Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beat the Summer Blues! (part 1)

I don't know about you, but we are HOT here in Houston! Our temperatures have been over 100 pretty much every day, so it's even too hot to go to the pool. So, we are having to find all kinds of things to keep us busy inside the house where we won't melt!

Here in Houston there are a lot of places to go to beat the heat: the zoo, aquarium, museums, libraries, shopping centers, pizza places, etc. We are members of the Houston Museum of Natural Science as well as the Houston Zoo, but I don't want to spend money (or gas) every day.

But, when we are sequestered in our house the kids get bored. Quickly. And mama can only watch Toy Story so many times before *I* start wanting to blow things up. To avoid this dangerous activity I have had to plan things more carefully to keep everyone busy and away from explosives. (Don't look at me like that - you know what I'm talking about!!)

To save you from coming up with activities all by yourself, I'll share some of the things we've been doing to save ourselves from boredom. In addition to coloring books and play dough, the kids have exercised their creative sides in these fun and inexpensive projects:

Activity #1: Perler Bead Fun



Perler Beads have been around for a long time (I had them when I was a kid and we won't talk about how long ago THAT was!) but still provide countless hours of entertainment for the 5 and up set. Chloe's fine motor skills are just honed enough to enjoy this craft, but Bradley is still too young. Plus these little beads could be a choking hazard, so you'll want to keep your 3-and-unders busy with a different project while your older kiddos are working on it. Perler does sell a selection of Big Beads for kids 3-5 for use with a special Big Bead Board. I don't have any, though, so I can't give you any info about them.



You can buy Perler Activity Kits for as low as $2 at the Perler Store (which also has a ton of sale items), or if you want to save on shipping you can find them at craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels or discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Perlers come in kits, collections of beads, and bulk sets. The collections of beads come in a wide range of colors including glow-in-the-dark (my kids' favorite).

Kids can fill a Perler board to the exact shape, or use guides in the Perler idea book to make fun shapes like bugs, flowers, people, and more. The Perler website also has a great gallery that your kiddos can browse for ideas, as well as specific Perler patterns.

I sort the beads by color family (shades of green together, blues together, etc) because I am OCD and because it makes it easier for the kids to find the beads they want to use. It can get messy digging through a big bag to find a specific color.

Perler projects do require some adult assistance because after the beads are on the boards they need to be ironed to melt them together. Each kit comes with directions on how to do this and it is incredibly simple - but you do need wax paper (comes with the kits) and an iron that can be set for "no" or "low" steam.

The possibilities are limitless - kids can make holiday crafts, coasters, key chains, window bobs, decorations, even 3D items like boxes! They'll have fun and you can turn off Noggin for a while and imagine a world without Moose and Zee!

Have fun, stay cool, and keep crafting!



(part 2 coming soon!)

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