Teaching Colors: Rainbow Bean (or Rice) Bags

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We’ve been doing pre-preschool for a few weeks now. I’ve been using the Brightly Beaming Toddler curriculum. It’s a very laid back plan for 1 year olds. There’s no theme (which I actually miss…), you just work small lessons into your daily routine.

This week’s indoor activity is Bean Bag Catch. You have bean bags for the 6 basic colors (Dexter must have nicked my green in the picture above… just noticed I’m one short!) and as you toss a bag, you call out its color.

It’s a great idea to have bean bags available for your preschooler! They are a great teaching tool. These can not only be used to teach colors, they can be used for counting, working on motor skills (tossing into containers), and lots of other fun games for groups (hot potato, bean bag hunt, etc).

So I made some! They’re so easy, I think it took me 45 minutes max! Here’s how to make your own:

What you need:

-Beans or rice for filling (I used plain brown rice)

-Fabric in red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple (I cut my strips to 4.5”x8.5”)

-Scissors

-Thread (I used basic black)

-Needle or sewing machine (machine is going to be waaaay faster)

-Funnel (optional: if you don’t have one, it’s ok, it will just take a little longer to fill the bags)

Step 1: Cut your 4.5”x8.5” strips.

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Step 2: Fold the strips, right sides together, and sew about 1/4” from the edge. Make sure you leave an opening to turn the bags! I started sewing about 1.5” away from the end so I wouldn’t forget! When sewing, reinforce the ends so the stitches don’t start coming undone!

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Step 3: Your child is going to get bored… entertain him 🙂 Dexter LOVES playing with dry rice. Moving it from container to container is a great way to work on those fine motor skills. Just keep an eye out so none ends up shoved in an ear or a nose! I always give him just a little so that it will be ok if he eats a piece or two. But normally he doesn’t try, I think he figured out pretty fast that dry rice isn’t really yummy.

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Step 4: Clip thee threads, then turn the bags through the opening.

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Step 5: Fill the bags! Here’s another time for your toddler to help! Dex only got about 4 grains into the bag, but it was great to give him something to do!

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It was going to be time consuming to stuff rice into a 1.5” hole, and I was so excited to remember that I had funnels, conveniently in both a mommy and a baby size!

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Fill to about 3/4 full. You want the bags to be loose… we’re not making softballs here! You also want to leave enough room so it will be easy for you to sew across the top to close the bag.

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Step 6: Fold in the fabric at the opening and sew across, making sure to reinforce the ends.

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Dexter was so excited to play with our new rice bags, even more so after he found out that they served a purpose. He’s been trying to tell me colors ever since 🙂

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These can be made using scraps around your house, and they’re a great (quick and cheap!!) gift idea for anyone with a preschooler. The only word of caution is to always supervise young children when they’re playing with anything full of choking hazards! Regularly look over your bags to make sure the fabric and seams are holding up well. And remember, it’s always more fun to play together anyway!

De-Stash Giveaway #1

I’m in the process of clearing out my studio (ugh), and I’m finally having to admit that there are supplies I will never use.

So, I’m give you guys a crack at them!

Starting tonight, and throughout the month of January, I’ll be offering several giveaways. All the giveaways will close at midnight, January 31st, and everything will be shipped out in February.

I’m going to keep it simple. Just leave a comment about which fabric you’d like to win and leave an email address where you can be reached. (Obviously if I know you, I likely have your email address, but it wouldn’t hurt to leave it just in case!)

Fabric #1 is a real treat! I bought this several years ago with the intention of creating bags. I did cut pieces for a duffel, but never really had the motivation to sew it together. IMG_7520 This is a pleather maybe? I’m not always great at knowing what my fabrics are, especially the ones I bought before I became *ahem* a professional. But it’s has a shiny textured surface, and sort of looks like baby blue reptile skin. If you win, you will receive a solid uncut piece of 25”x40”, with some scraps, and all the pieces I cut for the duffel bag.

Fabric #2 is a heavy fabric, possibly a lightweight upholstery fabric. The colors are mostly country blue and sage with a hint of yellow and salmon.

IMG_7521  This is a good thickness for bags, and there is enough fabric to actually cover a chair if you so desired. The winner will receive a 3.5 yards of this fabric (51” wide), and *if* I can find them, the pieces to a large tote I cut a few years ago.

Mammoth Bag (Jennifer’s Craft-It-Forward Prize!)

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This year I participated in a Craft-It-Forward chain on Facebook. Basically, you copy and paste the details, and whomever replies receives a craft from you, made in 2010 and sent by the end of 2010. In turn, they must also copy and paste the status and send a craft to whomever replies! On and on… 🙂

I had 2 repliers, Jennifer and Kristen! I just completed Jennifer’s craft not 1 hour ago. I decided to have my girls create a wish-list so I could tailor their prizes to them. A few of Jennifer’s favorites were green, purple, and elephants, and she also mentioned she’d like a large tote bag to haul around her son’s stuff.

Well, wish granted! Meet… the Mammoth Bag!

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Named not only for the elephant appliqué, but for the fact that it’s unreasonably large 🙂 I made this pattern once before and I forgot how huge it actually is.

Dexter really liked the button eye.

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Someone did not like being put inside the bag. I can assure you, however, that this bag will, in fact, hold a whole toddler.

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Verbose Boutique Give Away!

My sister-in-law is doing an awesome give away! Alisha made my awesome purse. Everywhere I go I get asked where I got it

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Head on over to Verbose Boutique and leave a comment to enter. One lucky winner will receive the following, made by Alisha:

A night masknight mask

A faux-suede tote bagpurse

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This is quite a prize! Make sure you enter ASAP because the drawing is tomorrow! And if you’re not lucky enough to win, make sure to check out her Etsy shop. Right now she’s featuring a line of stethoscope covers and surgical caps in adorable fabrics!

My new purse!!

I love when something totally unexpected and awesome comes your way! I was visiting my family this weekend and my sister-in-law (and fellow crafter), Alisha, gave me a beautiful bag she’d made! I love it and I can’t stop looking at it 🙂 It’s almost like she picked out the fabrics just for me. (She didn’t, hence the “almost” lol)

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The fabric is Amy Butler (I’ve never even seen actual Amy Butler fabric before, so I am beyond thrilled! I know… I’m the sad little crafter…) The bag has all sorts of pockets around the inside, which will be great to help keep my purse junk a little sorted!

Alisha has just relaunched her blog and her Etsy shop, Verbose Boutique. Check them out! Her blog is going to also feature desserts, including some amazing Oreo Balls she made this weekend. I must have had 10 lol!