A Quick Guide to Toothpick Crafts

Any parent of a child under the age of 8 understands the prevalence of toothpicks in their day to day life. It's amusing, really, how these tiny craft sticks wind up everywhere – under couch cushions, in air vents, behind the refrigerator. They're an unquestionable staple for any little crafter, that's for sure. As a parent, you'll want to have access to a toothpick craft guide, so to speak, that you can reference whenever you need to entertain during craft time.

Pairs Well with Food...

Lacking in the adhesive department – no glue or tape lying around? Spring for food. Toothpicks make everything more fun, and food as at the top of that list. Make a house out of marshmallows, or gumdrops for a great learning experiences (depending on the age, skill level and intensity of the exercise), and will keep children occupied for a while. At its simplest, you can entertain a young child for hours creating 1 or 2 dimensional shapes. In a more complex way, you can introduce older children to facets of engineering and encourage them to strategically create their own free standing structures.

Toothpick Crafts

Great for Fine Motor Development

Your child will think it's all fun and games, but you'll have the quiet understanding that they're working hard on their pincher grasp. Take any object that's puncturable (styrofoam, or a rice crispy treat works great), and show them how to create a porcupine by pressing the toothpicks down into the center.

Helpful When Studying Chemistry

Most middle schoolers are all too familiar with just how boring chemistry can be. It's true – certain molecules look a certain way and have a certain name, and that's important! A fun way to help your kids learn these scientific facts? Use grapes and toothpicks to have them create the shapes of each molecule, and pair with a notecard of facts to memorize all the while. Create a matching activity where you pair your notecards with your toothpick molecules the night before a big test! 

Fun When Implementing in Art

Did you know that you can “paint” with a toothpick? It's actually different than painting with a brush; rather, you'll use your toothpick to pull paint off a page, leaving a trace white line in its wake. It's a different kind of painting that most every child enjoys, and it only takes a few toothpicks to create a really cool painting!

Lesson learned? If you've got toothpicks on hand, your opportunities for arts, crafts and entertainment are nearly endless.

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Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

Some of the most fun we have at the holidays is when family gets together to think up and make Christmas presents.

And while we could do things like cookie gift baskets or coupons for chores and errands, here are some other awesome gift ideas to make at home. Many of these ideas are courtesy of our friends at witandwhistle.com.

Terrarium Kit

Using ordinary canning jars from the grocery store, place a one-inch layer of pebbles in the bottom. These can be ones you pick up on a walk or you can invest in some at the local home store.

Print a pretty label that says “terrarium kit” and either print out or handwrite some basic instructions on a three by five card that will go into the jar.  Pick up some activated charcoal at the local pet store and add a couple of tablespoons to a small zip lock bag and place in the jar.

Here’s a sample of some instructions:

  • Line the terrarium bottom with stones
  • Sprinkle charcoal on top
  • Add a few inches of potting soil
  • Add some small plants to the soil as well as any desired decorations
  • Place the terrarium in indirect bright light and be careful to water only when the soil is dry

When you’re done assembling the terrarium, place the lid on the jar and wrap the lid with a ribbon and add a holiday card.

Picture Coasters

This is a great present for grandparents or any family member to enjoy pictures from your last vacation or holiday time together.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 inch round, flat cork pieces
  • Glue
  • Card stock paper
  • Printouts of your photos
  • Foam or felt mounting dots

Here’s how to put them together.  Using the cork pieces as a template, trace a circle onto the card stock and the picture to make sure the size of materials match. Spread a thin layer of glue onto the cork then place the card stock on top.  Place another thin layer of glue on the back of your picture and then put that on top of the card stock.  Turn the coaster upside down and stick for mounting dots on the back to project wood furniture.  Voila!

Peppermint Brownie Mix

This idea and recipe comes from our friends at iheartnaptime.net.  If you have some extra canning jars from the store after you finish your homemade terrarium, this is a great way to fill them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Another cup of sugar
  • 1 cup Andes peppermint crunch baking chips (or chopped up Andes pieces)
  • 1 ¼ cup of flour (add this carefully because some of this layer will sink into the mints that you have already placed in the jar)
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions

Layer ingredients in a Mason jar, tie with a ribbon and then print the following instruction tag for the lid of the jar:

Mix contents of jar with 1 cup melted butter (two sticks), for eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Bake in a 9X13 pan at 350°for about 25 minutes and enjoy.

You can also print out a peppermint brownies label to put on the jar itself.

They’re you have it.  Some crafty Christmas ideas for DIY presents.

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