Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Lost and Found Story Box


 Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, is the story of a boy and a penguin who arrives on his doorstep one day and seems to be lost.  The boys tries to help the penguin find his way home, but in the end realises that the penguin is not lost but is just lonely and so the boy and penguin set out together.


 This beautiful book, with it's gorgeous illustrations is just perfect for creating a story box.


Using toilet rolls, lolly sticks, an egg box some paint and bits of cardboard, Chick (age 5) created this little story box.

Story boxes are a great way to encourage creativity, story telling and language skills and Chick really enjoyed doing this one, carefully painting the characters, thinking about what materials to use, practicing her writing skills withe South Pole sign and the Lost and Found Office.


The penguin left at the South Pole!

Having looked at the photos just now, a thought just occurred to me, that this would also make a great photo book or a simple animation set for a short film if you had suitable technology.


The penguin and boy back together at last.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Styrofoam and Cookie Cutter Printing: Christmas Wrapping Paper

Each year we make some of our own wrapping paper in preparation for Christmas.  This year was an extravaganza of printing materials in some festive colours of green, red and gold.


We used a styrofoam print made using cookie cutters and a pizza base.  This has been something I've wanted to try for a while.  Using cookie cutters I printed the shapes, then with a knitting needle I carved out the print and added a bit of pattern.  This was quite hard and I don't think the girls would have managed it yet.  The girls then used a lino roller to add paint and print.  My five year old really enjoyed making these prints but my 3 year old found it a bit too slippery and difficult and found the simple cookie cutter and apples much easier to print with.

As well as making the styrofoam print we also used a number of other items for printing.

Simple cookie cutters.

Finger printing.


And printing with apples and leaves.

Shoeshine's finished wrapping paper.

Chick's sheet of wrapping paper.

And getting ready for Christmas!

Last year we did Snowflake sponge printing wrapping paper and the year before we did simple Cookie Cutter Printing.


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Chocolate Playdough

We made our chocolate playdough over 2 years ago and despite being played with regularly over that time it is still going strong.  Christmas time always has us getting out the chocolate playdough to fill the empty boxes of chocolates and run our own playdough chocolate shop.  Recipe and inspiration from The Imagination Tree.

It looks like cookie dough and smells amazing.

It has a lovely texture and is easy for little hands to roll.

Lots of chocolates being made.

Once all the chocolates were made we had a fully stocked chocolate shop to buy and sell our wares.

Play dough is just so fantastic for creative and imaginative play, fine motor skills, role play and lots of fun.

Yum yum!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Autumn Natural Paints

Homemade natural coloured paints, made from spices, tea and fruit infusions made for some lovely soft watercolour style painting in autumnal colours.

Painting is an often requested activity and making some natural paints has been on our list of things to try for a while.  These were super simple to make and stored in a jam jar with lids they have lasted a couple of weeks.

The paints were turmeric, chilli (I would have used paprika or tandoori masala powder if I was concerned they might taste them), tea and a blackberry fruit infusion.  I added boiling water to each of them, stirred them and left them overnight to intensify in colour. 

The blackberry infusion was a pinky red paint that dried pale blue - some science there to explore.


The tumeric gave a lovely bright yellow colour.

The wind blowing the leaves from the tree by my 5 year old.

What other natural simple paints could we make?  And would these paints work on fabric?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Building a Hedgehog Hibernation House

After having fun with our Autumn Woodland Story Box, and inspired by this post from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots, we set about making our own hedgehog hibernation house in a corner of our allotment. After floating this suggestion a few of weeks ago, the girls most definitely took to the idea and we had lots of fun planning, researching, building and now checking on it regularly.

Over the last couple of weeks there has been lots of questions and conversations about planning this hedgehog hibernation house and about hibernation.  We've been collecting all sorts of sticks, twigs, leaves and things when we've been to the park or woodlands, one such trip pictured below, and there has been lots of talk by Chick about how we are going to build it, what the hedgehog might need, why animals hibernate, which animals hibernate etc.

 Our allotment is certainly on the wild side, but with lots of raw materials for building, plenty of space and close to woodland it's hopefully an ideal place to build a house for a hedgehog.

First up was collecting raw materials for building it - wood chippings for the foundation and the roof.

Logs for the walls and roof timbers.

Sticks to plug the gaps in the roof.

Leaves for bedding.

And straw for insulation.

We started out laying a foundation of woodchip and leaves.

Then we created our side walls and our first roof timber.

Then Chick set about adding more timbers to the roof and plugging the gaps with smaller sticks.

Until it looked like this.

Then we added wood chip for insulation to the roof.

And then finally straw was added for bedding.  So here's our finished hedgehog hibernation house and we'll just have to wait and see if there is a resident over winter.
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