Homemade Easter Cards

easter chick

This year, I thought it would be lovely for my toddler to create some Easter cards to send to her relatives. As she is not yet two years old, I wanted to create cards she could decorate by herself. The instructions for each of the three designs are written below, so please feel free to try them out with your toddler. All are simple to set up and quick to make.

Potato Print Easter Eggs

Cut two potatoes in half. Turn them over and carve little handles to make them easier for your toddler to pick up and hold.

Create different designs for each ‘egg’. To make the lines thicker, I first cut them with a knife, then went over them with the point of a potato peeler.

Once you have made your potato Easter egg designs, pour four different colours of paint onto paper plates, one for each different design. Fold a piece of A4 white card in half and let your toddler print the egg designs onto the card.

Tissue Paper Collage Easter Egg

This card is super simple to create. Begin by folding a piece of A4 paper in half and then draw an oval shape along the fold.

Cut it out and then unfold the paper to reveal your egg shape. We made two of these.

Next, tear various colours of tissue paper into little pieces and put into a paper bowl.

Allow your toddler to cover the egg shape in glue and then stick the multicolour tissue paper onto the egg.

Fold an A4 piece of white card in half and stick your Easter egg collage onto the front.

Baby Chick Easter Card

This card is very quick to make. Begin by folding a piece of yellow card in half. Take a large glass or a bowl and draw around it, ensuring that part of it overlaps the fold.

Cut out around the shape to create a circular card.

If your toddler is old enough (mine isn’t!) give them a pair of toddler scissors and allow them to make small cuts around the outside of the card to give the illusion of feathers. You may wish to do this step yourself.

Finally, your toddler can stick goggly eyes and an orange beak in the middle of the yellow circle. Alternatively, these could be drawn or painted. We used an orange piece of sticky foam for the beak.

my toddler managed to make these cards while her three-week-old brother was peacefully napping!

We hope you enjoy making these designs and would love to hear how you got on. Wishing you all a happy and restful Easter!

Homemade Christmas Tree Decorations

christmas tree

Well we’re now into the last week of November and that can only mean one thing… Christmas is coming! This will be my toddler’s second Christmas.I love getting things ready for Christmas and what better way to start than with some homemade Christmas tree ornaments?

We made four salt dough ornaments. These are great mementos to keep year after year. Last year I made some with friends from my post-natal group to mark our babies’ first Christmas and it was a lovely thing to do together.
Making the salt dough

The first thing we needed to do was make the salt dough. We used the following recipe:

1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup water

Mix the ingredients together and knead. Then sprinkle some plain flour on your work surface and roll the dough out. You should have enough to make 4 ornaments. my toddler and I made two snowman fingerprint ornaments, a Father Christmas handprint ornament & a snowman footprint ornament. Once you have created the shapes of the ornaments, bake them in the oven at 180-200 degrees for 2-3 hours.

Snowman Fingerprint Ornament

Roll the dough out and cut it in a circle using a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a glass. Your toddler can then poke their finger in 3 vertical spots to create the shape of a snowman (see photo above). Use a pencil or straw to poke out a hole at the top. Bake as described above and leave to cool. Paint the whole ornament with blue acrylic paint. I needed two coats of this.

Once dry, paint the snowman, ground and snow white. Choose another colour of paint for the scarf. Use brown paint for the arms and hands, and paint on the snowman’s nose, or use an orange marker pen. Finally, use black paint and a fine brush, or a permanent marker, for the eyes, smile and coal buttons. Paint the ornament with a layer of Mod Podge using a foam brush to add a nice shine. Finish by tying a pretty ribbon through the hole and hang on your Christmas tree!

Father Christmas Handprint Ornament

Roll the dough out and let your toddler press their hand into the dough to leave a clear handprint. Cut around the handprint and use a pencil or straw to poke out a hole at the top. Bake as described above and leave to cool. Paint the whole ornament with white acrylic paint. I needed two coats of this.

Once dry, paint Father Christmas’ hat red and his face light pink.

Use a permanent black marker or fine brush and black paint to outline the bottom of the hat and his beard. Draw or paint his eyes, nose and moustache and you have a lovely Father Christmas ornament! Paint the ornament with a layer of Mod Podge using a foam brush to add a nice shine. Finish by tying a pretty ribbon through the hole and hang on your Christmas tree!

Snowman Footprint Ornament

Roll the dough out, pop it on the floor (in a container/on a large chopping board) and let your toddler press their bare foot into the dough to leave a clear footprint. Cut around the footprint and use a pencil or straw to poke out a hole just underneath their heel. Bake as described above and leave to cool. Paint the whole ornament with white acrylic paint. I needed two coats of this.

Once dry, use blue paint to paint around the shape of the foot and toes. Choose another colour and paint your snowman’s scarf, then paint in the brown arms and hands. Use a permanent black marker or fine brush and black paint for the eyes, smile and coal buttons, and use an orange marker or paint for the nose. Paint the ornament with a layer of Mod Podge using a foam brush to add a nice shine. Finish by tying a pretty ribbon through the hole and hang on your Christmas tree!

These ornaments are so special, as each year they will evoke memories of my daughter at this age (18 months). I hope you enjoy making some Christmas ornaments with your children, too. Older children could have lots of fun decorating these themselves.

Toddler-Friendly Bonfire Afternoon

Fireworks

my toddler and I had lots of fun getting ready for Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night as it is also known, this year. At 17 months, my toddler is still a little young for an evening of bonfires, sparklers and fireworks, so I decided to create a toddler-friendly Bonfire Afternoon for her to enjoy with four different activities.

Foil Sparklers:

First, we made Foil Sparklers. These are incredibly easy to make. All you need is a rectangle of kitchen foil. Tear or cut horizontally in strips about 1cm apart from the left side into the middle until you have a fringe.

Then carefully roll the foil from the bottom upwards, taking care not to damage the fringe. Twist to keep it all together and then give it to your toddler to play with!

my toddler loved her foil sparkler, and particularly the exciting noise it made when shaken!

Sensory Bottles:

Now my toddler had a sparkler, it was time to recreate some fireworks! For this, we made sensory bottles.
We used:

  • Two empty water bottles
  • Water
  • Sunflower oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Food colouring
  • Effervescent tablets (you can use Alka Seltzer or Sterident)

Add equal quantities of water and oil (you can add a little more oil than water if desired), then add some food colouring. Finally, pop between 1 and 3 effervescent tablets into the water bottle and enjoy watching the reaction!

I only used 1 tablet in each bottle but if I were doing this activity again I would use more, as the reaction was not as powerful as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, my toddler found these bottles mesmerising and played with them for ages!

We finished with two painting activities.

Fireworks painting with pipe cleaners:

my toddler began by painting fireworks using pipe cleaners. This was very simple to set up. I took 3-4 pipe cleaners, twisted them at the middle point and then fanned the ends out like a star. This creates the effect of fireworks exploding.

I also put out three different colours of paint, but you could use as many colours as you like. As my toddler is still quite young, I showed her what to do first but she got the hang of it quickly and was able to dip one of the pipe cleaner ‘fans’ in the paint and then press it down onto the sugar paper. We used navy sugar paper to create the effect of the night sky, so the bright colours of the fireworks would stand out on the paper.

Bonfire painting using toilet paper rolls:

To prepare, I cut strips along a toilet paper roll to about the middle and fanned the ends out. We were going to use these in the same way as we did the pipe cleaner ‘fans’.

The original idea was to create more firework-like shapes but the overall effect ended up being more similar to that of a bonfire. my toddler had great fun splattering the paint over the page with the toilet roll tubes.

We used red, orange and yellow colours, which were perfect for creating flames.

Next time we do this activity, it would be good to try to create the effect of the wood burning at the bottom of the page. We could do this by painting logs, either with brown finger paint or dipping pipe cleaners into paint and pressing onto the paper, or possibly by sticking brown pipe cleaners onto the page. Let me know what you decided to do if you recreated this activity.

my toddler and I thoroughly enjoyed our Bonfire Afternoon and we hope you all enjoy Guy Fawkes Night, whatever you choose to do. Have a wonderful and safe time!

Three Penguin Craft Activities

Penguins

Penguins are synonymous with the cold and, now that winter is here, they make the perfect theme for a seasonal craft activity. my toddler and I decided to create three different types of penguin.

Potato Print Penguins

This was a really fun activity. It was easy to do and you could adapt it to create as many penguins of different shapes and sizes as you like. We decided to make a little family of penguins: a mummy, daddy and baby! First of all, cut a suitably-sized potato in half and cut handles so it is easier to pick up. We used a larger potato for the adult penguins and a smaller one for the baby.

Dip the potato in black paint and print onto the page.

When this has dried, cut a smaller potato in half and print a white circle on top of the black one.

Finally, add in eyes (either painted or you could use stick-on goggly eyes), an orange beak and orange feet.

This year, we used our penguin design to make our family Christmas cards. We scanned it onto the computer and then uploaded it to http://www.snapfish.co.uk to create our cards.

Paper Plate Penguins

Begin by painting the back of a paper plate black.

my toddler had lots of fun painting paper plates!

When this has dried, turn your paper plate over so the white section is facing upwards and fold in both sides and the top. Glue or staple into place. I used pva glue but I had to put a book on top of the folds while it dried so that it stuck in place properly.

Using orange sugar paper or card, cut out a beak and two feet shapes. If you are making several, it’s a good idea to use your first as a template so they are all the same.

Glue these onto your plate.

Finally, draw around a small circular shape (I used the lid of a Pritt Stick) onto white card for the eyes, and then a smaller black shape (I used the top of a Sharpie marker pen). Glue the black circles onto the white.

Finally, glue the penguin’s eyes into place.

This is a fun family activity, and your children could make one each! my toddler enjoyed helping me with this, and when she is a little older she will be able to make one all by herself!

Toilet Roll Penguins

These are easy to make and look fabulous as festive decorations in your home. Begin by painting your toilet roll tube black, leaving a large section for the penguin’s distinctive white breast.

Once the paint is dry, paint your penguin’s breast white. Also paint two white circles for eyes.

When this has dried, paint on an orange beak and add black pupils to the eyes.

Cut out wings for your penguin using black sugar paper and feet using orange sugar paper. Use the first one you cut out as a template for the others.

Stick the feet on the bottom of the penguin using sellotape.

Finally, stick on the wings using glue.

These were super fun to make and my toddler loves playing with her penguins!

We hope you have lots of fun creating these festive penguins! I would love to hear how you got on.