Crafting with kids can be a fleeting experience. While their enthusiasm at the outset is impressive (even inspiring), it seems to last about as many minutes as they are old before they're on to bigger and better things. With this in mind, my 3-year old and I have been having a blast coming up with short 5 to 10 minute activities that pack a big punch.
Recently, I happened across a silicone heart-shaped muffin pan, and the possibilities for creating heart-shaped fun has been endless. With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought I'd share 2 heart-shaped ideas that your toddler, with a little help from you, can do in just a few minutes (Well, a few minutes of hands-on toddler time; a little more for you). So take advantage of those short but intense attention spans!
- Heart-shaped idea #1: Heart Crayons!
What you need:
Heart-shaped silicone muffin pan (or any other shape, of course)
All those old broken crayons you have lying around
Silicone muffin pan
- Place muffin mold on empty cookie sheet
- Take any remaining paper off the crayons, break them up, and place pieces in muffin mold. I wouldn't fill them more than 2/3 full. You can be creative mixing the colors up, but in this case you will need to be careful to keep the tray very still once melted to avoid the color mixing together completely. We played it safe and mixed like colors together (reds and oranges, or greens and blues), then added one piece of another color to give it a splash. My toddler loved deciding which would go in each heart.
- Put in a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until completely melted.
|Liquid Crayons--keep very still!|
- Turn oven off. Let cool until hard. (You could remove the pan from the oven to cool, but keep in mind that the crayons are completely liquefied at this point and any movement will mix the colors up more)
It appears that some clear wax rises to the top. This makes it hard to color with this part of the crayon. If you have a steady hand, or maybe a medicine dropper, spoon or suction this layer off while it's still liquid.
Great Valentine's gifts for your child's class or friends...and so so easy!
- Heart-shaped idea #2: Birdseed Valentine's ornaments!
What you need:
Silicone muffin pan (or cookie cutters)
Foil-lined cookie sheet
Straws cut into 2 inch sections
Twine or ribbon
- In a bowl, mix together approx 2 tablespoons flour and 1 tablespoon water for every cup of birdseed. You can add gelatin (and/or corn syrup too) at this stage for added binding. Not really necessary, but if you do, just mix in a packet of gelatin or about 1/4 cup corn syrup. Mix well.
- Spray heart-shaped silicone muffin pan with non-stick spray, or generously rub with oil.
- Spoon birdseed mixture into muffin pan or pack into cookie cutters on foil-lined cookie sheet. Pierce shapes with 2 inch pieces of straw to keep a hole to hang the ornaments. Bake with straw pieces in place.
- Bake at approx 200 degrees for at least an hour. Check. If very soft, keep baking for another hour or so. They won't get completely hard until they cool.
- Pop out of pan (if using cookie cutters, leave in during cooling), place on a wire rack or on a plate to cool.
- You want them to be very hard. If after cooling they are still soft, place back in oven on cookie sheet or rack (with softer side up) and bake until hard.
- Remove straw, thread colorful ribbon or twine through hole. Hang on tree branches and enjoy watching the birds!
Very cute and creative, and also great for Valentine's gifts for your child's class! Not to mention much appreciated by the birds.
Another awesome thing you can do with your silicone muffin pan: in a bowl, beat eggs, a little milk, grated cheese, salt and pepper and any veggies you want to sneak in, pour into well-greased muffin pan (about half full), and bake at 350 until cooked through (about 20 mins). Pop out for heart-shaped breakfast kids will love!