Erin Loechner is a writer, an artist, a stylist, and a designer. Her art and design blog, Design for Mankind, is one of the "London Times"â€™s top 50 design blogs in the world, and she has been featured in "Glamour," "Apartment Therapy," and The Huffington Post, among others.
First and foremost, however, sheâ€™s a mom. And like all new moms, Erin wants to raise the best kids she can -- filled to the brim with pint-sized inspiration. As an avid "Martha Stewart Living" reader and author of the childrens' blog Design for Mini Kind, Erin shares her 20 favorite activities, tips, and tricks to raising happy, creative, and engaged children.
Erin knows that children don't stop learning just because it's summer. "Growing up, I loved the classroom and often decorated my bedroom bulletin board to re-create an exact replica of my teacher's version. So whether or not my daughter loves this school-inspired leaf alphabet, you can bet I'm smitten! (Another alphabet I love!)
"The activity that keeps on going! I love the idea of hosting a play date where the minis can paint their own pins to play lawn bowling later. Then, when the fun's over, scrub off the paint and throw them on the grill for a tasty treat! (For more bowling fun, how sweet are these handmade wooden pins?)"
Learn How to Make Squash Bowling Pins
"What a sweet art project to make for a sailboat enthusiast in your life. Plus, it's a surefire way to coerce even the messiest of kids into the tub for a test run! (Here are seven more of my favorite toy boats!)"
Learn how to make sailboats from household supplies and watch your childs' imagination sail away.
"I've always wanted to brush up on my origami, a perfect trick for keeping busy kids entertained in the car or on the go. Just add paper! (Speaking of origami, have you seen this origami-inspired blanket?)"
Erin knows that kids are never too young to learn the value of saving. So why not make it fun? "I love a good piggy bank (these are some of my favorites!), and this project provides a smart way to teach kids the value of a dollar while simultaneously encouraging creativity!"
Your kids get cards for every birthday and holiday. You can reuse that nice paper to make something really cool. "Repurposing is extremely important in our home, so I love the idea of introducing this concept in such a fun, decorative way! Speaking of garlands, how sweet is this one?"
"I remember making paper bag puppets as a kid, and they provided endless hours of entertainment. I can't wait to share that experience with Bee! (And of course, there's always the age-old finger puppet Sharpie trick!)"
Make your child the star of their own show. Learn how to make these easy paper puppets.
Your child's imagination will be taken to the stars with these intergalactic crafts. "No need to throw out the paper-towel, wrapping-paper, and toilet-paper rolls -- simply repurpose and fly to the moon! And wouldn't these beauties fit in perfectly with this galaxy-inspired photo shoot?"
Learn How to Make a Cardboard Tube Space Ship
Pull-toys are classic holiday gifts, easy to make, and can last for years. "These are a personal favorite of mine (here are three of my all-time favorites!), and although this craft looks pretty labor-intensive, the payoff is pretty great. Who wouldn't want a beautiful heirloom toy to keep for future generations?"
Add personality to your child's next party with custom-made blowouts. "Take those store-bought blowouts up a notch with this simple craft -- a perfect way to entertain your party guests! And while you're at it, stock up on some eco-confetti, too!"