Ice Pop Paints

It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted any crafts on here and I have really missed sharing things with you that will hopefully keep little fingers busy for a while.
Mine love to get the paints out and with this good weather I thought it would be a great opportunity to make some ice pop paints and stick them in the garden stripped down to just their pants to save on cleaning up all the mess!

They are super easy to make and a great activity for the warm summer holidays.


Ice Pop Paints

  • A selection of different colour ready mixed paint.
  • Ice cube tray
  • Lolly pop sticks
  1. Take your ice cube tray and fill the sections with different coloured paints. We did individual colours and a couple with layers of different colours.
  2. Cut the lolly sticks in half and place one half into the centre of each cube.
  3. Place in the freezer until hardened. We left ours for a good few hours.
  4. Grab some paper and get creating.

Discovering Croydon’s Heritage Festival

Croydon was my Mother’s birthplace and home to my secondary school so it is an area that has been part of my life for many years. 

I have noticed huge changes to the area over time, so when we were asked to come along and join in the celebrations of the Croydon Heritage Festival I was happy to take a trip to see what was going on.  

Croydon is undergoing a huge regeneration project at the moment and events such as this help people to understand how things are moving forward to create a better future for the ever growing community whist educating people on the important and colourful days of times past.

With community spirt as a whole dwindling with people’s lives become busier and more insular as a whole,  events like this really bring people together to create some much need community spirit.

This is the fourth festival of its kind and this years focus was on ‘Undiscovered Croydon’.  From the 18th-26th June people have the opportunity to take part in a whole host of activities from looking at exhibitions, listening to talks, trying their hand at workshops and much more.

Saturday was the grand opening and the town centre was alive with people grabbing delicious food from the many stalls, kids rushing around taking part in the family themed activities that were on offer and crowds of people enjoying the music and performances put on by some extremely talented people that had taken to the main stage.


Inside the Whitgift Centre the children had great fun creating their own masterpiece on the interactive art cube. Next to this were some fantastic Victorian themed spyglasses the children could decorate, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop as we needed to move onto our next activity.


Feeling crafty we made our way up to Whitgift Wennies where number three and four took part in the mosaic tile workshop.


I had not come across this on my past visits to Croydon and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to try it out as it is a fantastic concept that is open to any child as the session are all complexly free.

Activity sessions are put on throughout the month which are posted to their website and are free to take part in.  Once you are a registered member you simply book your time slot and arrive with your membership card and get set to have some messy fun.

After all of their activities I had the chance to grab a little retail therapy and try out the recently launched dual branded Centrale and Whitgift gift card.  This can be used in 130 stores across the two shopping centres.


For me this would make the perfect gift as there is such a vast choice.  I’m sure is the same for many of you, birthdays have come around and you open a gift card to a store you never use and it a waste of time and money for everyone.  With this card everyone is covered from clothes and jewellery to toys or grabbing a bite to eat.

I treated myself to a couple of sale bargains in Topshop and treated the kids to a hot chocolate a huge slice of cake in House Of Fraser.

The opening of the festival may have been and gone but there are still plenty of activities to take part in.  I for one will be booking a tour of the Alms Houses as I have walked past this secret, gated area for years and have always wanted to discover what treasures are hidden behind the gates!   
* I was given a shopping centre gift card for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Making Sea Creatures 

Unusually we had a Sunday in this week so it was time to get the craft box out and start creating.  We’ve been so busy the past few months we’ve not had a lot of time to sit down and create someone more than just the normal finger painting that is always requested in this house.

Numbers four’s nursery are fantastic at encouraging parents to follow on the nursery topic at home with the children; and as sea creatures is being covered for the next few weeks we couldn’t wait to think of something to create.

First up was a crab that was super easy to make.  We took a paper bowl, painted it and left it until it was dry.

  
  
Once dry we added some wobbly eyes to the top of the bowl and cut three pipe cleaners in half and stuck to the underside of the bowl to make the legs.  Lastly we made the pincers for the front by again cutting a pipe clear in half and twisting a small section onto the top to make the pincer itself.

  
 
Next we started on our octopus.  Taking a toilet roll tube we cut eight tentacles by cutting about halfway up the tube and then curling up slightly to create the tentacle. 

 
  
Number four picked bright orange to paint him.  Again we left it to dry and then added some more wobbly eyes.  I finished him off by adding a sweet smile! 
 
I think this week we will have to go out and get some blue and green tissue paper to cut into strips and give them an ocean to play in.

Do you try to follow your little ones nursery theme at home?

Getting Children Into Upcycling

  

Global warming and climate change are hard enough subjects for us as adults to get our heads around, so how on earth can we get this message across to our children?

Children are like sponges and soak up everything that is going on around us.  They learn so much through imitating adults and copying our actions that we need to use this to our advantage and educate them on important issues early on so they can carry this information into adulthood.

For me the best was to teach children is to be hands on.  How many children come out of school and can’t recall anything from their day in the classroom, whereas taking them out and about to touch, feel and really sence everything around them leaves a much more lasting impression.

There has sadly been a huge decline in the amount of time children spend in the open air exploring their natural environment and this is one of the best ways to explain to them the affects the modern living is having on the world as we know it.

Another great way to get them thinking about the environment is by teaching them the value of upcycling and recycling.

Taking them to recycling sites and allowing them to sort all the recyclable items and getting them to think about what these things could then be made into.

Upcycling is the perfect way to teach the children about the benefit of substances such a plastic as the durability of it allows you to have so many uses for it and it can last a lifetime.

There are so many uses for plastic now and because of the resiliance and strength in plastic there is less waste which is so much better for the environment.

We get through pints and pints of milk in this house so we always have plastic cartons by the bucket load.

I decided to mix some upcycling along with caring for the environment by making a watering can out of one of our many milk cartons.

   
  
 It was so simple to make.  I took some acrylic paint and added some pretty spring flowers to the outside and then with a metal skewer carefully made some holes in the lid of the carton to make the water spout.  Number four happily filled this up again and again and set to watering the flowers in the garden.

   
  

 
Have a little think about other ways you could use things that would normally be thrown away that the children would love to help create.  It would be great to hear your ideas!
*sponsered post

Wintery Sensory Play

  

With the small amount of snow we have had this winter and the fact the number four’s theme at nursery for the next couple of weeks is ‘Frozen’ I decided to sort a wintery themed sensory play activity for this afternoon.

I took a jug of cold water and mixed with a few drops of blue food colouring, filled an ice cube tray and waited until they were frozen.

With a can of cheap shaving foam stashed away that we normally keep for bath paints I created a mound of snow and scattered the ice cubes over the top.

  

    
  
The longest part of prepping this activity is waiting for the ice cubes to harden.  It really is so simple and number four spent ages playing around and exploring the different textures.

Who needs snow!

   

  

  

  
  
   

Christmas Tree Craft For Toddlers

Christmas is on its way and one of my favourite parts of the celebrations is the decorating of the tree.  Something I now allow the children to help with and then rearrange once they are in bed!!

An easier way to solve this problem is to create their own little tree from paper.

 

All you need to do is to find some green paper which you need to fold into half and draw half a tree along the folded side.  Once this is cut out you will have a tree with perfectly even branches.

From there you need to pick some colours and paint baubles onto the tree.

   
 

Once they have covered the tree with the coloured baubles you can then cut lengths of coloured pipe cleaners to glue across the tree as tinsel.

  
This is a really simple craft which is great introduce little ones to the magic of Christmas.

Colour Explosion Firework Paintings

As an adult I still find all the beautiful colours and the spectacular explosions of fireworks amazing.

I really wanted the children to be able to recreate the splender through some artwork with the children.

I popped over to the wonderful Mum In The Madhouse and found some really cool ideas that I got some inspiration for to make with my own littlies.  

I took two toliet roll tubes and cut lines halfway up the tube all the way round and then splayed them out.  I then cut bits off of the lengths at random. 

  
I put two different colours onto two separate plates and the covered the toliet roll ends with paint.

   
 

Number four had a great time creating explosions all over his page and it got him really in the mood for going out to watch the real thing tonight.

  

Making Autumn Colourful

We may be having some fantastic weather for this time of year but Autumn is in full swing and the parks are littered with all sorts of natural materials that are perfect to take home and use to make some masterpieces with your little ones.

   
   

After spending a good while at the park tonight foraging around and making the most of the sunshine we went home and got together a selection of twigs, leaves, pine cones, acorns and conkers and took a large sheet of paper which we used to create a colourful Autumn pattern.

   
     

Next up we picked the roundest conkers we could find, painted them in different colours then placed a sheet of paper inside a baking tray and rolled them around and around to create a really pretty pattern.

   
   

Being late in the day I couldn’t stand the mess of number five joining in with the painting so a made a tray up for him containing all the items we collected plus some play dough which he happily sat poking and pushing around while the others got on with painting.

  

This is a great activity to get the children interested in their surroundings and using art to explore different colours and textures.

  

  

  

  

Princes And Princesses At Monkey Bean 

  
 

Arts and crafts with the under fives can bring the best of us out in a cold sweat!

You spend ages setting up and prepping the much anticipated activity for the kids to dab a bit of paint or sprinkle a bit of glitter and walk off to find something else to do.

If you do manage to capture their imagination and they get really into their task this can then result in every spare inch of your home covered in every craft material you could think of.

I have mellowed a lot over the years and no longer worry about the mess.  Yes there is a lot of effort but as long as the children are enjoying themselves and learning something new it’s worth that bit of time.  This said to be able to go along to a session where all the prep and mess is taken care off it couldn’t be passed up.

I went along to try out Monkey Bean which is a craft based class for the under fives where the emphasis is on the children being allowed to make their master pieces in a relaxed environment where the parents can have as much or as little input as needed.

On arrival you are greated with a warm welcome by the bubbly Mum and daughter team who make the children feel at ease with a friendly song to introduce each child.  There is a cosy section with toys set up that the wanders amongst them are free to pop over and play with.

   
 

This weeks theme was princes and princesses so the boys had the choice of a Knight’s shield or a fairytale princess hat to decorate.  They opted for the shields and whist number four sat there intently decorating his shield number five was backwards and forwards like a yo yo!

   
    

There eyes lit up when a large tray of glitter was bought out to finish off their masterpieces.

   
 

To round off the session and to allow time for their artwork to dry off the children all come back to the matted area for some songs with musical instruments. 

   

Both boys had a fantastic time and will be going back next week to make some Mr Bloom themed goodies.

If you are looking for something a little different to the usual soft play type sessions that are the norm for this age group then this is the place to go.

There are sessions at both The Caterham Arms in Caterham and Pistachios In The Park in Banstead.  Both of which have good parking facilities and refreshments available. 

Give Monkey Bean a like on Facebook to see what great activities they have coming up and to have a nose at some of the creations that have already been made.

We visited Monkey Bean today to review the session and here are my own honest opinions.

Minion Crazy With Crayola

My children along with thousands more are completly minion crazy at the moment.  So when the lovely people at Norton and Co sent us this ‘Colour Alive’ minion colouring book from Crayola they were over the moon.


This is no ordinary colouring book as it works together with a free downloadable app that brings the characters on your page to life!


It was really easy to download and use.  Number three who is nine added it to her iPad with no help from me.

They were fascinated that their art work could come to life in front of their eyes and to be honest so was I.

We are off in holiday soon and I know that this is going to keep them occupied for a good few hours whist we are away.

This book was given to us as a gift and all opinions are my own.