Explore Clay Molding

Children have grown up playing with play dough and they love it, but have you had your children explore clay? It is a great way to continue the enjoyment of creating figures out of their imagination.

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Explore Clay

Play dough has been a big hit in our home, and there has been many times that my old children will sit and create with our youngest. There is just something enjoyable about rolling, forming and creating with it.

If you child loves playing with dough, like ours have, the next step would be to explore clay!

Playing with non-harding colorful clay is such a joy for children, giving them hours of fun without worrying about the clay drying or becoming brittle to use during their exploring time. A great way to keep their creations on display until daddy comes home, or even trying their hand at doing a slow motion animation with their creation.

Your older children will love having this fun activity, as well. In fact, air dry clay is a great way to explore during free afternoon activities. As the name implies, the clay will dry in whatever form it is made into, without having to bake it. You can add fun to this activity by using the plastic clay tools for sculpturing.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Cake Decorating

Children love seeing their desserts looking decorated, but they would love it even more if you encouraged them to explore cake decorating and learning how to make all the fun designs with different tips and their favorite colors.

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Explore Cake Decorating

My children have grown up enjoying cookie decorating for Christmas time, but it took me a while to get my children to explore cake decorating. It amazes me that I didn't have them do this earlier because I had taken cake decorating class and even made two wedding cakes for family members, so I had all the stuff and knowledge to let them have fun and explore.

My daughter was in her teens before I got out my supplies and let her join me in decorating a family birthday cake. She loved it… of course!

Next thing I knew, she was creating amazing Christmas cookies that surpassed anything that we have ever done before.

She perfected how to make Wilton's Buttercream frosting, the kind that I used to make the wedding cakes and got a large amount of comments, and now she is hearing the same thing from others.

I would recommend a few simple supplies to get your children started in exploring cake decorating.

  1. Tips – I love using Wilton's tips, but you may a different brand that works. Having at least 5-8 different tips is a great place to start.
  2. Decorating Bags – I prefer the disposable decorating bags, because frosting is difficult to clean out of the plastic ones, and the food coloring will stain the bags, as well.
  3. Couplers – Regardless of the types of decorating bags you use, you will need couplers to hold the tips into place in the bag.
  4. Decorating Book – You can't go wrong with this easy to follow book with how to use the tips to make great decorating on cakes, cupcakes and cookies.

Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Pen Pals

If you have a child who loves to write and always has a pen in their hand, you really should encourage them to explore pen pals.

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Explore Pen Pals

Our daughter has always loved to write. I would have hear write our grocery list that I would narrate to her, she loved to write my to-do list for the day, our packing list for traveling, our booklist for the new school year and anything else I could come up with to give her for her love of writing.

I helped her explore calligraphy, card making and journaling to foster this love of writing.

However, when I opened up the world of exploring pen pals, she was so excited for this new way of using writing to grow relationships. She still keeps writing to those that she had as childhood pen pals and has added a few more, and she is 21 years old.

Here is how we encouraged her to explore pen pals at an early age:

We first found a few pen pals that we knew would be a great fit for her. Although we trusted these pen pals, we still read every letter she wrote (not correcting anything she wrote unless it was not appropriate and that only happened one time) and every letter she received, to be certain that the letters were good for her to continue.

Then for one of her birthdays, we created a pen pal birthday, where we purchased her a full book of stamps, stationary paper that was pretty, gel pens and a box to store them in.

After she went through the box of stamps, she would work to earn more stamps to keep up her writing to her pen pals. She also used her cards that she created as ways to send special letters to her long distant friends.

I highly recommend you to explore pen pals long before putting your child on social media or giving them an email.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Tree Climbing

Do you have a child that loves the outdoors? If so, encourage them to explore tree climbing in their free afternoon activities.

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Explore Tree Climbing

I chuckle when I think of the scene in the Sound of Music, when the father was driving home and saw children hanging from the trees, not realizing these were his own children, because of how they were dressed.

Many parents today, seem to shun the idea of tree climbing, even though they probably did it themselves as a child, because of the fear of their child getting hurt.

I was that parent for a few years, but thankfully, God gave me children who loved to explore tree climbing and many other things that pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed them to have an adventurous childhood, like I did.

I learned a few things in the years of my children learning to explore tree climbing and I would to share them with you.

  1. Children have a need to climb
  2. Even children who are afraid of heights will still climb
  3. Climbing is fun and worth doing

It amazed me that all of our children, and any children that I have observed have this strong need to climb things, not just trees. This need is never quenched, but only increases. Why do we try to remove it and keep it from happening, when we could easily embrace this natural drive to conquer an obstacle in front of them, and teach them how to do it safely?

Even children who are afraid of heights will climb, despite their fear. It is true! My oldest son climbed and climbed a tree in our front yard that my husband had put a ladder on it because once you get past the trunk was a perfect tree to climb, and he wanted our children to enjoy the only tree on our property that would be good for this desire.

Well, my son knew how to climb it and was great at climbing it to really high, but his fear of heights would keep him from being able to come down. Most parents would say, you can't climb the tree, but we wanted our son to learn to face his fear of heights and enjoy exploring tree climbing if he desired to do so.

My husband, myself, my daughter, my brother all took turns climbing the tree to help him find his courage to climb down safely.  He even would climb this fallen tree in a park that we took our nature walks in and would need help finding the courage to scoot back down the trunk.

It took us just a few weeks to get him to feel confident about the skills needed to come down safely and has loved climbing trees, and going on crazy roller coasters since getting over his fear. He realized the fun element of it, overcoming his fear and has loved it ever sense.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Roller Blading

Having active children is so important to their health. One of our favorite ways to do this for our younger children, and as they grow is to explore roller blading for free afternoon activities.

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Explore Roller Blading

Roller blading is a great exercise, but it is also fun for children. When we first explore roller blading, I start with a training inline skates, as well as the safety gear and a helmet to protect bones when failing, which is part of learning.

We literally start in the house, on the carpet and then on the hard wood, to allow the confidence to grow, as well as the technique.

Once I see that they are able to maneuver through the house without falling, I will try roller blades in the house or just see how they do with the training ones outside in our long driveway or at parks trails. (most parks do not like bikes, roller blades or skate board on painted surfaces, so be respective of these things)

Over the years, our children went through a lot of roller blades, but we saved a whole lot of money by purchasing most of them at yard sales and storing them in a large bin for the next child to use, as they grew. It was only a few sizes that we purchased new because they loved to use their free afternoon activity time in roller blading.

One thing to also know, assuming you may want to go to a roller skating rink is that they do not allow skates that have been used outside on their rink.

We have used ours more at our home or outdoor places than indoor rinks, so for us it was worth using them the way that fit our needs.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com

 

 

Explore Pyrography

You may have thought that this was called ‘wood burning', as I have been calling it for years. This is a great hobby for older children to explore pyrography, which is a burning into wood or leather using a metallic tip.

Explore Pyrography - Part of the 31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities | www.joyinthehome.com

Explore Pyrography

My sister-in-law taught our family how to explore pyrography several years ago and we all loved it.

We each choose our own design that we wanted to put on our first projects, using the pyrography kit that we purchased for this new afternoon activity. We also needed wood transfer paper, a pencil and of course a piece of basswood for each of us. (you could use supply store coupons to save money on these)

If you child really wants to explore pyrography, I would recommend this book: Art & Craft of Pyrography, The: Drawing with Fire on Leather, Gourds, Cloth, Paper, and Wood.

It is important that you have something to place the extremely hot pyrography tool on when you aren't using it. Of course, keeping it away from younger children or children who do not follow instructions well, as there could be the chance of getting burned with this activity. Until a child knows how to use this responsibility, I would highly recommend you supervise to ensure proper use and guidelines.

Many people who enjoy pyrography would also enjoy whittling and carving or even wood working crafts.

Once the art of exploring pyrography is learned, this can easily become a skill that could be used to make family gifts or even a way to earn money through craft shows.


Don't forget to enjoy the other free afternoon activities ideas in this 31 day series

31 Days of Exploring Free Afternoon Activities Series - Includes 30 Hands-on Activities Perfect for Handicrafts or Hobbies. | www.joyinthehome.com