Toddler Craft — Beach Scene

Our summer gallery wall is growing.  It’ll still be summer for a few more months, so we are getting our money’s worth out of these crafts. The girls got a special treat this summer and went with their grandparents to visit their aunt in Florida! This was their second encounter with the ocean, and it went over much better this go around. Beach theme and sea animal craft ideas are all over the internet, but it wasn’t until this past week that I figured out how I could incorporate some into our gallery wall.

We did this craft in two stages, mostly to spread out the art time to fill up two days. First we made the ocean scene, then we made the sea creatures.

Beach Wall Collage

Ocean Scene :

  •  1 Blue Poster Board
  • ~ 5 sheets of Sand Paper
  • 1\4 sheet of Green Tissue Paper
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors


I first cut a blue poster board in half, then went along the top cutting peaks that would be our “waves”. I glued these together so we had one long strip of blue “water”.

For the sand, I cut my sandpaper into about 2″ strips, then cut a wave patter on the top.  Evangeline covered the back of the strips with glue and Felicity stuck them down, running the full length of the bottom.

The “sea weed” are strips of green tissue paper cut in a wavy pattern, then glued into place.

Sea Creatures :

  • Small Paper Plates
  • Scissors
  • Paint \ Crayons
  • Tissue Paper (Optional)

There are thousands of ideas to make sea creatures out of paper plates, construction paper, toilet paper rolls anything you can imagine. I decided to do ours this way because I could cut the shapes out ahead of time and bring them out ready to be colored. Besides the crab shape, we didn’t have to add anything on to the paper plate. It was more of a one step craft for the girls. Sometimes that’s nice.

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I cut jelly fish, fish, star fish and crab shapes out of my small paper plates. For the crabs, I cut the claws out of scrap paper plate edges and used a dot of glue to attach them. I tried to make an octopus, but I just couldn’t quite make it work.

Evangeline (age 3) used makers and Felicity (age 2) used crayons to color the fish, star fish and crabs. For the jelly fish, I tore up pieces of blue, purple and pink tissue paper and the girls stuck them on using a glue stick. They just as easily could have colored them, but this was a little more fun.

* I thought I had googley eyes in our craft box,  but I didn’t. I may come back and add some on later because how fun are those? For the time being, I just colored black circle eyes. I saw an idea to use tin foil on the fish to look like scales. I came close to doing it, but at the last minute opted not to for no real reason at all. I still think that would look really neat.

Since the sea creatures are small paper plates, I was able to just run a glue stick along the backs of each and stick them on the poster board. Voila!

Ocean Scene


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Evangeline is having so much fun with this beach scene up on the wall. She goes under it and plays like she’s at the beach; she runs in front of it jumping over the waves. I think someone really misses the beach! I’m glad this craft is helping her hold on to the vacation dream a little longer.

Summer is so long and our wall is getting smaller. I still want to make letters to spell out “summer” but haven’t decided how to do it yet. Other than that, I’m tapped out for summer craft ideas. I’m not sure what we’re going to do until October.

Summer Gallery Wall


Looking Patriotic — 4th Of July Toddler Crafts

Since I’m not 9 months pregnant as originally planned, I’ve decided to embrace the Independence Day patriotic spirit and add some red white and blue around the house.

I’ve already posted about our American Flag Banner and the simple how-to-instructions. Now we’ve added some firework rockets to our Summer Gallery Wall!

click picture for link to instructions






















Firework Rockets:

I found this idea in last month’s (at least I think it was last month’s) edition of Parent’s Magazine. Theirs were more involved and would actually spill out confetti when you pull a string — which is way cool, but a bit above our pay grade around here. So, I simplified it a bit and we made hanging firework rockets.

The project is simple enough. Evangeline painted toilet paper rolls red, white and blue. She also painted circles I cut out of thin cardboard (I used a cereal box) red. The circle were about 3 inches in diameter — essentially a little bit bigger than the top of the toilet paper roll.

When the paint was all dry, I cut from one end of the circle up to the middle, then folded the edges over one another to make a cone shape. I then used a staple to hold it in place. And we set them aside. The original directions said to use glue to make the cones, but I didn’t think anything short of hot glue would hold it. Maybe I don’t have enough faith? Moving on.

Firework Rocket

We then added the tissue paper to the bottom of the toilet paper rolls. I cut strips out of red, blue and sparkly white tissue paper roughly 2 inches wide by 5-6 inches long. I just eyeballed what size would work. I placed a strip of double stick tape around the bottom and Evangeline stuck the tissue paper strips in place.

(Side Note: While this was just meant to be a fun craft, it turned into a “teaching moment” as I talked Evangeline through what patterns are. We stuck the tissue paper on in the same order: red, blue, white etc. Don’t know how well the idea sunk in, but there you go, teaching when they least expect it.)

The hardest part of this project, was attaching the cones to the rolls. The original directions said to use glue, but we made a hellova mess proving that doesn’t work. Again, maybe hot glue would have worked? Instead, I used more double stick  tape. I stretched two pieces across the top of the tube, folding over the side, then stuck the cone on. Time will tell how well they hold. If I find a better way (or if you have a better suggestion) I’ll come back and let you know.

I punched two holes in the side of the tube and threaded fishing line through and tied it off to hang from the ceiling. The project took some time, but it was a lot of fun and they look neat hanging up!

4th of July Wall

These were our biggest projects. Other than these crafts, we stuck some flags along our side walk and tried to make stars in the front yard a la Pinterest, but they didn’t really work.



The idea is to make a large stencil in the shape of a star, then using a flour sifter, sift flour over the stencil, filling in the shape. You’re supposed to be left with a bright white star on your grass. We got close, but not really close enough. I don’t know if our grass was too tall or if our stencil was too small, but we called it quits after our yard was littered with flour piles.

But there you have it. The Carruths are trying to be patriotic. We hope to spend Friday eating with family, reading Paul Revere’s Ride and watching some real fireworks. Seems pretty American to me. And on that note, here’s a picture of Felicity “helping” make the rockets. Yes she’s wearing a leotard and yes she has paint on her face. That’s just how she rolls


Rolls…toilet paper rolls…that just happened.

Father’s Day Gift

This post is obviously coming well after the fact, but I still wanted to share the Father’s Day gift the kids and I put together for Ryan. I wanted to do something special for Ryan, something thoughtful that included the kids. I had seen this picture frame idea on Pinterest. In each frame, is one of our children, holding the letters to spell DAD, which makes for a very sweet and unique gift. I made it a little more personal, however, by staging each picture and child in some attribute of Ryan’s personality.

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DAD Picture Frame:

  • two white poster boards and an art medium if you want to decorate
  • camera / prints
  • triple opening picture frame (preferably landscape orientation)
  • willing participants

First, I made the DAD letters. Honestly, I just free handed them, using a serving tray to get the curve on the D. They by no means have to be perfect, just big. I got three letters out of 2 poster boards.

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Once they were cut out, I let the girls paint and color their letter. For Reuben, who is not yet trustworthy with crayons, I painted his little foot and did footprints all around.

For the pictures, I decided on three personality traits of Ryan and staged each child accordingly. I just had their letters standing up as a part of the picture, rather than having them hold the it just right. This made the picture-taking process go much smoother.



Evangeline, our own little bookworm, took a scholarly picture.


Felicity, always the party animal, set up a drum set and went to town.


Little Huckle-Buddy Reuben, surveyed the homestead for his picture.

I ordered prints and bought the frame from Wal-Mart. That, plus the poster board came to about $10 total for the gift.

Later I got the girls to color on some computer paper I taped together as a banner. Then I added “We <3” and taped the DAD letters underneath. I set it all up late Saturday night to surprise Ryan when he got up Sunday morning for Father’s Day.

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This was a fun and easy gift to put together. It gave us the chance to spend some time thinking about Ryan and what he would enjoy. The girls are at such a great age where they like giving gifts, especially gifts they’ve made. I was surprised how co-operative Evangeline was, especially during the picture taking part. Once I told her it was a gift for Daddy (and that it was a secret) she was so excited to help!

I figured this would be my last year to be able to do this gift, unless I want to wait and see if a Carruth baby #5 comes along to be able to spell out DADDY. As is, I’m glad to have done it now. I’m also glad we got to celebrate Ryan for a day. Especially since I went into the hospital the next day in preparation for having Genevieve! At least Ryan got that one day. It’s 2 and a half weeks later and the banner and letters are still up in the kitchen. I guess someone liked their gift 😉

DAD Picture Frame

More Toddler Crafts!

Our Spring Gallery Wall stayed up through Reuben and Felicity’s birthday party.  Shortly thereafter, I took all but the butterflies down so we could start our Summer Gallery Wall.

Spring Gallery Wall

The summer wall isn’t finished (we still have a lot of summer left), but I wanted to share some of the crafts we’ve done thus far, what worked and what didn’t with my 3 year old Evangeline and 2 year old Felicity.

“Stained Glass” Circles

The first is a tutorial I found on Pinterest for stained glass crosses. The mom who posted it said it was great for kids of all ages but apparently not all toddlers are created equal because this was a big bust on our end.

The jist of the project is to rip tissue paper into small pieces, then glue them in between two pieces of wax paper. Once dry, glue on a shape outline, cut out and voila. The idea is great, and seemingly simple, but we had a few problems with this one.

Stained Glass CirclesEvangeline and Felicity were too excited to start gluing to rip the paper. I gave them smaller pieces that they would just have to rip 3-4 times, but nope. They just balled them up and said “all done, can we glue now?” So I ripped up all the pieces. The original tutorial didn’t give any guidelines for how much glue to use. When you spread glue on wax paper, it starts to bead up. We ended up using so much glue it some how seeped through the wax paper and dried onto the counter top. Ooops. I think part of our problem was that we were covering too big a piece of wax paper. If we did smaller “batches” I think it would have been easier to manage. As is, it took forever to dry and I’ve been scrubbing Elmer’s off my counter for a few days now.

From start to finish, it took a long time and the girls ultimately didn’t get to be all that involved in making them. They liked sticking the paper to the glue, but that was where their involvement ended. When it was all said and done and we hung them on the window, the girls were less than impressed 😦 As the person who ended up doing most of the work, I was disappointed that they weren’t more excited about it. I have seen a few tutorials for melting craft beads into stained glass looking window art. We may give that a go.

Cloud with Rain Drops

Originally this was meant to be a big white fluffy happy cloud, but we ran out of cotton balls, so we added rain drops, painted it grey and now it’s a rain cloud.

Rain Cloud and drops

The cloud part is simply white poster board cut into a bubbly shape. I poured Elmer’s glue on a plate and let the girls dip their cotton balls in the glue then stick them onto the poster board. Evie did great, Felicity ended up looking like cotton candy. But both had fun.

When it became clear that I had cut too big of a cloud for the amount of cotton balls we had, I switched gears to make it a rain cloud. Using grey craft paint, I filled in the bare spots to make the whole cloud dark.

Then I took some scrap white poster board and let Evie paint it blue. I happened to have two shades of blue — one light and one dark — so this turned into a little art lesson as she played around with mixing the colors and seeing how many shades of the same color she could make. It also added a pretty cool effect to the rain drops. If you want to simplify this step, you can simply use blue poster board or construction paper.

When the paint was dry, I free handed rain drop shapes on the back of the poster board and cut them out. I made roughly three different sizes. Then Evie helped me line up the drops into 5 lines. We measured fishing line and taped the drops to it. And finally taped each line to the cloud itself making it look as though the drops are falling from the cloud.

Rain Cloud and Drops

It turned into more work than I anticipated and it took like two days longer because we had to wait for paint dry, but it was still a lot of fun. I’m sure there are simpler ways this could be done, we just made it up as we went along using what we already had on hand.

Hand Print Sun

Continuing the weather theme, we also made a sun to go with our rain cloud. For children in south Louisiana, this is not a confusing concept ha ha. For this, I used yellow and orange construction paper, a pencil, scissors and an orange crayon.

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I cut a circle out of yellow construction paper (tracing a plate) and Evangeline drew a smiley face on it. This was the center of our sun. I then traced Felicity’s hand about 12 times on yellow paper. I let Evangeline trace her own hand on orange paper. This was a lot of fun for her; she’s just figured out how to trace and I had a hard time getting her to stop after 8 or so. I cut all of the hand prints out and fanned them around the circle, using Felicity’s smaller hands first, then putting Evie’s larger hands behind.

I honestly can’t remember, I think I started with tape then ran out and used a glue stick. Or the other way around. Either way, both Scotch tape and glue stick held the hands in place well.

American Flag Banner

My creativity is wanning and I’ve been hard pressed to come up with any more summer-but-not-beach-theme crafts. So I’ve moved onto Fourth of July ideas. I figure it’s close enough, right? This was another simple construction paper craft. I used white computer paper, blue and red construction paper, silver star stickers, twine, glue stick and tape.

American Flag Banner

To make 10 flags, I cut 5 pieces of white paper in half, one piece of blue paper into 4 strips then cut each strip into thirds giving me 12 squares, then cut 3 pieces of red paper into strips.

Evangeline went completely solo on this one because I let her use a glue stick (for like the first time ever). I showed her where on the white paper to put the blue square and how to line up the stripes then she just went to town. For Felicity, I put the glue on the blue square and the red stripes, then she put them down like stickers on the white piece of paper. When our flags were assembled, the girls put silver stickers on the blue squares.

American Flag Banner 2

I considered hanging each flag individually, but decided to tape them all to a line of twine and make it a banner. Since these are just made out of construction paper and aren’t very heavy, Scotch tape is sufficient to hang them on the twine with.

Footprint Sun Canvas

This final craft isn’t on our summer wall, but it’s still summery and I love a good homemade piece of art.  The lettering on this one didn’t quite turn out as I imagined, but I still love it lots. I used a 12×12 stretched canvas, grey, white, light and dark yellow craft paint, fine tip black Sharpie and a white paint pen.

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First I painted the whole canvas with a mixture of grey and white. I then used a plate to draw a semi circle in the corner. I used the line as a guide for where to put the girls’ footprints and did not paint it though until after the footprints were dry. I used one shade of yellow for Felicity and the other shade for Evangeline’s feet. I did Felicity’s foot first leaving gaps to come back and add Evie’s. Once the footprints were done, I filled in the semi circle with the same yellow paint as Felicity’s foot completing the sun.

I let everything dry well for a few days, then came back with stencils and added the wording “you are my SUNSHINE”. I used a pencil to outline each letter then came back to fill in each letter with a white paint pen. When I was satisfied with the letters and the paint was dry, I traced around each letter with a black fine tip Sharpie. I used stencils I already had, but I wish I had found some slightly bigger. Either way, I love the way it turned out and how it looks hanging up in our living room.

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We still have some more crafts to add to our Summer gallery wall and I’ll be sure to keep you updated as we go along. I also have some pretty fun family updates and I hope to be able to post about them soon.

How is your summer going? How have you been keeping your little ones busy? Can you think of any other toddler appropriate summer crafts to help a very tired, uncreative mama fill up the days?


Spring Toddler Crafts

We enjoy changing our home with the seasons, both weather and liturgical. I can’t lie, I needed some time to recover from Christmas. I dug deep to put together our St. Joseph’s Altar and Gender Reveal, but I’ve been pretty burnt out since. Unfortunately, Evangeline’s energy levels went up as mine went down.

So for the past two weeks, she and I have been working on Spring crafts to help fill our days and spend some energy. Felicity was able to help with most of these as well. In looking for ideas online, however, I’ve had to be careful to pick spring crafts and not Easter ones. As my husband insists, it’s not Easter yet. So be it.

On a sort of whim, I started displaying our crafts on a blank wall in our dinning room. Who am I kidding, all of our walls are blank in the dinning room. The gallery has grown and I’m already thinking of what we can do for summer. Without further adieu, our Spring toddler craft gallery wall, thus far:

Spring Gallery Wall II

Spring Gallery Wall


The walls in our dining room are ugly. They are bare, peach color voids that make you feel as though all the happiness has gone out of the world. It has been glorious to add more color to our wall every few days!  Evangeline and Felicity get so excited to show Ryan what new things we did we he gets home each day.

I’m starting to get ideas to do during Holy Week and after Easter Sunday. I’ve been hoping to find craft ideas for Holy Week so each day we could read part of the story then do a craft to go along with it. Unfortunately, all the ideas I’ve come across so far are for older kids. I’m going to keep searching. Send me any ideas you have!

Tissue Paper Butterflies

These are our most recent addition. I could have done them for free, except I saw that cute polka dot paper at the store and splurged the $1.50.  We cut tissue paper into roughly 12 inch x 8 inch rectangles. Honestly, I just cut along the folds in the paper. The we layered three sheets on top of one another and pinched them together down the middle. A clothes pin holds it all together, and voila, a butterfly!  Evie drew faces on each of them and I used fishing line to hang them from the ceiling.  I meant to add pipe cleaner antenna, but forgot. Maybe we’ll come back and add them. All you would do is bend a piece of pipe cleaner into a V, bend or tie off the tips to make a ball then clamp it with the clothes pin. We have a ceiling fan right next to this wall, so the butterflies get to flutter around all day.


At Christmas time, JoAnn had a super sale on packs of canvases. I bought a 10 pack of 8×10’s and I could not be happier that I did. I’ve used them to mount pictures and for hand print art! I even have some wall decor ideas for Reuben’s room I’m going to use them for. Evangeline liked doing the hand prints best because I let her look through Pinterest with me and help pick out which ones we were going to make. Plus, she got to paint.

The butterflies I did two Christmases ago with Evangeline and Felicity’s feet– I was making it for a gift and messed up so I kept it for myself ;). The other three we made this year: Evangeline’s hand for the Very Hungry Caterpillar (don’t paint their thumb!), Reuben and Felicity’s feet for the bumble bee and lady bug (draw in the black parts after they dry, I didn’t want to use black paint in fear that it wouldn’t easily come off their little feet) and finally all three of their hands for the flowers. Reuben did better with feet prints than hand prints ha ha.

I like doing these on the canvases rather than on construction paper because I plan to keep them and bring them out again each year. Now that they are completely dry, I will seal them all with ModPodge to further help them last. I am still deciding if I should color in around the flowers more or just leave them on a white back ground.

For the “Spring” banner, I used poster board and cut out the pendants, then wrote in the letters and colored the green on the bottom. I let the girls loose with crayons to fill in the rest, then taped them to a piece of scrap ribbon I had. I had a lot of other ideas for this, but went the simplest route. Maybe for summer or fall when Evie’s practicing writing, she can write the letters, or let them use finger paints to really have fun.

So that’s what we’ve been up to over here when we’re not soaking up as much sunshine as possible. I’m really hoping to keep this up and change it out each season. It seems like a fun way to introduce art to the kids as well as learning about the seasons and holidays.

Just another week to get my “lesson plans” ready for Holy Week! Do you have any traditions you do with your kids to teach them about Easter?

Kiwi Crate — Referral Link

I’ve written before about the Kiwi Crate subscription Evangeline got for Christmas. She just received her third box in the mail this morning. She got all pouty when I told her we couldn’t do the crafts yet because she was going to the movies with her dad. Ha! We have both been having a lot of fun with the boxes and talking about all the new things we’re learning. So far we’ve colored pictures of the Southern Lights, made a polar bear costume, went penguin bowling and made arctic shaped window clings and snowflakes. I peeked in the new box after Evangeline left, and we’re going to get to make a bird costume and a bird’s nest with bird eggs!

Evangeline painting the Southern Lights
Evangeline painting the Southern Lights

Anyone thinking about joining Kiwi Crate for their kids? Each month of your subscription, your child gets a box in the mail with 2-3 crafts — all materials included, boxes are themed and informative. Age ranges are 3-10. Evie is just three, but she loves loves loves getting her boxes in the mail and doing everything in them.

Felicity the polar bear -- she likes the boxes too!
Felicity the polar bear — she likes the boxes too!

The link below is a referral link to my account. If you join through this link, we both get $10 off. Of course I wouldn’t mind getting $10 off for myself, but I also think this is a really great program that kids will enjoy.