Posts Tagged ‘I spy jar’

Our “gold” Christmas gift for the girls this year is a busy bag for each of them.  If you don’t get what I mean by “gold,” see my posts here and here.

I bought a bunch of little stuff from the dollar store (and other places) like stickers, bubbles, little light ups, coloring/activity pads, notebooks, balloons, chapstick, small toys, noisemakers, and other goodies.  That was the easy part.  Now for the bags themselves and the home made items to put in them!

I’m including the “I-Spy something I’m Thankful For” craft we did for Children’s church that I wrote about here.

Here’s what else  I’ve gotten done so far- and everything is done in triplicate since I’ve got 3 little girls to make this stuff for.  My sister came over on the day after Thanksgiving and we did a “Craft Friday” instead of going out shopping for Black Friday.  That day I got my neck pillows made (finished actually, I had one mostly done the night before, and pieces cut for the other 2).  My inspiration came from here at U-Create with Infarrantly Creative, but I didn’t put the cool animal heads on mine.  I made up my own pattern, but there is also a free one you can print at the U-Create/Infarrantly Creative link.  Mine are  a cute flannel print on one side and fleece on the other.  If they drool on them, the fleece side wont feel wet, so I hopefully wont get as many whiny complaints that way.


I made marble mazes, as seen here at Serving Pink Lemonade.  There’s a start and stop spot stitched on.  It’s just 2 layers of fabric with paths sewn.  A marble inside gets pushed between the layers of fabric to navigate it through the maze.  Quick, easy, and contained entertainment.

I also got all the pieces cut and almost everything sewn for 3 composition book covers with crayon rolls.  My inspiration on this one came from here at Moda Bake Shop, but I didn’t take the time to make strips of fabric to piece a cover or stitch on a nameplate.  Mine also has 10 chunky crayons on the front, that just barely fit.  I enlarged the crayon pocket to 11 inches long and gathered it to fit all that crayon.  I finished the last one of the covers a few days later.


I tried to start the bags to put everything, and didn’t get far before I needed to hunker down on the last MOPS project (melt and pour soaps- you can see what we ended up doing at this post).  No pics yet, but I’ve got some neat plans for this bag!

I got back to business once that was done on Wednesday.  Thursday I made button snakes; inspiration from here at The Rigneys.  I was going to stop at 12 shapes, but my kids (helping me) thought I should make more.  (Yes, they’re seeing a lot of their gifts as I make them.  They don’t nap and seem to require less sleep than I do, so I must craft when they’re awake.  And they’re nosey, so not much escapes them!   I gave up trying to hide stuff, so they’re selecting some things as I make them, like ribbon and button colors, fabric choices, and shape suggestions.  They are not happy they don’t get the things I’ve made yet.  They break into my stash of Christmas gifts at least once a week, including just a few minutes before I typed this.  I need to get this done soon!)


So there’s 18.  These are the shapes I made- the same for each girl except for the letter for their first name.  Each shape is a different color except for two repeats- snowman and fish are both white, and moon and sun are both the same shade of yellow.  There is a heart, flower, star, circle, square, triangle, half circle, hexagon, butterfly, diamond, fish, splat, moon, snowman, tree, sun, raindrop, and letter for their first name.

It was a productive day on Thursday and I also managed to finish (late before I went to bed) 30 felt finger puppets.  I’ve seen a few different ones online.  For a quick version, do something like these monsters at Ohdeedoh that use fabric paint to decorate.   The nicest looking monsters I’ve seen since Monsters Inc.

These are super cute, and you can buy the pattern at The Idea Room.   I didn’t, because I’m too cheap and can figure most stuff out on my own.  Here’s mine- including a close-up of our mini-me’s:


Finger puppets are addicting!   I wrote out a list of what animals I wanted and separated them into base colors so I knew how many to sew of each color.  The bases are made so quickly and easily- just fold over the piece of felt (and pin so it stays straight) and start sewing!  I made them big enough so that adult fingers will fit, too.  We’ll probably be playing with them at some point in time.  Mark the felt if you like, I just eyeballed it.  And I didn’t do any thread changes.  I did have to go back and make a couple smaller- I could fit almost 2 fingers in a few.  Oops.  The 30 bases were done and cut in under half an hour.


Cut them apart when you’re done and decorate with felt cut outs and google eyes.  I used a glue gun for all my bits and pieces.  This is the time consuming part.  My final list of puppets include:  a mini of each of us (5 total), and an ark load of critters:  horse, bear, moose, monkey, rabbit, dog, pig, sheep, zebra, duck, chicken, penguin, cat, cow, bluebird, cardinal, giraffe, lion, hippo, elephant, rhino, tiger, fox, frog, and snake.  And here’s the list of more I’d love to make!  Panda, Polar bear, Raccoon, Deer, possum, skunk, snowman, gingerbread man, Butterfly, Bee, Dragonfly, Spider, prince, princess, baby, and more!  I figured I should stop at 30 since thats all the more little kid fingers we have and I need to move on to another project.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to put up the rest as it gets done and I have time (I’m linking as I post.  Click on what you’re interested in to see how mine turned out).  The list to do includes the bag, busy books, play dough filled balloons, lacing cards, little lanterns, story dice,  and if I get to it: a balloon cover, quick doll gowns and diapers, kid size fleece fold over sleep sacks and maybe some popsicle puzzles.  I may have forgotten something.  I’ll try to add it sometime if I did.  And I’ll include the links for my inspirations as I do them.  If you can’t wait, try checking my Pinterest page of crafts and sewing for the kids.


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John and I had served our turn of the month in children’s church Sunday.  Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we wanted to do something with the kids that would focus them on that special day.  We made and talked about/used our “I-spy something I’m thankful for” jars.  The point is to find an item in the jar and tell what it reminds you to be thankful for.  For the parents, we included a little tag with a list of the 45 items and the reason for the jar and some examples of how it works.  The jars aren’t anything new, there’s lots of versions and tutorials out there.   The concept applying it to Thankfulness is what I wanted to share here.  I’m sure you could make one to pass around the dinner table with your family/dinner guests on Thanksgiving day, too.  The responses to why you’re reminded to be thankful by a given item can be very personalized.

The items to make these were mostly around the house (at least around a crafter/carpenter/gardener/scrounger/packrat house).  There are 10 or so that are a bit of a cheat and use little things punched out of card stock.  The snowflake was a ribbon that I cut into pieces, as was the rainbow and the red, white and blue ribbon.  I cut crosses out of brown felt and shirts out of some T-shirt scraps (they don’t fray).  I made bitty books out of scrap paper- stapled the insides and then glued on a colorful cover.  A few items were beads.  Most everything else came from small found items around the house or outside.  The birthday candle, pencil, and crayon where cut in half or in small stubby pieces.  Obviously, use what you have and can find that will fit the category of things to be thankful for (most anything!)  I used clear spice jars (the ones from Aldi’s have easy to remove labels) and I swapped some lids from other jars that fit, but didn’t have the little flip tops (=less glueing to secure everything).  The tops were glued on at the end to prevent any untimely messes.  I used poly beads to fill most of mine (I had some on hand), but ran out when I made up the rest at home and used rice to finish.  Some people use bird seed for a filler.

Some logistics:  I put my items into egg cartons- 2 in each hole- so it only took 2 egg cartons to carry all the items to go inside the jars.  Unfortunately, I didn’t put anything over my items to keep them from shifting all over to the other spaces in the carton.  It happens no matter how careful you are not to tip them.  (I tested it on the way home.  They didn’t spill on the way there just because John carried the bag to the car- shouldn’t have blamed him for the mess!)  So, I recommend putting a napkin, tissue, paper towel, washcloth,or something else over your items in the spaces before transporting.  It will save you a lot of fumbling, time, and exposure of all those little goodies (not good in a room of busy little ones)!  I handed items to the kids and let them put each thing in their own jars (Except the busiest two year old who wasn’t interested).  I put the filler beads in.  You might be able to let kids help with this if you have a nice flat container of beads/rice, a scoop and a funnel.  I put a bead of hot glue around the inside of the lid and screwed it on quickly.  (Putting it on the jar itself didn’t work).  Tags I had made up and put on a rubber band for simple attachment to the jars.  I just printed on card stock, cut them out, and “laminated” with clear wide tape.  The tag is the first thing to be removed and crumpled, but at least it starts out with the jar, gives parents the idea, and can go back on easily.  I brought a sharpie marker to write names on jars and tags.

Here’s the info I included on the tag.  I made it fit in two columns on a page of cardstock, 4 in a column (so you could get 8 per page).  I used a size 6 font to make it fit, so it’s pretty small.

I spy… something I’m thankful for! 

Spy something in the jar.  Tell what it reminds you to be thankful for.  There may be more than one reason!  

Examples:A feather could remind you to be thankful for birds, chickens (and eggs), or for a comfortable bed.  A bobby pin might remind you to be thankful for your grandma (or someone else who wears them), or to be thankful that you have hair.  A candle may remind you to be thankful for birthdays, celebrations, or light.  A piece of rainbow ribbon might remind you of God’s promises or the beautiful colors around us.  

There are 45 items.  Here’s a list of what to look for.

pencil      candle     button     bell     paperclip

fish      toothpick     teddybear     penny     girl

apple      rubber band     house/castle     car     flower

butterfly     rock     train     shell     nail

screw     crayon     bobby pin     kidney bean     kernel of corn

star     raisin     feather    cross     smiley face

snowflake     marble      shirt     book     twig

safety pin     google eye     heart     tack     boy

pumpkin seed        piece of electric wire        piece of rainbow ribbon

piece of red, white, and blue ribbon          water drop (blue drop bead)

We only had 4 kids in class (two were ours) but it was a busy day!  I love how they turned out.  I especially like that they are so compact- a nice small size to fit in a bag or purse without much hassle, but still plenty to keep a little one occupied.  They will be joining the busy bags for our trip to NC this Christmas.

What ideas do you have for developing thankfulness in the hearts of your children?

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