Category: Activities For Children

Easy Kids’ Crafts – Dried Food Pictures

Activities For Children, Crafts For Kids July 6, 2018

I often make pasta pictures with my kids because it is a simple craft to set up and my kids have an obsession with gluing things. Today I was feeling more chilled out than usual about the clean-up, so I let them use other items too. (Warning: the clean-up was time consuming and not enjoyable.) You can use beans, lentils, rice, seeds, etc to make collages and pictures of objects. The girls wanted to make bunnies, spiders and a dolls’ house. This activity lasted a long time (a child’s long time, not an adult’s long time, ie, 25 minutes!)

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Here are a few more ideas of things to use for collages and pictures: magazine cuttings, buttons, cut-up straws, cereal, shells, fabric scraps, cotton wool, tin foil, leaves.

The only problem with making these is when your almost three year old thinks that because food is involved, the pictures are edible. Oh, and that you can make hand prints with pva glue. Activity – 25 minutes, Clear up – 50 minutes 🙂

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Easy Kids’ Crafts – Tea Jewellery/ Treasure Boxes

Activities For Children, Crafts July 6, 2018

I’m a fan of kid-led crafts: ones that actually look like a kid made them instead of being manufactured by me and photographed from flattering angles for the purpose of improving my blog! These are so easy to make and required minimal direction from me 🙂

Materials

Herbal Tea Box (box where the lid flips open and recloses)

Poster Paints & brushes

Glitter (the shaky kind)

Glue Stick

Embellishments

Method:

Get your kids to paint their boxes however they like. Leave them to dry fully and give in to their demands for TV time. When dry, let your kids use a glue stick and shake their own glitter over it. Add stickers, sequins, buttons, shells, beads. You can decorate it however you like and have a theme if you want. (Eg, summer flowers, sea life, snowy day.) Let your kids choose what to keep inside it. They like putting toys in it and getting you to guess what is inside. Enjoy the twenty minutes this activity will keep them occupied for 😀

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Simple Activities With Kids: Mint Tea and Popping Bubbles

Simple Days with Kids: Mint Tea and Bubble Popping

Activities For Children, Creativity April 18, 2018

We have spent a lot of time indoors this week and I’ve been working to combat cabin fever. I think I need a directed activity as much as the girls do. We decided to have mint tea, using fresh mint from our garden (or what was left of it after the snails made their happy way through my greenery.)

My daughter enjoyed helping to identify which herb was mint, picking it and smelling it. She even excitedly ran to get her sister to smell it. It always makes me happy seeing them getting inspired by something simple. We put it in a teapot and let it steep while my daughter prepared the snacks: Cadbury’s fingers and buns made by my talented baker-friend. My daughter loved assembling it all on a tray and bringing it to her sick sister. We put a picnic blanket on the living room floor, since she was a little too tender for a real picnic. We listened to Française Hardy and my kids showed their first interest in vinyl. (Unfortunately this means I’ll have to keep a close eye on my stylus now.)

We made extra soapy bubble solution and blew bubbles that stayed put until you’d popped all of them. My kids really enjoyed the simplicity of what we did and it went down better than any more complicated activity we’ve done lately.

8 tips for adventures with kids

8 Tips For Mini Adventures With Kids

Activities For Children, Adventures April 6, 2018

I was feeling inspired to write this post after a waterlogged week away with my kids. The weather was conscientiously working to spoil our holiday, so we had to be inventive with what we did. Here are a few ideas for mini adventures with kids.

1. Find little surprises in small places

My kids and I drove to what used to be a little fishing village. It was remote and had quaint little cottages overlooking the harbour. There was nothing to do there; even it’s one craft shop was closed. However, we went for a walk and found a shed that had baby lambs and sheep inside it. They were just sitting peacefully, inches from us and it ended up being a moment that stayed with my daughter. Don’t rule somewhere out just because no one talks about it or it seems like nothing significant is there 🙂

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2. Bring supplies and go out in the rain anyway

If there is torrential rain, dress for it and go for a walk in puddles. We went to a National Trust property in heavy rain and ended up having a picnic under a tree there. A room had been opened for indoor colouring for kids and we went for tea and scones and played games in a notebook I brought. It always helps to have paper and crayons with you to keep your kids entertained during an unplanned moment.

3. Collect simple items and draw them/make collages

My kids love going beach combing and  wearing wellies while they jump in rock pools. They have a little tin they keep shells in. We went for a windy walk and then retreated indoors, lit the fire and drew pictures of shells. You could do the same with leaves, flowers, pine cones. rocks, etc. You can also do rubbings, where you scribble on a page laid over textured items and teach your kids about different patterns and textures while you’re doing it.

4. Stop somewhere you weren’t planning to visit

We went to Scrabo Tower just as we were passing it one day. Some children happened to have gathered there to roll eggs down the hill. The girls enjoyed watching them and climbing up the steep hill. The views were spectacular as it was such a clear day. We found a picnic table in what felt like a quiet meadow and I had brought coffee and snacks that kept the girls entertained while they made a play house under the picnic table.

5. Eat in the garden, even if it’s cold

You can still eat outside even in unfortunate weather. It feels like a preamble to a barbecue and makes you appreciate returning to the warmth of indoors afterwards. I made hotdogs indoors and had a pretend barbecue outside the cottage we were staying in. The girls loved it and followed it with dancing outside and hide and seek.

6. Stop at charity shops in unexpected places

Sometimes the remotest of places contain the best second-hand stuff. I found two cups from the 70’s for 50p 🙂 My daughter got some blocks that she has played with constantly since. Sometimes letting kids choose an item themselves makes it more valuable to them (even if it’s only 20p.)

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7. Drive the long way

Sometimes choosing the longer route means more scenic drives and more interesting things to point out to your kids. My kids loved watching to see if the sea was rough or still, which birds they could identify and if there were any boats along the coast. Involving them in sporting things outside definitely makes them less tetchy when you’re driving.

8. Get your kids binoculars or a disposable camera

My granny did this for us as kids and we loved it. My kids picked up some binoculars for bird watching on our trip but have also been using them to look at the sea and the sky (and to spy on people in the street!)  They love spotting things in the distance and sharing them with you.

Adventures don’t have to be about travelling great distances or spending excessively. Kids always remember the simplest, cheapest thing that you just fell upon along the way.

 

 

Ways to entertain kids in the garden

Cheap Ways To Entertain Kids In The Garden

Activities For Children, Budget Activities March 29, 2018

I’ve only recently acquired a garden. It is small but is saving my sanity, even in cold weather. Here are a few easy ways to keep kids occupied in your garden, even if you only have a small patch.

Make your kids their own plot

You can save a small space with soil and no plants just for your kids to dig and play in. If you don’t have a flowerbed, fill a large pot with soil and get them some kids’ gardening tools/spoons/measuring cups.

Second-hand Scooters

I got my kids some second-hand scooters and a bike on Gumtree, which even included free delivery and no assembly for me (thank God.) Even in a confined space they like to have mini races and scoot in circles.

Mini Mud Kitchen

I gave my kids an old tea set they weren’t using indoors and they love using water to make tea and soil from their little patch for mud pies. A kitchen isn’t even required 🙂

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Plant Flowers and Let Them Water Them

My kids love helping to tuck plant roots into a flowerbed. Kids like a little bit of responsibility too, especially if it involves pouring water. Let them use a watering can to care for their plants.

Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Make a picnic and have it on a rug in the garden. Get your kids to help you make sandwiches and invite “guests” along (teddies.)

Child Labour

Get your kids involved in weeding your garden and brushing up leaves. They tackle it with much more enthusiasm than adults and love being helpful. Just watch they don’t uproot any of your precious plants in the process 🙂

Washing Line Play Tent

Hang up your sheets outside and they can double up as entertainment for your kids. Let them make a little house under them and bring toys inside. (Keep the water and mud pies at a distance though!)

Cooking with Chives

My sister and I used to spend hours doing this. If you have any herbs in your garden, let your kids use them in “recipes” in a toy pot. You can be the “customer” while you drink your real tea and read your book 🙂

Bug Hotel

My kids and I made one of these this week at a National Trust property. You just use an empty plastic container with open ends (or cardboard held together with string) and fill it with twigs, moss, pine cones or any natural materials you can find. Set it in a flower bed or hang it on your fence to attract bugs.

What do your kids like to do in the garden?

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Cheap Places To Go With Kids In Northern Ireland

Cheap Places To Go With Kids In Northern Ireland Part One

Activities For Children, Northern Ireland March 15, 2018

All of these ideas are going to be centred around Belfast and the East side of Northern Ireland, due to my ignorance of what lies in Fermanagh and Derry! So if you live in that area or are planning a trip near Belfast hopefully this will provide you with a few ideas.

The Ulster Museum and Botanic Gardens

If you’re lucky enough to find a parking space within walking distance (!) this is a great place to go with kids. They have an art room, a nature room and a room of antique toys. The cafe is good for a parental coffee reward and the gift shop for window shopping. The gardens are right outside and have a palm house, tropical ravine (it’s closed at the moment for restoration) and I always liked playing on the bandstand and the rose garden as a kid. Note: the museum is closed on Mondays. Entry is free.

Seapark in Holywood

I still don’t understand why Holywood is pronounced Hollywood but it has a well-placed playground with a sea view anyway. The grassy expanse is good for picnics in better weather and you can walk along the seafront after letting your kids play. The playground was recently redone so there is lots to do.

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Greyabbey village and the Abbey

Greybbey is great for kids. My kids call it “the rocks” because they like to climb on the ruins. There is something about letting them do this that feels a bit sacrilegious, but at least they’re enjoying themselves. There is a herb garden to walk around and smell the scents with your children, teaching them names of herbs. Morbid as it may be, my kids like exploring the neighbouring graveyard too. You can follow it with a look in the antique shops if you’re feeling brave around breakables and you can an ice-cream from the shop/coffee or treats in Alchemy or one of the other cafes. (Or have a picnic if your kids are particularly wound-up that day.)

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Portaferry/Strangford Ferry

If you’re lacking funds, the ferry might be preferable to the aquarium in Portaferry (fun as it is.) I took my kids to both and the ferry was much more popular with them. It was £2 return for all of us on foot. You can leave the car on one side, go for a walk or get fish and chips and sit at the harbour. It’s a novelty for the kids and a day out that won’t put you into your overdraft.

Hope these ideas were useful. I will follow this post with others as part of a Northern Ireland series of things to do with kids 🙂

 

Frugal Family Things: Card-Makimg with Kids

Frugal Family Things: Card-Making with Kids

Activities For Children, Living a Frugal Life March 1, 2018

I always thought of card-making as an expensive hobby, since there is such a vast range of materials and if you choose to buy fifty unusual stampers for £1 each, it quickly mounts up to a hefty total. My mum used to be incredibly generous with her supplies, trusting us with her hot glue guns and showing us how to emboss, but we were probably well past the age of considering craft materials edible (which my younger child isn’t; she particularly enjoys the taste of play doh, crayons and paper.)

I really love seeing my kids doing something creative instead of staring at a screen, but without the creativity creating stress for me. This is one of those activities where you provide the materials but aren’t required to supervise their every move.

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Here are a few tips to make card-making kid-friendly:

  • Buy materials in the poundshop. They have an amazing range of craft materials and it doesn’t matter if your kids tear them to shreds. We bought cards, envelopes, decorative paper, lots of stickers, ribbons and glue dots for just over £5.
  • Get lots of stickers. I don’t know why, but with my kids stickers become the central focus of any craft activity.
  • Make coffee, because with their hands happily occupied yours will finally be free to enjoy a cup.
  • Let it be an activity for them to experiment instead of having a fixed outcome in mind. I find that my kids hate directed crafting; they just want to do their own thing without someone bossing or over-instructing.
  • Use glue dots or a glue stick instead of liquid glue if you want a quick clean-up afterwards. Wipeable tablecloths are a good idea too.
  • Give them people to make cards for (this makes the activity last longer.) For example, my kids made thank you cards and birthday cards for friends. They enjoyed adding personalised pictures that they associate with each person. You could also do a fictional version of this activity using their favourite characters.
  • If they go off on a tangent and end up not doing anything remotely related to card-making, let them. The point is to let them come up with their own ideas, not drive yourself crazy.