DIY mobile tripod for video calls!

Lots of us all over the planet are shut in our homes, but still need to communicate with our friends and family – wherever they are, so here is a neat little solution for holding the phone while you speak!

First you need a cardboard-type coffee beaker.

Get a grownup to help you cut two small triangles out of the beaker, one on either side.

And that’s it – you are hands-free to skype, facetime and zoom away with your friends! 😉

This also makes a perfect stand for making animations with your mobile, using lego characters, sylvanian families or whatever you have, with the Stop Motion Studio app – Free to download on iphones/ipads/smart phones/tablets 🙂 Go to your Apps hub and look for this logo.


I’ll be posting more about animating with your phone soon, stay tuned!


And, ok, I have to admit, I didnt think this up myself! So here’s the video by CNET I got the idea from – plus a couple of others. Get creative and have fun at home! 🙂



The Andean Bears of “Darkest Peru”

Creative learning activity suitable for 8 years and up.

I’ve been trying to draw bears a lot recently. There’s something so cuddly about them – like teddy bears – but that’s not at all true, and I wouldn’t like to meet one up close – that’s a fact! :/

Here’s a great article about real-life, factual avocado-eating Andean Bears in the Andean Forest – or “Darkest Peru” as Paddington Bear, the best-known fictional Andean Bear would call it 😉

They’re also called “Spectacled Bears”, and if you have a look at their face, you can see why.

You can have a look at the article here::

Now over to you…

1. Research: read the article – there are a lot of long words in it, but don’t worry if you don’t understand them all. Look up Andean Bears (or Spectacled Bears) on the internet, see what you can find out. Here’s a description of the bears by the people at San Diego Zoo in California that is a bit easier to read!

2. Write down all the cool stuff you have found out about the bears – use pen and paper or your computer/tablet. Where do they live? What do they eat? Are they easy to find? Are they endangered?

3. Do you know what “fictional” means? If not, then look it up and find out, and then draw or write (or both!) a story about a fictional bear. This means you can use your imagination. Maybe this fictional bear doesn’t live in the Andes, but in a flat in the city, or a cottage in the countryside. Maybe it is a bank manager or a PE teacher, or even an astronaut!

It’s up to you – this story can be as imaginative and fun as you like!

Finally, here he is, the world’s most famous fictional Andean bear in a clip from the first Paddington film. And don’t forget, he was originally created by author Michael Bond in a series of books for children. Maybe you have some already? If not keep a look out for them, they are great!

Booktrust – online activities for kids

The Book Trust in the UK have loads of great activities related to all things books on their website, take a look here, including drawing tutorials of Hiccup and Toothless by Cressida Cowell! Amazing!

There’s also competitions, quizzes and loads of great book recommends, specially good for this time when so many kids all over the world are at home.

Have a look at the Cressida Cowell drawings, then compare with the “How to Train Your Dragon” animation. Which do you prefer?

Here’s a brilliant clip from the movie… Take care and have fun 🙂

Into Film: film-based activities for kids at home

Into Film is a brilliant organisation promoting film for Primary and Secondary age school kids in the UK, and they have sent out some downloadable cinema and film-based activities for kids stuck at home. (And there are a lot of you!)

A lot of them sound really fun and interesting (the ideal combo!) and are very doable at home 🙂

I’ll post more links to cool at-home arts stuff as I get the info.

In the meantime, and on a film theme, take a look at this: “Steamboat Willie”, the First Mickey Mouse animation from 1928. It’s a bit crude in places but hilarious (specially if you’re five or six years old, as I have found when I showed it in a primary school!)

I’ll be posting info about how to make your own animations at home next week – animation has got a lot easier to do since 1928!



Make Your Own – Rocket Comic Book!

Make Your Own

Rocket Comic Book!


This latest downloadable make is now up on my DIY page

It’s a simple creative make for kids 7 and up, using basic, inexpensive materials. Click  to go to the DIY page and click on the Rocket Comic Book heading to download.

This fun make can be used to explore Science and Outer Space themes with children. Here’s a link to the NASA website to get you going!


I ran this workshop last year at a library. Here are some pics from the day – more inspiration! 🙂

Samurai Warrior Costume

Here’s another make you can do at home. To find out how to make it, go to to my DIY page  and download the instructions there.

Have fun!

Make Your Own

Samurai Warrior Costume!



Easy make. Some help with stapling and cutting from a grownup required.

Suitable for ages 5 and up.

If you are educating at home, then use this fun activity to do research into Japan and Japanese culture. Here’s the Wikipedia link to get yopu going. Have fun and learn LOTS!


Just to let you know, there were women samurai warriors too. Go girls!






Make Your Own Eggbox Puppet

Make Your Own

Egg Box Hand Puppet & Mini Easter Egg Holder

This is a super-easy make for ages five and up – even doable for younger children if grownups lend a hand. Make sure if you use scissors or a stapler that an adult helps you 🙂

Create a frog, owl, lion, hippo hand puppet (whatever animal you like!) from an old eggbox and basic art materials. And if you fill it with mini chocolate eggs it makes a great Easter present!


An eggbox

Felt tips/Coloured Pencils/Crayons

Poster paint – optional

Collage materials: Fabric, Coloured and patterned paper etc

Glue – PVA, pritt stick

Thin card/strong paper



Glue gun (optional)

Stapler and staples or sticky tape


1 Decide what creature you want to make your eggbox into

2 Draw a simple design onto your egg box

3 Paint (if you’re using paint) or colour your eggbox with pencils and felt tips

4 Then get sticking! Glue on cutout fabric and papers for the skin/fur/feathers, and add details like eyes, beaks, ears and wings last of all

5 Cut out a strip of strong paper or thin card about 3cm wide x 24cm long to make a “handle” for your puppet

6 Staple or sticky tape one end of the strip to the inside edge of your eggbox creature

7 Loop your paper strip over the top of the eggbox









8 Attach the other end of the strip to the other inside edge of the eggbox, making sure you can fit your hand in between the strap and the top of the eggbox. Cut off any excess strip.










9 Fill with chocolate eggs and give to your favourite person!


Puppets in Exeter

I was very lucky to get the opportunity to sit in on some undergraduate puppetry sessions at Exeter University recently. Led by the brilliant Cariad  Astles, I got a real insight into performing with puppets and working out what makes a good performance and puppetry piece.

Really interesting, and extremely useful for a kids puppet show project I have got on the bubble… I managed to sketch some of the students rehearsing with their puppets, great body poses and faces. Here they are, and pictures of the puppets they were using.

Print & Collage Pictures

This is a lovely, accessible way to make beautiful prints, and used by a lot of illustrators to create fascinating and bold images.

Using simple materials: black poster paint, corks, bubblewrap, sponges and corrugated cardboard, we printed onto A4 paper creating beautifully patterned sheets. After drying we cut the paper into shapes to make people, bird, insect and flower images. The results were lovely, well done guys!