Easy Crafts For Children – Making A Jam Jar Vase.


As it’s just me and you here I’m going to make a small confession.

I have a bit of a thing…

For jam jars.

There I’ve said it. Once again I thank goodness we live in a flat because I think it’s an obsession that could quite easily get out of hand if we had more space – and, as it is, I probably have more than I would ever need. They seem so…useful. I find it nearly impossible to recycle them. Even though I’ve never made jam or pickled anything, and have no plans to do so, glass jam jars seem like a good thing to have to hand (just in case).

I use them to keep shells in, mainly (oh yeah, that’s another of my “things”), and to wash Freya’s paint brushes out. In fact, that’s what got me started on our latest “craft” activity.


We collected some stones from the beach last year and decided to paint them. I imagined beautiful seascapes but expected more like colourful rainbows. What actually happened was that Freya mixed all the acrylic paint together and they came out sort of…brown. That’s ok. She had fun, that’s the main thing, and we can paint over them again.

While I turned my back to get a cloth to mop up a little spillage, she decided to paint the jam jar we were using to wash out the brushes. I didn’t think much of it at first but as I cleaned up, and saw my growing collection of jars lined up on the window sill, an idea came to mind.

Vases. Painted vases. Let’s call them “rustic”.

Using some more acrylic paint I got Freya to paint two of the jars green (we did this on the living room floor, on an old cardboard box, so she couldn’t accidentally drop them and hurt herself if they broke). I got some more colours out and just let her go crazy on the third one (which turned out, you’ve guessed it, brown). I then added some finishing touches (albeit with my rather limited skills, not to mention limited paint, as we’d run out of white) and I quite like how they have turned out, even if I do say so myself.

I modelled the decoration on (a much simplified version of) painted narrow boats, which we looked up and learned about on the iPad.

Originally I thought they might make a nice handmade Mother’s Day gift but I’m not sure they are quite good enough for that (and I think the paint might wash/chip off after a while) so I’m keeping them all for myself! They make a rather happy addition to the window sill (and they are a great excuse to buy flowers).

Do you have a use for jam jars that doesn’t include jam?



Poorly Day Idea: The Post.


Like most of her nursery class, Freya has finally succumbed to The Lurgy.

While I’m a big believer in fresh air as a cure for most things, I also think she needs rest, especially when she’s up in the night even more than usual, but when you are a lively three-year-old, cuddling up on the sofa doesn’t seem to hold much appeal.

As a result, crafting seemed like an ideal quiet(ish) activity – and since her latest fascination is with the post, I thought that might be a place to start.


Our postman has been delivering to us since Freya was a baby (he might have been on that route before but I was at work and never saw him) and has watched her growing up. He always takes the time to chat with her, which she loves, and I’m sure he is part of the reason for her fascination with the post.

We’ve been seeing him a lot more in recent weeks because he’s been delivering Christmas parcels, which I quickly spirit away and hide, and she’s been asking lots of questions about how it all works.

My initial plan was to make a post box and some letters but it snowballed to making three doors too (I had to raid the cupboards to find enough cereal boxes).

We started by covering and painting the boxes and then, while they dried, we made the numbers, letter boxes and post while also looking up what a Royal Mail post box looks like.

My plan had been to walk to our local one and let her take a photo with her camera but she didn’t want to go out at that point so we Googled it instead.



They were simple to make and she really enjoyed playing with them. She hasn’t quite got the hang of matching the numbers and randomly posts them through different doors (a bit like Postman Pat). My plan is to colour-code the letters (for Freya, not Pat) to match the doors to make it a bit easier.

With the painting, cutting, sticking, researching, sorting, matching and playing it covered quite a few different activities – and most of them were fairly peaceful so didn’t set off her hacking cough.

To keep things interesting – and get maximum use from the boxes – I’m going to turn her little cardboard house into a post office. She can use stickers for stamps and I might try and dig out the bathroom scales so she can weigh some parcels (hopefully she won’t try and put them in the post box).

Do you have any poorly day activities you like to do with your children who don’t like sitting still?



Yoghurt Pot People (The Christmas Set).



While some of the crafts we do can be a bit…hit and miss (I’m looking at you, balloon crown), one that keeps on giving is yoghurt pot people – and the best part is, Freya doesn’t care if they are more on the miss side.

Our abundance of pots is a result of a breakfast-time struggle. I have tried to get her to eat many things but while we were on holiday my mum gave her a yoghurt (she had outgrown her milk intolerance by then) and ever since it is has been exactly that or nothing.

I’ll admit, I have looked at the recycling bin in despair. As part of trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I would obviously much prefer she didn’t eat something housed in plastic but you know three-year-olds, once they get something set in their heads. That. Is. It. 

I know they can be recycled but I have more of don’t create waste in the first place sort of ethos. Anyway, my dad takes some for seed pots but looking at them one day I thought ‘surely we must be able to make something with them?’ and so began our journey.


The king and queen came first and then at Halloween we made a series of ghosts. It was all very simple, just a bit of paper stuck around the pot, add a face and a bit of decoration and bingo…hours of fun.


Freya is only just getting to grips with scissors so I’ve been getting it all cut out and letting her glue/stick everything on but I think soon she will be able to do the cutting too.

On Friday we started a Christmas set (yes, I know it’s only November. We’ll be started Easter crafts in December at this rate). This time we got a little bit more adventurous by adding things such as a beard, pom poms and googly eyes (although couldn’t get them to stick without tape)

Freya loves making up little stories about them. The queen recently asked Father Christmas for a baby which I was slightly worried about but it turned out to be a rather strange version of the Rapunzel story. The ghost then stole the baby but Father Christmas rescued it and brought it back to the queen (phew).


As her favourite thing is princesses at the moment, we are going to have a go at making a set loosely based on the Disney ones next.

Can you think of anything else we could use the pots for?