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St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Adventure

March 12, 2015

By Jessica Vician

St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Adventure | Try these DIY activities with your kids to create a magical leprechaun adventure for St. Patrick's Day.

According to Irish legend, leprechauns worked very hard as cobblers and craft specialists, earning a lot of gold. But they were very thrifty, and it’s said that leprechauns would bury their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow.

The legend says that if you catch a leprechaun—which would take a very smart person because leprechauns are clever—you can ask him where he hid his gold and he must tell you the truth.

St. Patrick’s Day can be a magical holiday for your kids with the mystery and wonder of these old Irish tales. This year, why not expand on this magic and send your kids on a treasure-hunting adventure? They can help you with some of the crafts this weekend, and you can arrange the rest on Monday night so they wake up to the fun Tuesday morning. If your kids are in school already, then arrange the crafts while they’re away so they can hunt when they get home.

Here are the DIY crafts you’ll need to prepare this St. Patrick-themed leprechaun adventure.

  • Leprechaun footprints. Leave a trail to where the leprechaun may be hiding.
  • Leprechaun trap. Encourage your kids to design their own leprechaun trap this weekend. Before they wake up on St. Patrick’s Day (or once they return from school), move the trap to the end of the trail you created with the Leprechaun footprints. 
  • Create a handprint rainbow that leads to gold. Make the rainbow with the kids this weekend, then put it above the leprechaun trap on St. Patrick’s Day so that the trap appears to be at the end of the rainbow.
  • Turn your child into a leprechaun. Print a photo and follow these directions. When they find the trap after following the footprints, your kids will be surprised to see that one of them is actually a leprechaun! Giggles should ensue.
  • Dig for coins. Make this shaving cream and green food coloring concoction for your kids to dig through once they find the end of the rainbow and leprechaun trap at the treasure hunt’s end. For effect, it’s a good idea to have a pot full of gold chocolate coins as a fun reward once the kids have cleaned up from the shaving cream.

For more St. Patrick’s Day crafts and activities, visit our St. Patrick’s Day Activities Pinterest board.


8 Valentine's Day DIY Crafts

February 6, 2015

By Jessica Vician

8 Valentine's Day DIY Crafts | Try some of these DIY Valentine's Day crafts with your kids this weekend. | An illustration of two characters with hearts floating between them.

Valentine’s Day is around the corner—can you believe it? At YOU Parent, we include our kids in as many holiday activities as possible to up the fun factor. Try some of these DIY crafts with your kids this weekend.

Valentine's Day Décor
When your kids help you make the holiday décor, they’ll take pride in the house and their contributions to the decorations.

Valentine’s Day Cards
Instead of purchasing cards, let your kids make their Valentine’s Day cards to share in the classroom. These unique options should be a hit with classmates.

Check out our Valentine’s Day Activities Pinterest board for more ideas.

Tags :  holidayactivitiesfamily funDIY

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry

December 11, 2014

By Judy Razo

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | 4 shrinky dink ornaments, a snowman, a Christmas tree, a red and green wheel, and a heart with the words "Emma's 1st Christmas."

As the holidays approach, the concept of giving and receiving gifts piques your children’s interests. Creating gifts together is a great way to teach your children the concept of giving—they create something they’re proud of and then give it away for the sake of someone else’s joy. Try this easy DIY activity with your children to make heartfelt, homemade gifts.

Here’s what you need:

  • #6 clear plastics
  • Hole-puncher
  • Scissors (An adult should handle these. Practice scissor safety.)
  • Permanent markers
  • Yarn, string, or ribbon
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tongs

Here’s what you do:

Gather all of your materials. Many plastic to-go boxes, cups, and container lids are made of number 6 plastic. Ask your children to search for usable materials by locating the recycling arrows on a plastic item and checking for the number 6 inside those arrows.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | Plastic containers, cups, lids, and tongs, scissors, a hole-punch, markers, ribbon, and foil.

Place the oven rack in the lowest position and preheat your oven to 350°F. Take the foil paper and create a platter by bending the four sides up. Ask your children to help you. This is also an opportunity to ask them what shape the foil is, how many sides it has, and even measure it with a ruler. When you’re done making the platter, set it aside.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | A foil platter.

Depending on the age of your children, either cut the plastic into the shape they desire or let them cut it. To start off, keep your shapes basic, such as circles, squares, hearts, stars, ovals, and rectangles. Once you get the hang of it, you can get creative and cut the plastic into more non-traditional shapes. Remember that the shape is going to shrink to about one third of its size, so cut it oversized.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | Cut plastic in the shape of a heart.

Next, your children can decorate the plastic shapes with permanent markers. They can draw free-hand or trace their favorite designs or images. Placing a sheet of paper underneath the shape will help your children see their artwork better and will also help prevent that permanent marker from getting on your table.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | The colored plastic shapes sit on the table.

Discuss with your children how to string the gift, be it a necklace, bracelet, or ornament. Then take the hole-puncher and punch a hole in the place where your children want the string or yarn to go. Do not add the string yet.

Let your children place the plastic shapes onto the foil platter.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | The plastic shapes on the foil platter.

Then place the tray on the lowest rack in the oven. Turn the oven light on so your children can see the magic happening. It only takes about two to four minutes for the plastic shape to shrink and be ready, so keep an eye on it. Ask your children to track the time with you.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | The foil platter, with the plastic shapes on it, is on the lowest rack in the oven.

Using the tongs, remove the foil platter from the oven. After allowing the Shrinky Dinks to cool, add the string, yarn, or ribbon to the hole you made earlier. Now it’s time to wrap the gift and give it to the recipient.

DIY: Shrinky Dink Repurposed Plastic Ornaments + Jewelry | The snowman Shrinky dink.

In addition to spending time together and learning about giving, this is also an opportunity to ask questions that can support your children’s learning. They can measure, tell time, count, name shapes and colors, read instructions, and more. This activity shows your children that learning is not only useful but also fun.

Lastly, remember to let your inner child come out and play. Be as creative and silly as your heart desires. The holidays are a time for joy, and there is great joy in making fun and loving memories with your children.


DIY Activity: Holiday Cards – Free Download

December 4, 2014
DIY Activity: Holiday Cards – Free Download | Two "happy holidays" cards colored by children. Click this image and print for the free download.
Cards illustrated by Dex Gonzalez. 

The holidays are a time of giving, and what better way to show love and appreciation than with a homemade card? We created these holiday card templates for you to download and print for a fun DIY family activity. 

Just click here and you will see a downloadable PDF for both cards and envelopes. Right click on the image and choose "print." 

Use this activity as an opportunity to teach your child about the importance of giving and showing loved ones he or she cares. Ask your child who he or she wants to send cards to, and encourage him or her to customize the card for each person. For example, in above right card, a YOU Parent staff member's nephew said he loves his aunt so he drew a heart and a smiley face. For babies too young to express feelings, dip their hands in a non-toxic finger paint and stamp it in the blank space. Your child can write whatever he or she wants in the inside of the card so it's special for each recipient.

We hope you enjoy making these cards with your child. It's a wonderful free activity for parents and children to do, and a true pleasure for the loved one to receive such a thoughtful gift. 


DIY: Spooky Halloween Projects on a Budget

October 16, 2014

By Nikki Cecala

For kids, Halloween isn’t just one day of the year; it’s a month-long celebration! And who can blame them when there are so many fun and exciting things to do daily? Sure, you can take them to the pumpkin patches or apple picking, but money can get stretched thin fast, especially if you have a costume to purchase for one or more kids. There are plenty of low-cost or free Halloween crafts that you can do in your own home. It’s also a great opportunity to bond and create holiday traditions!


DIY: Spooky Halloween Projects on a Budget | milk jugs decorated like ghosts

Ghost Jugs
Need: 3-4 clean gallon milk or water jugs, black markers, holiday lights or battery-operated candle

Remove any stickers from the jugs and make sure they’re clean and dry. Using the black marker, draw a face on the opposite side of the handle. Keep the cap on so the jug doesn’t dent while drawing on it. If you have clear holiday lights or a battery-operated candle, cut a hole in the bottom of the jug (about the size of a half dollar) and insert either type of lighting inside to make the jugs glow. Put them around the house or in the windows for ghoulish decor.

DIY: Spooky Halloween Projects on a Budget | paper towel rolls with eye-like cutouts glow from the bushes thanks to glowsticks inside the tubes

Spooky Eyes
Need: 4-5 clean toilet paper rolls, kid-friendly scissors, tape, colored glow sticks

Cut pairs of small holes in the middle of the toilet paper roll. Put a glow stick in the toilet paper roll and tape the ends so it doesn’t fall out. Scatter the rolls around the front or back yard in the bushes. Don’t put them too deep—keep them near the surface of the bushes so they’re seen.

DIY: Spooky Halloween Projects on a Budget | black bat cutouts line an orange wall

Paper Cats, Bats, or Mice
Need: Black construction paper, pencil, kid-friendly scissors, masking tape, traceable template for the animal of choice (we found some good options here)

First, print the templates and cut out each animal you will be using. Using that animal as a guide, trace the shapes onto black construction paper and cut them out. Then mount as desired throughout the house, using the masking tape. If you have a staircase, put them at the bottom of each step to spook people walking up.

Food and Liquid Fun

DIY: Spooky Halloween Projects on a Budget | Orange and black plastic spiders sit inside ice cubes.

Spider Ice Cubes
Need: ice cube trays, water, plastic spiders

Put plastic spiders in the ice cube trays and fill them with water. Freeze overnight. If you have other tiny plastic critters that are clean and safe, you can use those, too. Once frozen, put the ice cubes in your favorite cold beverage. It will look like you are drinking critters!
Caution: only do this activity if your children are old enough to understand they shouldn’t swallow the plastic critters. To be safe, remind them that they should remove the critter once the ice melts.

DIY: Spooky Halloween Projects on a Budget | Halloween cookie and candy white chocolate bark

Halloween Bark (Easy No-Bake Treat)
Need: 1 lb white chocolate (melted in the microwave or on the stove), 1 tbsp Halloween food sprinkles, 1 cup of pretzels, 12 orange and black sandwich cookies, 1.5 cups candy corn, 20 candy eyeballs

Break apart the pretzels and cookies. Mix together the sprinkles, broken pretzels and cookies, candy corn, and candy eyeballs. Spread the mixture onto a cookie tray. Pour the melted white chocolate over the mixture, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Then place in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours to harden. Once hardened, take out and break into small pieces. Enjoy!

For more creative Halloween ideas, check out our Pinterest page. Please share some of your Halloween traditions or creativity in the comments below!

Tags :  DIYholidayactivitiesbudgetfamily fun
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