Welcome to the first edition of ‘On the Sofa with…’ where we’ll be chatting with other local family-focussed businesses, sharing information on fab products and valuable information for parents.
This week Michelle at Little Ankle Biters was joined ‘On the Sofa with…’ Debbie, all-round super mummy and the brains behind Squidgydoodle – a Buckinghamshire based revelation in arts and crafts for children and their parents. Squidgydoodle produce craft boxes for children that can be used at home, out and about, or even birthday parties. You get easy to follow activities and all the equipment needed resulting in hours of hands-on fun, imaginative play and creativity.
Hi Debbie! Thank you for agreeing to have a chat with us on the sofa. We’re huge Squidgydoodle fans. Firstly, incredible name! Where did ‘Squidgydoodle’ come from?
Hi! Thank you, it wasn’t an easy name to get to. I had a very long list of rejects!
Children have these amazing imaginations, so I wanted the name to conjure up images in their heads. I have this great little character for a logo. I wanted him to live in an imaginary hand-drawn world, where Squidgydoodle craft and party boxes were created. When I thought about the world I imagined it being a bit squidgy, as my craft and party boxes include sensory activities.
A big part of my craft and party boxes is that there is no right or wrong way to create. There are instructions, but no pictures as I think that they can limit creativity. What your child makes will be unique to them. Much like when you doodle, it doesn’t really matter what you end up drawing, you doodle for fun. So Squidgydoodle seemed to capture the fun, quirky nature of the business and represent the art and sensory activities.
I asked a fantastic illustrator, Matt Ashton to create the ‘Land of Squidgydoodle’ for me, which is on my Squidgydoodle website.
Tell us a bit more about Squidgydoodle and your products.
I create and sell craft boxes, party boxes and mini craft kits. They can be personally addressed to your child and include everything you need to complete the activities. I created them for busy parents as a hassle free way of encouraging your child’s creativity.
The craft boxes and mini craft kits are even letterbox friendly, so you don’t have to worry about dragging the kids to the post office to pick up a missed delivery. They’re perfect to have to hand for school holidays and also make great gifts as they can be sent direct to the recipient.
Children’s parties can be really expensive. It’s your child’s special day, so you want it to be fun and unique, but that can end up costing you a fortune. I wanted to create an alternative option, which was cheaper than a hosted party and less stressful than running it yourself. I used to run art parties, before I created Squidgydoodle party boxes, so I have tried to think of everything you need.
When you purchase a Party Box you get a printable invitation. Your personalised party box includes 4 themed art and sensory activities, with instructions and all the equipment you need. Themed party game ideas, top tips for running a party, table/floor coverings and thank you notelets are included. My website includes blog posts sharing party food and decoration ideas, party planning checklists, tips from other parents etc. I’m also available for people to contact if they want to ask any questions. It really is as simple as opening the box up, setting the activities out and watching the kids have fun.
Which box theme has been the biggest hit with your little ones?
My children’s favourite is the Unicorns & Rainbows Craft Box. They loved making the Unicorn crown and wore it for days afterwards. We’ve still got them, so they make a re-appearance occasionally! They also liked drip painting the unicorn with rainbow rain and are big fans of the rainbow slime!
They’re my chief activity testers, so you know that everything I sell has gained their approval first!
Where did your love of art come from? And what inspires you?
My Mum used to keep an art box in the cupboard which came out on rainy days and she always had a notebook and some colouring pencils in her handbag. She still does, although I don’t get a look in these days as my kids use it! My brother is also artistic and we both went to the same art college when we finished school.
I’m inspired by everything, nature, artists, my kids! I think I have a bit of a quirky way of looking at things. It starts with a theme, like Super Heroes. I imagine that an evil villain has captured someone and the super hero needs to save the day. I like to include a variety of art and sensory activities and make sure kids have fun. All good Super Heroes need a mask, so that’s a collage activity. Comics were often drawn in a Pop Art style using dots, like Pointillism. So you create a POW! sign, using a cotton bud, which teaches you an art technique. You need to fight off the villain, so I thought you should splat paint him in an action art style, then save the person from slime.
Obviously art with children is fab and lots of fun, but what one thing annoys you when you’re crafting with your children?
My kids make so much mess! I used to run art workshops with 30 kids at a time. I’d then bring the leftover activities home for my kids to play with and they’d make far more mess than a hall full of children! I’ve learnt a lot about managing mess as a result. You can find some tips on my website.
If you could have a party box for adults, what would go in your box?
That’s a tough one! I’d want to pick my favourite activities out of each of my craft and party boxes. Why should the kids have all the fun?! So there would be ‘Bash the Baddie’ from the Super Hero Party Box, where you splat paint a huge villain as a group. ‘Rainbow Slime’ from the Unicorn Party Box. I love delving my hands into the slime and watching the rainbow colours mix. ‘Stormy Sea’ from the Pirate Party Box, where you squirt paint a giant sea picture with syringes. ‘Butterfly Painting’ from the Fairy Party Box, it’s really therapeutic and creates beautiful butterflies.
Other than arts and crafts, what’s your favourite way to spend time with your kiddies?
I love travelling, so I can often be found with a rucksack on my back and a child on each arm exploring another country. I also like searching out new places to go and things to do in the UK, so I use Little Ankle Biters a lot. We have a dog, so we try to find new places to walk her as a family at the weekends. Dog walks that start or end near a dog friendly pub for lunch are fab, so if you can add some of those to Little Ankle Biters I’ll be very happy!
For more information on Squidgydoodle and to order your box, click here. Little Ankle Biters followers can currently get 10% off orders, simply enter ANKLEBITERS at the checkout. Valid until 20/10/18.
We hope you enjoyed reading this ‘On the Sofa with…’ interview. If you’d like to see our review of Squidgydoodle Party Boxes, click here.
If you’re a local business and fancy featuring in ‘On the Sofa with…’, then why not get in touch: