Creating a masterpiece

I thought I’d share a quick “how to” – this is such a simple idea, and if you get a couple of the steps right you can create something to treasure forever.

First things first – head to The works for your materials. You don’t need to spend huge amounts on things for arts and crafts, and their basic canvases come in all shapes and sizes.

You will need:

  • A canvas
  • Masking tape
  • Paints
  • Brushes

To get going use the masking tape to mark out something on your canvas – a name, a shape or just some random lines. We’ve tried hearts for gifts, a sunshine, initials etc – there’s no limits.

Now here’s where to focus – only put down one colour at a time to begin with. Use small amounts because it goes a long way. Try and stick to one colour per brush – this helps to stop everything becoming a brown mush.

The paint is going to get everywhere – just let it go! I use water based paints which do come off everything and I put something down, a tarpaulin or an old towel and have a pack of wipes to hand.

Here I’d just added the yellow – the order you place the colours is important – obviously Arlo doesn’t know about the colour wheel at this stage but we do – keeping red and green separate helps. It’s never going to be “perfect” but that’s the beauty of it.

Arlo was almost 14m when we did this activity and you can see in the video clips just how much he enjoyed himself. We spent about 45 mins painting and chatting about all the colours. Yes he did try and eat the paint brushes and we did make quite a lot of mess but he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

The final thing to remember is to be patient with your finished piece. Don’t peel back the masking tape until the paint is dry. I left ours in the sunshine whilst Arlo had a splash around in the bath tub.

And voila – this little canvas takes pride of place in my front room.

Have you tried this out? Do you have any ideas for creative projects I could try at the weekend? Share your experience in the comments

Ice Excavation

This is such an easy prep activity it’s worth storing in the memory bank for summer. All you need to do is add some small colourful items to a container, fill it with water and freeze it.

Add the frozen block to a washing up bowl or a Tuff Tray and provide some tools to experiment with.

In this block we added brightly coloured ribbons and pom poms, along with a hammer and a couple of cups of warm water to melt the ice. We have repeated this activity with various themes. I’ll share my favourite dinosaur themed excavation on another post as it requires a little more preperation.

Feeling Natural

  • Sensory baskets are such a good way to start encouraging independent play. Arlo was seven months when he got his first basket. I decided to create a natural themed basket as up until this stage he had mainly experienced plastic and brightly coloured toys.In this basket I chose to include:
    • Wooden spoons
      Cotton flannel
      Sponge
      Leather chamois
      Wooden curtain rings
      A pine cone
      A dolly peg
      A plait of wool
      A bath mit
      A couple of hair scrunchies.
  • I set the basket up in the middle of his play mat during a nap time and then let him loose when he was awake. He made a beeline for the basket immediately and reached over to spill the contents.
  • These were all things he’d never really played with before so he pulled things out one at a time, banging and waving around the spoons and putting the sponges to his mouth to explore the textures – this occupied him for at least half an hour.

    I made several different themed baskets and used to stash them away and bring them out in rotation so he retained a level of excitement. Sometimes I would add/remove things to see if he would notice. I’ll share more of our sensory activities on other blog posts.

    Rainbow ribbons

    Arlo is about three months old here and was such a smiley baby. I’m a strong advocate for sensory play and this project is such a nifty little idea.

    You will need:

    • A curtain ring (Wilko’s do a set of 5)
    • Ribbon

    Make sure you remove any hooks from the rings and check them for splinters. Then start to tie your ribbons – I used a simple pull through the loop.Then all you need to do is repeat this with a few more colours. It goes without saying to make sure that this is a supervised activity – waving the colours in front of Arlo caught his attention and then he liked being tickled too.

    I used to switch the colours and textures of the ribbons every so often to switch up the sensory experience