I count myself lucky to be born in Australia's coffee capital of Melbourne and love to write about what's on in my home town.
Published August 5th 2012
Wet weather fun for the littlies
Rain hail or shine, children are always looking for entertainment... and we know that idle kids are like a ticking time bomb. So rather than wait for the fall-out, why not help them use their boundless energy for good, rather than evil?
Make your own snack food Keeping sticky little fingers away from the lolly jar, and its subsequent sugar high-induced mania, can be a tough task. So next time the kids are searching for a sweet snack, tell them to go bananas - literally - and make banana chips.
No, I haven't donned a kaftan and turned all hippy-healthy: I love a Mars Bar as much as the rest of us, but these are REALLY good. Homemade banana chips are a far cry from the cheap, greasy discs you find in the dried fruit section of your supermarket, and super easy to make.
This is a great recipe to make on one of those cold, rainy afternoons when you are stuck inside and won't mind the warmth of your oven running for a few hours. Simply grab a couple of lemons and bananas, and you're in business!
Leaf Art Wrapping Paper Help your kids to understand the infinite variations that occur in nature - and delight family and friends - by creating original artworks that double as wrapping paper.
All you need is a few large (at least A4) sheets of plain paper (preferably white or a pale colour), some thick crayons and a selection of leaves of various sizes and shapes from your garden.
Ask your child to choose a few leaves and make an small arrangement on the table, then cover them with a sheet of paper. Younger artists may benefit from having their sheet of paper secured to the work surface with blu-tac.
Choose a crayon, and whilst steadying the paper with one hand, use the long (side) surface of the crayon to rub across the paper, creating patterns where the leaves lie. Once this is done, lift up the paper and replace the leaves with different ones, choose another crayon colour, and off you go again! Decorate the paper as much or as little as you like, then store it somewhere safe until needed for a special occasion like birthdays, Mother's Day, Father's Day etc.
Funny Face Biscuits Ok, so this isn't exactly as healthy as the banana chips activity mentioned earlier, but even the most gastronomically-challenged parent will find it a breeze, and who doesn't love edible art? It can be easily adapted to suit a range of special occasions such as Easter, and when it comes to design, you are limited only by your tastebuds.
All you need are some plain, store bought sweet biscuits (like Milk Arrowroot or Marie), a jar of Nutella and a selection of brightly coloured lolly decorations. When choosing your decorations, consider the features you want to make: for example, to make hair, think 100s & 1000s, liquorice or shredded/desiccated coconut (tinted with food dye, toasted or plain); eyes and nose could be jelly beans, M&Ms, cachous or mini marshmallows; a mouth can be fashioned from lolly bananas and teeth.
Lay your decorations out in bowls, and place a few biscuits on a small chopping board. Make sure the littlies are smocked up. Now, the fun begins!
Spread the flatest side of each biscuit with Nutella, making sure it goes all the way to the edge. Sprinkle the top third of the biscuits with 'hair', then carefully place your lolly eyes, nose and mouth decorations. Be as simple or as wacky as you like - why not give your 'face' some cachou 'freckles', googly marshmallow 'eyes' or spiky liquorice 'hair'?
Once you have finished, it's time to devour all that ooey, gooey yumminess!
Do you have an easy, kid-friendly activity that won't break the bank. We'd love you to share it with us in the comments below.