Crafting on the Go: How to Get Creative Outside the House

Crafting and creating needn’t be something you keep to days spent at home. We try to encourage our children to be creative wherever we go, particularly if we’ve got some time to fill while travelling or on holiday. Here are 10 ways to get creative outside the house:

Sketching & doodling

Keep it simple with a sketchbook and pens/pencils for observational drawing or just doodling whatever comes to mind. You can get out pen and paper wherever you go: car journeys, museums, park walks, beach trips. Ask your children to look around them and do their best to recreate something they see or encourage them to completely fill the page with abstract shapes and figures.

Rubbings

Get up close to nature with crayon rubbings. Place a piece of paper over an interesting texture (such as tree bark, a rock, a drain cover) and use chalks, crayons or pastel to reveal an imprint.

Collage/scrapbooks

Making a scrapbook is a lovely way to treasure memories and unwind through creative process. All they’ll need is a glue stick, pens/pencils and their imagination. What will they want to stick inside? Flower petals from castle grounds, sugar packets from their favourite cafe, entrance tickets from the theme park? There are no rules.

Water painting

Pack an extra water bottle and some paintbrushes on your next day out and you’ve got the materials for water painting on any interesting canvases you find. It could be a big blank wall or a long pavement, water painting is a fun and easy way to get making outdoors without leaving a permanent mark.

Chalks

Another way to make a mark outside, pack your chalks. Great at the playground or on trees in the forest for washable graffiti.

Paper planes & boats

Any craft that results in a toy you can play with is popular in our house. Paper planes and boats are easy to make and if you haven’t packed any paper with you, they can be made in all sizes out of flyers, brochures, receipts, tickets, and takeaway menus.

Lego

If you’re looking for a mess free creative activity on the go, how about filling one side of a lunchbox with Lego figures so they have a safe carry case for their constructions. Magnetic tiles are another fun option.

Pen & Paper Games

When they’re not in the mood for sketching, there are loads of pen & paper games you can play as a family. Perfect for over a restaurant dinner. See our blog on creative Pen & Paper games here.

Playdough

A pot of playdough with accessories (pom poms, sequins, googly eyes, lolly sticks etc) is a really easy and compact creative activity you can take out too.

Watercolours

A palette of watercolours is an easy, low-mess way to get painting outdoors. Great for taking to a National Trust garden or to the beach. To save paper flying away in the breeze, try painting on paper plates which are thicker and easier to manage without a table or easel.

Stickers

Perfect for preschools, stickers are a fuss-free way to enjoy some downtime while unleashing their creativity. Offer them a mix of shapes and characters they can use to create stories and scenes.

Playground dens

Have you ever taken your own fun extras to a quiet playground? Cushions, blankets, a play tunnel? It adds a whole new dimension to their favourite outdoor play spaces as they can create dens in a new setting.

Which of these creative ideas do you think your child would most enjoy? Tell us over on Instagram, we’d love to find out. Plus, why not share this blog with other creativity loving parents and help unleash their child’s creativity this summer.

10 Exciting Invitations to Create This Summer

The easiest way to keep them entertained this summer? Help them get lost in the beauty of their own imagination. Here are 10 exciting invitations you can set up to encourage them to imagine, create, problem solve and have fun:

Cardboard targets

Mix crafting with active play by giving your kids the tools to make their own garden targets. All they’ll need is a large piece of cardboard, coloured markers and scissors (you may need to help younger ones). Simply get them to mark and cut out holes that can be used as targets for water pistols and footballs.

Potion making

Potion making always goes down well at Oglee Poglee events. You can use whatever child-safe ingredients you have around the house and garden. Water, cereals, herbs, pasta, oats, paper, leaves, paint, sequins, mud – set up pots and plates with spoons and cups and they’ll be off!

Nature brushes

Help encourage creative thinking by presenting your child with the chance to make their own craft materials from things they can find in the garden or at the park. Twigs, leaves, flowers, pine cones, seeds – show your children how to use string to wrap them together and make natural paint brushes or simply dip in paint to use as stamps. A great way for them to experiment with different textures and techniques.

Iced paints

For a cool crafting activity in the heat, try frozen watercolour paint ice cubes. Really easy to set up and an interesting sensory experience for little painters.

Cardboard garden dens

What about more cardboard fun in the summer sun? Take a load of old cardboard boxes out in the garden along with pens, paints and MAKEDO construction screws and let them build whatever they like.

Miles of tape

Kids love tape! Washi tape, masking tape, sellotape, duct tape – it doesn’t really matter what you’ve got lying about the house, they’ll find something to do with it. We suggest letting them have a roll or two outside and inviting them to get creative in the sunshine. They could cover sticks to decorate with coloured patterns and create wands, or wear a strip of double sided tape down their clothing and collect natural embellishments from around the garden!

Messy Play

Invite them to make a mess this summer – they’ll be delighted to be given your permission! At Oglee Poglee, we know how important messy play is to creative development and a couple of our favourite messy activities include chocolate mud baths for animal figures and cloud making with foam.

Sandcastles

Bring the beach home with a set-up for sandcastle building. You’ll need a sandpit or large tray, sand, buckets and spades (or pots and spoons), and any other potential finishing touches you have available – flags, shells, pom poms, building blocks, coloured paper. Don’t think too much about what these resources could be, just set them up and let your child decide.

Builders yard

If you’re feeling brave, kids love the chance to get creating with real ‘grown-up’ tools. Offcuts of wood, a saw, hammer and nails… They’ll love the chance to make their own structures and sculptures (under your supervision of course).

Natures glitter

Encourage your children to look at nature differently with buckets of nature glitter – aka dry soil and sand. Set-up a crafting opportunity with paper, paints or paint sticks, or glue – and show them how to add a sprinkling of soil or sand to create a fun textured effect. A lovely simple idea to get them crafting in the garden.

If you liked this blog post you might also like ‘10 Easy Creative Games with a Pen & Paper’.

Don’t forget our pre-filled craft party bags make a fun invitation to create too, perfect for out in the garden on a picnic blanket.

Discovery Sprouts – Outdoor Adventures

Oglee Poglee is fiercely proud of its team and so it’s a pleasure to introduce you to Discovery Sprouts, a new children’s outdoor activity experience set up by our very own arty explorer Bizi and her friend Laura.

With two boys I am no stranger to the outdoors and the benefits is has on my children’s general well being.  A good run around, some fresh air  and a chance to freely explore nature should not be underestimated.   Hands-on learning in a natural environment helps children grow in confidence and self-esteem. They can problem solve, try a new challenge and just be free to imagine.

Discovery Sprouts encourages families to discover the great outdoors and the adventures it offers.   With Bizi and Laura guiding the way children and adults can  jump, squelch, climb, shout and be free!  All the while accompanied by a rumpus of music, theatre and story telling.

Imagine a theatrical outdoors adventure where you and your children can get completely involved in a story.  Music adds atmosphere and imaginatively placed props, temporary installations  and crafts can be discovered along the way.  It sounds a real experience and knowing how creative Bizi is I can guarantee it will be.

So if your family is in need of a large dollop of squelchy fun check out Discovery Sprouts.

Bizi will be a running a regular weekly meet-up in Amersham, Bucks, starting in September and there will be monthly pop-up events for the more immersive, theatrical experience.

Martha’s Bespoke Birthday Party

What is a bespoke children’s party I hear you say?  Well it’s the wild ideas and make believe adventures that your child dreams of brought to life by the Oglee Poglee team of arty adventurers.

Martha was turning 7 this year and her mum approached me looking for a party that would make Martha’s dreams come true.  The brief was simple, to make sure Martha was the focus and that she could wear her favourite blue dungarees!   So we got our thinking caps on.  After discussing a few possible ideas with mum the party theme was set and friends were invited to “The Giant’s Tea Party”.

The party started with Martha reading out loud a letter written  to her by the Queen. The royal letter announced that Britain was in danger and the Country needed her help. A giant was on his way and the only way to prevent him trampling the land was to distract him with food.  Lots of food!  The queen was hosting a tea party for the giant and it was Martha’s job to discover what the giant liked to eat and get everything prepared.  Cool hey!

After a quick fact finding game we discovered that our giant loved cupcakes, cocktails and sandwiches.   So Martha and her friends got to work straight away making foam clay cupcakes, paper sandwiches with ketchup and some very frothy cocktails.

Naming your cocktail was a highlight and made us all giggle.  I wonder if giants like “poo powder”, “sprinkle drink” and “caramel fizz”!

I loved designing Martha’s party, the children loved the theme and worked together as a team to create a table of pretend food that any giant would have eagerly  gobbled up.

“A brilliant party from start to finish, thanks Claire!  Martha and her friends had a great time and I enjoyed putting my feet up watching you do all the hard work!”  Helen, Berkhamsted

 

To have an Oglee Poglee party designed for your child do get in touch.

 

 

 

 

Bespoke Children’s Birthday Cakes

Amanda Bradford Cake Design is a kitchen studio specialising in custom handmade cakes.   I met Amanda on the school run and since then she has become my go to lady for amazing cakes.  Not because she is a dear friend but because she makes all her cakes from scratch using the finest, fresh, natural ingredients and the taste is amazing.

There are low sugar and vegan options which have been a saviour for my family gatherings where everyone has different requirements. The elderflower, yogurt and pistachio cake is gluten free and absolutely delicious. Perfect for the centre piece at my mum’s recent big Birthday celebration.

So if you are looking for a children’s birthday cake that tastes as delicious as it looks then get in touch with Amanda Bradford.  Together you can create the perfect birthday cake for your child’s special day.

www.amandabradford.co.uk

What to Put Inside their First Art Box

Children are born creators, and they love being given a sense of responsibility – so what could be more exciting than being given their very own art box full of tools and materials to craft whenever they like!

Here’s what to include in their first art box:

Quality crayons

Even the youngest creative can have a go with crayons! They’re safe, uncomplicated and can be used for drawing, colouring, and interesting rubbings. We recommend going for a high pigment brand (like Crayola or Lyra) so you get a nice clear mark without too much pressure.
Chunky crayons are also a good choice as they reduce the risk of being snapped by over enthusiastic artists.

Colouring pencils

Pencils are the go-to for older children but there’s no reason a toddler can’t start out with pencils, under supervision. Pencil use helps them practise their pincer grip from an early age. Great for illustrating, sketching and colouring larger shapes in.  A pack of graphite sketch pencils is always nice too. Ideal for observational sketching and to practice letter-like mark making.

Sharpener & rubber

Don’t forget a simple sharpener and rubber to keep their pencils sharp. Pre-schoolers will love being trusted with the job of sharpening their pencils, and it’s a great activity for fine motor development.

Felt-tip pencils

Perhaps another obvious choice, but not to be overlooked. Felt-tip pens are great for drawing on cardboard and other craft materials where crayons and pencils just won’t show up. Perfect for adding detail and personality to creatures and characters they’ll inevitably make.

Watercolour paint

Every art box needs some paint! Watercolours are brilliant for providing paint possibilities without the instant mess of poster paint or finger paints (as they’ll need water to ‘work’).  For a fun technique to captivate little minds, try drawing secret shapes and messages with a white crayon on white paper. Then let them try a magic reveal by using their watercolours over the top.

Paintbrushes

Don’t forget the paintbrushes! It’s always best to invest in a quality set to avoid the frustration of brush hairs left on their artwork.

Self-inking stampers

Stampers are available in sorts of shapes and symbols, giving children the instant satisfaction of creating an image with one movement. Self-inking stampers save on mess as they come with a lid and don’t require a separate ink pad.

Papers and card

Give your child a mixture of papers and card that can be used as the basis for endless masterpieces. Plain white paper is a must, but you could also include: coloured paper, coloured sugar paper, coloured tissue paper, metallic paper/foil, wrapping paper, card, and envelopes.

A sketchbook

What child doesn’t love being given their own notebooks and pads just like yours? For younger children you may want to go for a cheap and cheerful option they can scribble their way through. While older children may appreciate an artist’s sketchbook with watercolour paper.

Stickers

Stickers provide hours of entertainment on their own! But left in their art box they’ll soon become robot buttons, monster eyes and important finishing touches for their latest work of genius.

Ruler and stencils

Plastic stencils can help guide your child’s illustrations and aid in the creation of shapes and structures they can’t quite manage free-hand. A ruler is a basic art box essential too.

Pompoms & Googly Eyes

For those who can be trusted with small parts, pomp oms & googly eyes are a fun addition they’ll love! Great for popping on both 3D sculptures or adding to pictures.

Scissors

If the idea of handing your child their own pair of scissors makes you nervous, you’re not alone. But there are plenty of safe kids scissors on the market, designed for as young as 3 years old and designed to only cut paper – meaning other belongings are safe too.
The more access to scissors your child has, the faster their scissor skills will develop and the more confident you will both feel.

Glue

No kids’ art box would be complete without something for all that sticking! PVA is great for bulkier collages and 3D crafts while a glue stick will do just fine for scrapbooking and adding lightweight details to paper. For best results, choose a reputable adhesive brand (like Pritt) as supermarket sticks often lack holding power.

Does your child have their own art box? We’d love to see them with it in action. Tag us in your Instagram pictures using #ogleepoglee

Why not pop a pre-filled craft party bag in as a surprise treat too!

 

We Won! Best Children’s Business in Hertfordshire

We are thrilled to announce that Oglee Poglee won “Best Children’s Business” in the 2018 Muddy Stilettos Awards.  Thank you so much to everyone that votes for us, it really does mean a lot.

What a weekend to win on!  There was a royal wedding and a 70th Birthday celebration for my mum so I was surrounded by friends, family and Champagne most of the weekend which made in extra special.

In true winners style I would like to thank a few people who without their support Oglee Poglee would just not work.  Mainly my husband and children who put up with cardboard everywhere, sequins stuck to their socks and long nights in front of the TV helping me to cut out paper shapes or box up orders.

I also have a fantastic team.  Clare, Helen and Rebecca make all the party bags whilst Jo and Bizi entertain children at our parties.  They are an amazing bunch who bring so much to the company and put up with my creative ramblings and mad moments. I couldn’t do it without you all.

Another big mention is to Rachel for her amazing Pr, everyone at the Design House for their graphic work and our new website, the team at Neal Brothers Packaging who like cardboard as much as me and last but not least Maxine and Saskia who have brought my marketing and web copy into the 20th Century at last.

Thank you for making 2018 an amazing year for Oglee Poglee

Brilliant Kids Books to Encourage Creative Thinking

When it comes to unleashing our kids’ creativity, sometimes we need a little inspiration. These brilliant books are packed full of ideas to stimulate young minds and encourage creative thinking:

Red Ted Art: Cute and Easy Crafts for Kids

Looking for a fun way to spend time with your children that doesn’t require hours of preparation? This craft book is packed with easy to set-up creations that you can make from bits and bobs from around your house – time to raid the recycling box! Ideas include everything from friendly pencil topper characters to loo-roll animals charming stick men and their own ride-on hobby horse! Find this book on Amazon now.

Tinkerlab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors

Another fab crafty resource, this hands-on book of ideas from Tinkerlab features 55 creative suggestions for kids that love to invent. Designed to encourage their natural curiosity and help them explore and problem solve through sensory play and experimentation. Suitable for ages 2 years plus. Find this book on Amazon now.

Show Me a Story by Emily K. Neuburger

It’s easy to forget that not all creative activities require getting messy… Storytelling is a wonderful way to foster imagination and strengthen creative thinking, and this book from Emily K. Neuburger has been designed to kickstart your child’s imagination and fuel their narratives with 40 craft projects to help ‘show a story’. Little children can make use of the visual prompt ideas wild older kids will enjoy the grab bag and journaling ideas too. Find this book on Amazon now.

Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity

Another traditionally arty book for those parents who want to get stuck in and create with their youngsters. The Artful Parents provides suggestions on how to best use materials and resources to deepen creativity, explore new materials and boost self-confidence. It’s also great for opening discussions about art with your kids and learning how to make the most of artwork after its been made. Find this book on Amazon now.

The Nowhere Box

A delightful book with super illustrations, The Nowhere Box is a brilliant one for stimulating their imagination as they follow protagonist George as he escapes from his pesky brothers and ends up in ‘Nowhere’. It turns out Nowhere is an amazing place to be! As well as being great for encouraging creative thinking, it’s a nice book to help children deal with sibling tensions. Find this book on Amazon now.

Herve Tullet Books

I couldn’t pick one favourite from the creative gems of Illustrator Herve Tullet. His books include: Press Here, Art Workshops for Kids, The Game of Finger Worms, The Scribble Book and Say Zoop – to name just a handful. Tullet’s books are full of creative magic asking young readers to go on interesting journeys by following his directions on each page. Browse Herve Tullet on Amazon now.

Sticker & colouring books

Alongside all these creative reads, don’t underestimate the power of a simple sticker or colouring book. Sometimes all our children need to get their creative juices flowing is a simple prompt – a page to colour or a page of stickers to unpeel. I’ve always made sticker and colouring books a staple in our craft cupboard, great for when they’re old enough to pick out a quick activity for themselves. Usbourne do some brilliant sticker books for all ages and interests.

Scratch art books

Another fun hands-on option are scratch art books. Really easy to complete but with beautiful results. These clever books use specially-coated rainbow foil pages which when scratched leave a colourful image. Most scratch art books come with a theme and instructions on how to draw simple pictures by scratching. Find scratch art books on Amazon now.

What’s your favourite book when it comes to helping your kids be creative thinkers?

10 Easy, Creative Games With A Pen & Paper

You don’t need a cupboard full of craft supplies to get your kids creatively thinking and having fun! These 10 simple games require just pen and paper, great for on the go or while waiting at a restaurant:

Art directors

Let’s start with one which is great for children to play with family or friends. Each person takes a piece of paper and has it in such a way that their drawing is hidden from the other players. Taking it in turns, one person gives an instruction (for example, “draw a circle”) and everyone else then follows their instruction and draws on their piece of paper. As each player gives an instruction, art works start to form!

After several turns (however many you like!) reveal your drawings to each other. Each will look completely different, as everyone will have interpreted the instructions differently.

This game can be played by choosing objects rather than shapes and lines too. For example, “draw a book”, “draw a hat” – to create complete scenes.

Scribble art

Get ready to create art with minimal fuss. All you need to do is draw a random squiggle all over the page (with the line creating intersections) then colour in the shapes it makes. Your children can colour it randomly however the moment takes them, or they could try to make an image within the scribble, perhaps a character or animal shape?

Paper puppets

How about bringing a story to life with paper puppets? Simply fold up a piece of paper and add eyes, hair, facial features, clothing – whatever you want to give them character. If you’ve got scissors on hand you can bring even more detail to your creations.

Monster making

This draw-and-fold game is a hilarious family favourite. Take a piece of paper, the first person draws a head, folds the head away and then passes on the paper. The next person draws the body, and folds. The next person draws the legs, and folds… etc. After drawing the feet, it’s time to unfold and reveal your monster creation.

Find the dot

This one works well in an already used notebook or pad – we played it when our drawing book was full on our last holiday. To play, simply draw a tiny dot somewhere in the book and challenge another player to find it. It doesn’t have to be a dot, it could be a tiny star, ladybird… whatever!

Treasure trail

Rip up your piece of paper into smaller pieces and write clues on each which lead to something around your house – a favourite teddy, a truck, a yummy treat etc. Lay another piece of paper and clue at each treasure item so it takes them on a complete trail collecting things along the way.

The classics

Let’s not forget the classics too – noughts and crosses, hangman, squares – they’re all games every child should learn and enjoy.

I-Spy Illustrations
A bit like the fun grown-up game ‘Pictionary’, I-spy can be played through illustrations too. Look around and pick something in mind before drawing it on paper. Other players must guess what it is as you draw.

Drawing in the dark
For another fun pen and paper game, try drawing in the dark! Each player closes their eyes, one person decides on an object and everyone must try to draw it without looking. Then compare your masterpieces… or muddles, whichever the case maybe.

Do-odle it again
Pick a category of item (eg, leaves, cats, houses, arrows, flowers) and see how many different variations you can doodle. Simple yet surprisingly captivating.

Do you have any other favourite pen & paper games your kids love?

Children’s Parties – Finding the right venue

Your child has big birthday plans; they’ve picked the party theme and you have discovered a brilliant party entertainer, it’s just the venue to sort out!

A party at home is a great idea for small gatherings but what if you have invited a whole class of energetic children? Finding a suitable venue to host a children’s party can be a bit over whelming. As a party entertainer I have partied in lots of different venues from large conference centres to small village halls. All have their pros and cons so here are Oglee Poglee’s top tips for choosing the right venue for your children’s party.

Focus on your top priorities

The venue you chose needs to work for the type of party you are planning. Does the venue need a stage, is a carpeted floor a benefit or a hindrance? Do you want outdoor space for a summer party or a venue with loads of space for a soft play set up.

Plan early

The best venues will get booked up quickly so plan ahead and get your date secured as soon as you can otherwise the choice of venues will be limited.

Good parking

Even if you party guests are local and can walk to your party make sure there is a parking space at the venue for your party entertainer and yourself. You will have a car load of stuff (food, decorations, kids and presents) and there is nothing more stressful then not being able to park when time is precious.

Kitchen facilities

Whether you are planning hot or cold food, a clean well equip kitchen is a saviour. Even the most organised of us can forget the cake knife or the matches so if there are some at the venue it’s a great help.

Tables and chairs

Does the venue have tables and chairs that you can use? Most church halls do and if the venue is also used by a preschool or toddler group there might be children’s sized tables and chairs available.

Cleanliness

Some venues are spotless whereas others have seen better days and could do with a good scrub. If you have really small children that will be playing on the floor a nice clean venue will put your mind at ease.

Costs

The cost of hiring a venue can vary depending on the size of the venue and its facilities. Do check what the hire fee includes when you book to make sure there are no hidden extras. Some hired halls are now asking the hirer to have public liability insurance. Do ask whether it is a requirement when you book.

Space

Choose a venue that can cater for the amount of guests coming to your party. Remember that you need to give the party entertainer some space and also seat your guests around tables to eat. Venues that have two or more rooms can work really well with the party entertainment in one room and then food in the other. Younger children love to run around a bit more so go for the biggest space you can find.

Decorations

If you have big decorating plans do check with the venue to see if you decorate the room for your party. Some halls don’t like you to put anything on the walls. If that’s the case you can focus your decorations onto the party table or go for free standing decorations like balloon sculptures for the wow factor.

How to find a party venue near you:

  • Local Councils normally have a list of local venues to hire including Council owned and non Council owned, so check out their website.
  • A local Facebook group can be a good place to ask other parents for their recommendations
  • Church and village halls offer good local facilities and are a great starting point.
  • Look to see where other local groups hang out. Scout huts, meeting houses and preschools will all use child friendly venues that could be perfect for your party.
  • Alternative venues: If you are looking for something a little bit different why not try a local restaurant or cafe, garden centre, sports club or school. These venues might even be able to offer some catering or a space that will match your party theme.
  • Ask your party entertainer for advice: At Oglee Poglee we are happy to help you to find the perfect party venue, it’s all part of the service. We have explored most of the venues in the local area and so can offer first hand advice and guidance