We were stuck home today, as the car is in the garage, so I decided to introduce the kids to the concept of papier-mache. I must be mad!
Actually it’s a great craft for kids, involving all their favourite things – tearing paper, getting sticky, making a mess and creating something.
I researched making the paste and found a great website called DLTK’s Crafts for Kids, which had lots of hints and tips. I opted for the cooked papier-mache paste, adding salt (which apparently helps prevent mould) and cinnamon (to improve the smell).
So my ‘recipe’ was 1 part flour to 5 parts water (although mine was probably closer to 4 parts water, as my saucepan was too small) with a bit of salt and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and simmer for three minutes. I had to whisk it to make it smooth and it went pretty solid in the tray as we used it, but still worked fine.
When I did papier-mache as a child I always used long strips of newspaper, so that’s what I had the kids doing. But then I saw on another website called firstpalette, (where we went because of their penguin idea), the idea of using squares of paper and actually that would have been much easier.
The firstpalette website also suggested using different colours so you can distinguish between layers. The best I could do was separate coloured strips of newspaper from the plain text and, again, that worked quite well.
I’ve hung the papered balloons in the playroom, which has no heat source when the sun goes down, so I suspect it might take a week for them to dry. So much for painting them tomorrow! This might be a craft for the summer rather than the winter. I have to say, though, the kids did brilliantly. I patched up the holes where the balloons were still visible, while the children were in the bath, but they’d done a great job of getting the paper flat and in a criss-crossed pattern.
In the afternoon I dragged them out to walk the dog, against strong protest, particularly from my daughter. We almost failed at the first hurdle when I realised hubbie had left my son’s boots and waterproof in a wet puddle in the garage from their walk yesterday. Luckily I had my daughter’s old waterproof and boots so, with two little ones dressed head to toe in pink, we ventured out into the gales and up the hill.
They had a great time, wading through puddles and getting stuck in the mud. Even though the wind was strong enough to blow us over, and it was pretty chilly, they didn’t complain at all. Maybe our dream of taking them up Snowdon this summer might not be completely foolish.
I take a gold star for me, too, because I dread taking the kids out in bad weather, in case I end up having to carry one of them home. I love hiking but I’m not a huge fan of wind (I find the constant buffering more irritating than rain, snow or heat) so it took effort to be seen to be enjoying every minute of our walk.
In fact I take a few gold stars for today, with the craft and the games and the healthy food and for getting through four loads of washing and some ironing. I lose a few, too, for getting a bit shouty towards tea-time, but that’s just restoring balance to the world. All in all it was a nice way to spend our penultimate day of the holidays. I’m still looking forward to them going back to school, though!