Ahoy there, me hearties!

Crafty, games, kids, let's pretend
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It seems that all that sailing has got them in pirate mode again. So time for an improvised pirate outfit. This post deals with the pirate hat. Not quite a Jack Sparrow effort, more of the deck hand but still enough to keep them ‘quiet’ for an hour or so.

 For this, you’ll need an old child’s tshirt. One you can’t get the chocolate or fruit stains out of, or something too well worn to give to the charity shop is perfect.

So, scissors at the ready….

  1. Cut the sleeves off at the seam (but keep them for use later – they make good buccaneer boot tops, folded over the top of wellies!)
  2. Cut across the shoulder seams
  3. Cut down one side seam
  4. That should leave it looking like this…

Pirate hat tshirt template

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Sailing In the Night Garden

Crafty, kids, let's pretend
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Ok. I admit. I don’t understand that programme either, but there’s no denying that the boys love it.

Time for some quick and easy improvised Iggle Piggle antics of our own…

I used:-

  • an old baby bath (washing basket will do)
  • a fleece blanket (red if you really want to look like the real thing)
  • a piece of garden cane
  • some paper/card to make the sail
  • two wooden spoons (oars)
  • toilet or kitchen roll cardboard tube (telescope)

Iggle Piggle’s boat
I also let them choose from our vast array of fleece blankets (currently planning 101 uses for a fleece blanket post…) to make the sea.

Unfortunately no.2 son chose the zebra striped one, but hey, that’s all part of the fun!

We topped it off with a couple of related Lego models – a whale tale poking out of the water and a lifeguard tower (in case we needed rescuing as a result of falling into the sea) 🙂

Dinner is served

Crafty, food, games, kids
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So another wet summer weekend. More inventive games needed.

Try this one – either as a standalone task, or  close to meal time if you’ve run out of meal ideas. For me, dinner was taking a little longer to cook than I had hoped, and the boys were getting restless. So as a distraction, we decided to draw what our favourite meal would be on a cheap paper plate.

Dinner is served

See if you can spot no.1 son’s favourites:-

  • blueberries
  • spaghetti hoops (see previous post!)
  • cheerios
  • green grapes
  • black grapes
  • an apple
  • a rainbow bar (muesli bar in a rainbow wrapper)
  • piece of toast
  • and a banana!

That’s got to be his ‘5 a day’ in one meal!

“Don’t make me angry”

Crafty, kids, let's pretend
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Any child of the late 70’s and early 80’s will have automatically replied “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry!” in response to the title of this post.

But clearly, everything comes back into fashion, as the Incredible Hulk has recently featured on the pull ups for no2 son. Hence when they were invited to a superhero fancy dress party, I couldn’t resist making a costume.

It was easy peasy. Green face paint is obviously a must – I like the ones from the Early Learning Centre, though in store, you can buy them as individual colours for £2 each. Personally, I prefer that as there are always some you don’t need in a pack.

So, other than that, just select some old clothes and chop ’em up. If you really want to go to town, I bought half a metre of wadding for less than £2 and stuffed some in the breast pockets of the cut up shirt to create pecs, and some more wadges inside the sleeves for bulging biceps (make sure the child has a tshirt underneath or the wadding will make them scratch like hell against bare skin).

Then just teach them the pose and roooooooooooaaaarrrrrrrrrrr!

Incredible Hulks

Ehh, What’s up Doc?

Crafty, let's pretend
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Following a lengthy spell of watching Boomerang, whilst on holiday, Bugs Bunny has become a retro favourite – a timeless classic (along with the ‘Tom and Jelly’ according to number 2 son. Story Makers has a lot to answer for…)

Anyway, we have recently had bestowed upon us the great honour of looking after our neighbours rabbit. I say honour- it’s rather a dubious honour as this rabbit is the animal equivalent of Houdini. I’ve been outside in my pyjamas at the crack of dawn having spotted the bloomin’ thing making a break for it, not to mention returning home to see it cowering under a bush at the entrance to the estate with every adult within a 2 mile radius trying to capture the elusive beast.

So, we have to feed this animal and were discussing what rabbits eat. The dried food looks a bit like dayglo cornflakes and number 1 son was a little perturbed as he is currently on a self-imposed healthy eating regime (nursery teaches them so much!). The topic of conversation then turned to carrots, and in my wisdom, I decided to knock up a craft carrot. To be fair, it only took a few minutes before breakfast, so should you ever find yourself in a position where you need to make a carrot, you’ll require:-

  • 1 A4 sheet of orange paper (or just colour a plain piece of paper!)
  • 1 A4 sheet of green paper
  • 1 cardboard toilet roll inner
  • some stickytape
  • and scissors

Picture of a craft carrot

Easy peasy – stick one end of the orange paper to the toilet roll to secure it, then wrap the sheet round and stick down the other end. Then roll up the green sheet quite tightly and stick the edge down to hold it in place. Cut some slits in it all the way round (like making a paper tree if you’ve done that before), grasp one of the resulting strips and gently tease the insides of the rolled up piece of paper out. This should make it look like the green leaves for the top of the carrot (well, it will to a pre-schooler…). Then, stick the green ‘leaves’ inside one end of the carrot, and fold and stick the other end into a point.

Bugs Bunny would be salivating at the result 🙂

Does your tongue match your eyes in colour?

cooking, Crafty, food, kids
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No, nor mine usually- though I must admit that the bloodshot tint is fairly close in colour some days, it’s not quite what I mean.

We were busy making biscuits for Father’s Day (more on that another time) when I got out the food colouring pens to do some decorating. Typically, I turned my back for 2 seconds to find this:-

Blue eyes, blue tongue

‘Look Mummy! My tongue is blue to match my eyes.’ Well,  you can’t argue with that, can you?

Pirates ahoy – hunting for hidden treasure

Crafty, games, kids, let's pretend
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With all the hype about the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, you can bet your little Captain Jack Sparrow will want to be hunting for hidden treasure at some point over the next few months.

So today, we played at pirates. A game suitable for indoors or outside, depending on the weather, it works best with 4 year olds and over (IMHO).

Start with deciding what the treasure will be. Cap’n Jack decided he’d like some snacks and drew a picture of what he’d like hidden (exhibit A below)

Drawing of treasures to be hidden


  • 1 banana, 1 apple, 4 cherry tomatoes, 5 grapes, 3 pieces of chocolate, some apple juice (I cheated and used an apple Fruit Shoot), 15 raisins, 1 babybel, 1 jelly baby and 1 pot of fromage frais.

Quite an eclectic mix! Rather than looking for gold, I covered the ‘treasure’ with tin foil, so it was pieces of silver instead.

Then, I drew a very basic plan of the garden. You don’t need to be Picasso as you’d be amazed what kids will be able to interpret. In true pirate fashion, X marked the spot.

Treasure map

And finally, the map was rolled up and put inside an empty toilet roll cardboard tube (which later doubled as a telescope!)

Land ahoy!

Custard self portrait

cooking, Crafty, food
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Another quick and easy pudding that your budding Gordon Ramsays can help with. The pic should be a giveaway, but for clarity it’s just a tub of ready made custard with some chocolate strands for hair, chocolate buttons for eyes and ears. Then a grape for a nose and some more strands for a mouth. Easy peasy!

Roo’s face made in custard

The banana boat

cooking, Crafty, food
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Sailing to a dining table near you, an easy to make and (reasonably) healthy pudding for kids.

You’ll need:-
1 banana (boat)
1 apple (sails)
1 small pot of custard (sea)
1 jelly baby (captain)
3 cocktail sticks (masts)
a few grapes (shark fins and jellyfish)
sugar strand sprinkles (for decoration)

Banana boat in custard

In case you can’t figure it out from the picture, start by slicing a little off the banana’s bottom to make it lie flat on the plate. Next pour the custard around the banana. Slice the apple and cut the slices into rough triangles. Stick a cocktail stick lengthways through the slice and stab it into the banana (then repeat). Do the same for the jelly baby (I’ve listened very closely and haven’t heard them scream when I do this, so presume it doesn’t hurt them 😉 ). Place a few grapes randomly in the custard and cut a couple more to resemble shark fins. And finally, sprinkle some sugar strands over the whole thing and … voila!

Unfortunately, because of the cutting, slicing and cocktail stick stabbing required, there aren’t as many activities as I would have liked for a pre-schooler to join in with, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating 🙂

Bon appetit.

Let me show you to your seat

Crafty, games, let's pretend
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Tickets please!

As another Bank Holiday approached, inevitably, it was raining. So how could I entertain two active kids?

We’d been swimming, had a coffee and surfed the net at the local internet cafe, made robots with seed hair (keep checking back – will post about them soon!!) – what could possibly be left to do?

Then, I struck upon the idea of making a home cinema. Now by that, I don’t mean some fabulously hi-tech massive TV and surround sound made from cardboard boxes and sticky back plastic. This was the recreation of a cinematic experience, safe in the knowledge that if we actually took them to a real cinema a) number 1 son would be afraid of the dark and b) number 2 son would be talking about what was happening on the screen throughout the entire film.

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