December 20, 2010

Sock Snowmen

Says one snowman to another: "Do you smell carrots? " :)

Sometime in the 1990's, a local shop here in South Africa sold the terrific American Parents magazine and I use to love buying them. One of my favourite copies was a December issue that had the most amazing Christmas crafts in it. I don't ever part with such great inspiration and ideas, so these have been safely kept in one of my many art-and-craft flip files for all these years! These very sweet snowmen are one of those crafts.

Little One has amused me so, by saying that they are "cool" (which they are:)) and "key-ute"! But, each time I leave him alone with them, he rips off their noses!

Hope you are having a great Christmas week.

PS. I'm linking this to  

December 14, 2010

Pipe Cleaner Teddy Bear

I found this Teddy Bear tutorial a few years ago at my local craft shop Joh Se Winkel. Now having the blog, I just couldn't resist sharing it. So here is the tutorial and pictures:

Take one pipe cleaner (the thicker, fluffier ones work better) and cut off 6cm. These are the ears. Then cut off 10cm (the arms). You will be left with 14cm (the legs).

Bend each end of the 6cm piece to the middle and then do the same for the 10cm piece and the 14cm piece. After bending the 14cm piece, bend it down into the shape of an upside down "V".

Take the second uncut pipe cleaner and make a tiny loop at the top. (It looks like a long walking stick). Put the ears into the loop and fold the pipe cleaner twice over the middle of the ears. Then continue folding the pipe cleaner over, but once to the side (of the middle) and then to the other side. You have now created the face. If you lift the ears, the little face will show.

Put the arms under the chin and put the legs directly under the arms. Bend the remaining pipe cleaner over the legs and over the one shoulder and then repeat over the other shoulder until the pipe cleaner is finished. Tuck the end of the pipe cleaner in somewhere. Lastly add the eyes and nose carefully (otherwise there is glue all over the face) and dress as you please! :)

I made some teddies today with some eight year old friends and they managed to get it right (with just a little help). So this is a nice fine-motor activity for older kiddos.

I hope you found this easy to follow and will be making some of your own.

PS. I'm linking this to: 

December 11, 2010

Christmas Cards Cont.

 Some more Christmas Cards...the children did join in for one or two this time around, but I think I still enjoyed the making of these the most. These were definitely easier to make than the fabric and buttons cards (to see those, click here).

Some more Christmassy crafts coming up this week, so stay tuned!

December 9, 2010

Christmas Cards

I love making and giving homemade Christmas cards, but I must admit that in the last few years I have resorted to store bought cards. I decided that this year would be different and so made these. I had intended for the children to be involved, but Big One wasn't in the mood and the fabric and buttons were a bit finicky for Little One, so I made them without the kiddos. I like how they turned out.

I will share another round of Christmas cards...hopefully kiddos included!

PS. I'm sharing this at
Show and Tell @ ABC and 123

December 5, 2010

Chocolate Play Dough!


I have never much liked store bought play dough. I think it's the smell of it that mainly puts me off. But year after year I have continued to buy it, never considering making any of my own. I have always thought that there would be far too much work involved. How wrong could I be! I first tried a no-cook recipe, as I tend to avoid the stove at all costs, but it wasn't very successful. I then came across this recipe at My Montessori Journey (via Counting Coconuts). What a pleasure to make! And it's just the best playdough to play with! This, pictured here, is my second batch and as you can see I decided to be a little adventurous. I made two batches with different amounts of cocoa added (10ml and 50ml). Little One tried to eat it a few times, but a taste or two of the salty doughy mixture and he spat it out very quickly!

I recently spoke to some girlfriends of mine who have never made play dough either. This one is especially for you ladies. Have fun!

PS. To keep your dough lasting well, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

PPS. I'm linking this to  Show and Tell @ ABC and 123.

{Added at a later date:  A nicer and easier play dough recipe (in my opinion) found here.}

December 3, 2010

Christmas Sensory Box

The first advent calender surprise for my kiddos was this sensory box. It was very much inspired by the amazing sensory tubs of Mari-Ann at Counting Coconuts . I used a nice rectangular plastic container (available form the local plastic shop), coloured rice, ornaments, nicknacks from my Christmas decoration's box and some yummy Father Christmas chocolates.

To colour the rice, I simply took dry uncooked rice and slowly added red food colouring. I mixed it thoroughly and when I was happy with the colour, let it air dry in the bowl. I have read on the net about oven drying coloured rice, but this worked very nicely and I didn't have to go near the oven :). Thanks Trudie for the tip.

The baubles were carefully selected to teach some new concepts: shiny and dull (or matt), big and small, as well as silver and gold. I intentionally used different textures is a sensory box after all! So there is hard and soft items and I included plastic, wood, wool, fabric and paper! The tinsel tickles (tactile), the chocolates smell (olfactory) and taste yummy (oral), the small bells ring (auditory) and the whole box provides lots of visual stimulation. The rice is, of course, also part of the sensory fun and by adding a spoon and cup, lots of scooping and pouring can happen. Having said all this, the trick is to spend some time with your child playing with the sensory box. Little One loses interest quite quickly, unless I join in on the fun. I must add that even Big One enjoyed this box.

I need to warn you, this gets messy! I am trying to teach Little One to keep the rice in the container, but it's difficult to really enjoy this activity without a bit of mess. To keep me sane, 'cause I'm a bit of a neat freak, I have a Dustbuster. Pick n Pay sell an AEG model for R189. I think this is the best money I have ever spent!

Happy playing till next time :)

PS. “Come over to play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up”
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