DIY Nature Pom Poms

DIY Nature Pom Poms

We made nature pom poms today. I’m not sure why, I think it was because I wanted to see if it was possible. Plus, if it worked, I knew they’d look  great and they did!

Make Nature Pom Poms:

  • Long grass
  • Cardboard
  • Fishing line
  • String
  • Scissors

I can tell you that lomandras or anything thicker and less flexible than grass won’t work. Why, you ask? Well, I tried and it failed miserably. Grass was much easier to weave and like wool yarn it was easier to manipulate into a pom pom.

Our first activity was collecting some long green grass.

Collecting grass for craft

You don’t really need to print a pom pom template for this craft.  All you need to do is put two pieces of cardboard on top of each other, (we recycled a cereal box for our cardboard) then cut out a circle and cut another circle out of the middle of that circle. See the image below.  Easy!

Grass craft activity

Next, hold onto the end of the grass while you wrap the grass strand through the hole and around the outside circle and through the hole again. Keep threading it over and over until there’s no more grass strand left. Do the same thing with more grass strands.  The more grass you wrap around the cardboard the thicker the pom pom will become.

Nature Craft

Once you can’t wrap anymore grass through the hole, get your scissors in between the two cardboard pieces and cut around it, cutting the grass wrapped there (see image below). Now it’s time to squish the grass back towards the cardboard. In between the two pieces of cardboard, wrap and tie the fishing line around the grass.

Grass Pom Pom

Take the cardboard pieces off and squish the grass again and give the pom pom a little trim if there’s a few uneven areas. Tie a bit of string onto the fishing line and viola nature pom poms!
DIY pom pom
Have you made pom poms using material other than wool yarn?

DIY Gumnut Bracelet Craft

DIY Gumnut braceletIt turns out that gumnuts are quite a versatile product for play. We’ve already painted them, used them for a sensory activity and then created a  fun shape activity with them. It’s been so much fun.

I still have heaps of gumnuts left over so we made our own gumnut bracelets this time. The girls love threading activities and these gumnuts were almost the perfect size to make them into medium sized beads.

Here’s what you’ll need for this Gumnut craft:

  • Gumnuts
  • A Drill with a fairly small drill bit
  • Acrylic paint
  • string or twine

1.   The first thing you’ll need to do (if you’d like a colourful bracelet) is to paint the gumnuts and then set them out to dry. I think a natural gumnut bracelet would look just as stunning though.

Painting Gumnuts

2.   Once the paint has dried, you can drill into the gumnut. We drilled through the hole in the gumnut and out the other side with a very small drill bit. It’s best if you judge the size for yourself because gumnuts do come in all shapes and sizes.

drilling into gumnuts

3.    Next, get a small twig and push it through the drilled hole a few times to remove any loose fibers left over after drilling.

4.    Thread the gumnuts on the string. If you’re finding it hard to get the string through the gumnut hole, thread the string through a blunt needle and then thread on the gumnuts.

threading gumnuts

5. Measure  the gumnuts around your child’s wrist  and once they fit tie the ends of the string together in a bow.

Gumnut Bracelet

We love our gumnut bracelets. They are a really sweet nature accessory. Best part of all, you can take them apart, store the gumnuts in a container and bring them out again to make different coloured bracelets another day!

Gumnuts aren’t found everywhere, does anyone suggest a similar process but using another natural material, perhaps acorns?

Learning about Biodegradable & Non Biodegradable Materials

Biodegradable and non biodegradable

There are moments when Miss Possum will ask me a question and I’ll step back and remember that her little mind is still filling up with information every single day. Today she picked up a leaf, examined it and asked ‘what happened to the leaf?’ To you and me, that leaf is just decomposing and becoming the earth, it’s biodegradable. To her, something devastating was happening to the leaf. It was no longer green and pretty anymore but dry, dead and broken. I can’t believe I hadn’t taught her about biodegradable and non biodegradable materials until now.

Her question was the perfect learning opportunity. So, on our way back home from our regular bush walk, we discussed what around us was biodegradable.

biodegradable leaf

First, we tried to find leaves that would show different stages of decomposition and then we put them in order of decay.  We discussed that these leaves are biodegradable because it is capable of decaying through the action of living organisms. Having the series of decayed leaves right in front of her really helped her understand what biodegradable meant.  

biodegrading leaves

Then, we looked at sticks to see if they were biodegradable.  Again, we put a number of sticks in order to see the stages of decay.

Biodegrading logs

I asked Miss possum questions like, what would help a stick or leaf biodegrade faster. I supported her by asking if  weather, worms, bugs and fungi (as seen on the stick) would help organic matter biodegrade at a faster rate.

Once we came home, we looked at items that weren’t biodegradable or that took a very long time to biodegrade. We talked about plastic and why it doesn’t biodegrade like organic matter.

To see if Miss Possum understood our chat, I set her a challenge to find four materials around our yard that were biodegrade and four materials around our yard that weren’t biodegradable.  She did really well.

non biodegradable and biodegradable

Talking about biodegradable and non biodegradable materials was the perfect opportunity to bring up waste and how it’s affecting our environment but this time I didn’t. I could see that Miss Possum was starting to lose interest so I’m keeping that conversation for later time.

I don’t think we’ll have any problem with bringing up the topic again. For the last couple of days she’s been telling me what’s biodegradable and what isn’t around our house. It’s a good reminder to keep me on track to reduce the waste we use and replace, what I can, with items that a biodegradable. Stay tuned for the next waste post.

Do you have any other great ideas to help teach your child about biodegradable materials?  Or any ideas on how I can teach Miss Possum about how non biodegradable materials affect the environment?

 

Nature Superhero Masks

Nature Superhero Mask TemplatesMy kind of masked superhero wouldn’t save the planet from bad people or street crime but they’d be right on top of big business polluters that impact negatively on the environment. Bring back Captain Planet! Do you remember him?

Any way, we decided to make nature masks yesterday and be nature heroes. The girls have enjoyed colouring with nature before. Last time we used animal templates and it was a hit, so I knew they’d love this activity too.

Make Nature Superhero Masks

One of my girls wanted to use a dinosaur mask, so if your child isn’t keen on super heroes, you could try colouring in animal masks with nature instead. You can find koala, wombat, dinosaur, spider and frog masks in the printable section.

Print out the superhero masks below.

Download Colour with Nature Face Mask

Download Colour with Nature Super Hero Masks

Print the mask and stick it to some cardboard using a glue stick (we recycle our cereal boxes). When it’s dry, cut it out.

Color with Nature MaskColour with Nature Mask

The only other things you’ll need are:

  • A collection of nature (leaves, sand, grass clippings, flowers, nature’s glitter)
  • A good craft glue
  • String
  • A hole punch (to tie string to the mask)

Nature activity for kids

Then, let your children colour in their superhero (or animal) mask using the nature you’ve all collected together.

Making a mask

Here’s how ours turned out. I think they look absolutely spectacular!

Craft for Kids

Nature Superhero Mask

Nature Mask

I couldn’t help but make one for myself too.

Simple Leaf mask

Now that we’ve made them, it’s time to become true nature superheroes and act for nature. Tomorrow well be going out collecting rubbish in the nature reserve and pulling out some weeds.  We’re so motivated to help the environment right now. A mask always helps you to feel more powerful, doesn’t it?!

Do your children love to wear super hero masks? Do they love nature craft?

Wooden Stump Pen or Pencil Holder

DIY Stump Pencil HolderI’ve seen these wooden stump pencil holders everywhere. I’ve seen them for sale in many educational stores and I’ve also seen a few images on Pinterest.  I couldn’t help but make some for the girls for our craft room. Just in case you haven’t seen how to make these yet, it’s quite simple.

Along with the gumnuts from the craft last week, I took a couple of little stumps from the neighbors yard too (with permission). I couldn’t let all that wood go to waste!

How to make the Wooden Stump Pencil Holder

What you’ll need:

  • A nice chunky log or thick branch
  • sand paper
  • Pen
  • Drill with a 3/8 drill bit (best to measure your pencil/pen thickness first)
  • Pencils or pens
  • felt

How to make it:

  1. Cut the log to length. I made mine 10 cm tall. Cutting a stump
  2. Smooth out the top and bottom of the log with sand paper.
  3. Decide on the number of pencils you’d like in the pencil holder and draw dots on the top of the log, spacing them evenly. Natural Pen Caddy
  4. Drill the holes. You can make the holes an even depth by making a mark on your drill bit and only drilling down to the mark each time. Stump Pen Holder DIY
  5. Give the top of the stump another light sand with sand paper.
  6. Place the log on some felt and trace around it. Cut out the felt and stick it onto the bottom of the log. This will reduce scratching to your table surfaces. Stump pencil holder
  7. Add your pencils to your wooden stump pencil holder!

More Nature crafts? Click here to see all the ideas on our Pinterest Board!

DIY Terrarium Necklace Pendant

DIY Terrarium Necklace PendantI’ve been making  nature accessories like our stunning leaf bracelet, hair facilitator and nature crowns for my kids for far too long. It’s about time I made something for myself!

I wanted something earthy and beautiful to wear, so I decided to make myself a terrarium necklace pendant.  I know wearing it will brighten any day that may start out gloomy.

You can also make this striking necklace pendant. It’s quite simple.

What you will need to make the mini terrarium necklace pendant:

Terrarium Necklace ingredients

1.    Use a peg to hold the glass bottle upright. Add in a thin layer of gravel first.

Mini Terrarium DIY

2.   Then, add a fine layer of charcoal and next, a fine layer of soil. Don’t worry too much if the soil touches the sides. We’ll wash it off later.

3.  Add the moss using a skewer or tooth pick.  I found this part much easier than expected. Gently use the skewer to place the moss where you would like it to sit.

Tiny, mini Terrarium

mini terrarium

4.     You should now have a thin layer of gravel, charcoal, soil and moss in the round glass bottle, in that order.  Using a spray bottle, gently spray a small amount of water inside the  bottle. This should clean up any soil debris that’s stuck to the inside glass. Don’t spray too much.

DIY Terrarium
5.    Push the cork on tightly. Screw in the hook and you’re done!

6. I let mine sit for a week in a shaded spot outside to let the moss settle (it must not get any sun or the moss will die).

Just before I wore the most beautiful necklace in the world,  Miss Platypus got to it and dropped it on the floor. I was devastated. Luckily,  it’s easy to make! So I’ll be making another just like it this weekend.  Kids!

Did you have something beautiful that your child destroyed?  Would you like more nature accessory tutorials for us Mothers?

Rainbow Gumnut Play

Rainbow Gumnut PlayI couldn’t help but steal a whole heap of gumnuts from the tree our neighbors felled a couple of weeks back. At the time I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with all of them but i’m starting to realise that the possibilities are endless.

Last week we included some of them as ingredients in our mud stew and this week we used them in a simple nature craft activity. I have more gumnut posts planned too!

We painted a lot of gumnuts red, blue, green and yellow this week. Luckily the girls like painting, so they did most of the work.  I just had to finish them off which I didn’t mind. I knew we’d be keeping these for a long time and probably be playing with them often.

All we used for this activity was gumnuts, paint and creativity!

Painting Gumnuts

After painting the gumnuts, we lay them out on the newspaper and put them in the sun. They didn’t take long to dry.  Then, the girls couldn’t help running their fingers through the container of coloured gumnuts.

Nature Play

Our first activity with the gumnuts was to sort them into coloured groups.

Sorting colours with Gumnuts

Then, we moved the gumnuts around to create different shapes. These turned out just lovely.

Nature Play

Gumnut Star

Of course, we also had to build a rainbow. Miss Possum built one and then we all made one together.

Gumnut Play for kids

 

rainbow

We love simple nature play. What have you made with gumnuts?

Nature Weaving Frames

Easy DIY Nature Weaving FramesI’ve been inspired to make a shoelace thread frame I saw on Pinterest a couple of months ago and I finally made a couple for my children.  I had something very different in mind for ours though. We used them to weave nature!

What you’ll need to make the frames

  • Wooden photo Frame
  • Drill
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Pliers

For the full instructions on how to make the frames click here.

The only thing I did different from the instructions above was that I didn’t buy unfinished frames. Instead, I just bought some wooden frames from the the shop. They were really easy to make and the best part about them is that they can be used over and over again!

What you’ll need for nature weaving:

I collected a basket full of nature for the girls to weave with. The basket was filled with:

  • lomandra Leaves
  • Gumnuts with holes drilled through them
  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Long, thin sticks

I had to show the girls how to use the frames as they had never weaved before but it didn’t take long for them to get the hang of it. Giving them lots of  materials meant that they used an array of nature in their weave creations.

Nature Craft

We weaved the lomandra leaves together and looked at it through the sunlight. It was beautiful.

Weaving nature

Then, we threaded nature into the weaved lomandras.

Weaving nature for Kids

The frames were really easy to make ( I made them during their nap time) and it was a lovely, relaxing activity that they really enjoyed after they woke. We’ll be weaving a lot, I’m sure!

Tips for Planning a Wildlife Holiday Overseas

Wildlife Holiday Tips

This post is sponsored.

Have you ever dreamt of seeing a pride of lions strolling across the plains with your own eyes? Or wondered what it would be like to hand-feed a monkey?

We explore nature and wildlife around our home and local area a lot, but one of my dreams is to explore nature and wildlife wonders overseas too.  I don’t have much experience with travelling, but I do know that if you do your research, you increase your chances of having a more successful and ethical wildlife experience.

Here are my tips:

  1. Decide on a destination.  If it’s a nature and wildlife holiday you want, then you need to think about what animals reside in each destination.  Do you want to see elephants, hippos and cheetahs in Africa? Or would you rather see a three-toed sloth and armadillos in South America? This is by far the hardest choice because there’s beautiful wildlife all around the world. I’d suggest choosing a destination that has at least two of the top five animals you’d love to see. You can always get to the others on your next trip.
  2. Consider safety. It’s all very well to start planning your dream wildlife encounter, but if it’s not a safe destination for you and your family, I’d think seriously about whether seeing that animal in the wild is worth it. Always check government travel warnings when planning your overseas holiday, and again before departing.
  3. Research tours. Would you prefer to see your favourite animals in their natural habitat on a safari tour, or have a closer, more intimate experience with captive wildlife?  I know I’d prefer to see them in their natural habitat. Sightseeing tours can be a great way to support local wildlife too. Locals are more willing to protect a species if it’s beneficial to their economy.
  4. Consider animal welfare. If you care about wildlife try to not support activities that don’t prioritise animal welfare. You can make a difference simply by being mindful of where your tourist dollars go. Don’t give your hard-earned cash to those who seek to make a profit from dancing bears and other forms of cruelty.
  5. Go exploring.  If you’re in a different part of the world, chances are you’re already surrounded by critters that are new and interesting, even before you join a tour. Take the kids for a walk in a park or along a short trail and see what birds, insects and other local wildlife you can find. Don’t forget to consider appropriate safety measures for the location, including sun safety, and take a simple explorer kit to make the most of your discoveries. You should take your explorer kits on tours too!
  6. Get to know some locals. There’s something special about hearing old stories told about wildlife through different cultures.  When we finally go on a trip, I’ll be asking the locals questions about their wildlife. I love learning about wildlife through another culture’s eyes, it’s really interesting.
  7. Make a difference. Why not make a difference to wildlife while on your holiday? Research local wildlife organizations that operate in the country you’re visiting and contact them to see if you can help them while you’re on your holiday. What’s a better wildlife experience for you and your children than making a difference!

If you’re considering going on an adventurous wildlife holiday, I’d suggest taking a look at the My Adventure Store website. I couldn’t help but get distracted while scrolling through their many safari tours. I could already picture the joy on my family’s faces. One day I’ll fulfil my dream of going on safari, one day!

Do you have any tips to help travellers plan a wildlife-rich holiday overseas? What’s your ultimate wildlife adventure destination?

Family Holiday Tips

 

Disclosure: This is a paid post. Opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please see my disclosure page for more information.

Snail Scroll Snack

 Snail scroll snack

It’s been ages since I’ve made creatures in the kitchen so yesterday I decided to get a little creative. I was inspired by some animal themed food creations that I’ve seen on Pinterest. There really is so much fun you can do with kids in the kitchen.

I made scrolls for lunch and it was the obvious choice to make the scrolls into a snails! Here’s how to make them.

Ingredients:

  • Any fillings you like. I used spinach, corn, bacon and cheese.
  • Carrot pieces for the eyes
  • Two puff pastry sheets

Pastry snack for kids

 How to make them

1.    Preheat your over to 200 Degrees Celsius.

2.    Let the puff pastry thaw until it’s quite flexible.

3.    Evenly cover the whole sheet with the filling ingredients.

Snail Pastry scroll

4.   Cut the puff pastry in to five long strips. For each strip, roll up one side and squish the sides together to make a head. Leave a gap of about 5 cm for the scroll.  On the opposite end of the strip tuck the two corners under to make the tail.  Bake these in the oven for 4 minutes on 200 Degrees Celsius.

Pastry snail

5.    While the snail bodies are cooking, roll up the scroll. Do this tightly to reduce the sag once it starts to cook. Cut into five scrolls.

Pastry scroll recipe

6.    Pull the snail bodies out of the oven and place the scrolls on top. Add the carrot eyes. (I had to add corn to the face of the snail despite telling the girls that the carrots were the eyes. I left that alone. This was a bit of fun in the kitchen. No need for me to get all scientific).

7.   Put the snail back in the oven for 10 minutes or until the puff pastry is golden brown.

Animal Themed party

 

Ready to eat. My fussy girls LOVE them!

More snail activities:

More creature in the kitchen ideas