Family Fun | Rainy Day Activities

Themed Nights In – Making Family Time Special

By on February 27, 2018

Just a quick post from me for today to give you a few ideas of some fab family themed nights in - very apt for this bitterly cold, snowy winter we have got here in the UK; I hope you are all managing to keep warm!

It seems that families these days have less and less time to spend together. We are so busy with work, school runs, kids homework and various extra curricular activities, that run several times a week at multiple locations, that we barely have time for ourselves. Let alone finding time for quality family time!

So to help you out a bit with creating family time I have put together a small list of themed nights in. This list is by no means limited and I would love to hear of your ideas if you do anything different to us.

Movie Monday

We actually do movie night on a Saturday. We choose a film as a family and watch something that we all agree on. If we find ourselves in a situation where we don't all agree, then we go with the majority.

Takeaway Tuesday

If you are on a budget this could be quite expensive. So as an alternative you could do this once a month OR buy the 'cook-at-home-takeaway's' you can find in the supermarket. These are a fun, more affordable option.

Story time Wednesday

Choose a chapter book and sit together as a family and enjoy a good story. Books by David Walliams or Roald Dahl are great options for the varying ages in a family.

Find some below...

Cooking Thursday

For as much as I love preparing a home cooked meal from scratch, this can quickly become a stressful task. To avoid the stress plan your meal when you do the weekly food shop, making sure you have all the ingredients in, get organised before you call the kids to the kitchen and make sure you know who you want to do what task.

Games Night Friday

This can be literally be anything; board games, cards, hide and seek, Pictionary, charades and so much more. I love games night and my lot really look forward to it. Last Friday we played cards - Go Fish and when I woke up Saturday morning my boys (9 & 5) were sat up to the dining table playing Go Fish. You'll probably think I'm daft but I felt so proud - you may have seen my post about it on my Facebook page

So there has it, a few ideas for you lovely people to spend some time just once or twice a week together as family. These all make awesome rainy day activities too. The difference it has made for us is brilliant 🙂 You should try it.

NB - This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links, I may earn a small commission but at no extra cost to you. 
Featured image sourced from Google images.

 

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Learning Through Play

Kids Arts and Crafts: Blow Paint Volcano

By on February 14, 2018

"Mummy can we make something from my book?" Master A came to me with his Usborne Activities Dinosaur Things to Make and Do book desperate to make a volcano painting; he is dinosaur mad. He loves them and he loves making a mess so the two combined is just perfect! As it is half term and its raining (surprise surprise) we have plenty of time to spend indoors having fun. So we turned to page 12 in his book and a dinosaur volcano painting is exactly what we made, as well as a valentines related kitchen activity but I'll tell you about that in a different post.

Volcano Painting

Here are the step by step instructions and a video for how to create the volcano painting.

What you need

  • orange paint (if you don't have any you can improvise like we did - we planned to mix red and yellow, before we learned we didn't have any yellow paint either! So instead we mixed red and gold and tiny bit of white to get the orange colour for our lava).
  • black crayon or in our case a sharpie
  • paintbrush
  • straw

 

How-To

  • Mix your paints if you don't have any orange
  • Draw two thick lines for the sides of the volcano
  • Scribble between the two lines at the top to create the crater
  • Blob your orange paint at the top of the crater
  • Use the straw to blow the 'lava' up from the volcano like it has exploded
  • Run some orange paint down the sides of the volcano
  • Then we painted a Dinosaur sponge green and dabbed it on at the bottom of the volcano

 

Video

Learning Opportunities

As a registered childminder and a teaching assistant I often look for areas of learning in the activities I do with my littluns and this painting exercise was no different. This task is inclusive but by no means limited to the following learning areas I have identified.

Physical Development: Hand-eye coordination, control and movement is developed with an activity such as painting.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Having confidence in their ability, as well as understanding and delivering appropriate behaviour for the task, i.e. for this task - not jumping around throwing paint every where.

Literacy: Reading and following instructions

Expressive arts: Exploring and playing with a range of materials. Learning and mixing colours.

So as you can see a simple task such as painting a volcano is not only fun but provides great learning opportunities too!

Go on, give this one a go. Its great fun and took all of 10 minutes with limited mess! I would LOVE to see your paintings over on my Facebook page 🙂

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Family Fun | Seasonal

Valentines Lunch – A Kids Special

By on February 10, 2018

This year I have decided to do something that little bit extra special for my kids for Valentines Day: A Kids Valentines Lunch.

Despite the fact they thoroughly enjoy making cards, they are of an age where they are either too young or too cool to be giving or receiving cards from anyone.

So to make the day, which falls during half term this year, a bit more special I have decided to make them a valentines lunch.

I will be setting the scene by laying the table with a red cloth, setting their up places with charger plates and popping an artificial red rose in a glass in the middle of the table.

On the table they will each find a menu that I have created, with 2 choices on it (I am yet to decide these) and they will be able to order their meal from me.

After this I will cook and serve their meals followed by a dessert of their choice.

The aim of this is to make them feel special, wanted and appreciated. My children often hear me telling them I love them but this is a chance to really show them, in a fun and creative way.

A lot of us are busy with this or that, so why not use this opportunity to make some memories by serving up a special Valentines lunch for your children?

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Rainy Day Activities | Seasonal

Love heart paper chain wreath

By on January 25, 2018

Wreaths aren't just for Christmas...

I started this activity with the intention of making a paper chain, after seeing it on Pinterest but the finished product turned into a wreath and we love it. This is a fun, simple and effective craft that is suitable for ages 6 + (with a bit of help from a grown up with the stapler) ad a perfect rainy day activity.

Like most of the home crafts we do at home this was done on a budget. In fact there was no expense at all as I only used materials that were available to me at home already.

 So what do you need?

  • Card
  • Scissors
  • Stapler

Yep that really is all you'll need!

As shown in the pictures below I used fancy patterned card - this was a pack of various different designs that I have had in the cupboard for years. Yep years. I just haven't come up with anything to use it for.

You can get packs of card like this from most craft stores. I imagine I got this from Hobbycraft.

How to make the wreath:

Step 1) Choose your card and cut it into strips like so...

Step 2) Staple two ends together and gently bend the edges over, without folding the card, to make a love heart shape. Hold in place and put two more strips of card either side of the point and carefully staple together. As shown in the pictures below...

Step 3) Keep repeating this until you are happy with the length of the chain. Once happy, you can gently bend the chain round into a wreath shape and staple the point of the last heart into the dip of the first.

And there has is. A love heart paper chain wreath...

This is a really effective craft and you can have lots of fun with colours. We chose the stereotypical valentines colour of pink to represent love (awww)! Master E, who is almost 10, enjoyed participating in this and that is saying something! He is normally way too cool to join in with such activities!

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did 🙂 x

 

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Family Fun | Rainy Day Activities

25 Rainy day Activities

By on January 23, 2018

The last few days here in the UK have been gloomy, grey and rainy. And what does a rainy day normally mean?

Bored, miserable and moody children!

Bored, miserable and moody children that WE, have to entertain! Failing to do so will result in tears, tantrums, screaming fits and sibling rivalry at its best.

But a rainy day really can be just as fun as a sunny one. You don't have to be cooped up indoors all day with phones, iPads and the Xbox but instead use the rainy day as an opportunity for an awesome family fun day full of quality time spent together.

With there being no sign of the weather improving here anytime soon, I have put together a quick list of rainy day activities and have divided it into Outdoor Activities and Indoor Activities.

Outdoor Activities

1) Watch the rain

This can be really therapeutic. Stand together under a shelter, collect your thoughts then discuss what you can see, how you feel, what you can hear and how the air smells.

2) Channel the water flow

This can be great fun. Using loose bricks, stones, old bits of guttering or whatever else you have around you that you can easily get your hands on, channel the water and see if you can make it collect somewhere.

3) Catch the rain on your tongue

4) Make a waterproof den using natural materials (no tarpaulin or plastic sheets)

5) Puddle Jumping

6) Watch water streams run down the road and see where they collect.

7) Make paper boats and sail them in a puddle

8) Rain art

Put a few drops of food colouring on a paper plate, then some raindrops and swirl it. See what patterns you can make.

9) Make rain music

Spend a few minutes just listening to the sounds of the weather. Set out various objects, such as metal, plastic and glass containers, to see how water droplets sound when they hit different surfaces.

10) Make nature boats

Sticks, small pieces of wood, leaves, bark and larger petals all make great boats. Which items make the fastest boats? Which sail the furthest?

11) Animal hunt

Become detectives and see what animals or minibeasts you can find outside while its raining.

Indoor Activities

1) Cards

2) Board games

Favourites in our house are Cluedo, Junior Cluedo, Junior Monopoly and Beat the Parents but we have played many more.

3) Den building

Good old fashion den building! Find the clothes pegs, gather the blankets together and challenge yourselves to make the biggest indoor den you have made to date.

4) Cup phones

Using 2 paper cups and a length of string you can make cup phones. Make a tiny hole in the ends of both cups, thread the string through both holes and tie a knot to stop it pulling back through.

Then there you have it - cup phones.

Can you hear each other through them? My children had loads of fun with these as did I as a child.

5) Baking and / or cooking

6) Home Cinema

Take a family movie day or night to the next level...why not cook some hot dogs, get some fizzy pop, pick and mix sweets and of course, don't forget the popcorn.

7) Trip to the library / story time

Take yourselves off to your local library or get all cosy at home to enjoy a good book.

8) Treasure Hunt

Place some items around the house, write some clues then send the children off to find the treasure.

9) Make cards / write letter to someone special

10) Write an Article for a newspaper or magazine

11) Indoor picnic

12) Have a disco

13) Make a collage (depict the weather outside then make another a collage contrasting it)

14) Make Paper planes

15) Hama Beads

If you haven't tried these yet you're missing out!

The possibilities are endless...you can make coasters, garlands, fridge magnets and so much more in just about any shape or design you can think of!

Whatever the weather, remember just. have. fun!

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Seasonal

Heart Shaped Bookmark

By on January 21, 2018

We love books here at Mummy's Munchkins HQ, especially children's literature. So keeping in line with our valentines theme, our next craft is a heart shaped bookmark.

This is incredibly simple to do yet very effective.

How to make the heart shaped bookmark

  1. First you need two different coloured pieces of card. We chose red and pink.
  2. Then you need to cut out 2 heart shapes - 1 out of each piece of card and one larger than the other.
  3. Put some glue on the top third of the smaller heart and stick it in the centre of the larger heart. A standard glue stick should do the trick.
  4. Once dry, your book mark is ready to use...

Variations...

  • Use scraps of stiff material you have lying around.
  • Make a rectangular bookmark using the same principle as the heart shape.
  • For the Easter period you could choose to make an egg shape.
  • For the Christmas period you may choose to make a Christmas tree or holly leaf shape.

Whatever you decide to do and however you decide to do it the main thing is to enjoy the family time together. I would love to see pictures of your bookmarks so feel free to share over on our Mummy's Munchkins Facebook page.

We had a brilliant few hours doing this at home and I know you will too.

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Seasonal

Heart Collage Card

By on January 20, 2018

The children and I have decided to make our own heart collage cards for Valentines Day and wanted to share our ideas with you lovely lot.

Only three of my littluns joined in with this activity because my oldest son is far too cool to make a valentines card! Miss O is very arty so chose to make a pattern with tissue paper balls. Master A is a 'Cars' lover and used an old magazine he had to cut out pictures of the right colour and Miss P loves 'Peppa Pig', so did the same with one of her old magazines.

Here is how we made them along with some pictures of the finished heart collages.

To make these you will need:

  • Coloured Card - We chose A5 but you can use any size you like
  • Old magazines
  • Tissue paper - Red, Pink and White
  • PVA Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Black Sharpie (optional)

Method:

Preparations

  • Rip up tissue paper into small strips and the screw up into little balls
  • Cut out any small pink, red or white pictures from your chosen magazine.

The task

1) Fold the card in half

2) Draw a heart shape in pencil on the front

3) Once happy with the size, shape and placement of the heart draw over it with the sharpie

4) Spread a thin layer of PVA glue onto the card within the heart shape

5) Stick on tissue paper (pack tightly together to avoid gaps) or use your pieces from your magazines

6) Leave to dry

And there has it your finished Heart Collage Cards.

We loved making these cards and will completed them by adding a little message inside for our Valentine. If you have a go at making these we would love to have your thought so please feel free to comment here on the post as well as share your pictures of your creations on our Facebook page.

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Family Fun | Reviews

Wibble Wobble Jelly on a Plate! My Review of Hartley’s Glitter Jelly.

By on January 8, 2018

Last Sunday before we were back to reality

Yesterday was the last Sunday before we were back to reality. Back to the grind. I wanted the day to be an enjoyable but not too hectic last day of the Christmas break. Ha ha ha! I should be so lucky. In fact it was one of those days where one thing after another went wrong. Sibling rivalry was at its best, we were victims of the most horrendous temper tantrums and we couldn't even make jelly without getting it wrong!

Nevertheless, we managed to squeeze in some family fun. First, a bitterly cold but fun trip to the park.

Followed by a delicious dinner consisting of our fav potatoes - Dauphinois. Then after that?

Pudding of course.

Hartley's Glitter Jelly

In the cupboard I had a packet of Hartley's Glitter Jelly, something the kids had asked me to pick up when they saw it during our food shopping trip a few days ago.

Glitter Jelly! Sayy whaattt! We were super excited to see this!

Miss P & Master E wanted to make the jelly, so whilst the food was cooking I helped them to do just that.

Pouring the contents of the sachet into the measuring jug...step 1 in where it went wrong!

The instructions were super easy to follow...Empty sachet contents into bowl, add 500ml of boiling water, stir until dissolved, decant into smaller containers, put in the fridge. Simples yet Mummy still managed to mess it up! *rolls eyes*

I tipped the contents into the measuring jug meaning it became difficult to tell when I had added 500mls of boiling water. It also didn't help that I read it wrong and only added 150mls of water to begin with!

A gloopy mixture...step 2 of where it went it wrong!

As you can see what was supposed to be a quick and easy kitchen make was starting to become a nightmare. These were my errors though and not defaults with the product.

Once I had added more water to the gloopy mixture, helped the kids ensure it was fully dissolved and decanted it into smaller containers we popped them into the fridge. Now, my previous experience with jelly is that it seems to take forever to set and to be honest I wasn't expecting anything different with this. Especially as we only used hot water, as opposed to the usual part hot and part cold approach.

After dinner we went to check to see if our dessert was ready and I could not believe my eyes. All 6 pots of jelly were set and ready to eat. This was only around 30 - 40 mins after we made it. Absolutely ideal for a quick and easy, last minute pudding.

However, I was a little disappointed...it wasn't very glittery. This was the main reason we purchased this product; to see glitter jelly. If you looked closely it was shimmery but you had to look close and it definitely wasn't glittery. Which was a little disheartening particularly for the children.

Shimmery Jelly...Third and final step of where it went wrong!

That aside it still tasted delicious.

Making the jelly seemed to match the rest of our day in terms of one thing after another going wrong. I would still buy this product again, making sure I read the instructions properly next time instead of skimming them! No glitter was disappointing given that was its selling point to us, but it didn't effect the taste plus the time in which it took to set using only hot water, was incredible.

If you have purchased this jelly and had a better experience, a more glittery end product, or if it all went bottoms up for you too, I would love to see your pictures. Comment below or share over on my Instagram or Facebook pages using #MMhartleysglitterjelly

Please note this is not a sponsored or paid post just an honest review of an activity we took part in as a family.

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun

Quick and Easy, Child Friendly Trifle

By on December 31, 2017

The kids and I were looking through the cupboards for something we could have as a light dessert after our dinner. What with it being Christmas time I had ingredients in my cupboard that would make a trifle only I never got round to making one. So I decided I would make a quick and easy variation that is suitable for the children to eat. It took less than 5 minutes to make and took the kids less time to devour! Below is the 'How To' coupled with a video.

Ingredients

  • Trifle sponges
  • Strawberries
  • Squirty cream

Optional Extras

  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Custard
  • Jelly

Method

Break the sponges up into small chunks and slice the strawberries. Layer both ingredients in the glass, squirt on the cream and top with blueberries as shown in the video below.

Variation

I used what I had in my fridge and cupboards but you could make some jelly and pour this in and allow to set before adding cream. If you like custard you could always add this too, much like the trifle as we know it, just without the Sherry! (I know, I know but it is a child friendly version...)

The idea of this simple recipe is to keep it simple. Use what you have available to you by layering in grapes, blueberries and other fruits you have to hand.

Hope you enjoy and if so feel free to share 🙂

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