Monday, April 29, 2013

Toilet Roll Crafting for Kids

A few weeks back I shared a post about creating a recycled forest with your kids.  One of the main materials we used was old toilet rolls.  That got me thinking about the abundance and ever growing number of toilet rolls every family has and all the crafts you can make from them.

Race Cars:


These race cars are adorable and fit a Playmobil (or other) character perfectly.  Save a few toilet rolls and you can create an entire fleet.

Recycling Toilet Rolls - Race Cars
Image & Idea: Croissant & Lavender
Recycling Toilet Rolls - race cars
Image & Idea: Croissant & Lavender

Materials Needed:


  • Toilet Rolls
  • Paint
  • Scissors
  • Cardboard
  • Brads


Instructions:

The step by step photo instructions at Croissant and Lavender are very self-explanatory.  Don't worry that the instructions are in Hungarian, Google Chrome has a translate option that will help you out or just follow the photos.


Toilet Roll Castle:


What a great way to create a castle for the kids to play with.  Not only can they join in the fun of making the castle, they will spend countless hours playing with their toy characters, animals, and vehicles as they explore castle life.

Recycling Toilet Rolls - create a castle
Image & Idea: Filth Wizadry

Materials Needed:


  • Toilet Rolls
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Cardboard (old cereal boxes are perfect)
  • Glue gun


Instructions:

Creating a castle is fun because it is up to your imagination as to how you design it but Filth Wizadry has great sketches of how to create walls and cut the towers from your toilet rolls.


Superhero Cuffs:


Every great superhero needs to have their cuffs.  That's where their power comes from, doesn't it?

Recycling Toilet Rolls - Superhero cuffs
Image & Idea: Sewing in No Mans Land

Materials Needed:

  • Toilet rolls
  • Scissors
  • Markers/Paint
  • Embellishments - i.e. glitter

Instructions:

Well, they couldn't get any easier and Kelly at Sewing in No Mans Land has dubbed these 'two second cuffs' which should give you an idea of how easy they are.  If you use markers instead of paint, you will be off to the races in minutes.


Spring Flowers:


It is hard to believe that you can make a basic toilet roll into something so pretty.  And, with the cold weather we've been having, wouldn't it be nice to help spring along by making some of these gorgeous flowers with the kids.

Recycling Toilet Rolls - Spring Flowers
Image & Idea: Krokotak

Materials Needed:


  • 4 empty toilet rolls
  • Markers/Paint
  • Skewer
  • Staples
  • Glue
  • Pompom
  • Small clay pot


Instructions:

Really, you've got all you need in the photo above and Krokotak doesn't provide much more in terms of instructions but they do have a lot of other great ideas so don't hesitate to drop by their site.


Toilet Roll Wreaths:


This tree is covered with beautiful wreaths in a rainbow of colours.  Can you believe they were all made using toilet rolls and paint?  Imagine making a whole bunch in different colours for the different seasons.  It would be the perfect decoration that you can easily change as the year goes on.

Recycling Toilet Rolls - colourful wreaths
Image & Idea: Michele Made Me

Materials Needed:
  • 2 toilet paper rolls
  • Paint - metallic gold and another bright colour
  • Gesso or white acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Ribbon
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Clamps such as clothespins

Instructions:

This project is a little involved but definitely easy enough for an older child to do.  Michele has amazing step by step instructions here.  


Kazoos:

It just wouldn't be right not to include an instrument.  I mean, what kid doesn't like making noise while dancing around the house?

Recycling Toilet Rolls - Kazoo
Image & Idea: That's What We Said

Materials Needed:

  • Toilet roll
  • Wax paper
  • Rubber Band
  • Markers

Instructions:

This project is as easy as 1-2-3 but visit That's What We Said for full instructions.

Still not noisy enough for you?  Why not add a little shaking action to the parade with my shakers and music makers.  


The tutorial for these shakers is found here.

So next time the toilet roll runs out in the bathroom, don't be so quick to toss them in the recycling bin.  Keep a few on hand at all times because as you can see, they are one of the best free materials you can have on hand.  Happy crafting!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Penguin Poppers

What kid doesn't like the opportunity to shoot things at their friends and siblings?  These Penguin Poppers made from plastic cups are the perfect activity indoors or out.  By using cotton balls or marshmallows as penguin eggs there is no fear of anyone getting hurt.  The worst that can happen is a sore belly maybe if they scoop them up and eat them - marshmallows, that is, like my kids did.



Creating the Penguin Poppers is a fun craft all in itself that the kids could make with you.  But, it is a multi-step project so it isn't one that they could do at a party and play with later on unless perhaps it was a sleepover.  If you want to play with Penguin Poppers at your next party, I suggest that you make one for each child ahead of the date.

Materials Needed to make Penguin Poppers:


  • Plastic cups (SOLO cups work perfectly)
  • Exacto knife
  • Black tape (optional)
  • Craft paint - black, white, orange
  • Paint brushes
  • Large round balloons (not long skinny ones)
  • Cotton balls, marshmallows, or ping pong balls



Instructions to make Penguin Poppers:


  1. Using an Exacto knife, trim the top off the cups.  I followed the baseline and it was simple.
  2. Paint the cups black.  It will take about 2 coats to give a solid colour.  Allow to dry.
  3. Paint the white tummy of the penguin using white craft paint.  The uncut end of the cup is the bottom of your penguin, the cut end is the top (head).  Leave about 1" black above your tummy.  To get the shape, create the top like you are making a heart then continue straight down instead of curving to a point.  Allow to dry.
  4. Paint on the eyes using black paint.  I dipped the end of a pencil into the paint and dabbed it on.
  5. Paint the penguin's beak using orange paint.  Allow to dry.
  6. Cut the top off of coloured balloons.
  7. Tie a knot at the bottom of each balloon as if it was blown up.
  8. Stretch the cut end of the balloon over the top of your penguin to give him a hat.


Tips:


  • You can spray paint the cups instead of using craft paint if you are making a lot.
  • I put a strip of black hockey tape around the cut edge just to reinforce it.  It was hidden by the balloon hat.
  • If you find it hard to make the shape of the white tummy, just make them ovals. 
  • By leaving a little more space at the top of the penguin (approx. 1") before starting the white belly, it allows you to pull the balloon down further which stops it from popping off as much if the kids pull really hard.


How to use a Penguin Popper:

  1. Put one or more 'eggs' (cotton balls, marshmallows, or ping pong balls) into your penguin. 
  2. Tip the cup slightly upwards. 
  3. Pull down on the knotted balloon and release. 
  4. The penguin eggs will go flying.


Penguin Popper Games:

My kids had a blast just running around the yard, chasing each other and shooting penguin eggs.  But, there are lots of games you could make-up for a more organized play experience.



Penguin Freeze Tag:  

One child has a penguin and lots of penguin egg ammunition.  They chase the rest of the kids around and shoot eggs at them.  If a child is hit by an egg they are 'frozen' and must remain in that spot until another child tags them.

Penguin Targets:  

Set up some lightweight objects on a table.  The kids can shoot their eggs at the targets and try to knock them down.

Penguin Targets 2:  

Put down a hula hoop or draw some circles with chalk on the ground.  Have the kids stand back and try to aim their eggs so that they land in the circles.

Penguin Distance Training:

Have the kids line up in a row.  Each one can shoot an egg and see which egg goes the farthest.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Penguin Parent Challenge

Do your kids know that Emperor penguins that live in the Antarctic carry their eggs on their feet the until they hatch to ensure they don't freeze or crack?  It is the dad that takes care of the egg in the cold, by placing it on his foot and covering it with his stomach to keep it warm. The dad stands like that for almost two months without any food while the mother penguin goes searching for fish.  And we thought being pregnant for 9 months was hard.  Try balancing an egg on your feet for two months!

 Penguin Parent Challenge - Penguin Party Game

This game is inspired by those Emperor penguins.  The goal of the game is to keep your egg off the ice (ground) while you race other penguins to the finish line.  By wearing a big fat Emperor penguin belly, the challenge is made even greater.




Penguin Parent Challenge:

Goal of the game:

Balance an egg between your feet and keep your egg off the ice (ground) while you race other penguins to the finish line.

Penguin Parent Challenge - Penguin Party Game


Materials Needed:


  • 2 cushions - black and white preferable
  • 2 strings or belts to hold on the cushions
  • 2 balls - the smaller the ball, the bigger the challenge
  • Start and finish markers


Instructions:


  1. Divide the kids into two teams.
  2. Tie a penguin belly (cushion) onto the first child in each team.
  3. Help the children balance the ball between their ankles to start.
  4. On your mark, get set, go!  The kids will waddle from the start to the finish while trying to keep the ball between their feet.
  5. If the ball falls they can pick it up and continue but their penguin bellies will make this more and more of a challenge.  
  6. When those two penguins are done, they go back and the next two penguins can take the challenge.

Penguin Parent Challenge - Penguin Party Game

Optional Methods of Play - Don't allow eggs to fall:

This will make the kids more careful and also extend the game.  The main difference is that you will need to have a ball ready for each child as the balls can't be re-used between the children.

  1. Place a container at the finish line for the eggs to be placed in when they successfully get to the end without dropping their egg. 
  2. Steps 1-4 above are the same.  
  3. If an egg falls that child goes back to the line.  They do not get to start again.  
  4. When those two penguins are finished the next two penguins begin.  
  5. Continue until every child has had a turn then count the eggs in each container.  
  6. The team with the most eggs wins!
This version is based more on skill and accuracy rather than speed.  

Penguin Parent Challenge - Penguin Party Game



Making a Penguin Belly:

To make a penguin pillow like the ones I made above is super simple and requires no sewing skills at all.  Here's how I made them.

  1. I picked up 2 black cushion covers at Dollarama ($3 each).
  2. I cut out a white belly from a piece of white felt for each pillow.
  3. I glued the felt to the cushion cover using a glue gun.
  4. I inserted throw cushions we already had at home.  There is no worry of them getting dirty so you can use the ones right off your couch.
Penguin Parent Challenge - Making Your Penguin Pillow


Any cushions will work and they don't need to be 'penguin' cushions.  Use plain black and white pillowcases on regular bed pillows or just use what you have in your linen closet.  The game will be the same and the kids will still have just as much fun waddling around your home.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Pass me some of those assault weapon cookies please!

Okay, this is a bit of a rant but I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across a cookie cutter shaped like a revolver.  Who needs a cookie cutter shaped like a revolver?????  Seriously, who?

Revolver shaped cookie cutter


After the horrific images of violence we (and many of our kids) saw last week I just couldn't wrap my head around why anyone would want a cookie cutter shaped as a gun.  Who is this being targeted towards (no pun intended)?  Do kids need revolver shaped cookie cutters at their birthday parties?

After a moment or two I began wondering if I was just being a crazy overprotective mama bear.  But, the more I thought about it the more incensed I became.  Yes, some cartoons have laser guns and yes, soldiers carry guns too but this was a revolver.  To me revolvers shout criminals and murder.

On top of that I was already feeling upset that the US failed to expand their gun control laws that would have seen expanded background checks for gun buyers, a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity gun magazines, this in the wake of the massacre in Newtown Connecticut that left 20 children dead this past December.  Aren't we supposed to be protecting our children?


Moms Demand Action print campaign - Kinder Egg vs. assault weapon
Image: MomsDemandAction.org

A group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America has put out a print campaign that just shows how ridiculous things have gotten.  In all three of their ads they depict something that has been banned in order to protect American children with guns, high power assault weapons that are still legal in the US.  Little Red Riding Hood - banned for having wine. Kinder Eggs - banned for being dangerous.  Dodgeball - banned for being too violent.  Purchasing assault weapons - no problem, not dangerous to kids at all.  Mind boggling.


Moms Demand Action print campaign - Dodgeball vs. assault weapons
Image: MomsDemandAction.org

Last night on the news I heard of another incident of terror that was averted right here in Toronto.  It is being described as an Al Qaeda-sponsored plot to derail a passenger train.  It just seems to me that our kids can see/hear enough violence just by listening to the news or looking at the front pages of the newspaper.  

I'm not naive. I know that kids, even those that have 'no gun' rules at home somehow manage to pick up a stick or some other object and manifest it into a gun but do we really need to bring violence to their parties in the guise of treats?  Does anyone really need gun shaped cookies?  Heck, even superheroes don't use guns.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Penguin Planter Pets

Penguin Planter Pets are my take on the Chia Pet of yesteryear.  Remember those?  I never had one as a child so that may be why I was so excited to make one of my very own.

 Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can


This is a great craft for kids of all ages because you can gear it to their age.  Older kids can paint their own cans, younger kids can just do the embellishing and planting.   In the end they all take home a plant they've grown from seed and their very own penguin pet.  It also incorporates recycling which is always a bonus around here.

Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can



Materials Needed to make Penguin Planter Pets:

  • Empty tin cans (any size) that have been washed out and dried.
  • Craft paint or spray paint - black
  • Craft paint - white
  • Paint brushes
  • Felt - black and orange
  • Googly Eyes
  • Glue
  • Potting Soil
  • Grass Seed or Chia Seeds

Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can

Instructions to make Penguin Planter Pets:

Prior to the party: 

  1. Paint the outside of the can black.  It will likely take 2 coats to give a solid colour.  Allow to dry.
  2. Paint the white belly of the penguin using white craft paint. To get the shape, create the top like you are making a heart then continue straight down instead of curving to a point. Allow to dry.
  3. Cut out 2 wings for each penguin planter from black felt.
  4. Cut out 1 triangle nose and 2 feet for each penguin planter from orange felt.

During the Party:

  1. Provide each child with a penguin planter can, 2 wings, 2 feet, 2 googly eyes, and a nose.
  2. Help them glue the wings, feet, eyes and nose onto their cans.
  3. With the help of an adult, have the children fill the can 3/4 full with potting soil.
  4. Add a sprinkling of grass/chia seeds.
  5. Cover with more potting soil and water slightly.
  6. Provide instructions to the parents to keep the soil moist and place in a sunny spot.

A week or so after the party their penguin planter pet will start sprouting hair (or funny penguin eyebrows).

Tip:

  • Worried that the kids will be disappointed that their pal hasn't already sprouted hair?  Substitute pre-grown chives or alfalfa sprouts for the grass/chia seeds.  Alternatively, choose a nice succulent plant for each child so they have an instantaneous penguin plant pet.
Penguin Planter Pets - modern day chia pet from recycled can



We have a grandma in our family who collects penguins.  I think I see a mother's day present in her future!

PS - You can try this craft with other animals too such as owls, dogs, and of course a hairy bear.  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Restaurant Worthy Meal at Home - Creamy Spaghetti with Chicken & Spinach


Pasta is a go-to meal in our family.  I am a carb-a-holic and pasta is definitely one of my personal favourites.  Funny though, I have a hard time ordering it in restaurants although they often have much fancier and more delicious sounding recipes than I make at home.  Our family favourite is good old Spaghetti Bolognese but sometimes I wish we could switch it up a bit, get a little more adventurous and create a restaurant worthy dish at home.



One reason I hesitate ordering pasta at a restaurant is that it always seems so overpriced for what you get.  The second reason is that we have so much pasta at home that it just seems silly to order it when someone else is doing the cooking.  Maybe if I can make restaurant worthy pasta at home I won’t covet it so much on the menu at restaurants.

In my attempt to create fancier pasta dishes (that my family will eat) I decided to try this Campbell’s recipe for Creamy Spaghetti with Chicken and Spinach.  First of all it starts with bacon so how can you go wrong?  Secondly, it has chicken which is definitely a step up from ground beef.  Thirdly it has some greens.  Could we be so fancy at home?

The recipe was made even easier with a store-bought rotisserie chicken.  The messy, time consuming work was already done for me.  All I needed to do was open a few cans, toss in a few spices, add cooked spaghetti and stir. 



I used fresh thyme when I made it because I had some on hand and I omitted the mushrooms because this mama just doesn't love mushrooms - cook's prerogative.

The kids were a little skeptical when they saw it on the table and noticed the spinach peeking out between the noodles.  Funny thing is, they love spinach in salads but it seems that mixed into a cooked recipe it took on a whole new life.  Luckily they were hungry and soon got past the green visitors. 



My daughter dove in with a huge mouthful and quickly exclaimed “Yum!”  My son was a little more hesitant but once he tried it he realised how tasty it was.  I think the creaminess of the soup took the acidity off the tomatoes and added a really nice rich, smooth flavour.




I added in fresh basil for my husband and me.  After serving the kids portions I ripped up and tossed in a handful of basil leaves at the last minute.  It added a really nice peppery taste and definitely increased the restaurant worthiness of this recipe. 

I am happy to have a new pasta recipe in our repertoire.  Next time I’m at a restaurant and looking at the pasta dishes I can order something different and rest easily knowing that I can make something just as good at home and save a few dollars at the same time.  

Creamy Spaghetti with Chicken & Spinach

Image: Cook With Campbell's



Ingredients

1 lb (454 g)cooked spaghetti
8 oz (224 g)cooked chicken
1 can (10 oz/284 mL)CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup (250 mL)canned crushed tomatoes
2 slicesbacon, chopped
6 oz (168 g)button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup (60 mL)milk
1/4 tsp (1 mL)dried thyme
½ tsp (3 mL)black pepper
1 cup (250 mL)chopped spinach
¼ cup (60 mL)basil (optional)

Directions

  1. Sauté bacon 4 minutes in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and thyme, lower heat to medium and cook 4 minutes more
  3. Add soup, tomatoes, milk, and pepper, cook 4 minutes, covered.
  4. Add spinach, chicken and pasta, bring to a simmer and stir to completely coat noodles.
Tip:  You may use any pasta shape you like; for chunky noodles like penne simply cut your mushrooms in quarters and keep your chicken and bacon pieces bigger.


This post was generously sponsored by Campbell’s, but the opinions and images are my own.
For more quick and easy meals kids will love, visit CookwithCampbells.ca.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Spring Right of Passage

The only good thing about all this rain we're having is puddles.  Isn't it great to be a kid (or a kid at heart), to find that perfect puddle and to JUMP.

Puddle Jumping - A right of passage for Spring


We've been spending a little too much time inside these days between rain and freak snow storms.  The moment the sun comes out my kids make a beeline for the door and head outside.  They are always happier when they are outdoors.

Puddle Jumping - A right of passage for Spring

Well, her boots filled up with water but that was just the start of the fun. As she sat down to pour out the water, the giggles just amplified.

Puddle Jumping - A right of passage for Spring


No gear, no cost, no rules...just good old fashioned fun.  Puddle Jumping - the perfect right of passage for spring!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Creating a Recycled Forest

With Earth Day just around the corner I thought I'd share with you a fun idea for re-using disposable cups and toilet rolls.  My son who was 5 at the time came up with this idea when he insisted on bringing home the plastic cup he got in the waiting room at an office.  I love the idea because it only utilized items we already had around the house or left over from previous craft projects.

Earth Day Project - Create a recycled forest

Disposable Cup Trees:

disposable cup trees

Materials Needed:


  • disposable cups
  • brown paint
  • paint brush
  • green markers or crayons
  • scrap paper
  • scissors
  • double sided tape

Instructions:


  1. Paint the insides of the cup brown.  If your cups are solid in colour you can paint the outside.
  2. Draw and cut out leaves from scraps of paper. 
  3. Turn the cups upside down and  use double sided tape to attach the leaves to the tops of the trees.


Toilet Paper Parrots:

Toilet Paper Parrots

Materials Needed:


  • empty toilet rolls
  • paint or construction paper
  • googly eyes (optional)
  • scissors
  • feathers, stickers, embellishments
  • glue


Instructions:


  1. Paint or cover the toilet roll with construction paper.
  2. Cut out wings and a beak from scrap paper.
  3. Attach the wings and beak using glue.
  4. Attach googly eyes using glue.  If you do not have googly eyes, just draw the eyes.
  5. Add embellishments such as feathers, stickers and glitter to your parrots.


To create a forest, perch your Toilet Paper Parrots on your trees.  This is a great project when kids are learning about the rain forest or just to keep busy on a rainy day.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cyber Kids - Tips to keep them safe and prevent cyber-bullying

My daughter's class is using computers more and more.  I love that they are becoming computer literate and I've got to admit, it feels great to see her blogging and excited to be doing the same thing as mom.  As they spend more time online it is important that we instill in them good cyber safety skills.



My daughter's Brownie troupe completed their computer badge and she came home with this poem that I thought was a great way to start a family discussion and teach them some important cyber safety rules.

To download a printable copy, click here!

While my kids are not yet at the point of using social media, they both have email addresses that they use to keep in touch with their grandparents.  It is only a matter of time though before they will be entering the world of Facebook, Twitter, etc. so I want them to be prepared.

It is important to me that they understand now that they should never share personal information about themselves online.   Some of these include:


  • name
  • address
  • email address
  • age
  • phone number
  • school name


Bullying is something that they discuss in detail at school.  They participated in "pink" day, they worked on a school song about bullying and they were privileged to participate in a presentation by Second City that dealt with the topic of bullying in a fun and interactive way.  That being said, I'm not sure how much they know about cyber-bullying.  Do they know that cyber-bullying refers to the use of communication technologies – such as a computer, mobile phone or web camera – to deliberately intimidate, threaten or humiliate others?

Rogers Communications worked with non-profit organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to launch a Tech Essentials program in January.  It is a great resource for both parents and kids.  They have great tips for talking to your kids about spotting and stopping cyber-bullying.  Your kids should be aware that some forms of cyber-bullying are considered criminal acts under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Some of their tips include:

  • Have an open dialogue with your children about what cyber-bullying is, and encourage them to inform you or a teacher, principal or guidance counsellor after the first instance. 
  • Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied, such as withdrawn or abnormal behaviour, a reluctance to go to school, or to use the computer.
  • Children should not write back to address the bully.
  • Keep a record of any evidence of your child being cyber-bullied.
  • If the messages are from a fellow student, contact the school to see if they have a cyber-bullying policy in place, and to document the complaint.
  • If the online threats are of a physical nature, contact your local police.
  • Become well informed about your children’s online activities. 

I encourage you to visit the Tech Essentials site to learn more about these tips and about Parental control software that can help you keep your family safe. It can be daunting in this day and age when our kids seem so much more knowledgeable than us about the computers, the web and technology in general but they are still kids and need our guidance.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Brush with TV Fame


I recently attended a taping of CityLine that will air today.  I had been in the audience once before almost 6 years ago.  That time it was a Fashion Friday taping and the host at the time was Marilyn Dennis.  This time it was a Family Day Wednesday with new(ish) host Tracy Moore.



In high school I did a few stints as an extra in films and TV shows taping in the Toronto area.  At the time I found it fascinating to see what went on behind the scenes; the movie magic as they call it.  It was no different last week.   I loved seeing how the sets changed, how different everything looked in real life as compared to on film.  I loved seeing the guests as they were brought on the stage, how the audience was prepped for the next segment, how we were cued to clap and how walls or furniture in a sound stage were transformed to give the feel of different rooms.

Although I'm 100% jealous of Tracy's job and totally thought I should be the next 'Marilyn' a few years ago when I was off on mat leave and totally delusional; I have to say that Tracy Moore is a great host and was really impressive.

The topics that day were varied to say the least.  She was making recipes with barley, speaking to a parenting expert about communicating with your children, interviewing and juicing with a man who cured his own auto-immune disease by changing his diet, doing physical exercises with a 5 year old, back to barley, back to the parenting expert and never dropping a beat.  Whew, I'm exhausted just typing it. 

The entire experience was fun.  My girlfriend and I had a blast at the live taping and it will be fun to see ourselves in the audience when the show airs.  We were front row so we had a great view and I'm sure our 15 minutes of fame is coming with all the segment intros, etc.  One small touch I loved was how they had a play area set up for moms with little ones, they know who they're dealing with.  

We were all treated to some door prizes and there were a few lucky audience members who won amazing prizes; I’m talking SLR cameras, juicers, etc.  I am excited to open my barley gift bag and try out some new recipes.  While my barley cooks I’ll have to sit down to a cup of tea and tune into the next CityLine.  

Tetley Gift Pack
Barley Gift Pack

But remember Tracy, if you need a vacation I'm only a phone call away.  I have kids & a husband so I could definitely use a family/parenting expert's advice, recipes from food writer would be put to good use, there are definitely home improvement segments waiting to happen at my house and a few sit-ups with a personal trainer wouldn't hurt either.  Maybe you need someone to do some kid crafts with you?!? Perhaps when you're in Disney I can step in and help out.  A girl can dream can't she!  



PS - I am totally honored to be CityLine's blogger of the month for April!  

Monday, April 8, 2013

5 DIY Travel Activities Made from Upcycled Materials

When you travel with kids you need to pack things to keep them entertained.  Yes, most airlines have in-seat entertainment and most kids seem to have access to some form of electronic entertainment however there are times when some good old-fashioned games are just what is called for.  Take for instance our last family flight that had us on the plane for an extra 7 hours.  Even the best batteries start losing their juice in situations like this one.



These fabulous activities are all portable and upcycle old items in your home making them environmentally savvy and inexpensive.  They are perfect for throwing into your hand luggage to ensure you have something fun to pull out at any time during your trip.

DVD Case turned Travelling Checkers or Chess:

This fabulous checkers game from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn is adorable.  Made from an old DVD case, felt, buttons, some velcro and glue, this game will be fun to make and even more fun to play.

Photo & Instructions: Handmade by Stacy Vaughn

How about a chess version?  My son recently learned to play chess and this would be a big hit with him.  you can leave it in the car so you always have a quiet game ready to play when there is a wait.

Photo & Instructions: Handmade by Stacy Vaughn

Altoids Tin turned Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe:

The size of an Altoids tin is perfect for travelling and makes it's own convenient case to keep Tic-Tac-Toe pieces altogether.  The metal case is magnetic so your pieces won't go missing or slip around if you encounter turbulence.

Photo & Instructions: Canadian Family

Altoids Tin turned Magnetic Travelling Tangram Puzzles:

Don't put those Altoids tins away yet!  Delia Creates shares her DIY for a travelling Tangram Puzzles.  If your brain works like my brain then this activity could take up A LOT of time.  Simple to make, this project once again utilizes an old Altoids tin to keep your shapes in order.

Photo & Instructions: Delia Creates



DVD Case turned Colouring Kit:

Also from Handmade by Stacy Vaughn comes this travelling colouring kit made from an old DVD case. Paper clips in on one side and pencils, markers and pens are safely kept on the other.  This would be great for keeping score too!

Photo & Instructions: Handmade by Stacy Vaughn


CD Case tuned Travel Mazes:

I love these mazes from Bloesome Kids because they could be ever changing.  By taking old CD cases and creating mazes using either fimo or wiki-stix the kids have new games to play every time you travel.

Photo & Instructions: Bloesome Kids

Old Containers & Wood turned Dice Games:

There are a million games that can be played with dice but playing them in a moving vehicle can prove challenging. Cardigans and Curriculum's idea to put dice in a tiny container which can be shaken with the dice inside to keep them from getting lost is brilliant.  No more searching under the seats for that illusive die that got away.

Photo & Idea: Cardigans & Curriculum
Sweeter than Sweets had a dice game that incorporated emotions and animals which kids would then act out to help them understand the different emotions.  While this may be a bit rowdy for a plane or public space,  I thought it would be fun to use the same dice but instead use them as story starters.  The whole family could get in on the fun by rolling the dice to create anew story starter each time.  Simply use old cardboard or small pieces of wood to create the dice and write whichever words you want.  Throw them in a container as seen above and you have a great travel game!

Photo and Idea: Sweeter than Sweets

I hope your travels are plenty and your delays are kept to a minimum.  In any case, we've got your fun covered!

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