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  

Dublin to Cork 2018

Ireland Holiday Planning for families

It's been a fantastic month but also a very busy month, I touch on this a little in my last post The Complete Guide to Fathers Day 2018.  We have not long go back to a visit to Ireland where I was doing some shows but I also took my family with me and I think in total we had about 48hrs in Ireland to have fun. So I thought it would be great to mention a few things that we got to do and some things that you really shouldn't miss.  

Now before we kick off we can't do this without that little Wonder kids touch so I will also include a couple of great activities to get you in the Irish mood.  I have also included all the related posts at the bottom of this article.

We'll kick this off in Dublin, which is a brilliant city with so much you can do this is by far not a complete list of activities.  We started our trip at Butlers Chocolate and a tour of the famous Irish chocolate factory.  This was a big hit with our daughter.  They have two time slots for the tour, due to ferry travel times we had to take the afternoon tour which I'll be honest for me was a little disappointing.  The factory was cleaning down and packing away for the day which meant we didn't get to see any chocolates being made.  We did get lots of tasty samples and we saw some trays of ready made chocolates.  The biggest highlight of this tour is having a go at decorating your chocolates.  I have included some pics of our attempts below. Can you guess which one is mine?

Next on our list was Grafton Street, this was only because our daughter had heard it on an Ed Sheeran song.  It's like the main high street in Dublin with street performers up and down the street.  Some great shops and places to eat here, at the top of the street is St Stephens Green Shopping Centre which was great and some good entertainment too.  However just off of Grafton Street is Wicklow Street were you can find Murphy's Ice Cream.  Their ice cream is all handmade in Dingle and is delicious.  I highly recommend the Brown Bread Flavour and the Sea Salt flavour, in fact just try all of them.

We have one more daytime activity that we were able to try and then we'll move onto nightlife in Dublin.  We just about had time to visit Dublin Zoo. You know if you've been to one zoo you've been to them all.  They have the same animals that most big zoo's have access too but it's always interesting and Dublin Zoo is a very nice zoo.  We managed to get to see some talks and feeding sessions too.  It's a lovely option to have available to keep the kids happy.  Now what was really surprising about the zoo is that it's located in Phoenix Park.  I had heard of this park before we left, apparently there are wild deer that you can see.  Now this park is beautiful and it has hundreds of free parking spaces available too.  This is incredible for a massive park in a city, you can park your car for FREE! (wake up London) We didn't really have time to explore Phoenix Park and it's something we would go back to when we return.

Wonder Kids Dublin to Cork

Nightlife time, now Dublin is legendary for it's nightlife and I think if you are jut a group of adults than you are spoilt for choice for places to go.  However we are looking at a family break in Dublin.  What can you do with the kids in Dublin in the evening? I would love to hear from anyone that has any great ideas as we would love to go back at some point. Here is what we did, we visited Temple Bar which is just great and very lively, we popped into the actual Temple Bar, really just so my daughter could experience the live music.  We stayed for one set of music with a great Irish band playing. There are no shortage of places to visit around here and loads of live music too.  It's not all that child friendly which is why we left after one set and boy does it get busy.  We were packed in like sardines and you can't really move at all.  I have a feeling that it's like this most nights.  

Wonder kids Dublin to Cork

The night in Dublin we enjoyed the most was when we booked to go and see the Celtic Nights show in the Arlington Hotel. This show is a three course traditional Irish meal whilst you watch live music and Irish dancers.  It runs 7 days a week and we loved it.  My daughter is 8yrs old, she loved the food and the dancers.  She wasn't too keen on the music but she has time to come round to it.  I don't want to spoil the show but the food was great and the show is very energetic (wait for the brooms to come out) and I thought the whole thing was brilliant and good value for money.  Below is a quick list of things to do and check out in Dublin, we are going to have some Irish fun next and then move onto Cork and what we found there.

Top Tips in Dublin

  • Butlers Chocolate Factory Tour

  • Baggot Court Town House Hotel

  • Murphy's Ice Cream

  • Dublin Zoo

  • Botanical Gardens

  • Phoenix Park

  • Temple Bar

  • Celtic Nights Show Arlington Hotel


St Patricks Joke Teller

Do you remember these from primary school, normally to tell the future, who you would marry or what job you would have etc.  This one tells St Patricks day jokes. just click on the pic for the free download. Cut it out, fold it up and play.


Wonder Kids Wear it Green Game

Wear it Green Game

This is a super fun and fast game.  You will need loads of green clothes, it doesn't matter what, it could be gloves socks, t-shirts, dresses.  Anything and everything green you have.  You can always raid charity shops for green clothes on the cheap too.  Set up two piles or two wash bins filled with the same number of green clothing.  I think 5-7 items in each bin is perfect.  Now if you have two players they need to run up to the bins and put on one item of clothing and then race back to the beginning.  The first person to go back and fourth and wear all items from the bin is the winner.  

Variations

Instead of just running they could hop on one leg or leap like a frog, belly crawl, forward roll etc.  

Relay race - set up two teams of three or more people and play the game as above, when the first player returns they tag the next player to hop or leap up to the bin and put on a piece of clothing.  Now for this you want at least two items of clothing per player.  

How about using this music whilst everyone is racing?


Irish Soda Bread

Wonder Kids Soda Bread

The kids kitchen brings you another great recipe idea here, make sure you check out the Kids Kitchen recipes for some great affordable fun in the kitchen, click on the pic opposite.

Any bread is great to make with kids so why not get in the kitchen and make this super tasty soda bread which to me is more of a cake consistancy rather than a normal bread texture.

Here is what you will need to make this tasty bread - 

Kids Kitchen Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1/3 cup of sugar + 1/2 tablespoon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup of butter milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter for brushing on top
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
 
Wonder Kids Soda Bread

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease baking sheet.

  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and softened butter. Mix in the buttermilk and egg until dough starts to form, then fold in raisins. If dough is still crumbly, add a splash of buttermilk until it comes together.

  3. Knead dough on a floured surface. Form into a round loaf.

  4. Brush the top of the loaf with 1/4 cup of melted butter then sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of sugar on top.

  5. Cut an X into the top of the loaf using a sharp knife.

  6. Bake for 1 hour. Test to see if it is done by inserting a toothpick into the center and checking to see that it comes out clean. If the loaf is too thick, the center might take longer to bake. Simply place some foil over the top of the loaf and continue baking until done.

Kids Kitchen Soda Bread

Wonder kids Dublin to Cork

Visiting Cork

We only spent a few hours in Cork really, we stayed in the Clayton Hotel which is a lovely 4 star hotel geared towards the corporate market.  We got a special offer to stay here and then upon arrival our room got upgraded to a suite. Nothing like the luck of the Irish.  It was a beautiful room to stay in.  We went and had a good walk around the centre of cork and we visited the famous English Market, this is a lovely market, we did spend a few euro's and there are plenty of places to eat here too.  I think really if you are staying nearby self catering or you are staying with friends then. this would be a great place to shop for some really good Irish ingredients to cook with.  The real reason for us visiting Cork was that it is near to Blarney Castle.

Blarney castle

Blarney Castle was superb and I would really recommend a visit there, you can go and kiss the Blarney Stone and walk around the grounds.  The grounds are amazing with waterfalls, fairy gardens, a witch, neolithic stone circles, great views and even a poison garden!  Something we didn't realise was how many other attractions are near Blarney Castle.  I would recommend staying somewhere really close to Blarney Castle and visiting some of the other attractions near by.  We saw some great restaurants, another chocolate factory and loads more right on the doorstep to the Blarney Castle. Here are some pics of us around the grounds of Blarney Castle.

Thanks for reading, please do share this post with your friend son social media too.  I have included below some related posts that you may also be interest in.  You can you the search bar at the top of the page to find out loads more great fun for kids in the Wonder Kids blog.

Knights & Knaves - Catapult (Bonus)

Knights from Wonder Kids Catapult

I have a couple of bonus ideas for our Knights and Knaves theme.  Have you tried using the search bar at the top of the page to find hundreds of cool ideas to keep the kids amused and creative. This week it's all about this super cool and simple Catapult. Try the buttons below for all of our fun from the whole of September!

Catapult from Wonder Kids

Catapult

Pile 6 craft sticks on top of each other & secure at each end with an elastic band. Put the last 2 sticks together & tie an elastic band round one end. Place the pile of sticks between the other 2 sticks, about 2 inches in from the tied end & use 2 bands to secure in the middle. Use the last band to tie the spoon (I’ve used a measuring spoon as it has a nice deep bowl) to the other end of the top stick. Place a ball on the spoon (polystyrene ones work well for this game).

Another great idea takes us back a few years with one of my first ever You Tube videos, teaching how to make a balloon sword. They are really easy and the kids will love them.

Wonder Kids Tug of War

I think one more game will be just the job here.  How about an epic Tug of War! I love the idea below, standing on milk crates and pulling, the first one to fall off loses.  Very simple, everyone will want a go.  Make sure you look back at all of our Knights & Knaves fun but before you go how about trying out something different form the selection below?

Knights & Knaves - Party Time

Knights Party from Wonder Kids

We're back with another great exploration of this month's theme.  This week I have been looking into running a complete Knights Party.  Lets kick off with some great party invitations, these are free to download and use as you need them.

Make sure you check out all of our other Knights posts too.

Just click on the invites to save and print them

Just click on the invites to save and print them

Murphy coat of arms Wonder Kids

To complement these invites we will soon be launching complete range of party supplies available to purchase as a digital download.  For just £7.99 you can get an instant download including drinks bottles labels, banner, poster, table tents and the free invites are include all in one package. Check back here soon for the full details and link.

As the kids arrive, keep them busy creating their own coat of arms, you can learn about coats of arms at Warwick Castle, our full review from our time there can be found here.  My family coat of arms is opposite. With one of the most popular surnames in the western world my family history goes pretty much back to the start of civilisation itself. Find your history here. Just click on the pictures below for the free print outs. A shield print out for the kids to design their own and a sheet of inspiration for what to add on the shield.  You can even cut these elements out and stick them on, it's up to you.

Combine these ideas above with the food here, party games here and maybe a cake from below and you are all sorted to put on an amazing kids birthday party.

Knights & Knaves - Food 'n' Fun

Knights & Knaves from Wonder Kids

I hoped you all enjoyed last weeks post about Warwick Castle, if you missed it then you can still find it here.  This week I have a jam packed blog post with some great ideas.  Lets not mess around and kick off with this great Jousting craft and game.

Lances from Wonder Kids

Jousting

  • Pipe Insulator/pool noodle
  • Card
  • Coloured tape (electrical tape works)

I love the simplicity of these.  Just some foam insulator that you can find at any B&Q.  You could also use a pool noodle if you have one.  Take the card and draw a large semi circle, you can use a cooking bowl to trace around. Cut this out and wrap it around one end of the foam pipe.  Tape it together. Now you can decorate the rest of the pipe with the coloured tape.

Not good enough? How about creating a mini Jousting obstacle course using some polystyrene rings from hobby craft, and a hobby horse made out of a pool noodle.

Paper Cup Dragon

Not only is this a super simple and fun craft to make with the kids but you can also turn it into a gam of tag quite easily, read on.

Supplies needed

  • Paper Cups (ideally green or red)
  • Orange & Yellow Crepe paper, cut into small strips
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Googley Eyes
  • Elastic strap (optional)

Start with the green paper cup and carefully remove the bottom of the cup with the scissors. Decide where you would like the eyes to be and carefully cut a small semi circle into the cup.  This creates a small tab that you can poke out slightly.  See picture for more detail.

Glue strips of the crepe paper inside the cup so that they poke out of the hole at the bottom of the cup.  Affix the google eyes to the small semi circle tabs and you are done.

Now if you would like to turn this into a game, you'll need to make two small pin holes near the top of the cup.  Thread the elastic through these holes so that you can wear it like a mask.  Remember a Childs head is much smaller than yours and you want to have to stretch the elastic around their head so that it holds tight.  You won't need much elastic.

Now you have a dragon mask, have the kids grab their Jousting pipes and play tag, the firs person to tag the dragon with their pipe then becomes the dragon and the game continues until everyone has had a turn.

We are not done yet! How about some proper British food to go with all this quintessential Brittishness?

Wonder Kids Fish & Chips

Fun Fish & Chips

This is a bit of an updated version, rather than the true stodgy traditional version.  Lets start with the fish.  

Ingredients:

400 gms firm white fish fillets (haddock or lemon sole are my preferred ones)
breadcrumbs

Lemon zest
3 eggs
2 tbs plain flour
salt & pepper
oil for shallow frying

Method

Cut your fish in to thin, long strips, like goujons but thinner – around 10cm/4in long pieces and 2cm/1in wide.  This kind of size makes them really easy to pick up and eat with fingers.  A great tip for cutting fish so that it doesn’t break is don’t cut it horizontally, but cut it lengthwise.  Put your flour on a plate, beat the eggs and place in a very shallow bowl and place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.  Season the breadcrumbs with salt, pepper and lemon zest to your taste and then start breading – coat fish strips with flour, then dip in egg making sure they’re completely coated,  next dip in breadcrumbs, again making sure the fish is well covered.  Repeat till you’ve coated all the fish strips.

Pour oil in to a large frying pan (the oil should come up to about 1.5cms) and heat.  When it’s quite hot place your breaded fish strips in the oil and shallow fry till golden brown.  Drain on some kitchen towel and your mini breaded fish is ready.  As mentioned, these can be made a few hours in advance and heated in the oven just before serving.

For the chips I prefer sweet potato fries, not only do they taste great but the splash of colour helps make this dish more fun for kids too.

Sweet potato Fries from Wonder Kids

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Paprika

Method:

  • Preheat oven
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a shallow dish, combine oil & spices.
  • If leaving the skin on, scrub your sweet potatoes really well. If not, peel your potatoes.
  • Cut sweet potatoes into ¼" fries.
  • Toss fries in olive oil to coat.
  • Spread fries out on a prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, turning occasionally or until fries are browned.

Thats it for this week, next week we have loads more Knights & Knaves fun for birthday parties, see you then.

Knights and Knaves - Warwick Castle

Knights and Knaves from Wonder Kids

Hello and welcome to a brand new month, I hope that you had a good summer break.  We took a couple of weeks off from the blog over the summer but that doesn't mean that we were just sat around twiddling our thumbs, far from it! We had lots of mini breaks all over the UK some of which I will be writing about (like today) and we have been busy setting up future surprises for our lovely readers. 

This month we have a brand new theme of Knights and Knaves.  The UK has an amazing history, history that not only changed and defined our own great nation but then those same ideas spread to many other nations around the world too.  As it's the start of a new school term, make sure you get ahead of the game and sign up to our newsletter.  It's free and we never sell or share your details, all we do is send you an email every school holiday with some brilliant ideas to keep the kids busy during the school holidays.

Warwick Castle

One of our little mini breaks saw us visit Warwickshire, the birthplace of William Shakespear and the impressive Warwick Castle.  I will cover a very brief history of this fortification below but for now just rest assured this castle is reaped in history and has played a central role in the history of the U.K.

After visiting the castle we exited through the gift shop and decided on buying the Ostrich quill you can see below complete with an ink pot (They were on a special offer).  But now I needed to make this simple pen and ink set lots more fun.  So I set about getting my daughter excited about creating a story featuring the castle, knights , prince's and a princess. I created the story map opposite to help create a well rounded story, this is a free printable, just click on the picture to print it out. Now we needed some paper to write the story on and I thought it should fit in with the quill and ink that we bought so I showed her how to make old parchment paper, turns out she had already done it in school but we both enjoyed it and it turned out really well. (Continued below)

Ostrich Feather Quill

Warwick Castle has been part of UK history for the past 1000 years (yes thats not a typo, thousand) It all started with Alfred the Great’s daughter Ethelfleda when she put a fort on the site in 914AD. It was one of ten in the kingdom of Mercia aimed at fending off the Vikings. However, most of the remains on what’s called Ethelfleda’s Mound, south-west of today’s castle, date from the later Norman period. Today The more traditional-looking castle that developed into what we we see, was built by William the Conqueror in 1068, two years after the Norman conquest of England, to keep control of the Midlands as he advanced northwards. The castle’s defences were increased in the 1640s to prepare for the English Civil War, when Royalist forces laid siege to the castle. Warwick Castle withstood the attack and was later used to hold Parliamentarian prisoners. Warwick Castle has some links to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. When the conspirators heard their plot had failed, they fled and stole cavalry horses from the stables at the castle to help in their escape.

All in all we had an absolute blast at the castle, make sure you wear comfortable shoes there is a lot of walking.  An absolute must see at the moment is the War of the Roses show, not sure how long this show will last.  You can take picnics with you and eat them in the courtyard of the castle however we opted to buy food on the day which was pricey and the food was meh, satisfactory. We also had a try at archery which was an additional £5.00 and another highlight was the princess in the tower show.  This is a very short 15 min show about a princess who has lost her prince.  I thought the princess did a grand job with very few children, all of whom were shy and it's not like she has the time to warm them up into a more responsive audience.  The bird show and peacock garden were also great attractions.

Parchment Paper

How I made my parchment paper, I'm sure there are many more complicated techniques on the web to make parchment paper, but for our use case, this super simple technique is perfect.

Make Parchment Paper with Wonder Kids

What you need:

  • A4 paper (I think white card may be better)
  • Coffee Granules
  • Baking Tray x 2
  • Water
  • Brush
  • Oven

How to:

Pre heat oven, Lay a sheet of paper in a baking tray (we did this in the garden) I mixed a small amount of water with coffee granules until I had a nice dark colour.  Pour a little of this over the paper and move the baking tray to make sure the paper is covered.  We then sprinkled extra granules over the paper which created some nice darker spots and used a brush to get a more worn effect.

I transferred this first sheet to another baking tray and placed it in the warm oven.  I turned the oven off at this point and just closed the door.  All you want to achieve here is to dry the paper, you do not want to cook the paper.  We found that the paper went quite hard and curled in places but we liked that. I continued this process using extra baking trays and placing them in the oven.  We even tried to hang one sheet up on the washing line to dry which worked but the coffee stain wasn't as dark as the oven baked versions and the paper tore a little because of the wind.

Thats it for this week, next week I will be sharing some amazing games for you to try.  I would love to see any stories that your little ones come up with so please do take a pic and share them on my social media.