Creative Heroes Club: The Launch

On Saturday 17th November we launched the first ever Creative Heroes Club in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire and it was epic!   A huge thank you to all the families who came and spent the afternoon designing, creating and inventing with us.   With the kids leading the way and no restrictions to limit their imaginations it was an amazing afternoon of pure creativity and make believe.

Mission One was entitled “Planet Create” and told the story of Oglee Pip’s fateful trip into space to visit his friends.  After a collision with a meteorite Pip is stranded on a strange planet and needs help making a new home.  Clipboards at the ready and armed with a few starter ideas our team of Creative Heroes set about designing just what Oglee Pip needed………..

Genevieve focused on communications and felt that Pip would need to speak to his friends.  She made a very snazzy, loud speaker so that Pip could shout into space.  Her brother Henry made a three headed dog to keep Pip company.

Jude knew that life on a planet would be boring and so created Pip a very cool ball game out of newspaper complete with scoring board.  Big sister Eve and her mum made a full size den for Pip to shelter in, including shelves, a fire and a seat.  Eve also created a very life like set of ear phones for Pip that linked to his own Iphone so that he could listen to music.

Riley was quick of the mark and knowing that Pip needed cheering up instantly made him a bottle of cherry squash followed by a jet pack and a hot dog.  Little sister Ella made sure Pip was comfortable with a long scarf.

Bjarni put his inventing skills to the test and designed a working water well and a box that harnessed the power of lightening.  Once Pip had water and electricity more inventions followed and a flat screen, wall mounted TV was quickly installed complete with remote!

George, Felix and mum created Blooby, a very cute robot friend for Pip.  I have to say Blooby might be the most lovely robot I have ever met.

The creativity in the room was electric and it was amazing to watch each family work together.  Listening to each other ideas, making suggesting and trying new things.  No idea was too crazy and nothing was off limits…..rocket ships, chairs, houses, pet dragons and a whole new language; Pip was spoilt for choice with all the amazing inventions.

So what will happen to Pip?   With the Creative Heroes help he now has options.  Will he stay on the strange planet, live in his amazing den, drive his snazzy car and watch his cool tv with his three headed dog or will he use the rocket booster (with anti sun button!) megaphone and telescope to work out a way to get back to Earth?

Find out at the next Creative Heroes Club in January.  Knowing Pip,  I can imagine he will need our help again!

Click here for more information on Creative Heroes Club and how your family can take part

 

How to Host a Birthday Party Both Kids and Parents Will Love

We all want to give our children birthday parties they’ll really enjoy and remember. But aren’t the best parties the ones where the parents also have fun? Especially if you’re the parents hosting!

Here’s how to hold a Birthday party that satisfies everyone:

Keep it simple and focused on the children

It sounds obvious, right? But a lot of parents focus on the decorations and making the table look amazing when really I don’t think children care too much about that bit! The best party I’ve entertained at was organised by a dad who did no decorations and simple food in a box. He set it all up in 2 seconds then came and played with the children and got stuck in with their Oglee Poglee fun! Younger children especially love it if they see their parents getting involved too.

When it comes to themes and activities, chat with your child and see what they’d really like (rather than guessing based on what friends have had or wanting to do something more impressive). What do your children really enjoy? What do they get lost in for hours? Whether it’s crafting, playing football or imaginative play – any interest can become the basis for a party!

Prepare ahead

Try to cut out your stress by getting prepared well in advance. It doesn’t matter whether you’re keeping it simple or you are planning a immersive theme – have a plan, have the help you need, and try to have thing sorted so that on the day you can enjoy really focus on the children.

Get your child involved beforehand

Children love to be given a sense of responsibility and to be part of the excitement and build up to their party. Let them be as involved as possible. Encourage them to pick the party theme, come up with activity and decor ideas and then help you set up on the day.

Talk with the entertainer

If you’re booking any suppliers or entertainment for your party, talk to them in advance and ask for any tips to make the party run as smoothly as possible. What do they need from you? Is there anything they need from the venue layout? Is there anything else you want to know from them too, it’s always best if you know exactly what to expect on the day so you’re not having to rush around helping them find electricity sockets or having to re-jig furniture to make space for their set-up.

Pick the right venue

The right venue can really boost the fun factor, so think carefully. What sort of space do you need for the party you have in mind? Do you feel comfortable letting 20 children descend on your home or will you need a nice village hall or similar? Again have a chat with any entertainers and see what they’d need and if they have any local recommendations.  Our blog post on Finding the right party venue also has some top tips.

Keep the parents refreshed

If you’re expecting parents to stay while the children celebrate, don’t forget to have the fridge well stocked for them too. Food and drink always makes any small talk easier!

What are the best kids parties you’ve been to? We’d love to hear over on Instagram.

Plus, if you liked this blog post you may also like our blog post about bespoke birthday parties: Martha’s Bespoke Birthday Party

What Is an ‘Invitation to Create’?

Eager to create more creative moments with your children? There’s a good chance you’ve come across the term ‘invitation to create’ on Instagram, Pinterest or craft packed parenting blogs – but what does this popular term mean? And how does an invitation to create benefit our kids?

The good news: it’s easy to understand. An invitation to create is simply an environment that ‘invites’ young children to get involved with a creative activity – whether that’s exploring sensory play, a cut and stick craft, painting, a heap of new materials to experiment with – the opportunities are endless.

The aim is to simply capture a child’s imagination and provide the materials for them to engage their natural creativity and problem-solving skills.

Why should we set-up invitations to create?

So often, adults set up craft activities for children with an intended outcome – perhaps with specific instructions to follow and a specific ‘product’ in mind to create. While there’s no harm in this within a mix of creative activities, this sort of adult-led crafting restricts our children.

An invitation to create intentionally allows children the means to create ‘how they see fit’ respecting their innate creativity and allowing them the opportunity to use their imagination fully. It’s always fascinating to see children using their natural creativity and exploring materials in ways we could have never expected!

Creative play has other huge developmental benefits too. It can boost both fine and gross motor skills, aid in basic maths skills (like geometry, sorting, and measuring) and offer an outlet to express emotions and strengthen mental wellbeing.

Setting up an engaging invitation to create

There are no strict rules to setting up an ‘invitation to create’ but if you feel overwhelmed by the idea of offering your child an open-ended creative task, here are a few tips to presenting a creative opportunity they will learn from and enjoy:

• Make it hands-on
If your idea of getting creative is currently restricted to paper and pens/paintbrush, think again. To let our children, get the biggest benefits from being creative we need to allow them to use their whole bodies – particularly their little hands and fingers! Think about how you can set up an invitation to create that lets them manipulate materials without tools and to explore new textures and materials.

• Make it messy
Most kids love getting messy! Whether it’s exploring the different ways to use paint, using plenty of gloopy glue or shaking glitter and sprinkles about the place – it’s all part of using their creative freedom fully. To keep them engaged for longer, set up their invitation to create in a space where you feel happy for them to make a mess and let them go for it.

• Make it ‘grown-up’
Another way to really capture their imagination is to give them a sense of responsibility as they create. Using real tools like wood, nails and hammers is a great one! Or simply trusting them with scissors, glue and tape to use however they want without limit.

• Make it obvious
While you don’t want to be completely prescriptive, it’s important that your invitations to create are clearly defined. This means setting up your craft activity and giving your child a quick explanation of how the materials ‘could’ be used (this is not the same as describing what the final piece will look like). The fun is then watching them as they explore and add their own creative twists!

• Use other people’s ideas!
You don’t have to think everything up yourself. Pinterest is full of amazing craft ideas (see our Kid’s Craft Prompt board). Our blog ‘Brilliant Kids Books to Encourage Creative Thinking’ will introduce to some inspiring craft books too.

Oglee Poglee’s pre-filled craft party bags are a lovely example of quick and easy ‘invitations to create’ you can gift your child at any time and unleash their creativity. Which one would most capture their imagination?