All posts by Pint Size Productions

December 7, 2016Holiday Baking Activity: Start a New Holiday Cookie Tradition With Your Kids

Ah, the sweet smell of cookies baking in the oven. You know what that delicious sugary scent means—it’s almost holiday-time! Instead of going it alone (who wants to hang out in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stove by themselves during the holidays anyway?), get your child in on the baking action. From the recipe itself to prepping, baking, decorating, and even giving the cookies away, your culinary kiddo can help with almost every step of the process.

Recipe Review

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Your grandma handed down her favorite recipe to you. Now you make her world famous (or at least family famous) sprinkle cookies every December. Before the baking begins, take some time and review the recipe with your child.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re giving them the go-ahead to do everything. Instead, use this time as a learning opportunity. As you go through each ingredient ask your child to name the first letter. “F” is for “flour”, “s” is for “sugar”, “e” is for “eggs” and so on. If your child is able to read a few of the words, ask her to read the recipe (or parts of it) to you.

Shopping List

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Write out a holiday cookie shopping list—letting your child help! They can write the letters, the words or draw pictures of each ingredient. Take the list to the grocery store and let your little helper assist in picking out the specific ingredients.

Play a game of “eye spy” and have your child hunt for each item as you walk through the aisles. They can search for and find the names (or look at pictures on packages) for all of your cookie ingredients. If there are parts of the recipe that are open to interpretation (such as the color of the frosting or the shape of the sprinkles) let your child choose!

Baking for Beginners

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This might be the first time that your child has baked anything. Okay, so they’re not going to use the oven by themselves—or at all, for that matter. But, you can let your child measure and mix the ingredients. Get some math time in and have your child weigh out each item or help her to use cup measures and measuring spoons.

As you’re baking you can also try a science exploration. How? Start with the scientific process. Hypothesize what will happen when you mix ingredients together or when you put the mushy almost liquid-like cookies into the oven. Observe the cookies as they bake, and then analyze the results. Ask your child a few open-ended question, such as, “Why do you think the cookies changed shape?” or, “What do you think would have happened if we didn’t bake the dough?”

Decorate It

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After the cookies have baked (and cooled) it’s time to get artsy. Whether you’re all about icing or your child has chosen a variety of holiday-themed sprinkles (think holly leaves, jingle bell shapes or mini Christmas trees), let your top-chef helper get as creative as they want.

Frost those cookies, add the sprinkles or use candies for an extra special touch. Your child can help you to come up with a theme or decide to decorate each holiday cookie differently. If you’re giving the cookies out as gifts, you can personalize them too! Have your child write the cookie recipient’s name or first letter (of the name) with icing.

Giving Gifts

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The cookies are baked and decorated. Now what? It’s time to display them. If you’re keeping them at home, plate the holiday treats on a festive platter or arrange them artistically. But, if you’re giving them away, it’s time to get crafty.

Your child can decorate a box by drawing a holiday scene on the outside. You can also use plain takeout containers (the folded kind, like you would get at a Chinese restaurant). If you don’t want to box the cookies up, brainstorm other gift-giving ideas with your child. This might include putting the cookies into a decorative baggie or creating a holiday gift basket.

What’s next? It’s time to get baking! Grab your favorite family recipe (or the most Pinterest-worthy one you can find) and introduce your mini-chef to the kitchen.

Ready to record that recipe you just made? Save all your recipes (in kid-friendly form) for years to come in a custom board book!

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November 30, 2016Gift-spiration: Our 6 Favorite Holiday Board Book Ideas

The holidays are coming up and your gift list is growing. Along with your own kiddos, you need presents for grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins and the rest of the family. Why go with the same old sweaters or the dreaded “fruit-of-the-month” gift basket? Get personal (literally) and create your own holiday board book. Not only is this gift completely unique to you and your family, but it lets you get as creative as you want! Before you start putting together your personalized gift book, check out some of our favorite holiday-themed ideas.

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Decorating the Tree
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Let it Snow Board Book

Design your very own step-by-step guide. No, not a boring instructional book. Instead, come up with a completely creative way to show how your family takes part in this holiday tradition. Pop in photos from the start to the finish. Begin with “pick pics” (pictures of picking the tree, that is). Move on to some of your favorite ornaments, and then the actual decorating phase. Tell your tree décor story through the photos or add a cute and comical numbered tutorial.

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Eight Nights of Lighting the Menorah

Create your own Hanukkah DIY—featuring the menorah. Start with the menorah itself, taking a picture and writing a description. And, not just any plain old description (it’s likely that most of your friends and family know what a menorah is). Instead, have the kids write what the menorah means to them. Move on to each night, and lighting one more candle. You can make this a step-by-step of nights one through eight, or go more in-depth. Add holiday wishes for each night or fill the book with personalized Hanukkah messages!

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Our Holiday Traditions

Every family has their own Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday traditions. Make a lasting memory of your own or share them with a friend, through your very own board book.

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Believe Board Book

Do you make a special
red and green pancake breakfast every Christmas morning? Maybe you go to a secret spot to pick the perfect tree every year? Whatever you tradition is, capture it in a creative combo of photos and words.

 

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Getting Gifts

Receiving gifts seems like a no-brainer.  Right? Your kiddo tears open the perfectly wrapped holiday paper, squeals and shouts, “Thank you mommy and daddy!” – but truthfully, as well all know, this isn’t always how this process goes. Create a book that helps children to understand gift-opening etiquette and deal with those not-so-perfectly picked presents. Design your own version of a how-to for opening and accepting gifts gracefully. This could include pictures of yourself unwrapping presents, smiling and saying a few kind words, or if you’re feeling especially creative, your own personal illustrations!

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Snowpeople Adventures
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Snow Memories Board Book

Tell a holiday tale, through the eyes of a snowperson! Build your own snowfamily, snap some pics and write a story that matches. This could be the story of the snowfamily’s Christmas, a guide to what your snowfriends do during the holidays or anything else. No snow? That’s okay! Make crafty snowpeople instead. Use cotton balls, Styrofoam balls or white tissue paper to build artsy faux snow creations that will then star in your picture book!

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Holiday Baking Beauty

Your kids want to start helping out in the kitchen. Capture the cookies, cupcakes, cakes and other sweet little treats that your family whips up during the holidays in a board book! Try a tutorial-style story that features how to bake your family’s famous Christmas sprinkle cookies or go for an  Instagram-style set of posed foodie pictures. You can also include ingredients and instructions, creating your own family holiday cookbook to gift to your friends.

Ready to start creating your own holiday masterpiece?

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November 7, 2016Turkey Time! 5 Ways to Let the Kids Help with Thanksgiving Preparation

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Ah, the holidays. It’s almost Thanksgiving and your list just keeps growing! You’ve got guests coming, a table to set, a pie to bake and (of course) a turkey to cook. And, on top of all that, you have to keep the kids busy! Instead of plopping them down in front of the TV (or handing over your tablet), let the kiddos help you! How? Check out these easy (and totally fun) ways that kids can help out with Thanksgiving preparation.

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Make a Menu

Okay, so you’ve already chosen what everyone will eat for Thanksgiving dinner. But, has anyone made an actual menu? Probably not. Letting the kids help you with this doesn’t just occupy their time. It gives you a crafty DIY décor piece too! Give the kids card stock paper, markers, or colored pencils, and let them get as creative as they want. You can write each menu item on a piece of paper, and have them copy it. If your child is too young to write on their own, write the menu words for them and have them trace over them.

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Table Time

Transform setting the Thanksgiving table from a task to an awesomely imaginative activity. Before you start stacking plates, have the kids make table “blueprints.” They can use blue crayons and paper to draw out a table or a place setting design. Gather together what you need (it’s okay to tone down an over-the-top kid creation) and have the children set the table for you. If more than one child is setting the table, assign each person a role. One can be the director, another can put out placemats and someone else can set down the plates. The kids can even come up with cute or funny names (such as Princess of the Napkins or Place Setting Prince) for each job.

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Crafty Centerpiece

You could go out and buy a pricey centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table. Or, you could have your child craft you a priceless one! If you’re looking for a simple holiday craft, have your child wrap pieces of folded tissue paper (in fall colors) with pipe cleaners. What do you get? Magical mock flowers. If you’re looking for something more complex, collage that fall-hued tissue onto the outside of a glass jar (then cover it with a layer of clear-drying school glue) to make a vase or use paper mache, craft feathers and paint to create a centerpiece turkey.

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Kitchen Science

Can the kids prep and cook the turkey? Um, no. But, they can help out with the cooking in other ways. From measuring to mixing, cooking is a fun way for kids to learn about some of the more scholastic concepts—such as science and math. Kids can also get in some literacy learning by reading each recipe out loud. Your child can mix up some biscuit batter, and then watch as you pop it in the oven. Ask them to predict what will happen to the liquid-y dough. After taking the biscuits out, ask your child to observe and record (they can either write it out or draw a picture) what happened. You can also use the predict, observe, and document scientific approach for other kitchen experiments!

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Meal-Prep Safety

Helping in the kitchen requires your child to know and recognize safety rules. Instead of just listing out the rules to your child, help them to understand by making an interactive “Thanksgiving kitchen safety” book. Cut cardboard squares (reuse the sides of old boxes), punch holes along with left side and bind the book together by tying it with ribbon. Walk through the kitchen and point out each safety concern (such as sharp knives or the hot stove). Your child can draw one page for each issue that you note!

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Have Fun, and Don’t Forget to Take Pictures!

Turn Thanksgiving into together-time with a completely creative family activity (or a few)! Whether you’re making menus together, setting the table or getting crafty in some other way, including the kiddos in the prep work makes the day more fun for everyone!

Capture the entire day (plus that secret family recipe) in a custom board book.  From start to finish, generation to generation, your Thanksgiving favorites can be passed down to every “pint size” chef in-the-making!

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October 29, 2016Making Halloween Less Scary for Kids: Activities That are More Fun than Spooky


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A skeleton activity sounds like spooky fun, right? You’re all in for the creepy, cringe-worthy Halloween decorations. But, the second your kiddo sees a skeleton they starts screaming. It’s completely understandable. You get that they sees the ghastly, ghostly set of bones and get spooked. That being said, you can turn around their “scary skeleton” way of thinking with an awesomely imaginative (and totally kid-friendly) art activity. Check out how this crafty creation can make Halloween less scary for kids!

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Lessons to Learn

Along with being the focus of your Halloween décor scheme, skeletons offer benefits galore when it comes to your child’s learning. What can your child learn from this bag of bones?

The most obvious learning connection is science. Exploring the skeleton’s form helps your child to discover the wonders of the human body. This includes basic biology, understanding how the body works and getting a better picture of what (literally) supports us. Looking at a skeleton from an anatomy and physiology point of view can also help your child to feel more comfortable with the form, and not see it as something that’s so scary. Think about it—it’s not really a horror prop, it’s one of the most important parts of the body.

Okay, so skeletons equal learning about science. But, what else? There are more than 200 bones in the human body (actually it’s 206 for an adult). That might be a lot of counting for your kiddo, so try it together! Start with one, and keep going.  Bonus: it’s hard for your little learner to see a skeleton as outright scary when they’re using it for math.

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Get Artsy

So, how can you take these little lessons that skeletons can teach your child and put them into play? With art! With a few (or maybe more than a few) craft sticks, some white tempera paint and dark-colored paper, your child can create their very own skeleton.

If your younger child doesn’t have the attention span to create a full-sized set of bones, that’s okay. Along with having the notoriously brief ability to focus, preschoolers typically can’t count up into the hundreds. With this in mind, making a modified skeleton is a great way to reap the benefits of this activity, without overwhelming your child. Even though it’s not 100% accurate, this artsy option still takes the spooky factor down a notch, gets your child acquainted with the human body, and helps them to count.

Older kids (or younger ones who want a little more) can take the activity a few steps further and create a full skeleton. Instead of a piece of construction paper, roll out butcher paper or plain gift wrap as a background. Oh yeah, and you’ll need a lot more craft sticks too!

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The Skeleton Activity How-To

The first step is painting the craft sticks. You can choose one of a few options (or combine them). Your child can paint the sticks with a brush. One side will be glued down, so there’s no need need to paint both sides. Other options include finger painting, dipping the sticks through a thin pool of paint (pour the pool onto a paper plate or thick cardboard) or use a non-brush tool. What kinds of tools can your kiddo use? Paint rollers and sponges are easy options. You can even cut up a kitchen sponge and use it to stamp paint-covered prints onto the sticks.

Now that your child has the “bones” ready to go, it’s time to build the skeleton. Have them puzzle out the picture, figuring out which bones go where. They can use a picture from a book or those not-so-scary-anymore Halloween skeletons as inspiration. When they’re done putting it together, they can glue the sticks down onto the paper.

But, what about the skull? Save some of the white paint and use it to add the skeleton’s head.

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After the Art

When the art-making is done you have a few options for putting the now not-so-spooky skeleton project into use. Hang it up as a totally Halloween display or use it for another educational activity (or do both!).

When it comes to educational ideas, have your child point to the bones and name them. There’s the femur! And, the clavicle! Here are the ribs!

You can also make some math magic beyond just counting the bones and have your child child use the bones to add simple equations—one rib bone plus one rib bone equals two rib bones.

Are skeletons scary? No way! But, your child still thinks so. Calm their fears, get into art-making and show her that these oh-so-common Halloween decorations are actually us.

 

October 21, 201610 Fall Family Activities Your Kids Can Learn From

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The leaves are changing colors, the kids have costumes on their minds and everything is flavored with pumpkin spice. That’s right—it’s fall! You’ve scheduled hayrides, set your sights on apple picking, and have what seems like a buffet of autumn activities to choose from. Add an educational aspect to your fall family fun, and check out these awesome activities that the kiddos can learn from too.

Scavenger Hunt

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What fall finds can your child scavenge out? Create your own nature hunt that helps your little learner to explore the fall season. Write out a few cute clues such as, “What’s red and leaves the trees this fall? Find three!” Your child would then collect three red leaves. Keep a bag handy, stashing the fall finds for later.

Fall Paint

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Take those fall leaves from the scavenger hunt and put them to use! Pour a rainbow of tempera paint onto a palette (or reuse a thick piece of cardboard for an eco-friendly, and inexpensive, version). Your artsy kiddo can finger paint the leaves or use a brush to create patterns and pictures on them. What’s your child learning by doing this? They’re exploring through their senses, learning about colors and building fine motor skills.

Leaf Wreath

After the painted leaves dry, turn them into a festive fall wreath. Teach your child a lesson on helping out the planet and search the house for cardboard sources to reuse. Grab a crayon or marker and have your child draw a circle on the board (it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about geometry). Draw a smaller circle inside and cut the wreath frame out. You may need to help your child cut the cardboard—especially if it’s thick. Your young artist can paint the circle and then glue the leaves onto it.

No-carve Pumpkin Fun

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Your kiddo isn’t exactly ready to pick up a knife and start carving. That’s okay. They can still decorate their very own pumpkin! Use paints or markers to color the pumpkin, or drizzle glue over it, and sprinkle glitter on top. Let letter-learning rule and practice the A,B,C’s. Yes, with pumpkins! Use letters stencils or let your child free-hand it, and paint them name or fall words (like leaf, fall or pumpkin) onto a series of pint size pumpkins. Each pumpkin gets one letter. After the paint dries, mix up the pumpkins and have your child puzzle them back together to make a word.

Pumpkin Peg Board

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It’s fall fine motor fun! Push thumb tacks into a pumpkin, cut a piece of yarn and let your child weave away. They can wrap the yarn from peg to peg, making a design or creating a web-like pattern. Not only are they building eye-hand coordination and dexterity, but they’re also problem-solving and thinking critically as they figure out how to get the yarn from peg to peg.

Apple Picking Color Match

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You’re already headed to the farm to pick as many apples as the kids can hold – turn those apples into more than just something to eat! After the picking is over, let the color matching begin! Set out two bins, one green and one red. If you don’t have bins, you can cover shoe boxes with green and red paper, or take crayons or markers and color in a circle to indicate which is which. Have your child match green and red apples with the bins/boxes they belong to.

Painted Prints

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Get crafty with the fall leaves that your family collects. Your child already painted a few, now they can take their artwork to the next level. Press painted leaves onto construction paper to create fall-filled prints. Your child can use autumn colors like bright reds, rich oranges and vibrant yellows to make alternating patterns. They can also design little leaf people! Glue googley eyes to the leaf prints and paint on arms and legs to create tiny fall characters.

Corn Maze

Making their way through a corn maze helps your kids to build memory skills. Turn the traditional maze run-through into an awesomely imaginative autumn activity with the help of some paper and crayons. Bring along a drawing pad, and have your kids map out the maze as you make your way through it. Turn the map into a fall-themed artwork after you’re done. Have your kids draw corn stalks, leaves or other fall symbols onto the edges.

Backyard Obstacle Course

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Set up a fall obstacle course for the kids to crawl, run and jump through. Use hay bales, corn stalks and pumpkins to create obstacles. Divide the family into two teams and relay race through the course. Add a pile of fall leaves at the very end—whoever jumps in first, wins!

Apple Tasting

Remember those apples that you picked? What can you do with them? Set up a sensory activity for your child to try. Cut different types of apples up and set up a taste test! Sample the slices and ask your child to describe the differences. Encourage them to use descriptive language and phrases such as, “This apple is sour tasting” or, “This one tastes sweet, like a pie,” rather than words like “good” or “bad.” They can also describe how the apples smell, feel, and look.

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Whether you’re spending the day at a local farm or simply walking through your neighborhood, you’ll find plenty to do this fall. Help your child to learn, grow and develop, all while getting in some family time together. So, what are you doing this fall? Taking the season to the next level with some super-charged family learning activities. And don’t forget to take some pictures! Compile the pictures from your fall family fun into a personalized board book chalked full of autumn adorableness.

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