Paper plate portholes!

Summer is finally on its way! The sunshine has been out and my daughter wanted to do a summer themed activity this weekend. One of her favourite  craft themes is the Ocean so she opted to make a paper plate porthole. Paper plate portholes are a lovely simple craft which look really effective, and can be adapted to make with a wide age range of children.

To make your paper plate porthole you will need – 2 paper plates, paint, glue, coloured paper and pens.

Begin by cutting out the centre of one of your paper plates.

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Next paint the other (complete) paper plate blue – this will be your ocean water.

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Now paint the back of the other plate (with the centre cut out). You can choose whichever colours you like. My daughter chose purple with gold and silver spots!

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Pop the plates to one side to dry. Make your ocean creatures using paper and pens. We made fish, an octopus and seaweed.

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When your plates are dry, glue down your ocean creatures where you would like them on the blue plate! You can add other features like air bubbles with a pen.

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Finally stick down your top plate to finish off your porthole.

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My daughter loved making her paper plate porthole! You can add whatever you like to your ocean scene – my little boy loves adding sharks to his ocean!

Have a wonderful Sunday everyone!

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Nature faces!

My daughter was off school sick the other day with a pretty nasty head cold. We decided to go out in the garden in the afternoon to get a little fresh air as she was starting to feel a little better. Whilst sitting there she decided she wanted to make a ‘nature face’.

Nature faces are a lovely simple activity to do outdoors. They are adapted from our nature pictures, and are a firm family favourite. They always produce individual unique results and you can make them as serious or silly as you like! All you need is a piece of paper and a pen…..everything else is found from Mother Nature!

Start by drawing a head and neck onto a piece of paper. Next go exploring to see what you can use for hair and facial features. Adult guidance will be needed to make sure everything is safe to pick up (and to stop anything being eaten)!

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My daughter used grass and daisies for her nature girl’s hair, dandelion flowers for the eyes and mouth, and a leaf for the nose!

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We had great fun making different faces and it certainly cheered up a poorly little girl for a while! You can use glue to stick the face down if you want to, or simply wipe everything off and make a new face!

I hope you all have a lovely Saturday!

A Woodland afternoon!

Last weekend the beautiful sun had finally started to shine (hooray!) and me and the hubby wanted to take the kids out for a cheap afternoon somewhere. I had seen a free local Woodland  open day advertised in my facebook feed so we decided to head over there and spend the afternoon exploring the woods!

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When we arrived we were greeted by a very enthusiastic man from the Woodland trust who immediately dragged lined us up for the guided wood walk. (To say he was quick is an understatement – our wellies had barely touched the ground)! This did feel a little strange as we regularly go for woodland walks, so to be guided around felt odd! We did learn quite a bit though and the kids loved listening to the different birdsong. There was a man from the RSPB who helped the kids identify between the different songs. The children were also given guides for them to keep which helped them identify different creatures and different woodland trees.

After the walk we browsed the stalls, which included home – made jam and honey for sale, bat boxes, cakes and cookies (we spent a few pennies here!), kids lucky dip, pick a stick and face painting! Everything was really reasonably priced. The admission was free so you could spend as much or as little as you liked. My daughter wanted her face painted (my son is never too keen on this so decided against it this time). She chose to have a fox painted (keeping in with the woodland theme!) much to the lovely face painting lady’s horror. She said she had never done a fox before – we think she did an amazing job! My daughter loved it and got lots of comments afterwards!

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There was also a stall giving away free wooden bird boxes. I was so impressed! It’s not often in this day that you get something so lovely for free! You could choose to have a ready made one or one that needed building. We chose a bird box that needed building – Daddy was very eager to help the kids build it at home!

The kids loved helping Daddy make the bird box and it was a lovely activity to encourage them to work together. They are going to paint it together soon too, when we have the right type of paint so that it will last and look pretty longer!

We had a fantastic Sunday afternoon and I will certainly be looking out for the next one!

Trampoline Chalking!

This idea came up on my Facebook news feed a few days ago and I thought it was a super idea! We have all done the whole chalking on the footpath thing as kids and have probably done it with our own little ones so I thought this was a brilliant new take on it! All you need is some kids chalks, the trampoline and some imagination!

Let the kids free with the chalk, draw and colour to their hearts content on the trampoline base and the next lot of rain will wash the artwork away! Such a simple idea but we loved it!

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The kids loved the freedom of being able to chalk on such a large area of space. I loved seeing how they worked together to create what effectively became a pretty cool mural! We will definitely be repeating this activity! A lovely way to create a piece of group art!

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A wonderful day out!

I decided to take the kids on a day out yesterday as an Easter holiday treat. I decided to take them to one of their favourite places – Gypsy Wood, near Caernarfon in Wales. Gypsy Wood is a children’s activity park which isn’t too far from our home and since we visited just over a year ago, the kids have constantly wanted to go back! I went with my little ones, both of my sisters, my niece and nephew and my mum, so it was a real family day out!

As soon as you enter Gypsy Wood you feel like you have stepped into a magical wonderland! The park is always immaculate and is obviously well looked after. The staff are friendly and are fantastic with the kids, which is such a bonus in places like this!

There is a lovely model railway which the kids can control by pressing the different buttons. It is brilliantly interactive and hands on!

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Watching the trains!

The play equipment is excellent. There are ride on vehicles, slides, a zip wire, climbing frames, trampolines, see saws – you name it they have probably got it! There are so many opportunities for the kids to use their bodies to navigate the equipment – it is brilliant! My son especially loves the ride on vehicles and the huge amount of space he could ride them!

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There is also a little train that you can ride which takes you on a journey around the park whilst you try and spot the owls and fairies along the way. This was a big hit with the kids! (and was my favourite thing there too – Hey, it means you have a chance to sit down for five minutes! As a mum this is a huge plus)!

The displays of fairies, elves and other magical creatures are brilliant. They really make you feel like you are in some magical woodland. So much for the kids to spot and see!

There are also plenty of animals which you can buy bags of feed for an extra charge. My two year old nephew loved feeding the goats especially!

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My daughters highlight of her day was riding a donkey. As a huge animal lover this made her so happy. Her face whilst riding was a picture! One of those moments which will stay with me forever I think! (She used to be incredibly shy, so much so that some people believed she was selectively mute. Out of our family home she literally would not speak). Since moving to her present school just over a year ago, she has completely changed. Her confidence has grown so much and she converses to people she meets now – just like the lady in charge of the donkeys. She has always wanted to ride but has never had the confidence to do it, so this was quite a big moment for her. I felt quite tearful watching her. Sounds silly as it is something most kids do at a much younger age, but for me as her mum it was wonderful to see!

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There was also a place to practice long jumping which was good fun. The kids enjoyed a bit of healthy competition with their jumping skills!

I thought another lovely touch was the ‘giants’ footsteps. We followed the trail of footsteps which led you to a huge giants chair which you could clamber up and sit on. Really great fun for the little ones!

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Following the footsteps!

We had such a lovely day and enjoyed some hot chocolates from the little cafe to warm us up. If you are ever in the area I would highly recommend Gypsy Wood for a brilliant day out! I hope you are all having a fun Easter holidays whatever you are up to!

Cheerio bird feeder!

We love making bird feeders for the garden birds and this week my daughter decided to make another feeder using cheerios and pipe cleaners. We have made these type of feeders for the last few years as they are very simple and use her favourite cereal! My daughter loves making them as she is a huge animal lover (she’s wanted to be a vet since 4 years of age)! She loves that she is able to help the birds at the same time as getting a little crafty! Being able to watch the birds feed after is a huge bonus for her!

To make your bird feeder you will need – cereal loops, pipe cleaners and wool / thread to hang.

Begin by bending your pipe cleaner into the shape you would like your feeder to be. My daughter chose to make two heart shapes, but you could do anything! Don’t tie or knot the ends yet so that you can thread the hoops on.

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Then gently start threading the cereal hoops onto the pipe cleaners. This is a wonderful activity to help encourage the little ones fine motor skills and hand eye co – ordination!

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Keep threading the cereal hoops until the pipe cleaners are full – just leave a tiny space at the end so that you can twist the pipe cleaner to secure it together.

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Next attach your second heart to the other like this –

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Then tie some thread / wool to the top so that you can hang it up in the garden!

My daughter chose to hang her feeder on a tree where she can watch the birds feed from our home.

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We love our home made bird feeders and think they look very cute hanging in our garden!

 

Collage nature pictures!

A little while ago myself and the kids decided to make some collage nature pictures. These pictures are such good fun and really get kids using their imagination to create their very own pictures!

We went for a little walk and collected up some different natural objects including fallen leaves, grass, fallen petals etc. We pretty much collected anything which we thought would make a good material to make our collage pictures with! Just make sure you aren’t picking anything toxic up! (This activity provides a good opportunity to talk to your kids about things that are safe to pick up and things that aren’t). I also encourage my little ones to only take things that have fallen, and not still growing.

Once we had our collection we headed home and sat outside to create our art work! All you need extra is a little glue and some paper.

Using your glue, stick down the different things where you would like them – it is a good idea to have a play around first to see what you want to create!

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The kids love making these beautiful nature collages. I think they look wonderful and make a nice change to the usual paintings! I love that depending on the time of the year that you make them, you will be able to use different items, so will get different looking pictures each time! We can’t wait for Summer to get out and about and make some more pretty collage pictures!

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A little Autumn break away

Firstly, my apologies for not posting for a few days! Myself, the hubby, the kids and Sammy the dog have been on an Autumn break away to one of our very favourite parts of the world – Cornwall, UK. We had a fantastic time, even if it did fly by! Isn’t it funny how a week of work feels so much longer than a week of play?! It felt like we had only just unpacked, when I was packing up again!

We stayed in a little caravan in Newquay on Hendra holiday park. It caters for families and couples, and is very family and child orientated which really shows through in their daytime activities and evening entertainment, as well as right down to the finishing little touches.

There were three fantastic play parks, one of which included a climbing wall, which were all well equipped for children of different ages. IMG_2207 IMG_2195There was also an indoor pool and outdoor pool which looked fun, but unfortunately we didn’t get chance to use them as both the kids had colds so we decided to give them a miss!

Each morning there was a chance to ride on the land train (for free) which took you on a little tour around the park. This was a big hit with my little boy especially, and made even more fun by the holiday parks mascot, a large cuddly hippo called Henry, joining us for the ride! A really cute touch for families!IMG_2167

The evening entertainment was brilliant for the kids, and my daughter was super excited that one evening they had a little tribute to ‘Frozen’. This is one of her favourite films, and she was incredibly happy to get a cuddle from her favourite character, Elsa!IMG_2466During the days we explored the attractions in the surrounding areas. One of our very favourite places we visited was Dairyland Farm world, Newquay. It is an amazing place for children and when you pay once, you can then get in free for seven days! We thought it was amazing value as there was so much to do there. We visited again before going home on our last day and we could of easily spent longer there.

In Dairyland there is SO much to do, including…….

farm with opportunities for the little ones to meet and feed animals…..

IMG_2285 IMG_2274 IMG_2279a tractor hay ride (great fun!), play equipment and farm vehicles to explore, IMG_2297 IMG_2241

milking time for the cows (this is a must see and very educational for the little ones), a HUGE soft play centre,

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This place is completely worth a visit if you are ever in the area. A great value day out which will keep the kids (and yourselves!) entertained for hours and hours!

We had such a lovely few days away and enjoyed every minute! Some very much needed family time away together. I feel like our batteries are charged back up again!

Right, now I suppose I better head off and start on the enormous pile of washing……….

Beach Sunday

The sun came out this morning so we decided to make the most of it, and head for the beach! We had such a lovely relaxing time. It was bliss!

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We did some shadow dancing……

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We took off our shoes and paddled in the sea…….. Nothing can instantly send you back to childhood like the feel of sand between your toes and the sea splashing your legs!

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Pictures in the sand!

The kids explored rock pools and also enjoyed drawing pictures in the sand. I remember doing this when I was a kid on holiday at the seaside, and it was always one of my favourite things to do at the beach! They hunted out materials which they could use on their pictures to add a 3D effect. Seaweed made brilliant hair for their alien friends!

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Creating their beach art!

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I even created my own beach art!

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Pebble throwing!

We finished off by playing a throwing game. I drew single lines at approximately one metre intervals in the sand, with a number written next to each of them. These numbers are the points that are scored if you throw your stone nearest to that line.

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I wrote the numbers as multiples of 5 going up to 30. The closest line to the start scores 5, the furthest scoring 30!

IMG_2008So at the first line you score 5 points, the second line 10 points, the third line 15 points, and so on.

The children then each found a shiny white pebble (easily distinguishable )! to throw.

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The aim of the game is to throw your pebble the furthest as this gives you the highest chance of scoring more points. They each had 5 turns. We kept a tally of the scores by writing them in the sand, in a circle drawn for each child. (We wrote their initial of their first name to make it easier)!

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The winner is the person who scores the most at the end of the game.

This is another brilliant way to help older children with their number work. My daughter loves to help add the scores up for each person, improving her maths without her even realising!

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Hope you have all had a lovely Sunday too!