Milkbox Blog

Upcycle your Milkbox carton! Make a bird house - Easter craft activity April 14 2017, 0 Comments

Here at Milkbox HQ we LOOOOVE crafts that are cheap or free - especially when they involve recycling household items. Milkbox cartons (either from our kits or you can even use actual milk cartons) are perfect for upcycling into something new and this is a great way to shut the kids up keep the kids busy for a while and get some peace!

make a birdhouse easter craft

With Easter approaching, AdventureGirl wanted to create a new home for her latest acquisition - a wind-up fluffy chicken (please tell me I'm not the only one who struggles with trying to give your kid financial freedom with their pocket money & frustration that they always want to spend it immediately on whatever rubbish they see first... :-| )

chick house from milk carton easter craft

We decided one of our smaller kit boxes was the perfect size. First up you need to reseal the box - double sided tape is the bomb but you can also use staples, wrap sticky tape around it tightly or use glue (use some pegs or clips to hold the top together until it's stuck tight). Get a (non-accident-prone!) adult to cut a door into the side of the carton, leaving it attached at one side so you can open and close it. Then decorate the house however you like. AdventureGirl decided to use textas and created a cosy nest inside and pictures on the walls but you can let your imagination run wild here .

Why not try some of these ideas:
- glue small pieces of paper to the top, sloping sides to make a tiled roof
- use wrapping paper as wallpaper
- decorate with stickers
- paint the carton and when dry use a marker to draw a brick pattern on the walls

Happy crafting - and happy chocolate day! 

kids easter craft activity make bird house

easter activity chicken house upcycle project


Drawing ideas for kids March 27 2017, 0 Comments

Kids love drawing and being creative but sometimes we all need a helping hand with some ideas to get us started. If you're anything like me, when you're asked 'but what should I draw?' you're probably mid-some other task & struggle to come up with something more imaginative than 'how about a tree?'

So here we've made it easy for you (& the kids!) with a great list of ideas for them to draw.

Got any to add? Let us know in the comments below :)

 A favourite book character
Your house
Rocket ship
Mermaid
Insect
A scene from a book
Rainbow
Self-portrait
Flower
Astronaut
Snowman
Robot

Favourite TV character drawing idea for kids
Favourite TV character!

Time machine
Your best friend
Butterfly
Your pet
Fire engine
Pirate ship
Your teacher
Alien

Family portrait drawing by child
Family portrait!

Favourite animal
Pirate
Teddy bear
Memory from a holiday
A car from the future
Superhero
Octopus
Musical instrument
Monster
Special memory/event
 

Need some more ideas? Try the Samitomato drawing game. Each game has over 800,00 possible combinations for ideas of things to draw! Designed by illustrator Samantha Simpson Morgan, this game is so much fun and will keep the kids entertained for hours!

 


Upcycle project - Turn a T-shirt into a toddler romper February 05 2017, 0 Comments

T-shirt upcycle to toddler romper

I bought this T-shirt when my littlest was still teeny. A friend pulled off a similar T, layered for breastfeeding and made it look trendy. Unfortunately, me not so much :( But on the positive side (I always try to find that!) it meant the T was now free game for a makeover into this super-cute romper for littlest. And he looks much better in it than me so it's win/win really!

Harpas nest harem style romper

I decided on a harem style romper so I used this gorgeous tie-dye romper from the fabulous Harpa`s Nest as a bit of a rough guide. And I do mean rough... I tend to be a bit free-hand with these projects so if you want something a bit more specific, you can use this free pattern on Craftsy by Feathers Fights. Using the existing neckline, I placed the romper over the top of the T and cut down the sides and around the section at the bottom to form the legs.

adult t-shirt upcycled into toddler romper

I overlocked and hemmed the armholes (if you prefer you can just trim them neatly and leave them as stretch fabric won't fray), overlocked and stitched down the sides and around the harem crotch. (Make sure you use a stretch stitch or at least a zig-zag so it won't pull apart when it's worn!) It's a bit hard to see on black but for the legs I decided to turn it right-way-out and fold the hems over to give a cuff effect for stitching them down.

toddler romper from adult t-shirt upcycle project

Littlest looks pretty pleased I think :)


Paper plate ghosts - kids Halloween craft activity October 30 2016, 0 Comments

paper plate ghost kids halloween craft activity

These ghosts are super cute and lots of fun to make. Best of all they are simple and you can easily prepare the activity for younger kids by pre-cutting the pieces for them while older kids can do it themselves. I did this activity with my duaghter's year 1 class last year and not only did the kids love it but I loved seeing just how different all of the finished ghosts were - despite them all starting with the same materials. That individual expression of creativity is exactly what these kind of craft projects are all about!

Make a few of these friendly (or not, if you prefer!) ghosts to hang around your windows or door on Halloween to welcome trick or treaters (or perhaps scare them away!)

You will need:
White paper plates
White streamers
Black card
White card
Glue
String
Stapler
Scissors

For each ghost, cut arms from the white card and eye and mouth shapes from the black card*. Glue the eyes and mouth to the underside of the paper plate and staple the arms to the rim.
Cut or tear lengths of white streamer, fold them in half and glue at the fold to the back of your ghost. Attache the string to the top of your ghost to hang it.

paper plate ghost kids halloween craft activity

* Creative Tip: When encouraging kids to be creative it's best to try not to give too many instructions such as 'cut 2 arms, 2 eyes and 1 mouth'. When we do this we can unintentionally place limits on their creativity and discourage them from using their imagination. Plus, it's interesting to see what they come up with themselves when they're given free reign ;)

paper plate ghost kids halloween craft activity


How to make handmade soft toys from kids drawings! July 05 2016, 0 Comments

My friend Rebecca over at Blue Radish posted this fabulous fox softie tutorial last school holidays and I couldn't wait to try it out. I knew Miss 6 would be mad for this activity and she absolutely was. Best of all, it was great fun for me too. Win, win!

Make your own soft toy fox with fabric markers - kids activity via blue radish


I downloaded the pattern Bec provided (I heart foxes <3 ) although I confess I'm one of those crafters who tend to cut corners (on my own stuff) whenever I can so I cut out a step or two. For the full tutorial, make sure you check out Bec's post.

We decided I would make the fox for Miss 6 and she would make a design of her own for her baby brother. I used mini bulldog clips to pin the fabric tight around magazines so we could draw on it (for the fox, I had the pattern sheet underneath the fabric so I could trace the design).

Then we got drawing & colouring. Let me tell you, this is much more therapeutic than colouring in a book ;)
Miss 6 drew her design freehand... 


Kids craft activity draw your own soft toy

Isn't it fab? I LOVE seeing little ones express their creativity freely. And she loved it so much, she asked to make another one for herself.
After our designs were finished, I ironed the drawings to set them (A big deal for me - people who know me well know I pretty much do anything to avoid using an iron but in this case it was totally worth it ;). I cut around the designs, leaving about an inch extra of fabric all round for sewing (Cut the front and back pieces together to save time), then stitched it up leaving a gap for stuffing. Once stuffed you can hand-stitch the opening for a polished finish or fold the edges in & use a sewing machine.
No prizes for guessing which option I took!


Fun kids craft activity, make your own fabric soft toy tutorial


As long as you stitch them nice & tight, they make a great toy for babies. Or make a large one to use as a cushion or bed pillow.
Plus they're a brilliant - and different - way to display your little one's artwork.
Looking for fun sewing projects? Check out the Sweetie Petite range - A set of super-sweet dolls, and their little friend, to stitch & stuff yourself.
Going to try it out? Upload your pics to Facebook or Instagram and tag @milkboxcrafts so I can check them out.
And make sure you check out Blue Radish for more great tutorials and amazing handmade textile products.
Thanks again Rebecca for a great activity!

You can find more tutorials and fun kids craft activities here.
make your own soft toy with fabric markers - kids craft activity

 

 For more fun craft ideas, check out our great range of quality, handmade kits.


Road Tripping with Small Children April 25 2016, 0 Comments

Earlier this year we closed up the shop and went on a 3 week long road trip around Tasmania. We did a similar trip a couple of years ago and it was one of the best holidays we'd ever had.
This time? Not so much.
It turns out that road-tripping with a 9 month old kinda sucks.
Who woulda thought?
Ok, ok so maybe it should have been obvious. Call me a dreamer.
But it got me thinking about what we could have done to make the trip more 'summer holiday' and less 'highway to hell' so here are my top tips for road-tripping with small children.
Tips road trips camping with small children

1. Leave them behind!
Ok so I'm kinda joking here although, you know, maybe it is the ideal time for them to really get to know Nan and Pop?? Seriously though, consider whether a road trip is going to work well at this point in your lives and if you're still keen, consider staying a little closer to home while the kids are tiny.
2. Plan, plan and plan a little more.
Remember how much fun it was to take off on a journey with just a loose idea of where you were headed and what you wanted to do (ah, hello Hanoi!)? Where the road stretched ahead of you and you felt free and unhindered?
Yeah those days are over.
For now at least. It just doesn't work with small children.
It might sound contradictory but your best chance of relaxing at all is to prepare as much as possible in advance so you don't have to worry about it when you're in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, down to your last nappy and getting a whiff of something rotten. 
Also, start preparing aaaages before you think you need to.
Trust me on this.
3. Write lists.
Hell, write lists for your lists. Following on from point 2 - record your planning. That way when you're in the depths of sleep deprivation - or find yourself in a lively discussion with the other half about what you'd each agreed to do - it's all there written down for you. Plus you might avoid getting 4 hours into a 3 week trip and realising you've left your laptop (aka lifeline to the world and all business resources) sitting on the couch at home.
Start well in advance and list the places you want to go and things you want to see and do; clothes and other items to pack; and any arrangements that need to be made for your absence (pets, mail, bills?)
4. Slow Down.
We thought we were doing this by spending 2 nights at most places. We were wrong. With hindsight, we should have chosen a few locations and spent 4 nights at each one. Not only does this eliminate all the time spent packing/unpacking/setting up camp/hunting out all the items the 6 year old has inevitably managed to lose under the bed, in cupboards or hanging from the ceiling fans, it also takes the pressure off. 
Feel like you really need a day to just chill and recharge and let the baby sleep somewhere other than a car? No probs, there's always tomorrow.
5. Take ALLLL the entertainment options.
I know some people are against ipads/movies/nintendos etc in the car. These people are crazy. Seriously. There's only so much 'I Spy' you can play with someone who can't spell before you want to throw yourself out of the moving car. I'm not suggesting you let them watch movies endlessly but on long journeys it gave us all some much-needed quiet time and, with headphones, let the baby sleep. 
Of course kids get bored easily, which is why you need alllll the options. Thankfully this is one area I was all over as I also hate not having every possible option available to me on road-trip (hence really missing my laptop!).
For Miss 6, along with the ipad and headphones, I packed: Art compendium with sketch book, colours and colouring-in book; these very cool colour-on stickers; and the Samitomato drawing game (if you don't know what this is, go check it out when you're finished here); Guess Who and UNO card games; and a Mr Mystery magic ink book (great for cafes etc when we could help her with it).
 guess who card game   uno card game    Mr Mystery        Samitomato drawing game for kids
We went on our trip during school time (um-ma!) so we also took along plenty of home reader books, activity books (Star Wars so she'd have at least some interest in doing them) and we made a journal for her to write about places we visited and stick in maps, brochures and pictures. Most of her activities were kept in a library bag so they were easy to cart in and out of the car.
Babies are a lot harder. 
Given they maintain interest in any one thing for approximately 7 seconds it's really not feasible to bring lots of stuff for them. Instead focus on bringing the items that will provide them the most comfort and remind them of home. Another option if, like me, you enjoy op shopping is to pick up some cheap toys along the way, donate them when they're bored of them and replace them with some more from the next town.
 
6. Don't expect it to be a holiday.
Just don't. 
You'll be sorely disappointed.
Every time someone asks me how my holiday was I firmly tell them it was most definitely a 'trip' and not a holiday. When you're road tripping, there's no Kids Club. There's no highchair or playpen to contain tiny people. There's dirt and sticks and rocks instead of comparatively-clean carpet with less enamel-damaging things for baby to chew on. Bathing the kids is at least twice as difficult, messy and time consuming. And - when they're teething and decide to cry the whole night through, it's actually even more unbearable when you're all in a confined space, freezing cold and it's raining .
It's not all bad though. Really.
Breathtaking scenery goes some way to making up for the hardships...
the nut tasmania
lake st clair tasmania
and occasionally you hit that Nirvana when both kids are asleep at once and all is right with the world :)
both kids asleep at once

How to make a Tutu Skirt - Easy Tutorial April 15 2016, 0 Comments

Did you know our Fairy Tutu kits don't involve any sewing?

Nope. None!

Our elastic waistbands come pre-stitched to fit girls size 5-8 (Australian sizing) and all of the tulle is pre-cut into equal length strips, ready to use (trust me - this is the most time consuming part!). Also included in the kit is a coordinating ribbon and a beautiful, sparkly, heart-shaped rhinestone buckle to give your tutu a gorgeous, luxe finish.

The kits are so easy to use, my six-year old now makes them herself with only a little help if she gets one really twisted.

how to make your own rainbow fairy tutu skirt

Here's how to make one yourself...

You will need:
~ Elastic
~ Strips of tulle 6" wide 
~ Ribbon 
~ Buckle 
(Our kits contain all of these, cut to size and ready to get making!)

To make the skirt:

Take a strip of tulle and fold it in half so you have a loop at one end and two 'tails' at the other. Thread the loop under the elastic waistband.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Fold the loop down over the front of the waistband and feed the 'tails' through the loop. If necessary, adjust the tulle so the 'tails' are the same length.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Pull the tails firmly to knot the tulle in place.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Repeat with the remaining strips, sliding each knot along to sit alongside the others, and until the skirt is nice and full.

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

Then put it on and twirl!

make your own diy fairy tutu skirt craft activity for girls

 

What's your favourite colour combo? Our kits are available in a great range of colour combinations or we can custom make one for you in whichever colours you like.

milkbox rainbow fairy tutu craft kit milkbox daydream fairy tutu craft kit milkbox cotton candy fairy tutu craft kit milkbox peacock fairy tutu craft kit 

And if you want the reaaaaally easy option, we also sell them ready-made ;) 

milkbox handmade girls tutu skirt custom made

Happy crafting!

Tash xo

 


Faux Snow! Easy fake snow for fun sensory play. January 11 2016, 0 Comments

Do you wanna build a snowman?
In Australia?
In Summer?

snowman faux fake snow easy fun kids activity school holidays bored

Okay so it might have to be a little snowman but this fun activity is just like the real thing - only there's no risk of frostbite. Winning!

You will need:
3 cups Baking Soda (Bi-Carb Soda)
1/2 cup hair conditioner
Tray or shallow container
Buttons, ribbon, beads, toothpick etc (optional)

Mix together the baking soda and conditioner in a bowl until well combined. That's it. Easy huh? put it on the tray with an assortment of objects for the kids to make snowmen (or snow monsters or whatever they like really!) This is best suited to the outdoors as it can get a little messy although it's easy to clean up.

For other play options try using cookie cutters, plastic knives for cutting or make a winter landscape with rocks, leaves etc to decorate. Have fun and let me know if you try it out, I'd love to see some of the creations!

* I imagine this stuff tastes pretty horrid but young children should be supervised just in case as conditioner is probably best not ingested.

I first saw this activity on the Huckleberry Love blog. Check them out, they also have some great furniture makeover projects.


Chocolate Peppermint Bark - easy Christmas recipe January 06 2016, 0 Comments

Happy New Year!

Did you indulge much over Christmas? It always seems, despite my best intentions, the snacks win out and portion control blows out over Christmas and leave me with what I (not-so-fondly) call my Christmas kilo. Hey, just add it to the baby kilos right?

christmas chocolate leftover candy cane peppermint bark sweet treat gift

This post will not help shift that Christmas kilo. But it tastes great and it's a good way to use up leftover candy canes. (Does anyone actually enjoy eating candy canes??)

You will need:

1x bag of choc melts (white, dark or milk are all good)
Candy canes

Unwrap any canes and put them in a zip-loc bag. Then use a rolling pin to gently break them into small pieces, whatever size you like but try not to turn them to dust or you'll have a sticky mess everywhere.

christmas chocolate leftover candy cane peppermint bark sweet treat

Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals at 70% power, stirring in between. Make sure you stir as the chocolate will look like it hasn't melted at first until you stir it around. When the chocolate is completely melted but not too runny, spread baking paper on a bench top. Pour the chocolate onto the baking paper and spread it out evenly to about 3-5mm thickness. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the chocolate and leave to set.

When hard, break up the bark into small pieces and share it around. It tastes surprisingly good - even if, like me, you're not a fan of candy canes.

Or hide from the kids and eat it. I won't tell  :)

Do you have leftovers? And how do you use them up?


Felt Christmas tree ornament tutorial December 15 2015, 0 Comments

Keen to get your Christmas craft on?
These cute little Christmas trees add a whimsical, handmade touch to your Christmas tree and are so much more interesting than plain old baubles!



You will need:
Green felt
A variety of coloured buttons
Small piece of ribbon
Needle and thread
Toy stuffing or cotton wool balls

Cut two identical triangles from the felt.
On one (or both if you want it to be double sided) stitch an assortment of buttons to represent baubles.
Fold the ribbon in a loop and stitch the two ends firmly between the top points of the two felt pieces.
Stitch all around the edges of the triangles (I used a blanket stitch but any stitch will do), pausing at the end to fill your tree with wadding or cotton wool before stitching closed.

felt Christmas tree decoration handmade tutorial

Want more ideas for how to use your trees?
- The trees make a cute addition to a gift - wrap your present, tie with ribbon and attach a tree in place of a gift card.
- Turn your trees into a festive bunting. Simply leave out the ribbon loops and instead stitch the tops of the trees to a long length of ribbon at regular intervals.

If you make one of these I'd love to see your creations. Post a photo or link in the comments or upload a photo to Instagram with #milkboxmaker :)

Interested in more Christmas crafting? Why not try one of our Christmas craft kits.

Happy crafting!

Tash xo