Christmas Crafts with a pre-schooler

Tuesday mornings is Mummy & Monkey time while LM is out with my parents at rhyme time, and it is often a time when the messy play or crafts come out as it means she can’t interfere or eat things she shouldn’t! It is also lovely one on one time with my Monkey. Last week we started our Christmas crafting and had a really lovely time.

I never know what crafts to aim for, I see some gorgeous things on pinterest etc. but I know a lot of the work involved would be done by me, so I tend to stick to simple things I know he can achieve and that he enjoys. So we spend a lot of time just finger painting or car painting haha! I decided on quite a simple actiity to start with that I knew he would enjoy. Making a Christmas tree picture. I cut out the triangles but I asked Monkey to snip at the bottom to be the branches and leaves. I thought this would be a good way to practice his scissor skills and I was dead impressed with the little snips he made. They were very deliberate and neat.PhotoGrid_1449505487227

Then it was a case of gluing and sticking see pretty bits on, something Monkey loves and does really well. We also stuck some cotton wool on for snow.

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Monkey then asked to get the metallic pens out and I confess to thinking this would ruin the picture but he actually did well. I drew some tinsel and he drew some sparkly baubles and stars bless him.PhotoGrid_1449505933980 This didn’t take long so Monkey and I then had a quick look on pinterest together and he said he wanted a go at some pictures we saw of cotton bud painting,  so that was our next activity. I drew somestar shapes and then because he wanted to do it together we dotted and filled them in together. Again I was impressed that he stayed in the lines for the most part. Love seeing his development and he is growing up so much all the time these days!PhotoGrid_1449506057259

He then said he would like to do the same type of picture of a snowman and Christmas tree. So I drew the shapes for these (though I loved Monkey’s addition of a hat for the snowman!!)PhotoGrid_1449506278528 He did well at this though got a bit fixated on the black paint and wanted everything to be black. After a bit of encouragement (and yes a little involvement from me, but not much) we finished the picture then when he wanted to do another picture I let his imagination run a bit more and then even more with the next one!

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Bit of of a devolution but who cares he was having lots of fun! I loved the arms he did on snowman no.2 and apparently the bottom one is also a snowman and the dots are his arms :).

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Making Egg Box Caterpillars and Butterfly Painting

When I knew that we were soon headed to London to see the Sensational Butterflies exhibition I knew I wanted to do some related crafting with Monkey in preparation. So I googled a few things and got some lovely inspiration from Twitter (thanks guys!) and then gave Monkey the option of making butterflies or caterpillars. He chose caterpillars so I showed him a few pictures online of different ones we could make – finger painting, pom poms etc, but he chose the ones made from egg boxes and tissue paper.

So I duly cut up an egg box (we have the big long 12 egg boxes and I’m not sure they are the best ones for the job as they were slightly one-sided caterpillars but it sufficed anyway) and some tissue paper, dug out some googly eyes from the bottom of the craft draw and we set off doing Monkey’s favourite thing – gluing and sticking!!

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As mentioned I don’t think our egg boxes are the best ones so we tried making them two different ways – first with a long caterpillar but with holes down one side, and second with a short one as I folded the row in half and then taped it together. I’m not sure which is best or if it makes much difference actually, Monkey loved making both!

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The first I chose the colours (note The Very Hungry Caterpillar theme) but the second one was Monkey’s choice and it had to be all red (his favourite colour).

egg box caterpillars

Googly eyes were stuck on, and apparently they needed to have a smily face too, and I wasn’t sure what to use so I just grabbed a couple of pipe cleaners, snipped short lengths to be bent into shape and we glued them on, which I don’t think looks too bad really!

We did then go on to do a bit of butterfly craft too, in Nanny’s birthday card. It was the first time we had done the traditional, paint one side and fold together, butterfly painting, but actually he did really well with it! He painted in the lines I told him too and splodged some lovely patterns on the right hand side and it looked lovely after folding toegther. then of course we had to do some more gluing and sticking with sequins and give it a smily face using some glitter glue :)

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Mamavsteacher#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Christmas Toddler Crafts – Snowman Decorations

Our Christmas crafting has begun! Monkey is hugely excited about Christmas this year, he loves seeing all the decorations in the shops and was running round one shopping centre shouting “Merry Christmas” to anyone and everyone!

I wanted to harness this excitement so we have been making some lovely Snowman Christmas Decorations.

Christmas Toddler Crafts - Snowman Decorations

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Monkey & Daddy Make a Tractor – 30mths

Monkey has always loved his arts and craft activities, and now he is that little bit older, his abilities and what he can achieve (with some help) have come on leaps and bounds. There are so many activities I want to try with him and so many things I want to make with him, but with a newborn who has colic, reflux and a possible allergy, my hands are sadly tied a bit more than I would like them to be and I am struggling to balance both of their needs. Thankfully Daddy loves doing things with Monkey and this weekend he stepped in to have a go at some Monkey & Daddy crafting :).

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Making a Crown & Magic Wand

Friends and family have been very generous since Little Miss’s arrival and she has been given some very lovely presents. One of which was this cute little fairy princess Peppa Pig toy. Monkey helped me open the parcel and he took quite a shine to it himself and particularly liked her crown and magic wand, so I decided maybe we could make a crown and magic wand for Monkey to wear!

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Masking Tape Picture

It was Daddy’s birthday last week and for a while I had it in my head that it would be nice for Monkey to make him a special picture that he can take into his office. Monkey loves painting and there are lots of pictures around but I wanted to make one a bit special for his Daddy.

Then I saw a post from Iona at Redpeffer who used masking tape to make a masterpiece with paint, and an idea was struck.

I bought some masking tape and then set about taping a message onto a piece of paper with the idea that I could remove the tape after Monkey had had his fun with the paint. ( We tried something similar with wax crayons and watercolour paints a while back which wasn’t particularly successful!)

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Easy peasy Homemade Thank You Cards – 2 yr old

I think Thank you cards are so important, especially when kids are little. Friends and relatives can be so generous with their gifts but very often don’t really get to see how much the little ones enjoy them. So a few little words to express how much they like the toy or present are often gratefully received.  Obviously Monkey can’t yet write the words, or even tell me what he would say as a thank you, but by making the cards together I hope we can build a good habit together of thanking people for their kindness and generosity.

Monkey’s crafting abilities are still quite limited though. We have made some lovely birthday cards using his finger paints, but I honestly think I have done that one to death now! We have tried glueing and sticking things but the glue gets everywhere and honestly, I find it all a bit stressful!

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Daddy’s Creative Challenge

Hi everybody, Daddy here, aka Hubby.

It’s Mummy’s birthday today, and because I’ve been off with the Monkey and Mummy over Easter, and have a couple of extra days off as well, I thought it was time I put my creative juices to the test, and make Mummy a birthday card, with Monkey’s help of course.

Now, my day job is very much office-based.  There’s more management in my day than there used to be, but essentially I am a keyboard warrior, and pretty much always have been.

I do love doing crafty things, and love gardening and making things, and cooking, but I really have never been that creative, so the Creative Challenge really is for me!

I always have an idea in my head of what I want things to look like, but it’s normally quite vague at the same time, and translating it into something actually in front of me is where I really struggle.

I can look at something and say whether its good or bad, the problem is that I rarely look at anything I have made and think it looks good!

So, onto the card making.  Mummy and Monkey have been doing a lot of card making recently, and I decided to go with the “Monkey Random Painting Generator” technique.
WP_20140422_13_35_35_ProAs you bloggers and blog-readers have probably already seen, Monkey loves to paint, and he loves to mix the colours – a LOT.

WP_20140422_13_41_44_ProHe just can’t let those paints sit all nice and neat together.

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It starts like above, and then very quickly gets to this (check out the Monkey-Eye-View below).

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But it does make for some really interesting patterns which can be great for card making.

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Check out those colour combos!

So Monkey has made all the ingredients for the card, it’s now up to me to make it.  I’ve decided to make this a card from Monkey to Mummy, and the only thing I have had in my head is to try and make something with a birthday cake on it.

Throughout the day, as I have been waiting for the paintings to dry, I wondered if I could make a shape that looked enough like a cake, and tried to think about how to do some candles for it.

Note that at this point I have no idea what else is going to go on the card – I think I’ll wing it!  For such a serious planner, there are times where I just “do it on the night”.  Looks like this is one of those times.

Ok here’s what I have to work with.

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Lots to choose from so as you can see I have cut out the shape for the cake, and also had what I hope will be a great idea for the candles, by taking that fiery looking bit to use the yellow for the the flames.

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WP_20140422_19_43_18_ProThey don’t look bad!

Here’s the cake all stuck down.

WP_20140422_19_50_02_ProOne candle left, oh well.

Here’s where the wheels fall off the wagon.

Mummy likes hearts and stars, so I try to cut some out, and, well, they are rubbish.

After several attempts at hearts, I finally get something that does look half decent, and decide to cut out an “I heart U” style motif.  Stupidly though, I write the message on the front of the card without thinking about where everything is going to go, so I have a choice of where to put the other bits.

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So I haven’t cut out the star yet, and still aren’t sure which of the above designs to go with, but I’m pretty happy with both really.  It will all come down to the star I cut out.

I thought the heart was difficult…

I started by reminding myself of the classic freehand, single-stroke star.

WP_20140422_20_02_41_ProI then started cutting with scissors, and kept looking back at this star for guidance, thinking I should surely be able to do something that looks a bit like it (not that my drawing is very good).

But then, I have no idea how, but as soon as I have finished cutting it out, I realise that despite spending ages cutting carefully and looking back at the star above, I have randomly cut out a Star of David instead! WTF?

WP_20140422_20_05_03_ProI mean how on earth do you accidentally cut out a 6 point star instead of a 5 point star? Hello?

Anyway, after several other tries later and a few swear words, I have something I’m happy enough with to go on the card.

So here it is.  The finished card.  Now, I know it’s not good, but I am just hoping Mummy can see that it was made with love, and see that it really took some effort (despite how random and slapdash it actually looks!).

WP_20140422_20_18_46_ProI hope you enjoyed the first Daddy Post.  I promise not to come back too often – Mummy clearly has more skills on the blogging and Creative Challenge front than me – but this has been great fun to write and to share my little attempt at creativity!

Mini Creations

Easter Fun 2014 – 23 Months old

Happy Easter!! Hope you have all had a lovely relaxed weekend so far and eaten lots of chocolate? No? Well there’s still time!

We’ve had lots of Easter fun so far this year!

We’ve made Easter Nests, Easter Cards and been on an Easter Hunt, and Monkey has loved every minute!

Easter Nests

There is obviously different ways of making easter nests but I like to use Shredded Wheat, as then they feel a bit more nest-y.

So we used:
1 pack of Shredded Wheat 16s
400g Belgian Milk Chocolate (we are a little in love with the Waitrose own brand Belgian Milk Chocolate at the mo – seriously, you should try it, yummy!!) We actually used a little less than this as I had scoffed some beforehand, but it would’ve been better if we had the whole bars!
Mini Eggs

Easter Nests

Basically you bash up the Shredded Wheat, Monkey helped with this, until it is really fine. I actually find using the end of a big rolling pin is the best bashing method! Lots of fun!!

Melt chocolate, we do it over the hob in a bowl over simmering water, but I hear microwaving is very easy too!

Mix, then scoop into cake cases, and add eggs.

Very simple, tasty chocolatey fun! :)

Easter Cards

After the success of Granny’s birthday card a couple of weeks ago, i thought we’d use a similar  method for Easter cards and involve monkey with some finger painting! The first time we tried unfortunately Monkey just mixed up the paint and we ended up with some murky brown splodges, he had fun, but not very attractive or easter themed!

We tried again at the weekend with some different colours and had much more success! Once the masterpieces had dried I cut them into egg shapes and stuck them onto some cards. Monkey finished them off with some lovely colouring! Easy peasy Easter cards!

Easter Cards

Easter Hunt

Because we would like to avoid too much of a sugar rush, we got some other bits in addition to eggs, to make this an Easter Hunt, rather than an Easter ‘Egg’ Hunt. I dotted the chicks and bunnies, signs and eggs around the front garden (the back garden still being mainly mud at the moment, with less places to hide them!) for Monkey to find. With the weather forecast for Easter Sunday a bit miserable we did the hunt on Saturday afternoon, in case it got rained off on Sunday!.

Monkey loved it, I mean it lasted about 5 minutes but he had lots of fun with all his bunnies and chicks, and putting them in his little basket. He obv loved eating the choccy eggs too!

Easter Hunt

I used to love Easter as a kid, Easter egg hunts, chocolate, but as an adult I didn’t really celebrate it much. Now we have a little man it is bringing the fun back again and I am loving all the Easter fun this year!

Have you had much fun over Easter?
Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

The Reading Residence
Mumday Monday

Making Granny’s Birthday Card

It was Granny’s 60th Birthday on Saturday! I had been hunting for a lovely card but honestly really struggled to like one that was special enough. A lot of the ones I saw in the shops were a bit naff really. I saw a couple of lovely handmade ones online but honestly they were so expensive and actually inspired me to make my own!

I do enjoy being a bit creative, I made all of our wedding invites and thank you cards etc. so it’s not the first time I have made a card, BUT I thought I would get Monkey’s help. After the disaster that was the Valentine’s cards we tried to make, I thought I would keep his role a little simpler and in the realms of something I know he loves to do… paint! :)

It’s also worth mentioning at this point that my decision to create this card comes in no small part from being so inspired by so many of my fellow creative challengers! In particular Lorna from A little bit of our life and all of her various crafty offerings, and Michelle at Twice a Mummy Double the Fun with her finger painted easter activities!

S0 we started off with some finger painting! Ages ago I’d bought some paint pots that were in some nice pinky colours (Granny loves her pretty girly colours) so we used those. They are such a mash of colours now as monkey likes dipping from one to another! Squeezy bottles of paint squirted onto paper plates is definitely a better method of toddler painting!!

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It went well though and he had a lot of fun.

Then I cut a 6 and 0 from his artwork to pop onto the card.

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I’d also bought some lovely sparkly stickers to make it a bit more special!

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An with a bit of fancy ish writing (I know I am no calligrapher!) it was finished!

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I’d also bought some lovely special birthday teddy stickers and Monkey made a lovely picture for Granny with those too :)

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Which he was dead proud of! He showed Daddy and I many times hehe

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Granny was very pleased with her card and special picture, and she was very spoilt – as you should be on your birthday – especially a big one like your 60th!

How creative have you and/or your little ones been this week?

Creative Challenge
Mini Creations