Monday, 21 August 2017

Having fun with stashed craft and activity kits

I've mentioned before when it comes to planning activities for the summer holidays that I store up craft and activity kits that the children have received for Christmas and birthday presents, and bring them out when I need to entertain them for a little while. We've had a lot of fun this summer working through some of them and so I thought that I'd share just a few of our favourites in case you are looking for activity or gift ideas!

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Mia received the Galt Toys Sparkle Jewellery Box for her birthday and she was really pleased with her finished jewellery box. The box comes with lots of numbered gaps on the outside for you to place corresponding jewel stickers, and it kept her occupied for ages sticking them into place. The one problem was that as soon as she had finished the stickers started falling off, causing some frustration. So I watered down some PVA glue and gave the entire box a couple of coats. This stuck the jewels down really well and we've not lost any since. It's a nice big case with a felt lining, perfect for all her little bits and pieces.

Activity and craft kits for children

Another birthday gift was a Make Your Own Lip Balm kit, which Harry also showed a lot of interest in. Making the lip balms was very simple, you just have to mix together a couple of spoonfuls of the lip balm base in a pot with some scent/flavouring. You place the pot into some hot water to melt it slightly so you can easily mix it together. The kit comes with four little tubs for your finished lip balm along with stickers to decorate. It's also a nice little gift to make for friends.

Activity and craft kits for children

Mia also really loved this My Fairy Garden Fairy Garden. She received two very similar ones for her birthday so we chose one to start with and one to save for later in the year. It's a really simple concept, and of course you can make your own, but it was so much more fun to have all the tiny fairy bits and pieces. You need to put your own compost in, then you sprinkle in grass seed and add other bits like a path of coloured stones, a little house, a pond and a washing line, and there are fairy and mouse figures too. We made it a couple of months ago and the grass is still growing well as long as it's regularly watered, I'm always having to give it a trim!

Activity kits for children

Harry had a lot of fun with this Galt Toys Horrible Science Creepy Crystals set which he bought for himself at a friend's garage sale. He loves science kits, and I have to say this was one of the better ones that we've tried.

The crystal making kit contains three different crystal making experiments. The first is a crystal tree, with a cardboard tree that you colour in and then leave in a solution. After a few days it is covered in little coloured crystals. The second one that we tried was the one in the picture, where a small crystal is left in a solution that you've dissolved powder into (as you can tell I'm not that scientific, I don't really know what we were doing!) and then the small crystal grew into a larger and more impressive crystal. The third experiment involved putting a crystal into vinegar for a week or so, to be honest it didn't do much so I'm not sure if we did it right, but it was fun setting it up!

Activity and craft kits for children

Harry also enjoyed this Science Tricks set from the Science Museum. There are some bits and pieces in the box and most of the other things that you need are easily found around the house (cocktail sticks and so on). He was able to work out some of the tricks by himself and put on a little show for us, and he also enjoyed adding to it with some of his other science kits and playing with syringes and funnels and so on.

Finally, there's one activity kit that the children have loved but I've been less impressed with. We've had a few different versions of the Gem Excavation kit over the last few years. It's a brilliant idea, but all the ones that we've had have turned into 'parents extracting the gems' kits after the children have tapped away ineffectually for a few minutes and then got bored.

They are a great idea in practice - some kind of plaster of Paris block with gems embedded in for children to excavate with the tools provided. However they aren't easy to get into, and the last one I got so cross with that I encouraged the children to throw lumps at the patio to try and shatter it and release the gems. This caused the gems to go flying in all directions and get lost in the grass. Far too annoying, just buy a pack of gemstones! If you want any kind of excavation kit, we did get on quite well with this Dinosaur excavation kit which produced a really nice dinosaur model that could be putt together and was a bit more exciting to excavate.



Amazon links are affiliate. These are all kits that we've been given as gifts or purchased and that I particularly wanted to recommend as I was so pleased with them, I know that I'm always looking for gift ideas when it comes to birthday parties!

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