Our first six weeks holidays to create memories together.
Now I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve heard amazing stories and horror stories about surviving the summer holidays with your children at home but I went into it with an open mind and knowing we are going to make so many happy memories. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there will be moments where I feel like pulling my hair out (there has been!), especially as I’ll still be running my business and moving into the third trimester of pregnancy so it’s time to get organized.
I love to support small and shop local so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to see what there was out there. My daughter is very much into crafts, drawing, colouring and painting at the moment so I wanted to get some craft/activity boxes we could use to help keep her happy and entertained while I worked and also things we could do together to create more memories. I also wanted to be able to share them with YOU, and if you are running out of things to do, here are some ideas.
Cookie Pizza Baking Box from The Cake Spa
First we tried a new baking box from The Cake Spa, Laura started The Cake Spa in 2018 to fuel her passion for baking alongside giving her the chance to support her family in a time of need. Laura has built an incredible business which includes mixed treat boxes, baking boxes, marshmallow bags and so much more. As well as creating beautiful cakes and biscuits for all occasions.
This was the third baking box we have tried from The Cake Spa (previously kinder Bueno stuffed cookies and red velvet crackle cookies during the original lockdown, both were delicious). I love that it is a way to try a new recipe without having to buy all of the ingredients, reducing any wastage while keeping it simple whether you are a baking novice or avid baker. Lil loved receiving a new box to open full of ingredients to get our baking on, she popped on her apron and chefs hat, washed her hands and was ready to go.
We lay out everything we needed and got to work. We had so much fun mixing together all of the ingredients, following the recipe card provided before popping it in the oven. Does anyone else love to watch it bake and grow through the oven door?
When I asked Lil for her thoughts, her favourite part was decorating the cookie pizza when we got it out of the oven and of course eating it! 😀 I think baking will always be a love of ours.
An added bonus, all of the packaging used is sustainable. The packaging and pots are recyclable, reusable or compostable so the boxes are as environmentally friendly as possible. The baking boxes are available to purchase as a one off item or you can even subscribe and get a fresh new box every month and keep the memories coming.
Usbourne Activity Box from Wondercrumps
Jayne was a huge help from my first reach out to her, I told her my daughters interests and age and she sent me photos of what she currently had in stock to suit. This meant we could choose our activity box based on what we knew we would get the most use out of. Together we chose a new jigsaw, a magic painting book, a fingerprint activity book and a fairy sticker book (with reusable stickers).
I love that each activity while lots of fun, support her to be practicing different techniques. The fingerprint activities using pattern recognition, magic painting is just pure fun (even for adults, it’s also very calming. Not that I did some myself or anything ha), the sticker book used imagination and the jigsaw as we all know takes concentration and recognition of the shapes and picture.
I love that the jigsaw will be able to be used over and over for a long time to come. The other three books also continue to be used, I love that she can come back to them when she is in the mood for that activity and due to there being lots of pages, they will last quite a while.
You can contact Jayne to purchase your own activity bundles or some incredible books for all ages on either of the below –
Again we have had a toucan box before, we had one in the original lockdown last year when we were spending so much time at home. Last time we had a small planter box which was lots of fun to make and then watch grow. When you choose a toucan box you get to choose two activities per box, if you would prefer not to choose you can let them choose for you and have a surprise. The boxes are aimed at children aged 3-8, come with a magazine full of activities and added bonus when choosing your crafts it gives you a scale of how messy the activity is and how much adult support is usually required.
This time around I tried to choose two different activities that I knew Lil would enjoy but were different from each other. A nature bag (including nature walk checklists for all seasons) and a dream catcher.
With the nature bag I love that we can keep it and use it over and over again for however many walks we like, plus with the checklists included it gives you some extra days activities. When I asked Lil what her favourite part of this activity were she told me she loved seeing the colour transfer from the tissue paper to the bag, she also then loved using the stencils and pens to add pictures onto the bag.
The dream catcher is definitely fiddlier to make and I would say suited to older children or with extra adult guidance but it was a great way for her to practice her fine motor skills, using the needle to thread the ‘catcher’ and threading the beads on the string. She loved all parts of making the dream catcher apparently, painting the wood, threading the string, sorting the beads and adding these to the string along with the feathers.
You can subscribe to Toucan Boxes to be delivered monthly, perfect if you want a monthly surprise for your child/ren and not have to have a craft drawer full of bits and bobs.
Slime Kit from The Crafty Cottage Garden
Thank you so much to Allison for gifting us a slime kit, it was entertaining to make and is providing lots of ongoing fun. She answered lots of questions from me during the process of making the slime as I was so unsure of what I was doing and I didn’t want to waste the kit. Thank you Allison 🙂
The kit had enough ingredients to make 4 different batches of slime which I thought was amazing as it meant we didn’t need to do them all at once (ongoing activities) plus we could make 4 different types. The kit came with all of the ingredients you needed, plus instructions for making two different types of slime alongside paints/glitter/sequins to also make them different. One thing I thought was a great idea was the tips and tricks sheet which gave you solutions for how to make the most out of your slime and keep it going.
While I will say, it took longer to make than I assumed it would, that could just be a me thing and I’m sure next time it won’t be as long now I know what I am doing. We made two batches today, one using the shaving foam method and one using clear PVA, with glitter and sequins. All throughout the day she has been going back and forth, playing with the slime for 10 minutes, going off and playing with something else and then coming back to the slime. It’s lovely to see her having so much fun with it.
A brilliant tip Allison shared with me was to pop some drops of activator onto your fingers when you get to the stage of needing to knead the slime with your fingertips. Just repeat until the slime has stopped being sticky to the point of sticking to your hands (Warning watch your clothes as it will stick to them ha). I love that this activity was more like doing a science experiment, definitely better than going out and buying shop brought slime.
“I liked the glitter slime because it has sequins in and it is so beautiful. I am trying to make bubbles in them and I like to stretch the slime, it’s lots of fun” – Lil aged 5
The Crafty Cottage Garden offer lots of different kits and items you can choose from. Not just for adults as well as gifts for all occasions.
*The Crafty Cottage Garden currently have a £2 discount on all orders using the code SUMMER21 at checkout, until 31st of August 2021*
Lil loved having packages arrive addressed to her and she was always excited to see what was inside. Each activity box we chose to do this holiday was brilliant in its own way. I would definitely use all of these companies and boxes again during future holidays but there are so many out there (you don’t have to stick to the big chain stores). There are lots of fabulous mums in business who create amazing things for us and our children, we just have to be willing to search.
If you are still lost for things to do, purchase some items from Disney (early Christmas presents perhaps??) and they come in a box all set to be coloured in. This can be hours of endless fun for you and your little ones.
With a lot of Scotland going back to school this week and most children in England having another 2-3 weeks left, I would love to know how your summer holidays are going or how they went? What are your favourite activities to be doing?