Here’s a very simple stick craft we’ve been doing this week… great shadow puppets inspired by Chinese New Year:
You’ll need some sticks (!) from the garden, or as we do, collected on weekend walks by small children. Some black card, sellotape, a pencil, scissors and some ‘brads’ (the pins with bendy legs, I never remember what their name is!) Oh, and some coloured tissue paper or sweet wrappers. AND a torch if you fancy doing a shadow puppet show!
We drew the dragon ‘pieces’ out onto the black card – cut them out, and joined them together with the brads (we used a bit of plasticine behind the card, and pushed a pencil through to make the hole for the brad).
Attach the sticks with tape at the back and you’re ready to go! You’ll need a couple of characters for the shadow puppet show – standing behind a large white sheet – we dimmed the lights, shone the torch and tried them out. We made up some short stories for our characters and put on a fun silhouette show!!
What’s your favourite cake in your house? Ours has to be lemon drizzle cake…
we’ve have the recipe scribbled down on a piece of paper, shoved in the cake section of Delia’s cookbook, for years… Quite fortunate it’s our favourite cake really, as we sort of OVER-ORDERED the lemons on our Ocado delivery on Friday, and ended up with 12 lemons, yes, TWELVE lemons… oops!
So we wanted to share the recipe with you, and tbh, it makes it easier to find if we write it up on KidsChaos, as we just google ourselves ‘ kids chaos lemon drizzle’… 🙂
Admittedly this recipe doesn’t use all twelve lemons, however we make two lemon drizzle cakes at the same time as it disappears pretty quickly here, and we like to have it in our packed lunches in the week, in place of shop-bought snack bars (so just half the quantities if you only have a 1 litre loaf tin)
Lemon Drizzle Cake Ingredients:
350g caster sugar
350g butter, softened
4 unwaxed lemons
200g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
A drop or two of milk
200g demerara sugar
Lemon Drizzle Cake Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two loaf tins with greaseproof paper. Beat together the caster sugar, butter, and the finely grated zest of two lemons until light and fluffy. Add a pinch of salt and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
2. Sieve the flour and fold in, then add the ground almonds (not essential, particularly if anyone has a nut allergy!). Add a tiny amount of milk to ensure the mixture has a dropping consistency, then pour into your lined tins. Bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes, until your knife pulls out dry when you test it. Leave it in the tin for now….
3. Mix together the lemon zest, and juice of the lemons with your demerara sugar, then prod holes all over the top of the lemon drizzle cakes and pour over the lemon drizzle, so that it runs into all of the little holes.
4. Allow the lemon drizzle cakes to cool in the loaf tins before turning out.
Creating a playroom can be a great way to help create a space in your home for your children to enjoy their toys and activities. There are a few ways to help ensure you and your children get the most out of the playroom you create. To help you get started, we’ve put together the following tips and inspiration for designing the perfect playroom that’s both functional and stylish.
Adding Customizable Features
Incorporating customised features in the design and decoration of your playroom can help to make your children feel more like the space is really theirs. This not only helps them to enjoy it more but also can create a sense of responsibility, which can help when it comes to dealing with problems such as tidying up and maintaining the space. Consider elements such as customized wall murals, or customized neon wall signs from Echo Neon to combine customised art and lighting in one.
You can customize using your kid’s names, or a phrase or song lyric that has meaning to you and your family, for example.
Effective Storage Solutions
It can be very easy for playrooms to end up looking chaotic and messy without the right kind of storage solutions to help keep toys organized and neat. Think carefully about the right kind of storage solutions that would work for the space you are creating the playroom in. For example, wall-mounted storage solutions, or integrated storage design such as benches or fold-away tables spaces. Consider which items you might want to have out on display or which ones you want to have stored away out of sight when they’re not being used.
Involve your Kid’s Input in the Design
Where possible, it’s a good idea to try and incorporate your kids in the design of the playroom to help make sure they are able to enjoy it as much as possible and be proud of their space. Allowing their input can help the playroom to reflect their personalities and interests, and provide them with the opportunity to be creative and problem solve. You can ask for their opinions on aspects such as color schemes, design themes, and different areas in the playroom such as arts and crafts or music zones that reflect their interests.
Using A Theme
Basing the playroom on a theme is a great idea to help create a room that incorporates the personality and interests of your little ones. It also helps to create cohesion when adding different design elements to your plans. Some great ideas for themed playrooms include designs such as under the sea, wildlife safari, or a favourite film or character. You can find inspiration for themed playrooms online and helpful design elements to make them work. Adding elements such as wall murals can help incorporate the theme and can either be completed by hiring a local artist or by yourself if you’re blessed with artistic skills.
Creating zones within a playroom can help to make the space work more effectively and keep toys organized and easy to find. Using furniture can help to section off different zones and can double up as storage space such as bookshelves or toy box storage.
Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists annually. These visitors flock to the city due to its stunning natural beauty, cultural attractions, and commitment to sustainability. If you’re planning a family trip to this picturesque city, you’ll be delighted to discover that Helsinki offers a wide range of kid-friendly eco-tours and nature excursions. These activities not only provide valuable outdoor experiences but also instill a love for the environment in your children while making a positive impact on our planet (and their health).
From lovely national parks to picking mushrooms to forest bathing, it’s not hard to find something to do with kids here that’s both fun and ecologically responsible. You should plan to rely on public transportation and walking to get around Helsinki to minimize your carbon footprint. And with all the exploring you’re bound to be doing, it’s a good idea to have a plan for your bags. Drop them off with a Bounce luggage storage service in Helsinki and get to wandering.
Nuuksio National Park: A wilderness adventure
A world-class wilderness escape is a mere 40-minute drive from the city center. Nuuksio National Park is home to tranquil lakes, lush forests, and diverse wildlife, so the kids definitely won’t get bored here.
To add a little structure to your visit, Nuuksio offers various eco-tours and activities designed for children, such as guided forest walks, wildlife spotting, and even wilderness camping experiences.
While exploring Nuuksio, your children can learn about the local ecosystem and the importance of preserving it. The park’s emphasis on sustainable practices, such as waste reduction and recycling, sets an excellent example for young environmentalists.
Finnish Nature Centre Haltia
On the doorstep of Nuuksio National Park, you’ll find the Finnish Nature Centre Haltia, which will provide the whole family with information about Finland’s National Parks. With a focus on experiencing nature using all five senses, this centre also hosts events and workshops regularly.
Learn about the various flora and fauna of the park and the wider region, as well as talks about moving in nature, outdoor adventure skills, and even join a guided tour of the adjacent park.
One of the most striking features of the nature centre is the building itself. Built entirely of wood (except for the windows, obviously), the rounded walls, glass-edged terrace, and well-maintained landscaping are enough to draw you in.
But it gets even better than that from an eco-tourism perspective. The building was designed to require minimal lighting, cooling, and heating. They achieved this by paying close attention to window placement, the building’s orientation, and the structure’s shape. Additionally, to keep the carbon footprint low, Haltia uses solar energy from panels and geothermal energy from the soil to cool and heat the building.
Lammassaari Island, situated in northeastern Helsinki, is a haven for bird-watching enthusiasts and families who appreciate unspoiled nature. The island is only reachable over a 1.2 km-long trail made of wooden duckboards that travel over the marshes. Here, you and the kids can get to know the local bird population from the various bird-watching platforms, hides, and viewpoints. Spring and fall are the best times to view the collection of migrating birds.
Lammassaari promotes a “leave no trace” philosophy, so it’s a good lesson about protecting the local wildlife and vegetation.
The name translates to Sheep Island, although don’t get the kids’ hopes up as this island doesn’t have any sheep. You’ll have to travel to nearby Kuusiluoto Island to see them, and even then, it’s only in the summer.
Linnanmäki Amusement Park
We know, an amusement park doesn’t exactly scream eco-friendly and sustainable. But this one is different. Linnanmäki Amusement Park demonstrates a real commitment to the environment in a few ways. First, they have vegan items on the menus of every snack stand and restaurant in the park. Second, in 2023, the rides were powered exclusively using wind energy. And lastly, the park’s indoor locations use renewable district heating to keep things toasty warm.
Now for the fun part: the rides. Linnanmäki has over 50 rides alone, which should please kids of most ages. As for the games, there are more than 15 different varieties. And to combat waste, if you win a prize and don’t want to take it home with you, you can exchange it for an edible treat instead.
Another way that this amusement park is different is that The Children’s Day Foundation manages and maintains it. Through the money raised at the amusement park, this organization has pledged about €120 million to child welfare.
The park is open during the summer and periodically throughout the year, so check if it’s open before you arrive.
For a unique and eco-friendly experience, consider a visit to Sompasauna. This community sauna near the city center is heated by wood and fueled by community contributions. Kids and adults are expected to help keep the saunas clean, get water, or even saw wood. Since the community runs it, there is no fee for a session, and it’s always open. If you have young children, you may need to give this one a pass, though. Some experts recommend saunas only for kids aged six or older.
Saunas are a way of life in Helsinki, and this is a perfect place to relax while appreciating Helsinki’s strong sauna culture. Surrounding the sauna, you’ll find a relaxed outdoor area with a DIY spirit, including art installations and a communal garden. It’s an excellent place for families to connect with locals and learn about sustainable, community-driven projects.
Helsinki’s commitment to sustainability and preserving its natural beauty make it an ideal destination for families looking to impart eco-conscious values to their children. By exploring Helsinki’s green areas, eco-friendly businesses, and even a sauna or two, your children can learn to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and understand the importance of protecting it for future generations.
Fairy Tale crafts – taking inspiration from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves we decided to upcycle a charity shop mirror and create the famous Mirror Mirror on the Wall….
This was a fabulous team effort, and my son now proudly has this Fairy Tale Craft beauty hanging on the wall in his bedroom.
You will need:
Old sheets of newspaper
Stronger glue, (I recommend a glue gun!)
1) Roll the newspaper sheet diagonally from the corner, using the cocktail stick to get you started, so that the roll is nice and tight. When the cocktail stick starts to disappear inside the paper, gently pull it out, and continue to tightly roll the newspaper to create a long ‘stick’ – the first of MANY!
2) Flatten the ‘stick’ using a hard surface.
3) Taking your cocktail stick, start to roll the flattened ‘stick’ into a tight spiral, securing it with glue as you get to the end of the spiral.
4) When you have enough of these spirals, you can start to build up the pattern around the mirror – we found that the glue gun was the best tool for this!
You could also spray paint the spirals, however we like the newspaper spirals in their natural form!
Ali also blogs over on incredibusy.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello! And I’ll be adding this to Lizzie’s#MagpieMonday as I love to salvage, upcycle and re-use stuff!
As a busy parent, it can feel like you’re constantly spending money. From the weekly shop and clothes, to extracurricular activities and school supplies, it can be hard to save money. But it doesn’t have to be impossible. With a few simple strategies and tips, you can learn how to save money as a busy parent.
You can make life easier and still get what you need for yourself and your family. From cutting costs on everyday items to finding ways to save on your monthly expenses, there are plenty of ways to trim your budget and put some money away for a rainy day. So, ifc v;laZ you’re looking for ways to save money as a busy parent, here are some tips that can help.
Create a Budget and stick to it
A budget is the key to saving money. There’s no way to get around it. If you don’t know how much you’re spending or where your money is going, you won’t be able to save. You’ll also have no idea where you can cut back and adjust your spending if you need to. It’s not as difficult as you might think to create a budget, either. You just have to be willing to put in a little time and effort up front to make sure you have everything laid out and recorded. For most people, the hardest part of the budget comes at the beginning when you’re trying to track everything. Find a method that works best for you. Some people like to use paper and pencil; others prefer to use an app. Whatever method you choose, make sure you’re consistent and thorough.
Get Better Deals With Local Car Insurance Brokers
Car insurance can be a costly expense, especially for families with multiple drivers.
If you stick with the same insurance company year after year, you’re likely overpaying. In fact, many people who have maintained continuous coverage with the same company don’t even realise they could be getting a better deal by shopping around and comparing rates with other insurance providers. If you’re looking for ways to save money as a busy parent, you may want to consider switching to a local car insurance broker. Insurance companies like these often provide cheaper rates than what you may be able to get through your current insurer. You can find local brokers by searching online for “car insurance near me”, or you can check out this comparison site that compares the top car insurance brokers in your area.
Some things are best purchased new, but others are better off second-hand. For example, kids grow out of clothes quickly. Instead of spending money on new clothes all the time, consider buying them used. Kids’ clothes often look brand new when they’ve been outgrown, and they can be found for a fraction of the cost.
You can also sell clothes your kids have outgrown, too, to help offset the cost of buying them second-hand. You can find used toys and other items at charity shops and online marketplaces, too.
This post is written in association with Quote Zone.
Is there anything more thrilling than a skiing trip?
There’s an undeniable romance in the idea of spending the day cruising snowy slopes on lofty Alpine peaks, before retreating to warmth and comfort of a log cabin and settling in beside a roaring fire. That sounds perfect, right? For many, it truly is. However, the mountains can be dangerous places.
Conditions can be unpredictable and often extreme. Not only can this pose obvious dangers to a skier’s health and wellbeing, but the weather can also affect the quality of the skiing itself. You could be forgiven for thinking that all snow is the same and is fine for skiing either way. We’ve put together a guide to help dispel some of those myths. Keep reading to find out more.
Different types of snow
Snow can come in all kinds of different forms. From soft powdery snow to hard icy snow, to slushy, wet snow. The type of snow you encounter on the slopes can have a significant impact on your skiing experience. If you asked an experienced skier, chances are that they would tell you that powdered snow is the best kind for skiing. Powdered snow is freshly fallen, untouched snow that offers a silky-smooth skiing surface. Powdered snow is preferred by experienced skiers as it allows them to generate speed quickly and easily, while its soft surface allows for more dexterous turns and fancy tricks. Beginners may also prefer to ski on powdered snow, it’s soft enough to act as a cushion if they were to fall. Powdered snow that has seen a lot of traffic can turn hard and tough, this is known as packed snow. This might not be as enjoyable to ski on as powdered snow, but its strength and solidity can make for a more stable skiing surface. It can be difficult to predict what kind of snow awaits you on the slopes. However, using a weather forecast platform like Piste Pro can give you an idea of how much snowfall is set to hit your destination of choice. Make sure to check it out before you set off on your trip.
Obviously, it needs to be cold to snow. You don’t need to worry about that, you can be rest assured that it will be cold up on the mountains. However, particular temperature ranges can have an affect on skiing conditions, so it’s worth knowing what to expect. Most experienced skiers report that the best temperature for skiing lies somewhere between -7 and -1 degrees Celsius. In this range, the snow will remain firm enough to ski on without melting or turning soft, while it will still be warm enough to enjoy a day’s skiing provided you are wearing the appropriate clothing. Any colder and you could be in for a difficult time on the slopes. Clothes can only do so much, at low enough temperatures you’ll still feel the cold, and being out in these conditions too long can lead to serious consequences, such as frostbite.
Visibility is crucial on a skiing trip. You’ll often be travelling at high speeds through treacherous terrain, being able to see where you are going is vital to avoid obstacles and other skiers. The sun can often affect visibility, reflecting off the whiteness of the snow and causing glare. Low cloud and fog can reduce visibility as well and make for dangerous conditions.
A skiing holiday can be an incredible experience. However, poor weather conditions can often turn a dream holiday into a perilous situation. Ensure you know what to expect and that you are aware of how the weather can affect skiing conditions.
This post is written in association with Piste Pro.
We have always been big ‘bird’ fans (no, not BIGBird, as in the Sesame Street character, although that has always quite amused…) – As a child we fed the birds in the garden at home, with various bird houses, structures and fat and seed balls, watching to see if the naughty squirrels had somehow managed to nab the grub before the bluetits could get to it!
So we wanted to share this easy birdfeeder with you –
you will need:
half an orange
some peanut butter
some bird seed…
string – (we love the baker’s twine!)
Scoop out the content of the orange (we have a smoothie every day, so we added the orange to that).
Spread some peanut butter into the orange skin, and add the seeds.
Pierce holes in the side of the orange skin ‘cup’ – actually do this BEFORE you add the peanut butter and seeds!