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 ISSUE 03   •   30  JULY 2006  
   This week's theme: mice


1. Editorial: Keeping it simple
2. MAKE: a simple wool mouse
3. MAKE: a simple lace-up wedge of cheese
4. COOK: little bags of mousey nibbles
5. BONUS: simple felt mouse pattern for crafty parents
MORE: mouse ideas

1. Editorial: Keeping it simple

When I first started dreaming up the occasional craft project for my kids I would often find myself wondering 'is it too simple?'

Now that I have a little more experience I understand that the question I should be asking is 'is it simple enough?'

I was reminded of the importance of simplicity when I was putting together this issue. My daughter and I had just started on making the wool mouse (see below) when she discovered the joy of winding wool into a ball.

In fact, as soon as our little mouse was finished she asked if she could do some more winding so I dug out some more wool and some cotton reels to wind it onto. She was absolutely thrilled with this and started work immediately.

Her toddler brother soon teetered over to see what was happening so I gave him a stack of the old wooden cotton reels to look at. He proceeded to play happily stacking the cotton reels, then rolling them, feeling them and dropping them onto the ground.

Watching the kids so happily absorbed reminded me that simple experiences like these can often be the most rewarding and valuable. As adults living busy lives in a complex world it can be easy to lose sight of this.

For inspiration I have compiled a short list of simple and absorbing activities for young children. If you have any you'd like to add please let me know. I'd love to hear from you.

Happy crafting and see you next week!

Amber Carvan

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2. MAKE: a simple wool mouse

At our place this project has won the kiddie's choice award hands down. Who would have thought that something so simple could have so much personality!

You will need

•  about half a ball of wool
•  some rubber bands
•  a pipe cleaner
•  small felt scraps
•  kid's pvc glue

1. Have your little one wind the wool into a longish ball. Then thread the end of the wool back through the ball to form a tail.

2. Put some rubber bands around one end of the wool to form a face and a pointy nose and another rubber band to keep the bottom in place.

3. Cut two even lengths from the pipe cleaner to form ears and attach them to the mouse by sticking them into the wool.

4. Have your little one make some mouse eyes from scraps of felt and a texta. Glue them on and your simple wool mouse will come alive!

3. MAKE: a simple lace-up wedge of cheese 

Making a lace-up is a fun and easy activity with a lasting outcome . The trick to this project is to make sure you don't draw any holes on your cheese that your hole punch won't be able to reach.

You will need:

•  thick card and thick texta (or thick card and access to a printer)
•  crayons or pencils or textas for colouring in
•  scissors
•  a hole punch
•  a shoe lace (or a length of wool with the end wrapped in sticky tape)

1. Draw a big wedge of swiss cheese onto cardboard. If you'd prefer you can download our swiss cheese wedge, then print it and paste it onto cardboard.

2. Have your little one colour it in. When they're finished, cut it out and punch holes in it.

3. Demonstrate how to thread the lace through the holes and then sit back with a nice cup of tea and watch them go for it!

4. COOK: little bags of mousey nibbles

Sick of advertisers selling junk food to your kids? Hit back by doing your own packaging and marketing – what better way to get your little one to eat a delicious mix of nutritious nibbles!

You will need

•  a paper lunch bag
•  crayons or textas for colouring
•  scissors
•  sticky tape
•  mousey nibbles (see below)

Mousey nibbles

1. Cut a brown paper bag in half and make two small bags using the bottom half of the original bag (cut in half) and some sticky tape.

2. Decorate the bags with a mouse theme, or have your little one do the artwork.

3. Fill up the bags with your choice of 'mousey nibbles' and serve with enthusiasm to your squeaking youngsters.

Our favourite mousey mix consists of corn puffs, pepitas, sliced almonds, sunflower kernels, pine nuts and shredded coconut.

For some great sweet and savoury nibble ideas see kiddley.com's article on trail mix for kids.

5. BONUS: simple felt mouse pattern for crafty parents

Pink mouse

Little felt creatures are such good fun to put together and they make terrific gifts for imaginative preschoolers. 

•  Download the free pattern here
(PDF, 350KB)

6. More mouse ideas

•  Go to a pet shop and look at the mice
•  Embark on some mouse face-painting
•  Make a mouse mask from a paper plate
•  Make a pet mouse from a favourite rock and piece of wool or leather
•  Fill up a piece of paper with drawings of tiny baby mice

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