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

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.