How to make a magical twig ball lantern

DIY 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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Kid-Made Play Dough for Lazy Parents

Quick and Easy Uncooked Play Dough Recipe

Do your kids love playing with play dough? It’s the rare child that doesn’t, right? Play dough is such a great sensory and learning experience for kids, and great fun too. But have you tried making your own play dough with the kids?

If, like me, you find the idea daunting, don’t be put off! It really is so easy to make, it’s literally kids play! While we used to love playing with the store-bought dough, we now use this simple, uncoooked play dough recipe to make our own.

Fancy trying it? Read on to get the easy, no-cook recipe my children love to make…

A recipe for kid-made and no-cook play dough
Making play dough is as much fun as playing with it!
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Winter Flower Craft – Snowdrop Bottles

The kids and I been talking about winter a lot lately. And it’s no wonder, given 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 we 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.

Make snowdrops from paper or plastic bottles
Why do one snowdrop craft when you can do two?!
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DIY Sparkly Spiderweb Stamping!

This fun spiderweb activity combines two of our favourite things – threading and printing. Using homemade stampers, kids can make gorgeous sparkly spiderweb pictures. The stamps are simple and quick to make, and the best part is you can make them from bits and pieces that you will already have.

Read on to see how we did this fabulous spiderweb craft!

Sparkly spiderweb stamping
Use a simple, homemade stamp of a spiderweb to create glittery web art!
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How to Make a Magnificent Forest Mini Den!

My kids love making dens when we’re out in the woods. But there are times when it’s not practical or possible to make one that’s kid-sized. Yet we don’t let that stop us – instead, we just think smaller… Read on to see how to make an adorable mini den!

Preschool girl building mini den in forest
Making a mini den in the woods is a fun way to introduce den building to kids!
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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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Playing with Stories – Why We Love Our DIY Playdough ‘Bog Baby’ Kit!

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!

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.

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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A Home-Made Harry Potter Party Bag

DIY Harry Potter party bag
Make your own Hogwarts inspired goodies for 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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Roald Dahl Scarecrow Festival

Every September, members of our local community are invited to make and display a scarecrow for the annual festival, and then everyone troops around all the houses looking at what we’ve all done. It is a whole heap of fun, and also involves a stop for tea and cake at the local Community Orchard, making it even more fabulous.

This year’s event was only a few days after what would have been Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, so of course our scarecrow had to be Roald Dahl themed!

Mike Teavee inside TV set - Roald Dahl scarecrow
Mike Teavee – first person to travel by television! Or should that be Wonkavision?
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How to Make Willy Wonka’s Hat…

I’ve been making a few odds and ends with the kids over the holidays in preparation for this September’s Scarecrow Festival (yes, I know it’s still only August!). Last year I managed to rope in friends on my street to do Alice in Wonderland scarecrows.

This time our scarecrows will be characters from Roald Dahl’s books, in celebration of what would have been his 100th birthday. I’ve got grand plans for our tableau (which will be a character and scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), and one of the things I wanted to include was Willy Wonka’s iconic hat, laid casually on his desk as if he’d just popped away for a moment.

Instructions for a DIY Wonka hat like Gene Wilder's
You only need cardboard and glue for this quick but impressive make – soon we’ll all be rockin’ Wonka Hats!

Making the Willy Wonka hat turned out to be surprisingly easy – read on to see how I did it!

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