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Celebrating Book Week 2020 + Free Printable Resources

Craft of the Week

Here at the Pyjama Foundation, we’re big fans of arts and crafts! Creative activities have so many benefits for kids of all ages, whether it’s developing fine motor skills in pre-schoolers or sparking an interest in STEM fields for teenagers. Craft can be a fun way to encourage play-based learning, but it can also serve as an outlet for stress and encouragement for commutation and connection between child and adult.

So, get ready to pull out the popsicle sticks and paintbrushes – here are our 4 favourite craft ideas for the week!

 

CARDBOARD TUBE UNICORN

This colourful little unicorn friend is not only super fun to make, but also provides a source of creative play. This tutorial could be easily adapted to create a family of different fantasy creatures – we’re thinking dragons, fairies, and monsters! Why not encourage your child to invent a simple story with the creatures they create?

Click on this link to view the tutorial, or visit @kidscraftroom on Instagram for more.

 

CARDBOARD CAMERA SCAVENGER HUNT

When we saw this sweet craft idea on Instagram, we knew we had to share it with our Pyjama Angels! This is a great way to re-use some materials from your recycling bin, as all you really need is a small piece of cardboard – and your imagination! Simply cut out a circle in the middle of your ”camera” (adult supervision definitely required for this tricky shape) and decorate your camera however you like. Create a list of things to find on your scavenger hunt, then head off with your camera to spy items through the viewfinder!

We also have some scavenger hunt ideas ready to go if you need some extra inspiration – click here to check them out.

Visit @thechildhoodglen on Instagram for more.

 

PUFFY PAINT ICECREAM

This one is a messy but super fun activity to do with your child! All you need to make the puffy paint is shaving cream and PVA glue in equal parts, and a few drops of food colouring. You can also use some other craft supplies or household items to make these ice-cream cones really fun to play with – like cardboard cut-out cones, old paper straws, and sprinkles.

Visit @craftandboogie on Instagram for more.

 

MARSHMALLOW CATAPULT

Making this marshmallow catapult is a fun activity to do together with an older child. You’ll need a quite a few paddlepop sticks, a wooden or plastic spoon, some rubber bands and some mini marshmallows. Our favourite part about this craft activity is that you can eat your projectiles after you’ve launched them!

Click on this link to view the tutorial, or visit @hellowonderful_co on Instagram for more.

Anzac Day Craft Activities for Remembrance

We have compiled a list of Anzac Craft Activities for you to introduce into your home this Anzac Day. Each family celebrates this differently, but there are traditions that seem to stand the test of time. Remembering those who fought to bravely for the freedom of our country is important. It is a hard topic to broach, but there are some easy ways to introduce this day to young kids. Keep reading for craft and recipe ideas to use this Anzac Day!

DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Poppy Craft This clever craft is created from recycled plastic bottles, and creates such a beautiful ornament style decoration. The kids will have an absolute ball making these pretty poppies.

Anzac Day Paper Plate Poppies – This is a great activity for younger kids, and it requires barely any supplies. Cut your paper plate into a poppy shape and assist your child to use red paint and colour it in. Black paper glued into the centre finishes the activity. You’ll be left with a great big poppy which would look great on a front door!

Donna Hay’s Anzac Biscuits – Who doesn’t love an Anzac Biccy? These traditional war-time biscuits are one of the most festive flavours of the year, and such an Aussie staple.

Australian Flag Cut and Paste Activity – This free printable will help young kids to learn the identifying features of the Australian flag, and older kids can learn the names of each feature and what they represent. This is quite a simple activity but a good addition to other Anzac traditions.

Remembrance Day Red Poppy Craft – You may not have had as many opportunities to purchase a Poppy Pin this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, or perhaps a DIY is more your style, either way this is the perfect craft!

 

Other Activities

We have been regularly updating our COVID-19 Response Page with loads of resources you can use to stay in touch with little ones in your life that you might not be able to see right now. Our COVID-19 Resources can be great for school aged pen-pals or even just keeping your kids busy while isolating. We hope you love them as much as we do!

A Guide to Letter Writing

Written communication is an important skill for children to learn, and writing letters, notes and cards is a great way for kids to practice these skills.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we think letter writing is a fantastic way for Pyjama Angels to stay in touch with their Pyjama Children. All of these activities can be done separately or together via FaceTime, as most of them just require some paper and a pencil.

We have created some examples of fun letter writing activities below that are sure to spark creativity and playfulness in your child.

 

Scrapbook Card Making

Scrapbooking is such a fun activity that can be tailored to kids of all ages. All you need is scraps of different colourful papers. Cutting up junk mail or old magazines can be useful for extra supplies, as well as any other odd crafting pieces you might have lying around the house, like glitter, pompoms, or stickers. We used double sided tape to stick our scraps together, but you can use regular tape folded over or a good old glue stick. Just rearrange your scraps until they look pretty, stick them down, write a nice message, and you’re done! A thoughtfully hand-made card is sure to delight whoever receives it.

Click here to download How to Make a Scrapbook Card

 

 

 

Formal Letter Writing

This easy-to-use format introduces children to a more structured way of writing letters. The name of the writer, date and location are at the beginning of the document, and we start the letter with dear… friend, neighbour, stranger, it’s up to you! For the body of the letter, encourage children to fill up the space. Think about who we are communicating with and what we might like to write, including questions about them and things about ourselves as well. Finish the letter with ‘sincerely’, and perhaps a signature. P.S. stands for postscript, in case there is anything that needs to be added in after the letter.

Click here to download our Formal Letter Writing Template

 

 

Hidden Origami Note

This is such a sweet way to send little love notes. Simply write your message on a square of paper, then follow the instructions to fold it in to an origami heart. Nobody will know what’s hidden inside unless they unfold the heart! These are great to pass around to family members, and can also be easily mailed to any far away friends.

Click here to view our instructional video How to Make an Origami Heart Note

 

 

Secret Writing Code

This activity involves a good old fashioned cipher. Use the code we have created as your own secret language, and write out messages that only you can understand! You can also use this inspiration to create your own cipher for your very own secret language.

Click here to download the secret code

Click here to download the secret message

 

 

 

Thinking outside the box: fun and resource free activities to enjoy!

Staying fresh with new and exciting activities can be difficult on your weekly visits. In order to nurture a creative spirit within your child, simple educational yet fun games are often the way to go. Utilising minimal, if any, resources is the best way to get our little ones thinking. These allow to have an enjoyable and entertaining experience that works in any environment with as little or as many players as possible.

We believe these are the best go-to games if you’re ever feeling stuck for ideas or equipment, but still looking for a fun time!

  • I Spy

A tremendously easy yet addictive detective game that involves guessing an object in the vicinity chosen by another player. Provide an adjective about what you see and watch as the other player attempts to find it.

  • Story together

Start with an intriguing first sentence, then have fun with the plot as you take turns narrating each sentence of the story, making it up as you go!

  • Charades

Only requiring a pen and paper, Charades is the perfect game to act out an idea or concept without making a sound. Once an idea has been selected, you or your team have three minutes to guess what charade you are acting out. If your team is able to guess your charade, your team receives a point. The other team then gets a chance to score a point. This continues until you run out of ideas, where, at this point, the team with the most points wins.

  • Remember what you see

We LOVE this one. Challenge your child’s observation skills in this quick memory game! Choose a direction that should be stared in for 30 seconds, then have the child turn around and write a list of the names of everything they remember seeing in that direction, the more detailed the better! The player with the longest list wins.

  • Scattegories

Scattegories is the ultimate simplistic yet challenging game that demands quick thinking and speedy fingers. Played using a pen and paper, this search for words requires players to provide an answer for each category. The game starts from a specific letter, and within a predetermined time limit (e.g. a minute). Possible categories include girl name, boy name, animal, movie, country, food, etc. The child will score a point if no other player matches their answers. So yes, the most unique and creative responses merit the most points. Continue with different letters for as long as you like and to win the game, score the most points!

  • The Uhm game

Test their conversational ability. The Uhm game requires the child to be given a topic, object, idea or thing to describe. Players must speak about this ‘thing’ for as long as they can without saying the word “um”. The longer the child can go without accidentally slipping it in, the better! Warning: it is very tricky!

 

For more hands-on activities to try out with your kids, check out our arts & crafts, science and fun food blog posts!

Five educational ideas to bust boredom these school holidays

Let’s be frank, we all dread the phrase “I’m booored”, especially during school holidays! With 2 weeks of the school break, the boredom can quickly seep in if your children are not ‘entertained’.

We have put together 5 boredom-busting educational activities ideas you could get your kids involved with during the school holidays that won’t break the bank!

 

  1. Visit your local Museum or Art Gallery
    Visiting Museums and Art Galleries is always a great family outing and is the perfectly opportunity to spend time together having fun learning, exploring and seeing any new exciting exhibitions on display.
  2. Volunteer or teach your kids about giving
    Demonstrate an example of the gift of giving and show them how giving back to the community makes a huge difference. You could visit a nursing home and read books to the older adults. You could donate non-perishable food to the Salvos, or donate clothing to Vinnies!
  3. Reading and writing
    You could make reading and writing a whole lot of fun on the holidays. You can sit down with your kids and write your own story books! Using just a few pages of paper, and some colouring pencils, allow their imaginations to go wild as you plan, write and draw together! You could also get the children to photograph items around the house which you could print out and add to the book! Children love when they are a ‘part’ of a story so you could create something personal and something they’ll really enjoy. Once the book is complete, have a reading night with the family where the kids can show off their work!
  4. Catch the train or ferry for day trips
    Most children squeal at the idea of a bus, train for ferry ride. You could take the opportunity to take the kids to any destination of your choosing – whether it is the park, museum, art gallery, science centre or even your local shopping centre! Be sure to check out timetables for public transport when planning your trip.
  5. Cooking at home together
    Cooking together allows you to spend quality time with the kids while allowing them to learn cooking techniques and methods. Here are our favourite recipes that will surely keep both their hands and brains busy!

Popcorn chicken:

  • 3-4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts

Method

  • Cut the chicken breasts into small chunks.
  • Sift the flour and mix in the salt and cajun seasoning.
  • Dip the chicken in the egg then generously coat in the flour mixture.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Drop a few drops of batter into the oil and if it sizzles and fries it is ready.
  • Add chicken to the oil in small batches and turn over to make sure both sides are cooked evenly.
  • Remove and drain on kitchen paper when golden. Leave to drain a moment or two so the chicken is crunchy. Sprinkle salt after to taste.

Three-Ingredient Nutella Brownies:

  • 1 ¼ cup of Nutella
  • 2 Large eggs
  • ½ Cup of all-purpose flour

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm x 20cm metal baking pan. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour into the baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes our clean.
  • Be careful not to make it for too long, as the brownies will dry out.
  • Let the brownies cool and set before cutting and serving.

Give foster children the gift of reading and writing these school holidays. Donate or become a Pyjama Angel today at www.thepyjamafoundation.com