Dinosaur Day

This week I had intended for us to do lots of dinosaur activities, to link in with Dino week on CBeebies. It didn’t quite go to plan. We’ve had a really busy and fun week going out and about so never got round to doing some of the activities I had planned. We read lots of dinosaur books though and watched a great programme on Netflix called ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ which Harrison loved!

We have done a few bits though, so I’ve put them all together to snow you!

Our first dinosaur activity started off on Sunday night where I found myself putting dinosaurs in my freezer! I found a few different shaped containers, half filled them with water and popped in a toy dinosaur, and managed to squeeze them in the freezer.
Obviously, when we took them out on Monday afternoon, the dinosaurs had frozen into the water.


I then popped them into our big plastic tray that we use for messy/water play, and gave the kids a few tools – plastic knives, toy hammers and screwdrivers and sticks. Immediately Harrison told me that the dinosaurs were ‘stuck’ and started using the hammer to try and get it out. It was lovely watching them trying to get the dinosaurs out using the tools.

However, it was a LOT harder than I had anticipated. The ice started melting and we talked about it melting (Harrison immediately compared it to ice cream!) and becoming water, which they thought was magical. Harrison realised by dropping the ice from a height he could break some of the ice but I had to discourage this as shards of ice started flying everywhere – unless we were all wearing goggles (which they probably would have loved and it would have added an extra role play element to the activity!) It wasn’t very safe. It was a good discussion point as we talked about being sharp and Harrison straight away recalled an incident before Christmas where he saw me cut my finger with scissors. I was starting to think we would never get the dinosaurs out without leaving them to melt, when I thought about how we try to melt ice….I filled up a spray bottle with warm salt water. The kids loved squirting the ice with the water and watching it melt really quickly. This was also great for fine motor control as they had to squeeze the trigger on the bottle. This was a brilliant activity for introducing some scientific concepts.


Then we did my favourite…handprints!! I’d found a lovely little dinosaur poem on Pinterest (there was no link so can’t credit it) which I thought would look really nice with the kids handprints.
On the corner of a4 sheets of paper (the kids chose their colours) we did a handprint, which I then added a head to the thumb bit and a tail to the other side, and popped on legs using felt tips. I then copied out the poem.



We’ve used the poem a couple of times this week to get them moving about when we haven’t been able to get outside.

Our last activity was by far the messiest and ended up with the kids in the bath. Graham drew some dinosaurs on coloured paper (he’s much better at drawing than me!) and I let them loose with a tray of yellow, brown and green paint. They enjoyed mixing the colours up to make ‘mud’, and then using their fingers and paint dabbers to blob paint onto the dinosaurs.



Once they had dried, we stuck them onto paper, and I used their dinosaur names and characteristics from their dino money jars.



Obviously if you are more creative with words than I am you could write your own dinosaur characteristics!

**the winner of the ‘Let’s Potty’ competition was Kim Campbell**


Our Art Cupboard

We have a cupboard over flowing with craft and art materials, and its now overflowing into a chest of drawers in the spare room. The cupboard in my dresser hides away all our junk materials. I thought it might be a nice idea to share a list of the things we have and collect to hopefully give you some ideas!!


This is our cupboard with all the stuff we use regularly. I try and organise it and keep it neat but with so much stuff it’s impossible!  Lots of the little bits are kept in jars so I can straight away what is in there. The baby wipe box is full of felt scraps and tissue paper, and the red box holds bags of bits that haven’t been opened yet.

Paper and Card
As you can imagine, we use rather a lot of paper! We have several packs of it in the house – bog standard white printer paper, brightly coloured paper, pastel coloured paper and sugar paper. We also have packs of tissue paper*, gummed paper, card of all colours and thicknesses, sparkly card, and some beautiful textured paper. I also have been known to nick wallpaper samples and squirrel them away! We also have a roll (somewhere!) of cheap white lining paper, which is great for ‘big art’.

We tend to mostly use normal poster paint (you know, like the stuff you use at school?). I can definitely recommend getting the paint from Tescos…think its about 99p a bottle but comes in lots of colours, and the colours are really bright and vivid. The bottles look quite small but last ages – we have just finished the bottles of red, green, blue and yellow we bought for Harrison’s first Christmas…and we use it all the time!
We have got watercolours and I’m sure as the kids get older we,I’ll use the more, especially as they tend to be less messy!

We usually have three types of glue in our cupboard. We have glue sticks, roller glue and PVA glue*. Glue sticks and roller glue are the best for sticking paper, PVA is stronger and also good for paper mache and using as a varnish. I also have a low heat glue gun which I don’t obviously let the kids use but is handy for sticking on both that tend to fall off with normal glue (those pesky googly eyes!)


Bits and Pieces

We have:
Pipe cleaners
Foam stickers and shapes
Sticky gems*
Felt shapes*
Felt sheets
Pom poms
Googly eyes
Bows and ribbon*
Brads (funky patterned and shaped split pins)
Paper plates
Cotton wool
Marbling ink
Paper straws

Craft kits

These are all commercially produced craft kits that are great to make for presents or if we are lacking in ideas:

Jewellery trees*
Trinket boxes*
Decoupage kits*
Tissue paper kits
Flower pot kit*



We collect:
Bottle tops
Kitchen roll tubes
Egg cartons
Bubble wrap
Interesting shaped boxes and tubs
Plastic straws

On top of this we have lots of tools – different types of scissors, punches, rulers, paper tearers, stencils….reading this I now realise just how much stuff we have!

What’s your number one craft or art material?


Items marked with a * are products and materials I was sent free of charge from Baker Ross for review purposes.


Valentines Hearts and Handprints

A slightly brighter day today – in fact we managed to play out in the garden for half an hour this morning, and had to shut the living room curtain as the sun was blinding us all for a while!

Today we were putting the finishing touches to things we started earlier this week, so most of it was done by me. The kids played with their toy kitchen a lot today, with their Melissa and Doug pizza set, their paper mache pizza and making me ‘cakes’ from playdough. Harrison is getting to the age now where he really enjoys role play and pretending. A plastic seat is all he needs to become a train driver, a little bag and he’s off to play with his market so keep an eye out for future posts about role play!

On Tuesday when we made our Valentines Biscuits, we also made our salt dough. For those of you who have never made it before, it’s really easy and can be used to make all sorts of things.

You will need:
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water

It doesn’t matter how big the cup is as long as you stick to this ratio.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it forms a firm dough.

Harrison and Alex then had great fun rolling it out using their little rolling pins, and using heart shaped playdough/cookie cutters cut out heart shapes.


We then poked a little hole through them with one of our playdough tools, but a pencil or a straw would do the trick. I didn’t get a photo of the hearts at this point as my camera battery died, but we then placed them into a silicone baking tray. These can be left to air dry but takes several days. We popped ours in the bottom of the oven whilst our biscuits cooked, and then left them in the oven at a low temperature for a couple of hours. By this point it was too late to do any thing with them so they have been left until today.

We got out shades of red and pink paint and painted one side of them and left to dry. It dried fairly quickly as the dough absorbs the paint but does soften them just a little. We then turned them over and painted the other side.



Once they dried we threaded string through the holes we had made and hung them on the wall. When our ‘love’ week has finished these will make lovely little gifts!



On Monday, after painting their cardboard hearts for sewing (see what we did here), the kids painted their hands, something that they do every time the paint comes out! Whilst they played pizza shops today, I turned them into these:


This came from various ideas and pictures I’d saw on Pinterest and Facebook.
It was really easy to make – on red and pink card I drew a big heart with a black felt tipped pen. I stuck the handprint in the middle of the heart. With older kids it would look better with the handprint stamped directly onto the paper, but with toddlers it usually takes at least two attempt to get a decent print so is easier to do it on a separate sheet! I then handwrote the little poem, which is one I saw on Facebook but adapted the wording slightly.

Here’s the poem enlarged – excuse my rubbish handwriting!!


A lovely little present for someone on Valentines Day!


Valentines bits and pieces

Another beautiful day….or not! I don’t like moaning too much about the weather as living in central Birmingham we are fairly protected, especially compared to these poor people in Somerset and other areas that are pretty much underwater!

Anyway, we turned the radio on to try and block the sound of the wind and rain, cranked the heating up and made some lovely Valentines cards. We had been sent a box of craft goodies by Baker Ross, which was perfect timing for the Valentines cards I had planned.

I had originally planned to make some pop out Valentines cards, but in the box from Baker Ross was a pack of pre-cut pop up heart cards,very similar to the ones we were going to make! For a pack of 8 cards it costs £2.56 on their website, so not badly priced!


Of course, I cheated and used these instead of making them, but if you want to have a go at making your own, here is what we were going to do:

1) Fold a piece of card in half
2) Draw a heart in the middle. Make sure the crease of the card goes through the middle of the heart.
3) Cut the heart out, leaving a small piece each side of the card intact
4) Make sure there is a crease in the middle of the heart.

The ones that I was sent came in a choice of red, white and pink.

We used a selection of the embellishments we were sent, as well as some of the materials I had already put in our Valentines Craft Box.

These included:
Felt tip pens*
Sticky gems*
Felt Roses*
Pearlized gems*
Tissue paper
Foam shapes

I put the embellishments in a serving tray and let them choose whatever they wanted and decorate however they liked. The items from Baker Ross were great as they were all self adhesive – usually with similar items we use a glue stick and they drop off, so I end up using glue guns but these had little sticky pads on the back. I wasn’t a massive fan of the little bows though, as they weren’t stuck together, so one gentle pull and they come undone. I really liked the felt rose stickers !


The kids really enjoyed decorating their cards and they looked really cute. I joined in and made a Valentines Card for their daddy – I’m clearly not as artistic as my kids!


When we had finished making these ( the other four cards have been out away for next year!) Harrison asked to do some more sewing, so I quickly made a heart with holes in to sew, which after the initial knot he did pretty well independently, and I sat with Alex to make a hanging heart.
I cut out a heart shape from red card and then cut out the centre. Using the bits and pieces left over from the cards he decorated it. I noticed doing this that his fine motor skills are really coming along. He’s coming up to sixteen months old – he took the lid off the rather small glue stick, managed to put glue on the back of quite small buttons and shapes and press them onto the heart without much help, which I don’t think is bad going for his age! His pen grip is almost spot on as well, which is amazing.


We used lots of textures whilst doing this – soft foam, hard and smooth buttons, fluffy feathers which is perfect for a young toddler, especially Alex who loves using his thumb to explore texture.

We looped some red wool around the heart and hung it on the wall. Hopefully we will add some more hanging hearts the week!

* denotes products that we were sent free of charge from Baker Ross for review purposes, and are available to buy on their website. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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