And made beds out of my silver flats padded with socks.

The little mail boxes you see are from the $1 Spot section of Target and have been used for delivering Valentine’s and notes between dolls.

Here’s how we made the cardboard dollhouses:


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5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids’ Creativity Today

5 Ways to Encourage Your Kids Creativity Today -- Easy-to-implement ideas you can do right now or any time!Fostering creativity, arguably the most important skill for the next generation, begins at home.

Here are 5 Ways You Can Encourage Your Kids’ Creativity Today:

1.  Set out paper that is much smaller than usual or much larger than usual. And pair it with a pencil or some paints.

2. Cut a hole through the middle of a piece of paper, and invite your child to do a hole challenge drawing by including a cup of markers next to it. Or a couple sheets of hole reinforcement stickers.

3. Ask a question that invites or challenges them to try a favorite activity in a new way. Building, for example.

Can you build a house with cards?

How would you build a fort with newspaper?

How tall do you think you could make a tower with playdough? With marshmallows?

4. Send them on a Make and Do Scavenger Hunt.

5. Put a drawing prompt on the chalkboard (or piece of paper/cardboard etc) and see how they respond.

Testing Metallic Drawing Materials (on Black Valentine’s)

Lace Up and Metallic Valentines 22

We’ve had metallic crayons for the last couple of years and loved them, but for some reason never tried them on black paper. Why not? I have no idea. But it was a big oversight on my part. Metallic art materials look great on a black background!

I recently picked up a few new metallic art materials to try out and decided to test them all side by side and share the results with you.

Feel free to chime in at the end with your own experiences with metallic art materials—I obviously haven’t tried them all!


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