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Discovery Table Week 10: Our City

We made it to week 10! At the time of writing this, still no baby but hopefully it wont be long now! This is the final post in the Discovery Table Series on the website, however if you follow us on Instagram and Facebook, we will still be changing the table each week.

This time around, we’ve chosen the city as our theme. Zoey has taken a real interest in both building and cars recently so we decided to combine the two!

 

What’s on the table this week?

This rather futuristic cityscape was another weekend project of ours. Both kids loved being involved with making this out of old IKEA boxes – there’s a separate blog post on the process coming soon.

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As you can see, this table is slightly on the sparse side in comparison to previous tables, however this is kind of the point of the discovery series. We’re always just using what we have rather than buying brand new resources! You might’ve noticed that Grimm’s products have featured rather heavily throughout and that’s because they have so much playability!

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Grimm’s building blocks and rainbow people have regularly featured in the discovery table series. They are well worth the investment in my opinion!

We don’t have many books based on cities, but ‘Lots’ by Marc Martin more than makes up for it. Ordinarily, I would also squeeze in a library visit too but I haven’t been able to drive as much recently due to pregnancy related issues. If you have a local library near you, I would heartily suggest you support it!

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This wooden car garage play-set from Tiger Tribe is a big hit with the kids and we often take it on holiday. For our cityscape, it’s been placed on the play-mat – so far its been the most played with item!

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Finally, we added in some of Harrison’s massive toy vehicle selection to complete the table!

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Want more?

So that’s it – the end of the 10 week discovery table series! I’ll be sad not to write about it every week, but my time will be rather taken up with a brand new baby for the next few weeks. Rest assured they will continue in real life and you will be able to see our progress and get inspiration from our Instagram and Facebook posts instead.

In the meantime if you missed past posts, check out the following:

Discovery Table Week 1: Baby Clinic

Discovery Table Week 2: The Alphabet

Discovery Table Week 3: The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Discovery Table Week 4: The Ocean Waves

Discovery Table Week 5: Rainbow

Discovery Table Week 6: Nature

Discovery Table Week 7: Music

Discovery Table Week 8: Zoo!

Discovery Table Week 9: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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We built a zoo…

Inspiration often strikes when we have a billion tonnes of recycling to use up! After so many trips to IKEA recently, we have a serious surplus of cardboard. Whilst we always recycle, it seemed like a shame for these huge canvases to be immediately consigned to the yellow bin.

With another baby on the way, I’m not as up for massive messy projects (literally really, since I can no longer hoist myself off of the floor!) so we made use of the dining room table to make ourselves a zoo. This project was inspired byDiscovery Table Week 8: Zoo!

Here’s a photo diary of the process:

On Saturday we set about mapping out the zoo. My 8 year was eager to do this, drawing roads and animal enclosures with the help of a Posca pen.

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Posca pens are well worth an investment. We LOVE ours!

By the end of day one, we had a basic outline of the zoo. As you can see, my 2 year old also made her contribution! When creating with very young children, I think it’s really important not to be too precious about the end result. I would much rather have Zoey involved and exploring materials than have perfect colouring!

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On Sunday, the project really started to come together. Everyone had got over their colouring in fatigue from the previous day and using a range of crayons, pens and paints helped get the job done quicker. We started to add signs (using cut-off pieces of cardboard) and trees made from paper towel rolls and green foam.

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All we really needed to do then was play! Our Grimm’s rainbow people became the tourist and the minature animal collection we had was also put to good use! If you follow us on Instagram, do check out the story we made on this project – I absolutely love the conversations Zoey was having between the animals and people!

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Key Learning

  • Creativity: drawing, colouring and making all feature in this project.
  • Writing: my eldest wrote and spelled all of the words himself. On this point, let them spell words themselves – again this isn’t supposed to be about perfection!
  • Fine motor skills: drawing, cutting and writing.
  • Imagination: visualising what the zoo might look like, role play with the final results!
  • Language development: learning names, acting out roles, making animal sounds.
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20 Easter Projects to Try

Stuck for creative projects this Easter? Myself and 19 of my creative sisters are here to help you out! Thanks to the wonderful Little Button Diaries, we took part in the world-wide craft project named hopFEST!

Here’s our contribution: a springtime daffodil wreath. You can find out how to make it by clicking here.

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Here’s the hopFEST round-up…

All you need to do is click on the links to get tutorials on each project. Thanks to Bonnie from Make it Your Own for collating all of the projects!

Day 1

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Cute Bunny Pillow from Brainy Beginnings Network

Carrot garland from Handy With Scissors

Daffodil wreath from us – you can find the tutorial here!

Spring in a jar by Raising Kinley

 

Day 2 

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Egg Cup Fairy Garden by The Blue Barn 

Naturally dyed eggs by Mie Laerke Rasmussen 

Egg math game by Make it your Own 

Mermaid eggs by Red Ted Art

 

Day 3 

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Paper plate egg basket by Julie Curtin

Easter bonnet by HobbyCraft

Bunny habitat by The Art Garden Blog 

Peter Rabbit travel tin by barley & birch

Day 4

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Easter bunny hat by Oh Creative Day

Springtime bouquet by Little Button Diaries

Easter egg batik bags from Babble Dabble Do

Clay pressed flowers by Art Camp LA

 

Day 5

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Bunny photo board by Momma Teaching

Cute bunny printables by Creating Creatives

Easter garden by Heart Art Life

Egg pinata by The Harmony Tree House 

Happy Crafting! We’re a really friendly bunch so why not try some of these crafts and share them by using the hashtag #hop_fest. It would make our day!

 

Looking for something for younger children?

Try our sensory play activities for toddlers:

Easter Themed Sensory Activities for Toddlers

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Hopfest: Easter Week Egg-stravaganza!

 

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Do you remember all the way back to December when we did Craftmas? Well this is kinda the same and kinda different because now it’s all about Easter and springtime fun! There’s an awesome crew of kick-ass craft ladies involved again, you can find links to the Instagram feed at the end of this post.

We’re Welsh and as daffodils are basically the national flower of Wales AND a springtime flower, we decided to make this beautiful bouquet for you. Being heavily pregnant (at the time of writing this) meant that a simple craft was an absolute necessity this time around. I was also really keen to use recycling as they key element. Something about having another child makes me hyper aware of environmental issues, so we’re really striving to reduce, reuse and recycle materials wherever possible!

So here’s what we made: egg carton daffodils that can be made into a bouquet or presented as a wreath, as shown here:

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You will need:

  • An egg carton (ideally for a dozen eggs)
  • Hues of non-toxic acrylics in yellow
  • Green chenille sticks/ pipe cleaners
  • Glue gun and approximately 3 glue cartridges.
  • Ribbon
  • Pompoms
  • Embroidery hoop or cardboard
  • Green felt

 

Step 1: Paint your egg carton

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We used hues of yellow and orange to make the daffodils. We didn’t buy any extra paints, but made the most of what we had in the craft cupboard.

Paint the egg carton in its entirety as you will using all of it to make the daffodils! We decided to paint the whole thing first and then cut out the sections. Afterwards, we added details to the individual cartons.

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After cutting, you’ll be able to go back over the carton and add details. Note that you need the smaller, central dividers too!

 

Step 2: Glue guns at the ready!

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Add glue both underneath AND on top to make the stems extra secure.

 

Grab the larger ‘egg cups’ (seriously, my pregnant brain is struggling to describe these!) and glue green chenille sticks to the underneath of each. Unless you have an older kiddo around, this is best left as an ‘adult job.’ Harrison (aged 8) helped with this part.

 

Step 3: Assemble your daffodil

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I cannot tell you how seriously tempting it is to just write ‘glue the smaller thingy into the larger thingy.’ Thank goodness for photographs! Okay so, place a blob of glue onto the end of the smaller cone shaped sections and place in the middle of the egg cups. You might need to hold them in place for a little while until dry.

 

Step 4: Arrange prettily

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Place in a vase and use as a center-piece on Easter Sunday or give someone special a bunch of ever-lasting Springtime flowers.

 

ALTERNATIVELY…

Go the full distance and turn the daffodil bouquet into a springtime wreath.

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You will need an embroidery hoop, pompoms, green felt, green pompoms and your pre-made daffodils.

For this part, we simply wrapped the stems of the daffodils around the hoop, then glued the flower head in place. To cover over any wooden gaps, we used strips of green felt for petals and pompoms as extra decoration – because when isn’t there a good excuse to use pompoms?

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The final result!

I hope the ramblings of a heavily pregnant lady weren’t too off-putting! If you want more ideas please check out the following links:

Before you throw that away…

Simple Mother’s Day Crafts 

To follow along with Hopfest, use the hashtag #hopfest on Instagram or hit ‘like’ on my Facebook feed.

 

 

 

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Hot Air Balloon Craft

Big balloon, big balloon Bigger than the sun and moon. Flying high In the sky Fly, fly and fly and fly!

I’m pretty sure that all parents know the Peppa Pig song, right? If not, I promise that as soon as you listen to it, it’ll be stuck in your head for an eternity! It was well and truly on rotation after a trip to the Canberra Balloon Festival, which takes place every March.

 

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Up early to watch the balloons from the National Arboretum in Canberra

After an early start on Canberra Day, we decided to get our craft on. The original idea was to do a paper mache hot air balloon, but after failing to find a single balloon in the house, we went for option B instead.

You will need:

  • Paper lanterns -ideally in white, but we just used what we had!
  • Non-toxic acrylics
  • Paint brushes and sponges
  • Chenille sticks
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • White thread
  • Sticky tape or pins

 

Step 1: Set up an invitation to create

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Our lanterns were left over from a Star Wars themed party, but white would probably work better.

With four of us crafting, I set up the large dining room table with an assortment of paints and brushes.

 

Step 2: Get busy with the paint!

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The beauty of this craft is that you can get a range of age groups involved. We had Zoey (2) crafting side by side with her Nana. The key is to make sure you are using non-toxic paints!

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Note that the kids don’t have t-shirts on. Acrylics don’t tend to wash out of clothing so it’s best to either leave them off or wear a smock. 

Harrison went for a blue and red ‘Japanese’ theme (he loves his Japanese lessons at school) whilst I created random splodges with a sponge.

Step 3 – Leave to dry

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Our balloons took most of the day to dry. Afterwards, we punched holes into the tops of disposable coffee cups then attached chenille sticks so that they hung from the lanterns:

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Taking Timmy the Sheep for a ride in the balloon!

Finally – display your craft!

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This is the kind of craft that could potentially take up a lot of room in the house, so we made it part of our new play space instead. Because the lanterns are so light, we were able to use white thread attached with sellotape.

Want more?

Check out the following posts:

Our New Play Space

Why Mess is Best