Monday, 16 December 2013

Printing wrapping paper

Last week we made our own wrapping paper, we printed it using florist oasis blocks.

I designed some blocks and the children made some as well. The oasis block is really easy to cut up etc. I used a sharp knife to cut it into small blocks, then either a pencil or this time I had saved the scrapers from the scrape art kits, which worked very well. Just make sure you you carve deep enough so it doesn't fill up with paint. I've found the block work best if you paint them with paint, rather than dipping them into paint and you can print several pictures each time.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cakes

The children love making these cakes

they are so simple but look lovely. We made chocolate cakes and then decorated them using ready made icing and some holly cutters. This is our chocolate cake recipe, yes it is very runny, would recommend using a ladel to get the mixture into the cake cases.

                                                     Chocolate Cake

                                                        140g caster
                                                        2 eggs
                                                        130g plain flour
                                                        50g cocoa powder
                                                        2tsp baking powder
                                                        150ml milk
                                                        150g butter, melted
                                                        100g chocolate chips

1 - Put eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until pale in colour.
2 - Add the milk to the egg mixture and gently stir.
3 - Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and gently mix.
4 - Stir in the melted butter and then add the chocolate chips.
5 - Ladel in cake cases and bake at Gas 4 for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Then when cool you can decorate them if you wish or enjoy them plain.

Christmas Sensory Box

Over December I put together some different sensory boxes for the children to explore as well as having a session on different Christmas smells, we had some frankinsense essential oil, fresh pine, oranges, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint and vanilla. What smells remind you of Christmas?

We made some cloud dough and added lots of silver glitter and some tinsel, the older ones loved this, for some reason the younger ones (under 2s) were a bit more suspicious of it but once they had tentatively poked and prodded it they had fun.

Cloud dough recipe is 2 cups of plain flour mixed with 1/2 a cup of baby oil and mix well, it should be like damp sand, when you squeeze it together it will mould into a ball but easily crumble and not sticky to touch.

Had fun with loads of shaving foam and glitter, for a very pretty snowy time.

Then decided to add some clear water beads for a different texture, the children really loved this.

I also dyed some rice in lovely Christmas green and red colours and when dried added some Christmas sequins, the children enjoyed playing and making patterns in the rice. To get the best, deepest colour, we used a dye paste rather than the liquid food colouring. I added a little paste to about 30ml of water and then mixed it into 2 cups of rice, leave it to soak up the colour and then tip out an old cardboard box and leave until thoroughly dried.

Then a selection of different coloured tinsels, they had great fun pretending to be a Christmas tree.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Gingerbread House and Flower Decorations

We all love to eat gingerbread biscuits, so a perfect Christmas activity is making a gingerbread house.

We made some paper flowers with the older children, take 10 paper chains

stack them up and fold them in half and staple on the fold line.

Take one piece and fold in half and stick at the fold line, repeat for each piece of paper.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Crafts

To say we love the run up to Christmas is an understatement! The fact there are so many lovely arts and crafts for this time of year is great, the only downside is I usually have to many ideas and not enough time do everything. M and I had a lovely afternoon making these little people, she did most of the stitching, needed a little help with french knots and I finished of gluing them all together with the glue gun. We think they are very cute.

All my children, my own and minded ones love doing any form of scrape art and these snowmen were particularly cute.

Fir cone Christmas trees

Rolled beeswax candles, love the fact that even my littleones can make a simple candle.

Melted snowmen biscuits, we made some gingerbread biscuits for the base, covered them in white icing and used a white marsh mellow for the body, then decorated with a variety of bits.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Salt Dough Decorations

I had seen some salt dough decorations on The Imagination Tree blog and loved them so we had to give them a try, now I didn't have enough enough bicarb to make this recipe, so found another one using salt.

1 cup of salt
1/3 cup of water
1/2 cup of cornflour
1/4 cup very cold water.

Mix salt and the 1/3 cup of water in a saucepan over a low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat, add the cornflour and cold water and mix, it should look like mash potato! 
When cool enough to handle, knead, if sticky add more cornflour.
Leave to dry in an oven on a very low heat for a few hours.

We added glitter to make ours extra sparkly, the silver glitter worked very well but the red glitter just made them look a little odd!

Alternative white clay recipe using bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup of cornflour
3/4 cup of warm water
silver glitter

Mix the dry ingredients together in a saucepan, then stir through the warm water.
Mix over a medium heat until it starts to bubble and come away from the pan. When it has started to dry and resembles play dough consistency, take it of the heat.
When it is cool enough to handle, knead for a couple of minutes to make it pliable.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas Paper decorations

Our first craft in our advent calendar was to make paper star decorations, so this is the first one we made, it is called a Finnish Star.

You will need to cut 12 strips of paper mine were roughly 12mm by 22cm, they don't need to be perfectly cut for it work.

Fold 2 strips in half, so you have a centre point.

Unfold and glue together

Then take the other 4 strips and weave them as shown in the next 2 photos and glue each strip in place.

Then repeat so you have 2 crosses made of 6 strips of paper each.

 Then take 2 corner strips, twist them and glue them in place,

repeat this in the other 3 corners, so you crosses should look like those below, hopefully.

Now lay to the 2 shapes on top of each other


and match up one twisted corner from one shape with the straight piece of the other shape and glue together.

When you have finished gluing, you can carefully cut each corner to a point, as below.

Then I take a needle and cotton, to piece a small hole in the paper and make a hanging loop with the cotton.