It was raining this afternoon, and we were all feeling a little tired after school, so we picked a nice easy activity to do. We cut coloured paper into strips, and then used them to make worms.
L folding up a worm.
A made some just by folding a single strip of paper up like a concertina, and then adding eyes. L made hers using two strips of paper. She started by lining the ends up perpendicular to each other, and then taping the strips together in a right angle. Her first worm was blue and red, so she folded the blue over the red, then the red over the blue, and then the blue back over the red in the opposite direction, and so forth until she reached the end of the strips. It was a bit like plaiting the paper together to form a spring-like tube. She taped the ends together so that her worm didn’t unravel, and then she stuck on some eyes.
A two strip worm.
A’s concertina worm.
I love these eye stickers, they are so easy for the kids to use, and we don’t have to wait for any glue to dry. A likes the eyes that have eyelashes, because all her creations “are girls and need pretty eyelashes”. A had difficulty making worms using two strips of paper, so L made her a worm to add eyes to, which was very thoughtful.
The kids took their little worms off to bed with them tonight, and L even made her worms a special sleeping place on her desk where they would be warm and comfy.
L helped me to make these cute little bee cupcakes.
We made a batch of vanilla cupcakes in dark coloured muffin cases. Once they were cool, we iced each cupcake with yellow icing. I wanted the icing to be thick, but smoother than I normally make cake frosting. So I didn’t use as much butter, and I added the milk to the mix a little at a time until I had a nice consistency. I only had liquid food colouring on hand and that makes the icing runnier too. Over the top of the yellow icing, I carefully iced stripes of black icing, well, dark grey was as dark as I could get it, but I used black food colouring. Gel or paste colouring would have been better for making black. I’m happy with the colours anyway.
Once the stripes were done, we added a head made from a honeycomb pods (little choc filled biscuit cups made by Mars). I used white chocolate fudge writing icing to draw on the faces and then some black icing for little antennae. Some of the bees also got mini choc chips as antennae.
Wing made from a pipe cleaner.
L helped me make wings and stingers from black pipe cleaners. She placed the wings to the sides of the cupcakes, and the stinger at the opposite end to the head. I was quite happy with how the wings looked when we were finished.
L made a couple of bee cupcakes all by herself too. I didn’t interfere with her creative juices, just let her get on with making her bees how she wanted. She used some of the pods for antennae, mini choc chips for eyes, and the white chocolate for the pupils and mouth. Her wings and stinger were pipe cleaners. She had a lot of fun creating her bee cupcakes. And she really liked eating them too!
One of L’ s bees.
Cupcakes iced and ready for decoration.
I was thinking about ways to make bee cupcakes, when I thought that perhaps I could make one big bee cake using cupcakes. I pondered this for a while, but finally came up with a plan. After baking two dozen cupcakes, I laid them out in a bee shape to see if it looked okay. It did, so I mixed up some yellow icing and some black icing, which is not perfectly black, but rather a dark grey. To get the icing really black, I would have needed some food colouring paste or gel, but I only had liquid colouring, so dark grey it is. This wasn’t an issue though, as the colours looked quite good together.
L icing a cupcake.
I got to icing, starting with the black head. The two cupcakes at the front are angled up a little to create the head shape. I used a couple of toothpicks to secure them into place against the single black cupcake behind them. L helped me to ice some of the other cupcakes, and was a big help whilst making this cake. The cupcakes that make up the stripey body are just placed into the correct shape. I ended up using fourteen cupcakes for this cake.
The head of the bee.
L made the antennae and stinger out of black pipe cleaners. I stuck one antenna into each of the head cupcakes, and then added eyes below them. The eyes are made from a single malteser chocolate ball with some white chocolate fudge writing icing blobbed on it. L stuck the stinger into the last yellow cupcake.
The wings of the bee were the trickiest part of this cake. They are made out of clear cellophane. I cut a double sheet into a rough wing shape, and then scrunched one edge together to create the shape of the wing emerging from the body. I separated the two sheets of cellophane slightly to give the wing some depth, and then wrapped half a black pipe cleaner around the scrunched section, and secured it between two of the body cupcakes using toothpicks. The toothpick slotted under the pipe cleaner and then poked into the sides of the adjoining cupcakes. I made another wing for the other side.
And there I had my cupcake bee cake. It was very difficult to photograph, but I’ve done my best. The cellophane didn’t show up very well in the photos, and it was difficult to get one good shot of the whole cake, so the photos don’t really do it justice. It did look much better sitting on my dining table!
A harmless spider made using a paper bowl and some pipe cleaners.
Painting the bowl.
Hole punched side ready for legs.
First A painted the bowl on the outside, and once that was mostly dry, she turned the bowl over and painted the inside of the bowl. She used a thick black paint. Once the paint was dry, I used a single hole punch to make four holes down each side of the bowl. A inserted half a black pipe cleaner into each hole, bending them a little on the inside and taping them down. I helped A to bend these legs into the shape she wanted, with little feet.
Adding googly eyes.
I thought googly eyes on the top would finish off the spider, but A wanted it to be a red-back spider, which are quite common here, so she also added a red feather to the back of her spider. A said that this spider is the Mummy spider, and she has asked to hang it in her room with her baby egg carton spiders.
This is a craft that gets done a lot at pre-schools and playgroups, but never seems to lose its appeal. In the past we have decorated these caterpillars with paint, textas, stickers, and gluing on bits of paper, cellophane and fabric. Sometimes they are short caterpillars and sometimes long, but always fun!
Painting a caterpillar.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for them to dry.
We had half an egg carton left over from some other craft, so I cut this in half to make two caterpillars for A. She chose to paint one green and one red. She put so much paint on them that it took all day to dry… Eventually we got back to them and A decorated them. I punched two holes with my awl in the head of each caterpillar so that A could add pipe-cleaner antennae. She also glued on some googly eyes, and then used pompoms to decorate their bodies. She gave the red one a pompom nose. They are very cute!
Bending the antennae into shape.
Decorating a caterpillar.
We made another type of spider on Halloween too, this time an edible variety. When I told L there would be spiders for desert she became a bit worried, and told me she didn’t want any red-backs because they are poisonous. That gave me a bit of a chuckle.
The kids had never had soft drink spiders before, so they were fascinated when Big L put ice-cream and lime soft drink on the bench. Big L placed a scoop of ice-ceam in the bottom of some plastic cups, and then slowly added the lime soft drink. The kids loved watching the combination fizz up. Both kids were keen to try them, L really enjoyed it, while A thought it was icky. Not a big surprise though, since she doesn’t like soft drinks either, but we were happy she tried a new food.
We used straws to drink the spiders, and we all had fun trying to create enough suction on the lump of ice-cream with the straw to lift it out of the soft drink. Lots of laughs when Big L dropped his ball of ice-cream and it splashed back into the drink spraying his face with green speckles.
We don’t normally do anything for Halloween, it’s not something we’ve really gotten into, but seeing all the decorations available in the shops put me in the mood for making some egg carton spiders. Luckily we have a large supply of egg cartons at the moment, so I pulled one out and cut it up into the individual cups.
Painting the egg carton cups.
The kids painted the egg cups inside and out with black paint (getting a lot on themselves in the process). We left these to dry for a while and then came back to add pipe-cleaner legs and googly eyes. I used an awl to punch the holes for the pipe-cleaner legs, making it easier for the kids to push the legs through. My awl is very sharp, and I didn’t allow the girls to touch it. A still had a lot of trouble putting legs on her spiders, so I helped her put them in and then shape them to give them knees and feet. L was able to put legs on her spiders and make them into a shape that she wanted.
Adding a mouth.
A added some red paint to two of her spiders and told me they were red-backs, and one got a big red mouth. L preferred hers just black. I punched a hole into the top of each spider and added some string and then attached them to the ceiling with blu-tack.
Spiders hanging from the ceiling.