Monsters Inc Cupcake Mix

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Monsters Inc Cake Mix

Monsters Inc Cake Mix

I had been searching for a cake or cookie recipe to make with my son a few days ago and realised we didn’t have much flour left. Really wanting to do some baking with him and also craving a sweet fix, I remembered that we had some cupcake mix boxes in the cupboard. I asked my son which one he would like to do and after recentely watching the new Monsters University movie he choose the Monsters Inc cupcake mix. This mix was actually bought in the UK by my parents for us and unfortunately I haven’t seen it available here in Kuwait, but I could be wrong!

Everything we needed to make the cupcakes was included in the box apart from an egg, a small amount of butter and 30ml water which was great!Β 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 then helped me to spoon the creamy mixture into the cake cases and they went into the oven for 12-15 minutes.Β Once the cakes were ready I took them out to cool and once they were cool enough my son helped me to make the icing sugar by adding a little water to the icing mix at a time. I then spread the icing sugar onto the cakes whilst he decided what Monsters Inc decorations to put onto each cake – which he loved!

This activity took about 30 minutes not including the cooking time as I explained all the different ingredients to my son and allowed him to take his time mixing with different utensils. I have noticed that his mixing and coordination when using a spoon has greatly improved the past couple of months since we have been cooking and baking regularly. I try to do at least one cooking or baking activity with him each week. Even if you don’t have time to set aside for a special recipe – you could allow your child to help you make lunch or dinner once a week by explaining the different ingredients and using different utensils – great for vocabulary and coordination practice. Doing this may also help fussy eaters as they can see what ingredients go into their meals.

*Similar cake mixes are available at Lu&Lu Supermarket/Hypermarket, Sultan Center and Geant.

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Paper Plate Bird Craft

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Bird Paper Plate Craft

Bird Paper Plate Craft

I always have a big collection of paper plates in different sizes in our crafts box at home as there are so many different arts and crafts projects you can do with them. They really are a great addition to your crafts box and so cheap to buy. Throw a pack in the next time you visit the supermarket!

Yesterday we decided to make a bird by using a paper plate. My son loved playing with the different coloured feathers and was telling me the colours of them. He also learnt the word ‘feather’ as we hadn’t come across it before. I then explained that we were going to make a bird which he was very excited about and showed him how we were going to make it.

Later in the day, once the glue had dried my son loved running around with his bird and was pretending that it was flying around our apartment. Quick and easy craft that provided lots of entertainment after it was finished too!

Materials used:

A paper plate

Coloured feathers, from 100 fils shop in Souk Salmiya

A pair of googly eyes, from 100 fils shop in Souk Salmiya

Glue, from the Early Learning Centre at the Avenues

Instructions:

Fold paper plate in half. I did this for my son but an older child could do it themselves.

Spread glue across the halved paper plate and allow your child to stick the feathers on.

Glue on googly eyes and beak.

Allow to dry.

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Homemade Cookie Dough

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Homemade Cookie Dough

Homemade Cookie Dough

I really love cookie dough when it is in ice cream so I thought I would try making some that we could just eat on its own without needing to go and buy to a tub of ice cream.

Obviously eating raw egg isn’t good for you so I was very excited when I came across a no-egg cookie dough recipe on Disney Family. The recipe is for cookie dough bites but we actually made one big batch and cut it into squares instead.

Ingredients:

1 cup soft butter

2 cups flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

chocolate chips

Sprinkles (for decorating)

Instructions:

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well – using your hands will get it together more.

Add some chocolate chips and mix in.

Spoon the mixture into a dish (we used a thin round dish) and add extra chocolate chips and sprinkles for decoration.

Store in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Toilet Roll Tube Painting

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1209417_10151816669021683_728834431_nYesterday we did some painting with toilet roll tubes/holders as I have been saving our empty ones for a while now (they come in handy for tons of different crafts).

Whilst my son was having some free play time I cut the tubes into different patterns ready to paint with. If you have an older child they could practise their scissor skills by cutting the patterns themselves. I then explained to my son that we were going to dip the toilet roll holders into the paint and then stamp them onto the paper.

He enjoyed this activity and was saying different words that the stamps looked like – he did a yellow stamp with the tube and said it was the sun! He also practised naming his colours as he was choosing them. Really quick to set up and not much mess afterwards as the the paper plates and toilet roll holders can go straight into the rubbish bin.

Materials used:

Paint, from the Early Learning Centre at the Avenues

White paper, from Office Depot at the Avenues

Toilet roll holders/tubes

Paper plates (to put the paint on) you could use regular bowls or plates but paper plates means less cleaning up – they can go straight into the bin when you have finished!

Messy Play Mat, from the Early Learning Centre at the Avenues

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Edible Painting

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Jello Paint

Jello Paint

We haven’t chance to do much crafty or arty things at home the past couple of weeks as we have been out most days enjoying the last of the summer holidays before my husband is back in work. But with a free afternoon a couple of days ago we decided to do some painting but with a twist! We made some edible paints by mixing Jello with some food colouring!

To make the edible paint we made the Jello as per the instructions on the box (mixing milk with the Jello mix) and allowing it to set for 5 minutes before serving the Jello into the individual pots in our cake tin. We then added a different colour of food colouring into each of the six Jello portions and mixed it in until it turned the colour we wanted. We used red, blue, yellow and green food colouring for our paints. To make the purple paint we mixed red and blue food colouring and to make the orange paint we mixed red with yellow.

The paints came out really well on paper – I was very surprised; they were like a thicker version of real paint and probably cheaper as well! My son really enjoyed using thick and thin paintbrushes that we recently bought from Ikea at the Avenues as he could see the thick and thin marks that the ‘paint’ was leaving behind. He was slightly hesitant to taste the paint at first (probably as he thought you aren’t supposed to eat paint) but eventually enjoyed dipping his fingers in and licking the paint off.

Really simple and quick to make the ‘paint’ and much cheaper than using real paint. Plus its a different consistency for your child to see and also the added bonus that they get to taste it too! We will definitely making this ‘paint’ on a regular basis.

Materials used:

Jello (any flavour – we used Cheesecake flavour), from baking aisle in supermarket

Food colouring

Paint brushes, from Ikea at the Avenues

Muffin/cake tin

Messy Play Mat, from the Early Learning Centre at the Avenues

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Oz Land at Al Dome Mall, Abu Halifa

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The Oz Land

The Oz Land

A friend of mine recently told me about a soft play area that we hadn’t visited before so at the beginning of this week we decided to drive down to Abu Halifa and check it out. The soft play area is in a mall called Al Dome Mall which is located next to Kuwait Magic on the Abu Halifa Gulf Road. Al Dome Mall is quiet small with mainly restaurants and coffee shops; Planet Hollywood, Chilli’s and a few children’s activities; Goal! Junior and Fit4Fun. The mall itself was really quiet when we visited around 11am but I imagine it might get busier in the evenings with people coming to eat and socialise.

The soft play area; Oz Land is quiet small as well but a refreshing change to the places we normally revisit over and over again. Oz Land has a soft play area with a couple of ball pits and a slide, a sand pit with a slide and sand toys, a trampoline, a rotating tower and a pet area where you can feed and pet different animals. What I liked about Oz Land is you can either choose to pay individually for each play area (soft play, sand pit, each animal area, trampoline etc) or you can pay for an ‘everything included’ ticket. To play on everything the ticket costs 5KD or you can pay 1KD/2KD per item/area. We choose to just visit the sand pit and the soft play castle which cost us 4KD.

The sand area had lots and lots of toys inside – probably too many for the space of sand there was as well as a plastic seesaw and slide. Inside the room was also a couple of chairs and a table for parents to sit at. The sand pit was nice for the age of our son and I liked the fact that the sand area was in a separate area with a door so we didn’t have to worry about him running off anywhere! The only thing I was disappointed about was that there were quite a few ants crawling around on the steps up to the sand pit plus a few bits of rubbish (tissues, lollypop sticks) in the sand that my husband had to clear up before our son played. The soft play area is quiet small but big enough for a toddler to run around and enjoy. Our son really enjoyed the ball pit which was nice and full of colourful balls and he liked the fact that he was able to climb in and out of it himself too. There was also a big slide and a swing inside the play area. Again, the cleanliness inside the soft play area was a bit of a let down – it was extremely dusty inside the ball pit that our hands and feet felt quiet dirty after being in there. It could do with a bit of a mop or wipe.

The unusual thing about Oz Land is the Pet Zone that they have – I have never seen anything like it at a play area! They have 3 different rooms with cats, a bird, rabbits and tortoises in and you can pay to feed and pet the animals. The animals were really clean and healthy and we were told by the staff that the animals receive vet checks and are groomed every month and that their pens/rooms were cleaned daily. I would of loved to have fed some of the animals but our son is scared of anything but fish at the minute so we just watched the animals through the glass which was nice enough.

I would visit Oz Land again as it is somewhere we have not visited over and over again so feels quiet new and exciting but I would like it to be slightly cleaner next time. I really like the Pet Zone area and the fact that the people working there seem to really care and look after the animals well. Hopefully once my son is over his fear of animals we will be able to visit again and pet the animals.

Location: Al Dome Mall (Next to Kuwait Magic), Abu Halifa Gulf Road, Abu Halifa. Click here for a map.

Opening Times: 10am-11pm

Price: 4KD to play in all areas (including feeding/petting animals) or 1KD/2KD per area if paying individually

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Discovery Place at The Scientific Center

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Sand Pit at Discovery Place

Sand Pit at Discovery Place

A few days ago we visited Discovery Place at the Scientific Center. Discovery Place is a educational area which is full of science exhibits that are fun and entertaining. It has different activities where you can learn about energy and how to create it (solar, kinetic and and magnetic) and it has an area for travelling exhibits which is changed every 6 months, at the moment it is the Robot Zoo. The different activities and exhibits at Discovery Place include a machine to see how fast it would take you to burn off the calories of a sugar cube, spinning and rotation experiments and a buzz wire experiment. The Robot Zoo which will be at Discovery Place until the end of November 2013 includes huge animal robots and different activities that allows visitors to see the world through an animal’s eyes – a bar to hang like a bat, a piece of frosted glass to show you how a housefly sees the world and an exhibit to show how a chameleon changes its colour.

Discovery Place also has a planetarium with ‘Star Shows’ every day. Click here for the timings.

We visited about 9.30am and had the place to ourselves for about 40 minutes until another family came. It was great as our son could run around and we didn’t have to worry about him bumping into anyone. He really enjoys the big sandpit they have in there and with it being empty – he had it to himself as well as all the trucks and sand toys. He could have easily spent our whole trip playing in there. He also liked trying on the camouflage outfits and watching himself on the television screen at how he ‘disappears’ and of course he loved throwing the plastic balls that stuck on to the ‘Stuck on You’ exhibition screen.Β The staff and security guards were really friendly and were giving our son lots of attention and smiles which he obviously loved. Every time we have been it has always been immaculately clean and all of the exhibitions have been in great working order.

There are a few food outlets at the Scientific Center – Pizza Hut, Burger King, Starbucks and a few stalls selling ice cream, nachos and popcorn. During the school academic year on weekdays the Burger King restaurant can get VERY busy with school trips meaning you may have to wait a while for your food and also eat in a complete mess of a restaurant with food and wrappers across the floor, tables and chairs. We tend to stick with Starbucks now as it is much quieter and cleaner.

Discovery Place is a great place for children of all ages – younger children can enjoy the large sandpit whilst older children can learn and enjoy the different scientific exhibitions and activities. We visit every couple of months just for the lovely sandpit – the exhibitions are a bonus!

Location: Discovery Place, the Scientific Center, Gulf Road, Salmiya. Click here for a map.

Opening Times: Saturday-Wednesday 9am-9.30pm, Thursday 9am-10pm and Fridays 2pm-10pm

Price: Adult 2KD, Children (3-12 years) 2KD. Children under 3 years of age are free.

*Discovery Place offers an afternoon delight ticket Sunday-Wednesdays from 2pm-5pm for 1KD each per adult and child.

*You can also buy combo tickets where you can add an extra attraction (Aquarium, IMAX) to your ticket for a reduced price.

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