DIY books and notepads: Reuse leftover notebook paper

Rimangono sempre delle pagine nei quaderni alla fine dell’anno scolastico, quindi usale per creare dei libretti e quadernetti fai da te da riempire con disegni, racconti o segreti! Bastano 5 minuti ed è GRATIS!

There are always some leftover pages at the end of kids’ notebooks at the end of the school year. Rip them out and use them to make your own fun DIY books and notepads to fill with drawings, stories, or secret diary! It only takes about 5 minutes!

What is it that’s so appealing about a nice, new and never-before-touched blank book or notebook?

I suppose it’s the anticipation and excitement about all the things that it can become. You can write a book in it. Draw pictures. Study plants or animals or anything else that you love and keep your notes in it. Glue magazine cuttings in it. Write a secret diary. There are no limits to your imagination and creativity!

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My kids love blank books, too. We have piles of illustrated books, their own made-up school books for their toys, and tomes of secret writings that I’ve been warned to never look in. Even before they knew how to write, they just loved filling up those blank pages with drawings and stickers. Something about the fact that the books had covers made them feel so much more real to them.

There are always some leftover pages at the end of kids’ notebooks at the end of the school year. Rip them out and use them to make your own fun DIY books and notepads to fill with drawings, stories, or secret diary! It only takes about 5 minutes!

It’s now the end of May and school will be out soon. And, as always, the kids will come home on the last day of school with a bunch of half-used notebooks. Like this one above. “Read and complete.” Apparently Sofia never did get around to completing this assignment before the end of the year.

Normally I just rip out the used pages and give the kids the notebooks with the few remaining pages to draw and write in. But by the time summer vacation comes around, they usually are sick of using those same notebooks that they’ve been using all year round. They don’t want to see the same old covers that remind them of sitting at a desk for hours on end.

There are always some leftover pages at the end of kids’ notebooks at the end of the school year. Rip them out and use them to make your own fun DIY books and notepads to fill with drawings, stories, or secret diary! It only takes about 5 minutes!

But if I give them that very notebook paper in a different form, it’s a totally different story. A mini notebook with a pretty colorful cover?! Yes, please! I want to write a story in it!

There are always some leftover pages at the end of kids’ notebooks at the end of the school year. Rip them out and use them to make your own fun DIY books and notepads to fill with drawings, stories, or secret diary! It only takes about 5 minutes!

A clean cover and blank pages? Yes! I want a book to draw and write about dinosaurs in!

All of a sudden, after a tiring year of studying and writing, they want to study and write again! All because of a new packaging of their usual school materials! And what’s best is that you’re using paper you already have, so it’s free, and it takes less than 5 minutes to make one!

So, what do you say? Want to reuse leftover notebook paper to make “brand new” blank books and notepads? Let’s get started!

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Free Pattern! Valentine’s Day bag tutorial

This reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag is perfect for little girls to carry all their valentines, candy or other treasures in! FREE sewing pattern and tutorial by Cucicucicoo Patterns!

This reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag is perfect for little girls to carry all their valentines, candy or other treasures in! FREE sewing pattern and tutorial by Cucicucicoo Patterns!

The day that some people absolutely love and others absolutely despise is coming up.

Yep. I’m talking about Valentine’s Day!

This reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag is perfect for little girls to carry all their valentines, candy or other treasures in! FREE sewing pattern and tutorial by Cucicucicoo Patterns!

I’ve always fallen into the second category because I am ideologically against the consumerism of this day and I don’t like the idea of being told when I need to celebrate my love for the people in my life. As far as I’m concerned, we should recognize how important our loved ones are to us each and every day!

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However, as I get older, some of my ideological beliefs soften and I start to appreciate the simple pleasures in life, such as giving someone a little something to remind him how much we care. It doesn’t have to be much, as long as it comes from the heart.

This reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag is perfect for little girls to carry all their valentines, candy or other treasures in! FREE sewing pattern and tutorial by Cucicucicoo Patterns!

And that’s why I’ve decided, for the first time in years, to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I explained to my children how the kids in the United States give out valentines to other kids (this doesn’t happen in Italy), and decided to make some homemade valentines and a little pouch to carry them in.

This reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag is perfect for little girls to carry all their valentines, candy or other treasures in! FREE sewing pattern and tutorial by Cucicucicoo Patterns!

And thus was born my reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag! Reversible because, well, how much more fun is it when you can flip a bag inside-out to get a whole “new” bag?!

This reversible heart-shaped Valentine’s Day bag is perfect for little girls to carry all their valentines, candy or other treasures in! FREE sewing pattern and tutorial by Cucicucicoo Patterns!

This little pouch is perfect for little girls to hold their valentines in, but can also be used for candies, small toys or any other treasure! And it only takes about 30 minutes to sew up! Yah!

Do you know someone who loves hearts and pink and all things lovey? Well then, let’s get going with my Valentine’s Day bag tutorial and FREE pattern!

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Rotten Banana: a fun early reading game

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)

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)

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 my son.

So while he’s out of school for Christmas vacation, I decided that he could use some reading practice.

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)

My mother was a reading specialist in an elementary school for many years. This means that she worked with hundreds of children to whom reading didn’t come easily. She developed all sorts of techniques and fun methods to get kids to love reading, but one of the all-time favorites was an early reading game called “Rotten Banana.” It’s a really simple game to get children to recognize what are called “sight words,” which are the words that they should learn to instantly recognize without having to spell them out.

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When my mother retired, her Rotten Banana game continued to get used with her grandchildren, and ended up living at our home so that my bilingual kids could get some English reading practice while living in a non-English-speaking country.

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)

But before I started using the English Rotten Banana game that my mother made, I wanted my son to get a firm grasp on reading Italian, which is much more simple because it’s a very phonetic language in which most words are pronounced exactly as they are written, unlike the much more phonetically complicated English language. And so I decided to make my own Italian version of my mother’s Rotten Banana game for him to practice with, which I translated as “Banana Marcia.”

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)

And, just like my mother did, I also made rotten pears, apples and oranges to give a little variety as the child progresses from one level to the next. Something about all that colored fruit is so appealing!

Is there a child in your life who could use an early reading game to begin a lifetime of happy reading? Then continue reading for the downloadable template and word list and to find out how to play!

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Make homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

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

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

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.

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I sometimes feel like an old fogey, but seriously, do children really need all those bells and whistles? Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that make people happy, and the same goes for the classic games that kids have been playing for generations.

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

A pack of 41 colored wooden sticks, for example. No electronic parts, no plastic. Just simple wood. And happy bright colors. If just contemplating them doesn’t intrigue a kid, this definitely will:

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 a big colored mess?! Yes, please! What fun it is to bundle them up and watch them fall all over the place, like a big moving rainbow!

I think that this is one reason why pick up sticks have been a cherished game for such a long time. They’re aethetically pleasing, but also such a simple game that requires concentration and small motor agility.

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

There are lots of variations on this game, but what I propose here is Mikado, the classic pick up sticks version. They’re really simple to make with very basic materials, and are a wonderul gift for kids and adults alike when you sew a little pouch for them and include playing instructions!

And I know that you probably don’t have time to create an instruction sheet, so I’ve made one for you that you can download and print out! You’re welcome!

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

I actually researched Mikado quite a while to find the “official” rules, colors, stripe scheme and point system, but it turns out that there are loads of different versions. I made up my own colors and stripes (I also made a set without stripes which looks more like the plastic game I had when I was little), as well as my own point system based on what I found most often. Feel free to vary any of these as you please.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to have some good old-fashioned fun? Let’s get right to work on our homemade pick up sticks!

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Wine bottle crafts: 2 upcycled vases with materials you already have

Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

Mother’s Day is creeping up and will be here before you know it. Have you started preparing gifts for the most important women in your life? Most mothers (at least the ones I know) are happiest to receive something small, but from the heart, and what could be more from the heart than personalized homemade gifts? And since all moms want to protect their children and grandchildren, even better is an eco-friendly gift that won’t have an impact on the environment.

I like wine and beer and basically anything alcoholic, and when I come across a cool bottle, I always make sure to save it for my DIY projects. Today I’m going to show you two really easy wine bottle crafts, making vases with customized words and designs for your favorite mothers and friends! You can even involve small children in decorating the bottles and, what’s best of all, if you’re a crafty person, you probably already have all the materials you need for both of these projects!

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

The first version of this project is a chalkboard vase, which is super fun to decorate with personalized or seasonal messages. Give kids one of these bottles and some colored chalk, and they are in heaven!

 Wine bottle crafts: Make upcycled vases with craft materials you already have! 2 great ideas with paint and glue! A DIY tutorial by www.cucicucicoo.com #winebottlecrafts

The second upcycled bottle vase is decorated with a glue gun and spray paint, for drawings and messages that will never risk being accidentally erased.

Both of these wine bottle crafts are really easy and very quick for a great last-minute DIY Mother’s Day gift. Now let me show you how to make them!

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Make a bag from a T shirt: No-Sew Tutorial!

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

My name’s Lisa and I’m a T-shirt hoarder.

Seriously, I have a problem. Come to my home, and you’ll find numerous containers full of t-shirts. I love them because they’re so easy to embellish or repurpose into other clothing and objects. But another wonderful thing about t-shirts is that the jersey fabric doesn’t fray and frequently it’s nice and stretchy, meaning you can cut it and stretch it out to get all sorts of cool effects, often without even sewing.

This past summer I was brainstorming different ways to reuse the classic tee for the “Reborn T-shirts” stand at the Kreativ fair, and I couldn’t leave out the ever-beloved t-shirt bag. There are so many ways to make a bag from a t shirt, but I wanted to propose something that ANYBODY can do, even without any sewing knowledge.

Transform that T-shirt you never wear into something useful! This no-sew tutorial shows how to make a bag from a T shirt. Great upcycling craft for kids! www.cucicucicoo.com

And just to prove my point, I also did this project with my 9-year-old daughter’s class while making upcycled crafts to sell at the school’s annual charity Christmas market. All the kids brought in at least one t-shirt and turned them into bags. And they LOVED it! They were so bummed out when we ran out of shirts to make bags from! (We also made these egg carton poinsettia ornaments, which are another eco-friendly and kid-friendly craft.)

Do you need one or two extra shopping bags, but don’t want to buy one? Or maybe you have a special t-shirt that brings back dear memories that you can’t bear to get rid of, even if it doesn’t fit you anymore? Or you want a fun activity to do with your kids? Then grab your scissors, and let’s get to work!

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Tutorial: How to make easy letter magnets with kids

How to make easy letter magnets with kids

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. She has a little girl herself and so, knowing how much kids love magnets, I thought that a useful and fun way to give fridge artwork would be to make colored letter magnets that are fridge artwork in and of themselves!

How to make easy letter magnets with kids

This was a great project to do together as a family and my kids loved making these, as well as playing with them afterwards. (And they were a big hit with my friend’s daughter, too!) Want some for yourself? Well then read on to find out how to make them!

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