Make a Windmill

A few mornings ago my daughter came rushing upstairs with two icecream sticks and a piece of paper saying that she wanted to make a windmill. 

We sat together coming up with ideas and different designs and this is the result. Really simple and quick to make. It has now become the centre point to build further constructions around with building brick toys and has been named “The Windy Willow Windmill” 

You will need –

  • 1 small paper fastener (width – 2mm)
  • 100 craft lolly sticks (11cm x 1cm)
  • 2 icecream sticks (length – 9.5cm)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Drill (with 3mm wood bit)


1. Start with 4 lolly sticks and build a square base using the glue gun to secure the corners



2. Build up to 11cm high, occasionally glueing a row upright instead of flat. Leave to set.


3. Take 10 lolly sticks and glue them side by side as shown above. Make 4 sets of these panels.

4. Once glue is set, take 2 panels and glue onto the tower to form two sides of the triangular roof. 


5. With the remaining two panels, use the glued roof sides as a guide and mark where to cut to make the panels for the front and back of the roof. 

6. Cut x2 triangles with scissors and glue one panel to the back side of the roof. 

7. Take the two icecream sticks and position them as windmill blades, mark the centre point and drill through. Glue together making sure to avoid the drilled hole.


8. Cut two 2cm pieces of lolly stick and take the remaining roof side and glue them in place; central and halfway down  (as shown above). 

9. Take the blades and attach between the 2cm pieces with the paper fastener leaving it loose enough to spin. Secure the fastener at the back with the glue gun.

10. Glue the front of the roof in place. 

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Block Printed Wrapping Paper

Last year we enjoyed printing Christmas & thank you cards with my eldest daughter’s designs, so this year we had a go at printing wrapping paper. This was a great project that we could all get involved with. My four year old did the design this time; a sweet reindeer drawing that made a great print.

 
Materials

1 roll of Plain wrapping paper

Block printing ink

Ink tray

Lino cutter

Ink roller /brayer 

Lino sheet

Paper

Pencil

Marker pen

Wooden block (cut to size of design)

Strong craft glue

1. Draw out a design. Using a thick marker pen on the lino.

2. Cut out the areas around the marked section. Trimming off excess lino. Glue to wooden block.

3. Roll out some ink and apply a very thin layer to the lino. 

4. Do some test prints for positioning and ink density.


5. Apply a very thin layer of ink after each print for an even finish.

6. Print the red noses. We used a flat crayon dipped lightly in ink but fingertip will do too.

7. Leave to dry.

8. Ready to wrap gifts!

Homemade Sparkly Scented Play Dough

We get through so much play dough that I thought I’d be worth having a go making it ourselves. I’ve tried a couple of times before but always ended up with that stodgy floury nursery school smelling stuff. This time I experiented with some different ingredients and invested in some good essential oils. The children enjoyed having different fragrances to sniff, they love smelling the tester perfumes in shops so it was great to have an activity like this at home. 

To make four colours –

You will need 

2 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/2 cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

1 – 1.5 cups of warm previously boiled water

Food colouring 

3-4 drops of glycerine

Essential oils

Vanilla essence

Bowls

Wooden spoons

Plastic containers to store play dough 

Glitter


I used cinnamon leaf, pine needle and mandarin essential oils and vanilla essence. Make sure to research the oils which are safe for you and children, also in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil.

I have used grapeseed oil with all my children in baby massage so I knew their skin wouldn’t react to it. A good tip my baby massage instructor showed me, if using for the first time, is to dab a little on the wrist and wait ten minutes to see if there is a reaction or not.

I divided the ingredients into four so the children could make a tub with a different colour and scent each. But you can always make one batch and then divide the dough to  colour and fragrance.

1. Into four bowls add flour, salt and cream of tartar. 


2. In a separate jug add 2-3 drops of essential oil (or 1tsp vanilla essence) to a teaspoon of grape seed oil and glycerine.

3. Add a 1/4 cup of warm water to the mixture and add the food colouring. 

4. Take one of the bowls of the flour mixture and slowly combine the wet mixture with the dry, adding more plain water if needed, until you get a bread dough like consistency that can be kneaded.

5. Adding different colours and scents repeat stages 2,3,4 for the remaining three bowls of flour mix  

I used yellow with vanilla, green with pine needle, orange with mandarin and red with cinnamon.



6. Place the dough on a smooth surface and add a sprinkle of glitter (too much will cause the dough to crack). 

7. Knead the dough well and it’s ready for play. 


8. Work into a soft ball and store in airtight containers when finished with


If you feel the dough needs refreshing at any point rub a few drops of grapeseed oil into hands and work though the dough, it moistens the dough and your hands!

Make a Children’s Apron 

Materials

Oil cloth 

Invisible thread 

Apron tape 150cm

Cotton thread to match rear side of oil cloth

Cotton thread to match apron tape

Paper Scissors 

Fabric scissors 

90/14 machine needle

Teflon machine foot

Pattern paper

Pencil 

Set square 

Sew on Velcro (2cm wide and 7cm length)


1. Draw pattern using set square for straight edges and making the arm curves not to severe otherwise it won’t hem well.

2. When happy with pattern, cut the oilcloth 

3. Cut x3 50cm of apron tape

4. Double fold the end of two of the strips of apron tape and stitch with coordinating cotton

5. Hem the arm curves with a single fold (approx 0.8cm) and stitch in place, using invisible thread in the spool and cotton thread that matches the backside of the oil cloth in the bobbin.

6. Stitch the two unhemmed tapes in position as shown above

7. Stitch the remaining tape to the two points shown above.

8. Hem the remaining edges

9. Change the bobbin thread to the colour that matches the tape. Fold back and stitch all four points where tape is attached 


To make the neck strap adjustable… 

10. Cut the neck strap 11cm up on the right and hem both ends.

 

11. Sew 5cm of the hook side of Velcro to the short part of the strap and sew 7cm of the loop side to the long part making sure they fasten as pictured below.