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?

10 Attractions to Engage Their Imagination

When the kids head back to school, term time madness can leave you wondering how you’re going to squeeze in any creative adventures as a family. Especially if they’re not eager to sit down at the kitchen table and get crafty together. Here’s a round-up of 10 top attractions to engage their imagination without them even noticing! Perfect for family days out.

Institute of Imagination, London
The Institute of Imagination in London is relatively new and looks really interesting. It was launched as a charity creating space for children and young people to re-imagine the world with a whole host of workshops throughout the year which are great for engaging your young inventors and engineers.

The Science Museum, London
We love a visit to the Science Museum if we’re in London. It’s packed with interesting exhibits and hands-on learning opportunities with exhibitions changing regularly. It’s free to enter but you can pay extra for the temporary exhibitions and IMAX cinema.

Techniquest, Cardiff
Always on our list of places to visit when we visit family in Cardiff, Techniquest is another interactive science museum with lots of things to do from toddlerhood onwards.  We love building dams in the water play area and the planetarium.

Discover -Children’s Story Centre, London 
Discover is the UK’s first Children’s Story Centre, a dedicated space for children and their families to enjoy playing, learning and making up stories together. Step inside and you can wander through a world of imagination and encourage your kids to create their own stories.

London Glassblowing, Bermondsey, London
Having previously worked at the London Glassblowing studio I can highly recommend it as a great place to take a family trip and watch the makers at work. The gallery is also packed full of colourful glass from the world’s finest contemporary glass artists.  Oh and don’t forget to pop to the Fashion and Textile Museum which is opposite.

Colourscape
Colourscapes are walk-in structures of colour and light.  Over 35 have been made and now tour the country.  Click the title link for their tour locations.   Walk through a maze of colour, see how it changes the colours you wear and maybe even discover a whole orchestra in the middle.  A real experience for the whole family to enjoy together.  We loved it and so did the grand parents.

Cockpit Arts, London 
Cockpits Arts is also a lovely visit if you and your children are into your crafts. Home to craftspeople and designer makers,  it holds twice-yearly Open Studios which lets you see behind-the-scenes.  See how a milliner makes a hat, how potters throw a bowl and jewellers shape a bespoke ring.

Kidzania, London
An amazing invitation to imagine and play awaits at Kidzania in London. Kidzania is a fully themed, child-size city for kids to roleplay in. They can take on the role of pilot, cabin crew, firefighter, fashion stylist, doctor… There are 60 activities in total meaning there’s so much to explore and get immersed in. Open to ages 4-14 years old.

The Children’s Play Village, Warwick
For a smaller indoor roleplay world, The Children’s Play Village is a themed indoor play area where children and parents can make treasured memories playing pretend together. Themed areas include a tea room, hair salon, post office, theatre and supermarket.

Lego Discovery Centres, Manchester & Birmingham
If your kids are big Lego fans, they’ll love the new discovery centres which make a more creative alternative to Legoland. The ultimate indoor Lego playground, you’ll find 3 rides, 10 LEGO build & play zones, a 4D cinema & much more.

Do you have any places you love to engage their imagination? Do email us and let us know.

National Trust gardens are always a popular choice too as the kids have plenty of space to run around while getting engaged with history and nature.

If you liked this blog you may also like our article: Brilliant Kids Books to Encourage Creative Thinking

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!