Crafty Kids: Straw Rockets

This sweet, summer-celebratory craft from our friends at Kiwi Crate is great fun when you’re wrangling a whole group of neighborhood kids who could use a little (but not a lot!) of structured activity. It’s super quick and easy to pull together, and gets (and keeps) the whole gang outside.

What you’ll need:

  • Several pieces of origami paper, or any other square-shaped paper
  • Straws (fat ones from bubble tea stores work best)
  • Tape (used here: long pieces of metallic tape to seal the side, as well as shorter tape squares to close the top)
  • Curling ribbon (optional)

1. With the “nice” side of the paper facing up, place a long strip of tape, sticky side down, along one edge of the paper.  Half the tape should hang over the edge of the paper.

2. Flip the paper over. Starting opposite the tape, roll the paper loosely around the straw.  Seal with tape to make a tube.

3. Fold one end of the tube over and tape it closed. Make sure the tube is completely sealed so no air can get out.

4. If you’d like, decorate your rocket by taping on pieces of ribbon.

5. Blow into the straw to launch your rocket. Blast off!

4 Easy DIY Projects for Parents & Kids

Contribution by Andrea Davis, Home Advisor

Finding projects to do around the house and yard with your kids is a great way to engage and teach your children. When choosing projects, it is important to consider two things: whether it requires adult supervision and if it engages or intrigues your kids. You want a project that awes and teaches them. Here are some fun projects that get work done around the house and keep your child entertained at the same time.

Paint a Room Together
Kids love to finger paint and work with paintbrushes on paper, so why not give them a canvas like a wall in a room? You can teach them the proper way to move a roller up and down, or you can let them go crazy—to a point—on a wall. Laying down plastic sheets on the floor and painter’s tape over the molding and baseboards will protect them from getting stained or needing a new coat of paint. This will also allot your child the opportunity to feel like they contributed to a project in the house, even if you might have to do a little repainting later.

Grow a Vegetable Garden
Growing an easy vegetable garden is a fun and simple thing to do no matter where you live. If you do not have room in your yard, you can buy a large pot and fill it with soil. There are plenty of vegetable types that will grow in pots. Carrots, bush beans, herbs and radishes are all easy vegetables to grow nearly anywhere. Have your kids plant the seeds and then instruct them on the watering schedule. Once the vegetables are ready to harvest, make sure to cook them up and let your kids take pride in the vegetables they grew.

Vegetable pots copy

Install Stepping Stones in the Backyard
Making stepping stones is a great project to do with kids, and it adds an artistic flare to backyard gardens, patios or walkways. The creativity with this project is unlimited as you can make your own molds with old pans, wood or just about anything that will aide in creating a stone two inches thick. Use ready-mix concrete or mortar and a 40-pound bag will make three to five stones, so plan accordingly.

While you do the prep work of mixing the concrete, have the kids find decorative objects such as beads, pebbles, old marbles or anything else hard and decorative. When the concrete is wet, the kids can add the decorative items. It will take about 48 hours for the concrete to set and then you can remove it from the mold and install it where you choose.

Stepping stones

Plant Solar Lights
Adding solar lights to your garden, walkways or lawn perimeter is simple, fun and creative. Solar lights come in a wide range of styles, anything from basic lights to whimsical creatures. The lights are also supremely easy to install, and your kids can enjoy staking them in whatever location you, or they, choose. Make sure and take them out to see the lights coming on at night. Some tips for installing solar lights to get the most out of them are as follows:

  • Avoid putting them in places where they could be obstructions.
  • Put them in places to highlight a feature, such as a garden or pathway.
  • Make sure to put them in places that maximize sunlight.
  • You can also use the opportunity to teach your kids about green outdoor lighting.

Solar lights

These four projects will require some initial prep work and instructions, but once underway, they should occupy children without much hands-on help from adults.

Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time. 

Let’s Hear It For the Red, White and Blue!

The 4th of July is nearly upon us – get the party started with fun treats and decorations that’ll pump up the patriotism at your house. All you need for a fantastic July 4th BBQ is good company, good food and these fun, festive decorations and sweet treats.

julia-Kid with flag - 4th of July


Red, White and Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles
No food coloring or added sugar in these patriotic treats. They are made with blueberries and raspberries or strawberries and Greek yogurt for the delicious white stripes. (via The View from Great Island)

the view from g island 2

July 4th Cake Toppers
Free printable cake toppers take the all-American Rice Crispy square or any cake, brownie or cupcake up an impressive notch. (via Kara’s Party Ideas)


DIY Rocket Garland
Rocket poppers are a fun craft for the kids and are great fun when filled with confetti or make an adorable decoration when hung together as a festive garland. (via Simplified Bee)


Firecracker Favors
Adorable candy-filled firecrackers make a great centerpiece and a simple take-home for your guests. (via Crafts Unleashed)

via Crafts Unleashed

Patriotic Silverware Holders
Spark up your tabletop with silverware holders made from craft supplies and a free printable. (via Lil Luna)

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 12.08.43 PM

What other crafts and treats are you serving up this 4th of July? Share them with us below.

5 Fun Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs with Kids

Decorating Easter eggs with kids isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Fragile eggs + stainable dye often equals disaster, or at least a somewhat anxious parent or sitter. This year, opt for one of these simple, yet very cool techniques for decorating eggs with kids. They are fun to do and create some pretty impressive looking eggs.

Easter Mar 2008 copy


1. Chalkboard Eggs
How cool are these black eggs?! A really fun, graphic take on the traditional, dyed Easter egg, these funky eggs are just as easy to create as the dip-dyed version. Paint hard-boiled eggs with chalkboard paint – 2-3 coats are recommended for good coverage – and have kids doodle with chalk or wet chalk markers, which create really vivid color that pops against the black background. The blogger behind this DIY suggests creating a trough out of aluminum foil for holding the eggs while they dry. See her complete tutorial with handy photos for help.

via Brett Bara
via Brett Bara


2. Neon Eggs
Wow, food coloring has come a long way since we were kids! Pick up a box of Neon Food Coloring to create these eye-popping Easter beauties. These were created by dripping rubber cement over hard-boiled eggs before letting them sit in neon dye for at least five minutes. The long soak might be tough for the kids to wait out, but the results are worth it.

via Kirsten Gab
via Kirsten Gab


3. Glitter Eggs
Pull a Martha and forego the dye for a good douse of sparkly glitter. The fancy version of these glittery eggs calls for blowing the eggs out so you’re just decorating the shell. The technique makes the egg last for more than one season, but to make it a kid-friendly craft, forget the fragile shell and instead boil the eggs…making peace with the fact that you’ll have to toss them after a few days.

via Martha Stewart
via Martha Stewart


4. No-Dye, No-Mess Eggs
Just as pretty as dyed eggs, but way less mess. In other words, very kid-friendly… which translates into quick and easy. Instead of having kids plunk eggs into baths of dye, have them stick hard-boiled eggs with adhesive dots and roll in colored glitter.

via Mindful Mum
via Mindful Mum

5. Water Color Easter Eggs
Pretty eggs that are fun for even really little ones to create. Use a baking sheet to collect the extra dye that falls when simply spooning dye over eggs. Let dry completely after applying a color so the next color you add won’t run and turn your masterpiece into a muddy mess of muted shades.

via Spoon Fork Bacon
via Spoon Fork Bacon


If these DIYs are a bit more work than you bargained for, opt for the even simpler techniques of decorating eggs with stickers, markers or temporary tattoos. You and your kids will have just as much fun!

5 Rainy Day Activities

You’ve seen a million lists like this one, but it never hurts to have some fresh ideas. When you’re stuck in the house and the natives are restless, give one of these a shot.

5 Rainy Day Activities


1. Tupperware bowling. Line up your BPA-free lunch containers in the kitchen or hallway and give any type of ball a roll. See how many you can knock down. Kids love anything involving destruction and they can even help set up the “pins.” You can make a more challenging formation for older kids and keep track of spares and strikes, just like in a real game. No grimy shoes required.

2. A bath. Who doesn’t love a warm bubble bath on a cold day? With babies or toddlers, don’t be afraid to climb in with them – and let your little one choose a toy or two to submerge. Most plastic toys do just fine in water and some might need a bath anyway. Race tracks are particularly fun in water as are play kitchen utensils, pots and pans. With older kids, you may even get to read a magazine while sitting on the toilet seat.

Baby in bathtub

3. Baking. Anything is fun when kids get to “help.” Don’t make it a dish you need to present at a fancy dinner party. Search your pantry for something easy and kid-friendly. Banana bread, cookies with M&M’s, even lasagna for dinner (as long as little hands are nimble and super clean) are great options. Older children can help read measurements and set the oven timer. Little ones can pour and stir. Baking is a great hands-on activity and is sure to please when the timer dings.

4. This Is Your Life, starring your child(ren). Kids love to look at photos and videos from when they were babies. If you don’t have a baby book, start with any loose photos in a drawer, digital files, ultrasound pics, the invitation to your baby shower, and any videos Dad made — first steps, first words, first bike ride. Oldest children will benefit most (why do we run out of photographic energy with each respective child?!), but even the youngest ones will delight in seeing you pregnant (“I was in your tummy!”) and if you’re lucky, he or she can help you organize and perhaps even create a photo album or online photo book.

5. Magazine arts and crafts. Find some old magazines, catalogs, or newspaper advertisement inserts — maybe even an old book or two — and let them go to town with scissors and glue. Cutting and pasting pictures onto construction paper is fun for everyone. A holiday or birthday list is always enhanced by photos of coveted items, and creating a “book” can be fun, too, complete with cast of characters from the PB Kids catalog and reality television.

Whatever you choose do to on a rainy day, just rest assured the weather will turn soon enough, and know that your kids love the bonding time with Mom or Dad. Enjoy!

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Get Onboard with an Arm Full of DIY Bracelets!

bracelet trend via a beautiful mess
via A Beautiful Mess

Have you noticed that bracelets are all the rage these days? You can get current and also score big points with your child by arming your babysitter with these awesome DIY bracelet craft ideas. We’ve rounded up 10 DIY Bracelets that kids – little and big, girl and boy – will go wild to create and wear!

1. Popsicle Stick Bracelets

Thank you Molly Moo for providing the inspiration and showing us how to make popsicle sticks pliable enough to wrap around a glass into the shape of a bracelet. Once the sticks are dry, you can decorate them with wasabi tape (for instant gratification) or embroidery thread with the ends of the thread capped with beads for a dangly look.

Molly Moo bracelets
via Molly Moo

2. Felt Flower Bracelets

Though gorgeous, this craft require a bit more manual dexterity and involves more steps than some of the others. The bracelets are delightful for little kids to wear, but plan on your sitter, an older sibling or yourself doing much of work. You can download a free pattern for the felt flowers and you’ll need to purchase a roll of Velcro, along with felt. Merriment Design recommends something called Velcro Plant Ties, which is basically a roll of a thin strip of Velcro, which will serve as the base of your bracelet.

Felt Flower Bracelets via Merriment Design
Felt Flower Bracelets via Merriment Design

3. Straw Bracelets

Here’s a simple, sweet project perfect for tackling when you have really little kids involved. The bracelet is cute enough that older kids won’t mind that it’s as easy as cutting drinking straws into pieces (an adult can do the cutting for little ones) and stringing them onto pipe cleaners, which are then twisted to form a bracelet. You can get bigger kids more interested by encouraging them to create patterns with the different color pieces.

Straw Bracelets via Mother Huddle

4. Friendship Bracelets

Wow, these bring back memories! Remember making these when you were a kid, loading up your arms with them and gifting and trading them with friends? If the how-to isn’t too fresh in your mind, check out this great tutorial from Apartment Therapy.  It’ll be like riding a bike. Before you know it, you’ll be whipping out a few to bestow on your little one and maybe just helping her to start a new trend in the hood.

Friendship Bracelets via Apartment Therapy
Friendship Bracelets via Apartment Therapy

5. LEGO Bracelets

What’s just as popular with kids as bracelets? Why, LEGOSs, of course.  There is a small supply list for these, though be forewarned that the project requires a drill. Thanks to The Centsible Life for listing the requirements – (lots of) flat LEGO bricks, a drill and 3/32″ drill bit, embroidery thread (three colors per brick) and scissors. You or a handy sitter will need to prepare the bricks for your kids to string by stacking bricks and drilling a small hole on each end of the stack. Complete instructions included here.

LEGO Bracelets via Tip Junkie
LEGO Bracelets via Tip Junkie

6. Pom Pom Bracelets

Martha Stewart showcases Pom Pom bracelets as a winter holiday accessory, which would be lovely, but we think they’d also make for cheerful, colorful, summery arm candy. Buy pom-poms with holes in them, and help kids thread them onto clear stretchy beading cord. Tie off  the ends with several double knots.

Pom Pom Bracelets via Martha Stewart
Pom Pom Bracelets via Martha Stewart

7. Candy Bracelets

Imagine telling your kids you are about to provide a fun craft to make, candy to eat and a new piece of jewelry to wear! You’ll need to hit the candy and cereal isles to stock up on supplies for these yummy, wearable treats. Lila Luna used Cheerios, Froot Loops, Peach Rings and Gummy Lifesavers, but any candy or cereal with a hole in the middle will work. Simply help kids string them on length of yarn. It’s helpful to use a blunt, plastic needle for threading.

Candy Bracelets via Lil Luna

8. Wooden Bead Bracelets

Here’s a sweet, modern take on old-school wooden beads on a cord. You need nothing more than a bag of ¾” wooden beads,  1mm stretch cord (three colors are ideal, but you can certainly make these with more or less), and scissors to cut the elastic-like stretch cord. Playful Learning gives a simple tutorial:

  • Count out 10-12 beads
  • Measure 3 strands of stretch cord at 18”
  • Holding ends together, thread cord through the first bead.
  • Pull the ends through, wrap them around the bead, and pull back through
  • Pull taut to secure, leaving about 2” of cord length at the end
  • Using the remainder of the cord, repeat looping and pulling through on the remaining beads until all ten are lined up snugly.
  • Double knot and tightly tug the cord taut at the end and trim to about 1/4”

Wooden Bead Bracelets via Playful Learning

9. Super Easy Button Bracelet

A button bracelet is excellent for building fine motor skills. You can cater to your child’s age by using buttons with bigger holes for little kids and smaller buttons for older kids. Buttons with smaller holes will require a needle for threading the ribbon. You can find blunt needles that are safer for kids to use. Simply gather a collection of buttons and some ribbon to string through the holes. Weave the ribbon through the buttons, coming up from underneath the button, crossing over the top, and dipping back down again on the other side of the button. Once you have threaded on enough buttons for the length of your bracelet, tie the two ends of ribbon together and voila, a new bracelet!

Button Bracelets via Kids Activities
Button Bracelets via Kids Activities

10. Secret Message Ribbon Bracelets

Not your ordinary friendship bracelet, these lovelies have a secret message written on the inside. And just as nice, they take only minutes to make. You’ll need ribbon, self-adhesive Velcro (bought as precut circles or strips you cut yourself), tacky glue (optional), a white office label and a pen or marker to write your message. Instructions via Spoonful: Cut the ribbon into a piece long enough to wrap around your child’s wrist with extra for folding under the ends. Fold down one end of the ribbon and adhere one half of a Velcro piece, then flip over the ribbon, fold down the end, and attach the other half of the Velcro. Add a drop of glue under each piece of Velcro if needed (depends on the ribbon and Velcro used). Cut the label to fit (if necessary), write a message on it, then stick it to the inside of the bracelet.

Secret Message Ribbon Bracelets via Spoonful
Secret Message Ribbon Bracelets via Spoonful

Remember, there are plenty of crafty babysitters ready and willing to lead the charge if DIY is not your thing!  

Get Your Red, White and Blue On with Crafts + Recipes!

Fire up your family’s patriotism with these fun craft and recipe ideas for celebrating the Fourth of July! We’ve rounded up two easy 4th of July crafts and two deliciously festive recipes.

Patriotic Bike Streamers via AlphaMom
Patriotic Bike Streamers via AlphaMom

Craft: DIY Patriotic Streamers

Lead your own neighborhood parade in style! Tie some streamers and balloons to your stroller and help your kids decorate their bike or scooter with these DIY patriotic streamers we found on AlphaMom.

Supply list is simple:

1. a pair of toilet paper tubes
2. curling ribbon and/or crepe paper streamers
3. inexpensive water-based children’s poster paint in patriotic colors
4. star stickers
5. paint brushes
6. a stapler and/or normal household tape

To create:

  1. Have kids paint the tubes one color –the base coat. (Resist mixing colors since you’ll end up with purple or pink instead of the red white and blue theme!).
  2. Once base coat is dry, let them decorate the tube by painting on stars, stripes, flags, hearts, whatever else says 4th of July. And adding stickers, too.
  3. Once everything is dry, staple and/or tape the streamers or curling ribbon in strips to the end of the tubes. Curl the ribbons.
  4. Slip the decorated tubes of streamers over the ends of your child’s handle bars, and voila, patriotic streamers!

You’ll all have a blast circling the block in holiday style. Blow some horns, shake some noise makers and belt out our national anthem to your heart’s content. Your kids will never forget it.

Patriotic Streamers for Bikes and Scooters via AlphaMom
Patriotic Streamers for Bikes and Scooters via AlphaMom

Recipe: Fruity Yogurt “Bomb Pops”

Homemade Bomb Pops from Healthnut Foodie
Homemade Bomb Pops from Healthnut Foodie

Remember those brilliant red, white and blue popsicles you likely devoured as a child?  They scream patriotism!  Make your own healthy version with yogurt, blueberries and strawberries:

Homemade Bomb Pops (Recipe care of Healthnut Foodie)

Makes 16 small or 8 large popsicles

For the red layer:  Puree 1 pint hulled strawberries with 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt.  Fill popsicle molds 1/3 of the way full with strawberry/yogurt mixture.  Transfer molds to freezer and freeze for about 30 minutes, to prevent the layers from mixing.  (There is no need to put the sticks in at this time.)  Rinse blender.

For the white layer:  When 30 minutes have lapsed, remove popsicle molds from freezer.  Reserve 3/4 cup of the yogurt for the blue layer.  Use remaining vanilla yogurt to fill molds 2/3 of the way full.  Return popsicles to freezer just long enough to prepare the blue layer.

For the blue layer:  Puree 1 1/2 cups blueberries with remaining 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt.  Remove popsicles from freezer and fill with blueberry puree.  Add sticks to popsicles and return to freezer.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.  Serve and enjoy!

Or, you could always throw caution to the wind (after all, it is a holiday!) and go for the ones you used to eat as a kid.  You can find them at Walmart.


Sparkler Printable from Delightfully Noted
Sparkler Printable from Delightfully Noted

Craft: Sparkler Printables

Light up the night with sparkler favors. Thanks to this free printable, you can turn any ordinary box of sparklers into fun, festive favors for any family or friend gathering. Download the sparkler printables here, and be sure to print them on heavy card stock. Cut a slit above and below the solid blue block and slide a few sparklers through. ** Of course, never leave children unattended with sparklers, and be sure to explain the dangers of fire and the importance of being careful of sparklers before you light them. **

Recipe: Refreshing Watermelon Sundaes


Red White and Blue Sundaes from
Red White and Blue Sundaes from

Red White & Blue Watermelon Sundaes

Recipe adapted by Babble from

Use a melon scooper to make watermelon balls (or could use frozen yogurt or raspberry sorbet)
4 cups watermelon balls
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sweetened whipped cream or thick plain or vanilla yogurt
Red, white and blue star sprinkles

Gently mix together the watermelon and blueberries. Divide among 4 sundae bowls. Top each with a dollop of whipped cream or yogurt and sprinkle with red ,white and blue sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Keep your party going this July 4th by joining your community at a family-friendly holiday parade, fireworks show or festival. Stay tuned for our July 4th Even Guide for ideas and info!

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How to Organize, Display and Store Your Child’s Artwork

IMAG0795Feeling buried alive in an avalanche of artwork your child brought home from school this year? Don’t let parental guilt and sentimentality keep you from weeding out the best-of-the best and letting go of the rest. That way, you’ll be able to concentrate on the pieces that really make for lasting reminders of their youngest years.

Here’s what to do with the masterpieces that make the cut:

 Curated Galleries

Sure, the side of your refrigerator works just fine for an easily interchangeable art display. It’s quick and easy to grab the tape or a few magnets and instantly switch from cottonball snowmen to fingerprint daisies. But, you eventually run out of space, and glitter glue and fingerpaint start to take over the kitchen. You need a gallery. Decide where it will reside – a breakfast area, front and center over the sofa, a hallway or maybe your child’s bedroom. There are several easy systems to choose, including:

  • Frames. Sure, it takes more work to frame art, but it certainly elevates the presentation and your child’s work can easily give the more expensive art in your home some stiff competition. If you’re planning on a gallery-style or grid approach to display, keep the frames the same or at least the same color or style for cohesiveness. You don’t need to break the budget.

How to hang them: Here are several handy patterns for no-fail gallery style groupings, or go for a straight line down a hallway or a vertical line up a small swatch of wall. Too much work? Shelves or picture ledges are a great alternative.

Framed Family Gallery via Emily A. Clark
Framed Family Gallery via Emily A. Clark
  • Big bulletin boards. It’s the low maintenance approach, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you know you’ll never find the time to frame and swap out framed artwork with new art, go easy on yourself and find a great, big bulletin or magnetic board. Martha Stewart shows us how to create a large bulletin board by stapling Flor carpet tiles to the wall.

    Flor Carpet Tile Board via Martha Stewart
    Flor Carpet Tile Board via Martha Stewart
  • Curtain Rod Gallery via Apartment Therapy
    Curtain Rod Gallery via Apartment Therapy

    Clothes lines. If you’re the sweet, homey type, go for a simple string or ribbon and use basic clothespins to hang art. If you like a cleaner, more contemporary look,check out this use of Ikea’s curtain wire system called Dignitet, which consists of the wire rod, corner pieces and the curtain ring clips.

    Simple Clothes Line via Apartment Therapy
    Simple Clothes Line via Apartment Therapy

Apps to Help You Organize and Store Your Child’s Art

Artkive describes itself as a “clutter-free way to save and enjoy your child’s artwork.” We couldn’t agree more. The free app for iPhone and Android devices lets you take photos of your kids’ artwork and then tag, share, and organize a chronological art portfolio. You can take it a step further by creating a photo book, mug or other keepsake from any of the digitally saved art.  Download app for IPhone Also available for Android.

Photo Books for Coffee Table Display

If you love the idea of organized, but need your children’s precious creations in hard form, rather than digitally stored, photo books might work well for you. Artkive lets you make photo books out of the photos you shoot with your iPhone. If you prefer to use your DSLR camera and you download your photos to a site such as Shutterfly, Shutterfly photo books are the perfect option. Good ’ole Shutterfly is great for its ease of use (especially if you already download your pics there), themes and frequent promotions that make it a wallet-friendly option. Simply shoot photos of your kid’s best works, and populate them into a photo book. You can take it a step further by adding photos of your child at milestone events, such as the first day of school, or the holiday pageant. Photo books are great to display and easy to store.

Art as Gifts

Rolling up a finger painting and sending it off in a mailing tube is a fantastic, heart-warming gift for an adoring grandparent.  Have your child help select which pieces they’d like to give. Also give some thought to how else you might be able to use your children’s creativity as inspiration for other personal gifts. Cool Mom Picks featured an independent jewelry designer, Mia Van Beek of Formia Design, who creates super hip key chains, charms and bracelets from kids’ doodles. Check out her leather cuff to see what we mean by hip. You might just want to gift this one to yourself.

Leather Cuff via Formia
Leather Cuff via Formia

How do you make the most of your children’s artwork? UrbanSitter would love to hear your ideas!

7 Pumpkin Projects for Little Ones

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

There’s a pretty good chance you’ve taken your kids to a pumpkin patch, farmer’s market or even a grocery store this weekend, and are now living with a menagerie of pumpkins, little and big. Do you realize you’re sitting on a goldmine of kid craft potential?!

Bring your pumpkins to the table, gather your craft supplies, call a friend or two to make a fun play date out of it, and get down to business! Not the crafty type or invited more than a few friends? Call in a sitter to help!

Here are 7 of our favorite pumpkin projects:

Gourd FamilyStack miniature pumpkins to build a replica of your own family.  The gourd people on are made by gluing natural materials, such as acorns, nuts, leaves, and flowers… which means you can start your project by taking a nature walk to gather supplies.

Giggly Ghoul: They’ll be giggling so hard, they’ll have a hard time finishing this one. Talk about bang for your buck – insert two thumbtacks for eyes,  carve out a mouth and insert removable teeth. How can these not have you in stitches?!

Fall Leaves + Pumpkin = Perfect decoration for the table, foyer or front porch: Gather gorgeous fall leaves and dry them under a book for several days. Brush decoupage glue on a pumpkin (white is especially nice). Arrange the leaves on the pumpkin’s surface, cutting small slits along the edges of the leaves as you go, so they’ll fit the pumpkin’s contours. Coat the decorated surface in decoupage glue.

Message on a Pumpkin: Put on your thinking caps and come up with a fun message to write/paint/glue on your pumpkins. How about your family name (with a pumpkin for each letter), or a spooky Halloween shout-out like “Boo,” “Beware,” or “Who Goes There?!” You can cater to your kids’ ages and abilities, keeping it simple with glitter glue or stepping it up by glue-gunning buttons, acorns or candy to spell out your message.

Give Thanks: How about making a festive vessel for a bouquet of fall flowers? Clean out the insides of your pumpkin (save the seeds for snack time), and insert a handful of fall flowers or branches. You can make it a spooky treat (and a bigger project) by first painting the pumpkin, then giving it a face. Don’t carve out too much, as you’ll want to fill it with a bit of water if you hope to make it last.

Talking Pumpkin: This one will get the neighborhood trick-or-treaters talking! Carve a face for your pumpkin, scary or silly will work. Instead of making a removable top, cut a hole in the bottom. Once cleaned and carved, sit your masterpiece atop a baby monitor. Voila, you have a talking pumpkin!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Wait, don’t throw out that muck! Make a toasty snack of pumpkin seeds. It’s as simple as digging through the strings and pulp – what better job for a crew of little hands – and cleaning off the seeds. Spread the pumpkin seeds on baking sheet, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake 45 minutes at 325 degrees, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted. Yum!

Need a sitter for the pre- or post-Halloween weekend? Log on to UrbanSitter and search for a babysitter by date & time.

4 Fun Ideas to Celebrate Grandparents Day


We all have stories about the wonderful ways our own Nana and Papa (or someone else’s) have touched our lives. Whether your stories are about the rich family traditions handed down to your children, the warmth of a home and the sweet smells that come from it, or about how these special people love your children as unconditionally as you do, find a way that’s just as unique as they are to show appreciation for all they bring to you and yours.

Here are 4 unique ways to celebrate Grandparents Day:

1. A great fun-to-make, heartwarming-to-give craft. Show off the family resemblance in a multi-generational hanging frame that kids can help create.


  •  Three 4-inch x 6-inch clip frames (available at any frame store)
  • One yard 1 1/2-inch wide orange-and-yellow striped ribbon
  • Orange embroidery thread and needle
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • One 8 1/2-inch x 11-inch sheet of orange card stock
  • One 8 1/2-inch x 11-inch sheet of yellow card stock
  • One photograph of the grandchild, trimmed to 3 inches x 3 inches
  • One photograph of the grandchild’s parent, trimmed to 3 inches x 3 inches
  • One photograph of the grandparent, trimmed to 3 inches x 3 inches
  • Adhesive glue dots
  • White craft glue


  • Trim the orange card stock so that it fits flush with the glass of 2 of the clip frames.
  • Trim the yellow card stock so that it fits flush with the glass of 1 of the clip frames.
  • Take the ribbon and cut a piece that is 20 inches long.
  • Centered at the top of the piece of ribbon, sew a loop 1-inch long with the embroidery thread and make sure it is securely tied onto the ribbon (don’t worry how it looks since it will be hidden).
  • Orient the frames horizontally and glue the ribbon so that it runs along the center of each backing piece, leaving 2 inches between each frame.
  • Place the card stock on the backing pieces of the frames on top of the ribbon and glue into place so that the colors alternate.
  • Center a photograph on each of the pieces of card stock and secure it with an adhesive glue dot.
  • Put the glass on the top of the photos and backing and secure in place using the two side clips.
  • Using the remaining ribbon, tie a bow and glue it over the base of the embroidery thread loop. Once the glue is dry, trim the ribbon ends so that they sit at the top edge of the uppermost frame.

2. Customized calendar with photos of your family together. Services such as make it easy to use photos you already have to create a gift that lasts the whole year. Be sure to include photos of you, your children, and grandparents (and great grandparents!) sharing special moments or occasions, holidays and milestones.

3. Our Grammy and Pops Book.  Together with your kids create a book chock full of all the things that make its recipients so special. Have your children draw pictures of their grandparents, and fill in sentences such as “I love it when my grandma and grandpa….” Even very young children can contribute to this project. Little kid drawings can be the most touching, don’t you think?

4. Family Dinner Celebration. Host a special night for your guests of honor, making it extra meaningful by tackling Grandma’s favorite recipes or serving foods that are family traditions. Children can cap off the meal by providing the entertainment, such as a dance performance, song or play. If yours guests are up for a sleepover, check out these great sleepover activities that are sure to make it a really fun, memorable night for all.

Book a babysitter on UrbanSitter and let them take charge of Grandparents Day arts & crafts!