The Doodle Post

imagesI grew up in the suburbs where door-to-door mail delivery was non-existence.  Every afternoon I would walk to the end of my street, key in hand, to collect any mail from our Superbox.  I was giddy whenever there was a letter addressed to me from one of my few pen pals or friends living in distant cities.  My feet would practically float above the ground as I ran up the hill to our house; tearing into the envelope the instant I crossed the threshold.

In the age of the Internet, e-bills, evites and on-line catalogues few personally addressed pieces of mail arrive in our letterbox.  Rarer still anything meant for the boys.

A few weeks ago, to their excitement a cardboard envelop arrived for them from The Doodle Post stuffed with glittery pom poms, glue, orange and yellow striped sticky tape and a dozen cake picks.  The makings of do-it-yourself cake toppers!

The Doodle Post is the brainchild of creative mastermind and passionate art educator Erin Clark-Wynn.  With more than 10 years experience teaching art and several more in advertising, Erin, a devoted crafter and mom of two young girls saw a niche in the Canadian crafting market.

The Doodle Post is a Canadian craft subscription that is delivered to your front door.  These DIY craft projects designed for children 6-12 years old take about 15-30 minutes to complete.  Each box contains the items needed for the craft and a detailed yet simple step-by-step set of instructions with accompanying pictures.

Erin dreams up each project and draws on her years of teaching to ensure that the projects are age appropriate and require little to no adult assistance.  Erin’s passion for art is matched by her passion for giving back to the community.

Each Doodle Post box contains quality supplies from Canadian businesses and a portion of the proceeds from The Doodle Post is directed to Canadian charities that are dedicated to bringing art into the lives of children and kits to those without the means.

My boys were excited to get started on their cake toppers, which coincidentally arrived just in time for a family birthday celebration.

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I was amazed at how well my two boys, ages 6 and 7, worked together to complete this project.  They read through the instructions and laid out the supplies.

The eldest was eager to show off his knowledge of procedural writing skills (that were recently honed in his second grade class) and the youngest excitedly reached for the ruler when the instructions suggested cutting the tape at 5 cm.

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The cutting “Vs” out of the tape, to create the flag, was a challenge for the youngest but with some rarely displayed cooperation with his older brother, the cake toppers came together nicely.

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I asked the boys if they had any feedback and the resounding answer: this is so much fun!

The Doodle Post is so much fun!  It was fun for me to watch the boys create a meaningful craft entirely on their own without any input from me and that was useful!  They were very proud to top their grandfather’s cake with these electric blue pom-pom toppers.

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The Doodle Post is the perfect answer to the question: What do your kids want for their birthday?

The cost of The Doodle Post:

1 month = $12 + shipping

images3 month = $36 +shipping

6 month = $70 +shipping

To learn more about The Doodle Post:

Visit the website: www.thedoodlepost.storenvy.com

Send an email: subscriptions@thedoodlepost.com

Check out Facebook: www.facebook.com/thedoodlepostproject

A Kids Craft Activity You Can Actually Do

If you have spent any time at all in the blogosphere of crafty mothers, you will know that it is overflowing with beautiful and innovative ideas for crafting with children.  As for me, I am helplessly drawn to the crafty creations of the natural living flock, and am constantly impressed by the artistry in the wood and wool crafts.

As anyone who has actually tried to replicate these crafts will tell you, though, they are almost invariably harder to do at home than they appear on the screen.  First, you have to have the supplies (the getting of which can be tough, as I’ve discovered especially with the natural materials I like so much), and then you need to make space and time, which you’re likely to underestimate because who properly accounts for prep time and clean up with small children except their teachers?

Having said all that, I’m not a craft naysayer – not at all.  Actually, I go through quite a bit of effort to ensure that I do some crafting and creating at home with my boys because I value it so much.  But I’m aware of how much effort goes into some of these endeavours, and I know how divided a mother’s time can be, so I’m always on the prowl for easy kids crafts too.  Partly for my own sanity, but also to make a pitch to other parents who might enjoy this version of quality time with their kids but don’t have tons of energy or time to throw at it.

Enter marshmallows and toothpicks. That’s it!

As I discovered this idea from the Artful Parent, with just these two items, you are set up for some serious fun with your kids.  You poke the toothpicks into the marshmallows and see what structures you can make.  If you get different sized marshmallows (highly recommended!) or the coloured ones, you can make some really interesting things.  The Artful Parent suggests stale marshmallows, which might make them sturdier, but I just used fresh ones and they were fine too.

This activity works for a wide age range.  Older kids (and adults) will be able to make quite impressive towers and bridges, but it’s really nice and inclusive for toddlers too, as they’ll be able to poke their own marshmallows and make something too.

Clean-up is a snap and there basically isn’t any prep to do.  And of course you can recycle the marshmallows afterward for rice crispie squares (also an easy make with little people).

It’s not very natural living or Martha Stewart or whatever, but it is do-able, and it’s rare that I’ve gotten that much successful and fun making time with my boys for so little effort.  It’s nice to drool over the creative crafting of the web; it’s better to do what you can when the screen is off.

Do you have any easy crafting ideas to share?