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 ISSUE 70   •   16  APRIL 2009  
   This issue: robots


1. Editorial – Crafty Q & A
2. Simple robot picture
3. Sticky robots

4. Matchbox robots
5. March photo winner
6. Featured subscriber blog

1. Editorial – Crafty Q & A

Hello and welcome to the latest issue of Kids Craft Weekly – the 70th issue! This issue I've got an answer to a common crafty question that I thought you might all be interested in. Subscriber T writes:

"I have to organise a craft activity for five kids for my Mum's group. Do you have any suggestions for something that would be good for a (preferably minimally) supervised group activity that would accomodate a range of motor skill levels (and that would not trash my house)?"

For a group of almost three-year-olds my advice is to go with play dough and provide plenty of props that the kids can use to extend their creative experience into a pretend play scenario. Kids of this age are generally familiar with play dough and won't feel anxious about getting straight into it – hopefully this will mean that the adults will have a chance to chat.

Make two or three batches of playdough (preferably in different colours) and accept from the outset that you will probably have to throw them away at the end of the play session.

Then, set the playdough up on a low table with a range of enticing props. Here are some ideas.

• Set up a tray with heaps of colourful patty pans (muffin cases) that the kids can use to make pretend cakes.
Fill up some old spice shakers with different colours of glitter that they can sprinkle over the top of the playdough and mix in.
Get a heap of wooden matchsticks to use as candles.
Provide squares of colourful cellophane and demonstrate to the kids how they can pop a piece of playdough in the middle and twist at each end to make sweets.
Put the garlic press and potato masher on the table – these are great for playdough.
Raid the cupboards for any other things that might provide some amusement – such as straws, jelly molds or a bowl of dried pasta.

Last but not least, accept that the kids will make a complete mess – just take precautions to minimise the damage. Have fun!

If you have a (non-urgent) crafty question that you'd like me to answer in a future issue please get in touch via email. If you need a quick response to a question the best way to contact me is via Facebook or Twitter.

While I'm not yet in the habit of tweeting regularly (some major time management issues at this end) I'm very reliable at responding to Twitter direct messages and @replies.

Also I have to say that I'm absolutely loving hanging out with you guys on the Facebook page. Hmm, maybe that last sentence sheds some light on my time mmanagement issues – way too much Facebook!

Happy crafting and I'll see you next time!

Amber Carvan

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2. Simple robot picture

Older children will enjoy trying to make amazing robots from the various bits and pieces and younger ones will simply enjoy sticking the shapes onto paper. Either way, it will keep everyone occupied for a good length of time. If you're organised you might even manage a cup of tea!

You will need

• different coloured pieces of felt (or coloured paper)
small buttons/beads
paper clips
wool scraps
white glue and brush


1. Cut felt and paper into different sized squares and rectangles.

2. Prepare a plate of bits and bobs to make robot features. We used paperclips, buttons, beads, wool scraps and matchsticks.

3. Use the shapes, buttons and other bits and pieces to create robots.

4. And here are the finished robot masterpieces:

3. Sticky robots  

When working with contact it's really important to ensure that young kids can easily peel the backing paper off – otherwise they will get frustrated quickly. The method outlined below is time-consuming but it's worth it because it means they'll always get it right.

The littlies will simply enjoy peeling and sticking randomly while those aged three and up will love to build robots with their shapes. It's worth remembering that different children require different levels of guidance.

You will need

• contrasting colours of sticky contact
round stickers/number stickers for embellishment


1. Cut some strips in different widths from contrasting coloured sticky contact.

2. Fold down the backing paper about half a centimetre along the entire length of each strip. Then cut the strips into different sized squares and rectangles.

3. Provide some cardboard to work on and start building your robot. I started by asking Arky which piece we should use for the body, "the big yellow square or the big red square?".
Then I asked where he thought the legs and arms should go. 

This process continued until the robot began to take shape.

The next time round he built the robot all by himself.

And then another!

When Ella got home from school she wanted to make her own!

4. Matchbox robots

Making robots is a great 'discovery' craft because robots can look like anything you want them to look like! We worked together on the first robot and then the kids made their own version independently. They got a huge kick out of coming up with their own ideas and I gave them full access to the craft supplies – terrifying (for me) but rewarding for all of us in the end.

You will need

• large matchbox
• coloured sticky contact
• packing peanuts (optional)
• clothes pegs
• bulldog clip
bits and bobs for decorating


1. We used the cover of a large box of matches for the head and body of the robot.

First of all we covered it in contact.

2. Pierce some small holes in each side and thread a pipecleaner through to make arms.

3. We threaded packing peanuts and beads onto the pipecleaners to give the arms more bulk.

4. We then slipped on a couple of clothes pegs for legs...

5. ... before using various bits and bobs to make a robot face and torso and adding a bulldog clip for the finishing touch.

Here is Ella's solo effort:

And Arky's!

Looking forward to seeing the robots that you and your little ones come up with!

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5. March photo comp winner

The winner of the photo competition for March is
'Pepperoni Monie'. I'm very familiar with the 'craft-over-the-face' shot – it's one of my daughter's favourite poses :) I'm very impressed with the awesome crown and wand also. Congrats to the winner – please get in touch and let me know which book you'd like as your prize.

Remember to add your photos to the pool for the chance to win a copy of the book of your choice from my Amazon favourites list. I give away a book every month – I'll be doing an April round-up in the next issue.

I've noticed that people have really cut back on their Amazon spending at the moment – no doubt due to global economic forces. As a result the kitty for the book competition is still running very low. If you do shop at Amazon at any time please take the time to click through from Kids Craft Weekly. Every purchase, no matter how small, helps to fund the monthly book giveaway for this crafty community.

6. Featured subscriber blog

The Gamble Life

"Hi, I’m Maya. I’m a displaced Texan, mom to two amazing little boys, wife to the truly fabulous Chris, knitter, sewer, environmentalist, dreamer, and striver. This blog is my record of the day to day things in my life, especially the issues and struggles I’m currently working on and the fleeting moments of my kids’ childhoods."

Subscriber blogs are featured on a first-in first-served basis. To have your blog included in this section just send in your web address and I'll add you to the list. 


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