How to make a magical twig ball lantern

How to Make a twig Ball Lantern

Whether you love fairytale multicolour twinkles or a soft, golden firefly glow, a twig ball lantern can add a really enchanting touch to a party, wedding, or festival. No party to decorate for? Hang them in a corner of your garden to add a touch of magic to long, summer evenings. You don’t need specialist equipment, a willow tree wood or vineyard full of grapevine to make them either – the kids and I made ours with trimmings from the common garden climbers that regularly take over our back yard.

Want to make some too? Of course you do – everyone needs a twig ball lantern in their life! So read on for the full tutorial…

A colourful twig ball lantern hanging in the garden

This beautiful twig ball lantern was made just with cuttings from the garden and a string of cheap LED lights.

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Eco Glitter Lino Printing with Kids

An Earth Day Art Activity

For this year’s Earth Day, we used our new environmentally-friendly eco glitter, sent to us by the lovely people at Eco Glitter Fun, to make these super-sparkly lino printed fishes. Read on to see how we did it and to find out more about our Earth-friendly sparkles!

eco glitter and child-made lino print picture

Earth-friendly art for Earth Day!

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Winter Flower Craft – Snowdrop Bottles

The kids and I been talking about winter a lot lately, inspired by the grim, cold and grey weather, the bare branches and muddy fields. But though we’re at the bleak midwinter stage of the year, there are still signs of life for the kids to find. Some of the prettiest are the early snowdrops that are just beginning to bloom – we’ve spotted the first few flowers, and many more green stalks with buds about to open. We’ve used these lovely flowers as inspiration for some indoor crafting, and also made a bunch of our own junk-model snowdrops out of a few empty bottles and some straws. Two simple and sweet little activities that are great for practicing fine motor skills. Read on to see what we did!

Make snowdrops from paper or plastic bottles

Why do one snowdrop craft when you can do two?!

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Conker Comets! Autumn Fun for Kids

Have your kids conkers gone wrinkly? When autumn comes around my kids just can’t help collecting bucket loads of shiny horse chestnuts, but they start to loose some of their charm once the shrivels (as we like to call it) sets in. There are only so many games of conkers we can play, so, to avoid being buried alive by these puckered leftovers, we’ve found other ways to make use of them. One of our favourites is to turn them into Conker Comets… Probably the most fun you can have with conker – and it makes a great bonfire night craft too! Read on to see how we do it.

Brightly coloured conker comets - kids' conker activity

A quick, easy and fun autumn conker activity to use up all those wrinkly old conkers!

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HABA Terra Kids – Real Woodworking Tools

We love a bit of woodwork with the kids – whether out in the woods, at forest school, or at home with a bit of softwood, so we were very happy when One Hundred Toys asked us to test out a pile of fabulous-looking, kid-sized real tools from HABA. Read on to find out why we’re now eschewing pretend tools for the real deal.

Boy using saw at a worktable in a forest

HABA’s folding saw is kid-sized and just right for taking to forest school.

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DIY Mini Doll Food – Made from Wine Corks!

Do your kids love having little picnics with their toys? Mine do, but what they don’t love so much is tidying away, and those little bits of teeny tiny doll food often go astray. So instead of buying them more, why not try out our quick and easy DIY solution? All you need is a bottle of wine and some paint…

Maileg toy mouse having cheese and cake picnic outside a toy bell tent

Make a lovely play picnic for your child’s toys – all out of wine corks!

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Leaf Painting – Quick and Easy Nature Craft

Leaves painted bright colours, with a stick used as a paintbrush

We love leaf painting! Use natural materials like leaves, sticks and stones as the canvas for your kids’ artwork!

Painting is a great activity for young children. It’s a fantastic work-out for their imagination, and helps them practice their fine motor skills, as well as helping to develop their understanding of colour, shape, texture and viscosity (yes, wet paint WILL drip onto the floor/your clothes/the dog’s dinner…). We do a lot of painting in our house, and love finding different things to paint – after all, flat paper can be SO last earlier-this-morning. We try to bring natural materials into our play at every opportunity, and painting is the perfect thing for this as its easy to find natural objects to decorate. Stones, sticks, pinecones, shells… you name it, we’ve painted it. Leaf painting is an absolute favourite, though, and something that we do all the time – read on to find out why!

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Playing with Stories – Why We Love Our DIY Playdough ‘Bog Baby’ Kit!

If you’ve read ‘The Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward, you’ll know that bog babies are round and blue, with goggly eyes, spiky tails and ears like a mouse, and their wings are no bigger than daisy petals. This magical book is perfect for inspiring creative model making and small world play, while at the same time gently encouraging children to explore what it means for a thing to be wild and free. Read on to find out how to make a home-made play dough bog baby kit with our play dough recipe and basic craft accessories – not only are they great fun, they also make fantastic and original gifts when given with a copy of the book!

Book 'The Bog Baby', home-made play dough bog baby kit, and fishing net

A magical story about two children who find a mysterious wild creature, ‘The Bog Baby’ is perfect inspiration for creative play!

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Linocut Project – Harry Potter’s Firebolt

I’ve made a simple Harry Potter linocut of a Firebolt broomstick as part of a project I’m working on for G-Man’s birthday. It’s intended to be the first of a few themed Harry Potter linocut prints, and though I have something very specific in mind for it, I  couldn’t help but play around with a few other ideas too.

lino print of Harry Potter's firebolt broom

Making a linocut print of Harry Potter’s Firebolt broomstick – kitchen table art!

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A Home-Made Harry Potter Party Bag

DIY Harry Potter party bag

Make your own Hogwarts inspired goodies for a Harry Potter party bag or trip to the Studio Tour.

G-Man didn’t want a birthday party this year, instead he wanted to visit the Making of Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour, in Leavesdon, just outside London. So we took him and one friend along for a magical day out in January 2017. As it was his birthday treat, and as we knew beforehand that everything there would be exorbitantly expensive, I put together a Harry Potter party bag for the boys to supplement their pocket money purchases in the tour’s shop. There are tonnes of ideas for Potter gifts on the internet, and not only was it great fun to do (and a big hit with the kids) it also saved us a whole heap of pennies.​

If you’re planning a trip yourself, or are lucky enough to be hosting a full-on Potter Party at home, have a look at our DIY wizard treats for a little Hogwarts-style inspiration!

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