Monday, 30 March 2015

A week of Elmer

Everyone loves Elmer, right? What's not to love? He's cute, multi-coloured, friendly and even teaches children to be happy being themselves, even if that means being a bit different.

So when we started Toddler Book Club he was an obvious choice for the first book :)

But we love him so much we decided to do a whole week of Elmer-based activities... And here they are, all 7 activities :)

Face painting

I saw this idea on Meri Cherry's blog and D loved it! It must be the most simple face-painting to do but still looks super cute and definitely got us all in the "Elmer" mood. D actually ended up asking for his face to be painted on several occasions during the week and even got upset when he realised that his usually-messy-spaghetti-bolognese-eating was going to mean I'd end up wiping some of Elmer off and refused to eat it!

Yoghurt painting

I blogged about this here earlier in the week and highly recommend trying this as we had a lot of (messy) fun with this activity.

Rainbow platter

I wanted to include one Elmer-related snack and this one was so popular that I'm definitely going to repeat it/variations of it. Although not as Elmer-like as some of the other activities, it is multi-coloured like him and that's the connection ;)

This was great to do with a toddler - D helped with the cutting/chopping and then we talked about each colour as he laid them all on the platter. It was also great for talking about prepositions "behind" "on top of" "next to" and of course for singing the rainbow song (which he learnt in nursery last month). D was so proud to have helped with the preparation and I think felt very grown-up being allowed to help himself from the large selection. Over the course of the day he slowly ate nearly everything (he had some help from another toddler friend) - the only things that got left were some orange pepper slices and cucumber. Not bad going :)

I loved how quick and easy this was to throw together (less than 5 minutes) and that D could then help himself when hungry. Usually he regularly asks for snacks and would turn his nose up if I tried to give him some tomatoes! But this worked a treat - next time I'm going to add in some cooked broccoli and a few other vegetables that he isn't usually so keen on...

Paint-your-own Elmer

This was done as part of Toddler Book Club (read more about it here) and nicely illustrated that even very simple things can be fun.

Milk-paint Elmer toast

We painted toast before for Valentine's Day and this was an obvious Elmer-related thing to do with all his different colours. Although I only made 6 colours (and the orange one looked a more dubious brown...). But anyway, D had fun painting and the toast was delicious :)

Milk carton elephant

How cute are these?!

I'd never thought to do anything with all our used milk cartons before - crazy when we seem to get through 50 gallons a week! - so this was the perfect craft as they make brilliant elephants.

We collected a few different sizes and did a "base coat" in the primary colours. Next I gave D some coloured paper squares, some sticky felt and a pritt stick. He loved choosing which colour to use next and gluing is always a favourite activity! He may not have quite got the patchwork effect spot on but I think they look great and we're all done by him :)

This is a great activity to do after your milk paint toast obviously ;)

Plate painting

This was the one activity that required a bit more planning and more adult input. But D still loved doing this and I think the end result is great :)

First I got a plain white plate (thanks Ikea!) and drew an outline of Elmer in pencil. I also drew a very rough patchwork of squares, just to help remind D about choosing different colours. There's no problem doing as much drawing in pencil as you like because as soon as you put it in the dishwasher all the pencil marks will disappear. Then I drew around the outline with a dark blue ceramic pen (you need to use the right pens or your drawing won't 'set' properly).

Next D coloured Elmer in. I tried to give D as much freedom as possible (after all the whole point of the activity is for him to have fun, whilst learning a new skill, talking about colours and practising his fine motor skills) and you can see the patchwork squares are definitely toddler-work rather than by a perfectionist! But when he went over the outline by mistake, or did a massively over-enthusiastic scribble (happened surprisingly rarely!) then I did remove the paint (very easy to do when still wet).

We had a pack of 5 ceramic paints from Tiger and we did a different colour each day - this was a very easy way to do it as then each colour had dried from the day before so he couldn't smudge them or mix them together and make Elmer all brown!

There were a few little bits left uncoloured at the end which I coloured in with our oil-based sharpies (the pink and light purple bits) and I went over any bits of the outline that had been coloured in. Then I baked it in the oven (90 mins at 160 deg C) and this was the result:

I love it! And more importantly so does D :) don't forget to write your child's name and the date on it if you make one - I wrote it on the back.


So there you go, 7 activities around Elmer. You could do one a day for a week or have a crazy elephant day and do them all at once! I'd love to hear if you do any of them, or if you have any other Elmer-themed things we could try :)


  1. Wow - amazing! So many great ideas...your kids are super lucky little people!

    1. Aww thank you!! I'm making the most of my last remaining weeks on mat leave... X

  2. Lucinda you're amazing! Love the plate. Hope you're all well :-) x

    1. Thanks Marina! I'm already planning our next plate decorating project as that was so much fun :) We're all really well and would love to see you all soon xx