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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween Messy Play

We had our Halloween Messy play session on Monday, with the weather being very wet we were quite busy! So much so i didn't get chance to take many pics.
Lots of fun was had by all & I know its a bit late for sharing Halloween ideas, but could be good for next year....
Bottle Ghosts

Decorating Pumpkins & using scissors to cut features

Spiders & Webs
Orange Jelly & Pumpkin Seeds

Sensory box

Orange & Blackish Spaghetti
Play dough Station & 1/2 a pic of the soft toy pool!

Floor Painting
When we got home I had lots of toys which needed a wash so I set the boys up with a bowl of soapy water & got them to give me a hand. They enjoyed this as much as our Lego wash & yes they did need a change of clothes after!

x Jo x

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Happy Halloween....

 Happy Halloween ... I thought I would share our pumpkin(s) carving effort with you. This year (above) I ended up buying 6 pumpkins, 3 of which were big enough for carving & stacked so well I just had to make a pumpkin tower. After searching pintrest & goggle we decided that the traditional look would be best. I'm really pleased with the results, I used a dry wipe pen to draw on the faces & used a kit from the £1 shop with 2 great knives to cut it out. I then used a permanent marker to highlight some of the features so it looks god in day-light as well, as we will be taking it to Josephs party.

As I wasn't blogging this time last year here are our previous pumpkins...



x Jo x

P.s Sorry about the mess in the background of some of the pics, you can tell i took them before I'd started blogging!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Seaside Messy Play

I have finally got around to writing up the last of our summer messy play sessions. The theme was the seaside, to cover the beach & the sea - as I couldn't choose! We had lots of fun making our CD fish click here for full details.

On another table I set up all our scissors (straight & curvy etc.) & our punches, along with some old magazines. The kids had great fun cutting out interesting pictures & then sticking them on to some paper to make collages.

I managed to get this great roll of blue & yellow paper from our scrap store & it is just perfect for a beach painting.. I love the concentration Daniel(3) has here, he often sticks his tongue out!

In one of our pools I put a bag of play sand along with lots of sand toys. I'm not a major fan of sand & prefer it when its at the beach (& stays there) so it was a treat for the boys. I even let them keep it in the garden (covered) for a couple of weeks.

The other pool was set up as a rock pool, with lots of green & blue strips (thanks scrap store), some rocks & plastic sea life.

In a sensory box we had some water beads & sea life sand moulds for scooping. It was the first time that the other children & parents had experienced them & they kept going back to explore! 

In the second box we had our collection of boats, sea life figures, our shell collection and water with some blue food colouring. Water play is always popular I've noticed that on the weeks without water play that many kids end up playing in the hand washing bowl.

We also had out some blue play dough & our play-doh octopus & several relevant cutters.

We had so much fun all summer (& lots of hard work), its really great to let the boys explore several creative or sensory stations & move at their own pace. We often do things like this at home but only ever one at a time & we also have other distractions. I cant wait for our Halloween special messy play.

x Jo x

Thursday, 24 October 2013

CD Fish Craft

I've been so wrapped up in Autumn & Halloween I've forgotten to share the details of the last of my summer messy play sessions. Our theme was the seaside to include the beach & under the sea. I have been wanting to make CD fish with the boys for a while so it seamed like the perfect craft for this theme.

Daniel (3)

Once I had collected enough old Cd's (thank goodness our local scrap store had some), I cut out lots of fins, tails & hearts for lips, form various colours of stiff paper (card or craft foam would also work well). You could glue these on, but would need to wait for them to dry before decorating the front. So we used sellotape to attach them on to the back of our Cd's.

We then flipped them over stuck on a googly eye & then the kids got creative with a selection of decorations to glue on.

My example fish, I love having an excuse to create!
Here are a few of our fab fish..

These would be great to make any time, but would be great if you are working on an under the sea theme or the letter F. Check back soon for the rest of the details of our seaside messy play...
x Jo x

Friday, 18 October 2013

Halloween Crafts & Sensory Fun

Following on from our Top 20 Halloween Crafts & Messy Play Ideas post we have been getting everything ready for our 1/2 term group messy play session. We've decided to make bottle ghosts, spider webs, & spiders. We will also decorate some paper pumpkins but I'm yet to prep for this! 
I'm collecting & washing lots of bottles ready for our ghosts. We will be filling them with cotton wool then sticking on eyes & mouths that I've cut out of sticky back felt. I'm also saving our milk bottles to make ghost decorations for Josephs party, by drawing on the face with a permanent marker pen.

 We have lots of wool scraps here courtesy of the boys Grandma, so a paper plate spider web was a great way to use some up! I've got a stack of paper plates (large & small) which I have punched lots of holes in, ready for a length of wool to be tied on & threaded around to make a web. These webs look great with small plastic spiders, but i thought the kids would like to make a spider. I love this spider from Red Ted Art so to make our spiders we will be making the body from a ball of black paper (mine was A5). The legs are made from 2 pipe cleaners in 1/2, twisting all 4 pieces together & taping on underneath. I then glued some googly eyes on & decorated with some glitter glue. He looks really cute sat on a small pumpkin, which is where he is living for now :-)

Daniel (3) has been helping me get our sensory box ready for the session as well. We started out by raiding the cupboard for all the lentils, & split peas etc we used to make our Dinosaurs back in the summer, we then added a couple of packs of soup & broth mix that we picked up reduced to clear. In total our box has nearly 2kg of dried goods to make the base. We then added our collection of spiders, bugs, snakes & a small witch. We found these cute mini pumpkin buckets & eyeballs in a £ shop. I then added some co-ordinating pom poms as the boys love these & later on some scoops. Daniel has had lots of fun testing out this box for me! 

Really looking forward to both the messy play session & Josephs birthday party. However my house (&head) is full of to buy/make/do/cook lists, so will be relieved once I have pulled it all off!

x Jo x

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Autumn Walks & Using Our Finds

I don't know what it is about autumn but we always seam to take lots of walks in the woods & park. I guess we are just making the most of the weather until it gets too cold & wet. On a recent walk in our local woods we found the most amazing climbing tree, it had lots of low branches to climb. It was so good even daddy had a go!
So over the past couple of weeks we have been collecting lots of treasures on our walks we have found acorns, hazel nuts, conkers & pine cones. So while Joseph was at school Daniel (3) helped me sort out some conkers we collected. 

I hadn't realised that there were different types but we collected from 2 different trees, the 1st tree had one conker in each 'case' & the 2nd was a very spiky case which has 3 conkers in each. I'm not sure why but most of these triplet conkers were underdeveloped but we were lucky enough to find a few good ones. Daniel remarked on how the cases were soft on the inside & sharp on the outside, I then asked what the conker felt like & we agreed on smooth but hard. To continue the learning I added the letters A, C & H to a piece of paper and the name of our treasures. I read these out & helped Daniel identify which was which.

After I drew out a letter A on the back of the paper, I then asked Daniel to make the letter out of our acorn collection. This had worked well with sweets on our letters of the week J & H. He found this a little tricky as they roll around, but managed in the end & then decided to add all the acorns!
I'm not always sure what to do with all the treasures they collect its really ice now they are older to let them play & learn with them, only 12 months ago I would have been worried about Daniel eating them!

x Jo x

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Pumpkin Cupcakes

So as Joseph has requested cupcakes for his upcoming Halloween birthday party, I thought I should test out a few recipes. Using the Libby's tinned pumpkin puree that I found in Waitrose, I first tried this recipe here, it really helps to have a set of American measuring cups when using US recipes, I found mine on e-bay. These turned out well, but was defiantly a muffin recipe, I don't think they would have worked very well iced. I made this 1st batch the day before the Macmillan coffee morning at school so was thrilled (its the little things) to be able to use this idea I had pinned ages ago of threading ribbon through a hole punched paper plate.

I then tried this recipe which uses half the amount of pumpkin, this will be the recipe I will use for Josephs party as it has a much lighter more cakey texture. I really must concentrate more when baking as I managed to make this batch & put it in the cases without the eggs! I ended up scooping it back into the bowl, binning the cases, adding the egg & using new cases..

Later that day I made a couple of batches of icing for the cakes. I managed to mess up both the butter cream & the cream cheese frosting, somehow they ended up runny! I think I used too much water in the butter cream & I'm assuming that light cream cheese doesn't work! On the plus side i made a second batch of butter cream using the recipe on the back & just adding a tiny bit of milk & it turned out much better (the pink one). I think with enough sprinkles on top they will be passable for the party...

x Jo x

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Pumpkin Sun Catcher Craft

After I wrote about these cool Halloween sun catchers in my Top 20 Halloween Messy Play & Craft Ideas post, The boys & I were inspired to make some pumpkin decorations ready for Halloween & Joseph's (5th) Birthday party. 

We had used up all our black card however I found a large piece of orange ( just smaller than a3). So while Joseph was at school Daniel (3) & I got busy getting everything ready. I set Daniel the task of cutting up some orange, red & yellow tissue paper, he is always more than happy to practise his scissor skills! While he was doing that I cut the orange card out in to a pumpkin shape then cut it again 2-3 cm inside. Out of the one piece of card I managed to get 4 pumpkin shapes & 2 smaller solid pumpkin shapes. I then used an off cut of some green card to cut out some stalks. Next came the difficult bit of sticking each pumpkin shape on to some sticky back plastic (aka, book covering or contact paper). Once done I re-applied the backing ready for later.

Once Joseph was home from school the boys had lots of fun decorating their pumpkins. It was a great way of sticking without any mess & they loved it. Once they had finished I applied some more sticky back plastic on the other side to seal in the tissue paper. You could also add a face to your pumpkin before sealing it.
These can be used anywhere but look amazing with light shining through on a window. We've put them up on our lounge window for now, as our neighbours would think I was crazy for putting up Halloween decorations so early! Nearer to the date they will go up on the Kitchen window & then after we will use them as decorations for Joseph's birthday.

At the weekend we used the 2  solid pumpkins & the remaining tissue squares to make these mini pumpkins. To save too much mess I squeezed the glue directly on the card & let the boys spread it around with a glue stick. Apparently Joseph thinks pumpkins have to look angry & that involves a frown! Daniel copied but his (on top) just looks sad...

x Jo x

For more Halloween fun check out my:

Top 20 Halloween Messy Play & Craft Ideas
Top 20 Halloween Party Food Ideas
Halloween Pintrest Board