Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Junk Modelling Space Rocket

Inspired by the Playing with Junk Challenge from day 15 of the 30 day Hands on Play Challenge by The Imagination Tree and Hands on as we Grow, we had fun making our own junk model space rocket, linking in with our space theme and stories that we're doing at the moment.

Together we looked at the picture of a rocket made at The Imagination Tree as a starting point and then Little Chick set about finding the bits and pieces she wanted to use to make our rocket from the junk box basket.


Then there was lots of zooming and roaring and flying around the room!

And finding some other bits.

And finding other ways to play with the junk.

We then did the cutting together and fixed the toilet roll rocket boosters with sticky tape.  Little Chick absolutely loves cutting at the moment and will sit for ages cutting up bits of paper into all sorts of things.  Sometimes it's shapes, sometimes it birthday cards, sometimes it's bridges!

We then went to our craft shelf and found the box of bits and pieces (all the off-cuts and left over bits from previous arts and crafts) and Little Chick chose some star and number stickers too.

She then got busy with the stickers.

And the glue.  
Little Chick was busy for ages decorating her rocket, occasionally Mummy was allowed to stick a few bits on too!

And soon our rocket was beautifully decorated.  We also wrapped the rocket boosters with sparkly wrapping paper and glued it on. 

Can't wait for it to dry so we can have some lovely imaginative play with it.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Salad Spinner Spin Art Planets / Solar System

As we've been reading stories about space I thought it would be nice to do some art around this.  Seeing pictures of planets in books I love the beautiful swirly mix of colours they appear to be from far away and I thought these would be great for salad spinner art.  I've seen salad spinner art in lots of places on the web and I've been patiently searching the charity shops for the last couple of months for a salad spinner and finally my searching paid off the other week - 99p what a bargain!  So we set about putting the salad spinner to good use, creating some planets.

I cut up some of Little Chick's painting that we have finished displaying and some plain paper.  We seem to have rather a lot of art work and I'm always one for reusing and recycling!  I found that the thicker paper and card worked the best for this activity, as it better coped with the large splodges of paint and subsequent spinning.  The stars didn't really work as they were a bit small for the spinner. 

We got out a book with some lovely pictures of the planets in the solar system and Little Chick got busy choosing some of the coloured paints she thought would match up with the pictures.

Shoeshine enjoyed playing with and dismantling the salad spinner whilst Little Chick and I got the paints ready.

Little Chick then got busy choosing the bits of paper and then various paint colours to make her planets.  We used a blob of blue-tac to secure the paper to the bottom of the salad spinner.  Although we were loosely basing our art around the planets Little Chick is still quite young to really comprehend much about the solar system so much of our making planets was about letting the creativity flow, seeing what colours look pretty together and what happens when different colours mix together. 

Before spinning.

Let's get spinning!  Little Chick loved this, each time I said "do you think this is done yet?"  She'd reply "Not yet, it needs a bit more spinning."

 Here it is after spinning (this was her interpretation of Mars!)

Once she'd got the hang of what to do, Little Chick was away and very shortly we had a production line of planets in process.  Lots of looking at the pictures, choosing paper and selecting paint colours and plenty of chatter along the way.  Top left is the moon, top right Neptune and bottom left Earth.

More were made...

...until finally we had quite a selection.  I love the beautiful patterns that are created with the paint mixing and being spun (and the glitter paint too - I just love a bit of sparkle.)

Once they were dried I stuck a long loop of black cotton on the back of each one with sticky tape, ready for hanging up.  In our hall we have a fishing line with pegs on one wall for displaying art, so all I did was peg up some sparkly fabric and then hung the 'planets' over the pegs, which we hung for a couple of days before Little Chick insisted the backdrop had to come down as it was hiding some of her other pictures!  

We had lots of fun with this art and I think it would be great to do with mixed ages, as older children could be more accurate and hang them in the right order and identify facts about each planet, whilst for younger children it's lots of fun with paint and spinning!  I'm also thinking these could look look very beautiful cut into bells or tree shapes and hung on our Christmas tree in a few weeks.  What art have you done with salad spinners?

Monday, 21 November 2011

5 A Day Books: Stars and Space

With the evenings drawing in, Little Chick has been fascinated by it getting dark earlier and seeing the night sky and the moon and asking lots of 'Why' questions! So I thought it would be good to read some books about the stars and space.

Q Pootle 5 in Space.  This has been an absolute favourite of Little Chick since we got it out of the library last week.  Q Pootle 5 and his friend Oopsy are playing games when they find they are being chased by the bladder monsters! (Little Chick finds this name so funny.)  But it's OK as their friend Dave, Planet Dave, is there to help protect them.  But Dave is lonely, he would really like some moons of his own.  When the bladder monsters return Oopsy has an idea..  This is a fabulously funny story that both Little Chick and I have really enjoyed reading together.

Q Pootle 5 is a great funny story about a friendly little green alien whose space ship has crashed on earth.  Q Pootle 5 is on his way to a moon party, will a green frog, some birds and Colin the Cat be able to help fix his rocket booster?

The Way Back Home.  We haven't really read any Oliver Jefferies before, but we also got this from the library as it linked with the theme of space.  This is a great story about a boy and an alien who get stuck on the moon together.  A great story of friendship and helping each other in trouble and the illustrations are beautiful.

How to Catch a Star is also by Oliver Jefferies and this is a lovely story about a boy really wanting a star and trying to grab one from the sky but he can't reach.  Great story with a happy ending with a bit of a twist.  Little Chick has been enjoying this one too.

Eric Carle's Draw me a star.  I love so many of his books for their gorgeous pictures and simple text.  This book has more lovely pictures as the artist in the story draws a star and then beautiful things as the story unfolds.  To be honest I don't totally follow the storyline but maybe that's just because I'm not being imaginative enough!  The girls seem to enjoy listening too it.  It would also make a lovely starting point for some art and craft around stars and the night sky.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Autumn Leaf Bowl

With all the lovely autumn leaves we've collected over the past weeks, we've had fun playing with them and using them for lots of different things.  Last week we had a go at making a leaf bowl, linking in with some of the autumn books we have been reading.

I came across this idea in a fantastic book that one of my friend's lent me.  It's called Make it Wild by Fiona Danks and Jo Schofield and it's full of natural craft and art ideas exploring nature and being outdoors, using sand, wood, clay and ice to mention but a few.  There are lots of great ideas for when the girls are older but lots of them can be worked for them now, particularly for Little Chick who is 3.

To make it easier to mould the leaves into a bowl shape we pressed them flat between some heavy books for a few days before using them. 

We then took two small bowls and wrapped them in cling film, one with the inside of the bowl wrap and one with the outside of the bowl wrapped.

Little Chick got busy squeezing out the glue.  We used a mixture of 50:50 PVA glue and water.

Then she got busy covering both sides of the leaves with the glue mixture.  (If you have a little one who is just interested in glueing rather than sticking this is a great activity because it is all about lots and lots of glue everywhere!)

We then placed the leaves over the upturned bowl that had a cling film wrapped over the outside of the bowl.  I raised the bowl up by putting a cylindrical pot underneath (I used an empty boullion pot), this meant the leaves could fall above the rim of the bowl and made it a bit easier to layer them on.   It wasn't that easy to get the leaves to wrap round the bowl shape and not slowly slither off, as the leaves we had were fairly large and I needed to help Little Chick with this bit.

As you can see from the picture there was lots of glue! 

We then carefully placed the other bowl with the cling film on the inside over our leaf bowl.

And turned it up the other way.

We then filled it with baking beans to give it a bit of weight to keep it in the bowl shape.  Stones or marbles or anything like that would do.  We then left it to dry.  Ideally it would have been good to dry it in an airing cupboard but we don't have one so we left it on a window ill to dry.  It did take about a week to dry.  After a few days I took off the top bowl and then a few days later I removed the bottom bowl and because I'm impatient I used the hair dryer to finally finish it off!

And here's our finished dried bowl.

I just love the beautiful mix of colours.

And here's our bowl displaying some of our autumn fir cones.

This is a really nice craft activity for developing the idea of paper mache but using leaves instead of paper, getting sticky with lots of glue.  I think next time we might have a go at making a leaf plate instead of a bowl which would make placing the leaves a lot easier.  I wonder what else you could use this technique for?

The leaf bowl is now part of our autumn display of painted pumpkins, collected and decorated fir cones and conkers.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

5-A-Day Books: Autumnal Stories

This week we've been reading some lovely autumnal stories.   I absolutely love this time of year, the leaves, the colours and the conkers, so much beauty all around.  There is so much to get excited about, and so many lovely autumnal related activities and play ideas.  So here are some books that link to autumn time.

This is a lovely story about little nutbrown hare and big nutbrown hare playing out during autumn.  Little nutbrown hare finds an empty cardboard box and hops about with it over his head, shouting 'I'm a box monster!' trying to scare big nutbrown hare.  Little chick loves this bit and we've had lots of re enactments of this round the house this week.

Little hedgehog is busy making his winter nest when an apple falls from the tree above and get stuck in his prickles.  No one seems to be able to help him to get it out and he ends up with a whole load of other things stuck in his prickles too.  Thankfully goat is able to help in the end with a bit of munching for lunch!

Gorgeous wordless book from the seasons series by Gerda Muller, the illustrations are lovely with lots of seasonal things happening, giving plenty to talk about and discuss together.  

Poor Ferdie, he is very distressed that his favourite tree seems to be loosing all it leaves and he is determined to stop this from happening.  He's so disappointed when the last leaf falls off, yet the very next day the tree is dressed in the most beautiful covering of frost and snow.  A lovely story about changing seasons and autumn time.

The last one is not specifically an autumn book, but more about autumnal weather.  Great short rhyming story about the wind from the author of Rosie's walk.  This was a book from when I was a child and it is looking very well read now, really fun read.

There are lots of other lovely autumn stories we haven't got and  I'd love to know which ones you would recommend.
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