Friday, 29 July 2011

An A-Z of Sisters Guild - V

picture courtesy of jamarmstrong

Come this way. That way. لوك أت ذيس . 在这里 . Kyk. Come hither Venu ici. Gire a la izquierda. Hicयहाँ देखो The other wayYou are invited. Vide. Meneton. Kig. See. Follow. look. בדרך הזאת Hither. View.PreviewRead More. See here. Bu baxmaq. Come here. Over there. Blick. Edrych. приди сюда. 

vide /ˈvēdē/ verb 1. see, used especially to refer to parts of a text. 2. refer to; used to direct attention to a particular page, book etc...

This is part of our 'An A-Z of Sisters Guild published every Friday. See also A is for adventure, B is for bedtime, C is for colour, D is for discovery, E is for exuberance, F is for Feminine, G is for glorious, H is for home , I is for imaginative , J is for Joie de Vivre, K is for kin  ,L is for Love , M is for Maternal , N is for Nurture  O is for Oneiric , P is for Play , Q is for Quirky , R is for Restful, , S is for Style, T is for Twitter
and U is for Unique

We also publish other series in our blog including our Monday Makery, Tuesday brings 'The  Story Behind Our Collections' inviting you to take a closer look at the designers we house and why we chose them for the Sisters Guild boutique.  Wednesday we show you our favourite seasonal pieces and Thursdays is dedicated to the 'Art of Living' in which we share ideas and inspiration from places to visit, things to see and articles about things that enrich our lives.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The Art of Living: Granny's Bookcase

We are currently staying at Granny's house and spending time rediscovering the bookshelf.  It's amazing to share my childhood books with my son and to journey back to a time when I would sit for hours and ponder over the pictures.  Looking at them again takes me right back as I recall the emotions they evoked and the dreams they inspired.

As children we were always given books as gifts, for which I am so grateful. We also visited the library regularly and we would buy books in the library sales as well as charity shops - something I still do now.  Some of these books still have the library stamp and '25p' felt-tipped on them, along with our own scribbles, grubby marks and food stains, which make them all the more precious relics of the past.

The Hare and the Tortoise based on a fable by La Fontaine, illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, 1966

Brian Wildsmith is one of my favourite Children's Illustrators. He uses pencil chalk, pastel, watercolour and ink to create the most vivid pictures full of nature and movement.  The details of the animals, the meadow grasses and flowers are so beautiful and full of warmth and wonder.  This one has become Gabe's new favourite, for the story as well as the pictures.

The Lazy Bear, Brian Wildsmith, 1973
The Lazy Bear is a great story about friendship with animals drawn in such detail, and a landscape so colourful it stays etched in your mind.

Teddybears 1 to 10 by Susanna Gretz, 1969
This Teddybears book is so memorable mainly because as a child I was quite concerned for the bears as they spun round the washing machine and were pegged out to dry!

Thumbelina, based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson, Illustrated by Elsa Beskow, 1979
 Thumbelina is one of the Hans Christian Anderson stories of which I am most fond, due to having this book read to me from a young age.  I was fascinated by how the tiny girl saved a birds life and who in turn saves her!  The images are so delicate and nostalgic.

The Ships Cat by Alan Aldridge and Richard Adams, 1977
The pictures in The Ships Cat are so vivid in my memory but I couldn't tell you what the story is about.  Reading it now it is quite an unusual story written in verse, it feels more like a grown-up book than a childs.  My own 3 year old is now fascinated by the pictures as I was.  The one that I remember filling me with terror as a child was the one above of the cat chained up in the dungeon - quite macabre!

The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast by Alan Aldridge and William Plomer, 1973
The Butterfly Ball is another book that I remember clearly as I was completely beguiled by the imagery.  The amazing creature creations are the stuff of dreams, they would make a fantastic animation. As a child I studied all the detail of the elaborate clothing and acessories the creatures wore, and the scenes full of wonder. Apparently the book won the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year award on its release in 1973 - it surely is a classic of the 70's. 

Cannonball Simp by John Birmingham, 1966
John Birmingham is another of my favourite childrens illustrators and I'm always on the lookout for his books for Gabe.  Cannonball Simp is about an ugly little dog who is abandoned.  There's a picture of the abandoned dog that I remember making me feel quite sad - and it still does!  But then the dog finds a friend, a circus clown who is equally lonely.  Together they make an impressive team.  One of the pictures that I loved - so much so that I coloured it all in - is the one above of the party.  It was probably the big cake that appealed!

Joseph's Yard by Charles Keeping, 1969
These two books by Charles Keeping were ones that appealed to me as a curious and thoughtful child.  Maybe because the stories scared me a little.  Joseph's Yard is about destroying something you love and I remember feeling the anguish of the boy.  The images are very powerful with scrawls of ink and colour washes - they are full of all the elements and express so well the emotions of the story.

Wasteground Circus by Charles Keeping, 1975
The Wasteground Circus is about how a desolate urban landscape is taken over by a circus and how the boys discover so much life and colour.  The book used to fill me with fear and fascination maybe as it was set in the city and it was about 2 boys who looked quite cool!  As you turn each page a rainbow of colour evolves until the boys return to their black and white landscape.

Do any of you remember these books from your childhood? What are the books with stories or imagery that have lingered in your mind?  And do you still have copies of them?  Do share them with us here.

This is part of the Art of Living series of posts that bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas.

In our Wednesday Woo blog post series we present a selection of things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself.

And for a glimpse behind the scenes of Sisters Guild we have the A-Z of Sisters Guild here

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Wednesday Woo: Nursery Decor for Dreamy Boys & Girls

Creating a room for your baby boy or girl is such a joy.  Selecting those pieces that will hold memories for you and your baby. When we created our baby trousseau and decor sections of the boutique we were drawn to the nostalgic, the whimsical, the dreamy and, most importantly, pieces to be loved and treasured. 

Circus Flag Bunting by Maileg £31
Felt Noahs Ark by En Gry & Sif £38.50
My Paper Boat Mounted Print by Belle & Boo £32.80
Prince Fergus Fabric Doll by Leila Lou, £18.50
Flying Twitters Wall Decals by Love Mae £35
Butterflies Wall Decals by Love Mae £35
Boo Cot Bed Quilt by Belle & Boo £45
Leila Lou Fabric Doll - Eva Cat £18.50
Boo Cushion by Belle & Boo £42
Parade Wall Stickers by Belle & Boo From £20
Mini McGhee Felted Stripe Blanket £46
Circus Toy Storage Basket in Blue or Pink by Rice Dk From £34.80
Flap Ear Rattle by Lucky Boy Sunday £32
Monkey Girl by Maileg £14.95

Pop along to the Sisters Guild Boutique for a browse of things for your baby's room....
and your room too!

This is part of our Wednesday Woo blog post series where we present a selection of our favourite things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself.

The Art of Living posts bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Story Behind our Collections: Made in Me

Carla & I started Sisters Guild with adventure in mind.  Our passion for the world of child, home and mama, sometimes takes us on a journey to unexpected and exciting places.  Not long after we launched the boutique in the autumn last year, we came across the Land of Me and it instantly spoke to our creative hearts and curious minds.

The Land of Me is an educational digital story book where you decide what happens with the characters on their adventures across different lands. It is DVD-rom that once loaded onto your computer opens up a red antique-looking book with gold lettering which reveals a new world to discover.  It is utterly engaging - with the beautiful music and illustrations you instantly know a magical journey is about to begin.  It's a joy to see your child's face light up as they step inside the Land of Me.  It all starts in Bramble Wood with the 3 young friends Eric, Buddy Boo and Willow....

There are 6 chapters to choose from on your adventures:  the Hot Springs with Yama-San to discover Shape, Size and Colour; the Cliff Tops of the Mountains where Mr Rigby helps you explore The World Outside; and one of our favourites, the River Bank with Bernard the Crocodile, where you can choose a song and the style - Twinkle, Oompa or Doo-Wop!  Your journey is shown on the Land of Me map. A map is something that always causes much excitement and my own boy was thrilled to have the map printed off - yes, there's a whole section of printable material that is part of the Land of Me DVD too! Masks, finger puppets, structures, vehicles, dioramas, hats and more!  It's just a matter of clicking on the scissors symbol.

So, where did the Land of Me spring from?  Back in 2008 James Huggins joined forces with some of the world's leading educationalists and a team of creative people who together were able to use their knowledge, insight and creative talents to come up with a unique game, a new digital way of playing, storytelling and interacting.  The company they founded was Made in Me, a company that seeks to inspire young children to learn by exloring their creativity and imagination. James Huggins has 2 children of his own so part of his own journey is how fatherhood and all it's joy and discovery helped inspire the Land of Me.

Aimed at 2-6 year olds the Land of Me is designed to support early childhood development and creativity and is now being used effectively at home and in preschool and primary school settings. The Land of Me blog shares with us the schools and places the Land of Me has sucessfully been able to support childrens creativity and imagination.

Made in Me believe it's all about play:  Playing together is fundamentally important for early childhood development. The secret is to gently encourage children to communicate what they're thinking and feeling, and to help them develop and express their ideas.

What I appreciate about the Land of Me when playing with my son (aged 3 1/2 yrs) is that he is able to lead the way.  The story is a process of decision making, of making changes and seeing the results of those changes. The way a child interacts with the game is very intuitive. As a child is naturally curious, they will wonder 'what happens if I press the spacebar now' - each page is full of surprises.  There's lots to giggle about too - some lines have become part of our family chatter, such as Willow in her sweet little voice saying 'Has nobody noticed I'm an ice-cube,' as seen here in The Outside World when you select 'The arctic on a stormy night:'

The level of detail in the Land of Me is quite astounding. The team at Made in Me are clearly very creative and passionate and have been able to make a very inspiring experience with well chosen voices, very real sound effects and movement and so many different posibilities to interact. With the example above you can hear the wind howling and this sound along with the moonlight and the posture of the characters creates a very real atmosphere that draws you in. Your child can then say 'Let's make it hot' and you can click the sentence, select hot and the scene changes.  At a deeper level you can also substitute the words for others such as 'scorching' and it will recognise that adjective and change the scene, as the example below shows.  It's an excellent tool with which to explore language with your child.

The Land of Me also provides an insight into your child's mood and feelings. Gabriel will always choose the funny option in the stories and the 'medium' for the size and speed options in different chapters.  Buddy Boo, the gentle bear, is always his first choice of character, whereas others I'm sure may be drawn to the more energetic and outgoing Eric the Raccoon.

One of the things that Gabriel likes, which reveals his humorous mind, is to let the characters wait and linger on the screen before selecting an answer, after which they will yawn and fall asleep, and Buddy Boo even dribbles!  Those extra little touches to the design and structure of the Land of Me tell us that the creators behind the game are equally humorous and imaginative, and have a true insight into the mind of a child.

The Land of Me blog shares with us a series of articles by Professor John Siraj-Blatchford, Research & Development Director at Made in Me.  The first in the series is The research behind The Land of Me – 1. Creativity and the importance of pretending

The article emphasises that To be creative is to associate or combine different things that have not been combined before for a particular end. It is often about recognising that there are choices, and then being playful enough to try them out.
The Land of Me gives a child freedom to be creative and make choices.  It provides the 'props' for the child to use and explore.  Made in Me have also taken the game a stage further by enabling the adult to engage the child deeper - with prompts to guide the discussion about the feelings, the outcomes and facts about what they are doing.  By developing the software to this level, Made in Me have been able to make the experience one of sharing:  Research has shown that in the home, and in pre-schools, children’s playful interactions with adults significantly support their development. The kind of interaction that has been identified as most effective in this respect is referred to as ‘sustained shared thinking’ where the adult engages with the child’s interests and understandings and the adult and children communicate meaningfully together to develop a shared outcome, idea, skill or understanding.

Gabe continuing his play of the Land of Me with the printable charcaters

The Land of Me has been an amazing game for us to discover with our own children.  To be able to have something digital and printable that is engaging and educational is really refreshing.  For us it has been the very first game we have shared with our children on the computer, the Land of Me is their first step into the digital world. It is so well developed, so educational and so magical too - the Land of Me and all the characters have become part of the family.  There's talk of a cuddly Buddy Boo being made, and I know that my son would love to make him a companion on his childhood adventures.  Playing, pretending, sharing and learning...and having a giggle together too. That's what it's all about!

There's more on the Land of Me blog about Parents as Partners with Learning

Discover the Land of Me here and be completely charmed by the characters and inspired by the play and learning it will provide you and your children.

For those of you who already have the Land of Me do pop along to their blog to find out more and get some tips from The Handbook too.

And, lastly, please do share with us your thoughts and discoveries as you play with the Land of Me.

This is part of our series of blogs where we share the story behind our collections; because the collections and their creators mean so much to us here at Sisters Guild we want to pass the story on.

We bring a new blog each day; other series of blogs include our 'Monday Makery' with ideas and 'how to's'  to make and bake with all the family, Wednesday we woo you with our favourite pieces from the boutique and its new arrivals, Thursday is all about the art of living; discovering places and sharing new treasures and Friday we bring you the 'A-Z of Sisters Guild' a collection of pictures that convey the life behind the boutique

You can Follow us on Twitter here ,like us on Facebook here and visit our rather marvellous boutique here

Sign up for future news & offers:

Monday, 25 July 2011

Monday Makery - No Sew Fabric Hopscotch Playmat

We've been busy chalking hopscotch squares onto the pavement outside our house. I love this simple game, I love too how hopping up and down the squares reminds me of my childhood and makes me feel 6 years old all over again. Oona insists all numbers being '6' as she learns sequences of numbers and Sessi (Sophia) whizz's up and down and over her stone as though hopscotch was a natural ability you are suddenly blessed with.  But, all this recent rain has meant we've had to watch our hopscotch get washed away and stay inside.
So, not wanting a little rain to get in the way of our happy hoppy days we have made our own hopscotch play mat.

It involves no sewing, is inexpensive to make and very quick and easy too. Though the best part is its an instant travelling game, you can take it the park to play on the grass, pack it for holidays, and on those rainy days you can play it inside too. So come on guys get hopping.

You'll need:

  • hessian fabric (I used a piece 210cm x 120cm) 
  • pieces of felt
  • fabric glue
  • tape measure
  • tailors chalk
  • paper
  • pencil
  • pins
  • white tape
Here's how:

1. Roll out you hessian fabric and using your tailors chalk mark out the boxes for each of the numbers. You'll need 7 rows of boxes, 1 single, 1 double, 1 single, 1 double and so on. I made each box 11" (28cm) squared.

2. Follow the chalked guidelines with your fabric glue one box at a time, sticking down the white tape as you go. Fold the corners at right angles as you go for soft neat corners.

3. Now for the numbers! Make a template for each number using 8" (20cm) squares of paper. I drew grids onto the paper to easier able myself to draw symmetrically. Cut each number out.

4. Pin each number template onto your felt fabric and cut around. 

5. Stick each number onto the centre of its appropriate square using your fabric glue, and you're ready to play.

We already have beanbags to use as our throwing 'stone' but if you'd like to know how to make one see our previous makery here.

Happy hopping!

Oh and when you're tired out from hopping it makes a great extra blanket for lounging in the sun !

Friday, 22 July 2011

An A-Z of Sisters Guild - U

unique /yoo-neek/ adj. 1.  being the only one of a particular type; single; sole. 2a being without a like or equal; unparalleled. b distinctively 3 Informal. very remarkable or unusual. 4. Maths. 4a leading to only one result 4b having precisely one value. 
[C17 : via French from the Latin unicus unparalleled, from unus one

This is part of our 'An A-Z of Sisters Guild published every Friday. See also A is for adventure, B is for bedtime, C is for colour, D is for discovery, E is for exuberance, F is for Feminine, G is for glorious, H is for home , I is for imaginative , J is for Joie de Vivre, K is for kin  ,L is for Love , M is for Maternal , N is for Nurture  O is for Oneiric , P is for Play , Q is for Quirky , R is for Restful, , S is for Style
and T is for Twitter

We also publish other series in our blog including our Monday Makery, Tuesday brings 'The  Story Behind Our Collections' inviting you to take a closer look at the designers we house and why we chose them for the Sisters Guild boutique.  Wednesday we show you our favourite seasonal pieces and Thursdays is dedicated to the 'Art of Living' in which we share ideas and inspiration from places to visit, things to see and articles about things that enrich our lives.

New Rice DK goodies added to the summer sale

We have added some rather pretty and practical pieces from the Rice Dk collection into our summer sale.  Beautiful storage for the bedroom, playroom or nursery, colourful bowls and tubs for the kitchen and two stylish bags in our favourite dove print fabric:

Gypsy Van Toy Storage Play Basket by Rice DK Was £34.80, Now £27.84
Set of 2 Blue Check Baskets by Rice DK Was £19, Now £11.40
Picnic Cooler Bag in Pink or Green Gingham by Rice DK Was £16.50, Now £8.25
Colourful Storage Bowls by Rice DK Was £21.50, Now £10.75
Rectangular Storage Boxes by Rice DK, Was £11.30, Now £5.65
Turquoise Dove Print Canvas Weekender Bag by Rice DK Was £69.50, Now £34.75
Turquoise Dove Print Satchel Bag by Rice DK Was £60.80, Now £36.48

These mattress bolsters and floor cushions are in a vibrant orange berry fabric which we love so much.  For kids and grown-ups lounging at home or for some rather comfortable and luxurious glamping!

Mattress Bolster in Orange Berry printed fabric by Rice DK, Was £105, Now £63
Floor Cushion in Orange Berry Printed fabric by Rice DK Was £41.80, Now £25.08

Pop along to the Sisters Guild Summer Sale here

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Summer Fun with Sisters Guild

Summer is a time when we soak up the sunshine and bring playtime outside. The days see more hours of light and the school holidays pounce upon us before we get a chance to plan what to do to keep our children busy. So we've come up with some great ideas with our favourite summer games and inspiration for play because when you're 5 years old a day is forever.

1. Fun At The Farm. Head to one of the great city farms  and see the sheep, pigs, cows, rabbits and horses, Deen farm has horse riding lessons if you have children with a dream to ride. Most of the farms are free and to top it off some offer a scheme in which you can buy farm produce so you can bring home some free range city eggs too! Garsons farm is fantastic on a sunny day and you can come away with a weeks worth of fresh fruit and vegetables that you've picked by yourself. Its a glimpse of 'the good life' without having to buy the acreage!

2. Nature Collages. Make a sticky board using card and double sided sticky tape. Let your children gather pieces of plants, leaves tiny twigs, as many colours as they can to stick on their card. Challenge them to find as many as they can and let them make colourful mosaics and pictures. See how shades and textures vary. Children of every age will love this creating simple or very intricate mosaics and pictures.

3Cloud Watching. One of our favourite things to do is to watch the clouds go by. We head to the park roll out a blanket and lie under the rolling clouds in the big blue sky. We spend so much time looking in front of us and beneath our feet we forget to look up. Try looking for animal shapes, faces. Make a story using the clouds as characters and places learn about the different types of clouds from your cirrus to your cumulus or imagine cloud jumping across the sky.

4. Bean Bag Fun. Grab some bean bags (see the Monday Makery) and head to the park. With so many ways to play children of all ages will find a way to keep themselves and their friends busy. Place one on your head and see if you can run or walk a specified disctance without it falling off. Use discarded clothing as giant landing pads for bean bag toss trying to throw them onto a jumper with the landing pads stretching further away.

5. Sharks. This is a great energetic game for a small group of children. Create stepping stones or islands in the park or garden or sitting room floor. You can use cushions at home or perhaps disgarded jumpers in the park. All the children try to move around the area going from stepping stone to stepping stone trying not to get caught by the ‘shark’ whoever gets caught first then takes place as the shark.

6. Make perfume. I remember skipping around the garden of my grandparents house with my sisters concocting our own perfumes. We would spend the day selecting flowers for the scents and mashing them with water. We would fill a bottle with this scent so proudly only for it to be abandoned into a slushy brown mush days later. This is such a beautiful way to spend an afternoon absorbed in the apothecary of creating your own summer scent. You just need a plastic cup with some water, a stick for mixing and a garden.

7. Walk barefoot on the grass and pick flowers. Take the flowers home and press them. Later you can use them to make a picture of your day.

8. Daisy Crowns. Make bracelets, crowns and necklaces with the beautiful and simple daisy. Pick them with long stems pierce a hole in the end of the stem and thread another daisy through. Keep threading more daisies and crown yourself the Daisy Queen of the garden.

9. Magic Carpet Rides. When we were little we had a magic carpet at home that our mother was very sure that there was always a large heavy piece of furniture over the edge to stop it flying off! I remember it was one of my favourite places to sit and imagine I could fly off to other lands! Its a great game in which your imagination can literally take off. Use a blanket, rug or big scarf as a magic carpet and fly off on wonderful adventures, fly over rainbows, hold on tight as it takes you above snowy mountains and be sure to roll it up tight when you arrive back home!

10. Let's go fly a kite up to the highest height. Lets go fly a kite and send it soaring. On a warm and windy day we like to head off to Grennwich park and join all the people flying kites high into the sky. You could have a go at making your own kite at home personalizing it with ribbons and bows.

11. String Ball Circus. Using a ball of string cut a long piece and lie it down on the ground to become a ‘tight-rope’ create circles on the ground to create jumping hoops encourage your children to try to jump in and out or cartwheel around them. Lie two pieces of long string along the ground so that they run parallel to each other 2-3 feet apart. Blidfold your child and see if they can walk from one end of the string to the other without stepping outside of the lane.

12. Teddy Bears Picnic. Take the children outside with a miniature picnic along with a play teaset. Set up a small picnic rug and let them pour ‘tea’ for their bears. The grown ups can have their own picnic alongside too. Bears for grown ups are optional.

13. Let butterflies sit on your head. Create beautiful butterfly braids using felt and strips of fabric. Beautiful to add to any summer outfit.

14. Three Legged Races. I think the best part of this game is the getting the giggles when falling over! It's a great game but works best if the extra legs are equal in height.

15. Egg and spoon. A fun game in which each player has to balance an egg on a spoon and race eachother, trying not to let the egg fall down. Lots of round objects will work so you don't need to hard boil a batch of eggs, try using apples instead.

16. Hopscotch. A great traditional game and all you’ll need is a stone and some chalk. A simple game with eight squares one followed by two followed by one and so on. If it’s a rainy day you can use masking tape to make an indoor version or with 8 pieces of fabric.

17. Beach Mermaids. We discovered the joys of sand sculpting on our last holiday. A fellow mum taught me how to make mermaid tails with sand, piling it and patting it down on top of our childrens legs as they sat on the sand. Let your child mark the patterns on top with the side of a shell a twig or whatever is to hand. Turtles work well too, not for marking patterns, i mean turtles shaped from sand!

18. Become An Author. Give childrens pictures and writing a focus. Take a notebook or scrapbook and create a story together. Draw lines on the page for the child to write on if they need the guidance. Draw a picture on each page next to the story. Decorate the front, adding the title and of course the authors name. Alternatively take it turns to be the author and the illustrator with each new page. Be sure to keep it with all the other books in the shelf, that is if it ever manages to leave the bedside reading pile!

19. Obstacle Course. These are great fun for all ages of children and the same game can have different levels for different ages and skills. Use whatever you can find to set up a obstacle route around in an open space. Use skipping rope: jump 10 times, bean bags: pile 5 on your head without them falling off. Hula hoops to jump through/over/circle round and stepping stones to cross using teatowels or cushions jumping from one to the next, boxes can be used to stack into towers and used as markers to hop around. Time each lap or set up a few stations of each so more players can play at the same time.

20. Colour me tall. My girls love doing these giant self portraits. We take it in turns to lie still as we draw around each others bodies onto large pieces of paper. It can be quite ticklish! Then we colour them in, we fashion funky clothes, add our eyes and mouths or give eachother silly faces.

21. Fortune Telling Origami Game. Take a square of paper fold in half to make a triangle then fold the oppsoite ends to make a smaller triangle. Open it up and you'll have crossed creases which you'll use for measuring your edges and corners. Fold each four corners into the centre point so that you have a smaller square. Turn the square over and fold in each corner to the centre again. Turn the square over again and fold in half one way and unfold, then fold again the other way and unfold. Place your fingers inside the flaps of the four corners and draw the points together. Use patches of colour or colour words on the top of each flap. Open it up and write numbers 1-8 on the inside flaps. Under each of these write a fortune message or a sweet or cheeky sentiment. Now you're ready to tell peoples fortunes!

22. Start a band. I love how instantly this can keep young children busy. Its a great way to keep children busy whilst you're cooking or busy in the kitchen. Collect pots and pans, wooden spoons and plastic pots. Fill plastic bottles with dried food like rice, lentils and beans to make shakers and get musical. Teach your child rythym as you drum or encourage counting as you beat or shake '1.2.3' teach them different speeds of music too go fast 'allegro' or slow 'lento'. Walk around the room banging and shaking 'andant' walking or run around 'presto' very fast !

23. Shadow Puppets. This is a great idea that you can do anywhere. Making shadow puppets with your hands is a fun game to play when your out and about. You can make shadow puppets using card and pipe cleaners and using a large sheet or a roll of grease proof paper as a screen. You can see how we made shadow puppets in our Monday Makery here.

24. Miniature Garden. Create a miniature garden using a baking tray or a large tuppaware box. Fill with a little earth and use pebbles or shells to create paths, matchboxes can be used to build a little house, twigs can become fences and you can collect small flowers, bottle tops, moss or perhaps a plastic lid filled with water for a pond. Its fun to hunt for small objects that can used to represent larger objects and children can keep busy for hours designing and making their minature green spaces. I remember spending hours making these with my own mum, in fact I think she enjoyed as much as I did!

25. Washing Day. Children love to play with water, splashing, pouring, filling and emptying small containers. On a warm day its a great way to keep children cool too. Fill up an old fashioned washing tub, a bucket or a large plastic bowl with water and let your children wash their (plastic) doll or give them a scrubbing board ( a chopping board is perfect) and then let them wash tea towels and worn out clothes or rags with a scrubbing brush, show them how to twist the fabric to let the water out and hang them over some string to dry. They'll love having a 'grown-up' chore to do and before you know it they'll be finding lots of other things to clean too!

26. Hula Hoop Spaceships. Its amazing how versatile such a simple object like a hula hoop can be. It can be a steering wheel on a big red bus, stopping at a red light and steering left and right. Or perhaps used to fly a plane soaring up and down and over mountains and oceans! Standing inside and holding on to the sides your child can pretend to be flying a rocket out into space, float above the clouds in a hot air balloon, or ride a roller coaster up and down hills. You can pull the hoop gently along as you take your child on a journey, stopping to 'get out' and explore your new surroundings.

27. We're Off On A Journey! Give your child a small suitcase or tote bag ask them decide on a destination they'd like to go to and let them fill up their bags with the things they'll need; gloves for snowly mountains, swimmers for the beach, sunglasses, a magnifying glass for making new discoveries in wild tropical forests. You can head off with the little essentials and enjoy a day in a new place together. Be sure to send a postcard too.
You can play this as a game by packing a bag without telling the other person where you are heading and then once you've flown down the stairs and into the sitting room you can try to guess from the objects where you have landed.

28. Hunt A Rainbow. Line up a row of different coloured containers or pieces of coloured card and ask your child to go around the house collecting different coloured objects placing the items into the correct coloured pot or paper.

29. Art Gallery. Give your child paper and paints, crayons, pencils, scissors, glue and felt tip pens. Get them to create a selection of artwork. Hang some string and peg them up to make their very own gallery. Ask them to talk about the pieces, what colours they used, how they drew or painted each piece, if there is a story behind the painting. Perhaps auction off the pieces or catalogue them in a big scrapbook giving each one a title.

30. Telephone. This is a game that works well with a large group of children and ends up with the children in giggles having ended up creating a word worthy of a potion or character in a Roald Dahl book. All the players sit in a circle, one person chooses a word or a short sentence and whispers it to the person next to them. That person repeats it to the person on their other side and so on until it reaches the last person who then says the words out loud. Its hilarious to see how changed the words have become.

31. Scavengers. Give a list of things for your children to find in the garden or together in the park such as a leaf, a daisy, a small stone, something shiny and so on. You can draw pictures of the things you have found and tally up how many each child found on the list.

32. My Family Book. Create a book about your family. Starting with grandparents or great grandparents fill a scrapbook with pictures and stories about each member of the family. Try to include their favourite colours, smells, foods. Creating a family tree with all the things that make each person unique.

33. Play Libraries. Using a bench or low table ask your child to display all their favourite books. You can select 5 books making sure they get 'stamped' before you can take them home to read. Make sure you both read all your books before returning them back to the library!

34. Story Building. This game works really well around the dinner table or sitting outside for a picnic on a sunny day. Each person in a small group takes it in turns to narrate a story with the next person following on the plot from there. You're mustn't forget the characters and you must stay true to the previous events in the narration and the story cannot end until everyone's finished their plates.

35. Shadow Tag. An alternative game to just plain old tag in which the person who is 'it' has to catch the shadows of the other players by jumping on their shadows. If the chaser lands on your shadow you become the chaser! It can get a bit tricky at midday!

36. Puzzle Me This. Create your own puzzle using a favourite drawing, a photocopy of a family picture or simply from pictures in magazines. Take a piece of cardboard, a cereal box is fine. Stick the chosen picture on top and draw wriggly, wavy, bumpy lines along the back to mark out the different pieces of the puzzle. Cut out the pieces follwoing your guidelines and challenge someone to complete the picture.

37. Disco! A great way to throw away rainy day blues and shake off that excess energy. Whack out some good tunes and groove the afternoon away with a boogie. Teach your children some Elvis moves, the 'mashed potato', a little 'Charleston' or educate them in the fashion of eighties music! Play musical bumps/ chairs/ statues. Invite some friends around if you really want to go wild! Or have a dance off with the best dancer teaching the moves to everyone else for a fabulous routine.

38. Play Shops. I remember various themes of this game with my brother and sisters, there was 'shops', 'secretaries', 'doctors' but most of all I loved shops..... nothing's changed! Use an old cardboard box, a coffee table or a couple of chairs to set up a shop full of your childrens toys or groceries. Give them a few pennies for their 'till' and take it in turns to be the shopkeeper. You can encourage them to write shopping lists and to count their pennies and change too. If you're thinking of having a clear out of things from the home you could encourage your child to collect the things he/she no longer plays with and suggest they sell them. You can be the customer to buy them. You can then drop off the things that have been 'sold' to a charity shop and your child can use the money they received to buy a new toy whilst you're there.
    39. Make a den. Use cardboard boxes, tables, chairs, or drying racks and blankets to create a den. Let it be a fort, a treetop house or whatever you fancy. Take a torch inside and read a bedtime story inside before camping out!

    40. Bake. All children love to bake. The apothecary of mixing ingredients and then of course the best part.... scoffing the goodies down. Nom nom. Take a look  at some of our recipes in the Monday Makery.

    41.  Make home made playdough. Once you learn how easy this is to make you'll be making batches with every colour and adding scents too. Moulding and playing with playdough is a favourite pastime with kids. You can keep it in the fridge for such a long time too and when eventually, inevitably, the colours get mixed into a blur of brown and green you can make a fresh batch from just a few simple ingredients. Learn how to make it here.

    42.  Make cameo sillouettes. Use a lamp or spotlight, a piece of paper and some paint to create your very own cameo. These make great gifts for family and a lovely way to personalise a bedroom. Taking it in turns to be the artist and the 'subject' have your child sit sideways a foot or two away from a wall. Using sticky tape tack a piece of paper onto the surface of the wall. Use a spotlight to create a perfect shadow sillouette of your childs profile. Then draw around the outline. Cut it out and paint it.
    Children are fascinated with their own shape and character and they'll love to make something as precious as their own cameo.

    43. ‘Paint’ The Patio. I watched Oona doing this at grannies house and she kept herself busy for such a long time. Having found a bucket of water filled with the previous nights rain she started to make pictures on the paving. With a bucket of water and a paintbrush children can ‘paint’ paving or fences drawing pictures with the water. With such a big space to be artistic children will love the idea of creating a giant masterpiece and you don't have to worry about washing the marks away!

    44.  I'm in charge! We've recently read the book 'Bad news, I'm in charge'  by Bruce Ingman and of course the idea was a hit! So now we have days where the girls get to be in charge! Choose a day and let your child choose ALL the activities for the day. Let them pick what they wear, what they eat and let them come up with ideas for how to spend the day. Teach them as 'Bugsy Malone taught us 'you can be anything that you want to be'. Even if they do want to go to the supermarket to buy chocolate dressed in pyjamas ... admit it I bet it sometimes crosses your mind to do it yourself!

    45. Make your own yoghurt ice-cream or lollies from fruit.

    46.  Take an open top bus tour of your city. My children love taking the bus and when they get to sit up high and take in the views its even better. Be sure to pick a nice day and see if you can grab some ice-creams before you jump aboard. Take in the sights and enjoy the ride.

    47. Let the play commence. Let your childrens vivid imagination and confidence soar through acting out stories. Create a stage by freeing up a space, create the auditorium with chairs and cushions. Bring out the costumes and let your children hold a performance at 'le theatre de petits reves'.

    48. Self portraits. Take some plain paper and a picture of you child, cut the picture vertically in half and stick it to the paper. Encourage your child to draw the other side of their face.

    49. Start a scrapbook of memories. Let your children fill up their own scrapbooks with all their favourite things, adding tickets, pressed flowers, invitations and cards as a record of their summer days. They can personalise the front with decorations and pictures from magazines. Perhaps too they could add a page with all the things they would like to see and do in the summer.

    50. Join the festivities. Check out local fetes and fairs or perhaps a festival nearby. Theres are always plenty to choose from and they're a brilliantly wonderful way to spend the day. If you come along to Lollibop be sure to stop by and visit us!

    51. Visit a gallery. They are mostly free and whilst your children might not know the difference between impressionism and classicism art they'll love the open space and the colours. On the way out let your children choose a postcard of their favourite artwork for their room. It'll be a lovely keepsake of the day and a great way to introduce art to your children.

    52. Picnic. One of our favourite summer joys! Gather your friends, make some yummy food and find a lovely place to sit for the afternoon.

      53......Just go for a walk and talk.

      54. Go to see a film. Lots of cinemas run a scheme on weekend mornings where children can go to the cinema for £1! Check out your local cinemas to see if they run the scheme. Take a backpack with snacks water and homemade popcorn and enjoy the delights of the big screen.

      55. Build paper airplanes and have a flying contest seeing who's can fly the highest, the longest distance, throw them form the top of a hill or try to angle them over little bushes.

      56. Ball games. Find a good open space for a game of rounders, cricket, shadow tag, stuck in the mud, frisbee, football or whatever takes your fancy. You'll tire out the chidlren and get some exercise yourself too.

      57. My favourite place. We have a favourite spot in our park where we always go for our picnics. Its our 'birthday tree' too where we celebrate Sessi's birthday every year; 'Sessifest'. We have hundreds of pictures of all of us with our family and closest friends there. It has become a familiar place where we can see the changing seasons through the leaves and every autumn we collect a fallen leaf for our scrapbook. Its the place where we have memories of gathering together for happy days and I  hope it will always be a place outside of our home where the girls will build their childhood memories. So, choose a spot near you that you all love and let it become your favourite place. Be sure to collect pictures and treasures from the spot too and save them in a scrapbook, creating your own story about your very own favoutite place.

      58. Splash in rain. Don't let the rain keep you inside. Puddles are a childs best friend! Grab your wellies and raincoats and go splash. We sometimes head to the playground in the rain too as the girls love to sing 'we're swinging in the rain'. They love doing things that 'you're not supposed to do' ! Hang up the soggy clothes and make big mugs of hot chocolate when you come back home/ Being inside again will feel so cosy and warm after an adventure in the rain.

      59. Taste the summer. Gather up fruits and berries or elderflowers, make your own cordials and juices or pies.

      60. Meadow mysteries. Crawl, squirm and run about in the long tickly grass of a meadow. Bring bug boxes, a magnifying glass and a small white cloth. Search for bugs and mini beasts high and low. Look under and over little stones and logs. Hold a white sheet under the branches of a bush or low tree and give them a little shake. Use your magnifying glass to see what creatures and buds you have discovered. You could bring along a pad of paper ad pen and jot down all the creatures you've discovered.  Miniature Darwins!

      61. Photo Booth. Have some fun making disguises to pose in your very own photobooth. Find out how to create the photo booth on the Monday Makery blog post here

      62. Afternoon Tea. Older children and girls especially will love to host their very own afternoon tea. Lay a table with cups and saucers sandwiches and ‘tea’ and let them host their very own afternoon tea with friends. Perhaps suggest some 'parlour games' for after.

      63. Make a rainbow. Hang up old cds from string in a sunny window and see the dancing red, yellow and green play across the room. It's an instant wonderland.

      64. Build for borrowers. Use a cardboard box or an empty drawer to create a home in miniature. Use matchboxes for furniture, scraps of fabric for curtains, bedding or rugs, buttons and coins make good plates. Cut pictures from magazines to create pictures for the wall.

      65. Learn to knit. I remember as a child one summer learning to knit. My mother sat patiently with me and guided me through my first rows. I made a scarf for my little brothers teddy 'Wolly'. Wolly wore the scarf every day from then on. I haven't knitted since but vow to start again and to teach my daughters too.

      66. Climb a tree. I think us children must have spent most of our childhood up a tree. We built the best treehouses's I have ever seen, the best dens and spent all day sitting on a high branch reading, daydreaming, playing house, pirates, Robinson Crusoe or carving the initials of a boy we loved! Climbing trees is a rite of passage for children. Now that I'm an urban mama there are less opportunities but my girls and I have found one in our park that has the perfect branches. I get a massive sense of pride when I watch my girls clamber up the branches as high as they dare (or rather I let them). Though we can't build a permanent treehouse there I will often take a big blanket with me for them to hang up and create roofs or sails.

      67. "When I was young we didn't have tv". Teach your children some old fashioned parlour games. A pack of cards have so many game options and I'm sure when you get started you'll start to remember the rules of more games other than 'snap'.

      68. Play Poohsticks. Ok for those of you who have not heard of this game it thankfully has nothing to do with 'poo' but rather inspired from the tales of Winnie the Pooh who played this game with Christopher Robin. Each player finds a stick - one they can recognise, then standing facing upstream each player drops (not throws) their stick into the water and watch as the sticks race eachother downstream.

      69. "Come one. Come all; to the circus!" become an acrobat with handstands, cartwheels and leapfrog. A group of children can have lots of fun creating a show routine. Mime is fantastic, and magic tricks are always fun for children to have a go at. Try to balance the handle of an open umbrella on an outstretched hand! Tightrope walking (as above with the string ball circus) can be done by walking along a piece of string laid out across the ground.

      70.  Plant a seed. We planted 'love in the mist' on valentines day where I gave the girls a pack of  seeds 'love grows bigger every day'  and they enjoyed watching them grow bigger and stronger everyday. You could plant a small tree and let it be the tree that will grow up with them. I remember our mama doing this with us children where each of us chose a plant that would blossom in the family garden. I remember too being jealous of my brother as his plant grew the biggest!

      71. Time capsules. Make a time capsule of things you might like someone else to discover. Put a message in a bottle that you can uncover next year; be it a little bit about yourself, your day or your favourite things. Then you can have an archeaolgogical dig next summer and unearth the messages.

      72.  Form a club. The holidays sometimes seem endless and if you've got fellow mama friends with equally aged chidlren this works wonders for a mothers sanity. Have the children become part of a club: a 'Saturday afternoon club'. Then each of the mama's take it in turns to host the club. They can all go off to visit an art gallery, sit around the kitchen table and make muffins. Go adventuring with some games to the park and all feel like they've had an adventure in a gang!

      73. Go camping. You don't have to go much further than the garden, the joy is still the same. The 'tent' doesn't even have to be real, just a sheet thrown over a washing line and held down. Bring out some cushions, a pillow and a few camping accessories and enjoy a little garden holiday. Crawling in and out, reading books by torchlight and telling stories under the starlit sky. Tents are cocoons of adventures all by themselves.

      74. Make a bonfire. There is something so magical about evening campfires, the dancing of the flames is hypnotic, the crackling sounds of the wood burning, the smell of woodsmoke fills your nostrils with an air of adventure and  perhaps the smell of marshmallows roasting too. Mmmm delicious! The lighting of a bonfire in the garden symbolises the close of the day when the night slowly rolls above our heads, jumpers keep off the evening chill and the light of a bonfire glowing on everyones' face's in an evening full of stories, trips down memory lane and good old fashioned singing. There's something too about voices in the dark, how different they sound under the hush of a night sky.

      75. Write a letter. If you don't want your children to grow up too unattached to pen and paper, teach them the art of letter writing. It can be a letter to themselves that they can post and receive back. Though a letter to granny is always appreciated. I think the postbox appeals to all children and the once they get started, they'll be licking stamps and writing every week!

      76. Paper beads. Have some fun making your own jewellery with rolled up paper turned inro beads. See here.

      77. Bug Bracelets. Create your very own bracelets with paper and elastic. cover with sparkles to shine in the sun or make lifelike creatures with realsitic colours and design.  See here.

      78. Who Am I? This is a great game for journeys. Give your child clues, one at a time until they can guess what you are. I live on a farm.... I have four legs..... I have a curly tail..... I have a snout...... I make a sound like this.... and so on. You can vary the clues according to your childs age. Take it turns to see who can guess the fastest with the least clues. It doesn't have to be animals try fruit and vegetables, furntiure or places. Oh and yes I was a pig!

      79.  Pillowcase Wings .Teach your children how to fly. Using scraps of fabric, some elastic, ribbon and some fabric glue, make beautiful wings that will make your children soar! Follow the instructions here.

      80. Make a Mobile. You can make a mobile using any theme you like. With string, cardboard and paints, fabric scraps, crayons and whatever pieces you can find to decorate them with. We made a solar mobile with planets and stars to hang above a bed. Its our own personal star gazing spot.

      81. Make your own blossom tree. Using twigs and paper you can create a beautiful blossom tree. Cut out small flowers from paper and glue them onto twigs. You can then use the tree to hang decorations, jewellery or treats! Find the 'how to' here.

      82. Peg Doll's. Using old fashioned pegs, scraps of fabric and colouring pens you can recreate your family in miniature or perhaps add some new characters to your doll's house. They're great to make, easy to do and will keep hands busy in creating them and then busier playing. You can find instructions here.

      83. Visit the zoo. We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo, how about you, you, you. You can come too, too, too, we're going to the zoo!

      84. Head to the beach. Ok so maybe your're not jetting off to an exotic country to soak up some summer sun, but we have some pretty fabulous beaches here. Just add sunscreen a bucket and spade and you're set to go.

      85. Get rolling. Let this summer be the summer your little one master some wheel skills, get them on the scooter, they're first bike or perhaps even roller skates. They'll love learning a new skill and once they do they'll never forget it.

      86.  Explore the library. With hundreds of titles you may never have thought to look at before you'll end up with armfuls of books to borrow and read. Its good too to let children chose their own books and discover some great titles for themselves. Local libraries also offer activity days with sing-a-longs and fun games. They're always worth checking out.

      87. Hunt the alphabet. When you're out and about ask your children to spy out different places starting with each letter of the alphabet.. 'Annes pantry', 'Barton farm' and so on, try it with numbers too. It'll keep them occupied when you're on the move and they'll be learning too.

      88. Take your books for a walk. Sometimes we save books for bedtime and forget that books are in themsleves adventures that we can delve into at any time of the day. Take your books outside, read under a tree and enjoy the adventures that come off the pages.

      89. Check out some markets. My girls love trawling through markerts, there is always so much to take in and each stall full of colour and surprises. Sometimes we all give ourselves £3 and buy each other a gift. You could give your children some pennies and see what they can get in exchange!

      90. Culinary countries. Try creating a menu of meals for the day with recipes from a particular country.

      91. Toy Swap. Try swapping some of your childrens toys with friends for a week. They'll all have new toys to play with and you won't need to feel like you need to splurge at the toy shop to keep your kids from crying 'I'm bored'.

      92. One for you, one for me. Let your child revisit all their toys, perhaps there are some they no longer play with. Suggest you take them to your local charity shop (there are some great ones which are just for kids) you'll have less to tidy up, they'll feel good for giving and perhaps as a treat for being so generous to others they could buy a 'new' toy to take home. My girls spend their pocket money in our local 'fara' and the great thing about it is I don't mind if it ends up back there a week after because they no longer play with it.

      93. Feed the birds, tuppence a bag! Go feed the ducks, pidgeons and squirrals. Seriously, we've been doing this for 5 years and still they love it!

      94. Become a photographer. Let your child keep a diary of the day by taking photographs of all you do. I gave Sophia a camera for her birthday last year and I love looking at her pictures and how she sees the world. The things she finds interesting and the things that capture her attention.

      95. Painted Pebbles.  Collect a few pebbles from a trip to the beach and paint with faces or scenes.

      96. Shell Necklaces.  I'm always on the look out for shells that have a hole for stringing up into a mobile or necklace. Dig out an old shell collection or head to a beach with a bucklet to wander the shoreline and collect some new exciting shells.

      97. Funny Faces. Grab a stack of magazines and cut out lots of different eyes, noses, mouths, ears and hairstyles.  Create some new faces by sticking and pasting onto paper.

      98. Marble Runs.  Using loo roll and kitchen roll tubes along with cereal boxes and plenty od sellotape, you can create quite a magnificent home-made marble run.  As each loo roll and kitchen roll runs out over the summer a new section can be added!  (a photo coming soon!)

      99. Parachutes for bears.  Using hankies or pieces of fabric and some string, create a parachute for a bear or doll.  They can have some flying adventures from a tree or top of a slide!

      100.  Don't forget to send a postcard. Blank postcards can be used for creating your own scenes and stories from the summer holidays, even if you are staying at home. These personalised postcards will become treasured memories of the time you've had together.

      ....and at the end of the day they'll be pretty tired and ready to go home!

      *this blog found inspiration from memories of our own childhoods, early morning brainstorms trying to find things to do with the girls who started to pull at my legs, and trying to get an idea in before the 'i'm bored' left their lips, and some great books which I forgot were on my shelf, now very much my summer bibles:
      Ripping things to do by Jane Brocket . Natures Playground by Fiona Banks & Jo Schofield. Wonderplay by Fretta Reitzes & Beth Teitelman, with Lois Alter Mark

      We hope you enjoy your summer, may the skies be blue and if not let the puddles be deep. Keep an eye on our Monday Makery as we bring you more ideas with things to make and bake with all the family.

      If you have any ideas you'd like to add please do send them in we'll get them up on the list too. If you take any pictures whilst having some of this summer fun do send them in and we'll get them on.