Creatology Holiday Traditional Foam House

creatology-holiday-traditional-3d-house

Last night, Noah and I assembled the second of the Creatology holiday foam houses that we bought at Michael’s last weekend (the first was the 3D paper train craft kit) This foam house is the Creatology holiday “traditional house” 3D foam kit, but I would say the only thing that is traditional about it is the structure. The rest of the decoration very modern and festive!

These are the materials that you get with the kit. It comes with 99 pieces, some that interlock like puzzle pieces, and some that have a self-adhesive backing. The box says you need glue, but I was pleasantly suprised to find that we could use mini glue dots to complete this project! Other foam structures that we have assembled in the past did need a hot glue gun, which I prefer not to use around my little ones.

Creatology Christmas Traditional House Parts

Creatology Christmas Traditional House Parts

Noah was extremely into putting this house together. I’m an engineer by degree, so he must have gotten some of my genes. I was extremely impressed with how well this house was engineered and how well the pieces fit together.

Creatology Christmas Construction

Creatology Christmas Construction

I also loved how the foam pieces themselves helped me talk to Noah about shapes (this is a square, this piece is a triangle) and everyday objects (this is a window, this is a door). He already knows what these things are, but I am big on repetition and speech stimulation for my kids – especially in the 0-3 range.

Creatology Christmas House Construction

Creatology Christmas House Construction

Here are some shots of the finished house and the assembly process. The only other supplies, aside from glue dots, we needed were a toothpick to punch out the pre-cut holes in the foam pieces and some scissors to cut out off the excess shingle pieces and snow drifts.

The only pieces that needed glue dots were the pre-printed Santa, wreath, bows, and some parts of the tree.

I really did love how colorful this holiday foam house was, and how sturdy it is. My kids love characters (any, really!), so the Santa on this house was a nice touch for them!

Creatology Holiday Traditional Foam House

Creatology Holiday Traditional Foam House

Our kids woke up this morning to find a little visitor on their house! Our elf on the shelf is always looking for festive places to appear every morning. :)

Creatology Christmas House Elf on the Shelf

Creatology Christmas House Elf on the Shelf

Have you put any of the Michael’s foam houses together? I am looking forward to putting together the third house with my kiddos!

Happy Crafting!

Carolyn

Creatology 3D Paper Train Kit

Creatology Christmas Paper Train Craft Kit

We were in Michael’s this weekend and picked up a few Creatology Christmas foam kits. I love Creatology craft kits because they are sooo cute and are easy for my kids to handle. My son, Liam, who is 4 years old, insisted we work on the 3D paper train kit as soon as we got home from Michael’s. He’s obsessed (an understatement) with Thomas & Friends, so this craft kit was right up his alley!

The box itself is very substantial. You get a nice color photo as a guide, and the back of the box has visual instructions. This is a bonus for kids who can’t quite read yet!

Creatology 3D Christmas Paper Train Kit Box

Creatology 3D Christmas Paper Train Kit Box

The kit has 82 pieces in total and comes with 4 large sheets of paper that have a foam core.  The kit appears to be made out of paper with a foam core. This is the first Creatology 3D structure that I’ve seen that includes both paper and foam – most are foam. The paper and foam combination made it easier to bend the “paper”.

Each of the paper pieces have a letter/number near each paper slot so you know where to insert the slots. I love that this kit doesn’t require any glue. I’m not the kind of mom who likes messy crafts, although I will tolerate them if they are truly worthwhile for my kids. :)

Creatology Paper Train Sheets

Creatology Paper Train Sheets

When we unfolded a sheet, we found that there was actually double the amount of materials than shown above!

Creatology Paper Train Sheet

Creatology Paper Train Sheet

To get started, we started punching each of the pieces out of the paper sheets. They were easy for my kids to punch out – but we did need a toothpick to punch out the tiny paper slots. Liam (4) and Sage (6), did this with ease. Because there are so many parts, we started to run out of time for Liam and he had to take his afternoon nap. Sage and I continued with the project.

Punching out paper parts

Punching out paper parts

I assembled the steam engine, penguin, and moose using the photo as a guide. Sage worked on the passenger car and caboose.  

I was impressed that Sage could put this craft together with minimal help. I liked that she had to do some problem solving to see how to bend the tabs to fit them into the slots. She was so proud that she could do it by herself! Craft kits are great because they’re both educational and fun!

Putting slots together

Putting slots together

Here’s the completed caboose!

Creatology passenger car complete

Creatology passenger car complete

The steam engine turned out really nicely. All of the wheels on this train had double foam, I’m assuming for extra stability.

Creatology engine complete

Creatology engine complete

The hardest part of this craft was putting the penguin and the moose together. The pieces have to go in a certain way, but with a bit of trial and error, we finally got them together. How adorable are these little guys!

Creatology train animals

Creatology train animals

Sage coupled the train cars together all by herself! 

Coupling the train

Coupling the train

Assembling all of the train cars and animals took Sage and I around 2 hours (I had 2-year old Noah in my lap part of the time!), but would probably take an adult and child around 1.5 hours to complete.  

Creatology Christmas train complete

Creatology Christmas train complete

We loved this craft – it appeals to both boys and girls and was simple to do. It’ll make a great Christmas decoration for our buffet in our dining room – or maybe I’ll put it on our fireplace mantel.

What do you think of this craft? You can swing by Michael’s to pick one up – but you may want to do it asap. I think they change their kits out every year so it may not be available next year!

Happy Crafting!

Carolyn

Make Your Own Shrink Art

Make your own shrink art

As a kid, I was fascinated by Shrinky Dinks. They were fun to color and more fun to watch in the oven. I loved you could take a piece of material and make it miniature!

For our September "Happy Fall & Back to School" craft package, I wanted to bring my own version of shrink art into our monthly craft package.

Using some clear inkjet printable shrink film, I printed this fun back to school artwork by Our Monitos using an inkjet printer. I absolutely love this artwork because these images have faces – my kids love any objects with faces (especially Thomas the Train!). I want to thank Our Monitos again for letting us use their back-to-school artwork.

Printing on the inkjet printable shrink film took a lot of trial and error, because my printer didn’t recognize the shrink film at first. I realized that because the paper was "clear" – it’s really a milky white, I had to put a strip of repositionable labels at the bottom of the paper to let the printer know that there was really paper in there. I have also read that this paper won’t work with some printers, but luckily it worked with mine!

Once printed, this is what the shrink art looked like. The ink goes on very smoothly and only needs a few seconds to dry.

Back to School Shrink Art printed sheet

Back to School Shrink Art printed sheet

While printable inkjet shrink film manufacturer states that it’s best to use permanent markers or paint, but most artwork has enough detail that would require colored pencils. Colored pencils go on fairly smooth, but you may get a few spots where the color may not hold, which is okay because you won’t see those spots when it shrinks!

Coloring shrink art

Coloring shrink art

With colored pencils, you’ll get some excess pencil lead. Make sure you dust it off or these speckles will be there once you shrink the images.

Excess pencil lead

Excess pencil lead

Here’s the finished colored sheet.

Finished Colored Sheet

Finished Colored Sheet

Cut your shrink art shapes out, trying to keep the lines as smooth as possible, so that when your art shrinks, it won’t have sharp edges.

Cutting out shrink art items

Cutting out shrink art items

Here are all of the colored and cut piece. Who could resist these smiling faces?! :)

Cutting complete

Cutting complete

Lay a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheet. Lay your shrink art pieces on top, making sure they don’t touch.

Place shrink art items on baking sheet

Place shrink art items on baking sheet

Set your toster oven or oven to 350 degrees F, then pop them in for 1-3 minutes. You’ll start to see them curl and twist (my kids LOVED this part!). Some may even flip over, but that’s okay because they will eventually flatten out.

Shrink art curling

Shrink art curling

You’ll know their done when they are mostly flat. When you take them out of the oven, the shrink art will still be extremely pliable. If some pieces are still a little curled, you can flatten them with a spatula. Don’t let the kids touch the shrink art until it’s cool. It will take a couple minutes for them to cool completely.

Out of the oven

Out of the oven

These shrink to around 20-30% of their original size. This is what they look like up-close. Super cute!

Shrink Art Complete

Shrink Art Complete

My kids loved playing with these mini school shapes, and they even got a little science experiment out of this craft! Our shrink art craft kit included the printed shrink art sheet, parchment paper, and Crayola colored pencils. All you would need is the oven and a pair of scissors!

I have seen other shrinky dink craft kits in Michael’s, and while they are fun, they take a lot of extra time because you have to trace your own outline, and then color the insides of the outlined picture. Making your own shrink art allows you to use your own clip art, and the outlined printed images are crisp and clear!

Please post a comment below if you have any questions about making your own shrink art.

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Rainbow Party Ideas

Rainbow Party Ideas

I have about 6 weeks until birthday mania starts in our house. My 5-year old (Sage), 3-year old (Liam), and 1-year old (Noah) turn 6, 4, and 2 all within 2 weeks of each other. Sage is intent on having her birthday party at Chuck E Cheese this year. She is enthralled with the ticket blaster commercials on TV, so Chuck E Cheese it will be! I tried to convince her to do a party at her gymnastics facility for an hour of tumbling and jumping fun, but no deal.

The theme of her party this year will be My Little Pony. She wanted this theme last year, but since Sage and Liam had a party together, I did more of a rainbow theme. To help me figure out what this year’s party will look like, I dug up last year’s pics (so I wouldn’t repeat)! I thought this might help you with some ideas if you are thinking of throwing a rainbow party for your kids.

Rainbow Party Ideas

I made these cute, colorful personalized buckets to hold party favors. I have had a Cricut for years and used it mainly for scrapbooking and cardmaking, but never used it to decorate any household items. I bought from adhesive backed vinyl Amazon.com for about $10 and used the Base Camp cartridge to cut the lettering. The vinyl is super ease to use and adhered well to the sand buckets I bought from a local store. I loved that they were personalized party favor that kids would be able to re-use. A year later, my kids still have their buckets and use them for storage and play.

Rainbow Buckets

Rainbow Buckets

One of the party favors was a rainbow and pot of gold. I made these using Rainbow Twizzlers and Rolos. I do have to say that finding Rainbow Twizzlers was not easy, but I think I found them at Meijer. I put them in sandwich bags, but had I had more time, I would have bought cello bags and tied them with some pretty bow.

Rainbow Treat Bags

Rainbow Treat Bags

Sage’s cake was a rainbow cake, of course! I must have been absolutely insane, because I baked a 7-layer cake (all in different colors) to come up with this cake! The cake decorating was easy – I just used homemade white icing and used the Rainbow Twizzlers to make the rainbow and pipe on rosette clouds. When I finished decorating this cake, I was afraid the cake would topple over in transit, but it it made it!

Rainbow Cake

Rainbow Cake

Here’s the inside of the cake once we cut into it at Jungle Java (an indoor playplace here in Michigan).

Rainbow Cake Cut

Rainbow Cake Cut

Sage was totally enamored and I’m pretty sure she had to stand up to blow the candle out on this monstrous cake!

Rainbow Cake at the Party

Rainbow Cake at the Party

So, this year’s cake and party favors will be purely My Little Pony. Of course, I do need to add some boy-themed favors for Sage’s boy cousins and friends. If anyone has any ideas on how to do that, let me know. I always have a hard time adding boy things into a girl party theme!

Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links and should you purchase, I will receive affiliate commission. I only promote products that I highly recommend, and all opinions stated here are my own.

Let’s Pretend School by Alex Toys

Let's Pretend School by Alex Toys

I remember playing "school" when I was younger. We had a chalkboard in our garage (I’m sure it was kept there to keep the chalk dust out of the house!) and a small desk. My sisters and I would play school and actually hand out assignments to each other! I couldn’t resist picking up this Let’s Pretend School set by Alex Toys for Sage. Alex Toys, btw, also makes a great line of craft kits to help keep kids busy!

Let's Pretend School by Alex Toys

Let’s Pretend School by Alex Toys

This play set is a blend of pretend play, education, drawing, and coloring all in one! Sage loves to play teacher, so this was a really great activity for her! I also got a view of how she thinks a teacher and student should behave!

This is the box. It comes with a sturdy red handle.

Let's Pretend School Box

Let’s Pretend School Box

The pad folio, or carrying case, has a built in clock. This is great for Sage as she is learning how to tell time, or if your child isn’t old enough yet, a great way visual to help learn numbers and counting.

School Clock

School Clock

You get a plethora of colorful supplies. Sage is looking at the drawing pad, and you’ll also see stickers, colored pencils, and activity books. There’s a wipe-off book where Sage can practice writing letters over and over again with the included dry erase marker.

School Supplies

School Supplies

We took a closer view of the worksheets and activity pages. There is really something in here for preschoolers to elementary age school children. You’ll see shape recognition, color-by-number, and geography! I know Sage will have hours of fun with these high quality worksheets and also keep working her brain!

School Worksheets

School Worksheets

The pockets on the portfolio/carrying case are so easy to use! What you see here are real "teacher" tools that will really help your child get into the role of teacher. There’s an attendance chart, report card, star student certificate, and reward stickers.

Pockets

Pockets

Sage dove into this set by, first, putting me into the position of "student". You’ll see how she wrote my name here.

Attendance Chart

Attendance Chart

After taking attendance, she got right to work on her writing skills with the blue dry erase marker and wipe off workbook! The set does come with a cute little eraser too!

Workbook

Workbook

She then proceeded to point out the weather report. We are having a sunny day here in MI!

Pointer

Pointer

I think her favorite part of this set was the red school bell. This is a very high quality bell. It’s great for getting attention of her "students". I do have to admit that we do need to put it away during Liam’s and Noah’s nap time. :)

Bell

Bell

This was such a cute play set and highly educational, too! You could re-create this set using cardboard and making your own worksheets. But you can also buying it, you’ll find the lowest price on Amazon.com.

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Father’s Day Craft Kit Giveaway

Father's Day Craft Kit Giveaway

Now that it is officially June, we are giving away one of our Father’s Day craft kits!

Let your kids show Dad or Grandpa how much you love and appreciate him by assembling these gifts for him. This kit includes all of the supplies you need to assemble the crafts. You only need scissors. All craft kits are individually packaged and include instructions.

Your kids will love putting these crafts together and will delight in their "handmade" creations. You can also help your kids learn about measurement with the tape measure craft and buoyancy with the foam ship craft, and also improve their creativity and fine motor skills with all of the crafts!

Father's Day Craft Kit by Carefree Crafts

Father’s Day Craft Kit by Carefree Crafts

If you are not familiar with Carefree Crafts, curates craft kits that are appropriate for kids ages 3-7 and delivers them to your door. We currently offer a kids craft subscription starting at $14.95for one child and $23.92 for two children. You can get your first month for only $5.95 using the SAVE60 coupon. Limit 1 per household; new subscribers only.

For all you dads out there, I hope you can spend a relaxing and memorable day with your dads, kids, and family!
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One lucky reader will win this Kids Father’s Day Craft Package curated by Carefree Crafts.
Giveaway ends Monday, June 10, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST.
Open to US residents only, ages 18+.
Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

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Mother’s Day Craft Kit Giveaway

Mother's Day Craft Kit Giveaway

One of my new favorite holidays is coming up in about ~2 weeks – Mother’s Day! In honor of Mother’s Day, we are giving away our Mother’s Day Craft Kit. This craft kit is great for kids ages 3-7.

I became a mom 5+ years ago when my daughter was born, and have added 2 more to our crew since. Mother’s Day has become more special to me now that I’ve had some years of motherhood under my belt, because I can now fully appreciate what my mother did for me and my siblings. My mom had 6 children – no, that is not a typo. I can’t even fathom what her days looked like when we were toddlers and babies. I know I would have been pulling my hair out! But my mom always took care of us with a big, generous heart and truly sacrificed her time, life, and body for us. I cannot thank you enough, Mom!

We hand-selected the crafts in our Mother’s Day craft kit so kids could have fun showing how much they love and appreciate mom and grandma. It also has the added benefit of letting kids work on coloring, writing, beading, gluing, and fine motor placement skills. Whew! That is a lot! :)

Mother's Day Craft Kit by Carefree Crafts

Mother’s Day Craft Kit by Carefree Crafts

If you are not familiar with Carefree Crafts, curates craft kits that are appropriate for kids ages 3-7 and delivers them to your door. We currently offer a kids craft subscription starting at $14.95 for one child and $22.42 for two children. You can get your first month for only $5.95 using the SAVE60 coupon.

For all you moms out there, I hope you can spend a relaxing and memorable day with your moms, kids, and family!
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One lucky reader will win this Kids Mother’s Day Craft Package curated by Carefree Crafts.
Giveaway ends Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST.
Open to US residents only, ages 18+.
Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

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Make Your Own Egg Carton Tulips

Make your own egg carton tulips

I love planting potted flowers in the spring – while I can’t say they usually survive the entire summer, I do like to look at them! Since we don’t have spring weather here yet (it is 37 degrees F right now), I used this Make Your Own Egg Carton Spring Tulips craft kit from Target to bring some fun spring colors inside!

Since this egg carton tulip craft kit seemed to be a seasonal item (and probably no longer available), you could also make these yourself using a colored paper egg carton, green chenille stems, buttons, ribbon, glue, and a container or cardboard paper roll to hold your tulips. Here are the craft parts that came with the kit.

Egg carton tulips before assembly

Egg carton tulips before assembly

Here are the steps I would take to make your own egg carton tulips:

Starting with a colored paper egg carton or two, cut out 12 tulip bases. Add two holes to each tulip base using a knife (as shown below). Many paper egg cartons are already colored yellow, pink, or blue.

Tulip holes

Tulip holes

Take a green chenille stem and insert it into one of the holes.

Insert pipe cleaner

Insert pipe cleaner

Bring the top of the chenille stem down into the second hole.

Bend pipe cleaner

Bend pipe cleaner

Twist the chenille stem under the base of the tulip.

Twist pipe cleaner

Twist pipe cleaner

Take a foam sticky dot or pop dot and add it to the back of a button.

Add sticky dot to bottom

Add sticky dot to bottom

Stick the button in the center of the tulip base.

Inside of tulip

Inside of tulip

Take a paper leaf (with a hole punched out in the leaf) and thread it through the chenille stem.

Add leaf

Add leaf

Repeat steps above 11 more times to create 12 tulips as shown below.

Completed tulips

Completed tulips

Use some ribbon to tie your bouquet of tulips together.

Tie tulips together with bow

Tie tulips together with bow

Trim your chenille stems down and add your tulip bouquet to a cardboard paper roll covered with scrapbook paper. You can see how I covered a cardboard paper roll while making our Easter bowling craft project.

Egg carton tulips completed

Egg carton tulips completed

My daughter immediately grabbed the tulip bouquet and started to pretend it was her bridal bouquet as she walked down the aisle. Of course, we told her she could pretend for now and then wait until she turned 30 to get married. :) She loved this craft and it was super simple and easy for us to do together!

What do you think of this craft project?

Do you think this is something you could do at home with your kiddos?

Hello Kitty Purse Craft Review and Giveaway

Hello Kitty Purse Craft Kit Giveaway

We are giving away this adorable Hello Kitty Purse craft. I would say this is a great craft for kids ages 8+. It’s also a great craft for adults who want to hand-make a Hello Kitty craft for your child, grandchild, or niece. My 5-year old daughter loves the soft feel of the purse – it’s made of really soft felt. It also has an adjustable strap and velcro closure so your child can take it anywhere.

Hello Kitty Purse

Hello Kitty Purse

Sew a Hello Kitty Groovy Bag

The instructions in this craft kit do take a little time to decipher, but once I sewed the purse together, I fell in LOVE! The craft took me less than 2 hours to complete, and because it’s a "sewing" craft, I did it while watching one of my favorite reality TV shows "The Real Housewives". :)

I say it’s a "sewing" craft because it’s really a lacing craft with a yarn needle and different colors of yarn. All of the pieces are included – you just need scissors. When you lace the sides of the felt purse together, you’ll need to make sure you line up the holes just right so the sides aren’t lopsided. Also, in a few cases, the holes were too far apart and I would just have to double up on one hole to keep the purse aligned – but no biggie!

This is is a lacing craft that any girl would be proud of once completed! Here are the craft parts you’ll receive. Instructions are included.

Hello Kitty purse parts

Hello Kitty purse parts

If you love the convenience of craft kits where all supplies are included, check out our offer to get a FREE craft package, filled with 5 craft kits, for your child. You pay only $2.95 for handling.

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One lucky reader will win this Sew a Hello Kitty Groovy Bag from Carefree Crafts.
Giveaway ends Monday, April 8, 2013 at 11:59 pm EST.
Open to US residents only, ages 18+.
Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

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10 Easter Craft Ideas for Kids

10 Easter Craft Ideas for Kids

Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite Easter craft ideas for kids! Some of these crafts will be easy for preschool kids, and some crafts will better for older kids who are learning to sew. These all are great craft ideas that are absolutely CUTE, adorable, and a fun way to celebrate Easter.

Popcorn Lamb

Popcorn Lamb

Popcorn Lamb

This is a cute preschool or kindergarten craft idea from Oriental Trading’s Free-N-Fun Easter site. Cut out a white lamb shape, ears, purple legs, and glue them together. Spread a thin layer of glue on the body of the lamb, and let your little one place the popcorn pieces on top of the layer of glue. Let it dry.

Sticker Easter Eggs

Sticker Easter Eggs

Sticker Easter Eggs

Why not dress up your already dyed eggs with some fun stickers. Use a hole puncher to cut out small circles out of colored paper, and glue them on the eggs to make a creative design! This one is from BHG.

Easter Wreath

Easter Wreath

Easter Wreath

Welcome your guests with this colorful Easter wreath. Glue foam eggs shapes (or even paper) together and decorate with stickers. I made this in 30 minutes – see the Easter wreath tutorial here.

Easter Egg Centerpiece

Easter Centerpiece

Easter Centerpiece

This cute and easy Easter egg centerpiece comes is from Simply Crafty. All you need are pre-made egg picks from the dollar store, easter grass, foam block, and container. Love that this craft is quick and inexpensive!

Jelly Bean Topiary

Jelly Bean Topiary

Jelly Bean Topiary

This topiary from the Crafty Sisters is another easy craft. Insert a craft stick into a foam ball, add the jelly beans with hot glue, and insert into a foam base that is inset into a flower pot. Add moss on top. Make sure you have adult supervision for this one, especially with the hot glue gun!

Easter Egg Snowflakes Paper Craft

Easter Egg Snowflakes

Easter Egg Snowflakes

All you need for this adorable craft are colored paper and scissors! Cut out an egg shape out of paper, fold it in quarters, and start cutting your patterns. This is a good craft for kids who are working on cutting skills and shape recognition. Instructions for this Easter paper craft are here.

Easter Peeps Banner

Easter peeps banner

Easter peeps banner

This Easter Peeps banner is for the more advanced crafter. You’ll need the bunny bunting pattern from Dana Made It, cut out your felt bunnies, sew the bunnies, and add them to the ribbon. You’ll see detailed instructions at Dana Made It.

Chocolate Birds’ Nests

Chocolate Birds' Nests

Chocolate Birds’ Nests

These look scrumptious! The Curvy Carrot used chow mein noodles, peanut butter, butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, and mini Cadbury eggs to make this festive treat!

Carrot Patch Cookies

Carrot Patch Cookies

Carrot Patch Cookies

What kid wouldn’t love these adorable carrot patch cookies? Make the outline of the garden bed with sugar wafer cookes and attach with chocolate frosting. Fill the beds with frosting and chocolate wafer cookie crumbs. Use orange Mike and Ike candies to make the carrots and green gummy candy to make the carrot tops. This is from Spoonful.

Easter S’Mores

Easter S'Mores

Easter S’Mores

This would make a great Easter treat for your child’s classmates or Easter basket filler! Add 2 peeps, some graham crackers, and a chocolate easter bunny to a bag. This is a cute, easy, and sweet treat from Scrappin’ with My Bug.


I hope these ideas helped inspire you to work on some Easter crafts with your kids! Have a great week and happy Easter!

Carolyn