|FUN|little diggers wildlife week at Wyevale - decorate a birdhouse

During half term, Wyevale garden centres held small events for children aged 3-8 to make or do based on a gardening theme.
We were invited along to try out one of the Wildlife week sessions. Events ranged from cupcake cooking to bird one feeders, we attended the decorate a birdhouse session which was a bargain at £2.50. 
Each of the birdhouse sessions were supposed to be 15 minutes long but we found that they were really over-running, this wasn't a problem for us though.

Each child already had a little 'station' set up ready for them, containing, their birdhouse, an apron, paintbrush, small cup of water and a small mixing pot (not shown above).  There were various paints around the table for the children to share.

I'm not entirely sure what look T was going for with his colours, he just went for a bit of everything and then mixed up a rather delightful shade of mucky purple with some gold glitter thrown in for good measure!  The children we saw were mostly T's age I'd say with a few reception and year 1.
We had a lovely time and will definitely look out for these sessions again, it was a really nice thing to do and a real bargain at £2.50.

Disclaimer: we recieved free entry for this session in return for our honest review.

|CREATE|tactile fishes

Inspired by the Springboard Supplies Tactile dragons we made for Chinese New Year I decided to make these tactile fishes with T. Because they are on sticks they also make great puppets, we spent quite a time after making them, just playing puppets and T really enjoyed it. 

You will need:

Felt tips
Googly eyes
Large lolly sticks
Various collage pieces, we used:
Washi tape
And these from Springboard supplies:

1. First we drew fish shapes and cut them out. 

2. Then we stuck on our collage items, Washi and T did some colouring too. We added fins with longer bits of material. 

3. When we had finished decorating, we attached the lolly sticks to the back using tape. 

And that's it! A really simple craft for little hands. 

|CREATE|bird picture from a recycled pallet

Here's a little recycle project that we've made for our bedroom. We thought it would be nice to make something together to mark Valentine's Day.

You will need:
2 colours of spray paint - we used ivory and gold
A piece of wood or pallet, cleaned and with holes drilled. 
Garden string
A template 

1. Spray paint the colour that you want the image to be. (We actually tried both ways round but preferred the ivory at the bottom, this photo does show the gold though!)

2. Place the template on top and spray with the second colour. 

3. Thread the string through the holes and that's it! 

I'm so pleased with how this turned out! I love that you can still see the wood grain through the colour. Sadly the photos don't do the gold justice but this particular spray paint is fab, I've got a really love for it so am spraying everything!!!!

|LEARN|St Patrick's Day counting worksheet

St Patrick's day is my favourite patron saints day despite not being Irish, I love how they celebrate to the max and I think  we could all take a leaf out of their book. 

Anyway, here's a little activity I created for T for St Patrick's day.

We've been using various St Patrick's day buttons that I actually got to use with playdough but you could use counters, stickers, bingo markers or buttons :)

There are 2 sides to this printable, side 1 is for counting out the corresponding number, I've laminated ours so we can re-use it.  After we had used our buttons, T decided he wanted to mark it out, so I gave him a whiteboard marker. He decided he wanted to write the number as well so he added it (NOTE TO SELF: that's a blooming good idea - add it to the next worksheet I create!!)

The second page was for T to count the number of images and write the number in the box, he really surprised me and started writing the numbers straight away!

You can download our worksheet here if you'd like to use it yourself. I'd love to be tagged though if you do use it :)
We are joining in with the Crafty Kids at Home  St Patricks Day Kids Activities blog hop, below you can find everyone else's fantastic posts.
St Patricks Day Kids Activities Blog Hop Links
Egg Carton Shamrock Craft from Play & Learn Everyday
Rainbow Rainmaker from Mum in the Mad House
Michael Finnigan Craft from Craftulate
Shamrock sun catcher craft from The Gingerbread House
Rainbow Hearts Craft from Our Whimsical Days
Shamrock Stones from Sunny Day Family
Pot of Gold Number Mats from The Kindergarten Connection
St Patricks’s Day Playdough from Clares Little Tots


|REVIEW|Heart bead decoration kits from Baker Ross

This is another awesome kids craft from Baker Ross which actually could easily be re-created yourself.

I know I'm a bit late in posting this but I think it's so good I really want to post it despite Valentine's Day being over!

The Heart Bead Decoration Kit comes with enough materials to make 6 of these hearts and costs £3.49 working out at 58p each, a bargain, I'm sure you'll agree!

Great, clear instructions in true Baker Ross style, easy for older children to follow themselves.

I set up a little after school mat and we made these in no time at all.  T refused to follow a pattern, I think he was being lazy that night, but it would be an additional stretch to his activity to get the child to sort the beads themselves and follow the patten as well as work on their fine motor skills.

As you can see, someone was very pleased with himself and proudly showed it off to the camera ;)

Disclaimer: we were sent this craft in exchange for our honest review.

|FOOD|chocolate concrete cake

I came across a version of this but didn't have one of the ingredients, so I tried adapting to make my own!  It turned out perfectly and was a great hit with the boys.
Serves 4
100g sugar
100g plain flour
50g melted butter
25g cocoa powder
1 egg

There's not really much of a method, just mix it all together as above and press into a greased tin.

Bake for 15 minutes at 180oC.

Sprinkle with a little extra sugar.

Serve it with custard, preferably chocolate custard (The Hubs doesn't like it which it why we didn't have it!)

That's it!  Just like school dinners.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

|OUTDOORS|Grand Union Canal, Gayton Junction

We are really fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the country, but we don't always appreciate it as much as we should, so we are making it our mission to start visiting free or cheap local places once a week which will also be turned into a series of blog posts.

This week we went for a lovely Sunday walk in our own village, well it's actually about a mile and a half outside the village so a bit too far for T to walk there and back and along it!   There's a little car park just by the bridge T is looking over above so we took T and his friend down there for a little walk.

The Grand Union Canal in England is part of the British canal system stretching for 137 miles with 166 locks so we have quite a few different walks along the canal which are really local to us (within 20 miles). Source: Wikipedia 

There's not a great deal on this stretch of the canal except for beautiful views, the junction and marina, but K and I have seen kingfishers down here, slightly further up.  The boys still found lots to entertain themselves.

Along this stretch of the canal, some of the things T likes to do are:
1. Make echo's under the bridges
2. Throw stones as far as you can into the water
3. Wave at people on boats
4. Feed the ducks
5. Look at the boats
6. See how many boats are in the dry dock

Of course I'm biased but if you do visit Northampton, a visit to the Grand Union canal is highly recommended from us! 

Pink Pear Bear

|REVIEW|NatraSan first aid spray

Every now and then we get to review a fantastic British product that makes me wish I'd found it long ago, and this is definitely one of those products, I really wish that I'd known about this product when T was a baby.  Like all of my favourite products, this is not tested on animals, which is really important to me personally.
Natrasan themselves claim:-

'NatraSan kills 99.9999% of germs, 100 times more effective than a 99.9% spray and leaves no chemical residue, so is incredibly safe for children, especially their dummies. It is the first hypochlorous acid spray to be sold to consumers that is E.U. compliant and the new Travel Buddy 100ml size is perfect for popping in a change bag.'
So, I figured this would be perfect for a 4 year old who is always getting grazes and scrapes and who has very sensitive skin.
We've now been using this spray for 2 months as our sole antiseptic and have found it to be all we need to use so far.
I've used it on my eczema, on all of T's scrapes and even a scratch on the cat (no idea how she did it!)  
This really is one of my favourite products to use at the moment, it's fantastic and now the most used product in our first aid kit. I've also decanted some into a travel bottle to pop in my handbag, although you can actually buy a travel size on the website 
It's anti-sting and non-irritating so perfect for all the family and is fragrance and can be used as a hand sanitizer.  What more could you ask for?

NatraSan is £10.00 for 250ml and is available at www.natrasanuk.com

|FAMILY|valentines RAK

As a parent I think it's our responsibility to teach T how to respect and treat women, don't get me wrong, he has a fantastic role model in The Hubs but I think he does need a little extra help to show that it's not all about grand gestures the little things matter too. 

We created this little RAK for our friends in the village.

You will need:
Roses (we got 2 dozen from Aldi for £5, £3 for the tiny red and £2 for the pretty pink)
Heart shapes
Gift wrap ribbon
Hole punch
Silver sharpie

I cut my heart shapes out using my cuttlebug but you can just as easily cut out by hand.
Simply all we did was write on a message, punch a hole and tie to the roses, we left a really long loop so we could attach to our recipients doors!

We made 7 of these and took them round to our friends, we had some lovely feedback from our friends and T even got a valentine back from one.
I'm really glad I helped T to do this, I think this could be a nice little new tradition for us to do each year.
Happy Valentines Day! x