Easy Autumn Crafts – Leaf Butterfly.

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Earlier this year we joined the RSPB and as well as access to all the reserves we enjoy so much, our family membership also came with a Nature Discovery Pack, which we have been making use of.

While some of the seasonal tasks require you to have your own garden or outside space (we live in a top floor flat), many of them you can do anywhere – including making a butterfly from leaves. With each task you do you get to put a ‘we did it’ sticker on the page, which is Freya’s main inspiration.

 

The different colour leaves look amazing at the moment and I was desperate to do something with them, as we have in the past, so this was ideal. Plus, as you might already know, butterflies are one of my favourite things.

While the one in the book is based on a brimstone, we went for a comma as the shape of our leaves suited it raggedy wings better.

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It had been raining overnight so we gathered the leaves and then pegged them on the washing line on the balcony for a good few hours to dry them out.

Once they were ready, we started by drawing a rough butterfly shape and then began filling it in (using two stems for antennae). My initial plan was to return the leaves to the wild once we’d finished but Freya was desperate to keep it so we ended up using PVA to glue them in place. She started off using a dabber but, as always, ended up using her entire hand to spread the glue (whatever makes her happy).

 

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I was really impressed with how well it came out (it looks better in person).

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Once it was dry we cut around it and it held together well (thanks to Freya’s very thorough efforts with the glue). I was wondering if there was a way to frame it, I liked it so much.

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This post isn’t sponsored by or connected to the RSPB but if you’re interested in membership here’s a link to their main website.

 

 

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Two Easy Halloween Crafts To Do With A Child Sent Home From School Poorly (But Not All That Ill). 

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After being sent home from school poorly yesterday, I made Freya a snuggly bed on the sofa, gave her the iPad and expected her to rest. 

And she did.

For five minutes. 

Literally.

“I think we should go outside and play football, the fresh air will do me good,” she said.

It was a nice try, she’s definitely learning how to push my buttons but, on this occasion, it was a no. I wanted her to be aware that being sent home from school was a serious thing, not just an excuse to play all afternoon.

She definitely wasn’t herself, had a slight temperature and was losing her voice but there was no way she was going to just lie on the sofa, which is what I’d like to do if I was ill, so I went for the middle ground – and got the craft stuff out.

October is Freya’s second favourite month because it has Halloween in it, which she loves even more than Christmas. She suggested we could decorate the house this year but is frightened of all the decorations in the shops (plus I refuse to buy them anyway). Luckily I had some ideas and Pinterest helped with the rest.

Spooky/Autumnal Jam Jars.

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You will need:

Jam jars.

Masking tape.

Paints.

Scissors.

Black pen.

Pencil.

LCD candle.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you will know I have a ‘thing’ for jam jars. I’ve managed to give a few away but keep a stockpile, just in case. 

Obviously, as they are glass, this craft might not be suitable for younger children.  Freya  quite often paints vases and I thought they would make a cool spooky fake candle holder along with a more autumnal one. The plan was to make two but then Freya came up with the idea of making a fox. I was a bit worried it looked more like a pumpkin but either worked.

Step 1.

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I asked Freya to write a list of things she associates with Halloween. I then did my best to draw some of them on to masking tape.

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Step 2.

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While Freya is a dab hand with scissors now, it’s a bit fiddly with sticky tape so I cut the shapes out and handed them to her to stick on.

Step 3.

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Paint the jars. Yes, she is wearing a witches hat and using two brushes. Whatever floats your boat, right?

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Step 4.

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After they have dried, carefully (or not in Freya’s case) peel off the tape. This can be the end but I used a marker pen to define them. I think it works well. If I was feeling really fancy I might put some ribbon around the top to make it look a bit more appealing. It’s quite hard to take photos in the dark but you get the idea.

Top tip: If you use washable paint you can clean the jam jars after a suitable period and reuse them for more painting fun.

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Toilet Roll Halloween Decorations.

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You will need:

Toilet rolls.

Card and paper.

Googly eyes.

Pipe cleaners.

Scissors.

Double sided tape.

Glue.

One of the things I ponder quite regularly is how we as a family of three go through so many toilet rolls – I’m seriously thinking of rationing paper.

On the plus side it means I did have a supply in the recycling bin to use for this craft.

Freya is a huge fan of the Hotel Transylvania films and was keen to make the entire cast. We settled on Drac with the promise to make more at a later date. I’m sure you can work out how to do this yourself but just in case…

Step 1.

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Roll the toilet roll in card or crepe paper.

Step 2.

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Decorate as desired. There a huge selection of things to make on Pinterest (I’ve made a board). I had a look at what craft stuff we had (a severe shortage of black card) and, along with Drac, the cat and pumpkin fit best.

Step 3.

Hang them up. It’s a bit too early for that at the moment but my plan is to hang them around the living room nearer Halloween.

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So there you go, that’s how we spent some of Freya’s afternoon off school. Hopefully she will be heading back today, if she’s well enough – otherwise it might be time to start on the Christmas decorations!

Make Your Own Simple Tour de France Inspired Snap Game #BostikBlogger

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Do you know you know your maillot jaune from your le maillot blanc? Your King Of The Mountains from your sprinter?

I didn’t because, despite being run since 1903, the Tour de France has largely passed me by – not that I was alive in 1903, even though Freya recently told everyone on the bus that I’m “really old” but you get what I’m trying to say. I’ve seen the odd clip of it on TV, I’ve heard it spoken about (I sat next to the sport department when I worked for my last newspaper for a while) but I haven’t taken that much interest – and I think I’ve been missing out.

This year, Bostik is an official tour partner and the theme of our most recent craft box from Craft Merrily, which we receive as part of our role as a Tots100 Bostik Blogger, is  inspired by what has become one of the most important sporting events in the world.

Not knowing much about it, I was a bit flummoxed when it came to ideas for what to make so I did some research and found it is far more interesting that I first thought.

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I already knew there was a yellow jersey (for the fastest of each stage and the quickest overall) but my research revealed there is also a green (best sprinter and time trialist), red polka dot (best climber) and white (best young rider) too (apparently there is also a rainbow jersey and that’s before you even get to the team jerseys).

While it was tempting to make a bike with paper plate wheels and a pipe cleaner frame or some handle bar streamers for Freya’s actual bike, I really wanted to do something that made use of the jerseys. Freya has recently started to enjoy noughts and crosses (or “that not angry game” as she first described it, which took some deciphering) and I was thinking about other easy games she might enjoy.

Snap! Of course.

We used:

White, yellow and green card.

Bostik Fine & Wide Glu Pen.

Scissors.

A pencil, red pen and black pen.

Two small pieces of cardboard (to make the templates).

Emoji stickers.

Stage one.

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I’m sure there is a much easier way of doing this but because I wanted it to be as interactive as possible for Freya we started by making a square-ish template (7cms by 9cms) and then drawing around it on to white card. We then cut them out. I initially thought we’d make eight squares but that made the game short so we ended up with 16.

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Stage two.

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I attempted to draw a jersey on a slightly smaller piece of cardboard. After several attempts (who knew it was so difficult?) we used a pencil to draw around it and scissors to cut them out. I cheated a little bit and did several at once.

Stage three.

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As it was a warm day we decided to do the rest outside on the communal grass. After adding red polka dots to four of the white jerseys, Freya stuck them all on to the cards using Bostik Glu.

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Stage four.

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The other side of the card looked a little sad so Freya added emoji faces to represent the expressions of the riders during the race (although I’ll be interested to see if any do actually wink during their ride).

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Then it was time to play and I was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s an only child or because she’s four but she’s not great at losing (at snap or noughts and crosses). I let her win most times but I think the occasional loss is good for her.

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Will you be watching the tour, which starts on July 7th? Or is it an event which largely passes you by?

* Please note: we received a free box of craft materials in return for this post.