DIY Music Rocks

By on April 21, 2014 4 Comments so far
Teaching music theory to my beginner piano students can sometimes be frustrating, as some of the concepts get a bit abstract.  So sometimes we have to skip the paper and pencil and do some hands-on work.  These DIY music rocks are going to be great for exploring music theory with my piano students.  However, I made them originally for my boys.  Although only four and two, they both already have quite a substantial amount of musical knowledge.  For instance, J loves to use the words Allegro and Largo when talking about fast and slow even if it's in reference to cutting meat at suppertime (e.g., "Mom, I'm cutting Allegro!").  So I figured that they would both enjoy learning some more music theory with these music rocks.

They really rock.  Ha!  You didn't seriously think I would pass up the chance to do a pun, did you?!

DIY music rocks - hands on music theory for kids from And Next Comes L

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

To make your own music rocks, you'll need:
I hand painted some eighth notes, eighth rests, quarter notes, quarter rests, half notes, and half rests (or hats as K likes to call them!).  I did two of each symbol.  Once the paint was dry, I covered them with a coat of Mod Podge.


DIY music rocks - hands on music theory for kids from And Next Comes L

There are lots of ways to play with these music rocks.  Some ideas include:
  1. Playing a matching game.  Match the same symbols together (e.g., quarter note and quarter note).
  2. Playing a count matching game.  Match the note and rest that have the same note value (e.g., half note and half rest).
  3. Compose a rhythm and clap it.
  4. Practice note naming on the grand staff using the note rocks (skip the rests for this part).
  5. Compose a tune on the grand staff and play it on the piano (see picture below).  I guess you could call the tune "rock music."

DIY music rocks on the grand staff from And Next Comes L

J liked to line them up.  He was convinced some of them looked like letters so here he is trying to spell some words.

Lining up DIY music rocks from And Next Comes L

DIY music rocks from And Next Comes L

What other theory games can you think for these music rocks?

Looking for more music activities?  Check out all of my other music activities here or browse my Music Activities board on Pinterest.

DIY music rocks and 5 music theory games to play from And Next Comes L

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Homemade Lego Table

By on April 17, 2014 4 Comments so far
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Remember the awesome road tabletop that I made for our light table?  Well, if you flip it over, then you will find our homemade Lego table!  Yes, that means that just like the road tabletop, it fits on top of our light table or it can be played with on the floor.  Homemade, portable, and fun!  It's also compatible with Lego Duplo and regular Lego so that means that this homemade Lego table will grow with the boys.

Building on a homemade Lego table from And Next Comes L

Here's what I used to make the Lego table:
I arranged the Lego baseplates until I found the layout that worked best for the size of my table.  Then I marked the edges with a pencil.  I removed the Lego baseplates so that I could paint the edges of the table first.  I gave the table two generous coats of acrylic paint.  Once dry, I glued the Lego baseplates down with the Gorilla Glue.

Here's an important tip about gluing Lego baseplates.  You have to leave a small gap between baseplates in order for Duplo or regular Lego to fit on more than one baseplate at a time.  What I did was attach two baseplates together with some Duplo while I glued the baseplates down.  Doing so ensured that I had the correct spacing.

After the baseplates were all glued down, I was unhappy with the amount of white space there was. I decided to pretty it up with some inspirational quotes cut from vinyl.  I used the quotes, "Imagination will take you everywhere," by Albert Einstein and "You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have," by Maya Angelou.  I made the key words (imagination, everywhere, and creativity) in bold, bright vinyl colors.

Portable homemade Lego table from And Next Comes L

To protect the painted surface, I applied a couple coats of Mod Podge.

Then it was ready for play time!  Since this Lego table is an interchangeable tabletop for our light table, it is also portable.  So sometimes we play with it on the floor.

Portable homemade Lego table for kids from And Next Comes L

Building on a homemade Lego table from And Next Comes L

Portable homemade Lego table for kids from And Next Comes L

And other times we put it on top of light table in our playroom.

Homemade Lego table from And Next Comes L

Homemade Lego table from And Next Comes L

Be sure to check out the other interchangeable tabletops for our light table:


Homemade Lego table that is also portable from And Next Comes L

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Recycled Building Blocks with Washi Tape

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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}

By on April 13, 2014 8 Comments so far
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

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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

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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

By on April 09, 2014 4 Comments so far
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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

By on April 06, 2014 9 Comments so far
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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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