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Home-made toys can be so much fun!

Home-made toys can be so much fun!

As promised earlier in the week, I want to write all about home-made toys which can be just as entertaining. I run a tight ship when it comes to money in our house (ask Wifey she’ll have plenty to say on the matter), but one thing I’ll never do is deny Phoebe G of anything she needs (or indeed wants, of course without her ending up a spoilt brat). With Wifey being such a crafty bugger, she quite often comes up with little ideas of things she can quickly whip together for the mini beast to play with. I want to introduce you to three of these items, all of which Phoebe loves and all of which cost well under a fiver to make and have their own various benefits.

Organza Crinkle Bags

First up is the Organza Crinkle Bag. A noisy but fun sensory toy which both feels good and sounds amazing (and probably tastes of something too, seeing as most things end up in a child’s mouth!)

What you need:

  • Small organza bag(s). Not the teeny tiny ones you get wedding favours in, something a bit large, something like these from Amazon. £2.29 for 10, so if you’ve some other mummy/daddy friends these can work out really cheap.
  • An emergency blanket. This offers a bit more fun than tin foil, and won’t rip after the first use. We got this one from Amazon, at £1.53. This blanket is huge, and you really don’t need it all.

Even without splitting the material cost with your mummy and daddy friends, it still comes in at £3.82. If you find just one other person to share costs and materials with, it makes this £1.91.

Organza Bags - What you need
Organza Bags – What you need

Making it is pretty self explanatory – cut a 2ft square (or appropriately sized piece for your bags) of the emergency blanket. It needs to be big enough to fill the bag but not too big that it won’t scrunch in the bag. Pull the ribbon to tie the bag and you’re done! Pass it over to baby and watch them have hours (literally) of fun. This is one of Phoebe’s favourite things to play with at the moment!

OrganzaToy

 

Organza Crinkle Bag Sensory Toy
Before the foil made it in the bag!

Ribbons, Ribbons, Ribbons

The next fun toy is even easier. A load of ribbons tied together! It doesn’t matter what colours you use (we used the rainbow colours, so seven different ribbons).

Sensory silk ribbon toy for babies
Phoebe enjoying her ribbon toy!

Grab a metre long piece of each colour from your local craft shop (double satin ribbon is essential here so it’s silky on both sides. It’s the feel that babies love). Using a lighter, gently burn each end of each ribbon. This will make sure they don’t fray. Tie the ribbons in a knot, making sure the knot is in the centre and voila! You’re done! At about 60p a metre of ribbon, this comes up at a crippling total of £3.50, and you can probably get the ribbon cheaper if you shop around (or flutter your eyelashes if you’re a MILF hottie).

Silky ribbons are great for babies to feel
Silky ribbons are great for babies to feel

The Twiddle

Sadly Wifey can’t take any credit for this one. Our friends over at Life as Mrs N came up with this simple idea, after making tutu’s for their daughter’s second birthday party. This couldn’t be easier to make (providing you can plait!).

The Twiddle is a firm favourite!
The Twiddle is a firm favourite!

What you need:

  • Three bits of tulle. The lengths only need to be about a metre long. You can get long rolls online at around £4.80 for 100 yards (seriously why are people still using yards, it’s like being with my Gran). This works out at about 5.2p per metre. You’re best going to a local craft/material shop to have a scout round.

All you need to do is tie the three pieces in a knot (have the knot right at the top). If you’re a plaiting novice, sticky tape the knotted tulle to a surface so you can pull it tight as you plait. Now plait the three pieces together and knot the tulle at the other end, then you’re done! Even at 50p a metre this will only cost £1.50 which is a small price to pay for the amount of use it’ll get.

The Twiddle - Simple baby toy made from tulle
The Twiddle

Your child will love running this through their fingers, twiddling it with their hands (hence the name!). Phoebe finds The Twiddle in particular very comforting and uses it most days.

As with all these I’m sure the novelty will wear off eventually, but this is all for under a tenner so worth the investment.

Let me know what you think! I’m sure there’ll be plenty more things we make over the next few months which I’ll share with you! If you’ve made your child toys that they’ve loved, share them here!

Ttfn

Pete

 

The Deep – Hull

The Deep – Hull

Having been planned with our chums for a while, yesterday was the day we went for a visit to The Deep in Hull. Dubbed one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world and having a motto “for conservation, not profit” we wanted to go see what all the fuss was about. To be honest, at first I thought it might not have been worth taking a four-and-a-half month old. Would she really get anything out of it? We didn’t really have much to lose given that Phoebe G was free and we wanted to go anyway as I’ve never been and Wifey hasn’t been since she was a little tinker so couldn’t remember much.

Whenever it comes to days out with a little one it seems to require a headache inducing amount of effort to decide various things like, what time shall we go? How many bibs do we need? Will she be warm enough in this? No probably not lets get her changed into something else. How many feeds do we need to take etc etc. Our chums recommended going for opening time after speaking to the staff on the phone, so we took their lead (they’ve got a 2 year old so have done this before) and arrived for the time it opened at 10am. We joined a very quiet queue in a pretty chilly wind so make sure you’ve something warm on if you go early as it might not be very warm!! A short wait and the doors opened bang on time. I’d definitely recommend going for opening as it’s very quiet so you get a really good view of everything as you’re first in.

A big win for us is that your tickets are valid for 12 months and you can revisit as many times as you want so you can really get your money’s worth. Make sure you give the ticket staff your details so you can come back for free! They’ll take your photo at this point so make sure you’ve got plenty lippy on and a posh frock if you care about that sort of thing. We’ll definitely go again when our mini beast is a bit older as she’ll be even more in awe of the sights she’s seen today (she loved it and stayed awake the whole time we were there). Kids under three go in free anyway and adults are £12. Armed forces chaps and chappesses also go in free. Booking in advance saves you some brass too, and it’ll mount up if you’re a big group. More money to spend in the gift shop at the end! Buying tickets was painless and off we went with our (free) trusty guidebook (we didn’t read this though, I won’t lie. But if you’re into reading stuff it’ll suit you!)

Once through ticketing you’ve two options, get fit and healthy and climb up what feels like three million stairs or take the lift. We took the stairs and had to whip out the inhaler at the top. Then it’s on to the main attraction…

Fish, stingrays, fish, sharks, penguins, starfish, jellyfish, eels and another 3000+ creatures await. Phoebe G was so alert walking past the giant tanks which are designed really well so kids of all heights can see. There’s lots of information to read throughout the exhibition and so much to look at. There’s also various activities at scheduled times of the day too, from feeding demonstrations to dive presentations. Throughout the venue there’s plenty toilets so it’s not too important to go at the beginning. I’m sure this will be great for all those emergencies when we’ve ditched the nappies!! There’s a soft play area once you’re round so the little ones can run off any steam they’ve got left whilst mum and dad (and whoever else!) look at snakes, ants, frogs etc. When you come back out from your under the sea adventure you walk through a really spectacular tunnel right underneath one of the big tanks so there’s fish swimming all around you. This makes a great photo opportunity (#SelfieWithNemo anyone?). Once through the tunnel you get a similar choice to when you first started, to take a lift or take stairs back to the surface. We’d reccomend taking the stairs as you go up the side of one of the tanks and there’s viewing stations on every level (there’s three of four flights so you’ll need the rest!). The lift does stop but you’re limited to how much time you can spend in it, whereas on the stairs you can hang around on each level as long as you like. Once back at the surface, you’ll head out towards the very reasonably priced gift shop. Wifey was super surprised at the prices. A lot of gift shops are overpriced but the one here is really good and there’s something to suit all budgets. Let the kids run wild and spend all that spare change you saved by booking your tickets online!

Look out for special events that happen fairly regularly at The Deep to make your visits even more exciting.

With it’s ease of access (just off the M62/A63) and just over an hour away from where we live, once Phoebe G is a bit older we’ll definitely go again. She loved it this time so it’ll be even more fun in a few months time!

A quick stop off at Frankie and Benny’s with our chums for a yummy lunch (we got starters served in mess tins and chips served in a bag which had mixed opinion! Sorry A!) and then we headed home.

Enjoying lunch with her chum!
Enjoying lunch with her chum!

5 stars to The Deep. Thanks for a grand day out. Phoebe slept all the way home, dreaming of fish (probably not sharks, she didn’t cry). She then slept all evening, properly zonked look..!

Tired Out After The Deep
Tired Out After The Deep

Ttfn

Pete

Hi! It’s Dad

Hi! It’s Dad

Hi world. I’m Pete, doting dad to the wonderful Phoebe Grace and hunky husband to my lovely wife and super-mum Sarah. Phoebe is the reason I’m here, unlocking all my parenthood secrets and sharing our adventures with the world. Apparently there aren’t as many dads blogging about fatherhood as there are mums about motherhood, so I’m joining ranks with the dads out there trying their hand at the same thing. No idea how it’ll turn out and my waffling will no doubt bore some of you to tears, but I can but try.

I write this whilst Phoebe stares at me blowing bubbles, something she’s recently learnt to do. I, on the other hand, have learnt that I need to keep my dinner well away from this super cute human bubble machine to prevent my meal being covered in spick (a strange smelling concoction made from spit and the odd bit of left over formula milk vomit).

I should introduce the family properly then at least you know who I’m going on about in this and future posts. Our beautiful daughter Phoebe Grace was born 30th December 2015 at 23:44 weighing in at a respectable 7lb 8oz

Phoebe Grace

As science predicted, mummy gave birth to her and did remarkably well, despite her performance on the gas and air being one of the funniest things I’ve seen. Between the oohs and aahs I was in firm control of cooling mechanisms, which consisted of rubber gloves full of ice cubes. One wrong move when the ice had melted would have spelt disaster, so it was vital that I performed well, and that I did. No spillages of ice cold water had to be reported and mummy stayed dry. That was a very surreal day, and I was glad I’d done my research about what would happen (more to follow in a future post) otherwise I’d have needed a bed next to my wife’s.

Moving on to mummy. My wife Sarah is the best thing since sliced bread. I have to say that Phoebe and Sarah are both my number one otherwise there’ll be some sort of pretend row (surely it’s Phoebe now, but anyhow). We got married in October 2014 – one of the best days of my life – and put a bun in the oven shortly afterwards. Finding out we were expecting was exciting and scary at the same time, and the dads out there reading this will know just what I mean. I was desperate for a girl and didn’t quite believe it at first. It took another scan to confirm to me that my dream was coming true!

Me and Wifey

Anyway, that’s a bit of an introduction. I’m planning to post about many of our adventures and will also be posting my reviews and opinions on things, what we found useful, what we didn’t like etc so that all dads-to-be can also benefit!

Ttfn

Pete