Creative Tuesday: DIY Shakers

Welcome to Creative Tuesdays!
How about some music? Do you play any instruments? Do you expose your children to music?
One of the favorite crafts is to make shakers. They are so simple, fun and offer a variety of sensory and music experiences.
Here’s what you will need to make shakers:
TP roll
2 cupcake lines
Some beans or rice
Scotch tape
Colors (crayons, pencils or markers)
The steps are very simple:
Tape the cupcake liner on one end of the TP roll. Secure it by taping over the end with 2 pieces of tape crossed over (that is so the beans/rice have less chance to break through cupcake liner when the shakers are shaken!)
Add bean/rice into the TP roll and close the other end with the 2nd cupcake liner the same way you did with the first.
Now, let your imagination flow and color the TP Rolls!
For the activity:
Use the shakers to accompany listening or singing along with favorite songs, nursery rhyme or to create a mini-band!

Creative Tuesday: Yet Another Paper Flower

I’ll admit it: I LOVE flowers. However, I can’t have most of them in the house due to my pollen allergies. And especially flower pots. So I admire them from afar and… I craft them.

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Today’s Creative Tuesday is about yet another flower we made with my last year’s toddler play group. It is super easy and helps develop fine motor skills, review colors and shapes.
What you need:
Few circles of different colors
A stem – simply cut one from green paper
2 leaves – any shape, cut out from green paper
A white sheet of paper, or – my favorite – upcycled paper
(in fact, making the whole thing from upcycled paper would be even more fun!)
How to make it:
First, glue the stem and the leaves on the paper.

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Then, let the children fold the circles into halves.
Apply glue on just one side of each circle and arrange them above the stem in semi-circle.

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Voilà! Your flower is ready!
You can either just use it to decorate the wall or even use it as a cover for a birthday card.

Creative Tuesday: When To Start Real Paints

There are so many wonderful activities for babies and toddlers to introduce them to safe, edible and fun finger paint and homemade paint.


The question I am often asked by parents is when it is safe to introduce *real* i.e. commercial paint, especially such as tempura and acrylic.

Continue reading »

Creative Tuesday: Mother’s Day Upcycle Flower and LadyBird Craft

I am back to Creative Tuesday with a lovely

Mother’s Day Flower and Ladybird  Craft!


I learned upcycling art in the most natural way – through re-using my daughter’s art creations to wrap presents, using cereal cartons, egg cartons, plastic bottles and other handy things from around the house.

Growing up in Russia we didn’t celebrate Mother’s Day per se, but we celebrated Women’s Day on March 8th. It is only when I moved to China I heard about Mother’s Day. But until now I get constantly confused when it is, so I thought it was last Sunday (May 5th) while apparently it is on May 12th! 

So, my daughter and her friend, and later – tots in my class, made this lovely Mother’s Day craft using miss T’s art creations, cereal boxes and left-overs from other crafts.

What you need:

Cereal box for foundation

(cut out one large rectangular or square piece)

Your child’s paintings or drawings


4 larger circles and 1 smaller circle

(you can use upcycle material or new paper)

2 cut-outs shaped as leaves

1 piece of paper that will serve as a stem


Red and black pencils or crayons


How to do it:

1. If using A4 paper  with art, fold into half length way and cut into thin-ish strips. If using A3, first cut it into 2 and then follow the same instruction as with A4 paper.

2. Apply some glue at the tip of the strips and glue the tips together. Separate the unglued sides. Repeat as many times as you need to make petals.

3. At the top corner of the foundation, apply some glue and glue the petals to create a flower. 

4. Take one larger circle and glue it in the middle.


5. Glue the stem and the leaves.

6. Anywhere where you have free space, glue on large circle for the body and smaller one for the head. Fold other 2 large circles into half, put glue only on one side of each circle, and stick them on top of the body to create wings.

7. Now the most fun part  – coloring! Color the middle of the flower yellow or orange or whatever color the child likes. Color the stem and the leaves green. Color the ladybird red, draw smiley face and antennae, draw black dots on the wings.


You can personalize this craft with writing the child’s name and a greeting.



Do you have any Mother’s Day Craft to share? Post your link in the comments or simple send me a picture

and I can share it on my blog/Fb page!


Toilet roll and tissue paper candy

Yes, you read it right – it is indeed a candy made out of toilet paper roll and tissue paper (kitchen tissue towel in this case)! The trick is that you can fill it with actual candy (I used M&Ms) and it would make a wonderful gift!

What you will need:

Toilet paper roll

Kitchen tissue towels (Crepe paper would do)

2 pieces of string or ribbon



How to do it:

1. Fold the edges of the toilet paper roll as in the picture.

2. Apply glue all over.

3. Wrap the roll into the paper, securing the edge at the end.

4. Gather and tie the ends of the paper.

5. Using markers, draw or put dots.

My daughter and the tots in my class had fun with these! They took their candies home to discover the M&Ms inside!

Got any gift wrapping ideas? Share with me – I’d love to know!

3D Valentine’s Day Card

I grew up without knowing what Valentine’s Day was. It is much later, at the University, during my English literature lessons that I learned about this holiday. In fact, I think Valentine’s Day has become more international in the past 20 years or so and is now widely celebrated all over the world.

For the Valentine’s Day my husband (who also grew up without celebrating it) usually gets me a flower and some chocolate and we go on our usual Date with children some place nice for dessert or a meal.

This time I would like to introduce a lovely activity I came up with – 3D Valentine’s Heart Card. It is a very easy activity and I am sure you can find all the materials at home!

You will need:

A toilet paper roll


Double-sided tape

Construction paper or cereal box

Crepe or tissue paper of different color


How to do it:

1. Make a card body out of construction paper or the cereal box.

2. Cut few circles from the toilet paper roll (I cut 3 but depending on the card size you can make more).

3. Shape the circles into hearts. Color them with crayons.

4. On the card stick some double-sided tape and stick the hearts over, applying strong pressure so they stick well. You might want to put few strips for each heart in order to make sure the edges stick better.

5. Tear or cut crepe/tissue paper into small pieces and fill the inside and the outside of the hearts over the double-sided tape.

6. Your card is ready!

I wish you a wonderful Valentine’s Day if you celebrate! And if not – this card is a wonderful personalized present for any other occasion, like Mother’s Day or a Birthday.

Another Chinese New Year Snake Craft

I have come across a very creative Chinese New Year Snake Craft over at Red Ted Art‘s blog. It looked like a VERY fun idea and I tried it in my Mom & Tot class. Needless to say, this activity was a success!

I modified it a bit to accommodate my 2 year olds, so there was no painting or sticky tape. We used glue and crepe paper. One of the 2 year olds just dumped all the crepe paper on top and then continued rolling the snake in it and it came out really special! 

The other one took a step-by-step approach and glued each piece separately.

Note: I didn’t allow cutting of the toilet paper roll. I prepared the body of the snake in advance. You can also use regular sheet of paper or upcycled paper by rolling it into a tube, glueing the ends together and cutting it the same way as you would with the toilet paper. If you cut up pages from old magazines and glue them either on sticky double-sided tape or glue, it will make a perfect 100% upcycled activity!

I hope you enjoy this simple and fun craft in the spirit of the Chinese New Year!

Paper Cup Series: Paper Cup Princess

How to make your little girl engaged and happy? Make a Paper Cup Princess!

We used 2 paper cups: one is an upcycled cup from mini-cookies, another one is a regular cup. The upcycled cup had some design on it, so do cover it I stuck a piece of plain paper on top – that’s where we drew a face. Then we made 2 holes and put a straw through them – we got hands! 

We cut the edges of a regular paper cup in a shape of a crown and stuck it on top of the princess’s body using double-sided tape (stuck the take at the top of the cup and press the “crown” against it. I used 4 strips of the tape to make it more secure).

Voilà, the Paper Cup Princess is ready!

Creative Tuesday: Discovery bottles

Today’s Creative Tuesday is about Discovery Bottles (also known as Bottle Babies, Sensory Bottles and I Spy Bottles).

Here’s what other blogger moms have to say about Discovery bottles:

Deborah of Teach Preschool has a whole collection of Discovery Bottles Ideas: “Whether made by you or by your students, the possibilities for uses of discovery bottles in the preschool classroom are endless. From building language and literacy to exploring math and science. See and save all the ideas for discovery bottles found in this fabulous ABC collection of Discovery Bottles.”

Steph of Modern Parents Messy Kids: “Both kiddos equally enjoy taking their turn shaking the heck out of these things!

Anna of The Imagination Tree: “These are cheap to make, long lasting and can easily be adapted to create exciting and intriguing sensory play experiences for little ones.”

Jackie of The Happy Hooligans: “The Hooligans have been hauling, heaving, carrying, pushing and sliding their bottle babies around for days.  They love ‘em!  And I’m betting your little ones will too!

Sun Hats and Wellie Boots: “he bottles seemed a great opportunity for more seasonal discovery, so we collected four empty water bottles, & a selection of items from around the house & garden & got creating…”

The Fairy and The Frog: “If you’ve not come across these before they are basically bottles with things in to discover! “

Bethany of Happy Homemaker Me: “Discovery Bottles are just about one of the best things that you can give to a little one to play with.  The various sounds, sights, and feels that come from holding them and shaking them will make your munchkin squeal with delight.

I personally think Discovery bottles are great! We enjoyed making one with water, oil, food coloring, beads and cut up straws! The children enjoyed making and shaking them. They didn’t want to let them go!

Try making a Discovery bottle with your child/student and let me know about it!

Creative Tuesdays: Fun with Alphabet

We have missed yet another Tuesday in favour of the awesome ABCs series. Little Artists were in the category of Creativity. Stop by the landing page on This Ready Mama’s blog and visit other blogs for more ideas!

Today Creative Tuesdays post  is about having fun with the alphabet!

We always look for creative ways to introduce learning to our children. As a mother and educator I research other blogs and online collections, go over the books and simply try to create something exciting for my daughter and my students.

The following activity is not new in its core principle. I took what already existed and applied to ABCs learning.

You will need:

Upcycling material (any carton box or even plastic box)




Contact paper

Draw an alphabet letter, cut it out. Spread glue all over and stick pieces of cotton over. Take contact paper and stick on both sides of the letter, cut the extra. You get a lovely letter and with contact paper it is even waterproof!

Contact paper is marker friendly so colouring and cleaning the surface of the letters over and over is fun!