July Fourth - Easy Kid DIY

Friday, July 1, 2022

 I cannot believe it's July 1st and that we are already looking at the Fourth of July weekend! This summer is flying by! We have some tentative plans for the weekend. Pool time, taking in "School of Rock" at Theater in the Park if the rain holds out, and a family cookout on Monday. And, as always, we will adorn our table with darling DIY placemats that McKinley made several years. 

But, what started out as a fun DIY fireworks project, turned out to be the most adorable tablescape focal point. As McKinley was trying the toilet paper fireworks painting project, midway through his creations, my husband had the brilliant idea to take them and have them laminated after they dried! It's a minimal cost DIY, one that takes truly minutes to create, and one that will last a lifetime!

Here's what you need:

At least three toilet paper rolls depending on how many kids are participating, red, white, and blue paint, heavy white paper, paper plates, and wet wipes! And a little patience as it can get a little messy! I lined my table with a throw away table cloth.

To get started, cut the end of one toilet paper in small slits all the way around the roll. Only on one side and cutting roughly half way up the roll. Take the slits you cut and flip them up on their edges so you create a flat end. This will be the firework and the end you place in the paint.

Next, load up your paper plates with your paint. Dip each end of your toilet paper rolls in the different paint colors and apply to your white paper. Let them get as creative as possible. And make sure to layer some of the fireworks over each other so it resembles the ones in the sky.

Set aside to dry. Make as many as you want. Like I said, we had McKinley make five for our placemat idea. We took the completed project to UPS for the lamination. So easy and convenient! Done in minutes. 

Have a blast when setting your table. 

Honestly, this is a last minute DIY that you will use over and over again. Make them today and use them on Monday! They are that fast! You can also use them on Memorial and Labor Day weekend.  

Another darling idea just came to mind! Find an inexpensive white table runner or table cloth and use a stencil paint to create a larger canvas for your kids creation! I'm off to find one now!

Happy Fourth of July!



Wonderscope - Children's Museum of Kansas City

Thursday, June 23, 2022

What is Wonderscope, you wonder? It is a Kansas City children's STEAM museum that has been around for years. What is STEAM, you ask? It stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math educational experiences geared for young children. The original location was in Shawnee, in an old elementary school building, but the new location that opened in late 2020 is amazing! Open and airy, large and accommodating, and with zones that must seem larger than life for the littles. The space features 30,000 square feet of indoor exploration and 1/2 acre of year-round outdoor adventure. Explore at your own pace and in whatever order you desire! Here's what went down on our visit.

We decided to take to the outdoors first, only because the heat index was high on our visit, and we thought outdoors early was best. The large silo caught McKinley's eye right away and it turns out it's an oversized sandbox. Play inside or out and pretend the sand is grain to harvest. Learn all about being a dairy farmer, ride on a John Deere tractor, check out the veggie garden beds and smell the wonders that grow from the earth. What do you smell? Are these things you eat at home? Where do they come from and why? Want to play in a treehouse on land? Run wild in this spacious version that looks out over the grounds of Wonderscope. Can you make it through the grass maze that's nestled just outside the tree house? Give it a try! And how in the world is there a school bus halfway inside and outside the building and will you find your way inside it?

After McKinley explored the great outdoors, it was time to head inside. First up, the Wonder Market and his favorite space! Shop among the produce, canned goods, and meat department, filling up your handheld basket or rolling shopping cart. The Market is laid out just like your standard grocery store with dairy all placed inside a large "fridge", loaves and loaves of bread, International foods, and more. And once you are done shopping, bring your cart to the check out. You can place your items on the counter for your checkout person to ring you up or you can do it yourself and pretend you are at self-checkout. McKinley personally loved doing both! And if you get a giant watermelon, place it on the working scale to see how much it weighs! You can do the same thing at the produce stand when buying potatoes or onion in bulk. I love this super cute feature. And, if there is a clean up in aisle two, grab a broom or mop, and get that mess cleaned up! 

Hungry for lunch? Head next door to the KC Cafe. You will find plenty of cooks in the kitchen just waiting for you to place your order from table menus or the giant one on the wall. And if you want to be server or cook, then by all means, head on back! There's a sink for washing up all those dirty dishes, a giant grill for cooking, and plenty of counter space for cutting and slicing. There are t-bone steaks, burgers, and plenty of sides to chose from when making your signature dish. After your order has been placed, find a seat and wait for your meal to arrive. Or, you can sit at the counter like an old fashioned diner. I declare that the KC Cafe will be on the next hot spot restaurant list!

Take to the mighty river on the steamboat, explore the prairie in your covered wagon, or hit the rails on a Union Pacific train headed for any destination you can imagine. McKinley spent a lot of time on the steamboat. He tried to learn how to tie different knots at the hands-on tutorial station on the steamboat, but couldn't figure it out. To be honest, he didn't spend too much time really trying! There was too much to explore. There's a boiler room, captains bridge, and the higher you go on the ship, more adventure awaits. There are rope tunnels, glass bottom look outs that freaked McKinley out, and the highly sought out school bus! You can drive over the edge of the sidewalk of the outdoor play space or stay inside the building by hanging out in the back of the bus. Everyone loved this spot! Once you've made your way back down, make sure you head out to the lake or stream or whatever body of water you want to call it, and row yourself ashore on the row boat. Don't feel comfortable on the water? That's okay, there are plenty of life vests to help you stay afloat. 

Could you survive in a covered wagon that is carrying everything you own or will need when you finally settle on your new land? Check this out and look for all of the tools that settlers used to make all of the things that have been replaced by machinery. Did you know that people used to make butter from something that looks like a barrel and pole? It's called churning butter and it took forever to make butter from the ingredients inside the churn. Would you take the time to do that today? What about washing clothes on a washboard? That's right! They didn't have washing machines back then. You had a bucket of water and a corrugated metal board. You would rub your clothes up and down the board to get the dirt and grime off of your clothes and then would hang them to dry. Definitely an all day chore! And a chore that someone your age might have. It was a lot of work back then!

All aboard for your next big exploration. The Union Pacific 2233 will take you wherever you want to go. And if you have a desired destination, put it on the board! This entire space is as interactive as you want it to be. Be an engineer on the train and take your travelers on a grand adventure. Or, be a passenger and sit back while watching your favorite show! Which would you be? And make sure to take a slide from inside the engine. You will find yourself on the tracks when you do. 

Creation Station is just that, a creative space for all ages! Magna-tiles, one of our favorite things, have an entire table for designing the next big invention. McKinley made a car that reminds me of something straight out of Star Wars. Then it was over to the performance space where you can take the stage in the next big production of your choice! There are costumes, curtains that become the backdrop to your award winning show, and a wooden stage for you to act it all out for your audience. What is the title of your show? And if acting isn't your thing, that's okay, you can play around with all the things available to make your next masterpiece. Choose from the wall of art supplies, find a spot at the table, and get to creating. There are markers, crayons, and colored pencils. Glue sticks and bottles. Accessories a plenty. And your imagination is the most important thing needed to complete your pretty project. 

By the time McKinley completed his art project, he was tired and ready to go. We never made it to the WaterWorks, On the Move!, or the Design Lab, but that's okay. That gives us something to look forward to on our next visit! And speaking of planning your visit, check out the Wonderscope website for all the information regarding ticket prices. They recommend ordering your tickets in advance if you aren't a member. And if you plan to spend a lot of time playing there this summer, definitely look into a membership! Worried that this space is intended for younger kids? Don't be! At age 11, McKinley had so much fun and plans to come back again this summer. It's definitely a great escape from the summer heat and winter blues!

Some additional perks of the place. There is a room for a snack break in case your kids get a little hungry from all that play. The website outlines when field trips will take place as the museum is open during those times. There is a cute little gift shop if you need some Wonderscope swag. And there are several places to sit if you're tired from wrangling your adventure seekers and just need a minute to rest!

If you've been, what did you think? Were your kids in play space heaven? Did you love watching them be as imaginative as possible? Were you as exhausted as they were when you left? I can answer yes to all of these questions! Check out Wonderscope today!



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