Cut-and-Paste Fall Leaf Collage for Kids

cut paper fall leaf collage

Though my kids get a lot of freetime to choose their own creative play each day, I’m also a fan of keeping them constructively and creatively busy (which is not to be confused with assigning “busy work.”). And if my three-year-old doesn’t have something supervised to do, she’ll often mimic the big kids by creating her own “homework” or “art projects.” Like practicing her newly learned scissor skills on anything she can hack those dull child-size blades through–such as paper, hair, baby sister’s shirt, etc.

This project keeps her busy (allowing me to sneak in a few minutes of my own creative play, or help the big kids with homework), and also helps develop the fine motor skills.

Cut-and-Paste Fall Leaf Collage Art Project for Kids

Supplies Needed

  • Colored Paper
  • Kid-size scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Print-outs of simple shapes (such as the leaf example shown)

To create this exact fall leaf collage project, please visit my contributing post at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to download the printable leaf templates.

Creating a Cut-and-Paste Fall Leaf Collage

First, I gave Lydia a scrap of colored paper with the instructions to “cut away!” (keeping the pieces on the table). When she’d cut to her heart’s content, we gathered the cut pieces and saved them in a plastic bag for another day.

Cut-and-Paste Fall Leaf Collage Art Project for Kids

The next time I needed a project for her to work on, I gave her a glue stick and some print-outs of simple leaf shapes.

I showed her how to glue the scraps she’d previously cut inside the leaf outlines by “covering all the white spaces” and “trying to stay in the lines.”

Cut-and-Paste Fall Leaf Collage Art Project for Kids

The project is simple, but a good way for preschoolers to practice their cutting and gluing in a creative and constructive way. She was quite proud of her final results and they look so festive hanging on the fridge.

Cut-and-Paste Fall Leaf Collage Art Project for Kids

What are some “constructive” ways you keep your younger kids busy?

To recreate this fun cut-and-paste fall leaf collage project, download these printable leaf templates at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups

Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups

This post is sponsored by Snack Pack®.

I currently work with teenage girls in my community. It’s so fun being with these girls, and they keep me feeling young. But besides having fun with them, I take the responsibility seriously because I remember being a teenager not too terribly long ago and the pressures I felt. And I remember the influential youth leaders during that awkward and difficult growing time when I thought my parents weren’t cool, but still needed adult leadership and counsel. At a time when it would have been so much easier to follow the crowd, those youth leaders reached out and supported me, and inspired me to want, do, and be better.

One of the opportunities I now have on the flip side as an adult youth leader (which I’m still in denial that I’m old enough for!) is to help the girls see that they can have good, clean fun—even if it means they have to plan it themselves. And boy, do they! They’re always coming up with ideas for the next Pinterest-inspired craft, project, or party, which I love. They’re the idea generators, and I teach them how to take the ideas and make them happen.

Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups

One thing they’ve been excitedly talking about since mid-summer is throwing a Halloween party, so recently we sat down to flesh out some of their ideas (which, thanks to Pinterest, were plentiful!). The common theme all the party planners requested (and I quote): “We want to do lots of ‘cute-scary’ food!”

Entertainment? Music? Decor? Secondary thoughts. First and foremost, we must plan out the “cute-scary” food.

And that’s how we came up with Creepy-Crawly Pudding Cups. This idea for a “cute-scary” treat featuring Snack Pack® pudding cups is super easy to mass-produce in large quantities for a party (or just a fun anytime snack!). Plus, the pudding cups come in their own individual serving-size portions, and they are easily adaptable to any theme—especially Halloween.

Supplies Needed for Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups:

  • Snack Pack® pudding cups
  • Crushed chocolate cookie crumbs
  • Plastic Halloween or bug figures

Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups

Search around. These inexpensive plastic skeletons, spiders, and bugs came from the Halloween section at a dollar store.

To assemble Creepy-Crawly Pudding Cups, simply remove the top from a Snack Pack®, sprinkle with crushed chocolate cookie “dirt,” and accessorize with a creepy-crawly Halloween critter.

Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups

(In the case of the skeletons, we found it easier to place the skeleton in the pudding first, and then sprinkle “dirt” on top of the fella to weigh it down.)

So easy, super “cute-scary,” and just the right addition to your own party or kids’ snack!

Creepy Crawly Pudding Cups

This Halloween season, take a moment to slow down and enjoy a tasty and fun treat with the kids. Snack Pack® comes in a variety of flavors and offers endless mix-in opportunities the kids can help prepare. Each serving of Snack Pack® is fortified with as much calcium as an 8-oz glass of milk,* so you can feel good about serving your kids Snack Pack®. For mix-in inspiration, visit Snack Pack® on Pinterest and Facebook.

*All Snack Pack® products contain 30% DV calcium, with the exception of Bakery Shop Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Pudding, and Snack Pack® Gels.

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Build-Your-Own Pudding Pops

Snack Pack Pudding Pops

This post is sponsored by Snack Pack®.

In a family of many it’s not easy to find a meal everyone likes, so we do a lot of “build your own” buffet-style foods with a “base,” (taco meat, baked potatoes, cooked pasta) and a variety of toppings so everyone can build their own plates to their own liking. Something about the independence of making choices and preparing it “themselves” makes it more appealing to the kids, and more likely that they’ll eat it, and even try new things.

Snack Pack Pudding Pops

Snack and dessert time is no exception, and Build-Your-Own Pudding Cups are a popular request around snacktime. Like, beg-at-breakfast-to-have-them-for-an-afternoon-snack kind of popular.

Snack Pack Pudding

Snack Pack mixins

Some of our favorite Build-Your-Own Snack Pack® pudding mix-in ideas include: cookie or graham cracker crumbles, cut-up fruit, yogurt-covered raisins, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, peanut or almond butter, sprinkles, and mini candies or marshmallows.

Snack Pack mixins

Build-Your-Own Snack Pack® are pretty tasty as is, but we also love them frozen! Here’s how to make Frozen Build-Your-Own Snack Pack® Pudding Pops.

Build-Your-Own Snack Pack Pudding Pops

  • Snack Pack® Pudding Cups
  • Mix-in toppings of your choice
  • Popsicle sticks or straws, or spoons

Choose Your Mix-Ins.

Snack Pack mixins

Get creative with your mix-in combinations! Mix the toppings into the pudding, or just layer it on the top (which will become the bottom of the frozen pop).

My kids like to add heaps of everything, but here are a few more flavor ideas:

  • Grasshopper Pie: Mix chocolate pudding with one drop food-grade peppermint essential oil. Top Snack Pack® cup with chocolate cookie crumbles and whipped cream
  • Banana Cream Pie: Mix vanilla pudding and sliced bananas. Top Snack Pack® cup with graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream.
  • Fruit and Cream: Mix vanilla pudding with berries (fresh or frozen) and whipped cream.
  • Rocky Road: Mix chocolate pudding with mini marshmallows, chopped nuts, and mini chocolate chips.

Prepare to Freeze.

When finished choosing mix-ins, place a popsicle stick, sturdy straw, or spoon in the center of the Snack Pack® pudding cup. If the kids have created their own concoctions, consider writing names or initials on the outside of the Snack Pack® cup, to avoid mix-ups.

Snack Pack Pudding Pops


In our freezer, the pudding pops take about 4 hours to freeze solid, so it’s a good snack to prepare in the morning for an afternoon snack, or plan ahead and freeze overnight.

Snack Pack Pudding Pops in freezer

When frozen, allow pudding pops to sit on the counter for a few minutes, or run the Snack Pack® cup under hot water for a few seconds to loosen frozen pudding. Frozen pops should then easily slip out of the cup.

Snack Pack Pudding Pops


Soak up the last bit of summer sun with your tasty Build-Your-Own Snack Pack® Pudding Pops!
Snack Pack Pudding Pops

This back-to-school season take a moment to slow down and enjoy a tasty and fun treat with the kids. Snack Pack® comes in a variety of flavors and offers endless mix-in opportunities the kids can help prepare. Each serving of Snack Pack® is fortified with as much calcium as an 8-oz glass of milk,* so you can feel good about serving your kids Snack Pack® . For mix-in inspiration, visit Snack Pack® on Pinterest ( and Facebook (

** All Snack Pack® products contain 30% DV calcium, with the exception of Bakery Shop Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Pudding, and Snack Pack® Gels.

Snack Pack Logo

Teach Your Kids the 10 Commandments with a Matching Game

10 commandments matchup cut

Recently I had an eye-opening conversation with a friend as we were bemoaning what appears to be a deterioration in society’s morals, and how teaching our kids values can feel like an uphill battle.  We live in a predominantly Christian community deep in the Bible belt where religion is interpreted in as many different ways as there are street corners.

Though I haven’t studied each denomination, and I recognize each one differs in interpretation, I thought there were some basics most churches had in common–like the 10 Commandments. And so (probably judgingly), I expressed to my friend that my moral expectations were higher for people who claimed to be church-goers and I was disappointed that the “top 10” seemed to be commonly dismissed as merely good suggestions.

Her confusion surprised me–and was the eye-opener–as she told me the church she grew up attending had taught that the 10 commandments were outdated, and except for the “big ones” like killing and stealing, they no longer applied today.

Teach Your Kids the 10 Commandments with FREE Matching Game

The point of this post isn’t to debate whether the commandments still apply today. It’s my belief that they do, and that it’s important to teach our kids HOW they apply in the world today–not just thousands of years ago when Moses received them on stone tablets.

Although the commandments may seem irrelevant or outdated to our children–particularly based on the examples we see all around us–we owe it to them teach the deeper meanings behind each commandment.

There are many ways to begin this discussion, but one way I love to teach and “keep life creative” is through games. This colorful 10 commandment match-up game is simple for young kids, but can easily be adapted into deeper discussions for older kids. Follow the directions below to create your own commandment cards.

10 commandments matchup game by Keeping Life Creative

10 Commandment Match-Up Supplies

Print the match-up game pieces.

10 commandments matchup

Laminate for durability.

10 commandments matchup laminate

Have you invested in a personal laminator for teaching and craft projects? It’s one of my most frequently used “supplies,” and I highly recommend owning one! They’re inexpensive, and if taking the time to make games like this, you’ll likely want them to last more than one use (or child!). I’ve found Sam’s Club/Costco to have the best price on refill lamination sheets.

Cut out game pieces.

10 commandments matchup cut

(Notice the patterned paper side. Here’s a fun tip! If you print on the white side of heavy patterned paper, you can play a memory matching game, and because of the pattern, kids can’t see through the back of the cards!)

10 commandments print on patterned paper

Play the game!

Match the numbers to the coordinating images representing the commandments.

If matching pictures to numbers is too hard for younger kids, skip the game and just use the colorful image cards to introduce the meanings behind each commandment.

10 commandments matchup game

The 10 Commandment Match-up Printable was e-mailed as an exclusive subscriber freebie to those who’ve previously signed up to receive scripture story teaching inspiration and new product notices. If you’d like to to be added to the list and receive this free printable (along with other fun freebies), you can join here.

How to Develop a Love for Reading

reading a book

Fairly often I’ve been asked, “What reading curriculum do you teach?”

In the classroom I definitely followed the set standards and taught the required phonics and literature lessons. But my favorite part of the day and something I MADE time for in our curriculum plan was: reading aloud to my students.

Any time we had a few extra minutes of down or transitioning time, we’d read a few pages. If the students finished their work and had time before the rest of the class moved on, our procedure was solidly ingrained that they got out a book. After we’d packed backpacks and put our chairs upside down on the desks, we’d end the day reading. Picture books, chapter books, poems from our beloved Shel Silverstein volumes–it didn’t matter. We just read.

Dr Seuss books

When I left the classroom to stay home, students were replaced with my own kiddos, and homeschooling became our new normal–and the reading curriculum question continued.

And for a long time (mostly regarding my first child) I was embarrassed to answer, because I hadn’t really used a curriculum. (Unless Leapfrog videos count!) Mostly, I just read to him. A lot. And because I’d read to him so much (from the very beginning) he loved books and began “reading” on his own. Maybe not the exact words, but he understood basic concepts of print, and that meaning could be derived from the illustrations. A few impromptu phonics lessons and many, many read alouds later, and he was reading well before most his age.

reading a book

My second child gained a similar love for books from the time she sat on my lap, but this time around I worried I needed a structured method for teaching her to read (so I could be better prepared to answer that curriculum inquiry). And so I bought an expensive but well known reading curriculum, and taught a handful of the phonics lessons before she too began reading independently. I continue to dust that boxed curriculum set during my routine cleaning chores.

The third time around I’m choosing to be a bit more relaxed in our approach to reading instruction, mostly just reading aloud every day, and my kindergartner is well on her way to fluency. And I’m already seeing strong reading habits emerge from my three year old. As for the baby? She just likes the way books taste!

Addy with book

Three things.

  1. In no way is this meant to be a “Look at me, I’m getting it right.”
  2. Though I’m incredibly biased, my kids aren’t geniuses.
  3. And there is a lot of amazing reading curriculum out there–many that I own, and recommend.

But as I’ve spent some time preparing for this upcoming school year, I’ve been thinking a lot about my educational philosophies and beliefs. And the one factor I can confidently say I believe has propelled my students and children in their reading development is a love for reading, acquired from lots and lots and lots of (wait for it) . . .

. . . reading.


Research backs this one up.

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.” (Marilyn Jager Adams, Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About Print)

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This post is part of the Turn Your Beliefs Into Actions Blog Hop. To see what other educators believe and what they’re doing with those beliefs, “hop” over to Brain Domain Kids.

What do you believe has helped your kids learn to read?

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