A Glimpse Inside 'A Year & a Day' Magazine image

I was already enchanted by the beautifully illustrated A Year & a Day magazines, but after taking them on holiday with us this summer I am now in love. We took all three of the summer editions away to enjoy their summer themed stories and some holiday crafting. Here's how they won our hearts...

First off, it turns out that we probably only needed to take one! Once we started delving into them properly we discovered how densely packed they are with ideas and inspiration, games, exercises, interesting facts and beautiful poems, as well as the stories and craft ideas. In other words, they are amazingly good value! (This blog gives you a sneak peek into some of them but there is so much more to discover).

Many of the craft ideas are paper based or use materials that are easy to come by, which made the crafting much easier being away from home. Our two main projects were the Sun Catcher from Issue no. 10, the Sun edition, and the Stick Boat from Issue no. 2, Sea Salt & Shore.

You can download a template for the sun catcher from the A Year & a Day website, but as we were camping my daughter was happy to draw the frame by hand.

She cut this out and then drew around it to create an identical one, between which she would place some tracing paper.

One of the ideas suggested by A Year & a Day is to press some petals to fill your sun catcher with. We loved this idea but there weren't many wildflowers nearby, so we used some tissue paper that we had brought.

The end result was lovely and the flower was hanging at the entrance to our tent for the rest of the holiday!

There were actually 3 ideas for boat making. My son chose the stick boat, which involved a bit of foraging and some string from the camping box.

Once you've lined up your sticks you hold them together with a bit of knotting and weaving.

And the final touch is to add a mast and a sail!

To be honest I was quite amazed that I managed to get my two sitting quietly at the table doing some crafting instead of tearing round the campsite on their bikes, but once they started they absolutely loved it. It reminded me of what their kindergarten teachers used to say about in breaths and out breaths - in theory everything on holiday could be a release, but they seemed grateful of the chance to slow down, concentrate and be creative. For the rest of the holiday there were moments when they would ask for a story followed by the craft or drawing activities inspired by it.

Sea, Salt & Shore was the magazine that captured their imaginations the most, with much of our holiday being spent on the beach. We loved the nature spotting pages, finding as many French cousins of the native British specimens illustrated in the magazine.

Whilst her brother was rockpooling my daughter enjoyed recalling the sea-themed story from the day before, exploring her memories of it through activities in the book. I love the way that as well as lots of drawing exercises children are also encouraged to think about words and feelings, with different options of engaging with the exercises for different ages. My daughter was so caught up with the themes in the magazine that she even revisited form drawing because it was suggested, as well as welcoming the invitation to do some creative writing.

Here are a couple more glimpses of the lovely ideas in that magazine:

And some inspired by the Dragon story in the Sun magazine:

We hardly even looked in Issue no, 6, the Bees edition, as there was just so much to do in the others! Now back at home, having swapped the beach for the garden, it might be just right for the rest of the summer's crafting. For sure, this was not just a holiday romance, we will be dipping in and out of all these magazines for years to come.

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