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Children's Crafts and Activities Product Reviews

Sand Art Children’s Activity Subscription Box Review

We have been gifted this wonderful sand art subscription box from Stephanie Keeble, Kids Bee Happy Independent Consultant 

These sand art subscription boxes can be ordered and delivered straight to your door. The kit includes 6 bottles of coloured sand, 5 sand art pictures, a bag of picks to take the stickers off with and an instruction leaflet.

The sand art is easy to set up and so simple to use it even kept my girls busy for hours. On each of the cardboard pictures there is a layer of backing paper that has been laser cut for each element of the picture. 

Using the pick tool you can peel off each little piece of backing paper to reveal the sticky card underneath. Then use the sand bottles to shake a bit of the coloured sand onto the sticky patch. You can then shake off the excess and repeat the process on the next piece of the picture. 

These pictures are easy to do and my girls 8, 10 and 12 years old managed to get on and do them by themselves. Occasionally they asked for a bit of help when it came to removing a small piece of backing paper but apart from that they were able to get on with it by themselves.

I would advise doing the activity over a tray or if you don’t have one then the box that these are delivered in works great for keeping the extra sand in. There was plenty of sand for my girls to do all 6 pictures and we still have some left over in each bottle.

I would highly recommend these packs to anyone looking for a simple but fun activity for their children to enjoy. If your children let you, I would advise giving them a try yourself. They are great for adults too and a lovely calming activity to get the creative juices flowing.

The cards come in resealable packs that you can put the sand art back in and seal them up to keep safe after you have finished. I didn’t realise this until afterwards when my 8 year old had already ripped the pack to shreds. So I would advise opening them yourself to ensure you can use the packs afterwards. 

Even with a tray you will still end up with a bit of sand and sticker backing over the floor and table but these are easy to sweep up and are worth the 5 mins of cleaning up for the few hours it kept my girls busy. 

The smaller pictures have printed on the back messages that you can add your name to and then send on to someone as a gift. Great for giving to family members to cheer them up and let them know you are thinking of them.

You can order your sand art subscription box by contacting Stephanie on Facebook or Instagram – 

Stephanie Keeble, Kids Bee Happy Independent Consultant – Facebook

Awesome.sand.creations – Instagram

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Why not also take a look at my other posts

Art is good for the soul (even if your not very good at it)

How to make decoupage hearts

How to make Hama Bead bowls

The Love/Hate Children’s science experiment

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Children's Crafts and Activities Mental health & Wellbeing

The Love/Hate Science Experiment to show the effects of Kindness and Negativity

The Love/Hate science experiment is a great experiment that all children and adults should do and the results are astonishing and will teach a lot about the affects of love/positivity and hate/negativity. When my partner Dino heard about this experiment we just had to try it for ourselves to see if the effects were really true.

Equipment that you need

  • 2 Clear pots (we used washed up yogurts pots
  • Cooked rice
  • 2 labels 
  • A pen

Method 

Label your two pots one as Love the other as Hate and put a little bit of cooked rice in both pots about a tablespoon in each should do. 

Every day you need to talk to the pots of rice, the love pot you need to say nice things to and tell it you love it and the hate pot you need to be horrible to it and say that you hate it. 

These pots are then left out on the side for the next week to see which pot gets mouldy first. Make sure you keep the pots next to each other when leaving them out so they are in the same environment and the test is then done fairly. 

Even though it is only rice it still doesn’t feel right being mean to it. I found it quite hard and even my daughter turned around after telling the rice she hated it and said ‘that was the meanest thing I have said’. However this is an experiment that will teach them an important life lesson.

The Experiment 

Day One

The rice in both pots is still looking like fresh cooked rice.

Day 2

The rice has started to dry out and go a bit hard. It looks slightly harder in the hate pot but there is not that much difference at the moment.

Day 3

The rice has dried out a lot in both pots, it clearly looks a lot more dried out in the Hate pot than the love pot but neither pot has any signs of mould.

Day 4

There is a small spot of mould showing in the love pot of rice.

In the hate pot it is clear to see that there is a lot more mould.

Day 5

The Love pot is starting to go mouldy and has one spot of mould on the rice.

The hate pot has clearly got a lot more mould in it than the love pot.

Day 6

After 6 days the Love pot has a few spots here and there of mould.

After 6 days the hate pot of rice is almost completely mouldy.

Conclusion

I was sceptical that this experiment would work or that there would be any clear results but I am amazed by just how compelling the evidence from the experiment was.

It is clear to see from the evidence that the hate pot has suffered greatly from the hatred and negativity it was shown and at the end of the experiment the rice was almost completely covered in mould. 

The love pot on the other hand has got hardly any mould showing the effects that love and positivity has. 

If this is the effects that negativity and positivity have on a pot of rice imagine what they do to the human body. It just goes to show how important it is to always be kind to others and the power that love and kindness can have.

This is a great experiment to do with children it is easy to set up cheap to do but the results are compelling and it will teach children and important lesson on kindness.

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Order my children’s book Pete The Cheeky Parakeet – A lighthearted funny rhyming story with a great message about friendship and kindness for children aged 3-7 years old.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Easy Indoor craft and activities for children and toddlers

How to make a pompom rug

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Children's Crafts and Activities

VE Day Celebrations with The Royal British Legion

To celebrate VE day whilst we are still all in lockdown the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) charity has created their Tommy in the Window campaign which is to thank and celebrate our national heroes both past and present. They have arranged an array of festivities leading up to VE Day and on the day itself.

The RBLI are asking families to take part in the VE celebrations by placing a carefully designed statue of a first world war statue Tommy in their windows and to join in with some family fun activities they have arranged. 

Here are some of the family fun activities that RBLI have put together as part of the VE day celebrations – 

89 year old Former Royal Marine and WW2 veteran George Bradford has found memories of VE day which he shares; “VE Day itself… It was sunny. Everyone was celebrating and we were all going in and out of everybody’s houses. There were balloons and union flags everywhere. I think they even started street parties. We didn’t have all that many cakes but there were a few. Not a lot as there was still rationing. Everybody was out in the street. Nobody made you go to bed – not on that day.” 

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Why not also read my other posts –

Poem for Captain Tom Moore

Lockdown poems

Poem for an amazing mum

Pete the Cheeky Parakeet! My journey to getting my first book published

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes and how it can help reluctant readers

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Children's Crafts and Activities

A Simple, Fun 30 Day Reading Challenge by Reading Unravelled

I do enjoy a good reading challenge and anything that can help inspire children into finding a love of reading is worth doing. There are many benefits to reading and it can open lots of doors so it is important to get children enjoying it as early as possible. 

When I found this fun reading challenge that was created by Reading Unravelled I just had to share it with you all as it is brilliant. 

These challenges are simple, fun and can be undertaken by children of any reading level. Children and adults alike will enjoy taking part in these challenges and if you share a picture of you doing the challenges either using the comments on the Reading Unravelled Facebook page or using the #readingchallenge30days on Instagram you will be in with a chance of winning a prize. You can also be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of either of my children’s books Pete the Cheeky Parakeet or The Book of Silly Rhymes.

Below are some examples of the challenges that have been set, you can start the 30 days at any time and you can follow the full challenge on the Reading Unravelled Facebook or Instagram page

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Why not also read my other posts –

Lockdown poems

Poem for an amazing mum

Pete the Cheeky Parakeet! My journey to getting my first book published

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes and how it can help reluctant readers

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities Product Reviews

Interactive Easter Bunny Treasure Hunt with Wonder Adventures

We got to take part in the fun Interactive Easter Bunny Treasure Hunt that was put together by Wonder Adventures.

We have taken part in their interactive Dino ranger treasure hunt before that my girls really enjoyed so an Easter themed version sounded great especially at the moment with us all being in lock down.

The hunt comes with clear instructions on what to do and is easy to set up. There is a link to print off 6 colourful clue cards which you can then hide around the house or garden. If you are not able to print these off at the moment you can just draw and write what is on them on to a piece of paper and hide instead.

You start of the hunt by playing a video of the Easter bunny who has a message for the children and gets them up doing lots of engaging movements as he teaches them his secret bunny skills.

Once the video is over you will then get the first clue comes up that you can read out to the children. Once the children guess what the answer is they head off to find the clue card that has the correct answer on it.

Once they have found the right card they need to take note of the letter on that card and you can then go to the next clue, at the end of it they will have a word.

If you want to add in chocolate treats to the hunt you could add a small egg treat at each of the clues and then a big one at the end when they have their word or just a treat at the end of the hunt. I was felling generous so did mini eggs at each clue and then gave them their big Easter eggs at the end.

Wonder Adventures hunts are very enjoyable and well put together, my girls enjoy them. They loved trying to figure out the riddle then tearing around the house trying to find the right clue cards.

The interactive videos are fun and engaging, my girls are just edging on the older side for these videos but still really enjoy the hunt itself including my 12 year old. That said if you have younger children the video of the Easter Bunny is brilliant and will have them in amazement as they watch him dance and teach them his secret moves.

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Why not also read my other post –

Review of Dino Rangers treasure hunt by Wonder Adventures

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes and how it can help children who find reading a struggle

Review of the educational Human Heroes App

Review of Jo Middleton’s fabulous new book ‘Playgroups and Prosecco’

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Children's Crafts and Activities

Homeschooling Challenge

I am setting the challenge for any child aged 12 and under to write me their silliest rhyme.

The only rule is that it has to be a minimum of 4 lines and rhyme.

Every child that completes this challenge will receive an Ebook copy of my book ‘The Book of Silly Rhymes’. Please send your entry to cheryl@thesimplemum.com before 5pm on Friday 3rd April 2020 to receive your free Ebook.

P.s there is no judgement on this it is a bit of fun and all entry’s within the time frame will receive a free Ebook.

Have fun and I can’t wait to read what you have all come up with.

Why not also read my post –

Why I wrote The Book of Silly Rhymes

Being a writer with dyslexia

My journey to getting my first book published

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

Easy Indoor Craft & Activities for Children & Toddlers

With the resent events and schools having to close and families self-isolating I thought I would share a post filled with indoor craft and activities for children and toddlers. This are all simple, easy and cheap activities for children.

Fork Easter Chick painting 

This is an easy and fun craft idea for children. They can make lovely textured chick pictures that can also be turned into Easter cards. 

What you need – 

  • Yellow paint
  • A fork
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Coloured paper paper
  • Felt tips
  1. Cut an egg shape out of coloured paper and stick on to your white paper. You can either stick your egg on whole or cut in half with zig zags and stick on.
  2. Set out the yellow paint and let the children dip the forks in the paint and use it to paint their chick on the paper.
  3. Use the glue and stick on the googly eyes and beak to the chick
  4. Use the felt tips to add on grass or background.

Den Making 

Den Making is another great rainy day activity. What child doesn’t love a good den and the sense of pride once they have created it. Whether you go all out to create a masterpiece of a den or just throw a spare cover over a couple of chairs, den making will keep them entertained and once built it will keep them occupied for hours as they will happily sit inside and play. 

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Paper Dolls 

These paper dolls are brilliant and can keep the kids entertained for a while. Not only does making the dolls keep them occupied but they can then use their dolls to make a puppet show or just to play with afterwards.

What you will need – 

  1. There really is only one step to this activity and that is take the felt tips and draw on the paper doll. Let your children be as creative as they want. To add to the activities you can get the glue and let them stick on googly eyes, string, buttons or whatever else you have.

Children’s Yoga

Yoga is a great indoor activity for children, It will keep them active and can help channel some of their energy. There are lots of great videos on YouTube my girls enjoy Cosmic Kids Yoga.

Cork caterpillar painting 

This is a great activity for children and gives parents an excuse to open that bottle of wine for the cork. 

What you need – 

  • Paint
  • A cork
  • Paper
  • Felt tip pens
  1. Dip the cork in the paint
  2. Then dab the cork on to the paper one next to the other to make a caterpillar shape
  3. Use the felt tip pens to make a background and draw on the caterpillar’s face once dry

Crazy Dancing

Crazy Dancing can be a really fun activity and can burn off a lot of energy. You can do this from just playing some music and all dancing away or put up a Youtube video and copy the dancing. I guarantee if everyone gets involved including parents then you will be happy and laughing together in minutes not to mention everyone will be worn out afterwards allowing for some chill time.

Paper Fairy Gardens

These are cute little crafts to keep the children busy and inspire their creative side. You can really use anything that you have available to make it. 

What you need – 

  • Green paper
  • Glue
  • Toilet Roll
  • Paint
  • Felt Tips
  • Paper cake case
  • Extras – buttons, sequins, lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and anything else you want to add.

Step 1. Decorate your toilet roll 

Step 2. Add the paper cup cake case to the top of your toilet roll

Step 3. Lay out your green paper add on your toilet roll house and then add and decorate the paper however you want. 

Children’s Workouts

If you are looking for a way to keep children active whilst staying in doors then why not get them doing a children’s HITT workout. This will wear them out without having to go out the house. Youtube has children’s workout videos and fitness expert The Body Coach has a collection of children’s workout videos. 

Rainbow Finger Painting

This is a super easy craft and great for children of all ages. You can also turn this into a St Patrick’s day craft by adding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

What you need – 

  • Paint in rainbow colours
  • White or blue Paper
  • Extra – scissors and black paper

Step 1 – let the children dip their fingers in the paint and dap them on the paper to make a rainbow

Step 2 – add in any background you like

Step 3 – you can then cut up a put using black paper and stick this at the bottom of the rainbow to make a bot of gold.

Salt Dough Creations 

Salt dough is brilliant it is so simple and easy to make and you can use it to create so many things with it. 

 What you will need – 

  • Plain flour
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Acrylic paint (this paint is best to use but if you don’t have any just use whatever paint you have.
  • Extra  – Cookie Cutters, Mod Podge

Step 1 – Make your Salt dough by mixing one cup of plain flour with half a cup of salt and half a cup of water. Mix together until this becomes a dough then take out a knead a bit. Try not to knead too much as I found the salt made my hands a little sore afterwards. 

Step 2 – Get creating! You can use cookie cutters to make shapes or go freestyle to make whatever you like. If you want to stick bits of dough together i.e some eyes you made, then dab a little bit of water over the area before putting on this will help them to stick better.

Step 3 – leave overnight to dry or put in the oven on a very low heat for 1-2 hours

Step 4 – Once dry use the paint to decorate your creations.

Step 5 – You can use Mod Podge once dry to seal your salt dough creations

Hama Beads

Hama beads are a perfect rainy day craft for both children and adults. I enjoy crafting with them just as much as they do and we can all enjoy hours of creating our masterpieces. You can use Hama beads to make fridge magnets, key rings, earrings and even bowls. For more info check out my blog on Hama Beads.

Amos Glass Deco Pens

Amos Glass deco pens are filled with liquid gel that you squeeze out onto a plastic sheet in the design that you want and once dried you can peel them off and use as decorative window stickers, which can be peeled off without any mess. 

They are easy to use, you just need to make sure that you don’t smudge them before they are dried. For more information on these check out my post on Amos Glass Deco Pens.

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Sketching

 Sketching can be a fun activity for everyone to join in. I am no artist but there is something calming and peaceful about drawing. A good way for everyone to join in is to all pick the same thing to draw or use a how to draw guide and then see how they all turn out together. The best thing about drawing the same thing is that you will all learn together and can help each other along the way. Youtube has some good videos with step by step drawing guides.

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Lolly Stick Super Men/Women

These are super cute little craft ideas and your children can use them to play with after they have made them

What you will need – 

  • A lolly stick
  • Coloured and white paper
  • Glue
  • Felt tip

Step 1 – Cut a triangle shape out of the paper and stick on the back of the lolly stick.

Step 2 – cut a small rectangle of the same coloured paper to go across the front of the lolly stick as an eye mask.

Step 3 – either draw on your eyes or cut and stick some small white circles on top of the eye mask.

Step 4 – use your felt tips to make the face and hair

Boats

This is a lovely activity for children and once they have made their boats they can play with them whilst having a bath if not able to get outside.

What you will need – 

  •  A plastic take away tub
  • A straw 
  • Felt pen or sharpie
  • Sello tape
  • Paper

Step 1 – make sure your tub and straw are washed out and clean 

Step 2 – use the paper to make a flag and then sellotape this to the top of the straw

Step 3 – attach the straw to the inside of the boat using the sellotape

Step 4 – with the pens draw on the boat or use the paper to make and stick things on to the boat.

DragonFly lolly stick craft

These are a fun and easy indoor craft for children.

What you will need – 

  • Lolly stick
  • Felt tip pen
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Sellotape

Step 1 – decorate your lolly stick

Step 2 – Get 2 pipe cleaners and make them into 8 shapes then stick to the back of the lolly sticks.

Make a Doctors Surgery with Toys

If you have any spare bandages or plasters around let your children make a pretend doctors surgery and use the toys or you as their patients.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

How to make a pompom rug

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Children's Crafts and Activities

How to make Decoupage hearts

I love making handmade decorations, I just love sitting down with my girls and creating beautiful handmade items we can be proud of. 

We have made flower pots before using the decoupage technique a few years ago as Christmas presents where we covered the pots in pictures. When I heard about making decoupage Wooden hearts using napkins I just had to give it a go. 

After a lot of trial and error we finally know how to make them and have made some beautiful hanging decorations ready to hang around the house. 

How to make decoupage wooden heart Decorations! 

To make decoupage Wooden hearts you will need – 

Method

  • First you need to prepare your wooden heart surface and make sure it is smooth. You can use sandpaper to give it a light rub down. If you do sand the heart first make sure you remove all the wood dust before moving on to the next step.
  • We then painted our wooden hearts white as having this background colour helps bring out the details of the napkin but this step is optional and depends on how you want your heart to look. You could experiment and do one of each and see what one you prefer.
  • Cut out the pattern you want from your napkin.
  • You then need to separate the ply from the napkins. This step is very important as we found out the hard way. If you don’t separate the ply the napkin will crease and start to separate on the heart. The first sheet of ply will come off easy and with a bit of rubbing and pulling you can then separate it again until you are left with a very thin napkin layer. 
  • Next cover the heart in a thin layer of Mod Podge
  • The carefully place your napkin on the heart making sure it is right side up. When smoothing the napkin down don’t rub it to hard as it will rip. I found that tapping it works better than rubbing. You can also use a sheet of cling film and place over the top before pressing the napkin down this will also help to stop it ripping.
  • Leave to dry.
  • Once dry cover the whole of the heart in Mod Podge. Repeat this step 3-5 times until you have a nice smooth finish. 

To make your heart feel super smooth you can then use your sandpaper to give it a light rub over to erase all the bumps. If you have any overhang of napkin you can also use the sandpaper to take this off.

Tie your string to the top and find somewhere to hang your new beautiful decoration.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

How to make a pompom rug

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities

Window sticker activity for Children

A while ago my sister sent my girls a pack of Amos Glass Deco pens as a present (she does always send them cool presents). I had never heard or seen them before so I was looking forward to trying them out. 

Basically they are coloured liquid filled pens that you can use to make beautiful window stickers that can be pealed off and removed easily without leaving a mess.

Each pack comes with a liner pen which you use first to do the outline of your sketch, you then leave it for a few minutes to slightly harden after that you use the coloured pens to fill in your picture. Once done leave them overnight to fully dry after that you just peal your sticker off and place them on your window. 

You make your picture on clear plastic sheets that come in the pack along with a few designs you can use. As the sheets are clear it is easy to put a design underneath and trace it.

I also found that plastic wallets are great to use for creating your window sticker and then you can easily put your paper design securely in the wallet.

My girls absolutely loved using the Amos Glass Deco Pens,.  We do use them quite a lot and I join in every time they are out.

They are great for window displays as they peel off easily and don’t leave a mess behind. We have used them to make Christmas, Easter and Halloween window stickers and the girls also have some non seasonal ones that stay on their bedroom windows constantly. 

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I also used the pens quite a lot when I was childminding as an after school activity and they were always a big hit, although it was hard to get the children to wait until the next day to be able to take them home.

I had children as young as 4 years old using the pens, they are great for building motor control in young children and improving the creative flare and design in older children.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rock Painting

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Categories
Children's Crafts and Activities Mental health & Wellbeing

Art is Good for the Soul (even if you are not very good at it)

Art is a brilliant way to relax and unwind and it is also great for mental health. You don’t have to be a talented artist creating masterpieces to be able to feel the benefits of art.

I love art but I am definitely no artist, my children can draw and paint better pictures than me but I really enjoy drawing, painting and making things. I also enjoy sitting down with my girls (when I can drag them away from their tablets) and all doing an art activity together.

For me I just love losing myself in what I am creating and forgetting about everything else going on. After I have finished I am always in a calmer and happier frame of mind. Adult colouring books are also a great way to engage in art and creativity but if you don’t have one a pen and paper can be just as beneficial.

“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”Pablo Picasso

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The benefits of Art

Art can help relieve stress

Whether it is in the form of drawing, painting or colouring, participating in art is a great way to lower your overall stress levels and help you to feel much better mentally. Art will provide your brain a distraction to what issues you have going on around you and allow you to live in the moment focusing on what you are creating instead.

Art will encourage brain activity

Creating art helps to stimulate all sorts of connections between the different brain cells in your body.  A study done in Germany shows that two hours of active mental stimulation six days a week can help slow the cognitive decline you get with dementia. https://arts4dementia.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/

Art can help boost your self-esteem and provide you with a sense of accomplishment

When you create art it increases the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine which has been called the ‘motivation molecule’. This can help boost your drive, focus and concentration, it also stimulates the creation of new neurons and prepares your brain for learning.

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When I bought my girls their sketchbooks I also got myself one too and I will happy sit drawing with them. We do quite often all sit down together and put on a YouTube video and follow the steps to draw a certain character.

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The best thing about art is that there is no right or wrong to how you do it, each piece created is unique and individual. So next time you are feeling stressed or looking for a way to relax and unwind pick up the pencils and get creative.

If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –

Window Sticker Activity for Children

Children’s Halloween Craft Ideas

Rainy Day Children’s Crafts and Activities

Children’s Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.