Category Archives: arts and crafts

Toy WTF: The New Lite Brite

WTF is up with Lite Brite these days? My girls got one for Hanukkah and we were really excited about it. I last played with Lite Brite when I was a kid in the 1980s. I haven’t seen one since. Needless to say there have been some changes. It’s kind of like the old Lite Brite was a tube tv (which we still happen to have at our house because we are THAT cool). It had some depth with actual visible light bulbs behind a black plastic perforated panel. It stood up in a triangle and you had to plug it in to get it to work.

The new Lite Brite has basically been updated from a tube tv to an iPad. It’s compact and flat with an LED light inside it. It’s battery operated so you don’t have to plug it in. It even has a little tray attached for the bulbs, which I’m pretty sure my previous Lite Brite didn’t have. All of that is fine and dandy. I would love the new Lite Brite except for one thing: It takes an Olympic Champion Weight Lifter to take the damn light bulbs out of the screen after you make a picture.

Do you see how some of the bulbs are missing? Those are the only ones we could get out this time. Must conserve finger muscle energy to try again.

When I was a kid, the little light bulbs fell out easily. Sometimes if you breathed wrong a light bulb would shoot out of it. I guess that was annoying, but at least you could remove them. Now my kids come whining to me after every creation asking me to help them take the bulbs out. I pull and pull until my thumbs ache. The stupid bulbs are almost impossible to remove. When they finally pop out, they often fly across the room and land in the baby’s mouth. If they don’t land in the baby’s mouth, they either poke an eye out or land somewhere where you can’t find them until the baby crawls up and puts them in her mouth.

I mean, I know it’s a choking hazard, but STILL. It’s impossible to regulate the bulbs to the no-baby areas when I have to remove the bulbs myself every 5 seconds. For an hour. Because it’s SO HARD to remove those bulbs that it takes FOREVER.

What on earth made Lite Brite decide to make the bulbs fit so tightly? While it’s true the bulbs could have fit in better when I was a kid, this is absolute overkill. Children are supposed to be able to work the Lite Brite by themselves, but both my husband and I struggle to remove the bulbs. We’re gym-going adults! There’s no reason for these things to be bolted to the Lite Brite. I just don’t get it. WTF, Lite Brite? WTF?


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Creativity win!

In preschool last week, Lily and her classmates made art out of recycled material. Every kid gave very creative answers to what their artwork was. Here are some examples:

A castle

A helicopter

Food and Drink Making Machine

A transformer that turns into a jet

As you can see, every item looked EXACTLY like what the kid said it was. Or nothing like it. Whatever. To me, the only thing that remotely resembles the kid’s description is the helicopter. Meanwhile, while everyone around her was giving all these awesome answers, Lily told the teacher very soberly “It’s a decorated cereal box”.

A decorated cereal box

I couldn’t be more proud of her creativity than I was at the moment I saw her art in a display case with all these other creations and the kids’ descriptions written right next to them. I think the other decorated cereal box being a transformer that turns into a jet is especially telling of my child’s brilliance.

My husband claims that when she said “It’s a decorated cereal box” she was thinking something so genius and beyond us that we just don’t see it. I think she’s just laying the groundwork to becoming a future engineer.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

A week before Valentine’s Day, we got a note from Lily’s school that she should write her own name on all of her valentines. I knew the tiny Dora valentines we’d gotten for her wouldn’t give her enough space to sprawl her ginormous 3-year-old print, so I decided we should make it more of an art project. I cut out 18 red hearts and glued the Dora valentines to them. My AP art teacher in high school told me I should major in the fine arts in college, can you tell?

Who DOESN'T want a Dora valentine glued to a sloppily cut out heart?

I had Lily sign the backs of them before I let her at them with stickers. Her handwriting is SO legible, I can’t believe I’m letting you guys see her actual name in print. Surely you will figure out her real first name from this picture.

Lily's real name REVEALED.

I set Lily up with some stickers, and went off to look for some more. She and Rose had just received two sheets of puffy Hello Kitty stickers from their aunt. They were supposed to share them. I believe there were 50 stickers total. When I came back two minutes later, BOTH sheets of stickers were completely empty. Every single sticker, plus some Dora stickers, had been put on ONE valentine! You could no longer “read” Lily’s name on the back.

The back of this Valentine's masterpiece.

On the front, you couldn’t access the Dora valentine or even really see that it was there.

Truly a work of art!

While I was impressed by her amazing artwork, after that I had to stifle her creativity by limiting her to five stickers per valentine. I hate to crush the spirit of a budding artist, but she had 18 valentines to decorate and we just don’t have 900 stickers to contribute to this noble cause. Besides which, the only reason she’d stopped putting stickers on the first valentine was because she’d run out! If there had been 900 stickers available without limits, I’m sure she’d pile all of them on one valentine!

Since she stole her sister’s stickers, little Rose is the lucky recipient of this labor of love. Everyone else gets a less artistic valentine with only five stickers on each. The stickers are generally placed in a way that you can’t read the Dora portion of the valentine. They are the best-crafted valentines ever!

Also, it should be noted that every time Lily finishes a valentine, she brings it to someone and yells “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!



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Kids Play: Drawing Comparison

The other day, 3-year-old Lily wanted me to draw with her. She likes to tell me what to draw, then she draws the same thing. She really likes me to draw things she does with me. Here’s what I drew when she requested a picture of her sitting in my lap in our armchair playing with her Toy Story 3 Woody and Jessie dolls.

Here’s what she drew. Identical!

Then she asked me to draw us playing with Woody and Jessie, but requested that Mr., Mommy, Daddy, Lily, Rose, Other Baby, Other Mommy and Lumpy Potato Head, Slink, Rex, Bullseye and Hamm the Pig be in the picture. I seriously messed up drawing my own head, but otherwise, I think I got it down. She scribbled in orange all over it when I was done.

Her drawing of the exact same thing.

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Kids Play: Proper Watercolor Technique

Proper watercolor technique includes completely demolishing the picture you are painting by using lots of water and pressing down HARD.

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