Make Your Own Christmas Countdown Peg Advent Calendar #BostikBlogger

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Did you know there are just over seven weeks until Christmas? Hands up if you’ve started your present buying yet. Not me. What we have done already is some festive crafting, starting with a peg advent calendar.

As many of the shops now put their decorations up at the start of October I have been fielding “is it Christmas today?” questions (from Freya, not Mark) for several weeks now, which is why I thought we’d make something she can use to count down (the pegs will also double up as Christmas tree decorations).

Thanks to some happy post from Craft Merrily, as part of our role as a Tots 100 Bostik Blogger, all we were really missing was the wooden pegs – and the ability to name all of Santa’s reindeer.

“There’s Prancer and Dancer and Vixen and Grumpy and Sleepy and, oh, wait…”

The internet was able to help with that and, after a quick trip to a pound shop for the pegs, we were off.

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We used:

25 wooden pegs.

A foam wreath base.

Paint (we used acrylic).

Brushes.

Wooden reindeer shape.

Lolly sticks (to make the wreath base a bit stronger).

Decorations (including beads, pom poms, stars and sequins).

Pipe cleaners, wool and silk thread (for snowmen scarves).

Pretty string or cord.

Black, orange and brown marker pens.

A wooden reindeer for the middle (with two googly eyes and a red pom pom nose).

Bostik White Glue.

Bostik Foam Pads.

Ribbon.

How we did it. 

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Step 1.

There are all sorts of characters you could include such as penguins, The Grinch and angels to name just a few. You could even do a nativity. We kept it simple and picked Father and Mrs Christmas, the reindeer (once we had worked out how many there were), snowmen and elves.

I set Freya to work painting the pegs the various base colours. To make it easier for her (and less messy) I clipped the pegs on to a plastic tray (actually the cases from dummies, which I kept). The white needed two coats.

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Step 2.

With a little bit of help, Freya had fun decorating the snowmen. She wanted to play with them after they were finished rather than do any more. Luckily, Father Christmas very kindly sent one of his elves to visit  (you’d think they would have better things to do) and she woke up the next morning to find they had all been decorated.

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Step 3.

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Some how, even though I thought it was out of the way, we managed to get paint on the wreath base. After making it a bit stronger with some lolly sticks, I decided to wrap it in gold ribbon to cover the stains. It also means once the pegs come off it will still look nice (although I’m going to spread the pegs out a bit).

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Step 4.

Rudolph was going to be our centrepiece so Freya coloured in the wooden shape and then, having spent some time using her hand as a puppet, glued his eyes and nose on. We stuck the green and red cord to his back and then attached it all to the wreath base.

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Strange how the paint on her hand is the same colour as on the wreath!

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Step 5.

Time to pop on the pegs and then, with Freya’s help, number them with a black pen.

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There are many things I like about this craft, including that she can use it to practice her number skills. The pegs are easy to get on and off and she’s also had a lot of fun just playing with them. I made some snow out of cotton wool and we had a whole Christmas scene going on.

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And here it is on the wall.

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While it took a bit of time, I think it was well worth it. It’s reusable too (imagine if she passes it down to her children, if she has any). I’ve written the date on the back of Rudolph so we can remember the year we made it.

Are you planning to make anything for Christmas? Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Note: As a Bostik Blogger we received the craft supplies free of charge in return for this post.

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Easy Monster Crafts For Children.

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When I was little, I was certain monsters lived under my bed – and I quite often got my mum and dad up in the middle of the night to check for me, which I am sure they were thrilled about (I know I would be).

Luckily, Freya is completely not fussed about anything that I would have found frightening and, in fact, Halloween is her favourite time of the year – facepaint, costumes AND chocolate (hmm, I’m beginning to see why she might like it).

When I heard the theme for first craft box the folks at Craft Merrily were going to send us (as part of our new role as Tots 100 Bostik Bloggers) was “monsters” I knew we were going to have some fun.

I’m not sure who was more excited when the box arrived (I think it might have been me) but we spent a very happy morning creating.

Here’s what we made:

Monster Rocks.

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There is a cool treasure hunt going on in Norfolk involving painted rocks.

Some of the designs have been amazing, like works of art, and I knew I wanted to do something with Freya and Monster Rocks seemed like a fab/easy idea.

You will need:

Rocks (remember it’s illegal in this country to take stones/rocks from the beach).

Acrylic paint or Sharpies.

Clear nail varnish.

Googly eyes (optional).

Bostik Glue Dots (optional).

First we gave the rocks a base colour. I wanted to do them all in primary colours but Freya was set on painting some white.

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When they were dry we added the detail. I let Freya do most of them but it was just too tempting to have a go myself. She’s only really just getting the hang of faces but monster faces were perfectly suited to her current skills. In fact I think hers are better than mine!

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We used the glue dots to stick the eyes on, which I am really impressed with (Freya could put them on so easily and there was no splodgy overspill when she squeezed a bit too hard) and we will definitely be using them again.

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What I hadn’t counted on was her wanting to keep the rocks for so long. I figured she would get bored after a day or so and we could hide them but they are still going strong. I will take the googly eyes off and draw them on when she is ready to release them, just in case an animal tries to eat them, so I haven’t varnished them yet.

I’m pretty sure this is happening all over the place now. If you’re interested, I would search Facebook, as that’s where the Norfolk group, which has more than 20,000 members, is run from.

Fimo monster.

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“What does a monster look like?” I asked Freya.

“Hmm, gross.”

“Ok, in what way. How many eyes would it have?”

“Maybe three. And horns!”

Right then! Challenge accepted.

You will need:

Two colours of Fimo.

Googly eyes.

Furry pipecleaner.

Bostik glue.

I’ve never used Fimo before but I knew it was modelling clay so I thought we should try and create the monster from her imagination.

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Initially it was quite tough to shape but once it was warmed up Freya managed to make two balls (one big and one small) from the red and then horns, eyes and a mouth from the white.

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We also made a white base to help him stand up (this was just a rolled out worm made into a circle). I poked two holes in his sides (using the pipe cleaner) for his arms.

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Then we popped him in the oven for 20 mins and when he was cool stuck googly eyes and then arms on by filling the holes with glue..

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I think it’s quite cool to keep and we will definitely be doing some more things with Fimo in the future.

Monster nests.

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You will need:

Cup cake cases.

Paint.

Feathers.

My new BFFs Bostik Glue Dots.

Glitter (optional).

Monsters have to come from somewhere, right? We decided to make nests for the eggs.

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Freya insisted on wearing her witch costume while we painted – although she would wear it every day if I let her. Thankfully she managed to keep the paint on the eggs (and her hands).

When they were dry she added some glitter glue before setting to work to make the nests.

She keeps telling me she can hear something moving inside so I am slightly worried every time I walk into the living room now, just in case there is a baby monster looking for a mummy to eat.

Toilet roll monsters.

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Empty toilet rolls are a favourite around these parts, they are just so versatile. It was a no brainer to make toilet roll monsters.

You will need:

Empty toilet rolls.

Pipe cleaners.

Little hands.

Lollipop sticks.

Patterned card.

Googly eyes.

Bostik glue.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, Bostik Glue Dots.

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First thing to do it cut the patterned card to size. Freya seemed to really enjoy this bit.

Gluing pretty much everything (including my fingers) seemed to go down very well too.

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Next it was time to add the hands and decorate them. Once again, I set her imagination free and let her stick whatever she wanted, wherever she wanted. I think the animal print one looks a bit like Rambo (not sure if I should be worried about me or her here).

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So there you have it, our first craft task completed. I hope you enjoyed, we certainly did. More next month.

We were sent a box of materials in order to make monster-themed crafts as part of our role as Bostik Bloggers. 

Easy Crafts For Children – Cereal Box Theatre.

FullSizeRender 11 2We had only been home from our little holiday an hour or so when Freya started rooting about in our little stash of crafting bits and bobs for something to make.

Luckily, instead of recycling useful cereal boxes I have been hiding them away since the start of the summer holidays and so, like some sort of amazing magician, I was able to pull the boxes out of a hat/cardboard box under the dining table.

“Ta daaaaa!” She looked distinctly unimpressed when I held up an old corn flakes box like it was baby Simba in the Lion King.

“Let’s make a theatre and we can put on a play.” Got a warmer response.

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Please excuse the state of the crafting mat.

I undid the box and turned it inside out so we had the lovely plain cardboard as the outside and then cut a chunk out of the front.

While I was doing that I got Freya to paint a backdrop to stick in. Originally I envisaged a magical Tinkerbell-inspired fairyland, as that was the play she wanted to put on, but she just wanted to paint it purple. Purple it was.

While that was drying I looked up “free fairy silhouettes” on the iPad and then traced a couple on to the leftover cardboard, which she then coloured in.

 

As she was colouring she kept mentioning other characters who were in the play (I wish I’d seen the script) including a unicorn, a witch, a princess and a squid (?!) so I diligently set about making those too.

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I coloured these ones and she decorated them with the stickers.

I attached them all to lolly sticks but then found that she wasn’t quite able to get her hand inside the theatre so we just used that as a backdrop. It actually worked ok because the story took a sudden twist and was now an underwater adventure – maybe I should have expected that with the squid? I was able to pull in the aquarium we’d made in a similar fashion one Sunday morning and use that. The story switched between the two.

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It’s been good fun – although one of the fairies turned out to be a ninja (?!) and the unicorn, played by yours truly, had to race in and tell her off for hitting.

As a follow up we visited the Theatre Royal, Norwich during their open day and enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour (and free ice-cream and face painting). It’s safe to say, Freya loved it (I practically had to drag her off the stage) – and that was before we even got to the bit where you could try on costumes.

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In other fun/shocking news, I’m now a Bostik Blogger, which means we will be receiving a box of crafts in the post each month and we have to make something on a different theme (don’t worry, I sent some links of our previous efforts after we were invited and they were still happy to have us!). We’ve just had our first one and it was so much fun (there was Fimo and I’ve never used Fimo before). Look out for regular crafting posts.