Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Snow sensory play!

What you need - shaving foam (white shaving foam, blue shaving gel won't really work!), a tray of some sort - I used a paint roller tray, a block of ice frozen over night in a tub, some little people/animals to play with and anything else to make a set for them, eg a house/trees/cars.

 Then cover the whole tray in foam, including the toy houses/cars/trees.grass etc.  Pop the ice out the tub - this becomes the ice rink for the characters to skate on.

This activity is lots of fun, and very messy!

Can talk about the properties of ice "slippy, hard, cold, melts" etc.   The shaving foam is good for making patterns/writting letters in with fingers.  Lots of fun can be had hiding the toys under the foam and trying to seek them out again!


More Christmas tree decorations

Following on from previous blog about these, here are some more we have made!
Silver and gold paint from Sainsburys.   Painted the stars silver.
Then when dry stuck some small silver stars on.

Candy canes.  Painted with glitter sprinkled on while paint still wet.
Painted gold, and gold glitter sprinkled around the middle.

Multicoloured bauble and glitter spinkled on.

Tip for doing the round baubles - put them in a cup while trying to paint so as they don't roll away and you don't smudge the other side with your fingers!
The first lot we hung up to dry - but the weight of the wet paint made the hook fall off so now I balance them on a cup to dry.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Snow flakes

Always a popular craft! These are really simple too, you need a circle of white paper folded in half 3 or 4 times. You then cut small pieces from this.

When you open it up....ta daaa! A beautiful snow flake which can then be decorated with glitter, sequins or glitter glue!

These look great stuck up on windows, or hung on ribbons!

This is good for older children to practice their scissor skills, however any age can decorate the snow flakes. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

marble effect tree baubles

For this activity we purchased our baubles from "little crafty bugs" (link at bottom of page) but there are many different sites that you can buy similar from.  And if you were feeling very adventurous you could make your own using paper mache!

First we filled a tray with stripes of paint, any colours you like.

Then drop the baubles in to the paint.

Tilt the tray slowly from side to side to help the baubles get covered in paint.
We had lots of fun watching them roll around and predicting which bauble would reach the other side first!


 They are finished when they look something like this -


You can then sprinkle them with some glitter.
And hang them up to dry by their strings with clothes pegs!  Remember to pop something under to catch the drips!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Down with the Autumn freeze!

Our Autumn freeze came down this week! 
Watch this space for the winter one...!

halloween party games

Photo uploader not working today - will add the photos to each of these games later.

Pin the nose on the witch.  Same as pin the tail on the donkey really!

Dooking for apples. Bowl of apples in water.  Either retirieve with mouth, or by kneeling on back of a chair and dropping a fork in!

Retrieving a marshmallow from a tray of icing sugar without using hands. 

Decorating ghost biscuits - made in advance.  Allow children to decorate with icing and sweets of their choice. Then of course eat!

Finding the spiders in the witches cauldren to win a prize! Cauldren potion made with - jelly, cooked spaghetti, food colouring and glitter!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Halloween biscuits

Mentioned before the cookie cutters that I purchased at the Good Food Show.  Used these to make some biscuits for Halloween.

Recipe is  -
  • 125g/4oz butter
  • 55g/2oz sugar
  • 180g/6oz plain flour
Cream butter and sugar then add flour.  Roll out and cut in to shapes!
Cook in oven at gas mark 5 for 20mins.
The children then decorated these with icing and sweeties!
And the finished ghost biscuit! They were delicious!


Halloween nails"

This is a good idea if you have slightly older children.  You can buy Halloween nail transfers  - we got ours from ebay.  Paint your nails a Halloween colour, stick on transfers and then coat with clean nail polish - easy!
If you can't get any transfers then you could just decorate your nails yourself - eg dram a pumpkin, witches hat or skull!

Witches potion - messy play!

This is a good Halloween messy play activity! We made a cauldren in the garden from plant pots - if you have an old pot or a real cauldren then that would be even better! 
The "ingredients" I provided were all different textures/smells/colours.  We had - paprika, purple glitter, cinnamon, pink paint, mustard seeds, rice and a few other spices!
We poured some water in to the "cauldren" and I let her add the ingredients one at a time! We discussed what they smelled, looked and felt like.  Also what affect the ingredients had on the potion in terms of colour/smell.
There was much fun had with this activity! Sang the witches of Halloween song, talked about what the potion would do!  "Turn you in to a frog" was the decision!
We added grass, leaves and flowers too, just to make it extra specially magic!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween decorations

Used our cookie cutter shapes to cut out pumpkin and bat shapes.  Also cut out some witches hats. 
We decorated these with stickers, glitter glue and pens.
Attach them all together with some ribbon and here are our decorations all ready for our party!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Our version of Paul Hollywoods plaited loaf!

We made this the other day using the recipe for no knead dough which I blogged about here http://giraffescancraft.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/no-knead-bread.html now the bread we made probably would have tasted much better had I not forgotten the salt!  And perhaps I should use the larger bowl next time as I forgot how much it rises!


Seperated the bread in to 3 strands, joined together at top and then plaited them.  If you try this I reccomend doing it on baking paper as I then had to lift my bread on to the tray and it nearly fell apart!

Older children can try this themselves, for the little ones they can roll dough out in to sausage shapes/balls for rolls. And even making patterns in the flour is fun!
Plaited loaf and rolls....
Then we brushed them with some milk and popped them in the oven. 
So far they have been served with butter and jam, warmed spread with butter and served with chilli and used in packed lunch.
The rest of the dough has been used for pizza bases, and some left to use next week.  I always love the pride children have when they say "I made that!" and point to their dinner! I think it is good to encourage them not to be afraid to experiment.  Yes sometimes we (well I!) burn things, forget an ingredient or it just doesn't turn out great, but the process of making it is enjoyable and that is how we learn to make it better the next time.  For children to learn that everyone makes mistakes and how to deal with that is, in my opinion, a positive life lesson.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Good food show 2012

Was at the Good Food Show at the SECC in Glasgow yesterday.  It was brilliant, a wonderful variety of foods.  Purchased some delicious cheesecake and brownies!  I also had a look at a stall called "The kids cooking company" and I bought some Halloween cookie cutters.  Will be trying them out next week! If you want to get your own the website is - http://www.thekidscookingcompany.co.uk/
We paid for tickets to a baking demonstration from Great Brittish Bake Off stars Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.  Paul showed us how to do the 8 strand plaited loaf as seen on the show!  Might attempt a simpler version this week using the no knead dough I have blogged about before.  Photo of Paul and Mary doing this -
Also spotted at the show was my friends cake from her business Queen of Hearts, Cakes and Tarts, Glasgow!  Not sure I could attempt anything this fancy with the children! Perhaps a much simplified version!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Halloween party games

Witches cauldren search!
 This is a brilliantly disgusting game to play with children who love slime and mess!  Cold cooked spaghetti with food colouring, or tinned spaghetti in a large bowl to be the witches cauldren.  You can also do this with jelly!  You can also add rice crispies, lentils or anything else you fancy!  Pop some plastic spiders (or similar) in to the cauldren and mix them up.  The children have to use their hands to find all the spiders and rescue them!  Just make sure you have a bowl of water and a towel handy!
Pin the nose on the cat!
We painted a large black cat a few days before the party and pinned this on to the wall.  The children were blindfolded and had to try to bluetac the nose (green triangle stuck beside the cat) on to the correct place.  You can mark childrens guesses by writting their initials in pencil.  The winner is the child who managed to get their nose closest to the correct place.  You can see in this photo we had also done some other Halloween posters and crafts, including spiders webs!
Dooking for apples
Also known as ducking/bobbing for apples.  You need a large basin of water with apples floating inside.  Children use their mouth to bite and pull an apple from the water.  You can also do this activity by kneeling up on a chair and dropping a fork in to the bowl, if the fork stabs the apple then you get to keep the apple.  Lots of towels on the floor around bowl is always a good idea!
Mummy game (or "toilet roll game!")
All you need for this game is some cheap toilet roll!  The aim of the game is to wrap your partner up like a mummy.  The winning team is the first to have their mummy completely covered.  This game usually causes much hillarity!  When you have finished you can encourage the children to race to collect all the toilet roll up and place in a bag!
More games to follow!

Malteser bars!

Not Halloween related but we did these last week so though I would share, they are delicious and great with a lovely warm cuppa after playing outside in the cold!  Also if I whisper the Christmas word...they are good as home made gifts! But it is far too early for talk of that!

Here is the recipe from the BBC - http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/11944/malteser-crunch-bars although I tend to use milk chocolate on the top and then white chocolate drizzled in patterns.

First we made shopping lists which depending on the age of your children is good writing practice or a chance to develop emergent writing skills.  (Further ideas for play with writing include - Drs surgery and writing prescriptions, post office and addressing envelopes/writing letters, school teachers and writing on the blackboard)

We went to the shops armed with our lists.  You can let the children locate/pick up the items, put them in basket and then on to checkout and let them pay. 
The 2nd best part of this activity is "bashing" the digestives with a wooden spoon! 
After stage one our mixture looked like this -
This activity provides a good opportunity to talk about "melting" and "setting" and discussing what happens to chocolate/butter when it melts.  Can also discuss other things that melt - eg ice.  And depending on the age/stage of the child -  Do water and melted chocolate go hard again at the same temperature? Why not?
I said the 2nd best part of this activity was bashing the biscuits - the best part of course is licking the bowl after the melted chocolate has been poured on top!
Once that has set you can make patterns on top with the melted white chocolate, this is good for fine motor skills and making lines/swirls/patterns on the chocolate.  The top of this can be decorated with cushed maltesers. And here are our finished products ready to be cut up and enjoyed! 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Pumpkin biscuits

These are from a few years ago but will be making more next week!  They are made from -
  • 4oz butter
  • 2oz sugar
  • 6oz plain flour
Use a cutter to make circle shapes and score the lines of the pumpkins on with a knife.
For the eyes you can use, raisins, chocolate or anything else you fancy!  Bake for 20min at gas mark 5. 

Toddler group Halloween craft 2

As I have mentioned before, I run a toddler group with my friend and the activity I did for this week was painting witches hats!  I had planned on using black paper but unfortunately there was none left in our store cupboard!  So settled for white card instead.  I cut out the hat shapes and prepared all the paints.  We have aprons for all the children and I warned all the parents first that we were going to paint - so they could keep their children away from the paint table if they didn't want them to do it.

I suggested to the children that they might want to make the hats bright and colourful to help the witch make some really wonderful magic!  We started off using paint brushes but there was also lots of finger/hand painting too!

We talked about what happend to the colours when they were mixed together!  And discussed the different patterns the children were making - lines, dots, stripes, circles etc.
Always a good idea to have a bowl of soapy water and towel nearby too - ofcourse playing in the water and watching it change colour when painty hands are in it is almost as much fun as painting!
This activity is good for - exploring colours and mixing colours. Creating lines, patterns and shapes. Controlling a paint brush.   
Further ideas for this activity - Use black paper.  attach a piece of card round the back of the hat with staples so as the hat fits on the head.