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Mommy Mondays: Getting Crafty

Hooray for Pinterest! Even though I think I use it wrong (as in I don’t follow anyone and have exactly 2 boards: arts & crafts ideas and pictures of bed frames I found online while shopping earlier this year and I’m always surprised when I get an email notice that one of these has been repinned…), I have found so many great craft ideas there!

Check out the fingerprint and hand print turkeys Emma and I made as Thanksgiving cards for the grandparents – so cute!

Our next project – and I might even go the extra mile and make it a Christmas arts & crafts play date for a few friends! – is painting these awesome Santa rocks…

Have you done any awesome arts & crafts this year? Lemme’ see!

From Inspiration to Conception: Puppet-on-a-Stick

EI toys and games manager Brent Geppert has something up his sleeve — a puppet! Raised on The Muppet Show®, this former college radio DJ and longtime puppet lover puts on nightly puppet shows for his two sons, complete with voices and sound effects.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at his award-winning invention: Puppet-on-a-stick!

All kids love puppets, yet most puppets are difficult for kids to operate. I set out to make a puppet that was suitable for little hands: a puppet that would inspire instantaneous puppet show fun.

 

I experimented with various form factors like dry erase, Mr. Potato style pieces, removable hair, fixed hair, bendy arms, no arms, etc. But, after I presented my idea to the team, we all felt that a standalone puppet with no removable parts would be best.

This is the original idea I presented to the team in December 2010.

[First working prototype, January 2011]

I eventually made a second working puppet out of a solid wood ball I purchased at a furniture parts store. After that, I applied a clay skin, added googly eyes, then “bada-boom-bada-bing”: Puppet-on-a-Stick was born!

[2nd prototype, February 2011]

The new prototype was an instant hit with the team.  My manager said, “Make two more faces—and we’ll have a set of three.” So, after some internal “clay-storming,” I came up with two more faces.

These are the final clay and wood prototypes that I sent to our factory for production.

Here are the internal mechanics that we have under “patent pending” status.

[“gray hand samples” from the factory]

These are the puppets that the metal injection molds would be made from.

[Final production images]

Psst! These puppets make great stocking stuffers!

 

More Let’s Doodle Coloring Pages!

Ask, and you shall receive! Here are more Let’s Doodle coloring pages– just in time for the holiday season.

Mommy Mondays: 15 Minutes

Why is it that no matter how early I wake up, how calm and peaceful I try to make the getting-ready process, the last 15 minutes before dropping my daughter off at school are always crazy?

This morning, for example, I woke up at 5:45 to work out, check emails, make lunches, and get myself ready before waking Emma up at 6:45 (clearly I don’t spend a lot of time on makeup). She woke up bright and cheery. We read a book in bed and then headed into the living room for a bit of coloring and a TV show before getting her dressed, breakfast eaten, teeth brushed, and fish fed. Sometimes we can even sneak in arts & crafts or a walk around the block before we head out!

And then all heck breaks loose. Somehow the 15 minutes I leave to get us to school, which is 3 minutes away door-to-door, is never enough. Grabbing purses, backpacks, homework (which needs to go into the backpack, which is already on the back), and lunches… getting out the door and into the car (why is this so hard? It’s like it happens in slow motion)… driving to school and parking… it’s a marathon exercise, always a scramble, and the ramifications of cutting it short a minute or two—not having any playground time before the bell rings—can turn my happy, cheery girl into a storm of pout and cling.  And so my memory of our calm, peaceful, together-time morning is replaced by the last, pitiful look I get as she walks into class, and this is what I take with me all day.

Yes, my head knows that she’s fine the minute she turns the corner into her classroom, but my heart can’t quite believe it. Has anyone cracked the morning code? Left the drop-off happy and satisfied? Tips are much appreciated.

Working on Gross Motor Skills

Although Children’s health month is coming to an end soon, it doesn’t mean that the fun should stop! We highly encourage that you continue to get your kids active and working on those gross motor skills!

What are gross motor skills?  Gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body that are used for walking, running, sitting, crawling and other activities.

They develop over a relatively short period of time, with most of the development occurring during childhood. Encouraging gross motor skills simply requires a safe, open play space, peers to interact with and some adult supervision.

There are a number of activities parents can have children do to help develop gross motor skills. These include:

  • Activities that encourage balancing (jump rope, hop scotch)
  • Activities that develop hand-eye or foot-eye coordination (baseball, football, soccer—anything that involves catching, kicking or throwing a ball)
  • Hopping with a small object in-between their knees and jumping forwards, backwards and sideways.

All Hands on Deck!

Happy Friday! Since there are so many fun facts about hands, we’ve decided to compile them all into one big interesting post! Read and Enjoy.

Here’s one you might have already experienced: Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!

But did you know that the pink under your fingernails is the blood in your capillaries? You did?

Okay how about this: There are no muscles inside the fingers. The muscles which bend the finger joints are located in the palm and up in the mid forearm, and are connected to the finger bones by tendons, which pull on and move the fingers like the strings of a marionette.

Here’s food for thought: About a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain (the part of the brain which controls all movement in the body) is devoted to the muscles of the hands.

Last but not least, did you know that the wrinkles on the back of the finger knuckles are actually dimples? They mark areas where the skin is attached to the tendon beneath the skin.

Now you’ll know the back of your hand a little better than you did before!