Paint Chip Jack-O-Lanterns

I am a big fan of activities for my kids that take very little preparation and can occupy them for a very long time! I usually enjoy spending time with my kids, but sometimes I have to get stuff done! On a recent trip to Lowe's (where I actually did buy some paint) we grabbed some paint samples. I had a plan in mind, but my 4yo thought that these paint chip samples were some sort of fantastic prize or something! She actually carried them around for awhile at home and packed them in her purse when we would leave since she thought that they were so special.

After the novelty wore off, I enacted my plan. I needed to get some work done and actually get dressed to go somewhere that day. So, I drew some roundish shapes on the back of the orange and white paint chips and gave her the kids scissors. I cut out a few shapes from a black paint chip for faces, and a few leaves from a green one. I also gave her a glue stick and a wet paper towel for when she got sticky.

busy bag paint chip jack o' lanterns

Paint Chip Jack-O-Lanterns

Now, I did stay nearby to supervise because we were dealing with scissors here. I also helped her tape popsicle sticks on the back for stems, but mostly she did these herself. It kept her occupied most of the morning and she wasn't making a mess all over my house.

Popsicle sticks and paint chips to make jack-o-lanterns!

Preschool craft- jack o' lanterns made from paint chips and popsicle sticks!

I am a big fan of independent play for my kids. I want them to be able to occupy themselves and think creatively. Sometimes this means facilitating an activity or craft project for them.

Paint Chip Jack O' Lanterns Preschool Craft

Here are some more things we have done...


Use plastic eggs for a simple busy bag or learning center activity matching upper and lower case alphabet letters!

felt penguin dress-up busy bag

Summer Kids Craft- paint rocks to make ladybugs and bumblebees, then use them to play tic tac toe!

Felt Deer Mask

The clock is ticking, but I haven't started any Halloween costumes yet. I need to get the kids to make final decisions and lock them in soon. Instead, I am still blogging about the last-minute costumes I made last year! This is actually my favorite of the costumes. My daughter wanted to be a deer. She just wore brown leggings and a brown sweater with a furry scarf and leg warmers, plus black flats for her "hooves". It was not totally deer-accurate, but still very cute and cozy! All I had to do was create a mask for her to wear. We were going to add antlers, but she was a girly deer, so we skipped that.

 Easy Last-Minute Deer Costume for Girls

I even used glitter!

 Pretty felt deer mask for a girls' costume

I feel the need to clarify that this mask was inspired by one that I saw on Pinterest, from etsy. I made quite a few changes to her design and she is not selling them anymore. (Hers were much nicer!)

Anyway, here is a little look at the behind-the-scenes process of how I made mine...


I made a template for the pieces that you can download HERE. Just make sure that you print it in "actual size" for an older child. Just head to Pinterest for a tutorials for the felt rose. They have lots of them!


At the very last minute, I made a felt tail to pin to the back of her sweater. I just cut a deer tail shape and glued some fuzzy white yarn to one side. No pics of that on her, cause I am not photographing her behind. That is weird.


I think I prefer my newer method of adding simple accessories to regular clothes for an easy costume. It is more comfortable for the kids and when we are at our family party they can easily take them off to play. I am really hoping that they choose easy costumes this year!

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The Easiest DIY Unicorn Costume

I can't stress this enough... Halloween costumes around here are usually VERY LOW EFFORT. They are usually last-minute, too. Now, this is not entirely my fault. I have been asking my children for weeks what they would like to dress up as. I either get an "I don't knooooooow" answer or ever-changing, impossible answers. Some of them also think that they are "too old" for costumes, but I bet that some of them change their minds on October 30 around 9pm. I also refuse to spend a lot of money on costumes. Have you seen the price tags on some of them! Ouch! I can't do it. My youngest daughter LOVES unicorns. She saw a cute unicorn costume last year at Target for $30 and it was white. We also don't do white costumes. We live in the country and the kids sneak in their candy. It is just a bad idea. She had a gray shirt and leggings, so she was a gray unicorn. I just made a headband and tail to complete the costume. She was still thrilled!

 The Easiest DIY Unicorn Costume Ever!
 Super easy unicorn costume that anyone can make!

If you want to be a cheap slacker mom like me, here is how I did it...

 Simple unicorn headband and tail for a last minute costume

First, I made a headband for the ears and horn. I started with a wide, glittery headband from the dollar bins near the check-out at Joann. The horn is made of a pencil wrapped in scraps of felt I had leftover from other costumes. I sewed a triangle of fancy metallic fabric to slip over the top, stuffed more, folded the ends under, and hot glued it in place. (Minus the pencil, which might be dangerous even if we haven't had any problems, the closest tutorial and pattern I can find is HERE.) I also used elastic hair ties to divide the horn on angles.

 This unicorn headband looks so easy to make!

The ears are made from felt.  I cut pink ears a little smaller for the inside and the gray extends straight down for a few inches to wrap around. I also pinched the center of the ears and glued it together near the base to give them a little more dimension.

 how to make a unicorn headband

Next came the tail. I sewed some wide elastic together in a loop the same size as her waist. If you are a no-sew kinda gal you could hot glue it, too. Or, you could use ribbon and tie it on. Whatever works for you. I had some strips of tulle in various colors left over from the ninja turtle costumes. I added some pink and lilac, too. The strips are 6" wide and varying lengths. (Just double the length you want!) Then, all I did was hold them all together and loop them over the elastic. Just like latch hooking. 80s skills comin' in handy! Woohoo!

 Easy Tulle Unicorn Tail

For one last detail, I used hair chalks from Five Below ($3) to make streaks in her hair/mane that coordinated with the tail colors.

 hair chalk to make a unicorn mane

She wears her unicorn headband pretty often, so that was another nice feature about going this route. One of her many ideas for Halloween is a gray cat. I wonder if I could get away with another headband and tail... Sweet!

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