Circular-Loom Woven Trivets

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I intended for this old-school camp activity to help fill a Camp Mom morning at home, but it required more dexterity than Travis could master as a six year old. Still, both kids adapted the materials involved to play in their own way, keeping us all busy for an hour! I guess that makes it a Camp Mom success.

For this camp-inspired weaving project, you’ll need an 8-inch embroidery hoop. Separate the two pieces, and tie 6 pieces of string to the inner hoop so they form a starburst. Replace into the outer hoop and tighten.

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Now start at the center and begin weaving yarn, alternating over and under your starburst threads. I realized right away that this would have been a) quicker and b) much easier with a chunky thick yarn. So after Travis tried his hand at it a few times, I told him I would take over. Our thin yarn took quite a long time to fill up the hoop!

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But while I was busy weaving, Travis took the leftover ball of yarn and created an imaginary game involving monsters with tentacles, and pieces of yarn snipped all over the floor.

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Meanwhile little sister Veronika loved pretending her doll was dressed up in extra strands of yarn! So everyone was happy.

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To finish the project, keep weaving yarn, in alternating colors, until your trivet reaches desired size. Every time you switch colors, simply leave the loose threads hanging out the back.

Place the finished trivet over a piece of felt and trace. Cut out the felt, then use hot glue or fabric glue to attach to the back of your trivet, tucking in any loose pieces of string.

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Cover with parchment paper and a heavy book until the glue has dried completely, then snip the trivet from the strings holding it on to the inner hoop.

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Ours turned out to be just the right size for either a small pot or tea mug!

Bubble Wrap Printing

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Extra bubble wrap is always great for play, and today we even turned it into part of an art project.

To start, I taped down various pieces of bubble wrap to the craft table securely. We’ve gotten a nice variety in packages lately, meaning our bubbles ranged from the very tiny to puffy big ones.

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I then set out cups of paint for Veronika (in shiny metallics just for fun).

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She trotted over immediately and started painting. “Ooh, pink! Ooh blue!” she said as she worked.

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I could tell she enjoyed the bumpy feeling of running her brush over the bubbles. She stopped now and then to pop some, too.

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Once our bubbles were covered in a nice layer of paint, I pressed a piece of poster board on top, then lifted it up to show her the print. “Bubbles!” she said with delight.

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We repeated the process so we ended up with two neat prints. This is a simple craft, and perfect for toddlers.

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Little Passports: South Africa

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There was lots to like in the latest from Little Passports, all about South Africa. With an emphasis on the country’s amazing animals and safaris, there was also plenty to learn about the country’s history, crafts, archaeological significance, and natural wonders.

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Travis enjoyed this kit’s booklet, including a color activity to learn some Afrikaans, a bit about Nelson Mandela, and a tricky safari animal count! It was all quite doable for a 6 year old, with grown-up assistance.

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Souvenir:

This month’s package from “Sam and Sofia” included not one but two souvenirs. The first was a dehydrated washcloth in the shape of an elephant. Travis was agog with the way it expanded into a square after we placed it in a dish of warm water, and it featured a beautiful indigenous print. He seemed so touched by the gift!

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The second souvenir was more of a craft, a basket to weave. Travis did the first round of weaving the provided raffia around the cardboard frame, though I did then jump in to help out (there was a lot of raffia!).

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As I wound, he was fascinated to learn that many cultures still make baskets like this, and by the idea that in some places you can’t just go to a store to buy a basket. He wanted to know what these villages might look like, or how the doors and houses would look.

 

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Further Activities:

There were fewer crafts suggested in the booklet and online than with previous countries we’ve explored, but Travis enjoyed learning to draw a crocodile step-by-step, a pattern activity about traditional Zulu baskets, and coloring in the country’s flag for his garland.

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Finally, I surprised Travis with this month’s add-on: 3-D puzzles of safari animals. He not only loved piecing together the giraffe, lion, and other animals the first time through, but then wanted to take them apart and do it again.

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And then again!

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As a bonus, the puzzle comes with an informative book from Nat Geo kids. There was true quality to this product, an excellent add-on option from Little Passports.

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Recipe:

Now all that was left was to explore the country with our bellies! We learned that this particular recipe is the national dish of South Africa, with regional variations throughout the country. Unfortunately, as with previous recipes from Little Passports, it wasn’t very kid-friendly either in preparation or taste (this one is spicy!).

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But Travis enjoyed helping shred the apple, and bravely gave it a taste test before deciding it had too much curry powder.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 3/4 cup plain almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (12-ounce) packages meatless crumbles
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1 peeled and grated apple
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 6 bay leaves
  1. Crumble the bread into a small bowl and cover with the almond milk. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
  3. Stir in the curry powder, brown sugar, and salt. Add the meatless crumbles into the pan, breaking apart into pieces, and cook for 5 minutes, until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, remove the bread from the bowl of milk, squeezing out the excess milk. Set the bread aside, and whisk the Ener-G eggs into the milk.
  5. Add the bread crumbles, grated apple, raisins, and almonds to the skillet. Spoon the whole mixture into a 13×9-inch baking dish. Pour the milk mixture on top, and top with the bay leaves.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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