Easy Crawley Creatures .. for kids

My daughter has been dying to paint lately – and piles and piles of painted paper seemed a little of a waste. So we decided to create our own jungle creatures. All it took some empty toilet rolls, paint, googley eyes and some pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners, googley eyes and some ‘pom poms’ come in a pack for R15.99 at Crazy store. For little ones crazy also sells smocks in a 3 pack for R19.99.

One day one we painted some toilet rolls (weather has been wet so we needed time for them to dry). We painted dots and stripes and wild colours so we could be creative with animals later. At 2, Zoe is not dedicated to painting one colour – so different ones were extra fun for her.

Day two was inserting pipe cleaners in small cuts into the rolls. I cut the pipe cleaners shorter to make sure you can make more animals and to keep them in proportion. I added tails and wings to some rolls to make bees and other jungle creatures. Pom poms were added on top or inside the roll (at my daughters whim). I used simple glue on the balls for eyes.

And one, two, three we have some jungle creatures. I am thinking of converting them into a bit of a mobile for her room.

5 Easy Easter Crafts

Here are some easy ideas for keeping the kids busy over the Easter Holidays. Some are easier than others. But all practical and tried.

1. Thread Easter Eggs
This is a remarkably simple project I have discovered in various forms. Check out Amazing Moms craft. You need small balloons, coloured thread, starch or fabric stiffener and scissors.

2. Easter Eggs Craft Suncatchers
This is a stunning and simple craft for decorating a sliding glass door or bedroom window that I found on Capture the Details.
You will need: crayons in pretty colors, a crayon sharpener (usually built in to the larger crayon boxes), wax paper, invisible thread, a small hole punch, an iron and old towels

3. Easter Eggs Magnets
For those that don’t like cooking or baking or trying to colour eggs, this is a lovely way for kids to experiment with patterns, and just a chance to be wonderfully creative. I found the idea on No Time for Flashcards. You will need some coloured foam or cardboard sheets, possibly 2 colors but use as many as you have or want, some glue, a few colors of glitter glue , scissors and magnetic tape. I think the possibilities are endless on this one with crayon, paint, glitter – maybe some stickers for the smaller kids. Working with the kids, will also allow parents to give a message of the real meaning of Easter.

4. Recycled Easter Bunny BasketThis could be a nice preparation in lead up to Easter. Make them create their own container for an egg on Easter morning. You will need a recycled plastic container, white cardstock paper, cotton ball, scissors, markers, glue.

Opportunity to be creative with bunnies, chicks and perhaps some other characters the kids can identify with. Different sizes, coloured containers could create quite an Easter family for the kids. Perhaps used as placecards if you are sharing an Easter meal with your family. Makes and Takes is a great website with lots of practical ideas.

5. Easter Matching Game
This is a lot simpler than the rest. You basically need to print out a PDF and cut up the blocks for your kids to play a matching games with eggs, bunnies and chicks. Something different – and of course – very cost effective!!! Click here for the printable page.

And make sure that amongst all this wonderful activity you remember to take some time for yourself!

Winter Outing in Cape Town – Two Oceans Aquarium

We all sit with the trouble of keeping our kids entertained during Cape Town winters. It is cold and wet – and our kids get ‘cabin fever’ at home. Two Oceans Aquarium has the answer to keep things in budget!

My husband and I bought season tickets (one year) two weeks ago when we went to the Aquarium. The reason for this is that at R96 an adult, each expedition can cost R200 before you even look to see what your kids cost. A new season ticket costs R207 (renewal is R189) and kids under 13 season tickets are R99 (renewal R90). So for a once off fee, you can cover an expedition any time over the next year when your kids are bored!

My kids are lucky enough at present to be free (under 3) so it was just the expense for the adults. So any Sunday afternoon we can pop into town and see the sharks and Ping-pings (penguins). The area with the penguins and frogs etc has been done up since the last time I visited so I can see that they are constantly looking at improving the experience. My only question is – what happened to that big old turtle that swam in the BIG tank. I missed him!

For more information on Two Oceans Season Tickets or general entry tickets visit their website. It is more affordable to go online to buy the tickets – but you can do so at the Aquarium as well. It does not take long – you fill in the form and when you are finished with your little trip around the Aquarium you collect your new membership cards.

I think it is wonderful to get our children out of the house and to experience nature. Zoe was delighted – she got to touch the starfish. Since my little one is quite timid around animals the fact that she has touched starfish and wild birds lately is a wonderful feat for me!

So if you have not been to the Aquarium in a while or your kids are taking an interest in National Geographics programmes on wild life – maybe an outing is not an idea to be scoffed at!

How do you encourage your child’s creativity?

I was so amazed at the wonderful range of things that can inspire children but I don’t think it should be all up to them. Parents can actively engage to build our kids creativity. Last night my daughter Zoe was dancing (as only she can) to the latest round of American Idols. What struck me was that she was moving around like the contestants – and even had her hand ready as if holding a microphone. As encouragement my hubby gave her a cast off mic from his old video camera.

Television can be a tool of creativity

There are many ways for us to encourage our kids such as art, music or reading. They also suggest limiting other mediums such as electronic toys or television. In one way I understand that electronic toys don’t encourage interaction or imagination but I do think that television has its place. Zoe loves Animal Planet. When they flash adverts for a show she sits there eagerly trying to name the animals as they flash past. While I would love to take her to a zoo over weekends, our access to any reasonable one is limited. But I can tell you that any wild animal show has her hooked for as long as it lasts. More important however, I think is how we use these gadgets and how much they dominate our kids lives. I found a great link that covers using some programmes as a chance to interact and watch with our kids.

Creativity is important in growing our kids minds. The simple things like drawing, painting and playing with clay are always a good way for the toddlers amongst us to express themselves! Another article on this site also gives some nice recipes for everything from home-made finger paint to edible clay.

Please let me know what you have found works really well. Any good ideas or recipes that work with your kids.

Finally for a laugh here is the artist born for the stage!