Making a Scarecrow

Simple Steps to Making a Scarecrow

Scarecrow

It’s time to decorate for Halloween and what could be more appropriate than a pumpkin head scarecrow? This is a fun project that your kids will love – and you will get to enjoy the creation until the holiday. Kids love to see something they’ve created on display so having a scarecrow in your front yard or on the porch will be awesome for them.

Getting Started

Getting started is easy. All you need is to gather a few basic items. For instance, you will need to decide what your scarecrow will wear. This is a great use for some old things you’ve been meaning to get rid of. You will likely want a pair of pants, a shirt, and a hat. It’s up to you though really, your scarecrow can be dressed in any fashion you like.

A plastic pumpkin can be an easy ‘head’ for the scarecrow. You may also want to add some great Halloween hair to blow in the wind. That adds a creepy appeal!

For stuffing you can either use straw or just rake up some leaves. Raking the leaves adds another element of fun. Kids love jumping into a pile of leaves!

Scarecrow

Your Scarecrow: Step-By-Step Instructions

Step One: Decide on the basics, such as what the scarecrow will wear, where he or she will sit, and what you will use for stuffing the clothes.

Step Two: Gather everything you will need.

Step Three: Begin filling the clothes being mindful to make your scarecrow look just the way you want – maybe you want to overstuff him so he will appear larger or maybe you want a smaller scarecrow that can sit next to your front door.

Step Four: Prepare the pumpkin head. Keep in mind that the scarecrow will be outdoors and exposed to wind and rain. With that in mind, you need to ensure the pumpkin will stay in place. You can add some rocks to add weight to the pumpkin. The top opening can be covered with witch’s hair or with a hat. You may need to use double-sided tape to keep the hair and /or hat in place.

That’s it! You now have a fabulous Halloween decoration that your kids will be proud of. At the end of the season you can ‘recycle’ the parts of the scarecrow as you see fit.

Happy Halloween!

Keep visiting this Package From Santa blog for more great ideas about ways to decorate and celebrate holidays.

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Decorating for Fall

Decorating for Fall – Kids Can Help!

Decorating for fall

Whether your idea of fall decorations is pumpkins and scarecrows or you prefer a porch or walkway lined with beautiful fall flowers, decorating for fall is something the whole family can get involved in.

This is especially true if you go with simple themes.

Pumpkins are basic – they are almost considered ‘necessary’ elements in any fall decoration. You can get very creative and carve elaborate designs into the pumpkins, or you can draw on them to create faces, or you can simply add them to a collection of other fall-themed items in a way that allows you enjoy their natural beauty and elegance.

For interest, you can gather a collection of fall-related items. For instance, besides pumpkins you might want to include various gourds, potted fall flowers, such as mums, sneezeweed, and sunflowers, and even a candle or two. Depending on the size of your collection, you may want to display it in front of your house, on the porch or deck, or if it is smaller, you may choose to add it to a table top.

Decorate for fall - Boy with big leaf

Have Fun with Your Decorations

Many of the best fall decorations may be found in your own backyard. This is especially true if you have a garden.

Beautiful orange, gold and red leaves can be the perfect accent for a fall wreath. And your kids will enjoy being tasked with finding leaves that inspire the season.

Create a simple wreath using pinecones, leaves and sunflowers. It will add a stunning look to any door.

Decorate for fall - Fall wreath on wood background

Whatever you do, take the time to add a fall decoration to your home. These decorations are simple to create and they add a wonderful look. And the best part is – every member of your family can contribute to the decorations.

Keep reading this Package From Santa blog for ideas about family activities, crafts, home décor, and much more. 

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Easy Friendship Bracelets

Easy Friendship Bracelets Your Kids Can Make and Give

Friendship Bracelets - hands of children over summer nature outdoor

Kids like to make things and perhaps even more than that, they like to give things to their friends and the people they love. With the holiday season just around the corner, the team at Package From Santa thought it would be a good idea to provide a post about a simple craft that is as much fun to make as it is to give. Keep reading to learn about friendship bracelets that your kids can make.

 

 

What you will need:

1.      Embroidery floss

a.      3 Colors

2.      Scissors

3.      Safety pin

Step 1:

Begin by cutting 2 pieces of embroidery floss in each color. The lengths should be 2 ½ to 3 feet each. This will give you a total of 6 strands of embroidery floss.

Step 2:

Gather the strands together and tie a knot at one end, leaving a few extra inches.

Step 3:

Use a safety pin to hold the floss in place as you work. Slip the pin through the knot and pin the floss to a secure surface. This can be as easy as pinning it to the knee area of your pants.

Friendship Bracelets - Embroidery Floss And Needle

Step 4:

Separate the floss into the 3 colors (2 strands per color), and then begin braiding the threads. Braiding is as simple as 1, 2, and 3.  As you separate the colors out you can assign the strand on the left as number 1, the one in the middle can be 2, and the one on the right can be 3. Begin by crossing strand number 3 over strand number 2. [Now number 2 is on the right and number 3 is in the middle] Next, use strand number 1 to cross over strand number 3. [Now number 3 is on the left and strand number 1 is in the middle] Next, you will use strand number 2 to cross over strand number 1 – the basic key is to keep alternating between the outside strands to cross over the one in the middle. You will continue this process until the entire length of the floss is braided.

Step 5:

Tie a knot at the end of the braid, again leaving a few extra inches of floss.

Step 6:

Wrap the braid around your wrist 2 or 3 times and tie a knot – then sit back and admire your work!

For a bit fancier version of this bracelet you can use 3 strands of floss that are doubled in length. Tie them loosely around your finger at the center of the length. Then spread the threads out, matching the colors as you did before and braid. When you get to the end you can tie two or three knots, then add a large bead, and tie a large knot to hold the bead in place.

The loop that is formed when you tie the strands around your finger will create a loop for the bead – that is how you fasten the bracelet on. You can also add beads as you braid the strands.

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Are Your Kids Spoiled?

Are Your Kids Spoiled?

Are your kids spoiled? -Kids-With-Their-Expert-Piggy-Bank

Many parents struggle with this question – they may wonder if (or even worry that) their child is spoiled. But other parents believe children should be spoiled. The team at Package From Santa decided to explore this topic.

Before going further, we need to establish what it means to be ‘spoiled’. According to Dictionary.com, the definition of spoiled is: “to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc..”

Even with that definition, a lot is left to interpretation. After all, what one parent may consider ‘excessive indulgence’ could be something quite different to another.

 

What Experts Say…

Unfortunately (or depending on your view – fortunately), there is a difference of opinion from one authoritative source to another. No matter how you feel about this topic, you can find experts that agree with you.

Consistency Matters

Just as you can find households with strict rules that must be followed by all, you can also find homes that seem to ‘go with the flow’ of things. Permissive parents can be found in every walk of life. And just because the parents are permissive does not necessarily mean their kids rule the household.

Most parents (and experts) agree that being consistent is essential. This includes everything from how you relate to your kids on a daily basis in regards to rules to how you discipline your kids. That consistency lets your kids know what is expected this week and next month.

Life Skills

Are Your Kids Spoiled?Regardless of your views about discipline and specific rules, it is important to teach kids life skills as they grow up – skills that are essential for living a healthy and productive life. For instance, this includes routines related to personal hygiene, making a simple meal, caring for clothes and other personal belongings, basic concepts about spending and saving money, how to keep a home tidy, and the concept of charity.  

Point Systems and Allowances

One tactic to teach responsibility is assigning chores. In many cases the actual tasks are simple and may be more symbolic than anything else. But kids receive points or an allowance based on the chores they complete.

Some parents take things a step further – they insist that the allowance earned is used wisely. That is, they may say a certain percentage must be saved, a percentage is given to charity, and the rest can be spent.

It does seem that all parents and experts agree on the fact that kids can never be loved too much. And with that, kids need to be shown and told that they are loved. 

Please share your views with us. We would love to know how you feel about this issue.

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Getting Your Kids Involved

Getting Your Kids Involved in the Community

Involved in the community

We all want to raise children who have a sense of community and want to help those around them. In this article we will explore ways for your whole family to get involved in the community in which you live. You may just find with a little encouragement on your part your children may be blossoming philanthropists.

Reaching out to neighbors

A simple way to start is in your own neighborhood. Do you have any elderly neighbors who might be grateful of a helping hand? Chores that may be simple for your kids to do may be of enormous help to an elderly neighbor. Things such as taking trash cans to the road for pick up and returning the cans when emptied, unloading groceries from the car or raking fall leaves are examples of things your kids could do to make the lives of their neighbors easier.  Not only will your kids be helping someone but they may also create friendships with neighbors who can share some priceless wisdom with them.

Cleaning Local Parks

The parks in your community are a valuable resource to be shared by everyone in the community. The sad fact is not everyone who uses the parks treat them with the respect they deserve. Over time our parks can accumulate a lot of trash and litter. Someone has to clean all that up or the Park might start to resemble a landfill. On a nice day gather your family and head to your local park armed with trash bags and gloves do a trash pickup. Choose an area of the park and work as a team to clean it of trash and debris. This will help to give your children a sense of pride for the changes they have made to a place they love to visit. It might even make them think twice before tossing a candy wrapper or soda can on the ground.

Involved in the community

Holiday Cards

Another ideal way to help bring cheer to others in the community is to make holiday greeting cards to pass out at a nursing home. Many residents of nursing homes get very few visitors. Call ahead and make arrangements with the staff for a time and date of your visit and the number of cards you should make. These cards don’t have to elaborate, just get out your craft box and get creative. Your kids will have fun making the cards and the senior citizens who receive them will be grateful for the unexpected gift.

There are many ways you and your family can make a difference in the community in which you live. As parents we need to do all we can to make the world a better place for our children.

The Package From Santa blog is designed to provide helpful tips and ideas for parents. We include information on a variety of topics, including everything from holiday decorations to kids’ health.

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Stranger Danger

Teaching Your Children about Stranger Danger

Stranger Danger

It is a sad fact in our society that you must teach your children about strangers and the potential danger they can cause. Every child should know the basics that will help prevent him or her from falling victim to the dangerous strangers lurking in our world.

There is basic information your child should know and should be taught with whom to share it with. A school age child should be able to give their first and last name, home address and the name of their parents. This is important information if they become lost or need help. While this information can be useful it can always be used by strangers to cause a false sense of security in your child. Tell your child to only give out this information to members of the school staff, police officers and trusted adults.

Crowded public places like parks and amusement parks are often hunting grounds for dangerous strangers. Teach your children to stay within certain areas unless accompanied by you. Tell your kids that this rule applies even if an adult tells them it is alright or asks for their help with something.  A common tactic used by dangerous strangers is to ask a child to help find a missing pet or child in an attempt to get them away from the safety of the group. Before going to crowded places you should instruct your child to immediately come to you if any unknown adult asks them to go anywhere with them.

Stranger Danger

The threat of strangers doesn’t end once your child becomes older. If you have older children who catch the bus or walk to school alone they are also prey for strangers. Tell them to never accept rides from anyone that has not been already approved by you. Let them know this includes acquaintances, such as a neighbor down the street. Yes it could be that they are just trying to do a good deed or they may have a darker agenda. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

In this day and age you can’t do too much to protect your children. The news reports are filled with awful stories that detail the many possible dangers strangers can pose to our kids. By educating your children on these dangers you may in fact prevent them from one day falling victim.

Keep reading this Package From Santa blog for lots of great tips and ideas. We cover everything from kids’ health to issues related to home décor and lifestyle matters.

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Fun After School Snacks

Fun After School Snacks to Make with Your Kids

Your kids have just gotten home from school and theywant something good to eat. Don't let them fill up on chips or another unhealthy treat. Instead make a snack that will be fun for you to make together and you can feel good about them eating. In this article I will share two simple and nutritious after school snack ideas

After School Snack

Beautiful and delicious!

Rainbow Fruit Sticks

The first snack idea is rainbow fruit sticks. They are not only colorful and fun to make, they are also packed with vitamins. For this recipe you will need skewed sticks and a variety of different fruits that your family enjoys.

Before the kids are home go ahead and cut the fruit into bite size portions. Be sure to wash all fruit before you serve it. When your kids get home have them wash their hands. Give each child a skewer stick. Using a skewed stick of your own, show the kids how to safely put the fruit on the stick. Now allow the kids to slide the fruit onto their own stick. Remind them to leave enough room at the bottom for them to hold on to. Have them continue adding fruit until they reach the end of the stick. One fun idea is to make a color pattern with the fruit. For true rainbow sticks use the following fruit in the listed order: cherry, orange slices, banana chips, green grapes, blueberries, and purple grapes.

After School Snack

Getting creative with healthy snacks makes them more fun to eat!

Ants on a Log

You might remember the next snack idea from your childhood. It's the classic ants on a log. For generations parents have been making this treat with their kids. Here is a list of what you will need to make this recipe:

  •      Washed and cut celery sticks
  •      Either peanut butter or cream cheese depending on your family's preference
  •      Raisins

Once you have gathered your ingredients and kids the fun can start. Pass out a celery stick to each child. Using a spoon have them fill the celery sticks with peanut butter or cream cheese. Once the celery stick is completely filled you can have some real fun. Give each child several raisins to use as pretend ants. Allow your kids to place the raisin ants however they wish on the celery logs.

Making snacks with your children is a fabulous time to bond. You will enjoy spending quality time with your kids and they will love making something with you.

Depending on the age and abilities of your children they may require more assistance from you. The skewed sticks used in the rainbow fruit sticks are pointed at one end so use caution when working with small children. Lastly, always be sure that your kids have washed their hands before handling any food.

Keep reading this Package From Santa blog for great ideas and tips about everything from writing letters to Santa to recipes and home decor advice.

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