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.

Musical Madness - Maracas

Support the kids club

Wow it's been a really busy week for me. Not only am I still promoting and preparing for my theatre show in September but I have now confirmed the details for a fantastic halloween party called Halloween Havoc.  This week in the Kids Club I will show you how to make your own Maracas.  Often overlooked as a child's toy these maracas are in so many songs and add a very odd rhythm to music, a little like reggae music where you get that extra little beat.  Here is a good example of some music with Maracas

Make your own Maracas

First you need to decide what to put inside your maracas, you can use a few different materials inside your maracas.  All of which create different sounds.

Filling for your maracas – any of the following:
Sand, salt, pebbles, birdseed, rice, beans, small beads, large beads, dried pasta, rice, dried peas or beans, small washers, paper clips, small erasers.

Other Equipment:

SUPPLIES (for one pair of maracas)
2 x 230 mL water bottles, cleaned and dry
2 x toilet paper rolls
Electrical tape (colorful, if possible)

First take your clean and dried 230ml water bottle and fill with your chosen contents. Close it up with the cap and then listen to the sound. Once it sounds good to your ears, then you can move to the next step. 

So, now you’ve decided how you want your pair of maracas to sound and you’ve tightened the cap on your two water bottles. The next step is to create the handle. Take your two toilet paper rolls and make a straight cut from one end to the other. Tighten the roll in on itself to about the size of a ¾ inch dowel and then apply your electrical tape. Start wrapping the tape around the bottom part of the rattle on the bottle and move down onto the new handle. Wrap slowly, covering all the cardboard of the toilet paper roll and you will have created a rather sturdy handle for your new instrument.

Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.

Musical Madness - Hand Drum

Support the Kids Club

Another week and another chance for us to get our kids into music.  This time I have included a drum.  I find that out of all the instruments kids love, drums are at the top.  This drum is great because I think it will take kids a few attempts to really get the rhythm of it.  When things present a little challenge to kids they like it more once they have overcome it.  It comes from being proud and feeling accomplished.  My theatre show plans are coming along nicely.  Come and see me live in High Wycombe THIS Summer! This show is going to be bonkers.  

So this week I have included another video below of music being played, this band got a lot of attention in the 90's after featuring in a big film? comment below or on social media if you know what film they were in.  I love this video and the song they are playing, it shows a big range of instruments being played, they do it very well and creatively. 

dumplin-hand-drum-V.jpg

Hand Drum

This oriental hand drum is probably the toughest of all the instruments I have given instructions for, you need the more things to make one of these but it's also one of the most fun.  So take your time make sure you have everything you need below:

What you need to make a hand drum:

  • A pringles canister, or similar round container.
  • Craft Knife
  • A wooden dowel
  • Decorative tape (such as washi or glitter tape.)
  • Decorative duct tape, preferably narrow.
  • Two balloons. This might be hit-and-miss depending on your container size so I highly recommend you have a few sizes to experiment with. If you want to create this in bulk or with a group, test one and then make more according to the size that worked.
  • Ribbon or string
  • Large wooden Beads (make sure the ribbon is a good size to go through the beads and then tie a secure knot)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scissors

The big challenge in this craft was fitting the balloon over the ring. I could have used a larger balloon, but I wanted it to be pulled taut. One side worked in the end and the other didn’t. I ended up using a bit of duct tape to hold it in place and it went on easily. Let's go - 

1. Cut your can about an inch to an inch and a half from the top. It doesn't need to be perfect

2. Cover the ugly with tape. If your tape is too wide, snip it at intervals and fold into the ring.

3. Trim your dowel to size. I did this by breaking it – classy!

4. Make a hole halfway into your ring. You’ll could use a strong hole punch for this. But I used a craft knife by making an x with your craft knife in that spot, the size of the dowel head.

5. Stick your dowel in. Important: secure it in place with glue and allow it to dry! I used a hot glue gun.

6. Cut off the neck of your balloon.

7. This is the tricky part… pull your balloon over the opening on one side of your ring. It needs to be pulled completely flat – no bunching in the middle, no gaps around the edges, or it won’t hold. Tip: if you’re having trouble, secure a small spot in place with duct tape and pull the rest around. You probably won’t be able to get the tape off afterward, so do this in a spot you’ll be covering.

8. Secure it in place with a strip of pretty tape. I used decorative duck tape and cut it in half width-wise.

9. Poke a hole in each side using your knife. Poke a piece of ribbon or string through (you might need help form a “poker” such as a pin.) Secure it with a knot on the inside and the outside.

10. Add your bead(s,) knot them to secure, and trim, making sure that the ribbon reaches easily to the  middle of the drum/balloon.

11. Repeat on the other side.

12. Seal the open side of your ring with another balloon, the same way you did with the first.

That's it your all done, we have one more week of exploring music and making another instrument.  It's going to be a good one.  Right now though you can explore the rest of the Kids Club  by using the search bar at the top of the page, the drop down menu to the right of the page at the top or by clicking on one of the updates below.  I would love to meet some of you at my theatre show called Wayne Wonder's Epic Adventure.


Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments in below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.

Musical Madness - Harmonica

Support the Kids Club

This week I have something so simple, a wind instrument to go along with the rain sticks I showed last week and next week I am going to show you a cool percussion instrument.  By the end of the month you will have enough instruments to create your own home band.  As promised last week I would go into a few more details on the benefits of music for children so I have this great graphic.

Harmonica

What you'll need:

  • 2 Popsicle Sticks ~ We used the wide ones
  • 2 Rubber Bands ~ You could also use string
  • A strip of paper the same size as the Popsicle Stick
  • 2 toothpicks cut the width or just wider than the Popsicle Stick

Here's how to make them, they take 2 minutes to make.

  • Sandwich the paper strip in between the 2 Popsicle Sticks
  • Wrap a rubber band around one end until it is snug.
  • Slide a toothpick to the inside of the rubber band.
  • Sandwich the last toothpick at the other end of the Popsicle sticks, and wrap with a rubber band.

We found it worked best when we placed one toothpick on top of the paper and one toothpick under the paper.



Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments in below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.

Musical Madness - Rain Sticks

Support the Kids Club

It's Tuesday lunchtime and it's time for another great idea, in fact it's a new month! June has arrived, Summer is here in the UK.  As I write this it's 8ºC (46ºF) and raining. This kind of sums up why I started doing this blog.  Im a making kind of person and love fiddling with things, I am also constantly looking up new ideas for my shows so after having my daughter I found myself coming up with loads of fun things to do at home.  Plus as the weather is so pants in this country I think it's great to have a website like this that you can come back to and do something really fun at home.  

This month's theme is Music, I love music, in fact I love pretty much every genre of music (much to my wife's despise). Riding in the car with me can sometimes be very odd with the music skipping between a genius like Yo-Yo Ma to Rap and underground Grime and then back to a new pop song etc.  This year has been a very sad year with the loss of so many talented people.  Not least of all, and one that really touched me was the passing of Prince.  The reason I picked the colour purple to be part of my branding was because of him.  I love his music and have done for many years, most of his albums (I want to say all but I haven't done my homework) were written, produced and performed by him, just one person.  Compare this to Beyoncé's latest album with 73 different writers listed on it. Just for fun I have included a great little video of his I found recently, very rare to see him on stage on his own in just an acoustic set and you can see some of his brilliance.  Most guitarists considered him one of the very best players to have ever lived.  

I think children should be introduced to all sorts of music from very early on.  Obviously you have to be careful with topics and language but that can be managed easily enough.  I still will play some music for my daughter and ask her what instruments she can hear.  This is a great topic to go into and you can research what different instruments look like, sound like and how they are played.  There are tons of reasons to get kids into music, in fact I will go into more detail in future posts because I have babbled on long enough this week.  Every week I am going to show how to make a different instrument. Let's go.

Rain Sticks

So, what is a rain stick? Traditional rain sticks are instruments made from dried cacti, thorns & pebbles. When held vertically, the falling pebbles sound similar to falling rain. It was believed they would bring a storm!

  • Paper Towel Roll
  • Washi Tape or patterned duct tape
  • Clear Sticky Tape
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • PVA Glue
  • Popcorn Kernels, Rice &/or Lentils
  • Alphabet foam Stickers

Here’s how to make Washi Tape Rain Sticks

First, cover one end of the roll in clear sticky tape. We used clear tape so we could see what was happening inside the roll.

Next, glue strips of corrugated cardboard to the inside of your roll. This is what gives the rain stick its distinct rain-like sound. Take an extra piece of the cardboard and fold it back and forth like an accordion and place it inside the tube. 

We then got small handfuls of Popcorn Kernels, Rice & Lentils and poured them into the tube. Of course we just had to run our hands through them before adding them to the tube! You can add as little or as much as you like. We opted for a small amount, about ¼ full. 

Cover the other end of your roll with clear sticky tape. Before decorating, cut short lengths of washi tape and stick them to the edge of the table. Now your ready to decorate your rain sticks! Stick the washi tape pieces all over the tube. We finished by adding our names with large foam letters. Before decorating, cut short lengths of washi tape and stick them to the edge of the table. Now your ready to decorate your rain sticks! Stick the washi tape pieces all over the tube. We finished by adding our names with large foam letters.



Author

Wayne Wonder is one of the UK's leading family entertainers, a multi award winning magician and balloon artist, he's also a published poet and father of one.  As well as a few TV credits to his name Wayne has performed in three different countries.  Wayne Wonder's Kids Club was only launched in 2014 and since then has changed dramatically.  If you have found this blog helpful/interesting then please do let us know in the comments in below.  Please do share these posts on your favourite social media too.