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Odd Sock Advent Calendar

Sock advent calendar
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I try to avoid giving small one too many sweets, so every year I hunt for advent calendars without chocolate.

They’re nearly always more expensive than the chocolate calendars, so this year I decided I was going to make my own more permanent fabric advent calendar. Unfortunately this month has flown and by yesterday evening it was obvious that the wholesome, homespun advent of my dreams wasn’t going to happen.

I didn’t want to disappoint the children so, panic being the mother of invention, I gathered together all the odd and outgrown socks and gloves I could find and strung them together to make an odd sock advent calendar.

Sock advent calendarIt actually looks quite passable and there’s room in each “pocket” for 2 or 3 little presents which means opening the calendar will be a real family event this year.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, these are the instructions:

1. Find 24 small socks, mittens or gloves. Scratch mitts would be great for this project.

2. Organise them in a colour order you like. Small’s most recent socks have far too much pink, so I played with a bit of dye to get more variety. The socks don’t take vibrant colour and mittens didn’t dye at all so my results were a bit hit and miss. Scratch mitts would dye much better and if I’d not been scared of waking the kids, I would have probably grabbed some brighter colours from the loft but I actually quite like the muted blues, pinks and purples I ended up with.

3. Add numbers – these could be made of felt and stuck on, ironed on as appliques, embroidered or even drawn. I had some leftover bits of VELCRO® from a VELCRO® mask set we were sent for National VELCRO® month so I cut numbers out of that and just stuck them on.

4. Sew the socks and gloves onto a ribbon or string. I used knitting wool, threaded on a darning needle and just ran a running stitch through the backs of each pocket (be careful not to sew them closed!).

5. Hang your garland and add a gift into each pocket. I’m adding one day at a time and will be using a mix of sweets, stickers, craft bits, and anything else I can find that’s cheap and small!

Sock advent garland

National Velcro Month Blog ChallengeDisclosure: I was sent a hamper of VELCRO® products to try for National VELCRO® month. I didn’t plan to use it in this project but I liked that I could use the waste to do something useful and it was so much quicker than anything else I had to hand.

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Hand puppets from rubber gloves: Kids craft inspired by Dettol

Making rubber glove puppets
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We had a lovely day yesterday making hand puppets out of rubber gloves, all inspired by the Dettol competition at Mumsnet. You can win a professional puppet show in your own home just by making a puppet out of a rubber glove and sending them a picture.

Continue reading Hand puppets from rubber gloves: Kids craft inspired by Dettol

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Craft for Kids: Sand Pictures

Sand picture
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Sand picture
(C) MilkChic. All rights reserved

We had great fun this week with a Sand Art Kit from Kids Bee Happy.

First impressions were great – I love colour, and the kit came 2 pictures and a veritable rainbow of coloured sands in 20 little squeezy vials. Each kit has one simple design and one more advanced one, so perfect for siblings to do together.

I’m pretty easy going where mess is concerned, and I’ll always go for fun over clean, but sand play is usually a daytime activity for us. On this occasion, as small one was beside herself with excitement, I prepared for carnage and agreed to let her have a go before bedtime.

But look at this….

Concentration you could hear!

The kits are brilliantly designed for minimum mess. You peel off one section of the picture at a time, pick a colour, sprinkle the sand, tap off the excess onto paper and start again with the next bit. Obviously it needs a little supervision – mostly stopping them putting all the sand on one section… but it works really well and the results are fantastic.

It’s nice to get a craft kit made by people who understand kids (and parents). There are 2 plastic sticks for parents or older kids to lift the edges of the stickers, so no frustration from trying to do it with fingernails… and no frustration when you lose one either. There was no disappointment from running out of materials halfway through – even after completing both pictures, there was plenty of sand left. Plastic sleeves are included to display the final artwork without mess or damage. They even thought of adhesive hooks to hang them up with!

What I thought was particularly clever is that the pictures can be a simple, or as complicated as your child wants them to be. They can be done in stages for younger children, or be an all day activity for older ones.

We got a bit adventurous, and played with drizzling different colours into some of the larger areas with great results. Older kids (and parents) could have fun making all sorts of intricate designs.

Psychedelic islands and carrot trees!

These sets aren’t cheap at £8.99 for a set of 2, but having tried them, I would definitely buy them again as they are good value for money. Even after finishing both pictures and getting rather enthusiastic, we had loads of sand left for some slightly messier play on our own, and we got a bit creative with the multicoloured excess sand from our pictures too, which I’ve saved.

The verdict: We LOVED this kit! Anything that manages to keep a 2 year old enthralled for over an hour, while making me feel like super-mummy for doing craft before bedtime is worth it’s weight in gold! Kids Bee Happy also do sand painting for kids parties and events, which sounds like a fantastic way to keep everyone occupied.

Disclosure: I did not get paid for this post but I did receive a product sample to test and keep. I follow the Britmums Blogging with Integrity Guidelines – I always write honest and truthful reviews and disclose any perks I receive!

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Non-Chocolate Advent Calendars

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If like me, you try to limit sweets and chocolate, this time of year is a bit of a challenge. I’ve been on a bit of a hunt, and here are my favourite non-chocolate advent calendars for younger kids and those with allergies.
Cheap & Cheerful:
For a young child, picture surprises are often just as exciting as sweets. Lidl and Aldi usually have traditional paper calendars at very sensible prices. Amazon also have a good selection under £2.50.
Something Special:
There are lots of pop-up and 3D options which are still traditional but a bit more special than a basic design:
Eric Carle Pop-Up Advent Calendar
£5.25
Christmas Advent Calendar - The Townhouse - a cut-out advent calendar

Townhouse Advent
£5.60

Non-Chocolate Gift Calendars:
At the lower end of the scale, sticker or colouring calendars are a great alternative to chocolate.
Advent Calendar to Colour
Advent Calendar to Colour
£4.19
If you’ve got cash to spare, or want to spend on something with a bit more longevity, why not go for a calendar with toys inside? Playmobil and Lego have a great selection, but you can also find Ben 10, Bratz, Littlest Pet Shop and other designs at around the same price.
Reusable Advent Calendars:
Traditional felt and wooden calendars are a lovely investment and you can fill them with your own surprises year after year:
Wooden Train and Carriages Advent Calendar
Wooden Train Advent
£28.96

Feeling crafty? There are lots of great ideas online or you can buy a kit to get you started.

Buttonbag Make Your Own
Advent Calendar £14.00
Clippykit house advent calendar not chocolate
Clippykit Home Sweet Home
Advent £14.99
3D Advent not chocolate
Clippykit Trim The Tree
Advent £14.99

For something completely different… why not try these advent crackers from M&S? Pull a cracker every day and slot together the 3D character inside. By Christmas Eve, you will have a full nativity!

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/P/B002BGEDFO.01-A2BO0OYVBKIQJM.PT02._SX280_SCLZZZZZZZ_SH35_V165119428_.jpg
Nativity Advent Crackers £20.00
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