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Bob the Blob: A Halloween Slime Craft

Halloween means slime – right? We’ve tried a few different versions of slime before, but this recipe is hands-down the best for some gooey fun! As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, we like to make our Halloween crafts cute rather than creepy and Bob definitely fits the bill!

As a quick word of advice before commencing this activity with the kids, this is best done with older children (from 6+ really) because of the ingredients used – this is definitely not a taste safe recipe!  Don’t do this activity unsupervised and make sure that hands are washed thoroughly after use! 

You will need:

  • 500ml of clear glue
  • Saline solution / contact lens solution containing saline
  • 1 tsp Baking soda (otherwise known as bicarb of soda)
  • Food colouring
  • Googly eyes
bob the blob ingredients
We used a cheaper alternative to contact lens solution from the local chemist which seemed to work just fine!

 

Method:

  1. Add the majority of the 500ml bottle of clear glue to a mixing bowl. I kept some back to adjust the mixture as needed.
  2. Mix 1 tsp of baking soda into the glue.
  3. Use a few drops of food colouring to create the colour of your choice and stir in well.
  4. Add a few drops of saline and keep mixing with a spoon. You should start to notice the mix binding together.
  5. Keep adding a few drops until you end up with a stringy ball – it’s best to do this gradually so that the slime doesn’t become too sticky!
  6. Start to knead the slime with your hands – be patient and the slime should start changing consistency but if its still too sticky, try adding a bit more of the glue to the mix.
  7. If needed, strain out any extra ‘watery’ mix with a sieve. You should end up with a stretchy, malleable slime that doesn’t break apart easily.
  8. Once you are happy with the consistency, add in some googly eyes.
  9. Pour slime mix into an airtight container to preserve.
bob the blob
Don’t googly eyes just make everything better?

 

bob 4
The slime needs to be stretchy without breaking apart too easily

 

bob 3
An airtight container should preserve the slime for longer!

If you have your own version of slime, i’d love to hear about it in the comments section below or you can tag me into your FB/ insta posts.

Also check out our other Halloween themed posts: Cute not Creepy, One pumpkin: two invitations and Betty the Blue-nicorn! Happy Crafting 🙂

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Cute not Creepy: Halloween Activities for Little Ones

Whilst I was browsing the Halloween items in my favourite craft store, Riot*, with Harrison a few days ago, we had a little discussion around making Halloween cute rather than creepy. Now that Harrison is a big boy of, ahem, eight, he wants to purchase all of the sinister skeletons and bags of creepy hands (best not ask!) but I had to explain that this just wouldn’t be suitable with a two year old in the house! When I made a googly garland a couple of weeks ago, people loved that it was a bright and cute Halloween option, so here’s a round up of ideas that your little one will love!

You may also notice a reoccurring craft material running through this post 😉

Googly Garland

googly wreath final.jpg

Aside from being a little time-consuming, this garland is actually really easy to make. All you really need is some cardboard, heaps of pompoms, googly eyes and a glue gun! Here’s how to make your own version:

  1. Cut out a piece of cardboard into a circular shape with a craft knife (definitely an adult job!)
  2. Make an o-shape by cutting an inside circle.
  3. Use a glue gun to attach a variety of sized pompoms. I went for bright colours but you could choose a more traditional Halloween theme.
  4. Repeat process as above with a variety of googly eyes.
  5. If you want the garland to hang, attach a ribbon to the back with either a staple gun or glue gun.

Create a Monster

For the very young, try a playdough invitation to create. Zoey had a whale of a time sticking googly eyes onto her monster and even better still,  this is a great fine motor skills workout. These little monsters were made using store-bought playdough (we used the Tutti Frutti scented variety) but if you want to make your own, click here. 

You’ll probably notice throughout this post little ‘invitations to create’ – this is so that the final creation is really up to the individual. To do your own, either use a  circular paint tray (as featured above) or a plastic serving platter.

 

Potion Making

Got a Harry Potter obsessed kiddo? Then this is perfect! As any fan knows, there’s plenty of Halloween references in the film and Potions is one of the core lessons. We hunted the garden for supplies and added googly eyes plus glitter for a bit of a decorative twist. The pipette you can see Harrison using isn’t essential, but we added it for a bit of a fine motor / hand strengthening workout.

If this puts you in mind to make a more permanent sensory jar, click here. 

 

 Zack the Baby Zombie

baby zombie

Did you forget about Halloween altogether? Then my friends, this is the activity for you! Zack literally took 10 minutes to pull together – thanks in part to the gigantic bloodshot googly eyes from Riot! We actually used the inside circle of the googly garland for this activity, but here’s a quick ‘how to’ on creating your own:

  1. Cut a cardboard circle with a craft knife,
  2. Colour with either paints or pastels. We used a mix of black and white pastels to create the grey. This was only a quick job as the brown of the cardboard box kinda adds to his appearance!
  3. Use either gigantic googlies or make your own. We personally think he looks cuter with oversized eyes and a smaller head!
  4. To make him extra adorable, we added chenille stick hair and stuck the whole thing together with our trusty $10 glue gun.

Sensory Tub

halloween rice

Whilst Zoey is a little too young for some of the crafts we created, she definitely didn’t miss out entirely. I made up a neon rice tub for her and added in some foam bats, pompoms and googly eyes. To add a little skill  based dimension to play, I also included tongs and scoops so that her teeny fingers and hands could get a workout.

If you’re wondering about the colour of the rice, it is actually made from non-toxic pre-mixed neon paint from Little Sprout (no vinegar in sight – hoorah!), To make this version of coloured rice:

  1. Squeeze a blob of paint into a sandwich bag along with a cup of rice (adjust quantities according to your preferences)
  2. Use fingers to squish the paint into the rice or better still, get a small person to do it for you!
  3. Place on a tray covered in baking paper and leave to dry overnight.

If you have a toddler who likely to eat the rice, you may want to go down the food dye route. You can see our other method for dying rice here

 

Egg Carton Spiders

spiders

Zoey is kinda obsessed with eggs and as a result we have plenty of egg cartons in the recycling cupboard. After recently taking stock of the aforementioned overflowing cupboard, I realised that I had rather a lot of cartons that needed using up! Here’s what you need to do to make your own spiders:

  1. Cut individual egg holders and paint black/ colour of your choice. We even covered some of ours in washi tape.
  2. Once dry use a glue gun to add on the googly eyes.
  3. Cut chenille sticks/ pipe cleaners into quarters to use as legs and glue into place.
  4. Add decoration in the form of glitter, posca pens or pompoms.

 

Cardboard Cats

cats 1

When I saw that my insta buddy Cara from @raising.kinley had made super cute Halloween bats, I knew that we wanted to get in on the action so we made a cat version. Not only because we are a little obsessed with cats, but because our toilet roll collection is getting rather out of control! To make these quirky little Halloween cats:

  1. Paint tubes black / colour of choice and leave to dry.
  2. Push one end of the tube inwards to create pointy cat ears
  3. Use a hot glue-gun to add the eyes.
  4. Add a nose, mouth and whiskers with either chenille sticks/ pipe cleaners or a posca pen.
  5. Decorate with posca pens, washi tape or pompoms

 

As always, we’d love to see your own creations, so please post below or tag us in Facebook/ Instagram posts!

Some notes on the crafts: I haven’t included age suggestions with these activities because I always feel its best to leave that up to you, the parents. Your judgement on age/ ability will be better than mine, however obviously always closely supervise the very young as some of the materials used here are pretty small. Whilst we use a low-temperature glue gun, it can still feel pretty hot if it gets on the skin so please keep that in mind – even with older kids! 

 

*Although I mention Riot a lot in my blogs and on my instagram feed, i’m not actually sponsored by them. However, I am open to offers! 😉

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Canberra for Kids: Our Top Springtime Activities

We’re big fans of Canberra. We’ve lived here for almost 3 years now and it’s surely got to be one of the best places to raise kids. Now I know a lot of people bag out the nation’s capital, but not us – we might not be local locals, but we sure do love the place! Springtime, in my opinion, is one of the best times to visit as there is just so much happening. Read on below to find out our favourite spots…

 

Floriade

Ok, so an obvious choice here, but the start of Spring means the month long flower festival that is Floriade. Whilst there have been mixed reviews in recent years, we still think it’s worth a visit, especially since this year marks the 30th anniversary of the event.

We’d advise showing up early before the car parking situation gets crazy, then grab yourself a takeaway coffee and spend the morning getting heart eyes over the beautiful blooms. Whilst Floriade itself is free, costs can escalate if your kiddo wants to go on the iconic ferris wheel or the fairground rides – personally I’d steer them towards the ferris wheel to get a birdseye view of the festival!

Details: Floriade is on now until the 15th October. Check the website for Night Fest info. 

Questacon

A place that has just won a place on the Australian Monopoly board definitely deserves a mention, right? Questacon is filled with STEAM fun and to be honest, is just as much for adults as it is for the kids you take! Now we’re annual pass holders, so we get to visit regularly, but a hot tip for those of you visiting in the school holidays, show up early to avoid the long queues!

If you have kids under 6, you must check out Mini Q. It’s the perfect place for some hands-on sciencey fun. During term-time, Zoey and I visit Mini Q once a week as its basically a better version of a soft-play centre. We love it for the rather fabulous role play zones: there’s a car garage, vets, bakery, space station and building site to try out.

Details: To find out about pricing and events, click here 

National Zoo

zebra
One of the newest members of the zoo!

 

We LOVE this place. I’ve been to a fair few zoos in Australia (including Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo) and I have to say, The National Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best. The zoo has recently doubled in size to include zebras, rhinos, giraffes and cheetahs so if you have a little animal-obsessed human like I do, then it sure is the place to visit!

The zoo holds special zookeeper experiences for children during the school holidays which is kinda perfect if you need some ‘me-time’ whilst the kids learn and have a generally awesome time. I’ve also only heard amazing things about the Jamala Lodge, but unfortunately Zoey is too young to stay (I believe the age limit is 6). Perhaps something to consider if you have a special occassion coming up?

Details: Visit the website for pricing and individual events. If you live locally, i’d thoroughly recommend a season pass. 

National Museum of Australia 

When we first moved to Canberra, The National Museum of Australia was one of the first places we visited. The clue is in the title, but you get a really good overview of historically significant events. There’s plenty of ‘hands-on’ stuff to keep kids interested. If that isn’t so appealing, K-Space is the place to be. It’s basically an interactive computer game which takes you back in time so there’s lots of sneaky learning happening whilst the kids play!

At the moment, the Towers of Tomorrow Lego exhibition is happening. It’s a chance to view 20 Lego skyscrapers and also have a stab at making one yourself. There’s also Lego themed workshops during the school holidays which are bound to be popular with any master builder!

Details: The museum itself is free although you do need to pay for car parking. Exhibitions and workshops are priced separately so see the website for more information. 

National Botanical Gardens 

We go to the Botanical Gardens at least once a month and every time we’ve visited the experience has been completely different. There are so many paths to explore – our particular favourite has to be the rainforest section as it geniunely feels like you’ve travelled back in time! There’s a fair few events that happen during the school holidays too – Bush Blitz Biodiversity Detectives workshops are happening if you have any mini Steve Backshall’s in your midst!

The new cafe Pollen is a top spot for a breakfast date, but if you have busy kids like us you’re probably best off grabbing a takeaway coffee and browsing the gardens at a leisurely pace!

Details: Whilst there are paths for wheelchairs and prams, I would recommend using a carrier for babies and toddlers so you aren’t limited to certain paths. For information on workshops, click here

National Arboretum 

The husband finds my obsession with The National Arboretum kind of amusing. Sure, most of the trees are still growing, but that means the views are pretty spectacular! We mainly go there for The Pod playground which I’m pretty sure is the best in Canberra (please feel free to disagree with me below!) What we love the most is that the playground is divided into different ages/abilities so both kids can happily skip off and play.

The holidays often mean special events for kids too such as kitemaking and storytime walks in the woods. Check out the website for more details 

Details: Whilst the centre itself is free, you’ll need some spare change for the car park. The centre is also closed on the 28th of September for a special event. 

 

Lake Burley Griffin: The National Library to The National Gallery of Australia

During the holidays, we often park up at The National Library and walk to the National Portrait Gallery or the National Gallery of Australia (sometimes even both!).  If you’re doing a fly by visit to Canberra, this is a great way of seeing some of the big attractions when you’re short on time. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you could even visit Questacon on the same day as all four attractions are practically next to one another!

Alternatively…

Park up close to the Nara Peace Park and take photos of the gorgeous cherry blossoms whilst they are in bloom. According to Time Out, much of the gardens were a gift from Canberra’s Japanese sister, the city of Nara. Afterwards head on over to Snapper on the Lake for some fish and chips – just watch out for the crazy cyclists!  If you’re visiting in late October, definitely go and check out the incredible Canberra Nara Candle Festival – you can find out more details here. 

Details: Car parks around the lake are ticketed – the car parking officers tend to be on the ball too! Please check the website links for special events. 

Also worth a mention…

If you have slightly older children (6+), chances are that they’ll enjoy The Australian War Memorial – it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Australia after all.

We also absolutely love Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve – you’ll just need a car to get there! 🙂

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Slime recipe

Struggling for ideas this weekend due to the weather being too hot/rainy/cold? (circle weather type applicable to your part of the world) Slime is a really cool experiment that you can make using ingredients from around your house. Whilst its super messy, slime is also heaps of STEAM based fun too!

This is a borax free version of slime, so you wont end up with a putty.  That being said, we have discovered that if you leave it in a mason jar for long enough, it will turn into a solid substance not dissimilar to play dough!

You will need: 

  • 250g cornflour
  • 60ml shampoo
  • Warm water (for consistency)
  • Food colouring.
slimeing.jpg
Ready to go with all the ingredients!

Please note that whilst none of the ingredients listed are poisonous, it is best not to try this with very young children susceptible to putting items in their mouths.

Method:

1. Measure out 250g cornflour

2. Add 60ml of shampoo and mix together

3. Slowly add some water

4. Mix again, lift the spoon out of the bowl to check. You will want it to be runny.

5. Finally add droplets of food colouring.

The science bit: The molecules of the starch react when mixed with water to give the slime its viscosity. So when you (gently) lift the slime, it will be runny like liquid. However, if you press the slime more firmly, it should feel solid.Essentially, the experiment assists with learning around solids and liquids. Depending on the age of your child, you can introduce this scientific vocabulary to them.

Possible questions to ask:

(Before starting) What do you think will happen to the ingredients when we mix them together?

What happens to the slime when we hold it/ lift it out of the jar?

What happens to the slime when we press firmly?

(At end) Can you summarise/ explain what happened to the slime?

Here are some variations that we have made:

IMG_20170504_114557_716
Sith slime for Star Wars Day

 

slimevid
Hulk Slime

 

vday slime
A touch of pink for Valentines Day

Give our version of slime a try over the weekend and let us know how you get on. We love to get comments and feedback 🙂

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May the Fourth Be With You! 

If you’re reading this on May 4th, Happy Star Wars Day! We simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to celebrate, especially since the seven year old is Star Wars crazy – so much so that I went completely overboard with his party theme last year!

Anyway, for those embracing the day with full abandon, here are 5 Star Wars activities to try with the kids.

1. Sith Slime 

Wicked fun and easy to make, this quick activity with a science element is perfect for a post- school activity.

All you need is:

  • 250g cornflour
  • 60ml shampoo
  • Purple or black food colouring
  • Glitter or stars
  • Star Wars characters
  • A plastic container or tray.

Method:

1. Measure out 250g cornflour

2. Add 60ml of shampoo and mix together

3. Slowly add some water

4. Mix again, lift the spoon out of the bowl to check. You will want it to be runny.

5. Finally add droplets of food colouring.

The science bit: 

The molecules of the starch react when mixed with water to give the slime its viscosity. So when you (gently) lift the slime, it will be runny like liquid. However, if you press the slime more firmly, it should feel solid.

Essentially, the experiment assists with learning around solids and liquids. Depending on the age of your child, you can introduce this scientific vocabulary to them.

2. Ice Escape! 

Getting fully involved with the latest experiment

Ok so remember with Darth Vader freezes Luke Skywalker in Carbonite? This experiment is losely based on that.

We froze several of our Lego Star Wars characters in an ice-cube tray (alas our Luke was nowhere to be seen!) and left overnight.

We then set about planning our experiment. We wanted to find out which Star Wars character could escape the quickest.

We placed them in 4 locations around the house and garden (heater, fridge, outside and window) then made predictions.

We monitored the characters over 10 minute intervals to find out their progress. Which location do you think proved the quickest for escape?

If you wanted to, you could get your child to put the final results into an ‘er’ sentence. For example, “The warmer the location, the quicker the escape.”

We placed the characters in small plastic containers around the house

3. Design your own spaceship

Make life easier with a Lego activity!

If you have more Lego than you know what to do with like us, challenge the kids to build a Star Wars spaceship.

We first did this activity at Harrison’s 7th birthday party and even made prizes for the winners. This is fantastic if you have some Master Builders in your midst. What’s more, it’s so simple – even if you’ve totally forgotten about Star Wars day, it’s an easy one to quickly set up.

4. Star Wars Small World 

We used red lentils for Jakku

This sensory experience is great for a range of ages- even Zoey joined in on this one!

Which planet you choose will determine the base of the sensory tray. We used flour, water and cornflour for the snowy habitat of Hoth. A few weeks later, we repurposed our ‘Red Centre’ small world to become Jakku.

To make this more educational, you could ask a range of questions:

Which countries/ habitats are the Star Wars planets similar too? 

Which Earth animals do you think could survive here? 

Alternatively, just let the kids play. Small world activities are brilliant for language development!

Flour, cornflour and water was used to form Hoth.

5. Read a Book!

So many Star Wars books to read!

There’s a plethora of Star Wars books out there – trust me, I think we have them all! From the brilliant Jedi Academy series to Lego Star Wars encylopedias, there’s certainly going to be something that will appeal.
On a more serious note, it was the DK Star Wars books that first got Harrison really passionate about reading. Tapping into interests is just so important in the early years and we embraced his enthusiasm wholeheartedly. In the first instance we read to him but now he has moved on to the more advanced Jedi Academy.

I hope you will try some of the activities I’ve suggested. Please comment below if you do, or share any alternatives you may have! Below are some photographs from our Star Wars party last year: 

The incredible BB8 cake!
Jedi Academy
Guess who?
Bubble wands make great lightsabers