Hama Bead bowls are so pretty and will add colour and decor to any room. They are also great for storing your odds and ends in. My girls use theirs to store there jewellery and lip glosses in.
The best thing is they are so simple to make and the children will feel so proud to display the finished result.
First get a heat proof bowl and spray round some fry light to lightly grease the bowl. Then throw in some hama beads, we have used the multi colour mix but you can use any colours that you like, Hama beads come in a wide range of colours to choose from.
Affiliated links above so you can order what you need easily.
After that you need to flatten down the beads to the shape of the bottom of the bowl.
Once flattened carefully place the bowl in the oven making sure not to knock the bowl. Cook on 180 degrees celsius for 10 – 15 minutes. Then take out and leave on the side to cool.
Once cooled the bowl will go hard so you can gently peel it out of the dish. You now have a beautiful bowl to display and use for storage.
If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –
Here is my list of 10 tried and tested cheap activities to do with children over the summer holidays. There are some great activities listed to keep your children active and inspire them to explore and be creative. I have included links to my other posts that go into more detail on some of the activities if you wanted to read more about them and also helpful links to other sites I have found with some great information.
1. Pond Dipping–This is a great activity to do with the children not only will they have a great time but they will learn about nature.
All you need is a small child’s fishing net which you can pick up for less than £5 and a bucket. The RSPB has a great page on pond dipping and a link to find your nearest reserve.
2.Visit the local library – Libraries are a great way to keep the kids entertained during the holidays and also to inspire them to read. A lot of libraries also offer free activities and crafts to help keep the children busy as well as a summer reading challenge. You can find your local library by using the government Library checker.
3. Rock Painting and hiding – Rock painting is a great activity that can be enjoyed by everyone and can keep the kids entertained for ages. After you have spent a few hours painting all your rocks you then head out with the children to hide them around your area. Once you have finished hiding them you can take a walk around and see if you can find other stones that people have hidden. For more information on Rock painting and what paints are best to use take a look at my post on Rock Painting.
4. Visit an open space – Last year I took my girls to a big open field and we had one of the best days of the summer holidays. As there was no roads and I could see the girls for miles they had all the freedom they wanted to run around and explore. We spent the day playing frisbee, tennis, football, we also did running races and handstand competitions we all enjoyed hours of fun and all it cost me was the petrol to get there and picnic food.
This is a great activity as it keeps them busy, develops their creativity and ensures they are out getting some fresh air. Chalk is cheap and will wash away easily, ready for them to start all over again the next day.
6. Go on a Bug Hunt – My girls always loved going on these hunts, when I worked as a childminder we did them regularly. I would give them all a bug hunting sheet and they would all search the fields, trees and bushes to see what they could find. The Nation Trust has a handy guide and tips for bug hunting. You can download my free bug hunting tick sheet by clicking here.
7. Blackberry picking – We all love when the blackberries are ready to pick. All through the year my girls keep asking when they can go blackberry picking again. We start by heading off with empty sandwich bags which we end up filling to the brim with delicious blackberries and we usually end up eating just as much as we manage to put in the bag. Once we have finished collecting them it is off home to make a blackberry and apple crumble. For tips on blackberry picking or a recipe for the blackberry and apple crumble please take a look at my post on blackberry picking.
8. Hama Beads – Anyone living in the UK will need to have some indoor activities ready for when we get those rainy days. Although Hama beads can be a bit expensive initially as you would need to get the boards, ironing paper and the beads, they are well worth the investment.
Once you have all of these for future you will only need to buy the bead packs which are a reasonable price. All my children love Hama Beads and can spend hours at the table working on a new design. They have made so many different things I have even turned some of them into fridge magnets and keyrings.
9. Cooking – I believe that it is essential to get children into cooking when they are young as this will inspire them to cook more as adults and hopefully make more food from scratch and live a healthier lifestyle.
Cakes are a good thing to start off cooking with children. If you follow my blog you will know we are always making cakes and my children can now make them independently.
We have a really good cake recipe book that we all sit down together with to flick through and decided what we would like to make. If you don’t have the right ingredients then this will be a great way to get the children to make a list of what is needed and go to the shop in search of the items from the shops, this will also keep the children busy a little bit longer.
The cookbook we use is The Best Ever Book of Cakes we have used it so much that most of the pages are stuck together with cake batter. It is packed full of different cake recipes.
Another great thing to make is homemade pizzas. When we have made them in the past they have tasted so much better than the shop bought ones and not only do you engage your children in an activity you also get dinner made at the same time and we all love a bit of multi tasking. If you would like a recipe take a look at my blog on making homemade pizzas.
If you want to make something quick that won’t leave so much mess as cakes and pizza then try making fruit kebabs for pudding. These are very easy to make and a great way to get your child to eat fruit.
10. Bubbles – Who doesn’t love chasing bubbles around even I can’t resist the fun of bubbles. With mixture very cheap to buy you can afford to give the children a few bottles to play with until their heart’s content. Once they have exhausted the normal bubbles you can introduce them to giant bubbles. We did buy a special kit for making the giant bubbles, but it would be easy to make your own as it is just a string and two rods/poles. We had so much fun and seeing the amazement on the children’s faces when they saw the size of the bubbles was priceless. We all had competitions to see who could make the biggest.
We all moan when we see that the rain has been forecasted for the day, especially when we have little ones to keep amused and stop from going stir crazy indoors.
However there is so much fun to be had when the rains come and the kids can enjoy getting out in the rain, even if only for a short while. Most of us have welly boots just lying around so why not dust them off and put them to the test.
In my household the girls get excited by the rain and if they are playing out when it starts to rain they never want to come in.
Their favourite thing to do in the rain is strip down to their underwear and dance around in the rain. Obviously we only do this in the garden and not down the street, although given the chance they probably would dance naked down the street.
I have the towels ready for them at the back door and watch as they run in and out seeing who can stay dancing in the rain the longest. They are always in fits of laughter and really enjoy themselves. My brother and I used to do this when we were kids so it brings back fond memories watching my girls do it too.
Once they have had enough I wrap them in a towel and put them in a warm bath and sometimes they even get a hot chocolate too.
My children can never resist a puddle as soon as it rains they are wanting to go out and find the biggest puddle they can splash in. I am happy for them to go out and get soaking wet and muddy as clothes can be washed and they can warm up in the bath afterwards however if we are on our way to school or on our way out somewhere then you hear me begging them to stay away from puddles. Any other time though I am encouraging them to go in and splash around.
They all have welly boots which keeps their feet dry, unless they find a puddle deep enough for the water to come in over the top and that has happened a few times.
They have been in puddles that have come up to their knees before and both Bella and Lia have fallen over and ended up sitting in the puddle but it is all part of the fun and they still laugh about these times now.
A great activity when you have little ones, which I have done in the past, is when the rain stops and the ground is still damp to go on a worm walk. This is where you go out and see how many worms, snails and slugs you can find. To add some numeracy and literacy to the activity you can take a pen and paper and get them to tally up how many you can find (you can tell I used to be a childminder, always thinking about the learning outcomes).
So next time the rain starts to fall don’t despair grab your Welly’s and rain jacket and set off on a rainy day adventure. If you are worried about your children getting wet you can get the all in one rain suits which means your child will have no excuse not to jump around in those puddles.
If you enjoyed reading this post why not also read my post –
Hama beads are always a favourite in our house, we all love them and have spent hours creating new masterpieces, me included.
In fact at one point I was more obsessed than the kids.
I was constantly looking for new Hama Bead ideas and Hama Bead patterns on Pintrest then trying to recreate them.
For anyone not familiar with them, Hama Beads, they are small hollow round beads that you place on a peg board in a pattern and once you have finished you place the ironing paper over the top and iron, this then fuses the beads together leaving you with your finished masterpiece.
Hama Beads are easy to use; I have even had 3 year old’s who have put the Hama beads on to the peg boards, when I was child minding. Obviously the ironing part is an adult only job.
They are great for kids as they help develop fine motor skills and in older children develop knowledge of patterns and allow them to be creative.
We started off with an individual pack each, which contained a few coloured beads, ironing paper, a small peg board and pictured instructions of that one thing to make. The girls loved them so much that I invested in more and more Hama beads and we went from following the patterns to free styling.
We have used the shaped peg boards, which gives you the outline then you use the different colour pegs to make your design, we have also used the big square peg board to make our own designs.
We ended up with so many Hama Beads creations I didn’t know what to do with them. That is when I had the thought of making them into fridge magnets. I bought some little round craft magnets and a small pot of superglue and set about gluing the magnets on the back.
I also bought some key ring chains and put some of the smaller Hama Bead creations on to them as key rings, this however is quite fiddly to get them on.
If you make them into fridge magnets or key rings they can be given away as gifts. We have given a lot away as gifts, just to try and reduce our horde.
Last year the girls made all their teachers Hama bead bookmarks with ribbon tied through the bottom and then wrapped them in tissue paper. Bella even made me a bookmark which I still use to this day.
I know there are a lot of cheaper options of beads instead of the Hama beads but I would be wary of these. We have used the cheaper beads in the past and to make your design on the peg board they are fine but they are a lot harder to iron.
There is nothing worse than being handed a creation that a child has spent so long on to it then get ruined in the ironing stage. I find the cheaper beads don’t melt as well and when you think they are melted and go to remove the paper and some are stuck to it which pulls them away from the design. Sometimes you can get them back in but other times they have been completely ruined which has caused a lot of tears.
I always make sure our creations are completely melted and fused together and once cooled down I then remove them from the peg board. Then to ensure they are super strong I also iron then on the reverse side too.
I have also on some of our designs used Mod Podge to coat over the finished product just to give it a bit extra strength.
Hama beads are can be used as seasonal crafts we have made Halloween and Christmas creations and even made baubles for the Christmas tree out of Hama Beads. The girls have also made birthday fridge magnets for family members and my girls have even started accosting visitors to buy some of their creations off of them and actually succeeding.
Hama beads are a great activity for all the family and can keep the children amused for ages.
Word of advice though ensure your children don’t bring them over to you once they have finished putting them on the peg board as if they drop them or tip them up there will be a lot of tears not to mention beads everywhere. I learned this the hard way.
If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –
After watching a program on her tablet Lia came up with the idea that we had to have ‘Fruit Kebabs’ for pudding or ‘Fruit Kebobs’, as my girls call them.
So that morning I was sent off to work with a shopping list of fruits that she needed to make her kebabs for that evening.
My list consisted of bananas, strawberries, grapes and apples. It was the first time ever that the girls had asked for fruit for pudding rather than me telling them ‘No’ to sweets and cakes and saying that fruit is all they are allowed.
My girls are good at eating fruit and enjoy a wide variety but given the chance they would choose a cake or a chocolate bar over fruit any day. Well I think most of us would so I can’t blame them.
On my lunch break I had collected all the items that she had requested and bought them back ready for them to get stuck in. I had also added in there a secret ingredient, which was a bar of milk chocolate, well after all it is the school holidays so they deserve a treat every now and then.
I laid the fruit on the table and the girls set to work chopping the banana into slices, the strawberries into halves and the apples into chunks.
Once all prepared we grabbed our Kebab sticks and set to work filling them with the fruit trying to keep them in a set pattern, which was more for the look than the taste but got the girls using their minds to create patterns with their food.
The apples were a little hard to get on but with a bit of a gentle wiggle we managed to get them on. All the girls including Alexa at 5 years old was able to get the other fruits on all by themselves.
Once all the kebabs had been prepared I bought out my secret ingredient, the bowl of melted chocolate. The girls were happy enough with the fruit kebabs but when they saw the chocolate, their little faces lit up. The girls set about drizzling it over the fruit whilst spinning the kebab to get an even cover, even though I think the table cloth was covered more than the kebabs.
We really should have let the kebobs cool in the fridge so the chocolate could have set but instead we just couldn’t wait. We eat the Kebobs straight away and ended up with chocolate dripping down are faces, they still tasted great but we all did get a little messy.
I would recommend leaving them to set in the fridge if you are going to make them with chocolate.
This is a great activity for children as they can prepare and make them with very little adult help. It can help build motor skills and to further the learning you can get them thinking about patterns when layering the fruit. Not to mention it is a fun way to get your children to eat there fruit and the chocolate is optional. You can also vary the fruit so can make different Kebobs every time.
These would also be great for a BBQ and it will be something that the children can get on and prepare for you while you can get on with the million other things that need to be done before a BBQ.
Why not also take a look at some of my other recipes –
When I was childminding I was always on the lookout for new activities for the children to do. My pens, paper and glue were a permanent fixture on my table and every day after school the children headed straight to the table, asking me what they would be making today. I would try to introduce something different and would spend a lot of time searching the internet looking for new ideas to keep the children amused. Then one evening when I was scrolling for new ideas I came across Chalk Pens.
Chalk Pens as the name suggests are pens that contain brightly coloured liquid chalk. They are very easy to use and great fun and are great for introducing motor skills and mark making, for the younger children.
The Chalk Pens went down a huge hit with all the children, I think they enjoyed the fact that they were allowed to draw all over my path and I allowed the children to run wild with pens when normally they are restricted to paper. One other benefit is chalk pens are brilliant for making a temporary hopscotch, and what child doesn’t like hopscotch.
Once all the children have finished out comes the hose pipe or more often than not in the UK the rain and the path is all clean and ready for them to start again the next day.
Saving you money and wastage on paper, however as I found you will need to have a camera as they children what photographic evidence of their art work before their masterpieces are washed away.
The pens contain a fair amount of chalk and will last a long time, making sure you get your monies worth.
Even today, which is long after I have finished childminding, we got them out and they still had some chalk left.
I find chalk pens are great for getting your children outside and getting their creativity to flow.
To use with the chalk pens I also have a black Tuff Tray so even when the weather is not good enough to be outside the children can all sit round the tray on the kitchen floor and draw away.
There are lots of Chalk Pens around but these are the ones that I have Popart Chalk Pens from Amazon and they were so worth the money I would recommend then.
My daughter learned how to make pompoms at her after school club and since then she has been making them every chance she could. We ended up with a whole carried bag full of pompoms.
I then mentioned to her that we should make a pompom rug with them so I ordered some rug underlay.
However, I received the rug underlay back in August but since then it has stayed in the bag as we did not have a chance to make it.
That is until this week my daughter was off school with a cough and a temperature so we were both stuck indoors all day and I didn’t want her just sitting there watching TV or playing on her tablet wasting away the hours so I decided that we would finally make a pompom rug.
How to make a Pompom Rug
What you will need
Wool (a few different colours will make your rug more colourful)
Contains affiliated links so you can easily find the products.
1. To start with, think about your design of your pompom rug and the size that you want, once you have decided, lay out your rug underlay and using a felt tip pen mark out the shape and size that you want your rug to be. Remember that the underlay has holes in which will cause the pen to go through to the floor so you may want to put something underneath it first.
2. Once you are happy with your shape take the scissors and carefully cut out the shape for your pompom rug. We decided to go for a heart shape rug.
When we made our pompom rug we just put any colour pompom we had on the rug but I would suggest using certain colour wools to create a pattern rather than just adding any colour anywhere.
3. Next make your pompoms you will need a lot of them to fill the rug. We used the method of wrapping the wool around are fingers and then carefully sliding it off and tying the extra wool around the middle to hold it together. Make sure that the wool used to tie the pompom up has about 10cm hanging down so you can easily tie it on to the rug. Then once secured cut open the sides to and fluff out to make the pompom.
However from looking into it there is a much better way to making pompom in bulk and that will be similar sizes as well. I found this great youtube video to demonstrate. I will be using this method next time as making them one by one is very slow especially when you need so many for a rug.
4. Next lay the pompoms out on the underlay before attaching them so you can make sure that you are happy with the design and how it looks.
5. When you are happy with how you want your rug start attaching the pompoms. Thread each piece of wool through the holes and securely tie together at the back of the rug. As I learnt from experience have a cup of water handy to wet the end of the wool before threading it through I learnt the hard way by putting the ends in my mouth to moisten and I ended up with wool stuck all over my tongue.
6. Once all your Pompoms are tied on flip the rug over and cut off the excess wool being careful not to cut any of the knots holding it together
7. Flip it back over and there you have your very own Pompom rug.
If you do make a pompom rug why not comment and let us know how it went and if you have any great tips to pass on to others. Happy Making.
After searching through the fridge in the morning trying to think what we could have for dinner tonight without me having to bear a trip to the supermarket I came up with the idea of making our own pizza’s. I had some bread flour in the cupboard and loads of lovely vegetables from the green grocers that needed to be used up and my children love cooking and are always excited to help out in the kitchen so making a homemade pizza seemed like a win, win situation.
I did quickly make the dough before I picked the girls up from school as it needed time to proof before we could roll it. Once we got back from school and I told the girls what we were having for dinner and that they would be making it they were so excited. They have never got changed and washed their hands so fast.
Back at the table they were all poised and ready to begin. I divided the dough up and they carefully rolled out there piece into what resembled a pizza shape then placed it on a piece of tin foil. We then set out to make the toppings and the base sauce. The girls helped to chop all the vegetables and grate the cheese ready to put on the pizza.
I had decided that we were going to make our own sauce for the pizza base rather than just smear over some tomato puree like we have done in the past. I was really apprehensive about it as I have never made my own sauce before and was worried how it would turn out but it was delicious and I was so glad I took the time to make it.
I was worried how the pizza would taste but even if I do say so myself, it was the best pizza I have ever had. It was so good and full of flavour. There was not a single slice of pizza left, clean plates all round.
Making homemade pizza with children is definitely an active I would recommend and will be doing more often. Not only did it teach my girls basic cooking skills, but I got to make dinner whilst keeping the girls entertained and I love a bit of multi tasking.
375g strong bread flour
1 Tsp salt
7g dried active yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
225ml warm water
5 – 6 large tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
A few basil leaves
1 tsp salt
Anything you like
Preheat oven to 180° fan assisted
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Then finely chop the rosemary into the mixture.
Mix in the oil and warm water until you have a dough you may need to add a bit more flour if too sticky.
Leave the dough to rest for a good few hours if possible so the dough can rise. Just before rolling it is best to put in the fridge for 30 minutes as it makes it easier to roll.
To make the sauce chop and quarter 5 – 6 large tomatoes, chop 2 cloves of garlic, and a bunch of basil finely chopped and add to a pan with a cup of water. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for around 10 minutes or until tomatoes have dissolved and started to mix into the water.
Add a tablespoon of tomato puree and a teaspoon of salt and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring continuously.
Get your dough and split into even portions we made 4 big pizza’s but you could make smaller size ones. Then roll out to a flat pizza base and place on tin foil. Pour a good heap of sauce into the middle and using the back of a spoon spread round your pizza and cover in cheese. Then add to your pizza any topping that you desire.
for 20 -25 minutes.
Why not also take a look at some of my other recipes –
There is so much fun that can be had with bubbles. Children just love them!
They can have hours of fun blowing, chasing and popping them and then doing it all over again. Playing with bubbles are definitely one of our favourite past times.
We decided to step it up and take bubble blowing to a whole other level and try out making giant bubbles.
Lia got a bubble science kit for her birthday so we thought we would give it a try. The kit has loads of interesting things that you can do with bubbles and shows you the science behind them. The main attraction of the kit for my girls was the giant bubbles.
The kit comes with 2 sticks, a length of string and a large pot to put the bubbles in. It is a simple piece of equipment that I am sure you could make yourself if you didn’t have the kit.
My girls had so much fun making huge bubbles. Once they had got the knack of how to make the bubbles there was no stopping them. Unlike regular bubbles you can’t just blow them you have to open up the sticks wide and walk back slowly to create a bubble then close the sticks together to close the bubble off and release it.
We were all stunned at just how big we could make the bubbles they were huge and seeing the excitement on the girls faces was priceless.
Beware though if you are standing underneath one of the gigantic bubbles when they pop you do get a bit of a shower of bubble mixture.
The bubble kit turned out to be an amazing birthday present and one that will be used over and over again. I just need to make sure that I am stocked up on bubble mixture or washing up liquid.
Last summer we spent a lot of time at the beach with the kids. On our last trip we ended up with loads of shells, stones, driftwood and sand. We had buckets and bags full not to mention the few extra that I found hidden in the girls pockets when it came to washing their clothes.
The big question was what to do with all this beach memorabilia?
That’s when I saw a post about using salt dough shapes then adding shells to them. This was a great idea but I didn’t just want them lying around so I decided that we would make them into hanging decorations and fridge magnets as keepsakes to remember our day at the beach.
The kids went through their hull of shells and stones and picked out the best ones that they wanted to use. We then made a batch of salt dough and to make it more authentic I added the sand that was in the bottom of the bucket to the salt dough mixture. This gave it a great look and texture. I already had some craft ribbon that I picked up from our local craft store and I found some cheap small magnets on Amazon.
How to make Salt Dough Beach Shell Keepsakes
Step 1. Take a trip to the beach and get collecting.
Step 2. Sort through your collection and pick out the items you want to use then give them a good wash.
Step 3. Make your salt dough – One a cup of flour, half a cup of salt and half a cup of water. I then added some of the left over sand from the bucket to give the dough more of a beach feel. Then knead the mixture together until you have a dough.
Step 4. Roll out your salt dough about a cm thick and using a cookie cutter cut your dough into shapes.
Step 5. If you want them to hang make a hole in the top or if they are for the fridge, gently push the magnet into the back so half of the magnet is still sticking out.
Step 6. Add your shells and anything else that you have collected to your salt dough. To add to the keepsake I wrote the beach name and the year we went. I did this with a cocktail stick doing little dots next to each other in the shape of the words then gently pushing the dots together to form the letters alternatively you could use letter stamps or just wait for it to dry and write on your salt dough keepsake with a sharpie.
Step 7. Let your salt dough air dry, we left ours over night.
Step 8. I then went over them all with Mod Podge to seal them and give them a nice glazed look. Then leave them to dry.
The fridge magnet ones I found didn’t hold very well so I added a small bit of super glue then put the magnet back in the hole. For the hanging ones I tied together with the craft ribbon.
Step 9. Hang up and enjoy.
If you enjoyed reading my post why not take a look at my other post –