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Cool and crafty with Oglee Poglee

Oglee Poglee scooped the award for Best Children's Business in this year's Muddy Awards. Founder Claire Gillespie shares her top tips for crafting screen-free play this summer.


Already wondering how you’ll keep your little darlings entertained and away from their devices over the school summer holidays? Do you dream of a long hot summer where your kids manage to amuse themselves as they build dens, play Poohsticks and put on an amazing puppet show without you needing to get in the car? I can’t promise perfection but I do know someone who, when it comes to creativity and activities for kids, is pretty special. Claire Gillespie is the founder of children’s craft party business Oglee Poglee based in Berkhamsted and well-known for sprinkling her creative magic all over Herts, Bucks and beyond (as well as with her two young boys). Claire has generously offered to share some of her secrets and top tips for a crazily creative summer:

Junk Modelling – Visit a local scrap store for some inspiration, they’re an Aladdin’s cave for children. Think cardboard tubes, paper and more unusual bits and pieces like old cd’s, sticky plastic, wallpaper books, fabric etc. Go and discover, then come home and create something amazing. The Milton Keynes scrap store is my personal favourite because it also has a well-stocked art shop on site but the Watford one is also good.

Rock Painting – The craze continues and is oodles of fun for children of all ages. Simply paint a rock and then hide it in a public place for someone else to find! There are groups all over the UK sharing pictures of their finds and rock designs. Check out the local Hemel Rocks group here to find out more.

Water Fighting – Who doesn’t love a good old water fight… perfect with the current heatwave conditions! We made these fantastic water bombs last year out of old sponges and still talk about it now.

Potion Mixing – This activity is a firm favourite at Oglee Poglee craft parties. Choose everyday ingredients from the kitchen cupboard such as dry pasta, rice, flour and cereals, pour into bowls and mix with water. Tea bags are always fun as they change the colour of the water. How about coming up with some ghoulish names for your potions? Alternatively, head into the garden and create a fairy/elf potion with grass cuttings, mud, twigs.

Cardboard Boxing – The best toy in the world in our house!… just add a dash of imagination! Puppet shows, a shop, pretend tv, spaceship or pirate ship? We created our own dolls house last summer by cutting out pictures from magazines and gluing them onto a cardboard house… beds, lights, cupboards etc.  Perfect for pretend play with Lego Mini Figures, Playmobil or Moshi Monsters.

Treasure Hunting – Keep it simple by hiding items in the garden and asking the kids to find them (coins, pom poms, toys etc) or drawing a quick list of items to find around the house… all kids love a clipboard! Alternatively ask them to find three things in the house that are red or begin with the letter C. Older children could design a treasure hunt with clues for younger siblings to work out.

Play Doughing – Here is an easy recipe for homemade play dough. Why not add colours, herbs and even glitter to create different types? We like to add some chocolate powder which creates the most amazing chocolate play dough, ideal for playing pretend sweetie shops or making afternoon tea for your cuddly toys.

Inventing – Try your hand at a bit of tinkering. With adult supervision take apart something and see how it works.  Perhaps an old cassette player, computer or camera.  Could you make something else out of the pieces (a robot, for example) or simply work out how to put it all back together?!

Let us know how you get on trying out Claire’s tips over the summer. And don’t forget Oglee Poglee is running some local workshops over the summer holidays if you’d like your children to try out the Oglee Poglee creative experience first-hand.

Oglee Poglee




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