It's nearly Easter, so no big surprises here: it's all about the bunnies and eggs this week. 

The woolly egg is something we made at The Little House in the Park. You need a partially blown up balloon, lengths of wool in different colours, and some watery glue. Just dunk the wool in the glue and wrap it round the balloon in lots of layers. When it's all dry, pop the balloon, and voila! A woolly egg. I think we could have done with using a smaller balloon and more wool, but it's still pretty effective and I love this idea. Wonder if it would work with balloon animals...? 

For the card we used paint pens, which dry in really nice pastel shades. Matthew did loads of painting on different bits of paper and then I cut out some egg shapes from them which we stuck onto cream card.

The bunny ears are just cotton wool glued onto pink card cut and folded into ear shapes, then taped onto an alice band. I had to use quite a lot of tape to keep them upright - anyone have any tips about this? 

Anyway - Happy Easter. May your eggs be of the highest quality chocolate. 
Last week at The Little House in the Park we did some book-related crafts, to mark the end of Bath's Literature Festival. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was a good choice - everyone knows it, the story is nice and simple, and there are lots of colourful pictures to draw inspiration from. 

First we made a lovely big butterfly, by blobbing lots of paint on one side of some thick folded paper and then pressing the two sides together to make a mirror print. We cut the shape out when it was dry, and added a pipe cleaner body.

Next we stuffed a stripey sock with scrunched up tissue paper, tied it with wool, and added googly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae to make a caterpillar puppet. (This is Matthew's favourite: he likes bouncing it round the house doing squeaky caterpillar voices and finding new places to hang it.)

Finally, we made our own interactive version of the book. We started with a thin paint wash over both sides of a long strip of folded paper, and when that was dry we stuck the fruit on and cut out holes. The cover of the book is a green felt leaf with a pipe cleaner caterpillar nestled inside ready to take out and weave through the holes. 
We had a busy old session at The Little House in the Park last week. The theme was boxes and we had to make three - one large, one medium and one small - all decorated differently and all with little creatures inside. Gulp.  

I didn't think we were going to get any of it done as Matthew made a beeline for the clay (as usual), but eventually I managed to tempt him over to look at the marbling tray and that got him hooked. 

The boxes are just folded paper (here is a step-by-step tutorial, which uses the same technique). The large one is decorated with collage, the medium one is marbled, and Matthew drew on the small one with crayons. 

Inside the large box is a butterfly made from tissue paper, netting and pipe cleaners; there is a woolly pipe cleaner spider in the middle box; and the two bees in the smallest box are made from netting wings glued onto tiny pine cones wrapped round with yellow wool. 

The most amazing thing - apart from the fact that we actually got them all made (with time to SPARE even) - is that these are all still intact (so far). Matthew likes opening them, saying hello to the little creatures, then closing them again carefully and going on his way. Unprecedented. 
I was trying to think of something fun we could make with paper plates, and came up with this - paper plate picture frames. 

Really straightforward - just paint your design onto the plate, cut a circle out, and tape your picture to the back. We had these Simpsonised photos of ourselves kicking around so decided to do a set of three to hang in a row (fixed together with taped pipe cleaners). Matthew really enjoyed making them and is delighted with the result (so am I!). 

Here are some more ideas: 

- create a pattern with sticky mosaic tiles or beads
- make a collage with tissue paper, petals or lengths of pipe cleaner radiating out
- (for older children) write out a poem or passage from a book in a spiral round the edge