Nature painting tuff tray

A really simple painting invitation to play.

You will need:

  • Paper plates
  • Brushes
  • Paint
  • Collected materials – pinecones and leaves etc.

We have been collecting all sorts of random bits and bobs on our nature walks, from pebbles, to pinecones and leaves because Arlo takes his scavenger hunting very seriously.

So finally putting all of the bits and bobs to good use I covered Arlo’s tuff tray in brown paper (it’s bright blue and I wanted a neutral canvas) and I then gave him a box with all the materials he needed.

I helped him squeeze out all the colours on to paper plates

Mum tip: I always split the paint colours up like this to help avoid the almost inevitable brown splodge effect when complimentary colours get mixed up.

Then Arlo dived right in with a brush and a pinecone. Painting pine cones is actually really hard work as you have to get the brush in to all the little books and crannies. So this kept him busy for quite some time.

We also moved on to painting other found materials – these giant leaves made a beautiful canvas and we all got involved, sitting around the tray and painting with all of our colours.

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon in the garden!

Jam jar candle holders

This is a really simple but effective way to brighten up a garden on summer nights.

You will need:

Jam jars

Tissue paper

PVA glue

Water

This really is a simple craft, preparation is key. Make sure your jam jar is thoroughly clean and free of label gunk, and get your tissue paper cut in to small squares.

We used animal print tissue papers we had in the craft cupboard and then contrasted these with bright plain colours.

Use a lot of glue, in stages to different areas of the glass but be delicate applying tissue as it can tear easily once it absorbs moisture.

You need quite a lot of glue, once our jar was covered I started dabbing the brush in a little water to make sure all the edges were smooth and added extra squares to fill the gaps. The layering of tissue in different areas helps create a more interesting glow.

Once you have finished use a brush to make sure the entire surface is covered with a layer of PVA and then you just need to wait for the glue to dry.

Here’s a video of the entire process – this is literally one of the easiest crafts. Add in a tea light and you have a lovely lantern for the garden ….. please be careful with candles around kids! You can use battery powered candles to be safe.

Toilet roll Peacock activity

This is a really simple craft activity which will be enjoyed by kids of all ages.

You will need:

Toilet roll

Paper plate cut in half

Paint

PVA glue

Bits and bobs

Googly eyes

Small yellow felt or card for a beak

When I say bits and bobs, you can use pretty much anything you have in the craft cupboard. We were going for a rainbow theme to match our window but you could easily divide up the resources and make this a specific colour theme. Think buttons, beads, sequins, lollipop sticks, feathers, pom-poms and tissue paper!

The first stage is to cut your paper plates in half and paint them, I provided just blue and green to make our peacocks tail.

And then you also need to paint your loo roll too. We didn’t waste any time and started to add our bits and bobs without waiting for the paint to dry, we don’t mind getting messy, but at this stage it could be good to pause for a snack or a walk.

Then it’s time to introduce the PVA glue, I pout a bit in a little dish and gave Arlo a paint brush and full access to the bits and bobs to do his thing.

We used glue and a bit of tape to secure our loo rolls to the plates.

Mum tip: for activities like this I sit beside Arlo with my own materials and create alongside him, he likes to imitate and so when I started arranging my feathers he copied me and we were talking about all of the bits and bobs we were choosing and why.

This final thing is to add googly eyes and a beak to your peacocks to give them a face, and voila, there you have it.

The Rainbow Trail

A little project we have been working on recently is to give something back to our local community. I have been using all sorts of inspirational quotes as captions on our Instagram page and I also recently designed a rainbow t shirt for Arlo.

You might have also read some of our scavenger hunt activities which have been going down a treat during lockdown – keeping us very busy.

So here we have our new Rainbow Trail – I have taken some quotes from our favourite films and laminated them with a rainbow. Over the next few weeks we will be hiding these in places we visit on our daily exercise.

We are now allowed to travel further afield for our daily walks and so we will be blogging about our favourite outdoor places to visit now that our amazing adventures can recommence and so if you happen to find a rainbow with our Instagram tag then please do get in touch.

This page will be updated as we hide more rainbows.

The truth about Toothbrushing

This blog features gifted products

I’ve been meaning to write about tooth brushing for a while. Having lots of time to talk about toddler tantrums with other parents it seems that this is often the first and last battle of the day with little ones and as part of an essential hygiene routine it just has to be done so how can we make the experience better?

The truth is that the whole thing starts before the first tooth even makes an appearance. My sister who is a qualified dental nurse gave me the best advice….. the second that babies start showing a need for something to chew on, give them a toothbrush. I found a little one on amazon and incorporated it in to our routine from very early on. So Arlo would sit in the bath and chew a toothbrush from about six months old. He would also watch me brush my teeth every single day morning and night and want to join in.

Eventually his two first teeth made an appearance and we had to start adding in actual toothpaste. This is a big deal to overcome, babies have extremely strong willpower when it comes to new flavours and textures.

So here’s my advice…. when you start weaning and get past the introduction of safe foods – start incorporating herbs and spices in to your plan – and by this I don’t mean give babies super hot curries! A simple addition such as cinnamon to porridge is giving babies access to new flavour sensations – work your way through the herbs and spices in your cupboard.

You can also try incorporating herbs in to activities to increase their sensory perception. Simply smelling fresh herbs is a fabulous way to explore with babies – and then adding mint leaves to ice cubes which they then inevitably put to their mouth is good for building their confidence to try new things, and also get used to the cold sensation too.

By the time Arlo turned one he had lots of teeth and a much more colourful diet and so it was really important for me to make sure we were looking after his teeth properly. I learnt back then that it’s important to change toothbrushes every three months. To be honest Arlo used to throw things around so much I think we must have got through at least ten toothbrushes by this stage! It started to make me think about how many brushes the household was getting through and we attempted the switch to bamboo toothbrushes back then.

I hadn’t been convinced enough by the quality, it was the bristles either being too hard or too soft which out me off and then recently we were offered the chance to try out the truth brush.

For a start they arrived in fully recyclable packaging which is a lovely little touch. The shape of these brushes is unusual too, they’re surprisingly comfortable to hold. They’re also available in kid and adult sizes so Arlo and I have one each. His bristles are different to mine and there’s options to choose which colour and bristle you prefer. He couldn’t wait to get his hands in to the packaging with a cute panda!

The best thing about these however is that they can be ordered on subscription…. so for £4 every three months you don’t need to worry about remembering to replace yours at the right time.

You can order a years supply of Truth Brushes from The Baby Basket now for £22.50

Rainbow Wave Cookies

Our sugar cookie recipe strikes again!

“Always look for the rainbow” – Christopher Robin

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🌈 🌈 STAY SAFE 🌈 🌈

I am sharing our Rainbow Wave cookie recipe:

These little biscuits, believe it or not contain three basic ingredients:

– 50g sugar

– 100g butter

– 150g plain flour

I added food colouring and a spot of vanilla essence to our dough before cutting out circle shapes to put the rainbows together and baking at a low temp for 12 mins – we served ours with a side of cream cheese frosting which Arlo enjoyed dipping to make clouds.

You can double up the recipe to make extra!

Stay safe everybody 🌈

Paper craft birds

These lovely little birds were made out of spare scrap book paper – we usually make these as a Christmas craft but as we have a lot of time to spare then we thought we’d try these one rainy day.

You will need:

Cardboard

Scrap booking paper (double sided pattern)

Craft paper

Scissors

Bird template

Pencil

First things first begin by creating your bird stencil using cardboard – this is just the body shape – and then draw around this on your scrap book paper and cut out. I prefer using scrap book paper for the body because it’s usually got a beautiful print on both sides.

Once you have cut out your birds you need to then take small rectangular sheets of paper and convertible fold them like so…. these will be your wings. At this stage you can round off the ends to make prettier shapes if you choose.

Then use a craft knife or scissors to cut a slit big enough to poke your folded paper through the wings. It’s as simple at that… use your fingers to tease out the folds in to a fan. Once you have repeated this with all of your birds it’s time to hang them up … I chose to use a needle and cotton thread, I find that they spin nicely once hung up and love how this looks. You could use a hole punch and ribbon or anything you have lying around.

DIY Bird feeder craft

This was a really simple Sunday afternoon activity, as part of our bird themed activities it only seemed right to make something to hang in our garden for the little robin who visits every day.

You will need:

Cardboard

Peanut butter

Bird seed

Hole punch

Twine

I chose to use our wooden shapes as stencils to draw around and then cut out – but you could easily use the cardboard from a loo roll or just go for one simple shape.

Once our shapes were cut out we used a hole punch first….this is important to do at this stage otherwise it gets messy!

Here’s the really messy fun bit…. smear peanut butter all over the cardboard shapes and then dip the shapes in to a container of bird seed.

This part was the most fun for Arlo and he enjoyed seeing it all sticky and messy.

Cut your twine in to short lengths to loop through the holes…. with hindsight it’s probably better and less messy to do this bit before the peanut butter but we didn’t mind getting our fingers dirty.

Then voila… one our shapes were strung it was time to hang them up in the garden and then sit and wait at the window inside for the birds to arrive.

This really is super easy to do and fun for all ages. Check out our little video if you want to see how we managed:

Let’s go fly a kite – product review

This blog features a gifted product – all views and opinions are my own

We were delighted to be offered the opportunity to review the Everfly Extra Large rainbow kite from Big Game Hunters. This is quite literally the biggest kite we have ever attempted with an almost 2 metre wingspan.

It’s super simple to set up – it arrives rolled up in its own bag – and all you have to do is slot two rods at perpendicular angles in to the slots and then attach your line to the flip side.

The line is reeled on to an easy grip handle and really comfortable to hold. It didn’t take us too long to get it up in the air once we caught a breeze.

The beauty of this kite is the tails – once it’s up in the air it looks absolutely beautiful and can fly so high it can be seen for miles!

We had so much fun, it was easy to pull and make the kite dance on the breeze in circles and loops so Arlo thought it was chasing him and he spent hours running up and down the hills in the meadows after it.

And once we were exhausted it was super quick to remove the rods, roll up and pack away…. ready for the next time we have a blustery day!