Tag Archives: outdoor arts and crafts

Frozen SCENTED Sidewalk Chalk Popsicles

Vibrant Scented Frozen Sidewalk Chalk Pops | Mama Papa BubbaWhen I saw this post from Reading Confetti, I immediately fell in love.  We’ve made our own sidewalk chalk paint for a long while now and I’d seen many frozen versions, but never had I seen them made in popsicle moulds before!  After sharing the idea on our Facebook page and pinning it on several Pinterest boards, I made a mental note to pick up some more cornstarch the next time I was out so we could get the project under way.

IMG 0263Well luckily for me, not only did I remember to pick up cornstarch during our next grocery shop, but I also ran into these Duncan Hines Frosting Creations packets for the first time ever.  Immediately, I knew our frozen chalk pops would be scented.  A few days later, Miss G and I gathered up our materials and got to work.

Using our tried and true sidewalk chalk paint method, we mixed 2 cups of warm water with 1 cup of cornstarch in our blender for a minute or so. Then we collected our popsicle moulds, our Frosting Creation packets, some gel food colouring (liquid will work too, but the colours won’t be nearly as intense), and several popsicle sticks.

IMG 0265Next up, I used the popsicle sticks to scoop a small amount of gel food colouring into each popsicle mould, and Miss G selected a Frostings Creation packet to coordinate with each colour before we added a small amount (maybe 1/8th of the packet) to each slot. (If you’re making this at home and can’t find the frosting flavour packets, you could always use unsweetened Kool-Aid or Jell-O powder instead.)

IMG 0267With our food colouring and powdered scent ready, we filled each popsicle mould about 2/3rds full of our cornstarch/water combo and Gracen stirred them well.

IMG 0268Then we topped them up with a little bit more cornstarch/water and Grae gently stirred them a little more.

IMG 0270At that point, all that was left to do was put our plastic handles in and freeze the chalk pops overnight.

IMG 0315The next day, they looked like this.  The colours were vibrant, the texture was smooth and creamy, and they smelled absolutely delicious.

Vibrant Scented Frozen Sidewalk Chalk Pop Scents | Mama Papa BubbaThe blue one smelled like cotton candy, the green one was mint chocolate, the red was strawberry shortcake, and the orange was orange creme…  YUM.  The only potentially bad news is that because they do look so real and smell so wonderfully, some munchkins may be tempted to try eating them (yuck!)  That being said, because they’re made strictly of kitchen ingredients, they are technically safe to consume. So though they may taste chalky and gross, they certainly wouldn’t harm a curious little monkey who snuck a lick.

IMG 0328With our fun new chalk pops in hand, we headed into the backyard to test them out.  The verdict?  They’re really awesome!

IMG 0329When they’re melting and drippy, they go on much like their liquid counterpart does, only via a wand of sorts instead of a paintbrush.  When they’re not melting, they go on much like regular sidewalk chalk does – dry and colourful with a little bit of pressure.  When dry, the colours are super vibrant and to me, they look very much like they’ve been made with regular sidewalk chalk. 

IMG 0344By the time our chalk pops had melted, our cement pad was fully covered in bright swirls, drawings, drips, and letters.  And the great news is that it all washed away really easily without any fuss – much easier than our sidewalk chalk paint normally does for some reason.

I can’t wait to pull this activity out again in Kuwait where the temperatures soar and our courtyard is made completely of cement.

♥ 

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Rainy Day Splatter Painting

Rainy Day Splatter Painting | Mama Papa BubbaWhile living in a city that gets as much rain as Vancouver does can be a little deflating some days, I know that we’ll miss it dearly once we’re back in the sandy desert.  So instead of letting the past week of rain keep us indoors today, we decided to get out and enjoy it.  After a morning walk and a long play at the park before lunch, we decided to head back outside this afternoon.  We brought along with us a baking sheet, some liquid food colouring (the neon kind), and some white construction paper to do an easy and fun art activity… Rain splatter painting!

IMG 8367To get started, Gracen laid a piece of construction paper down on the baking sheet and fully enjoyed dropping splots of food colouring all over it.

IMG 8370Once she had the food colouring exactly how she wanted it, we simply let the rain do its job.  At this point, it was raining quite hard, so the splatter effect happened quickly.  Grae loved watching the colours pop up off the page and land back down on the page in little dots.  At some point during the process, she’d say “This one is done!” and we’d pop it inside the house to dry and grab another sheet of paper to splatter.

IMG 8376The end result is beautiful, splotchy, watercolour-esque paintings, just like this one.  Fun, right?

♥ 

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Footprint Butterfly Flower Pot

Footprint Butterfly Flower Pot | Mama Papa BubbaA few weeks ago, Gracen’s {great} aunt sent me this photo and asked if Miss G could make her one.  After some serious detective work, I believe that the photo was originally shared on Carol’s Classic Gifts and Decor’s Facebook page, but I could be wrong (please correct me if I am!) Though there were no instructions attached, the project looked pretty straight forward, we went for it.

IMG 9987Here’s what we used…  A clay pot large enough to fit Grae’s growing feet on the side, some acrylic paint, a few old paintbrushes, a black Sharpie (though black paint and a fine brush or a paint pen would be great also), and lastly, a matte spray-on clear coat.

IMG 9989Because of the potentially {very} messy nature of this project, we opted to do it outside with the garden hose and a pile of old rags nearby (and I’m thankful we did…things got MESSY despite my precautionary steps).  To get started, I applied a thick layer of paint to Grae’s foot.  In our case, we used purple and green (Auntie Judy’s favourite colours) with a little bit of white in the middle, but you could obviously use any colours you like.  One thing I would say is that if you want the colours to mix together where they meet, you should probably help them along with your paintbrush while on the foot.  I expected the mixing to sort of naturally happen when Grae’s foot was pressed down on the pot, but it didn’t (not a lot, at least).

IMG 9994We carefully pressed one foot onto the pot, washed it off, then painted the other foot and pressed it on so that the two straight edges were in the middle (with a small space between them) and the two arched edges were pointing outwards.

IMG 9998After giving the footprints a few minutes to dry, I used the Sharpie to draw a very simple butterfly body and antennae in the centre.

IMG 0011Then we flipped the pot over and wrote a little message so that Auntie Judy will remember who made the pot and when it was created years down the road.

IMG 9999As a final step, I gave the butterfly part of the pot a light spray of matte sealant, just to make it a little more durable.  Ten minutes later it was dry and we had an adorable personalized gift that was both easy and inexpensive to make. 

♥ 

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Simple Outdoor Fun: Painting Sidewalk Chalk Shapes With Water

Painting Sidewalk Chalk Shapes With Water | Mama Papa BubbaWhile we’ve done plenty of regular mess-free painting on our sidewalks and fence, today Gracen asked if I’d draw her something to paint.  While maybe not as open-ended as I’d usually aim for, I do find that sometimes she prefers having a jumping off point, so I drew an assortment of shapes on the ground using sidewalk chalk.  The activity was actually perfect for her new found interest of colouring in the lines, and when the water dried, it left our cement pad covered in beautiful, watercolour-esque shapes.  So simple, but she enjoyed so much that she’s already asked to do it again.

♥ 

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Citrus Cup Bird Feeders

Citrus Cup Bird Feeders | Mama Papa BubbaI swear, I’m not a hoarder.  In fact, with something like 49 moves under my belt in my 31 years, it’s quite the opposite.  I’d much rather toss/recycle/give something away than have to lug it to a new location.  Buuuuuuut, the other day after juicing a bunch of citrus fruit, I couldn’t help but think that there might be something we could do will all of the empty rinds (please tell me some of you do this too).  Not knowing what it was at the moment, I tossed them all into a container in the fridge and decided I’d figure it out later.  Sure enough, a couple of days later as I was grabbing something from the fridge, I remembered the very unique bird feeders I’d seen on Happy Hooligans a few months back.  Gracen loves birds and we love to keep our backyard feather friends well fed, so I decided we’d make our own version of the project.

IMG 8651First, we gathered a few things from around the house… The rinds, some baker’s twine (Greenmunch is a great place to buy it, plus everything party, mason jar, and crafting related!), an large embroidery needle, and a pushpin.

IMG 8669After threading our needle and tying a knot at the end, we pushed our embroidery needle through one side of our citrus cup, straight through the other side.  I thought we may need the tack to start our holes, but we totally didn’t (though you might if you had a particularly tough rind).  I did the poking, and Miss G did the pulling through part.

IMG 8670With the twine pulled all the way through, we pulled up the centre to create a long loop for hanging.

IMG 8672Next, we did a quarter turn and fed the needle straight through the rind again, this time perpendicular to the first set of holes.

IMG 8673Then we pulled the second centre string up to meet the first and tied a knot on the outside of the citrus cup in order to secure everything.

IMG 8663While she helped me ‘sew’ the first couple of rinds, Gracen discovered that she could make some pretty interesting creations with the extra citrus cups and pushpins, so that’s what she did.

IMG 8664This little lemon went from having ‘pokey hair’ to being an octopus, to being a porcupine, and many other things along the way.

IMG 8675When our citrus rind cups were complete, we focused on the food portion of the process.  

IMG 8680All we did was take some bird seed (we used a wild bird variety), and mixed in a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter for every half cup of seed in order to give it some ‘stick’.

IMG 8693Then Grae carefully filled the cups with the sticky seed mixture one scoop at a time.

IMG 8694We used 1 1/2 cups of seed with 3 tablespoons of peanut butter and it filled 2 grapefruit cups and 2 lemon cups until heaping.

IMG 8697With that, it was off to hang the new feeders in the backyard.  

IMG 8707Gracen was very specific and knew she wanted one in our apple-pear tree, one in our fig tree, and one in our plum tree… And the other one got hung in our rose bush.  

Now let’s bring on the hungry birdies!

See our other bird feeders here and here.

♥ 

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Snow Spray Painting

Snow Spray PaintingThough it feels like we’ve had a good, long winter vacation already (because we have), we’re lucky enough to have one more week to spend in the Okanagan before Bradley’s return to work.  And while we’ve been doing more than our fair share of relaxing (and indulging – oy!), we’ve also been trying to make the most of our time with the snow, because before you know it, we’ll be back to our city of rain, rain, rain.  

IMG 4123Today we tried something new – snow spray painting!

IMG 4120In order to make the paint, all I did was pick up a couple of cheap spray bottles (I made sure to give the triggers a little squeeze in store first – some are little hand-friendly, and others are not) and filled them with some cold water and food colouring.

IMG 4125Then we headed outside {in pajamas} to decorate the freshly fallen snow.

IMG 4125We played with the nozzle on our spray bottles to get the flow  just how Miss G liked it – in a steady stream in order to achieve maximum distance. ☺

IMG 4127Her goal?  Covering as much of the snow in snow spray paint as possible.

IMG 4140“A new spot now!”

IMG 4138IMG 4144Though using a fine mist is a little trickier (because you need to be quite close to the snow for it to show up well), it makes pretty cool results…. Pink snow anyone?

IMG 4138Of course when you’ve painted your little heart out and you’re ready for a break, you can always topple over in a snowbank and have a rest. ☺

 

Snow Spray Paint

  • 3/4 cup of cool water
  • 10 drops of food colouring

Pour the water into a small spray bottle and add the food colouring.  Repeat for multiple colours/bottles.  Spray the snow.  Have fun!

♥ 

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Cookie Cutter Bird Seed Feeders {A Toddler-Friendly Method}

I must admit, I’ve seen many recipes like this one from Under the Sycamore floating around the internet, and I’ve been skeptical. Very skeptical, in fact.  I guess I was envisioning some sort of jello-y bird seedy concoction and I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that a hunk of seedy gelatine could last more than a few minutes (especially in the summertime) when tied to a string and hung from a tree.

But when Gracen woke up from her nap today and immediately announced “All done sleeping!  Nice nap.  Grae Grae wants to MAKE some ping!”, then suggested bird feeders, I decided we’d give it a shot.  I had two goals in mind – first, seeing if gelatine +  bird seed really does equal cool bird feeders, and second, figuring out a way of making them without having to have Grae stand at a hot stove to stir a pot of water.  
 

Cookie Cutter Bird Seed FeedersI’m happy to say, our experiment was a success.  Not only do we have trees sprinkled with pretty bird feeders (thus some very happy birds), but Gracen was able to do almost all of the steps on her own at our butcher block and there was no stove required.

IngredientsHere’s what we used for the project… Bird seed, gelatine, boiling water, straws cut into 2 inch pieces, some baker’s twine, and some cookie cutters and pancake moulds.

IMG 2276We started off by emptying two packets (not boxes – the above photo is misleading) of plain gelatine into a very large mixing bowl.

IMG 2277Then I carefully poured in a little bit of boiling water (this is one of the only jobs I did for the project).

IMG 2282Gracen then stirred the mixture very gently until all of the gelatine was dissolved.

IMG 2284Next, we measured out our bird seed.  We used a “wild bird” variety, but I think pretty much any type would work as long as the seeds and bits are not too big – I think a finer blend works best in this case.

IMG 2286Then Grae poured the bird seed into our gelatine/water mixture.

IMG 2292We stirred it for a few minutes, making sure that all of the seeds were evenly coated and that there was no longer excess water at the bottom of the bowl.

IMG 2294Next, we covered a tray in parchment paper and laid out our cookie cutters and moulds.

IMG 2295Using a teaspoon, Grae filled each cookie cutter with seed, one by one.

Here she is hard at work…

IMG 2299You want to make sure that they’re a little bit overfull, so be generous with the seed.  (This recipe made these five feeders, plus a large bird seed “cupcake” too).

IMG 2305Because the mixture gets really sticky, we covered the cookie cutters with a layer of parchment and Grae pressed the seeds down into the moulds.

IMG 2306You want to make sure the seeds are packed very tightly – it’s part of what makes the feeders stay together well.

IMG 2309Next, we took our straws and carefully inserted them into the cookie cutters, making sure to not place them too close to the edges.  Once the straws were in the seed, we pressed the seeds down around them to make sure everything stayed tight.

IMG 2314Next, we popped the entire tray into the fridge and let them set for a couple of hours before taking them out and letting them dry out on the counter.  We left them for most of the evening, and before I went to bed for the night, I flipped them over so that the bottoms could dry out too. (It’s a bit awkward to flip them with the straw sticking out the way it is, but you could trim the straw if you liked.)

IMG 2319The next morning, we gently popped the shapes out of their moulds.

IMG 2321Then we plucked out the straws and made sure that the holes were clear all the way through.

IMG 2323For the last step, we took some baker’s twine (ribbon or jute would be perfect too), put it through the holes, and knotted the tops.  Voila!  Pretty little feeders for the hungry birds in our yard.

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Cookie Cutter Bird Seed Feeders (a toddler-friendly method)

Adapted very slightly from this recipe

  • 2/3 cup of boiling water
  • 2 packets of gelatine (a box has 4)
  • 2 cups of bird seed 
  • parchment or wax paper
  • cookie cutters or silicone moulds
  • straws cut into 2 inch pieces

Pour the water into a very large mixing bowl.  Add two packages of gelatine and stir until it’s fully dissolved.  Add the bird seed and mix well until everything is evenly coated.

Place cookie cutters/moulds onto a parchment-lined tray and scoop seed mixture in until heaping full.  Place another piece of parchment on top of the cookie cutters and press down firmly to pack in all of the seeds.  Remove the top parchment layer and gently poke straw pieces all the way through the seed shapes (be sure not to put them too close to the edges).  Pop the tray into the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the feeders to set.

Later on, remove the tray from the fridge and let sit on the counter to dry out.  Flip the cookie cutters over a few hours later to let the bottoms dry out too.  Let sit for at least 3 – 4 more hours (overnight is best) until the feeders are completely dry.

Gently remove the seed shapes from the moulds (they should be fully dry and hard to the touch at this point – if not, allow to dry longer).  Carefully remove the straws and tie a twine loop through the holes.  Hang in a tree. 

 

 
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Remnants of a Messy Play Date

Gracen had a wonderful time with her friends at her birthday party and has talked about having friends over to play every day since.  So with my little lady’s wishes tugging at my heartstrings and our beautiful Vancouver weather continuing into September, I decided to host our first ever {outdoor} messy play date.  

It’s been something Gracen’s been anticipating all week, and yesterday, she helped me pick out and put together our snacks, sensory bins, and art stations, and today we had four of her little friends over to play in the backyard.  It was morning of ‘treats’, friends, hugs, and getting dirty, which suited Gracen just perfectly.  

Though I tried to take photos during the play date, attempting to drink a hot coffee, engage and supervise a handful of one and two year olds, and visit with fellow mommies at the same time ended up being quite a lot on its own.  Afterwards, however, once all of our friends had departed and Miss G was tucked in her crib for her nap, I couldn’t help but smile at the piles of mess all around me.  Mostly eaten snacks, well played with sensory bins, almost empty juice cups, dried up paint, and little white plaster footprints across our backyard pad… All signs filled bellies, happy babies, and old-fashioned messy play.  

Play date snacksIMG 9611IMG 9615IMG 9617IMG 9619IMG 9621Sand

IMG 9624IMG 9625Apple stamping
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 ♥

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Summer Fun: Sand Casts

We’re hanging on to every last bit of summer we can around here, and have spent the last two days at the beach.  Today, I packed along with us a few simple materials to try out a very cool beach project I saw long ago on Honest to Nod.  It went surprisingly well for our first attempt, and we’ll definitely be trying it again before the summer’s vanished completely.  Here’s how Miss G and I made our very own sand casts…

IMG 9446First of all, we retrieved a few buckets of ocean water and created a little plot of firm, mouldable sand.  You could easily do this project near the shoreline where you normally find perfect sandcastle sand, but since the tide was high and the shoreline was littered with seaweed and shells, we opted for this method instead.  (You can also do this project at home by mixing play sand water in a baking pan or shallow dish of some sort.)

IMG 9447Next, using the bottoms of our sand buckets and a plastic cup, we made several wells in the sand approximately 1 to 2 inches deep. (You can also use drift wood, feet, hands, and beach toys to make wells of different shapes and sizes.)

IMG 9452

IMG 9450Then, using shells we collected around the beach, as well as a few glass stones we brought from home, we created designs and patterns in the bottoms of the wells.  One thing we did learn about this is that in order to show up well in the finished product, the decorations need to be pushed down quite firmly into the sand – otherwise they just get completely buried in plaster. (At this stage, you can also use your finger or a stick to draw designs in the wells.  Just remember that if you choose to write something, you need to write it backwards so that it faces the correct way on the cast.) 

IMG 9454Next, using a container from home, a couple of cups of plaster of paris powder (readily available at art supply and hardware stores), some ocean water, and a piece of drift wood, we mixed up our plaster according to the directions on the box (2 parts powder, 1 part water).

IMG 9455Then we filled our wells almost to the top.  At this point, we experimented with adding a couple of straws to two of the wells in order to have a hanging hole at the end.  Turns out, it worked great. The only thing we’ll do differently next time is add the straws before the plaster (much easier when you can see the stones and shells, rather than digging around trying to avoid them ☺).

IMG 9457Easiest step?  Playing and eating snacks while waiting for the plaster to set.  

IMG 9458After about 30 minutes, I gently poked the plaster to find out that they were dry and hard, so I gently scooped up one of the casts, along with some of the sand below it. Sure enough, it was fully solid. Grae helped me scoop up all of the casts and place them gently in a bucket.

IMG 9459Next, we took the casts down to the ocean for a quick bath to remove the excess sand.

IMG 9462Here’s what we ended up with.

IMG 9463IMG 9464These two are Grae’s favourites… The octopus was made with the bottom of one of her Melissa & Doug nesting pails and ‘happy face guy’ was made with glass stones and a chunk of a shell.

Grae and I are hosting a messy play date this week and this just may have to be one of our outdoor crafts for the day. Fun, simple, and the perfect way to hang on to summer long after it’s gone.

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Sidewalk Chalk Painting

After teaching both yesterday and the day before, it was so good to spend the day with my girl today. (Two work days in a row was new for us… I missed her.)  We spent the morning at the aquarium visiting sea creatures, and decided to try something new this afternoon.

Sidewalk chalk is a usual thing around here, and we’ve done mess-free sidewalk painting a few times recently, but we hadn’t yet tried sidewalk chalk painting.  It was about time.

There are TONS of sidewalk chalk paint recipes floating around the internet, but we just went for it and mixed up our own version. I wanted more of a watercolour consistency rather than a paste in order to allow Miss G to make longer brushstrokes before having to reload her brush, so we used a lot more water than cornstarch.  And since I’ve read that the paint dries a lot lighter than it looks when wet, we amped it up by using generous amounts of gel colouring {hence them looking so dark in the photos}.

(FYI – The cool paint swirls are courtesy of my little lady.  Who knew a good swift bump of the paint tray right as the photo is being snapped equals awesome swirls?)

IMG 3446Gracen didn’t hesitate to get started.  The second I gave her the okay, she got busy dunking her paintbrush and creating her sidewalk masterpiece.

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She honestly LOVED it.  She was so focused and content that she did not put down her paintbrush once the entire time until the paint was gone.  And when it was?  There was a prompt, “More, Mama! More!” directed my way.  Sadly, I’d used all of our cornstarch and couldn’t whip up another batch, but I’m pretty certain that this will become a regular activity this summer.

The end result was a sidewalk {and toddler} covered in beautifully vibrant colours, a very happy little lady, and much needed bath.

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Sidewalk Chalk Paint

  • 1 cup of cornstarch
  • 2 cups (or less, depending on desired consistency) of water
  • Several small globs of gel icing colouring

Using a muffin tin, put a little food colouring in each cup, varying the colour combinations and the amounts of dye. In a large measuring cup, mix together the cornstarch and water.  Carefully pour a little into each muffin cup and mix well.

Take the paint outside {preferably on a tray to prevent spills} along with paintbrushes and watch your little one(s) create a sidewalk masterpiece. Give paints a little stir every once and a while to prevent the cornstarch from sinking to the bottom.

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