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!

Toilet Roll Airplane Craft

Our little spitfires were made during our busy VE Day celebrations, using toilet rolls and a bit of scrap cardboard.

You will need:

  • One loo roll
  • Cardboard
  • Paper fastener
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors or scalpel
  • Paint

First things first you need to cut your wing, propellor and fail shapes out of some scrap card. I used a template to do this.

Then score some horizontal lines in to your roll to slot the wings and tail in. I checked everything fit together at this stage, the marked the spot for the tail piece to slot in vertically before making another small cut.

I used a paper fastener to secure the propellor to the circular piece of card and then used masking tape to attach this circle piece to the loo roll, making sure that everything rotated well.

I gave Arlo all the pieces and a selection of green and brown colour paints to go wild. He really nailed the camouflage print without me even helping!

We went off out for a walk leaving everything to dry before coming home to assemble all the bits.

It’s as simple as that! Here’s a little 15 second video tutorial:

Re – Useable (not paper) chains

Paper chains are the perfect decoration for any occasion but they never last long, especially outdoors. So here’s a new way to make them.

You will need:

A4 Felt sheets

Velcro dots

Scissors

Marker

Ruler

This really is as simple as it sounds. Lay the felt landscape and use the ruler to draw lines about an inch apart and then cut your felt in to strips.

Affix your adhesive “hook” Velcro dots on to the ends of the strips and then place the “eye” dot on top with sticky side up.

Loop your strips and then squeeze the felt over the dots in your thumb and forefinger to adhere them.

Then repeat with all your strips, you can then pull the loops open and closed to make chains as required as many times as you like.

Our red white and blue felt is perfect for VE Day anniversary celebrations but we will be able to take these down, save them and add in other colours to mark different occasions.

Osmo: The little Genius Starter Kit – Review

Disclaimer: We received the product featured in this blog free of charge

Introducing kids to technology is a divisive parenting choice. Finding the right screen time for children is such a difficult challenge, and there are many parents out there who understandably want to avoid it as much as possible. I think Play Osmo have developed an innovative new product which addresses the need to introduce children to technology but also encourage imaginative play.

During this lockdown period we have all experienced the benefits of technology, from PE with Joe Wickes to family quizzes over zoom, and the safari park live stream of an animal birth. Trying to keep Arlo amused for any length of time is exhausting and I’ve been looking for activities which keep him occupied for long enough to effectively work from home.

So…. what is Osmo? In a nutshell it’s an interactive accessory for a tablet such as an iPad (a full list of compatible devices is available here).

In the little genius starter kit there is:

  • a base for a device
  • A clip on reflector
  • A play mat
  • A container of 19 costume pieces and a model.
  • A container of 38 silicone shapes

The containers of accessories are compatible with four different apps and you can also purchase add on’s so as your child grows this toy develops with them.

Prior to introducing this to Arlo I removed the contents from the box and installed the four apps compatible with this kit, plus the parent app too. This was a fairly intuitive process. The user interface is simple to navigate, it took about ten minutes to register with my email and become acquainted with the layout. I waited for Arlo before attempting a game walkthrough together.

The containers within the little genius start kit are compatible with two apps each. Arlo is at the younger end of the 3-5 age for this set and rarely gets to see my iPad so I wasn’t quite sure how well he would respond but as soon almost as soon as we opened the “stories” app a friendly bear like monster named Mo appeared on to our screen to introduce himself, and beckoned Arlo to tap the screen to choose from three stories.

We placed our character out on the map carefully in line with the reflector and the same character appeared in front of us on the screen and asked Arlo to choose him an outfit for his adventure. We had spread all the different costume pieces out on the table in front of us and Arlo spent quite a while making his first decision.

Each costume piece is extremely well designed, with what appears at first glance to be a crazy combination of accessories, for example there’s some legs in a boat, hands holding a guitar and a squirrel in pink hair!

Arlo chose an outfit from the puzzle pieces and we slotted them on to our character on the play mat. Almost instantly the character on screen was dressed in the same costume, and he happily bounced along until he met a penguin who was in a predicament and needed us to help him out.

Here’s where the educational bit comes in – instead of directing Arlo to look for the squirrel, guitar or the boat – every encounter on screen created a problem which required solving. We were asked to find a way to wake up a sleeping polar bear – Arlo wasn’t sure at first what to do and so we had a little chat about what would wake you up if you’re sleepy, and he eventually pointed out the costume with the parrot because they’re noisy – I directed him to change his characters costume on the mat which in turn changed his appearance on screen and then the accessories all flashed on the screen and so we could tap the parrot to select it.

Unfortunately this wasn’t the right solution, but the character politely suggested we perhaps try using one or two other objects, so we hunted around to find the costume which featured the suggested items – eventually our on screen bear was woken up with our character playing a gentle guitar tune. The bear revealed a reward and we carried on our way. The story consisted of four or five different problems to solve before coming to a natural conclusion.

No sooner had the story finished, Mo the monster appeared congratulating us on the adventure and offering up three more different story themes – I’ve seen penguins, pirate treasure and space rockets appear amongst other things already. Arlo happily went through seven stories the very first time we used this app.

He wasn’t quite ready to use it independently immediately but his confidence is growing rapidly with every interaction. Each of the four apps utilises the interactive technology in a different way – the use of the silicone shapes within the ABC’s app is fascinating and we have only just scratched the surface.

The parent app allows you to see how much play time you have experienced and within the storied app lets you know how many obstacles have been solved. This ability to track progress and really understand how your child is utilising play time is extremely valuable to me to ensure I am able to stay in control of screen time and make sure we are maximising the opportunity to learn.

I shared a little video walk through of the stories app on my IGTV if you would like to take a look:

Gifted product post “You can either run from it, or learn from it” – Rafiki Toddlers and tech – up until recently I’ve been avoiding too much screen time but I have decided to embrace toddler technology after our experience with this little genius starter kit gifted from @playosmo. Working from home and trying to entertain Arlo non-stop has been exhausting. I’m constantly looking for activities which keep him occupied for longer periods of time and was intrigued to learn about this new award winning concept. I’m in the middle of writing a full blog post about our experience but in a nut shell the accessories provided in this set work alongside a series of educational apps. Quite unlike anything else I’ve ever encountered, the physical aspect of play is the key focus here – in the stories app for example Arlo has to solve problems his character encounters by selecting the right costume pieces and placing them on the play mat and as if by magic…. the character on the screen suddenly changes in to the same costume and uses the accessories within the story. We still have so much to explore within the four apps compatible with this “little genius kit” and this gives me confidence that despite missing out on all this nursery time, he’s going to be ahead of the game with his phonics and letter recognition without even realising he’s learning. The real beauty is that Arlo very quickly picked up the user interface and will play independently exploring the Osmo world with Mo the monster. #osmoathome #osmosocialclub

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beans&sparks book review

This book was gifted for the purposes of the review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

“Do you think we’ll live in space one day?” The homesick astronaut asked

This beans&sparks book was kindly sent to us to review – and what a delight. First things first you use the website to create an avatar with your child’s likeness. This is a fairly simple process with options for hair, eye and skin colour as well as adding in glasses and freckles in you need them. Then you place your order and a personalised book comes in the post soon after.

This is a subscription service and you receive a different personalised story every month for £14.99. Each month there is a new theme which is structured around the EASY framework – Emotions, Adventure, Science and CreativitY – inspiring conversations and introducing new concepts in a fabulous manner.

The book itself paper back, a lovely size and excellent print quality, with popping colours and beautiful illustrations throughout. The thing I like best however is that Arlo’s name appears on every single page and as well as seeing his avatar and understanding the likeness immediately and being excited that the story is all about him, he can also recognise his name in the text too and has begun to point it out.

This months story had a space theme which fits in with all of the different activities we have been doing at home – and Arlo loved seeing things which are familiar to him throughout the story – including his scooter! We are signed up now to the subscription service and you can join too and get 50% off your first book.

Messy Play – spaghetti

I often use spaghetti for messy play. It’s great to add texture. I always felt safer using edible foodstuffs when Arlo was tiny because everything would always end up in his mouth.

You will need:

  • Spaghetti
  • Food colouring
  • Vinegar
  • Olive oil

I’ve tried various different methods and this is the one which works best for me. Boil and drain off the pasta as normal, before adding it to a big bowl.

Add in a splash of olive oil to prevent the pasta sticking.

Add in a splash of vinegar – I’m not 100% on the science but my colours always seem brighter when I use it.

Add in your food colouring and mix well. Start with a small amount as you can always add more…. it’s surprising how well it takes.

Then voila – it’s done and you can use this for all sorts of different things…. so for example the green makes amazing seaweed. Arlo recently discovered for himself that spaghetti is also fun to snip and so I left him to practice his fine motor skills with his safety scissors for a good twenty minutes.

Mum tip: if you plan ahead you can store this overnight in air tight containers.