Whether you are teaching your children to tell the time or just want a great craft activity, a paper plate clock is an excellent way to get talking about time as you make one. Both my boys have watches and use them too. The Watch Hut has some great childrens watches that are perfect for telling the time.
What you need:
Cut out the hands from contrasting card, making one longer than the other for the minute hand.
Place the numbers round the clock, this is easier if you to the 12, 3, 6 and 9 first.
Make a small whole in the center of the plate for the hands and use the split pin to secure
Variations - You can use two paper plates like we did to make lift up flats and put the minutes underneath. Alternatively you can add them to the outer rim of the paper plate and colour the minutes past one colour and the minutes too another colour.
Free clock printable from Mini Eco. If you don't even feel like making your own clock, then you can print off one of Kate's free printable here.
We are so excited in the Mad House that the Olympics are upon us again. I love the winter olympics and it is a little known fact that Mini was named after a scottish skier! So this week's something for the weekend is dedicated to Olympics.
Make your own Olympic Torch
For inspiration we took a look at the previous torches and discussed what a relay race is. We also looked at the torch being used for this winter Olympics. What you'll need:
1 sheet of white construction paper
Red, yellow, and orange tissue paper, 12" x 12" square of each colour
White craft glue
How to make it:
Roll the construction paper into a cone shape, tape closed.
Layer the tissue paper squares, red on the bottom, then orange, and yellow on top.
Gather from the centre of the squares and hold in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.
Put some white craft glue into the sides of the opening of the cone.
Place the tissue paper into the cone and let the glue dry completely.
Variation: For older children why not make it look more authentic, by covering the torch with bubble wrap to represent the holes and paint with gold paint. I also love this torch painting by J Daniel4's Mom
Other Olympic activities
We had great fun making our own medal chart. This was a super opportunity to discuss why Countries often have different spellings to how we know them and to look at their flags and where they are in an atlas or on the globe. I adore this flags of the world bunting by No time for flashcards. Below are some other great activities for older (6 plus) children:
Be a reporter at your favorite event at the Olympic games. Try to encourage descriptive words and ask lots of questions, which should encourage this. Including What is the sport about? How is it played? What is the weather like? What is the atmosphere like? What is the score? Who wins and how do they do it?
Pretend you have won a gold medal at the Olympics. How would you feel? Try writing a speech that you would give after winning a medal.
Write a biography of your favorite Olympian. Use the internet to find out information and write about your favorite Olympian. How old are they? What sport do they do? You could even draw a picture of them.
February half-term is just around the corner, which means a number of parents are frantically searching for a various action-packed activities suited to the entire family.
Giving parents the perfect option to keep the kids entertained while teaching them vital life lessons, the RSPCA is launching their Animal Champion campaign – the perfect antidote the humdrum nature of half-term.
A lesson worth learning
Those who have pets at home will already know how important it is to care for animals. Aside from showing them love and affection, caring for an animal comes with plenty of responsibility and requires owners to ensure the safety and health of their pet.
Animals need consistent exercise, must be fed throughout the day and groomed on a regular basis. It can be hard work having a pet but the love received in return is certainly worth the effort and this is what the RSPCA wants to reinforce.
Become an RSPCA Animal Champion
Not all animals are fortune enough to have a happy home and that is one of the reasons for the RSPCA Animal Champion scheme.
The animal charity hopes to encourage children to become a champion to teach them a number of important lessons when it comes to caring for animals and provide parents with an easy way to keep them occupied over the holidays.
To sign up, parents will need to apply for an RSPCA Animal Champion toolkit. You can sign up for this online and it costs just £15 to do so. Inside the kit, you’ll find a challenge checklist poster, a number of video updates and a choice of several challenges.
Prior to beginning these challenges, it’s important to sit down with the kids and help them choose five of their favourite ones. These challenges can be completed both inside and outside and involve the likes of baking cakes, becoming a detective for the day and organising an animal themed sleepover.
There’s even one fundraising challenge to embark on for those who want to help raise money for this worthy animal charity.
Rewards for all
Children who complete five challenges will receive their very own special award and certificate, which of course should take pride of place on their bedroom wall. Aside from being presented with a certificate that proves they’re a fully-fledged Animal Champion, this fun-filled scheme is a great way to teach your children the differences between right and wrong when it comes to properly caring for animals.
This training will hopefully encourage them to teach their friends and family similar morals in the future; spreading the word about animal care far and wide.
Visit the RSPCA website for more information on the work of this great charity and for details on how to help your kids become an Animal Champion. The Animal Champion scheme is open to children between the ages of 6 and 12 years and costs £15 per pack/child. The closing date for applications is February 12.
If you children are anything like mine then they will always return form an outing with some sort of treasure. We are lucky to live five minutes from a beach and I have to check the boys pockets each time we come home as they always have stones in them.
Stones or beach pebbles are so tactile and make a great crafting and activity material and I am going to be using them for this week's something for the weekend, so do come back on Friday to see what we have been doing with the ones they collected this weekend.
One of our most favorite things to do with stones is to add them to our memory jar.
Memory stones are so simple to make, but are perfect for using to encourage crafting and also to help instill memories in children. We make them each summer to record what we have done and the boys adore making them.
All you need are some pens, sharpies are great for this and some stones, oh and a jar to put them in.
We like to place them in a clear jar so we can look at them and watch as they increase over the summer.
When I saw this great activity over at Happy Hooligans I knew I had to include it. You do not need any artistic ability just some pictures and glue. Jackie explains how she did it, so go and take a look.
The boys made these stone pets way back in 2009 when they were only 4 and 3! They have really stood the test of time and are so simple to make.
Paint the stones with acrylic paint and allow to dry.
Use different colour paint to add your decorations
January was dark, wet and dismal and we were determined for February not to be and a Sunday with sunshine and no rain meant blowing away the cobwebs and taking a trip to the beach. There was a flask of hot chocolate (with marshmallows to add) in the rucksack and then the first icecreams of 2014 for the boys (lemon twist for Mini and Blackcurrant and Licorice for Maxi).
All this fresh air was followed up by fabulous Roast beef and yorkshire puddings made my MadDad and the boys.
A perfect sunday.
We are big readers in The Mad House and love books. So when Bostik invited us to be part of their craft club and come up with something with a selection of craft things they sent us we decided to make heart bookmarks in celebration of reading and valentines.
Simple glued Bookmark
This bookmark is super easy for children to make.
Heart stencils (we printed out hearts about 3 inch and then 2 inch in size)
Valentines Day is just around the corner and this weekend we are focussing on some heart activities which are suitable for doing as a family. First up is our Family Heart Art. I am a sucker for making art as a family and love things that we can display seasonally that mean things to all of us, just take a look at our family art christmas tree to see what I mean.
Family Fingerprint Heart Art
Canvass (I love the hard board ones for little fingers as they can press as hard as they like without damaging the tension)
Paint - We used red and white acrylic, but any paint works
Low tack tape
I drew a heart on to a piece of paper and cut it out the size I wanted our fingerprint heart to be. If you want something more precise then print out a heart and cut it out.
Fasten the stencil to the canvas with low tack tape.
Place some red and white paint on to a paper plate or palate
Take turns in dipping finger in and making fingerprints on the canvass.
This activity was inspired by Dansom Lane who went on a shape walk in their local forest. We are planning on going on a beach walk to see if we can find heart shaped stones to decorate and also look in our local woodland for heart shaped leaves. If the weather is bad, why not take a look round your own home for heart shapes or look and see if you can see heart shaped clouds in the sky.
Acts of Kindness
Why not use this time of year to discuss acts of kindness and the fact that being kind is something that we should all do as much as we can. It makes me think of the song "Love is like a magic penny" which I learned as school. By giving it away you get much, much more in return. Maggie from Red Ted Art has a fab 31 days of love series at the moment, so if you have time why not make something from it to gift to someone.
The boys are taking lollipop flowers in to school for their friends next week. and we have been making heart bookmarks (for their teachers) with our craft pack we received as part of our Bostic Craft Club membership. See more on this tomorrow!
Whist talking about kindness, I adore this hug jar, perfect for moment when we all need a little pick me up. and we will certainly be making a valentines heart happy wall. I am also going to do a heart map with the boys too (and one for myself). A "I love you more than....." picture would be perfect for loved ones this valentines day too.
Kids Books about love
One of our most favorite books is all about unconditional love. No Matter What by Debi Gliori. It is an emotional hug in a book. Debi manages to use beautiful lyrical words to reaffirm that a mothers love is limitless in such a beautiful way. We were introduced to this book when my mum died, but even now my boys love this book. Other books about love:
I hope your weekend is filled with family,. love and laughter and do let me know what short of things you would like to see featured. Make sure you are following our facebook page, Google + page or on Pinterest for lots of heart crafts and activities over the coming weeks.
Welcome to the first ever something for the weekend #sftw. A regular series which I hope inspired you to make, so, see, cook and just generally enjoy family time at the weekend. The idea is to provide simple activities that can fit into family weekend.
This weekend is RSPB Big Garden birdwatch, so I thought I would so a something for the week with this in mind. The birdwatch only takes an hour of your time and is a great way to introduce different birds to your children. You can print out a checklist (or use their online tool on your tablet, desktop of mobile phone) from the RSPB website and they also have information of what to do to attract the birds to your garden. If you want more bird based activities, they also have some great family fun activities on their web site. Alternatively you can find a super free bird watching printable book here at Buggy and Buddy.
When I was decluttering my kitchen this week, I am ashamed to say I come across a rather large amount of very out of date nuts and seeds, so rather than throw them away we decided to make bird feeders with them.
Bird seed or nuts and seeds
Lard or solid vegetable fat if you are vegetarian.
Yoghurt posts or other pot (we used jelly jars)
Pop your block of lard in a large heatproof bowl and place over a pan filled with simmering water. The aim is to softener not melt the lard. If you are doing this with small children you can do this by vigorously beating the lard with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the bird seed
lay your cookie cutters out on wax paper and fill half way with the birdseed mixture.
Cut your twine, knot the end and push the knot down into your birdseed.
Continue to fill the rest of the cookie cutter with birdseed, covering the end of your twine and knot.
press down on the birdseed so it is compact.
Allow them to dry overnight and then remove from the cookie cutters and hang them
We also made some in pots, which do not have very well as they are rather large and heavy, put they are perfect for popping on top of bird feeders. Another way to do this is to use pine cones. just mix the lard with seeds and oats with your hands – lovely messy fun and swish it into the pine cones. Then refrigerate and hang. You really can just use what you have in. No seed or lard, then do not despair you can use peanut butter and loo roll to make bird feeders! . Or if you have some cheerios, then try these fab cheerio bird feeders from Happy Hooligans.
This is my Mum's recipe and it is a family favorite with both the boys and even better it is frugal too as it uses up the chicken carcass for making the stock. You could make it suitable for vegetarians by using vegetable stock and substituting the chicken. If you do not have much chicken then a broth pack is a great way of bulking it out and I have to say I love adding pearl barley to mine.
It reminds me of dinner round the table when I was growing up and there was always a fight for the extra dumplings!
Perfect for cold winter evenings. I guarantee empty bowls for this meal! It also freezes well and is great warmed up and you can blend the leftovers to make a smooth soup perfect for flasks.
This is our favourite winter warmer recipe and we are entering it in the www.coopelectricalshop.co.uk competition.
Weekends are often busy, filled with things to do and places to go for most families, but I also want them to be a time where you can create as a family and make the most of each other. With this in mind I have decided to run a weekly post on a friday featuring fun, fabulous and simple ideas for a creative family weekend.
These will be seasonal ideas of simple things that you can fit into your frenetic family life along with homework, movies, birthday parties, shopping and everything else a busy parent does.
I will give you a list of materials needed (most of which you will be able to find around the house or supermarket) and then some inspiration of what to do with them and hopefully help you fill your weekend with less #screenfree time.
But I need your help with this. I would like to know the type of things you would like to see. Do you want arts and craft, cooking, baking, ideas for outdoor play or a selection of all?
I do not want to make life more complicated but to encourage you to enjoy the simple things in life and slow down. I want to encourage us all to put down our mobile phones and to be the change we want to see in our children.
I am not looking to make life more busy, but to help you find a balance and inspiration. I want to encourage our children to not reach for their screens at the first sign of boredom.
So what do you think?
Are you up for reestablishing the connection with your children, for being a child again and having some fun?
Are you ready for something for the weekend?