I look after my niblings (niece and nephew) each week and, spotting that there were four weeks in December before Christmas, decided that I'd put together an Aunty Advent with a different Christmassy craft/experience each week. I painted a set of little wooden drawers and each week we'll open a drawer and see what's inside!
WEEK ONE - snow globes : suitable for toddlers and up
That's right, we kicked off the first week of Aunty Advent by making snow globes!! One of Toddler Niblings favourite stories is Jolly Snow from the Old Bear books and it features a snow globe, so our first week had to be making our very own one! I spent the weeks leading up to it, practising with different 'snow' and water options to see what would work the best and I'm pretty sure I've perfected it!
I found this a great activity to do with a toddler as they can do pretty much all of it themselves and the only mess is water (and glitter...)
So, for those of you that want to make your very own snow globes, then keep reading for a full run down on what we used and how we did it.
You will need :
- Glitter - I used White Bio Glitter from Hobbycraft (I used this one) and if you want an extra something then I also used a few bits of silver confetti from The Works (I can't find it online but it's sequin-sized and cost £1 for the tube). tip for glitter, you want the bigger sized glitter as it'll fall more like snow
- Snow Globe - obviously the most important part! I used this one from Hobby because I wanted that globe shape. It's big and plastic so perfect for little ones! You can also use an old glass jar, just make sure it has a tight lid.
- Resin / Plastic ornaments - I got a BUNCH from Hobbycraft (because I couldn't choose!) but you can also use old plastic toys (if doing the glass jar method)
- Glycerine - to slow down the glitter as it falls
- Pipette (optional) to add the glycerine into the water and PTFE tape to help create a waterproof seal
- Distilled water - I got some from Amazon and it was expensiveeeee. You don't necessarily have to use distilled water but it does help with keeping the snow globe fresh. You could also try ironing water, which I tried for my test one.
- Optional big tray to sit everything in because toddlers + water = mess!
You'll also need a screwdriver, some little screws and a small drill if doing this method, but they're not needed for the glass jar version :)
OK, so let's getting making!
A little note before we start, if using the above snow globe : these have a silicone stopper, which is great for helping to keep the water in but rubbish in the fact that nothing sticks to silicone! This is where the drill comes in...I found the best way was to drill a small hole in the resin ornaments (Grandad and I did this beforehand using a modelling drill) and then use a bradawl to poke a small hole into the stopper where you want the figure to go. You can then screw from underneath the stopper to secure your figure in place.
- Attach the figures onto the silicone stopper *see note above* or if using the glass jar method, glue the figures to the inside of the jar lid. We managed to fit in a steam train and a polar bear so have a play first to see what works!
- Pop your globe upside down into the big tray (if using the Hobbycraft globes then I found they sat really well on the lid, to keep them steady whilst filling)
- Fill the globe almost to the top, making sure to leave a gap for the water to displace when the figures go in - this took a bit of trial and error for us but it gave Toddler Nibling a chance to play with the pipette by emptying some of the water back out. We ended up leaving about 1cm of space.
- Add your glycerine! Using the pipette, drop a small amount of glycerine in (I found this easiest for Toddler Nibling to pop the right amount in, instead of giving her the bottle to tip!). This helps to slow down the glitter as it falls and you can also use baby oil, although I found that didn't work quite as well.
It's glitter time!!! Now, I pre-decanted a small amount of glitter into a little tube - partly so I could put it in the advent drawers but mostly to stop the whole tub being poured into the globe...but this isn't essential. **a quick tip on getting glitter off little hands - use a strip of sticky tape!**
- Pour your glitter into the globe - we used about a heaped teaspoon amount but it was a little on the generous side!
- Now to put the lid on and this is where the PTFE tape comes in handy. We looped it around the screw part of the globe about 3 times (clockwise). It just helps to give it an extra bit of watertight-ness.
- (we also put some hot glue over the screw heads but to be honest, it usually comes unstuck once dry so not necessary)
- Screw the lid back on and you're good to go! *if using the glass jar method then you could use some hot glue around the lid once on so create a seal*
And there you have it! Your very own snow globe!!! Have fun making, and feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions (and tag me in photos if you make one!)