Tag Archives: crafts for children

Painted Owl pebbles

10 Sep


I finally got around to adding this post about our owl pebbles which I painted back in November! I have suddenly got a lot more time on my hands now that the children are both in school.

I love Owls! They are just so cute and adorable and I am a sucker for anything owl-related when wondering around gift shops.

These painted pebbles make a great frugal gift for anyone that is a lover of owls. I have used acrylic paint because they will last longer, wont chip off and you could even use them as ornaments in the garden. If you already have acrylic paint in the house then they basically cost you nothing.

I was a bit unsure how to go about painting these owls so I googled a few ideas and managed to do them in stages. Here are a few shots of the stages that we took, hopefully this will give you some idea of where to start.

I think we will be painting a lot of more pebbles in the future, it is very therapeutic! I have seen some pictures for some more contemporary looking ones so I would like to give these a go.

If your children (or you!) have a love of owls then I would recommend the book Owls (Usborne First Reading: Level 4)
‘It is really lovely, has some great owl facts and some gorgeous pictures which you could use to help with your pebble designs.  Also of course, Owl Babies A classic book that every child will love.

If you have any owl-related crafts that you would like to share, please do leave them in the comments box below!

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Boat Building! A Center Parcs challenge

30 Aug

I was quite excited to see the latest competition from Center Parcs, in association with Tots 100. The idea is to make your own boat and be as creative as you like.  This was perfect timing for us as our four year old son is CRAZY about boats at the moment.  On a recent camping trip to Cornwall, we hired a little motor boat and whizzed around St Ives harbour. It was the most fun we have had in ages and the children loved taking a turn at steering the boat.

Sailing in St Ives

Sailing in St Ives

So, why a boat competition for Center Parcs? Well, at Center Parcs ‘water’ is a big part of the holiday experience.  There are a variety of watersports available including scuba diving and sailing. Exactly which ones are available will depend on the site that you visit.  Of course, there is also the fantastic subtropical swimming park which is what we love best!

When challenged to build our own boat we came up with lots of ideas as a family. This actually led us to build quite a few boats! Some were more successful than others….

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Our prototype was easy to make. Just paint a little pot, stick a lollipop stick through a slit in the top and attach a flag with glue.  However in water it was about as much use as a chocolate teapot.  It was top-heavy so kept tipping over and for some reason I used poster paint instead of acrylics (doh) so it all came off in the water.

Our next attempt was at building a little raft using simple bits and pieces like some corks, some string, a cocktail stick and some paper. This was pretty effective and the children had fun floating it in the sink but it wasn’t quite exciting enough to hold their attention for long.

Our little raft reminds me of Robinson Crusoe!

Our little raft reminds me of Robinson Crusoe!

Next up was a home-made house boat fashioned from milk cartons! I love these and the children do too. Initially we just cut them out and painted them with some acrylic paint to see if the idea would work.

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Once painted, we took the boats out to a little river and road tested them (or rather, water tested them) to check that they floated and that the paint stayed on. It was a success! The little ones loved floating them around and storing them in the harbour whilst we had our lunch.

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I love the idea of these little boats. I’ve always fancied owning a houseboat so in some small way I am living my dream! Thomas calls his, “The Rosie and Jim Boat”  for obvious reasons.  We couldn’t just stop here, we had to decorate them and add a few little improvements!

We gave them another coat of paint and also painted the top of the boat a different colour. The piece which we cut out of the boat was inverted into the inside of the boat and attached with my hot glue gun. This made a handy little seat and every piece of the carton was used.. ooh I do hate to waste anything! We then added some curtains and we planted up some cress seeds in little yoghurt pots which could sit proudly on our rooftop garden. Unfortunately these needed a few more days of growing before I took the photo but you get the idea! Next we hunted through our Playmobil toys to find some little bits and bobs we could add. We found pot plants, deck chairs and of course some little people to holiday in the houseboat! The results kept my little people amused for well over an hour, which after 6 weeks of summer holidays is a big thumbs as far as I’m concerned!

Chugging along on the old rag doll.....

Chugging along on the old rag doll…..


Both boats

Lily says this is '"Mummy and Daddy having a nap". Chance would be a fine thing!

Lily says this is ‘”The Mummy and Daddy having a nap”. I think we need to get ourselves a houseboat!

Autumn Indoor Fairy Garden

7 Nov

The autumn is probably not the best time to put together a fairy garden but I’ve been meaning to make one for so long I just had to bite the bullet and go for it!  This one is designed to be kept indoors, I will try to make another outdoor one next year. Please excuse the rubbish photos – I gave up waiting for a nice sunny day to take these.

I wasn’t really sure how to make the Fairy House but I knew I wanted it to look as natural as possible. In the end I decided to use an old tub of biscuits. I cut a door and some windows in it and then I used very thing strips of bark (which I peeled off our logs) to cover it with. I glued them on with my hot glue gun. I made a cardboard roof which I covered with lots of moss that we had collected from a walk in the woods. We made a doorbell with an acorn and a piece of string that you can just about make out on the side of the house.

When the house was finished I filled a tray with compost and planted up some ferns and other small plants. We put some gravel down and some shells and pebbles and soon had a path and patio area.  I sunk an old yoghurt pot into the soil to make a pond and Lily insisted that we gave it some sequin edging! This is just a basic garden to start us off but we are going to add to it over the coming months by making little bits and pieces for it. I will add more photos here as we do that.

If you are interested in making your own fairy garden you MUST check out these gorgeous pictures on Pinterest! I could sit and look at these all day…..

A Playmobil Playground for Free!

2 Oct

What started off as a little tube slide (from a wrapping paper cardboard tube) soon developed into a full-blown fairy house and playground.  Before I knew it a couple of hours had gone by and nothing had been done since breakfast! Oh well, sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow and forget about your to-do list.

We had loads of fun making this.  I used a sharp scalpel to cut out the windows and doors from the plastic cartons and acrylic paints to decorate.  I found PVA glue was the best to stick the sparkly flowers onto the bottles.

Rapunzel Tower and ladder using pipe cleaners

Perfect for playmobil people!

Enjoying a little swing on a sunny day…

No fairy house is complete without an enormous slide

I wrapped crepe paper over the top of the cartons and secured with string to create a roof for the houses. It also hides the opening of the cartons quite nicely.


The children both had lots of fun playing with this.  I have a feeling it is going to get lots of bits added to it as time goes on. Lily has already said she wants a see-saw and roundabout so I can see we are going to be busy working on this for some time.  They added a little tupperware pot to the bottom of the slide and filled it with water,  so it now resembles a water park!

Children’s Easter craft – Cotton Wool Lambs

28 Mar

Cotton Wool Lambs

How cute are these?  We love this little lamb family and had great fun making them. All you need is:

Empty Toilet Rolls

Cotton Wool balls or pads


Black Pen

PVA glue

They are so easy to make and a lovely little activity for young children.  Just stick your cotton wool all over the toilet roll and then secure it to some card feet.  I have to say ours is not secured very well but is lightly held in place with sellotape.  Design your own face and arms and stick these onto the toilet rolls with PVA glue.  Hey presto, you have a little lamb family.

We used these to act out the story to Little Baa This book has been a favourite of both our children. Such a lovely story of a little lamb that gets separated from its mother.  Don’t worry, it does have a happy ending!

These little lambs would look lovely filled with chocolate eggs on Easter Day!

Pressed flower prints – a gift that will last

22 Mar

Preparing flowers to be pressed

Ok, I know Mother’s Day has been and gone but I couldn’t post this before the day as we were giving these as Mother’s Day presents.

A few weeks ago we picked some flowers from the garden and pressed them between some normal sheets of paper, in preparation for this craft idea.  You don’t need a flower press, just pop them between the pages of a heavy book.

Two weeks later and the flowers were ready to use.  I asked Lily to tell me what she loved about her Nanny and her Grandma and we started by writing this in the centre of our card.  Lily had lots of fun arranging the pressed flowers around the words and then decorating it with some flower stems.

She was very proud of the finished gift and Nanny and Grandma loved it too! You could use this idea for any special occasion – or just to say ‘I love you’

One for the mantlepiece!