Happy Chinese New Year: Easy Dragon Craft

The Chinese New Year will be celebrated on Saturday 1-28-2017.  It is the YEAR OF THE ROOSTER.  Why not have your kids join in the festivities by making their own CHINESE DRAGON PUPPETS.

Here is all you need (with scissors, tacky glue and some bag clips to hold pieces in place):

2016-01-16-19-52-20I used thin foam pieces for the head and tail, and card stock for the head fin and middle section.  You can also use craft paper for the whole thing, or felt and ribbons or yarn for the mid-section.  Pipe cleaners are another option for the mid section or stems. Let your imagination go for creative designs.

Using the pattern pieces below, cut the number of pieces indicated and set aside.

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If you’re using paper for the midsection, fold it accordion style as shown here:

2016-01-16-21-09-48Make it as long as you like…it actually looks best when the middle is long and twisting.

Assemble the head by inserting the fin between the two pieces.  Glue in place.   Insert the sticks (I used wooden skewers) between the head pieces and tail pieces.  Insert the ends of the midsection into these pieces as shown.  Glue in place and clip to hold together until it dries.

2016-01-16-21-26-15        2016-01-16-21-26-27Add a googlie eye or draw facial features with a Sharpie marker.  Don’t forget to put features on both sides!

 

Hold the sticks at both ends to make the Dragon move.

Here’s another version of a dragon puppet:  http://www.redtedart.com/chinese-new-year-craft-dragon-puppet-free-printable/

For more activities and easy crafts to celebrate the Year of the Rooster visit:

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/chinesenewyear/

Happy New Year!

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Keeping Winter Bugs at Bay.

Now that the holiday season is over, many of us tend to hibernate or stay close to home during the coldest months of winter.  So do the germs that cause colds and flu.  With a few simple steps, you can protect yourself against these infections.

Contrary to popular belief, YOU CANNOT CATCH A COLD OR FLU FROM BEING OUTDOORS IN THE COLD WEATHER.  While you may get chilled or overheated, it is GERMS that cause these conditions.  Because we spend more time indoors in winter, so do the bugs that plague us.  Here are ways to AVOID a bad cold:

  1. Wash your hands frequently with SOAP AND WATER.  Soap and water is just as effective as anti-bacteria cleaners.  And, you don’t run the risk of creating super-bugs from overuse of antibiotics.   How long should you wash?  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends at least 20 seconds of hand washing – the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  3. Wipe down remotes, phones, laptops, mouses, doorknobs, and anything else sick people at home may touch.
  4. Avoid sharing cups and glasses with those who are sick and be sure to properly wash these items after use.
  5. Cough and sneeze into your elbow, rather than your hand.  Avoid shaking hands with those who are sick as well.
  6. Stay home if you are not feeling well.  Work will always be there, but if you get run down, you could compromise your immunity and ability to fight off infection.
  7. EXERCISE helps prevent colds and flu when practiced in moderation.  Walking, biking, ice skating and moderate aerobic activity help boost immunity. Turn on some music and dance…great fun AND exercise for all ages.
  8. Studies have shown that ELDERBERRY SYRUP EXTRACT can be taken daily to prevent colds and flu, and to reduce symptoms of you are already infected.  ZINC and VITAMIN C serve a similar purpose.  (Note: Check with your doctor before taking any supplements).
  9. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables often.  These vitamin-rich foods have natural anti-inflammatory properties that keep our immune systems functioning properly.

Enjoy a happy, healthy New Year! 

Keeping Kids Busy During the Holidays.

With all the excitement and preparation that takes place BEFORE the holidays, our kids often seems to bounce around, get bored, or underfoot.  If you’ve exhausted the usual “let’s decorate or bake together” options, try some of the great activities found on the BuzzFeed website:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/karstenschmehl/parenthacks?bffbtasty&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Parents%20115&utm_content=Parents%20115+CID_c09d605cdb68bccd3579e75dd3333d69&utm_source=BuzzFeed%20Newsletters&utm_term=.pjeLxyXY7#.ftrXAdLmp

Here is also a quick and EDIBLE Gingerbread Play Dough option that kids will love.  This recipe comes from Hannah Holt at Lightbulb Books:

Gingerbread Playdough

Ingredients

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 packet unsweetened orange […]

You may view the latest post at:  (It also includes a recipe for peppermint snow
http://www.lightbulbbooks.com/blog/2016/12/two-holiday-playdough-recipes-peppermint-snow-and-gingerbread/

Hannah Holt
hannah@lightbulbbooks.com
 

50+ Easy Ornaments and Crafts For Kids.

Every year, when I take out my many Christmas ornaments, I relive the moments I shared making many of them with my kids.  The collection has grown over the years and my son and daughter now have boxes of their own to take with them when they are ready.

If you haven’t already, why not start a tradition of crafting some simple ornaments this year.  There are  plenty of sights with numerous ideas to get you started. Here are some of them.

From Play Ideas:  http://www.playideas.com/25-christmas-ornaments-kids-can-make/?utm_content=buffer4636d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

From Red Ted Art:   http://www.redtedart.com/category/christmas-2/

The walnut owls are easy and delightful.

From Family Fun:  https://family.disney.com/crafts/

There are crafts for every skill and interest, using on hand materials such as paper, felt, pipe cleaners, walnuts, yarn and more.

Why not create some holiday memories with a few hand-made ornaments.  Here is a sample of my own from past years.     2015-12-10-00-24-21

If you’re interested in a specific one, leave a comment and I’ll send directions.

 

Get Heart Healthy

Even though Valentine’s Day is over, it’s never a bad time to think of our hearts and keeping them healthy through exercise and activity.  Since February is AMERICAN HEART MONTH, what better way to celebrate your wonderful heart than with a HEALTHY CHALLENGE SCAVENGER HUNT.  There is no need to leave the house.  Follow the link below for a list of 40 things to scout out around the house.  You can break up into teams and see who is fastest at hunting down the items.

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyKids/ActivitiesforKids/Get-Active-with-our-Healthy-Challenge-Scavenger-Hunt_UCM_312472_Article.jsp#.VsMp0kDws4B

Enjoy the challenge.  Your heart will love you for it!

Winter Crafts For Kids.

While many of us may be itching for spring, there is still snow and winter weather to contend with.  There will also probably be a few more days stuck indoors.  If your kids are getting a bit stir crazy, why not try some fun-filled crafts to pass the time away from the usual video games.

At FUN CRAFTS KIDS, you can make EGG CUP PENGUINS, LEGO BIRD FEEDERS, Marshmallow Polar Bears, and much more using recycled items or things you are likely to have around the house.   There are 17 fun filled winter crafts on this site.

http://www.funcraftskids.com/winter-crafts-ideas/

So, make a cup of hot chocolate, or break out the FROZEN BANANA PENGUIN TREATS (Also on the Fun Crafts Site) from Monday’s post and have a craft day.  Spring will be here before you know it!

Looking for LOVE in all the Right Places: by Marilyn Ostermiller

LOVE is in the air.

And on the sidewalk.

And in the park, as Valentine’s Day approaches.

That’s LOVE as in Robert Indiana’s iconic sculpture. The image is the word LOVE in upper-case letters, arranged in a square with a tilted letter “O.” The face of LOVE’s letters are scarlet, set off with vivid shades of blue and green.     

Philadelphia LOVE Statue

Manhatten LOVE Statue

Indiana created the image in 1965 when he was commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art to design a Christmas card. The next year Indiana’s sculpture of his LOVE image was featured in a solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery in New York City. That marked a turning point in the pop artist’s career.

Since then, LOVE has been emblazoned on countless prints, paintings, banners, rings, tapestries, and stamps. In 1973, the U.S. Postal Service put LOVE on the first of its regular series of “love stamps.”

LOVE sculptures have been installed in New York and Philadelphia. Additionally, Indiana created similar sculptures in French and Hebrew. They are in accessible locations and are popular photo settings for the romantically-inclined.

Where to visit them:

— New York City: The corner of Sixth Avenue and 55th Street It is on the street, accessible 24/7.
— Philadelphia: JFK Plaza, 1599 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. It is unofficially known as Love Plaza. It was installed there diagonally across from City Hall.

Also in Philadelphia through this coming spring is the AMOR sculpture, which Indiana created in 1998. It is similar to the LOVE sculpture, even the “O” is tilted the same way. The Philadelphia Museum of Art borrowed it to honor Pope Francis when he visited the United States last year. The colorful, six-foot-high sculpture can be visited on the museum’s East Terrace, overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. That was the site of the public papal mass that culminated the World Meeting of Families 2015. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. Open Tuesday through Sunday. http://www.philamuseum.org

The AMOR sculpture is owned by The National Gallery of Art and its Sculpture Garden, which is on the National Mall between 3rd and 9th Streets at Constitution Avenue NW. It is on loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the Morgan Art Foundation.

Images of the art Indiana created throughout his career can be found online at http://www.robertindiana.com where Indiana had this to say about his LOVE image:

“I had no idea LOVE would catch on the way it did. Oddly enough, I wasn’t thinking at all about anticipating the Love generation and hippies. It was a spiritual concept. It isn’t a sculpture of love any longer. It’s become the very theme of love itself.” — Robert Indiana

Marilyn Ostermiller
This post was prepared by Marilyn Ostermiller, a long-time business journalist who has begun writing for children. You can follow her on Twitter @Marilyn_Suzanne.