A Valentine’s themed fine motor skill and colour practise preschool sensory activity. It’s colourful, fun and will keep them entertained for ages! Tried, tested and confirmed!Read More
Fake it till you make it!
Walking home from nursery a few weeks ago, Little Feet A looked up at the trees and noticed that all the leaves had gone. She then added, ‘but the one outside our house still has all it’s leaves.’ Very observant! So then naturally we had a conversation about evergreen trees, pine trees and obviously Christmas trees! This conversation made me chuckle as I had thought of this craft about an hour previously and already had a pushchair full of pine needles, unbeknown to her. I love it when life’s beautiful symmetry alines like that sometimes!
So there is some prep for this and it is adult heavy however, it is a really fun way to spend an hour with your kids and both Little Feet A and B (4 and 2 years old) enjoyed getting involved. Also, there is no need to make it 3D, you can easily just do a 2D one and it is just as effective as I will show you below.
What you need:
Cardboard from package, we used Amazon boxes
Contact paper (the stick back transparent paper)
Pine needles from a pine tree.
Go on a walk and find a pine tree. Collect a small bag full of it’s needles.
Draw out a Christmas tree shape on your cardboard. Then draw a second small Christmas tree inside this one. There needs to be at least a couple of inches between the two. Cut around the outline of the Christmas tree and then cut out the smaller Christmas tree inside that one. See image above.
Repeat this making sure that the next one is the same size but looks like the one on the right.
Trace around the outline of your trees onto the paper side of the contact paper. You will need 4 lots of contact paper tree cut outs - too for each cardboard tree.
Take the paper side of the contact paper off one of the cut outs and stick it to one side of your cardboard trees. Place with the sticky side facing up. Press along the cardboard to help it stick.
Let your Little Feet stick pine needles on top the sticky paper.
When they have finished, take another cut out contact paper tree, take of the backing and place it on top of the pine needles, face down. Press all over to help it stick, especially on the cardboard bit.
Repeat with your second cardboard Christmas tree. When it is pine needle filled and contact papered up, use your scissors to cut out the contact paper in the vertical opening. This is where we will be slotting the Christmas trees together.
One the Christmas that is whole, cut down from the tip of the tree a quarter of the way down.
Now slot the trees together and there you have it!
Want something more simple?
Keep it 2d!
They are just as fun and effective. Bringing the outside in in an easy sensory craft.
So firstly, if you aren’t a member of the Woodland’s Trust, in particular the Nature Detectives Membership for your kids. Not an ad in the slightest, but it is £1.50 a month and every month your kids get a little pack sent out. A total bargain and great for getting yourself and the Little Feet out with a task in mind. Anyway, one of the emails I received this month had some festive ideas and one of them was creating icy decorations for your gardens. Well I got so excited about this idea. It is so simple and really easy to do. In their idea they used things like red berries and fern branches to decorate the decorations. In our version we have made it bird friendly and have filled them up with a seed mixture. The options are pretty endless.
A while age I saw these silicone ice cube trays that were completely spherical. My imagination ran away with me when I considered the sheer amount of craft options that I could do with them. As with many things I buy, I always know if something will be useful at some point, even if I don’t know exactly what and when. Well as it it happened they were for this (as a start anyway!). Obviously it is not a requirement you this shape, any ice cube tray will do, even a plastic one. I just prefer a silicone one as it beats having to bang the ice cube tray on the side counter to get them out.
What you will need:
Ice tray (Silicone probably easier)
Tree to hang them on
Spoon in your seeds into your silicone mould.
Fill up with cooled boiled water. This helps the water freeze transparent as opposed to misty.
Cut bits of string, long enough so that there is enough room to hang off a branch.
Put both ends of each of your cut string into each section of the ice tray.
Carefully place you ice tray into the freezer and leave to freeze.
When frozen take them out of the trays and go outside and hang them up.
Watch for birds or squirrels to see who has a nibble!
Use all that Christmas online shopping boxes to create some easy home crafts with your Little Feet.Read More
Join us and create some DIY Nature Wings with your Little Feet. We have created some Autumn ones, but you can do this craft again and again throughout each season using nature from each one. That way you can collect wings for every season and occasion.
It is likely the only thing that a lot of people will need to buy for this craft is contact paper. Contact paper is so versatile for crafting and we use it fairly regularly. It is a transparent sticky back sheet that is generally used for covering books. It is a bit like laminating - sandwiching something between two sheets of paper to preserve it. Whereas lamination requires a special device to melt it together, contact paper just requires smoothing with hands.
Cardboard wise, we do a lot of our shopping online due to living in the countryside. As a result we receive so many boxes in the post that I am regularly recycling them for one craft of another. For this particular one, we flattened a box and tore off two sides to create the wings.
One evening before we went foraging for nature I drew out some wings on the cardboard and cut them out. I then traced the contact paper and that that out too so that everything was ready for the craft to be done immediately. I have learnt from past experiences, Little Feet are not good at waiting and things will just spiral into bickering if everything is not already done. I find that no one ends up enjoying it in the end. So where I can I try and have things pre-ordered and ready for craft time. This doesn’t always happen i might add! Life does get in the way a lot of the time!
After we had been pout foraging for pretty leaves and such, I peeled off one side of contact paper and stuck it down on one side of the wings, sticky side up and away they stuck. We are so chuffed with the way they turned out and both girls have put them on many times since we made them. A must for any dressing up box!
What you will need:
Scissors/craft knife and mat
Nature - leaves, feathers, flowers etc (they need to be as 2D as possible so no pinecones)
Go into nature with a bag or bucket and fill it up as much as you can with flowers, autumn leaves, feathers, anything that is as two-dimensional as you can find.
On your cardboard draw out a set of wings and cut them out with your scissors or craft knife.
Then in the middle of them cut for small circles for a space to thread the ribbon through to tie them onto your Little Feet.
Cut out the wings, leaving a good sized border around them.
Trace out the wings onto contact paper. Cut two lots of wings as you will need each side of the wing to have one.
Take the back paper bit off the contact paper on two of then and stick then over the wing holes. Turn it over so that the contact paper is now on the back of the wings and the sticky side is facing up through the wings.
Now you can let your Little Feet enjoy designing their Nature Wings. Place out all the items you foraged and allow them to fill up the sticky contact paper with nature.
When they have finished, take off the other sides of the contact paper and stick them down, for the nature bits they have stuck down and the rim of the wings. This will secure all their decorations down and keep them from falling off.
Thread your ribbon through each side of circlular holes and make an arm hole loop for each side so your Little Feet can just slip their arms through to wear.
And there you have it, Nature Wings that you can keep for the entire season.
This craft does take a little preparation from the Big Feet perspective. This is something I would suggest your prepare the night before you want to do the activity. The drawing of the wings, cutting out and measuring out the contact paper for each side of the wing takes approximately about 30 minutes. Though this preparation may be off putting initially, I do encourage you to do it before hand, especially if you have Littler Feet as we all know their impatience knows no bounds. From a personal point of view this impatience just rubs me up the wrong way and as a result we all end up being grouchy.
What we love about this craft is the nature of being able to keep it, hang it up with the rest of their dressing up clothes and reuse it again and again throughout Autumn.
We recently went to a place called Studfold Adventure Trail in North Yorkshire and they have the most amazing fairy woodland, with little fairy houses scattered around. So we are loving the fairies at the moment basically.
If we had to join this craft with a book, all this talk of fairies has taken me back to my childhood and to quiet moments of reading Cecily Mary Barker’s Flower Fairy books. Her illustrations are so enchanting, they have always left such vivid mark on my memory. In fact I am pretty determined to buy a set for Little Feet A for Christmas. She adores her Peter Rabbit series and these are the same sort of size. Perfect for Little Hands.
Just to give you a lasting image and poem from her, ‘Flower Fairies of Autumn’ book:
Cool dewy morning
Blue sky at noon,
White mist at evening,
And large yellow moon;
For staining of lips;
And scarlett, O scarlett
The Wild Rose Hips!
Gay as gipsy
All Autumn long,
Here on the hedge-top
This is my song.
The Song of Rose Hip Fairy ,
Flower Fairies of Autumn
Cecily Mary Barker
Create beautiful Nature Necklaces with petals and leaves that are turning for Autumn.Read More
Chalk painting is an inexpensive art activity you can do with your Little Feet outdoors. All you need is some pavement or road, some chalk, water and paintbrushes and bobs your uncle you are sorted.Read More
Colander Nature Crown, is a fun way to talk about your local ecosystem through the picking of nature in and around where you live. Create your own Colander Nature crown with flowers, feathers, twigs and more!Read More
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Felt Easter Eggs is a fun, mess free learning activity. Using shapes and colours we learn through play. The best way of learning. All you need is some colourful felt and fabric scissors!Read More
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Loo roll craft is not a new phenomena, it has been around for a while now. But most of us are looking for some inspiration for fun new ways to use them. Recycling is the name of the day and so many items that we put in the recycling bin, or normal bin for that matter, can be made into crafts.Read More
Add another dimension to your snow play with preschoolers and babies. Snow play allows them to explore with one of their senses; touch. Babies will probably engage another sense when play with snow; taste.Read More
Snow art is about making the most of the winter season and what is around you. It is about creating a sensory activity for the kids and showing them that you can make and create art with any medium. All you need in this case is snow, a shovel, bucket and some icing colours, we used Wilton ones.Read More
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Gross Motor Skills, Colour identification and Counting all in one easy, seasonal activity. All you need are pom poms, tweezers and fillable baubles.Read More
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This is such a fun little sensory hack that I have seen previously on Pinterest...obviously. Such little effort with maximum effect. Everything you need will be in most peoples kitchens, especially if you are a baker. If not, then it is easily accessible from any supermarket and can be bought with ease with your weekly shop.
The main ingredients needed are rice, food colouring, malt vinegar and sandwich bags. The malt vinegar bizarrely helps the food colouring coat all the rice. I was inwardly chuckling the whole way through this process. The last time my mother came to visit, Patronus B was still suffering from severe eczema and the doctors and us as a family were struggling to get to the bottom of what was causing it. We had bought special sensitive clothes detergent to wash her clothes in but my mother went out and bought two huge bottles of malt vinegar. Apparently it's great for washing clothes in?! Anyway, we never ended up using them and they have just been sitting unloved in the kitchen cupboards like some Michael McIntyre sketch, for going on 5 months. So, I FINALLY had a reason to use one and it just made me laugh to think it still wasn't being used for eating. So, Mum! We've finally opened one!
Pairing craft activities with books
For some activities, if I can, I like to pair the crafts we're doing with a book we might have. It helps create a story line and further encourages imaginative play, giving it an additional dimension. If you haven't read, 'Sugarlump and the Unicorn', it is written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks and I'm pretty certain it only came out at the beginning of the year. It is a really fun book and is full of raised glitter detailing on each of the pages. Patronus A is 3 years old but one of the reasons she loves this book is running her fingers over the pages and finding all the bumpy glitter. I must admit... I am significantly older then she is and I have to on ocassion have to stop myself from running my fingers over them when I'm reading it to her!
I just wanted to briefly mention that imaginative play does not always come naturally to kids, it is something that should be encouraged and allowed have space to do. It is so important for children's development to do it and actually you will be doing yourself a favour. The more they use their imaginations, the more they can entertain themselves. Patronus A often goes off chatting to herself and whoever is having a 'picnic at the time. I would add, that when she was younger she would have some weeks where she really struggled with imaginative play, while some weeks she would spend hours playing by herself. Encourage, encourage, encourage!
Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get your everywhere.
All you need is:
Food colouring (we used Milton as it's thicker and not liquid)
- Sandwich bags with twists or zip locker bags
- Baking tray
- Baking pape
- Malt vinegar
- Choose your food colour dyes and get as many sandwich bags ready. Poor equal amounts of rice in them.
- Pour a lids worth of Malt vinegar into the rice in each of the bags.
- Using an impliment dip some drops of food colouring into each bag (each bag with a different colour).
- Close the bag and mush it all about moving the food colouring around. Patronus A loved seeing how the colour spread.
- Put them on the side and leave them be for a few hours. After perhaps, 3 hours, gently pour each bag out onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and gently pat them down, spreading them out so that any that still need drying will dry quickly.
- Once all dry, mix them altogether and enjoy!
Patronus A played with them for ages with the unicorn toy in it and generally feeling the rice between her fingers. I popped the rice in a glass bowl so you could see them from the outside.
For those with younger children and babies, there is nothing stopping you from following all these instructions and then pouring them into an empty plastic bottle for them to shake. Remember to always super glue the lid back on. Make sure it is securely fastened otherwise this could easily become a choking hazard.
Another idea that we'll probably test out tomorrow is hiding small things in the rice and play digging for gold. Or how about actually creating a piece of artwork using PVA glue to stick them down onto paper. Really the options are endless!