zondag 8 december 2019

DIY Advent calendar

We started the countdown to Christmas after the Dutch fest Sinterklaas on the 5th of December. It's so nice to tick down the days together! We decided to make a Christmas tree Advent calendar. In just a few steps you can create your own.

With just some cardboard, green and yellow paper, some decoration materials like red hearts or glitters, yellow paint, a cork, glue, double sided tape and colouring pens, you are ready to build and decorate your Christmas Advent tree!

Cut out three Christmas shapes. One from a thick piece of cardboard, another from a thin piece of cardboard and finally one from green paper. Glue or use double sided tape to stick the three pieces together. The thick piece at the back, the thin piece in the middle and the green paper at the front. Don’t forget to keep some left over cardboard. At the end you can use this to make a backing, so your tree will stand firmly.

Write down the numbers till Christmas Eve on a yellow paper. Draw a little Christmas tree and glue it on the green paper as well. Depending on the age of your child, he can do it himself. 
Now it's time to decorate the tree with yellow paint and shiny red hearts, glitters or whatever your kid likes. Let your child create dots by dipping the cork in the yellow paint and stamping it on the tree. Stick the hearts on the dots when they are still wet. Let everything dry and attach the cardboard backing with doubled sided tape as final element. Now it's time to countdown the days to Christmas! Let your kid scratch a number every evening before bedtime. Don't forget to undertake some fun Christmas activities together during the countdown period.

My nanny kid loved this activity so much! So we decided to make a Christmas card with kind of the same idea for her grandparents (see picture below).

Do you fancy to make a countdown Sinterklaas calendar as well next year? Save this post with a free download for next year!

maandag 25 november 2019

Toadstool cookies

In my previous post I promised to share a healthy 3D toadstool cookie recipe and here it is! Many thanks to my sweet sister for sharing this autumn recipe with me. She made 35 toadstool cookies with my little nephew as a school birthday treat and all his classmates loved it!

2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 medium size eggs
150 g oats
1 tsp baking powder
50 g spelt or almond flour
3 tbsp of liquid honey
1 tsp cinnamon
40 g raw pecans
40 g raw hazelnuts
75 g raisins

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Put all the ingredients in a food processor and whiz up until smooth. Scoop a little bit of the mix onto a lined baking tray and create a shape of a toadstool as shown on the pictures below. Repeat till nothing of the mix is left. Pop in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

zondag 17 november 2019

Paper plate toadstool

"Look how big that toadstool is! Is that someone's home?" That was where our conversation about gnomes started and our craft was born ;-) In this post I will show you how a child can easily make a toadstool himself.

Prepare paint supplies and the materials shown below.

Let your child paint the cardboard cup and the paper plate, while you cut some circles from the cottons. When your child has finished painting, let him put the cotton rounds on the roof of the toadstool. Do this while the paint is still wet, because then it will stick well.

When the paint is dry, you can pierce a hole in the middle of the roof (plate) and the stem (the cup) with a wooden skewer. Attach the parts to each other with a paper fastener and your toadstool is ready for his new gnome resident. If your kid doesn't have a wooden gnome to play with, check this tutorial to make one of a paper roll.

Paper roll gnomes - Repeat crafter me
Can't get enough of making toadstools? In my next post I will share a healthy 3D toadstool cookie recipe :-)

maandag 4 november 2019

Sint Maarten paper lantern

I work for a Dutch family in the Netherlands at the moment and my oldest nanny kid made a paper lantern for St. Martin's Day (Sint Maarten). It's a popular children's feast day in many parts of the Netherlands. On the 11th of November, armed with a hand-crafted lantern, children go door to door singing Sint Maarten songs. As a reward, they receive candy or fruit in return. 
Saint Martin is regarded as a friend of the children and patron of the poor in the Catholic tradition. If you are interested to read more about this topic, visit the website Finding Dutchland

To make a lantern you need the following items: 
Parchment paper
Glue or double sided tape
Cardboard strips in a colour of your licking
 Plastic bottle 
Light stick

Start with cutting off the top of a plastic bottle. Next you wrap the parchment paper around the bottle to determine the amount you need. Cut of the right amount of paper in the length and height and let your child colour this with crayons. When your kid is finished with the drawing, attach the cardboard strips on the top and bottom with glue or double sided tape. 

Glue or tape the ends of the cardboard strips together around the plastic bottle to create a lantern. Use a hole puncher to make two holes in the lantern. String a ribbon through the holes and attach a lantern stick like this. Now your kids are ready to collect some serious candy :-)

On the photo bellow you can see the lantern my nanny kid has made. On the right you see a tea light. You can make one with exact the same materials except for the ribbon. You also have to swap the bottle for a glass jar because of potential fire risk.

After we made the lantern we practiced Sint Maarten songs and before the activity we read the book Sint Maarten en het beertje. It's such an adorable story! The children's book is written in Dutch and you can watch the story in the video bellow. 

zondag 27 oktober 2019

Toilet paper roll bat

Nananananananananananana Batman :-) Aren't these bats adorable? They are quick and easy to make with some empty toilet paper rolls, black paint, googly eyes, white foam/paper and glue.

Print or draw bat wings (see free printable link below). 

Bat wings template pdf one little project

Paint the wings and toilet rolls black and let them dry.


When the bat bodies are dry, attach the googly eyes with glue and make the teeth. I used white foam with a sticky side on the back, but a white paper and some glue will also do. The bats on top of my page are made by a preschooler. The ones below are a creation of the toddlers I work with.

We decided to make a baby bat finger puppet as well and created a whole bat family:-)

zondag 20 oktober 2019

DIY felt kite

Not only children enjoy doing crafts, as their nanny I highly enjoy this as well :-) I made this sweet little kite for the young children I work with, and they love it. If your children are older, they can easily make a kite themselves! 

Use two rhombus shapes of felt and sew them together. Use a different colour for the back if you like or let your kids choose any colour of their liking. I have used a blanket stitch (watch this tutorial), but it's not necessary. Before you stitch up the two parts, make sure you place a tail. In this case you can hide it between the two parts.
To personalize the kite, you can glue or sew a figure on the rhombus. I have chosen for a sweet smiley cloud and just attached it with some glue. If you prefer sewing, it's important to do this on a single rhombus and attached the other one after you are finished. 

Feel free to use my kite pattern below (see the link).

PDF kite

Depending on the age of the kids, you can decide to make a "real" kite instead of my little felt one. Follow the steps of the Westfield tutorial and your design kite is ready to fly. 

There are lots of books you can read together with the children that suit the theme. Look for an overview on Growing Book By Book. Or what about singing this five little kites song together? 

zondag 6 oktober 2019

Chestnut spider web & spider

Do you know what I like the most about autumn? All the materials you can collect in nature and use for crafts with your kids. 

What about making a spider and his web? Go outside to look for chestnuts and pick a rainy day to make this autumn craft. 

There are several ways to make a spider. Be creative with the materials that are available. I got inspired by RedTedArt. With just a pair of googly eyes and pipe cleaners, your kid can create his own spider. As you know spiders have 8 legs. Unfortunately our legs were a bit big, so we could only make four. Therefor we decided our spider has to live with just 4 legs :-) Would you fancy to make a spider web as well? You can find a description on the same website!

As addition to the activity you can educate your kids about spiders by telling stories, looking for webs in the woods or your own backyard. 

I drew a spider for my nanny kids and wrote the word "spin" (spider in Dutch) above it. He looks a bit grumpy, but he was not able to catch a fly in his web today ;-)