A fantastically fun and easy game for kids to practice reading without it feeling like work! Five levels of vocabulary to get your child to immediately recognize sight words! Try not to get the rotten banana! (in English or Italian)

Rotten Banana: a fun early reading game

My little boy just turned six and is in first grade this year, which means that he’s learning to read and write. While my daughter had no problems learning written Italian in school and didn’t really need any outside help to pick up written English on her own, it hasn’t been quite as easy for […]

Learn how to make homemade pick up sticks (Mikado) from skewers, with a DIY pouch to hold them. Printable playing instructions included! A perfect gift for kids and adults! Tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com

Make homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

Toys are too complicated these days. I sometimes hear parents saying that their kids get bored if their toys don’t make sounds or light up, or aren’t animated or interactive games. And of course all these electronic toys and games cost more and break really easily. I sometimes feel like an old fogey, but seriously, […]

10 reasons why you should make your own costume instead of buying one: lessons learned from my mother. www.cucicucicoo.com

10 Reasons to make your own costume

The one question that I get asked in every interview I’ve ever had is what or who my creative inspirations are. I usually give a different answer every time because I am inspired by so many people, places and things. But my first creatively inspirational input was without question my mother. (Hi, Mom!) As a […]

DIY Tutorial: Crochet carry bags for kids from upcycled fruit nets. A quick gift in under an hour, perfect for collecting treasures at the beach or in the woods! www.cucicucicoo.com

Tutorial: Crochet Carry Bags from Fruit Nets

It all started with this. My son found some fruit nets in my collection of recycling-for-crafting and decided to use one to hang up his toys. Total genius right? And so, I came up with these: Oh yes! I took those fruit and onion nets and crocheted around their edges, creating a comfy shoulder strap […]

Beating the summer heat: Refreshing summer activities for kids to do in the house, without taking a step outside! www.cucicucicoo.com

Refreshing summer activities for kids in the house

Hello, all! I just got back home a few days ago from a 3-week trip to the States to visit family and friends. We had a great time, which is why- despite my best intentions- I didn’t do ANY of the blogging or pattern or shop work that I’d planned on. Whoops! But I really […]

Tutorial: Make easy recycled crowns for kids with foil wrapping paper and cardboard | www.cucicucicoo.com

Tutorial: Make Easy Recycled Crowns for Kids

Happy Easter Monday! Hope you had a lovely day yesterday! And if you have children, I’m sure you now have insane amounts of candy and chocolate in your home. Here in Italy there’s no Easter Bunny, but kids get these huge chocolate eggs with a little gift inside. The eggs are wrapped in big squares […]

DIY felt bowtie pasta tutorial... with a printable box!

DIY felt bowtie pasta tutorial…WITH BOX!

A couple of months ago, I wrote on my Facebook page that I was working on a project that just made me laugh… over and over again, the whole time I was making it. I’m certainly not the first person to make felt bowtie pasta (farfalle, in Italian), but throw in an authentic-looking pasta box, […]

Three DIY street toys from repurposed materials for kids who love cars! Toy streets, street signs and a stoplight | www.cucicucicoo.com

Three DIY street toys for kids who love cars!

Both of my kids love playing with cars, but my little guy in particular goes nuts with his toy cars. Seriously, there is really something in some boys’ DNA that draws them to cars because I am sure that none of us has conditioned him to this preference. It was Nicky’s birthday last week, a […]

How to keep playing at the beach... away from the beach

How to keep playing at the beach… away from the beach

Well, we’re now in September, it keeps raining, everything around is about back to school. The summer’s officially over. This is always one of the most depressing times of the year for me. But even if you can’t stay on vacation forever and have to eventually leave the beach (or wherever else you’ve been on […]

How to make easy letter magnets with kids

Tutorial: How to make easy letter magnets with kids

My kids, like pretty much every other kid I know, just love drawing and coloring. We just got back the other day from a fantastic visit with family and friends in the United States. Before we left, a friend of mine requested some of my children’s artwork to hang on her refrigerator as a gift. […]

Sticker Kid etichette personalizzate - Codice sconto esclusivo!

Sticker Kid custom name tags – Exclusive discount code!

I was recently contacted by Sticker Kid, a Swiss-based company working in countries all over the world, about their personalized custom name tags. They are extremely high quality adhesive stickers available in various formats as well as iron-on labels for clothing. My kids are constantly losing their belongings, sweatshirts and jackets at school and summer […]

The Homemade PlayDoh competition: which of these recipes worked best?

The Homemade Play Doh Competition (a.k.a. Easter 2014)

Yes, I am a bit late, but let me tell you about our Easter this year. We of course had our usual Easter egg hunt (my daughter had been talking about it for weeks before). Besides little odds and ends that I have hanging around (candies, stickers, erasers, spider rings, mini ladybug clothespins), I also […]

DIY Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde's wig and accessories

Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde’s wig and accessories

Oh yes, my kids just love Despicable Me. (Evidence of this can be seen here, here and here.) And yes, this year my kids are dressing up as Despicable Me characters for Carnival. And yes, I’m making the costumes. Sofia decided to be AVL agent Lucy Wilde. Want to know how to make a fantastic […]

How to make super simple sticker magnets

How to make super simple sticker magnets

It all started with this Minion sticker. My daughter has a Despicable Me album with stickers that you collect and trade, then she plays with any extras that she has. Her little brother stuck this Stuart sticker onto a cabinet. While we allow the kids to write on the walls (want to see some of […]

Instant portable windows from a cardboard box

Portable cardboard windows, a.k.a. House on the go

I recently got a new computer and have been transferring all my files to it and doing  a bit of cleaning up and organizing. And I realized that I have loads of old projects (old as in when I still had long hair and my daughter was missing her front teeth!) that I never ended […]

Tutorial: How to make your own Play Doh picture mats

Tutorial: How to make your own Play Doh picture mats

Remember how my kids had the chicken pox last October, one right after another? Having them home for such a long time without being able to go out got old pretty quickly. Thank goodness for homemade Play Doh! To pizzazz up the usual Play Doh experience, I decided to make some picture mats for the […]

Happy holidays Minions

Happy Holidays from Cucicucicoo (and the Minions!!)

My kids and their cousin are totally obsessed with Minions. We let our kids (and guests) draw on the walls. The natural result? Lots of pictures of Minions on our walls. (Some of which resemble my little guy when he’s angry, according to the writing, although apparently the author changed his mind and crossed it […]

Use up yarn scraps with this fantastic holiday craft for kids! These Hopi Eye yarn Christmas ornaments are easy, colorful and fun to make. They also make great gifts! www.cucicucicoo.com

Woven Hopi Eye Yarn Christmas Ornaments – for kids!

Did you see the project I did with my daughter’s 2nd grade class the other day? They just loved weaving these Hopi Eye yarn Christmas ornaments, even when they didn’t come out exactly as planned. But who cares? They were all beautiful in their own way and the kids were so satisfied with themselves. This […]

Minions from upcycled materials

Make DIY Minions from Upcycled Materials: Tutorial

Today the movie Despicable Me 2 is coming out in the theaters in Italy. (Yes, considerably later than in the States.) My daughter and her cousin are besides themselves with joy. They’ve been waiting and waiting to see the Minions on the big screen. From what little I’ve seen of them, I honestly find them […]

Add a vinyl nametag slot to a backpack or other bag

Add a name tag to a backpack (or other bag)

Yesterday my little 2 year, 8 month old boy had his first day of public nursery school. And two days before that, I suddenly remembered that he needed a little backpack for school. I didn’t want to buy another because we already have gazillions of little bags and backpacks at home, except it turns out […]

peppa pig magnets

homemade upcycled peppa pig magnets

my kids just love peppa pig. so they were pretty lucky to have gotten the joy of 3 peppa pig mega easter eggs this year. it seemed a shame to throw out the outer papers with their favorite characters (as well as the crayon container from inside one of the eggs), so i decided to […]

pony house

reposting my bottle-houses

i had a nasty little surprise when i found out that one of my photos (which you can see here, among other places), taken from this post of mine, is getting passed around the internet without any reference whatsoever to the original source. that means that a whole lot of people are seeing my work […]

cardboard frame

happy daddy’s day!

considerably late, let me show you what my kids made for their daddy for father’s day this year (march 19). (this year i didn’t make him anything myself. last year i made him a sort of family portrait t-shirt and in 2010 a t-shirt with a reproduction of a portrait our daughter had drawn of […]

Easter eggs 2013

plastic and chocolate eggs

last year i showed you our traditional easter egg hunt. this year we did a similar one, but with the main difference that WE prepared the eggs, not me on my own, as has always happened until now, because my daughter wanted to participate in all stages of the hunt. we tried out a new […]

Little toy dogs made from felted wool sweaters in beds from Altoids tins

mini-beds

it all started when i saw these little mice in little beds made from altoids mint tins (the type i used for my travel watercolors) on facebook. i immediately thought, “are you kidding me?! my little girl would go wild for those!” it’s possible to buy the pattern, but i wanted to make them my […]

Shoe tying board

advent calendar countdown: dec 20 -24

i already wrote last time that it’s been exhausting doing some sort of interesting activity every day with my daughter, take pictures and blog it. so these last few days were considerably more lazy! except december 20th, when my little girl started learning how to tie her shoes with a board with shoelaces! i saw […]

printable match up face game

advent calendar countdown: december 17-19 (play!)

i’ll admit it… it’s really tiring doing a new activity every day (and blogging them all). even my little girl sometimes would rather just play on her own or watch tv instead of putting in the energy after school and swim lessons to do some activity. so these have been much calmer advent days. december […]

handmade finger paint

advent calendar countdown: dec 11, 13, 14 (be artists!)

my daughter loves being an artist, so we frequently do projects to stimulate her artistic creativity. her advent calendar activity on december 11th was to make little books out of a single sheet of white paper. it’s really easy to fold and cut paper to create a book. december 13: we just love stamps, so […]

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advent countdown: december 1-3

and here we are with the countdown! if you follow me on facebook, you might have already seen the first days of my advent calendar countdown with activities to do with kids. unfortunately i just can’t manage to post here on the blog every day, but i’ll do the best i can! here’s what we […]

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advent calendar countdown!

and here we are again, nearly the beginning of december, otherwise known as 24 days of trying to think of something nifty to put inside the advent calendar every day! a lot of bloggers talk about this and wonder what to put inside it. this year i want to avoid putting in candy (as if […]