Tuesday, January 9, 2024

National Soup Month

“Soup’s on” in January as we celebrate National Soup Month.  Keep the “brrr” cold outside and warm the tummy with delicious hot soup.  This meal-in-a-bowl can combine a multitude of food groups, providing a potent serving of nutrients in each spoonful. Here are a few ideas to make “soup” a fun meal!


It's nice to have a placemat under your bowl of hot soup. Why not create your own "soup mat" using real vegetables. Give each child a sheet of light colored construction paper.  Gather vegetables such as carrots, bell peppers, celery, potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, pea pods and more.

Prepare paint pads by placing a folded paper towel into shallow pans.  Pour the tempera (poster) paints on top.  The artist can dip the cut vegetable in the paint and then press down onto the placemat paper to make a print. Continue printing all types of vegetables using colors of orange, green, yellow, brown and white.

When the sheet is completely dry, cover the mat with a sheet of clear adhesive plastic.  The "soup mat" can be wiped clean and used over and over again.

NOTE:  Have each child personalize their mat with their name, and favorite soup names before laminating it.


The fun of soup is what's floating on top.  Here are a few favorite garnishes:

*star shaped croutons (toasted bread)
*Goldfish crackers
*oyster crackers
*bacon bits          
*bagel chips
*crumbled tortilla chips
*dollops of yogurt or sour cream  (make a smile face)
*grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
*sesame seeds
*fresh snipped herbs (use a kitchen scissors)


*Americans consume more than 12 billion bowls or soup each year. January is the most popular month.

*Three most popular soups are Chicken Noodle, Cream of Mushroom and Tomato soup.

*In one year, Campbell's uses 1 million miles of noodles in its chicken noodle soup, enough to circle the equator approximately 40 times.

*Campbell uses more than 44 billion stars each year in its chicken & stars soup.  In three years, Campbell produces more stars than are in the Milky Way.

*In one year Campbell produces almost 11 billion letters for its alphabet soup.


Photo courtesy of Clarita
Previously posted on Caring For Kids

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Best Ever Hanukkah Songs for Children

Hanukkah begins before Christmas on December 7th. Get in the holiday spirit as children and caregivers sing these simple Hanukkah songs. Let the children learn that holidays are a special time for singing together.

The Menorah and its Candles
Today Jewish families celebrate the miracle by lighting one candle for each of the eight days of Hanukkah. A special candlestick called the menorah is used.

Hanukkah Candles (Tune: "Six Little Ducks")

Nine little candles in my Hanukkah light,
Burning brightly throughout the night.
But one little candle is taller than the rest,
We call that candle the Shamash.

We light the candles one by one,
We play with dreidels and have some fun.
We dance the hora and tell the story,
Of Judah Maddabbee and his glory.

Potato Pancakes, known as Latkes
During the celebration of Hanukkah, a characteristic food called latkes, or potato pancakes is served. These pancakes are fried in oil, to represent the holy oil used in the Temple.

Little Latkes (Tune: "I'm a Little Teapot")
I'm a little latke, round and brown,
Here is my upside, here is my down.
When I am all ready, take a bite,
And eat me up on Hanukkah night.

The Dreidel

A nonreligious symbol of Hanukkah is the dreidel. Children find this toy top a fun game to play during this holiday.

Spin the Dreidel (Tune: "Row, Row, Row Your Boat")
Spin, spin, spin the dreidel,
Spin it round and round.
Wait to see what letter comes up,
And the prize which you have found.

Even children who are not Jewish can begin to appreciate other cultures and faiths, by sharing this Hanukkah story and singing these fun songs. Children learn at an early age that singing is another way to use their voice. These easy piggyback songs kids can sing enhances learning with verse that young children can understand.

NOTE: Authors Unknown for all songs.
Photo courtesy of Flickr

Friday, November 24, 2023

December Holiday Garland Craft

Children love the holidays and these crafts are adaptable to suit three different holidays. Surprise your group with a fun holiday craft this month. These crafts can be multicultural by just changing the colors. Be it red & green for Christmas, blue & white for Hanukkah, or red, green & black for Kwanzaa—adapt these crafts for your holiday!

Multicultural Children Garlands:

These garlands can be strung along a wall or across a doorway.  Use brown grocery bags that you have stored from shopping.  Dress the children cutouts in the colors of your holiday.

These are simple paper-doll instructions. Start by cutting a 5-by-4-inch strip from a grocery bag.  Next, fold the strip of paper, accordion-style, about four times.  On the top layer, draw a child shape. You can draw this freehand or trace around a child or gingerbread cookie cutter. The hands and feet you draw must extend out to the folded edges.  Cut through all layers of the paper, making sure not to cut where the arms touch the fold. Young children may need help with this task. The decorating is the fun.  Cut clothing from gift-wrap or construction paper.  Draw in shoes, hair, faces, and any extras with markers, puffy paints, or gel pens.  For texture you can glue on pom-poms, buttons, or pieces of fur.  Let your child’s imagination run wild.

Holiday Wreath:

Use your child's hands to make this holiday wreath. From a piece of cardboard, cut a 12-inch circle (a pizza box lid or carton works well).  Again cut another 3-inch circle in the center to complete the wreath. A craft knife is useful to make the cuts but only by an adult. Invite your child to paint the entire cardboard wreath with poster paint in the color of your holiday. After the paint dries, have the child make handprints on the wreath. Brush the child’s hand with a different color paint and press the hand down on the board. Continue to print handprints around the wreath in a circular fashion.

For another option, trace hands on complementary-colored stiff construction paper, cut out, decorate the hands if you wish, and glue them around the circle.

Make a bow from fabric, crepe paper, large ribbons or construction paper to decorate the bottom.  Make sure to write the date on the back of this memorable project.

Have fun with these two crafts.
Happy Parenting,
Tania  :)

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Note: if anyone wants to use any part of this post or any other one, please notify me for permission and make sure you provide a link back to this site.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Pumpkin Crafts for Kids: Harvest and Halloween Ideas

Pumpkins are fun! Their size, color, smell and taste make them perfect for children's observations and explorations. Pumpkins are a type of squash that symbolize both the bright orange color and lead us into the spirit of the fall season. This is the best time to experience the numerous possibilities of using pumpkins during your "together time" activities. Your kids may consider pumpkins only with Halloween and jack-o-lanterns; however, you can de-emphasize the holiday connection and use this variety of pumpkin-related activities for fall and harvest.

Pumpkin Sun Catcher-

Place a piece of adhesive paper down on the table sticky side up. You may need to tape this in place. Encourage your child to tear and place pieces of red tissue paper on one side and pieces of yellow tissue paper on the opposite side. When finished, fold the paper in half and see what happens when the red and yellow paper overlap. Cut a pumpkin shape from this now "orange" paper and hang in a sunny window. 

Popcorn Painting-

Here's a new experience in painting! Place a cup of unpopped popcorn into a nylon knee high stocking and tie the nylon stocking in a knot. Holding the top end of the stocking, dip the bottom (corn) into poster paint and then "bounce" it onto paper. This makes a neat design and so complimentary to the season. Cut the paper into a pumpkin shape and you now have a unique painting.

Pumpkin Mosaic - 

Give your child a paper plate and orange construction paper. Let him tear pieces of the orange paper (little ones really like to tear paper) and glue them onto the plate. Help him brush on the glue and after he is finished you make want to brush on a final layer to keep the pieces flat. Make a leaf shape from green or brown paper and glue this on top to complete the pumpkin.

Pumpkin Prints - 

Buy pumpkin cookie cutters and let your child dip these into tempera (poster paint) and then press them onto paper. This makes really cool prints and good for eye/hand coordination. As a variation, buy a small fresh pumpkin and cut this in half. Invite your youngster to dip the pumpkin half into orange paint and make a print.

So, whether you use pumpkin projects for harvest or Halloween -- just have fun and do these activities with your children. It's the bonding time that really counts!

Pumpkin photo property of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Friday, October 6, 2023

Halloween is Coming! Who Wants to Be Cinderella?

How many little girls dream of becoming a princess and little boys who want to be a prince? The story of Cinderella, a young girl who unexpectedly becomes a maid to her stepmother and stepsisters after her father dies, finds her way to the gallant ball with a little help from her fairy Godmother.  But, at the stroke of midnight she must leave the ball and her prince. This is a tale that many of us remember as children. Today, this story comes alive with new movies to entertain us. The question remains: will the prince find the lady who fits the glass slipper?

This isn't a costume, but I’m sure your little artists will enjoy making this craft. This simple project will bring the story of Cinderella into your home.
  • Card stock paper (pink or your child’s favorite color)
  • Gray construction paper (or white)
  • Safety scissors
  • Heavy-duty glue or low-temperature glue gun
  • Silver enhancements (sequins, glitter, faux gems, foil)

Step 1 – This cut and paste craft is not the messiest we have done before, but covering your table with newspaper is wise to prevent glue from marring your tabletop.
Step 2 – Invite your child to choose their favorite color for the background paper. Using a heavier construction paper or card stock will give substantial weight to hold the materials that the children will eventually glue on this page.
Step 3 -- Parents can draw the shape of a lady’s high heel shoe on gray or white paper. Challenge your child to carefully cut on the lines to make this shape. Then, glue the shoe to the background paper.
Step 4 – Now the fun begins, as your child will turn this paper shoe into a glass slipper. Think about all the baubles that will give the illusion of shiny glass. I took a trip to a craft store and purchased some clear faux gems and silver sequins. At home, I had silver glitter and ran to the kitchen for some heavy-duty aluminum foil. The foil can be cut into shiny circles or any other shape your child desires.
Step 5 – Begin to glue the shiny enhancements randomly on the shoe shape. Use glitter in between for sparkle.
Hang the Cinderella slipper craft in your child’s room to remind your princess/prince of this famous tale. This may be a good time to bring out the classic book or video and review the story together.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Popsicle Sticks as an Outlet for Kid Fun

Popsicle sticks (aka craft sticks) can be used for crafts and games. Here are a few ideas I would like to share.

Did you know?

Eating a frozen Popsicle is still part of growing up in America just as it was in the past.  Frank Epperson, from California, invented and patented the “Epsicle” which later became the “Popsicle.”  In 1905, when Epperson was just 11 years old, he mixed some soda water powder to drink.  He accidentally left it overnight on the back porch with the stirring stick inside.  That night the temperature dropped to a record low causing this mixture to freeze.  Voila! The first “Epsicle!”  Today, the Popsicle is manufactured by the Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream Company.  Popsicles come in a variety of fun shapes and flavors, now even offering natural juices and no-sugar-added Pops.  Not only have Popsicles been treats for our children, the famous wooden sticks are great resources for arts, crafts, games, and learning.

CRAFT STICKS AND CRAYONS (crayons & Popsicle sticks)—
Place Popsicle sticks, crayons and white paper on the table.  Invite the children to make designs on the paper by tracing around the sticks with their colorful crayons.  Teach your kids the art of overlapping.

POPSICLE FRAMES (Popsicle Sticks)—
Glue Popsicle sticks into shapes, such as squares and triangles.  You can even create a star by laying one triangle on top of another.  Glue the sticks together.  Trim a photograph to fit the inside of your frame and glue this to the back of the frame.  As a variation, you could glue a plain piece of heavy paper in place to be colored, painted, or decorated inside the frame.  This is an easy project to hang; just attach a loop of yarn or ribbon to the top.

PICK-UP STICKS (Popsicle Sticks)—
Use Popsicle sticks to play a game of pick-up sticks.  This is played just like pick-up sticks except that when your turn is finished you have to add your sticks to that of the person before you.  Let’s say Mom was able to pick up five sticks before she moved any of the others.  Then Bobby picked up three without moving the rest of the sticks.  Bobby would note that since Mom picked up five and he picked up three, then there are eight sticks picked up so far.  Therefore, five plus three equals eight.  If he gets it right, he gets Mom’s sticks.  If he gets it wrong, Mom gets her sticks. This makes the game an incentive to learn math facts.

Kids love to eat Popsicles - so save all those sticks for further fun!

You can also purchase a bag of sticks on AMAZON.

There are pre-colored sticks too! HERE

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Friday, August 4, 2023

Back to School on the Bus Craft

As the summer months come to a close school bells will begin to ring.  Some states begin classes in late August and others wait until after Labor Day in September. When you see the infamous bright yellow school bus on your roads you know that school is in session. Here is a fun school bus craft your child will enjoy making whether he/she rides this iconic form of transportation or not. Why not sing “The Wheels on the Bus” while you are crafting together? With a recycled egg carton and a few supplies that are readily available at home this 3-D bus can be constructed.  So, let’s get started.
Supplies needed to make a School Bus craft:
  • Cardboard egg carton
  • Yellow tempera paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Safety scissors
  • Heavy-duty glue
  • White card stock paper
  • Markers or crayons
  • 2 plastic bottle caps
Directions to follow:
Step 1 – Prepare your work surface with newspaper to avoid paint and glue to mark your table top. You may want to place a smock over your child’s clothes as well.

Step 2 – Cut the lid off your cardboard egg carton. You can also use a yellow Styrofoam egg carton if a cardboard one is not available.

Step 3 – Place the two pieces back-to-back – the top of the lid should be next to the bottom of the egg cups (the open cups should be facing out). Glue these two pieces together. This will give your bus stability to stand up on the table.

Step 4 – Invite the kids to paint the entire bus construction with yellow paint.  Set this aside to dry thoroughly.

Step 5 – While the bus is drying, cut out six circles from white card stock paper. Use a bottle cap or lid to trace around to make the circles the same size. Make sure the circles fit slightly inside each individual egg cup.

Step 6 – Encourage the children to draw facial features on each circle with colorful markers or crayons. Challenge them to draw pictures of their school friends that ride the bus with them.  One circle should be a portrait of your child. Another option is to use photocopies of school pictures you may have of your child’s friends.

Step 7 – Glue these circles into the six egg cups on the top row of the bus.

Step 8 – Place two plastic lid caps on the bottom of the bus as wheels. Glue these securely in place.

Step 9 – The small flap of the egg carton at the top of the bus is a place to write the name of your school, bus route number, or just school bus in general.

Place your finished school bus construction in your home or child’s room as a reminder of the upcoming school days ahead.

How are you and the kids getting ready for school? Tell us in the comment section below.

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Monday, July 17, 2023

Make Music Fun: Enhancing Kid's Songs with Art

Children are natural musicians and will express themselves in a variety of creative ways when given the opportunity. Props can enhance movement and enjoyment of the song. These items can also aid in making children less inhibited. Story props can help provide an understanding of the context of a song using masks and clothing accessories. If the changes of tempo, mood, and dynamics are to be emphasized, try using musical instruments, scarves, and streamers. Even artwork such as painting and drawing provide an outlet for expression and enjoyment of a song.
Below are a few ideas to enhance popular childhood songs:

One Elephant

One elephant went out to play,
All on a spider's web one day,
He had such enormous fun,
He called for another elephant to come.
Make an Elephant Mask as a Prop: Use a paper plate, color or paint it gray. Attach a set of construction paper floppy ears and an accordion pleated trunk. Draw facial features and attach a wooden craft stick to the back to hold the mask over the child's face.

On Top Of Spaghetti

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table,
And onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.

Make Pasta People: Provide different shapes of uncooked pasta to the children. Have fun creating pasta people gluing the shapes together onto construction paper. Give your "pasta people" special names like Rotini Ralph or Zachary Ziti.

When The Saints Come Marching In

Oh, when the saints go marching in,
Oh, when the saints go marching in.
I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.

Create a Homemade Kazoo: Decorate a cardboard tube (toilet roll) with colorful markers and stickers. Cover one end with waxed paper, held in place with a rubber band. Hum loudly into the open end to make sounds. March around the room singing this adapted song.

Oh, when we play our made kazoo,
Oh, when we play our made kazoo,
We want to hum in that rhythm,
When we play our made kazoo!

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
And eyes and ears and mouth and nose,
Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

A "Me-Mask" is Fun to Make: Making a "me-mask" is fun for all ages, as well as, teaching facial features to young children. It teaches individuality, as everyone's mask can be different. Take a wire clothes hanger and bend it into a diamond shape. Stretch a leg from nylon pantyhose over the wire frame, knotting the bottom to secure it. Now, with felt pieces, yarn and puffy paint markers, create a face similar to your own. It's a great mask to see through - and no fear factor as children can see each other through the mask.

Old MacDonald Had A Band (Adapted Traditional Song)

Old MacDonald had a band, ei ei o,
And in his band he had a ______, ei ei o.
With a shake, shake here and a shake, shake there,
Here a shake, there a shake, everywhere a shake, shake.
Old MacDonald had a band, ei ei o.

Make Popcorn Maracas: You will need one 35mm film container, one Popsicle stick and uncooked popcorn kernels for each child. Slit a hole into the container lid and insert the wooden stick. Fill the canister halfway with kernels. Put the top back on (glue will help to keep the top on securely) and shake, shake, shake!

Finding creative ways to enhance children's songs will help youngsters with listening, memory and motor skills. Your children will love the experience!

**First printed on Suite101.com
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling

Friday, July 7, 2023

Paper Plate Frog for Summer Crafting

During summer, kids are anxious to go outdoors to observe nature. Most children have seen a frog picture in books, but have they seen a real frog in its habitat? Your child will flip over this fun frog craft made with simple materials at home. It can even be manipulated like a puppet so the kiddos can make plenty of “ribbit” sounds with their frog project. Frogs are a perfect theme to get the youngsters thinking of the outdoors and participating in frog-acting games like leap frog and lily pad leapers. You’ll all have a hoppin’ good time!
  • Paper plate
  • Green paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Construction paper
  • Cotton balls or pom-poms
  • Heavy-duty glue
  • Wiggly eyes (optional)

Step 1 – Prepare your work area for messy art. Your child will be painting and gluing with this craft, so spread newspapers on the table and floor. Wearing a smock or adult tee shirt will help protect your child’s clothing.
Step 2 – Invite your child to paint both sides of a paper plate (the paper kind, not a foam one) with green paint. Set this aside to dry.
Step 3 –In the meantime, draw and cut out four green legs from construction paper and a red forked tongue. Cutting on the lines of these shapes help to develop scissor skills in young children. The very youngest may need your help.
Step 4 – When the paper plate is dry, fold it in half. This makes the frog’s head/face and mouth.
Step 5 – Glue the four legs inside the folded area – one on each side and two at the bottom. Glue a red tongue inside the mouth.
Step 6 – On top of the folded plate is the frog’s head and face. Find two cotton balls or pom-poms and glue these as the frog’s eyeballs. You can then glue on round wiggly eyes in the middle of the balls or as a variation use a hole punch and make two small black circles from construction paper.
Step 7 – After all the parts are dry, the frog puppet is now ready to manipulate. Your child can use his hand to hold the frog puppet and move the mouth to open and close.
Think about using this frog puppet to enhance songs, rhymes, and just to imitate “froggie” sounds. As the saying goes, “It’s fun to be green if you know what I mean!”
Until next week,
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Ice Cream Cone Craft for Summer

Summer is the perfect time to discuss all the dairy products you eat and enjoy. Your children may even want to say “thank you” to the cows for all the good dairy foods we eat, including ice cream. What child (and adults) doesn't love ice cream?  As part of this seasonal celebration make this simple cut and paste craft with your family. Build an ice cream cone along with the toppings for a cool and refreshing craft.

  • Heavy-duty paper or card stock
  • Construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Pencil
  • Brown marker
  • Glue
  • Candy sprinkles
  • Sliced nuts

Step 1 – Prepare your work surface for cutting and pasting with this project. Newspaper on the tabletop and on the floor will work well to catch drips and excess candy sprinkles. Clean up will be a breeze if you prepare ahead of time.
Step 2 – Draw a cone shape on light brown construction paper. It’s a triangle shape. If you don’t have the paper, try using a piece of a paper grocery bag. Set this aside.
Step 3 – Next, invite your child to choose the colors for the ice cream scoops. Talk about the different flavors of ice cream and the colors they possess. Draw semi-circle shapes and cut at least two scoops. You may want a triple decker-cone with three scoops.
Step 4 – With all the shapes drawn and cut out, start building your ice cream cone. Begin by gluing the cone shape at the bottom of your background sheet of heavy-duty construction paper or card stock.
Step 5 – Next, glue on each ice cream scoop, having the bottom the largest and each additional scoop just a tad smaller.
Step 6 – Take a brown marker and draw criss-cross lines across the triangle so it looks like a real waffle-type ice cream cone.
Step 7 – Now comes the fun part. – it’s time to glue on the candy sprinkles and sliced nuts. Let your child choose among what you have in the kitchen pantry to decorate their ice cream. Spread on glue and shake the sprinkles on top. Once it dries, you can shake off the excess in the garbage can or onto a sheet of newspaper that can be discarded.
Praise your child for his efforts on making this yummy ice cream cone craft for summer fun. Make this a teachable moment by discussing all the other dairy products you use in your home. And why not create an edible ice cream delight to enjoy with your child today? So cool and yummy!
Happy Parenting,
Tania :)

Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved