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 ISSUE 01   •   16  JULY 2006  


1. Editorial: Boost your odds with craft!
2. MAKE: a bee mobile
3. MAKE: a pair of bee-noculars
4. COOK: some honey joys
5. MORE: bee ideas

1. Editorial: Boost your odds with craft!

Kids are great at reminding us that we no longer have the same level of control over our own lives as we used to.

But parents are cunning.

Even though we have remarkably little say over whether any given day turns into a good one or a bad one, we all soon learn our own little tricks to boost our odds.

I've got several, most of which involve food, but by far the most popular odds-boosting activty at our house is craft. This is really very fortunate as one of my
favourite things in the whole world is crafting with the kids.

I also love coming up with new ideas for things to make and the uber-organised mini career woman in me gets an inordinate amount of satisfaction from grouping together our weekly activities under a particular theme. The kids enjoy the focus and continuity of doing it this way and truthfully, the challenge helps to keep me sane.

The idea behind this newsletter is to share our activities with other parents of toddlers and preschoolers. I suppose you could say I'm an evangelist for craft!

From one parent to another, I hope that these particular activities boost your odds to the same extent as they do mine!

So please, cross your fingers, enjoy yourself, let me know how you get on, send in your photos and feedback and tell your friends.

If you haven't done much crafting before now you might find it useful to read my first three articles on the kids craft weekly website:

•  Essential tips for crafting with kids
•  How to put together a useful useful box
•  How to get great milage from a weekly theme.

Happy crafting and see you next week!

Amber Carvan

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2. MAKE: a bee mobile


These colourful bees look great in direct light – we have our mobile hanging underneath the lightshade in the kid's bedroom.

Preschoolers will get satisfaction from testing their fine motor skills while toddlers may be suitably challenged by working on a single bee.

You will need:
- An old wire coathanger
- Thin ribbon or string
- Paddlepop sticks
- Kid's pvc glue and brush
- Cardboard
- Textas or crayons
- Cellophane
- Pipecleaners
- Sticky tape

Start with the plump bee bodies. Cut out six ovals (about 5cm long) from a piece of cardboard and have your little one decorate them with stripes and colour. We also used some groovy holographic sticker paper which is great if you can find it. When the stripes are done, glue each of the ovals, lengthwise, to each of the paddlepop sticks.

To make the bee's wings, cut cellophane into rectangles (about 10cm long) and have your little one twist each of the rectangles in the centre. Then tape the wings onto the bodies.

Make some little antennae using segmets of pipecleaners folded in half to form a V and tape them to the top of the paddlepop sticks.

Tape pieces of string to the centre of each of the bees and then tie them, at even intervals, to a wire coathanger that has been bent to form a circle and voila!

3. MAKE: a pair of 'bee-noculars'

This different take on an old favourite is popular with toddlers and preschoolers alike. I've found that it works most successfully if you provide plenty of paraphenalia for extravagant decorating.

You will need:
- Two cardboard rolls of equal length
- Some strong 'adults only' glue
- A wooden clothes peg
- Some cellophane
- Textas
- Paraphenalia for decorating (ribbon, lace, stickers, coloured match sticks, pasta)
- kids pvc glue and brush (glue sticks won't work for this one)
- Pipecleaners
- Two beads or buttons
- String, ribbon or wool (optional)

Before you get started, glue the wooden clothes peg in-between the two cardboard rolls. (Make sure you glue the two flat sides of the peg to each of the cardboard rolls. The bottom of the peg should form the bridge between the two rolls.) Allow some time for it to dry before handing it over to the eager beaver.

When the time is right, hand the binoculars over and have your little one decorate them with stripes and stickers and other paraphenalia. If you have some yellow cellophane on hand you can help to tape it to the ends of the rolls.

Younger kids might have some trouble managing the binoculars while they try to decorate them. If this is the case try lying them flat (the binoculars that is, not the child) and working on one side at a time. Stickers and textas tend to be easiest for younger kids to handle. Otherwise a lucky parent will probably have to hold the binoculars steady while the child wields the gluey paintbrush.

To make antennae, have your little one wind the pipecleaners around a pen to form spirals. Then thread them through the hole in the wooden peg and secure them in place by twisting the wires together. 

Add beads or buttons to the top of the antennae or just twist the pointy ends over so them no-one gets poked or scratched.

For older kids, thread the binoculars on a piece of string so that they can be worn around the neck.

4. COOK: some honey joys

Honey joys

How long has it been since you cooked up a batch of honey joys?

True, they're not the most nutritious snacks in the world but they're so easy to make and kids love to help with stirring and spooning the mixture into patty pans.

Having said that I must admit that my daughter was most interested in arranging the patty pans on the baking tray! This recipe makes about 20 honey joys, or honey miseries depending on how your day is going.

You will need:
- 4 cups of corn flakes
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 90g margarine or butter
- 1 tablespoon of honey

Melt the margarine, sugar and honey together on a saucepan until the mixture starts to bubble and froth.

Tip mixture onto the corn flakes and have your little one stir them until they are completely coated in the honey mixture.

Help your child to spoon the mixture into patty pans.

Put the patty pans onto a baking tray and cook them in a slow oven (150 degrees) for ten minutes.

Once out of the oven they will be slightly soft, but will become crunchy once they cool down.

5. More bee ideas

•  Dress up like a beekeeper
•  Go on a bee-seeking expedition around your local park
•  Eat some fresh honeycomb
•  Make a bee from playdough and pipecleaners
•  Draw bees using fingerprints as the bodies

For more ideas read my article on how to get great milage from a weekly theme.

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