Top 10 Gifts for Creative Kids

Do you find yourself wishing you could gift your child something other than more plastic? Here are 10 gift ideas to captivate the imagination of creative children and delight parents in something different:

Highly pigmented watercolour paints

Image: One Hundred Toys

Watercolours are a lovely choice if you’d like to give them paints but don’t want to hand over a potentially destructive set of poster paints. Since watercolours need water to use the pigment, they can’t be over poured or wasted in one spontaneous hand printing session! These high-pigment paints from Stockmar are made from all-natural gum arabic and colour pigments. They give a strong colour and are easy to mix and wash off brushes after use.

An art box

Their very own art box is another exciting gift option for children of all ages. You can include paper, pencils, pens, stamps, watercolour paints – any arts and craft tools that children can safely use on their own terms. Read our recent blog post for a full list of ideas on what to put in their first art box.

Paint sticks

Image: Brian Clegg Art

Paint fun that even the tiniest hands can enjoy! These chunky paint sticks are easy to grip and use like a crayon directly on paper or add water for painting – they’ve always proved a hit with my nieces, nephews and friends’ children. The metallic ones are particularly lovely.

Osthemier Creative animal set

Image: Babi Pur

Let them paint their own toys with this Osthemier Creative wooden animal set with paints. One you can sit down and join in with for a creative bonding session. Made from sustainable hard wood and finished with water-based colour stain.  Suitable for ages 4+

Art Workshop for Children (Book)

Image: Art Bar Blog

How about inspiring parent and child with a book designed to help foster original creative thinking? Art Workshop is full of process art ideas – artistic ideas that focus more on the process of creating (and having fun) then the finished work. You can buy this book from Blackwell’s bookshop now.

Makedo construction kits

Image: Makedo

For budding constructors, consider the ingenious Makedo kit! Not easy to get hold of in the UK, but so worth the cost if you manage to get yourself a set. Each kit contains handy screws that can be used through cardboard to join different elements of your creation together. Really easy for children to use to build anything out of cardboard!

Makedo is what we use to make our cardboard sculptures for workshops and parties – they’re so versatile and boost the joy of a simple cardboard box even further

Magnatiles

Another brilliant construction option, are these brilliant magnetic construction tools from Magnatiles. A great alternative to Lego. Quite expensive but a wonderful investment to creative play – providing hours of open-ended building opportunities; towers, doll houses, car parks… the choice is theirs.

Felt crafting set

Image: Baba Me

Felt is an often-overlooked crafting material, but this felt crafting set from Small Foot is a great way to introduce them to the traditional art of felting. It comes with colourful felts and wooden figures to decorate as they see fit. Great for boosting motor skills and concentration.

Stackable rainbow

For little creators who can’t yet master a screw driver, these stackable rainbow arches are a simple and charming option – very popular in our house. These lime wood shapes (painted with non-toxic wood stain) are designed to be used however their imagination sees fit! Balance boards, tunnels, sculptures – you can bet your child will find some other way to use them and surprise you. Great for imaginative and pretend play.
This Grimms stacking toy is available from Conscious Crafts who we love for their amazing collections of imaginative, creative toys and gifts.

A sewing kit

Image: Button Bag

Another open-ended option, gift them a sewing kit full of fabrics, threads, needles, beads, patches etc – it will provide another exciting invitation to create and give them a sense of responsibility to be trusted with sharp objects! You know your child best but probably most suitable for ages 7+

Does your child have a birthday coming up? Why not share this blog post with friends and family to give them some creative gift inspiration?

Top Tips For Messy Play At Home

We all know there’s nothing more wonderful for little kids than free creative play. Invaluable for their innovation skills, manual dexterity and of course a couple of hours’ without electronic devices can’t do them any harm.

To help, the Oglee Poglee team has put together their top tips for navigating messy play activities at home.

Preparation is the key

Having everything set up and ready to go before the children get started is crucial.  That way you can enjoy the playtime and rather than running off to find the baby wipes. Cover your surface ie: kitchen table or floor with a wipeable cloth or sheet or simple sheets of newspaper work well.

Things to have to hand before you start: A towel, baby wipes, bowl of warm soapy water to wash sticky hands in, a child’s apron, craft materials set up ready and a tub or baking tray to work in.

Keep it simple

Messy play doesn’t have to be an amazing set up with lots of equipment. A simple washing up bowl with some water and some plastic animals to wash or a selection of saucepans and some dry ingredients from the kitchen cupboard is enough to spark the imagination of young children.

Stay in your comfort zone

If the idea of paint covered hands sends shivers down your spine then don’t go there just yet.  Start with something simple, easy to play with and quick to tidy away. A tub of everyday rice, some plastic cups and kitchen roll tubes is a really fun place to start with messy play.  The rice may leave the tub but with a quick sweep or hoover its all gone.

Go outside

Messy play is a great activity for the garden and somehow it never seems as stressful. Chalk a on a patio will wash away when the rain comes. Paddling pools and sand pits are great for messy play.  A flower pot, mud and some fairy toys can quickly become a fairy garden.  Add some dinosaurs to a sand pit with some twigs and leaves and dino world is very quickly created.  My boys favourite was always a large bowl and wooden spoons.  They would hunt around the garden for ingredients and make a potion.

Use the bath

Imagine a messy play session where the tidy up simple means turning on the tap and washing everything away!  When you do messy play in the bath the mess is contained and lots of fun can be had.

Pick your moment

Messy play is all about fun and exploration so picking the right moment is key.  A hungry or tired child is less likely to enjoy the activity.  Exploration and imagination take time so don’t rush the activity either.  I have know children who can play with one sensory activity an Oglee Poglee workshop for over an hour quite happily.

Play together

Children learn by watching so now is the time to get stuck in.  Enjoying the activity yourself shows the child that it is safe and fun.  My youngest has always liked to play independently and so I craft alongside him.  It’s great for spending time together and stops me from interfering in his project.

Choose the best materials

Sadly not all washable paints are actually washable, trust us we have tested out a lot of paints!  We use a top quality paint for our craft workshops and we know it’s super washable and non toxic.  With all art materials buy the best that you can afford, they will last longer and make the tidying up a lot easier. For really young children you could even make your own edible paint.

Tidy up time

Encourage children to help with the tidying up and make it into a game.  Tidy up never seems as bad when you have help!  Keep the tasks simple and age appropriate though.

Further ideas

For some really great messy play ideas and simple sensory tubs to try check out Growing A Jewelled Rose.  Their website is packed full of amazing ideas.

Also visit Oglee Poglee on Pinterest for some simple messy play starter ideas and art techniques to try

If messy play at home is really not your thing then come to an Oglee Poglee craft workshop and let us take all the stress away.  You get to spend quality time with your child and we do all the tidying up.