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10 Activities with Playdough

Playdough is our absolute favourite play resource. Its a fantastic sensory tool but without the mess associated with other sensory forms of play.

Now that I’m a mama of three, the playdough is out on a daily basis. So here are 10 invitations to play that all involve playdough… Continue reading 10 Activities with Playdough

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Why we LOVE wooden toys

The best toy I’ve ever bought the children? Without a doubt, the Grimm’s large rainbow. Wooden toys have a longevity that makes them particularly appealing to me, a mum of three children.

When my eight-year-old son was small, I fell into all of the parenting toy traps possible. Our house had turned into a plastic city, full of noisy, garish toys that he would lose interest in almost immediately. By the time Zoey was born six years later, there was nothing left from Harrison’s baby and toddler years to pass down. Continue reading Why we LOVE wooden toys

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Salt Dough Recipe

I’m always slightly wary when putting recipes up on the website – as i’m sure you’ll know from experience, adjustments are often needed. So use this as a guide rather than a definitive, fail-safe recipe.

You will need:

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • Approx 1 – 2 cups of warm/boiling water

Method:

  1. Add flour and salt to a mixing bowl or mixer.
  2. Gradually add water until the consistency is doughy but not too sticky.
  3. Dust work surface with a little extra flour and begin to roll out the dough.
  4. Mould desired shape with either a cutter or knife.
  5. LEAVE TO AIR DRY FOR AT LEAST 12 HOURS.
  6. Bake on a low heat (approx 120c for a fan oven) for 3 hours
  7. Once cool, coat with a binder before applying acrylic paints.

Photo Guide:

You can choose to use cutters, knives or even pre-existing shapes to mould your dough. Here we chose magnetic numbers that we pressed into the dough before cutting:

salt dough 1

Cookie cutters are (obviously) a great option if you have them:

salt dough 2

When it comes to salt dough, patience and preparation are needed. It’s best to let the shapes air dry for at least 12 hours before baking:

salt dough 3

Line the shapes onto baking parchment so that they don’t stick to the tray. There’s nothing worse than broken pieces after they’ve been in the oven for 3 hours!

salt dough 4

Use a binder/ sealant to coat your shapes once they have cooled.

salt dough binder

After the binder, you can start to apply the paint. We find that non-toxic acrylics work best for really vibrant colours:

salt dough paint

Depending on what you are making, you may want to apply more than a few coats. For these ‘biccies’ we used a few layers of paint followed by posca pens:

salt dough biccies

Salt dough can be used for a range of different creations, from learning aids to decorations. Here’s some that we made with just one batch of dough:

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I would LOVE to see your own salt dough creations, so tag me into your facebook/ instagram posts or even comment below! 🙂

Sian x

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Derek the Dragon

As a general rule, I don’t plan out my crafts. I have really tried to be organised and plan months in advance but I think my years as a primary school teacher entirely put me off a planned approach to being creative! To me, part of the beauty of creativity is being inspired and just going with the flow. Take Derek the Dragon here, he was created because I came across some rather magnificent dragon googly eyes in Riot Art & Craft. 

If you want to make your own, please use this post as a guide rather than a definitive ‘how to.’ You may have different recycled materials at hand which will change the shape.

As you may know by now, we are big fans of recycled crafts and if you’re a parent of young kids, I really encourage you to keep anything that might be useful. Derek here is made from a nappy box, an empty washing powder carton, that random ridged packaging that electrical goods usually come in (in this case a blender!) and two takeaway coffee cups!

Derek was a time consuming build, so I recommend you make him over a weekend or during the school holidays. You’ll definitely need time for paint to dry and glue to set!

dragon 3
Can you guess which flag Derek is based on?

To make your own dragon:

  1. Assemble all of the boxes/ materials you want to use to see if they work. My original idea didn’t quite fit so I had to use other resources.
  2. Whilst Derek was painted then glued, i’d recommend assembling with masking/ gaffer tape first (our little low-temp glue gun didn’t quite hold up his weight!)
  3. Once you’ve chosen the base colour of your dragon, use foam dabbers for quick coverage.  We actually used 3 different colour reds to give Derek a more mottled look.
  4. Leave to dry and paint again. Depending on the type of box used, you may need to paint the base colour again – if not, go onto the next step!
  5. Choose some complimentary colours to stiple over the top. We selected greens and golds for Derek.
  6. Attach eyes, horns and other loose parts with a glue gun.
  7. Choose details like the box lids to create the dragons frills (a craft knife is a good option here.)
  8. Stare wondrously at the magnificent creation you’ve made!

 

If you’d rather bypass the words, here’s a general photo guide…

dragon 5
We used the flaps of the nappy box to create frills. A craft knife or decent pair of scissors is a must here!

 

dragon 2
Derek was made from 3 boxes of various sizes which were stuck together with a glue-gun.

 

dragon 4
Over on Instagram I did little hint in my stories, but this also shows the colour build of red base and green/gold overlay.

 

If you make your own version of Derek, I would LOVE to see! Either post in the comments below or tag me in on Instagram/ Facebook.

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Betty the Blue-nicorn

When I was recently asked to do an Instagram takeover of the Parent Talk Australia account, I decided to make a special craft to mark the occasion!* Here’s a step-by-step guide for making your own version…

You will need:

  • Carving pumpkin (ours was medium sized)
  • Binder/ sealant
  • Non-toxic acrylic paints
  • Hairdryer
  • Wax crayons (we used crayola)
  • Low temp glue gun
  • Shell or something conical for the horn
  • Posca pens or similar.

The vast majority of our craft supplies come from Riot

How to Make:

Cover your pumpkin in a binder/ sealant. This just helps with coverage and the acrylics seem to go on easier:

pumpkin binder

 

Once dry, cover in acrylic paint. You might need more than one coat, but that will depend on the paint you are using! We added a sparkly touch to Betty with some glitter paint too 🙂

betty 10.jpg

 

Leave to dry for at least 24 hours before you start phase 2 – which is basically melting the crayons!

Attach wax crayons to the top of the pumpkin with a low-temp glue gun:

betty 9
It helps to glue the crayons into the natural ridges of the pumpkin.

Start to melt the crayons with a hairdryer. We found that a high temperature and medium speed setting worked well.

betty 8
Team effort! Even the husband did his fair share with the hairdryer 🙂

Once the crayons have started to melt, gently bend the crayons against the pumpkin to avoid spray:

betty 7.jpg
We always use a giant paint tray for crafts as it helps to catch any mess – like the spray back of the crayons you can see here!

 

It can take a little while for the crayons to start melting, but once they do you can start to manipulate the direction of the wax:

betty 5
Messy! But beginning to take shape!

 

Once you are happy with your creation, you can start on the unicorn details! Or if you like, just keep going and melt the crayons further. I decided on a complete whim that the pumpkin would be turned into a unicorn as the crayons started to look like a pretty cool mane!

betty 4
I added details with Posca pens. In my opinion, they are definitely worth the money!

Last but not least, add the unicorn horn! We struggled for a while to find something suitable before finally deciding upon a shell:

betty 2.jpg
Glue on the shell with a glue-gun.

 

And there you have it, one beautiful blue unicorn!

betty

If you make your own version, I would LOVE to see! Either comment here or tag me in on Facebook/ Instagram. There’s plenty of Halloween themed posts on the blog if you want ideas for other activities so also check out Cute not Creepy  and One Pumpkin: Two Invitation 

*Betty is a great no-carve option for Halloween but make sure that any children helping are under constant supervision. My eight year old helped with some parts, but do be aware that the wax from the crayons can spray if the hairdryer is held at the wrong angle!