Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Woodland birthday party

Lots of M's friends have their birthdays in the Autumn and winter.  The weather can't be guaranteed so they end up with parties in places like McDonald's or a soft play centre. With M's birthday being in June with hopefully better weather I like to be a bit different.  I must admit that I also like the planning and making things for a party.  So while he is still young enough to enjoy them  I still plan his birthday party myself.  Since we moved one of his friends in our road has his birthday the day after.  It would be the same kids invited to both parties so to make life easier we have joint party.  The other boy is Swiss and as we live in Switzerland it is so much easier having a Swiss mum helping with the planning.

M had been saying he didn't want a party at home this year.  So I came up with the idea of a party in the woods.  In Switzerland you can use one of the many fireplaces in the woods to grill sausages.  This is one of M's favourite summer activities and became the starting point for the party.  From here I got carried away on Pinterest looking for woodland party ideas.

Animal Masks

I always start planning way to early so wasn't put off sewing (by hand) 24 animal masks.

I chose to make foxes and Owls from templates I found on  http://www.illistyle.com/masks/
The owls and foxes were the most popular.
Bows/Arrows and Catapults
Being a boys party I decided there had to be some bows and arrows and Catapults.  Instead of shooting at each other I thought some targets would be a good idea.  My first thought was to make some cardboard animals.  But then I decided that wasn't such a bright idea so the card got turned into Toadstools instead.  These were mounted on canes and pushed into the ground.

 Woodland Animal Hunt
Last year we did pirates and had a treasure hunt.  This year I decided the kids could hunt for animals in the woods with this great Woodland Animal Hunt.
I produced a printout for them to tick the animals off.  These didn't get used the kids started finding the animals before I got the sheets out.  So I left them to it as they were having a great time.

Woodland Craft

With the weather being something we couldn't control We had to plan for this as well.  With our grill platz (fire area)  we were lucky that it came with a table and shelter.  So if the weather didn't play ball we could do a craft in the shelter.  Browsing the Internet I found a great idea for making picture frames using natural materials the kids could find in the woods.  I just prepared them all in advance.

As we were very lucky with the weather and the kids finding a rope hanging from a tree they didn't actually need the craft so went home with a plane picture frame to decorate if they wanted to.

Party Bags

Pinterest came in useful again to make the party bags.  I wanted to do something a bit different again and came up with this owl idea.  I filled them with sticks (pretzels) and fallen leaves (chocolate breakfast cereal and raisins).  I also found some jelly Worms and Snakes.  M wouldn't let me put spiders in them.

I've also produced a printable if you want to have a go at making these.

And I even got carried away with the birthday cake.

If it had turned out a really wet miserable day we would have abandoned the woods and had the party at home.  I had a few ideas for indoor games that I will have to write up including using cotton wool balls with the catapults.  Since the party I've also found some great origami animals that I've added to my Origami Pinterest Board.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Table Top Football

Just before Christmas the staff at M's Swiss kindergarten picked up on a speech problem.  Not the lack of it, no way nothing stops him talking apart from the TV.  He has a problem pronouncing some of his letters.  In particular SH.  We are lucky that there are Speech Therapists within the school complex.  Last week I got a phone call that a space had become available.  So this week we went along for his first appointment.
The lady was really nice and decided to work on strengthening his face mussels.  They started with some blowing exercises. One of them was blowing a small ball of cotton wool across a table into a goal made of building bricks.  I thought this was a good idea and as she asked us to do this game at home I decided to take it a step further.
As M would say google is a wonderful thing.  I don't think there is anything you can't find there, and making mini goals didn't beat it.
All you need is a rectangular piece of paper.
Fold the piece of paper in half length ways.

Then fold it in half length ways again and open it back up.  This gives you a central line.

At both ends of the piece of paper fold the corners into the central line.

Then fold the two pointed ends over to the central line.  Let these open back up and it will stand to give you a simple goal.

Our speech therapist used a small ball of cotton wool and a straw to blow it across the table.  She then moved onto just blowing the cotton wool.
After playing with the cotton wool we decided to raid the house and see what else would make good balls.
M decided a half walnut shell didn't make a very good football.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Woodland Picture Frames

I'm still preparing things for M's 7th birthday party in the woods.  I thought it would be nice for them to make something to take home.  I have my fingers crossed that the weather will be nice and the children can collect materials for this from our surroundings.  But I guess I have to be prepared in case it is wet.  So during walks in the woods I've been collecting different materials that they can use if we end up with the party in a house.  It will also give them plenty of time to dry and hopefully stick better.
I had saved some large sheets of cardboard from flat packed furniture that I cut up and made into picture frames.  I also picked up some empty boxes from the supper market as I have to make about 25.
Next they will get a photo ready stuck in the middle.  Shame I don't have a Polaroid camera.  With that they could have had a group photo from the party.  I just need to ask all the mums to email me a photo in advance.
I thought I should make an example to show the kids the sort of thing they could do.  As the kids will also be German speaking I though an example would be easier than using my basic German to tell them.
M enjoyed helping me collect the materials.  He just doesn't know what we are going to do with them.  I have to keep something a surprise for the day.

Just in case the weather isn't on our side.  I collected some leaves and flowers to press.  Then we can do the craft indoors.  Just need to go out and collect some more bark and anything else interesting I can find for them to use.  I'm still hoping they collect some of their own bits in the woods on the day.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lego Display Towers

The in thing with M at the moment is Lego.  He has so many sets they are taking over his bedroom.  He has a nice amount of storage space and shelves but is fast running out of room.  His Lego was so crowded on his shelves you couldn't see what was what.  So I decided to do something about it.

In our basement I have a big box of empty boxes, yogurt pots, Pringles cans etc.  I decided the Pringles cans were ideal for making stands to display his Lego models.  Some of them I left full size and some I cut down to give a variety of heights.  These then got covered with construction paper.  You could use any paper or even paint them what ever you fancy.  The lids were then put back on to give a good display platform.

The models then got rearranged using the new Lego display towers.  Room for even more models.


Very simple but very useful.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Woodland animal hunt

At the moment I am planning a woodland birthday party for M who is going to be 7 in June.  I have my fingers crossed that it will be a nice day. There will be bows and arrows and pine cone catapults and a craft. At the moment I'm preparing an animal treasure hunt.  I found these pictures of animals on the Internet printed them on card and cut them out.  On the day these will get hidden in the forest.  The kids will then be given a treasure hunt sheet of the animals that they have to find. There might even be a reward for anyone who finds them all.

If you would like to use our animal treasure hunt here are the printouts that I used or you can make your own.
I wanted to make sure my drawing pins would go into the trees so I did a trial run today, while looking for Y shaped sticks for the Catapults/Sling shot.  I'll wait till it has bring dry a while to collect the pine cones.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Glitter Dragonfly

This year we have made our vegetable patch twice the size.  If I was asked what we have planted it would be easier to say what we aren't trying.  There are various berries, beans, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, radish, peas and lots more.  M loves helping me in the veg patch, picking things and making salads (just wish he would eat the salad).  So I decided to make it a bit more interesting for him.  The first thing we decided on was to make some dragonfly's.

On pinterest I saw a great idea on Twig and Toadstool  for making them using maple seeds.  But it was the wrong time of year to go out collecting the seeds.  I really must try these later in the year.

So we came up with our own twist on these using an empty drinks bottle.

 First of all I cut out two pairs of wings from the plastic bottle and stuck them together.  I used a glue gun for this as I knew that it would do the whole job.

I then made two holes in the centre and put some thread through them to tie the wings to a stick we were using for the body.  You could just glue with wings to the stick but I decided this would also be useful to hang it up with as well. 

Once that stage was done we got messy.  M covered the wings with glue spreading it out with a paintbrush.  We then covered it with glitter.  To stop this being to messy we got a tray with a sheet of paper in and did the glitter over that.  The spare glitter could then be put back in the container and didn't get all over the table and floor.
Then all we had to do was go outside and hang it up.

When the plants are growing more we have a lovely Papier Mache tortoise to put out and I'm also playing with my sewing machine to make clothes for a small scarecrow.
I've found lots of other ideas on Pinterest that I would love to have a go at Plastic bottle flowers, bug hotels, stepping stones etc.  To have a look at these go to my Pinterest board Gardening with Kids.