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29 03 2015

It seems as if having children has had an impact on my online presence. That isn’t the case at all. I have spent that last three years either playing with my children (or activities related to them such as giving birth, wiping up anything wet and sticky or listening to the excited sharing of information about animals/vehicles/games etc) or on Pinterest. Which means technically I’m still online. I’ll admit that it’s a slight addiction but I’ve simply switched watching telly or reading a book in my down time to searching for inspiration for activities for my kids. It’s worked though so I’m back to sharing some of the ideas I’ve put together for my three boys (currently 7, 4 and 2). Now where to begin…


April Showers

25 04 2012

Anyone visiting the UK at the moment would be forgiven for thinking a hosepipe ban is another sign of English eccentricity. Believe me, I think most people in the UK don’t understand why there’s a hosepipe ban when the day it came into effect was the last warm, sunny day we had. It’s been raining constantly and doesn’t appear to be moving off. Anyone with a garden is probably not thinking about using their hosepipe anyway…

I on the other hand, decided that we needed to do a bit more than get soaking wet on our walk to and from school (even though splashing in or riding through puddles is positively encouraged). We’ve been doing a series of tree pictures using the thumbprint tree from this wedding site.  Autumn involved crushed leaves, winter involved a lot of glitter and a windswept gluing action, the spring one involved coloured paper from the hole punch (excellent hand eye coordination and motor skills. Mainly on my part as I avoided getting my hand squashed by overenthusiastic hole punch operators). Anyway…LBM mentioned doing a rain painting – an idea from pinterest which involves dropping watercolour onto paper and then letting the rain splash on it. We’ve done some in the past but the tree was a nice touch which added to our tree series and really is going to be a memory of what water based art can be created during a drought. LBM really does love using pipettes though so our first picture was not one I wish to publish. Just imagine a blood coloured piece of paper with tree branches. I know it’s all creativity so I may encourage him to add Halloween stuff to it at a later date but I doubt anyone would like to hang it on their wall. Once the red watercolour was removed from the table we only had pink and gold left. Far more April showery and produced a lovely wet, blossom tree. Instructions are below.


1. Give child a large amount of free reign with watercolour, pipettes and paper.

2. Wash stained hands and put paper carefully outside in the (guaranteed) rain.

3. Watch watercolour splash, bounce and bleed slowly off onto the decking. Wonder how the hell you’re going to pick that thing back up without dripping it everywhere. Use tissues and hope. Wash (still stained) hands again.

4. Try again with another tree, limited colour palette to avoid one big coloured blob and put it onto the lid of a plastic tray. Much easier to move in and out without pouring watercolour everywhere. Encourage your child to try and do one drop at a time convincing yourself that you’re not limiting creativity but helping them develop fine motor and listening skills.

5. Stand in rain and watch the picture change and melt and morph into something rather beautiful.

6. Bring in to dry and get changed for the second time in one day after getting wet again.

7. Be grateful that you found something to do on a rainy day that kept a little person occupied, engaged and creative.



Snow Ice Cream

5 02 2012

Snow Ice Cream is something that doesn’t sound risk free – no one likes to eat coloured snow. However, I found a recipe for it on the internet this morning and as LBM was licking snow off his mittens it didn’t seem to be much different to what he was doing anyway. Admittedly we decided to use snow off our roof terrace which was highly unlikely to have met with any animal’s feet or excrete! We collected a small bowl of snow and then added spoonfuls of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a teaspoon of almond essence because the vanilla wasn’t strong enough to overcome the fresh water taste of the snow. LBM stirred it all together with some milk and we had made snow ice cream. It didn’t actually taste as bad as I feared and once LBM had added his choice of sprinkles on top it actually tasted quite nice. LBM had a great time stirring it, commenting that it was melting, changing colour and tasting lovely. There’s science involved in this kind of experiment and it was really nice to end our morning of snow activities with something to eat. I would maybe have preferred hot chocolate though seeing as I was so cold by then.

Snow Sculptures

5 02 2012

After struggling to get LBM out of the house to get into the snow, I then had to struggle to get him back in. After we had emptied all of our coloured water over the snow we started making snow sculptures. The easiest one was the faces in the car. I did some last night on the windscreens of cars opposite or in the car park so LBM could see them when he woke up. They look great – even now the one opposite is still there looking at us! As we went for a walk following fox footprints I started making small snowmen, all of which were destroyed by a small boy with dragon boots that needed to attack anything they saw! I ended up making an upside down snowman in the hope he would leave this one alone as it was up high – but he used his mittens instead to smash it down!! It’s all part of the fun of being 3 I guess. You  might not be able to see the dinosaur fossil in the last picture so well but I also took the sand pit moulds outside and made a few snow dinosaur fossils. These too were no match for the dragon boots and were promptly smashed. After nearly an hour in the snow and getting covered in it we started to head back indoors with LBM licking snow off his mittens. Quite a fitting end to our snow play as the final thing we did was to make Snow Ice Cream.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

8 01 2012

BBL turns 1 this week so we had his birthday party yesterday. I may have just learnt that focusing on Christmas is a bit unfair on my youngest after I planned to invite people in December and then didn’t until the New Year. Better planning for next year should mean I don’t come up with the ideas for his party on the day (better family planning for any future children also – January isn’t good !) Anyway…he’s been regularly peeling our Very Hungry Caterpillar wall stickers off so I thought I may as well take his obsession to the full level. It’s a great theme for providing healthy food with all the fruit, great for savoury party food like swiss cheese, salami, gherkins and sausages and you also get to include chocolate cake, cupcakes, cherry pie and ice creams cones which make it very much a children’s birthday party. I made fruit skewers to go in the ice cream cones by sticking grapes and a strawberry onto small skewers and then putting them inside the cones.

LBM and I decorated the cupcakes with green icing and sprinkles (I saved the red one for me and used Mikado chocolate sticks for the antennae). And then on my way back from the supermarket stopped at the party shop and gave them the strangest order of the day – 8 green balloons and one red one please…After a few strange looks from themthe staff and other customers everyone came round to the idea of a balloon caterpillar. He looked really cool and appears to have cured BBL’s fear of balloons. Party bags were really limited in their fillings because I’ve kind of got fed up with the idea of lots of things in them. There were smarties which remind me of the front of the book and a glow stick each because a party in January is dark by 4pm when everyone goes home. I really enjoyed this party even if I do say so myself. BBL had a great time falling asleep at 4:30 after eating loads and waking up as a beautiful butterfly!

Animal Soup

28 10 2011

Another Halloween activity we’ve done this week involved making potions and soup using gruesome items. There is a book called Animal Soup where a little boy disappears into his bowl and his witch mummy has to search through lots of animals before she finds him again. We did a very simple activity of hiding animal shaped silly bandz into a bowl of tinned spaghetti. LBM had to find the animals and use the tongs to get them out. It was reasonably fun and using the tongs helped develop fine motor skills. However, it was a bit limited though so with some creative child input LBM ended up making a rather green and messy soup which used the rubber bandz, the rest of the rinsed cooked spaghetti and a rather large dose of food colouring. The Boyf found the best food colouring in one of the local Turkish food stores and it’s a powder. Highly staining at the time but it makes a really intense colour. LBM had more fun, using the pipettes to move colour from an egg cup to the bowl developed fine motor skills too and the resulting soups looked lovely for Halloween. I shall be serving these to guests from now on.