Monday, 31 October 2011

Pumpkins

Photobucket Photobucket Halloween has never been very big in our house but, after a Pumpkin Hunt at Waterperry Gardens www.waterperrygardens.co.uk/ this half term,  it was very firmly on the radar. This was our own version of the hunt.

You will need:
  • Orange and green card
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Yellow tissue paper
  • Glitter
  • Pumpkin
  • Knife

Activity:
  • (Adult or older child): Draw a pumpkin shape on orange card and cut out. Draw around the shape several times and cut them out (around 10 pumpkins should be enough). 
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  • Stick the pumpkins onto the green card and cut out again, this time cutting a stalk for the pumpkins.
  • Finally draw and cut out faces for the pumpkins.
  • (Child): cut out yellow tissue paper to stick to the back of the pumpkins (to look like the candle light). Decorate some of the pumpkins with glitter.
  • Stick the pumpkins on the window until you need them for the game.
  • Cut the top of the pumpkin off and get your child to pull/spoon out the seeds and as much flesh as possible.
  • Cut out a face.

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Game:
  • Hide the small pumpkins around the garden/house.
  • Write a speech bubble for the large pumpkin and stick it next to/behind inviting the children to look for the pumpkins.
  • Put prizes inside the pumpkin for the children go find when they have collected the smaller pumpkins.

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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Apple Day contd...

Apple and Blackberry Pots

The simplest recipe to do with kids you can imagine and absolutely delicious. Obviously made a hundred times better if you can pick the fruit yourselves but not at all necessary.


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You will need:
  • Blackberries (a small bowl full)
  • 2-3 apples - any variety will do but be prepared to use more or less sugar depending on their natural sweetness
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of milk
  • 4 ramekins
  • Table knife

Activity:

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  • Preheat the oven to 180 C/Gas Mark 4
  • Carefully peel and chop your apples (child using a table knife) into bite size pieces and put into a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle a dessert spoon of brown sugar per apple and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon onto the apples. Put in the blackberries (as many as you wish).


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  • Spoon the mixture into the ramekins so that it comes to the top.
  • Lay out the pastry and cut around the top of a spare ramekin (or guess) to make circles of pastry to go on top of the fruit.
  • Place carefully on top and tuck in the pastry over the fruit. Cut two little holes in the top of the pastry and then brush with the milk and egg wash.
  • Put in the oven for 20 mins until the pastry is brown and the fruit is bubbling.
  • Eat warm with creme fraiche or on their own. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Apple Day - Apple Slicing and Printing

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So many Apple Days we keep missing - so I thought we'd do our own. The Grandparents' Bramley tree has once again born a bumper crop and it is a matter of how quickly you can eat the apple cake before you move on to making the next one...

We ended up doing a mixture of art and cooking (with a couple of games thrown in). More to follow but to start with...

Apple Slicing and Printing

You will need:

  • Apples of different varieties if possible 
  • Sharp knife 
  • Paper plates 
  • Paint 
  • Jay cloths 
  • Autumn leaves 
  • Sponges 


It is worth taking some time to thinly slice some apples before you start to print so that your child can get a look at the shapes inside (and which will hopefully come out in the printing). You will see star shapes inside the apple that change and open up the further towards the middle of the apple you get. You will need to do this with a sharp knife but look carefully at the slices with your child and see what shapes they can see. Hold them up to the light and look at the texture. We used Russett apples for this because of their compact, firm flesh.

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  • With a variety of different apples, slice in half and set aside for printing.
  • Get your child to squeeze different colours (autumnal colours?) onto paper plates or trays lined with jay cloths. The cloth will absorb a bit of the paint and make the application of the paint onto the apples 
  • easier.


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  • Set up some paper - we taped some wallpaper to a window, but you could just do it flat on a table.
  • For extra effect, stick some autumn leaves with double sided or folded over tape onto the paper and sponge paint around them to reveal the leaf shape.
  • Print away.


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Or you could:

  • Print onto textured paper for extra effect.
  • Add collected autumn treasures to your printing implements.
  • Save the prints, cut out  and stick to card for perfect thank-you/birthday etc cards.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mud pies

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Mud pies are a brilliant activity for a messy toddler. Digging earth and pouring water to make thick, sloppy mud, foraging for ‘ingredients’, mixing, chopping, sprinkling – all things that toddlers love to do. The best thing is that you don’t have to be exact with anything in the way that you do with baking so there is none of the frustration involved in cooking with a toddler. And, because it all takes place outside, you don’t have so much clearing up to do (although do expect your child to get pretty dirty)…

You will need:
  • Bucket/bowl and spade
  • Child's watering can
  • Basket to collect things to put in your pie
  • Child's knife
Activity:
  • Make the mud: In a bucket or bowl mix a scoop of earth with a child’s watering can of water and stir with a stick.
  • Collect fruits, leaves, flowers, small twigs to put into the pie.


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  • With a blunt or child’s knife (under adult supervision), encourage your child to cut up the fruits and drop them into the mixture.
  • Sprinkle in flower petals, herbs and twigs - anything you can get your hands on.
  • If you make the mud thick enough, it is possible to turn out the pie onto the ground and decorate it like a cake. Alternatively, as we did, you can make a thinner mixture and decorate the pie in the bowl.
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Or you could..

· Make smaller pies and decorate them like fairy cakes.
· Experiment with sand and gravel mixed in with the mud - you could even do layers of each.
· Choose different types of herbs and encourage your child to recognize the different smells.
· Use vegetables from the garden or kitchen.
· Use different implements from the kitchen such as whisks, spatulas, wooden spoons (but remember they will get muddy!).

If you only have a little bit of outside space:
· Use compost from the garden centre and vegetables, fruits, nuts etc from the kitchen to make the mixture.
· Collect the ingredients from your local park and surrounding area.You could even make the pie in the park.