Monday, July 6, 2009

Invention Crafts - 2 liter Bird Feeder

This is a simple nature craft using a plastic bottle, a wooden skewer, twine, and birdseed. The young inventor first removed the label off the bottle using kid safe scissors.

Wash the inside and the outside of the bottle. Drain as much water as you can from the bottle. Place the lid on the bottle and dry the outside of the bottle.

About 3 inches from the bottom of the bottle draw a 3 "x 3" square or an arched topped square on both sides of the bottle using a Sharpie marker. Make sure the openings match up on opposite sides of the bottle. You could give the child a pattern to trace. Cut out the marked sections. I started the opening for my grandchild using a sharp knife. The child then used a pair of kid safe scissors to finish the cutting.

Make sure that there are no sharp edges on the bottle openings. Using a paper towel and the bottle openings dry the inside of the bottle. Tie a 4-5 foot piece of twine or heavy string around the neck of the bottle. Center the twine/knot on the bottle neck to leave you matching lengths of twine to be used to tie to the feeder to a tree branch.

Cut a small "X" one inch below the center of your bottle openings using a sharp knife. (This should be done by an adult) A drill with a small bit could also be used by an adult. Don't make the wholes or "X's" too big, you want the wooden skewer to fit tightly.

Push the wooden skewer through one "X", now push the skewer through the bottle and out the "X" on the other side of the bottle. Center the skewer in the bottle. This creates a wooden perch for the birds to sit on on both sides of the bird feeder. Snip off the sharp end of the skewer and add a bit of masking or duct tape to both ends of the skewer to help protect eyes and skin from any sharp edges.

Take the bird feeder outdoors. Hang the bird feeder on a sturdy branch in a tree. Placing it where it can be seen from an indoor window is really fun. Fill the bottle/bird feeder to just above the wooden perch with wild birdseed. Now, sit back and watch the birds discover this very special treat!

Interesting note: Three of my granddaughters saw the finished bird feeder hanging in their cousins tree just minutes of him being home with his finished project. I received a frantic phone call that they all wanted to make one too. I was too busy that day but promised we would do the project the next day. They all arrived the next day and were thrilled to create their very own bird feeders. They took them home and hung them in their trees which are right across the street from the cousins feeder they had seen the day before.

The feeders were quickly found by the birds. With the kids watching they discovered that the birds finished the seed from the girls feeders before the one across the street which was the original bird feeder made by my grandson.

My eight year old grandson made the observation that the birds preferred the girls feeders because they were more attractive! Turns out the girls had added decorations to their feeders using colorful Sharpie markers. Regular girls stuff like flowers and hearts. Not science, but a very good observation. Who knew???

Invention Crafts - Working Elevator

On a recent visit to my home three of my grandsons pulled out my invention crafts tub for some crafting fun. This tub is where I store all kinds of things for my grand children to recycle into their very own one of a kind inventions.

This is not a time to worry about the clutter that fills the kitchen counters and floors as their very creative minds began to quickly gather items that are needed for their inventions. It is amazing what ideas can be sparked by the treasures that are found in "Grandmas invention craft tub."

Above is photos of the finished elevator system, it's inventor, and his younger brothers who marvel at their big brothers invention skills. The invention has an elevator car with opening doors, a pulley system that can lift and lower the elevator car for more than six feet. Even the balance of weight was considered by this young inventor. Vegetable cans were borrowed from the pantry to give him the weight needed for the invention to work safely and properly!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

4th of July Gift Boxes

I created these small gift boxes for my nine grandchildren for the 4th of July. I found the boxes in the dollar store "Dollar Tree" in the wedding section. They were 12 for a $1. They are solid white and they could be used for any occasion or holiday by adding your own decor to them.

I decorated the boxes using patriotic stickers that I found in a Michael's Craft Store. The stickers were adorable and a great price. The book had 316 stickers for just .70 cents! The regular price was only $1 which is still a great price.

I also like getting the small white bottles of bubbles from the same section of the dollar store. They are 9 for a $1. I added a patriotic sticker and they became a 4th of July party favor for the small gift boxes. The boxes are a perfect size for a few goodies and favors. These boxes were filled with candy, party poppers, a light stick, a bottle of bubbles, and a red, white, and blue tinsel necklace!

4th of July Necklaces

When I have all nine of my grandchildren together I like to do things to make them feel united. This year we are all attending the fireworks together. I was in the dollar store recently and I saw some red, white, and blue tinsel garland that was really thick and shiny. Like always, I found inspiration in this glittery dollar find.

The strand was nine feet long. I have nine grandchildren, so I cut it into nine, one foot lengths. I added a bit of clear tape to the cut wire ends to keep it from possibly unraveling. I tied 24" lengths of blue yarn about an inch in on each end of the cut tinsel.

I had created nine very festive 4th of July necklaces for a buck! The necklaces ended up being part of a small gift box that I made for each child. The shiny thick tinsel necklaces made the perfect topper for the patriotic gift boxes!

Popping 4th of July Fun

Every 4th of July I treat my grandchildren to some kind of small gift, goodie, or activity to help celebrate our time together at the fireworks show. This year I put together small gift boxes for each child.

The small patriotic decorated boxes include a few Tootsie "Pops", kid safe TNT "Pop-its", always fun Party "Poppers", a glowing light stick, a small bottle of bubbles that will provide lots of "Popping" action, and a glittering red, white, and blue necklace which also serves as a eye "Popping" burst of color and shine to top of the gift boxes!

To add to the fun I will arrive with their gift boxes in a large basket lined with patriotic linens and some festive red, white, and blue tinsel party picks. I will also have the supplies for face painting. Face paint, glitter, patriotic stickers, and sparkling stars will provide some holiday fun while they are waiting for the fireworks to begin that I am sure they will enjoy.

This project and these ideas are all very simple and inexpensive but they help to make the time you spend with your grandchildren just a bit more fun, festive and memorable!

Make sure to watch the 4th of July clearance sales and you too will find inspiration for just pennies on the dollar that can be stored away for the year and used to create your own memories in helping to make the 4th of July holiday "Pop" for your grandchildren too!

Have a happy and safe 4th of July !