13 articles Articles posted in Crafts

Model Making Gives Kids a Real Sense of Achievement

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Commissioned Post

Model making is something that children used to do a lot of, and kits which produce planes, trains and animals were once part of every child’s toy box.

A recent reliance on technology has meant that parents are opting to give their young ones a tablet computer or smart phone to play on, but nothing compares to the interactive nature of modelling kits.

An engaging activity

Kids can really engage with something that they make themselves from scratch. Anyone who ever put together something knows that real sense of satisfaction you get the job done.

Concentration skills can be learnt

Concentration is often something that parents talk about their children lacking and it’s an important skill that they’re expected to have mastered by the time they start school.

Putting a model together can really help hone a young child’s ability to concentrate, which will stand them in good stead both now and in the future.

Helping with dexterity

Some model kits are quite tricky, but they make great children’s gifts and are rated by age, so as long as you buy something relevant to your child’s developmental stage, they should be able to cope with it.

The National Toy Council states that model construction and building is a great way to build a child’s dexterity, and that’s important for many different skills including writing.

Cognitive skills

If someone describes a toy as educational it can be off-putting. No one wants to feel that they’re giving their child a gift which won’t be fun, but the two are not mutually exclusive. The National Toy Council is keen to point out that making models is a great way to hone a child’s cognitive skills.

When they’re in the middle of putting together a model aeroplane they’ll be so engrossed in it they probably won’t notice that they are busy improving their ability to think logically, plan and solve problems.

Helping your child at school

It’s always great to know that toys your child is playing with are helping them to get along better at school. Making a model fits with many of the subjects they’ll be tackling in the classroom.

Maths can be an intimidating subject but when you put it in the context of building a model, working out different numbers, shapes and measurements is fun.

Boosting their social skills

Making models helps to encourage a child to think creatively, by getting them to produce something out of seemingly unrelated objects. It also improves their communication skills. There will often be a point in making a model at which a child will need to ask for help. Getting them to communicate what it is they want is a great way to help their language development. Everyone knows how important it is as an adult to be able to get your ideas across in a clear, concise way, and this may be the first step to your child mastering this vital life skill.

Pride in the finished article

There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to tell your friends and family that you have created something from scratch and it is all your own work. With computer games there is no end product and nothing to show for hours spent in front of a screen, the same can definitely not be said for modelling kits.

Mum’s the Word Loves Scrappy Owls

My friend Becky is a very talented lady, she’s a real whizz with a sewing machine and I’m often admiring the clothes she makes for her daughter, who’s in Sausage’s class at school. Just recently, she’s started putting her talents to other use and has set up her own shop selling some of the gorgeous things she makes. I’m a huge fan of small businesses and cottage industry as I think it’s brilliant when people are able to use their ingenuity to allow them to do something positive for themselves, so I wanted to show you some of her wares:

Dribble Bibs

I love these dribble bibs, they almost make me wish I had my own small, dribbly person to wear one!

Owl Bags

These owl bags are so adorable and very fashionable right now, I’m thinking about commissioning a matching mama and baby owl pair for me and Sausage!

Scooter Bags

I think these scooter bags are just so clever, they look seriously cute on the front of a proscootersmart scooter and are very practical for carrying sunglasses, sweets and all the other little treasures that our younglings like to stow away.

Scrappy Owls

My absolute favourite thing that Becky makes are these Scrappy Owls, which is good as they’re her signature item! I love the bright colours, the design, even the expression on the owls’ faces! So kitsch and cool.

Head over to the Scrappy Owls Facebook page to see all of Becky’s wonderful creations and place an order for yourself!

Disclosure – No payment or payment in kind has been received in exchange for this post, this is not a paid advert and all opinions are my own. 

Upcycling Rose Petals Part One – Simple Table Centrepiece

I love receiving flowers, same as most people, but I always feel a bit sad when they start to die. Roses are my faves (in fact, Sausage’s middle name is even Rose) and they start off so beautiful and full of potential, but whither away to nothing in such a short time. Recently, Sausage insisted on making me buy buying a bunch of flowers for her Dad and she chose pink roses for him. They lasted quite a while, but when the time came to add them to the compost heap, I decided to keep the petals and dry them for later use.

Drying the petals

The drying itself was a simple process, I simply pull the petals off of the stalks, spread the petals out on a microwaveable plate and buzzed then for a minute at a time until they started to feel a bit crispy. I think it took three one-minute sessions in my 800w microwave and then I spread them on an old tea towel laid flat to soak up any excess moisture. I then stuck them in a lock-tight tupperware box until I needed them.

Simple but pretty table centrepiece

The first thing I decided to use my dried petals for was a pretty table centrepiece, based on an idea I saw at Christmastime on Pinterest but never got around to making. You’ll need:

Dried rose petals

Small bundt cake tin

Boiled water

Tealights

Pretty saucer or bowl

1. Fill the bundt cake tin with the dried rose petals. At this point, you can also add a few drops of rose essential oil if you want to, but mine hadn’t arrived yet, so I didn’t.

2. Pour boiling water on top of the petals

3. Use a spoon or other pokey thing to press the petals down so that they are all submerged below the water and laying flat

4. Place directly into the freezer (it’s a good idea to put a piece of cardboard between the shelf and the tin as it may freeze together and be a total pain to try and extract

5. Once it’s frozen and you’re ready to use the centrepiece, remove it from the freezer and run the outside of the tin under a lukewarm tap to release the ice

6. Place it upside down on your saucer or bowl (it’s a good idea to measure how much water the saucer will take as it may overflow as the centrepiece starts to defrost if you don’t use something big enough). Something vintage and floral would probably look lovely

7. Place your tealight into the dimple in the bottom of the ice and light

8. The ice will probably outlast your tealights, so you may need to replace the candle a couple of times, but as the ice melts, providing you use a plate or bowl that is deep enough, you end up with a candle floating on beautiful rose petals and rose tinted water.

This photo doesn’t really do it justice as it was quite late and taken under the light above my hob, but the water and petals looked a lot prettier in reality!

I think this would make a lovely (and pretty much free) table decoration for a romantic meal for two. You can replace the flower petals with seasonal things like berries or seashells for different occasions too and experiment with scents and colours.

Just a tip – boiling the water first is quite important as it makes the ice clearer when it freezes, allowing you to see what’s inside. As an additional bonus that I wasn’t expecting, the boiling water took some of the pink colour from the petals and make the ice a beautiful pale rose pink colour. The photo below is my first attempt, made without boiling water and it did not work at all!

Part two to follow – come back to see how I get along with making my own rose-scented bath bombs!