Fun Rainy Day Screen-Free Activities For Children

December can be a tough month for kids. The days are shorter, the weather is colder and wetter, and there is often a sense of dullness caused by spending increased time indoors.

It is more important than ever during this month to encourage kids to stay active and engaged, but ideally without resorting to screens all the time. Instead of allowing them to just sit in front of the TV or handing them a tablet, try to come up with some fun non-screen activities that they can enjoy.

Here at JCB Explore we are promoters of outdoor activity. We are aware that it can be tempting to spend more time indoors with screens for entertainment during autumn and winter months. However, there are many benefits to outdoor play. Spending time in nature can help to reduce stress and promote creativity. With that in mind, here are some ideas for non-screen activities that the whole family can enjoy this autumn.

Explore your local area

One great way to spend some quality time with your kids is to get outside and go for a walk in the park or in the woods. If you live in an urban area, seek out parks or green spaces where you can take in some fresh air and get some exercise.

Kids will love exploring new surroundings, and you may even spot some birds or other wildlife along the way.

Another active option is to go for a bike ride or a hike. Depending on your location, you may be able to find some pretty leaves or berries to collect along the way. 

If it’s too chilly for outdoor activities, take a trip to the local playground or swimming pool instead.

Organise indoor scavenger hunt

One way to break up the monotony of a rainy day is to hold an indoor scavenger hunt. 

Scavenger hunts are a great way to get kids moving and exploring their environment. They also promote cooperation and problem-solving skills as kids work together to find the hidden items.

So next time the rain is pouring down, consider organising an indoor scavenger hunt to help pass the time.

Encourage sensory activities

A rainy day can be a great opportunity to stay indoors and engage in some simple sensory activities. Here at JCB Explore, we have plenty of options for you to choose from. Colouring sheets, puzzles, word searches, and card games can all help to break up the monotony of a rainy day and keep kids entertained. With a wide variety of activities, we hope that you will find something that interests you and helps you to pass the time. So next time there is a rainy day, be sure to check out our website for some great ideas.

Do some arts & crafts

Arts and crafts can be a great way to keep kids engaged during the autumn and winter months. Not only do arts and crafts provide a creative outlet, but they can also help kids to develop fine motor skills and learn about colours, shapes, and patterns. Additionally, arts and crafts can be used to create personalised gifts for friends and family members.

With so many benefits, it’s no wonder that they are a popular choice for parents looking for ways to occupy their kids during the cooler months. Want some ideas? Check our arts and crafts activities ideas here.

As you can see, there are countless ways to enjoy the season while making lasting memories with your family. So go ahead and turn off the television, put down the tablet, and get stuck into the creative, screen-free activities for some fun this winter!

Sustainable Christmas Decoration Ideas You Can Make Yourself

Now that Christmas is just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about how to decorate the house. If you’re looking for a more sustainable way to celebrate the holiday season, then consider making your own eco-friendly decorations. 

Sustainable materials like wood, wool, and cork can be used to create beautiful holiday wreaths, garlands, and centrepieces. And best of all, making your own sustainable decorations is a great way to spend quality time with the kids and get everyone into the festive spirit. So why not give it a try this year? You might be surprised at how much fun you have – and how much money you save – by going green this holiday season.

A festive garland

Dried orange slices are a popular craft material, and they can be used in a variety of ways. 

One popular use for dried oranges is to make a garland. To make a garland, you will need around 6-10 oranges, some string or twine, and a needle. First, slice the oranges into thin rounds and arrange them on a wire rack to dry. This can take anywhere from two to three days, depending on the thickness of the slices and the humidity of the air.

Once the oranges are dry, thread them onto the string or twine, spacing them out evenly. You can then hang the garland up as decoration. Orange slices can also be used to make potpourri or candles.

Salt dough ornaments

Christmas is a time for family, friends and, of course, crafts! Making salt dough ornaments is a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Salt dough is simple to make and can be easily moulded into any shape you like. Once you’ve made your salt dough, simply use a cookie cutter to cut out your desired shapes.

One great thing about salt dough ornaments is that they can be personalised to reflect your family’s interests. For example, you could make salt dough ornaments in the shape of your favourite animal or hobby. You could even make a toy digger shaped one for your little builder!

Pine cone wreath

Making your own pine cone wreath is a fun and easy project that can be done in an afternoon.

All you need are some pine cones, a hot glue gun, and some ribbon or twine. First, gather your pine cones and arrange them on a flat surface. Once you have your desired arrangement, begin glueing the pine cones to each other using a hot glue gun. You can also add some decoration to your wreath at this point, such as berries or flowers.

Once all of the pine cones are glued together, tie a ribbon or piece of twine around the top of the wreath to finish it off. Hang your new wreath on your front door or in a window to enjoy the beauty of nature all Christmas long!

This year, take some time to make your own sustainable decorations using materials like dried fruit, pine cones, spruce tree or fabric scraps. Not only will you be saving money, but you’ll also be helping to reduce waste and protect the environment. And who knows? You might even start a new family tradition in the process.

The Great JCB Explore Bake-Off – How To Make A Digger Cake?

The Great British Bake-Off is a much-loved show that often inspires viewers to get baking themselves.

If you’re looking for a fun baking project to do with your kids, why not try making a digger cake? Digger cakes are both fun to make and decorate, and they’re sure to be a hit with any construction-loving child. Get inspired with our recipe and spend some quality time with your little ones bringing their favourite digger toy to life with JCB Explore!

Ingredients

You will need:

  • Two portions of sponge cake mix
  • Black and yellow food colouring
  • Ready made chocolate buttercream
  • Pack of chocolate fingers
  • Melted chocolate
  • Chocolate biscuits

Method

A digger cake is a fun and impressive-looking dessert that is perfect for construction-themed parties or any other special occasion.

When it comes to creating the perfect digger cake, there are a few key elements you’ll need to get right.

First, you’ll need to bake two batches of sponge cake – one mixed with yellow food colouring and one with black or chocolate.

Once the cake is cooled, cut each horizontally to create thin layers.

Carefully stack the yellow and black cake on top of each other, alternating colours to create a stripe effect. This will resemble the construction signage pattern and will be the star of the show once the cake is cut.

Decoration

Spread a layer of chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. Then stick chocolate fingers around the edge of your cake to create a fence effect.

In order to achieve the most genuine effect, it is important to cut down the chocolate fingers and sponge cake at the front of the cake so that it resembles an excavated site.

Once this is done, use a piping bag to pipe melted chocolate over the excavated area. Doing this will create a dripping effect that makes the cake look even more realistic.

You can also sprinkle some crushed chocolate biscuits around to create a rubble effect. 

Finally, allow the chocolate to set before serving the cake. This will ensure it looks its best when presented to family and friends.

Finishing touches

Now that your digger cake has been assembled and decorated, it’s time to add the finishing touch.

Place a small plastic digger toy (JCB Mini Moverz are perfect for this) on top of the cake and sprinkle some more biscuit crumbles over it.

Just remember to keep an eye on the little ones so they don’t try to take a bite out of the digger!

If you have a little builder in your life, then you know how important it is to encourage their creativity. Baking a digger cake together is a great way to do just that. Not only is this a fun activity, but it’s also a great way to bond with your child. And when they see the cake come to life, they’ll be over the moon. So what are you waiting for? Give our recipe a try today.

Tips For Teachers – How To Increase Children’s Environmental Awareness Through Outdoor Play

Children are the future of the planet, so it is important to increase their environmental
awareness from a young age. One way to do this is through outdoor play. Being in nature can
help children feel connected to the natural world and appreciate its beauty. They can also learn
about the importance of taking care of the environment.


Furthermore, outdoor play can teach children about different wildlife and how to respect their
habitat. By increasing children’s environmental awareness, we can ensure that future
generations will be able to protect and preserve our planet. This is why here at JCB Explore, we
encourage both parents and teachers to make an effort to nurture the love and appreciation of
nature and environment.

Teach the importance of recycling

One of the best ways for teachers to teach young children about recycling is through outdoor
play activities. Recycling is an important lesson for children to learn, and by incorporating it into their playtime, they can develop a better understanding of the concept.


There are a variety of ways to do this, but some examples include setting up a recycling station
where children can sort materials, or playing games that involve collecting and sorting
recyclable items. By making recycling fun and interactive, children will be more likely to retain
the information and develop positive habits that will last a lifetime.

Explain the concept of sustainability

Many people today are concerned about the state of the environment and the sustainability of
the earth’s resources. However, it can be difficult to teach young children about these complex
issues. Fortunately, outdoor play can prove helpful in explaining and demonstrating some of the
ideas and concepts linked to sustainable living.


Teachers can use the environment as a classroom, and help children to understand how their
actions can impact the earth. For example, students can learn about the water cycle by
observing the clouds and rain. They can also explore the local ecosystem and discover how
different plants and animals rely on each other for survival or learn more about the process of
biodegradation.


By connecting with nature, children can develop a deeper understanding of sustainability and
learn how to care for the environment.

Encourage little actions that make a big difference

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the need to protect the environment, it is
important that we instil a sense of responsibility in our children. One way to do this is to
encourage them to take small actions that have a big impact on the environment.
For example, they can be taught to reuse and recycle materials, conserve energy by turning off
lights and appliances when they are not in use, and to properly dispose of waste. By taking
these simple steps, our children can learn to respect and care for the environment, and
ultimately make a positive difference in the world.


In today’s world, children are often more likely to spend their free time indoors, in front of a
screen. This is why it’s more important than ever to encourage outdoor activities. By getting
children involved in hands-on outdoor activities, we can teach them about the importance of
taking care of our planet. Outdoor activities also provide an opportunity for children to explore
and discover the natural world around them. Through these experiences, they can develop a
sense of responsibility for the environment and build their appreciation for nature.

How To Throw The Ultimate Construction Themed Birthday Party

If your child is fascinated by construction equipment and sites, a construction-themed birthday party is the perfect way to celebrate their big day!

From decorating with construction equipment to playing games involving building and demolishing, there are plenty of ways to make the party fun and exciting. And of course, no construction party would be complete without a cake shaped like a digger or excavator.

With a little creativity, you can make sure that your child’s construction-themed birthday party is one they’ll never forget.

Decorate

To get started, decorate the party space with construction-themed props and banners. You can even set up a “construction site” in your garden.

This can be done by roping off an area and placing construction cones around it. You can then complete it with toy excavators, dump trucks, and other equipment.

Make sure you include your little builder’s favourite JCB toys!

Entertain 

A construction-themed party would not be complete without some fun and interactive activities. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Excavate a hidden treasure

Bury small toys or trinkets in a sandpit or the  garden, and let the kids dig them out with their digger toys or small shovels.

Build a tower

Give each child a handful of blocks or Lego bricks, and see who can build the tallest structure. Prepare some reward for the winner to make it a little bit more competitive.

Design a machine

Using cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls, string, and other materials, challenge the children to build a simple machine that can perform a specific task (e.g. moving a ball from one point to another).

Get colouring

Use some of our printable activity sheets to involve children in colouring exercises. They can have lots of fun colouring the pictures and learning about the machines at the same time. So why not print out some of our sheets featuring JCB machines and let the kids enjoy themselves?

Make a construction-themed cake

No construction party would be complete without a cake shaped like a digger or excavator.

To make the cake, you will need two 8-inch round cake pans, cake mix, frosting, and construction themed decorations.

Start by baking the cake according to the package directions.

Once it is cooled, cut each cake in half horizontally so that you have four thin layers.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over each layer and stack them on top of each other.

Then, use the remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake.

For decorations, you can use anything construction themed that you like. Small plastic toy vehicles or construction workers make great toppers, or you can use candy rocks and gravel for a more realistic look. Use your imagination and have fun with it. You can also bake our famous digger biscuits as extra snacks for the party!

Be sure to not allow the kids to eat anything plastic or inedible that you place on top of the cake.

When it comes to planning and organising a construction-themed birthday party for your little ones, the possibilities are endless! With a bit of imagination, you can transform any space into a construction zone and with our tips, you can provide hours of entertainment for all the guests. So get creative and make sure your construction-themed party is one to remember. 

Top 4 Beach Games to Play This Summer

The time is finally here – summer has officially arrived and we can all start enjoying the sunshine! But before you head to the beach with your family, take a look at some of our favourite fun games to keep your kids entertained while you enjoy a well-deserved rest on a sun-bed. These games  promote active play and stimulate your kids’ creativity so have a look now and get inspired.

Building sandcastles

Building sandcastles  on the beach is one of the best ways to spend time together. It’s a great opportunity for kids to get some physical activity and learn more about spatial awareness. Plus it’s a great way to try out your little JCB lovers’ new digger toys… so pack them up before you head off!

Collecting seashells/fossils

You know what they say, “a day at the beach is never complete without a bucket of shells.” Whether you are looking for something to do with your family or entertaining yourself on a solo outing, getting out and collecting some seashells can be one of the most fun activities while enjoying time in the sun. 

Playing frisbee

One of the best ways to enjoy a day on the beach is by playing frisbee with your kids. It’s an inexpensive game that doesn’t require any special equipment and it can be played in virtually any location – even if there isn’t much room! It is also relatively easy for young children but challenging enough that adults will also find it enjoyable.

Making a sand sculpture

Making sand sculptures is a wonderful way to spend time on the beach  with your family. The best part of it is the anticipation of watching it gradually take shape. You can spend hours on your masterpiece and then watch as others come to admire what you’ve created, or even make their own additions! Go creative and try making various shapes like dolphins, mermaids or even a pirate ship.

Spending time on the beach doesn’t mean just sunbathing. You can have a fun, active day at the seaside by playing various games that both kids and adults can enjoy. You may be tempted to stay in the sun all day and enjoy yourself, but it’s important that you follow a few simple rules to stay safe. Please remember to apply sunscreen regularly and if possible, try to avoid direct sunlight from noon until 3pm when UV rays are strongest.

How to Celebrate International Mud Day?

International Mud Day (29 June) is a great way to connect children from around the globe while celebrating nature and encouraging outdoor play. Spending time actively outside can provide hours of fun and help children learn about their environment.

If you are looking for ways to celebrate International Mud Day and get your community involved, see our ideas and get inspired to spend an exciting day out. Getting muddy is just an added bonus! 

Go on a hike

Get outside with the whole family and enjoy nature this International Mud Day! Go for a hike and explore the muddy trails. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and shoes, and have fun getting dirty. Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll also have the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature in your local area. Happy hiking!

Organise a muddy obstacle course

If you’re looking for a fun and muddy way to celebrate International Mud Day, why not organise your own muddy obstacle course? This is a great activity for kids of all ages, and it’s sure to be a lot of fun. Create obstacles that involve muddy water, muddy trails or mud pits. The dirtier the better!

Try painting with mud

If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to celebrate International Mud Day, we recommend giving painting with mud a try. This activity is perfect for all ages, and can be done indoors or outdoors. All you need is some mud, a whiteboard (or other surface), and your imagination! You can even let kids use the fence or the driveway to paint on.

Make mud pies

Although it is unclear how or where International Mud Day began, what is clear is that it offers a fun and easy way for kids to get outside and enjoy the benefits of mud. So this year, why not celebrate by joining in on the fun? Let your children make their own mud pies from the garden dirt, and see who can come up with the most creative recipe. Not only will they have a blast playing in the mud, but they’ll also be getting some exercise and learning about nature too.

International Mud Day is an event that celebrates nature and encourages outdoor play, which can help improve physical health and cognitive development. Get your friends and family together and try out one of the activities we’ve suggested, or come up with your own mud-filled adventures. Just be sure to take plenty of pictures (and maybe even videos) to share with everyone afterwards!

How To Make A Construction-Themed Sensory Bin?

What is a sensory bin?

A sensory bin or sensory box is simply a container filled with objects. It can be anything from sand and shells to stones, pine cones and coloured buttons.

If you are looking for a fun, simple activity to do with your child, consider making a sensory bin. This is a great way to encourage exploration and creativity while providing an enjoyable learning experience for kids. 

It is a great learning tool. By providing different textures, colours, and sounds, you can help your child learn about their environment and the world around them. And if your little ones are obsessed with all things construction – you can even make a construction-themed sensory bin. They’re sure to love it!

How to make a construction-themed sensory bin?

 All you need is some simple supplies that you may already have on hand:

  • A plastic container
  • Play sand
  • Twigs
  • Rocks
  • Construction toys

Fill your plastic bin ⅓ full with play sand and to make the whole thing more genuine, create a few holes and heaps so that it resembles an actual construction site. Add several stones and pebbles and use twigs to create trees. You can go a little bit more creative and build little tunnels, roads or even a quarry!

Once you’ve prepared the surface, add some small construction vehicles, including excavators, trucks, cranes and dump trucks.

Now that you’ve put together all the elements, your little builders can finally start digging, building, moving things around, exploring and enjoying various textures, sounds and materials. This will help to stimulate their mind, whilst supporting their creativity and sensory development.

To make your sensory bin safe for younger children, you can use edible items like black beans, rice, pasta shapes or nuts. Jelly beans, marshmallows and fruit will also work great.

Benefits of using sensory bins

Sensory bins and boxes are a great way to keep your child occupied, engaged, and learning. 

They provide hours of fun for children of all ages and can be tailored to fit any interest or theme. The different textures, colours, and sounds in each bin can promote development in various areas. If you’re looking for a new activity to keep your little one busy, consider giving a sensory bin a try.

Construction Fun Facts

Construction seems like a dull and uninteresting field, but it is actually quite fascinating. The construction industry has been around for centuries and it never ceases to amaze. If you’re interested in learning more about how buildings and structures come together, read our blog post and discover some interesting, little-known aspects of this ever-evolving industry!

  1. The Eiffel Tower moves

One of the world’s most famous buildings is arguably the Eiffel Tower, which was built in 1889. This Parisian landmark has become an international symbol for France and one of the most recognisable structures on Earth. But did you know that it actually moves? The immense structure is wind resistant and will sway during a storm. The heat of our sun also affects this huge tower causing its iron components to expand or contract up to 7 inches.

  1. The Burj Khalifa weighs approximately 450,000 tonnes which is an equivalent of 100,000 elephants

The Burj Khalifa is a huge monument to human ingenuity and determination. It took an army of people, from architects to engineers, scientists, builders and more just to construct the building that stands as one of the most recognisable structures in the world today. One of the most mind blowing Burj Khalifa facts is how much it weighs. To put things in perspective, 100 thousand elephants’ worth of concrete was used to build this building!

       3. There are 10 million bricks in the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building is one of the most famous buildings in all of New York City. It’s hard to believe, but this immense project took only 20 months from start-to-finish and 10 million bricks were used in the process. But did you know that the construction process came with a human cost? At least five workers were killed during its construction. While it may have been completed ahead of schedule and under budget, this tragedy cannot be overlooked or forgotten.

     4. The largest machine in the world is the Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest machine that man has ever built. It was designed and constructed to study subatomic particles. It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference and as deep as 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva.

  5. The filming of the Teletubbies was done using two JCB generators for power

The Teletubbies series was a hit show for children and adults alike. But did you know that filming of their famous episodes required two JCB generators? These machines were used to power the necessary equipment while creating the artful content we all loved so much.

We hope you have enjoyed reading about the fascinating world of construction, and that it gives you some facts to show to your children. If so, we encourage you to share it with anyone who also might find it interesting!

Best Easter Egg Games & Activities For Kids

With Easter quickly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do with your kids over the holidays.

If they seem excited for eggs and chocolate bunnies, make sure their fun doesn’t stop there! 

Check out our blog post on Easter egg games and activities that are perfect for getting them in a celebratory mood. From traditional games like egg hunt and egg & spoon race to new ideas like Easter crafts or making a bunny pancake, you’ll find something that is just right for your family!

Easter egg hunt

Easter is almost here and we know that you’re probably getting excited about the annual tradition of hunting for eggs! If you want to make this year’s egg hunt a little more exciting, try putting a little spin on it. You can hide some prizes, riddles or challenge cards inside the eggs or alongside them. This will ensure that your kids can have a unique experience hunting down their Easter eggs this year.

Egg & spoon race

This good, old-fashioned outdoor game is a perfect way to get the kids moving, teaching them how to work together as well. It’s also a great chance for parents to have some fun with their children. This Easter morning activity will be sure to keep you all entertained until lunchtime rolls around. Watch and see who can cross the finish line first after they’ve had their fill of chocolate treats!

Bunny pancake making

If you want to spend some quality time with your kids this Easter, why not make them involved in the preparation of the Easter breakfast for the family?

Surprise everyone with some delicious and easy-to-make bunny pancakes! This is an easy recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients and can provide hours of fun. Here’s how it works:  

  • Step 1 – Make the pancake batter by combining flour, sugar, eggs, milk and baking powder in a bowl. Blend well with a whisk or fork
  • Step 2 – add a generous portion of batter to the pan in a round, for the bunny body. Then, add a smaller one for the head, two small ovals for the feet, and two long thin strips for bunny ears. To make it easier you can cook the components in batches.
  • Step 3 – After they’ve been cooked, put the bunny body in the middle of the plate, position the head, ears and feet to make it look like the back of a bunny. You can add a strawberry or banana slice for the tail.

Easter crafts

The Easter holidays are a great time to bond with your kids while creating new memories. With paper crafts, your children will be entertained and creative while also learning new skills. Whether it’s painting the eggs, decorating Easter baskets, making paper decorations or making bunny ear headbands – this activity is sure to engage not only kids but also the adults!

We hope these Easter activity ideas have  inspired you to try something different this year. Whether you’re looking for a kids’ activity, or an indoor game that the whole family can play together, be sure to try the above ones this Easter.