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!

Sand Garden

One of my favourite things to do with the children is going on walks and collecting pebbles, shells, feathers and flowers.

Last year we made this pretty sand garden with an old plastic tub, some sand, rocks and flowers. My daughter, who was two and a half at the time, really enjoyed arranging it all.

   

Children’s Homemade Notecards


Materials

a4 Coloured card

a4 paper

Coloured felt

Scissors 

Pencil

Pipe cleaners

Pva glue + brush
  
Fold A4 paper in half and draw basic outline of chosen animals. 

Cut around the outline and place one layer to the side. 

With the remaining later cut out the features. 

Use templates to cut felt and coloured card. 

  

Hand over to children to stick all the pieces together. I did this with my four year old.   

    

 
They look great hanging up …

   

…and make excellent thank you cards.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients
2 eggs
100g unsalted butter softened
100g self-raising flour
100g golden caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
6 tbsp milk

Buttercream
Handful of white chocolate buttons melted
150g Butter
150g Icing sugar
Sugar decorations

Heat oven to 160 fan. I weigh out all the ingredients into bowls for the children and let them get on with it.
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They cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the eggs. Then in goes the flour and baking powder, then cocoa powder. Add vanilla essence and milk. Mix until left with light smooth batter.

They divide mixture between 12 cupcake cases.

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Children then hand tin to me to put in oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

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Meanwhile melt chocolate buttons. Gradually sift and mix the icing sugar into the butter. Once all mixed add melted white chocolate.

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The children can then decorate the cakes.

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A Puppet Show

My three and a half year old asked to make a puppet show. We started off where we always start, by raiding our recycling tub. One thing we are never short of are nappy boxes. We’ve made loads of stuff from them in the past; racing tracks, robot helmets, cars, train tunnels, a barn for farm animals.

So we had our box and this is what we did with it.

Materials we needed for 1 puppet show and 3 puppets

Cardboard box min. 20x20x30cm
White emulsion matt paint
Scissors
Stanley knife (optional)
Glue stick
Pencil
Sticky tape
A4 coloured felt x3
mismatched Buttons x6 (optional)
lolly sticks x3
cotton thread in 3 colours (optional)
Sewing needle (optional)

1. Cut off 2 short and 1 long flap from top of box, keep these to one side. Stick the the remaining flap down with sticky tape.

2. After children’s bedtime – paint with white decorating emulsion in a well ventilated room. Leave to dry.

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3. Child can then decorate it by painting, colouring or sticking shapes cut from coloured paper, stickers or what ever they like.

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4. Draw three simple shapes on the saved flaps. We chose cat, owl and pig. Cut these out.

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5. Take a lolly stick and stick the top third to back of shape. Stick these to the felt.

6. Make sure to leave half a centimetre seam allowance, cut the felt all the way round.

7. You will now have the lolly stick and cardboard shape stuck to the felt. Place this onto a new section of felt. Cut around using the first piece of felt as a guide.

8. Take the second piece of felt and securely sew two buttons for eyes. If very young children in the house and want to avoid buttons, the eyes can be drawn on.

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9. Place the second piece of felt on to hide the cardboard shape. Double thread the needle and sew the edge of the two pieces of felt together. Alternatively can use glue.

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10. Repeat 5,6,7,8,9 for the remaining two characters.

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With some extra paper we drew different scenes for the backdrop.

Curtain up!