Tag Archives: grocery bag

{Toddler Thursday} Fun With Pasta! Pasta Necklaces

18 Aug

Fun With Pasta! is our latest installment of the Fun With Food! series.

What do you get when you mix pasta + paint + a toddler?  Painted pasta necklaces and a whole lotta messy fun along the way!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your pasta jewelry (think bracelets, headbands and crowns, too):


  • paint
  • paintbrushes
  • tube pasta (try penne)
  • ribbon, string or yarn
  • work surface saver (e.g., newspaper, cardboard, paper grocery bags)

Step 1

Paint your pasta.  I tried using a flattened cardboard box from the recycling bin as our paint palette, but Jane decided it would be her canvas instead.  She wasn’t ready to paint the penne right away.

Then she decided making handprints would be more fun than painting the pasta.

Eventually, she came around the idea of painting the penne.

Step 2

String each painted and dried piece of pasta together.  We used curly ribbon we had lying around the house, but you can use any type of ribbon, string or yarn handy.  Just tie several knots on top of each other to form a ball larger than the opening of the pasta; thread the pasta; and knot the two ends of the necklaces together.

Step 3

Don your fabulous creations!

LEARN! Colors, fine motor skills, manual dexterity, concentration

If you liked this post, check out other posts in the Fun With Food! series, like Fun With Beans and Fun With Gumdrops.


Construction Paper Dress and Windsock

11 Aug

As y’all know, I love making crafts or projects using the bazillion brown paper grocery bags we have stockpiled in our kitchen drawer from over the years (like this One Minute Paper Bag Monster) or other recyclables lying around our house that would otherwise turn to waste (like this Repurposed Easter Grass Garden, these Rock Candy Maracas or our paper roll projects like these telescopes, binoculars and finger puppets).

This time around we made a paper dress using the top of a brown paper grocery bag and strips of construction paper:

When the fun of the dress wore off, we hung it in our backyard as a colorful, fluttery windsock:


  • brown paper grocery bag
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • tape

Step 1

Cut off the top third of the grocery bag, which will form the top or “bust” portion of the dress.

Step 2

Snip lengthwise strips of the construction paper in whatever colors suit your fancy.  Tape the strips hanging vertically from the bust.

Step 3

Cut an additional strip as a border for the top of dress and tape it down horizontally.

Do the same for the remaining three sides of the bag.

Step 5

Embellish with cutout shapes or glue on gems and glitter.  Now twirl!

LEARN!  Colors, scissor cutting, pretend play.

Repurposed Easter Grass Spring Garden

15 Apr

You’ve probably already grown your Easter grass since Easter is only one week away, but have you figured out how to display your homegrown greens?

We made this colorful Easter grass spring garden using many repurposed items lying around our home:

but you can make yours almost entirely out of items headed for the recycling bin or trash!

Here’s what you’ll need for this fun project:

  • cardboard box
  • foam flowers (or you can make flower cutouts your own using cardboard, paper grocery bags or construction paper)
  • paint & paintbrushes
  • glue
  • grass seeds & soil
  • emptied and cleaned egg shells, baby food jars or any other containers you can find around the house (like plastic bottles cut in half)
  • press-on googly eyes (you can cut out and decorate paper or cardboard eyes, too)
  • miniature colored pom-poms (or try cotton balls, t-shirt fabric, old socks and other materials in your home if you’re really resourceful)

Easter Grass

I mentioned a few Easter grass tutorials here.  My favorites are this one from Rosy Posy (informative) and this one from K.I.S.S. (gift-worthy).

There’s no need for a pot to grow your grass in:  any old container will do.  We chose a combination of cleaned, dried egg shells and cleaned baby food jars that had been waiting for us to make use of them since these rock candy maracas.  If you’re using egg shells, just gently tap around the top of a raw egg with a spoon and the shell will crack just enough for you to pull away the pieces to make a small hole for depositing the soil and seeds.

Garden Base

We always have a ridiculously huge pile of cardboard at our house from all of the online ordering I do and basically all the shopping we do as a family, which – unless it’s done at the Farmer’s Market – involves a lot of packaging . . . and a lot of waste.  I can’t bear to chuck it all into the recycling bin, even if it is going to be recycled and reused.  I’d much rather repurpose it for our immediate enjoyment!

This project is easy as pie.  First, let your toddler paint every square inch of the cardboard box.  Then have him paint the foam flowers (or paper/cardboard flower cutouts).  Finally, glue the flowers around your garden base.

Spring Chicks

You can use anything lying around your house to make the chicks:  cotton balls, old t-shirts, socks, paper.  We used pre-made colored pom-poms and stick on googly-eyes that we had in the back of our craft closet.  Just stick or glue on eyes and noses to your little chicks and you’re done!  We made a few freestanding chicks and some that we stuffed into empty egg shells we decided not to use for growing grass.

The Finished Garden

Once your spring grass has sprouted, you’ve made your garden base and your chicks are finished, just assemble the inhabitants of your garden any which way you want.  You can either leave the eggs and chicks free standing for your toddler to play with or glue them down to the base.  As an extra detail, we used another cardboard box we had painted to create a colorful background for the garden and decided to add some pastel paper Easter grass for an extra pop of springtime color.  (Learn how to make homemade paper Easter grass here).

Our garden is a little crazy and haphazard, but you can make yours as wild or as elegant as your springtime mood desires!

Happy Spring!

One Minute Paper Bag Monster

8 Mar

In the literally five minutes I had to put the finishing touches on my makeup, cook the kids breakfast, pack my own lunch and give the nanny instructions about Sam’s medicine, I actually managed to get in this super quick monster mask for Jane, who insisted I make it in between cooking her spattering sausages on the stovetop and putting my shoes on to run out the door to work.

Even faster than our Two-Minute Marker Monster, I did this while simultaneously walking in between the kitchen to turn Jane’s sausages in the pan and the family room where I was trying to catch bits of baby breakfast that Sam was throwing around the room.

To make this jack o’ lantern monster mask:  (1) Just cut out one side of a paper grocery bag, (2) then pinch the areas where you want to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth, (3) make your cutouts and you’re finished!  If you have the time (unlike me!), you can size it to your child’s face.  Your toddler can also decorate it with glitter, marker or crayon or whatever she sees fit.

It’s nothing fancy, but with no time to spare and a toddler begging for something fun, it totally fits the bill.  Now, with all the monsters in our house, we might just have to make this Monster Repellent Spray from Chica and Jo!  (Or, I could get Jane onto something a little less scary like these paper dolls from The Artful Parent).

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