DIY Advent Calendar for Kids From Recyclables

DIY Advent Calendar for Kids From Recyclables

2 dozen eggs = 24 = a Christmas countdown calendar.
This is basically the extent of my mathematical genius.
I kid you not though when I say that one day I looked at an egg carton and thought,
“EUREKA! Perfect for a DIY Advent calendar for kids!”

Don't throw out the egg cartons! This DIY Advent calendar for kids is made from recyclables and is super easy to make and use. #DIYadventcalendar #DIYAdventforkids #Christmascountdowncalendar #kidsChristmascrafts #kidsgingerbreadhouse

You will need:

2 egg cartons
Paint
Cardboard box
Glue
Tape
Paper tube
Brown and white paper
Black marker
Washi tape
Round stickers

How to make a DIY Advent calendar for kids:

Prepare your surface and area for some kiddy painting.
(Best to have the bath ready too. If your kids are anything like mine, a bath is always the easiest option after a painting session.)

I provided 3 complementary colours and the kids painted their egg cartons.
We placed brown paper under the egg cartons and this provided a separate canvas.

Don't throw out the egg cartons! This DIY Advent calendar for kids is made from recyclables and is super easy to make and use. #DIYadventcalendar #DIYAdventforkids #Christmascountdowncalendar #kidsChristmascrafts #kidsgingerbreadhouse

It’s the time of year where we have a sharp spike in cardboard boxes thanks to Santa’s online deliveries.
Find a box that suits the size of your egg cartons.
We removed the box’s shorter flaps and then taped the longer flaps together to create the roof.

We used the brown paper that we laid under our painting as our house’s exterior.
I used a Sharpie to draw on bricks.
We cut windows out of white paper and ran washi tape along the edges.
We used old artworks for further floral decorations.

Craft glue secured the egg cartons onto the cardboard box roof.
We ran washi tape around a paper tube and taped that to the roof.

Don't throw out the egg cartons! This DIY Advent calendar for kids is made from recyclables and is super easy to make and use. #DIYadventcalendar #DIYAdventforkids #Christmascountdowncalendar #kidsChristmascrafts #kidsgingerbreadhouseNow decide how exactly you are going to run your countdown.
Everybody does it differently!

We numbered 1 through 24 on some round gold stickers.
I asked my children if they wanted to place a sticker on the egg carton each day, to correspond with the date.
They opted to have 24 numbered stickers on the roof and will remove one each day.
So we will start at 24 and remove a sticker a day.

There are SO MANY learning opportunities with this project.
You could have your child practise their number formation and write the numbers themselves on the stickers.
You can choose to practise forward counting sequences or backward counting sequences.

Don't throw out the egg cartons! This DIY Advent calendar for kids is made from recyclables and is super easy to make and use. #DIYadventcalendar #DIYAdventforkids #Christmascountdowncalendar #kidsChristmascrafts #kidsgingerbreadhouse

Our countdown calendar usually involves different activities.
You can write these down and store them in the paper tube chimney!
My kids are excited about the possibility of things being left inside the actual house/box.
I’ll have to put my thinking hat on!Grab a copy of my "12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas" eBook. Creatively connect with your children through art, craft and play this festive season. 70+ pages featuring… 12 projects with detailed tutorials | Loads of tips, tricks and inspiration | 13 pages of templates, play dough mats and printable prompts.

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Don't throw out the egg cartons! This DIY Advent calendar for kids is made from recyclables and is super easy to make and use. #DIYadventcalendar #DIYAdventforkids #Christmascountdowncalendar #kidsChristmascrafts #kidsgingerbreadhouse

Must Read Books for Mums Who Value Creativity

Must Read Books for Mums Who Value Creativity

Here are some of my favourite books for mums who value creativity or who are looking to embrace getting creative with their little ones. #creativemums #booksforcreativemums #booksformumswhovaluecreativity

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”

― Hugh MacLeod

I initially titled this post “Must Read Books for Creative Mums.”
And it didn’t feel quite right.
I was worried that some mums might think “Well, that’s not me.”
WE ARE ALL CREATIVE.
Yet for many of us, somewhere along the line, we start saying “Oh! But I’m not creative.”
I started embracing that Apparent Truth after an unfortunate run-in with Van Gogh and a Year 8 Art teacher.
And I believed that I wasn’t creative for most of my young adulthood.
It took (several) stern talking tos from my husband before I started shifting my perceptions around creativity.

We are all creative at something or with something.
Here are some of my favourite books for mums who value creativity or who are looking to embrace getting creative with their little ones.

This book contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your support!

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Quote that reads "If You're Alive, You're A Creative Person." by Elizabeth GilbertThis is my textbook. Elizabeth Gilbert is my guru.
My main takeaway from this book?
The world needs you to embrace and follow your creativity.
If you’re going to buy any book on this list, make it Big Magic.
You can also listen to the Big Magic podcast. (I’ve listened to both seasons twice. It’s that good.)

Craft a Life You Love: Infusing Creativity, Fun & Intention into Your Everyday by Amy Tangerine

This book is like the ultimate pep talk from one of my Instagram Faves, Amy Tangerine.
It’s Amy’s autobiography meets journal meets inspirational self-help guide.
It’s an awesome manifesto on pursuing your creative passions.

Journal Sparks by Emily Neuburger

Do you have a journaling habit?
We have art journals here and this book started that family habit.
Every few weeks, we sit down at the dining table, pull out this book, find a prompt and spend quality family time journaling.
You can read more about Emily Neuburger in her Oh Creative Lady interview.

Art Workshops for Children by Herve Tullet

This book gives me tingles.
Herve Tullet is a legend in my books and this glorious, over-sized guide book shares some of the art experiences he has delivered to children around the world.
The joy of each arty experience leaps off the page and each project is filled with insightful tips and tricks.

Creative Schools : Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up by Ken Robinson

My adoration for Sir Ken rivals that of my love for Elizabeth Gilbert.
Have you seen his TED talk on how schools are killing creativity?
It’s easy to get down on the modern education system and the onslaught of standardised testing.
Sir Ken provides a voice of reason on how we can work our way forward for the benefit of all students.
This book synthesises research, anecdotes and professional recommendations in an easily digestible way.

Art Matters By Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

This book is pulled together from various Neil Gaiman speeches and poems. His powerful words are perfectly paired with the illustrations of Chris Riddell.
This is the book to pull off the shelf when you’re questioning the value of your creations.

The Artful Parent by Jean Van’T Hul

This book contains over 60 artsy, creative activities for you to explore with your mini makers.
The first section of the book contains suggestions on how to prepare for art experiences, what materials to consider and ways to speak about your child’s art with them.

Art Workshop for Children : How to Foster Original Thinking with more than 25 Process Art Experiences by Barbara Rucci and Betsy McKenna

You may know the author of this book from her site of awesomeness, Art Bar.
Oh Art Bar… how do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
(If we do that, we could be here forever. #ArtBarFanGirl)

The book is packed with easy to execute, open-ended art and craft experiences that emphasise process over product and original thinking.
You can read more about me Fangirling over Art Workshop for Children here.

Tinkerlab: A Hands On Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley

This book contains “55 playful experiments that encourage tinkering, curiosity and creative thinking.”
I especially love all the suggestions around preparing your creative space.
The projects are easy to follow with easy to source materials.
This book gets pulled off the shelf regularly!

How do you carry around all your must-read books?
I’m running a competition over on Instagram to win an awesome Teacher Carry All bag.
These bags have a variety of compartments and pockets so you can carry all. the. things.
Bonus points for the fact that the bag is sturdy and stylish.
Pop by my Insta to enter!

The images and titles of each book will take you to Book Depository. As a Book Depository Affiliate, purchases clicked through from my blog result in a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books! Commission is used to maintain Oh Creative Day. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy here.

The Amazon links will take you to Amazon. I am also an affiliate with Amazon and will receive a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books.

If you prefer, you can order from Australian based online bookstore Booktopia.

Thanks for your support. Happy reading!

Some of the books in this post were provided free for review purposes. I always post my honest opinions and never post books that I do not rate.

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Here are some of my favourite books for mums who value creativity or who are looking to embrace getting creative with their little ones. #creativemums #booksforcreativemums #booksformumswhovaluecreativity

Kid-Made Christmas Ornaments

Kid-Made Christmas Ornaments

 I recently posted some kid-made necklaces created from glue and paint over on The Craft Train.
They have been a big hit here with my 5-year-old.

(Spoiler: If you’re her mate, you’re getting one for Christmas. She has a necklace-making factory in operation.)
As we’ve been making batch after batch, we thought they’d be fun Christmas ornaments for kids to make.)

Presenting kid-made Christmas ornaments from glue and paper straws!

This post contains affiliate links
Thanks for your support!

You will need:

Non-toxic craft glue/ PVA glue
Paper straws, cut into smaller lengths
Plastic paint palette
Sequins and sparkly things
Yarn
Beads

These Christmas ornaments are awesome for learning about patience and trial and error. The ornaments take about a week to dry- so unfortunately this isn’t any good as a last-minute project.

How to:

Squeeze about .5cm of craft glue into a circular mould. Each circle of our paint palette measures about 7cm in diameter.
You could also experiment with a muffin tin that you are happy to sacrifice for crafty purposes. I’ve never tried this project with a muffin tin, but I suspect it could work.

Let the decorating begin!

Add your paper straws. We created abstract designs. We arranged stars in ascending length to create Christmas trees. You might like to sprinkle sequins and stars into the glue- be sure that they are embedded in well. With some of the ornaments, we squeezed some gold paint on top of our designs. (IKEA Mala paint is our top choice here.)


You may just like to use paint to decorate your ornaments, like I did over on The Craft Train.

I am a glitter grinch. My 5-year-old of course thinks it is the best substance known to Humankind. I relented and bought some glitter glue. (Surely if the glitter is in the glue, it can’t spread everywhere?!)

We experimented with using the white craft glue as a base and decorating over the top with the red glitter glue. This wasn’t so succesful. We also experimented with using the red glitter glue solely as a base. It did work, but the discs were more flimsy than the white craft glue.

Trial and error and patience

This is where the trial and error part of the project comes into play.
We generally subscribe to the philosophy of “more is more” here for craft projects.

Miss 5 learnt that this philosophy didn’t really lead to success for this project.
Too many decorations mean that the glue can’t dry underneath. So decorate sparingly.

Set your palettes aside to dry on a flat surface. This is the hard part. Now you must wait.

How will you know when the Christmas ornaments are dry enough?
Lightly touch the centre of the circle and then the edge. Obviously no glue will come away if it’s dry. Another sign is that your ornaments should pull ever-so-slightly away from the edge of the circular mould.

This next step is one for adults to do

Run a sharp knife around the edge of your pendant to loosen it.
Gently peel the pendant away from the mould. Depending on how many decorations you’ve embedded into the glue, you may need to use a knife to loosen the centre of the ornament from the mould.

Ready to hang!

Use a skewer to poke a hole through the ornament. String some yarn through the hole . You might like to add beads. Tie a knot and your kid-made Christmas ornament is ready to hang on the tree!

Grab a copy of my "12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas" eBook. Creatively connect with your children through art, craft and play this festive season. 70+ pages featuring… 12 projects with detailed tutorials | Loads of tips, tricks and inspiration | 13 pages of templates, play dough mats and printable prompts.

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These kid-made Christmas ornaments are simply made from glue and paper straws. A super simple decoration that kids can make for the Christmas tree! #Christmascrafts #Christmascraftsforkids #Christmastree #kidmadeChristmasornaments #craftsforkids

 

What People Are Saying About The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas eBook

What People Are Saying About The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas eBook

This time last year, The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas was launched.
You may have heard me talk about it.
Or not.
I had such fun creating this eBook with my kids. But the actual selling of it and telling people why they should buy it?
Ick. Nobody likes talking about themselves.

So this year, I’m handing it over to people who bought the book (THANK YOU!) and I’m letting them do the talking.

Here’s what people are saying about The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas.

“These projects have really brought us a lot of joy, and an absolute minimum of stress. We’ll be diving into more of the 12 creative days between now and Santa’s arrival.” Cristin, Artsplorers

Susie from Handy with Scissors tried the All I Want for Christmas is… Yarn project:

Yarn wrapped stars from @ohcreativeday‘s fab new Christmas e-book! 12 awesome scaleable ideas perfect for little ones and loads of tips, tricks and templates. Can’t wait to hand these fuzzy lovelies on our tree.”

Joanna and her Blue Barn crew made Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeers:

“Have you had the chance to check out the new eBook by @ohcreativeday yet? It’s aahhh-mazzzing! She is one creative lady! My kids have been drooling over all the fab Christmas projects in it all week trying to decide which to do first.”

Fynn from Happy Tot Shelf tried the Santa Baby project with the printables included with the book:

“You should totally check out Shannon’s Christmas crafts ebook. I practically bookmarked everything in the ebook to do!”

Discover and Dream tried the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeers project:

“We love how easy and creative her ideas are and can’t wait to make more #craftmas from it!”

Cristin at Artsplorers went Walking in a Gingerbread Wonderland with her mini-maker:

“There are two things that I particularly loved about the crafts in this book. First, that they’re technically very manageable, and can be adapted to your child’s skill level. And, second, I found them so easy to make our own. If you have a look at Shannon’s versions of these projects, you’ll see that ours look pretty different, and that’s based on using mostly what we had around the house and finding our own inspiration. You don’t have to follow her example to the letter to make these projects come out well.”

You can read Cristin’s full review of The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas here.

The Weeble Wobble Wonder team exercised all the fine motor muscles with the book’s play dough mats.

Thea and her girls created so many masterpieces inspired by the book:

“Thanks to @ohcreativeday #ohcreativechristmas after school tomorrow is gonna be such fun!!!! If you have not yet gotten @ohcreativeday ebook you really must!!!!!”

Cara and Kinley had themselves an amazing #ohcreativechristmas

“When my sister-from-another-mister, Shannon @ohcreativeday, told me she was writing a Christmas crafts ebook, I preordered a copy immediately. I had extremely high hopes because that gal knocks my socks off daily with her creativity and this book of hers does NOT disappoint in the slightest! It’s literally everything you need to get your Christmas craft on for the entire month of December without spending even a single minute on Pinterest.”

Amy from Raising Little Disciples found the book useful as she navigated a move to a new country:

“We interrupt this programme to announce a great big THANK YOU to Shannon @ohcreativeday for your Santa-stic #ohcreativechristmas ebook! We have been going a little stir crazy over here the last month, cooped up either packing to leave a country or cooped up sick in a new country. So when I saw this crafty ebook in my inbox I did a little Hallelujah jig and a Christmas skip! We found a store that sold playdoh, printed out a BUNCH of pages and we were go-ho ho!”

And what a comment from @sofiti. If you do purchase the book, please tag me on social media @ohcreativeday and #ohcreativechristmas so I can see your creations. It makes me do a happy dance to the Michael Buble carols on non-stop rotation at my place.

Click here to grab your copy of The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas

Here is what people are saying about The 12 Oh Creative Days of Christmas. My eBook is packed with arty Christmas crafts for kids and play prompts so you can create love-soaked memories and connect with your children this Festive Season. #christmascraftsforkids #kidscrafts #ChristmasDIY #handmadeChristmas

 

 

19 Best Picture Books of 2018

19 Best Picture Books of 2018

What a year it has been for picture books! Here are 19 of the best picture books of 2018. Board books, picture books for preschoolers, picture books for newly-independent readers, picture books for older readers. Something for everybody! These books were loved at our place by children and parents alike. #picturebooks #picturebooks2018 #booksforkidsWhat a year it has been for picture books!
Back in June, we shared our 10 favourite picture books of the year (so far.)
The second half of 2018 did not disappoint.
Here are 9 more of the best picture books of 2018.

* And let’s just point out that writing a post like this is FRAUGHT!
As soon as I wrote it, I kept seeing books and thinking “Oh! That shoulda been on THE LIST.”
So the books on this list are ones that have been LOVED here by children and parents alike. I have also used many of these in the classroom to the delight of many a student.

This post contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your support.

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer book cover

This gorgeous board book celebrates the small everyday acts of love that take place within a family home.
The vibrant illustrations depict families in all their glorious, diverse forms.
What makes a family a family? Love.

Monster Party by Alison Lester and Jane Godwin

Alison Lester and Jane Godwin collaborated with the students of remote Rawa Community School, located on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, to produce this book with students’ artworks and stories based around life in the Punmu community. Any book that uses the word “gallumphing” will always have my heart.

Watch This! A Book About Making Shapes by Jane Godwin, Hilary Walker and Beci Orpin

A gaggle of adorable children show us how they can make shapes and lines with their bodies.

My kids were intrigued by seeing other kids in print and ADORED the idea of using their bodies to imitate shapes.

When I first read this book, my first instinct was to rush out and find a Kindy class to share it with. But my rational brain kicked in and I figured that the authorities would NOT APPROVE of me rushing into a random classroom AT ALL. I want to teach Infants forevermore just so I can use this book repeatedly in all Shape and Geometry lessons.

Pink is for Boys by Robb Pearlman and Eda Kaban

I bought this book after comments like “Pink is for girls!” started popping up at our place.
This book challenges the gender stereotype of pink for girls vs blue for boys.
Colours are for everybody.
A beautifully diverse cast of characters celebrate colour and encourage readers to simply enjoy whatever it is that they enjoy.

All the Ways to Be Smart by Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys

“Smart is not just ticks and crosses, smart is building boats from boxes.”
This book needs to be in the hands of every policy-maker in the sphere of Education, in every classroom, in every library, and in every home.
I intend on reading it every NAPLAN season to gently let my students know that what makes you unique can’t be shown in the data from a standardised test. *excuse my creaky knees as I get off my soap box*

This book is an utterly glorious call to celebrate your strengths and your own unique smarts.
Davina Bell and Alison Colpoys are a dream team of picture book creators.


Giraffe Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith

Just look at those two names on the cover there! What a dream team!
Giraffe suffers from a very human problem- he feels self-conscious and compares himself to others.
He notices something about himself that he feels is a negative and can’t see the positive in it.
The negative? His long neck.
Sometimes we just need somebody else to point out the positives.
In this case, Turtle shows Giraffe just why his long neck is so special.

The Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush series by Zanni Louise and Gillian Flint

Do you know somebody raising a creative kid?
A spunky, sparky kid with a vivid imagination who is itching to move on from picture books?
This is the book for them.

Tiggy has a magic paintbrush that she uses to create imaginative solutions to the problems she faces.
The content and colourful illustrations of these books are exquisitely perfect for the early reader looking to move out of picture books into short novels.

Our Jacko by Michael Morpurgo

This is an exquisite book for the 8 – 12 year old reader.
The old tin hat has always been a part of family life in Michael’s home.
Michael then discovers that it belonged to his great-great-grandfather, “Our Jacko.”
His ancestor was killed at Ypres in 1915 and Michael uncovers the young soldier’s diary.
A powerful and moving story on the importance of remembrance and carrying on the legacy of those who served.
At 64 pages, this is a perfect mix of text and emotional illustrations for the independent reader. However, it is really a text to be shared and pondered.

Shout Out to the Girls

If you’re looking for a Christmas book present for a young chick in your life, you’d best make it this one.
Heck, I reckon all Aussie chicks, no matter their age, would benefit from having this inspirational and powerful manifesto on their bookshelf.
It features an incredible array of Aussie women who have stood up, stood out, been seen and taken up their rightful space.

Find our 10 favourite picture books of 2018 from earlier in the year here.

The images and titles of each book will take you to Book Depository. As a Book Depository Affiliate, purchases clicked through from my blog result in a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books! Commission is used to maintain Oh Creative Day. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy here.

The Amazon links will take you to Amazon. I am also an affiliate with Amazon and will receive a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books.

If you prefer, you can order from Australian based online bookstore Booktopia.

Thanks for your support. Happy reading!

Some of the books in this post were provided free for review purposes. I always post my honest opinions and never post books that I do not rate.

Pin for later:

What a year it has been for picture books! Here are 19 of the best picture books of 2018. Board books, picture books for preschoolers, picture books for newly-independent readers, picture books for older readers. Something for everybody! These books were loved at our place by children and parents alike. #picturebooks #picturebooks2018 #booksforkids