Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Christmas crafts for kiddies

As you know, we love our homemade gifts and crafts in our house. William loves art, painting and crafting, and so do I! So each year at Christmas time, we try to make some gifts to take back to Williams grandparents. 

Now all these activities are really easy to prepare and use materials that are easy to get hold of, you probably have them already at home! So enjoy having a go at these over the next few weeks!

Glittery Baubles

We went back to an old favourite, painting foil. Different paints make different patterns and marks, its shiny and crinkly and noisey too! 

Simply paint with any colours you like, older children could maybe do some nice patterns of lines or zigzags and spots. Once it is dry, apply some glue and sprinkle on glitter. Cut the foil into circles and mount onto card, I used a thin black pen to draw on the hanging details. 

Christmas tree, oh christmass tree...

Two Christmas tree crafts here for you. Firstly, a washi tape christmass tree. This is pretty self explanatory, cut lengths of washi tape and stick onto paper in a triangle shape. If you don't have washi tape you could use normal trips of paper or card, ribbons, wool, string, Pom poms, painted cotton wool, the options are endless. 

For this spiral Christmas tree, just do some nice painting onto a piece of card, then cut into a spiral shape once it's dry. I also cut out small circles from the painted card scraps and William glued them on as baubles. Again, you could add glitter, Pom poms, scrunched up sweet wrappers or foil. I think this would look really nice if you used a marbling technique to colour the card too. Go crazy! 

Use a hole punch or needle to make a hole at the top of the spiral to lace through some ribbon to hang it up. We added a little wooden star to finish it off. 

Salt dough

Salt dough always goes down well with kids, it doesn't matter what age they are! Let's face it, I would enjoy making adult versions too! I used this recipe for my salt dough, but there are loads out there on the Internet. We added cinnamon as thought it would smell nice on the Christmas tree. 

We used cookie cutters to make our shapes, as well as playdough cutters but simple circles work well too. In dubai, it's warm enough to leave the salt dough ornaments outside to dry out, but if your not living in the desert just wack them in the oven for a few hours on a low heat. 

Do you want to build a snowman?

I am afraid that is something you cannot really do in dubai, unless you visit the snow park at mall of Emirates! So crafting one will have to do instead!

There are loads of snowman craft ideas online, this is just one we tried so far. Simply sticking cotton wool onto a piece of paper, then adding googly eyes and a foam nose. I mounted him onto another piece of card and William did some Christmas stamping around the edge to decorate. 

Here's a few more ideas you might be interested in. If we get time we will work our way through them too in the next couple of weeks. 

Snowflakes - a classic, fold up a piece of paper at least 3 or 4 times (the more the better) and cut out little shapes. When you open the paper up you should have made a lovely snowflake.

Hand and foot prints- you can use your kiddies hand and foot prints to make loads of different animal designs. A foot can make a great reindeer, a hand can make a family of snowmen. Check out these ideas on Pinterest. 

Stamping - kids love print making, so why not make your own wrapping paper? You can jazz up some plain brown wrapping by making some Christmassy prints. Hand and foot prints wlike those above would work well, or just a good old potato! 

Baking - there are tons of recipes out there for Christmas goodies but these cookies caught my eye. They are so cute! If you don't have time to bake the cookies yourself, you could simply decorate some shop bought biscuits like this, using marshmallows and icing. 

Well there you have it, our little round up. Some of these would make great little gifts for grandparents, or entertain your kids on a Christmas themed play date! 

Please let me know how you get on with them, or share with me your own ideas! 

'J' week- back to school

Ok, so after the sparse letter I activities we did, J week was crammed full!

J for Jungle

I like activities which also get us out the house and get us moving! So for this jungle collage, we went for a walk around our neighbourhood here in Dubai. Obviously we have glorious sunny weather here every day so any excuse to get out there and enjoy it! We went in search of some leaves for our collage and William liked practicing his scissor skills cutting them off. We have a lot of these tall grasses here and they make perfect tickling sticks! Hehe... Gets a giggle out of both of us.

J for Jellyfish

We found some awesome books at the library all about jellyfish. We picked one story one and one that had simple information about jellyfish. William really enjoyed reading this non-fiction one. I was advised by my mother in law, a retired infants teacher, to pick at least one non-fiction book each time we go to the library. I understood the idea behind it but wasn't sure what William would think as we always read story books. But he loves it! He actually learnt from the book too, and can tell you that a jelly fish has a bell, and tentacles that hang down from it. 

We used the book as a basis to do a collage of a jelly fish. William used cut up bits of foil for the bell and tentacles, as well as wool, cotton wool and wrapping ribbon. He finished it with some rather attractive blue painting!

He also had a go at making some jellyfish out of old toilet roll tubes. If you read my blog regularly, you will know we seem to work toilet roll tubes into most weeks. William enjoyed painting the tubes, and I finished them off by making holes for the yarns and ribbons to be tied into. Googly eyes (another favourite) and a happy little smile completed them nicely!

Wibble wobble, wibble wobble, Jelly on a plate

I don't normally do many sensory activities. No particular reason. I just guess I try to do things that are quick and easy to get my hands on and don't have time (or quite frankly the inclination) to dye rice into rainbow colours etc. 

However, jelly... This I can do. Empty packet, add water, put in fridge. Job done. William helped me to make it and did lots of stirring. Then when it was set later on, I gave him the bowl and a spoon and said, 'have fun!'

Surprisingly, he didn't get too messy. If you have a child that has a tendency to get messy, maybe do it in the bath or the garden where you can simply hose it away after. (The jelly, not your child). 

There are many reasons sensory play is good for kids. Using jelly is a pretty good option as it doesn't matter if kids end up eating it. When I took William to baby sensory when he was about one year old, they used cooked spaghetti too. Slippy, slimy, gooey, squashy. Great fun for little kids.

J for Jonathon

My husband has a friend at work called Jonathon. Williams collage of Jonathon is pretty accurate. 

Check out his writing underneath! I wrote Jonathan's name in pencil and William copied over the top. Don't think it's too bad considering Williams not yet three! 

How are your letters coming on? As always, please share your ideas! 

'I' week- back to school

Whoa... Apologies for the short post for 'i' week! We have been so busy recently and to be honest my mind seemed to come up empty when trying to think of letter I activities. However, here are a couple of the things we did and some other ideas for you!

I for iguana 

Introducing William to the shape of the letter I, we created this collage. Adding spikes and eyes to turn it into an iguana. Thanks to 'a little pinch of perfect' for this idea! I'm not sure what the red lines coming out of his mouth are all about... You'd have to ask William that!

You may have noticed that there are a couple of 'I' letters on the page too. William does seem to enjoy copying the letters when I write them, and has even done a few sheets now where he copies the letters made out of dots. I printed a set off the internet, sorry can't remember the link now but there are loads of them out there. He only seems to want to do it if it's his idea though! So I cleverly leave the letter page out on the table for a while and he often finds his way to it at some point in the week! 

I is for Icecream

I imagine most people like ice cream. I know I do... Cookies and cream, caramel and praline, good old brownie chocolate chip... I'm not fussy. (Note to self, buy ice cream at next available opportunity). 

William loves gluing and sticking.... And glitter! So cue another collage of colourful papers he can stick down. This activity promoted discussions about lots of things, favourite flavours, colours, counting the scoops of ice cream, shapes of the papers etc. you could number the pieces of paper so that kids can glue the, down in number order too. I think I might try that next time we do an activity like this.

We also had a go at making our own healthy ice cream. We blended up some strawberries and plain yogurt with a sprinkle of sugar then put it in the freezer. Unfortunately we didn't have many berries left and I think it would have been nicer with more fruit in it. But its a good way of getting fruit into little ones who think they are having a treat. 

Other letter I ideas

Indigo - Go in search of any items you can find in the house that are indigo coloured. Cover a page in indigo coloured paints, crayons and crafty bits. If your children are a little older, maybe try tye dying some fabric this colour?

Inventions - Possible another one for older children, read about inventions! I have seen some great books at the library and when William is a little older I'm sure we will get more books on this kind of non-fiction topic. If you don't have a local library to go to, just try the Internet. I often just search on you tube for clips for William to watch. 

Ink - Stamping with inks always goes down well with William. You can get some gorgeous sets now, I like the Melissa and Doug ones. Alternatively, just buy some inks and make your own stamps using potatoes and sponges etc.  (why is it now, when I am sat writing this post, am I thinking of all these things and not when I actually wanted to do them?!)

Well that about does it for now. I hope you are enjoying the lead up to Christmas. We have been busily crafting away and preparing for our trip back to the UK to visit our families. I love the weather here in Dubai, it's lovely here at the moment, dare I say it, even a little chilly in the evenings when your out. So I will miss that, but also look forward to wrapping up warm, log fires, and misty walks to the country pub!

'H' week - back to school

We had a great week learning about the letter H. Lots of activities to share today...

Happy reading

William and I are really enjoying our trips to the library each week. Every Sunday we go for story time at the ductac library in the mall of Emirates and try to pick some books that focus on our letter of the week. We found this great one by Dr Seuss, 'Hooper Humperdink...? Not him!' And we dug out old favourites from Wills collection, Hamiltons Hats and The Highway rat by Julia Donaldson. We did some artwork based on some of the books we read, I'll show you some in a bit.

Our first craft was to introduce William to the letter H, filling the letter with all the stickers we could find that began with H. 


We also got this book from the library, 'Elma and the Hippos'. William did some painting on a piece of paper which I then cut up into shapes to make a collage of a hippo. William glued on all the body parts and googly eyes. You can't go wrong with googly eyes in my opinion. We stuck a piece of cotton wool under the hippos head to give it a bit of a 3D look. 


Will loves play dough, so making this hedgehog out of playdough and cut up pipe cleaners kept him busy for a while! 

We also had a go at some sewing. I made this hedgehog out of an old cereal box, don't judge me, I made it pretty quickly as when I have these weird ideas, I make them fairly quickly without planning! I used a hole punch to make holes randomly around the edge. I gave William a large needle that I use for wool as it's not very sharp, and tied a length of wool onto it so it wouldn't come loose. 

He weaved the needle with the wool through the holes in any direction he fancied. I think it looks pretty good! It was great for his fine motor skills and learning to be a bit more accurate with his hand movements and aiming. I may give this a go again with him for some Christmas decorations. 

Salt dough hearts

As part of a Christmas pack for family back in the UK. I used a salt dough recipe I found online and added some cinnamon for a nice winters smell! William used our cookie cutters to cut out Hearts and painted them with poster paints. I finished them off with some string. 

Building Houses

William loves gluing and sticking, so collages are a fab little activity to do with him. Building this house allowed us to talk about shapes, colours and how an 'H' is formed. This is really quick to prepare, I sat down one evening for about ten minutes, just cutting out the shapes for him and drawing the windows. Of course, if you have older children, they can do the cutting and drawing themselves too. William enjoyed it so much, he made two, one for us, one for a friend at daddy's work. 

We also built a house using his large lego blocks (and towers, because you always need to build a tower when your using bricks), and lined the blocks up in the shape of an H. 

Horse ride

This was also the week I took William for a horse ride. He absolutely loved it! Check out my post here about our trip to Desert Palm Polo Club, Dubai. 

Well I hope you have enjoyed our round up of H activities. As always, please let me know if you have a go at any yourself with your kids. We would love to see them!