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face painting, Uncategorized

But… Is It Clean?

Face painting: is it clean? I feel like so many people want to ask, but may not know how because they’re afraid of offending someone. I totally understand why cleanliness is an important factor when deciding whether to allow your child to have their face painted. So, I’m here to give you a glimpse into the techniques I use to keep my supplies safe and sanitary!

General Practices

Face Painting On-the-Job

For starters, here are some things you should know about my paints and my policies:

  • The paints I use contain antimicrobial ingredients, are FDA approved, and are designed to be used safely on multiple faces.
  • I do not paint over wounds, broken skin, or dirty faces (I keep face wipes on hand to clean up those messy little faces when necessary).
  • I don’t paint children with contagious illnesses. I’ll give them a sticker or a temporary tattoo to take with them instead.
  • Likewise, I will not work when I am contagious. If I become ill when I’m scheduled to face paint, I’ll do my best to arrange a substitute face painter.

On-the-Job

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While I’m painting a group of kids, I use the following techniques to keep things sanitary:

  • Clean water, stored in a spray bottle, is used to activate the paints. This means I’m not dipping brushes in dirty water, then back into the paints again, to moisten them.
  • A clean sponge is used for each child, then the whole batch is double-washed after the event (more on that later).
  • The rinse water contains a hypoallergenic solution to sanitize brushes. I bring lots of clean water with me, and change the rinse water frequently.
  • I sanitize my hands regularly on-the-job.

After Hours

wagon

The wagon is all loaded up and the party is over, but there’s a lot that goes on behind-the-scenes after each job I do, including:

  • EVERYTHING gets cleaned- brushes, sponges (a preliminary hand-washing, following by machine washing), stencils, and all containers are washed with soap and water.
  • All linens, including table cloths, are washed after every use.
  • Even the surfaces of the paints themselves are wiped clean.
  • I’m careful to only use hypoallergenic, fragrance-free cleaners to avoid any skin irritants.

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The entire process of cleaning all my supplies and laundering the linens can take several hours. There’s a lot of work that goes into making sure everything looks pristine when I set up my face painting station at events.

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I’ve noticed people seem to really take an interest in face painting. I’ve even considered setting up more chairs since I often have a small “audience” watching me work. It’s fascinating stuff! So I hope you enjoyed this insider view of how we keep our things tidy.

With love,

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Face Painter!

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crafts, Uncategorized

Low-Mess Painting for Little Artists

Raise your hand if you sometimes let a distaste for messes get in the way of trying out fun activities… ✋✋✋ I place a very high value on creativity, so I always pictured myself as the kind of mom who would provide ample opportunities for artistic ideas to unfold. But in reality, I find that cleaning up little messes all day makes me feel less-than-excited about doing things that would create even bigger messes.

However, my artistic ways are winning over and I’m slowly letting go of the expectation that things should always be tidy and perfect. Now that my son is 2.5 years old and mostly through the eating-crayons phase, I figured we should start making art a part of our routine. I found something that worked perfectly for us, with easy clean-up and colorful results, so I thought I’d share.

The Perfect Low-Mess Painting Project for Little Artists

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Materials:

  • Paper- Any kind, really, but we used marker and watercolor paper.
  • Washable Paint- I used Watercolor Magic, but any washable liquid paint would work. 
  • Paintbrushes
  • Table covering- Protect your work surface using newspaper, an old tablecloth, cardboard, or a cut-up paper bag.
  • Tape (optional)
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Smock or play clothes

Early childhood art supplies

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your work surface. Protect your table by laying down newspaper or whatever you have on hand. I used a paper grocery bag taped to the table, then taped the marker paper on top of that, which kept everything in place even if the art session got really active (which, of course, it did).
  2. If you like, you can put some stickers on the paper before painting to make your picture a little more fancy or create a scene.
  3. Give your child a paintbrush and explain how to use it to spread paint onto the paper. Drop some of the liquid paint onto the paper and let your child brush it around. Dropping the paint directly onto the paper kept things fairly neat, for us.
  4. Once you’ve painted with one color, allow your child to choose a different color. We kept going this way until my son declared his work of art complete.
  5. Cleanup is super easy for this project- just rinse the paint brushes and put away your supplies.
Low-Mess Painting Demonstration
Here’s a little video of this project in action!

Allow the paint to dry, then proudly display your new artwork! These are great to give away to family because they are bright, cheerful, and quick to make. My little artist usually cranks out 3-5 paintings each time we do this.

paintings

Other Tips for Making Art with Littles:

  • Rather than telling young kids what NOT to do, remind them of what they SHOULD be doing. A young child’s brain has not yet developed the ability to control impulses, so focus on the desired behavior and don’t give them any bad ideas. Instead of “Don’t paint on the table,” you might say, “Make sure the paint stays on the paper,” for example.
  • If you have any white crayons laying around, you can add an extra step to this project by drawing some designs with white crayon before you begin painting. The crayon marks will resist the paint, leaving fun designs on your project. Older kids might even enjoy making secret messages!
  • When using watercolor cakes with young children, buy a cheap set (Crayola makes some that are inexpensive but surprisingly vibrant, and I’ve also seen watercolors at the dollar store). Then don’t worry about the colors getting mixed up, and let your young artist go wild.
  • If you can get your child to wear a smock- that’s awesome! My kid refuses. He will, however, let me slip an old T-shirt over his head with no problem. 😉

What kind of stress-free artsy things do you like to do with kids? I’d love to hear your ideas!

books

Favorite Fairy Books

I have seen a lot of things in my 35 years on this planet, but last Saturday must have been one of the most magical evenings of my life.

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Photo by Scott Grizzle

Tulsa experienced its first ever Fairy Festival, and I had the honor of presenting an enchanted storytime, complete with music, dancing, puppets, and bubbles! It was so much fun to see an entire flock of fairies join each other in song and play.

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Photo courtesy of Tulsa World.

It was almost otherworldly to be surrounded by so many beautiful fairies. You can get an idea by viewing this gallery published by the Tulsa World. I was so inspired by this event, I decided to put together a list of my favorite fairy books. Hopefully, readers of all ages will find something to engage their imaginations.

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I’m linking to the Amazon listing for each title so you can gather more information and, in most cases, see a preview of the book. These are not affiliate links, and I gain nothing from any clicking or purchasing you might do. There’s a good chance your local library has many of these titles available if you see any that spark your interest. Enjoy!

For Babies & Toddlers

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A BabyLit Fairies Primer by Jennifer Adams-  A short and sweet telling of Shakespeare’s beloved story, adapted for the tiniest of readers.

 

Good Night Fairies by Adam Gamble- What better way to send your little sprites off to dreamland than a charming bedtime story?

 

Fairy Friends: A Colors PrimerFairy Friends series by Merrilee Liddiard- This set of board books teaches little ones about seasons, colors, counting, and opposites using colorful photography and whimsical fairy illustrations.

 

Picture Books

Child of Faerie, Child of Earth by Jane Yolen- If I had to pick a favorite fairy book, this would be it. Although I opted for shorter books during my Fairy Fest performance, it would be perfect for a quiet storytime at home. The story and illustrations are breathtaking.

Backyard Fairies by Phoebe Wahl- A trek through an enchanted forest gives readers a glimpse of a fairy realm, with rhyming text and a sweet ending.

 

The Fairiest Fairy by Anne Booth- Yet another that was a bit too long for storytime, but so cute nonetheless. A rhythmic story about embracing who you are, quirks and all.

 

The Foggy, Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt- As for my own little sprite, this was definitely his favorite of the fairy books. Transparent pages reveal a variety of forest creatures.

 

A Fairy Went a-Marketing by Rose Fyleman- This beautifully-illustrated story reads like a poem and gently embraces concepts such as kindness, freedom, and generosity.

 

For Young Readers

Pinkalicious Fairy House by Victoria Kann- A sweet tale celebrating the magic of make-believe, with gorgeous colors and dreamy illustrations that will leave your little fairies spellbound.

 

Tooth Fairy’s Night by Candice F. Ransom- Because we can’t have a list of fairy books without including at least one story about the Tooth Fairy! This one has a fun plot, with small sentences perfect for beginning readers.

 

Image result for diverse fairies by Daisy MeadowsRainbow Magic Fairies by Daisy Meadows- This series is massive with more than 250 titles in all, but I can tell you from my years in the library- the little fairies LOVE these books.

 

For Teens

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull- Fairies are only a small part of this mesmerizing cast of characters! Mull’s writing is imaginative and humorous.

 

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer- The first in a hugely popular series, this one is often recommended to fans of Harry Potter.

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black- I made a point to include Holly Black on this list, because her work is unmistakably magical. This eerie story would be great to curl up with in the fall or winter.

 

For adults

Among Others by Jo Walton- A unique and adventurous coming-of-age story, Walton did a great job of making a fantasy novel feel relatable by including familiar themes such as family issues and grief.

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas- This author has a writing style that will grab your attention from the first page, with witty dialogue and interesting characters. This is the first in a bestselling trilogy.

 

Have a lovely night, and may all your fairy dreams come true…

twinkles

Uncategorized

Why I Do What I Do

This photo was taken at the end of my very last storytime before I quit my job at the library to stay home with my son, who was 6 months old at the time. The bubbles hid my tears as I sang my last Goodbye Song to the kids and families I’d grown to love so much, but I believed in what I was doing.

Storytime

The plan was to scrimp and save so that I could stay with my baby for a year or two before going back to work at the library again. During stolen moments of free time, I played the ukulele my awesome husband gave me for my first Mother’s Day. It proved to be hugely therapeutic following a loss in my family. I took up face painting as a way to work with kids, go to fun events, and make some extra income.

Although I hadn’t initially planned to go off on my own like this, my hobbies came together in the form of Wonderworks, my little entertainment business. I’m now offering musical storytimes that are better than ever, and face painting is a new love that brings me endless joy.

As it turns out, I’m not going in the same direction I thought I was. But I’m happy with the way things are shaping up all the same. Being flexible doesn’t always come naturally for me, but it’s so important. After all, it seems like almost everyone experiences some twists and turns before ending up where they’re meant to be. Which of life’s little curveballs are you currently living through? Whatever it is, I hope you end up stronger and more compassionate on the other side of it.

books, Uncategorized

Best Modern Books for Babies & Toddlers

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You probably already know that it’s never too early to start reading with the young children in your life, but WHAT to read with this wiggly crowd is a whole different story! There are plenty of great reading lists out there for kids of all ages, and I love the fact that most of them contain classics. I’m a huge fan of classic titles such as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The only problem is that you probably already know about those, and I’d love to introduce you to something new.

After years of implementing storytime sessions for babies and toddlers, I’ve got lots of crowd-favorites to share with you! You’ll also find several of the household staples that are often requested by my own little bookworm. I’ve included a brief description to fill you in on what I love about each one.

bedtimeforchickies2Bedtime for Chickies by Janee Trasler – Cheep along with the chickies while they resist bedtime, as little ones are known to do. I’ve had great experiences with this one, in busy childcare centers and during quiet moments at home with my own little chick.

 

dontpushthebuttonDon’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter – Comical and interactive, this book allows children to be part of the story. It shows that when you don’t follow the rules, things can get a little out of hand.

 

hoorayforhatHooray for Hat by Brian Won – An early introduction to good and bad moods, and how friends can help brighten your day. It also models good sharing.

 

makingfacesMaking Faces: A First Book of Emotions from Abrams Appleseed books – Facial expressions and body language are the focal point in this book, which is illustrated with real photos of cute kids. There’s even a mirror on the last page so babies can practice their own facial expressions!

 

crashboomCrash Boom: A Math Tale by Robie H. Harris – This brief story uses building blocks to illustrate basic math concepts such as counting and comparisons. Little ones love it when the tower goes Crash BOOM!

 

wonderfulthingsyouwillbeThe Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin – A sweet story that encourages young children to find their place in the world. I love reading this one to my son because of the reassurance that, no matter who he becomes, he is special and loved.

 

breatheBreathe by Scott Magoon – The calming effect this book has on young children is astonishing! The illustrations are gorgeous, and the simple text is a great way to teach little ones how to pause for a deep breath.

 

didyoueattheparakeetDid You Eat the Parakeet? by Mark Iacolina – Read this one in a sneaky, suspicious voice for added giggles! Your child will love helping you solve the mystery of where the parakeet might have gone.

 

thatsnotmypuppyThat’s Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt – Perfect for curious little hands, this series by Usborne Books is a staple in many households. Each page contains a different texture for baby to explore. We also love That’s Not My Bee, but there are many similar titles to choose from.

 


littleowlsnightLittle Owl’s Night
by Divya Srinivasan – A beautifully worded story featuring a young owl and other forest animals. Read it in a soft voice when your little one is in a snuggly mood.

 

timeforahugTime for a Hug By Phillis Gershator – While the concept of time is difficult for this age group, this book breaks it down like a counting game. Make sure to give a good squeeze every time the phrase “Time for a hug!” is repeated.

 

alltheworldAll the World by Liz Garton Scanlon – This is one of those feel-good books that will appeal to the grown-ups, too. It’s a summary of what life is all about; the good days, the bad days, and the love that ties us all together.

 

wheresthehenWhere’s the Hen by Nosy Crow books – There are tons of great lift-the-flap books on the market, but these include durable felt flaps that won’t get crumpled and torn with use. There are over a dozen books in this series, featuring different animals and themes.

 

duckandgooseDuck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills – Turn this book into a guessing game, and you’re almost guaranteed to have an enthralled audience. Be prepared to read it again, and again, and again…

 

thankyoubeesThank You Bees by Toni Yuly – Teach your child the basics of the natural world, combined with an important lesson in gratitude. This one is great for participation since every other page provides an opportunity to say a heartfelt “Thank You!”

 

authors
The following authors have done so much fabulous work for this age group, I couldn’t pick just one book to feature! If you want to get hooked on a new favorite, this would be a great place to start.

Michael Dahl
Katie Wilson
Sandra Boynton
Leslie Patricelli
Jane Cabrera
Steve Light
Stacey Roderick*
Susan Stockdale*
Robin Page*
*Nonfiction, age-appropriate for an early childhood audience.

Contemporary OR classic, I’d love to hear about your favorite books for the littlest of readers. What’s your go-do story when you’re all snuggled up with the young kids in your life?

crafts

DIY Shaker Sticks

A few weeks ago, the weekly music class I attend with my son (which we ADORE) was cancelled due to weather. We stayed home and added some brand new instruments to our collection. This project went over really well with my 2-year-old- especially considering I didn’t invite him to participate in the crafty part of it, haha! There are small parts, and he’s a toddler who likes to test boundaries. So in the interest of transparency, I totally made these while my child was napping and then allowed him to play with them (supervised) once they were completed. It would, however, be a great project for older kids!

Follow these instructions to make your own set of musical shaker sticks from objects you might even have on-hand already.

shakersticks_promo

You will need:
-Baker’s twine or yarn
-Beads, sequins, feathers, charms, etc.
-Sticks
-Bells
-Glue

  1. Add a drop of glue to the end of the twine and begin wrapping it around the end of the stick.
  2. Add beads and bells as you go, creating a formation or pattern if you like.
  3. If using feathers, add them with a drop of glue and wrap string several times to secure.
  4. Wrap the end of the string around a final drop of glue. Tuck the end of the twine into the coils you created previously. Allow all glue to dry before handling.
  5. Grab a handful of instruments to go with your new shaker sticks, and make some music!

This project was highly satisfying because of the ability to give a little *shake shake* and hear the tinkling of the bells. In fact, I just used what I had on hand but I’d probably get larger bells if I did this again. Also, the feathers are totally optional but my son did enjoy having that extra bit of pizzazz.

Need a fun song to play along with? I’ve got you covered, friend! We adore Meow, Hou-hou from the Baby Loves Salsa series. DANCE PARTY at 1:30!! 

Happy music making!!

Uncategorized

Welcome to Wonderworks

Hello! Before I jump right in with all the fun craft projects, music, and kid’s activities I intend to share with you on this blog, I thought I’d give a little introduction. I’m Holly! You can find out more about me here, but the long and short of it is that I made a career creating programming for children of all ages in the Tulsa area and now I’m offering something new.Puppets at storytime for babies and children

After making a name for myself in a public library setting and through various local crafty endeavors, I began to notice a pattern of people asking if they could hire me for their parties and events. My creative workshops and storytimes were very well-received, and on several occasions I was asked to perform storytimes for birthday parties.

At the time, I didn’t have room in my schedule to explore this option. But now that I’m taking some time to stay home with my own beautiful child, I am giving it a whirl! In the time since I quit my day job, I’ve taught myself how to face paint and play the ukulele. I’ve combined all these services to bring you the very best in children’s entertainment!

Ukulele children's music

Really, what it comes down to is that doing storytimes, crafting in a social setting, and working with children are all things that bring joy to my soul. I’m taking a chance to see if anyone is in the market for what I’ve got to offer. So if you’re here, thank you. And if you want to see some of the work I’ve done in the past, head over to my old blog for a little more backstory (and lots of tutorials).

Lastly, in regards to the blog portion of this site, what would YOU like to see? Book recommendations? Craft ideas for kids? Music? Random activities? You tell me! I welcome and appreciate your ideas.

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