Memory games of all types have long been a favorite of children. This version has children matching acorns of the same color. Besides enhancing memory skills, color recognition, counting and sorting abilities, it also encourages agility and dexterity in wee hands. And, because they are beautiful, they add to the warmth and charm to any room!
Note: All materials used should be non toxic and child safe.
IMPORTANT SAFETY WARNING: The acorns are small and considered a choke hazard. Although generally it is recommended that small parts should not be given to children under 3 years of age, we highly recommended you do not give small parts to any child that still puts toys in their mouth, no matter how old they are!
Using fine grit sandpaper, sand wood pieces smooth. Wipe off to remove any saw dust.
Using a non toxic, child safe wood stain, stain the inside and outside of the bean pots and the caps of the acorns. I found it easiest to use a hard bristle paint brush to apply the stain to the acorn caps.
Note: If you prefer, you can choose NOT to stain the wood or you can pick a lighter colored stain. In this tutorial I am using Walnut Soy Stain but you might want to use a lighter color like Fruitwood. Whatever your choice, the end project will be beautiful :)
Choose 6 different colors of paint and paint 6 pairs of acorns different colors.
When the paint and stain are thoroughly dry, seal the wood with a Beeswax Finish.
HOW TO PLAY THE WOODEN ACORN MEMORY GAME
Place the 12 acorns in the 12 bean pots. Mix up the pots.
The first player removes 2 acorns from the pots. If they don't match, the acorns are put back in their pots and the play passes to the next player.
If a player matches 2 colors, the play keeps the two acorns and the play passes to the next player.
Play continues until all the acorns have been matched.
OTHER IDEAS FOR USING THE WOODEN ACORN MEMORY GAME
Of course, children will come up with their own ways to use the bean pots and acorns :) The pots and acorns will undoubtedly be moved to play kitchens, the acorns can be used for counting and sorting, and, bean pots can be stacked to make impressive towers.
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and turned it into a wooden kite with a peg suitable for hanging "stuff" :) Of course, if you just want to use them for decoration, simply leave the peg off, and let a sky full of kites grace your child's room. (BTW... if you'd like to see how we painted the wall behind the kites, check out the post found HERE.)
To make your own Wooden Kites with Pegs you will need:
shaker pegs (optional)
cotton roping for tail
woven fabric Kite Applique Pattern enlarged 200%
Enlarge Kite Applique Pattern 200% and make a copy. Using packing tape around edges of the kite pattern, cut out the kite. This will be your template used for tracing the kite on the wood.
Using your pattern template you just created, trace the kites on your wood.
Using a scroll saw, cut out your kite shapes.
Since these are going to be painted, if there are any significant holes, they can be filled with a wood filler and sanded.
Lightly sand the edges. HINT: When sanding straight, smooth surfaces, used a flat piece of sandpaper. When sanding curves, like the edges of the kite, use a flexible sand paper like the sanding sponge pictured here.
Paint the sides and top of the kites. Allow to dry completely.
Dip the end of a thick round paintbrush in paint, and randomly make the dots for the flower centers on the kite top. Redip with each dot.
To make petals around the centers, using the same paintbrush, make 5 dots (petals) around each center. Allow to dry completely.
There are 2 ways you can attach the tail. The first is to simply staple or glue the end of the rope to the backside of the kite.
The other way is to drill a hole in the bottom point of the kite. To do this, get a drill bit that is slightly larger than the rope. Practice on a scrap piece of wood until you are satisfied with the fit.
You can use a hand held drill and drill a hole. WARNING: Be very careful if you do this. It is hard to hold and the drill can slip. Drill a hole about 3/4" deep.
If you have one, the best and safest way to drill a hole is to use a drill press.
If you are adding a peg to your kite, mark the center, and drill a hole that is a smidgen bigger than the part of the peg that goes into the wood. We used a drill press but you can use a hand held drill. You can go all the way through the kite.
Add some wood or crafting glue to the peg and push down into the hole. Wipe away any extra glue with a wet rag.
For the tail, cut your rope about 13" long. On one end, wrap a piece of tape tightly around the end, then cut off so about 1/4" of tape is on the end. This will make it easier to push into the hole.
Add a dab of glue to the hole and insert the taped end of the rope into the hole.
For the ties, rip and tear strips of fabric 1 1/4" wide. (For tips on how to rip and tear, see the post HERE.)
Cut each piece 5" - 6" long. Tie them to the rope every 1 1/2". Try to tie them so the right side is showing. I put 5 ties on each rope.
To prevent the ties from slipping or the rope end from unraveling, simply put a dot of glue where a tie touches the rope and at the end of the rope.
Use your favorite way to mount them to the wall. We used Joe's Sticky Stuff, which is "an aggressive pressure sensitive adhesive double sided tape". It is suppose to be heavy duty and come off without marring walls. We've never used it before, so we shall see :)
I remember as a little girl getting nearly giddy when the spring winds began to blow. On the wind there were scents of thawing dirt, decaying vegetation and worms! But, there was also the smell of LIFE. All around there were signs of spring... trees budding, bulbs tentatively pushing up their new leaves and birds returning from places unknown, as gray clouds filled the sky, only to be swept away by the always present spring breezes.
But, by far, one of my favorite things about spring was the ubiquitous plethora of kites that seemed to sprout up anywhere there was a cash register! You could find kites at grocery and drug stores, but they were also available at hardware stores and gas stations. They were the cheap paper kites, but to me, they were all beautiful! I can remember thinking long and hard before I picked out a kite... did I want soft, pastel colors, or something bright and bold? Once we selected our kites, it was deemed a Daddy Thing, to get them put together, while Mom found old sheets to rip up for the tail.
You learned early on not to form too strong of an attachment to any one kite. There were houses, trees, and even electrical wires, that laid claim to a fair share of a season's crop of kites! But, you learned to take the bitter with the sweet, because, I ask you... can you think of anything more fulfilling or exhilarating than being firmly grounded as your kite danced amongst the clouds? I use to dream of flying kites... I still do. It is one of those childhood joys that can still be embraced by adults. And there you have it, my ode to the common variety kite :)
This month's Out of the Box offering is a Kite Applique Block, right out of my childhood, that we then turned into adorable wooden kites for the wall. These can either be used strictly as decoration or pegs can be added to the kites to make functional holders for jackets and bags. We will first share the applique block and then the wooden kite. I am so pleased with how they turned out :) And just in time for spring winds!
Click here for the Kite Applique Block
Pixie is a sorter. Actually, she was born a sorter. Seems like from the minute she could collect a stash of toys around herself, she was dividing things into piles. Sometimes the categorizations were self evident, other times, we just had to assume their was method to her madness :) To this day, given a chance, she sorts. Just ask Bug. He can leave his Legos for just a bit, and when he returns, Pixie will have sorted the pieces by color! (Not always a welcomed turn of events, I might add!)
So, I have no doubt that Pixie will love her new toys. Like Little Lady, I made Pixie a rainbow drawstring bag. Inside the bag she will find:
Acorns a plenty, to be sorted, used in the kitchen, and I'm sure in various ways with her wee folks. (There are 18... 3 of each color.)
And when she is in the mood to sort her acorns, she'll have matching bowls to hold them. Although I know they will also be used to hold her doll's soup and her bear's porridge.
Then, there are 12 pots, which hold the acorns quite nicely, concealing their color. By placing 6 pairs of acorns in the pots, and mixing them up, she can play a wonderful memory matching game, by herself, or with a friend.
All of the wood was unfinished, and I sanded them, stained the acorn caps, the outside of the bowls and the pots using a non-toxic, soy based stain. I then painted the bowl interiors and the acorns using a non-toxic, soy based paint. Finally, I finished them with a beeswax finish. (BTW... all of these supplies will be available when our shop opens in 2012 :)
Then, her gift includes this lovely wooden rainbow arch with two teeny tiny gnomes. I purchased these from Armadillo Dreams on Etsy.
Finally, I bought her the lovely book, Around the Year, by Elsa Beskow. Such a sweet little book, filled with a poem for each month. Her illustrations are gentle and peaceful. A pure delight as are all of Elsa's books.
So there you have it. This year's Christmas gifts for our 4 grandbabies. What a joy to prepare gifts for children. Hopefully, these are gifts that will long be cherished :)
BTW... I WILL have the tute for the drawstring bag posted soon!
I have been busy finishing up Christmas gifts for the wee ones. I thought I might spend some time this week sharing their gifts, plus a tutorial on the drawstring bags I made for the Little Lady and Pixie.
First off... every year I buy the grandbabies a piece to their 5" Fontanini Nativity Scene. For their first Christmas I get them the holy family. For their 10th Christmas (not there yet), I will get them the 3 Wisemen. In between, they get angels, barnyard animals, and various villagers. By the time they are 18, they will have beautiful Nativities to share with their own children some day. This year I bought Lady the Little Drummer Boy. It was her daddy's favorite piece in our set. Thought Drew would enjoy it :)
In the top photo is the rest of the Little Lady's gift. I started by making her a colorful drawstring bag. (I'll include the tutorial later this week.) I bought unfinished wooden eggs and cups. I watered down some soy paint, because I wanted a translucent look. When the paint dried, I worked in some of my beeswax and olive oil finish. It gave the wood a wonderful luster.
Little Lady just turned 1 in October. The size of these cups and eggs are perfect for pudgy little hands and pose no chock hazard! It is also a great first sorting and matching activity. Matching the egg to the cup is just right for a toddler.
Just think of all of the other uses she'll find for all these eggs. They will be perfect in her little wooden kitchen.
Then, I made a Flower Wand. I plan to make her several more styles for her over the year. I will be sharing this pattern with everyone in January.
Finally, I added the lovely book, Around the Year, by Tasha Tudor. Tasha has long been one of my favorite authors/illustrators of children's book. Her illustrations and stories are soft, gentle and kind. She also has a wonderful ability to share the wonders of nature with young and old alike.
Lady's gift is now ready to be wrapped and mailed. (Have I mentioned that Drew, Meghan and Little Lady will not be home this Christmas? It will be my first Christmas without one of my children. If you happen to hear muffled sobbing, you'll know where it's coming from!) Hope she'll love her gifts :)
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