Recently I’ve started working with little children after a long time out of the classroom. It is exhilarating and exciting and exhausting and so much fun. I want to work with the children to make finger puppets, we are going to design puppets based on the children’s drawings.  Wish us luck!

In the mean time, here are a collection of links to tutorials and patterns for some finger puppets I love very much.


Paper Kittens by Laura at Cupcakes for Clara, published in Mindful Parenting Magazine


Gnome finger puppets by While wearing heels


No sew finger puppets by Crafty Gemini


Alien Monster Finger Puppets by Whispered Whimsy (pattern on Ravelry)


Finger puppet tutorial by Maritza at Soto Softies

Which ones are your favourite? Have you made any finger puppets that you’d like to share with us? Comment below or send us an email at vagusvenus [at] gmail [dot] com.


If you have an idea for a post, or would like to submit a tutorial for Whipup, email vagusvenus [at] gmail [dot] com

{ 1 comment }

For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Heather Swain is a former third-grade teacher, mother of two, writing instructor, magazine fact-checker, freelance magazine writer, and an award-winning author. Her articles and personal essays about parenting have appeared in American Baby Magazine, Time Out New York Kids, and on Her fiction books include Me, My Elf and I (Puffin/Speak, 2009) and two adult novels (published by Downtown Press/Pocket Books) Eliot’s Banana and Luscious Lemon. She lives, works, and plays in a crooked house in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two children.

I wrote Play These Games as a follow-up to my first craft book Make These Toys because I believe that all kids are natural-born game players. Ask them to pick up their socks, and they’ll whine and cry and act like you demanded them to move boulders. But turn it into a game (who can do it the fastest), and you’ll see socks in drawers in no time.

Playing games is the perfect antidote for boredom. We all do it. Whether it’s logging on to computer Solitaire instead of working or folding a paper football during a droning lecture or mounting a family board game on a rainy Saturday, games are part of our lives and probably have been since the first cave kid threw a rock and her brother tried to throw one farther. Not all games need to be competitive, though. The cooperative kind can be just as fun (not to mention edifying).

Though you’ll find aisles and aisles of games at toy stores—from card games and board games to computer games on handheld gadgets, computers, and home entertainment systems—you can get all the benefits of a good game with everyday objects hanging around your house. If you involve kids in making the games or set them loose and let them try it themselves, they’ll be more invested in playing and just might have more fun.

A good game is one that is easy to learn but hard to master. In Play these games you’ll find some games that are competitive, others that are cooperative. There are games for large groups, duos, and a few that can be played alone. Some of these games are reinterpretations of old favorites (such as Friends and Family Go Fish or a felt version of Tic-Tac-Toe), while others are mini versions of arcade super stars (like Shuffle Button, Micro Golf, and the pinball machine). Some I might have even made up (like Hoop Jousting and the Progressive Photo Scavenger Hunt), but that’s not to say someone else hasn’t made up something similar somewhere along the line.

What I find most wonderful about making and playing games at home with my kids are the hidden benefits.

1. Brain Development :: When you look closely at games you’ll start to see that most of them involve solving a problem—whether it’s how to get that tiny ball into a hole 30 feet away or guessing a book title from your sister’s crazy arm flapping—your brain is engaged in some heavy-duty thinking. And with active games, your body is working as well. Great educators have realized that games are an excellent way to engage children in learning, but don’t tell the kids. Just present them with games and let them figure that out on their own.

2. Socialization :: Any game that involves more than one person involves socializing, whether it’s cooperating during a scavenger hunt or competing to see who can get the most balls in a basket. Playing games with kids teaches team work, the consequences of cheating, and how to be good sports whether they win or lose. It’s not hard to see how those skills make it into the daily lives of kids in the classroom, on play dates, and later in life in the workplace. But like all things we hope to teach our children, learning to cooperate or to compete without being a jerk takes practice. Humans aren’t naturally good at losing, so there will be tears, yelling, and cheating, and maybe somebody will even knock over the board, but that’s okay. The point is, playing games within the family allows kids a safe place to practice getting along, following rules, and learning how to be graceful in defeat. So when your kids deserve a technical foul for the fits they’re pitching over a game, call it quits for then, but definitely come back to more games later. If you do that enough you’ll start to see more mature players coming to the table.

3. Saving Money :: Ask most kids to name a game and they’ll talk about something on a screen. I have no problem with video games. In fact I like them. But like most things that kids love, I figure some boundaries are in order, such as making sure computer games are age appropriate — and setting time limits. However, video games and the systems we play them on are expensive! Making games out of paper cups and Ping Pong balls is cheap . . . and I’ll be the first to admit that I like saving a buck. Even more, I like engaging my kids in new and different experiences. So maybe we’ll play computer games one day, but the next, we’ll make a homemade pinball machine out of a box we found on the street corner.

4. Fun! Fun! Fun! :: And finally, let’s not forget the biggest, most important reason for playing games with kids: It’s a rocking good time! I think of my own childhood playing neighbourhood games of Cops and Robbers or Freeze Tag in our backyard with the fireflies or cozy winter nights around board games with my parents or bonding with my grandmother when she taught us to play Hearts. Gaming defines an important part of childhood and the memories of those times will last. So, turn off the TV, unplug the Wii, and start gathering supplies because it’s time to play!


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Vanessa Lynch is the crafty and design savvy voice behind Punkin Patterns (and eco-friendly shop). She was taught to sew and embroider by her mother and learned to knit and crochet from her grandmother. A chemistry whiz with a Ph.D she is now a stay-at-home mom to two wonderful children and lives in the Twin Cities (Minnesota). Her home is a gallery of the projects that the family has created and she wouldn’t have it any other way!

I’m the mother of two beautiful kiddos – Connor, age 6, and Gwyneth, age 4.  If you read my blog, you see them a lot. I’d say that 90% of all of the things I make are for them. Before I had my son, I was in grad school and I had NO time for anything but school. For four years after college, I did no sewing or much of anything creative. Once Connor was born (and I was done with school), I had a dynamic shift in my life. I went from full time graduate student and teaching assistant to full time stay-at-home mom. I suddenly had more time on my hands.  Once the first few sleep deprived months were over, I quickly got back into sewing and knitting. I think the first real project I made was a knitted red baby blanket – which six years later still sits on my son’s bed and is his favorite. Knitting that blanked reminded me so much of what I’ve been missing – my creative outlet.

It wasn’t until my daughter was born that my sewing really took off.  So now I had both a son and daughter to sew and design for. My head is constantly swimming with ideas.

One of my first big design projects was a messenger bag for Connor. At the time, he loved to go on nature walks and collect rocks, twigs, leaves and anything covered in dirt. I wanted to make him a simple messenger style bag to carry on our walks which he could easily add his treasures to. I looked around for a tutorial, but there aren’t many projects for boys out there. After much thought, I designed Connor’s Messenger Bag with a modern boy feel that I felt reflects style, function and fun.

Another project (totally inspired by Connor) was the Sweet Tooth Pouch. Connor would love to look at the brightly colored wrappers in the candy isle. Even though he really hadn’t had much candy, he was instantly drawn to those colorful wrappers. I wanted to make a little zippered pouch out of wrappers for him and the sweet tooth pouch was born.

Gwyneth has inspired me so much. Having a little girl who literally lives in dresses and loves all things “girly” is so much fun – she has closet full of dresses mostly made by me, but I also get a chance to make other things for her. Recently she was playing with her La La Loopsy dolls and they were having a little picnic – so I made this tiny little quilt for her dolls to have a picnic on. I told myself it was just to challenge me to do a teeny tiny quilt, but I think it was just as much for me as it was for her.

Gwyneth also inspired my very first pattern, the Lovely Lil Bunny Pattern. Most of her influence is in the cute little face on this bunny. Like me, when she smiles, her little eyes disappear and she often tilts her head too, so the tilted smile was all her. Perhaps that’s why I love this bunny — I see her smiling face in it!

There are times too, when my kids inspire projects purely out of function. The kiddos were having trouble learning/remembering placement of utensils. Setting the table is their way of contributing to dinner and they constantly asked where things were supposed to go. I came up with the Table Setting Placemat which was both cute and extremely functional. They could set the table themselves and were very proud to do it without help.

As much as my children have influenced my creativity, I am happy to see their desire to be creative as well. Creativity is contagious. My desire to create and make things for friends and family is something my children see and experience daily. Through all of my sewing and crafting projects they’ve learned one thing I didn’t really think about —  the value of time and love that goes into something that’s handmade. It’s a simple lesson to learn, but so valuable. I’m so happy and lucky my children inspire me and help to bring out the best of my creativity. I hope that I do the same for them!

{ 1 comment }

Welcome to the Mad Scientist issue [Issue #9] of Action Pack Magazine for kids.

In this issue there are more than 14 fun, curious, tasty and artistic scientific experiments: 

  • You will learn about microwave expansion
  • and the science of bubbles and yeast,
  • you’ll experiment with crystals
  • and make some cool potions too.


Action Pack Issue 9: Mad Scientist Issue – is Available now

20+ pages with 15 tutorials, recipes, crafts and more…

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

Preparing a Science Station:

  • Having a science experiments box prepared ready for all your experiments will mean you won’t be searching for the materials and tools you need and you won’t have to skip any of the projects because you can’t find that essential ingredient. You’ll be organised.
  • Set aside a time to prepare for the activities you plan on doing, find a container, box or basket to keep everything in. Use the list on the right to gather together most of the ingredients you will need for science fun at your fingertips. Don’t forget to check the list with each experiment to make sure you have everything you need.
List of ingredients and materials for Issue 9 of Action Pack:
  • The basics
  1. Empty cardboard rolls
  2. Plastic party cups & bowls
  3. Foil trays
  4. Sponges
  5. Drinking straws
  6. Chenille pipe cleaners
  7. Zip lock bags
  8. Egg cartons
  9. Balloons
  10. Rubber bands
  11. Sticky tape
  12. Brown paper bags
  • The tools
  1. Scissors
  2. Eye dropper
  3. Pencils
  4. Pegs
  5. Glass jars
  6. BBQ skewers
  7. Plastic bottles
  8. Funnel
  • The ingredients
  1. Salt
  2. Sugar
  3. Epsom salts
  4. Borax
  5. Bi-carb soda (baking soda)
  6. Ammonia
  7. Laundry bluing
  8. Food colour
  9. School glue / PVA glue
  10. Soap
  11. Shaving cream
  12. Dishwashing detergent
  13. Yeast

Action Pack Issue 9: Mad Scientist Issue – is Available now only $5 for 20+ pages with 15 tutorials, recipes, crafts and more…

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

For Parents:

The Action Pack magazines are aimed at 7–12 year old kids, and are meant for independent creativity. However be sure to gauge the suitability of each project for your child’s age and development. Some of the projects may be suitable for younger [5–6 year old] children with supervision. And depending upon the child’s age and abilities you may need to stay in the same room with them for some of the experiments.

But you don’t need to hover while your child is experimenting; feel free to let them experiment, observing and only helping when needed. On the flip side, don’t fret if you feel you don’t have enough science background to help or teach your children with the activities presented here, you should be more of a facilitator and a co-learner rather than a teacher – and that’s more fun anyway.

Setting up a science station is a great way to make these projects easily accessible for your children to discover and experiment as needed. Instead of turning on the electronic games or tv when they are bored and you are busy, why not let them head over to the pre-prepared science station for some free-range independent discovery.

What is a science station?  It’s a space you stock with materials of a scientific nature for experimentation. Your science station could be a table or sideboard that you have permanently set up, or it could be a box that can be dragged out and set up on the kitchen table [or outside when required].

Action Pack Issue 9: Mad Scientist Issue – is Available now only $5 for 20+ pages with 15 tutorials, recipes, crafts and more…

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

Instructions: After you have purchased the Action Pack you will receive an email with the link to where you can download the pdf. Save it onto your computer and then print out. It is a full colour 20+ page document – print the pages all at once or you need as you need them. For optimum quality choose ‘best quality’ when printing, especially for the pages with illustrations. However feel free to print it out in black and white too. Your PDF can also be saved and viewed onto your Tablet or iPad.

Important: The pdf magazine will be automatically delivered via e-mail as soon as your payment is received. The email address that it is sent to is the email connected to your paypal account. The e-mail you receive will include a link to download the file directly to your computer. Please note that the link will only allow you to access the file for a limited period, so please make sure to download and save the file on your own computer as soon as you receive it. Lost files may be replaced for a period of 30 days following purchase.

Contact for more information:


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Rachel Wolf lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband and two children. Rachel spends her days living her bliss in a swirling cloud of living, playing, homeschooling, mothering, writing, crafting, and work-at-home-mama chaos. Visit her blog Clean or her organic body care business, LuSa Organics.

Felt Crown Tutorial

A felt crown is required play equipment for any young child. With the right crown you can be the queen, the king, the prince, the knight, or the ruler-of-all-that-you-see. We love crowns for birthdays in particular. Nothing makes a child feel more special than birthday fuss plus a special crown (though we tend to wear them daily in our corner of the world as well.)

A homemade crown is something to be cherished and easier to make than you can imagine. I have not provided a proper pattern because I think each crown is best born of your own creativity. You don’t need me to draw the lines for you. (Really. You don’t!) I cut mine free-hand, but if you want to be more precise, cut a sample from paper first to get a feel for it. It’s a crown. For your kid. Don’t over think it and you really can’t mess it up.

The crown below is sized for a child ages 3-6. For an older child just add a pinch of extra length to the elastic.

Ready? Let’s sew.


  • Cotton fabric for casing, 3″ x 10″
  • Wool felt (mine is 60% wool), two pieces 15″ x 5″ each
  • 6″ length of 1/4″ elastic
  • safety pin
  • fine glitter (optional)


  1. Sew an elastic casing from cotton. You will sew the seam along the long side. Stitch, turn, and press with seam to the center.
  2. Insert elastic as follows: Fasten a safety pin to one end of elastic. Pull elastic through casing until the elastic tail is even with first opening. Stitch.Pull safety pin, gathering casing, and align the other end of elastic with casing opening. Remove pin and sew.
  3. Cut your crown. Determine which color felt is your background and which is your main color (the front). Fold your background color in half and cut a basic crown shape, with a peak in the center.
  4. Cutting freehand with your shears, shape the basic crown into something more artistic. Wing it. Whatever you create will be lovely! Just let it flow. I folded my fabric in half and cut through both sides at once. (Save your scraps. You’ll need them in a minute.) Hold this modified crown shape up to your child (or even your own head, looking in the mirror) and adjust height and shape as needed.
  5. When you are satisfied with the shape of your crown cut an identical piece out of your second piece of felt. (Lay the already cut crown over the second piece and trace or cut around it.)
  6. Trim off 1/2″ from bottom of the second piece of felt. This will make it smaller and you’ll be able to see the background color all around.
  7. Cut out any embellishments you’d like from the background felt scraps. I prefer to keep it very simple to allow the child to create all the extras in their imagination, but follow your own intuition. Circles, gems, stars, or other simple graphics are ideal.
  8. When you are satisfied with placement, topstitch embellishments into place with matching or contrasting thread onto the main color crown piece.
  9. Pin background crown to main crown panel and carefully sew across top and bottom seams. (Leave sides open for the moment.)
  10. Insert elastic casing with right side facing frontward. Sew. Repeat on second side, being careful not to twist. Your crown is done! For added bling rub with a bit of extra fine glitter. That’ll take it right over the top.


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website