Food Painting

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999171_10151749666601683_176654852_nThis is a fun activity for children that is also a great morning or afternoon snack.

My son loved this activity and we will definitely be doing it again as it was really quick to prepare. We repeated the three colours we were using as he was painting to practice our colours and he loved the fact that he was painting his food, as you wouldn’t normally do it! We used two different types of paintbrushes and the thicker brush definitely worked better as it covered the snacks in more paint than the thinner brush. This activity kept my son’s attention for more than half an hour and he enjoyed eating the painted snacks as he went along. You could also leave the snacks to dry afterwards and then eat them.


Paintbrushes, from Early Learning Centre

A drop of food colouring (we used blue and yellow, and then made some green by mixing the blue and yellow)

Milk – we used about 30ml in each bowl and still had some left over (we used full-fat milk, you could also use sweet evaporated milk which would make the ‘paint’ thicker)

Snacks (we used popcorn and Honey Nut Cheerios)


Pour about 30ml milk into a bowl and add a drop of food colouring.


Prepare snacks that you will be painting.

Dip paintbrush into bowl of food colouring and start painting!


*Other snacks you could use – marshmallows, bread (which you could then toast), different types of cereal etc.

*Lighter coloured snacks work best to ‘paint’ as you will see the colours more.


Before Dinner Filler

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We had about 20 minutes until dinner was ready and my son was starting to flag a little – asking for snacks and looking for something to do. I decided to get a colouring book and some coloured felt tip pens out.

He loves Thomas the Tank Engine at the minute so he was easily entertained colouring some pictures in and sticking the stickers from the book onto himself and the different pages.

I sat with him whilst he was colouring and was asking what colour pen he was using (we are learning colours) and he was getting used to taking the lid off and putting the lid back on the pens – great hand-eye coordination practice!

Simple, quick and easy way to distract children from snacks before dinner is ready!

There are lots of ‘100fils shops’ in Kuwait – similar to £1 shops you would get back in the UK but obviously cheaper (100fils is roughly 23 pence). The ones I tend to visit are located in Souk Salmiya, Qatar Street. I get lots of my craft supplies from these stores as prices are really cheap – quality can vary but for the price you can’t moan! You can get feathers, sequins, glitter, seashells, colouring books, beads etc from them. If you are buying quite a lot of items you can always ask for a discount which they will usually give you. I get all my sons colouring books from these stores as they have lots of character books that he loves – Barney, Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Tank Engine etc.

*Thomas the Tank colouring book, from 100fils shop, Souk Salmiya

*Colouring felt tips, from supermarket

Homemade Sensory Music Shakers

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946678_10151747695191683_201221542_nMy son loves making lots of noise and enjoys singing as well as playing musical instruments so this morning I thought it would be fun to make some of our own music makers! This way my son could see how we make the music as well as being able to play with the shakers afterwards. It is a fun, homemade and cheap activity to keep children busy and entertained.

I had been saving up empty water bottles from when I was teaching as they always came in useful for different crafts and activities. Some of the different materials we used I had already at home and some I bought at the supermarket this morning. In our bottles we choose to use rice, small macaroni pasta, seashells, small rocks, dried green peas and porridge oats. We choose materials that wouldn’t all make the same sound when shaken and ones that were small enough to easily fit into the neck of the water bottle.

I prepared the materials into small bowls and then explained the different types of material to my son. I showed him what we were going to do by starting with our ‘easiest’ material – the rocks. I placed a couple of rocks into the bottle and then allowed my son to carry it on until all the rocks were gone. I then screwed the lid onto the bottle tightly (you could glue the lid on if you wish) and showed my son how it made lots of noise when we shook it. He loved shaking the bottle and hearing the different noises it made as we shook it faster and slower. We carried on with the other materials; using a different water bottle for each type of material.  My son really enjoyed doing the pasta, seashells and dried peas but needed a little help with the rice and oats as they were much smaller in size.

We then had some music time were myself, my husband and my son shook the different bottles quickly, slowly, loudly and quietly. My son also enjoyed seeing the different materials move up and down the bottle as well as the noise they made.

*Other materials you could also use – salt, sugar, lentils, different types of cereal, sand, water, dried beans, buttons, popcorn, glitter etc








Materials used:

Empty water bottles (small size)

Seashells, from 100fils shop at Souk Salmiya (you could also use ones you have collected from the beach)

Small rocks, from Ikea at The Avenues (again you could collect your own at the beach)


Small macaroni Pasta

Porridge Oats

Dried green peas

Messy play mat, from Early Learning Centre, The Avenues

White box, from IKEA, The Avenues


Play dough afternoon

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971362_10151744093616683_690694265_nWe had some time to kill before dinner so we decided to get the play dough out. My son really enjoys squeezing play dough into different shapes as well as feeling the texture of the dough go through his fingers. He used to play with play dough a lot when he was in creche so I knew he would enjoy seeing it again.

We used four different pots of play dough – red, yellow, blue and white. When then used these colours to make some orange, pink and a lighter blue. My son enjoyed repeating the colours to me as I explained what colours we were playing with. It is an easy way to introduce the names of colours to a young child without removing the fun from playtime. During our playing we made different shapes (circle, square and triangle) and my son tried making some of his own shapes. We used the plastic cutting knife to cut the play dough into different quantities and counted them as we cut. My son then had some free-time using the different cutters and shape moulds by himself.

Playing with playdough has great benefits for children as well as it being fun and messy! It develops their fine motor skills by using different muscles in their hands through poking, squeezing, rolling and chopping to build their strength – making them ready for using scissors and pens when they are older. It also develops a child’s imagination through creating different ‘make-believe’ items. I was asking my son what he would like us to make and he choose a cake which we put candles on and sung ‘Happy Birthday’. The list of things you can make with play dough is endless – from pretend food to animals and people. You can also use playdough for learning – cutting shapes, numbers and letters, chopping out different quantities and sorting colour, shape, length and size.

*Messy play mat purchased at the Early Learning Centre, The Avenues (helps keep the ‘mess’ to a minimum and is easy to clean).

*Play-doh purchased at Baroue, The Avenues (be careful when buying the cheaper brands as we have found it is often quite dry and cannot be used to make much. Try and stick to the actual Play-doh brand – its worth the extra money!)

*Playdough cutters and rollers purchased in the UK from car-boot sale (I am guessing they will sell them in Kuwait in the usual toy stores in the Playdough section – Baroue, Toys R Us, Early Learning Centre, Fantasy World etc).


**Remember you don’t need lots of colours of playdough – you can make different colours by mixing colours together).


Dora the Explorer Cupcake Mix

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66434_10151743761901683_1657002581_nI often make different cake mixes with my son as it is an easy way that he can join in helping to mix and make something. Yes its no gourmet homemade recipe but some days making cakes from a cake mix can fill a much needed gap for ‘something to do’ without much preparation as some days you just don’t have the time or energy!  It’s hard to find the usual cupcake mixes in Kuwait that I am used to from back ‘home’ – and if the supermarkets do sell them here they are usually double the price I would pay back in the UK. So usually when my parents visit us or if we travel back to the UK I make sure that we stock up!

My son is really into characters at the moment – Barney, Thomas the Tank and Peppa Pig so when he saw the Dora the Explorer cake mix box he got very excited! Everything was included in the box apart from 1 egg, 6g butter and 25ml water which made things very easy for us! I helped my son pour the cake mix, butter, water and the egg into a bowl and carefully showed him how to whisk the ingredients together. He helped me to spoon the creamy mixture into the cake cases and then they went into the oven for 10 minutes. The Dora cake mix came with a special activity pack and stickers so they entertained my son whilst the cakes were in the oven and gave me chance to clean the kitchen up. Once the cakes were cooked and looking slightly brown I took them out to cool. Once they were cool enough my son helped me to make the icing sugar. I then spread the icing sugar onto the cakes whilst he decided what Dora decorations to put onto each cake – this was his favourite bit!

Making the cakes took a good half an hour and filled a little gap of time before my son’s lunchtime when he was getting slightly bored. He really enjoyed looking at the cakes and deciding which one to eat after his lunch.



*For those looking for similar cake mixes in Kuwait I have seen them for sale at Lu&Lu Hypermarket, Sultan Center and Geant.

Puppy Chow

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Today I was looking for a sweet treat to feed my cravings for sugar and chocolate and also something simple that my toddler could help in making. I found a really easy recipe for Puppy Chow on however it was for making a fairly big portion and as my husband is on a diet and its quite sugary for my son to eat too much of; I adjusted the quantities slightly.

My son really enjoyed helping pour the cereal into the bowl after I measured it out along with carefully stirring the melted mixture of chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter – and was even caught sneaking a few chocolate chips! He liked the texture of shaking the bag with the mixture in and seeing the powdered sugar move around the bag.

* For those with nut allergies you could try replacing the peanut butter for a nut-free chocolate spread.


Chex cereal (any kind) – 3 cups

Chocolate chips – 1 cup

Peanut Butter (smooth) – 1/2 cup

Unsalted butter (melted) – 1/8 cup

Vanilla – 1 teaspoon

Powdered Sugar – 1 cup


  1. Measure Chex cereal into a mixing bowl and put to one side.
  2. Place chocolate chips, peanut butter and melted butter into a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Stir.
  4. Cook for another 15 seconds or until smooth.
  5. Add vanilla.
  6. Pour mixture over the cereal and stir until coated.
  7. Pour mixture into a Ziploc bag and add the powdered sugar.
  8. Shake well until coated.
  9. Pour mixture onto baking sheet or waxed paper to cool.

About Me

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aboutmeHello and welcome to ExpatFamilyQ8!

I’m Gemma and I am a UK expat living in Kuwait. I have been living in Kuwait since 2010 with my husband, my son who was born in May 2011 and my daughter who is due to arrive in October 2013. Whilst living in Kuwait I have worked as a Teaching Assistant and a Teacher. For the foreseeable future I will be staying at home with my children and I am planning and researching lots of fun activities to keep us sane and entertained!

I love spending my time doing things with my family whether that be cooking, playing, making crafts or days out. I am hoping by starting this blog it will encourage me to try new places and restaurants and become more creative when thinking of things to do with my children at home.

I look forward to sharing my ideas with you and would love to hear what you think of my blog.