Arctic Crate

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Last winter we received a Snow Crate through our Koala Crate subscription, so it seemed sort of redundant to receive an Arcitc Crate this time around; I worried the crafts inside might not be novel enough. Luckily the projects were quite different. So even if learning about the Arctic in particular and snow in general had some overlap, we had plenty to keep us entertained. 

As always, you can copy the ideas below with materials from a craft store. First though…

…it was tough to get going on the crafts because Travis loved the materials themselves when we popped open the box. Fluffy ribbon that would later be used to make a “snowball” first had to be incorporated into music and movement play.

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After that he decided it was “snow” and shoveled it up off our carpet. Koala Crate wins for sparking imagination with this one! 

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Once he was ready, we started by putting together the Polar Bear Dress-Up costume, and I was impressed by his focus. He decided all by himself where the felt stickers should go to be the pads and claws on the paws.

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Next he laced around a whole paw with the white string provided. I thought for sure he would tire of the task – polar bear paws are big! – but he insisted on finishing the whole paw himself. (I did lace up the second one for him).

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The headband ears were simple: attach white felt stickers with black felt dots in the middle to a white headband, and you have polar bear ears. Lots of roaring ensued once he had the ears and paws on!

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Next up was Snowball Toss, a craft that doubles as a sports game. We covered a Styrofoam ball with sticky Velcro stickers to make the “scratchy snowball.”

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To make the “fluffy snowball,” we wound white fluffy yarn (mentioned earlier!) around a bath loofah. Now it was time to test out games of catch!

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Travis was amazed when the scratchy snowball latched right onto a felt polar bear paw.

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The soft snowball took more dexterity. As you play, you can ask your little one questions about the differences between the two balls, and why one is easier to catch than the other.

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The final craft, Snowflake Stamps, was remarkably similar to a wrapping paper activity we enjoyed just before Christmas. Travis was super eager to see how the snowflake stamps worked, but he lost interest quickly.

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As a minor gripe, the ink pads were smaller than the snowflake stamps, which frustrated him and led to his disinterest. He decided it was more fun to stamp ink pad squares directly onto the paper.

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Still, we ended up with enough stamps to cover the provided blue paper, which can then be used to wrap gifts.

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Perfect for winter holidays or upcoming winter birthdays!

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In sum, I didn’t necessarily feel like Koala needed to send us a wintery themed crate just because it’s cold outside… but they did an admirable job of making this one quite different from last year’s Snow. 



Salt Dough Snowflakes

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Here’s a beautiful snow-themed project, perfect for Christmas tree ornaments or for hanging around the house as wintery decoration even once the holidays are over. We loved the idea of the craft, but had no snowflake cookie cutter at home. Read on for our improvised version!

To prepare the salt dough, mix together 1/2 cup salt…

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1/2 cup water…

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and 1 cup flour. Travis was a very happy mixer. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

Roll the dough to about 1/4-inch thick, then cut out snowflake shapes with a cookie cutter.

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As mentioned, we didn’t have the right cookie cutter… but I did have a snowflake-shaped pendant, that I thought we could press into the dough.

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After some trial and error…

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…we found it worked best to cut out squares of dough first and place them on a baking sheet, then to imprint the snowflake.

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Poke a small hole in one corner of each snowflake using a straw, then bake at 275 degrees F for 90 minutes, or until hard.

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They looked so pretty when they came out of the oven!

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As the final touch, your child can decorate with paints or markers. I had fun coloring in a few with Christmas-y colors. Travis was equally delighted to paint several of them, and although perhaps not as “pretty”, I loved his creativity as he worked.

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Thread a string through the hole in each one,. As mentioned, they make great ornaments (we’ll have to save ours for next year’s tree!) or even work as gift tags if you use a marker to write the name of the recipient on the reverse.

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