Creative Influencers Worth Following

Image by Handy with Scissors

 

If you’re not as naturally creative as you’d like to be, finding ways to inspire the kids into getting craft or expressing their arty side can be tricky. Where do you start?! Well, wonder no more – here are our top picks of creative influencers who will give you plenty of ideas the kids will love!

Growing A Jeweled Rose – Messy Play Ideas & Recipes

https://www.growingajeweledrose.com/

This is my absolute ‘go to’ website for messy play ideas and recipes! Find out how to make coloured rice, your own play dough or start making slime (always a favourite). This site is full of simple things to do but that the kids will play with for hours.  I love that all the recipes and instructions are clear and straight forward, even if you’re not used to getting messy and crafty. Plus, there are many more adventurous ideas for when you get more confident too. Play dough is fun but wait until you try wonder dough, scented dough and galaxy dough!

Growing A Jeweled Rose also has activity ideas and tips for setting up messy play opportunities at home, like popping them in the bath to keep mess contained or using outside toys.

Tinkerlab – Monthly Art Challenges + Process Art Ideas

https://tinkerlab.com

If you’re home creative opportunities have become a bit predictable, Tinkerlab is fab for really helping you think outside of the box and just play with art. Their focus is on process art (enjoying arts and crafts techniques for the fun of it rather than the result) and sensory fun. For example, using nature to make art, finding new ways to use glue and paint, and testing out creative science experiments.

They also do a monthly art challenge for sketchbooks, providing a word prompt for everyday with news ones each month. A great way to inspire your kids to draw!

Red Ted Art – Arts & Craft Ideas

https://www.redtedart.com/

This was one of the first craft websites I found when I started my creative adventure with Oglee Poglee. It’s packed full of kid’s craft ideas and fun makes! A nice place to start if you’re looking for more traditional crafty ideas your kids can make and proudly display around the house (or play with as part of their imaginary games). They also have a brilliant book if you want to get the creative juices going without logging on to the web.

For more creative book ideas, read our blog: Brilliant Books To Encourage Creative Thinking

Handy with Scissors – Creativity with Recycling

http://www.handywithscissors.com/

If you’re kids love making models and imaginary creations, this site is a must visit. Colourful, fun and exciting is how I would describe Suzie’s Handy with Scissors blog.  It’s well worth following her Instagram page too, it will brighten up any dull day!

My favourite section of the website is “From the recycled bin”.  It has loads of simple ideas that you can make from things we throw away.  Get ready for cereal box spinners and egg carton mouse finger puppets, finished in bright colours to make you smile.

Molly Moo Crafts – Simple, fun crafts

http://mollymoocrafts.com/

For more really fun but simple crafts to add another element to their role play, this site is amazing. I love the photography. Take a look at their simple toilet roll crafts, who knew you could make such fun things with everyday rubbish!

Art Bar Blog

https://www.artbarblog.com/

If you’re looking for art ideas for the whole family, you’ll love the Art Bar Blog.  More about craft/art prompts than individual crafts so great for introducing “invitations to create” into your kids lives.

Not sure what an “Invitation to Create” is? Read our blog to find out!

Krokotak

http://krokotak.com/

Love, love, love this website!  Loads of great kid’s paper crafts and ideas that you can print off and make quickly.  All you really need is paper, scissors and a glue stick. Most of the crafts are things the kids can play with too so a bit of craft time can turn into hours of playtime. You won’t think of the possibilities of paper in the same way again.

The Crafty Cow

https://www.thecraftycrow.net/

A collection/round-up of kids crafts from across the web – so great for a one stop option if you don’t have much time to search around for ideas.  Their newsletter is great as well as it’s a round up of kids crafts straight into your inbox. 

Handmade Charlotte

https://www.handmadecharlotte.com

Really clever ideas presented in beautifully.  Great for birthday party inspiration and kids’ interior ideas too.  The crafts are so good you will be desperate for the kids to have a go so that you can get involved and make your own too! Plus, everything looks beautiful, so you won’t mind having their creations dotted around the house.

Inner Child Fun

https://innerchildfun.com

This website is a bit different to the other crafts sites, it still has lots of crafts but it displays them as activities to do with the kids, so more being creative through play rather than just pure crafting.  I love the Boredom Busters and Pretend Play ideas that would be great for a rainy day or winter months.

Do you follow any other interesting creative blogs we should know about? Head over an let us know on Instagram. Or if you’ve loved this blog and think other parents should know about it – give it a share and spread some Oglee Poglee creative passion!

Party bags for kids with big imaginations

If your child has a big imagination then they will love our craft party bags.  These little craft kits have no instructions included which means your child is free to create whatever they like with the cool crafty bits.  It’s known as open-ended play and the only limitation is your child’s imagination.

We love it when happy customers send in ideas and pictures of the things they made. Here is Oglee Poglee’s pick of the best ideas for things to make with our craft party bags:  

Special Cards

Each little kit includes two little cards to be decorated. Who would you love to surprise with a lovely card? Perhaps it could be a thank you card for the amazing person who brought you the craft kit. These cards are so small that they are perfect for the tooth fairy as she finds big cards very heavy. They are also great for slipping into a parent’s pocket as a fun surprise note.

Storytime

All our craft kits are themed and each one tells a story. Will the octopus prevent the pirate from reaching the treasure of will they use their map to discover a cave to hide in? Can you create a picture or book that tells the whole story. Or how about sticking some of the stickers onto the lollipop sticks and making a puppet show.  You might need the help of a friend or sibling to act some of the other characters. Perhaps the whole family can take part.

Think Bigger

Add some of your own art supplies from home like felt pens, big sheets of paper, sticky tape etc and the possibilities are endless.  Can you create a whole world for Oglee Pip to live in?

Let’s decorate

How about making something cool for your home and sharing your creativity with family and friends.  What about a special door sign for your bedroom or a colourful picture for the hallway to welcome guests.

Let’s Pretend

How about getting your toys involved in the fun too.  Perhaps your favourite cuddly friend deserves a certificate for all their hard work or could you make them a special medal for their bravery.  Or maybe design a menu, or create tickets and invite all your toys to a tea party.

Thinking outside the box

I know all the crafting bits inside the box are very exciting but don’t forget that you have the box to use too. Can it be transformed into a home for a pom pom monster, a new handbag or a puppet show booth for your creations?

We would love to see what you made with your craft party bag.  Send your pictures to us here or share them with us on Instagram with the hashtag #ogleepoglee  We will include them in this blog post and your ideas will inspire others, how cool is that!

 

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Art & Crafts (Besides the Fridge Door)

It’s lovely when our kids get arty and proudly bring us their creations. But we’ve all faced that moment when we’re not entirely sure what to do with their latest masterpiece. There’s only so much room on the front of the fridge and it’s hard throwing stuff away. Here are our favourite alternative ideas of how to treasure their creative works:

Turn it into a book

I love seeing how different children visually represent their favourite things and tell stories through illustration. A photo book is a brilliant way to keep these interpretations for years so you can enjoy them together in the future. Just scan or photograph and then order a professionally printed photo book online. Brilliant for resizing larger works to a more manageable size too.  For a more bespoke service send Doodle Nest all your kids artwork and they will professionally photograph and photoshop each individual piece into an amazing book that you and your children will cherish for years to come.

Doodle Nest

Create a gallery wall

If you want to incorporate their art into your décor, try creating a gallery wall to suit your interior style. Pinterest is full of fab ideas on how to carry this out. Whether you use brightly coloured frames that you can peg their artwork inside or pick a blank wall in your house and put up their artwork with washi tape.

Laminate as placemats

How about turning their artwork into something practical you can use and look at every day? Laminating pictures and painting is a great way to do this! Use as placemats or cut to shape and use as coasters or hanging ornaments for around the house.

Upload to an app

If you’re short on space, keep their artwork forever in the digital realm. There are numerous apps to pick from to do this, whether you opt for a simple file storage system like Dropbox or an artwork specific app like Keepy.Me

Use as wrapping paper

When you’re children are happy to get rid of their artworks but, you don’t want to simply bin them, make them into wrapping paper next time you give a gift.

Recycle

Keep the creativity going by thinking about how can you repurpose their artworks to make another. For example, paper drawings and paints could be ripped up and make a collage or used for paper mache.

Hold an art sale

If you don’t want their art projects any more, maybe someone else in the family will. Holding an art sales is a fun way to foster an entrepreneurial spirit in your child and make funds they can save or give to charity. If you do plan to hold an art sale, why not let people bid on the chance for your child to do a bespoke painting or drawing for the winner!

Make into greeting cards

Turn those charming pictures and paintings into cards you can share. You can either cut up artworks and add to folded card or upload photos of their favourite pieces and order professional prints.

Create a unique gift

Imagine how excited your child would be to see their creation turned into a real product.  Send Cuddlies a drawing and they will sew a soft cuddly toy to match it.  I would have loved that as a kid!  Or check out Happy Art House who can turn your child’s imagination into cool t shirts and gifts.

Cuddlies

Frame them

Don’t have room for a gallery wall? Keep artworks for longer by framing your real favourites around the house. You could also alternate pictures and paintings by uploading scans/photos to a digital photo frame which plays a slideshow of them all.   Articulate and My Little DaVinci are two great frame options if your child creates lots of art as you can change the pictures really quickly.

Make into party bunting

Another way to cut up and re-use their paper creations: cut into triangles, add ribbon and hang up as party bunting. A lovely way to celebrate your child’s creativity as party of their birthday celebrations or over Christmas.

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

Plus, don’t forget to sign-up to for Oglee Poglee Post to receive creative ideas straight to your inbox.

 

Homemade Party Fun: Amazing DIY Kids Party Decorations

Planning a party theme and organising the decor is a great way to get the family together and be creative. Here are our favourite DIY party decoration ideas to both get the kids involved or set-up as a fun surprise:

Cardboard tube birthday banners

Tube Letter Party Decoration by Super Make It

Empty cardboard toilet tubes are the creative parent’s secret weapon! They have so many uses, and if you’ve got a party coming up then here’s a fab one: colour and cut to create a 3D message banner.

Giant cardboard structures

Cardboard Fairy House by Oglee Poglee

We love cardboard in all shapes and sizes at Oglee Poglee, but the bigger we can get our hands on the better! Giant painted cardboard structures add lots of fun and imagination to fit any theme. The best bit, kids can use and get involved with making things from cardboard too. We use MakeDo screws to secure our structures together.

Lego number sculptures

Make use of all that Lego and get your little builders involved too with a birthday number sculpture. You could also try creating a message like ‘Happy Birthday’ or your child’s name.

Birthday balloon door avalanche

This isn’t strictly a ‘decoration’ but definitely a fun birthday activity to try! Use a roll of tissue or crepe paper to create a web that will hold balloons against the outside of their bedroom door, then watch their faces as they open to a big birthday surprise (you may need to get up early to capture it!).

Another good one is filling a cupboard or wardrobe with helium-filled balloons, so as the birthday child opens the door they’ll float up and out as a surprise part of their morning routine.

Sewn paper garlands

Easy Paper Garland by Evermine

Have you ever tried sewing paper or card? It’s a fun, fast and easy way to join together birthday garlands. These simple, colourful spots make a fab, playful addition to any theme and could be kept and reused for grown-up occasions too. Or, get your kids involved in cutting out themed characters and shapes – monsters, fish, cars etc. – before stitching them together for them.

Rainbow balloon trail

Rainbow Balloon Welcome

Forget the traditional balloon on the garden gate, try a rainbow balloon trail along your driveway or around the door frame.

Paper plate birthday hat

Paper Plate Party Hats by ArtBar

Paper crown making is a fun craft before or during a kids party! Set them up with plain paper plates, lots of coloured paper, pom poms, sparkles, stickers etc and watch as they let their creativity loose.

Toilet roll themed characters

Toilet Roll Characters by Molly Moo Crafts

Another brilliant use for toilet rolls, making mini people and characters to suit your party theme. Invite your children to make them themselves and bring their own creativity and imagination. Pop them around the venue, next to the birthday cake, on the party table.

Paper birthday banners

Forget expensive banners, you can have a lot of fun making your own, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. Even toddlers can get involved with making paper banners. Use a single piece of paper per letter and paint with bright colours or materials and stickers to suit your theme.

 

If you liked this blog, have a read of our other post: How to Host a Birthday Party Both Kids and Parents Will Love

Plus, don’t forget to sign up for Oglee Poglee Post and get more fun creative ideas to your inbox each month. Sign up here now.

Boys Like Craft Too – Craft Ideas They’ll Love

The word ‘craft’ may have somewhat feminine connotations, but boys really do love to craft too! All children are born curious explorers ready to experiment with materials and eager to problem solve, which is why crafting is an activity anyone can enjoy.

At Oglee Poglee, we cater for boys by keeping crafts BIG, interactive, and things they don’t’ need to sit still for long to do – here are some ideas to try at home:

Junk sculptures

Boys stay engaged the longest when they’re allowed to get their whole body involved. Creating large scale junk sculptures out of cardboard boxes and other recycling bits is a great way to facilitate this. The bigger the sculpture the better as they search through oversized boxes and work with big pieces of fabric, use their bodies to lift large objects, stretch to reach stick things up high, crouch down to paint lower details – it’s physical work.

If you want to help them make their structures sturdy we recommend using Makedo screws – clever cardboard screws as used in our Oglee Poglee party structures.

Catapults + Targets

Pom Pom Shooters by Red Ted Art
Pom Pom Shooters by Red Ted Art

What boy does love the chance to play with a catapult! Well a brilliant craft idea is to let them make their own. Give them the supplies lollipop sticks and elastic bands or loom bands and see if they can problem solve to build it themselves. We also love pom pom shooters (like above). At Oglee Poglee we switch paper cups for strong tubes.

If you’ve got a large piece of card to hand, cut holes and make a target wall to go with these. They can make bigger balls from screwed up newspaper taped to secure, and a cut up milk bottle can make a great little catcher with handle.

Encouraging them to make their own ramps to roll things down to hit a target is also fun!

DIY Marble Run

Marble Run by Mum Filter
Marble Run by Mum Filter

Another physical activity, a DIY marble run craft. There are lots of different ways you can make a marble run, but we think boys will love this large scale marble run using cardboard tubes (like wrapping paper or toilet roll tubes) and lots of coloured tape. Making a marble run out of paper plates is another great challenge.

Dressing up

One top tip for holding your boy’s attention while they craft, choose something they can play with after. Anything they can make and then wear always goes down a treat – such as, masks! Providing a basic mask shape with all the elements for them to create a superhero alter ego or become an animal is always a fun one too. You’ll find lots of dressing up ideas on our Dressing Up Pinterest board too.

Paper plate dinos

For younger crafters who need your help, this simple dinosaur craft is easy and fun. All you need are some paper plates, card, glue, and coloured paint – and an eager helper. Toddlers and pre-schoolers can use paint brushes, sponges, or even their hands to colour the body of each dinosaur. And when dry, it’s another nice craft for them to play with after. Find instructions of this craft here.

Budding builders

Corvus tools: real tools in children's sizes
Corvus tools: real tools in children’s sizes

If you’re feeling brave, try letting your boys be adventurous with real life building resources and tools. Your supervision is key, of course, but providing a mix of grown-up materials is a great way to peak their excitement and stimulate their creativity. Lumps of wood, nails and a hammer, a saw – it all depends on your child, their age, and your comfort levels, but with a little instruction and a lot of patience they can create incredible sculptures, learn valuable skills and boost motor development too.

Process play

Boys love seeing things happen right in front of them. Things like building a boat and seeing if it will float, getting things out of trapped ice, and potion mixing. To set up a potion mixing activity simply give them access to a range of ingredients and water (perhaps coloured waters if you fancy it!). Things like coloured pasta, oats, herbs, dried rice – all safe and great for a sensory experience too.

Do you know any little boys who love to craft? Why not share this blog with their ‘grown-up’ to inspire creative fun!

What Makes a Memorable Party Bag?

Love them or loathe them, party bags are synonymous with children’s birthday parties. Kids love them. I think it’s the excitement of not quite knowing what you’re going to get inside, but always expecting a fun treat! But I know for many parents, the thought of having to sort a party bag which isn’t just full of short-lived plastic rubbish can a real pre-party stress…

Here’s what we believe makes a memorable party bag and how you can put one together:

Keep it focused on their interests

We’ve all been on the receiving end of generic goody bags. We can’t blame parents for throwing a few pound shop elements together when they’ve run out of ideas, but it’s always sad to see pocket money toys strewn on the floor a day after they’re received. A memorable party bag plays on the interest of the children receiving them, so think about your child and their friends. What are their current interests? Are they sporty? Unicorn mad? Minecraft fanatics? Natural little crafters? Themed party bags are always fun and give you a great starting point for what to include.

Help recipients make more fun memories

A great party bag thinks beyond the initial wow factor of opening the bag and finding out what’s inside. A great party bag helps the recipient make more fun memories, post-party. At Oglee Poglee we know our pre-filled party bags give children the opportunity to get creative when they get home – making more fun memories and allowing their parents to get involved or watch on in admiration too.

We love that party bags can be used as an invitation to bond as a family and children can chat about their creations next time they see each other. Whether you opt for a ready-to-go craft bag, a mini kit of baking ingredients or a pack of seeds/bulbs, think about how you can make the fun last longer.

Keep it simple

Instead of filling a bag with multiple different toys, how about sticking to one gift per child. This could be something that matches your child’s party theme (a pot of slime to accompany a monster party, a bag of chocolate coins for a Pirate party) or a creative gift you know they’ll love. A small pack of Lego, their first watercolour paint set, a book – don’t feel you need to stick to the traditional party bag format. Think about how you can really help them remember the fun they had with a gift they’ll treasure for more than 48 hours!

Present it right

Part of a memorable party bag is in the presentation. Forget supermarket bought plastic party bags and opt for paper bags personalised with their names or beautifully wrapped presents with a balloon attached. At Oglee Poglee, we design each of our kids party bags to be stylish, simple and fun so children (and parents) are excited to bring them home. They’re also compact and resealable too – meaning any bits not used in their first crafty session can be stored in the cupboard for another day.

Oglee Poglee’s pre-filled party bags have been designed for when you’re looking for something different and memorable without having to spend hours shopping for separate bits and bobs! Each of our mini craft kits is filled with coloured papers, shapes, stickers, sequins and glue, ready to let little creators have fun and use their imagination. Our Personalised Party Boxes also include room to pop a slice of birthday cake!

Read what people have been saying about our pre-filled party kits or browse our party bags now.

20 Kids Crafts Every Child Should Try Before 12

Oglee Poglee - Craft Workshop - Child Painting

Looking for more creative ideas to do with your kids? Presenting your child with an exciting invitation to create doesn’t need to be complicated. The most memorable creative opportunities often come from trying something new! Here are 20 kids craft techniques and activities every child should have a go at before they turn 12:

Collage

Kids love the freedom of collage. Rip up paper, cut pictures from magazines, use stickers – then glue and layer to create whatever they like! Add details with pens and paints.

Rubbings

A lovely activity to take creativity outdoors. All you need are some wax crayons and paper. Challenge your kids to get outside and spot textures they can rub the crayons over to create an interesting print.

Woodwork

Woodwork tends to be something parents leave for the kids to do at school, but there’s no reason you can’t make this a family bonding activity from as young as toddlerhood! With the right tools, and plenty of supervision, children will boost gross motor skills and learn problem-solving as they learn how to use hammer and nails, saws etc.

Watercolour (watercolour resist)

Don’t just stick to kids poster paint! Watercolours are lovely because they’re easy to use, easy to wash off and allow real scope for our kids to do both realistic landscapes/portraits or abstract masterpieces. Watercolour resist is a really fun activity too. Before painting, draw on paper with a white wax crayon. Your invisible drawings will be revealed when you paint over the top.

Oil Pastels & chalks

Both nice materials to use as an alternative to crayons or paint. Chalk is great for using on dark coloured paper for a different canvas.

Tie dye

Tie dyeing is a must for when you’re feeling brave and don’t mind the kids making a mess! Learn how to do tie dyeing with this tutorial video here.

Pointillism

Use a cotton bud or pencil tip dipped in paint to paint using only dots.

Finger/Hand painting

A classic messy-fun activity they can do as soon as they can sit up! Grab the child-friendly paints and let them make prints with their fingers/hands/feet.

Friendship bracelets

A good one for mindfulness. Simply braid coloured threads to make a bracelet they can wear or share.

Sewing

Sewing is such a handy tool in adult life, but it’s always a fun way to be creative. You could design simple puppets out of felt and show your kids how to stitch them together, or give them a piece of cotton and see what shapes and images they can stitch.

Origami

Origami is the art of paper folding – something which looks far easier than it is! Kids can start simple with paper airplanes and boats before trying the many traditional animal shapes possible with paper. This looks like a brilliant little kit to get you started.

Tape resist painting

For a fun technique to wow toddlers, add tape to paper before painting over the top. When you remove there will be white space where the tape once was.

Doodling

Don’t over look the magic doodling! It’s such a fun way to get lost in the creative process and all you need is pen/pencil and paper. Invite your kids to doodle with you, creating wiggles/shapes and whatever else springs to mind. Try not taking the pen off the paper until the whole page is full.

Potato stamps

A childhood classic. Cut up potatoes to produce simple stampers and dip in poster paint to make prints.

Symmetry painting

Show your kids how to create symmetry by adding blobs of paint or painting an image on one side of a piece of paper. Fold in half and watch as the paint spreads on the other side in a symmetrical shape.

Weaving

Weaving is an ancient art and addictive when you get started. You can use strips of paper, ribbons, wool, or natural finds from the garden.

Tracing

Tracing is a really handy artistic technique and will allow your child to have a go at recreating images with greater accuracy and realism. Use tracing paper over magazine cartoons or photos, or use a lightbox.

Junk modelling

Make the most of your recycling box and let the kids raid it to make a sculpture. Let their imagination run wild!

Self-portrait

This one promises a giggle. Get your kids to sit in front of a mirror and draw or paint a picture of themselves!

Blown art

When your kids are old enough not to slurp up paint, add a straw to your art sessions and let them use their breath to make art. Drop a blob of watercolour paint on paper and see what shapes they can create by blowing the paint in different directions, or blow bubbles in a cup of paint and then press paper over the top to make a bubbly print.

 If you like this blog you may also like our blog: 10 Attractions to Engage Their Imagination

Plus, don’t forget to sign-up to for Oglee Poglee Post to receive creative ideas straight to your inbox.

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