Category Archives: August

Back From our Hols

Well we’ve been back home for a week but haven’t had a chance to blog much yet – we’ve got an influx of guests to prepare for next week!

Whitby was gorgeous, though cold.  D fell in love with the abbey high on the cliff top… she said she would like to live there. 🙂

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And M was adored by all her cousins but a certain little one wanted exclusive rights…

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Back in Nottingham at my parents’ house, we seemed to be on an endless playdate/sleepover which was wonderful for the girls.  The craft box was requested quite a few times and the bubbles were particularly popular…

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Back in London again and I’ve been on a crazy cleaning drive as J seems to have reverted back to his bachelor ways in the month we were away.  I’ve also been planning further craft/science boxes for my niece and nephew’s birthdays which has taken a fair bit of time to plan.  I’ve been using M as a guinea pig because a few of the activities I’ve found are new to us.  Her particular favourite so far has been Flextangles.  This is her first one, and she is now working on another with a much more elaborate design.

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We’ve also been back to our social group and it was lovely to see our usual crowd there, and to meet some new friends that I had previously only chatted to on Facebook!

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Just a short post today, I’ll do a more detailed post on the girls’ activities soon.

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Craft, Science and Games Box

As regular readers might know, barely a day passes without the sausages doing some sort of craft, and I’m always on the look-out for new ideas.  As we’re away from home for a month, I thought I would put together a box that contains all sorts of science and art type-things.

I’ve included free-play craft items for process art (as I believe it is now called: i.e. art with no particular outcome); craft items that can be used with specific instructions; items that can be put together for an experiment; and home-made toys.

Anyhoo, I thought others might be interested in putting together something similar – it’s great for holiday rainy-days, and could even be given as a gift!

So here’s what the box includes:

Empty sports bottles – I had fizzy bottle rockets in mind when I included them, but D has since used them in a home-made skittles game.  I also included packets of Alka-Seltzer for the experiment but you might want to store these separately!

Self-adhesive jewels – Great for any kind of art, mine used them to decorate some crowns they had made.  I got my jewels here.

A large roll of aluminium foil – I included this to make some foil structures and shapes: M has been making a rather complex set of swings out of foil lately but D kept it simple by screwing it up into a ball and knocking over foil-covered empty bottles with it!  Also, I prefer to buy the really thick good quality stuff for better results (and fewer tears).  If it’s really thick you could try foil embossing too.

Lentils, balloons & funnels – you can make great soft balls with these.  Instructions can be found here.  My 2 year old nephew also had fun (for all of 2 minutes) just pouring the lentils through the funnel over and over again.  And then there is always the simple fun of just bopping a balloon around the room… or just blowing one up and giggling at the noise it makes when you let it go…

Self-adhesive googly eyes – brilliant for adding to artwork but the best bit about googly eyes has to be eyebombing!

Mentos – unfortunately I didn’t have room for a large bottle of Diet Coke to complement this but it’s easy enough to find in the shops.  For anyone who hasn’t done this explosive experiment yet, you haven’t lived. 😉

Pipettes – what child doesn’t like using pipettes?  I bought something similar to this and as we only use them for craft, I just wash them out and re-use.  Mine adore anything pipette-based, but I had this particular penny experiment in mind when I added them.

Cornflour – if your child likes getting messy and enjoys a hands-on sensory experience then you can’t go wrong with gloop!  If you really want to, you can talk about non-Newtonian fluids and turn it into a science lesson. 🙂  The cornflour can also be used to make giant bubbles (see below).

Fairy liquid & glycerin – Thanks to our social group and Facebook, we’ve recently rediscovered the magic of bubbles.  M played with these table-top bubbles for hours and we had a go at giant bubbles using this recipe at our Curious Minds group recently.  The Fairy liquid can also be used for this racing experiment.

Straws & pipe cleaners – leading on from the bubbles, I’ve wanted to make these 3D bubble wands for ages and haven’t yet got round to it!  You could also use the straws to play blow football (you could make another ball out of foil if you don’t have another ball to hand) or show the kids how to create a mini-vacuum (suck some drink up into the straw, quickly put your finger over the top and voila, the drink stays in the straw like magic!).  And the pipe cleaners can be used to make all manner of structures.

Craft sticks – we’ve had these a while and so far we’ve only used them to make shapes and this insanely difficult house.  You’d need a glue gun if you wanted to stick them together properly so what I had in mind for my niece was this craft stick chain reaction.  You can see them looking spectacular in this video.

Paper fasteners – or you might know them as split pins.  Great for making puppets and dolls.

Sticky-backed plastic – or you might know it as contact paper.  I love this stuff!  D loves it because it makes her artwork feel nice and shiny. 🙂  I’ve recently found this post about flower suncatchers which I had in mind when I included it in my box.

Ball of string – good for… well… anything!  I had cat’s cradle games in mind but you could also make a thaumatrope toy, or anything else – D has just used some for a necklace for her toy bunny. 🙂

So far, the box has been very popular, particularly with my 8 year old niece.  And we’ve been back from our holiday for a day and it’s been used three times already.  So all in all, I think I can say that the mother-of-all-craft-boxes is a success!