Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shape Man

Now 4 year old Jack loves to color, but he rarely puts much thought into what the outcome of his scribbles will be. Occasionally, it is a colorful rainbow, but usually he is more of an abstract artist. I thought some stencils might be a good way to bring out his inner Picasso and to review the names of shapes at the same time. 

First, I let him use the stencil on his own to make whatever kind of picture he wanted. Then I showed him how to make Shape Man. We talked about the names of the shapes for each body part and which shapes might make sense for the legs or the arms. Here is my Shape Man example. 


I don't always like to do an example, because I would rather see where his creative mind goes rather than just following my lead, but sometimes a sample is helpful to get the process moving. Plus, kids love to see adults play, and coloring is an easy way to play and chat with kids of all ages. Sometimes I wish that restaurants brought one extra coloring place mat when we go out because I love that part of our going out to eat with kids experience.




Next up after Shape Man? Shape City, perhaps?


Friday, June 13, 2014

Yee Haw! Our Little Cowboy is 4

This spring has been quite a busy time with traveling for weddings, Saturday morning soccer, planning our town's Touch-A-Truck fundraiser, and of course, Jack's 4th Birthday. I debated whether or not to have a party this year because now that he is in school it would mean inviting his entire class of 12 children, which is a lot of tiny people running around our house. And, well, he's 4, is he really going to notice whether or not he has a party? Probably not. But, he is only 4 once and childhood is such a short time, why not make the day extra special? But he's only 4, having the entire class over is way too overwhelming for him--and for me. This debate in my head went on for several weeks before I hit a deadline and had to make a decision. I love to party plan and entertain and well, he's only young once, so despite numerous moments of "why am I doing this?", we did it, and we will probably do it again. 

Jack received an adorable cowboy costume for Christmas complete with leather chaps, denim vest, and felt hat that he embellished with multiple colors of crayons. I wouldn't say he has worn it everyday, but certainly no outfit has gotten more wear than this one. So when deciding the theme for the party (because every one of my parties has to have a theme) we decided to go with cowboys. 


I started by making a wreath, of course, because I still have a lot of pipe insulation to use up. I used burlap to wrap around the pipe insulation, then I glued on shapes that I cut on my Silhouette machine. 

We decorated the play room with some cacti, and a corral for Rody and a second Rody we borrowed from a friend. 
We added some simple streamers throughout the house. 

Guests were offered bandanas and a sheriff's badge upon entering the party. 


Tiny hats and silly mustaches made for fun photo opps.

We started the party by doing a few crafts. First, the children decorated their own party favor bags made in the shape of a cowboy boot. I forgot to take a photo of these, so I'll do my best to explain. We took a small, brown paper bag and glued on a piece of oak tag I had precut into the shape of the foot part of the boot.  I wrote Sheriff and each child's name on the bag and they decorated them with crayons and markers. The next craft was a cowboy hat that the children decorated from a kit we bought at Oriental Trading. Finally, the children decorated lucky horseshoes I cut out from foam paper. 

After the crafts, we played games. We started with "Prickly Cactus" aka Hot Potato. To keep the kids who got "out" involved while the game continued, they were encouraged to play "freeze dance" while the music played. And finally we played, Pin the Mustache on the Cowboy. I printed out a picture of Jack in his cowboy outfit and each child took turns trying to stick a fuzzy mustache on him. 

Then on to Jack's favorite part of any party....the cake! I made cupcakes using Cherry Brook Kitchen brand cake mix, because one of our party goers has severe food allergies. These are nut free, dairy free, and egg free, so you would think they would also be free of taste, but they are actually delicious. Everyone raved about them, and they may have become our new go-to brand for cake mix! 

I wish I could say I made these adorable cake toppers, but I bought them on Amazon!

All in all it was a successful day, the kids had so much fun, and that is the important part of it all. I can't believe he is 4 years old already! Time flies! A Birthday party is certainly not a necessary part of childhood, but it sure does make for some fun family memories.