Browsing Category: kids crafts

Free Printable: Halloween Treat Bag Tags

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Halloween is fast approaching, and if your child(ren)’s school is anything like my kids’, then you’ve been volun-told/tasked/guilt-tripped into preparing treat bags for your child’s class! A couple years ago, I made some “Ghostly Grub” for my boys’ class, which was a HUGE hit with the children. It’s super easy to make and these treat bag tags will top off your hard work perfectly!

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Recipe for Ghostly Grub:

Combine the following:

Chex cereal – Monster Scabs
Pretzel sticks – Skeleton Bones (*Optional – cover the pretzel sticks with melted white chocolate or candy melts)
Candy Corn – Jack-o-lantern Teeth
Chocolate chip morsels – Witch’s Warts
Marshmallows – Ghost Poop

I put the mixture into ziplock bags, then placed the plastic bags into a cut up paper lunch bag. I wish I had had time to send the children outside to look for sticks, but living in a city without a yard or trees of our own, I realized that it was a bigger task than I could handle. I did, however, have some wooden chopsticks, which worked in a pinch to create broomsticks!

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Both treat bag tags are available here for free: Just click on the image for the high-resolution jpeg and right click to download!

ghostly-grub-tags

 

 

Ghostly Grub Tags

 

 

treat-bag-tags

 

 

No Tricks, Just Treats! Tag

 

 

The tags measure approximately 2.5 inches in diameter, and I recommend using a 2.5 in circle punch to cut them out although scissors work just fine!

Happy Halloween! 👻🎃

Starting a Fairy Garden

Despite the fact that we still have about 28 days before we move into the new house and the apartment we’re staying in short-term is tiny and under furnished and all of my crafting supplies are packed up and probably somewhere in the Pacific Ocean right now and I really should be waiting until we get to the new place to start any new projects… I just couldn’t help myself! It doesn’t help that while the boys are at school, I don’t have anything else to do here besides think about a million different projects to work on and scour Pinterest for ideas!

My daughter (who will be turning 4 in just under a month), is absolutely in love with all things sparkle-fairy-ballerina-princess, which I find strange because her brothers are not into gender-specificity. They love “boy” stuff like cars and trucks and dinosaurs and superheroes, but they also love My Little Pony and will play tea party with their little sister without a second though. Princess Penelope, on the other hand, is just that. A princess. Her entire world would be pink and purple and covered in glitter if possible. Go figure!

Anyway, she wants a fairy garden, and to be perfectly honest, want one too! So with nothing better to do and a craft store right next to the apartment complex (dangerous!!!), I just couldn’t resist. Penny insisted that she wanted her fairy garden to be indoors because she wants to keep it in her bedroom once we get to the new house, which simplifies things for me because I don’t have to weather proof everything. We headed over to the craft store to see what we could find, and here’s what we just couldn’t stop ourselves from buying:

  1. Wooden dog house – $2.17 (There were several different styles, including one with a domed roof that I thought would be better for a fairy house, but my daughter really wanted the dog house!)
  2. Bag of Spanish moss – $3.97
  3. 2 bushes of fake flowers – $1.50 each ($3 total)
  4. Mini craft sticks – $1.97
  5. Tiny birds (3 birds in package) – $1.49
  6. Bag of glass gems – $1.97
  7. Paint, paintbrushes, glue gun – $5.94 (I only had to purchase these because I don’t have any of my crafting supplies!)

Total spent on the fairy garden (so far): $14.57 ($20.51 including the extra misc. supplies I had to purchase)

I wish I’d taken a before photo, but Penny was so eager to paint it as soon as we got home that I forgot. She chose the purple, and I let her paint to her heart’s content. Her brushstrokes can only be described as scribble-scrabble, so I had to go over it again and clean up her paint job. I painted the roof a maple brown, and once the paint dried, I hot-glued some Spanish moss to the roof. I tiny little branch fell out of the bag of moss, which I glued over the window for the little bird to perch on. I added a couple of flowers to the roof and that’s about it! I’d like to find some twigs to glue onto the pitched roof and to make a rustic and whimsical looking door to the house.

I really don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold off working on other aspects of this fairy garden, especially considering that I have nothing else to do–haha! I’ll keep you posted! 😉

Also, I obviously haven’t used all the materials yet. I cut off a few flowers, and we haven’t gotten to the mini craft sticks, which we’ll be using to make a fence. We’re also planning to put the glass gems down as stepping stones. There’s still lots to do, so stay tuned!

DIY Rainbow War Party for Kids!

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy (thus my absence from the blogiverse lately). We have a 17 year old relative visiting from the States–and OMG is having a teenager in the house a lot of work! During his 14 day stay, we’ve managed to: visit the National Museum of Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Korean War Memorial and Musem, have our feet chewed on by little fish in Myeongdong, see the Jump! show at Kyunghyang Art Hill, play mini-golf, and eat all kinds of food our small-town, middle American teenager had never even heard of before. On top of that, I’ve been knee-deep in planning for a kids’ color war party, and despite feeling overwhelmed by all the things… The teenager is flying out tomorrow full of new experiences and wonderful memories (hopefully!), and the color war party was a huge success!

The party was inspired by a very talented photographer and friend, Zayda Barros. She wanted to photograph a color war, but since she doesn’t have kids (yet!), she asked me to help throw a party of EPIC proportions. 😉 And because I love planning parties, I ran with it and this is what happened:

color war

 

Since I knew that a professional was snapping away, I didn’t take very many photos… And I’m much too impatient to wait until her photos are ready to post to write this post, so apologies for my crap photos and I’ll have some beautiful ones to share soon!

UPDATE: Thank you to the very talented Zayda Barros for these beautiful photos!

Here what planning our Rainbow War Party entailed and some tips for planning your very own color war party!

Location:

Obviously, this is an outdoor activity! We planned our party for a public picnic area that was somewhat secluded, giving kids enough room to run around and throw colors without attracting too much attention. Also, access to water is important! Our picnic area came with a water faucet so kids could wash off before heading home/smearing colors all over the inside of mom’s car.

Guest List:

As with all parties, the fun begins with the guest list! We had a tough time keeping our guest list under 30 children, but we had to keep our group somewhat manageable. The color war is most appropriate for kids aged 4 and up. Our list consisted of 25 kids ranging in age from 2-9. As with all invitations for activity-based parties, be sure to thoroughly explain to parents what the party entails and be prepared to answer a host of questions! We explained: how kids should be dressed (plain white t-shirts that could be ruined during the party), what they should bring for their own child(ren) (towel and change of clothes), age-appropriateness, how long the color war would last, and how parents could help with supplies.

Activities:

Because of the toddlers and also because the color war only lasts about 20-30 minutes (depending on how much color powder you’ve prepared), we prepared other activities to keep the kids busy. Finger painting and play dough are great, colorful activities to keep kids happy and occupied as they eagerly await the beginning of the color war! I purchased finger paints, but made my own play dough (scroll down for the very simple DIY recipe!).

Finger Painting

Because I didn’t have immediate access to rolls of art paper, I just taped large sheets of white paper down to the picnic tables. Rolls of paper would definitely have worked better, but you do what you can…

Food:

Our menu consisted of pasta salad, rainbow bread sandwiches, fruit and veggie platters, M&Ms, Skittles, rainbow cupcakes and beverages–simple and colorful!

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The bread was easy but time consuming to make. There are many different ways to make rainbow bread–just do a quick Pinterest search and there are plenty of different recipes. However, I’m not much of a baker and with a million other things going on at the jkwdesigns house, I needed to make things easier for myself, not harder! So I went with pre made dough. Pilsbury French Loaf dough to be exact. 😉 I was inspired by the recipe for the Rainbow Sandwich Loaf, but I took quite a few liberties with the recipe in order to make it less labor intensive. My changes resulted in a bread that wasn’t quite as colorful as the recipe suggests, but it worked out, I saved some time, and made less of a mess. Win, win, win!

Rainbow fruit and veggie platters Rainbow treats

Decorations:

I kept decorations relatively simple since the focus was on turning our adorable little kids into colorful works of art! I made a “Taste the Rainbow” sign for the food table and individual food signs. I would have preferred white tablecloth for the tables, but supplies at my local shop were limited so I had to go with light purple. I also would have liked to hang white tablecloth as a backdrop for the color fight area, but I wasn’t able to do that either. Oh, the injustice of shopping for party supplies in a country that doesn’t really sell party supplies… 😉

Taste the Rainbow Sign

 

Also, I made water bottle labels for our Rainbow Warriors as well as juice box labels, but a friend brought them in a cooler with ice so my paper labels clearly weren’t going to work. My friend is clearly more thoughtful of the children that I am because I would have served the kids room temperature juice boxes for the purpose of aesthetics! 😉

Rainbow Warrior Water Bottles

 

The files for FREE printables can be accessed here:

Taste the Rainbow
Food Signs
Water Bottle Labels

And just for fun, I added some colored streamers around the picnic area, which ended up being more fun for the kids as we began clean-up.

Streamers

Rainbow War:

Because this party was for a photo session rather than for someone’s birthday, we asked that parents contribute color powder for the fight. They had the option of either purchasing a pack of holi powder from Amazon or making their own. I found numerous recipes for DIY color powder for color wars, but none of them worked quite as well as I had hoped. The flour-based mixtures took ages to dry (Korean summers are just too humid), and very few of us owned coffee grinders. In the end, I did quite a bit of experimenting and came up with an EASY, NO-MESS solution! (Scroll down for Color Powder Recipe!)

For the rainbow war, we pre-filled cups with a small amount of color powder. As the color war began, kids were each given one cup, then instructed to return to the table to have their cups refilled when they ran out of color. This definitely helped the battle last longer!

Color Powder

The only instructions that we gave the kids were:

1) No throwing colors directly at someone’s face.

2) If someone asks you to stop, you must stop.

All the kids were a bit shy at first, but once they got the hang of things, it was a raging battle of colors–complete with laughter and shrieks of delight! And a few tears. 😉 It was impossible to keep the little ones (2 year olds) out of the battle, so we gave in and let them make their own messes, but my daughter decided halfway through the battle that she’d had enough and just wanted me to hold her. You win some, you lose some…

If you’re planning your own color war, just keep in mind that the color and consistency of the store-bought holi powder is far superior to the DIY powder. The colors are spectacular, and the consistency is dust-like. Here’s a link to the one we purchased: Holi Powder. On the other hand, the kids couldn’t have cared less! They were just as happy with the mom-made color powder as they were with the rather pricey holi powder a couple of us ordered from Amazon. If your goal is to take photos of bright clouds of color, invest in the store-bought powder, or perhaps use the holi powder for the first round/photographs, then move on to the DIY powder to save money.

Finally, the best way to end a color war is with water because…no one doesn’t like water play on a hot summer day.

Water Balloons

 

DIY Play Dough Recipe (for 4 different colors):

Play Dough

Materials:

4 cups of flour
1 and 1/2 cups of salt
1 cup of hot water
6 teaspoons of vegetable oil
Food coloring

1. Thoroughly combine the 4 cups of flour and 1 and 1/2 cups of salt in a large mixing bowl.

2. Place 1/4 cup of hot water in 4 individual bowls. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of vegetable oil and the appropriate amount of food coloring to each bowl. If you’re using liquid food coloring, you’ll probably want about 30 drops of each color to make a nice dark shade. If you’re using gel food coloring, use approximately 1/2 teaspoon of each color.

3. Add 1 and 1/4 cup of the flour/salt mixture to each bowl. Mix ingredients together as thoroughly as possible with a spoon (no need to get your hands dirty!). You may still have clumps and unmixed portions of the mixture.

4. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on a cutting board or other dry surface and dump the contents of one bowl onto your work surface. Kneed and combine until the play dough is no longer sticky/tacky. Repeat this step with the remaining bowls of play dough.

NOTE: Store play dough in ziplock bags or an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.

DIY Recipe for Color Powder

Materials:
3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch
Small amount of water
Food coloring

Additional materials:
Aluminum foil or saran wrap
Ziplock bags
Rolling pin

1. Place 3 heaping tablespoons of corn starch in a bowl. Add a small amount of water (approximately 4 tablespoons) and mix. The corn starch will have a strange, difficult to mix consistency. It will seem like it’s halfway between a liquid and a solid. If you’re having trouble mixing it, add a little more water.

2. Once the water/corn starch is thoroughly combined, add food coloring. As the mixture dries, the color will lighten slightly so be liberal with the food coloring! I used 30 drops of food coloring in each batch, and the colors weren’t quite as dark as I would have liked.

3. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or saran wrap and pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet. For faster drying, pour the mixture into small globs. The bigger the glob, the longer it will take to dry. Being a rather impatient person, I poured my mixture in thin lines. Dried super fast!

4. Allow the mixture to sit for as long as it takes to DRY COMPLETELY. It will become brittle and break into pieces when it is completely dry. In our humid, non-air conditioned apartment, it took about 2 hours.

Color Powder 1

5. Break the dried mixture into pieces and place in a ziplock bag. I just picked up the edges of the aluminum foil and poured the pieces into the bag. Press most of the air out of the bag and begin rolling over the mixture with a rolling pin to break it back into a powder. Voila! Color powder!

Color Powder 2

NOTE: If you make the color powder in advance, I would recommend storing it in bowls or containers WITHOUT a lid. If the container is sealed, condensation will begin to form and the powder will become mushy. Not the look you’re going for. 😉

 

Disclosure: This post contains links to products on amazon.com. These are products that I purchased and used for my own projects with no compensation. However, if you click on the link and purchase the product, I will receive a small fee from Amazon.com.
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jkwdesigns.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Easter Party for Little Ones w/ Free Printable!

easter party

I love throwing parties, and I never really need an excuse, but I especially love holidays because they’re the perfect reason to invite friends over for food and fun! We regularly host play dates at our house, but with Easter approaching, and a limited number of Easter activities on post (the military base), I decided to host our own little Easter party and egg hunt for my children and their friends. Generally, because holiday activities are so limited here, attendance is high, and the Easter egg hunt on post isn’t terribly toddler/preschooler friendly. The little ones are usually a little too overwhelmed, and the eager big kids make it a bit difficult for the little ones to search for eggs.

My plan for the party:

  • Coffee and pastries for the moms (keeping it simple!)
  • 2 no/little mess craft activities (with 14 kids aged 21 months – 5 year, I didn’t want to risk having my house absolutely destroyed!)
  • Easter bingo (a FREE downloadable printable from artsyfartsymama.com)
  • Treat bags
  • Easter egg hunt

I asked the moms to bring some decorated eggs and basket(s) for their child(ren).

No-mess Craft Activities:

Last week, I prepared a craft activity for my kids’ Friday morning play group by cutting out about a billion eggs from card stock to make this beautiful paper egg–well, only 14, but it felt like a billion! 😉

IMG_7197The craft was actually a big hit with the moms… And I loved my kids’ creations so much that they’re now framed and sitting on the console table in our entryway as our official Easter decor! This is definitely a craft that’s hard to mess up.

easter decor

I used the large egg template found here, and since last week’s craft only called for the “frame” of the egg cutout, I had 14 egg cut-outs that hadn’t been used. I had a large bowl full of colorful craft buttons, so egg cut-outs + buttons + glue and voila! The easiest craft ever!

easy paper easter egg craft

The toddlers especially had a great time sticking the buttons on the paper egg shapes, and most of them needed very little help–win-win!

For the preschool bunch (ages 4-5), I pre-cut bunny ears, paper plates and whiskers, so all the kids had to do was assemble the pieces. If our group had been slightly smaller, I would have let the kids cut the bunny ears out on their own, but with so many kids and toddlers in the house, scissors–even safety scissors–didn’t seem like the good idea.

paper plate bunny mask

I used a free template/printable for the ears that are actually for bunny ear headbands, but this worked well since two sets of ears printed on a single page. Also, I’ve tried lots of different shaped ears for various crafts over the years, and these work the best. The taller the ears, the less likely they’ll actually stand up. In fact, most templates for bunny ears WON’T stand unless you use cardboard or foam core. For these ears, card stock works, but you’ll want to double up on the paper plate, especially if you’re using the super-cheap, flimsy kind. 😉

The bunny whiskers are approximately 7 inches long and 1/2 inch thick strips of construction paper. Simply curl the ends by using a butter knife and curl just as you would curling ribbon.

All the kids have to do is glue the pieces together and tape a popsicle stick on the bottom back. It’s basically a quick, easy, instant-gratification craft for the kids. And really, who doesn’t want to see a bunch of little bunnies hopping around?

Easter Bingo

The very talented Artsy Fartsy Mama created these adorable Bingo cards and game pieces that my kids ADORE:

Easter Bingo

 

We’ve played this at home, at play group, and now at our Easter party, and it’s always a success. The best part is, the game can continue until each and every child has had a chance to yell out “BINGO!” and all is right with the world for preschoolers. It can be downloaded and printed from here, and you can also find loads of other amazing printables on her site.

Easter Party Decor

Since my kids were “hosting” their very first Easter party and egg hunt, I needed to make up some special party decorations and treat bag tags!

Easter DecorSo I have a few free printables for you! A “Happy Easter” sign, a “welcome to our party” sign, treat bag covers, and a sign for the treats–Easter egg seeds!

All of the printables are designed to be printed on 8.5×11 on the BORDERLESS setting. The treat bag covers work best with card stock, but it can be printed on regular paper as well. There are 4 bag covers per page. Just cut them into strips, wrap around a little baggie filled with jelly beans or other little egg-shaped candy, and staple closed at the top!

Click here to download easter printables pack

easter eggs

And what’s an Easter egg hunt without Easter eggs??? If you’re interested in the eggs I decorated for the party, click here to read about it.

The night before the party, as I was wrapping up the prep work, I realized that I forgot to buy my kids Easter baskets. While I understand that it’s not the end of the world and my kids would have been perfectly happy to run around with plastic shopping bags, they were the HOSTS of the party! So I scrambled to find *something* I could turn into an Easter basket. Fast. So I made these:

Personalized easter baskets

Out of tampon boxes! I just covered them with pretty scrapbooking paper, punched holes in the sides, made handles with yarn, and glued on the kids’ initials. My babies were thrilled to have personalized Easter baskets. 🙂 Now, I just need to figure out what to do with the piles of tampons I dumped on my bathroom floor…

Easter egg hunt

The egg hunt was a huge success! If you’re thinking of hosting an egg hunt for small children (toddlers and preschoolers), here are a few tips:

  • Keep it small. We limited the space the kids could search in and hid quite a few eggs in a relatively small space. This kind of forced the kids to be aware of their surroundings and “share” with other kids–always important lessons!
  • Hide approximately 12 eggs per 3-5 year old and 6 eggs per 0-2 year old. May seem like a lot, but kids (I should say “humans”) are competitive! This allows the older ones to find enough to satisfy and for the younger ones to also find a few.
  • Like most things kids do, they needed some simples rules: no running and no snatching eggs away from the babies. Easy to remember, easy to follow.
  • Another random tip about Easter egg hunts–smaller baskets make for happier children! Kids with large baskets who found 10 eggs wanted to find more. There’s so much more room in their massive baskets! But the kids with smaller baskets who found the same number of eggs and had overflowing baskets their baskets were THRILLED with their loot!

egg hunt

Happy Easter!

 

10 Easy and Fun Easter Crafts for Kids

10 fun and easy easter crafts for toddlers and preschoolers

In addition to my attempts to keep my children happy and occupied, we regularly attend a playgroup for children ages 0-5. Each week, a mom volunteers to lead activities for the group, and my turn is up–just in time for Easter! Fueled by my Pinterest addiction, I’ve put together a list of fun and easy craft activities for the toddler/preschool bunch. Some require parents to pre-cut and prepare, but most are very simple and can be completed by preschool-aged children with minimal parental intervention (yay!).

1. Coloring Pages and Other Free Printables

Sometimes, something as simple as a printout can keep your kids happy! My kids love to draw and color, and it’s also something that my 2 year old can do with her big brothers, so I keep coloring pages, paper and crayons available at all times. Helps me get through dinner prep without a 2 year old attached to my leg.

Free coloring pages and activity sheets from Spoonful
Free coloring pages and activity sheets from Spoonful
Several free printable Easter-themed mazes
Several free printable Easter-themed mazes
25 pages of Easter coloring pages from kidsactivitiesblog.com
25 pages of Easter coloring pages from kidsactivitiesblog.com
Free Easter coloring pages from itsybitsyfun.com
Selection of free Easter coloring pages from itsybitsyfun.com
Free Easter activities printables pack from Gifts of Curiosity
Free Easter activities printables pack from Gifts of Curiosity
Giant Easter egg coloring page (6 page printable) from Mr. Printables
Giant Easter egg coloring page (6 page printable) from Mr. Printables

2. Bunny Ears

Who doesn’t love bunny ears? All you really need is construction paper and tape, but if free-hand drawing bunny ears seems a bit daunting, then check out these links for DIY bunny ears that include templates!

Free printable bunny ears in blue and pink from Kaden's Corner
Free printable bunny ears in blue and pink from Kaden’s Corner
Bunny ears headband w/ printable template from HGTV
Bunny ears headband w/ printable template from HGTV
Free printable bunny ears from bigdotofhappiness.com
Free printable bunny ears from bigdotofhappiness.com

 3. Textured Easter Egg Art

Textured Easter Egg Art
Textured Easter Egg Art from Gummy Lump

This is a great activity for tiny little preschool hands. It combines a sensory activity with dexterity practice, and the best part is, it can be made with any number of items leftover from other craft activities–pipe cleaners, pom poms, buttons, tissue paper, macaroni/pasta, cotton balls…


 4. Pom Pom Painting

Paint an Easter egg with pom poms from sassydealz.com
Paint an Easter egg with pom poms from sassydealz.com

Almost as fun as finger painting! Or if your kids, like mine, don’t like getting their hands dirty, they’ll love this more than finger painting. 😉


 5. Easter Egg Potato Stamping

Easter egg potato stamping activity from sassydealz.com
Easter egg potato stamping activity from sassydealz.com

Another painting activity that keeps paint off of little hands (to a certain extent) AND gets rid of those potatoes growing roots in your kitchen!


 6. Paper Plate Easter Chick

Paper plate Easter chick from simple as that
Paper plate Easter chick from simple as that

Simple and adorable! All you need for this easy craft is a paper plate, construction paper, googly eyes and glue! The feathers are a nice touch, but you could easily cut “wings” out of construction paper if you don’t have feathers on hand.


 7. Easter Suncatcher Craft

Easter suncatcher craft from mpmideas.com
Easter suncatcher craft from mpmideas.com

I love this craft–so colorful and fun. It can be made with cellophane, tissue paper, or even scrapbooking paper or construction paper. Whatever you have on hand!


 8. Yarn Easter Eggs

Yarn egg surprise tutorial by Simply Modern Mom
Yarn egg surprise tutorial by Simply Modern Mom

This one is a little on the messy side, but your kids will LOVE it! Especially the balloon-popping part. 😉 And a hint–you don’t have to use expensive Modge Podge for this project. Regular white school glue mixed with water works great (1 part glue, 2 parts water).


 9. Tissue Paper Easter Eggs

Tissue Paper Easter Eggs from Connecting Family and Seoul
Tissue Paper Easter Eggs from Connecting Family and Seoul

This is truly an ingenious way for little hands to decorate Easter eggs–no messy dyes, no spills, no crying children… 😉 And they look beautiful too!


10. Bunny and Chick Easter Party Hats

Bunny and Chick Easter party hats from One Perfect Day
Bunny and Chick Easter party hats from One Perfect Day

This is a great project for a party or group of kids to work on. The best part is the free template, and your kiddos can decorate it however they’d like–big ears, little ears, feathers, button eyes… Let them get creative and have a crazy hat fashion show!

 

So now… My only problem is… which activities to choose for play group this week??

You can see more of my obsessive Easter pinning on Pinterest! 😉 Happy Crafting!

Shopping for Art and Craft Supplies at Namdaemun – Alpha Store

 

Namdaemun Alpha alley view
Alpha store in Namdaemun, alley entrance

Since deciding not to send my 5 year old boys to preschool this past year, I’ve become a Pinterest addict, searching for preschool crafts and activities to do with my kids. I try to stick to activities that I have supplies for already, or I give myself time to order online (Amazon.com and Hobby Lobby ship to APO rather quickly) because taking to preschoolers and a toddler shopping isn’t exactly my idea of fun! However, there are times when I really need to get out for some art and craft supplies, both for my kids and for myself. Plus, there are quite a few art supplies that are significantly less expensive here in Korea!

You’ve probably seen the yellow and blue Alpha sign in various neighborhoods around Seoul, but the shops tend to be relatively small and limited in what they carry. The smaller Alpha stores (Korean website only) tend to have basic stationary, office supplies, art supplies and a limited amount of children’s items (crayons, pastels, stickers, etc.). However, the large 5-story Alpha in Namdaemun has it all. If you’re an artist, a crafter, a parent–well, basically, if you’re human, there’s something for you at Alpha.

How to get there:

The 5 story Alpha is visible and accessible from both the main road (Namdaemun-ro) that runs east/west along the northern edge of Namdaemun Market as well one of the alleys of the market.

The address for driving is: Seoul-si, Jung-gu, Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga, 20-42. I’m not sure what the parking situation is there, although I would imagine that it’s not simple.

View of entrance from Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga
View of entrance from Namdaemunno 4(sa)-ga

I usually take the subway to Hoehyeon station, Exit 6. From exit 6, walk straight until you reach the “gate” into Namdaemun Market on your right. Turn right into the market and continue walking straight (past all the children’s apparel shops) until you reach a T-intersection. Turn left, then continue walking straight and Alpha will be on the right.

Namdaemun:Alpha Map

What you’ll find at Alpha:

The 5-story Alpha carries just about everything from nail stickers and beauty products to children’s toys and puzzles, felt by the yard, paper plates, light bulbs and aluminum foil (there’s a whole section of housewares!), canvases, paint, sketchbooks, paper…

Alpha Namdaemun children's crafts Alpha Namdaemun art supplies Alpha Namdaemun ready to hang artworkAlpha Namdaemun canvases

 

Worried about how to get your purchases home? One of the best things about Korea is the delivery system. I purchased several very large canvases (which, by the way, are significantly cheaper than U.S. prices) and had them delivered to my home the next day for 4,000W!

This Alpha store is NOT stroller friendly. There are lots of stairs, and it’s built like a maze, so if you take your children with you, keep them close! I lost my husband in there once. 😉

Happy shopping and crafting!

Kids Craft Ideas

**This is a page that I’ve imported from my Preschool Adventures in Seoul blog–now a part of the jkwdesigns site!**
I’ll be posting more about kids’ crafts, but this was way easier than making individual blog posts for each of these activities! Lazy importing… 😉
I’m a strong believer in the idea that LEARNING is not all about sitting at a desk and reading and writing (although that’s definitely important!), especially for younger children. We spend a lot of time doing non-book-based learning activities. Check it out!

Making dinosaurs out of paper cut-outs. I just cut some half-circles, squares and triangles out of card stock. The boys glued them onto a sheet of scrapbook paper and decorated with markers.

I bought these painting sets from Woot! for $2.50/ea. Each set came with 4 tubes of paint, a paintbrush and a 10×10 canvas with an outline of Lightning McQueen on it. At that price, I purchased 12 of them, and once the boys were done painting and had long forgotten about these projects, I re-used the canvases to make a 9 panel “painting” for my dining room! A win-win for all of us.

Easter eggs dyed with food coloring! And yes, the colors came out this vibrant! The kids colored on a few of them with crayon–the wax is supposed to prevent the dye from soaking into eggshell–but they didn’t work out too well. Nevertheless, the boys had fun dyeing the eggs and mixing colors!

We love painting! (More canvases from Woot!)

Play-doh can keep my kids busy for hours. This is Lincoln building Lightning McQueen out of Play-doh.

One of the greatest things that Korea has to offer is their scrumptious strawberries. Let the kids cover them in chocolate, and well… You become the Greatest Mom Ever!

Play-doh Optimus Prime.

Stuck at home in the sweltering summer heat? Fill some large kitchen bowls with water!

More painting fun! When we moved into our apartment, there were rolls and rolls of unused wallpaper that our realtor said he would have picked up. No one ever picked it up, so we’ve been using it as painting paper. It’s great–big enough to cover the entire table area and thick enough that the paint doesn’t soak through!

Macaroni is not just for eating!

And what about gummy letters? Only let your kids eat the candy they can spell with. 😉

Build a pirate ship out of a cardboard box.

Give your kids a dime for each pair of socks they match up. Kids love money. 😉

Our Thanksgiving tree! I cut the tree out of construction paper (several sheets taped together) and had the kids help cut the leaves. Every morning in November, they told me something that they were thankful for, I wrote it on the leaf, and they taped it up to the tree! We have floor to ceiling windows in our dining room, so it worked out well for us. Another idea would be to find a large tree branch, stick it in a vase and have kids put the leaves on the branches.

Made with cut up socks and rubber bands. Filled with rice. Messy, but cute!

Our Thanksgiving Tree

During the month of November, my boys had to think of something that they’re thankful for on a daily basis (surprisingly difficult for 4 year olds!). I wrote it on a leaf for them, and the boys taped the leaf up on the tree that I had put on our dining room window.

The tree and leaves were simply cut out of construction paper. I picked a simple leaf so the kids could help me cut them out (I evened out some edges for them, but their cutting skills were a HUGE help!). It was definitely a worthwhile venture though, even if I had to really push the boys to think of things they’re thankful for and 80% of the leaves have some sort of feed written on them…