baking, key stage 2, kids

September means birthday cakes in our house, and every year the boys put in their requests for party fun and cake style and flavour… from a Star Wars themed Yoda, to a Dragon (same food colouring, so that was OK!) through to your standard Lemon Drizzle Cake… This year however, the party request was for trampolining, ‘free jumping’ and his OWN chocolate cake recipe! So 10yo-soon-to-be-11yo spent the evening before his birthday MAKING and BAKING his own cake, and a quick dash for some Maltesers in the morning, decorated it himself before we bundled five of his friends off to Acton for some bouncing action over at Oxygen FreeJumping.
RB-cakeWell, we couldn’t be more impressed – all of us (five boys, and two mums) LOVED it – we started off with a game of dodge-ball – this was a great introduction, as we weren’t quite sure where to try first – the Oxygen FreeJumping staff were lovely and organised a game, explaining the rules, so we got stuck straight in! And guess what? I won!Acton-oxygen-dodgeballthis-place-is-jumpingThe design of the venue is stunning, the bold bright blues and yellows are really striking – loved the strong graphics – this place really IS jumping.

The boys’ absolute favourite activity was the Gladiator style jousting area over a large pool of blue foam… they spent AGES battling and giggling, and tumbling into a pit of spongy foam blocks.

I personally loved bouncing on the trampolines around the basketball hoops, probably because a simple bounce helped you score with EVERY throw!

Every participant wears a pair of ‘jumping socks’ which caused some amusement, and then delight that they got to keep them – and it was great to see the kids having such a brilliant time on the expanse of trampolines – we so want to go again!

socks-at-oxygen

jump-at-oxygen

Acton-oxygen
A big thank you to the team at Oxygen FreeJumping, for their fabulous facilities, great family fun, and to the cafe staff who also made us so welcome with great coffee too.

Find out more here:
www.oxygenfreejumping.co.uk


Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

kids

Family Friendly Hotel stay UK

Well we timed that badly, last minute booking of a B&B near Romsey for a friend’s birthday party and I find that every SINGLE room is gone already…. aaagghhh…. so I asked colleagues if they could recommend somewhere – and Premier Inn was suggested as an option. Phew, they had a room! And it was perfectly located for the party – just a 10 minute taxi ride away – spot on! The room was lovely, really nice decor, welcoming efficient staff.Premier-Inn-Review-Bedroom

So we jumped in the shower and dashed out for something to eat at a pub suggested by local friends, the three tuns – fab food, can highly recommend. At the end of a LONG but fun evening with friends, we returned to the comfort of our room at the Premier Inn –  the bed super comfy, and sooo quiet – they have a designated ‘quiet zone’ which was most appreciated – such a good night’s sleep!

Premier-Inn-Review-Shower

Breakfast the next day was a relaxed affair, with veggie sausage options as well as muesli, fresh fruit, organic yoghurts, and soya milk for the coffee. Couldn’t fault the food!

Now, we went without the kids this time, however, we noticed a LOT of families were staying at the hotel too, and it transpires that this is the perfect hotel for an overnight stop on your way to Paultons Family Theme Park, the home of Peppa Pig World – who knew?!

Thank you to Premier Inn Southampton West
Romsey Road, Ower, Southampton,
Hampshire SO51 6ZJ

charity, cooking with kids, kids

Camila Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company Plate Pledge

You may have previously read my Kids Company article for Britmums – and I have been lucky enough to meet Camila Batmanghelidjh on a couple of occasions – She is an amazing and awe-inspiring person. Plate-Pledge

Every week, thousands of children rely on Camila’s charity Kids Company for their main meal of the day. They come to be fed, to learn how to cook, and to find a safe place to be a child. Cooking together and meal-planning, has been a really important time for my children and I, and we often find time to bake the odd cake together even now with all of the homework they seem to have as they get older.
We were reading Jay Raynor’s article in last month’s Observer and the statistics still astound us – that today through Kids Company’s centres in north and south London, Liverpool and Bristol, they now support 36,000 children and provide 3,000 meals a week. Of those children, 85% rely on Kids Company for the main meal of the day. “We find children coming to us with quite severe issues of malnutrition,” says campaigns director Laurence Guinness. “We have toddlers with rickets, 10-year-olds who look like seven-year-olds. When you see adolescents looking skeletal you understand why they join a gang.” “There is no responsible adult caring for these children. There’s a gaping hole in the safety net. There is no allocation of resources to the lone child.”  

My 10 year old son has pledged £2 today to the Plate Pledge – he asked me to type:
“This is from my 10year old son – who today cooked a fish supper for our family and baked and iced a cake. He is giving £2 from his piggy bank towards a healthy tasty meal for another child tonight.”

As well as having the privilege of meeting Camila, I have also been lucky enough to work with some amazing beautifully minded brands, and I was very proud to read this little note from Camila and Kids Company last week:

“We are delighted that 1 Two Kids has decided to continue its support of Kids Company through the Sophie La Girafe Baby skincare range in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is wonderful to have this support for our 36,000 vulnerable children, young people, adults and their families,” says Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE. 

Kids Company recently launched a challenge to pledge support for a further 580,00 meals for these children – so far, with donations from as little as £2 each, equivalent to a plate of food to help make a hungry and vulnerable child happy – they have reached an amazing 549, 833 – to reach their TARGET: 580,000 visit kidscoplatepledge.org to learn how you can help too.

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

crafts, create, education, key stage 2, kids, monster

Piper – a Minecraft toolbox for anyone to create and invent with technology. Build electronics. Invent power-ups. Create the future.

So – the kids were pretty excited last week to hear from Mark at Piper all about their fabulous new toolbox for budding engineers who happen to like Minecraft!
As a family we tend to use ‘screentime’ as a reward at the end of the week, for best behaviour, and finishing homework without it being an excruciating teeth-pulling exercise. Minecraft is their favourite ‘go to’ game, and without further ado, read what our 10yo thought of Piper, and then watch the video!

In short, my son, 10yo RB says this:

“Minecraft toolbox – Build electronics with Piper. Piper is brilliant for seven and ups. I think it is really awesome because the instructions are in the game so it would make children and adults interested in making things outside of the game. Minecraft is a good way to get people that like Minecraft to play it. It will make a brilliant Christmas or birthday gift. It will entice people to play because it is easy to build so you can get started really quickly.  Raspberry Pi is what all of the software runs on. Raspberry pie is a mini computer if you’ve got all the right equipment and gadgets luckily all of that comes in a really well made wooden box. The screen comes readymade and all fits in.

There are ten action-packed levels to complete in the game. You have to make your own buttons and fit the wires in the right places. The mouse comes with the box so you can look around.

There are lots more interesting exciting things about the game but they are for you to find out.”

RB Age 10 says – “NOW watch this video!”

How it works:

– First you assemble the wooden toolbox and connect it with the Raspberry Pi 2, a 7 inch LCD display, a power bank, and an assortment of electronics.

– Once assembled, you enter a Minecraft adventure map viewable on the LCD screen.

– Your Mission: guide a robot to rescue astronauts on a foreign planet. The robot’s hardware is damaged on the way over, and you have to build it in real-life to control the robot in the game to save the day!

How this educates kids:

– Each gadget you build gives you a special power-up and progresses you through the game

– First build the controller to navigate your robot. Add switches to activate hidden bridges and doors. A row of lights to serve as a proximity sensor and more.

If you want to find out more, click here. Piper are on facebook and twitter.

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

chinese new year, crafts, FREE printables, key stage 2, kids, life

Hand Coloured Chinese Lanterns

Chinese New Year PrintablesMy little blonde boys are both incredibly fascinated by the Orient, and at the beginning of every year are keen to go to Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year. We are lucky enough to be close to London’s Chinatown and a couple of years ago they bought some rather lovely window clings, graphic and colourful, but really too big for their bedroom windows in our Edwardian house.

Chinese-New-Year-Printables-KidsChaos-4Chinese-New-Year-Printables-KidsChaos-3 So this year, we came up with a fun way of making their own, from a template I created here (and if you click here and here you can download and print these Chinese New Year printables yourself too).

You will need:

Printable-Chinese-New-Year-graphics-KidsChaos-2-of-21) Print off the Chinese New Year printables template here and here
2) Packet of Sharpie Pens (*which you can get here in the UK  and here in the US)
3) Pack of Clear CD wallets or any plastic stationery sleeves
4) Blu tack

Instructions:

Printable-Chinese-New-Year-graphics-KidsChaos-1-of-21) once you’ve printed off the Chinese New Year printables template, blu tack the clear plastic cd wallet into position over the graphic and start tracing around the illustration with a black sharpie pen.

2) Then simply colour in with a selection of reds, yellow, oranges. Or if you fancy a change, try a range of greens and blues – that looks great too!

3) When you’ve finished, take the CD wallet and blu tack it to the window! voila!Chinese-New-Year-Printables-KidsChaos-5

To watch a video of how we did these Chinese New Year printables, pop over to Red Ted Art’s YouTube channel here where we have made a guest appearance (again!) showing you how to do this, you’ll notice that I got bored with the colouring in bit, and Maggy had to take over… as a Chinese inspired art project however, both of my boys LOVED doing these, and it kept them busy and quiet for AGES!
10 yo specifically asked for a sheep… as it IS year of the sheep!

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

 *affiliate links for your convenience… 🙂

create, kids

A Room Makeover for 10 year old boys

Lucky Boy! He’s next on the list for a room makeover, and has very strong ideas himself of how that might look!

Room Makeover for boys

He’s always had the biggest room – and it’s been the shared ‘playroom’ for the two boys, however, with more and more homework and less time to play with ALL of their toys, we thought it would be a good time for a bit of a de-clutter.room makeover age 10

He has a great cabin bed already, so we’re going to give that a lick of paint, and although we have watched a great video on youtube, with a ‘space up’ bed which opens up to store your clothes and books – I’m not sure we’re quite ready for that yet!

So we’re planning a room makeover for boys refresh with some fab brick patterned wallpaper, love the look of this white loft brick wall mural on one wall, and a chalkboard on another – using blackboard paint, and some fun cupboard handles to hold the chalk!

He really rather likes yellow too, so we’re on the hunt for an anglepoise lamp – and an Alarm Clock is a must – He struggles with the mornings!

He also has a sofa bed in his room, which we’re going to keep there, it’s ideal when unexpected guests arrive, and he bunks in with his brother – so we’ll add a few scatter cushions from new Finnish designer Nora instagram.com/projektityyny to tie it all together – His brother has plans for his own room too so watch this space!

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

 

crafts, create, key stage 2, kids

Traditional Paper Star

The boys just love a paper craft, and we can thank our lovely friend Maggy for that (she told me to say that…) – Maggy taught them how to make origami paper boats when they were very little, and now at 10, the youngest is forever making Ninja Stars, Jumping Frogs and Paper cranes – and now his latest, the Traditional Paper Star.traditional paper star

For this lovely origami traditional Paper Star you need 14-15 square origami sheets, of various colours (we tried to persuade him to make them in Christmas colours, however, he is ‘his own man’ and went with these colours!) It literally only takes minutes to learn how to make this!

Fold each piece of paper to the long triangular shape, follow the youtube instructions linked here… demonstrated by the lovely Maggy from RedTedArt… and insert one into another until you join the first with the last to create this star shape – how lovely, we’ll be hanging this creation on the Christmas Tree next weekend!

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

 

FREE printables, halloween, key stage 2, kids

Halloween Pumpkin Paper Pom-Pom FREE printable

Pumpkin-Halloween-Pompom-Kids-ChaosHalloween-pumpkin-face-template-Kids-ChaosInspired by a *how to* video RedTedArt and myself made this week, we got a little bit seasonal and decided to turn our giant orange paper pom-pom into a PUMPKIN!
So here’s a halloween pumpkin FREE printable for you to download, print off and stick with a Pritt stick onto to the paper pom-pom – how cool is this! If you like this, you’ll like 11yo’s spin on it – with his FREE downloadable Witch’s face here.Witch and Pumpkin Halloween Pompoms

Really easy Pumpkin face – halloween pumpkin free printable, have a go by clicking here for our FREE downloadable template just print off, and cut out the shapes, in fact, print two, and use one as a template for your pumpkin this year too!!

step-1-4-make-a-paper-pom-pomclick here for FULL HOW TO instructions on making the paper pom-poms

12 simple steps – really easy to follow, our kids have been making them in ALL sorts of colours – we’ve even mixed up different shades of green here…
If you fancy having a go yourself click here.

Free printable Pumpkin face, just attach to giant paper pom-pom or use as a template to carve your pumpkin!

If you have a thing for giant paper pompoms, click here to see our crepe paper version, with raindrops!

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

crafts, create, education, key stage 2, kids

Papier Mache Disaster Meteorite

So, we decided to make some Papier-mâché hot air balloons… that’s how it started out, all good intentions.

So 7yo being the possibly more crafty of the two (yep, the 5yo is crafty in other ways, say no more) got stuck right in….

KidsChaos PaperMache age 7 bowl1) We made the glue: mixed one cup of flour, and two cups of water, and a teaspoon of cinammon (that way it smells nice too)

KidsChaos PaperMache newspaper age 72) We ripped the newspaper into strips

3) 7yo took off his brand new hoodie as he didn’t want to get it mucky

KidsChaos PaperMache planet age 7KidsChaos PaperMache disaster age 74) We pulled each strip through the ‘glue’ and let it drip back into the bowl (AND all over the garden too, much to SAHD’s delight)
5) We layered and layered until the balloon (Oh, I didn’t mention that bit did I? – blow up a balloon, and balance it on a bowl to stop it blowing or rolling away) was covered in paper mache.

Then we had to leave it to dry for a day (which is where 5yo lost interest, so I’d say stick with one layer if you’re not bothered about keeping the masterpiece for ever!)

KidsChaos PaperMache disaster meteorite age 7We learnt an important lesson here, on Day 2 when we went back to add another layer, 7yo’s balloon had shrivelled, but we layered on some more paper mache…. MISTAKE, with no balloon inside to hold it’s shape this happened…

Not to be out-witted by the wilted balloon, 7yo spun it round (phew, was waiting for a tantrum) and said he would make it into a meteorite – which is what he did! Job done…

Thanks to Maggy at RedTedArt for continuing to encourage us to ‘get crafty!’

For a more successful foray into papermache check out our post here on Paper mache seed pots – using the blender! and using pulp from cereal boxes … this time it worked!paper mache seedling pots

Follow Ali on twitter as @incredibusymum and twitter.com/MoreKidsChaos for more posts like this one… Erm, and funnily enough on Google+Facebook and Pinterest! Pop over to say hello x Like it? Pin it! and come say hello at instagram.com/incredibusy too x
Ali also writes over on AGreenerLifeforus.com