August 23, 2017

Learn How to Personalize Kid’s Items

Personalize Children’s Items the Easy Way

It’s easy to personalize your children’s favorite plastic or metal items, such as plastic pails, plastic storage containers, and other plastic items. These make great party favors, especially the sand pails for summer birthday parties. I’ve even used them to hold potato chips, macaroni salad, sand cakes and more. It makes a colorful summer-inspired table decoration as well as a useful tool to hold food items. You can even use the shovel as a serving utensil. They’re fun and easy and inexpensive too.

Children’s sand pails look adorable as birthday party favors, especially when you personalize them with the children’s names. As long as you have the right supply, it’s really simple to do. It’s as easy as, well, writing your name.

Here are a few quick tips on how to decorate the pails in a simple, 1,2,3 style. You’ll be surprised how professional they will look. The trick really is to use the right type of markers and use some fun, easy to draw embellishments that will make you look like a pro.

Here you go:

  • Use simple child-like writing (or font) in a variety of markers. To make it straight, use scotch tape and measure about 1 /3 from the top of the item that you will be personalizing.
  • Use the tape as a level, and write the child’s name above the tape. When finished, remove the tape and add some simple circles along the end points of each of the letters. Finish with a simple curved line beneath the name. If you want to go a step further, you can add some flowers for the girls. Just simple easy to draw flowers work best. Because they are for children and you are going for a kid-like look, the more simple the better. Think of your favorite flower you drew in 3rd grade and you’ll be spot on.
  • And for boys, chose simple easy graphics like a soccer ball or sailboat.
  • For some easy patterns to copy, check out the free online craft classes at Kraftykid.com.

You didn’t know it was this easy to be an artist, did you?

Written by Pam Laughlin from www.Kraftykid.com

Kraftykid offers children’s 3, 6, 9, and 12 month subscriptions to craft of the month clubs. Fun and educational craft kits delivered directly to the lucky child’s home each month. Fun facts sheets and kid-tested instructions included.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pam_Laughlin

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Eight Ways Snail Mail Encourages Reading Skills in Young Children

Today, most children’s idea of getting mail corresponds with the ‘You’ve got mail’ icon on their computer and not necessary with what’s inside that metal box located on the curb in front of their house.

But even so, children still like to get the mail and ask, ‘Is there anything for me?’ Except for the occasional birthday card or package from eBay or Netflicks, the answer is usually ‘Not today.’ But on those occasions when they do get mail they are pretty much thrilled to the bone.

That feeling is hard to forget and I don’t know about you, but I still can remember that feeling of excitement and surprise when I received my Highlights Magazine or something I ordered from the back of the cereal box. So I totally understand how they feel. It’s a little magical.

Sending and receiving mail is a great way to encourage your children to read and write in a fun and enjoyable way.

Here are EIGHT ways to help encourage good reading habits in your children:

  1. Write or order a letter from Santa, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.
  2. Write or buy a special certificate to celebrate your child’s latest milestone or achievement, e.g. preschool graduation, first dentist visit, learning how to swim, keeping their room clean. I’m sure you can come up with a gazillion ideas of your own.
  3. Write a hand-written letter that discusses your child’s special interests. Make it something that they find interesting, like what did they think about the new episode of Thomas the Train or Phineas and Ferb. Talk their language, not yours!
  4. Put a note in the mailbox giving clues where you hid a present. If they aren’t reading yet, make a cryptic note by substituting pictures for words. Not an artist? Try cutting pictures from a magazine instead.
  5. Does your child have a hard time talking about feelings? Write them a note asking them how they felt about something and ask them to write down the answer.
  6. Give them a subscription to a children’s magazine like, Babybug, Sesame Street Magazine, Ranger Rick, or Highlights.
  7. Plan a fun surprise and send an announcement in the mail. ‘Pack your bathing suits and put on sunscreen. Meet at the breakfast table at 9:00 on Saturday for your surprise trip’ ought to get them pretty excited.
  8. Join a kid’s craft of the month club and have fun craft kits delivered right to your mailbox for your child. Make sure you find one that is age appropriate for your child and includes instructions that are easy to understand.

Besides the fun factor involved in getting mail delivered, children will also receive educational benefits as well. Receiving mail on a regular basis will help children get excited about reading and that’s what it’s all about.

Written by Pam Laughlin, owner of Kraftykid.com offers craft of the month clubs for kids (ages 3-6) and (ages 7 – 10.) Each craft kit is designed to be fun and educational and comes with easy to understand instructions and fun fact sheets.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/4673651

Teach Your Toddler to Enjoy Arts and Crafts Through the Senses of Touch and Smell

Do you want to enhance your toddler’s arts and craft experience? Try craft projects that use as many of their senses as possible and really get the most out of crafting for your young child.

Here are some toddler craft projects that do just that:

  • Finger painting: Finger painting is always a fun activity and craft to do because it allows your toddler to actually ‘feel’ the craft as well as be creative. Make your own finger paints from ingredients in your cupboard that already have wonderful scents, such as pudding or jello. This way you won’t worry if a little paint actually ends up in the mouth. Encourage your toddler to smell the paint before creating their masterpiece.
  • Sandpaper Art – Have your toddler “feel” lots of different textures while creating art work on a piece of sandpaper. Cut various colors of yarn into different lengths. Show your toddler how to stick the yarn to the sandpaper and make designs. It’s easy to create a design, take it off, and start all over. This mess-free activity is easy to pack up and take with you when you know you will be away from home. Cut pieces of yarn into various lengths. Try to select yarns that come in various colors and textures (thick and bulky, soft and fluffy, metallic, and rough.) Then put them in a plastic bag for an “on the go” craft.
  • Texture Art – Find different types of objects that are rough, smooth, bumpy, ect. Some good selections are leaves, plastic bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, and textured fabric scraps. Then put a piece of paper on top of the object and have your child color on top of the paper in order to get textured designs. Now have your child feel their design. Ask them questions like, “How does this feel? Is it rough or smooth?”
  • Spaghetti Mobile – Use some warm spaghetti noodles and prepare several containers of glue colored with food coloring. Show your toddler how to dip the pieces of pasta into the colored glue and place on a piece of wax paper or empty Styrofoam meat tray. Continue the process until you have a nice design of colored spaghetti. If desired, add some natural oils used for cooking like peppermint, orange, lemon, almond, and/or food coloring. Have them identify the fragrance to you. When dry, tie a piece of yarn or ribbon to the top and hang as a mobile.

Pam Laughlin is owner and chief crafter at Kraftykid.com. For more fun craft ideas and detailed instructions make sure to check out Kraftykid’s selection of free toddler craft projects .

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pam_Laughlin

5 Easy to Make Art and Craft Supplies

Have you ever started to make a craft project and found that you didn’t have the necessary supplies on hand? Here are some art and crafts supplies you can make at home with these easy to follow recipes. Not only will you save money but it will give your children a chance to be even more creative. Kids are so proud of their artistic endeavors when they make their own supplies to use in their craft projects.

Here are some of our favorites to make at home:

Play dough – There are lots of play dough recipes online but ones that don’t require baking are much easier to make and the results are great. Here’s one that fits the bill: Mix 3 cups of flour and 1/3 cup of salt with 2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable or olive oil work well.) Add approximately 7 drops of food coloring to 1 cup of water and mix together. Add the water to the flour/salt/oil mixture slowly – about 1/4 cup at a time. Mix with a spoon. Knead the dough with your hands until it is entirely mixed. For added benefit, add essential oils, like lavender, lemon, and orange and encourage children to smell the fragrant play clays. Store in zip lock bags to keep moist.

Milk Paint – This recipe creates a nice batch of very bright, shiny paint and works well with lots of different craft projects. Mix one cup of condensed milk with a few drops of food coloring. This makes a very bright, glossy colored paint and can be used in a variety of unique craft projects.

Chalk – Mix 1 cup of plaster of Paris with 2 -3 tablespoons of tempera paint. Add ½ cup of water and mix well. Pour into candy or candle molds and let dry for 24 hours. You can also use muffin tins, plastic tubs, food containers, or other empty containers you have on hand.

Crayons – Do you have broken crayons around the house? Don’t throw them out. Instead, teach your children how to make crayons. This also makes a great recycling project. Peel off the paper from the broken crayons and dump the broken crayons into a foil lined muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until crayons are completely melted into a solid, rainbow block. Let the melted crayons cool and remove from liners.

Finger Paints – All children love to finger paint. Here’s an easy to make finger paint recipe. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/3 cup of cornstarch together. Slowly add 2 cups of cold water. Cook over low heat until the mixture looks like a gel (this is a step for parents.) Let cool and then stir in ¼ cup of clear liquid soap. Add food coloring for specific colors.

For more Kraftykid DIY craft supply ideas

Written by Pam Laughlin from Kraftykid.com

Kraftykid offers children’s 3, 6, 9, and 12 month subscriptions to craft of the month clubs. Fun and educational craft kits delivered directly to the lucky child’s home each month. Fun facts sheets and kid-tested instructions included.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pam_Laughlin

5 Easy Superhero Crafts Help Create Your Own Superhero Identity

Kids love their superheroes making superhero craft ideas and projects ranking as one of their top favorites. Children love the idea of possessing extraordinary or superhuman powers and fighting to protect the public from evildoers. Creating a superhero identity of their own by making superhero inspired crafts including colorful, bold capes and masks make for imaginative and creative playtime. Here are five easy crafts to make with your child to create their own superhero identities:

  1. Create a Superhero Persona – Ask them questions about the type of superhero they want to be. What are their special superhero powers? Do they have a sidekick? If so, what’s their sidekick’s name? What type of costume and cape do they wear? How did they become a superhero? Do they have a secret, special hideaway? Do they use special gadgets to fight crime? If so, what are they? Do they have an evil villain that they fight? If so, how do they fight this villain and why? Answering these questions will help your child determine the type of superhero that they want to be.
  2. Cape – Make a cape out of an old white towel and use fabric markers or paint to decorate it. Cut two holes along the top and insert ribbon or cord so that they can tie the cape securely around their neck. Alternatively, you can use a disposable white paper tablecloth or purchase a superhero cape craft kit that has all the supplies.
  3. Mask – Purchase a store bought mask that you can embelish with glitter, feathers or sequins. Alternatively, you can download an online mask template and print on cardstock and paint or color.
  4. Cuff bands – Superhero cuff bands are really easy to make and can really spruce up the outfit with little effort. Make them from paper or craft foam into a two inch wide strip that is long enough to fit around your child’s wrists. Decorate with paint, sequins or markers.
  5. Emblem or Crest – Draw an emblem or crest for you superhero or find an online template or design that you like. Then, add some pictures and text that gives voice to your superhero. You can put it on a superhero cape, mask, or even use for the cover of a shield. Having a hard time, coming up with an emblem or crest to decorate?

Written by Pam Laughlin from http://www.Kraftykid.com

Kraftykid offers children’s 3, 6, 9, and 12 month subscriptions to craft of the month clubs. Fun and educational craft kits delivered directly to the lucky child’s home each month. Fun facts sheets and kid-tested instructions included.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pam_Laughlin

5 Quick and Easy Puppet Ideas for Children

Children love to make puppets! Puppetry allows children to use their imagination to create puppet masterpieces and then use their masterpieces during dramatic play in the classroom, children’s theatre groups, and storytelling.

Puppet play is a great way for children to verbalize their feelings and to practice performing in front of an audience. Children who have difficulty expressing themselves can often immerse themselves into the character of the puppet and verbalize feelings that they might otherwise have difficulty expressing when using puppets during dramatic play.

Here are five easy to make puppet ideas for children:

  1. Craft Stick Puppets– Cut out a picture of a person or animal from a magazine, download an image from a computer program or the Internet, or draw your own. Glue it onto a craft stick for an instant puppet.
  2. Paper Plate Puppet – Glue or draw a face onto a paper plate. Use markers, paints, or crayons to decorate your puppet. It’s fun to add details to your puppets by using embellishments like yarn for hair, ribbons for eyebrows, pompoms for noses, pipe cleaners for animal whiskers, and buttons for eyes. Glue them onto the paper plate. When dry, tape a wooden paint stick (available at Home Depot and paint and hardware stores) to the back of the plate. An internet search on ‘Paper Plate Craft Ideas for Kids’ will turn up tons of ideas to jump start your imagination.
  3. Two Finger Card Stock Puppets – These are fun puppets to make because children will cut two holes at the bottom of the puppet and use their fingers to make them walk, dance, and move around. Find a picture of a person or animal, draw your own, or use a template and glue onto some card stock. Then, color, paint or decorate your two-finger puppet. Simply cut two holes at the trunk of the puppet and use your fingers as legs.
  4. Cardboard Roll Puppet People – Cover a cardboard roll with white paper and tape it around the roll. Add features with crayons, markers or paint. Alternatively, you can cut out a picture from a magazine or old greeting card. You can add a paper baking cup skirt by cutting out the bottom of the cup and gluing it to the roll or design costumes and hats from construction paper and glue them to the front of the cardboard roll. A search on ‘Cardboard Roll Puppets’ will yield lots of free, printable templates that you can print out, color, and simply glue around the cardboard tube. To make your puppet perform, insert two fingers in the bottom of the roll and move up and down or tape a craft stick inside the bottom of the roll and use as a handle.
  5. Paper Bag Puppets – Lunch-sized paper bags are easily transformed into fun-to-use puppets. You can draw a mouth on the edge of the paper bag fold and add facial features. Slide your hand inside the bag and bend four fingers to fit inside the folded flap. When you move your fingers slightly, it makes the puppet’s mouth move and looks like he’s speaking. Optionally, you can add arms or wings from construction paper and tape to the side of the bag. Bags come in a variety of colors and make good choices for animal puppets, such as green for a frog, yellow for a duck, or pink for a pig puppet.

Written by Pam Laughlin from http://www.Kraftykid.com

Kraftykid offers children’s 3, 6, 9, and 12 month subscriptions to craft of the month clubs. Fun and educational craft kits delivered directly to the lucky child’s home each month. Fun facts sheets and kid-tested instructions included.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pam_Laughlin

Make Your Own Worry Dolls to Help Ease Childrens Fears

All children experience some anxiety in the form of worry, apprehension, dread or fear. These fears can often occur when a child is faced with unfamiliar experiences or situations, like starting preschool or meeting new friends. In Guatemala, these fears are relieved through the use of Worry or Trouble Dolls. Worry Dolls are tiny, hand-crafted dolls that are used to help relieve troublesome thoughts for children. These colorful, little dolls stand about one half to one inch tall and are made on tiny wooden or twisted wire frames.

These frames are then decorated using colorful scraps of brightly colored Mayan woven fabric, string, and yarn which are woven around the doll’s frame to create the body. Finally, faces are painted on the doll and about 6 – 8 dolls are placed in small, colorful bags or a trinket box.

The bag or box is set next to the bed and before going to bed you tell one worry per worry doll and place them under your pillow before you go to sleep. Legend has it that when you wake up in the morning the worry doll will be gone along with your troubles.

You can easily adapt this handiwork project into a craft for children by using a two prong clothespins as the frame and pipe cleaners as the arms. You can decorate the frame with embroidery floss and yarn. To make a Worry Doll, twist a pipe cleaner around the clothespin to form two arms. Tie one end of a long piece of yarn or floss around the center of the doll, and wrap the yarn around the body down one leg. Then wind the yarn back up the other leg. Wind down and up the other leg, and tie off the ends. Secure with glue. Then, wrap the chest and arms the same way that the legs were wrapped. Glue yarn to the head for hair. Faces can be drawn using a black permanent marker.

For smaller children, you can print a picture of a paper doll and have them color them with bold, brightly colored markers or crayons. Glue pieces of colorful fabric for clothing and glue yarn for hair. Place your Worry Doll in a decorated envelope. Have your child decorate the envelope with crayons and markers and write, “No Worries” on the front of the envelope.

Now you have a Worry Doll to help wash away your child’s fears! Isn’t it nice to say goodbye to your worries and send them on their away?

Written by Pam Laughlin from http://www.Kraftykid.com

Kraftykid offers children’s 3, 6, 9, and 12 month subscriptions to craft of the month clubs. Fun and educational craft kits delivered directly to the lucky child’s home each month. Fun facts sheets and kid-tested instructions included.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Pam_Laughlin

Pam Laughlin – Expert Author for Ezine

Pam Laughlin has been a Basic Level Expert Author for Ezine Articles since May 5, 2010  and has published seven articles with 1,126 Article Views and publishes in 4 Article Niches, including Family and Home, Children, and Crafts and Hobbies.

2011 Marks a Milestone Year for the Tropiano Family

2011 marks a milestone year for the Tropiano family, owners of  Tropiano & Son Jewelry in Raritan, as they celebrate 75 years in business, a 50 year wedding anniversary for second-generation owners, Frank and Nancy, and a 25 year wedding anniversary for third generation owners, Michelle and Raymond.

Tropiano and Son Jewelry, located at West Main Street, is a destination jewelry store for customers from all over looking for fine jewelry, brilliant diamonds, and one of a kind, custom made jewelry pieces. Frank says, “Many customers who moved away from the area still come to. “

As the family celebrates their 75th year in business, Michelle expresses, “What I find interesting is that we are taking care of the grandchildren of the customers that Raymond’s grandfather serviced.  It’s not only us, generation-wise, but we have generations of families continuing to shop here. The grandfather bought his diamond ring from Ray, that grandfather’s son bought his diamond ring from Frank and now that grandfather’s grandson is buying his ring from us.  Nancy adds, “We’ve had customers who have been married 65 years coming in to renew their vows.”

What makes the Tropiano family business stand out from other jewelry stores is their legendary service with a personal touch.  Ray shares this story, “We had a couple going on their 70th wedding anniversary and the husband lost his wedding band that he bought from us and came back to our store to buy a new one.  It was such an amazing story that we actually made him a new band and didn’t charge him for it.  He couldn’t not have a wedding band after all these years!”

Tropiano and Sons Jewelry have a long and rich history in the Raritan area.  The store was originally started in 1929 by Ray and Minnie Tropiano and sold radios, televisions, appliances, coins, watches, and some jewelry.  Michelle remembers and shares, “Ray was a famous rare coin dealer and was really a teacher in the area.  Boys would come in with the money they saved and buy coins that Ray would practically give away.  He just liked the fact that they were interested in collecting coins. Today, the grandchildren of these boys come into the store telling us that they have coins that their Dad got from Raymond’s grandfather.”

When Frank joined the family business in 1961, he jokes, “I hated the appliance business.  It was tough and rough.  When you sold an appliance you had to deliver, install, remove the old one, and bring them to the dump.  It was a lot of work to make fifty dollars. By 1964 we had completely phased out the appliances and got completely into jewelry and repair. “This was a perfect fit because it allowed Frank to handle the growing of the jewelry portion of the business while his father, Ray, could concentrate his efforts on buying and selling rare coins.

Around 1978, Raymond (3rd generation owner) came on board and repeated history by concentrating on building the jewelry business while his father, Frank, went on the road to promote the Corporate gift portion of the business.  Raymond became instrumental in moving the business forward, by learning jewelry bench techniques, taking diamond training, and developing new, higher-end lines.  Frank proudly states, “Obviously, Raymond was instrumental in growing the business. He moved the business here, designed the store, and brought on employees.  You’ve got to be young to grow a business.  As I got older, I would have been happy to stay where I was, just like my father was more than happy to stay where he was when I came on board and developed the business. “

Raymond explains, “I concentrated on moving into designer jewelry and designer watch lines, and expanding from a ‘mom and pop’ shop into a more professional higher-end jewelry store. 

Tropiano and Sons Jewelry, likes to reach out to the community by donating to good, local causes that will help the neighborhood and the community, such as local schools and their music departments, and local fire, police and rescue departments. Currently, they also buy gold and diamonds and often run monthly fund raisers where a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a good cause.  Raymond points out, “Buying gold has become a very big part of our business as the economy has changed and gold prices have gone up in value.  A lot of people are finding that they really have a huge asset that they can unlock that they never even realized. People are coming in with a handful of old things that they have been collecting for the last 30 years and are getting thousands of dollars for it.”

For more information about Tropiano and Sons Jewelry, check out their website at http://tropianoandsonjewelers.com.

Gualberto Malave Takes First Place

Artisan woodturner, Gualberto Malave from Raritan, has received many awards for his woodturning pieces over the years (including, 7 first place awards at the Middlesex County Fair) but it is his latest first place award from the 2011 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival that has him excited. His beautifully turned jewelry box, made on a lathe, came in first place in the woodworking competition. He will receive this prestigious award October 17-23 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Woodturning is a form of woodworking that is used to create wooden objects on a lathe (machine used to shape wood by rotating it rapidly along its axis while pressing a fixed cutting or abrading tool against it). Woodturning differs from most other forms of woodworking in that the wood is moving while a stationary tool is used to cut and shape it. Malave’s winning piece is a fine example of the many intricate shapes and designs that can be made by turning wood. This particular piece was inspired by his love of Tai Chi Chaun and is representative of the yin yang symbol. This ancient martial art form which revolves around circular movement often finds its way into Malave’s artistic style and technique.

Although Malave was interested in woodturning during high school and took several wood working classes , it wasn’t until he attended a wood turners’ show in 2002 and saw a woman’s beach hat made from wood that he became re-inspired. Malave says, “I asked the exhibitor if the hat was made from wood and he told me it was. Then he told me he could teach me to make one by joining the New Jersey’s Woodturners Association. I joined the club, purchased a small lathe, and started turning wood. You would find me in the shop until four o’clock in the morning. Eight years later, Malave is president of the club and recruiting his own new members.

Malave enjoys all types of woodturning and although he doesn’t have a niche like some other turners do, many of his pieces take on a personal touch with stories behind them, such as a cremation urn made from the deceased favorite tree, set of bowls for a chef, and specialized beaded trim for an architect looking to restore a historical home.

Malave works out of his home studio, a 24 by 24 converted garage space attached to his home. The studio is fully equipped for his woodturning projects and for teaching the craft to his students. He can make pretty much anything that can be sculpted on an axis including vases, banisters, ginger bread trim, pens, bowls, vintage inspired top toys and more.

As a disabled veteran, Malave was fortunate to be part of a post traumatic stress group at the VA NJ Heatlh Care Center, Lyons Campus, where he first became aware of special programs offered to help veterans improve the quality of their lives by furthering their education and skill sets. He was able to take a woodturning class at Bucks County and study with renowned woodturner, Mark Sfirri. He enjoyed it so much that he took a second semester. He laughs when he says, “During the class I entered a competition. My teacher told me that I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that you didn’t win. The good news is that you sold two pieces and that’s even better!” One member of the disabled veterans support group received a computer science degree, while another member took writing classes and is now writing short stories.

Malave says, “For me woodturning is like therapy. It’s good for your self esteem to sell your work. While going through post traumatic stress you tend to lose that. It helped me get out of that and if it did that for me, it can do that for other veterans. I was there and look what it did for me. You need to know about these opportunities and look for them wherever you can.” He welcomes other disabled veterans to reach out to him and learn more about the Improving the Quality of Life program he attended and other educational programs available to disabled veterans.

For more information about Malave’s woodturning products, view his website at: http://www.studios202south.com. His current exhibit can be seen at the Bernardsville Library and can be viewed through the end of September.