Tag Archives: craft

Review: Paint and Play Dinosaurs from Interplay

The small boy has recently been learning more about dinosaurs. We’ve been reading stories about them and watching Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures on CBeebies together. We’ve been talking about what they’d sound like, how they’d walk, fly or swim and what their skin would look and feel like. With  almost perfect timing we received the Paint and Play Dinosaurs set from Interplay to test.

paint and play dinosaurs

The Interplay Paint and Play Dinosaurs set contains three prehistoric dinosaurs to paint, two tiny terrified cavemen, a set of paints, a paintbrush and a dinosaur fact sheet to learn more about the dinosaurs you’re decorating.

paint and play dinosaurs

The set contains a T-Rex, Pterodactyl and a Stegosaurus. The dinosaurs are white and you can paint them however you want. I chose to paint the Stegosaurus and the small boy went for the T-Rex and the Pterodactyl. I chose to copy the markings on the fact sheet as best I could, he chose to paint them in his own inimitable style.

paint and play dinosaurs

We had tremendous fun painting our dinosaurs and talking about the different colours they might be. There was plenty of paint to use and it was all washable (which was good news for his clothes and my tablecloth). There was only one fine paintbrush, so I needed to raid my supplies, so that’s worth noting if you’re going to paint your dinosaurs as a group activity.

Painting them kept us occupied for a good half hour or so, plus there was lots to talk about and the fact sheet helped us find out more about the fearsome beasts we were cheerfully painting purple and orange. We had to leave them to dry before we could play with them properly, so we read some of his dinosaur books while we waited.

Paint and Play Dinosaurs

Ok, so our dino-depictions may not be 100% factually accurate, but they were 100% fun to do. It was a nice focussed activity which he enjoyed doing, but at the same time worked his pencil (paintbrush) grip, his hand-eye co-ordination and gave us the opportunity to have a discussion all about dinosaurs, where they came from and what happened to them.

The Paint and Play Dinosaurs set from Interplay is suitable for ages 4-7. The small boy is nearly five and I think this is spot on for him. There are quite a few different sets to choose from in the Interplay Craft Box line, so I’ll be choosing something else for him to paint for our next rainy afternoon together.

Note: We were sent the Interplay Paint and Play Dinosaurs set free of charge for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Kids Crafts: Summer Snap Bracelets with Baker Ross

I got a bit excited recently when I was invited to join the Baker Ross Blogger Network. I got even more excited when a big box of craft supplies arrived on our doorstep, just in time for the loooong summer holidays. I squirrelled it away out of sight and waited until a rainy day to get crafty with the small boy.

snap bracelets

There was so much in the box, as you can see above, lots to keep me and the small boy busy for any number of rainy days, but project number one was to decorate our own snap bracelets.

In the box was a packet of snap bracelets and a packet of rainbow stickers, I had in our existing stash of craft materials a packet of stick on foam letters, so we set to work making personalised ID snap bracelets.

snap bracelets

The small boy is four and he’s getting on really well at school, but his teacher did suggest we should do more craft with him to strengthen his hands, work his pincer grip and to encourage his fine motor skills, crafting is a really good way to do that, plus it’s a really nice way to spend some time with the boy during a damp afternoon.

As you can probably see from the pictures below, peeling the fiddly backing off the rainbow stickers and the letters was a good test of his fine motor skills and patience. Finding the letters of his name in a big pile of foam letters was a brilliant opportunity to talk about the letters of the alphabet, the letter sounds and what words begin with that letter.

snap bracelets

He really enjoyed making his snap bracelet, he was really proud to show it off to everyone and liked to snap it around his wrist. Not to be outdone, I joined in with the activity and made this snazzy little number, which he insists I wear too!

Snap Bracelets

Making these snap bracelets was a really simple craft activity, it was ideal for the time we had available and was a lovely way to talk about what we were doing and why, as well as ticking all the boxes for his teacher too. There are plenty more things in our summer survival craft kit from Baker Ross, we’ll be playing, experimenting and crafting with those next week, so watch this space!

Note: We are part of the Baker Ross Blogger Network and have been sent these craft items free of charge in return for a blog post about what we made. All images and opinions are our own.

Christmas Crafting at The Ministry of Craft Manchester

One of the best things about Christmas is it gives me an excuse to get my craft box out and create wonky rustic homemade items for our home. A few years ago I made cross stitch cards for everyone, I often think about making my own cards and presents but I lack both confidence and time, so it was nice to sneak off for an afternoon at The Ministry of Craft in Manchester, to indulge my crafty side and have a little bit of pre-Christmas me time.

We arrived at The Ministry of Craft in the basement of the Fred Aldous store in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. I’d never been before but it is heaven for crafters of all kinds. The Ministry of Craft is a lovely, peaceful room, fully kitted out for all of their craft classes. We were there to decorate Christmas stockings, drink coffee, eat cake and have a natter. Sunday afternoons don’t get much better than that.

The lovely Ministry of Craft team gave us a quick run through of what we were going to do. We were given basic Christmas stockings and we were going to decorate them with fabric and bondaweb, with optional hand stitching, buttons, gems and anything else we could throw at it.

I opted to cut out and stick on three blue stars, the larger of the three I spent some time hand sewing some detail on with silver thread, then I used some adhesive gems to pick out the corners of the star, I was really pleased with how it looked, even if it did look a bit wonky rustic.

Ministry of Craft

Throughout the afternoon the Ministry of Craft team were on hand to talk us through whatever we were attempting. They were very patient and encouraging and made me really want to go back and try my hand at something else.

Proudly displaying our finished stockings

It was a really restful afternoon in a too busy month, it was so lovely to take some time out to spend focusing on a nice task, drinking coffee and chatting. We were invited guests of the Ministry of Craft and Growing Up Milk Info and I think we all had a really lovely crafty afternoon.

Mother’s Day Toddler Crafts

Like most toddlers our little one lives for a bit of gluing and sticking. If he’s given a piece of paper he’ll draw and colour, or cut it into shapes. Toddlers love all that stuff, and if you sprinkle it liberally with glitter then so much the better.

As Mother’s Day approaches we decided it’d be a nice thing for him to create a mini masterpiece for his Nan. We’d recently taken delivery of a fab activity pack from DoCrafts. The activity packs are brilliant, value for money selections of craft items. We got a general activity pack, but they also do seasonal ones for Christmas and Easter which are a really great idea, especially if you do a lot of toddler crafts.

We sat down and together we unpacked our activity pack. It was heaving with products to choose from and there’s a real variety of craft items, it costs £9.95 and the products inside are worth about double that.

We chose the coloured feathers, foam letters and the chunky pipe cleaners. From our own collection I grabbed a piece of green paper, some glitter and some pva glue. What you have there is the ultimate recipe for toddler joy.

We set to work, because this was a special picture for his Nan I did give him some artistic direction, mainly in the placing of the foam letters in the right order and the twisting of the pipe cleaner into a heart shape. Everything else was his own, pretty impressive work. I loved how he just tipped the glitter into the heart shape without prompting or suggestion. He chose the colour of the feathers and glued them on himself. In fact he glued everything on himself.

toddler crafts

He was so proud of his little picture. I have tended to shy away from crafts at home because I don’t like the mess, but this has really encouraged me to do more with him, especially now I’ve seen how proficient he’s become with the paintbrush and glue as well as how much he really loved doing it.

I think we’ll have regular crafting sessions at home now, it’s fun, the look on his face and us working together on something was just joyful, and it’s not actually as messy as I thought.

Disclaimer: We were sent the activity pack free of charge by DoCrafts for review purposes, but it’s a cracking little bag of goodies, and these are our honest opinions.

Crafts: Glass Painting for the unartistic

Three million years ago I went to art college. People think this makes me some kind of Mancunian Monet but alas no, I studied journalism and thankfully never picked up a paintbrush other than to redecorate my flat.

Besides being able to draw a bit I genuinely have very little artistic talent. This doesn’t stop me from trying. I’m a firm believer in doing things you enjoy that you might not necessarily excel at. If you’re going to have a hobby it needs to be fun and enjoyable.

I like crafts. I enjoy drawing with my son and making things with him. I went through a cross stitch phase a few years ago which I loved, and last year I tried and failed to teach myself crochet. I was browsing the DoCrafts website and I happened upon the Aquaglass Glass Painting Starter Kit, I’ve always wanted to give glass painting a try so I ordered it.

It’s a cracking little kit which will go quite a lot way I think. It has a tube of black relief outliner and four little pots of coloured glass paint (red, yellow, green and blue) as well as a little paintbrush. It doesn’t come with an instruction sheet but it was easy to figure out.

Use the black outliner to create your design, once that’s dry then paint with the coloured paints. As it was my first go I chose a nice jar to paint. I thought I’d go with a really simple design and just paint coloured panels around the jar. This was quite easy to do, though my brushwork with the black paint was a bit splodgy.

glass painting

My first attempt was not beautiful, but I’m quite pleased with it. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at glass painting a few other things, I reckon I’ll ruin a few more jam jars first until I get the hang of it properly. I’ve got some lovely plain candle holders which I plan to decorate.

I enjoyed doing it, it was nice to focus solely on a task and to not think about the million other things you have running round your head if you’re a parent. It was a lovely piece of me time and a hobby I reckon I could get into fairly easily and cheaply.

Disclaimer: I was sent the Aquaglass Glass Painting Starter Kit for free for review purposes. These are my honest opinions and I really enjoyed playing about with it.

Crafts: Making Valentine’s Day cards with toddlers

This week I volunteered to run the crafts table at playgroup. It’s not something I’ve done before because the room is full of people much more creative than I could ever be. I figured we could make Valentine’s Day cards and that wouldn’t be too difficult.

I got my husband, who has a printers and stationers in Didsbury to cut and score some blank cards for us, and I cut out several hundred red and pink hearts. Throw in some glitter pens and some PVA glue and you have the ingredients for toddler fun.

Crafts: Making Valentine's Day cards with toddlers

Setting up – hearts and glue

Crafts: Making Valentine's Day cards with toddlers

Let’s get sticking!

Crafts: Making Valentine's Day cards with toddlers

Getting busy – sticky, glittery fingers!

Crafts: Making Valentine's Day cards with toddlers

Result! Just one of the beautiful works of art.

I really enjoyed making these Valentine’s Day cards with the children. I think they enjoyed it too, it’s always good to share the love, whatever age you are.