Archive | May, 2012

Jubilee hand print bunting

30 May

To get us into the celebratory mood for the jubilee weekend we have been making our own bunting.

Union Jack bunting is for sale everywhere at the moment (although the Sainsburys I went into this morning had sold out – possibly a national disaster) but I thought it would be more fun to make our own.

Now I admit that this isn’t an exact replica of our flag but it contains all the right colours and kind of has crosses in it so I think it just about counts!

I painted my daughters hand with red and then blue paint as shown and then pressed them down onto A4 white paper making two prints on each sheet.

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In hindsight A3 paper might have been better (depends on the size of the hands) and cutting the triangles out beforehand would have been easier for positioning.

We created about 20 prints and then hung them to dry on the curtain rail. Don’t they look pretty?

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I then cut each sheet in half and folded over the top and then trimed into a triangular shape. I then glued on to some red wool. I’d originally planned to use plain string but didn’t have any. I haven’t decided yet whether the red wool looks good!

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So there’s our ‘Union Jack’ bunting all hung up and ready for our jubilee party at the weekend. Fingers crossed the sun will still be shining and we’ll be able to hang it in the garden.

Fun in the sun (and mud)

29 May

With all this glorious sunshine we’ve been lucky enough to spend most of our days out in the garden. The monsters are generally very good at entertaining themselves out there but The Gannet’s idea of entertaining himself generally involves eating daisies, grass, stones etc etc.

I thought that for a change I would set up some ingredients for them to play with and explore. I’d been busy potting up plants and playing with compost so I decided to let them in on the fun!

I filled a large tray with compost and put it next to the paddling pool. The Limpet played for quite a while creating shapes and molding it. The Gannet was very interested in the new texture and began exploring it very slowly. Fortunately he didn’t try exploring it with his mouth.

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After a while my daughter suddenly realised she could add water and then it became a whole lot more exciting.

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The Gannet particularly enjoyed this and sat playing for ages, a lot longer than his older sister.

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Yes it was messy but it was a fun sensory experience which allowed me a bit of time to complete my gardening.

Olympic torch craft

22 May

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To celebrate the arrival of the Olympic torch in our area I decided that my daughter and I should make our own torch. Explaining the Olympics and the significants of the torch to a toddler is quite tricky but I wanted her to get excited about it and this seemed like a good way to get started.

We used the cardboard tube from some wrapping paper which I cut in half. I initially tried a kitchen roll tube but it didn’t seem long enough. I then made a vertical cut from top to bottom so that I could roll it into the cone shape. I did the same with a shorter roll which I then popped into the top to block up the open side. I just happened to have some gold tissue paper lying around that we used to cover it. Before attaching the gold paper I wanted to give it the spotty effect. In reality of course, these are holes but I didn’t want to complicate matters. I realised that bubble wrap would be ideal for the pattern. So The Limpet got to work on painting the bubble wrap and printing it onto the gold paper.

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The finished effect was pretty amazing and with a bit of orange and yellow tissue paper the torch was ready and alight.

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And the reason I wanted to put in such an effort was that I knew one of todays torch bearers. It was so exciting to be there amongst the crowd and join in the celebration. I even got to hold the torch (before it was lit!) And The Limpet got to compare her torch to the real thing.

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Garden xylophone

16 May

This little project came about as we had been given two xylophones and I decided no-one needed two xylophones. One was particularly ugly and plastic so I thought that one could be taken apart and made into something prettier.

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Last summer my husband made the kids the best playhouse ever and I wanted to add some special items to it including an outdoor xylophone. We took all the metal pieces off the plastic and with the help of the little monsters, strung them onto some heavy duty plastic rope.

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We then attached the new garden xylophone under the slide and balcony.

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You can just see its bright colours peeping out from under the slide. The amazing playhouse was designed and built completely by my husband.

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Here’s The Limpet using a stick to make some beautiful music.

Fimo family portrait

6 May

This little project has meant quite a bit to me. As a child I loved fimo but I haven’t had any for probably about 20 years. My love of creating led me on to an evening course in ceramics. But since having children I haven’t had the time (or energy) to do that. I’ve recently seen some great creations on pinterest using polymer clay and I realised that it didn’t have to be just for children, so I thought I’d give it a try again.

Unfortunately I’m dreadful with numbers and following instructions and after spending ages on my fimo creations I then went and baked them at over double the required temperature! The smell was dreadful and I almost cried when I saw them.

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After a few days I stopped kicking myself and decided that I should use my mistake as an opportunity to improve. So I set about making my fimo family #2.

And here it is, my little family in fimo form.

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Ok, in reality my hair isn’t that blonde!

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And our cat Flossie rarely sits that close to the kids.

I hope you like it as much as we do.

Loose parts play

3 May

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how rubbish toys are. I have a particular dislike of plastic toys that require batteries. We have a toy keyboard and a couple of other music / game toys that are ok but every toy these days seems to light up or play an ear-piercing tune. From observing my own children I’ve found that initially these toys attract their attention but after a very short time they are put to one side and rarely used.

I have read about the benefits of using loose parts in outdoor play but it can also be used on all aspects of play as I discovered when we were using playdough.

So one day after the monsters woke from their naps, this is what they discovered.

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I think most things look nicer displayed in little baskets and bowls but on closer inspection this is what they found:

A wooden bowl of twigs, pine cones and conkers. A basket of silk scarves. A basket of shiny pebbles. A basket of fabric scraps and ribbons.

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A basket full of bead necklaces.

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And my favourite – a tin of buttons. This is something I always loved playing with as a child.

I had intended to take the smaller items away as soon as The Gannet woke up as I knew they would go straight in his mouth but they both sat playing so nicely with everything that I left it all out and just supervised him very closely.

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At the moment he loves to take things out and put them back in again, so he sat doing this with the scarves for ages.

They both played in a variety of ways and without any intervention from myself. The Limpet particularly liked the pebbles and was initially wrapping them all up in material as birthday presents. Then she decided to line them up (she seems to do this with everything) and see if she could make them balance on top of each other.

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They both sat together filling and emptying a basket of all the buttons. It was lovely to see them co-operate with each other as often they struggle to play together.

We now use these baskets of “treasures” a lot and it’s great to see the different ways they can be used and how they spark imaginative play.