7 Simple Kid’s Crafts for Mother’s Day
Why not surprise a mom by helping her kids create a heart-felt, homemade gift to show their love this Mother’s Day? Here are 7 simple DIY gifts kids can create with a little help from you to make any mom feel special:
Download our Mother’s Day Coupon Book printable template to make an extra-thoughtful gift mom with coupons for “washing the dishes,” “folding the laundry,” and even “one hour of quiet time.” Have your little one color-in and draw on each coupon to personalize it. Complement your coupon book with an UrbanSitter gift card!
A Mother’s Day art project older kids will enjoy is creating these beautiful vases for Mom. It’s an easy way to present a few flowers on Mom’s big day.
3. Craft Stick Flower Pot
Another fun easy art project for kids to make on Mother’s Day is to create a colorful flower pot. Find a recycled can or other small container and craft or popsicle sticks and some glue. After the flower pot is finished, fill it with her favorite plant for a long-lasting gift that will keep her smiling.
4. Baby Feet Butterflies
If you’re looking for an easy art project for Mother’s Day for a baby, using their fingerprints or footprints is a wonderful way to create sentimental art. One homemade gift for mom from a baby is to dip the baby’s feet into non-toxic washable paint and create footprints. After the paint has dried, turn them into butterflies with just a few swipes with a marker.
5. Tissue Paper Flowers
Truly a classic craft for Mother’s Day! Who doesn’t love a few tissue paper flowers, and even more so if they were created by the little ones they love. WikiHow tells you how to make them three ways.
6. Craft Stick Jewelry Box
For the elementary kids, a simple Mother’s Day craft is this beautiful keepsake box. All they need to make this box are craft sticks or recycled popsicle sticks and embellish with anything from beads, sequins, buttons, drawings or even stickers. Mom will love storing her treasures here.
7. Flower Photos
A free printable background, cupcake liners, construction paper and favorite photos are all it takes to make these adorable flower photos. Photos of children’s faces are cut into 1.5 inch circles and pasted to the center of flowers. Once they are completed, these can be used to make a Mother’s Day card or a picture frame. For a picture frame, either buy a new frame or find an old picture frame and just remove the glass to make room for the 3D flowers.
Homemade Mother’s Day crafts like these are the ones that will truly touch her heart. She’ll appreciate the time and effort you made to help the kids create such meaningful Mother’s Day gifts. UrbanSitter.com gift cards make great gifts, too!
Get Busy with Spring Break Crafts for Kids
The kids are home for Spring Break, and chances are you could use a few craft ideas for entertaining them. Here are 5 Spring Break arts and crafts that are sure to keep them busy!
1. Yarn Eggs
Our first Spring Break craft idea could pass as an Easter-time craft, but really it works any time of year. It’s a fun project for school-age kids who will love the process and the end result – big, colorful orbs to hang in their rooms. You’ll need thin cotton yarn, balloons, craft glue, newspaper, waxed paper, a clothespin and a hanger. The project involves making a watered-down glue mixture, dipping strands of yarn in it and and wrapping around a balloon. Once dry, you pop and remove the balloon, and you are left with a funky, colorful egg.
2. Spring Blossom Painting
The blogger from Toddler Approved created the idea for this gorgeous painting that is worthy of hanging on a prime spot on your walls. Check out her handy tutorial for a detailed how-to that includes photos of each step. Be assured that it’s a simple project involving materials you likely already have in the house, which is perfect for crafts for Spring Break… watercolor paper, paint and a Sharpie is all you need!
3. Chalkboard Flower Pots
We’ve tweaked this Spring Break craft a bit to make it more kid- friendly. The day before you tackle this project with the kids, paint a few flower pots with chalkboard paint. The ingenious paint now comes in nearly every color of the rainbow. Once dry, big kids they may enjoy embellishing the pots with trim, ribbon or buttons (similar to the project shown here). Kids of all ages will love using the colorful pots to plant a few fast-growing seeds or actual flowers or plants you’ve picked up from the home improvement store or local nursery, and then decorating their pots with chalk drawings that can be erased at whim.
4. Button Flowers for Counting
This cute craft helps young kids count and learn to associate numbers. It’s simple, too. Help kids use green Wikki Stix (wax covered yarn sticks you can bend and mold to any shape) to make stems and leaves for flowers and attach to a piece of white paper. Children can then attach a button to the top of the stem (the Wikki Stix will adhere the button so no glue is necessary). Label the stems of the flowers with any numbers the children are working on. Have the children place the corresponding number of buttons on top of the flowers.
5. Bunny Paper Plate Photo Frame
Here’s a cute Spring Break craft that even the tiniest tots can handle. Simply cut the middle out of a paper plate, paste cotton balls on the remaining circle, and staple two bunny ears made from additional plates and also covered in cotton balls You can either paste it around a photo of your child’s face (like a frame) or tie a string from side-to-side on the back and make a fun mask.
Need a break from Spring Break? Find and book babysitters with UrbanSitter. Sign up for free and start searching for babysitters!
10 Spring Break Staycation Ideas for Families
If a big trip isn’t on the calendar this year, you might be looking for Spring Break staycation ideas to keep the kids entertained for 10 consecutive, school-free days. Fear not! There are tons of fun activities that feel special enough for a school vacation, and will keep you or the sitter and your kids happily entertained at or near home.
10 Fun, Family Activities for a Spring Break Staycation
- Go camping in your own backyard. If the temps aren’t feeling sub-zero, pitch a tent in the backyard or on the back deck and have a family night under the stars. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, check out our round-up of family-friendly camping spots and hit the road!
- Turn your home into a restaurant for a day. With kids to feed, you might already feel like a short order cook, but why not get the kids in on the action by pretending to run a restaurant. You can divvy up duties – setting the table, prep, cooking, serving, being the customer and clean up. It’s a fun way to get little ones involved in menu planning, and hands on in the kitchen, which has been shown to open their minds to trying new foods and appreciating the value of good, whole foods. It’s also a nice opportunity to work on table manners and to talk about money.
- Dive in! Just because you aren’t at the beach, doesn’t mean you can’t take a swim. Bust out your beach bags and head to a pool for the day. Your kids will love it!
- Take a local hike or bike ride. Get outside and get moving with a family hike or bike ride through a familiar or waiting-to-be-discovered part of town. If you don’t already have one, think of investing in a quality baby seat for your bike. You’ll open up tons of opportunities for getting fresh air and exercise with baby in tow.
- Play tourist in your own town. Visit a local attraction you’ve never seen before, whether it be a little known museum, a school or neighborhood park in another area, or even an unfamiliar library branch.
- Wake up in “Paris” or any other foreign land you’d like to visit. With a little advance planning, you can have make-believe feel quite real by greeting your kids with “Bonjour!” and a croissant, sharing books or stories about the land you are visiting (maybe a Madeline story), doing a foreign craft, watching a movie, and making an easy meal together. It’s a fun way to open their minds to new cultures.
- Host a lemonade stand. Even if you don’t live on a street with many passersby, you might be able to recruit some neighbors or friends to come by to buy a cup or two. It takes some time to make a sign, mix up a pitcher of lemonade, set up a stand and wait for your customers!
- Do good. A day off is a fine time to volunteer for a local cause, together as a family. Clean-up a favorite park, help out at a food bank or visit a nursery home to teach your kids the value of giving back.
- Have a family movie night and sleepover. With no early morning alarms to set, you might feel a little more lax about bedtime. Pile the family in front of the TV for a movie or find a fun family-friendly game to play together. Make it more fun with a big batch of popcorn or a special sweet treat. If your kids are past the crib stage, try gathering your sleeping bags and sleeping together sleep-over style.
- Set up a BBQ. Our last Spring Break staycation idea really sizzles! Nothing says spring like firing up the grill for burgers and hot dogs. Get the kids involved in the cooking, helping prepare the sides, drinks and desserts. It’s a great way to enjoy a spring break together after a long week.
No matter how you spend your Spring Break staycation, remember there’s always a sitter available on UrbanSitter to give you a break!
Simple St. Patrick’s Day Crafts for Kids
As luck would have it, there are oodles of St. Patty’s Day crafts to keep your kids happily entertained. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorites that are just right for little ones.
Simple St. Patrick’s Day Crafts for Kids
A simple craft made from a paper plate, paints and tissue paper strips.
Kids’ handprints made in every color of the rainbow lead to a pot of gold.
Paper Bag Leprechaun
It’s double the fun when you turn a paper sack into a googly-eyed leprechaun who makes for a perfect puppet.
Buy a box of fruity O’s cereal and help your child string a rainbow (or make it leprechaun green) on a shoe string. You’ll have a fun project, cute necklace and a yummy snack.
Here’s a craft that’s as much fun for Mom as it is for the little ones. Make an adorable bouquet of shamrocks using the handy template provided here, and you’ll have a happily entertained crafter and a cute centerpiece for the table.
A simple craft for even the tiniest tots. Glue dots make it even easier and eliminate the mess.
Leprechaun Green Oobleck
If you haven’t yet played with the strange, non-edible substance called Oobleck, here’s your chance. Make a green batch!
Green Pepper Shamrock Stamp
A green pepper easily becomes a shamrock stamp. Who knew?!
Pot of Gold
There’s a template for a shamrock and a pot, but we’re guessing you won’t need them to create this adorable pot of treasures.
Love, love, love this DIY leprechaun beard you can make for a fantastic dress-up accessory.
Search for crafty sitters on UrbanSitter.com! How will your family celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
Cool Summer Activities for Preschoolers on Hot Summer Days
Summer is chock full of opportunities for entertaining and enriching little kids’ development through new experiences and activities. Need some ideas for summer activities for preschoolers? Check out these ideas for summer activities for the 3-5 year-old set. They’ll come in especially handy during the dog days of summer, headed our way.
1. No-Stress, No Mess Water Play
Take advantage of a sunny day (or even a rainy one, provided there’s no thunder or lightning) to set your kids loose outdoors and let them burn some energy doing what all kids love to do as a summer activity – play with water. Fear not, city dwellers, simply set a big plastic container filled with water on whatever outside space you have and arm your tikes with any of the following, all which make for great water play for little hands:
- Small plastic fish or animals
- Barbie or Polly Pockets dolls
- Sponges and a wash cloths
- Small paint brushes for “painting” the sidewalk
- Matchbox cars for washing
- Boats – make your own Ice Cube Boats with nothing more than an ice cube molded in a plastic cup set with a drinking straw and flag for a sail. These boats are adorable, and perfect for hot days.
- Plastic cups for pouring and filling
- A watering can for watering plants
- A garden hose
- Pull out the inflatable pool and let them splash for hours.
2. Easy DIY Crafts Just for Kids
Every kid needs a creative outlet, not to mention a quiet, inside activity once in awhile. We’ve found loads of great summer crafts for kids of all ages, some that can be made in minutes and others that will occupy a preschooler for the full duration of his baby sibling’s nap. Check out our Summer Crafts for Kids Pinterest board for ideas, including these adorable and easy-to-make Flowers.
3. Explore a Good Book
Be sure to save time in your summer schedule for the simple pleasure of reading with and teaching your preschooler skills that will help him learn to read. You can encourage preschoolers to spend time with books by having them join older siblings in a summer reading program, whether it be one from a local library, Scholastic or a homemade incentive program. Encourage any form of reading, including pre-reading activities, like tracing or practicing their ABCs; “reading” to you or a sibling; or having a summer ritual of reading together as a family, perhaps a chapter of an endearing family-friendly favorite like Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey, before bed. Scholastic has a helpful list of book recommendations for kids of all ages, including good picks for 3-5 year olds.
4. Get Your Groove On!
Another good hot summer activity is getting your groove on. Turn a playdate into a musical instrument making extravaganza (hint, hint, call in a babysitter to help!) and create the neighborhood’s next musical sensation. Check out Meaningful Mama’s fantastic list of 20 DIY Musical Instruments for Kids and see how simple and easy it can be to make anything from a bottle-cap tambourine to a full-on drum set.
5. Master a New Skill (and give Mom and Dad a helping hand!)
Teaching kids new skills helps develop their independence and shows them that they are an important, contributing member of their family… and eventually of the bigger world. Early childhood education experts recommend building skills by assigning chores, and believe that most preschoolers are capable of any of the following simple “taking care of myself and my house” chores:
- Setting and clearing their place at the table
- Making their bed
- Sorting their clothes from the dryer
- Picking up and putting away toys and art supplies.
See our handy guide to age-appropriate chores for kids for more ideas.
After all the fun with these summer activities for preschoolers you might need a parents night out. Book an UrbanSitter and leave the entertaining to the sitter!
Fantastic Father’s Day Photo Ideas
Scrambling to find the perfect gift to celebrate the Dads in your life this Father’s Day? You can scour the stores in search of a gift that speaks to his hobbies or wardrobe, help the kids create a craft worthy of a spot on his desk, or take one spectacular Fathers Day photo that he’ll cherish for a lifetime. The right photo says far more than any store-bought gift or last minute craft. We’ve curated a list of fun father’s day picture ideas to inspire you and your child and capture the perfect shot.
Photo Ideas for the Perfect Father’s Day Gift
Write a message that’s as sweet as the tiny feet.
Get Dad to star in a photo shoot.
Fun photo that the kids will love creating.
With a message and a family photo that steals his heart.
In his shoes.
This Father’s Day photo shoot idea works especially well if you have three kids!
Make it multi-generational for a powerful portrait of the fathers in his life.
For more great Fathers Day picture ideas and inspiration for photographing kids in general, check out our Photographing Babies and Kids Pinterest Board.
Looking for a sitter to take that special dad out for Father’s Day? Join UrbanSitter to browse profiles, sort by pay rate, and book jobs online.
Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids
How about arming your babysitter with Valentine’s Day craft ideas and supplies for your kids to create special treats for family and friends? You’ll have happily occupied kids, a grateful babysitter and a few special gifts, too.
Here are five sweet ideas for your little ones to get crafty:
1) Fun Craft for Bigger Kids – Matchbox Valentine Boxes
Kids love tiny things, and who can blame them? These tiny packages made out of matchboxes and filled with candy are adorable. (You’ll want one, too!) Easy to create, the boxes can be customized with as much or as little as your crafter likes. Tape a strip of craft paper to cover them [Cut a piece of paper 2″ high (or the height of your matchbox) and about 4″ long (enough to wrap it around)], slap on some stickers, or paint or draw your own decorations… and tie with a bow. Since they are so teeny, a bag of candy is all you’ll need to fill a whole slew of them. M&Ms work well, and you can buy the pink and red ones for VDay.
2) Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards with Crazy Crayons
We love this crazy cute Valentine, particularly because it includes a kid-approved treat that isn’t candy – Crazy Crayons. Here’s the perfect use of all the bits and pieces of broken crayons you undoubtedly have at the bottom of your arts and crafts box. Crazy Crayons take what’s old and turn it into colorful, useful, Valentine gifts for classmates and friends. Your kids will love the crayon “demo” and the big reveal (once the bits bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then chill in the frig). A heart muffin tin is especially cute to use, and these free printables stapled to the top of a Ziploc bag make the Valentine especially easy to package.
3) The Perfect Project for Preschoolers – Heart Flowers
You’ll need red, pink and green construction paper, craft or popsicle sticks, glue, scissors and a couple of markers to create these happy Heart Flowers. Your sitter can help by cutting out four red/pink hearts for the flower and two smaller green hearts for the leaves of each flower. Your child can glue them to the paper, overlapping to form a flower, adding the stick for a stem and leaves, too. Once dry, draw a face and any Valentine’s Day message you choose. Instructions and photos here, thanks to Putti’s World.
4) Get Cooking for a Tasty Snack (or Gift)
Take it easy on your sitter by leaving her all the trappings for a low-fuss treat she and the kids can bake and decorate. Depending on your child’s age and familiarity with baking, choose either a roll of refrigerated cookie dough, a boxed mix for cupcakes, or the easiest route – premade, undecorated cookies or cupcakes from the bakery or grocery store. Most will agree the best part of baking holiday treats is decorating them, so go all out on decorations. You could include several colors of candy sprinkles or sugars, maraschino cherries, dried coconut, tubes of frosting, chocolate chips, and candy hearts.
5) Home-Crafted Decoration to Resurrect Each Year
We know, we know, it’s another craft with crayons, but we couldn’t help ourselves. This craft is worth picking up an extra set of crayons so you can tackle it, as well as the melted crayon Valentines. So pretty to hang in a window, these stained glass hearts are a perfect way to brighten dreary winter days. You can make them by melting crayon shavings between waxed paper using an iron set on low. Hang them with a loop of string or ribbon after cutting out hearts. Experiment with different color combinations, and make sure the sitter knows not to take her eyes off the hot iron or melted paper until they have cooled.
Hope you, your kids and your sitter love these Valentine’s Day Crafts for Kids as much as we do!
Fun Activities for Kids and Babysitters: Ideas & Tips
Even the best babysitters in your area may be at a loss for finding fun activities to do with your children. Your preferred babysitter may spend many long hours with your children in the months and years to come, and this is the time that should be fun and stimulating for them. If you want to encourage your babysitter to limit screen time and to engage your children while you are gone, suggest some of these thoughtful ideas.
If your babysitter has basic baking skills, making cookies is a fun and delicious way to spend time. Frosted cut-out cookies take much more time to make than chocolate chip cookies, and they allow for more interaction with children. This is only one of many types of foods that children can participate in making. For example, they can make ice cream sundaes, cut-out shapes for their lunchtime sandwiches, a fruit salad with cutting help from the babysitter and more.
Build a Blanket Fort
Before you leave, pull out several blankets and sheets that can be used for the walls and ceiling of a living room or bedroom fort. The act of creating the fort can keep the kids and the babysitter busy for a while. Once the fort is created, they can play together, read books or even tell their own made-up stories in their shelter.
Create Works of Art
Many children love to draw, paint and work with clay. Other ideas include working on sand projects, making slime, creating snowflakes and more. Set aside several types of art supplies before leaving the house. The kids and babysitter can use the supplies in their own creative ways to produce beautiful or unique works of art.
Dance to Children’s Songs
If your children love music, another excellent idea is to recommend a dance party. You can compile a mix of songs that your kids enjoy, or you can suggest that your babysitter stream music from an app on his or her smartphone. This is a fun way to get your children moving regardless of outdoor weather conditions.
Play Board Games
Many kids love to play games with their parents, but you may not pull the games out as frequently as they may like. Set out a stack of your children’s favorite board games and card games. Regardless of your children’s ages, board games provide interactive fun that can extend potentially for several hours.
Work on Puzzles
An alternative to board games is puzzles. Simple puzzles are ideal for young children, and there are numerous puzzles that are increasingly challenging for older children. Determine your children’s skill level, attention span, and interests when picking out a puzzle.
You may go to great lengths to find the best babysitters in your area, but even these skilled, qualified professionals may not know what your children like to do or what activities are available in your home. Suggest or plan for some of these excellent activities so that your children truly enjoy spending time with their babysitter.
How to inject Family Fun into a Summer of Work & Camp
Summertime, which we’d so love to think of as carefree fun-time, can too often be an extended period of regret for those working moms and dads who can take few vacation days to spend with the family. But do the post-school hot months necessarily have to translate into drudgery for kids, and a guilt-fest for parents?
Not in the slightest, say Lisa Friedlander and Ilene Miller, DC-area moms who are the founders of class- and camp-booking site Activity Rocket, and between them, parents to five kids. Fun for all might just start with an attitude adjustment: one that enables you to see the summer camp you might inevitably have to enroll your kids in as something exciting and enriching rather than an unfortunately necessity.
According to Miller—mom to sons Mark, age 13, and Max, age 10—“The beauty of summer is it gives kids the opportunity to do something new, that they don’t get exposed to in school, like Claymation camp, or rock band camp, for example,” she says. “But in our area, there are also kids who spend the summer at the community pool, taking swim lessons and being pool bums.” Either way, she says, when kids are happy and tired at the end of the day, that goes a long way toward minimizing parental guilt. Which makes for happier family time all around, when you do manage to wedge some in.
This doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive prospect, Miller maintains. “I really value the longer days in the summertime, when the kids can stay up later,” she says. “My husband, Craig, and I try to spend a lot of unstructured family time in the evenings with them. We can barbecue outside, have family tournaments that can last the whole weekend—the kids are huge card sharks. We just get back to basics.”
The basics certainly extend to weekends, when camp and work are finished for the week. Says Miller, “We’re so lucky that in the DC area, we have hiking trails, and a lot of rivers that are accessible to us within 10 minutes, that we can kayak on with the kids.” She’s also a big proponent of finding community events, most of which are free. “In the Potomac area, we’ve got all the Smithsonian museums, book fairs, concerts in the parks, festivals—often they have no admission and the only money we’ll spend is on food once we get there.”
Friedlander and family spend weekends at a river house on the Chesapeake (if you don’t have your own, make friends with someone who does, she jokes!). “It’s very much no screens, no electronics, a lot of time spent tubing and water skiing and playing beach tennis and fishing and crabbing the old-fashioned way, with a piece of chicken tied to a rope.” With her oldest child, Jaclyn, age 14, set to head off to sleepaway camp for the entire summer, she says she’s also relishing the opportunity to spend a bit of quality time with Cole, age 11, and Camryn, age 9. As well as taking her own breather from the usual grind. “Those eight weeks of summer go by so fast, it’s important to give yourself a little bit of a break,” she says. “Whether that means not cooking every night, or not cleaning up every day, or just enjoying a walk around the neighborhood—things you wouldn’t do on a regular basis. Just slow down and enjoy the pace of summer.”
Also critical for Miller, “I need time with my husband, too, whether or not the kids are away. We’ll take a picnic and a bottle of wine somewhere, and focus on our time alone.”
But absolutely the biggest opportunity afforded even to working parents and camp kids in the summer: the fabulousness of being outside. “We get really active,” says Friedlander. “We have swimming races, and we bought a Kanjam—literally a Frisbee you throw into a slot, a team game that’s tons of fun; we all love it.”
Says Miller, “Friends helped us build a Gaga pit, which is Israeli dodge ball in a confined space. On weekends we’ll have friends over and sometimes it’s just adults in there. It’s a great way to be outside, get competitive, and work out a little aggression.” Let the summer games begin!