Easter crafts

Decorate eggs 

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You will need:

  • Eggs (however many you intend to eat)
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Something to stand the eggs in whilst you work

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Firstly we boiled our eggs and put them aside to cool. Once cool, we stood them up in an egg holder and began painting them. 

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Once we were happy with our designs, we left them to dry. When fully dried, we peeled our eggs and ate them for lunch. It was that simple and no waste!

Make your own Easter nest

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You will need:

  • A4 card (yellow or white would work best)
  • 2 x coloured A4 card (we opted for green and blue)
  • Straw
  • Glue
  • Scissors

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To begin we folded the yellow card in half long ways and cut. Only one half is needed, so the other half can be kept for another project. Taking one half we used the scissors to round the corners of one side to make a bowl shape.

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Next we covered one side in glue and stuck down the straw to cover. We realised after that it would have probably been easier to do the following steps first, and this last, but it still worked out just fine.

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Next we moved on to making the eggs. We folded both sheets of coloured card in half, and then in half again, cutting into four equal parts. Taking three of each colour we cut them into the shape of eggs. With the last section of each colour, we cut them into strips, zigzags and circles.

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Taking the three green eggs, we decorated them with the blue strips, zigzags and circles, then we done the same with the blue eggs and green decorations.

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Finally we stuck our eggs into the nest, and our Easter inspired craft was complete.

Design your own Easter egg

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To make two, you will need:

  • A4 sheet of card (we opted for green)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons or felts
  • Pompoms
  • Lolly sticks
  • Sequins

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We began by folding the coloured card in half and cutting, then we cut each section into an egg shape.

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The boys then used their crayons to draw patterns onto their eggs. Next they used the glue to add the pompoms, lolly sticks and sequins on.

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Very simple, but lots of fun!

Copyright © 2018-2019 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

Easter/Spring tuff tray

This tuff tray set up is perfect for spring and got us talking about Easter. We used flowers to represent all the new growth at this time of year, play eggs which are always prominent at Easter, and toy farm animals to represent all the new baby animals that are born in spring time. The blue and green tissue paper they are laying on represents the water and growing greens that make this new life thrive. The straw is essential at this time of year, used for nests, bedding and food for the growing animal families.

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The boys went straight in for the farm animals first , I knew they would. They love playing with animals and mimicking the sounds they make.

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They then began exploring the rest of the tray with the animals, burying them in the straw and they even placed the chickens with ‘their eggs’.

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Finally they played with the flowers, smelling them and enjoying feeling the petals.

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This tray is a lovely way to explore key features of spring and as a talking point to learn more about Easter.

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

Mother’s day craft ideas

As promised, me and the boys have been busy making some mother’s day crafts to give you ideas to try.

A Heart Bouquet 

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You will need:

  • a toilet roll insert
  • coloured card
  • scissors
  • a stapler
  • green paint
  • paint brush
  • self adhesive diamante strips

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The boys made one each, so to begin we painted the toilet roll inserts green, whilst these dried I cut the coloured card into strips and we began making our hearts. To make the hearts, we folded the strips in half and then bent each end into the crease like shown below. Once each strip was bent into the desired heart shape, I stapled to secure (with the help of Noah and Tommy).

Once the toilet roll inserts were dry we took some green strips and stapled them to the bottom like shown below, these are to be the leaves.

After the leaves were in place it was time to staple the hearts we made earlier to the insert as well, we took our time here and some of the hearts had to be stapled to each other for extra support. Once we had a full bouquet we added a diamante strip to each insert. Finally we used the scissors to cut the leaves into a point.

Hand print bouquet card

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This on really is simple, all you need is:

  • A4 white card
  • paint
  • decorative bows
  • glue (we used glue dots)

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To begin we folded our card in half and picked out the colour paints we wanted to use, the boys chose red and yellow for the flowers, and of course we picked green for the stems.

I painted the boys hands in each colour and they pressed down onto the card, creating the flowers. Afterwards they used a paint brush to add the stems.

Once dry the boys stuck a purple bow onto each bouquet using glue dots.

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Tissue paper bouquet 

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Another super simple one, all you need is:

  • A4 white card
  • coloured tissue paper
  • glue (we used a Pritt Stick and glue dots)
  • decorative bows
  • felt tips

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For this one Tommy chose blue tissue paper for the flowers and Noah chose red. We started by folding the card in half, then I helped the boys to make a bouquet shape with the Pritt Stick, the boys then used their selected coloured tissue paper to create their flowers. The boys then drew a bee buzzing around their bunches (with a little help from mummy). Lastly they stuck a bow on each using glue dots.

3D flower card

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This one is still simple, it’s just a little more time-consuming, like the first. You will need:

  • A4 white card
  • coloured card
  • scissors
  • a stapler
  • glue

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For this one we made the hearts the same way as for the Heart Bouquet. Then we stapled 12 of them together to create a wreath shape. Once complete we folded the white card in half and then used glue to stick the 3D flower on. See, simple.

Copyright © 2018-2019 All right reserved Stephanie Brady

It’s fun to be outside

It really is!

With the warmer weather approaching I am frantically thinking up lists of places to go on adventures with the boys. A nice long walk is not only good exercise for the whole family, but also offers fantastic opportunities to explore and learn.

Going for long walks and easy hikes with young children can be daunting, with the extra supplies you’ll need to take (the way my three-year old eats, a mini fridge just isn’t practical) and the certain complaints of ‘I’m tiered!’ and ‘Are we there yet?’, you can quite rightly think it’s not worth the hassle. Especially so when you don’t drive and have to factor in public transport and the length of walking to even get to the intended walk. So I’ve composed a list of tips to maybe make it seem a little less stressful and hopefully more enjoyable.

Location

This one probably seems a little obvious, but try to find places that limit the amount of travel you have to do to get there. Look for neighbouring towns or villages to explore along with any walking routes you can follow. We often visit Wivenhoe Woods which is only 18 minutes on the train and the entrance to the woods is right next to the station, perfect.

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A recent walk at Wivenhoe woods with their cousins.

Research

This one is particularly important for those who, like us, rely on public transport. Just because a village is 27 minutes away by car doesn’t mean it wont take nearly two hours between trains and buses, like I recently found out trying to plan a day out. This can get quite irritating as many villages, being out in the sticks, have less links via public transport (they can also be alot less often). But don’t give up, there’s so many beautiful places throughout the UK to explore, you will find something eventually. It’s not all about ease of location though with children, no, you also need to keep in mind a walking route that with provide opportunity for pit stops to break up the walk. I’ve found a couple of walking routes we are going to do this year that have lovely country pubs along the way, we can stop for a drink, toilet break and rest before continuing, this will certainly help little legs to keep going. Also if you need to take a pushchair, you need to make sure the route is suitable for this as well (if they are really young a carrier will be much easier). Finally keep it easy, the longest trail we have planned this year is estimated 2 hours, factoring in speed and stops it will likely take us double that.

Explore

It’s obvious that on a walk you will be exploring, especially if it is a new place. However little ones will get bored quickly if all you are doing is walking and looking from a distance. Make your walk fun; play games along the way, use your imaginations and explore any landmarks you pass. Earlier in the week I uploaded a bug hunting sheet, why not use this to actively look for things and make the walk more interesting.

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Weather

Weather can make or break a family walk, spring and autumn are perfect times for walks and hikes, it’s generally not too hot or too cold. But be sure to check the local weather forecast though, a little bit of drizzle never hurt anyone but if it’s pelting it down a board game at home might be better.

Supplies

As every parent knows, no matter where you go, you have to be prepared. Water, snacks, appropriate clothing and foot wear are a must. It gets even more daunting if you have milk and nappies to bring as well, but remember to just pack the essentials. This is where planning the route carefully is helpful, any shops, cafes or pubs along the way where you can pick up a bite to eat and a drink can dramatically lighten the load you need to carry. I also recommend packing an extra layer of clothing for the kids in case it turns cooler later in the day. Backpacks are your friends, and even the kids can carry a light one on their backs if they are old enough. I really recommend this rucksack for kids, it can fit a lot in and has comfy shoulder straps, just remember to keep it light.

 

Copyright © 2018-2019 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

A Day Out a Month – Museums

For our #adayoutamonth challenge for February we visited Colchester Castle and Hollytrees Museum. We had the best day exploring history in these two amazingly interactive places.

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First we visited Colchester Castle and there was plenty to get the boys involved. To begin we took the opportunity to try on some helmets and look at medieval style clothing.

There’s also a really great section with big play bricks for the kids to build with. They have a pull out arch to build around, so that when you push it back in (hopefully) your arch with stand by itself. Noah and Tommy ignored this though and we just ended up with a demolished wall, but hey, perhaps they were invaded.

Upstairs they have a Celtic section which has a lovely set up for kids to explore. In what looks like a third of a hut there was more clothing to try on, as well as replicas of commonly used items for the era. The boys had great fun blowing into the horns (actually used as cups) making lots of noise and running away from me when I tried to subdue them.

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Noah took a lot of interest in the displays, Tommy was more interested in his new-found freedom and completely made me regret letting him out of the buggy in the first place. They had quite a few things out to touch, use and smell which made it very exciting for Noah and admittedly did capture Tommy’s interest briefly.

By far the boys favourite part was the chariot (and this is where the squabbles began), with a chance to compete in a computerised race. We spent quite some time on this, luckily no one else was waiting but I did have to coax them off with more things to try on, which led to further squabbles.

And just like at home these two developed a worrying obsession with the toilet, it can’t just be my kids. The centuries old toilet is now covered over so you don’t fall down the hole in the floor, but there’s a nice sign to explain what it is and how it was reserved for special people. They probably spent more time swooning over that than they did the chariot.

Finally before leaving to play in the park on the grounds, which is absolutely amazing by the way, we took a tour of the prison (I probably should have left them there). They have projectors and audio playing in the cells to make it look like there are prisoners within, the boys were fascinated by this, although Noah did later tell me that it was spooky. The Castle was a little busy today with a school trip but we will definitely be going back soon to do a tour of the roof and the vaults when it’s quieter.

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After an ice cream and play on the swings and slides we moved onto Hollytrees Museum which is still on the grounds. I wasn’t sure the boys would enjoy this one as much as it’s quite small and it’s been years since I visited it myself. But honestly it was brilliant, and much better for both their ages. On each floor there’s different exhibits and the first one to take the boys fancy was the domestic life one, yes I’m training them well. There were shopping baskets that had food puzzles in to sort, and a play kitchen nestled amongst different domestic equipment through the ages. The boys dressed up in some aprons that were amongst many old-fashioned clothing and practised their culinary and cleaning skills.

At the top of the museum is a room dedicated to toys through the ages and tells you about nursery rhymes linked to Colchester, but what was really nice about this one was a corner with toys for the kids to play with. The boys spent ages in here playing and going through a little tunnel in the wall, it was a hard job to get them out. The best part about this museum as well is it’s free. Having said that though the castle is reasonably priced and still well worth a visit.

Copyright © 2018-2019 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

Valentines hanging hearts

With valentines only two days away we made some decorations this afternoon. To make these we used:

  • 3 x A4 sheets of red card
  • 1 large sheet of pink tissue paper
  • Red ribbon
  • Pritt Stick
  • Scissors
  • Sharp knife

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To start I cut the sheets of card in half, leaving us with 6 A5 sized pieces. I then folded the card in half long ways without making a crease, I then carefully cut around the edge to make half a heart shape (making a full heart when opened out).

 

Next I cut the sheet of tissue paper up into small strips and squares. This was rushed and messy but this works well.

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Next I took one of the heart shape cards and used the Pritt stick to apply glue to its centre, then I added some tissue paper to cover.

 

The boys watched me do mine the first time, and then they done theirs with little help.

 

Once all the hearts were finished I used a shape knife to poke a whole near the middle of the heart, close to the top. Then we carefully threaded the ribbon through and double knotted on one end.

 

Finally we found the perfect place to hang our creations. In the hallway we have a transom window and it’s always an eyesore, so recently we’ve been displaying our recent makes there so it looks a little better.

What crafts do you have planned for valentines?

Copyright © 2018-2019 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

Farmyard fun

Another great tuff tray idea. A miniature farm!

I set this up Friday and it’s still up now. The boys have had lots of fun exploring all the different textures and playing with the animals. There’s tissue paper, squishy beads, straw, play mud (a mix of cornflour, coco powder and water) and a small tray of water to play with.

The boys have been busy practicing their animal noises and deciding where in the tray each animal would feel happiest.

They’ve had lots of fun with this learning and developing skills.

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

Learning seasons

Today we learnt about the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.

We created an image to represent each one. We used:

  • White card
  • Tissue paper (we used pink, green, red, orange and white)
  • Pritt stick
  • Brown and black felt tips

First I drew a tree trunk on four seperate pages and then titled each one. Then the boys applied glue to and around the branches. In the mean time I cut up the coloured tissue paper, ready for them to stick on.

We used pink for spring, green for summer, red and orange for autumn and white to represent snow in winter. After the boys had finished sticking down the tissue paper we discussed each season and spoke about what our favourite things for each are.

In spring we have Easter and lots baby animals being born.

In summer we have Solstice, we can play in the garden more, trips to the beach, BBQs and lots of Ice Cream.

In autumn we have lovely walks, Halloween and lots of pine cones and conkers to find.

In winter we have Christmas, big jumpers to keep us warm and hopefully lots of snow!

These are now hung up in our library/relaxation room to remind us of all the wonderful seasons.

Why don’t you try it too?

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

D.I.Y door signs

For a while now I’ve been looking for door signs for the boys bedroom and library, but struggled to find ones I liked.

Then in QD last week I saw these small chalk boards, they’re a decent size still but very light so can be hung with just blue tack.

The chalk boards were only £1.49 each and we brought some sequins to decorate with.

The boys decided they wanted dinosaur theme so we picked out typical dinosaur colours.

The boys then decorated a frame each using their red glitter pritt stick and the green and brown sequins.

Finally I wrote and drew on the boards before we hung them on the doors, I done my best at a diplodocus and a t-rex face.

Another good craft idea for the kids creating something useful.

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady

Exploring colours, shapes and textures

Another fun tuff tray set up. We used pom poms, lolly sticks, building blocks, playdough and the playdough tub lids for this one.

The boys found the different coloured sections really engaging and moved around the tray taking it in turns with each. They enjoyed identifyting colours and shapes, and we spoke about how each item felt, exploring the different textures. We also counted out the shapes strengthening our number skills. The best part of this activity was working out ways that we could use all the materials together to build something exciting. We made rockets, robots, animals and lots of other wonderful things.

This activity encouraged sharing, fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, imagination, problem solving and mathmatics to name a few.

What would you make?

Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved Stephanie Brady