Archive for Gluten-free Crafts

Dec
12

Cinnamon Ornaments

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IMG_5006xThese cinnamon ornaments are a great homemade gift that your kids will love making…and giving to friends, family, teachers, etc. As a kid, I used this dough like a clay to make cinnamon bears with my mom. Now, I’m making cinnamon ornaments with my kids. With two ingredients, this is a fast and easy craft to make. However, it does take time to dry before you can decorate them, so plan accordingly.

As a kid, we started with a bottle of ground cinnamon and just started mixing in the applesauce until we got the right consistency. Recently, I’ve had good luck using the recipe below from the McCormick website. (I may have slightly modified the wording.)

Last year, we made two batches of these and gave them to all of the kids’ teachers for Christmas. The kids loved being able to give all their teachers, aides, coaches, instructors, etc. something that they made.

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Cinnamon Ornaments Recipe

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup applesauce
1 large bottle (4.12 ounces, or 1 cup + 2 TBSP) ground cinnamon

Equipment and Other Supplies Needed:

cookie cutters
drinking straw
oven and baking sheets, or wire drying rack
colorful ribbon
fabric paint or glitter glue to decorate

Directions:

  1. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in a small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. Adjust amount of applesauce and cinnamon as necessary to get a good firm consistency — not too crumbly nor too sticky.
  2. Using about 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  3. Make a hole in the top of ornament with a drinking straw if making ornaments. Place ornaments on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake 2 1/2 hours at 200° F. Large or thick ornaments may need a little longer to dry. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry (turning about every 12 hours).
  5. For ornaments, insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Glitter glue is great for decorating them.

Additional Notes:

  • Makes about 16 medium-sized ornaments.
  • For my frugal friends, visit your local dollar store. You’ll find everything you need for this project, even the applesauce and ground cinnamon (which can be pricey).
  • If you like the gingerbread smell, consider adding ground cloves, nutmeg, and ginger to the dough. Making gingerbread boys and girls to hang on the tree? Add some googly eyes and glitter glue to give them some dimension.
  • You can also use these as air freshners — a bowl full of balls in the bathroom or some flat shapes to put at the bottom of the kitchen trash can or the ashtray in the car. The scent should last 3-6 months. You can add cinnamon oil to them later to extend the scent.

Notable Links:

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Aug
28

Kids Make Fruit Kabobs

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IMG_4270xI love to get the kids in the kitchen and have them help prepare meals. Well… that’s what I like to say. But honestly, when dinnertime comes around, I’m often rushing around to get it done. Instead of finding something the kids can do, I’m often scooting them out the kitchen, out of my way. With our summer activities finally slowing down this week, we were able to take our time and make something together. We decided to make something that’s always a kid favorite: Fruit Kabobs!

Fruit kabobs are a great activity for kids. You can use almost any fruit, they are in bite-size pieces, and the kids can put it together themselves (or with minimal help, depending on their ages). Melon is a perfect fruit to use on the kabobs because it is so easy to cut. I did the big cuts, and removed the rind from the fruit with the big, sharp knife. But then the kids could use a butter knife to easily cut the melon into bite-size pieces. They thought it was great. We had a cantaloupe, but watermelon and honey dew would be good additions. You can see from the picture that we used strawberries and grapes, too. Go ahead and use up whatever you have in the house. Of course, some fruit turns brown quickly, so if you’re making them in advance you’d probably want to avoid those.

Cutting the fruit. If your kids are older, consider letting them cut the fruit themselves with Rachael Ray’s Young Cooks Cutting Set. If they’re younger you could cut the fruit yourself, and just let the kids put the pieces on the sticks. If your kids are somewhere in between, consider letting them use butter knives or plastic knives.

The Sticks. You can use a variety of sticks for skewering the fruit: toothpicks, bamboo skewers, coffee stirs, small skinny straws, or even chopsticks. But my favorite is plastic swizzle sticks, or Drink Stirrers. They are just the right size, not too sharp, and colorful.

Good for kids and the family. This activity encourages kids to help out in the kitchen. Kids feel good about what they created. They get to pick the fruit they want, and then eat it! With the kids going back to school soon, I’m also thinking this activity is great for helping kids build fine motor skills.

Now that I got the kids back in the kitchen, I’m hoping to continue it more often. So, when I sit down to plan our meals for next week, I’m going to include one or two items that the kids can help prepare. Planning in advance will allow me to schedule around after-school activities and give us plenty of time to get it done. If you’re looking for some kid-friendly recipes, or maybe a little more inspiration, check out these online posts and articles:

Gluten-Free Kids in the Kitchen

Getting Your Children to Cook

Happy Kitchen Jam Tarts (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

Kids in the Kitchen: Spaghetti and (Gluten-Free) Meatballs

Stir Fry Kid Style

Other Online articles about Kids in the Kitchen:

Benefits of Cooking with Kids

Cooking with Kids Teaches About Simple Snacks

Dads and Kids Cooking Together

Why Invite Your Kids Into The Kitchen?

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Cantaloupe is the theme ingredient this week for Friday Foodie Fix at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. So check it out for more gluten-free recipes with cantaloupe.

Jun
12

Summertime Arts & Crafts

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School’s Out! Today is the last day of school for my kids  — at least until September. So, I’m trying to line up some craft projects to keep us busy, and not glued to the TV. Here’s an idea to get you inspired, too: Photo/note holders. The kids made these for their teachers for an end-of-the-year thank you. Originally, I thought I would let the kids paint flower pots, but found these boxes at the dollar store and thought I would use them instead.

Actually, I got all of the supplies at a local dollar store. I love to go to dollar stores to come up with crafty ideas for the kids. They also had some great educational and activity books, including practicing writing letters, phonetics, simple math, telling time and more. They’ll be great for road trips and for those days when I need a quick distraction for the kids.

Wire Photo and/or Note Holders

Supplies:

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    Box to hold the wire photo holders (Instead of a box, consider using flower pots, vases, coffee mugs, or get some clay and make your own base.)

  • Paint and paintbrush (Decorate any way appropriate for you and your kids: markers, stickers, stamps, etc.)
  • Glass beads to hold the photo holders in place and add weight to keep it all from tipping over. (You could use sand, pebbles, coins, or even floral foam if you don’t need extra weight.)
  • Decorative floral wire to hold photos and/or notes. (Could also use 20 gauge wire. Forks would be cute to use for a recipe card holder.)
  • Needle-nosed pliers and wire cutter
  • We also used photos and cut flowers out of card stock paper for finishing the project.

Directions:

  1. img_3605xWe started by having the kids paint the boxes with their choice of colors. At the same time, I had them paint some flowers drawn on card stock paper. Let them dry a couple hours or overnight.
  2. Next, I shaped the floral wire. Start by pinching the wire on one end with the pliers and turning in a tight circle. Then continue to bend the wire around the circle leaving space between. You can even make different shapes, like stars, flowers, hearts, etc. Use wire cutters to cut the holders at a point a few inches longer than you need it.
  3. Now bend the other end of the wire to help it stand up nicely on the bottom of the box. Place the photo holders in the box in the way you want them arranged.
  4. Fill the box with glass beads or other weighted filling. As you’re filling the box, arrange the photo holders how you want them to stay.
  5. Put notes, pictures, cards, etc. in the photo holders.

Additional Notes:

  • This was a fun project for me and the kids (ages 4 and 5-1/2). They did all the painting. I did the actual bending of the photo holders. They helped put it all together, including a thank you note on which they drew pictures.
  • Worried about gluten-free paint? Common-Allergen-Free Products available at Discount School Supply
  • Great project for teacher gifts, mother’s day gift, father’s day gift, summer camp activity.

Other places to find more arts & crafts and printable activities for kids:

Comments (3)

If your kids aren’t out of school yet, no doubt they will be soon. It’s a great time to stock up on supplies to keep your kids busy and engaged this summer. We spend a lot of time outdoors, but I like to have some quiet indoor activities for them on really hot days. Find supplies and ideas for Free Activities at Discount School Supply (DSS) where they are currently having their End of the Year sale. (Sale good through May 31, 2009.)

07566bjpgI first discovered DSS more than three years ago while I was looking for a gluten-free play dough. My son was 2 at the time and was always putting things in his mouth. I didn’t want any play dough with gluten getting into his mouth, so I made my own at home.  But I still wanted to see if I could find some pre-made. DSS was carrying the only commercially available gluten-free play dough I could find: Colorations Wheat & Gluten-Free Dough. It comes in a large plastic bucket that contains eight different colors of gluten-free play dough inside.

It was perfect for when my son started preschool. I gave the whole bucket to the teacher to keep in the classroom so they could use it whenever needed. The texture of the dough is a little different from other gluten-containing doughs. It’s smoother and not as squishy or grainy. My son’s teacher actually preferred it because it smells better. The bucket of Colorations play dough lasted about a year before it started to dry out and get too tough to work with. I make my own play dough at home at least once a year, but it’s nice to have the option to buy it. I also bought some of the play dough tools, including these
Dough Presses
at DSS for my kids to take to preschool. That way I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination by sharing tools with others at school. My daughter has some for her class, my son has some for his class, and we keep some at home, too.

In addition to play dough, DSS has a lot of arts and crafts supplies that are labeled for gluten/wheat allergies as well as other allergies. The content of Gluten/Wheat, Dairy/Casein, Latex, Egg, Peanut/Tree Nut, and Soy is indicated on paint, ink, glue, and other craft products. Over 200 items are in the Common-Allergen-Free Products category at Discount School Supply. And, now they have a new line of items for helping kids with other Special Needs, too.

I’ve really found DSS to be a great source for arts & crafts and school supplies at very reasonable prices. I usually make one or two large orders every year to take advantage of their free shipping offer. And, this week they are offering Free Delivery on in-stock orders over $49! It’s a great time to check them out, and get ready for summer.

Related Celiac Family articles: Elmer’s Glue & Gak Recipe, Gluten-Free Play Dough Recipe

Mar
18

Elmer’s Glue & Gak

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Do you worry about the gluten content in craft products? Well, I do. Some parents and even doctors will tell you that if the craft products aren’t being eaten, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re working with paints, dried pastas, or dried cereals, maybe you can wash away all trace of gluten before your kids stick their thumb in their mouth or bite their nails. But, when working with finger paints or squishy, gooey stuff that has gluten in it, I worry about traces of gluten getting trapped under fingernails, in the crevices of the hands, and ultimately in the mouth. So, I try to avoid any craft products with gluten, just to be on the safe side.

This week, my kids’ preschool made Gak for the kids to play with. Gak is a gooey, stretchy mixture that’s just fun to play with. I was happy that the teachers asked me about the gluten content of the ingredients before my kids played with it. And, I was even happier that I was able to confirm that every ingredient is indeed gluten-free.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard differing opinions about the gluten content of Elmer’s School Glue. The Elmer’s website confirms that their school glue is all-synthetic, no gluten or dairy: “[Their] products are derived from synthetic materials, not any type of animal or milk protein” “All of [their] products are gluten free except for the Elmer’s Finger Paints. The finger paints contain wheat and oat products.”

So, if you’re still having rainy weather and need an indoor project try this Gak recipe.

Gak

Ingredients:

2 Cups Elmer’s glue
1 1/2 Cups water, warm
1 1/2 TBSP Borax*
1 Cup water, hot
food coloring or tempera paint, optional

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 2 Cups Elmer’s glue and 1 1/2 Cups warm water until thoroughly combined.
  2. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring or a tsp of tempera paint. Mix thoroughly. Add more coloring if you prefer a darker, brighter color.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 TBSP Borax with 1 Cup hot water.
  4. Now, pour the small bowl mixture into the medium bowl and mix well. Once the mixture starts to pull together, you can knead it with your hands. Pour off any excess liquid. If it’s too sticky, add a little more Borax.
  5. Have fun! Store in zip-style plastic bags or airtight containers.

*Young children should be supervised while using this product and older children should be instructed not to eat it. Everyone should wash hands after playing with it. Borax is a natural mineral compound that can be toxic in large doses. Similar to other household cleaners, Borax should be kept out of reach of children.