Our Monthly Journal

May 2022

We're so excited to share another monthly journal written by the lovely Lola Jones, also known as @pocketfullofbuttercups on Instagram. Lola is a wonderful photographer and all round creator of beautiful content, raising her twin daughters Maya and Chloe & her baby Thea from her house near the Peak District. Each month she will give us a small glimpse into her world, inspiring you with activity ideas, recipes and more.

This month we are sharing a fun craft idea - a great way to use up any accumulated cardboard boxes, an inspiring book for young readers that will help them learn new and not so commonly used words and lastly, a giant word search activity.
As always we hope that you enjoy this month’s inspiration. Should you decide to have a go at any activities, we would really love to see them. Please tag us #inspiredbynelliequats

MAKE YOUR OWN CARDBOARD GARDEN

We celebrated my twin girls’ seventh birthday last month. With presents arriving by post, we accumulated a few boxes, so I thought of a way to re-use them and came up with the idea of creating our own cardboard garden.We had quite a few elements, so we made it over a weekend, crafting a couple of hours a day. First we drew a sketch of what we wanted in our garden, then gathered our supplies and started creating. We had such a lovely time designing and putting it all together and it turned out so pretty, I thought I’d share it here and maybe some of you will be inspired to have a go at it with your little ones.

You will need:
- Cardboard
- Brown packaging paper (previously flattened)
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Acrylic paint
- Brushes
- Glue

Draw elements of your garden on the cardboard and brown packaging paper. Cut them out before painting. We used paper bubble wrap for our grass and hanging green branches. To create some interesting patterns and introduce some texture, we took off a top layer of cardboard and exposed the inside of it. I think it works great as a body for butterflies or dragonflies. We used plain cardboard for the wings and then, once the paint on the wings was dry, simply glued the body onto the wings. I particularly love how our flowers have turned out. Again, we used the inside part of the cardboard for this. We drew individual petals on the smooth side and cut them out. Then, we cut out two circles (one slightly bigger than the other) using smooth cardboard. Using the hot glue gun, we attached petals one by one (overlapping them slightly) onto the larger circle (the circle should not be visible from behind the petals, but still be big enough to hold them together). Next simply glue the smaller circle in the centre on top of the petals. Then attach the stem.

You can make this craft more interesting by adding a few facts about creatures you have included in your garden. For example, we read a couple of pages from our “Slow Down” book by Rachel Williams.

'AN INTERESTING WORD FOR EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR' BOOK

I am always on the lookout for new tools that encourage learning in a fun way for my children. Now that my girls are approaching the end of Year 2 and getting more confident with their reading, they will happily do so independently. I recently bought this fabulous new book for them called “An Interesting Word for Every Day of the Year”. It is packed with really great words and their meanings. Maya and Coco would often read a page or two and then come to tell us what they have read and it usually creates some great conversations. Such a fabulous tool to enhance and expand their vocabulary.

GIANT WORD SEARCH

We all need a little pick-me-up occasionally. Recently, when the mood of my girls wasn’t at its highest, I made this giant word search with positive words that describe them and their character. It created a much needed distraction and made them feel a little better. We also got to chat about some of the more complicated words I used and their meanings. I think a large scale makes it that little bit more fun and you can list any number of words, use it as a learning tool, list terminology from any subject.

You will need:
- Wrapping paper (can be any width, but mine was 45cm)
-  Scissors
- Tape measure
- Felt tip pen
- Washi tape

Make a square by cutting two 90cm long sheets attached together by the washi tape. I then evenly space out the letters to create a classic word search activity. It is best to do a smaller version of this activity on a small sheet of paper first, so you can simply transfer it onto the large scale.

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