Sunday, 23 November 2014

Balloon Rocket!!

There is a new thing amongst other kids activity bloggers that I keep seeing called S.T.E.M (science, technology, Engineering and Maths) Saturdays, so inspired by this and a space related movie we had watched in the morning (tired mummy needed A LOT of coffee to slowly wake up!) I decided to show them how to make Balloon Rockets.

Whilst I was making the AJ's dinner, I gave them each a rocket shaped piece of paper to decorate, then after we had eaten, I set about attaching the balloon, string, and straw.  We lost Arthur's rocket after he ran off with it in a moment of hyperactive madness, so we just had Alyssa's to work with. Alyssa was very excited to see it fly across the room, and they both wanted it again and again, although the balloon did come unattached a couple of times when deflated it worked really well.  The only problem was that I was unable to blow up the balloon continuously as I am not 100% healthy at the moment, so I let the children try and blow the balloons up and release into the air, then explaining that the air they blow in pushes the balloon forward as it's released, I also for fun told them if they farted a big enough fart the same might happen to them, just like the whizzpopping the BFG does (we are currently reading this book and had just read that part the night before!)

I think some improvements can be made to our design, but they definitely enjoyed watching them fly, but some more S.T.E.M Saturday activities will definitely be occurring in the future!

Attempting to blow balloons

Our Rocket!


Playing with the rocket!

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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Hibernating Hedgehogs

At the AJ's nursery this week they are talking about Hibernation and Emigration, so I decided to continue the theme at home with some hedgehog fun!  I wasn't sure how Arthur was going to be today as he was diagnosed with an ear infection yesterday, so we took it really slow in the morning and tried watching a film, but both of them were too interested in running around than watching it.  So after lunch, I decided to be brave and get the paint out for some Hedgehog crafts. 

First off I photocopied a few copies of a basic hedgehog shape, as I knew we would get through them really quickly, then I cut some basic hedgehog shapes out of paper plates.  To begin with Arthur wanted to play with his Lego quietly, then once he saw the fun Alyssa was having he soon changed his mind.  Alyssa got stuck straight in, making good hand prints to create the spikes, but soon she just enjoyed the feel of the paint and smudged it all over the page, Arthur also did the same, so I lost the hedge hog shape on both of them.  Next I got them to experiment creating the spikes with plastic forks, Alyssa got on really well with that and created some lovely spike effects, Arthur soon got bored and went back to using his hands.
 
After we had cleaned up the paint and washed our hand, it was time for a snack, and what else do you eat on a Hedgehog themed day, than a 70's style cheese and pineapple Hedgehog!! Whilst we ate this we watched a short video clip on Hedgehogs. 

Once upstairs Arthur wanted to use the blanket to pretend they were spikes for his back as he crawled around, I love how imagination means anything they see can be whatever they want, then we made a little den for them to crawl into and pretend to hibernate, soon I had two dens so they could visit each other for cups of tea etc.  It was so lovely watching the two of them play together without any input from me apart from draping blankets for dens, and eventually getting the two pop up tents as they kept knocking the dens over.  They played so nicely for over and hour, I have to admit mummy did a little accidental hibernating herself on the sofa they were so happy! ;D

Handprinting away!


Almost looks like a Hedgehog!!


Arthur having a go!

Before....

After...

Trying with a fork!

Cheese and Pineapple Hedgehog! (sort off!!)

Arthur being a Hedgehog


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Monday, 10 November 2014

Firework Play dough fun!

Keeping in theme with Guy Fawkes and fireworks, I wanted a simple transportable activity for Alyssa whilst I went to a local craft group for some inspiration for my next project.  So armed with a mat for the floor, a pot of black play doh (I was going to make my own but I was worried that the black paint would stain too much!! If you want to know how to make your own, read my Autumn Play dough post Here.) and some plastic stars and beads and gift wrap bows.

Once we arrived I sat her down and immediately she started sticking the bits in saying "making Fireworks!" once she had added all the pieces, I was very mean and told her to take all the pieces out and she could start again, she really enjoyed picking them all out again, which is great for her fine motor skills, then off she went creating again.  I was really amazed at how long she kept picking them out and putting them in again, I wasn't expecting her to concentrate on it as long as she did.  After a while she was no longer making fireworks, but other things like a "doggy!"  It was also lovely seeing her trying to name the colours of the beads as well.  And as a bonus it was quick and easy to clear up when finished, my love for Play dough increases every time we play with it, I really need to print off some play dough activity mats to really make the most of it, as they say the possibilities are endless!!


Picking out stars!

Fireworks in the sky!

Adding more sparkle

Getting stuck in!

Picking them out again!


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Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Fireworks!! An intrigung look at art and influence!

Wednesday is Guy Fawkes Night, or 5th November, so we have a fireworks theme for the week.  Whilst dropping Arthur off to school I noticed they had some black paper and chalk out for the children ready to create firework pictures.  When we arrived home I only had about an hour before a friend was due to arrive for Alyssa, so I wanted an activity for her that was quick and simple, and could easily be cleared up whilst I quickly washed the dishes.

I always think that asking a child to draw something they haven't really seen (this year will be her 2nd fireworks night!) is a bit of an impossible task, so I used the tablet in the kitchen to find a video of a fireworks display on YouTube to show her whilst she drew.  It was wonderful talking to her about the colours she could see, and was using and asking her to name the colours of the chalks, whilst I was washing the dishes, I so often feel guilty for having to do housework and not being able to spend time with them, but then feel guilty for not doing it and not having clean dishes etc, so this kept us both happy. 

I asked Alyssa what noises she could hear the Fireworks making, and it was great fun, teaching her words like "whizz, bang, crash" and was wonderful for her to pick up the word firework so quickly.  The pictures she created were wonderful in my opinion, I really liked the fact that some of it was smudged by the sleeve of her cardigan by accident as she drew, almost making it like the fading smoke of fireworks, and the frantic energy created by her scribbles, looking like multiple fireworks at various stages of their explosions. 

It was very interesting to compare her pictures, to that of Arthur's when he returned home from school, baring in mind he had nothing but the word Firework to work from, and instructions (i'm guessing) from teacher and influences of other children.  Arthur's is a lot more simplistic of a few lines for the trails and a few stabbing marks made by the chalk and some stickers, still brilliant in it's own way, but i'm wondering if he would have created the same picture if he was at home and seen the fireworks like Alyssa, it's amazing how the influences create completely different styles (as well as probably their own artistic styles of course), one more how others would draw fireworks almost ( probably how I would if asked, a few curved lines in a circle and some spots!) and the other more chaotic and representing what could actually be seen whilst drawing.

Of course I could just be reading to much into the scrawlings of a toddler, seeing amazing art work that is nothing more than mark making, also known as "Proud Parent Syndrome!" ;D

Adding some pink!

Choosing the next firework!

My favourite picture!

More frantic scribbles

Fading smoky picture

Arthur's Art!



Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Mummy madness!!

I thought given Halloween is around the corner, that some spooky themed activities seemed appropriate, so we had some Mummy madness.

Alyssa decided after lunch to have a little nap, which was a big shock seeing as she NEVER naps! Falls asleep in the most inappropriate and seemingly uncomfortable places occasionally, but never agrees to go to actual bed!!  So Arthur and I had some rare one and one time, and I decided to make the most of it and makes some cookies.  Using the gingerbread man cookie cutter, a tube of white icing, and some raisins, we ended up with Mummy biscuits.  It was so lovely having one on one time, much calmer than the normal trying to stop two of them hitting/arguing/fighting/eating the mix. (delete as appropriate)  In the end I was a bit disappointed with the white icing as it barely showed up, but they both enjoyed eating the biscuits after their tea. 

Once Alyssa was awake I cut out some black paper into man shapes and tore some toilet tissue to glue on for bandages.  It was great fun leaving them too it to see what they created, and Alyssa did attempt to do both sides, I think in future though I will give the tissue to them to rip up for added fun and a chance to work on their dexterity.  Arthur was so proud of himself bless that he insisted on taking his Mummy into nursery to show everyone.

Whilst they were all prepared to get messy I grabbed the paints and let them go creating a spooky picture, in hindsight maybe black wasn't the best option of paints to be available.  Baths were very much in need by the time they painted themselves and all the paper!


Concentrating hard with the glue

Dab dab dab

I think we need to buy more black paint!!

Spooky Mummies!! Although Alyssa's looks Ninja like!


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Friday, 3 October 2014

Leaf people!

With Autumnal breezes in the air, and fallen leaves all around, I was inspired by a picture I had seen somewhere (I'm sorry but I can't remember where!!) Of leaf people.  So on the way back from nursery from dropping of Arthur, I picked up various leaves.  Once home I gave Alyssa some glue, a few sequins and a few googly eyes and let her play.

To begin with she was quite happy painting the glue on one leaf lots and lots, then I showed her how to stick the eyes on and a sequin for a mouth, then she got stuck in (excuse the pun!) And started creating faces.  She occasionally needed a bit of help when the eyes would get stuck to her fingers, and put on far to much glue then was needed, but she seemed to really enjoy herself getting creative. Soon it was time to pack up for lunch, and she was not a happy bunny, the poor little lady started to scream as I tried to tidy up, so we had to delay lunch a little bit and make a couple more till we had a whole little family for her, she even started to get done from the table and walk over to the window to put finished ones out to dry in the sun where I had put other ones.

Such a simple and effective idea that really works on pincer grip, dexterity and creativity, something I will definitely be doing it again!

Playing with the spreader


Almost face like!

Loving the glue a bit too much!


Kiss me quick!

The little lady in action!

This one makes me laugh!

Alyssa's little leaf family!

Messy Monday Madness!

Today whilst Arthur was at pre-school I decided to let Alyssa get super messy and have some fun with gloop, a unique combination of water and corn flour, very unique indeed!  you can pick the substance up and almost mould it, the suddenly the substance looses its solidity and runs through your fingers.  I gave Alyssa a couple of small cup type things, a spoon, and a fork and just let her go.  She loved flicking it as it suddenly became liquid again, and soon covered herself and the kitchen floor, I have never been gladder to play in the kitchen.  It was lovely hearing her squeal with delight and say things like 'can't pick up!' Great for teaching her lots of different words also like 'drip' 'squidge' and 'scoop', as well getting her to work her hand muscles as it was more difficult for her little fingers to push through the gloop than mine.

She had great fun trying to mix and stir it and pretending to cook with it, so I decided to take it up a level and add some drops of food colouring.  Even I was surprised by the out come of this, as I was expecting, as with water, that the second I added the food dye, she would play and it would turn to a big brown mass of goo.  Instead the food colouring just sat there pretty much, until Alyssa started moving it.  She then started using on of the cup to pour the gloop in to and made "ho' tea" (hot tea!) for me to drink!

I am impressed by the amount of time she is starting to give to our little activities, her concentration level are really improving.  I'm a little bit put out that I didn't at the time try and print some of the patterns that emerged onto paper some how, but that just means I'll have to do it again, and make sure I have a bath ready!!