emilia keriene

creating in captured moments


Homemade toys

Box Bank

The little man has been interested in money for a while and asked me to make an ATM for us to play with. We thought a guarded truck to transport the money in would be a good addition for transporting the cash, seeing as the boys love their box vehicles.





We enjoyed them so much that we used them for a theme which I will post more about next week.


Advent Activities #2

Here are the majority of our advent activities for this year. The first four themes are here, the last four are here and the full list is here.



We will look at the messages the angels brought and focus on their rejoicing at that good news.


– Angel pancakes (not pictured)

– Decorating polystyrene angels

– Painting with angel cookie cutters as stamps

– Pom pom and wooden peg angels (idea from these fairies)

– Angel wing match (matching pairs of words with the same silent letter – k, h, w, b, g and t)



Linked to our theme of angels, we will enjoy the music of Christmas carols as well as the message they tell.


– Wooden spoon carolers, which we will both make and use as puppets

– Matching lyrics of carols

– Salt tray with sheet music of carols underneath

– Singing together



Again this theme is linked to angels – just as they shared the good news we also want to share it. I have chosen to incorporate bells into this theme as they bring attention to those sharing the good news. I also want to reinforce and have the little man retell the Christmas story in different ways so that he is proficient at sharing it.


– Christmas bingo

– Bell Hershey kisses memory. We have two versions, one using pictures and another using lower and uppercase letters (idea from here)

– Bell scoop transfer (idea from this bauble transfer)

– Storybook prompts for the little man to write his own Christmas story



Once again the shepherds shared the good news, and glorified and praised God for what they saw, so we will focus on doing the same.


– Sheep and shepherd tic-tac-toe

– Multiplication by counting groups of stars, angels, sheep and shepherds

– Paper bag sheep with painted wool and details to glue on

– Marshmallow sheep (idea from here)

– Paper people sheep and shepherds to decorate



The wise men were joyful and worshipped Jesus, giving him gifts, so we will encourage each other in how we can worship Jesus also.


– Wise men chalkboard silhouettes to draw on

– Cut and paste wise men craft

– Felt crowns to decorate

– More and less than with gold coins

– Wise men bottles with stars (we have one bigger one to represent the star that the wise men followed), glitter, water and oil (idea from here, under science activities)

– Explanation of the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (not pictured)



This theme is linked to the wise men and the star that they followed.


– Crayon resist star painting

– Star search and find (there are chocolate stars hidden in with the Hershey kisses)

– Wool wrapped star ornaments

– Star cinnamon ornaments (not pictured)

– Star sandwich (not pictured)



This theme is also linked to the wise men and we will use it to encourage each other to be selfless and kind toward others.


– Gift-wrapping station (idea from here)

– Wrapping candy using cut out paper to look like a wise man (we have used small boxes of skittles)

– Washi tape tree cards, both to make and to write in and give to others (inspired by these cards)

– Small presents for some of the little man’s friends

– Painting presents using a square stamp and ribbons

– Coming up with ways to be kind (not pictured)



The little man and I have spoken a lot lately about real and pretend things and of course aliens came up often while we were busy with space activities recently. So this week we celebrated the pretend with monsters.


– making monster snacks

– skip counting with monsters (counting by 1 – monsters; counting by 2s – legs; counting by 5s – eyes; counting by 10s – spots)

– playdough, slime and goop monsters (we used some of the recipes from here. These are possibly my favourite playdough monsters – so cute!)


– monster word squash (inspired by this game)

– monsters from bags, boxes and bits and pieces

– sock puppet monsters



Box Dump Truck


Thanks for all your requests for more information on making a dump truck from a cardboard box. I used one nappy/diaper box for the cab and frame and a second, smaller box for the dumping bed.

To enable the dumping bed to move you need to create a hinge along the back of the frame where the bed attaches to it. Here are three possibilities.


Firstly, a folded piece of cardboard. Place the folded edge along the back and attach the cardboard to the top of frame and the bottom of the dumping bed. A thicker piece of cardboard will give more support to the dumping bed, however it may also mean that the dumping bed is never completely flat when sitting on top of the frame. The overall look and size of the dump truck you are making may help you decide if this is the hinge you want to use.

Secondly, pipe cleaners. Make holes in the back of the frame and dumping bed and thread the pipe cleaners through. I have twisted the pipe cleaner ends together inside the dumping tray. For more support, use more pipe cleaners along the back edge. If you choose to use this type of hinge you may find it easier to make the holes and thread the pipe cleaners through while making the frame rather than waiting until it is finished.

Thirdly, a cylinder such as a piece of dowel, skewer or straw, depending on the size of dump truck you are making. You will need the sides near the back of the frame to be higher than the level at which the dumping bed sits. I added some extra cardboard but it may be easier to cut the frame with this shape when you are making it. Make holes in this higher part of the frame and also the sides near the back of the dumping tray and thread a piece of dowel through. You may wish to attach something larger than the holes you have made onto the ends of the dowel so that it does not slide out (or get pushed out by busy little fingers).

Please let me know if you have more questions or if anything could be clearer.



Fire Engine


Our latest addition to our collection of box vehicles is a fire engine made from a large cardboard box.  Being so much bigger than our previous vehicles, I was able to add doors on one side and at the back and it accommodates a few children playing simultaneously.


So far it has been fun (although baby boy’s favourite part is pulling off the cardboard features which the little man is not too happy about).



Ice Cream


We have been escaping the summer heat with some ice cream fun, it’s been one of the most fun themes we’ve done together.

– ice cream taste testing

– making our own 3-ingredient ice cream (using these instructions)

– ice cream cookies


– painting with shaving cream (the little man put ice cream all the way inside the cone to surprise the person who eats the ice cream)

– rhyming words (and one that doesn’t quite fit. Idea from here)


– cardboard ice cream stand


– cardboard ice cream delivery trucks


Nativity Mini Viewer


I made the nativity story in the format of a mini viewer using these instructions (I only have one style of drawing so these scenes are largely the same as the ones I drew last year). This was really easy and fun to make and the little man loves it so we have had many opportunities to retell the story of the birth of Jesus. I count that as a win.



Box Horses


Getting ready for some preschooler-friendly Melbourne Cup horse racing fun this week. Inspired by this pin.



Princess Packages

Friends recently welcomed their third child into the family. Grandma and grandpa are overseas and dad is travelling for work, so I wanted to make something to help keep the two older children happy in those early, tiring days while mum is on her own. I chose a princess theme and a few no-preparation, no-mess activities (for 3.5 year old and 18 month old girls).


– no mess finger painting in a zip-lock bag (there are plenty of instructions for these on the internet)

– mini crown kit to decorate cardboard tubes with crayons, washi tape, adhesive jewels and adhesive lace borders (inspired by these)

– stained glass window wand and castle (here is a list of links to lots of types of stained glass and sun-catcher crafts)

– felt princess crowns (the little man watched me sew these and has now requested I make him one, even choosing buttons for me to decorate it with. I hope the princesses like them as much as he seems to)

– we also packaged up some of her favourite peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a gift for her and gifts for the baby boy, princess bubbles, princess frisbee, princess sticker book, princess board books, Fisher Price Prince Charming and Cinderella and princess wands (thank goodness for so much Disney princess paraphernalia for the theme!)

{Card from kikki-K. Racecar from Fisher Price Wheelies range.}


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