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  

Autumnal Fun - Comfort Food

Wonder Kids Autumn Food

I have some bad news, this will be our final week of Autumnal Fun, but fear not we will be back next week with a brand new theme, which I can not disclose now it's TOP SECRET. This week I have found three great seasonal recipe/ideas for you to try.  These will all be added to our huge collection of fun recipe's in the Kids Kitchen.

Firework-Rocket-Sandwiches-for-Bonfire-Night-full-instructions-and-pictures-from-Eats-Amazing-UK.jpgRocket Sandwiches from Wonder Kids

These super simple fun sandwiches really brighten up the kids packed lunch for school.  For years now I have loved the Bento movement.  It's a Japanese concept for making food look really enticing whilst also being super healthy too.  Now I could write for days about Bento theory but to give you the basics I have included below the new lunchbox I got for my daughter which she loves.  It allows me to create really fun, healthy packed lunches that look great for her. Maybe if I get enough interest I will do a series about Bento? let me know in the comments below if you would be interested. All you need then is a circle cutter and the star skewer, again I had included these all below so that it's nice and easy for you. The key to these sandwiches is to not try to put too much filing in them.  These just have ham which you could switch out for any other meat or cheese but I would avoid adding tomatoes, cucumber or loads of small salad items. Likewise a wet mixture like tuna mayo wouldn't be a good option either.

Use the same circle cutter to cut the bread and the hame and then thread onto the skewer, make sure you leave some space at the top for a small triangle of yellow pepper to finish the rocket off.

Wonder kids Halloween Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree (you can always add more)
  • 1 green chilli deseeded and sliced
  • 4 bell peppers in any colour (orange is great)
  • 2 cups cooked white rice (could be brown if you wish)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 can black beans rinse and drained

I start with the chicken, in a small oven proof pot I add, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper.  Make sure the chicken is well coated and add a little oil too.  Add in the chopped tomatoes and the green chilli.  Cook in the oven on a medium heat for at least 30 mins, make sure the chicken is cooked through and then shred. This can be left to cool.

Prep the peppers by slicing off the tops and hollow out the insides, be sure to remove any seeds and the white part inside. If desired, use a small paring knife to cut out a jack-o-lantern face.  Set aside.

Add the cooked rice to a frying pan and add in 1tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tblsp of tomato puree. Combine well and add the shredded chicken and black beans.  Again fry for a couple of minutes and combine well.  Now fill each pepper well, sprinkle cheese on the top, replace the lids and cook in the oven until the pepper has soften and the cheese melted.

Pear and Forest fruit Crumble from Wonder Kids

Forest Fruit Crumble

I love cooking, but baking and making deserts really escapes me.  I do however love the look of these deserts, they look gorgeous and sound super tasty too.

Ingredients

  • 3 firm but ripe pears (we used Conference variety)
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 star anise
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 strips of lemon zest (pared with a vegetable peeler) and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 100g frozen forest or red fruits, defrosted

For the crumble

  • 30g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 60g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp pistachio kernels, chopped
  1. Peel the pears, core and dice one and leave the others whole. Put 2 tablespoons of caster sugar into each 2 x 275-300ml microwave-proof and ovenproof teacups, mugs or ramekins with a star anise and 2 cardamom pods in each. Add a pear and a strip of lemon zest. Pour 100ml boiling water into each cup. Cover loosely with clingfilm. Put both cups in the microwave and cook on full power (about 800 watts) for 4 minutes or until the pear is just slightly undercooked.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200°C, fan 180°C, gas 6. Carefully remove the clingfilm, then remove the poached pears and set aside. Measure 3 tablespoons of the poaching liquid into a bowl, discard the rest, including the spices. Add the defrosted fruit and chopped pear to the poaching liquid in the bowl and toss together. Divide the mixture between the cups, then nestle a poached pear into each one.
  3. Rub the butter and flour together with your fingers to resemble breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and pistachios. Scatter the crumble around the pear so that the top still protrudes. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Autumnal Fun - Wrap Up

Outdoor Crafts from Wonder Kids

Well hello there, If you visiting us again, welcome back and if this is your first time, then please do take a minute or two to try the search bar at the top of the page or check out some of our other posts below this one. This week I have two great ideas to get the kids outside and enjoying this time of year.

Autumn vegetable Weighing from Wonder Kids

Vegetable Weighing

I love how simple this idea is.  It's just perfect for kids, they get to know some vegetables that they may not have seen before, feel them, smell them and find out which ones are heavier.  I can see kids playing with this for ages. So make sure you have a wide array of vegetables for the kids to explore, I have included a list of seasonal veg below.  To set up the scales, all you need is a clothes hanger, two small bowls or metal sieves.  Tie string from the handles to the corners of the clothes hanger and your done.

Seasonal Vegetables:

Seasonal vegetables from Wonder Kids
  • Apples
  • Butternut Squash
  • Savoy Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Pear
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Potato
  • Purple Sprouting Broccoli
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnip
  • Parsnip
  • Pear
Autumn Bird Feeders from Wonder Kids

Autumn Bird Feeders

I have always wanted to get a bird feeder but with us always having pet cats, it would just be cruel to entice innocent birds into our garden.  I can just see our cat Misty hiding under the bird feed waiting for it's prey to pop in.  So thought this year we may have a go at making these and take them for a trek in the woods?  Maybe taking with us one of my Autumn Scavenger Hunts.

Here's what you will need:

  • Lard, suet or solid vegetable fat (this last option is great for vegetarian-friendly feeders)
  • Wild bird seed, oats, breadcrumbs, sultanas, currants, unsalted peanuts (you don’t need all of these, a mixture of any is fine)
  • Oranges, halved with the flesh removed
  • Large cookie cutters in various shapes
  • A couple of plastic drinking straws
  • String

How To:

Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl.  We’ve found that a ratio of about 2 parts dry to 1 part fat works well. Next, melt the fat in a saucepan, then add it to the dry ingredients and stir well.  You can let the kids do some mixing, but the rest of this stage is definitely one for the adults to handle. For the orange feeders, you need to poke a hole into each half and thread some string through, before filling them with the seed mixture.  This is much easier than threading them once everything has set, trust me!

Make sure you pack the seed mix in tightly, then pop the halves on a tray and store them somewhere flat while they set.  This can take quite a while, so we put ours in the fridge overnight.To make the shaped feeders, pop your cookie cutters on a baking tray and fill them with the seed mixture.  Once they’re full, stick a straw into them near an edge, so that it stands up; this will leave you with a nice hole to thread the string through when they’re set.  We found cutting the straws down to a shorter length helped keep them upright.  Store the tray somewhere flat while they set.  Once they’re done you can thread them with string and hang them up in the garden.

That's it for this week, make sure you come back next Tuesday for our final Autumnal Fun post, all about enjoying the harvest.  See you soon but before we go make sure you check our some of our other ideas below.

Autumnal Fun - Scavenger Hunts

Autumnal Fun from Wonder Kids

Well it's time for the magic of Autumn, it really is a beautiful season with loads of colours, the days getting shorter and the temperature dropping.  This month we will explore some great ideas for family fun as well as some great comfort food you can make with the kids. Just look at how beautiful the U.K is in the Autumn, it's a great time to visit and probably a little cheaper than coming in the summer where it tends to rain anyway.

Lets kick our first week off with not one but two great scavenger hunts. The first uses an empty egg box, just print off the free printable, cut it out and stick it on the lid of the egg box.  Now you can take a nice fun stroll in your local woods and collect some cool Autumnal finds.  There are a couple of items on this scavenger hunt that shouldn't be collected in the box! Please do not add a spider or a squirrel to the box, just find them and leave them where they are.

The second scavenger hunt I think would be nice if you are actually somewhere away from home, it doubles up as a colouring sheet and you can just find the items, tick them off and keep the paper on a clipboard or in your pocket.  Much easier to carry.

Leaf Bowl Wonder Kids

Make a Leaf Bowl

So this is a great craft to go along with the scavenger hunts above, whilst you are out in the wild collect loads of autumn leaves, the bigger the better.  Maybe some ice big maples leaves will be good.  Try to get a good range of colours. Press them as soon as you return from your walk, if you leave it to the next day the leaves will already be crisping and curling and their colour will be fading rapidly.

I pressed the leaves for this leaf bowl project between layers of kitchen roll with a sheet of card above and below and a book perched on the top of them all to weigh them down a bit and hurry the process up because I am impatient. They don’t need to be pressed for weeks, they just need to be flat so a few days will do, mine were left for about 10 days and they seemed happy!

Leaf Bowl Wonder Kids

Once your leaves have been pressed lay them out and choose the ones which have no blemishes, cracks or nibbled bits and carefully snip off the stems.

Find a bowl the right size for your leaves, I used a deep round soup bowl for this one and an egg cup for the project you can see at the end of the article.

Cover your bowl with a layer of cling film and then paste all over the cling film with a layer of slightly watered down PVA glue (also known as school glue or white glue).

Press a layer of leaves onto the gluey cling film, cover with another layer of film and wrap around tightly.

Leave overnight. This allows the leaves to soften and mould to the shape of your bowl. Leaves are contrary things and I found that if I didn’t allow them this softening and moulding time they just unfolded and fell off, such drama queens!

Remove the top layer of cling film and brush the leaves with a layer of undiluted glue.

Carefully choose your next layer of leaves, overlapping the first layer and thinking about colour and shape as you go. With this layer I removed the stalks and cut a V shape into the leaf where they had been to make them more malleable and to stop them misbehaving.

Press them onto your gluey leaves and coat them in turn with a layer of glue.

Cover again with a tight layer of cling film and leave for a few hours or overnight.

Remove the outer layer of cling film, brush with another layer of glue for good measure and leave to dry.

Once the glue is dry, take your leaf bowl off your mould and carefully remove the cling film from inside your masterpiece. This is quite tricky, I cut down the cling film and removed it slowly so I didn’t break the fragile trips off the leaves. I found it easier to pull up from the centre of the bowl rather than pull down into it.

This was the point which so often happens in crafting when you think something has gone wrong but then realise that something wonderful has happened and the craft has taken on a life of its own!

As I removed the last bits of cling film I realised that tiny bits of glue and cling film were being left behind. I reached for my scissors to trim them off but, as I held the bowl up to the light, I gasped – they looked just like ice crystals on a winter leaf! I let them stay.

Leaf Bowl How to from Wonder Kids

Thats it for this week but before you go check out some of our other recent blog posts below and make sure you come back next week for more Autumnal fun all about the U.K's Bonfire Night.