Recycled Building Blocks with Washi Tape

April 15, 2014

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Do you like washi tape?  Do you like hoarding cardboard recycling?  Do you also enjoy making homemade toys for kids?  If you answered yes, yes, and yes again, well, then you are in luck!  I just happen to have the perfect solution to your washi tape and cardboard hoarding addictions!

These recycled building blocks are so simple to make.  They happened to be an enjoyable craft for my boys as well.  Mind you, anything that involves tape or scissors is always a guaranteed hit.

Make your own set of building blocks using recyclables and washi tape from And Next Comes L

Want to make a set for your kids?  Get all the details over on B-Inspired Mama.

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Spring Mirror Drawings {Light & Reflections Series}

April 13, 2014

Spring is finally in the air!  We've been able to spend plenty of time outdoors, which means the boys have been sleeping better from all the fresh air.  Flowers are far from blooming, however, so I decided that we needed to bring some spring indoors.  I set up a spring themed mirror activity for this month's Light & Reflections series post.

Spring invitation to draw on mirrors from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Similar to this Valentine's mirror invitation, I set out our mirrors and some window markers.  I chose green and brown window markers to reflect the earthy tones that are visible outdoors right now.  I also set out some buttons, flower shaped plastic jewelry links from the dollar store, and some acrylic butterflies that I found at Michaels.

When I originally set out the materials, I did set up the small scene that is in the first picture to inspire the boys.  J immediately started to imitate it by strawing plant stems.  He then added some extra butterflies, happily counting them as he added them one by one to the mirror.

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

Of course, every spring scene needs some numbers.  At least, in J's mind.  So his spring scene was surrounded by random strings of numbers and a few addition sentences.

He then drew some green grass.

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

Close up of spring mirror drawings from And Next Comes L

J's finished product is very pretty.  I love the plants that he drew!

Spring mirror drawings from And Next Comes L

I figured that K would just be interested in dumping the buttons over and over, but boy, was I ever wrong!  I have never seen him into an activity like this, but he thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was also the first time that I've seen him so interested in drawing and coloring.  I especially loved how K would lean so close while he colored.  He was so focused on what he wanted to draw and quite purposeful with his mark making.

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

Drawing on mirrors with window markers from And Next Comes L

K eventually cleared off most of the loose parts from the mirror.  His final picture doesn't look like much to others I'm sure, but I was so mesmerized by how focused he was on this activity that I am rather proud of his end product.

Spring mirror drawings from And Next Comes L

Be sure to check out the other Spring posts in this month's Light & Reflections series:

Touch & Feel Spring Suncatchers from Happily Ever Mom
Easter Eggs on the Light Table from Still Playing School
Spring Light Table Sensory Bin from Where Imagination Grows

You can find all the posts from this series on the Light & Reflections Series board on Pinterest.  Next month we'll be focusing on nature and animals.

Light & Reflections Series Lineup for 2014 at And Next Comes L

A spring invitation to create and draw using mirrors from And Next Comes L

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Lovebirds Etched Mirror

April 12, 2014

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I am a bit excited, and a wee bit nervous all at the same time, to branch out from the typical kids activities that you find on my blog to share something different.  I really do want my blog to reflect me and since crafting makes me happy, I thought it was time to showcase some of my other ideas.  I already mentioned here that I was planning on introducing some of my other crafts on a very occasional basis.  Besides, not everything is about the kids around here.  Okay, maybe it is like 99% of the time...

Today's post also marks my 300th post!  300 - what a milestone!  So today is as good a day as any to share some of my DIY home decor ideas instead of the usual light table activity or quiet book page or sensory activity.  And if you've been following along for awhile, then you may have noticed my love for my Silhouette Cameo with these various projects.  One of the first projects that I did with my Cameo was this beautiful lovebirds silhouette etched mirror.

DIY lovebirds etched mirror from And Next Comes L

My mom, who is a ceramic artist, made us a beautiful custom mirror for our main floor bathroom.  It replaced this very plain dark brown framed mirror.  I decided to hang on to it, but not entirely sure what to do with it.  

Eventually I came across this lovebird wallpaper and fell in love with it.  I just knew that it would look amazing as an etched mirror.  One problem though.  I had never etched anything in my life.  I was hoping that my Cameo would make it a breeze.  It totally was!  Seriously, the Cameo is an amazing product for anyone that loves to craft.

Thankfully I had most of the supplies from the Silhouette etching starter kit already on hand from another Silhouette starter kit.  So I ordered myself some etching cream to try this process out.

I popped the lovebird image in my Silhouette Studio program and used some vinyl to make a stencil for my mirror.  Once the stencil was on the mirror, it was only a matter of applying some etching cream, washing it off, and removing the vinyl.  Then I was left with this gorgeous upcycled mirror.

DIY lovebirds etched mirror from And Next Comes L

The finished mirror now hangs in our back entryway.  And I absolutely adore it.  It is the perfect compliment to what was once a very plain wall.

DIY lovebirds etched mirror from And Next Comes L

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Playing with Finger Lights

April 09, 2014

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On a recent trip to the dollar store, I came across finger lights similar to these.  They were $1.00 for four lights.  I thought they would be a fun addition to our light table accessories.  Plus, my boys love flashlights (what kid doesn't?!).  I figured that these would be just as exciting (if not more) to them.  

So on a particularly dark and dreary morning, I set out a bunch of objects from our light table stash and the finger lights.  

Light play for kids using finger lights and translucent objects from And Next Comes L

The materials I used were our DIY color blocks, some translucent WEDGiTS (these were provided to me for free from Imaginability - thank you!), and some colored tube shots.  The boys were instantly intrigued and began exploring the different objects using the finger lights.

First up were the tube shots.  Please note, the finger lights may get lodged inside the tube shots so double check the size first.  We ended up using our tube shots from Target here as they are wider than our dollar store ones.  That means no finger lights got stuck - YAY! 

Playing with finger lights and tube shots from And Next Comes L

The boys then moved to the color blocks.  They stacked different colored blocks with different colored finger lights, which provided them the opportunity to explore some color mixing.  K, really liked to cram as many as he could inside one block.  Ah, toddlers are fun little people, aren't they?

Playing with finger lights and DIY color blocks from And Next Comes L

Playing with finger lights and DIY color blocks from And Next Comes L

Playing with finger lights and DIY color blocks from And Next Comes L

The coolest objects to use with the finger lights, in my opinion at least, were the translucent WEDGiTS.  The finger lights really made the colors of the WEDGiTS pop.  The boys even made a glowing pyramid with the WEDGiTS and finger lights.  Naturally, however, it was destroyed before I could snap a decent picture.

Playing with finger lights and translucent WEDGiTS from And Next Comes L

Playing with finger lights and translucent WEDGiTS from And Next Comes L

This invitation not only added some color to a dreary, gray day, but it keep the boys entertained for the better part of a morning.

For other ways to play using the WEDGiTS, you can get some other ideas and read my full review here.

Light play for kids using finger lights and translucent objects from And Next Comes L

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Sticky Pom Pom Art on the Light Table

April 06, 2014

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We recently did a farm theme for our homeschool preschool co-op.  One of our crafts was this sticky sheep from Twodaloo.  One of the kids was sick so I ended up with one leftover sheep for my boys to decorate.  I gave K some colored pom poms since we ran out of cotton balls and he happily made a rainbow sheep.  It was adorable, but short lived.  K ripped off the pom poms, leaving a slightly fuzzy rainbow sheep behind.  Then I had my aha moment.  I figured the colors left behind from the pom poms would pop on the light table so I set up this simple process art for the boys on the light table.

Pom poms on the light table from And Next Comes L

For this art project, you'll need contact paper and pom poms.  I taped the contact paper, sticky side up, to the light table and set out a variety of large pom poms.

The boys "stamped" with the pom poms.  Quite furiously, I might add.

Creating art with pom poms on the light table from And Next Comes L

Creating art with pom poms on the light table from And Next Comes L

After dumping all of the pom poms onto the contact paper, the boys started to remove them one by one.  

Sticky pom pom art on the light table from And Next Comes L

Sticky pom pom art on the light table from And Next Comes L

When the pom poms are removed, some of the fuzziness is left on the contact paper.  The light table makes the colors of the pom pom residue pop.  Plus, the residue feels really neat when you brush your hands over it.  K especially enjoyed running his hands over the finished product.  

Sticky pom pom art on the light table from And Next Comes L

The boys also added some other elements to their play...a whole container full of loose parts!

Open ended exploration after creating pom pom art on the light table from And Next Comes L

Shortly after we did this art project, I came across this pom pom sticky window art from No Time For Flash Cards.  So you can always substitute some natural light for the light table.

Looking for more light table art projects?  Check out our Washi Tape Art on the Light Table or browse the Light Table Art & Crafts board on Pinterest.

Sticky pom pom process art for toddlers on the light table from And Next Comes L

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Free Printable Daily Schedule

April 03, 2014

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I'm a firm believer in routine and structure for kids and my four year old J is a routine-based kid.  He thrives when he knows what to expect in his day.  To help make our days easier, I purchased a pocket chart and created some activity cards for it.  Since we have found it extremely helpful, I thought others might enjoy it too.  So I have also included the free printables for you to print, cut, laminate, and enjoy.

Free printable daily schedule for kids from And Next Comes L

I made our schedule extremely detailed with everything from my husband's basketball games to snack time to brushing teeth to a birthday party.  I printed them in color, cut them into strips, and ran them through my laminator.

I usually fill up the pocket chart twice during the day since it's not long enough to allow for the kind of detail I need for our schedule.  That also allows us some flexibility in case we need to change the schedule part way through the day.

We have been using this schedule for a couple of weeks now and it has been working incredibly well.  It is hanging up outside J's and K's bedrooms.  When they wake up, they can instantly see what is planned for the day.  K is even starting to associate the pictures with the words, so it's a great way to encourage some extra literacy in our house.

We now store all of the cards for the schedule in a basket that I found in our garage.  When we finish an activity on our list, J likes to put it in the basket.  

Free printable daily schedule for kids from And Next Comes L

Want to make a schedule for yourself?  I have separated the schedule into five parts so that you can download the sections you want.  I have also included duplicates of scheduled activities that you may find yourself doing more than once in a day.  And finally, if there's anything you'd like to see added, let me know!


Free printable daily schedule for kids from And Next Comes L

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Car Themed Invitation to Explore Magnets

March 31, 2014

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Science isn't my strong suit.  As a result, I often struggle to come up with unique and fun science ideas for my kids.  But, I think I may have surprised myself with this simple car themed science invitation.

I mentioned a trip to my local teacher store the other day, where I found some awesome magnetic transparency counters and magnet wands.  As the boys were trying the counters out on the light table, three were lined up like a traffic light (you know...red, yellow, and green).  Then I thought that it would be fun to set up a car themed tray to explore what is and isn't magnetic with the boys.  They both enjoyed this science invitation, but toddler K was particularly enthusiastic about it.

Simple science for toddlers and preschoolers using magnets with a car theme from And Next Comes L

To set up this tray, I used the following:
J was drawn towards the magnetic cars and made up a little game of his own.  He would line up a couple of cars and then ask, "Where's the two?"  Then he would pick up the correct car with the magnet wand.  Every so often, K would pipe in, "There's the two.  Right there!"

Toddler science: exploring magnets with a car theme from And Next Comes L 

K, on the other hand, was very thorough in checking out this tray.  He lined up all of the wheels (both the magnetic and non-magnetic varieties).  He then tried to pick up each one using the magnet wand.  It was cute to see him discover that the milk jug lids were not magnetic.  K kept trying over and over to pick one up.

Toddler science: exploring magnets with a car theme from And Next Comes L

After the disappointing milk jug lid wheels, K tried the magnet wheels.  He was so delighted to see those work!

Toddler science: exploring magnets with a car theme from And Next Comes L

K also spent a lot of time with the transparent counters.  You can see below that he wanted the magnet wand to pick up all of the transparent counters, even the non-magnetic ones.  He sure tried to make it stick!

Toddler science: exploring magnets with a car theme from And Next Comes L

What a simple tray this was to set up, but boy, did it keep them entertained!

Looking for more car themed play?  There's plenty on my blog including:


Simple science for toddlers and preschoolers using magnets with a car theme from And Next Comes L

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