kids crafts

NEW edition of Action Pack Magazine – for EVERYONE!

Family Apothecary – 50+ pages of salves, lotions, balms and crafty projects!

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [you can save the file to your hard drive and access it, read, and print it anytime and you can view the pdf on a Tablet or iPad].

This issue is pretty amazing – if I do say so myself :) My family and I have had such a lot of fun experimenting and trying out recipes and new (to us) ingredients. I have really enjoyed the process of removing a lot of chemical products from our lives – toothpaste and deodorants for starters (something I have been wanting to do for a long time), and I have loved the smells of herbs and essences pervading the home.


  • An historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses ‘materia medica’.
  • A person who dispensed medicines derived from herbs, plants and roots.
  • One who practices herbalism and sometimes alchemy as well; Ancient word for “pharmacist”.

In our Family Apothecary Action Pack Magazine you’ll find:

[all using herbs and commonly found simple ingredients like beeswax, olive oil and bicarb soda (plus a few special products too — like coconut oil and kaolin clay).]

  • Home herbal medicinal recipes (salves and cold remedies)
  • Eco-home cleaning and freshening ideas (natural cleaning products and washing recipes)
  • Eco beauty treatments (lip balms, creams and hair tonics)
  • Natural personal products (toothpaste and deodorant)

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

As well as detailed step-by-step how-to’s you’ll also find a slew of additional tips, ideas and alternative recipes for making some wonderful natural body, home and medicinal products for the whole family — all are easy enough for older kids to try but I know YOU will want to get stuck into this too.

PLUS there are sewing projects — eye mask, sleeping pillow, heat pack and lavender sachets (and more) which are all very easy to make and include detailed instructions.

And there is MORE … Each chapter has fact sheets highlighting some of the products that are used throughout, as well as a printable herbal guide AND each chapter has a page of printable gift tags too!

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf [which can also be viewed on a Tablet or iPad].

Important: The pdf magazine will be automatically delivered via e-mail as soon as your payment is received. The e-mail you receive will include a link to download the file directly to your computer. Please note that the link will only allow you to access the file for a limited period (150 hours or 5 tries), so please make sure to download and save the file on your own computer as soon as you receive it. Lost files may be replaced for a period of 30 days following purchase.


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Jean Van’t Hul lives the mountains of North Carolina and is passionate about children’s art and creativity. She shares her passion and projects on her blog (The Artful Parent) and she has an upcoming book about children’s art coming out soon. I asked Jean a few questions about her Autumn Crafts E-book and discussing her philosophy on children’s creativity.

1. This e-book is aimed at pre-school age – can you tell us a little more about how you engage children becoming creative and keep their attention?

The book is perfect for families with pre-school age children, yes, but also for those with both older and younger children. My three-year-old and seven-year-old daughters enjoyed the activities equally, and I think many of the activities would be engaging for up to pre-teens. Heck, I love most of them myself, and I’m 35!

You can give your children the gift of creativity with encouragement, a few art materials, and the freedom to experiment. It doesn’t take much.

1. Ready access to art materials and tools
2. Encouragement in art and in life
3. An environment where experimentation is encouraged and “mistakes” are okay

If these three ingredients are in place, children are free to be creative in art and that creativity transfers over to play and everyday life as well.

2. You have a new book coming out with Roost – congratulations – are you able to tell us a little about this book – what we can expect and how it came to be?

I would love to! The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family’s Life with Art and Creativity is a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to encourage their children’s creativity through art. It is filled with our all-time favorite art activities as well as information to inspire and guide parents as they make art a priority in their family life.

The Artful Parent:
• Helps parents set up an art space for their children
• Talks about the arts and crafts supplies they really need (and how to stock their art cupboards without breaking the bank)
• Shares how to talk with their kids constructively about their art (you know, rather than just saying, “that’s nice, dear”)
• And provides more than enough fun art activities to keep families happily creating year round

3. What are you favourite materials and products to use when creating with children? Can you talk a little about setting up a creative space for children?

My favorite materials? The list is so long! I’d say the basics are important and all you really need. There is so much children can do with paints, paper, a few drawing tools, scissors, tape, and some sort of dough such as playdough.

But favorites? Let’s see. We really love colored masking tape in our home. And printed washi tape. The kids use them for all kinds of collage creations, 3-D art, mixed media projects, you name it. I also use both for gift wrap. [Jean’s favourite art supplies list.]

Other favorites:

  • Liquid watercolors
  • Glitter paint
  • Glitter glue
  • Glitter (sense a theme here?)
  • Shaving cream (not my favorite, but it’s my kids’ top fave so I have to include it)
  • Model Magic
  • Oil pastels
  • Watercolor crayons

4. Can you talk also about how you have nurtured a creative home and your philosophy when creating with children?

I believe in process-oriented art for children, especially younger children. This means that the process of the art making is more important than the end product. That the art is ultimately open-ended and child-directed. This is pretty much the opposite of what I experienced as a child in grade school where my classmates and I would carefully follow instructions to recreate a teacher-made model of a bunny or snowman or something — cutting out on the dotted line and pasting the eyes on the “x”. Instead, I believe children’s art should be more exploratory in nature — about exploring the materials, different techniques, their growing skill set, and their ideas and feelings.

Having a beautiful end product that you can hang on the wall is great! But it shouldn’t be the whole focus of children’s art. The freedom to explore (and make mistakes) is important to creativity. The books by MaryAnn Kohl (First Art, Scribble Art, Preschool Art, etc) and the books by Susan Striker (Young at Art, Please Touch) both had a big influence on me and my philosophy on children’s art and creativity.

As for a creative home environment, I have made our home as much for our children as for my husband and me. Kid stuff isn’t relegated to one room. We have kid-sized furniture throughout the house, my daughters’ toys and books are in most rooms, and there are spaces for creating throughout the house as well.

Tools and spaces for creative explorations are readily available — I think this is pretty important. The accessibility is age dependent — for example, I kept scissors and choking hazards out of reach when my 3 year old was younger. Now, I continue to keep the permanent markers and some other supplies out of reach to ensure that they are used when I’m ready to supervise. But many of our supplies are accessible for them to use when the desire strikes.

  • There is a child’s table in the main living space where the kids draw or create with playdough.
  • We have a basket of paper and some crayon rocks next to the dining table.
  • We turned a yard sale find into a large chalkboard with a fresh coat of paint a couple years ago.
  • Maia has a desk in her bedroom and she does a fair bit of drawing, cutting, and taping there.

And, as my Artful Parent readers know, we are lucky to have an art studio in our home as well. It started out as a large laundry room, but we’ve turned it into a dedicated art space with art tables, a wall of shelves for art supply storage, and an art drying wall. It’s been wonderful to have, especially for messy art projects, but in the end I think the majority of our family art making happens at our dining table. [More about making space for kids.]

 FREE excerpt 

from Jean’s Autumn Crafts E-book :: Leaf Printed Napkins Project – PDF Download.

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For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

Book: Hand in Hand

by Admin on 03/06/2012

in Books, Kids Crafts

Jenny Doh is head of crescendoh and a lover of art. She is here today introducing her latest book: Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids.

When someone asks me what the key is to being a good parent, I always say “creativity”. Parents know this truth universally because we’ve all been there … whether it’s the challenge of managing our children through sickness, tantrums, boredom, or rebellion, the answer lies in our ability to sing to them, play make-believe with them, paint with them, cook with them, color with them … and show them gently and quietly that they are capable of creating beauty and calm.

Jenny Doh with her children

It’s easier said than done, though. To enlist creativity rather than other shortcuts to managing our kids day in and day out takes patience, commitment, and imagination.

Hand in Hand is a book that features 20 amazing mommy bloggers who share their unique stories about parenting … stories that underscore the importance of engaging with our children through creativity. They also offer instruction on their favorite tried and true child-friendly craft projects that are fun, and designed for success to be had by all family members. It is a book with a message and projects that will remain evergreen … as long as kids are kids and parents are parents.

Many thanks to the contributing artists and parents of Hand in Hand as follows:

Jackie Boucher :: weelife :: Samantha Cotterill :: Mummy Sam :: Jenny Doh :: Crescendoh :: Maya Donenfeld :: maya*made :: Ali Edwards :: AE Blog :: Rachel Faucett :: Handmade Charlotte :: Pam Garrison :: Pam Garrison :: Abby Glassenberg :: While She Naps :: Cindy Hopper :: Skip to my Lou :: Beki Lambert :: Artsy-Crafty Babe :: Merrilee Liddiard :: mer mag
:: Jhoanna Monte :: One Red Robin :: Jessica Okui :: Zakka Life :: Ella Pedersen :: Little Red Caboose :: Carly Schwerdt :: Nest Studio :: Amanda Blake Soule :: soule mama :: Nicole Spring :: Frontier Dreams :: Jean Van’t Hul :: The Artful Parent :: Dana Willard :: MADE :: Kristin Zecchinelli :: Maine Momma


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

  1. Nature explorer bag
  2. Creativity centre for toddlers
  3. Kids science experiment box
  4. Mud Pie kitchen
  5. Toddlers sewing basket


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website

I am very excited to almost be able to introduce to you the Celebration issue of Action Pack Magazine for kids. This issue is a whopper – and is coming together at last. I had hoped to release it today – alas there are a few final touches that need to happen before I can do that – but by Friday – I promise it will be here!

In the meantime here is a little taster of what you can expect…

  • Recipes: cookies and holiday treats from around the world (9 recipes)
  • Decorations: – ornaments, wreaths, banners and a nativity scene (8 projects)
  • Games and gifts: – Wintry scenes to cut out and display, cards and gift tags, dress ups and games to make and play with (6 projects including printables)

Am very excited to be introducing lots of contributors in this issue too: 

  • Verity Heysen Kizek: Verity is a illustrator just moved from Istanbul to Australia. In Istanbul, she loved going for walks around her local neighbourhood with her four year old son Yashar, and catching the ferry across the Bosphorus.
  • Lorraine Teigland: Lorraine loves cardboard and sewing. She used to be a Science teacher but now stays home with her three daughters Emily (age 7), Jenna (age 5) and Kate (age 3). All three girls love art and craft, princess, dolls, dressing-up, dancing, baking and inventing. Together, they have made many cardboard things, including dollhouses, cars, scooters, traffic lights, ships, trees, a train and a grocery store. Lorraine is also slowly teaching them to sew toys, clothes and bags for themselves and their dolls.
  • Kathreen Ricketson (thats me): Kathreen is the founder of Action Pack, she lives in Canberra Australia with her husband Rob and their two children: Orlando (9-yrs old) and Otilija (11-yrs old). They have some chooks and recently added a pair of ducklings to their family (their names are Five-spice and Soy-sauce).
  • Joanie Gorman: Joanie lives in Hampshire, England with her children, Tristan (13) and Grace (almost 10) and their dog Pippi (18 months). Joanie is a writer and art teacher and makes a mean chocolate brownie. You can often find her with her kids in the woods with their funny little border terrier.
  • Carina Envoldsen-Harris: Carina lives in England but is originally from Denmark. She has lots of crafty adventures in embroidery, crochet and sewing. When Carina isn’t crafting or drawing you can probably find her watching Star Wars!
  • Clare Collins: Clare is from Perth, Western Australia, and lives on a sail boat in Mexico with her husband, Ken, and their four children, Matthew, Drew, Isabelle and Nico. They collect dolls made by the indigenous people of the countries they visit and they love learning about different crafts and celebrations.
  • Francesca Mueller: Francesca lives with her husband and three children in an ancient village in northern Italy, perched on a limestone cliff by the Mediterranean. They love to grow vegetables, cook delicious food, go on nature walks and whittle wood as well as many other creative things.
  • Pascale Mestdagh: Pascale has two daughters, 8 and 11 years old. They all live in Paris, France, where they like to create with fabric, yarn, wool, paper, paint and glue. They give each other unlimited inspiration.!
  • Anna Hytonen: is mother to Agnes and Leo. They take turns to celebrate Christmas in both Finland and Sweden, as they have family in both countries.
In the meantime I have packaged together all seven issues so far this year – and you can get them all for a discounted price … 

Available here and now – or go to the shop to purchase it from there.

This is an e-magazine – you will receive a download link to a high quality printable pdf

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Action Pack 2011 Bundle: Issues 1-7: Set of 7 Action Pack Magazines. Includes Issues 1-7. Save $ by buying the whole set only $30. Great gift for the active, creative children in your life!

  • :: Issue 1: Paper + Beeswax (Origami projects, beeswax & honey projects)
  • :: Issue 2: Seeds + Beads (Beaded dragonfly, cooking and growing seeds)
  • :: Issue 3: Sew + Tea (learn about tea, sew a tea cosy & a play tea set)
  • :: Issue 4: Great Outdoors (bumper issue 80 pages of outdoor crafts, adventures and cooking)
  • :: Issue 5: Chalk + Cheese (Learn how to make your own chalk, cheese and other crafty projects using these materials)
  • :: Issue 6: Zap + Zest (Bumper issue around the themes of electricity and citrus)
  • :: Issue 7: Sticks + Stones (Projects using lots of natural materials).
What do you think of the cover of the new Celebration issue? … so hard to get kids to take a not too silly photo! Just bribe them with the pavlova they just finished making.