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 ISSUE 30   •   6 MAY 2007  
   This issue: pets


1. Editorial
2. Underwater garden with pet fish
3. Pet owl in a silver cage

4. The mystery pet enclosure
. This issue's featured subscriber's blog

1. Editorial

Is it newsletter time already? Wow, the past fortnight has gone quickly. Thanks for the great response to the last newsletter. It was wonderful to get some feedback on my Kids Craft Weekly booklet ideas – the evenly matched results came as a big surprise to me. This poll will definitely influence my decision-making so thanks to all those who voted. Stay tuned for further developments over the coming weeks.

I hope you enjoy the 'pet' issue of Kids Craft Weekly. Keeping a real life pet can be a great learning experience for young kids. Among other things, pets help children to develop empathy, teach respect for other living things and may even have a positive effect on your child's health. But they are also a great responsibilty. If you're thinking of getting a pet for your little one it's worth reading this article from the ASPCA about age-appropriate pets for kids.

If you're not quite ready to take the leap into bona fide pet ownership these craft ideas are a great alternative. None of these crafty creatures require exercise, food or grooming but your little ones are likely to shower them with plenty of love and attention none-the-less.

Remember to email me your pics for the photo gallery if you have a chance.

Happy crafting and I'll see you next time!

Amber Carvan

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2. Underwater garden with pet fish

Water play is always a big hit at our place and this activity was particularly popular because the objects inside the underwater garden are so much fun to play with. If you don't have much time you can do this activity on a much smaller scale by providing your little one with a small plastic container, some colourful pebbles and a single water-balloon fish.

You will need

• plastic container
plastic bags
rubber bands
colourful pebbles (used in fish tanks)
water balloons
permanent markers


1. Make some sea weed by putting a stone inside a plastic bag. Wrap a rubber band just above the stone to keep it in place then use scissors to cut lengthways down the plastic to make it look like sea weed.

2. Make some fish by putting a small amount of water into some water balloons and tying them up. Use a permanent marker to add faces and stripes. Note: this only seems to work with genuine water balloons – regular balloons seem to float or sink rather than bob about in the middle.

3. Fill a plastic tub with water. It's starting to get chilly where we are so I used warm water to save the kid's fingers! Then add the colourful stones, some shells, the sea weed and fishes.

If you look closely you can see our poor octopus – a craft deemed so unsuccessful that I decided not to include any instructions. If any readers have ideas for how to make an easy octopus that doesn't float on top of the water I'd love to hear them.

3. Pet owl in a silver cage

Do we have any Harry Potter fans here? Older kids will run with this activity from the get go but the littlies will need a hand as punching holes in the cardboard can be hard work for little fingers. Kids of all ages will enjoy playing with this though. If you're not in the mood for a pet owl, come up with another idea!

You will need

• pipecleaners
hole punch
thick cardboard
round lid (approximately 12cm  in diameter)
two small plastic lids


1. Trace around a plastic lid on some cardboard.

2. Cut out the circle and punch eight holes around the circumference. The best way to do this is to think of a clock face and start at 12 then 6, 9 then 3 and punch a hole in-between each of these markers.

3. Thread a pipecleaner through a hole and fasten it on by twisting it a few times. Then bend it over and fasten it to the hole directly opposite.

4. Continue until you have put a pipecleaner through each of the holes. Then use another pipecleaner to make a handle at the top of the cage.

5. We made our owl using playdough, two lids, a marker and a feather. 

Pull open the bars of the cage to help the owl get in and out to deliver secret messages to fellow wizards!

4. The mystery creature enclosure

This is a great craft for doing outdoors – start off by taking a walk and collecting some rocks, pebbles, sticks, seed pods and leaves to put inside your enclosure. Once it's done, encourage your little one to come up with an idea as to what sort of creature might live inside – then do your best to rise to the crafty challenge!

You will need

• cardboard box (preferably one with a lid)
clear cellophane
sticky tape
sand, sticks, leaves, rocks etc
cotton reel and strong glue (optional)


1. Put the lid on the box and use a knife to cut out a window at the front, leaving a border of about an inch on each side. You can use a box without a lid, the only downside is that it won't have a lip to stop the sand from falling out the front.

Note: We've taped newspaper onto the bottom of our box as it had holes in it.

2. Cut a small door in the top or back of the box and give it a handle by supergluing on a cotton reel or cork.

3. Add sand or dirt to the floor of the enclosure.

4. Add the rocks, twigs, leaves, sticks and whatever else you collected. If you want, use some plastic lids to make a food and water dish. Then tape clear cellophane to the front of the enclosure.

5. Use the door to add some appropriate inhabitants. We made ants from clothes pegs and pipecleaners.

Update: These ants were soon forced from their home by a small plastic pig who was then adopted by a family of pet rocks who continue to reside in the enclosure to this day!

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5. This issue's featured subscriber's blog

Samantha's Garden

"I live in central Virginia, USA with my hubby and two kids. I'm a bit of a Renaissance girl, so if I get a spare moment from life you can find me quilting or making ribbon flowers or cooking or making dolls or playing with paper... or any number of things! You never know what's growing in Samantha's Garden!

To have your blog featured in this section just send in your web address and I'll add you to the list. But be warned, the waiting list is currently very long.


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