Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Halloween Salt Dough Decorations

We are still decorating the house for Halloween, and so we've made some salt dough decorations to add to our spooky look.  We started by making the salt dough, we follow a very simple recipe:

Salt Dough

2 parts flour
2 parts salt
1 part water

After making the salt dough, we played with it for a little while, squishing it between our fingers and rolling it into a ball.  Then we rolled it out flat with a rolling pin and used some Halloween cookie cutters to make shapes in the dough.  We made 2 pumpkins, a cat, a haunted house and a ghost.  I also put a hole in the top of each one with a pencil, so that we would be able to hang them when they're finished.

After baking the shapes and letting them cool, it was time to paint them!  We painted the pumpkins orange, the cat and the haunted house black and the ghost white.  Ethan really impressed me with how careful he was painting the shapes, he really wanted to make sure that he covered the whole thing with colour, his focus was amazing.

Once the paint was dry I put some Halloween ribbon through the hole at the top of each decoration, and they were ready to hang up and display for everyone to see.  Ethan is so proud of his creations, he loves to tell people about the different Halloween shapes that he made!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Learning Resources: Bug Counters - Review

We've been working on Ethan's maths skills while we play with In The Garden Bug Counters from Learning Resources.  They are a set of There are so many different ways to use such a simple resource, and we are having lots of fun finding as many ways to play with them that we can!  

We started by taking some out to look at them and identify what type of bug they were (there are snails, caterpillars, bees, spiders, dragonflies and grasshoppers) and then we used our circular sorting tray to put all the bugs of the same type together.  Ethan got the hang of it really quickly, and had fun playing with the bugs as he sorted them. He had the bees buzzing into the tray, the grasshoppers jumping and the snails slithering.

Another way to sort the bugs is by colour.  There are several of each type of bug in each colour (green, blue, red, yellow, purple and orange).  Ethan already had the hang of sorting from our first activity, so he was literally grabbing handfuls of bugs of the same colour and putting them into the tray, he was loving it!

We were also able to work on Ethan's fine motor control by using some jumbo tweezers to pick up the bugs and put them into the tray.  This also slowed Ethan down a bit, as you can see it's a new skill for him and he had to really concentrate, and use two hands to pick up the bugs.  We took this opportunity to slowly count the bugs as they went into the tray.  Ethan is a bit young yet to make patterns, but that will be the next set of activities that we will do with the bugs when he's ready.

* This is a review post, Learning Resources sent us the counters, sorting tray and tweezers to play with and write an honest review about. *

Monday, 20 October 2014

Halloween Wreath

We have been having so much fun decorating the house for Halloween! We've got window stickers, bunting, garland, spider webs, hanging bats and pumpkin lanterns.  One of the only things we don't have is a wreath for the front door, so we decided to make one! 

Cardboard cut in a circle
Black paint
Foam pumpkins
Plastic spiders
Halloween confetti
PVA glue

The first thing that I did was to cut a piece from a cardboard box into a circle, then cut out the middle. Next, Ethan painted the cardboard black and we waited for it to dry. Once the paint was dry we were ready to start sticking on our foam pumpkins (if you can't find any precut, you could buy sheets of orange foam and cut the shapes out yourself).

Then Ethan started sticking all of the other little bits around the wreath. I put dots of glue all around to make it easier for him, then he stuck on some little plastic ghosts, spiders and Haloween confetti.

Once it was dry we put it up in the door together, and Ethan's now so excited to see it and to show it to people whenever we come home! 

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Our Sunday Storybook - The Cheerios Halloween Play Book

Last year for Halloween Ethan got The Cheerios Halloween Play Book as a gift, and it's so cute, unlike any other book we have, and we love it.

Each page has a different Halloween picture, with a challenge to fill in the gaps (things like eyes or buttons) and there's little indentations to fit your Cheerios into the spaces.  Ethan absolutely loves it, going through the story and finding places to put all his Cheerios.  Of course he also loves that he gets to have a snack while we read!  I'll definitely be looking for the other Cheerios books to get for Ethan and Ivy.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Octonauts Party Decorations - Cuttlebug Review and Giveaway

Last week I wrote about Ethan's Octonauts Third Birthday Party and made a quick mention of the decorations that I had embossed.  Well, that fun embossing of decorations was made possible by the Cricut Cuttlebug.  I received one to review shortly before his party, so I quickly tried it out to make a few Octonauts decorations.

The Cuttlebug is an embossing and cutting machine.  It is really simple to use, basically just putting the paper that you want to cut or emboss in between the cutting pads, turning the handle of the machine to push it through and taking it out the other side.  The Cuttlebug comes with one embossing folder, and I was given a couple of extras to try it.  Unfortunately it didn't come with any cutting dies, and I wasn't able to find any to buy in time, so I couldn't try out the cutting.  My only complaint about the Cuttlebug is that you have to buy all of the embossing folders and cutting dies separately, I think that it would be nice to come with some basic designs and shapes, but I think that is true of all machines of this type.

For the party I made some bunting, I actually bought the precut card, but then I embossed it with the zigzag embossing folder and the dotty embossing folder.  It was so easy to do and I think that it gave the bunting a little something extra special.  I also embossed the bandage symbol for the party boxes.  This was perfect as I needed the bandages to have dots like a real plaster, and they came out even better than I had hoped!  I can't wait to get some cutting dies and more embossing folders to make some more projects with my Cuttlebug!

Would you like to win a Cricut Cuttlebug?  What would you make first with it if you won?

Giveaway open to residents of the UK only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* This is a review post, I was given a Cuttlebug to use and to write my honest review about.* 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Making Birthday Wrapping Paper

As Ethan's friends all have birthdays around the same time, we thought that it might be fun to make some wrapping paper for their gifts.  

We've got a big roll of blue paper, but a roll of white paper would also work.  We then used some dinosaur stamps, general stamps and stencils to decorate the paper.  It was really nice for Ethan to have such a big piece of paper to work on, he tends to bunch everything up together, so I had to encourage him to use the whole space.

It's nice that the gift now has the personal touch of Ethan decorating the paper himself.  And he even helped to wrap the present, sticking pieces of tape all over the place!

* This post contains affiliate links *

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Pumpkin Conkers

We've been collecting lots of conkers this year, everywhere we go Ethan spots them and has to stop to pick up as many as he can carry (or I can carry I should say!)  So we've got loads of them at home and had to find something to do with them, so as we're getting into the Halloween spirit, we decided to make them look like pumpkins!

We started by painting them orange, we just used regular children's paint so it didn't cover the conkers completely.  I'm sure that if you wanted them to look really vibrant you could try sanding them a bit to create a rough surface for the paint to stick to, or using some more heavy duty paint.

The next step was to cut up some small pieces of green pipe cleaner to stick on the top of the pumpkins with glue for the stems.  I cut the pipe cleaners for Ethan (as his scissors aren't strong enough) and he stuck them on with PVA / white glue.

Then it was time to draw spooky faces on our pumpkins!  For this we just used regular markers / felt tips.  It was a great way to reinforce the facial features that we have to draw, as well as shapes for the triangle eyes and nose.  Ethan had a real good try at drawing faces on his pumpkins.  He was so proud of himself when they were finished as well, he wanted to display them all proudly on the shelf and showed Daddy as soon as he got home!

For more of our Halloween activities, recipes and crafts, have a look at our Pinterest board:

Follow Play & Learn Everyday's board Halloween on Pinterest.