Posted in Crafts

5 easy ways to reuse your birthday party balloons

All Hamish wanted for his birthday this year were balloons and a birthday cake.

Naturally I wasn’t about to let him down.

But

We all know how much I hate the effect that balloons have on Nature.

Waste not

Because of how much I hate buying balloons, I decided we would make these balloons last as long as possible.

A week later we still had these 10 metallic balloons floating around the house and so, I decided to craft with them ….

How to craft with old balloons

Here are 5 fun ideas of what to do with your old balloons.

1. Floating Hamish

We chose a photo of Hamish in a tube.

Cut it out and sewed it to the bottom part of a balloon. This now looked like a hot air balloon. Hamish threw it up and watched it float down.

This would be great using helium balloons. As it would look like he was floating in the sky.

2. Happy faces

I have Hamish pompoms and wool and he made some happy faces on the balloons.

A nice emotions game could be to ask your child to create the face of how they feel now and open discussion on the result.

3.Dinosaurs

I cut dino body parts from paper and we glued it on.
Added a flashy eye.

Note ….it’s best to use a thin card and rather tape it on as the paper was way too thin and this brontosaurus looked more like he had broken his neck.

4. Drum

Just stretch a deflated balloon over a coffee can.
Hamish glued beads and used 2 craft sticks as drumsticks.

This was the hit of the day.

We also experimented with sound to see how different things make a different sound. ( so he hit it with sticks, his hand, spoons, ect)

5. Pretty jars

This is actually really cool.

I reuse the glass jars in my pantry so this can add a pop of colour to the jars or you could use it to colour co-ordinate your spices, ect.Just trim the top of a balloon off and pull over a glass jar.

So the next time you have some balloons floating about why not pop out this post and create a fun repurpose idea.

Posted in Crafts, Education, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschool curriculum, preschoolers, Toddlers

How to make a set of nature inspired number flash cards and counting poster for your homeschool classroom

Every springtime the Western Cape show cases the most gorgeous blanket of little wild flowers.

Every open field has huge spreads of whites or yellows or orange daisy and we are blessed to live very close to one of these areas.

Nature appreciation

Not only are these flowers beautiful they also hold an abundance of life in their little ecosystems.

Little ants that scurry about, earthworms underground, bees, dragonfly, bumblebee and beetles all gathering nectar….these can often be missed as we focus on the flowers.

But, I’ve always tried to teach my children the importance of nature, show her beauty and have them understand our role to protect and look after the world around us from ant to whale.

And so before we even started our activity, Hamish and I, first admired the flowers and sat along the side of the path watching the insect and bird life that danced amidst them.

Using nature to learn

Knowing how important it is for me that my children appreciate the natural world around them, I incorporate nature studies and the use of natural materials in our home classroom.

We count out sticks, print with leaves, have sensory play with mud and build with stones.

If we learnt flower parts we did so outside with real flowers. Shapes and patterns were identified in the garden and what better way to learn about the ocean than to be there?

A Pinterest idea comes to life

Somewhere along my late night Pinterest scrolling sessions, I saw a number freeze made by forming numbers with stones and leaves.

I knew I wanted to make this.

But, the stones and leaves looked dull against the grass background …what if we used flowers?

And so Hamish and I took a walk down the road and gathered several little white flowers to start our new project.

Counting flowers

As soon as we got home, I let Hamish cut the stems off the flowers and we started arranging flowers on the grass in the shape of numbers to photograph.

These number photographs have become the posters and flashcards we use in our classroom.

How to make a set of nature inspired flash cards and counting poster

To make your own you will need:

  • Wild flowers ( but you could do this with any natural item- shells, stones, sticks, leaves)
  • Scissors to cut the flowers
  • A container to gather the flowers in
  • A camera ( your cell phone camera will work just fine)
  • A grass background ( although you may want to use a wooden background, sandy beach, mud, ect)
  • Printer or printing facility
  • Laminator or laminating facility

To make:

  • First gather all your flowers. We used about 20 flowers and made two numbers at a time. Reusing the flowers for the other numbers so that we didnt have to cut that many flowers.
  • Next arrange the flowers into the number shapes.
  • Photograph each number.
  • Edit your photographs until you are happy.
  • Have each photo printed. I printed A4 to make the number freeze and printed 2 images on an A4 piece of card to cut into A5 sized flash cards.
  • Have your posters laminated and display.
  • Cut your flash cards in half and store neatly.

Posted in Brands we love, Crafts

Kids can paint their own masks with Dishy designs

Last year I found an awesome little company that offer tea towel kits for your children to paint.

This was so much fun.

Making a masterpiece

As I had wanted to create a special memory with Hamish for Mothers day, this was the perfect kit to do that.

We could make something that not only symbolised the strong bond we have but also represented the fun we have throughout our day.

Paint your own tea towel kit

With the PAINT YOUR OWN TEA TOWEL KITS we set to work making my masterpiece.


I especially loved that the dish towel is a blank canvas. For me this means I was able to use my creativity and Hamish could express himself freely without worrying about painting in the lines.

The kit comes with a set of fabric paints, a mixing palette and a thick brush so chubby fingers can easily work with this.

About our design

I chose a design to represent us….

The word love because he fills my heart with pure love.
I used his foot prints ( which because he hates having his feet painted, I had to do while he was asleep) to always remember how small he is was.
On either side of a giant heart I made a print ,first of my hand and then his to show our bond.
Lastly I let him paint the heart so I would have a lasting memory of his first paintings

Paint your own mask kit

This was such a fun project that I was super excited to see Dishy designs have now brought out a PAINT YOUR OWN MASK KIT for kids to paint their own mask.


Just like the paint your own tea towel kit the paint your own kids mask kits includes everything you need to create your masterpiece.

  • 100% cotton, triple layer mask with D15 filter
  • 6 x non-toxic, water based fabric paint
  • Paint brush & palette
  • Usage instructions

A wonderful way to making the wearing of masks less frightening to some children, a fun bonding experience, a great project for toddlers and preschoolers to encourage them to wear their masks and a wonderful back to school activity for children who may be feeling some anxiety about going back to school.

For more information www.dishydesigns.co.za

Posted in Blog posts

How to make your own teranium

Recently Hamish was on Expresso Morning show with Sparkle parties showing some of the sustainable crafts this imaginative party planning company offer as part of their party service.One of those crafts was this beautiful teranium that Hamish got to keep after the show.It holds pride of place in our home on his shelf and is such an easy craft to introduce the water cycle, how plants grow and how to take care of plants to preschoolers.So, inspired by Sparkle Parties I thought I’d show you how to make an easy teranium with your little ones.

Make teranium
Easy teranium to make

Make your own teranium

You will need:

  • Clean wide mouth jar and lid
  • Small pebbles ( relative to the size of your jar)
  • Activated charcoal
  • Soil
  • Colourful fish tank stones ( optional)
  • Small plastic figures – Hamish used a dinosaur but you can use fairies, little houses, any plastic animals or little dolls
  • Cuttings from a succulent plant
Teranium
You can use any plastic figures in your teranium

How to assemble your teranium

  • Scoop the small pebbles into the jar
  • Then add some activated charcoal ( Your jar should be about a quarter full now)
  • Now add the soil to just over the half way mark of your jar
  • Plant your succulent.
  • Add the fish tank stones if you want to add some colour to your jar
  • Add your decorative stones or plastic figures
  • Water your teranium. It is best to water with a spray bottle.
  • Put the lid on

How to care for your teranium

How to care for a teranium
Place your teranium where it gets enough sunlight
A teranium is a self watering little garden. It will need to be placed where it can get enough light energy necessary for photosynthesis.The succulent will produce glucose ( a plant food source), oxygen and water vapour. This water vapour will colect on the lid and trickle down the sides of the jar to self water your plant.Water your teranium at least once a month unless you notice that the soil is dry and needs watering sooner.

Happy gardening

Posted in Crafts

How to make a Valentine’s day inspired wrapping paper

This is the first year that Hamish understands Valentine’s day and he wanted to get his daddy a gift

I wanted to help make the gift completely from him so I grabbed a few items and we got ready to make our own special gift wrap for this special gift.

Wrapping paper
Heart print wrapping paper

To make your own you will need:

  • White paper
  • Red paint
  • Heart cookie cutters
Supplies
Things you need

Directions

Making your own wrapping paper is really eaeasy and a nice activity for younger children.

I would start by lining our work surface if I was at school, but because we were using washable finger paint, I just added an extra sheet of paper underneath.

Print making
Making prints

I placed some paint in a flat plastic plate, so that he could spread the paint enough onto the cookie cutter to be able to stamp.

Prints
Valentine’s prints

And then I let him stamp all the paper with the different sized heart cutters.

When he was done, I set it aside to dry and later today we will wrap his dad’s gift in his very special wrapping paper.

Do you encourage your preschoolers to send valentine’s day gifts?

Posted in Christmas, Crafts, Family Time, Giving back

The kindness advent calendar

I love everything about Christmas. I love the old traditions that mark the day, the holiday keepsakes, the cheap tacky decor that some shops sell and the lavish gifts all through the stores.

But more than that I love that Christmas is a time where families remember to include everyone, where neighbours greet and the malls are full of people smiling at each other. It’s a time where secret Santas are endulged in just to make someone else happy.

It is a time of magic and belief …

But it also fast becomes a commercial humdrum of wish lists and debit cards. Of us spoiling our children with expensive toys that to be honest may never be played with after Christmas day or are broken and discardead.

So, as we fill our homes with chocolate advents and cheap toys for bright red Christmas stockings, as we hunt down expensive wrapping and buy gifts that we have just paid off when Christmas rolls around again, how do we teach our Children the true essence of Christmas?

Kindness Advent

This year in our home I’ve started a kindness advent to do just that.

To teach Hamish, and remind ourselves, that Christmas is about our love and kindness for others.

It was incredibly easy to set up and you can use any little advent calendar that will hold 24 slips of paper.

We bought an Advent Calendar DIY kit from Busybean which Kerri stitched together one night a few weeks ago with her friend.

This little felt kit is much bigger than I first thought and each little pocket is big enough to hold a small sweet or toy.

Everything is precut and the numbers stick on with a little sticky tape. At a later stage I want to secure the numbers a bit better,by removing them carefully and gluing them on using bostick to make them more permanent .

This little kit cost R30 and was well worth the buy.

To personalise his tree, I added a few little Christmas pegs and each little advent pocket will hold a little slip of paper encouraging an act of kindness that we will help Hamish to complete each day.

My hope is that this becomes an annual family project and a reminder of the Christmas spirit.

Gifts of Kindness

The acts of kindness that I’ve included are:

  1. Feed the birds
  2. Donate 3 old books to a library
  3. Make Christmas cards for your friends
  4. Bake biscuits for your neighbours
  5. Take a treat to the police station, fire station , hospital or ambulance service.
  6. Phone your grandparents
  7. Make a special ” I love you gift” for your sibling(s)
  8. Smile all day
  9. Donate 3 old toys to a Children’s home
  10. Hug a friend
  11. Hide a happy rock that you paint for someone to find in a park.
  12. Do a chore for mom or dad
  13. Leave a Thank you note and candy cane for the mail man
  14. Gift 3 old pieces of clothing to a charity or homeless shelter
  15. Make a new friend
  16. Pick up litter or join a beach clean up
  17. Tell your family you love them
  18. Pick flowers for someone
  19. Make someone laugh
  20. Share your sweets
  21. Ask mom and dad to help you take treats to an old age home
  22. Help mom and dad prepare dinner
  23. Tell shop assistants to have a nice day
  24. Plant a tree

This is our list but you could write your own adjusting it to suit your family, child’s age and to acts of kindness that you are comfortable with.

Because the greatest gifts we can ever offer anyone are our time and kindness.

Posted in Crafts, The Kids Book Club

Money bags

This month we recieved the money bag from Kids book club.

As usual I was looking at ways that we can reuse the bag and still allow bear to learn whilst playing with his woodland money.

Here some of the ideas we came up with:

Shop

If you *photocopy the Woodland money and set up a shop , your little ones can use their money to purchase items that match the amount they have.

For example if the dolls are 100 woodland notes and the cars 10 woodland notes and the kiddy only has 10 woodland notes they can only buy the car.

Great real life lesson on budgets 🤔

Encourage good behaviour

Using the above concept you could also use the woodland notes as reward for chores and good behaviour allowing your child to earn a reward or work for one.

For example going to macDonalds may be 100 woodland notes and they will need to earn 10 x 10 woodland notes by keeping their room clean for 10 days to go.

A nice way to teach our children the difference between needs and wants and how to work towards a goal. They can also learn how much makes up each denomination. ( early maths concepts) and practice multiplication.

10 x 1 woodland notes = a 10 woodland note

10 x 10 woodland notes = a 100 woodland note

Posting games

I made bear two different posting games.

I would recomment gluing the cut out note or coin onto card to make it more stable. ( we used the Kids book club badge as coins and so can collect more each month)

In the first one I cut around the rectangle and the circle and bear then posted notes in one and coins in the other. It is also great to reinforce what the shapes are.

In the second I turned a shoe box on its side and he posted the money into the top as you would a money box. Perfect for hand eye co-ordination.

Matching games

The money also makes for a great opportunities to match shapes.

*Photocopy the bag and glue onto a card base. Then use the cutout money to paste on top to match up .

Or you could do what I did and draw around the shapes allowing your toddler to match them. This activity is great for developing puzzle skills.

*photocopy only for home use not for resale. All images are copyright of Kids book club.

Posted in Education

Weather chart

This easy to make weather chart can be made in a few minutes.

You will need:

1 paper plate

Coloured card

Glue scissors

1 split pin

White paper

Marker or printed lables for :-sunny, raining, windy & cloudy.

To make your chart:-

🐾Cut from coloured card the following symbols :

Sunny – sun

Rainy- rain drops

Cloudy -cloud

Windy -kite

🐾Divide the paper plate into 4 by placing two thin strips of card horizontally and vertically to form a cross.

🐾Glue the shapes on.

🐾From white paper make your labels and glue on.

🐾cut an arrow and attach to the centre of the plate with the split pin.

Encourage your children to use these in the mornings to record the weather.