Valentine’s craft

Do you have a little peach you’d like to surprise this Valentine’s Day? This sweet and easy DIY from The Sweetest Occasion is a real delight. Made with strips of crepe paper and filled with whatever little treats you want to put in, they are almost as much fun to create as they are to receive.

There are all kinds of little objects you can surprise your little ones with, such as small animal figurines, nail polish, buttons, balloons, wooden fruit, small wooden or tin vehicles, marbles, tops, finger puppets, and mini decks of playing cards. You can cut your own strips from larger sheets of folded crepe paper, or simply cut crepe paper streamers in half.

Once you’ve assembled your treats and crepe paper, simply choose a larger object to start off the ball, and start wrapping it with crepe paper strips until it starts to be more rounded. Once the Prize Ball is started, add in more treats and treasures as you go, layering paper in between. Switch crepe paper colours if you want a rainbow effect, or just stick with one. Finish it off with a sticker or two or some ribbon to keep it all together, and give it to your favorite little person to gleefully unwrap.

All photos by The Sweetest Occasion. Check out the full tutorial here.

how to make you own snow globe

Bring the snow inside with these adorable home-made snow globes! Use recycled jars and small toys to make these festive decorations.

You’ll need:

•A few jars with well-fitting lids
•Little animal figurines
•Craft glitter (we used a combination of iridescent and silver)
•Strong water-proof epoxy
•A couple drops of clear corn syrup or glycerine

To start, glue the animal you want in your snow globe to the inside of the lids. Once the glue completely dries, fill the jar as full as possible with water, careful not to overflow, and add a healthy scoop of glitter. Add a couple drops of either corn syrup or glycerine to thicken the water and help the glitter swirl around better. Screw on the lid tightly, flip over, and enjoy a wintery snowstorm whenever you want!

DIY Christmas crackers

Holiday crackers are a classic holiday-time treat! Here’s an easy way to make your own personalized holiday crackers, perfect for keeping everyone entertained, no matter their age.
You’ll need:

•A square 9 1/2” x 9 1/2” piece of wrapping paper
•16” lengths of ribbon (at least two per cracker)
•2 toilet paper rolls or a leftover wrapping paper roll, cut into two identical pieces.
•Stickers and ribbon and paper to decorate the crackers.
•Little toys, stickers, paper hats, or jokes to put inside the crackers.

To start, take the two cardboard rolls. Cut one on half. The larger roll will hold your treats securely inside the cracker; the two smaller pieces will be used as spacers to hold the cracker in shape while you are making it.

Place the pieces of cardboard on the paper, aligning them with one edge of your square. Tape (or if you wish, glue) the edge of the paper to the large middle roll. Slowly roll the paper around the cardboard, and secure the paper once it’s all rolled up (you can use tape or glue).

Tie ribbon around one side of the cracker, as close to the edge of the tube as possible. Now, fill it up! We used bouncy balls, Japanese erasers, marbles, stickers, little cars, and Schleich animal figurines. You can also include home-made paper hats, or some holiday jokes (All For The Boys has some sweet little holiday jokes that you can print out!

Once the cracker is all filled up, tie the other side tight, and remove the two smaller spacing tubes. If you want, you can hunt down cracker “snaps” at craft stores, to make that signature cracking noise when you pull them apart. Now just wait for the perfect moment to break these out!

great indoor play idea!

With fall showers comes more time indoors. What better way to spend an afternoon than making your own township with roads, rivers, railways and more! You don’t need much – either a roll of butcher paper or some cardboard, markers and toy cars, people and animals to move around your finished map.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon!

First image via tokketok

Second image via Sew Tara

more silly food art that you can do too!

Everyone had so much fun with our post on super silly food art that we had to share this with you as well. One of our newest books at Dilly Dally is this hilarious picture book, “Food for Thought” by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. It’s full of amazing photographs of food come to life. All it takes is a good eye for interesting faces lurking in your everyday fruits and veggies, a little imagination, a small knife and some black eyed peas (they make perfect eyes!).

We love this book – it’s funny and so creative. We also love that it’s art we can all try out, much like carving a pumpkin at Halloween. It’s also a great way to get kids more in tune with food and all its natural variations as they look closely for interesting shapes to work with. Looking for an odd shaped pepper is a neat activity to try out at your local farmers market or grocery store. Fun!

First two photos are taken from “Food for Thought” by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. The last two photos are via The Family Kitchen

arrr! DIY pirate treasure

Shiver me timbers! Feast your eyes on shiny, do it yourself pirate treasure. Captain Hullabaloo was, as usual, looking for treasure when he happened upon a large pile of pennies. He was so excited he spilled his grog all over himself, but he didn’t much mind since he is a pirate after all.

He is a picky pirate when it comes to treasure, and though he was elated about his find, he couldn’t help but notice the coins were not very shiny. Not so impressive looking!

So, he employed an age old coin shining technique to shiny up those pennies. He washed the coins and then soaked them overnight in white vinegar and a bit of salt. In the morning, he rinsed the coins, rubbing them as he rinsed. And lo and behold! Did his booty ever gleam!

He’s much happier with his shiny treasure. If you have a little pirate in your life, use Captain Hullabaloo’s secret recipe to make shiny pirate treasure to use at playtime.

Yo ho ho!

Bubble Craft

Bubbles are one of the best things about sunny days! Blowing soap bubbles has been a pastime for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the 1940s, when bottles of bubble solution were first sold as a toy, that it took off as a childhood pastime. One of the great things about bubbles are the multitudes of things laying around the house that can be adapted into excellent bubble-blowing devices. Here are some of our favorite ideas for creating bubble wands that you can make yourself!

Chenille pipe cleaners make great bubble wands. Simply bend the wire stems into any shape you can think of, then dip them into some bubble solution. The chenille absorbs the soap, making nice, big bubbles.

If you are interested in making large bubbles, then this next one is the bubble wand for you. You’ll need a few supplies: two 2 ft/60 cm long wooden dowels, a ball or two of bright yarn, and white glue. (You might need to cut down a larger dowel, to get it to be the right size.)

Tie the yarn about 1/3 of the length down from the top of the dowel, and wrap the yarn around the dowel until you reach the top. You can spread glue over the dowel as you wrap it, to make the yarn extra-secure. Once you reach the top, tie the yarn off and repeat with the second dowel.

Tie a piece of yarn, about 1 1/2 feet long, across the top of the two dowels. Tie a second piece, about 3 feet long, just below the first string. When you are holding the bubble wand out, the strings should form a “D” shape.

Dip your new bubble wand into some bubble solution, hold one dowel in each hand, and go! The wand can be a bit tricky at first, but just experiment- you’ll be making giant bubbles in no time.

Lots of things around the house can be used as creative bubble wands- try using house keys, rubber bands, and even hula hoops! What’s your favorite way to blow bubbles?

marble games

Marbles! So fun, so great to collect, so many games to play! Here are a couple of our favourite marble activities. Note: it’s best to shoot marbles in the sand, dirt or on carpet. These surfaces slow the marbles down. Marbles tend to go too fast on hardwood or tile!

1. Good old Ringer. This is a classic game for any number of players. Draw a circle in the sand, in the dirt or make a ring with string on carpet. The circle should be anywhere from 3 ft to 6 feet across – the larger the circle, the harder the game will be. Each player puts an agreed upon amount of marbles inside the ring. Players take turns shooting at the marbles in the ring with a shooter marble. A player can shoot their marble from anywhere on the circle’s edge. The object is to bump a marble outside the circle. The player gets to keep each marble they knock out of the ring and gets to go again until he/she misses. Continue taking turns until all the marbles have been shot out of the circle. The player with the most marbles wins the game. Players should decide in advance if they are playing for keeps or will return each others marbles at the end of the game!

2. Marble Toss game. For this, you’ll need an egg carton and a marker. Write “15” in the bottom of one egg section, “10” in two sections, “5” in three sections, and “1” in the remaining six sections. If playing indoors, place the egg carton on a carpeted area, rug or lay a towel down to absorb the shock of the bouncing marbles.  Each player tosses an agreed upon number of marbles into the egg carton from about 5 feet away.  Adjust the distance depending on the skill of the players. Each player tosses their marbles, one at a time, into the egg carton and then adds up their score. The player with the most points is the winner!  Image and game rules via TLC Family

3. Marble arch game. For this, you’ll need either a wooden marble arch or you can make one yourself out of any cardboard you have lying around. Each player shoots an agreed upon number of marbles through the arches. The player collects the points of the arch they shoot their marble through. The player with the most points wins!

There are a lot of ways you can make the arch. You can make the arches bigger or smaller depending on the skill of the shooter, and you can assign any point numbers above the arches. For older children, use larger numbers that are more difficult to add or even fractions for more of a challenge. It’s up to you! You can also decorate the arch with any number of materials: crayons, paints, stickers, markers and so on. The arches can be monsters’ mouths or train tunnels or anything else you can imagine.

Here’s how we made our arch:

We used regular cardboard, a ruler to evenly space the arches, scissors, glue, paints and a black marker. First, draw the shape of the arch board on cardboard and cut it out. Then, space out and draw five arches and cut those out.

Now make some feet for the arch board to stand up on. Cut out two triangular feet (like picture frame stands) with tabs and glue to the back of the arch board so it will stand up. Wait for the glue to dry before decorating.

Now the fun part! Decorate however you wish. Paint, colour, draw, use stickers – whatever you fancy!

Number each arch with a point amount with a marker. You’re ready to play!

If you have any favourite marble games you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!

DIY valentine’s paper heart pouches

Super cute and very easy to make, these little Valentine’s pouches are a great way to present small treats to your Valentine.

All you need is paper, scissors, a hole punch, yarn, tape, crayons or markers and small treats to tuck into your finished pocket. We put a little flip book and stickers in ours, but you could use small candies, a little love note or anything else you can think of.

Cut out two paper hearts of the same size, about 3 to 4 inches square. Next, punch 8 to 10 holes around the outside of the paper hearts, matching the holes up on either side. Cut a piece of yarn to your desired length and wrap a small piece of tape around on end. This will make it easier to thread the yarn through the holes.

Thread the yarn through the first hole at the top of the heart and tie a knot to secure the yarn in place while you thread through the rest of the holes. Thread through all of the holes. Once you’ve worked your way around, tie the two ends of the yarn together to form a loop. Now you can hang the little heart pocket on a hook or door knob. Write a little message or draw something lovely on your heart pocket with crayons or markers. Fill with any little treats you desire.

That’s it! Check out Craft for more detailed instructions and pretty pictures of other paper heart pockets.

Via Craft

the wonders of paper hats

Fun, easy to make and cute as a button – we really just love paper hats! One of the best ways to use old newspapers since fish and chips, paper hats take just a couple minutes to make and add so many possibilities to playtime.

Start with a rectangle of paper and fold it in half. Then…

Some of our favourite things to do with them are:

  • making little matching hats for a favourite stuffed animal or doll
  • using coloured paper – black makes a nice pirate hat and red a perfect prince
  • decorating a hat made of plain paper with pencil crayons or paints
  • stapling or gluing on a couple paper flowers, cut out graphics or even real flowers

Great for the young at heart too!

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