Category Archives: Craft

Painting in the garden

Following on from Thursday when we painted handprint caterpillars at Twins Club, today we got the paints out at home to create some more animals, flowers and general art work.

I wanted each of the kids to have their own art space so I got the easel out for Thomas and Jasmine, and used the tuff spot for Ben. This was important because I wanted to see what the big two would do and they were keen to actually paint something, whereas Ben is still in the “paint everything one colour then smear round with hands” stage, and he usually does this all over their work.

I set out the paints and a selection of brushes, sponges and old toothbrushes to paint with. The kids loved the idea of painting with toothbrushes and a lot of the first paintings were done using these. Ben had a wonderful time with the orange and black paint and some toothbrushes! Thomas painted a sunflower growing in a garden and Jasmine painted some flowers and a person.Painting 1aOnce they had all filled one piece of paper I mentioned painting with their hands. Ben got stuck right in and was soon covered in black paint! He did lots of handprints in different colours. Thomas added a handprint spider to his sunflower painting and then painted more bugs on a new sheet. I showed him how to paint a handprint butterfly and he also did some worms and another spider. Jasmine created lots of multicoloured hand-angels and she did her own butterfly, which I was very impressed with as she did it with no help from me.Painting 2When they started painting with their hands I had filled the sandpit lid with water so the could rinse the paint off when they wanted to use different colours. Both boys, but especially Ben, had just as much fun washing their hands as they did painting!

Finally, for their last painting of the day I added shaving foam as an option. I gave them all a tupperware container with some in and showed them how to mix some paint into it. None of the kids have ever been keen on using shaving foam in their messy play so I was interested to see how they would work with it. Having already had paint on their hands I was hoping this would encourage them to get the foam on their hands as well.

They all started off using the brushes and sponges to paint it on to the paper but Ben soon got his hands involved and was happily hand printing with the foamy painty mixture. This encouraged Thomas and he joined in, creating some wonderful “fireworks” on his paper.Painting 3Then, just as I was getting the boys clean and starting to tidy bits away, I turned round and Jasmine had covered her hands in the shaving foamy paint as well! This is a big thing for Jasmine and she always takes a long time to come round to getting her hands really messy (which is strange because she is quite happy to play in mud all day!)Painting 4All in all, we had a very successful painting session today. Now, I just need to find somewhere to display all the pictures!
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Handprint Caterpillar Craft

I saw this idea on Facebook a few days ago and really wanted to try it, so this was our craft table activity at Twins Club today.Handprint Caterpillar

You will need:

  • paper
  • paint
  • small circle stamp (a bottle lid or similar)
  • googly eyes
  • glue
  • black pen

Paint the palm of your hand with the chosen colour for the body of your caterpillar and your fingers another colour for the legs. Print a line of hand prints along the paper to form the body and legs of the caterpillar. Make sure the prints are touching or overlapping. We did three prints, but you can do as many as you want.

Use the circle stamp/bottle lid to print a head at one end. Once the paint has dried add a nose and antennae and glue on some googly eyes.




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Let Them Play

While Gordon and I have been busy redecorating Ben’s bedroom, the kids have been happily playing in the garden.

Yesterday morning while the last bits of plastering were being done I tried again with the paint-bombing. I got some great ideas from people leaving comments on here and on Facebook and I decided to try dropping them from the climbing frame. I also found a sports cap bottle that made filling the balloons much easier too, as the end of the balloon fitted nicely over the spout.Paint Bombs part 2We got better results doing it this way that we got on Saturday, but the kids aim still meant that a good few paint-bombs burst on the grass! Thomas was definitely the most accurate and the most successful and he burst most of the balloons himself in the end. I love the final art work we created and in fact I have used some of it in Ben’s new bedroom!

After paint-bombing I had a tray full of black paint that had leaked out when I was filling the balloons. Rather than waste it (or spend a long time trying to get it back in the paint bottle) I decided to use it for some feet painting down the garden. I unrolled some more lining paper as a “road” and the kids stepped into the tray of paint and onto the road! I had also placed a bowl of water at the other end so when they had enough they could wash their feet.

When I initially mentioned painting with feet to Thomas he wasn’t sure at all. But he changed his mind as soon as he saw the piece of paper and the water at the end and was first in! Jasmine, who I did think might not join in at all, was straight in after Thomas, closely followed by Ben. They loved it, slipping round the paint tray and running round the paper leaving paint-y footprints. Of course, the paint being slippery meant that the boys fell in and didn’t just end up with paint-y feet!Paint RoadPoor Thomas did end up taking one tumble to many though and the activity ended with him in tears. Hopefully it hasn’t put him off and next time I will put the paint straight on the paper rather than inside a slippery plastic tray!

Today we spent the morning in the park with some local twin families. I love meeting up with other twin mums and I had a lovely chat while the kids played.

This afternoon they went in the garden again.

Jasmine began by finding a spider and insisted on catching it in a jar! Her bug obsession is getting bigger and bigger! I should be happy because it means she can now remove any spiders from near me when Gordon isn’t around, but when she comes and shows me a large spider I am not so keen!

I got the water table out for them this afternoon. I also filled up the top of the sandpit with water, coloured some water blue and put this in a bowl and put another large bowl of shaving foam out and told them they could use it as soap to wash their toys. They’ve never been keen on using shaving foam as a messy play material, so I thought that using it with water in this way would encourage them to play with it, knowing they could wash it off with more water at any time.

They spent all afternoon playing with the water; washing toys and rinsing them with their watering cans, making whirlpools, visiting the deep blue sea and lots of other things as well. They had a great time, were occupied for ages and were thoroughly soaked by dinner time!Water playWe’ve had a great couple of days in the garden and it looks like the sun is going to stick around for another day or so, so I imagine we’ll be out there again over the next few days.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Hama Beads and DIY

Since we got the rabbits the kids are very keen to get dressed in the morning. They love coming out and helping me give Chocolate and Star their fresh food, water and hay, and they usually add a few dandelion leaves to the hutch as well! Its a good job the garden is full of them! We’ve been using this time to handle the rabbits as well as they are still quite nervous, which makes the kids even keener to help!Watching the rabbitsOnce all animal duties had been completed this morning we got Hama Beads out. Jasmine has been asking to do Hama Beads for a few days but we’ve been out and about quite a lot so we hadn’t managed to get them out. Today we had no plans to go anywhere other then B&Q after lunch, so we had the whole morning to design and create.

I joined in with the kids today and made my own Hama picture. I am hoping that if they see me doing this it will develop their own ideas about what they can design. I explained what I was doing and Thomas said he wanted to make a Lightning McQueen picture. He started off using the red, but didn’t really understand what to do. He actually ended up making a rather brilliant red square with the letters T and J in – and I even let him use my glow-in-the-dark beads for the letters! He worked really methodically, putting the beads in line by line and making the letter shape with no help at all.

Jasmine began using the flower peg board and designed a pretty flower. She then also wanted to use a square board to “write letters”, although I am pretty certain this was because she knew I’d let her do the letters in glow-in-the-dark beads! She made a square with a patterned border and flowers dotted around the inside.

Ben did really well with the Maxi beads today. It is only the last 2 times we’ve done Hama Beads that he has really shown an interest in competing a design. Today he did 3 boards entirely by himself! He sat for ages placing beads on the peg boards, talking about colours and what he was making. It is lovely that he joins in with us now, and makes Hama Beading a lot easier knowing he won’t tip them all over the floor when he has had enough!Hama Beads 31May Maxi Hama Beads 31MayThis afternoon we did go to B&Q. We are currently decorating Ben’s bedroom as part of a competition (more on that in a day or 2!) so we needed wood and a few other bits. Once we got back Jasmine and Ben went into the garden and started a bug hunt and Thomas went to help Gordon do some plastering upstairs. He has helped a couple of times now and is getting quite good at it!PlasteringOnce he’d finished he joined the others in the garden and they spent the rest of the day digging in their mud, looking for worms and other bugs and collecting them in seed tray gardens!Bug Hunting




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Painting Rocks and Playing with Friends

Another day of sunshine and another day outdoors.

(I’m getting a little worried that you will be bored of me writing about lovely weather and playing outside soon!)

This morning the kids spent a lot of time playing “Star Wars”, which seemed to involve them running around pretending to be various different characters, visiting different planets in the Galaxy. Jasmine even drew a map on a piece of paper so they knew where they were going!

After running around the house a few times, they moved into the garden and continued the game outside.

When “Star Wars” had ended they came asking for something else to do so I suggested we start painting some of the rocks we collected from the beach last week.

I gave them gold, green and pink paint (gold because Jasmine asked for it and green and pink because they were on the top of the paint box!) and they choose the rocks they wanted and started painting.

Rock Painting

The rock painting will be an ongoing project I think!

This afternoon we met up with some other home educating families in a local park. The kids had a great time playing with their friends while us adults chatted (or tried to while keeping half an eye on the small ones!) One of the mums had brought along some bubbles so she was centre of attention for quite a long time! Bubbles are a definite winner every time!

Jasmine also managed to fit in some bug hunting while we were there. She found a beetle, lots of ants and an earwig. The earwig was very exciting because it is the first one she had caught this year!

Then it was back to Caterpillar Tales house for a quick pizza dinner before the girls headed off to Rainbows again.

It has been another busy Wednesday, but we had a really nice time in the park and Jasmine is loving Rainbows so (apart from one major meltdown from Ben when he suddenly realised he was hot, tired and hungry after leaving the park) it has been a good day!





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A Day in the Garden

We woke this morning to glorious sunshine outside and it has stayed with us all day.

I took Ben to Toddler Group this morning while Thomas and Jasmine stayed at home with daddy. They went out into the garden almost immediately after breakfast and Ben joined them as soon as we got home.

They spent a long time playing in the sand pit so Gordon and I took the opportunity to tidy the garden a bit and get some of our vegetable plugs planted out. We are scaling down our veg growing this year and have decided on peas, green beans, tomatoes, shallots and courgettes to go alongside our very well established potatoes, strawberries and rhubarb. (I have just re-read that list to myself and am now wondering why I thought I was scaling down!)

As we were all having a break with an ice lolly mid afternoon we saw a Blue Tit in the apple tree. Jasmine said it would be nice to have a bird house in the garden. We spent the next couple of hours making a nesting box!

Gordon got a piece of timber out of the garage and cut 2 sides, the bottom, a front and a back. He then nailed it all together and measured and cut the top of the box. Before screwing the top on he drilled a 25mm hole in the front (just the right size for Blue Tits). He has fixed the top on with hinges so we have access for cleaning if required.

I think the finished nesting box looks fantastic and can’t wait to put it up! We won’t get anything in it this year as it is too late in the season now, but fingers crossed for next year!

In between helping with the sawing and hammering, the kids kept themselves occupied with offcuts of wood and some tiles we have in the garden.

It has been lovely to be able to spend the whole day outdoors today and the kids have thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

Long may this wonderful weather last .. please????!!

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Paint-balling with water beads (and other balls)

Today we used the last of the water beads from last week. We used them to paint in the Tuff Spot.

I set it up by lining the Tuff Spot with paper and blotting paint of different colours in it. In a large bowl I put the water beads, along with some plastic play balls and a tennis ball. I gave the kids a straw and a wooden stirrer each.

They blew the balls through the straws, pushed with the stirrers, rolled with their hands and bounced the water beads on to the paper.

The kids didn’t spend a long time on the activity because they had also discovered the play sand was dry enough to play with this morning, so sand won over painting! But the time they did spend they did enjoy and we are all agreed that the finished painting looks really good!

Edspire  Messy Play

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Playdough Circuits and Outdoor Painting

We have had quite a busy day today.

After breakfast this morning Thomas and Jasmine were having their usual discussion about who is taller and who is older (Thomas is taller and Jasmine is 1 minute older!) when Thomas asked how old the universe was. I suggested he look in our “Children’s Atlas of the Universe” because that was a fact I didn’t know off the top of my head! We actually didn’t find the answer, but they started looking at moons and planets and were happy to look at each planet in turn and found out out some interesting facts.

We learned that Uranus is likely to have been hit by a large object as it was forming, knocking it over on its side and causing its tilt. We learned that Venus and Mercury have no moons and we learned that Jupiter has 49 moons, although Wikipedia has since shown this to be incorrect so our book must be out of date! *Jupiter actually has 67 confirmed moons if you are interested.

After looking at the book for a while we moved on to our next activity; we made Playdough circuits.

I have wanted to do this since I saw it on another blog (An ordinary life) a while ago. All you need is an LED, a 9v PP3 battery, a connector and some playdough, and we finally went to Maplins yesterday to get the connectors!

All you do is connect the battery connector to the battery and then place the red (positive) wire in one lump of playdough and the black (negative) wire in another. Make sure the lumps of playdough are not touching each other. Then simply connect your LED to the 2 lumps of playdough to make the circuit. The positive end of the LED (the longer wire) goes in the playdough with the red wire and the negative end (the shorter wire) goes in the playdough with the black wire.

I drew diagrams for the kids to follow and they had fun making the LEDs light up, especially the flashing “party lights” one that Daddy had left them! Even Ben managed to do it with minimal help and it was great that this was an activity all 3 kids could take part in and enjoy.

When we had finished, as I was packing everything away, Jasmine asked me if she could make some Easter Egg pictures. I explained that as Easter had now passed maybe she could do some flower or spring pictures instead. Somewhere in my sentence I must have said the magic word “paint” and all of a sudden I had 3 children jumping around with excitement because they love painting!

It has been lovely and sunny here today so I thought we’d have our first outdoor painting session of the year! We have a long garage that goes down the side of our back garden. It is painted white, so is the perfect canvas for kids art! I vary whether I tape paper along the side for them to paint on or just let them paint on the garage itself. Today I put paper up so that if it does rain I can take it down and their picture won’t be instantly washed away!.

This afternoon we went to see our friends from Caterpillar Tales and spent a lovely couple of hours with them drawing and playing in their garden.

Today has been a busy day, but we’ve had lots of fun!

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Fun with Rainbow Rice

Today we played with rainbow rice.

For a while I have been wondering how you colour pasta and rice for play/craft and finally got round to looking on Google yesterday. It is so easy!

You can find great tutorials here and here, but basically you place your rice or pasta in a container or resealable bag with some food colouring and white vinegar (approx 1tbsp vinegar for every cup of rice/pasta) and shake, shake, shake!

I was undecided whether to do rice or pasta for today’s play, however after realising I didn’t have any resealable bags and therefore would need to use jam jars, I went with rice. I didn’t think big pasta tubes would survive being shaken around a glass jam jar!

I was really pleased with the results and when the kids saw the rice this morning they couldn’t wait to start playing with it! I set it up in the Tuff Spot with a selection of plastic containers, spoons, funnels and diggers around the outside. Jasmine had also spoken about making shakers with the rice, so I made sure I gave them some lidded jars as well.

The kids were so excited to play with the rice. They loved the colours and from the minute they saw it this morning had picked out the colour they wanted to play with first! Jasmine wanted red and purple, Thomas wanted green and Ben wanted all of them!

The first thing they all did was pick a lidded jar and fill it to make a shaker. They all did different coloured layers and enjoyed shaking it up to mix the colours together. Thomas and Jasmine used spoons and funnels to fill their jars, while Ben used his hands or other plastic pots.

Ben then started emptying out the bowls of rice and mixing them all together. This would have been fine, except Jasmine wasn’t ready to mix yet. She still wanted separate colours. I very quickly got her one of our gravel trays and placed piles of each colour rice in it for her to play with so the boys could mix to their hearts content.

This is what I find the hardest about this sort of play. Jasmine’s play is very different to the boys and I find myself caught off guard quite frequently. I really need to think more about what she might want to do and plan for it because really I should have known she’d need to keep the colours separate and the boys would mix them together.

But it all worked out fine in the end and everyone was happy!

Jasmine made several shakers and spent a lot of time pouring and spooning rice from one container to another. She was also very particular about making sure her piles were tidy and the colours didn’t touch each other. She then made a road around her piles and drove a car from one to another. She had a shop pile, a house pile and a pond pile.

After a while she asked to make a rainbow picture with the rice. I had mentioned that we might be able to do this so I got some card and glue out and we made a rice rainbow.

And, do you know what? The minute she had finished this she went back to her tray of seperate colours and did this:

She was then quite happy to play with it all mixed up!

The boys spent most of their time using the funnels to pour rice into pots and trucks. Thomas did ask for his own tray like Jasmine had, but he just filled it with multicoloured rice and didn’t do much with it. I think he just wanted a tray because Jasmine had one!

I actually had to ask the kids to stop playing for a while so we could have lunch! They were enjoying it so much I think they would have just carried on!

However, lunch gave me time to do a quick change and I put our ELC Big City Quarry in the middle of the Tuff Spot for a different kind of play. When they had eaten all 3 kids took no time at all to get stuck in.

Finally, there was one last thing I wanted to do before we put the rice away for the day. I got a couple of stencils out and the kids all picked one to make their own rice picture. I placed the stencil on a piece of card, dabbed glue inside and they poured the rice over.

Rice picturesWe spent almost all day today playing with the rainbow rice, and we did so much with it.

The kids loved it and all 3 of them were quite happy to get in the tray and play. Rice is great, clean, messy play and we’ll definitely be doing lots more with it!

I am linking this post up to Edspire’s Messy Play for Matilda Mae

Edspire  Messy Play

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Playdough Cakes

This morning we got the playdough out. I usually just dump all the cutters and bits in the middle and let the kids dig in but today I thought I would try something different.

I gave them muffin cases, happy birthday cake decorations, candles, number and letter cutters and some glitter stars and they made playdough cakes. We even lit the candles at one point and then blew them out!

After a while the kids asked for the plasticine as well and spent some time making models with this.

Notice no cakes were made with the plasticine though. The kids still find plasticine hard to work with so even though they ask for it, they don’t actually do much with it. Well, except Jasmine. Today she did quite a bit of modelling with both the playdough and the plasticine. Thomas managed to roll some plasticine flat (with a lot of encouragement) and used the cutters to make the word “no”, before moving back to the playdough.

The kids did enjoy making playdough cakes today, and it was nice to do something different, but it actually didn’t keep them as occupied as I expected. Next time I’ll probably start with a themed idea, but make sure I include all our usual stuff as well so they can mix and match as they choose.

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