DIY I Spy Bottle

In honor of children’s book week, I’ve got a craft based on Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick’s I Spy books. The craft itself isn’t unique (I’ve seen in everywhere on Pinterest), but I thought it’d be fun to try making one of my own!

Materials:

Clear bottle or jar with lid or cap
Uncooked rice
Assorted miniature items
Funnel
Glue

  • You will want to clean out your bottle or jar a couple days ahead of time to give it a chance to dry. I recommend plastic since the toy is for children and plastic is more durable. However, glass does look prettier, so it’s really up to you. I used a Pepsi bottle because it was clear and didn’t have extra indentations on it.
  • There are a lot of great ways to find miniature items. Keep in mind you want them to fit through the neck of the bottle! I found alphabet beads and pony beads at the craft store, which is where I got fun shapes/items like a turtle, dog, cat, fish, etc. I also had pieces from disassembled jewelry I found at a rummage sale (that’s where the peppers came from), as well as some fun shaped buttons. You could also use objects like pencil toppers.

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Directions:

  1. Choose everything you are going to put in the bottle (sans rice) and lay it out nicely. Take a picture. If you are giving this to a child who can’t read, they will want a picture of items they can find in the bottle. If the child can read you can reference the picture to type up a list of what is in the bottle.
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  2. Stick a funnel in the top of your bottle. If you don’t have a funnel, you can cut the lid off of a soda bottle and use that. I taped mine on so I didn’t have to hold it.

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    You can see all the escaped rice from when I tried to do this without a funnel…
  3. Pour a little bit of rice (3/4-1 inch) into the bottle.
  4. Add a couple of trinkets/miniatures.
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  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the bottle is filled, doing your best to space the miniatures throughout the bottle.
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  6. Place the cap on the bottle and try shaking it to see if you can uncover any items. If this is difficult, pour out a little rice to allow the objects to move more freely. Repeat until the bottle is fun to play with.
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  7. I highly suggest gluing the cap on. Because mine was going to a house with toddlers, I wanted to ensure that the cap couldn’t come off and the choking hazards (the miniatures) would not become available.
  8. Print out your picture of the items, or list of the items, and include it with the I Spy bottle.

Older children may want to find specific items in the jar (find all the letters in their name, find the alphabet in order, find the orange dog, etc.), and younger children may just want to shake it to see what they uncover. Either way it should be a good boredom buster. It’s also a fun activity to match with the I Spy books. I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like reading them! (My favorite was I Spy School Days [affiliate link])

Have you made an I Spy bottle? How did it go? What kind of objects did you use?

❤ Annette

ispy jar (1)

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15+ Crochet Patterns Based on Children’s Books

I really enjoy crocheting, even if I don’t get around to it as much as I should. So today, in honor of Children’s Book Week, I have a collection of crochet patterns based on children’s books. One of my favorite toddler/child gifts is to give a book along with a crocheted plush that matches that book. As of me writing this post, all of the linked-to patterns are free! Yay!

Because I haven’t made most of these, there aren’t many pictures of the projects themselves. Click on each link to head to each site to check them out! The books each project is based on (or that I associated them with) is next to each link. Clicking on that will take you to Amazon via an affiliate link.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Crochet Hats by Repeat Crafter Me

Cat In the Hat Pencil Topper by Paper, Needles, n Sweets

Green Eggs and Ham by NyanPon



Star Bellied Sneetch by CraftyIsCool



Hungry Caterpillar Plush by Britteny’s Boutique (I’ve made this one! Check out my post about it here.)

Ballerina Mouse by Heart and Sew

Lowly Worm Plush by Little Black Marker (I’ve made this one too! Check out my post about it here.)


Little Red Riding Hood Doll by My Backyard Monsters

Little Red Riding Hood Cape by Repeat Crafter Me

Eeyore Plush by Skestes


Where the Wild Things Are Monster by Amigurumi To Go



Crayon Blanket by Interweave

Crayon Box Kawaii Cuddler by 3 am Grace Designs

Monkey Plush by Chimu Hamada



Fancy Goldfish Plush by Kate Wood



Mouse and Cookie Plush by Chaleur Life



Clifford the Dog Kid’s Hat by Crafter Chick

 

 

Do you have any patterns to add to this list? Which one are you most excited to make?

Happy crafting! ❤ Annette

crochet kids books

DIY Hungry Caterpillar Bracelet

In honor of children’s book week, I’ve got a craft based on Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It was one of my favorites growing up and now my nephews love it too.

Materials:

10 mm ceramic red beads
10 mm green beads
.5 mm elastic thread
Yellow puff paint
Black puff paint
Scissors
Super glue (optional)

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Directions:

Making the Caterpillar’s Head

(I would suggest making two or three, then choosing the best one for your bracelet. These are hard because they’re so small! It’s also useful to keep tissues or paper towels on hand, so you can wipe the puff paint off if you make a mistake.)

  1. Use yellow puff paint to add two large eyes to a ceramic red bead.
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  2. Use black puff paint to add a pupil to each eye. I found this easier when the yellow was still wet.
  3. Use black puff paint to add antennae.

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    This wasn’t the final one – his expression is pretty wonky 😛
  4. Place bead hole-down so it doesn’t roll. Let dry.

Making the Bracelet

  1. Determine how big you want your bracelet to be. I used the size chart here.
  2. Measure a length of your elastic that is twice as long as the desired bracelet, plus a few inches. So if you want to make a toddler bracelet that’s 5 inches around, measure 13 inches. ((5*2)+3=13) Cut the elastic at this length.
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  3. String one green bead on to the elastic and slide it so it is exactly in the middle. You can do this by holding both ends of the elastic together.
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  4. Now, string the next green bead through both ends of the elastic. Repeat for all green beads, until you reach the desired length. Don’t forget to save a spot for the red bead!
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  5. When the head bead is dry, string it on both strings of the elastic as well.
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  6. String one end of the elastic back through the original bead.
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  7. Tie both ends of the elastic together, two or three times.
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  8. I don’t trust elastic to hold, so I always add a dab of super glue to the knot.
  9. Trim the ends of the elastic.

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Voila! Now you have an adorable Hungry Caterpillar bracelet!

I do want to note that the beads can be a choking hazard, so be careful who you give these to.

If your child loves The Very Hungry Caterpillar, they also may like: (affiliate links)

 

 

 

❤ Annette

caterpillar bracelet

Children’s Book Week

Children’s Book Week starts today! You can find all the official information here.

This week I will try to post about children’s books. We’ll see how well I do at that! 😛 For today, I wanted to kick off the week by providing you with links to all of the children’s book related posts I’ve already done. Click on each image to go to the post!

12 awesome picture books

My favorite childhood picture books.

never fade

Why it’s important to introduce books to children, even at a young age.

10 Books I Want My Future Children to Read

Books I want my future children to read, based mainly on how much I enjoyed the books as a child.

caterpillar

A couple years ago I crocheted a Hungry Caterpillar as a Christmas gift.

worm

I also crocheted a Lowly Worm. 🙂

Bookish christmas gift guides (1)

Items (that aren’t books) that still foster a love for reading.

Bookish christmas gift guides

Bookish gifts for elementary aged children.

Elementary Books

My favorite authors from my childhood.

Last but not least, my children’s chapter book reviews (only two so far). Click on the images to go to the review.

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Happy reading!

❤ Annette

Book Review: Asi Es Josefina (Meet Josefina) by Valerie Tripp

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Summary

Josefina lives with her sisters on a ranch outside of Santa Fe. In this book we get to see a snapshot of her life as her grandfather comes back from his trip to Mexico City. And with him comes special visitor!

What I Liked

  • It was fun to learn some of the history of the Santa Fe area. I’ve been there, but never considered much of its past. Learning about the Camino Real was also pretty cool.
  • It was a great way for me to practice my Spanish. (I read it in Spanish.)
  • Overall this was a pretty cute story. It’s hard for me to imagine what life was like even two hundred years ago, so it was cool to jump into a snippet of it.

What I Didn’t Like

  • Because it was written for a younger age, it wasn’t as enthralling for me. The story line was fairly simple, and the main antagonist was a goat.

In Conclusion

If you want to practice your Spanish, you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re an elementary school reader, you’ll probably enjoy it too.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

Book Review: Scooby-Doo y el Monstruo de las Nieves (Scooby-Doo and the Snow Monster)

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Book 3 of the Scooby Doo! Mysteries

I read books in Spanish to improve my Spanish vocabulary. (I mean… it’s how I learned or reinforced a lot of my English vocabulary so….) As you can guess by the title of this book, I’m still at a child’s reading level in Spanish.

This book follows Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, and the rest of the “gang” as they go on vacation at a ski resort. Unfortunately, there is a snow monster terrorizing the guests of the resort! After it bothers the crew one too many times, they decide to figure out who is behind the monster.

This book gets four stars. It was a little bit less predictable than the usual Scooby-Doo story, but still followed the basic pattern. In an effort to not make the culprit super obvious, the author introduced quite a few characters. If I was reading in my native language this might not have been a problem, but it was confusing to me as it was, and I suspect it would be confusing to a beginning reader as well.

Spanish words I learned/reinforced with this book:

Albergue – Cabin
Escalera – Ladder
Cobertizo – Shed
Furgoneta – Van

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

(affiliate link)

 

 

My Favorite Childhood Picture Books

Today I’m going to share with you some of my favorite books from my childhood. Both of my parents were huge influences on my love of reading. My dad read to me and my siblings all the time in the evenings, a mother is a huge reader herself. She read chapter books aloud to us, or read them at the same time as us, so we could discuss them. The books below are all picture books that I remember being read to me over and over and over again, as I’d often request them.  Hopefully this will help you remember some of the wonderful books from your past as well! (Post contains affiliate links.)

Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambaut

This is one of the first books I think of when I think of picture books from my childhood. All the nonsensical words and the wonderful rhythm makes this book a wonderful read, for any age really. 🙂

Harvest Mice by Beverly Randall

This one is adorable, and maybe set off an obsession of mine with all things mouse related. (I’ve got a collection of adorable mice – not real, of course.) There is a sad page about harvest mice getting eaten though, so if you’re reading this to a child, maybe tear that page out first?

Farmer Patrick Pig by Richard Scarry

This is the first book I remember reading all the way through by myself. Of course I’d heard the story before, but it was still a magical moment. I read the book to my mom, making only a few mistakes, and my five year old self decided to cement the book in her head as the first she ever read. (All of Richard Scarry’s books are awesome. I mean, Lowly Worm? A pickle car? They’re all awesome and inventive.)

Little Critter These Are My Pets by Mercer Mayer

I loved all Little Critter books (we owned most of them), but I think this one was my favorite. He has a spider and a dog and a frog and they were all so fun to point out on the page as a child.

A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer and P.D. Eastman

This story is about Otto the fish, who got fed to much and kept growing and growing and growing. He outgrows his fishbowl and then the bathtub… and so on.

Disney Babies

I don’t remember which book specifically it was that I read over and over again, but it was definitely one in this series.

But No Elephants by Jerry Smath

This is a wonderful book about a woman who takes all sorts of animals in… but won’t take elephants.

Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson

This one’s good for those who are learning to count! It was even recommended in my teaching math class in college. In this book a panda works to seat and feed groups of animals in his restaurant.

Dragon in a Wagon by Jane Moncure

This book is about a dragon in a wagon… need I say more? This is one my parents lament reading to me repeatedly. 🙂

Mary Wore Her Red Dress by Merle Peek

I’m fairly sure this was perpetually checked out (by me) at our local library. It’s got colors and a catchy rhyme. What’s not to love?

Go Dog Go by P. D. Eastman

I love this book too! Where are the dogs going? They’re all on their way to an important destination, and with such fun colors and shapes and sizes too!

Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse by Leo Lionni

This one is a-dor-a-ble. It’s about a mouse who meets a wind-up mouse and works to make the wind-up-mouse real, so they can be friends.

What are your favorite books from your childhood?

❤️ Annette

12 awesome picture books