Halloween 2013

Posted by Ramona on 26th October and posted in Small world and imaginative play, Topics & Themes

It’s that time again – for some Halloween fun. My children love the preparation for Halloween just as much as they enjoy the event itself. So this year we have thought of two more ways to have some fun creating Halloween themed activities.

Playdough Pumpkins

Playdough pumpkin

All you need is:

  • some orange modelling clay/playdough
  • green modelling clay/playdough
  • black modelling clay/playdough
  • Mr Potato Head parts

This activity has no limits – the variety of versions that children will come up with will amaze you – let their imaginations run free!

Barbie & Ken Dress Up

Barbie & ken Halloween

All you need is:

  • a Barbie doll
  • black Barbie dress
  • Sticker hat (we didn’t have a real Barbie sized witches  hat)
  • imitation graveyard headstone
  • Ken doll
  • a bandage roll from the First Aid box (preferably an old roll that you won’t need in an emergency.) :-)

If kids can dress up then why can’t their toys!

Here are some previous posts on Halloween:

Halloween in Lego

Halloween Party

I asked my daughter, so where is the learning in this activity and she replied; “Having fun!”

 

Valentine’s Decoration – Tree Of Hearts

Posted by Ramona on 15th February and posted in Arty Stuff

Heart Tree

 

Here is a quick little tree made of heart shapes, collaboratively made by me and my 7 year old daughter, perfect for your Valentine!

What you need:

  • strips of paper, thin card (I have used 18 strips here)
  • scissors
  • stapler/tape
  • toilet roll tube

 

  1. Cut strips of paper and pair them up. Have 3 different lengths
  2. staple 2 pieces together. Bed them backwards to create the heart shape and staple the other ends together
  3. repeat with all the other strips.
  4. place smaller hearts inside the bigger hearts and staple/tape each set together
  5. put into one end of an empty toilet roll and squeeze the top of the roll together. Staple each side to hold in the hearts.

This learning activity is great for promoting recycling and working collaboratively together.

 

Happy Valentines

Christmas Decorations

Posted by Ramona on 19th December and posted in Christmas, Holiday Activities

Hanging decorations are fun and easy to make.

Hanging decorations are fun and easy to make.

It is that time of year again, full of tinsel, glue and glitter! So if you feel your home is still looking a little bare why not make a hanging paper snowflake decoration. It would be a great holiday activity. This is what you’ll need:

  • glitter
  • shiny Christmas ribbon
  • glue
  • scissors
  • white paper

Here’s how to make your hanging snowflake decoration:

  1. cut your white paper into circles – they can be varied sizes or the same
  2. keep folding your circles in half (3 times will work)
  3. cut off each corner
  4. cut triangular shapes off the sides
  5. open up paper snowflake
  6. decorate with glitter
  7. tape shiny ribbon to each snowflake and join together into one dangly decoration!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tip: You can scrape the blade of scissors along ribbon to make it curl

Adult supervision: adults should curl the ribbon and may need to help with cutting the shapes out of the folded circles

For more Christmas activities, click on the following links:

Christmas Lists

Mosaic Tree

Nativity scene in Lego


Class art project

Posted by Ramona on 18th June and posted in Arty Stuff, school

Over the past couple of weeks I have been involved with an art project at my children’s school. To raise some money for the school P & C an Art Auction was organised. Each class in the school had to create a master piece of work which could then be auctioned off at a special weekend function.

Groups of parents liased with the teacher of their allocated class and came up with an agreed idea or theme. Sometimes this tied in nicely with the current class topic. The standard of work and fantastically creative ideas that resulted was amazing. There are some seriously talented parents out there.

To prepare for this I practised a few ideas at home.

Printed yachts using potatoes and acrylic paint.

Printed yachts using potatoes and acrylic paint.

Here was my second idea:

Collage using a variety of card, origami paper and wrapping paper.

Collage using a variety of card, origami paper and wrapping paper.

After having asked a few opinions from those around me and the teacher involved the latter example was chosen. Here is the end result:

Our final piece of artwork!

Our final piece of artwork!

We are all very proud of it, especially the year 2 children involved. Of course, the children were also excited to have their parents in school to help out. So ‘many thanks’ to the parent helpers in my class. The topic in their class at the moment is ‘Transport’ and being a school near the beach it all feels very apt. It was a great learning activity for experiencing team work.

How to create this collage:

  • Collect 2 different colours of card for sea and sky
  • collect a variety of patterned, plain and textured paper for the sails, clouds and flags/ shiny card for the hull of the yachts
  • glue, scissors, frame
  • 3 different sized yacht stencils

Glue down the sky

Tear long strips of card to create waves and stick on sky

Get the children to choose one plain and one patterned piece of paper for the sails. Draw around their sail stencil and cut. Do the same for the hull, choosing a shiny piece of coloured card. Draw around the stencil and cut out. (I numbered my stencils so that the different sizes didn’t get mixed up).

Once all the children have cut out their yachts (and put their initials lightly in pencil on the back, so you don’t mix them up) place them onto the sea and rearrange until you get the best composition. (Do not do this near a open window or door as they will all blow away! :-)

Lay sheet of glass on top and put in frame.

Tip: Remember that the card and paper provided does not have to be new. This  is a great activity for using up scrap bits of paper or recycling bits of wrapping papper, etc.

Digital Parents Blog Carnival

Mosaic Christmas Tree

Posted by Ramona on 1st December and posted in Arty Stuff, Christmas, collage

Christmas is upon us once again and so it is time to get on with the decorations! How about making a Christmas Tree from scrap bits of paper, not only is it lovely to look at but it is also a great way to recycle paper and card that is too small to use for anyhting else. This is how we made it:

1.

  • Collect scrap bits of paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • 2 pieces of card/paper (eg: A4 size)

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2.

  • Cut out lots of square shapes from the scrap pieces of paper.
  • Glue them onto a piece of card/paper – I used A4 sized card here.

DSCF3251

3.

  • With help from an adult if necessary, draw a Christmas tree shape on the back.
  • Cut out the Christmas Tree shape.
  • Add a trunk shape from scrap paper.
  • Add a bucket shape
  • Stick them all to the A4 sized background piece of card or paper.
Mosaic Christmas Tree

Mosaic Christmas Tree

This lovely activity will definately light up your home. Can you make a whole forest? Imagine the variety of trees you could make using different pieces of scrap for each one.

The knowledge and skills developed in this learning activity are:

  • fine motor skills – through manipulating a pair of scissors and cutting out big and small shapes (which my 6 year old left-handed daughter finds very tricky)
  • shapes – recognising a square, counting 4 sides
  • recycling – this is always an important lesson, can you reuse something rather than throw it away?

If you enjoy mosaic activities, here is another: Mosaic Egg Card

Writing stories for children

Posted by Ramona on 15th November and posted in Children's Books, Children's Writing, Stories

As a teacher I used to ask the children to engage in many activities. It really helps if you remind yourself about what you are asking of them. On a course once, all the teachers were asked to decipher some text from another language. The point was that this is what we sometimes expect of young children to magically be able to do straight away. Writing stories is no different. We ask the class to write a story and expect them to be able to do this straight away, (imaging being asked to do this and you are just not in the mood). Certain things are needed to provide a creative environment:

  • props – eg: a bag of mystery objects
  • word prompts – eg: a selection of random word cards of people, places, animals and objects
  • picture prompts - eg: photos from a magazine
  • events that may have recently happened – eg: an earthquake

and so on…

Recently to challenge myself, I have joined PiBoIdMo. Here is what it is all about:

“PiBoIdMo is the picture book writer’s alternative to NaNoWriMo and encourages picture book writers to create one new picture book idea a day for 30 days.”

(Quote from Tara Lazar of Writing for kids while raising them.)

I am learning so much on this writing journey and it’s not all easy!

Things I have to consider that may also be relevant to guiding a child inn their story writing:

  • A catchy title – that gives some indication of what the story is about
  • The protagonist (the main character)
  • Story arc – beginning, middle, end
  • Story Challenge – problem and resolution
  • Synopsis – can you write a paragraph about what your story is about, a bit like the blurb on the back of the book which children are taught about.

Writing a picture book for children is not as easy as it looks – can you write a story under 500 words – think concise and catchy!

National Recycling Week

Posted by Ramona on 7th November and posted in Arty Stuff, Building Activity

This week is National Recycling Week. To find out more about it click the following link: National Recycling Week. I like to be involved in and encourage recycling as much as I can to my children. One of their chores is to sort the rubbish in to the correct recycling bins each week. This is a great way to teach them the different types of materials products are made with too.

Recycling is a topic that I feel is very important for children to learn about. Not only because you are teaching them to be resourceful and not wasteful, but having your children entertained or entertaining themselves for free is an extra bonus, especially in these hard financial times.

I have written about recycled Art activities before on this blog under Reduce, reuse, recycle. Also, this week the neighbours moved house and gave me lots of packing cardboard they no longer needed. They knew we were quite an arty household and would be able to make use of it rather than just throw it away. This is what me and my 6 and 7 year old made together:

Semi detached houses made from cardboard squares.

Semi detached houses made from cardboard squares.

At first we were just going to make a home with a couple of rooms. But my son decided he wanted to join in so we built two homes side by side. The children have had great fun decorating the inside and personalising it to make it their own. Tonight they want to sleep in their new living quarters!

The side view - with windows and homemade curtains from scrap material.

The side view - with windows and homemade curtains from scrap material.

So to join in and celebrate recycling for National Recycling Week, here are some great fun and learning activities you can do:

Boxes & Bears

Making a cubby house for your child or their toys is an activity which will bring joy and hours of fun all for free! What more can you ask for!

Cardboard Castles

This activity was so popular that visiting friends went home to copy it. The castle is now a year old and the children still play with it. It’s lasted longer than some shop bought toys!

Candle Holders

This activity is always popular when celebrating Earth Hour each year, we have quite a collection of recycled candle holders now.

Note: Adult supervision is needed for these activities as they require some help with the making and creating,plus fire is involved in the candleholder activity.

Halloween in Lego

Posted by Ramona on 17th October and posted in Building Activity, Small world and imaginative play

A mummy rising from the grave!

A mummy rising from the grave!

It is nearly Halloween and we have started to think about ways to decorate the house for the occasion. Last year my children and I created a Nativity Scene in Lego for Christmas and thought that we could do the same for Halloween.

DSCF3155

A graveyard scene made from Lego

Now that there is so much variety in Lego you can create any scenario you want. The characters are great, they came from the mini packets you can buy that have one figure in them. My kids buy these with their pocket money they have earned. It’s a bit of a lucky dip what you get in the packet but that is part of the fun.

Here is how you can decorate your food table with nibbles for guests: Halloween

My name is… Activity Books

Posted by Ramona on 30th August and posted in Children's Writing

Screen shot 2011-08-30 at 4.20.53 PM

One of the first words a child learns to read is their name, so it only makes sense that this is one of the first words that they learn to write.

Recently, a lovely reader made a request for me to make her two My name is… Activity Books for her children which I was pleased to do. Here they are:

My name is…Angad

My name is…Eugenia

If you want to see if I have made a booklet with your child’s name on check here: My name is…‘.

Inside there are the following activities:

  • initial letters to colour in
  • things that begin with the first letter of their name
  • writing their name inside a name guide
  • reading comprehension with alliteration
  • and 3 lovely name labels to colour in and decorate!

    And finally I leave you with this great quote from Bill Crosby:

    Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry!
    Bill Cosby

    Alice In Wonderland Birthday Party

    Posted by Ramona on 21st July and posted in Children's Party, Playdates, Role play

    Deck of cards, flamingos, clocks, cakes and a mouse in a teapot - perfect for a teaparty!

    Deck of cards, flamingos, clocks, cakes and a mouse in a teapot - perfect for a teaparty!

    During the holidays my daughter had her 6th birthday. Every year we choose a theme together for her party. This year we chose the theme Alice In Wonderland. We had recently seen the Alice In Wonderland movie version by Tim Burton, but both my children preferred the Disney animation and the music in it.

    The party was going to be at home and due to the shy nature of my daughter we treat it as more of a playdate and invited just a handful of her friends she had recently bonded with in her Kindergarten class. I dressed up as the Queen of Hearts which lead to great role playing with all the children who had also dressed up for the occasion. I thoroughly enjoyed my role as the Queen of Hearts as I was able to shout out ‘off with your head’ everytime a sneaky hand tried to steal one of the home made heart biscuits.

    Home made heart biscuits.

    Home made heart biscuits.

    This became a great learning activity, because my daughter was involved in a lot of the planning of the teaparty. She wrote party food lists, the invitations, the ‘Thank you cards after the party, she helped bake the heart biscuits, decorate the party bags and label the ‘drink me’ bottle and ‘eat me’ foods. It was alot of writing for her but she enjoyed it because it all had a purpose, which is great for her fine motor control and understanding that we write for real events.

    It is very difficult to find party plates, cups and napkins with Alice on them, I did look ay many party websites and didn’t find anything. Yet the beauty about having an Alice themed Tea Party is that nothing has to match! So this is what I collected and displayed for my daughters party:

    Decorations:

    The table set for a tea party.

    The table set for a tea party.

    • 6 strings of suits (Spade, club, diamonds and hearts
    • variety of teapots (some plastic toy ones, some from charity shop)
    • toy mouse to put in teapot
    • clocks
    • small deck of cards to scatter on table
    • bottle labelled  ’drink me’
    • flamingos (very difficult to find, luckily one came free in a fast food children’s meal)
    • real china teacups and saucers (children enjoy using real china, it makes them feel very grown up)
    • napkins (we luckily found these at the last minute during a 2 day trip to the Blue Mountains. I had won a 2 night stay at a house in Katoomba. The prize was provided by Eden through Digital Parents – an online community for blogging mums and dads. On the way back from our stay we visited the Norman Lindsay Gallery & Museum which was lovely. In their little shop we found the perfect napkins – covered in teacups and teapots!
    Teapot & teacup covered napkins.

    Teapot & teacup covered napkins.

    Games:

    pass the parcel – the children sit in a circle and pass a parcel around. When the music stops at a particular child she may take off one layer of paper and retrieve her prize hidden.

    hunt the cards lucky dip – each child had to find 6 cards from the deck of cards that had been hidden around the house. Once they had found 6 (the age of the birthday girl) they could then take out a prize from the lucky dip bag.

    Pin the grin on the chesire cat - draw a large cat face and a separate cat’s grin for this activity. The children have to try and pin the grin in the correct place on the cats face whilst blindfolded. Lots of fun!

    Party Bag:

    We decorated our own party bags with hearts to represent the Queen of Hearts and Blue bags in keeping with the colour of Alice's dress.

    We decorated our own party bags with hearts to represent the Queen of Hearts and Blue bags in keeping with the colour of Alice's dress.

    Useful resourses:

    http://www.alice-in-wonderland.net/

    http://www.creativelittlestars.com.au/page14.htm

    http://www.theinspiredwoman.net.au/community/showthread.php?22558-Alice-In-Wonderland-Mad-Hatters-Tea-Party-Theme/page2

    This theme would really suit any age and if you type in Alice In Wonderland into google images you will find a whole load of great images to help give you more ideas!