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Toucan Box Craft Kit: a review

I was really excited the other day when our postlady dropped these through the door – our review samples from Toucan Box.
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Toucan Box is a small company, and was the brainwave of a busy mum of two. Her daughter wanted to make all the fantastic things she saw kids TV presenters knock up from a couple of bits lying about. Except, like most mums, she didn’t have all the resources. So, she developed Toucan Boxes, which contain every resource that you need to complete a craft project.

I received two boxes for this review. The one is a brand new pirate themed box, which I have popped away until we do our pirate theme in a couple of weeks, but a sneaky peek has left me excited about it!! We dived into the other one straight away, and all I can say is WOW!!!

The box contained everything we needed to decorate a canvas bag. Inside was a small canvas shopping bag, a pack of four mini felt tips, stencils, paper and tissue paper and a paintbrush as well as nature scavenger hunt cards.

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The instructions were really clear – we basically had to design a pattern with the tissue paper on the paper, dab water on the tissue paper with the paintbrush and press it onto the bag. It did say it needed 24 hours to dry but within a couple of hours hung above the radiator it was dry. We then used the stencils and pens to finish the bag. 

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I’ve put the scavenger cards away for now (there’s one for each season) to do at a later date when weather perks up, but what a fab idea! Harrison’s been using it when playing with his market stall as his little shopping bag. The instructions also contain links to the EYFS framework and key stage one and two, so you know where it fits in with your child’s education. It also comes with a few extra ideas to extend the activity.

I can say that I am certainly very impressed with the quality of the resources and the fact it contains everything we needed, other than scissors!!

The prices for Toucan Boxes vary depending on what level of subscription you go for, but single packs are available which give a months worth of craft ideas for just under £20, which would make a lovely gift idea.
The lovely people at Toucan have given me a code to share with you to claim a free taster box! Just visit their website here and enter the code TOUCAN.
Enjoy!
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* I was sent this and another pack free of charge for the purpose of this review. All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Bug in a jar and paper link caterpillars

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We had so much fun yesterday making caterpillars in a jar and paper link caterpillars!

Both were really simple activities. The paper link caterpillar is fairly easy for little fingers and gives opportunities for discussion on shape. All you need are some strips of green paper and one strip of red. The size of the strips and the amount of green strips depends on how big you want your caterpillars to be!

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Take a strip of green paper and create a circle shape as if you were making a paper chain and use a glue stick to secure it.
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Repeat this for each strip of green paper and glue the links together side by side. When you have finished the green body, make a red link for the caterpillars head. Finish off by drawing on eyes and mouth with black pen.
The kids have loved wriggling their caterpillars around!

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Our second activity was mostly done by me as it is quite fiddly and we used a glue gun, which although is low heat still gets quite hot. It has been played with lots and we are going to put into the story sack, so we can feed him and act the story out with him.
For this you need some green pompoms (we just used two biggish ones) and a red one. We also used two tiny yellow ones for eyes and small bits of purple pipe cleaner for antennae.

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We glued the green ones together for the body and the red one for the head using the glue gun, and then stuck two small yellow ones on as eyes.
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We curled the purple pipe cleaners around a pencil and then glued them to the red pompom. We popped him into a clean jar (obviously plastic would be better!) and added in a couple of green paper leaves.

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For the Kids Fridays at SunScholars.com

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar hats

Today we have been pretending to be The Very Hungry Cattherpillar, with our hats!!!
These were really easy to make. I cut two strips of green paper out, (for each hat)  and glued one end together to make one long strip. I then measured it round their heads for an idea of size – too small and it fall off, too big and it slips over their faces! When the size was about right I used a piece of sticky tape to make it into a band. 

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I then cut out two larger red circles and two smaller yellow circles, which Harrison stuck on as eyes.

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We finished by attaching two swirly antennae made from purple paper. 

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We then had loads of fun crawling around pretending to be the caterpillar, eating lots of food and making up our own version of the story!

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar: feeding the caterpillar

‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle is one of those kids books that will be read for many generations to come. I’m 28 and remember reading and enjoying it when I was little. I bought the book for Harrison when I was about five months pregnant, and we have read it many times!
We weren’t going to start this theme until Monday, but the kids spotted the bits for it and I’m not going to discourage them!!

First of all we decorated the wall in the dining room with some Very Hungry Caterpillar things. This wall is opposite where the kids sit to eat so they will see it a lot, and over the week we will add our bits to it.
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We made a caterpillar spelling out their names. This was simple to make. On green paper I cut out circles for each letter and a red circle for the head. On the red circle I drew a friendly face and on the body we wrote the letters. This is great for teaching letters and name recognition. Harrison points excitedly every time he sees it!!

I also printed out and laminated (yes, I love laminating. Stand still long enough and I will laminate you!) these days of the week cards from Making Learning Fun. These are also on the wall and when we finish the theme, we will put these in a story sack.

As well as this, I printed off some cute little number cards showing what the caterpillar ate each day, which will also be laminated for the story sack! These can be downloaded here.

They loved playing ‘feed the caterpillar’ which was a great start and hook into the theme. This had taken a bit of prior preparation one night last week, when everyone had gone to bed. I used up all my odds and ends of felt but it could easily be done with paper – you could print these fab printables off from Twinkl

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I covered a tube (Pringles type) with green paper and used a craft knife to cut a ‘mouth’ in the plastic lid.  I used a glue gun to stick on pipe cleaners for antannae. I then used the scraps of felt to create all the food from the story. This was fiddly but fun!!

We sat and read the story together and ‘fed’ the caterpillar the food as we went through it. They loved this!! It was perfect for numeracy skills as they counted them, speaking skills as they told me what each item was, and great for fine motor skill development as the had to push the food into a small slit – perfect for Alex!!!

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Long after finishing the story, they were still having fun with it, and even wanted to play with it whilst watching their new ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ DVD that nanny bought them (from The Works, £2.99!).

A great start to our themed week!

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Kiddycharts Blog
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Growing Cress

Not that it’s the season to grow much, but I really wanted the boys to have a go at planting and growing something, and what better than cress? Even me, the most incompetent gardener on the planet can manage cress!

Cress is a brilliant thing to grow with toddlers as it’s fast growing and you can see a difference in it almost daily, but still teaches them to have some patience and that plants don’t just appear instantly. It’s also cheap (60p from Wilko’s) and you don’t need any fancy equipment to grow it.
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We stuffed some cotton wool into plastic drinking cups. Obviously, you can use proper pots and compost but we were taking the easy route!

Harrison and Alex then had fun sprinkling the seeds onto the wool and pressing them down. We then drowned watered the seeds and wrote our names on the cups. We’ve left them on the windowsill, and hopefully on the next few days we will start to see them grow!

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Salt and food colouring pictures

We loved doing this activity this morning!!

To do this you need some paper or card, PVA glue, food colouring, table salt and water.

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On the paper, ‘draw’ your picture with the PVA glue. We used paintbrushes and just sort of splodged glue around but obviously the older the children or the more artistic you are, the more detailed your pictures could be!

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When you’ve done this, sprinkle it liberally with table salt, making sure all the glue is covered in a decent amount, then shake off the excess.

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Mix some food colouring with water. At first I watered the colour down a bit too much and the colour was weak. To get decent colour you need about seven or eight drops of food colouring in a tablespoon or so of water. This makes it nice and vibrant. Use a paintbrush or a pipette to drop the coloured water onto the salt and watch the colour spread through the salt. Harrison thought it was magical, and excitedly told me the colour was ‘growing’!

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I’m imagining some gorgeous firework display pictures around bonfire night on black paper!

Romanian Mum

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