Seashell Tropical Birds: Fun Kid Craft

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BringTheTropicsHome #CollectiveBias

Behold, we’re about to go to the tropics. Won’t that be nice?

Fun fact about me. When I was 12-years-old and studying for my Bat Mitzvah, I was asked to choose a Bat Mitzvah party “theme.” Everyone gets one, but I was in the know because my mom – a town artist/art teacher/event decorator – let me know that the sky was the limit. I believed her. I rose to the challenge. I said, “I want it to be tropical.” And then “Tammy’s Tropics” came to life, but please don’t ever call me Tammy. I was newly 13 then. Oh, how my mom transformed the yard!

I’d share photos of this big backyard Bat Mitzvah bash (alliteration, much?), but that would require long distance photo scanning, long distance photo emailing, and all of you seeing my teen perm and braces. We can’t have that now, can we?

I invite you all to imagine. Take a deep breath, and take in a fresh Tropical mist.

The DJ was pumping “Now That We Found Love.” It was 1993 in New Jersey. Cardboard cut-out palm trees swayed in the breeze. Wooden tropical birds hung on perches, and homemade, glittered styrofoam birds peered around corners. Magic!

And while I don’t have photos of that blessed event, I have something pretty awesome in my life. My mom. She’s the one who made “Tammy’s Tropics” come to life, and she’s still a talented art teacher to children. Cassidy and I were (ironically) at a Bar Mitzvah in NYC last weekend – my first in two decades, actually – and my mom and I set up a kid art project for when we were gone all day. Tropical birds! You just need fun craft supplies, and total imagination. My kids rose to the craft challenge.

And they got beautifully messy doing so – stay tuned for more on that!

Our seashells are from Cape Cod. The kids’ grandparents have had a beach house there for decades, and one of our greatest summer pleasures is spending time there. Summer time in Cape Cod is always too fast, but not too fast that we don’t get seashells. Des’ teacher, who has also led some great crafts, gave us some seashells too. She has gone to the same places we have enjoyed – in Florida and Cape Cod. We had all these beautiful shells and wanted to do something memorable with them.

A messy, fun, and beachy project, painting seashells and turning them into tropical birds and other tropical creatures only takes a little preparation, and goes a long way. My kids are four and six, but it can be tweaked for all ages.

Here’s what you need:

Seashells and other natural items, like sticks and stones
Sequins – we had all sorts of shapes, sizes, and occasions
Felt, paper, sequin, foam, card, etc. scraps and shapes
Buttons and other odds and ends your kids will love
Colorful craft feathers
Tempera paints
Elmer’s glue
Googly eyes

Here’s what you do:

1. Start by painting the shells with your craft paints.

2. Wait for the paint to dry, but you can also use a hairdryer to speed up the process.

3. If you have glitter glue, use it now!

4. Now is the time to transform the seashells into tropical birds. Look through the supplies.

5. Using feathers, googly eyes, and craft scraps or pieces of shell for beaks, go crazy!

I was so impressed with Scarlet’s creation!

Here’s my mom’s awesome sample one for the kids:

I also loved Des’ creation. He put love into the project.

Now, after all that paint, glue, glitter, and whatever else, you need all®! You know how much I love their line of products, because I write about them a lot! all® Fresh Tropical Mist™ is no exception! It isn’t only the trusted stain fighting power, but this is a whole sensory experience. I know it’s summer now, but when I use it year-round, it will remind me of the aroma of the tropics. It’s fresh and flowery – the new fresh, tropical scent provides the same powerful clean. I buy it at Stop & Shop.

I spend quite a lot of time there anyway, getting all the things to kick off summer.

With all®’s trusted stain fighting power to fight the toughest kid stains like grass, mud, and grape juice – as well as paint, glitter glue, and tropical bird craft feathers – it also costs 30% less than the leading brand. Powerful and fresh!

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DIY Pool Noodle Racetrack For Toy Cars.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RaceDayRelief #CollectiveBias

Surely, you’ve discovered the wonders of pool noodles and their many uses!

This week I discovered on one rainy, and almost stormy day, that you can make a toy car racetrack out of pool noodles. They can look as professional or as kid-created as you want, depending on how active the kids are in the process. Scarlet wanted to make her own signs and flags (or help her little brother) as well as help with every aspect of this fun party trick.

Des’ toy car obsession isn’t going anywhere, and if anything, is growing stronger. Scarlet picked up the same love for toy cars this year which is a main reason we made them a garden racetrack back in March. It’s still active in the yard!

I know this sounds funny, but we probably always have spare pool noodles lying around the house. Personally, I would love to use red ones, but my kids picked out pink and blue for the racetracks. You’ll need just a few things from around the house:

Pool noodles, of course
A serrated knife, or razor
Paper and markers
Tweezers or pliers
Cars, of course
Stickers for decoration
A box, chair, wall, etc.

(Once you prop them off the ground, they zoom pretty fast!)

Des’ fourth birthday is Monday. I can’t believe it! I want to smile and sob at the same time. I wanted to make an activity that would entertain him and friends, but also get Scarlet in on the craft and execution part of it.

1. First we got two pool noodles (or however many you want). I was looking for ones with a large diameter to make a “road” wide enough for the cars. Then I fell in love with pool noodles with smaller diameters. So it requires an extra cutting step:

2. Cut the noodles in half. We also used the razor to cut a “road” wide enough for cars. This did not slow them down!

3. Lay the four pieces down side by side, and connect them with toothpicks. You may need to use them all the way down.

4. It’s decoration time! Clearly, I let my kids decide this part but you can easily create graphics or printables for “Start” and “Finish” lines on a computer, rather than hand-drawn. You can make flags with construction paper and toothpicks!

5. Prop your “track” up on a chair, wall, table, box, etc. The higher the prop, the faster the cars zoom down. We have races!

And that’s it! They are waterproof too!

What makes this all possible? It’s not just the getting inspired, but having the stamina and patience to see the project through with my kids. For me, it’s the new fast acting Advil Film Coated. I simply can’t imagine life without it. From aches and pains to stress/sinus headaches, especially during this time of year, it’s the end-all for me. Or I should say, it’s the begin-all. Advil is the difference between staying home inside, or having a great time outside all day! It is FAST ACTING. Needed!

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I picked up my Advil at Walmart in the pharmacy. Click here for a coupon that’s good for $3 off 80 ct+ Advil Film Coated!

What’s your favorite Race Day activity or snack? Ty Dillon is driving the #95 car!

*Among OTC pain relievers.
**Among OTC pain relievers.