February 12, 2008

Valentine's Day crafts

Ah, Valentine's Day! Another opportunity for crafting. We are making Valentines that look like cell phones, from an idea in this month's Family Fun magazine. I decided to do the text on the computer using clear and white mailing labels. This saved us time writing in names and signatures and made the card look more authentic.

The best part is that the buttons are actually those candy dots. I think the kids will figure that out. Maybe they look a little homemade, but at least they will be different and interesting to hold. Perhaps they will spark some imaginations.

We all liked the idea that we are giving kids cell phones for Valentine's Day.

I also wanted to make a link to these 1950s Valentines that were originally linked at boingboing.net I think I am going to use the images for something. They bring back a time that's sweeter, perhaps. But then, as one poster noted, the guns on the pirates and cowboys would probably not be appreciated on cards sent among schoolchildren today. Was it a more innocent time then? I never quite thought so. But there is something perhaps a little more imaginative in these cards than the plethora of cartoon-linked cards that are basically all I can find in stores today. That's kind of why we are making our own.

We're also supposed to make a box to put the cards in. Sort of forgot about that until one of the other schoolmates explained that she had already completed hers. And that last year her brother made one that floated around the room, as it was attached to a balloon. Here are some of the most clever Valentine box ideas I've found so far. These boxes were made by second and third graders, supposedly, altho I think that lots of parents helped.

This year I'm putting my creative juices into helping out on Valentine's instead of a Pinewood Derby car. I've attempted too many of those cars and find it absolutely frustrating. The whole thing becomes much too competitive, even among the kindest groups. I am not a NASCAR fan. I don't know enough about woodworking to even want to show off any miniscule amount of talent I may have in that area. Why anyone thinks Pinewood Derby cars are fun year after year is beyond me...? Why not every other year?

Valentine's Day still has that wonderful goofiness for elementary school children. Before you have those heart-wrenching crushes, the holiday is about getting a small gift, eating candy, and celebrating in the middle of a freezing cold winter.

February 11, 2008

Sleep-over party materials

Last summer, when we purchased a Nintendo DS very few other children in our neighborhood seemed to own one. A cousin had one, and another cousin had a Sony PSP, but that seemed to be geared to older children. We had been lusting over the DS at the local, independent video game, CD, DVD, magazine store. The owner had been as fascinated as we were at the popularity of the DS games over the PSPs.

But now, not even a year later, many of the boys at the latest slumber party or camp-in events that our family has been involved in have brought their DS players and games. They didn't seem to have planned this. It's just that it happened. They played each other's games, helped some get over difficult hurdles that others could finessed, and text messaged every one in the room. The limited range of the wi-fi-style text messaging baffles me, but it must serve some kind of need.

At school last week, the kids could bring in special items if they donated a $1 a day to the local children's hospital fund. Last Friday was bring a video game or CD player. One girl brought her iDog extreme attached to a CD player. Most of the kids seemed to have DS players. Two of the most unlikeliest kids (a boy and a girl) had PSP players. I label them unlikely because the PSP players are more expensive and the games are more sophisticated. I didn't think the two children quite fit into the typical PSP demographic. But who knows?

Still, the taking over the DS world is fascinating and has been swift.

Even more breathtakingly fast has been the kids' involvement with Webkinz. A typical girl seems to have 10. The latest thing to buy on Webkinz is a bathtub to give your animals a bath. So many online webkinz got baths that I finally decided it was time for a child's Real World shower. Because it would make him "cleaner, happier and healthier, too!"