Craft Activities · Nannying

Monster Plate Craft Kit for Children

For Christmas my three year old nanny charge got various craft box activities which we have slowly been getting through. This Monster Plate Craft Kit by PlayWrite was one of them. I hunted around the internet and finally found them if you wanted to try it yourself. You can find them here. I find craft kits are great as the children I nanny love being crafty.

Monster Plate Craft kit

The box comes with some paper plates, shaped foam stickers and some paint with a paintbrush. It was a nice simple activity that the three year old really enjoyed.

I helped him pop out the foam pieces but I let him place the foam on the plates himself. He carefully examined the paper plate pictures on the front of the box to copy – which I found impressive as he hasn’t done this before. He managed to get the foam stickers in pretty much the same positions as shown on the box. With the painting, I just made the outline of the monster face for him and he painted the rest of the face.

Once your child has finished you could always use a hole puncher to add a couple of holes to each side of the plate. You could insert a piece of elastic through the holes and tie together to make a monster mask!

The great thing about this kit is that you don’t need to follow the example designs if your child doesn’t want to. Your child could use to paint their monster different colours and decorate it how they wish to.

The product is aimed for children aged 3 to 5 years old. I hope your children enjoy it as much as my nanny charge did!

If you have enjoyed this post please take a look at some of my other posts. You may enjoy our Mother’s day crafts or our very own Star Wars lightsaber! If none of these then are are plenty more craft activities, recipes so feel free to explore!

Baking · Nannying · Recipes

Mashed Potato Muffins

My six year old nanny charge LOVES mashed potato. We had some left over this week and instead of wasting it we decided to make some mashed potato muffins from the leftovers. I don’t like wasting food and the 6 year old doesn’t like wasting mashed potato!

Ingredients

We decided to add some grated cheese, an egg, some chopped up ham in with the left over mashed potato and just mixed it all together. You could add some different ingredients too if you like.

How to make the Mashed Potato Muffins

Pop all your ingredients into a bowl and mix together.  The mixture will look pretty runny! But trust me they turn out fine once cooked. Once all your ingredients are mixed together, spoon the mixture into a pre greased muffin tray.

Pop your mashed potato muffins into the oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes at 200c until the muffins are a golden brown colour. Take them out to cool for a couple of minutes once done. I used a fork to pop them out of the tin and let them cool down properly on a plate. They taste really good either warm or cold. They could be added to your children’s lunch box or snack pot.

The toddler and his friend had them for lunch the next day with ‘bits and pieces’. *Bits and pieces* is something from my childhood. It’s a simple lunch with a variety of snacky bits. They could be cheese cubes, breadsticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber sticks.

Enjoy!

If you have enjoyed this recipe, feel free to take a look at our other recipes! Why don’t you take a look at our dairy free banana bread or  our delicious jam tarts.

Baking · Nannying · Recipes

Yummy Chocolate Brownies Recipe

The three year old and I made some yummy chocolate brownies last week. We had a LOT of left over Easter eggs that were literally taking over the larder cupboard. I mean they were toppling out as you opened the doors.

These brownies were really quick and easy to make too so perfect for little helpers. Baking with children is a great activity as it’s so good for their learning and development. Plus it’s fun too 🙂

You need:

  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar preferably – we ran out of brown sugar and used a tad of white granulated sugar too!
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g self raising flour

Method to make these yummy chocolate brownies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease a baking tray or use greaseproof paper
  2. You will need to melt the chocolate and butter together in a sauce pan over a low heat – set aside to cool 
  3. Encourage your child to help weigh out the sugar then stir into the chocolate and butter mixture. Then add the eggs and stir all together
  4. Weigh out the self raising flour and use a sieve to add to the mixture. Fold the flour in. The mix should be nice and smooth!
  5. Pour the mixture into the greased baking tray (or greaseproof paper baking tray). If you want to add any chocolate chips, marshmallows, nuts or any other toppings on top then go ahead!
  6. Bake for around 20 minutes at 180c. Just keep checking on them until cooked and the middle is soft. Let the brownies cool in the tin before serving! 

If you like this recipe why don’t you take a look at my other recipes? You could try cake trains or gingerbread men for example. If not these ones, don’t worry, there are more so take a look!

I hope you enjoy your brownies! Let me know if you added any toppings that go well 🙂

 

Activities · Nannying · Sensory Play

Dyed Spaghetti Play

Last week was a busy one. But our favourite activity last week was dyed spaghetti play!

This was the first time I actually tried it out and it’s very easy to make. You can make it in three easy steps.

You need these for dyed spaghetti play:

Method:

  1. Cook the spaghetti as per the instructions
  2. Once the spaghetti has cooked, separate the spaghetti into separate sandwich bags and pop a few drops of food colouring in each separate bag
  3. You will need to seal the sandwich bags and using your hands mix the food colouring into the spaghetti. Leave for at least 5 minutes to let the spaghetti absorb the dye. The longer you leave it, the brighter the colours will be.
Tip: You can add a little bit of oil to stop the spaghetti from sticking together!

Voila! In three simple steps you have made some dyed spaghetti, perfect for sensory play. I gave the three year old some scissors to encourage him to cut the spaghetti. A great way to encourage his scissor and motor skills. The dyed spaghetti will last for a few days, however the colouring will fade a little. So you get to reuse it again!

You could make the dyed spaghetti at home or it could go down a hit if you work at a nursery! Could you imagine all those happy little faces when they see this?!

Sensory play is beneficial to children because:

  1. It is important for your child’s learning and development
  2. It stimulates all your child’s senses at once
  3. Sensory play encourages your child to play, explore and investigate
  4. It can be a calming influence on children and can be therapeutic

If you have enjoyed dyed spaghetti play why don’t you try my Dinosaur Ice Excavation activity or sensory bottles next?

Craft Activities · Nannying

Easy Peasy Card Making Activity

You don’t need many items for an easy peasy card making activity. As long as you have the basics then you are all sorted. You only need decorations, glue, card and that’s it.

On Monday after school the kids were tired. I could tell they needed a quiet activity to get on with. So I set up the table with some PVA glue, sequins, stickers, pens and paper. I suggested they could make some cards or a picture. I said they could decorate it however they wished.

Time to do some card making!

They decided to make some cards for their granny and I happily sat there chatting to them with a cup of tea. They drew some lovely pictures of themselves and their granny and wrote some lovely messages inside.

I find it useful and much easier to clean up by putting the decorations into separate bowls. It will make it easy for the kids to see and pick what decorations they wish to use. Plus I always like to use a separate table mat to make sure the tablecloth underneath doesn’t get dirty.

After a little while their little brother came along and joined in with us too!

 

If you have enjoyed our easy peasy craft activity why don’t you take a look at our monster plate craft activity.

Activities · Baking · Craft Activities · Nannying

20 Ideas to do with your Children When it Rains

When it rains we all know as parents, grandparents, nannies, childminders or other childcare professionals it can be a pain when to rains. Being stuck inside all day can send you all a bit crazy! So I have put together a little list of rainy day activities for you all 🙂

Don’t threat though. There are still PLENTY of things you could do to stay entertained.

See below for 20 rainy day activities

  1. You could just brave it and play out in the rain! Stick your welly boots on and your rain macs and go and explore outside! Make a mud cake, go on a bear hunt, search for creepy crawlies and splash in those puddles! However, this could not be for all of you out there. Which is fine because there are still plenty more ideas.
  2. Junk modelling! Get your recycling box out, some sellotape and your craft box and encourage your child to build something! A space rocket, a car, binoculars, a fairy wand. Anything!
  3. Painting – if you haven’t got any of your own paint in the house, you can make you own. You use half a cup of flour, half a cup of salt and half  cup of water. Divide the mixture up into pots, bowls or even sandwich bags and add a little bit of water colour or food colouring. If you don’t want to get paint everywhere or you have a child who doesn’t like getting dirty try out this Mess Free Painting Activity.
  4. Play with play dough. Make your own play dough – or use ready made play dough. You can use play dough cutters. You could even get out some candles, your pretend tea set and make some play dough food!
  5. Baking – bake some cookies or a cake. Baking is one of our favourites, it’s fun and it encourages the kids to practice weighing out ingredients and practice their numbers. Take a look at some of my previous blogs to find some various baking activities such as Banana muffinsJam TartsGingerbread men or Cake trains.
  6. Make your own homemade bird feeder – we made these last week and it was so much fun! The birds are loving them too.
  7. Cooking – Similar as above and I encourage my nanny children to help cook or bake even when it’s not raining. Encourage your child to help prepare and cook dinner. A good way to promote healthy eating and your child’s cooking skills.
  8. Build a fort. Grab some blankets, cushions and snacks!
  9. Make your own puppets. You could sew your own or you could use some old socks. We all know we have a couple of random socks with a lost mate. Once your puppets are finished you could put on your own puppet show.
  10. You could make you own candles. I have made them with my nanny children before and they loved it. It made a wonderful Mother’s Day gift too.
  11. Watch a film together – perhaps a good old Disney film?
  12. Good old fashioned colouring. My nanny children (the twins) love a good colouring in book
  13. Put on a show. I have introduced ‘shows’ with my nanny children. We dress up using the fancy dress clothes, wigs, jewellery and turn off the lights and grab some torches. They hide behind the curtains and I shine the torches on them as they come out to sing, dance or act out their favourite stories.
  14. Pretend play – my favourite would have to be pretend food. Such as playing shops, pretend cooking, playing restaurants or even having a tea party!
  15. Play a board game. My nanny children’s favourite ones are ‘guess who‘, ‘pop to the shops‘ and of course the legendary ‘hungry, hungry hippos‘! 
  16. Another easy one – gloop play. Gloop is so easy to make and you only need two ingredients. Water and cornflour. But if you want to add colour just pop some food colouring in. I suppose paint could work too for colour. Pop two cups of cornflour into a bowl and one cup of water. Mix together – get your child to help! It’s messy, but so much fun. Plus a great sensory activity.
  17. Water/sand play. Get your kitchen bits out too, jugs, measuring jugs, measuring spoons, cups and different sized containers. A great activity as meets your child’s learning needs in so many ways!
  18. Make your own sensory bottles – click the link to view how to make them.
  19. Make music. Whether you use your own musical instruments, you take out the pots and pans from your kitchen or you could always make your own – such as your own rainmaker or guitar.
  20. Make your own jewellery. You may have some old beads and some string lying around the house to use. Or you could hand dye some penne pasta or macaroni and thread that onto some string.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and if you want more ideas let me know!

Activities · Nannying

Homemade Bird Treats

This week my nanny child and I made some homemade bird treats. It’s very simple and you don’t need many items at all. It’s a nice little activity to do with children to encourage them to be interested in wildlife.

You need these items for the homemade bird treats:

  • Unflavoured gelatine powder
  • Wild bird feed
  • Water
  • Cookie cutters

Method:

  1. First you need to mix the gelatine powder in a saucepan with a little bit of water. I used two sachets of the picture above. 
  2. Once the gelatine and water has blended together, it’s time to mix in the bird feed. Take the pan off the heat and let the mixture cool a little.
  3. Meanwhile, you could pick the cookie cutters you would like to use for the bird treats. We picked a car, a train, a gingerbread man, a teddy bear, a star and square. Once you have picked the shapes you want, set the cookie cutters flat on a plate.
  4. Once the mixture had cooled enough, I let my three year old nanny charge spoon the mixture into the cookie cutters. We used a straw to poke a hole at the top of each bird treat so once dried we could add some string through to hang up.
  5. Once you have spooned the mixture into the cookie cutters just pop the plates into the fridge for at least an hour for the mixture to set.
  6. Once the mixture has set you can use some string to thread through the little hole made. Tie up the string and hang up outside for the birdies!

I think they look really sweet! Let me know how it goes for you and feel free to share what shapes you decide to pick!

If you like this post why don’t you take a look at other activities I have done with my nanny children. You may enjoy our Dinosaur excavation activity or my post about Harrypottermous!

Nannying

Blog Changes

Blog changes

I’m not sure if many of you have noticed but I have made a couple of changes to my site. The main change is that my page isn’t strictly about nannying anymore, but also a childcare and lifestyle blog.

I hope you are all enjoying the Easter holidays and you are well rested to head back to work. If you are interested in hearing what my nanny children and I got up to over Easter, take a look at our Easter break part one and Easter break part two.

I have been a bit quiet on my blog last week due to having the week off work so I have been mainly relaxing and catching up with friends. But posts will be more frequent this week.

I am also heading back to slimming world today after a year off! Easter hasn’t helped as I had an excessive amount of chocolate.

Anyway, enjoy your bank holiday and I will post again soon!

Happy Easter!
Activities · Days out · Nannying

Easter Break: Part Two!

Easter Break Part two!

We have finally finished the first Easter half term week! And breathe… If your a parent or in childcare make sure you try and have a rest over the weekend for the second week.

Thursday

Thursday was a lovely and sunny day. The perfect day to visit the zoo! We visited Port Lympne Zoo in Hythe. I took the boys and one of the six year olds friends from school. They had a school project to complete over Easter to find out 5 facts about an African animal. My charge decided to pick a Giraffe and his friend picked a Cheetah. If you haven’t visited Port Lympne before, it’s worth it. Half of the zoo includes a safari – land rover trucks drive you around open safari zone. You can spot Giraffes, Rhinos, Ostriches,  Zebras and more. I have visited Port Lympne’s sister zoo before – Howletts – which is on flatter land which makes it easier to walk around.

 

School project time!

As we were on the safari truck the children got their notepads out and started writing down notes about what facts to use! My nanny charge liked the fact that Giraffes have blue tongues.

 

After we went on the safari we stopped off at the cafe to grab some lunch. Don’t attempt to try and find the restaurant on the map – it doesn’t serve food any more! Just stick to the cafe by the buggy park, it serves hot and cold food and is right next door to the children’s play area.

We finished up our lunch and finished the walking route and the maze. Well I say we finished, We couldn’t find the dinosaur trail section. By this time it was almost 4pm and I knew the safari trucks would soon to stopping and it was getting late, so we had to call it a day. By the time we made it back up to the top of the zoo and had the kids face paints done and spent what felt like an eternity in the gift shop, we made it back to the car an hour later! Then after dropping off the six year olds friend we made it back home for 6pm. By 7:20pm I had cooked tea, the children had eaten, I had given the boys a bath and got the three year old to sleep. I think I deserve a medal.

Friday

Today we visited the trampoline park again with another one of the six year olds friends. We booked two hours this time round because one hour never seems enough for the boys. We had pizza for lunch and ice lollies to cool down. After we finished bouncing we went back home and played out in the garden to enjoy the rest of the sun before we had to take our little friend home.

Friday was a lot more relaxed day. I still got home and was fast asleep by 9pm though…

Enjoy the rest of your Easter Half term!

Come and look at what we got up to the first half of our Easter here.

Days out · Nannying

Easter break: Part One!

It has been a busy week and we are still only half way through the Easter break! I will be glad when this week is over as I definately need a rest. I am doing long hours this week but I have next week off!

Easter Break part one:

This week so far…

Day one: Monday

The trio – I arrived at 7am ready for my 11.5 hour day which turned into a 12 hour day plus one a&e visit. But before I get into that I will describe the good bits of the day! We had a lazy morning, got ready slowly while deciding what to do with our day. The park was the winner. It was a lovely day and we all had a wonderful time. The sun was out and all the children were in a great mood. We got back home and the trio were tired and grouchy so I gave them snacks and popped them in front of the tv for some down time.

Anyway, a bit later on, the twins came running up to me telling my their little brother had broken the curtains. I was more annoyed they were so happy and excited they thought they were getting their little brother into trouble. I sent all the kids to their rooms. Because yes – he did break something, also because his older sisters were happy about it. I had words with the little one and he understood that he shouldn’t have been swinging on the curtains. I also had words with the twins because they are the big sisters and if they noticed him doing something he is not meant to they should be encouraging him not to so he learns right from wrong.

Within 30 seconds of the twins talk one of them goes downstairs to get onto the kitchen bench and manages to slip and cut her chin open. Great. My first trip to a&e with one of my nanny children! Luckily she was fine and didn’t need stitches. Parents were ok. I got a really nice text from mum in the evening to thank me for everything.

Day two: Tuesday

The trio again! We ventured over the jump in trampolining place in Tonbridge, it was their first visit. At first they were all unsure. I think the safety video scared them. After some reassurance they were all fine and having a blast. We got home and played in the garden for a couple of hours  – they got absolutely filthy. After bath and dinner we watched ‘Tangled’ as a special treat – I had brought it over from my house for them to watch.

Day three: Wednesday 

The boys today! We had a wonderful day. First we visited the library and borrowed some books and went home to play and have some lunch. We went into the garden into the woods that is part of their garden and added some sticks onto their wigwam that is almost finished being built. If your not sure what a wigwam is it’s a little house shaped as a tent made out of sticks.

Later on we went swimming at Larkfield Leisure Centre in Larkfield. They have water slides, a lazy river and a wave machine. For the first time my three year old nanny charge had the confidence to swim on his own (with armbands) today – very proud nanny moment!

Tomorrow we are heading to the zoo and Friday we are heading to trampolining again so I will update again later on!

Happy holidays!

Once you have read this take a look at the second part of our Easter break!