Do you need something easy and fun to do with kids on a sick day? It doesn't matter whether they have the cold or you do — sometimes you just need a simple activity to keep everyone busy and happy for awhile! I've got just the fluffy colorful fun for you.
This is the last post in my three-part series on the topic of sick days and kids for Children's Mucinex. My first post offered my go-to tips for helping your family survive cold and flu season, and my second post shared seven simple ways to turn sick days into fun days.
I got the inspiration (pinspiration!) for today's craft from the ever-creative Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom.
However, I've tweaked the recipe a little to account for Northwestern winters. You see, the recipe as written calls for two hours of drying time in the sun (what's that again?) … but mine took two full days indoors away from the drizzle outside. My fellow Seattleite Shannon had the genius suggestion to try rubbing alcohol instead of water. Presto change-o: Now the cotton was ready to work with in just a few hours!
I took these pictures the first time I made these with plain water, so I'll point out the differences. For one thing, water yielded (for me) pastel colors, but rubbing alcohol made them really vivid and bright. Both are pretty and kid-approved! So if you don't have rubbing alcohol around, just allow for about twice as much water as rubbing alcohol and some extra drying time.
Spritz a few squirts of vinegar water into small cups or bowls. I used yogurt containers we make frozen yogurt-sicles in. If you don't obsessively use vinegar and water in a spray bottle all the time as your go-to cleaner, then you can dribble a little from an actual vinegar bottle. Whatevs.
No, I don't have fancy food-based organic dyes. But we use food coloring so rarely, I wonder if I'll ever use these up! Wear gloves, or you will have very colorful fingers.
Pour about 1/8 of a cup of rubbing alcohol into each cup,
and then add 10 drops of food coloring.
Floof in (yes, that's a term) 12 to 15 cotton balls.
Note that I used a lot more of water than I used of rubbing alcohol.
Mostly because I'm cheap, and rubbing alcohol
costs at least 50 cents a bottle, yo.
Squoosh (yes, that's a term, too) the cotton balls on in there and
stir and swirl them around to absorb all the dyed liquid evenly.
With the rubbing alcohol, you won't even see the top of the water like in this picture, because there's less liquid and it will absorb more quickly.
Once the cotton balls have absorbed all the liquid, you can remove them.
I found the rubbing alcohol also helped them absorb the colors more thoroughly
and evenly. (Thanks again, Shannon!)
Pick a place to lay them out to dry. If the surface is dear to you,
line it so you don't stain it like a rainbow pooped on it.
Our old baking sheet had it coming, so I didn't worry. I want to point out here how much fun you can have with just four bottles of food coloring. The package had all these secret scientific (not really) formulas for mixing cool colors, so I took advantage: jungle green (it really did call it that), aqua, purple, orange. You can probably guess and experiment if your food coloring doesn't give you guidance — add a drop of blue to several of red to make purple, and skew greens more lime by adding drops of yellow. Add a drop or more of green to blue to steer it toward turquoise. Have fun!
Check back to see if your cotton balls are dry. If you've used water and live in a humid client, do so obsessively for multiple days. If you've used rubbing alcohol, it should take just a few hours, though you might want to prepare this after the kids go to bed and let it dry overnight. The cotton balls are dry when they don't festively smear your fingers.
Cut or tear your cotton balls into thirds.
Fluff them out. The fluffier and smaller the pieces, the longer this craft will last!
By this point, Mikko wanted to know what the heck I was up to. Remember that this baking sheet o' colorful fluff had been sitting there drying for two days,
so his curiosity was well and truly piqued.
I told him we were going to do a craft, and he was really excited.
Then I asked him to help me, saying his assistance would speed things along
and mentioning that I was going to write about it for my blog.
The clever little entrepreneur — who earns pennies per mailing label when he helps his dad get DVDs ready to sell — seized onto that and started negotiating with me.
He'd help me fluff … for a price. We settled on a nickel.
He did a good job for those wages, no?
We spread out our paper and squirted regular ol' white craft glue all over it. Go ahead and cover the whole sheet, because it dries clear, and that way your kids can put the cotton wherever and know it will stick. You might even brush it out to spread it evenly, but I'm not that particular. (Meaning, I don't feel like washing an extra brush if I don't have to.)
Then it's time to glue some cotton!
We worked together. I tried to make mine vaguely representational.
You can compare this with the child's artwork at the inspiration source and see
I have a lot to learn before I'm at her level.
Mikko went wholly abstract.
It made it almost more of a sensory project, which was cool.
Alrik was really feeling crummy, but the idea of an art project perked him up.
He preferred watching rather than gluing, because — smart kid — he doesn't like sticky hands. But I do like that this project can be accomplished by all ages.
When Mikko was done, he at first refused to pose with his art. I told him letting me photograph it was part of his work deal, and he demanded another nickel.
I told him fine but that these smiles weren't cutting it.
He tried harder.
A little more…
All right, good enough. Here's your money, kid. You earned it.
My finished masterpiece was of Mikko and me enjoying sunset at the beach.
You totally get that, right?
(Those glue lines really did dry clear, by the way.)
Alrik's artwork was more minimalist.
That's what you get when you've inherited your mother's OCD.
Mikko then had this awesome, totally uncompensated idea to
join our pages into one brilliant panel.
We glued it together and let it all dry on the floor.
The next day, it spanned the length of our mantel
and added three-dimensional cheer to our sickroom!
But sometimes colorful cotton balls aren't enough to bring a smile to your kids' faces. If your children are feeling under the weather, you might need to turn to an appropriate use of over-the-counter medicine. In our household, we don't use medications often, but I like to know there's child-specific Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold available when cold symptoms are keeping Mikko from sleep or making him just way too miserable. Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold relieves symptoms of congestion and coughing due to colds, letting Mikko continue his active day and get restful sleep at night to support his immune system's hard work.
Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold When your child has a bad cold, you both can feel miserable. Children's Mucinex is the #1 children's brand for relieving congestion* and provides fast acting relief from your child's worst cold symptoms. Try Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold if your child needs relief from stuffy nose and chest congestion.
Always use Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold as directed. (*Based on IRI unit share data for the 52 weeks ending November 2012) Always use Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold as directed, which means following all the warnings and information on the product, not using any more than directed, and using only for children 4-12 years old. If you are unsure about using Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold, please consult your pediatrician.
You can get a coupon for $2 off your next purchase of Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold on Coupon.com!
I'm also very excited to once again give away a $100 CVS gift card, so leave a simple comment to enter to win! And check my other posts in the series to enter there as well.
Comment below with an answer to this question to enter the giveaway: What activity makes your child (or you!) smile when under the weather?
Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!
- No duplicate comments.
- You may receive 1 total entry by leaving a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post.
- This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- The Official Rules are available here.
- This sweepstakes runs from 3/6/2013 – 3/31/2013
Be sure to visit the Children's Mucinex Multi-Symptom Cold page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!