Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

Fun Ways To Reuse Cardboard Boxes

Fun Ways To Reuse Cardboard Boxes

As a company we reuse as many cardboard boxes and packaging items as we can to keep our waste down.

Meanwhile if you have a box to hand you can re use it in lots of imaginative ways. Here are just a few for inspiration …

Icecream Shop from Childhood 101


I loved playing shops when I was small. Mum used to save empty food packaging and I spent hours pretending to be a shop keeper.

Remember it doesn’t have to be an icecream shop. You could make yours in to a coffee kiosk, a food stall or any kind of mini shop you fancy.

The idea of making your own things to sell in the shop appeals to me but if it’s not your thing you can keep empty food boxes and cartons or buy inexpensive play food.

Visit Childhood 101 for details on how to make this.

Princess Bed from The Pursuit Of Craft

Princess Bed from The Pursuit Of Craft

Well it’s probably no surprise to learn that I made beds for my Sindy dolls out of shoe boxes. We didn’t have the huge range of doll furniture available to us that kids today do and so if I wanted it for Sindy I had to make it myself.

The great thing about this project is that you don’t need a big box … just something big enough to fit the doll it’s intended for. If your tools are not up to the lovely shaping of the featured bed then keep it simple, perhaps with a rounded bed head.

You might have dolls bedding or small cloths suitable to use with your princess bed or you could add an extra layer of creativity and knit a blanket or sew a mini quilt.

Visit The Pursuit Of Craft for more information.

Knights Shield And Sword from Red Ted Art

Knights Shield And Sword from Red Ted Art

The simplicity of this makes it one of my favourite featured projects … your child can easily produce a shield to be proud of.

Whether your household contains a valiant Mike The Knight or a heroic Ella The Princess Knight there’s scope to decorate the shield in the colours and design of their choice.

Even if you don’t fancy making the sword and shield it’s still worth visiting Red Ted Art as it is a fantastic resource for anyone who loves their crafting.

Cereal Box Magazine Holder from Tennessee Home And Farm

Cereal Box Magazine Holder from Tennessee Home And Farm

I’m kicking myself for not thinking of this!

The majority of us have access to empty cereal boxes on a regular basis and it’s so wonderfully simple to convert them in to useful storage.

Visit Tennessee Home And Farm for tips on how to create this brilliant idea.

Pirate Ship from ikatbag

Pirate Ship from ikatbag

Ahoy there me hearties … who would like to sail the imaginary seas in their very own pirate galleon?

Well as it happens it’s easy to make yourself a pirate ship complete with flowing sails.

If we get some sunshine it will be fun to play with this outside otherwise you could just make a smaller version to use in the house.

Visit ikatbag for inspiration.

Play Kitchen from Willary Blogspot

Play Kitchen from Willary Blogspot

My childhood self is drooling over this idea and the really cool thing is that you can take the wonderful featured version as your inspiration and then make yours as detailed or are simple as you want to.

As with the icecream shop earlier you can make your own food or buy some inexpensive play food.

Stuffed full of lets pretend play potential with hours of fun thrown in.

Visit Willary Blogspot to see more.

Desk Tidy from Design For Mankind

Desk Tidy from Design For Mankind

I love the natural look of this desk tidy but you could decorate yours if you wanted to. Either way it’s a fantastic idea and layering the pieces will make it robust too.

Visit Design For Mankind and take a look at the detailed instructions on how to make this fab desk tidy.

Car from Craftulate

Car from Craftulate

We don’t all have a budget that stretches to buying a mini car for our kids so why not have a go at making your own?

Get the children involved choosing their own decoration … this car can be customised with their favourite colour.

You could make a few of these and invite some little friends round for a drive in movie style DVD showing.

For more information on making your own cardboard car visit Craftulate .

Collapsible Play House from She Knows

Collapsible Play House from She Knows

If your kids are desperate for their own play house but space is on the tight side here’s a great idea for one that folds flat when it’s not being used so it will slide easily under your bed and out of the way.

The grown ups can do the technical construction part then let the kids loose decorating inside and outside.

Visit She Knows to check out the instructions.

Lanterns from Handmade Charlotte via Etsy Journal

Lanterns from Handmade Charlotte via Etsy Journal

Something a little different for those of you who really enjoy getting stuck in to your crafting. It’s not a difficult project but it will take a bit more time.

This is definitely where battery operated tea lights come in to their own … you must not use a standard candle with a naked flame in your lantern. The battery operated ones are inexpensive, easy to get hold of and have a good life span. If you are in the UK you can get them from places like eBay, Wilkos, B&Q, Hobbycraft and highstreet discount shops.

Battery operated tea lights

Visit the Etsy Journal for Rachel Faucett’s detailed lantern tutorial.

You can also visit Handmade Charlotte to see more of Rachel’s ideas.

Marble Run from Powerful Mothering

Marble Run from Powerful Mothering

I know what you’re thinking … this isn’t made from a cardboard box and you’re right but I couldn’t leave this out. I spent an entire afternoon of the school holidays with my little one rolling marbles down an empty wrapping paper tube. We ended up making tunnels and obstacles for the marbles. This is definitely a deluxe version of that and I think it will be popular in our house.

You don’t even need marbles … Powerful Mothering made their own salt dough balls which is a fantastic idea to add an extra crafting activity in to the mix.

This looks like a massive amount of fun not only to play with but to make too.

Visit Powerful Mothering for more information.

If you are inspired to try one of our featured projects …

why not post a pic on our Facebook page

or tag us in on Instagram.

Activities You Can Do With Your Kids For National Gardening Week And Beyond

Activities You Can Do With Your Kids For National Gardening Week And Beyond.

Ok so just what is National Gardening Week?

Well the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) started it eight years ago to celebrate gardening and to encourage people to take part in activities which they hoped would spark a passion for gardening and the great outdoors.

Since then things have really taken off with all kinds of people getting on board including individual members of the public, retailers, groups of children and adults, charities and heritage organisations.

This year (2019) National Gardening Week falls between the 29th of April and the 5th of May.

You can find out more about National Gardening Week, and the events that are on in your area, by visiting the RHS site.

REMEMBER The whole point of the event is to inspire people to get involved in gardening so even if National Gardening Week has been and gone you can still pick one or more of these ideas and have a go.

If you fancy getting involved here are a few things you might like to try …

Garden Journal featuring Freshly Planted and Willow Day.

Garden Journal ideas

A great place for the kids to start is by creating their own garden journal. This might sound a little daunting to younger children so calling it a garden notebook instead might be the way to go.

This can be as simple or as detailed as your family want it to be. You could just buy a couple of cheap exercise books from the highstreet and get the kids to decorate the front cover. If you are handy with your PC you could put together some A4 sheets, with bullet points or prompts to help start things off, and slip them in to plastic pockets in a ring binder or if your children love to craft they could make their own from scratch.

If you don’t have a garden you might be about to scroll on but you can still do this. Window sill planting and back yards still count. You don’t even have to have “Gardening” in the title … call it anything you like.

Have fun talking about what will go in the journal.

It could just contain things they see in the garden, including birds and insects, and the changes that they notice, for example leaves dropping off or flowers opening, which would be particularly interesting it you did it once a month. Or they could record their gardening activities.

If your children love to draw this is a fab time to let them loose with out the boundaries that sometimes come with school work or you could include photos.

There are no rules here so if they only want to update their journal once a week or even once a month it’s not a big deal … the main thing is that they enjoy it and have fun.

For some great tips on how to complete your journal visit Freshly Planted.

If you would like an idea of how to make your own journal visit Willow Day where there’s a fab tutorial for a travel journal that you can easily adapt to make it garden size.

Make your own garden journal

Biodegradable Newspaper Plant Pots from Crouton Crackerjacks.

Newspaper plant pots from Crouton Crackerjacks

I have to confess to being a bit of a You Tube fan. I have learned a lot about sewing and crochet from the generous crafting community who post on there. The younger generation are big fans too so although there are several pictorial tutorials available for similar pots I’ve plumped for this one with a complete demo of how to fold your newspaper.

DID YOU KNOW? … You can slow down a You Tube video by clicking the cog on the play back screen and changing the speed which is great when you are trying to follow something like this. It might be an idea to mute the sound though as that slows down too. There’s also the option to pause and rewind so you can play a step and freeze the action while you catch up.

How to slow You Tube videos down

These homemade plant pots are a brilliant way to recycle the free newspapers that regularly drop on to your door mat and you can plant them directly in to the ground when the seedlings are ready to go.

In the demo video the sheet of newspaper is a full spread torn in half which measures approximately 11 inches by 22 inches. It made a pot with a base 2.75 inches square and 3 inches tall.

To watch the You Tube demonstration by Crouton Crackerjacks click here

Grow Tomatoes In A Container from Eating Well.

Grow Tomatoes In A Container from Eating Well

There’s nothing quite like grabbing a couple of tomatoes off the plant and eating them fresh in a salad or popping them straight in to your cooking. Even if you only have a small balcony or a back yard they really are worth growing yourself … just find a sunny spot and you are away.

The smell of tomato plants growing takes me right back to childhood when my grandad had a greenhouse full and my grandma used to whip up all kinds of glorious recipes and chutneys.

You don’t have to go all out with a greenhouse, lets face it we aren’t all lucky enough to have the space, so just start with one plant and see how you do.

For instructions on how to grow your very own tomatoes visit Eating Well

Growing Potatoes In A Bag from Quick Crop.

Growing Potatoes In A Bag from Quick Crop

Hot on the heels of the tomatoes are potatoes.

You might think you need an allotment to grow your own potatoes but can actually grow them in limited space using a bag or a container as you did for your tomato plants.

Obviously you are not going to get a huge crop from a small container however it is still worth trying this so you can see the difference between shop bought vegetables and your own home grown ones which are pesticide free.

For details on how to grow your own potatoes visit Quick Crop

Cut And Come Again Crops from Kids In The Garden.

Cut And Come Again Crops from Kids In The Garden

Finally, as far as growing food is concerned, you could try growing salad leaves which is a great way to encourage your children to take an interest in where their food comes from.

The theory is that you grow salad leaves, or pea shoots, and then cut some off the plant to eat which promotes new growth.

If your child won’t touch salad give this a go … they might enjoy eating something that they have worked with and if not you have still had the fun of growing it.

Here’s the best bit … you don’t need a huge amount of space. You can do this indoors, in the ground or in a bag or container as you did with the tomatoes and potatoes.

Pop over to the Kids In The Garden website for more information and while you are there why not dig a little deeper and see what other gardening activities they suggest.

Garden Markers from Playground Parkbench.

Garden Markers from Playground Parkbench

Well if you are planting lots of seedlings or vegetables you need to keep track of which is which.

Here’s a clever and quick idea from Playground Parkbench to make your own markers.

The spoons are a great idea as they give children plenty of room to write on but if you don’t want to spend money buying new things or your kids are older you could use wooden lolly sticks or pieces of drift wood you have collected from the beach. Remember if you collect driftwood it must be a small pieces that you can carry by hand and you mustn’t break it off embedded wood or cause environmental damage.

Fairy Garden with The Magic Onions.

Fairy Garden with The Magic Onions

Ok important point number one … you might not have a fairy fan in your house but you can still create a mini garden. Playmobil and Lego figures would enjoy their own garden or you could make it more jungle like and pop dinosaurs or wild animals in the “bushes”.

Don’t get hung up on buying lots of expensive miniature accessories if you don’t have them to hand instead use what you have like small stones to make a path.

The size of your fairy garden really depends on where you are going to put it. Choose a shallow terracotta, plastic or metal bowl with a wide opening.

If your tub doesn’t have holes in the bottom, or you are displaying it inside, a handful of gravel dropped in first will help to stop the whole thing getting water logged then add your potting mix. Don’t fill your tub to the top, leave a gap between the soil and the lip of the tub.

Now for the fun part … there are no design rules … just have fun.

It might help for younger children to put the path in first as this will break the space down in to smaller planting areas which might feel less intimidating but in the end if they are enjoying the activity just go with it.

All that’s left is to remember to water your garden but don’t over do it, especially if Mother Nature is helping you with regular rain showers.

Visit The Magic Onions for more information.

Grass Head from Tree Girly.

Grass Head from Tree Girly

I’m going to finish with a planting activity that is pure fun and suitable for all ages … growing grass hair.

Spring is just the right time to get going with this indoor gardening activity so gather together those tights that have seen better days and get stuck in.

If you use a yoghurt pot to sit your “head” on you can decorate it to look like a face and then trim the grass hair in to different styles as it grows. Tree Girly has the info you need to have a go at this fun idea.

Are you doing anything fun for National Gardening Week?

Why not post a pic on our Facebook page

or tag us in on Instagram.

A Dozen Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

A Dozen Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

There are endless egg decorating ideas for children on line but while I was looking for inspiration for my own child I discovered that there are some really quite grown up designs too.

Here are twelve which you might like to try and recreate yourself … some will have instructions to follow while some are purely to fuel your imagination.

*Look out for the HOMEMADE MOD PODGE recipe at the bottom of this article*

Watercolour Eggs from The Given Life

Watercolour Eggs

The beauty of this idea is that it spans all ages and abilities.

The stunning examples on the featured site use blown eggs but you could use hardboiled if you prefer.

Decorate your eggs using water colour paints diluted with plenty of water for a delicate look or try using water colour pens directly on to your egg then manipulate your image with a water brush for a different effect.

Remember the surface of an egg isn’t perfectly smooth and this will have an impact on your art.

For inspiration visit The Given Life

Shabby Chic Eggs from Sylwia Serwin

Shabby Chic Eggs

This website is not in English but it does include detailed pictures which give you the information that you need to recreate this elegant look.

If you have some metallic guilding wax in your crafty stash that would give an extra special finishing touch to this project.

For picture instructions on how to make this egg visit Sylwia Serwin

Sharpie Zentangle Doodle Eggs from Alisa Burke

Sharpie Zentangle Eggs

Zentangle is still extremely popular.

Simple black on white, using a Sharpie marker, gives an eye catching result but if you have brown eggs consider using a white pen for your design to get a kraft paper finish.

There’s no right or wrong here which is part of the appeal. Just set your doodling free.

The hugely talented Alisa Burke has some fabulous examples for you to take your inspiration from.

For instructions on how to create this look visit Alisa Burke ’s blog.

Silk Tie Dyed Eggs from Our Best Bites

Silk Tie Dyed Eggs from Our Best Bites

Did you know that if you boil an egg wrapped in a silk tie the fabric pattern will transfer on to the shell?

I didn’t!

Sara Wells will show you how in her step by step tutorial.

For further instructions visit Our Best Bites

Chalkboard Eggs from Oleander And Palm

Chalkboard Eggs from Oleander And Palm

I really must get myself some chalkboard paint because every idea that I write about which uses it really appeals to me.

You could use these as place settings and write names on them for your Easter dinner table or everyone at the table could decorate their own with chalk.

If you don’t fancy the mess of chalk you could achieve a similar effect using black acrylic paint for your base and either white acrylic paint or a pen for the design.

Visit Oleander And Palm for inspiration.

Decoupage Eggs from Honestly Yum

Decoupage Eggs from Honestly Yum

The tutorial I’ve included uses ostrich eggs but as these are a little tricky to get hold of while you are at the supermarket doing your weekly shop you can just buy a pack of chicken eggs. Erica does state though that the big eggs create a fabulous look so may be practise on your regular eggs first and then see if you can track down a more dramatic one.

These eggs look difficult to make but it’s easy to achieve this look.

You can also cut your image out of paper napkins or use craft stickers, making sure the sticker is small enough to mould around your egg.

For instructions on how to make these eggs visit Honestly Yum

Confetti Eggs from Alice And Lois

Confetti Eggs from Alice And Lois

Quick … easy … fun … and suitable for all ages.

For instructions, including a video, on how to achieve this look visit Alice And Lois

Unicorn Eggs from The Best Ideas For Kids

Unicorn Eggs from The Best Ideas For Kids

This tutorial is actually to make unicorn ornaments using baubles but it is so detailed that it would be a shame to skip it just because it doesn’t feature eggs … the same instructions would be perfect to make a unicorn egg sitting in an egg cup instead of hanging.

To check out the instructions visit The Best Ideas For Kids

*BONUS* Unicorn Poop Meringues from Forkly

Unicorn Poop Meringues from Forkly

Ok so this is completely off topic but while I was looking for unicorn eggs I found this fun meringue idea.

Top of the list to try in our house!

If you’d like to make your own visit Forkly

Glitter Eggs from Nifty Thrifty Bits

Glitter Eggs from Nifty Thrifty Bits

Who doesn’t love a little bit of glitz?

These eggs are simple to make with stunning results.

For further instructions visit Nifty Thrifty Bits

Mosaic Eggs from Sugar And Charm

Mosaic Eggs from Sugar And Charm

These mosaic eggs would look stunning presented in fancy egg cups on your window ledge.

There’s a bit more work involved in making them but the effect is well worth it.

For instructions on how to make these pretty eggs visit Sugar And Charm

Cactus Eggs from Delia Creates

Cactus Eggs from Delia Creates

Cactus craft exploded on to the scene and shows no sign of losing poularity.

It would be a lot of fun to decorate your egg to look like a cactus … this idea is perfect for little ones but us big kids can add an extra bit of pizazz with our crafty imagination.

For inspiration on how to make yourself a prickle free cactus egg visit Delia Creates

String Easter Eggs from Craft Whack

String Easter Eggs from Craft Whack

To finish, and round off the dozen, I’m breaking the rules slightly … this isn’t an egg decorating idea but I think these string eggs would look fabulous as an Easter decoration either hanging up, sitting as a collection in a bowl or even on an egg cup.

Why not use glittery thread to make yours?

You could try using PVA glue if you already have some to hand rather than buying branded Elmers. You might have to experiment with your mix but it will be worth it.

For instructions on how to make string eggs visit Craft Whack

Home Made Mod Podge from Lulastic

Home Made Mod Podge from Lulastic

Mod Podge pops up in many online tutorials but it is expensive and not always readily available … you can make your own though and the fabulous Lucy AitkenRead will show you how.

For instructions on how to make your own basic Mod Podge, along with how to pimp it to make the gloss version, visit Lulastic

**If you use one of our featured egg decorating ideas why not post your crafty makes on our Facebook page or tag us in on Instagram … we’d love to see your results**

Recipes With Hidden Learning Potential

Recipes With Hidden Learning Potential

Kids love to bake and cook so what better way to sneak a little hidden learning under the radar than disguised as something that also happens to be a lot of fun.

Here are a few recipes that you can make with your children which offer educational talking points.

Of course you can just follow the recipes and leave it at that, there are no rules, but if you do want to take it further then hopefully this will give you a good place to start from.

Domino Cookies from Learning 4 Kids

Domino Cookies from Learning 4 Kids

The recipe for these domino cookies inspired this article They are quite a smart idea and you don’t need anything fancy to make them.

If you don’t want to use sugar coated sweets then don’t … try raisins or chocolate chips.

You might not get enough dominoes to have a proper game but it will introduce the idea. A set of the real thing is quite cheap to buy or you could move on to making your own with cardboard and stickers.

For more details on this recipe visit Learning 4 Kids .

What can you talk about?

Learning 4 Kids backs up their biscuit recipe with a fantastic article which combines playing and learning using a simple set of dominoes. You can read it here.

Traffic Light Sandwiches from Planning With Kids

Traffic Light Sandwiches from Planning With Kids

This is pretty quick to do, although you might not thank me if it becomes a firm lunch box favourite, but it could be a way to encourage picky eaters to be a little more adventurous.

Get the kids to think about what other sandwich fillings could be used instead to create the traffic light effect.

For more information visit Planning With Kids.

What can you talk about?

You can go straight in here with a discussion about how many fruits and vegetables each person should eat in a day and why this is important. For more information visit the Change 4 Life site.

You can also talk about the Green Cross Code and crossing the road safely. You can read more about this at Road Wise.

Salt Dough Fossils from The Imagination Tree

Salt Dough Fossils from The Imagination Tree

You can’t eat salt dough so if you want to eat your fossils you will need to use a shortbread recipe for this activity instead remembering to scrub the shells before you start

However making them the way the tutorial suggests and then preserving them either with either a coat of acrylic paint or a glaze made with equal parts PVA glue and water is quite a cool idea.

For more information visit The Imagination Tree .

What can you talk about?

Do you have a beach near by that you could visit to look for real fossils?

Or perhaps there is a local museum with interesting fossils on display.

What else could you press in to the dough to make your own fossil? A plastic dinosaur figure perhaps.

You can visit Fossils Facts And Finds for some handy information to help you with your learning.

Chocolate Covered Kiwi Pops from Clean And Delicious

Kiwi Pops from Clean And Delicious

Kiwi fruit is cram packed with goodies … vitamins C, E and K, folate, potassium, fibre and antioxidants.

Apparently you can eat the skin and this gives you more fibre along with helping to preserve the vitamin C content. I’m going to be honest though I might need a little convincing before I sample kiwi fruit skin … perhaps hiding it under chocolate will fool me!

It couldn’t be much easier to make a lolly than this.

For more information visit Clean And Delicious. Why not have a dig around and see if you fancy trying any more of their recipes while you are there.

What can you talk about?

I actually have lots of questions so we must try this in our house …

Will the kiwi fruit go rock hard or will it be crunchy?

What will happen to the chocolate when you dip the frozen fruit in to it? Will it still be soft or will it crack when you bite it?

Will this work with other fruits containing a high percentage of water like water melon?

Homemade Burgers from BBC Good Food

Homemade Burgers from BBC Good Food

What is educational about a burger?

Well kids love burgers but fast food has a bad reputation and costs a fortune so why not have go at making your own?

Buy the best mince that your budget will allow for and after that the choice is yours … cheese or no cheese … pickle or no pickle … salad or no salad.

Why not let the kids get stuck in when it comes to shaping the burgers.

In order to keep the calorie content down don’t fry your burgers instead pop them under the grill or in to the oven.

A big bonus for the cook of the house is that once you have prepared your burgers they can be frozen so make a big batch and you’ve actually got your own fast food to hand when you need to it.

You can get the recipe for this burger by visiting BBC Good Food .

I can recommend baked chips, like the ones here at Cookie And Kate. Kate suggests using Russet potatoes but I just use what ever the supermarket has at the time. I haven’t tried soaking mine first though so I’m intrigued by what difference it will make. Don’t get hung up on creating perfect chips just chop your potatoes in to wedges, with the skin still on, and you don’t have to flavour them … mine are usually just simple potatoes and olive oil.

What can you talk about?

What do the children think? Do they prefer the homemade version?

What toppings could you add to make your burger more fun or to help top up your five a day quota?

Perhaps the kids would like to try looking for a recipe to make a veggie version.

Baked Apple Crisps from Kid Cultivation

Baked Apple Crisps from Kid Cultivation

For more information on how to make the baked apple crisps visit Kid Cultivation.

*Also along the same lines*

Microwaved Sweet Potato Chips from By Stephanie Lynn

Sweet Potato Chips from By Stephanie Lynn

For more information on how to make the sweet potato chips visit By Stephanie Lynn.

Obviously you don’t want to let your children loose with a kitchen mandolin or a sharp knife and so adult participation in this activity is key but children do love crisps and they are usually loaded with salt and fat so both of these recipes offer an interesting alternative.

If you don’t want to add sugar to the apple crisps or salt to the sweet potato crisps then don’t.

I’m not comfortable using a mandoline so we don’t have one but I’m going to have a go with a potato peeler … the crisps won’t be round but it’s not the end of the world.

What can you talk about?

In essence this is about looking for a healthier alternative to junk food, showing children that homemade can taste as yummy as the bought version and broadening horizons.

Crisps don’t have to be potato and they don’t have to be fried.

Rainbow Cupcakes from Good To Know

Rainbow Cup Cakes from Good To Know

The instructions from Good To Know use a cake mix, which is handy if you are pushed for time, but you can make your own cake batter from scratch using the BBC Good Food Victoria sandwich recipe.

This recipe is not for everyone as some children may need to avoid food colouring but it is fun to see how the cup cakes turn out.

For more information visit Good To Know.

What can you talk about?

What are rainbows and how are they formed in the sky? Find out more at Weather Wiz Kids and Explorable.

You can also look at how the colours change when the cakes are cooked along with making pastel rainbow cakes using less food colouring.

Try experimenting with how you put the coloured mix in the cake cases to make a swirl pattern or a marble effect.

Does the colour of the cake affect how you think it will taste?

Easy Bread from Kids Activity Blog

Easy Bread from Kids Activity Blog

Shop bought bread is loaded with chemicals and additives which extend it’s shelf life and keep it looking and tasting the way you expect your favourite brand to do.

With today’s busy life it’s unlikely that you will have the time to make bread on a regular basis but I can say from experience that children love baking bread so if you can find time during school holidays or at the weekend it’s worth giving it a go.

The kids might get fed up if the bread recipe requires a lot of kneading so a recipe tailored to little ones is essential which is the bonus of this featured easy bread.

Remember home made bread won’t last as long as shop bought but in our house that’s never a problem.

To find out how to make this bread visit Kids Activity Blog.

What can you talk about?

Plenty to learn and talk about here …

Why do you add yeast?

Why do you use warm water?

What happens to the yeast if the water is too hot?

Why do you have to leave the dough to rest?

You can visit Teacher Resources to find out how yeast works.

Why not use the dough to make your own pizza base, spread it with sauce and let the children choose their own toppings.

If you are inspired to try yourself I’m a big fan of River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall who believes homemade bread should be accessible to everyone and you can find his basic bread recipe here.

Making bread is a time consuming activity however if you do have chance to try making your own bread the results are worth the effort … I highly recommend it.

Tips To Help Encourage Wildlife In To Your Garden

Tips To Help Encourage Wildlife In To Your Garden

These days as our lives get busier more and more of us are opting for less grass and planting in our gardens choosing low maintenance alternatives instead.

Sadly this means that wildlife is struggling to find a place to call home.

Here are some tips to help you encourage the wildlife back in to your garden.



If you are lucky enough to have room to plant flowers then you can encourage butterflies to your garden with Buddleia (also known as the butterfly bush because it is usually alive with fluttering butterflies), lavender, marjoram, perennial wallflower (also known as Bowles Mauve) and Verbena Bonariensis. These plants provide nectar in the summer which attract butterflies however your choice does not end there.

The Butterfly Conservation site has a wealth of information including a straight forward do and don’t list so it’s worth visiting their site HERE to check out their advise.

To get the best results you need to avoid using pesticides, insecticides and peat compost in your garden and make sure you remove the dead heads off flowers regularly.

Another way to attract butterflies to your garden is using a butterfly feeder which is extremely simple to put together using things you already have around the house.

PLEASE NOTE : This will also be attractive to bees and wasps so if you have children be careful where you put it.

To make your butterfly feeder start with a shallow dish. A heavy weather proof ceramic dish would be best but in the end use what ever you have to hand as long as it’s not your best baking bowl. Just be aware that a light container might blow away so try to anchor it down.

Make a substitute nectar solution using 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water and boil this until the granules of sugar dissolve in the water then make sure it is completely cool before pouring a small amount in to the base of your dish.

Opinion is divided about storing unused homemade nectar. Some say you can freeze it as ice cubes, others say that you can keep it in the fridge for up to a fortnight but some say you should always make it fresh and as it is so simple to do this it is not really a chore.

Finally you just need to add a few pieces of over ripe fruit. Soft fruit like bananas, peaches, strawberries and oranges work well but don’t over do it as other wildlife will love this too and you don’t want to attract the wrong sort.

You can also drizzle a small amount of runny honey over the fruit or some left over beer.

Now sit back and wait for your visitors.


Attract Frogs With A Mini Pond

Garden ponds need work to maintain them and when you have children they are a safety issue so why not make a mini pond like the one we spotted on Rollercoaster Mum’s website?

This clever lady used a metal tub but you could use one of those shallow plastic orange planters from your garden centre.

For full instructions on how to make the mini pond you can visit Rollercoaster Mum by CLICKING HERE.

Clean water is a must but rain water is preferable as tap water can have high nutrients levels. Don’t worry about the muggy appearance of the water when you first set up your pond as it will settle.

A shady spot can stop the mini pond getting too hot and drying out but make sure too many fallen leaves are not left sitting in it. You don’t need to be over the top about clearing twigs and leaves as they provide habitat and shelter for garden birds and creatures but at the same time you don’t want too many dead leaves turning to sludge in a small pond.

Be patient and let things develop naturally.

Frogs will find their own way to the new home you have made them … but in their own time.


Attract birds with a bird box

To encourage birds in to your garden you can make a simple nest box. Nothing elaborate is needed. In actual fact the box can be constructed from just one piece of wood cut in to sections. It should have a slightly sloping roof to make sure rain drains away and although you might be tempted to make everything lovely and smooth a rough surface helps fledglings to grip.

You can find clear instructions to make a nest box at the Gardeners World website by CLICKING HERE.

Don’t be tempted to paint or stain the box to make it look pretty because the birds might peck the chemical and it could make them ill.

You need to think carefully about where you put the nest box to keep it out of reach of predators like domestic cats or wild foxes. It should be out of direct sun and excessively windy spots.

For more advice making, siting and cleaning nest boxes CLICK HERE to visit the RSPB webiste.


Attract insects with a bug hotel

Insects will provide food for the other members of your wild life family and they will pollinate your plants. They love wiggling in to nooks and crannies.

There are plenty of insect houses on the market but why not pop to your local DIY store and see if they have any waste timber off cuts which you can drill in to and combine with bamboo style poles to create your own creepy crawly des res?

Drilled wood and bamboo canes attract bees and wasps who lay eggs. Drill a variety of different sized holes.

Put rotting wood at the bottom of the insect hotel so it stays damp and this will attract millipedes and woodlice which birds will happily munch on. It also encourages centipedes which like to feed on slugs so if you grow your own veg this will be handy.

Make bundles of different sized twigs and sticks which will attract beetles who eat aphids and other pests that damage crops.

Arrange the whole lot in to a wooden packing crate if you can get your hands on one.

An optional extra is to place a wire mesh across the front of your bug hotel to reduce the number of insects that are picked off by hungry birds before they get chance to do their good work.


Plant flowers that insects love

Thompson And Morgan have a comprehensive list on their website of which plants are most suitable to attract wildlife.

To visit Thompson And Morgan and have a look at their list CLICK HERE.

You can see at a glance whether the plant attracts bees, butterflies or birds (or any combination of those three) plus there are handy symbols highlighting each plant’s interesting points for example if it offers good shelter for birds or has autumn leaf colour.


Create a compost heap

A compost heap is not the most glamorous of garden features but if you are serious about encouraging wildlife to your garden then this is quite an inexpensive way to do so. Not only will it be a haven for all kinds of creatures but the end result is a great soil improver which will give your plants a better chance to grow.

In it’s most basic form it is a collection of organic kitchen scraps which are taken through the composting process by animals, bacteria and fungi so small the human eye almost can not detect them. The rotting scraps are eaten by passing bugs which in turn attract birds, hedgehogs, toads and frogs who eat them. As the scraps decompose heat is given off and this attracts reptiles. So you can see how having a compost heap in your garden will encourage wildlife visitors to come calling.

If you can bring yourself to have an uncontained heap this will produce the best results, from a wildlife point of view, as there are no access restrictions. Do not use a chemical activator to get your compost heap moving, just let things run their course.

Planet Natural have a great in depth list of things to include and what you should avoid HERE .

If you enter your post code in to the search field on the Get Composting website you will be able to see if your council has joined the scheme to make discounted compost bins available to you … CLICK HERE to enter your post code.


Welcome hedgehogs to your garden

Hedgehogs are very cute but they are not suitable to be kept as domestic pets and it would be cruel to take one from the wild for this purpose. However if you make your garden an attractive proposition you might hear the patter of tiny feet and you can sit quietly and watch as they go about their business.

We mentioned above that hedgehogs will feed off the creatures that live in your compost heap so that is a good place to start. The also like to shelter under wood piles and they will use hedges as cover.

Do not use slug pellets or pesticides on your garden, this is a good rule of thumb in a wildlife garden in general.

Hedgehogs will drink from a garden pond so make sure it has shallow points and easily exited areas.

Keep your dog or cat well away.

To visit The British Hedgehog Preservation Society CLICK HERE… you can find out more and also donate online if you choose to.

** If your kids love animals check out our range of animal themed bedding HERE **

** We also have a section dedicated to butterflies HERE **

Shaped Single Bedding For Kids

Get In Shape With Our New Shaped Bedding For Kids

Unicorn shaped single bedding and dragon shaped single bedding

As you can imagine we get to see quite a lot of bedding here at Children’s Rooms but every now and again something creates a real stir in the office … this is one of those times.

There is obviously a huge choice of unicorn bedding on the market so it’s fab to see a version that’s just that bit different … and the fun doesn’t stop with this legendary creature as the powerful T Rex bursts on to the scene in vibrant lime green.

Shark shaped single bedding and Narwhal shaped single bedding

If you have a fan of the undersea world in your household then why not go for the shark with it’s striking flash of red and bold blue?

Or the friendly narwhal which is often dubbed the unicorn of the sea. These magnificent porpoises live in Arctic coastal waters but our version is a little easier to find. The narwhal is particularly suitable for younger children and will give you a great starting point if you like to make up your own bedtime stories.

Finally we have the teddy bear and the cat which are two favourites.

The cat has been cleverly designed to make it fit in to a young teenager’s room as well as being suitable for a smaller child while the charming simplicity of the teddy bear gives it classic appeal.

Teddybear shaped single bedding and cat shaped single bedding

Each pillow case is shaped to provide detail specific to the creature it represents and four of the duvet covers have additional accents, like feet or a tail. The reverse of each duvet cover features a repeat pattern appropriate to the over all design.

You can find out more about all six of our NEW shaped single bedding designs HERE.

Handmade Gifts For Mother's Day

Handmade Gifts For Mother’s Day

I have to hold my hands up we love a bit of gluing and sticking in our house … and getting the paints out … and the needle and thread. To be fair we don’t need an excuse to get crafty. It’s something all ages can get involved with and you can craft along with your kids to make the most of the time you have together. I realise it’s not for everyone but you’ve read this far so I’m guessing you are interested.

Obviously many of you reading this will be the mum of the family however it would be fun to get the kids involved making something for their grandmas, nanas or grans. There are plenty of dads and grandparents who enjoy getting creative too so you still have time to whip up that surprise for mum.

Some of you may already have a stash of crafty goodies built up but if you are just starting out you don’t need to rush out and buy lots of supplies that you may never use again. The trick here is to think about how much you would have spent on a present and to consider whether you can use the materials again for something else. It’s also worth thinking about the things you already have that you might be able to use instead of the listed ingredients in the how tos.

Of course some of the things we featured in the Father’s Day article are perfect for ladies too so you can check them out by clicking here.

Hand Print Coasters from Dwelling In Happiness.

Hand Print Coasters from Dwelling In Happiness

This is a great idea if your kids are very young and have a short attention span. The added bonus is that mistakes can be easily wiped away and you can have another go but don’t get too hung up on getting the perfect hand print as it needs to have that childish charm.

For instructions on how to make these coasters please visit Dwelling In Happiness

Painted Pebble Cactus from Best Ideas For Kids and Abbi Kirsten Collections.

Cactus Pebbles from The Best Ideas For Kids

The best thing about this idea is that it suits children from a young age right up to those of us who would rather not mention how old we actually are (uncomfortable cough). Your cactus design can be extermely simple or elaborate and fancy with added embellishments. Pop one cactus pebble in a small pot or make an arrangement with a collection. And don’t tell the mums I said this but you can always keep this idea up your sleeve for Father’s Day if you pick something else to do.

For instructions on how to make these cactus pebbles please visit The Best Ideas For Kids and Abbi Kirsten Collections.

Abbi Kirsten Collections

Embroidery Hoop Photo Display from Natalie Wright.

Embroidery Hoop Photo Display from Natalie Wright

I particularly love this idea. Some things crop up time and time again on the internet but I’ve never seen this before and I’m going to make it myself for my work room.

Take care to look for embroidery hoops that are not expensive branded ones but then watch out for the ones that are so cheap they have splintery bits of wood coming away.

I love the natural look in the example but you can also really go to town here and paint the hoops to match your recipient’s décor or even rip strips of pretty fabric and wrap it round the hoops which is explained in wonderful detail at Love The Bluebird.

Fabric wrapped hoop by Love The Bluebird

The great thing about this is that you can give it as a gift with a set of photos but the recipient can change the photos when they feel like it and it’s as easy as hanging out the washing. Mini pegs are inexpensive and readily available on eBay or in high street shops like Hobby Craft or The Works.

For instructions on how to make this photo display please visit Natalie Wright’s website.

Body Scrub from LemonLimeAdventures.

Rise And Shine Body Scrub from Lemon Lime Adventures

Even if making this zingy sugar scrub isn’t really up your street it’s still well worth clicking through to this lady’s site and having a mooch around. It is packed with stacks of fun and educational stuff to do with your kids. Make yourself a cuppa because it’s easy to lose yourself in time.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Loving It Vegan

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Loving It Vegan

We found this recipe when we were looking for something different to make. I’m lactose intolerant so a vegan recipe is ideal for me but that doesn’t mean you can’t substitute your usual ingredients the way I do when I flip a standard recipe using non dairy milk or margarine. You also need to keep in mind that All Purpose Flour is plain flour in the UK and we substituted black treacle for the dark molasses stated in the recipe.

My little one and hubby don’t like walnuts so we have played around and substituted them for various things including more dried fruit, flaked almonds or pecans which aren’t as strong as the offending walnuts.

These need to be made as close to delivery as you can as they are soft set cookies … if you don’t make them to give as a gift then make them anyway because they are delicious.

For the oatmeal raisin cookie recipe please visit Loving It Vegan.

Button Picture from Teacups And Glitter.

Button Picture from Teacups And Glitter

This is another one of those that can be as basic or ornate as you want depending on the age of the crafter and the materials you have at your disposal. The example here from Teacups And Glitter is lovely and uses a pretty piece of paper to make the button design pop. However if you have a very young child or a limited budget you could just as easily draw a shape on to a small canvas and stick the buttons on to that. How about yellow buttons in the shape of the sun with “You are my sunshine” written on by your child.

Chalkboard Plant Pots from Who Arted?

Chalkboard Plant Pots from Who Arted?

This is another one that really appeals to me. This has so many things going for it. For a start the painting is easy for a younger child, then your child can use their own writing to embellish the pot and you can give the pot with a plant in it.

However if you don’t want to buy blackboard paint you don’t have to … simply let your child loose with their paints, acrylics will stick to the terracotta nicely, and let their imaginations run wild.

For more details on how to paint these pots visit Who Arted?

Luminaries from A Parenting Production

Luminaries from A Parenting Production

This idea is perfect for little ones. You can re-use pretty glass jars that have had jam or pickle in, just give them a good wash out, and use coloured tissue paper to suit your budget. This tutorial uses Mod Podge which is a fab product to have in your stash if you are a prolific crafter but if you just dabble then water down some PVA glue. The strength of the PVA/water mix will depend on the quality of your tissue paper so you will need to experiment but 50/50 is a good place to start. For older children or adults try cutting out shapes from black card, like a flower or a fairy, and sticking it to the side of the jar to create a cool effect.

Battery operated tea lights are a must here. They are now inexpensive and easy to get hold of and have a good life span. If you are in the UK you can get them from places like eBay, Wilkos, B&Q, Hobbycraft and highstreet discount shops.

Battery operated tea lights

Visit A Parenting Production for more details on how to make this candle holder.

Tea Cup Candles from Bridal Musings featuring Jenna of Lucky Sixpence Events

Tea Cup Candles from Bridal Musings featuring Jenna of Lucky Sixpence Events

This isn’t a new idea but it is a classic. You don’t need to use a tea cup, although they do look stunning, check through your local charity shops for interesting alternative pots. Make sure they don’t have cracks in them as they are going to get quite hot.

This tutorial uses soy candle flakes which produces no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants making them less likely to aggravate allergies. They also produce less soot.

For detailed instructions please visit Bridal Musings.

* Unfortunately none of the links Bridal Musings have included for Jenna, at Lucky Sixpence, in their tutorial are currently active so Jenna if you see our post please get in touch and we will be happy to add a link to your new site here.

Photo Cube from All Parenting

Photo Cube from All Parenting

This tutorial uses a really cool photo transfer technique and the Mod Podge brand crops up again. It’s worth pointing out that Mod Podge is well thought of if you are going to do plenty of crafting and spending money on it is a good investment because it does an excellent job however if this is a one off make simply have six gloss photos printed and trim them to fit then stick them on to the cube with a decent glue. Once everything is thoroughly dried you can still use fine sandpaper to carefully distress your edges.

For more details visit All Parenting.

Shabby Chic Union Flag Cushion from Craft Cotton Blog

Shabby Chic Union Flag Cushion from Craft Cotton Blog

You will need a sewing machine for this but a teenager can tackle it on their own and basically it is just sewing straight lines so if your younger child is sensible they could have a go with adult supervision.

For more information visit The Craft Cotton Blog.

Mini Canvas from Eliston Button.

Mini Canvas from Eliston Button

This is literally one of those ideas you can just have fun with. It is perfect for all ages and all levels of crafty stash. The basic mini canvas and stand are available in the UK on eBay or in high street shops like The Works for as little as two pounds.

This beautiful example from Eliston Button shows you what can be done. You can see how it was done here.

So there you go. Whether you make these things for Mother’s Day or save them for a birthday that’s coming up I hope you have a lot of fun making them.

12 Eye Catching Cup Cake Designs To Try At Home

We love making cupcakes in our house but to be honest we don’t get round to icing them very often … the temptation to munch them straight from the oven is usually too much! So I thought it would be fun to have a look for some ideas to do with your children or for them.

The days of running yourself in to the ground trying to be super mum are long gone so if you don’t have time to bake your own cakes (or you don’t really like baking) don’t stress about it just pop to your local supermarket and buy a pack of inexpensive fairy cakes then enjoy the fun part … icing them.

12 Eye Catching Cup Cake Designs To Try At Home

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Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes
from Easy Baked
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Colourful Caterpillar
from The Two Savvy Sisters
Sadly this blog has been taken down but the idea is
a good one so we haven’t removed it from our post.

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Honey Cupcakes
from UK TV Good Food Channel
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Fast Food Cupcake
from Bakerella
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Gruffalo Cupcakes
from Sun Hats And Wellie Boots
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Apple And Worm Cupcakes
from All The Small Things
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Rubber Ducks Cupcakes
from Saucy Sprinkles
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Cupcakes On Cupcakes
from Baked perfection
Research suggests that Asda, Morrisons and Tesco stock Reese mini cups
CLICK HERE for instructions

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Sunflower Cupcakes
from Baked Bree
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Hootie Cupcakes
from A Thrifty Mom
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Ladybird Cupcakes
from Cupcake Blog
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

You don’t have to pipe grass
simply smooth your green icing over the top of the cup cake

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Cookie Monster Cupcakes
from My Chocolate
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Making Sugar Roses
from Party Animal Online
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Bows Silicone Icing Mould
from Katy Sue Designs
CLICK HERE to find out more about them
To watch a tutorial on how to use them CLICK HERE

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Roses Silicone Icing Mould By Blossom Sugar Art
from Windsor Cake Craft
CLICK HERE to find out more about them
To watch a tutorial on how to use them CLICK HERE

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Leaf Cutters
from Lakeland
CLICK HERE to find out more about them

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Woodland Cupcakes
from Cake Central
There are no instructions on how to make these
but they are lovely to look at for inspiration
CLICK HERE to visit the site to see more of their designs

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18 Pirate Treasures

Ahoy there matey … cast your eye over our pirate treasure which includes things to make, do, buy and eat.

18 Pirate Treasures

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Salt Dough Pirate Coins
from Hodge Podge Crafts
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Paper Plate Pirate
from Easy Preschool Crafts For Kids
CLICK HERE to find out how to make one

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Pirate Themed Party
from Notable Nest
CLICK HERE to find out more

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from Tippy Toe Crafts
CLICK HERE to find out how to make one

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Pirate Bedding And Themed Bedroom Accessories
from Children’s Rooms
CLICK HERE to take a look at the complete range

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Pirate Ship Birthday Cake With Step By Step Instructions
PIRATE SHIP BIRTHDAY CAKE with step by step instructions
from Hodge Podge Craft
CLICK HERE to find out how to make one

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Pirate Cake
from Veena Art Of Cakes
CLICK HERE to find out how to make one

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Pirate Hat
from Pritt World
CLICK HERE to find out how to make one

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Jake And The Neverland Pirate Free Colouring Pages
from Coloring Book
CLICK HERE to see the collection

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Pirates Of The Caribbean Free Colouring Pages
from Coloring Book
CLICK HERE to see the collection

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Pirate Tooth Pick Flags - for cupcakes or sandwiches
PIRATE TOOTH PICK FLAGS – for cupcakes or sandwiches
from My Paper Planet
CLICK HERE to find out how to make them

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Rocking Pirate Ship
from Children’s Rooms
CLICK HERE for more information

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Skull And Cross Bones Ice Cube Tray
from Amazon
CLICK HERE to find out more about it

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Pirate Treasure Hunt
from Jenny’s Scrapbooking Haven
This is inspiration rather than a how to but still well worth a look
CLICK HERE to find out more about it

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Pirate Treasure Chest
from Instructables
CLICK HERE to find out how to make it

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Cardboard Tube Pirate
from Red Ted Art
CLICK HERE to find out how to make one

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Pirate Hand Print
from Fun Hand Print Art
CLICK HERE to find out more about it

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Galleon Acrylic Safety Mirror
from Children’s Rooms
CLICK HERE to find out more about it

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The Dragonfly Dozen

This week’s combo features the dragonfly … often forgotten in favour of the butterfly. There are things to do and make along with things to eat and we’ve tried to cover a wide age range. See what you think …

The Dragonfly Dozen - 12 things to do, make and eat

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Clothes Peg Dragonflies
from First Palette
CLICK HERE for more information

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Plastic Bottle Dragonfly
from Crafts For All Seasons
If you don’t want to use a glow stick you can use a slim torch
CLICK HERE for more information

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Bella Girl's Single Bedding
from Children’s Rooms
CLICK HERE for more information

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Dragonfly Cupcake
from Cravin Cake
CLICK HERE for more information

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Learn To Draw A Dragonfly
with How To Draw Animals
CLICK HERE for more information

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Fondant Dragonfly
from Black Betty’s Lab
The text is not in English but the picture tutorial is good
Worth a look if you like to model with clay or fondant
CLICK HERE for more information

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Bead Dragonfly
from Spoonful
CLICK HERE for more information

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Healthy Dragonfly
from The Art Of Nutrition
CLICK HERE for more information

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Bottle Top Dragonfly
from Handmade Charlotte
CLICK HERE for more information

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Dragonfly Crochet Pattern
from Damn It Janet
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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dragonfly Wind Charm Kit
from Amazon
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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Pattern For A Pony Bead Dragonfly
from DLTK
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– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –