Playful Edible Sludge #ad #GooGone

We’ve all played with play doh. Most of us have heard of gak or slime. It’s time to introduce everyone to Playful Edible Sludge! It’s slimy, it’s sticky, it’s the perfect texture for messy fun that’s also a great way to incorporate sensory skills into everyday play.

 Playful Edible Sludge 4

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3 Ingredient, DIY Facepaint

Halloween came and went again this year, and like every other year, the sons’ didn’t disappoint with any of their creative costumes.

Son #4 as Kristof from Disney’s Frozen

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Has Kristof ever looked so cute?! At some point soon I will get a tutorial up for any of you other Mama’s with another son obsessed with the frosty flick.

Son # 3 decided to go as Scarecrow from Batman. The hubs and I had fun putting our heads together helping him make his mask.

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While he may have terrified several young neighbors, I know the cheeks under that mask.

And then we have Son #2

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The. Hulk.

Don’t get him started on the 6 going on 8 pack that he’s developed and is spending every wrestling practice honing 😉 This was the perfect costume for him this year.

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I should have seen it coming. I should have been better prepared.

What happens when a 5 year old sees his Bubba’s gone green and masquerading as one of his favorite Marvel characters? Yes, he immediately wants to be green too. I was able to fend off the giant mega meltdown when I said no by pointing out that we were ready to go trick or treating and he was already dressed as Kristoff. Did he want to miss out on any candy? No. Crisis averted. Actually… diverted. Since the very next day he woke up at the break of dawn to come badger me about being green.

Son #4 had really bad eczema when he was younger, so we had to be really careful about anything we applied to his skin. This led us to coming up with many homemade alternatives, even to things as simple as face-paint. Because what kid doesn’t love to paint on or be painted on?! Even though he’s aged out of most of his skin issues, I still air on the side of caution. So, homemade face-paint it is for him. Shoot, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Son #2 found his body paint at the grocery store for $1.50. Score! We were both pretty dang pleased with that price point.

So, if your kid’s Halloween costume calls for a painted face next year, or your just looking for a bit of indoor fun this Winter, take caution when considering the stock at your local Halloween/Costume store that’s likely loaded with toxic ingredients and allergens. Instead make your own face paint, using three simple ingredients that will neither harm the planet or your precious little ghoul or goblin. What’s more, you probably have both of these ingredients already.

This recipe produces a creamy paint that is easy to apply and easy to remove.

3 Ingredient, DIY Face-paint

 Easy DIY Facepaint

cornstarch
food coloring, or washable, non toxic paints
baby lotion
pallet/plate for the face paints
brushes

Directions

1. Mix together two heaping teaspoons of cornstarch with one teaspoon of baby lotion. Add a few drops of food coloring, or a dollop of paint, and mix together well until you have reached the desired consistency. For a thicker paint add more cornstarch and to make it runnier add more baby lotion, or water, to the mixture.

Squirt Gun Art

Late last month a whole new crop of pool toys and water guns have popped up at stores, nationwide, overnight. I’ve already noticed most of the pool sections have been ransacked and what’s left picked over. This is the perfect time to start looking out for deals. If you come across a package of squirt guns on sale, don’t hesitate to snag them. Beyond the pool, they’re great for making some really neat artwork. The sons couldn’t believe I’d handed them squirt guns full of paint. Yes, paint. It really was an exercise in trust. But, we were outside so I figured what’s the worst that can happen? Pictures completed they’ll cease squirting canvas and turn their weapons on each other. When they’ve run out of ammo, I’ll just hose the warriors down. (I had the forethought to use washable paint at least) Problem solved and great, healthy fun was had by all. Plus, they left me with some pretty snazzy art work to hang on the walls!

If you are looking for a fun, yet inexpensive, art project this summer then look no further. This water gun painting project was a blast and such a nice change of pace from the regular painting that we usually do! For the painting here, I used cheaper guns that I found in the dollar spot at Target, but don’t fear using the more expensive ones because from my experience the paint will not ruin the guns, it rinses away easily with water.

Squirt Gun Art

4 Sons 'R' Us: Squirt Gun Art

Tempera paint
Squirt Guns
Water
Canvas
Painters Tape (optional)
drop cloth or old sheet or even an old towel

Directions

1. Mix the tempera paint with a little water (a 50/50 mixture).
2. Use a measuring cup with a pour spout and slowly pour in the paint/water mixture.
3. Use the painters tape to make  a design on the canvas or just use the entire blank canvas, as is.
4. Go outside and go to town!
5. Lay the canvas out and wait for the paint to dry before taking the tape off or moving.

A Splash of Pink: Disney Princess Necklaces

Although I haven’t mentioned it before, in order to earn some extra money, usually for crafts, or fun money for the family, I babysit during the day. Even though I love my boys, and wouldn’t trade a single one, I do consider myself extremely blessed that during the week everyday is now filled with a splash of pink. The beautiful baby girl I watch has given me a wonderful opportunity to experiment with all things girly, which up until 9 months ago was foreign territory for me. I can’t believe how much she’s grown in the 10 months I’ve had her in my life. That being said, her 1st birthday is approaching fast, and with a ‘Princess’ theme for THE Birthday Princess, I knew these necklaces would make the perfect party favors for her special day. They couldn’t have been any easier, and I thought the results were just adorable. Each necklace represents a different Disney Princess, and in order they are: Snow White, Rapunzel, Merida, Cinderelle, Tianna, Aurora, and Ariel. I love the simplicity and the how the different colors capture the essence of each character’s unique color-scheme. I opted out of making necklaces representing Mulan, Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Belle, but if those are your favorite Princesses, I have listed below the ideal colors to create necklaces for them.

Disney Princess Necklaces

4 Sons 'R' Us: Disney Princess Necklaces

  • 3/4 inch wooden beads
  • 5/8 inch wide white ribbon
  • wooden skewers
  • paint brush
  • acryllic paints

Directions

  1. Thread wooden beads onto skewer. I found up to four would work and allow enough room for drying without sticking to one another.
  2. Paint beads desired color. It helps if you use only one color on beads on the same skewer. While most colors only require one coat, lighter ones such as yellow and white, may require two coats.
  3. Set skewer on top of a bowl, with beads over the center of the bowl, and allow beads to dry. 
  4. Measure ribbon around neck and add 2 inches to the desired length. Cut. Repeat for the desired number of necklaces.
  5. To prevent fraying, use a match or candle, and very carefully melt each end of the ribbon.
  6. When the beads are dry, thread them onto the ribbon into the order shown above.

Pocahontas: 2 tan, 2 brown, 1 turqoise

Belle: 3 light yellow, 2 dark yellow

Mulan: 2 light blue, 2 dark pink, 1 purple

Jasmine: 3 turquoise, 2 gold

Homemade Gak

How many others remember Nickelodeon, both their TV shows and their products, vividly from their childhood? Gak was one of my favorites. I vividly remember the ‘fart’ noises it made when squished, and the way my parents cringed at the thought. It stretched, it squished, it oozed. Remembering all the fun I had had as a child, I really enjoy bringing some of these toys back for my own kids to play with and enjoy today. Being a mother to 4 boys, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with any toy, or substance, that emits any noise slightly resembling flatulence. I found this recipe from Lil Luna. My boys, young and old, literally spent hours playing with the stretchy, gooey gelatinous substance. Even my teenager traded the iPod in for some good old-fashioned hands on fun with something ‘yuck’. I’m especially fond of any toys, activities, or crafts that get all four playing together. They actually cooperated, shared, and just got to enjoy each other’s company. Our first batch was yellow, but yours can be any color your heart desires. Mix and match your food coloring. Experiment, but most of all have fun!

Homemade Gak

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Gak

  • 2, 4 oz, bottles of Elmer’s Glue
  • 1 tsp borax
  • water
  • food coloring

Directions

  1. Empty both bottles of glue into a bowl. 
  2. Fill bottles with warm water, recap, shake, and then empty into the bowl.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring. Stir and set aside.
  4. To another bowl, add 1/2 cup of warm water. Add in the borax and stir until dissolved.
  5. Pour the borax mixture into the glue bowl.
  6. Begin by stirring with a spoon. Once it becomes super stringy, begin mixing and squishing by hand. It should be pretty gelatinous by this point.
  7. Let the kids play with it for a few minutes and it will become the perfect gooey consistency.

Even better, when you’re done, your Gak can be stored for play at a later date.

4 Sons 'R' Us: Homemade Gak

Easy Edible Finger Paint

Last month I found an entire box of boxes of vanilla pudding marked down to pennies at the grocery store. I purchased it knowing I would find multiple uses for it later. Plus, I realized it would have been almost mean not to take it off their hands since they were practically giving it away. One day, my 3 year old was begging me to ‘paint’, but I was out of actual finger paint with no intentions of going to the store that day. I remembered someone telling me about making a safe edible finger paint from Greek yogurt and food coloring, and thought why not? Instead of Greek yogurt, the pudding served as the paint base. This recipe and activity was a success; kid tested and baby approved! It dried just like normal paint. It almost resembles a water color painting. It’s great for kids of all ages, even age appropriate infants since it’s perfectly safe to consume, yummy even, when they stick their hands in their mouth. What toddler wouldn’t be amazed to have the activity also be the snack?

Easy Edible Finger Paint

  •  1 package vanilla instant pudding
  • food coloring

Directions

  1. Prepare pudding according to the package directions.
  2. If you’re trying for several different colors, separate the pudding into several bowls or containers.
  3. Add in drops of food coloring until desired color is reached.
  4. Paint on white paper.
  5. Let artwork dry. Voila!

Fuss-Free Finger Painting

Have you ever had one of those moments where you have a litany of tasks that need your immediate attention, but you also have a toddler clinging to your leg and you know that if you turn your back they will immediately morph into a little ball of destruction? My 3 year old would happily entertain himself, but that always results in a gigantic mess that I then have to clean up. It’s moments like those when dinner is waiting to be cooked and homework needs checking that I have to get creative to keep the 3 year old entertained without my constant supervision. Being 3, he is full of artistic ‘flair’. Give him some paints, a coloring book and crayons, you name it, and he’s happy and pumping out masterpieces. However, I know I can’t trust him alone since his creativity has a tendency to run wild. For example, he sees newly painted white walls as fresh canvas eagerly awaiting his decoration. While he could very well be a budding artiste, a future Picasso perhaps, he and I have varying tastes on what composes harmonious home decor.

It was one of these times, with my son begging to ‘paint’ and dinner bubbling away on the stove, that I grabbed a large ziplock bag and some of his tubes of finger paint, and a genius idea was born: fuss-free finger painting! He got to ‘paint’ and none of Mommy’s things got painted on. He loved it, especially since he could magically erase his doodle and begin again. Since then, we do this all the time and have used it to practice making shapes, letters, numbers, you name it. It’s saved my sanity many a time and allowed me to be productive while keeping my son safely, and cleanly, entertained. For a busy mom, fuss-free finger painting is the way to go!

Fuss-Free Finger Painting

4 Sons 'R' Us: Fuss-Free Finger Painting

  • 1 gallon ziplock bag
  • 1 piece of blank white paper
  • 2-3 different colors of finger paints
  • masking tape

Directions

  1.  Squirt several dollops of different colored finger paints into your ziplock bag.
  2. Seal bag securely.
  3. Lay your sealed bag over top of a blank sheet of white paper onto a flat surface such as a kitchen table or desk.
  4. Tape the top and bottom of the ziplock bag to your designated work surface to secure in place.
  5. Sit your child down and let them ‘paint’.
  6. When they’re done simply detach and throw your paint-filled bag away, or save it to use again later.

No mess, and no stress!

Rainbow Pasta

As our 3 year old is getting older, we’re working much harder on things he should know for school, especially the basics, such as letters, numbers, colors. He also loves making things with his hands and craft time. I figured rainbow pasta would be fun to use for a wide variety of crafts: necklaces, picture frames, learning to use glue, and of course, reinforcing colors! His favorite color is ‘greem’ so, of course, we made green pasta and then the primary colors. Start to finish this took maybe 20 minutes and was incredibly easy. Since my 3 year old still thinks his middle name is ‘Hoover’ and tries to eat everything I didn’t want to use rubbing alcohol to set the dye, even though that seemed to be the most common method. Instead, I used white vinegar. Grayson picked out bow tie, elbow, penne, and radiatore pastas to color. He helped with the entire project and thought it was ‘wonder-bull.’ You can also substitute rice for the pasta with the same great results for sensory activities as well as crafts.

Rainbow Pasta

  •  gallon zip lock bag
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta (your choice)
  • 5 drops food coloring of your choice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • wax paper

Directions

  1. Pour the vinegar into the zip lock bag and add the food coloring. Swish the mixture around to get the vinegar and food coloring combined
  2. Add the dried pasta and seal the bag
  3. Lay the bag down onto a flat surface, counter top or kitchen table, and smooth out the pasta so it’s spread out flat within the bag
  4. Flip the bag every 5 minutes for 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes remove the pasta from the bag, I used a slotted spoon, but most of the moisture was absorbed already, and spread the pasta out onto wax paper
  6. Try to prevent noodles from touching each other or they will dry stuck together
  7. When it’s dry, you’re ready to create!

*If you wanted to dye pasta that is safe for consumption, just add a few drops of the food coloring of your choice to boiling water and cook the pasta per the packages instructions