Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Egg Tree

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The perfect way to display the beautiful eggs you have decorated...

You will need:
  • Batik eggs
  • Embroidery thread/cotton
  • Needle
  • Collected branches
  • Large vase or pot

Preparation:
  • To thread the cotton through the batik eggs, push thread through one of the holes and keep pushing until you can see it through the other end of the egg.
  • Carefully guide the thread out of the bottom hole with the needle.
  • Pull the thread through and tie it at the top of the egg in a firm knot, leaving a long piece to make a loop.
  • Make a loop to hang the egg.

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Activity
  • Go out in the garden/park/countryside and forage for branches. Talk about what sort of branch would be best for hanging the eggs. You need to look out for branches that have lots of twigs.
  • Put your branches into the vase or pot and, if necessary, stabalise it with small stones around the base of the branches.
  • Ask your child to carefully hang the eggs onto the tree. Get them to experiment with hanging the eggs at different levels.

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Or you could...
Use the tree to display all sorts of Easter treats.
Make 'blossom' with tissue paper and stick it to the tree after you have hung up the eggs.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Batik Eggs

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Unlike the eggs in the previous post, you couldn't really call these robust. But they do look very pretty...
Instead of the hard-boiled variety, this time you are using 'blown' eggs, hence the fragile nature of the product. It is really an activity for an older child, although my toddler got really into it (but that could have been because a lit candle is involved...). Needless to say, meticulous adult supervision is required (you will see that I DIDN'T take the pictures today).

You will need:

  • Eggs
  • Needle
  • Bowl
  • Candle
  • Lighter/matches
  • Dye (see previous activity)
  • Tissue
  • Foil
  • Baking tray

Preparation:
  • To blow the eggs, make a smallish hole in the top of an egg. Turn it over and make another hole in the bottom.
  • Through this hole, blow the contents of the egg into a bowl. It takes a little bit of puff, but once you've got going it should come out easily.


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Activity:
  • Light the candle and leave it burning for a while until you have collected a pool of wax in the top.
  • Blow out the candle and show your child how to drip the melted wax onto the surface of one of the eggs.
  • Repeat and allow your child to drip the wax carefully onto the egg.
  • You may want to do some yourself, keeping the candle lit. This will speed up the process significantly!


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  • Once you have dripped wax on one egg, plunge it into one of the dyes. Remember, the wax will resist the dye so you will be left with the natural colour of the egg where the wax has been dripped.
  • Because the eggs are now empty, they will float on top of the dye, so you need to spin them in the container to get an even amount of dye on the egg. Your child should enjoy doing this bit.
  • Once you are happy with the colour, put the egg to one side (on scrunched up foil) and repeat with the other eggs, using different colours.
  • If you have the patience, dry the eggs with some tissue and drip more wax onto the dyed egg. Then repeat the process using a different colour. Always start the process with a lighter colour (e.g yellow) and then add another (e.g red. You should then end up with an orange egg with yellow spots).
  • Repeat until you and your child have had enough!
  • To melt the wax, put the eggs into a medium oven on a baking tray for a couple of minutes.
  • Wipe the wax off the eggs once done (the residual wax gives the egg a nice sheen).

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Tomorrow, we will make an egg tree using the eggs we have decorated, so again, watch this space...

Thursday, 21 April 2011

A wigwam play house

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My kids love a good play-house. Something about it being all theirs, the fact that they can hide in it and, their favourite thing, have pic-nics in it... We spend a lot of time making houses of various kinds and this is a great one for outdoors when it is hot and sunny (really a summer house, but we are only in April aren't we?).

You will need:

  • Bamboo canes
  • String
  • Scissors
  • An old sheet
  • Pegs
  • Flowers/ribbons etc to decorate
  • A rug for inside plus any number of toys, play (or real) food, books etc...

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Activity:
  • Get your child to select the longest bamboo canes - you can make this into a sizing game to find the biggest and smallest.
  • In a piece of fairly soft ground, push a bamboo cane in at an angle so that it makes a diagonal. Repeat so that you have a circle, minus a quarter section, of canes all pointing towards the middle of the circle.
  • Tie the canes together firmly with string.
  • Fold the sheet in half and half again.
  • Cut a quarter circle in the middle corner of the folded sheet (don't make it too big). You should now have a circle cut out of the middle of the sheet.
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  • Carefully drape the sheet over the bamboo structure, the clump of tied canes protruding through the hole.
  • Adjust the sheet, pegging it here and there to the canes to secure it. Where the 'front door' is, have a corner of the sheet coming down so that it can be hooked up.
  • Put the rug inside and any toys etc that your child wants to have in there.
  • Decorate with flowers and ribbons for an extra touch (this weather always brings out the hippy in me).
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Literally hours of summery fun...

Eggs

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How do you decorate yours...? We've tried a couple and this is the first installment.

These are really easy to make and are a pretty robust, given the nature of toddlers and eggs... They can be used as decorations to hang on an egg-tree, for (non-chocolate) egg-hunts, or even for egg-rolling. Watch this space. You have to persevere a little bit with the dye, but it is really worth it.

You will need:
  • Crepe paper (different colours)
  • White wine vinegar
  • Various plastic containers
  • Wax crayons
  • Spoon

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Preparation:
  • Boil as many eggs as you want to decorate for 10 minutes.
  • Leave to cool completely.
Activity:
  • To make the dye, get your child to rip the crepe paper into shreds (not too small). Once you have a small pile of each colour, put the strips into the plastic containers.
  • Making sure your child is well out of the way, pour boiling water over the top of the paper. You want to have enough dye in the pots to cover an egg (I made the mistake of making too little, which just means you end up having to turn the egg over and over in the dye. Boring.). Watch with your child as the paper releases its colour into the water (a potential discussion point?).
  • Let it cool and then pour 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar into each container.

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  • Show your child how to draw carefully on an egg with a crayon. The scribble effect will look great so just let them experiment with different colours.
  • Plunge an egg into a coloured dye and leave for a few minutes, checking every now and again to see how the dye has taken.
  • When you are satisfied with the colour, take out the egg and put on some scrunched up foil to dry.
  • It is amazing how the dye brings out the patterns drawn with the crayons so it is worth dwelling a little bit with your child on why that might be... (although that was a bit ambitious with a 2 year old!).

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We will be coming back to these eggs, so watch out for the next post (and make sure you save that dye!)...

Friday, 8 April 2011

Wind-Sock

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These wind-socks look beautiful in the sun and you need very little wind for them to flutter. They are lovely for kids to run about with and are a bit easier to handle than a kite. They also look great hanging up on a tree or outside a window. We used some soft wrapping paper as the base and stuck on bits of tissue paper and fine, delicate glitter. You don't want to over-do the decoration or it will be too heavy to fly. We made two and rolled one into a cylinder and one into a cone to see which would catch the wind the best... Neither seemed better (or both were just as good as each other!).

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You will need:
  • Thin/soft paper for the base
  • Tissue paper for sticking
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • PVA
  • Glue-spreader
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
Preparation
  • Cut out a rectangle of thin wrapping paper for the base.
  • Tear up bits of tissue paper for sticking and cut long strips for the tail.
  • Put out glue, spreaders and glitter.
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Activity
  • With your child, spread glue onto the wrapping paper.
  • Get them to stick on torn-up different coloured bits of tissue paper.
  • Add some more glue and show them how to sprinkle on glitter carefully. It will look lovely as it catches the sun.
  • Add sequins if you want but be careful not to overdo it.
  • Leave to dry.
  • At one end of the rectangle, staple strips of tissue paper to make the tail.
  • Make into a cylinder shape and staple together.
  • Staple a piece of ribbon to the other end of the cylinder to make a handle.
  • For the best flying results, take to a hill and get your child to hold the sock above their head and run down. Watch and admire how the wind-sock catches the wind.

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