Sight Word Matching Game

Play a Sight Word Matching Game

Playing “Memory” with Sight Words is a great way to help children interact with their sight words! To keep the game manageable, don’t start with an entire table covered with sight word cards. Start with 3 pairs, then work your way up to more. When you see your child start to get frustrated, use less pairs. The goal is to have your child interact with the words, recognize the words, and have fun. When they get frustrated, the game is no longer fun, and they won’t get as much learning out of it. Plus, they won’t want to play in the future.

To play the Sight Word Matching game, you need to print up duplicates of the Free Sight Word Printable Flashcards. Instead of making it a “Me vs. You” game, I paired up with my Kindergartener to help him. He got to turn over two cards, we identified the words, then turned them back over if they didn’t match. If they did match, we put them in a pile next to him. Once he got all 3 pairs, I put down three more pairs. You could play Sight Word Memory as a two-player game, where each person tries to find the most pairs, but I decided that I wanted only one goal when playing this game: have fun learning sight words. I didn’t want that goal to compete with other lessons like taking turns and sportsmanship. Those are valuable lessons, but not ones I wanted to focus on for this exercise.

Sight Word Matching Game

 

Girl Scout Cooke Time!

Blog Tour Image 2

When you’re asked if you would like to buy Girl Scout Cookies – you’re being asked to support an organization that helps young women find a place. I know from personal experience – growing up, I was one of those scouts.

If you’ve met me in person, you probably know (or could easily guess) that I was a Girl Scout. I started in 3rd grade, and stayed in Girl Scouts until I graduated High School. That’s 9 years of Girl Scouting, on two continents. And a whole lot of Girl Scout Cookies. Because selling Girl Scout Cookies funds Girl Scouting.

Nine Years of Girl Scouts

Did you know that 65-75% of the retail price of Girl Scout Cookies stays at the local level? That is every penny after paying the baker. The local council determines how the money is spent – on maintaining camp facilities, supporting the troops, and recognizing individual scouts, among other things.

As a lifetime member, I can tell you some of the ways that I was impacted by Girl Scouts growing up.

I made new friends. I learned how to set goals and achieve goals. I learned how to set a budget. I learned how to coordinate groups of people. I went camping. I cooked. Lashed together bridges. Traveled. Biked. Sang Songs. Sat around Campfires. Learned how to interact effectively with people of different ages and from different backgrounds. Developed leadership skills. Volunteered in my community (and have hundreds of recorded hours). Learned how to run a meeting, including Robert’s Rules of Order (which has served me so many times).  Developed basic life skills. Tested career opportunities. I could go on, but you get the picture. Many of these opportunities were funded by Girl Scout Cookie sales.

I had experiences I would never have had otherwise. My Cadet troop took a trip to Oregon that included 24-hours on a train (one way). I got to go to camp almost every summer – I went to theater camp, cycle camp, horse camp and crafting camp. I later became a camp counselor and got to lead groups of amazing young ladies as a camp song leader. When my family moved overseas, in the first weeks my mom set up a day for me to meet with another US Girl Scout, and I had an immediate friend, even though I was a continent and an ocean away from any home I’d ever known. That is a small thing that made an overwhelming transition so much more manageable. Thank you, Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout Cookie Patch

As an adult, I have had jobs in sales. I have joked that I started my sales career at age 8 when I sold Girl Scout Cookies. People laugh, but one of the toughest challenges in my “early sales career” was being a 15-year-old outside of K-Mart selling cookies. No longer the cute Brownie Scout, selling cookies wasn’t as easy as it had been. Which is why if I see a girl in a blue uniform (the Cadets and Seniors), I’ll buy a box of cookies from them, no matter how many boxes I have in my cupboards.

Join the largest Virtual Girl Scout Cookie Party

Though a lot has stayed the same since I began in Girl Scouting – the focus on the girl, and providing amazing leadership and learning opportunities – a lot has changed as well. It has to, because our world is changing. For example, there is now a Girl Scout Cookie APP! Yup, you can find out where your local Girl Scouts will be selling cookies, and show up with your cash in hand! They’re also hosting a Twitter party at 9pm EST (that’s 6pm for all us PST folks) on February 5th. Just follow #cookieboss on Twitter.

If you’d like to learn more about the History of Girl Scout Cookies or find out how you can Volunteer, check out GirlScouts.org. You can also find out more about cookie sales on the Girl Scout Cookie Program Facebook page.

In the coming weeks, as you see Girl Scouts selling cookies, buy an extra box. Know that you’re supporting an amazing program for young women… and that finding a box of Thin Mints at the back of the freezer on a hot August day is like a little piece of heaven.

Giant Classroom Wall Tree

One of the best things about having a school-aged kid is the fun projects. Yes, I’m going to be coming back to this post in a couple years, after drowning in school projects, and laughing at my former self who got excited when teachers asked for help. But right now, in this moment, it is pretty awesome. I love helping out in my son’s classroom, and this is one of those fun projects.

Little Moore’s teacher is a self-described non-crafty man. I offered to help out with some crafty projects, as needed. He wanted a big tree in the hallway that could be changed out for the seasons. Basically, just the trunk and branches. I told him that not only would I make it, but it would be awesome. Because I’m a lot of things… but humble is not one of them (however, awesome is totally one of them – ha!).

I’m not giving you a step-by-step here because I’m pretty sure that the demand for giant tree tutorials isn’t worth the time it’ll take me to edit the photos… but I’ll give you the highlights.

Classroom Tree with my Kindergartener

I prepped the trunk at home. I used Foamcore cut into the right shape. The “carving” on the tree is a piece of styrofoam. I carved the heart and the word “school” into the heart, then covered it in Smooth Finish. After the Smooth Finish hardened, I painted it brown, with the carving a lighter brown so it would really stand out.

Tree trunk with Styrofoam Smooth Finish Carving

At the top of the trunk, I put a piece of cork. This way the teacher can easily switch out things in the hole in the tree.

Classroom Tree Cork Board

I lined up my foam core, styrofoam, and cork pieces, and Duck Taped them together. I used some extra cardboard on the back to give some extra strength to the seams. Then I added on the bark.

The bark is crumpled up paper from a Fed Ex Box. It was already crumpled up, which was perfect. I just wrinkled it more, and used a TON of Mod Podge to secure it onto the tree trunk. Lots and lots of texture. Once that all dried, I used a sponge and some brown paint, lightly went over the whole trunk with the brown paint in spots (more texture!). Then gave the whole thing a thick coat of Mod Podge. So thick that it isn’t fully dry in these photos, and you can see some of the white!

The branches were fun to do.

Classroom Tree Branches

When I put the rest of the brown paper trunk on, I left 5 long pieces hanging off of the top, then took the trunk to school. I used a staple gun to secure the tree to the wall. Then I twisted the brown paper branches into place, using the staple gun to secure them. I tore off any extra, and added sub-branches off the 5 main branches. Once all the branches were up, they got a quick swipe of brown paint sponged on, and then a coat of Mod Podge.

It took about 5 hours at home, and about another 2-3 at the school… but this tree looks awesome.

Any volunteers to try to take it down at the end of the year?

Too Much Candy? Call the Great Pumpkin!

If you have kids and have never heard of the great pumpkin, then you’re in for a real treat. And not the sugary chocolate-covered kind. The Great Pumpkin is like the Tooth Fairy of Halloween. In fact, I have it on good authority that he is a third cousin (twice removed) of the Tooth Fairy. He picks up candy to keep kids from getting a stomach ache, ruining their appetite, and all the other bad things copious amounts of candy are known for.

How the Great Pumpkin saves kids and parents from too much candy

Here is how the Great Pumpkin works at our house:

My kids get to Trick or Treat as usual.

When they get home, they get to pick THREE pieces of candy that they can eat right then. If they’re smart, they’ll pick the full-sized candy bars… but it is up to them.

The rest of their candy goes back into their trick-or-treat bag, which is left by the back door.

While they are sleeping, the great pumpkin will collect their candy, and trade it in for a toy! (I have it on good authority that the great pumpkin will be trading in their candy for Lego this year).

When they wake up, they can come downstairs to see what the Great Pumpkin left for them!

The candy mysteriously makes its way into our pantry… but the kids are still to young to notice this coincidence.

This set-up is actually a fun twist on the way my mom traded us for our Halloween candy when I was a kid. We’d get a toy in exchange for the bulk of our Halloween treats. The benefit of getting the Great Pumpkin involved is that the kids need to go to bed in order for the Great Pumpkin to come! And anything to help over-tired and sugar-infused kids get bathed and in bed is a bonus!

Hope you have a happy (and safe!) Halloween!

Tips for Donating School Supplies (scissors, craft supplies, and more!)

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

My son started Kindergarten almost a month ago. It doesn’t seem possible. I’m now trying to juggle Mommy & Me events for my little one, and PTA meetings for my oldest’s new school. The school is fairly new – it has been around for 4 years – but much of the staff this year is new. Brand new. My son has a freshly-minted Kindergarten teacher. This man (yes, he’s got a male teacher), not only has to navigate a morning and afternoon class of 25 Kindergarteners each, but also 50 sets of parents!

Not only does he not come with years of experience, but he also doesn’t come with a classroom loaded with supplies collected across decades. It was important to me to let him know that I’m a parent who wants to support my child, and my child’s school. That’s why I was super excited to be selected to participate in this Fiskar’s Champions for Kids Campaign. Fiskars sent me money to buy school supplies that I could donate to my son’s new classroom!

tips for donating school supplies

From this experience, I want to share with you some tips for donating school supplies.

1. Ask – Ask the teacher what they need. For a new teacher like ours, the answer might be “everything!” Ask specific questions. Maybe the teacher has a project coming up that could use certain supplies? One of the things we picked out was a class set of Fiskars safety scissors. There are 25 kids in a class, so we picked out 28 pairs (you always need a few extras) of scissors. This will last our rookie teacher for years! We also picked some Fiskars wooden rulers that were both inexpensive and will stand up to a room full of Kindergarteners, year after year.

classroom set of scissors

2. Variety – Some things we know every teacher needs – pencils, paper, erasers. Think beyond the everyday. We chose a set of colorful dry erase markers. Our classrooms are equipped with large dry erase boards, and there is nothing as wonderful as having a nice, fresh, dry erase marker to write with!

bin of school supplies

3. Storage – Especially for a new teacher, storage is important! Though a teacher will never turn away a grocery bag filled with school supplies, it helps to think ahead. Once those 28 sets of scissors are taken out of their packages, where will they be stored? Giving the school supplies in plastic bins means the supplies will have a place to go after they are opened. Using clear bins means that it is very easy for the teacher to see what is inside, and find what he needs.

 

4. Duplicates – At the beginning of the school year, each student was sent home a list of basic supplies. Things like glue and crayons that they will need this year. If a student wasn’t able to bring these in, or if they run out, having duplicates on hand will help the teacher focus on the more important things – like the lesson he is teaching. I made sure to include extras of things like markers and crayons.

two bins of school supplies

5. Specialty Items – Do you remember being in school, and there was something special you couldn’t wait to play with? So you’d finish your work as fast as possible so that you could go play with that toy? Think of fun extras you can donate. I chose a giant set of 50 Crayola Pipsqueak markers that telescopes into a tower. The teacher can set these on a table for kids to color with after finishing their work, as a fun reward.

6. Get others involved – Do your part, but then encourage others to join in as well. Set an example for the community, and your family. I made sure my son was involved, so that he could see the impact these supplies have on his classroom.

get kids involved

7. Have fun! – Donating school supplies is giving a gift that will continue to have an impact in the lives of children, potentially for years. That makes it fun. But, I chose to have a little more fun, and I picked up a few things for myself to make a little fun something for my son to bring to school. I’ll share that with you here below.

 

When L goes to school, he misses us. It is only for 3 hours a day, but he’s still adjusting to the new building, the new kids, and the new routine. And it is hard. When I saw this little “lucky” book on the Fiskars website, I was inspired to make something similar to attach to my son’s backpack, so that he could bring a little reminder of his family to school each day.

supplies for photo tagsSupplies:

Tags
Photos
Fiskars Trimmer
Fiskars Scissors
Elmer’s Glue Stick
Elmer’s School Glue
Elmer’s Glitter Glue
Elmer’s Boarders
Metal Ring
Assorted Ribbons
Paintbrush

 

Start by trimming your photos smaller than your tags. The original album uses chipboard, but I wanted something smaller and lighter to hang on my son’s bag, so I went with the tags. Put a border on each tag, trim off the excess with scissors, and then glue the photo in place with the glue stick.

prepare tags

Put school glue on top of the photo, and brush an even coat with the paintbrush. This protects the photo, and seals everything in place.

coat in Elmer's School Glue

I did the same thing with glitter glue.

coat with glitter glue

Put everything aside to dry.

sealed with glue

Tie the ribbons onto the metal ring. To help keep the knots secure, add a couple drops of school glue to the knots.

glue knots in place

Then just hang it on your child’s bag, so they can take a little love with them to school each day!

backpack love tags

For more information, check out Champions for Kids and  Champions for Kids on Facebook.

#cfk  #Fiskars4Kids #shop

New Simplicity Kids Backpack Pattern by The Sewing Loft

Tree backpack by The Sewing Loft and Simplicity

When my friend Heather from The Sewing Loft told me that Simplicity was printing her pattern and that it would be for sale at major retailers, I might’ve done a little happy dance! If you haven’t checked out Heather’s site, and seen her great designs, you really must. She does so many fun projects that I really wish we didn’t live on opposite sides of the country, because I want to do a sew-in weekend with Heather!

Later, Heather told me that she’d be able to share one of these cute patterns with me, and when it arrived in the mail… well… there was a second happy dance! Such a cute pattern, with so many fun variations, and inside I found all the great step-by-step instructions that Simplicity is known for.

New pattern by the Sewing Loft

Here on the blog, I primarily do quilting-type projects when I sew, but my sewing background includes more than just quilting. I have done a fair amount of garment sewing, and the feel of a tissue paper pattern always brings back memories of making my prom dress. My mom and I made more than one of my dresses for Jr. High and High School dances, and I’ve made plenty of other garments, but for some reason, the crinkle of a tissue pattern makes me think of senior year.

I decided to make the cute tree design (bottom left on the pattern cover). I pulled out tree fabrics and got to work. This is a great pattern for a new sewist. I’ve taught beginning sewing classes and, with some supervision, a child as young as 12 should be able to tackle this pattern. It isn’t difficult, but has a great variety of basic techniques, like threading in the cords, creating the casing, applique, and cutting and marking a pattern.

applique on tree

I had fun with the applique on this project… especially after I replaced my needle. I find that when my sewing machine is giving me a hard time, replacing the needle goes a long way towards making us both happy.

Here is the finished backpack – I know my boys will love using it!

finished backpack

Once I finished, I carefully folded back up all the pattern pieces and tucked them back into the pattern envelope – there are many other backpack patterns and instructions in this pattern, and I’m looking forward to trying the others… I have some nieces that might like a set of cupcake packs!

tuck pattern pieces back in

This pattern is on sale now at JoAnns Fabric and Crafts Stores, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and Walmart. You can find it as Simplicity #1602. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun making it as I did!

Boys Can Play Dress Up with Costume Express

When Collective Bias gave me the opportunity to check out Costume Express, I was super excited. Sure, this is a sponsored post, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love everything about these costumes!

boys love to play dress up

My son loves to play dress up. I discovered this during the course of the summer. His summer preschool has themed weeks. Every Friday, the children dress up to go with the theme. For Wizard Week I made him a Wizard Costume, and he LOVED it. When he wore his robe and hat, and picked up his wand, he felt like he really could be a wizard. I loved that I was able to provide him with a few simple props to help him stretch his imagination.

This got me to thinking about what other costumes I could provide for him – and this is where Costume Express comes in. They have an amazing variety of costumes for all occasions – themed parties, Halloween, or dress-up clothes!

Nowadays, it is so easy for kids to spend time in front of a screen. My son knows how to operate my tablet, and plays a mean game of Bad Piggies. He has several favorite movies that we rotate through, and he’s recently learned to operate the Roku remote on his own. All this means that he is spending way too much time plugged in. Living in Vegas with 110 degree heat all summer, I can’t just send him outside in the middle of the day. Having fun, indoor activities that stretch his imagination without putting him in front of a screen is key. That’s why I wanted a well-stocked dress-up box.

I ordered everything online, it was super simple to find what I wanted. You can see my whole Costume Express shopping experience here.

Opening the Costumes Express Box

When the box came in, Little Moore was excited to see what was inside. I hadn’t told him that I’d bought costumes – just that I had a surprise for him.

He dug through all the costumes – so many choices! He decided to be a fireman, and that his little brother could be a police officer.

Pulling out Costumes

I love that these simple costumes are easy for the kids to take on and off themselves, and that my 14-month old can wear one to play with his brother. He’s not entirely sure what is going on, but he knows he is in on the fun. Plus, both of them are running around having a good time and NOT watching TV or playing video games.

I also love the option to add hats to my order. Costumes are great, but I think a hat does a great job finishing the look, and making the experience feel a little more genuine for my little guy.

Fireman Costume

It was tough getting him to stand still for this photo… all he wanted to do was run around and be a fireman!

He loved these costumes so much, I’m sure that I will be taking many trips to the grocery store with my little fireman, police officer, doctor, or road crew! Instead of handing him my phone to keep him entertained in the store, we’ll have a conversation about his new profession. Groceries might be “on fire” and need to be put out. We can be on the lookout for bad guys. I might come down with mysterious symptoms he needs to diagnose. Or everything might need fixing in a dangerous construction zone (watch out for pot holes!) And they’re sturdy enough that his little brother will get hours of fun out of them as well. I can’t wait to have a playdate so that we can put the kids in costume and crank YMCA… maybe I need to get an Indian costume first?

Road Crew Costume and Doctor Costume

I had a great experience shopping at Costume Express – it was easy to find what I wanted, they had great options, the prices were reasonable, and the package arrive a day earlier than promised! With Halloween coming up I can’t think of a better resource for costumes, and get your kids to #Unplug2Play!

For more details, you can catch Costume Express on your favorite Social Media Channels:

Follow Costume Express on Twitter
Like Costume Express on Facebook
Circle Costume Express on Google+

Monsters University Game in a BluRay Case

Make a Monsters U game inside a BluRay Case

I bought the pre-sale of Monsters University on BluRay, and made some cute Monsters U Countdown blocks to go with it. I’ll be mailed the movie when it comes out… which leaves me with a BluRay case that has no movie in it. (PS – I also made Monsters U Juice Box Printables and a Mike Wazowski t-shirt if you’re into Monsters U crafts)

Monsters U Movie presale copy

I thought I’d turn the movie case into a little portable game in a BluRay Case. This is super simple to do, I’ve got all the printables ready to go… here is what you need.

Print the new BluRay Game Cover on standard paper
Print the BluRay Game Pieces on cardstock
Sharp scissors with a pointy end (or scissors and a craft or hobby knife)
Double-sided tape
Paper fastener (aka a Brad)

After you print out the Monsters University Game pieces, cut them out.

Open up the BluRay case and pull out the old cover, slip the new BlurRay Game Cover into place.

Monsters U Game made from BluRay Case

Leave the case open so that you can see the inside. You’ll want to use sharp scissors or a craft knife to cut away the raised lip on the left side. It is about 3/4″ down from the top. Just trim it down as close to the base as possible. Now you can slip the game board in on the left side.

On the right side, use the point of your scissors or the sharp point of a craft knife to carefully make a circle in the very center of the circle that holds the BluRay movie. You’ll want your hole to be about 1/4″ in diameter. Carefully cut away any plastic that gets pulled up when you make the hole. Be careful not to damage the cover or plastic on the other side.

Cut a hole in the center of the large numbered circle so that it slips over the raised center, and use double sided tape to stick it in place where the DVD would go. Use the tip of your scissors or the brad itself to make a hole in the center of the spinning arrow. Insert the brad into the arrow, an then into the hole you made in the raised center circle. Fasten the brad on the back LOOSELY. You want to make sure it still spins easily.

Fold your game pieces, and use a small piece of double sided tape to stick the bottom flaps together.

You’re ready to play your game in a BluRay Case!

Monsters U Game inside a BluRay Case

How to Make a Wizard Costume

Wizard Costume

Ever have those days where you find out that you need to send your child to school in a Wizard Costume on Friday… and it is already Wednesday evening? I had one of those days last week. Being a mom who knows her way around a sewing machine, I decided we would make a Wizard Costume. Not just any wizard costume… we would make the most awesome Wizard Costume ever. According to my son, we achieved this goal. Make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well.

supplies for wizard costumeThursday, after a morning play date at the pool, we headed off to JoAnns to get our supplies. We got everything we needed to make a Wizard Robe (supplies listed are for a 4-year-old child), as well as the Wizard Wand and Wizard Hat.
For the Wizard Robe we used:
4 yards blue satin (some used on the hat, too)
1 yard green satin (some used on the hat, too)
2 spools copper ribbon (also used on the wand and hat – I would get 3 if I were to make this again)
Coordinating thread

You’ll also want a sewing machine, Iron, and pins.

I started by laying out the blue satin, along with a long-sleeved shirt that is a little big for my son.You can’t tell here, but the left side of the fabric is the fold, and there is a double layer of the fabric, so there are actually 4 layers of fabric right there, and I’m going to cut through all of them on the fold.

I was lucky that the width of fabric was enough for the top and sleeves. Otherwise, I’d have to cut different pieces for the sleeves and set them into the arm holes. Which would be a lot more work.

measure for costume size

I had my son lay next to the fabric so that I could determine the height.Yes, his pants are on backwards… that happens sometimes when he dresses himself…

You can see I marked it with a fabric pencil here. Then I cut.
I added a little bit of flare from the waist down to the bottom to try to give the robe a little extra fullness.

cut satin for wizard costume

I also added some extra fabric at the bottom of the sleeves. Having the bottom end in a point like this makes the sleeves have a nice big point at the bottom, which is one of the things I love about this costume. I also cut a little ways away from the shirt because I needed extra seam allowance for the french seams. More on that in a little bit.

The rest of these instructions are going to be picture-less, because it is pretty basic sewing. It takes a while, but it is pretty basic. I’ll warn you, the neckline bit is a little complicated… there might be a better way to do that part.

I separated the two layers, and then cut a V shape into the fold of the piece that was going to be the front, to give a more open neckline. Then I cut all the way up the fold on this piece, because the robe was going to be open.

I pinned the pieces wrong-sides together (WRONG sides, not right sides, because I’m doing french seams here). I stitched the shoulder/sleeve tops, and the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams all with a scant 1/4″ seam. I then flipped it wrong-side-out, clipped the seams at the armpit, and repeated all those seams with a generous 1/4″ seam. This keeps all the raw edges tucked inside so there is no fraying while the costume is worn. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to do the shoulder/sleeve top seams, add the green to the end of the sleeves, and then do the sleeve bottom/armpit/side seams.

Next was adding the green satin to the collar. I put a piece of paper under the neckline and traced the curve from the back center of the neck, all the way down the V neckline in the front. I added a 2.5″ border to the outside, and a .25″ border on the inside and cut it out. This was my template for creating the green satin for the neckline.

I folded the green satin in half, and pinned on my template, with the bottom of the V touching the fold. I cut out the template, but at the bottom of the V cut all the way down the fold the height of the straight slit in the front of the robe.

Putting this neckline piece right-sides-together, I stitched that inner 1/4″ seam, and then turned right side out. I created a second neckline piece for the other side, and pinned them both to the robe, then pressed the raw edges under, folded it over the raw edge of the blue satin so that the blue satin raw edge sat right inside the green, touching the fold. I stitched it all down, then pinned the copper ribbon on top, and stitched that down as well. There might be an easier way to do this part, but I wanted a smooth neckline and it was already 11pm the night before he was supposed to wear the costume!

I cut 5″ strips out of the green satin, folded them in half, and pressed. I then opened up those seams, folded in the sides, so the raw edges touched that middle fold line, and pressed. Then folded it back in half and pressed yet again. This made all the trim for the bottom and the sleeves. I folded this over the sleeve and bottom edges just like before, with the raw edge of the blue inside the fold of the green. This time, when I got to an end, I trimmed off the green with about 1/2″ extra, then folded the extra under and stitched in place.

After sewing on the trim, I pinned the copper ribbon in place and stitched it down. You’ll notice that there is no copper ribbon along the bottom of the Wizard Robe. I ran out and had to choose between having it on the sleeves or on the bottom edge. The sleeves won.

That was it! It took several hours to stitch it all together, but my son was THRILLED when he woke up the next morning and saw his costume!

If you want to make a wizard costume, make sure you check out how to make a Wizard Wand and how to make a Wizard Hat as well!

wizard hat and wand

Ever-changing Wood, Nail, and Rubber Band Maze

My son is a maze savant. Yes, I’m his mom and I’ll brag about him even if nobody is listening, but at not quite 5 years old, he totally rocks mazes. And he loves doing them. We’ve gotten him maze books, which he loves, but I wanted to do one better. I wanted a maze that could be fully customized, changed, and never get boring. So I came up with the idea to make a maze board out of wood and nails. Now he has a maze that can be changed in a nearly infinite number of ways! And, it was super simple and easy to make. It took us less than an hour. Totally my kind of craft!

First, we started with our supplies:
18″x18″ square of 3/4 inch plywood
Box of nails
Quilting ruler
Pen
Cordless Drill
Hammer
Rubber Bands

I picked up the plywood at The Home Depot, and had them cut it to size. Having them cut it on their giant saw is so much easier than trying to cut it at home.

Using my quilting ruler, I marked a grid on the board, spacing the lines 1.5″ apart. Once I had my grid marked, it was time to drill pilot holes into my wood. I made sure that the drill bit I was using was a couple sizes smaller than my nails.

The idea is to drill a guide hole, but you still want the nail to be super snug when it gets hammered in. I made sure not to drill all the way through the wood.

Then it was time to hammer in my nails. As I hammered them in, I tried to keep them about the same height. This isn’t essential, it just looks nicer.

I hammered…

And hammered…

It took a while.

Once all the nails were in, I double-checked that they were all pretty much the same height.

Then it was time to add the rubber bands! We stretched the rubber bands along the nails to make the “walls” of the maze. We were so excited about this part, we didn’t bother washing all the black from the nails off of our fingers… we just went for it!

Then my son got to find his way through the maze. Once he figured it out, I adjusted a few of the pathways by moving around rubber bands, and he got to do it again. I kept switching them to give him new routes through the maze. He LOVED it.

I know we’ll be using this toy a lot this summer – such a fun boredom buster!

I might still give it a coat of paint… I haven’t decided yet. But for now, it is getting plenty of use!