Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Toddler Group Tuesday - Halloween

This week is our last week before our half term break so we've been making Friendly Ghosts and Smiley Spiders for Halloween.

To make the Ghosts you will need:
- White card
- Various white collage bits
- Glue
- Pencil
- Scissors
- White yarn/string
- Tape
- Black card/fabric/paper/foam
- Red card/paper/foam/fabric

First you need to draw a ghost shape on your white card in pencil. I made several different shapes for our toddlers. Some are round with wiggly trailing tails, others resemble a pacman ghost. The thing about ghosts is, they really can be any shape you like!
Cut out your ghost shape. Tape a loop of yarn or string to the back of your ghost for hanging.

Glue white collage pieces all over your ghost.

We've used pieces of lace, cut up doilies, white tissue paper and cotton wool.
Cut two ovals from the black material and glue in place for eyes.
Cut a mouth from the red material and glue in place.

This is the 'surprised' mouth shape.
I cut several different shaped mouths for the children to choose from. One is a big wide open smile, one is a wailing mouth which is shaped a bit like a wiggly figure eight, and the third shape is a surprised mouth which is shaped like a fat comma.

All finished!

Alternatives: You could add bow ties, head bows or spiders. You could make it double sided by sandwiching your string between two cut-outs and decorating both sides. You could add a speech bubble 'BOO!' written/painted on a halloween coloured piece of card/paper. You could make a painted version - instead of cutting your ghost shape from white card, choose a suitable halloween colour (black, grey, orange, purple, green). Once your ghost is cut out, use white paint to handprint all over, then glue the facial features as before.

This is the Smaller Person's Spider (his second handprint was quite gloopy!).

To make the spider you will need:
- Halloween coloured paper/card
- Black paint
- Glue
- White card
- Black marker/felt tip pen
- Scissors
- Pink paper/card

This is simple, fun, (very) messy and quick.
First print a black handprint on your Halloween coloured paper/card with the fingers facing out towards the edge of the paper. Next print another black handprint, overlapping the palm with the palm of the first print, and with the fingers facing towards the opposite side of the paper. This is your spider body.

Cut circles from the white card. Draw a black pupil in the centre of the circles for eyes. (we only cut enough for 2 eyes per spider because of the number of children we have, but you could cut enough for the full set of eight!). Glue them in place.
Next cut a smiley mouth shape from the pink paper/card and glue in place.

All finished!

Alternatives: You could of course use googly eyes (maybe in different sizes) instead of cutting your own eyes. You could also add some white triangular fangs to the mouth. Perhaps your spider needs a little colour? Glue sequin 'spots' to the top of his body, add craft pom poms to the end of his legs for little shoes, maybe add a ribbon bow tie under his body or a feather/some fake fur to the top his head for a funky hair-do!

Don't forget the Tube Owl craft we made a few weeks ago is suitable for Halloween and I did make a couple of alternative suggestions at the end of that post to change the craft from Owls to Bats or Fire Imps! You can also see a couple of Halloween things that we've made in the past in this post here.

Enjoy the half term break for those that have it this next week. We'll be back with Toddler Group Tuesday on 6th November.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

First Haircut!

This last Friday we fnally took our little guy for his first hair cut. We like long hair, but it was a little too long now after two whole years of growth. We took him to Junior Junction in Leamngton where they have plenty of toys and a proper Small Person sized hairdressing chair.

He had a couple of inches trimmed off, so he's still got lovely long (and still a little curly!) locks, but now it's not frizzy and unruly. And maybe he wont get mistaken for a girl all the time. I do dress him like a boy you know....

He was very cooperative and not in the slightest bit bothered (pretty good considering every time we said "shall we get your hair cut today?" we got a loud, firm frowny "NO!"). He also got a sticker and a lollipop, so he may not mind going back when he needs a trim :)

(Sorry the photos aren't great - camera phone again. I'd have felt a bit silly walking into the hairdressers with a great big Nikon D700!)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Happy Birthday Steph

It was my sister's birthday yesterday, and as you might have seen from other posts, she enjoys baking, particularly cupcakes.

For her birthday I put together a little cupcake kit for her:

The basket/container I crocheted from string. The book is 10,000 Cupcakes which has all different ideas for the cake, the topping and the decor, and they're printed on flip sections of the book so you can flick the different parts over to make different combinations.

I bought two different lots of cupcake cases from IKEA, and I bought some square and some heart shaped silicone baking cases too. There is also a mini silicone baking tray and some small cutters )Circle, Heart and Star). The final thing I bought was a jar of sprinkles.

I made three seperate kinds of cake toppers (5 of each).

Red hearts: These are simply red heart beads that I glued on to cocktail sticks. (use a strongish glue on the end of the stick and slide the bead onto the glued part.)

Double sided - different colours on each side.
Little Houses: These are made from cut outs from a sheet of scrapbook paper. I cut 10 little houses out of the sheet, glued the wrong side of one house, then sandwiched the cocktail stick between the glued house and another house. You have to press well to make sure there are no air bubbles and don't use too much glue because it will seap out the sides. Scrapbook paper is good for this because it is a heavier weight and does not wrinkle or curl when glued. Once they were dry, I trimmed any overhangs and made sure all the edges were matched up well. (I thought these would be nice if she makes some cupcakes as a housewarming gift any time).

Little bows and bells: These were a bit more fiddly. I used a thin satin ribbon to tie a small bow at the top of each cocktail stick. Using a needle and some red thread, I stitched a tiny silver craft bell to the bottom of the bow. This holds the bow firm because you stitch through the knot, and it adds an extra bit of decor with the shiny bell. To finish them off, I glued a round red bead to the top of the cocktail stick in the same way I made the red heart toppers. (These remind me of Christmas with the little jingle bells  - I could just imagine them topping some lovely white iced, red velvet cupcakes. Yummy!)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Toddler Group Tuesday - Printed Elmer

Today at toddler group we painted Elmer the elephant.

You will need:
- a sheet of card
- a pencil
- scissors
- sponges (we used washing up scourers)
- different coloured paints

First we drew elmer the elephant onto the crad with the pencil. You can find outline templates on the internet, trace it from one of the books, or if you're feeling arty, draw your owen outline.
Cut Elmer out.
We cut our scourers into square pieces and used them to print red, blue, green and yellow patches all over our Elmers.

All done! You can switch extra colours in, tie it into a story reading, make Wilbur the black and white elephant or even stick coloured papers with your paint squares.

This is the Smaller Person's masterpiece - he loved it!

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Very Merry Muppet Party

Just recently the Smaller Person has taken a great interest in the Muppets, especially the Muppet songs and Animal. We spend hours clicking Muppet Youtube clips on demand! So, we planned a colourful Muppet Party to show 'the Rainbow Connection' ;)

My Mum and Grandad hiding in the kitchen :)

My Nan, Auntie Dawn, Mr Bogert's sister Helen and his Mum, Nita watchng the children have fun :)

The invites were created using an image Mr Bogert found online, switching out one of the character squares for a photograph of the Smaller Person:

I have been extra busy just lately with my uni work, so I delegated to Mr Bogert. I just gave him a list of what we needed and a few useful links to point him in the right direction, and he did a fantastic job (See, he's definitely a keeper :D). His masterpiece was the Kermit pull-string pinata:

There is a full tutorial (which Mr Bogert followed) here.

He printed off some great Muppet band posters to pin to the walls and also sheets of these character cubes which I cut out and taped to a length of string to make Muppet bunting (Love this!).

The napkins, table coverings, and pinata fillers came from Wilkinsons. The goody bags were left over from one of The Small Person's previous birthdays (It might have been the pirate one...) and I filled each one with a bag of Haribo, a tub of play dough, a pack of colouring pencils for the older children, or a pack of stacking crayons (also from Wilkinsons)  for the younger children. Mr Bogert also printed out double sided Muppet colouring sheets which we found here. I rolled them and tied them with a colourful ribbon.

The Table centre was just a white milk jug filled with the bright colourful mini windmills that we had left over from The Smaller Person's Christening decorations.

We borrowed Miss Piggy and Kermit from My Dad and his partner, who made them for this last summer's village Open Gardens and Scarecrow Trail. Miss Piggy guarded the presents and Kermit oversaw the play area.

We had the big play things out from the toddler group that I run. We just let the kids play and have fun. We played pass the parcel just before food, then did the cake, then let them play for a while again before finally pulling the strings on the pinata.

Mr Bogert recorded lots of Muppet songs from Youtube and played them on the laptop down by the play area. It took us days to get 'Am I  a Man or Muppet', 'Rainbow Connection' and Bohemian Rhapsody' out of our heads!

Sing along everyone :)

For pass the parcel the prize was 'The Muppets Take Manhattan' DVD, and each layer was wrapped in a different coloured tissue paper and had a sweetie mini prize under each layer.

For food we had jam and soft cheese sandwiches for the kids, a sandwich platter from costco for the adults, two large pizzas, assorted crisps, babybes and cheese strings, a platter of rainbow salad items, mini dip pots, a rainbow platter of fruits, trifle for the adults, raibow jelly pots ans squirty cream for the kids, chocolate cakes, chocolate fingers, and iced party rings.

We baked rainbow cupcakes topped with vanilla buttercream icing and rainbow sprinkles, then we had a larger layer cake with vanilla buttercream filling and spiky buttercream icing all over. The decorations for the little cakes were brightly coloured flags made using coloured paper diamonds clued around cocktails sticks. The idea for the 'Zack' cake topper for the big cake came from here (only the most amazing Muppet party I've every seen!). I sketched each letter and the character details onto plain paper first then transferred the design to the coloured paper. Each main letter was created on the fold so that it could be glued around the yarn at the end. Once all the pieces were glued, dry and hanging on the yarn, I tied the yarn to two bbq skewers. All done!

The cakes went down quite well, and each slice of the big cake was HUGE!!!!!

Zack had so much fun, and we're thinking of hanging onto the Muppet bits and pieces for the Small Person for next year (this year's party is already planned - got to think ahead in this house!). The pinata was fun. Lots of the younger ones weren't really sure what was happening, although they were all pretty quick to pick up the sweets!, The funniest thing was one of Zack little friends got SO excited when everything came tumbling down he was jumping around and squealing with excitement - best reaction ever!! And we got it all on video.

I really enjoyed the party, even though I was still feeling really run down after my recent yucky illness. (Seems to be becoming a habit: get ill around the time of the kids birthday and be wiped out for the party). Our wonderful family and friends helped us pull it off so huge thanks to them too.

So, Smaller Person's birthday all over now. We get a slight break, then before we know it, it will be the Small Person's Princess 7th Birthday party.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Zachary's 2nd Birthday

We had an absolutely lovely day. Mr Bogert took the day off from work and we had just enough time in the orning before the Small Person had to catch the school bus for Zack to open some of his presents.

After the Small Person was off to school, we loaded up the car for toddler group. The Smaller Person wore his brand new dinosaur t-shirt and dinosaur hoodie which he loves (he likes putting the hood up nad being a dinosaur!). He had great fun playing with his Daddy and his friends, and he showed his Daddy how to make a Teddy Bear at the craft table.

We took some little chocolate cupcakes and mini gingerbread men for all of the children to eat at snack time, and once everyone was sitting eating them with a juice at the snack table, we all sang happy birthday to him which he seemed to love - he had ths big grin on his face and he was looking at everyone (especially the grown ups!) with a sort of "are you singing about me?" look.

We had to run an errand after group finished, but then we were back on routine and stopped at the village shop for a treat packet of chocolate buttons. Then straight on to Grandma and Grandpa's house, where we had lunch and Zack got to open more of his presents. He's really enjoyed unwrapping his gifts this time, and the cards. He opens them, then holds them up to one of us and says "read it". He has loved every gift he has opened. He had the crochet toys I made for him, some extra pieces to add to the wooden train set that he plays with that belongs to his big sister (so now they can share nicely because there's enough track to go around!), some lovely clothes, plenty of DVDs of his 3 favorite shows: Tom and Jerry, Thomas the Tank and Scooby Doo. And his Nanny bought him a portable DVD player (that can go in the car too) for him to play them on, and Grandma and Grandpa bought him his very own special set of headphones that are blue and yellow (as well as a DVD to add to the collection). He had a brand new night light called "Glowy" which should technically be called Glowy II because his sister had one before with the same name, but its little life came to an end when said Small Person hit it too hard to turn it off). He also had chocolate, money (which will go straight into his savings account), a couple of jigsaws, a new toy box, some ELC robot toys, a few books and the most amazing dinosaur wellies (so he can stop trying to 'borrow' his big sister's Minnie Mouse ones!).

He just had lots of fun playing with his new toys, watching his new DVDs, wearing his new headphones (not plugged in to anything!) and being a very lucky birthday boy. He loved having Mr Bogert at home and all to himself. Normally if Mr Bogert is home, it's a weekend which means he has to share his Daddy with his big sister.

My sister made him a lovely (huge!) birthday cake with a number 2 on top and lots of colourful Smarties. The slices of cake were so huge, even Mr Bogert couldn't finish it off properly!

In the afternoon we piled into the car and collected the Small Person from school, then we went straight out to Leamington for a special birthday pizza dinner. We were in luck as well because it was happy hour :) He just loved having this special treat - salad bowl, garlic bread, cheese and tomato pizza, apple juice then ice cream factory. He just thought the ice cream factory was amazing. He picked all chocolate toppings including the sauce. One very happy, chocco-ice cream filled, little birthday boy.

At home he opened his last few presents that were either from Alexandra, or from all three of us, and my Mum came up to bring presents from her and her partner, Brian  (she'd been at work all day), which just so happened to be those dino wellies and some Thomas the Tank clothes.

We also had a special message from Santa to wish Zack a very happy birthday (via his portable North Pole console) which after he'd seen it once, we had to reply about 10 times! :)

I think it was a lovely way to spend a second birthday. He seemed to really enjoy himself and didn't want to go to bed at bed time!

(But he did still have his special birthday party to look forward to...)