Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Scissor, Paper, Stone, Raygun

This one is blends the traditional game of Scissor Paper Stone with an added element of Top Trumps. It was invented by Barney and my young cousin Leon (shown playing in the pictures), and provided an afternoon of entertainment at a family wedding. It's a winner for kids as as it means they can battle it out over whether a stick of dynamite beats a fire squirter, or whether a tractor can destroy a Landrover . All very subjective but certainly encourages some healthy debate.

How to play
  • Form a fist with your hand and on the count of three form the shape of either a pair of scissors, a piece of paper or a stone and hold your hand shape out in front of you
  • The rules of the game are that the shape that you form will either defeat or be defeated by the other players. Scissors cut paper but are blunted by stone and paper wraps stone
  • Once the kids have got the hang of this, they can introduce a weapon, vehicle or even animal of their choice and embark on a healthy debate of which one would win if they met face to face
  • To purchase Organised Fun for Kids click here.

Recycled Carton Houses

If you're stuck inside on a rainy afternoon and caught short without anything to entertain the kids, you can always rely on your recycling bin to help you out. From water bottle lighthouses to egg carton monsters (see other blog entries), you can rescue an afternoon that would otherwise be given over to the television or computer console with a spot of creative imagination. Over the next few months I'll be blogging a host of recycle bin ideas to inspire your young Gormleys and Hirsts. To get things started, why not give the trusty milk or juice carton another lease of life and get our kids to create a carton house.

How to make a carton house
First of all get some coloured paper and cover your milk carton all over - one sheet of A4 is all you need
Next, get the kids to cut out some pictures of windows and doorways and other plants and pots from some gardening or home magazines and stick these into place. If your kids prefer, you can get them to draw the windows, doors and other features in place as Polly is demonstrating below

Finally create your roof by sticking some firmer card or corrugated card on the top to create a pitched roof. Brown felt is another great roof
alternative, especially if your glue isn’t strong enough to stick the card in place. You could even make yourself a chimney by using some rolled up paper or wine bottle cork
To make a block of flats or factory you can use a cereal packet instead but this time keep the square shape and follow the same steps above
Egg boxes are great cut up and used as plant pots or rubbish bins, screwed up bits of tin foil can make railings, strips of black and white paper make great zebra crossings and as always it’s about using what you’ve got in your recycling box or around the house without having to go out and buy something new.

To buy your copy of Organised Fun for Kids click here

Rainbow Rain

Those friendly folk down Bristol way have shown themselves to be dab hands at organised fun. Earlier this month they held Igfest, a jamboree of gaming festivities which took place over four days across the city and featured a whole host of genius gaming shenanigans. One of my favourites has to be Rainbow Rain, where teams compete in a mass coloured water fight.

How do I play it?
Get yourself set up by preparing three buckets of coloured water by adding a healthy dose of poster paint to the water and giving it a good mix.
  • Next make sure everyone has a water pistol with them and is wearing white (a white t-shirt will do). Finally get them into three teams and give each team a bucket of coloured water.
  • On the word go, teams get shooting each other using their team's coloured water.
  • The winning team is the team who's colour dominates the white t-shirts at the end of the battle. Cunning tactics and unsportsmanlike behavior is encouraged, whatever it takes to win.
To buy your copy of Organised Fun and discover an abundance of ideas for homespun entertainment click here.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Paper Caterpillar Puppets

These puppets are an ace piece of crafting fun that are really easy for kids to do and can be made out of whatever paper you have around the house. Once they've cracked the basic concept then the format can be extended to make all sorts of different creatures. You'll be amazed how long some paper, glue and pens can keep them amused.

How to make a caterpillar puppet
  • Ideally you need two sheets of A3 paper (one green and one yellow is ideal), a stick from the garden and some string and a pipe cleaner if you’ve got one to make the antennae. If you don't have the A3 paper then just use whatever you've got to hand. Caterpillars come in all shapes and sizes and if you're using smaller sheets you can just stick them together
  • First of all cut the sheets of paper into 4cm wide strips and give each child one of each colour
Next get them to stick two ends of the strips together so they create a right angle. Once firmly stuck in place, get them to alternate folding the strips of paper over each other to create a corrugated tower structure – see diagram. If you want to make your caterpillar longer, the simply make another and stick the two pieces together

  • Next cut out a large circle to make the head and stick this to the end of the tower and cut out two circles with two smaller black circles inside to create the eyes. If you don’t have any black paper you can draw in the eyes
  • Then take your pipe cleaner and cut two small pieces off and tape these to the back of the head and position them so they curl forward
  • Finally, tape or staple a piece of string to the front and the back of the caterpillar and then tie the other ends to the stick to give you the handle to move the puppet about.
To buy your copy of Organised Fun for Kids click here

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Egg Carton Monsters - Halloween Crafts

This is one of my favourite pieces of make and do for kids. It quickly turns the humble egg carton into a truly realistic and scary monster. Great fun for Halloween crafting

What do I need?

An egg carton, scissors, glue, and red, green, white and blue felt or paper.

How do I make it?
  • First of all, you need to create your monster shape. Carefully tear the lid off the egg carton so that you have two separate parts, and also detach the smaller flap from the lid that is used to hold the carton closed − don’t throw this away as you’ll need it later.
  • Next, you need to cut the bottom part of the egg carton in half down the middle of the tray, to create the teeth. An adult will probably need to do this bit, as it’s quite tricky manoeuvring scissors in between the egg holders.
  • Once you’ve done this, put lots of glue in the egg-carton lid and position the two egg-carton halves in the lid so that they appear like big scary monster teeth. You may need to trim the sides of the egg holders to ensure they fit in.
  • To complete your monster shape, you then take the smaller flap that is normally used to hold the egg carton closed and cut two eye shapes in it, leaving a length at the bottom of each to stick these in place. Put some glue on the length and stick these in the two holes that normally hold the egg carton closed. If possible, it’s a good idea to set your carton aside at this point to leave it to dry.
  • Finally, it’s the fun bit. Cut out a red tongue and stick this in between the teeth as if the monster is poking its tongue out. Next, cut some white and black circles and stick these in place to create the eyes; you could even add some eyelashes if you fancy it. Then cut out a long zig-zag tail and stick it on the back of the egg carton, plus some tentacle-like hands sticking out of the side.
  • All done! All you need to do now is come up with a name.
  • To purchase Organised Fun for Kids click here.

Luke's Teenage Stepping Stone Game

Last weekend we headed down to Devon to hang out with my sis and her husband up on their farm on Dartmoor. Whilst out on gorgeous September walk, my brother in law Luke led the way on a brilliant stepping stone game that he used to play with his mates when they navigated their way through the woodland and down to their favorite fishing spot on the River Dart.

The game basically involves finding your way without touching the ground. You can jump on stones, tree stumps, logs and whatever else you come across - fall off or touch the ground and you're out. Growing up in London, we used to play an urban equivalent which involved avoiding the cracks in the pavement - everyone knows that one.

Friday, 25 September 2009


The Piñata is a traditional Mexican game that's one of the highlights of kids’ parties in Mexico and across the United States. It’s best played outdoors as you need something like a tree to hang your piñata from and enough room to swing the stick. The idea behind the game is that the piñata is full of sweets and tissue paper, and the kids take it in turns to be blindfolded and to bat it down with a stick.

You can buy piñatas from toyshops or online, and I've included instructions for making a proper piñata out of paper mache in 'Organised Fun for Kids', which is great fun for kids to help out with as well.

If like me last weekend, you're short on time and need to rustle one up fairly quickly then why not have a go at this easy-peasy version. Admittedly it looks a little more like a West Highland Terrier Piñata, but that's its British edge. Anyway instructions below:

How to make a piñata (the easy-peasy verison)

Get yourself a couple of cardboard boxes - one large and one smaller and some extra cardboard and cut yourself out some ears.

Next you need to figure out how to fix these in place before you start decorating the elements. We pierced holes in the cardboard and threaded string through, ready for it to be tied in place once the piñata had been covered with the tissue paper.

You also need to fix a strong piece of string or ideally rope so you can hang it up somewhere. Again do this now before you start decorating.

Before you close up the bottom of the large box, fill it with sweets and treats and shredded newspaper and tape it closed.

Once you've got all that figured out, this is where the kids can help. Get some different colored tissue paper and cut into 20cm strips and then snip all the way up to give them a fringe and glue them in place to give your piñata a colorful shaggy coat. Finally tie all the components firmly in place to complete your West Highland Terrier Piñata as in the picture at the top.

How do I play it?
  • When you’re ready to play, gather all the children around the piñata. Each child takes it in turn to be blindfolded and spun around and then with stick in hand they have to try to walk towards the hanging piñata and take a swipe at it to knock it down or knock a hole in it to get the sweets and toys inside.
  • Each child has two swipes. If a child is under three, don’t worry about the blindfold; just let them have their two swipes without. Also, let younger kids go first so the older ones don’t knock it down early on.
  • The winner is the one who knocks a hole in it or knocks it out of the tree.
  • To purchase Organised Fun for Kids click here.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Toilet Paper Mummies

I’m not quite sure what the element of appeal is but this is one of my favourites. This was another one we rolled at the Manchester Kids Good Ideas Show, but again is good for adults as long as they are at the jovial genial stage of the evening. For those conscious of wasting valuable resources, you can wind your toilet roll back up for use, but be warned you are left with an inelegant pile of unhygienic bottom wiping material.

How do I play it?
  • Split players into teams of three and give each team a toilet roll
  • Decide who’s the Egyptian Mummy and stand them in the middle between the other two players. The two players then wrap the third in the toilet roll by winding it around them so that they look like an Egyptian Mummy. If the toilet roll breaks, they must tuck the broken end in and carry on
  • Once done, players must then wind the paper back onto the toilet roll
  • The winning team is the one who completes the task first
To buy a copy of Organised Fun for Kids click here

Friday, 18 September 2009

Competitive Swimming Pool Fun

Again another one I should have blogged at the beginning of the summer, but I'm sure there are a few of you with their holidays still to come. For you lucky ones here are a few of our tried and tested race based swimming pool favourites, alongside a couple from Organised Fun fan Helen Cavendish, that she's used to entertain her kids this summer.
  • Feet First Race: a race across the swimming pool with your feet first
  • Pool Pogo: a bouncing race across the swimming pool where contestants must touch the bottom on each bounce
  • Look no hands: a race across the pool on your front with head out of the water, but with hands behind your back.
  • Whacky Pool Races: this one's great for kids. Width races where someone chooses a different animal to impersonate for each width that they race across the pool
  • Tunnel relay race: get into two teams and each form a line in the pool. On the word 'go' the person at the back has to swim through everyone else's legs and all the way to the front. When they arrive, it's the person at the backs turn to go. This one's for strong swimmers only.
To buy your copy of Organised Fun and discover an abundance of ideas for homespun entertainment click here

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Playground games are dying a death

A new piece of research by Robinson's Fruit Shoots published earlier this week has highlighted that playground games are dying a death as a result of our cotton wool culture and overly protective nanny state.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, more than three in four of today's little girls do not play with skipping ropes. The figure compares with 94 per cent of their mothers who remember skipping to rhymes and songs when they were at school.

Little more than 33 per cent of boys play conkers, while 83 per cent of their fathers have fond memories of glorious conker battles at the same age. A growing appetite for computer games and television is not the only reason that traditional games appear to be passing the present generation by. The survey shows that parents believe today's 'cotton-wool culture', in which children are molly-coddled and not allowed to take any risks, is to blame.
Eighty per cent of parents said modern health and safety regulations were behind the demise of traditional playground favourites such as skipping, conkers, hopscotch, British bulldog and climbing trees.

The research not only highlights the demise and future death of those traditional games that we nostalgically recall from our childhood, more importantly it raises concerns around the loss of a key stage in childhood where kids learn crucial social skills. It's through these games that children learn right from wrong and how to socialise and interact with their peers. After all, Lara Croft is going to be great to show the kids how to navigate their way out of canyons whilst being chased by crazed terrorists, but she's not going to be particularly good at teaching them how to make friends.