Kids Crafts

DIY Play Tent – Summer Fun!

The latest Staedtler Try-It-Tribe challenge was to build our own tent for some creative camping. As we had a couple of nice days over half term this seemed like a great excuse to get out in the garden for some summer fun!

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

Ours wasn’t a perfect success as it only stayed up for half an hour or so before collapsing, but that was down to poor structure choices. I’ll explain as we go along so that you can make yours much stronger if you have a go. The kids didn’t mind it collapsing as they’d had so much fun building it – they just made me promise we could build another one again in the summer holidays!

We started off with some bits of material (sheets and beach towels would work too, but we did draw on a couple of white bits of material so you’d skip that step if using nice sheets!), some string, lots of sticks both tall and short, a roll of paper, lots of Staedtler pens, and a bunch of pegs (the pegs aren’t in the photo but they were just basic wooden pegs):

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

Next we tied three tall sticks into a tee-pee shape. I say ‘we’ but the kids couldn’t reach that high – they were just helping to hold the sticks and string! After tying the tee-pee shape we used smaller sticks to strengthen the structure, putting them horizontally across 2 sides of the tee-pee and tying them in place:

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

I could tell at this point that our play tent wasn’t going to last too long. See the tall upright stick on the left-hand side of the tee-pee? It’s actually 2 sticks tied together. I tied 2 together because they were not very strong sticks and they kept bending. I hoped that tying 2 together and strengthening the sides would be enough to hold it up, at least for the afternoon. But once we put the material on too, and the wind blew the tent over a couple of times, well them sticks just kept bending! Lesson learnt – I will gather tall strong sticks before attempting this again!

The kids went off to colour in some pegs, decorate the white material, and design a flag, while I worked out how to peg the material onto the stick structure (they especially liked using gold & silver pens on the pegs):

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

Another note – this flag was way too big for our windy day – it kept knocking the tent down too! Next time I’ll use an A4 size piece!

The tent didn’t look very pretty from the back, with pegs all over it and some big stones weighing the sides down to stop them blowing in the wind:

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

But it did look cute from the front, especially when the kids stretched their legs out so I could see their feet poking out:

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

The front of the tent had the most colourful pegs holding the door together when they were inside:

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

They’d even coloured in a couple of leaves which they pegged onto the tent too:

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

They had lots of fun with the tent while it lasted:

DIY Play Tent Summer Fun at Jennifer Grace Creates

Have you ever tried to make your own tent? It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. But next time I’ll definitely have more strong sticks! I want to try an A-Frame tent next time!

I hope you’ve had some warm weather where you are too, for some outdoor adventures!

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the pens to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

Bye for now,

Jennifer x

Kids Crafts

Easter Egg Bunting – Kids Craft

We’ve just had a nice relaxing weekend. On Saturday I went out for lunch with a friend, then me, hubby, and the kids went to Dorchester Library to pick up some books – we’re lucky that we can take books out from there, but still return them to our local library as they are all part of Dorset County Council. It was fun as they had lots of different books to our library. We also went and spent the kid’s World Book Day vouchers at Waterstones.

Here’s my kids dressed up for World Book Day, as Hermione and Harry Potter, and them sharing a book at Dorchester Library (ignore Little Miss’s messy hair!):

World Book Day and Dorchester Library

On Sunday we just chilled out at home all day for Mother’s Day which was lovely. I was served a bagel, strawberries, and a cup of tea in bed for my breakfast and we played some board games (Rummikub and Picture Yahtzee), then in the afternoon we did some homework, and worked on our next Staedtler Try-It-Tribe challenge, which is to design an Easter Egg.

I decided we could make some Easter Egg bunting to hang up, so I cut 6 eggs from white card using my Cricut Explore and put all our Staedtler drawing materials out on the dining table – we have crayons, felt pens, colouring pencils, highlighter pens, fineliner pens, and metallic gold and silver pens:

Easter Egg Bunting at Jennifer Grace Creates

And then I just let the kids loose!

Easter Egg Bunting at Jennifer Grace Creates

They used some of each of the drawing materials, but Cheeky Boy’s favourite items were by far the gold and silver pens. He finds them really easy to use, and though he smudged them a bit here and there it didn’t seem to bother him, and I managed to clean it off his hands and the table okay! Little Miss favoured the felt tip pens.

I love how each egg turned out differently. I didn’t give them and guidance except to say they could do patterns or pictures or a bit of each. I just wanted them to have fun and they sure did – so much that I had to go and cut another egg out each as they didn’t want to stop!

I tied the eggs all together with curling ribbon once the kids were finished:

Easter Egg Bunting at Jennifer Grace Creates

On the back of each egg we wrote ideas for what the flavours of the eggs would be. The ones I like the sound of most are the ‘Night Time Egg’ which tastes like the moon, a ‘Robot Zorg Egg’ which tastes fizzy and spiky, a ‘Minty Air’ egg, and an ‘Every Flavour Egg’ – which is the one with the girl’s face on – apparently the ‘every flavour’ only works for that one if a girl eats it, you can also get one with a boy’s face on if you’re a boy.

It was a lovely way to spend an hour or so, just watching their process and seeing their ideas, and they were very proud of the finished item:

Easter Egg Bunting at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’m tempted to make some mini Easter Egg bunting to add to a scrapbook page, what do you think?

I hope you’re having a lovely, relaxing day today!

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

Bye for now, Jennifer x

Kids Crafts

Valentine’s Day Fimo Hearts Teacher Gifts

For the latest Staedtler Try-It-Tribe challenge we were asked to make some Fimo Hearts for Valentine’s Day, using a Fimo mould. The kids were not so keen on making hearts (can’t we make more spaceships?!), until I suggested we make them to give to their teachers for Valentine’s. They LOVED this idea as they are still at the age where they love their teachers and want to give them nice gifts!

Here’s the hearts we made:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

The 6 large ones are teacher gifts, so we added ribbon to those to make them into decorations. The others are spares for the kids to play with (though they gave the tiny yellow one to me).

Want to know how to make your own?

Step 1: Start with some Fimo, a Staedtler Fimo Clay Mould, some talcum powder, and a brush:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 2: Sprinkle your mould with talcum powder:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then use the brush to dust it around and into the creases of the patterns, tapping any excess off:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

You should barely be able to see the talcum powder:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 3: Knead the Fimo a bit to soften it then roll it into a ball:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 4: Press the ball into the mould, making sure you are pushing it down enough to fill the dips of the patterns:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Once you’ve pressed all your Fimo in it should look a bit like this:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 5: Turn the mould upside down and use your thumbs to press the Fimo out of the mould, the mould is quite bendy so it’s easy to do:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Ta-da!

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Make sure you re-dust the mould with talcum powder if you are using the same heart again. We had to re-do the rose one almost straight away, as I managed to put my elbow on the one we’d just made. Doh!

Some hearts may need a bit of excess Fimo cut off if there was a bit too much for the mould:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

You can experiment too. We thought the plain heart shapes looked a bit boring compared to the patterned ones, so we twisted 2 sausages of Fimo colours together, then pressed them into the moulds for a marbled effect:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Here’s the ones we marbled:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss also got creative with the back of some of them, making a pattern with the point of the plastic knife:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 6: When you’ve finished making hearts use a wooden kebab stick or similar to make a hole through the hearts which you want to hang up. You will need to wiggle the stick around a bit to stretch the hole so it’s big enough to fit ribbon through. And don’t forget to pick the heart up and make sure the hole is big at the back too, not just at the front:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 7: Arrange on a baking tray covered in tin foil, and bake according to instructions – for the Kids Fimo we were using this was 30 minutes at 110 degrees C:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 8: Once they are baked and cooled you can add a ribbon – you may need to use the kebab stick to help poke the ribbon through – and tie a knot to hang them up:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

The kids can’t wait to give them to their teachers (Cheek Boy has turned into Spiderman!):

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

I especially like the patterned hearts, they’d make nice Christmas decorations too I think:

Valentine's Day Fimo Hearts at Jennifer Grace Creates

They’d look even nicer with a bit of gloss varnish on, as some of them look a bit talcum-powdery! But I didn’t have any gloss varnish, so never mind.

Do you ever use moulds for any of your creations? I want some small ones to make some embellishments for my scrapbook pages!

Have a great day – it’s a rather stormy one here with Storm Imogen rattling the windows. We’re staying snug inside.

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

Bye for now, Jennifer x

Kids Crafts

Sea Creature And Spaceship Toys – With Fimo Form & Play!

Staedtler kindly sent us some more bits and pieces to play with as part of our Try-It-Tribe challenges. This time we were challenged to make our own toys with the Fimo Form & Play sets!

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

Here are the sets they sent us – Pirate, Seaworld, and Space (I opened up the Seaworld pack so you can see what’s inside):

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys With Fimo Form & Play Sets at Jennifer Grace Creates

The sets each come with 4 blocks of Fimo Kids modeling clay (enough to make one each of the models) plus a plastic tool, and instructions on how to build the models. The packaging opens up to reveal a ‘scene’ – like a backdrop the kids can use when playing with their toys later. Cheeky Boy was quite excited when he saw the space picture – I let him watch a Star Wars movie (episode 4) for the first time a few days ago!

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss chose to make the sea creatures, and Cheeky Boy unsurprisingly chose to make the space ships. We’ve kept the pirate set for a rainy day!

As the Pirate instructions are now the only ones I can find, here’s a page from inside so you can see how the instructions are displayed:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

As you can see the instructions have no text, so even young kids who can’t read will be able to try and follow the pictures. It shows you how much of the Fimo block you need to use, what shapes to mould, and where to put them on the model that you are making. By the end of it Cheeky Boy (age 4 and a half) was really getting the hang of following the instructions. He could easily cut off the right amount of the right colour:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

He often needed help making it into a ball or sausage shape, but then he could do the next bit of cutting and shaping. He did all the final shaping and adding to the models. He especially liked making the windows – they were not very round but he loved cutting the Fimo into little blobs, counting them to make sure he had the right number, and pressing them on:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

Little Miss (age 7 and 3 quarters) did everything herself, though I did show her how to make a couple of shapes (eg. the turtle shell) then I squished it up again so she could make it. She took a lot longer to make all her models, as she was doing it a lot more carefully and trying to make them perfect. Just look at the concentration on her face:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

We had a very fun time making the toys – they stayed enthusiastic the whole time we were making them.

I have a couple of tips for you:

Tip 1: Always wash your hands after moulding a dark colour, or when you start work on the next colour it will get ‘dirty’ (as Cheeky Boy said). Here’s when he’d moved from black to red without washing his hands and ended up with a marbled effect:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

There’s not enough spare Fimo to replace a large part like this, so we just had to stick with it being discoloured. Most of it got covered up by windows anyway.

Tip 2: If you have any parts which might droop in the oven you can scrunch up balls of tin foil to hold them up while they are baking. Then they will stay in position once the Fimo is cooked and hard:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

One final thing to say is that a couple of bits have broken off our toys while we’ve been playing with them – the tip of a spaceship and one of the crabs legs. To avoid this you could smooth the different colours of Fimo together more where they join before cooking. I’ve just glued them back on and they seem to be okay for now!

This spaceship and the crab are my favourites:

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am looking forward to when we make the pirates – and I’ve seen there’s a dino set so I want to get that too!

Do you think you or your kids would like to have a go at these?

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a fun-filled day!

Jennifer x

Sea Creature & Spaceship Toys Using Fimo Form & Play at Jennifer Grace Creates

Kids Crafts

Halloween Monsters + Creature Consequences Game!

Hello all. Sorry it’s quiet here lately. As well as my part-time job in the school library and my volunteer work running a Rainbows unit, I am now also the Chair of the very busy PTA at my kids school. So my blogging is running a little behind. I hope I’ll find my groove eventually as my crafting and blogging is my haven from all the madness!

Today I’m sharing a new Try-It-Tribe project that me and the kids made with the help of Staedtler. We were challenged to design some Halloween Monsters, so we played a game of Creature Consequences (I’ll explain in a minute if you don’t know what that is) to come up with some ideas. Then the kids picked their favourites to copy onto white card, and coloured them in for us to stick up on the wall as Halloween decorations this year:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

Cheeky Boy’s is on the left, and Little Miss’ is on the right, in case you can’t tell! I was actually quite impressed with Cheeky Boy’s monster, it’s the first time I’ve seen him concentrate on getting eyes and ears in the right places. I almost tried to explain that monsters could have eyes and ears in the wrong places, but I thought that would totally confuse him at this stage of his drawing development! He did give his monster a wind-powered water canon, so that was creative enough!

So we started our ideas with a game of Creature Consequences. Here are the kids all ready to go. Little Miss was super excited to be playing an ‘art game’:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’m going to show you how the game is played – these drawings are all by me as no way would the kids let me take photos during game time, but normally you pass the paper around to another player between each fold.

1: Fold an A4 piece of paper for each player, so that it has 3 folds (four sections of paper). Basically fold it in half, then in half again. Then unfold it. Then, keeping it a secret (you shouldn’t be able to see each other’s drawings), each player draws a head at the top of the paper. You have to make sure the neck crosses the first fold slightly:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

2: Once you’ve finished the head you fold the paper a couple of times, so the head is hidden and all you can see is the little tiny bit of neck which you crossed over into the next section. Then you all pass the piece of paper to the player on your left, and draw a body in the next section, making sure the bottom of the body crosses into the next section:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

3: Repeat the folding and passing of the paper, then draw some legs:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

4: Repeat the folding and passing of the paper, and finish with some feet:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

5: Then the fun bit happens when you unfold the paper and reveal the monster:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

Here’s the monsters we ended up with during our game:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

The kids giggled a lot when they unrolled the monsters!

This is a great game as you can play it with any number of players. You could also use it for developing characters for stories. Or there is a ‘story consequences’ game where you write a boys name, a girls name, what he said, what she said, etc… rather than drawing.

Creature Consequences is great for Little Miss’ age (7) but was a bit hard for Cheeky Boy (age 4). I certainly wouldn’t play it with more than one child of that age. I did have to keep peeking at his to remind him to cross the picture over the line just a little bit. But he really enjoyed it and I know it’s something we will play again!

After the game they all looked at the monsters and chose what bits they’d like to use on a big picture. So I gave them a piece of A3 card each and they got drawing. Here’s Cheeky Boy explaining how the wind-power is going to work on his monster:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

They used a combination of Staedtler pencils and crayons for most of the drawings, then finished off with some touches of gold and silver metallic markers, and Little Miss used a fineliner on hers too:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

I love how unique they are!

I made my own monster too, of course:

Halloween Monsters and a Creature Consequences Game at Jennifer Grace Creates

He’s got gold toenails. I was really impressed with how well the gold metallic marker showed up on top of the purple pencil, these metallic markers are great if you want to draw on top of dark colours!

What do you think of our Halloween Monsters? Have you ever played Creature Consequences or Story Consequences?

I’ll have some more Halloween projects appearing over the next week-or-so! You can also check out the Staedtler Facebook Page or their Blog for more Monster inspiration!

Bye for now, Jennifer x

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

Kids Crafts

Making Alien Toys with Kids Fimo Moulds

Hello!

Recently me and my kids joined in with a Facebook competition on the Staedtler page, to try and be a member of their Try-It team of bloggers. We were excited to win a place on the team, especially when our box of goodies showed up:

Staedtler Try-It Tribe Goodies

Today I’m sharing our first Try-It tribe project – some alien toys using the kids Fimo moulds!

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.

We had tons of fun making these, and we definitely picked up a few tips for how to use the moulds along the way too! For those that don’t know, Fimo is a modelling clay which you can shape, and then bake it in the oven to make it solid. This is kids Fimo too, which seems to be extra soft – great for making it easier to shape!

First we got all the colours of Fimo and the moulds out to have a look at:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

We chose which colours to use first. When I looked at the packets I was excited because they had a re-sealing closure… or they looked like they should. But actually all the packets just ripped when I opened them, so the re-sealing sticky bit was kind of useless. I ended up wrapping our leftover Fimo in clingfilm so it wouldn’t dry out. All my packets tore down the side like this:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

Top tip #1 – which it did say in the mould instructions – was to spritz the mould with a bit of water before putting the Fimo in, so that it comes out easier. We did try it with and without the water, and it was definitely A LOT easier to get them out if they had water sprayed inside first. I just used a garden water spray:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

I left the kids to do the moulds themselves first to see if they could do it on their own. But their natural inclination was to press the fimo down into the moulds using their fingers – which would mean you wouldn’t get the impression at the back of the mould:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

I then explained that the Fimo needed to be bigger – like a ball for the planet, or like a fat sausage for the aliens, so that you would get a 3D object with shaping at the back and the front:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

They both managed to press the moulds shut themselves – Cheeky Boy liked to press his against his belly:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

When the items came out of the moulds we had to remove the excess Fimo. We did this with a combination of pinching it off or using a modelling tool to cut it off (it didn’t come with a modelling tool, but we happened to have one). Then we smoothed down any bumps that were left over:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

One thing to note is that if you’ve sprayed the mould too much then the Fimo will come out a bit wet and slimy:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

We smoothed it out a bit then left it to dry for 5 mins or so, and it turned out fine.

A lot of the moulds have details that leave impressions on the surface, like eyes and arms on the aliens. However, these details tended to get lost when we were removing the excess Fimo and handling the models – I think this was partly due to the kids Fimo being that bit softer – it was easy to accidentally smooth the details out!

It was okay because it gave us a reason to use more colours and add our own details. Cheeky boy seemed to be especially good at this, he loved adding eyes, spots, feet, and stripes:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

I should also point out that we used baby wipes to clean our hands in between colours. After making a red planet Little Miss had to go and wash her hands as her hands were so red! It came off easily enough though.

The only mould that we had a lot of problems with was the stars mould – we couldn’t seem to get the excess Fimo off without losing the shape of the stars. This was our first attempt:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

And our second attempt – I did the larger star on the left by myself which is why it’s the neatest:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then of course Cheeky Boy decided my neat star needed some ‘spots’ and he proceeded to cover it in black Fimo blobs. Ah well, he was happy:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

Once they were finished moulding I baked the aliens and accessories in the oven following the packet instructions, and left them to cool before the kids had a chance to play:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

Here’s a little 30 second video of them playing with their new toys:

I don’t think Fimo is really designed to make toys – I know that pieces may eventually break or fall off. But as there aren’t any thin or fiddly bits on these they should last a while. The kids have been bashing them around in their games for a few days now and nothing’s broken yet!

Little Miss calls them her ‘miniaturisers’… which she thought meant that even though they were little they could do big things. She also likes the idea that they can turn things tiny, now that I’ve explained it! See, we are learning as well.

I was really happy with how much the kids enjoyed making these, and I was surprised by how much Cheeky Boy (who turned 4 a few months ago) could do by himself. We can’t wait to try our next Staedtler project! For more from Staedtler check out their blog HERE.

Of course I couldn’t let the kids have all the fun… here’s my alien:

Making Alien Toys With Kids Fimo Moulds at Jennifer Grace Creates

I think the kid’s ones are better, but I like my little alien too!

Have you ever tried using Fimo or modelling clay? I used to make earrings with it too so I might get Little Miss to make some jewellery next.

I’m linking this up to the Tuesday Pintorials Linky Party!

Bye for now,

Jennifer x

Disclosure: Staedtler sent us the products to use for this post, but all photos, text, and opinions are our own.