Wonder Kids Blog

Wayne Wonder Based in Gloucestershire in the U.K is one of the country's leading children's entertainers and winner of multiple awards across his field.

As a magician and children's entertainer I am constantly on the look out for new ideas, different takes on old ideas and practically anything I can add into my repertoire.  As a by product of this I come across or invent lots of ideas that for one reason or another I can't fit into my shows.  That doesn't mean that they are no good in fact many of them work great for ideas to try at home.  I only realised this after having my daughter and seeing how much she enjoyed them.  That's why I have created this resource, for families to visit take away what they want and try these things at home.  You have everything at your fingertips for great, easy and inexpensive ideas for your little ones at home.  Going out to new experiences and spending time together as a family is important if not crucial to a child's development but that doesn't mean you have to go out and spend lots of money every time, you can create amazing memories just by investing a little bit of time at home with these great ideas.

Here's my Facebook page  - https://www.facebook.com/WayneWonderEntertainment  

Space - Out of this World Crafts

Space crafts and activities from Wonder Kids

Hello and welcome back for another great blog post following our theme of space.  This week I am going to share loads of great activities and crafts, kicking off with these great colouring pages, it's been a while since I included any colouring pages so if you like these and would like more just use the search bar above.  If this is your first time visiting our site then please make sure you go to the bottom of this blog post to see our other space related articles or try out the search bar above to search for anything you are interested in we have loads of content waiting for you.

Alka Seltzer Rockets

I included the full details of how to do this on a previous post all about Big Hero 6 which was a film that never broke into the mainstream but we loved it.  Check out the video were we did it in our back garden, then just click the link to find out how to do them and have fun.

Erupting Moon Rocks

This uses our moon dough recipe that you can find here.  Make the moon dough as we have done previously adding water to make sure they are really moist.  Using a squeeze bottle is a good way of keeping control over how much water you are adding.  Be careful, if you add too much the dough will just dissolve (the baking soda will dissolve). Now to turn them into moon rocks, you need to leave them to one side to dry out.  Indoors they will take a long time so you will need to leave them overnight to make sure they have dried out.  If you are doing this on a nice hot sunny day (lucky you in the UK) than a few hours outside in the sun should do the trick.  Once they are solid, you cadd some vinegar into the squeezy bottles, when the kids squeeze some vinegar on the rocks there should be a reaction with the bicarbonate of soda.  Im not sure wether every type of vinegar will work oil the same way, we used white wine vinegar (thats all I had in the cupboard) but that worked, Im pretty sure that cider vinegar and white distilled vinegar will work too.  Not sure about malt vinegar, give it a go and let me know on Facebook.

Erupting Moon Rocks Wonder kids
Space jewellery from Wonder Kids

Space Jewellery

This is lots of fun and super easy to do, we can't wait to give this a try over the summer. Here's what you'll need, I have put all the Amazon links below too so you can save some time.

  • Sculpey Clay in assorted colors (Red, Yellow, Gold, White, Black, Purple, Blue, Green)
  • Skewer
  • Baking Pan
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Cord
  • Optional: Extra Star Beads

To make these spacey clay necklaces, you need to first make your Sculpey clay pliable and soft. When you first pull it out of the package it’s slightly hard and rectangular. Just roll the clay around in your hands for it to become pliable and soft. This may be difficult for very small children so you may have to help.  Whenever you look at photos of the various planets in our solar system or of the galaxy, you’ll probably notice all the beautiful, swirling colors. To recreate this effect, roll various colors of clay together to create your beads.

Once you get the colors and effect that you want, roll the clay into balls and push a skewer through them. Cover a baking dish with aluminum foil. Then, bake the beads according to the directions on the package. When you pull your beads out, they’ll be hot. But they’ll soon cool down and you’ll end up with clay beads that are really quite solid. String your planet beads according to the order of the planets around the sun and your galaxy-inspired beads into whatever fun design you’d like. You can also mix in other beads too. Adding the star beads makes for a nice extra touch,  Tie the two ends of cord together and boom you're done.

That's it for this week but we will be back next week for our last Space adventure where I show you some really cool ideas for a space theme birthday party.  If you think about, look back at all the Space posts and related posts below and you are already well on your way to create an amazing Space party so I am looking forward to sharing with you the party ideas I have to add to what we have done so far. See you soon.

Make it Simple - Moon Dough

Moon Dough from Wonder Kids.png

Check out our other Make It Simple recipe for Play Dough below, this is super easy and will keep kids busy for hours. 

Ingredients

  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Glitter ( Black and Silver)
  • Black Food Colouring

Now this isn't an exact science so just try adding two cups of baking soda into a bucket or tray and add a 1/4 cup of water to it, combine with your hands.  If you want more dough add another 2 cups of baking soda followed by 1/4 cup water, this ratio should be about right.

Once you have the quantity you want add a small drop of food colouring and combine, add some glitter and combine. Continue to add small amounts of each until you reach a colour and coinsistency that you are happy with.

Make it Simple - Play Dough

DIY Playdough from Wonder kids

This is super easy to make, you'll never need to buy the store stuff again.  This is a cooked version, there are uncooked versions floating around the net which are great if you want small kids to make it themselves but I think this version is superior with a far better texture and it lasts longer too.

I have also included an amazing shopping list at the bottom of the post which may help and save you time, also I have linked some of our articles that use Play Dough at the bottom too.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 Tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)
  • Food colouring for any colour you want 
  • You can also add herbs & spices for different aromas, try adding cocoa, cinnamon or ginger. Just make sure the kids don't eat it, I don't think it would harm them but just to be safe.

Method

Mix all of the ingredients together, and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes.  

When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, as shown below, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle.

If the dough is still sticky just cook it longer until it is more of a play dough consistency.

Turn the dough out onto a clean counter or silicone mat, and knead vigorously until it becomes silky-smooth. Divide the dough into balls for coloring.Make a divot in the center of the ball, and drop some food coloring1 in. Fold the dough over, working the food color through the body of the playdough, trying to keep the raw dye away from your hands and the counter. You could use gloves, a big ziplock bag, or plastic wrap at this stage to keep your hands clean- only the concentrated dye will color your skin, so as soon as it's worked in bare hands are fine.Work the dye through, adding more as necessary to achieve your chosen color.

When you're done, store your playdough in an air-tight container.
- If it begins to dry out, you can knead a bit of water in again to soften the dough back to useability. Once it's dried past a certain point, however, you'll just have to start over; thankfully it's not terribly difficult.
- If it gets soggy, you can re-heat it to drive off the extra water the dough absorbed overnight.  This is usually the result of high humidity, but is fixable!

You can also bake it in the oven to make hard dough figures and ornaments, then paint or otherwise decorate the surface.  

Star Wars

Hello again, When I started this blog I went for about 6 months without knowing if anyone actually took a look at it at all.  Now every month I get more and more feedback about how people are using the different ideas I present in these packs.  Thank you for this and I want to hear from more of you.  These packs are quite time consuming so the feed back I recieve is the reason I keep going and try to make each one better than the one before it.  Remember to try the search bar (at the top and bottom) to find all sorts of interesting activities and games. 

This month can only be about one thing! The new Star Wars film is looking like it could quite possibly be the biggest film of ALL time. No I'm not exaggerating, this film is going to be huge and everywhere. I have compiled an amazing pack this month full of Star Wars fun to try at home.


Star Wars Colouring

Normally I start each month with some colouring pages but this month I have this cool colouring book and each page includes great hand writing practise.  Any little Star Wars fans will love this so just click on the image to print it out. It's FREE.


Star Wars Bingo

Before you see the new film you might want to go back and watch the previous six films or maybe just the original three (I'll understand if you skip the prequels). To make this more fun for little ones try this. I love this type of game, I made something similar months ago in my Lego Movie Pack which was one of my first activity packs.  I always like to get some sort of surprise prize for whoever wins this game.  Make sure you have more than one prize as the kids will want to swap cards and play again.  It doesn't have to be a huge prize just take a visit to a local pound shop they are bound to have something Star Wars themed. To mark off the characters you have seen you will need some sort of counter.  Whats I always use are little lego bricks, just get a cup full of lego bricks and the kids can put a brick on each character they have seen. Sorted, print out the game for FREE by clicking the image.


Star Wars Crafts

I have included a couple of awesome Star Wars Crafts here.  The first one is a little involved and there will be some planning on your part, you might even have to try things a couple of times but I thought it was so cool I couldn't leave it out.  I am going to be trying this with my daughter over the Christmas Holidays. Please do give these a try and take a picture or video of your family enjoying them. Post it to my Facebook page and I will send you a bunch of Wayne Wonder goodies as a thank you.

Yoda's Swamp Slime

So what do you need:-

Firstly a couple of recipes, this play dough recipe is super easy, you will never have to pay for play dough again.  For the brown colour required for this craft you could try to mix food colouring but I think I'm going to just add a little coco powder to make a nice brown colour plus it will smell great too, just don't eat it.  For the slime add green food colouring to make it nice and green.  Also add a couple of drops of Red food colouring to make the green a bit darker and murkier, like a swamp.

  • Plastic tub
  • Bubbling Slime We used about four batches of the bubbling slime recipe in the swamp, tinted with a lot of green food coloring plus a few drops of red to make the color “swampier.” Go easy on the red, though. A little goes a long way!
  • Use five batches of the chocolate slime play dough recipe to create the land for Yoda’s hut to sit on.
  • Star Wars figures: Any plastic figures could be used but I think the lego ones make this so much more fun, being able to build and change everything and break things into the slime etc.
  • A big bowl of water and plenty of towels: for wiping hands and cleaning toys etc, also put some towels or blankets down on the floor/table just incase of spills.

SETTING UP THE SWAMP SLIME TUB

Firstly you can build some sort of lego hut for Yoda's swamp home. Then press your chocolate slime playdough into one corner of the tub to make land for the hut to rest on. Just set the hut on top of the land, and then spread a layer of baking soda over the bottom of the tub. Finally pour in a big bowl of the bubbling slime…and watch it bubble!  Add more lego as needed and get stuck in and messy, just play for lots of fun.

Tie Fighter

I promise this craft will be much easier to do buts it's till heaps of fun.  The kids can even help to make this one.

For one ship you need:
• 4 pipe cleaners
• 1 balloon
• 2 pieces of cardstock (construction paper can be used also but cardstock will hold shape better)
• tape

See, I told you this one is easy, how you doing so far? Now you should have two wings with a fold down the middle.

Now let’s make the body, wing connectors, and put it all together: 
• Blow up a balloon and keep it on the small side.  Tie a knot in the top and set it aside.
• Take two pipe cleaners and twist them together at the ends to create one extra long pipecleaner.  Do the same thing with the other two pipe cleaners.  And now you have two long wing connectors.
• Take the first connector and wrap around the middle of the balloon.  Twist the ends together on the other side so the pipecleaners are snug around the balloon and won’t fall off.  Then twist the ends together so they look like one fused pipecleaner.

• Take the other wing connector and wrap it around the balloon as we did above, but wrap it from the other side.  You should have two pipecleaner connectors sticking out from the sides of the balloon.
• Bend the ends of the connectors down at a 90 degree angle.
• Then tape the pipecleaner ends to the wings, at the fold in the paper.  Black tape is ideal.  But I didn’t have any so I used transparent Scotch tape.

Then tie a yarn string around the top, tape it to the ceiling with Scotch tape….and your Tie Fighter is ready for battle!

Star Wars Baubles

This craft is even easier, all you need are some cheap, plain baubles, a pack of sharpie pens in a range of colours and some metallic spray paint.  You will also need some white spray paint for R2D2.  Use masking tape to half the bauble for the R2D2 version but just spray the whole ball gold for C3PO.  Once they are dry add artwork and hang.  Try making a Yoda version too!

Star Wars Games

Here we go with a couple of Star Wars based games. I may even try this first one at my shows.  I literally came up with this one morning whilst doing some housework.  

Don't Drop Yoda!

You'll need a plush star wars toy for each child playing, they don't all have to be Yoda.  The yoda need to be tucked somewhere on their body so if they are dressed as Jedi's then pop it in their hoods or up their sleeve or even tucked in a belt.  It's a little like simon says, you call out actions and they have to copy you but if they drop their star wars toy then they join you up front and demo the next move.  The last child standing with their toy is the winner and should get a nice prize.

Here are some actions you could call out:

  • Dance like an ewok
  • walk like a wampa
  • show your best jedi moves
  • jumping jacks like a wookie
  • march like a storm trooper
  • spin in circles like yoda

Home Made Light Sabers

You don't need to buy expensive plastic light sabres that hurt when you get hit by them.  These are super easy and it doesn't matter if you get hit by one.  Trim a pool noodle down to a good size and use silver duct tape to create a handle. Just wrap it all around the bottom of the pool noodle.  Duct tape comes in a range of colours and designs now which you should find at every good craft shop.  Now use black duct tape to create a unique design on the handle.  There you go a cheap and safe lightsaber to use. Now I can hear you saying but Wayne how is this a game, don't worry little Padawan, if you combine these with the tie fighter I showed you above, hang up the tie fighters and now you have an epic Star Wars battle on your hands just add some star wars music.

Star Wars Blasters

These are super cool and easy to do.  I did this for christmas a few years ago and they were a huge hit with my daughter and nephews.  I would try to get the sturdiest plastic cups possible rather than the polystyrene ones shown in the pic.  Use little marshmallows as the ammunition and let the battle commence.  We were finding marshmallows for about two months after the battle they get everywhere!

Well thats it for another month folks.  Give these ideas a try, your kids will love them, these are all great to try during the school holidays.  If there is anything you would like me to try to include in this packs then just let me know through my Facebook page.  Maybe your little ones are Smurf fans or Beauty and the Beast fans and you want to see some ideas based around that, just let me know and I will get them included.  Have a great Christmas folks and a happy new year.  May the Force be with you.

Busy Packs

busypacks.jpg

No matter what you want to call them, these are a must have for parents.  You are going to have to wait with kids at some point or another, wether its at the doctors, restaurant, whilst out shopping, dentist or even family events like weddings.

 My wife has been a pre school manager for over ten years and always plans things for us to take out with us for our daughter Megan.  This can be as simple as some colouring sheets on a clipboard or a couple of toys.  However what we have been doing in more recent years is taking a little zip lock bag with five small activities to keep her busy.  So start off by reading my rules, then we’ll get on to the fun bits.

    1.    Aim for 6 items or less – This means it’s not as difficult to round up everything when you’re child is finished playing with it.

    2.    Try to go for Easily Replaceable – It’s likely that using these for travel and out and about will mean that you will probably loose pieces eventually. Therefore I like to use a lot of cheap/recycled goods so I am not so upset when things get lost.

    3.    Make them FUN – That’s a no-brainer, but it’s true. Try to make sure there’s something fun but at the same time will keep them relatively quiet and busy for a good few minutes

    4.    Try sticking to a theme – this way children can pick their favourite pack i.e I want the princess pack or I want the dinosaur pack etc.

    5.    Make more than one busy pack, trust me once you start seeing how useful these are you will want at least 5 different packs in stock at home.

    6.    Use the season – whether there is a holiday around the corner like Christmas or easter or even just something big going on in your family, take advantage of those moments. It makes it more exciting for kids and not as mundane.

Next Step

Decide what you are going to use to house your busy pack, you can use an old kids lunch box, recycle a plastic food container or even use an old DVD case (more on this later). You can even use a pencil case or even just a clear zip lock food bag, anything will do.

To help you decide maybe it will good to think about what you may end up putting inside, So here is a list of things we have used in the past.

  • Lego
  • Playdough
  • Colouring sheets (lots of)
  • Puzzles
  • Books (small ones)
  • Various small toys
  • Mini yo-yo

Adding cheap home made activities

One of the most attractive things about these busy packs is that the idea is they dont cost a fortune.  They use a lot of re-used things you already have or very cheap things you can get your hands on.  Here are some of my favourite ideas for you to use for FREE

Play Dough Mats

I have added three play dough mats to my activity centre, just click the buttons to see them and print them out.  I normally laminate them as they last longer that way however you can use just a piece of paper which has the added bonus of being foldable so can fit in a small box.  Just add a small tub of play dough or make your own if you’re feeling brave.  My wife has assured me that its easy.  I have included her favourite recipe here.

Colouring Sheets

Always a favourite in my house and cheap as chips.  Here are my favourite colouring page websites

Disney

Colouring Page

Velcro Sticks

Velcro Sticks

I hear you saying “Huh”, These are lollipop sticks with velcro spots stuck on them.  You can buy both these components very cheap from most craft shops and I was shocked how popular they were with my four year old. I would guess that kids up to six years old would like these but the older children would just want to make what they want to make though.  For younger ones try letters of the alphabet, you make a letter and they copy or simple shapes like a house.  Give it a go, they will enjoy it.

Ice Cream Game

Make your own ice cream, who doesn't love ice cream.  Print the free ice cream design I made and cut out the pieces,  add it to your pack and you have another winner on your hands.

Drinking Straws

Yep, drinking straws can be great fun.

1. Straw Tug of War
For this game, each player sits at a table as though they are about to play tug of war. Place a straw in the center of the tables so it is running horizontally. Each player takes their own straw and on the count of go, tries to blow the table straw towards the other player. The person who is able to blow the straw across the table and into the other player wins.

2. Straw whistles
Take a pair of scissors and cut the end of your straw into a point, or a V. Try blowing into the straw. A whistle sound should come out. Try cutting straws at different lengths and then complete them with a V tip. The various lengths should create different pitched sounds. This works especially well with paper straws.

3. Straw water race.
For this game, each team is given two glasses. One glass is full of water while the other is empty. Teams must place the straw in the cup with water and pinch the end so the straw retains some liquid. They then must transfer the liquid to the empty cup. The first team to get all of their water from one cup to the other wins.

4. Straw words.
Cut straws into smaller segments to write out words and phrases. You can even play hangman or fill in the missing letter games using the straws to create the letters. Straws can also be used to practice tracing letters in sandboxes.

Adding Toys

Now if your child has a favourite toy that fits inside your box/case then thats a no brainer. But otherwise, what else is good to go in?  Here are some of my favourites.

  • Small Puzzles
  • Small Dress up Items (Necklace, rings, hair clips, loom bands, ben10 watch etc)
  • Finger Puppets
  • Stickers
  • Travel Games (travel versions of board games like connect 4 etc)
  • Plush Animals
  • Mini Card Games like Uno or Top Trumps
  • Mini YoYO
  • Lego

On that last toy, Lego.  It's one of my all time favourite toys for both boys and girls so here is a little game you could play.

Lego Mystery Game

Lego

This is a great little game to keep kids amused for a while.  If you are going to put some Lego in your busy pack then get your son/daughter to grab a handful of lego to put in the pack.  You do the same too.  Now when you are out tell them they have to make something, anything using ALL the lego’s you brought.  Name the item and take a picture.

Thats it for this activity pack, I hope you have found this one informative as its a little different to the other activity packs I have put together because its more aimed at the parents but I think these are a great idea.  A little prep time is involved but I think the pay off, of keeping your little ones amused at crucial times is worth it and saves a lot of unnecessary stress.

As always take a picture of your family using your busy packs and post it to my Facebook Fan Page, the best most creative pics win prizes!