Torn Paper Nest Craft

We love torn paper crafts at our house. They are easy to make and strengthen fine motor skills for little fingers.

Torn Paper Nest Craft from happybrownhouse.com @happybrownhouse #nest #spring #finemotorskills

One of my favorite spring time art pieces is the Torn Paper Nest we made during Nn-Nest week in My Father’s World Kindergarten last year. Although we made it last year, I realized I never posted about it! It is perfect for Spring Kid Crafts.

Tearing paper develops Fine Motor Skills @happybrownhouse www.happybrownhouse.com

Using our collage box, Jonah found some light blue paper. I helped him trace an egg shape and then he cut the eggs out. He drew the outline of a nest shape on a piece of paper. Next, he glued the eggs down so they looked like they would be sitting in the nest. Finally, he tore pieces of brown paper and glued them in the nest shape. For the final touch, he added a feather. Easy-peasy!

Torn Paper Nest Craft from @happybrownhouse www.happybrownhouse.com

How to Make a Superhero Comic Strip Invitation with your iPhone or iPad

Y’all, I totally amazed myself with this one. While I’m crafty, I can’t get over how awesome Jonah’s Superhero Comic Strip Birthday Invitations turned out using a comic strip app on my iPhone. Did you hear me? I made this on my phone! Not one piece of scrapbook paper was used during this project!

Superhero Invitation Tutorial

Superhero Comic Strip Invitation Tutorial

Before you do anything, you will need to download the Strip Designer App. At the time of writing this, the app is $2.99. While I’m more of a free app girl, I realized that buying the app was cheaper than paying someone from Etsy to make a custom invitation for me.

You’ll also need a cute picture of your little Superhero. I dressed my son in his Superman t-shirt under a white dress shirt. We poked the lenses out of some 3D glasses left over from a movie and he wore just the frames. He instantly looked like Clark Kent. With some posing, it was perfect! I totally snapped this in Instagram and added my favorite filter.

Superman Costume

Once I started playing around in the Strip Designer App, I realized I wanted a colored background for parts of the invitation. There wasn’t a way for me to do that within the app. I was only able to use photos. To solve that, I made a blank page in “Paint” on my computer. I changed the color of the entire background to my desired color and saved it. I sent it to upload to my phone through my Photo Stream. Voila! Rinse & Repeat. I did three colors—yellow, green, and blue.

color blocks

Now, you’re ready to play in the Strip Designer app!

I chose a layout that would give me enough room for party information in speech bubbles and highlight the picture of my son. Place the color images that you uploaded to your phone into the template as if they were photos.

comic strip layout

Choose speech bubbles and sound effect words to place on top of the colors. I used the speech bubbles to hold party information.

comic strip words

Basically, I played with things until it looked good.

*Personally, it was a little hard to make on my iPhone’s small screen. I definitely think it would be easier to use on the iPad, if you have one.

When I was pleased with how the invitation looked, I was happy to realize there were options to share the invitation or print directly in the app. I chose to save it to my Photo Stream and print from my computer. I printed it out on some photo paper at home, stuck them in envelopes and mailed them. Easy-peasy. Here’s a copy of the final invitation with our personal information removed.

Superman Invitation


Once I got the hang of the Strip Designer app and figured out I needed the colored background images, it was EASY! The best part? My little guy loved it!

Tomorrow, I’m posting about the rest of the Superhero Party details. Subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with the makers of the Strip Designer App mentioned in this post. I’m just sharing what worked for me. The link to the app is an affiliate link. If you found this tutorial helpful, I’d love it if you went through my link. Thanks! All affiliate earnings go toward our adoption.

Roll-a-Monster Game {Free Printable}

Roll-a-Monster Game by Happy Brown House

Using the book If You’re A Monster And You Know It as our starting point, we played a Roll-A-Monster to review body parts and build our own silly monsters. It’s a fun little book that grabbed Jonah’s attention.

If You're a Monster and You Know It

Monster Body Parts Prep

Using craft felt, I made some simple shaped body parts for the monster.

Roll-a-Monster Game from Happy Brown House

I free-handed my monster shapes and cut them out of inexpensive felt from the craft store.

felt

Roll-A-Monster Game Printable

Once the felt monster pieces were ready, I created a printable to go along with the game. I’m offering the Roll-A-Monster Game and the directions to you so you can spend some time giggling with your own “Little Monster.”

Roll-a-Monster Game {Free Printable} from Happy Brown House

Download Roll-a-Monster Game (3222)

How to play the Roll-a-Monster Game:

  1. Roll the dice.
  2. Count the dots.
  3. Look at the chart to see what monster body part to add to your monster (Download below)
  4. Place the correct body part on your monster.
  5. Now, it is the other person’s turn.
  6. If you roll a number that you’ve already used the body part (like feet), roll again. If you roll a number the second time, and you still can’t go, then your turn is over.

Enjoy!

Happy Monster

Other Favorite Monster Books:

go away big green monsterGo Away, Big Green Monster!

there was an old monsterThere Was An Old Monster!

glad monster, sad monsterGlad Monster, Sad Monster

Bye-bye big bad bullybugBye-Bye, Big Bad Bullybug!

Monsters don't eat broccoliMonsters Don’t Eat Broccoli

tickle monsterTickle Monster

nighty night, little green monsterNighty Night, Little Green Monster

B is for Bugs {Printable}

Our life has been full of creepy, crawly bugs lately.

We’ve watched caterpillars grow and change into butterflies. We’ve stopped to watch a parade of ants and then watched them problem-solve when the sidewalk chalk paint interrupted their procession…And don’t even get me started about the war the Mr. has been waging with the wasps around Happy Brown House!

We’ve made Stained Glass Butterfly Art and Spider Web Snacks.

And just when I thought I couldn’t handle anymore bugs….we did some more.

Bug Fingerprint ArtTo be honest, I’m so glad we did. I love that I have his fingerprint drawings from his last night as a four-year-old…forever.

B is for Bugs Fingerprint Art Printable

Since we’re celebrating a birthday around here, I thought I’d share a little present with you!

Free Download: Bb is for Bugs Fingerprint Art Printable

 

This printable is FREE of charge and you are welcome to download it for you personal and/or classroom use only. However, free or purchased printables are NOT to be reproduced, hosted, sold, or stored on any other website or electronic retrieval system (such as Scribd or Google docs). My printables are copyright protected and I appreciate your help in keeping them that way. :)

Mommy & Me: Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat (Free Printable)


One of my favorite tools I used in my Kindergarten classroom were Letter Tiles. Now that Jonah is old enough, they are one of his favorite things to work with, too. I recently made a few Letter Tile Spelling Mats to go along with this tool and help Jonah spell some things. Most importantly, I made one with the names in our family, including a picture of each person. He loved it!

Would you like to find out how to make one of your own? It is surprisingly easy to do. I posted the full video tutorial over at Totally Tots today!

And because I love my faithful readers, I made a Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat to go with the “Big Machines” Theme that we’ve been doing at our house and over at Totally Tots. I thought I’d share it with you. :)

Click here to download the Construction Letter Tile Spelling Mat

Please, if you’d like to share, link back to this blog post. Do NOT link directly to the PDF file. You are free to print, but remember this PDF is for personal or non-profit use only. Do not sell or host this file anywhere else.

Mommy & Me: Pretty Paper Factory

We love Eric Carle books. Alot. They are the books that we return to over and over and over again.

One of the things that make Eric Carle books so unique are the way he makes his illustrations. They are made from paper that he has painted and added texture to himself. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) Once he paints his tissue paper, he uses it to create collages. (You can see more about his process by watching this video.) I think his process is fascinating.

Or, maybe I’m drawn to his creation process because it is attainable for even the youngest of artists…

Jonah and I had some fun during the “Plague of 2012″. I mean, there are only so many movies a kid can watch when he is sick and it’s raining outside, right?!?! As we were painting with watercolors, I took a white crayon and made a pattern on some paper when he wasn’t looking. When he painted over the white crayon, he thought it was magic.

“Mommy, look! How did it do that?!?!?!”

I explained how, this time showing him the process. He painted over it again just as bright-eyed as before.

“Mommy, can we make more?”

And so it began…The Pretty Paper Factory.

The only problem with the Pretty Paper Factory is that eventually, papers are drying on every flat surface. And then, once they are dry, I have a stack of treasures that Jonah won’t part with.

My solution: The Collage Box

Yes, I really cut up his watercolor pages into 4 smaller rectangles. I asked permission first.

To read about the Collage Box, you’ll have to visit Totally Tots. I’m sharing about The Collage Box over there today!

Want some other Pretty Paper Factory ideas? I’ll be back with more! Subscribe so you don’t miss them!

Mommy & Me: Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Snow is a precious commodity around our region. We get snow, just not very often. Nor does it stay around very long once it finally snows. So, we often have to make our own. Enter…Coffee Filter Snowflakes.

Coffe Filter Snowflake

Jonah still needs LOTS of practice with scissors. LOTS. He keeps wanting to rotate his hand like a contortionist to try to cut paper. The only way I know to help him is to provide plenty of opportunities to let him practice and continue to guide his hands in the right direction. Literally. There is still lots of hand-over-hand help from me in this area. The problem with doing something that can be frustrating for a preschooler (or any age, really) is that when it isn’t fun or purposeful, they don’t want to do it. So, I masked the sometimes frustrating task of cutting with making Coffee Filter Snowflakes. Instant interest from Jonah. Mommy Score!

Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Materials Needed:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Fold the coffee filter in half several times. (Remember the more you fold, the thicker the layers to cut through. I found that Jonah had a hard time with it folded in sixths.)
  2. Cut designs on the foldsPreschool Cutting Practice: Coffee Filter Snowflakes
  3. Unfold! Jonah loved the anticipation of this step, and couldn’t wait to see the designs!
  4. Display somewhere that makes you happy. We made a bunch and taped them to our large picture window in our kitchen.Taping Coffee Filter Snowflakes

Coincidentally, letting Jonah use the tape himself was also a fine-motor skill hidden in disguise. Jonah thinks tape is fun, so he is super motivated to use it. Little does he know I was giving his little hand muscles a workout! Sneaky Mommy! We had so much fun with this activity that we actually extended snowflake cutting over a few days. Jonah kept asking to make more. That is a success in my book!

We also read lots of books about snow. Here are a few of our favorites:

Snow by Manya Stojic


Snip…Snip…Snow! by Nancy Poydar


S Is for Snowman by Kathy-jo Wargin

If you’d like to see more of our snow book “picks” you can check out our list!

We’d love to see your Coffee Filter Snowflakes! Let us know if you make some~send us the link or post them to our Happy Brown House Facebook page. Happy cutting!