Hands On As We Grow is all about learning to do hands on activities with your kids. I share lots of practical, easy activities, and sneak in learning opportunities whenever I can. You’ll find crafts, art projects, gross motor activities, and fine motor activities regularly on the blog.
Ever seen those pretty, colorful rustic-looking mason jars and immediately wanted one? Me, too!
I wanted some for a long while, even before this craft, to show off wildflowers or serve as cute organizers. Hey, my paper clips needed a space to hang out!
How to Tint Mason Jars with Your Kids Easily!
As a colorful Mother’s Day gift for Grandma, the boys and I made some tinted mason jars. Tinting mason jars is actually incredibly easy for the kids to do!
I first did this craft at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding. We had so much fun doing this as a girls’ day activity to wedding prep, that I immediately started thinking of ways to turn this into a craft for kids!
Mod Podge would be the only thing I don’t have in stock all the time. This time, I did happen to have some on my shelves.
But, like I mentioned, school glue works too for this, just add a bit of water to it.
Easily Tint Mason Jars for Cute Gifts & Vases
First, the boys mixed their own colored glue.
I dumped some Mod Podge into glass dishes. Then they added food coloring of their choice and stirred it up.
They got right to painting the mason jars. Paint either the inside or the outside for this craft, it doesn’t matter.
Henry painted the inside of his first jar.
We poured a little of the colored glue into the glass jars and swirled it around to cover the entire inside and then let it drip out.
Your child can also reach inside with a paintbrush to swipe on the color. Just be sure to get all the nooks and crannies!
George painted the outside of his. To help contain the mess and prevent drips, I stuck a metal tray under the glass.
He turned it upside down to paint the bottom of it.
George wanted to use all three colors of glue on his jar, which is just fine.
I just made sure to tell him to keep them separate on the jar or all three colors together would probably make brown. He was very careful to paint the colors next to each other and not mix them all together.
Get Creative & Mix Up Your Painting Techniques
I encouraged them both to get creative and paint with multiple colors to see them marble together.
On their second jars, they each tried painting their jar the other way. George painted the inside of this one, and Henry painted the outside of his jar.
How to Finishing Your DIY Tinted Mason Jars
I think the tinted mason jars look the same, whether they were painted on the inside or out. However, you can feel the glue mixture on the ones that were painted on the outside.
If you prefer a smooth finish, go with painting the inside.
I was hesitant to have the kids do it that way, I thought it would be hard for them to reach in with the paintbrushes. But neither of them had problems.
One thing that helped the boys get all the nooks and crannies inside was that we used wide mouth jars. They were able to stick their hands further into the opening and had more control over paint placement.
It’s always nice to see them being creative side by side.
They were even getting along. For the most part.
They had a little argument over the blue paintbrushes because somehow there ended up being three of them and George thought there should only be one.
Learning how to tint mason jars was super easy!
Finish Up Your Tinted Mason Jars
After the jars are painted, they have to drip. It’s most important for the ones that were painted on the inside. So we tipped them over to drip for awhile.
We flipped them over onto sheets of aluminum foil. This made it easier to clean up later.
The one good thing about the kids painting the inside of the jars is that I could write on the bottom of the jars with permanent marker the date and their initial so I knew whose was whose.
We really should have let them drip for a good hour or so, but we were in a rush and it was only a few minutes. Hey, we were going to go roast hot dogs and s’mores on an open fire!
Then I popped them in the oven at the lowest temperature I could, 175°F, for about 10 minutes. The jars were still upside down.
Then I turned them over and baked them for another 20-30 minutes or so. Make sure you use oven mitts to flip the jars!
I took them out and we went to roast our hot dogs while they cooled off.
They turned out so pretty with marbled coloring.
I can see a few thick spots in the paint. Maybe if I let them drip for a while longer before putting them in the oven, it would be a more even coating.
They still look pretty awesome though! I know that these are DIY vases that Grandma will treasure for years.
I can just picture them filled with pretty flowers or stuffed with yummy candies. What would you put into your tinted mason jars?
What are your favorite DIY crafts to gift? We’d love to check out your creativity!
Get outside and really get the kids moving with fun gross motor activities and ideas that are perfect for summer days!
The boys move constantly and are full of a lot of energy. But, for some reason, our hands-on fun has taken a turn to mostly fine motor activities lately.
I’m feeling the need to be outdoors and really move! Summertime is the perfect time to get moving outdoors again.
40+ Gross Motor Activities to Get Your Kids Moving!
Gross motor activities.
I’ve always been a huge fan of ways to get the kids to move! Working on big movements and major muscles with gross motor specific activities is the perfect way to really move and learn.
Gross motor activities are some of my favorites because:
It really wears them out! Number one reason by far!
It’s good for them to learn to move in new ways and build muscles and what not and so on… you know… all the technical learning stuff that they’re doing. I don’t know all the reasons and benefits of using their gross motor skills, but I just know its good to do.
So to inspire myself, and others, to get the kids moving, I’ve selected a large handful of activities that will help us get them moving and work on those gross motor skills that are really much needed.
We had added glitter to the paint. But when painting it on the can, it didn’t show.
Of course, we had to see the glitter. So Henry shook a lot more on the tin cans when the paint was still wet.
So glad we did this project outside! If you’re working inside, lay down some newspaper or even a plastic shower curtain liner to contain the mess.
After the paint dried, we punched holes in the bottom of the tin cans.
Henry actually refused to use the real hammer and would only use his yellow toy one. He was determined to make the hole.
Luckily he let me take a few swings in between his so I could punch it through.
I am quite impressed with Henry’s hand-eye coordination, he never once missed his target.
I strung a long piece of yarn through the holes and tied two washers onto the end of the string, inside the tin cans. One washer is used to hold the yarn in place, the other is placed at the end of the string to make a lovely clanking sound when it hits the tin can.
You could also use nuts or rocks instead of washers. Something that is hard enough to make a noise when it hits the can.
Henry tried threading the yarn through the washer holes but still continues to struggle with this. Yarn isn’t the best medium to practice threading since it comes unraveled and isn’t stiff.
Experiment with Sound
Once you’ve tied on your washers to the wind chimes, test out the noise it makes!
Henry noticed right away that different size washers make different noises. Different size tin cans make different noises, too!
Hang up the tin cans so that they overlap each other.
Let the wind do its thing and enjoy the wonderful clanking of your homemade wind chimes! Or you can let your child do their thing and listen to it all the time!
"We use fine motor skills to make small movements. These movements come so naturally to most people that we usually don’t think about them. Fine motor skills are complex, however. They involve the coordinated efforts of the brain and muscles, and they’re built on the gross motor skills that allow us to make bigger movements."
Fine motor skills can include small movements such as:
holding a pencil
maneuvering a pencil
pushing Lego blocks together (and pulling them apart)
manipulating play dough
getting dressed with belts, buttons, zippers and snaps
using silverware while eating
opening and closing latches
As you can see, many of these skills are needed in a child’s (and adult’s) everyday tasks.
Without having gained strength in fine motor skills, a child can suffer moving forward. They may not have the ability to do these small tasks, but they also may lack the confidence to do more advanced tasks or projects because of this inability.
Are you convinced now that fine motor skills are important to focus on just a bit?
Of course, I still recommend not going crazy about it. Don’t expect your kid to be able to make straight lines and hold their pencil correctly when they’re two years old.
But if you notice they are lacking in their fine motor ability, there are tons of fun ways to help improve it.
And even better, let’s just have fun with promoting their fine motor skills anytime! No need to wait until they’re behind, right?
Let’s just have fun!
Fine Motor Skills Activities Supply Suggestions
Some materials that promote fine motor skills… and click the link (or look below) to find a fine motor activity to do with them!
Pom Poms in general are small, needing small movements to grasp them, pick them up, and move them. They are fantastic material to work on hand eye coordination.
Buttons are also small items that work great in developing fine motor skills. Picking them up works those small muscles, But the true fine motor skills comes in the act of buttoning something up, that takes some amazing finger strength and hand eye coordination.
Paper Clips are great for finger movements and manipulation. Being able to slide the clip onto a piece of paper takes a lot of concentration for kids in preschool and kindergarten.
Clothespins are a fantastic material for building finger strength. We use them a lot in our learning activities that the kids absolutely love.
Rubber Bands also work on finger strength, but in the opposite way that most materials do. These are a fantastic addition to any fine motor activity!
Tweezers take a lot of hand eye coordination to be able to operate successfully and move an item from one place to another. Try it!
Pipe Cleaners can be used as a great tool for fine motor skills. They can be threaded and poked!
Straws can be used as beads, to thread onto something! But they also work great with play dough too.
Knobs and Screws (or Nuts and Bolts), any real tool from Dad’s toolbox is a hit for my kids! These also take incredible hand eye coordination and concentration to be able to tighten and loosen.
Stickers are amazing! Have your child try to peel the stickers off the sticker sheet! If it’s tricky, you can remove the non-sticker part of the sheet and it’s still an amazing fine motor activity. And then placing the sticker on a paper also takes hand control.
Hole Punch are hard! Trust me, your child will need to work up to this amount of muscle strength in their hands before they’ll be able to successfully do this. So plan to help out, but give them the chance to try!
Syringes are so much fun for kids and have the added bonus of working those small muscles in their hands with control so they don’t squirt the liquid out too fast.
Eye Droppers are a fun way for kids to work on their pincer grasp. Suck it up and let it out!
Kitchen Tongs can be a great tool for working on hand strength and control. Bring them out during clean up time and I bet your child will be more willing to pick up their toys plus you get the added bonus of working on their fine motor skills.
Toothpicks are small and take a good pincer grasp to be able to hold it.
How about a day filled with some fun family activities and one (or more) of these handmade Father’s Day gifts or cards!
15 DIY Father’s Day Gifts & Cards for Kids to Make
Sometimes, it’s easy to get stuck in the Father’s Day rut: BBQ dinner with a new tie or sports equipment. This year, try something different with creatively cool ideas for Dads and Granddads who deserve the best!