Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Baby Play: Fabric & Textures Spring Chicks Bean Bags

These Chick bean bag juggling chooks from Red Ted Art have been on my to do list for ages as I thought they would make a great baby treasure basket for exploring fabric & textures.  I'm really pleased with how they turned out and the tutorial was so easy to follow.  Perfect for Spring and Easter.

The were all made with scraps of fabric, some bits of felt and black embroidery thread (although I couldn't for the life of me get a french knot to work so I just used three straight stitches close together).  They contain some stuffing for the head and some dried beans for the base.  Some of them I added dried lavender heads to make them smell nice too.

Baby Boo exploring the chicks.
 As with all things you make yourself there is no safety label, but I did give them a good checking over before giving them to him, as I first one I made the stitching had missed one of the seams and all the beans fell out!  



I made them in a variety of different texture fabrics for Boo to explore.

Of course big sisters need to join in!  
With Shoeshine who is just starting to learn to count, we had fun practicing this with our chicks.  Chick also enjoyed playing with them, lining them up and making lots of lots of supposedly chicken noises!

Taste and sniff - the best ways to explore. (And you can see the thread I haven't trimmed off - oops!)

They are definitely addictive to make.  We've got our own little family of chicks.

Thanks Red Ted Art for a great tutorial.  If you haven't checked out this site before there's a whole array of great crafty ideas for kids and grown ups and she's also just about to have her first book published too.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Kids Get Arty: Monet Sunset in Venice: Sponge Printing & Mirror Images

Kid's Get Arty Link-up is a bi-monthly linky, all about exploring art and the great artists, having fun together and there are no right or wrongs - perfect!  It's hosted by some fabulous blogs Red Ted ArtThe Imagination TreeImagination SoupMom 2 Posh Lil Divas, Creative with Kids and Tinkerlab and we're very excited to be joining in. Do stop by some of these blogs and see some amazing and creative ideas linked up.

Having been exploring light and rainbows recently, we had a look at Monet's San Giorgio Maggiore al Crepuscolo  painting with it's beautiful colourful sunset in Venice.

A few weeks ago Chick asked about a painting in our dining room where the sky is red and said "so the sky isn't always blue then", this then led on to discussions about light, sunsets and rainbow and this painting links in with this really well. 

San Giorgio Maggiore al Crepuscolo (1908) Oil on Canvas

We looked at the picture and talked about all the colours in the sky.

 We then got all our paint colours out.  We just used standard poster paints. Chick lined them up in the order they came in the sunset and we talked about how Monet mixed and overlapped his colours, and how we could use sponge printing to get this effect, but only have one sponge and not washing the sponge between changes of colour to look at what effect that had as our picture progressed.  I find that Chick in particular tends to want to do very detailed things if we use brushes so the idea with using sponges was about creating an overall effect of colour mixing and building up the picture as we went along. 

We looked at the painting and found that red was at the bottom of the sunset, so we started off with this colour.

We chatted about not leaving any white spaces and overlapping the colours, referencing back to Monet's painting on the computer.

They started building up their rainbow coloured sunsets.

Shoeshine's sunset picture taking shape. 

Shoeshine doing her second picture. She really enjoyed using the sponge and printing everywhere.  Shhoeshine is 2.5 years so it was mainly about exploring, mixing and naming the colours and talking about the rainbow colours of the sunset, rather than looking at specifically at Monet's art, which was more what Chick who is nearly 5 was doing more of.  

Shoeshine's finished pictures.

Chick's finished picture

 At this point Shoeshine was finished, but Chick was keen to do some more so we looked again at the picture and looked at the reflection in the water and how it was a mirror image of the sky, so she set developing our ideas and having another go with the sponge printing but this time I suggested creating a mirror image print with it. 

She created a sunset picture on the top half of the paper.

Then folded it down the middle, pressing all over to get the paint to transfer.

And opened it up to reveal the mirror image printing.

Finally she added some buildings, sponge printing with some brown paint, looking carefully at the shape of silhouette of the buildings (we hadn't added that before the fold as she'd observed that the reflection in the water wasn't quite the same as the actual buildings in the picture.)  She was really pleased this picture.  And it was lovely to see her develop her skills as her first picture the sunset colours were quite boxy but with this second one she seemed much more able to interpret the sunset colours interweaving. Not that there are any right or wrong pictures, but it is nice to see them develop and be pleased with their final pictures. 

I love the mixing of all the colours.

And then we left them to dry.

They are now displayed in our hall where we have a wire and little pegs to hang some of their pictures, collages, paintings and artwork.  So which artist next to explore?

Previously we've looked at Anthony GormleyKandinsky and Suerat and there are so many more great artist and works of art to explore!

Chick 4.8 yrs
Shoeshine 2.5 yrs

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Baby Play: Noisy Treasure Basket


Here is our Noisy Treasure Basket for Baby Play.

The basket contains:
Noisy discovery bottles, with rice, butter beans and colourful buttons
Saucepan lid
Wooden Block
Egg shaker
A rain shaker (I keep meaning to make some homemade ones with the girls)

The three new noisy discovery bottles we made. Rice and plastic beads, dried beans and colourful buttons.

This one has proved really popular, and again I find it really interesting how much the older two girls enjoy rummaging and fiddling and exploring what's in the basket too. 


Boo loved the egg shakers  - first you need to suck them, then you need to find out what happens when you bang them together!

 Although I have to say this is not a good one for days when you already had a headache and just need some peace and quiet, it is very popular with the little ones!

See here for our Baby Play Discovery Bottles and Textures Treasure Basket.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Colours and Geometric Shapes: Simple Glueing and Sticking Abstract Art & Creative Maths

Simple glueing and sticking art, exploring shape and colour.  And who would have thought we'd be learning colours, developing maths and visuospatial skills all at the same time!

I gave the girls some coloured paper cut into shapes, craft glue and paper.  I made circles, squares, rectangles and triangles.  With older children you could also get them cutting out their own shapes and use more complex 2D shapes (hexagon, pentagons, trapeziums etc.)

This started out as an activity to help Shoeshine with her colours, but actually Chick enjoyed it just as much. 

It's always great to seem them enjoying themselves and learning new things at the same time.  
Some of the things they're learning through creating and exploring:
Simple 2D Shapes
Shape names
Spatial positioning

Ideas for developing learning:
Using more complex 2D shapes
What shapes can be combined to make other shapes.
Tesselating shapes
Diffferent sizes of the same shape - bigger/smaller, ordering and sequencing
Forming pattern sequences
Irregular shapes
Seeing shapes in everyday things (e.g house with a roof  or a flag on a pole)

It is really interesting to see the different stages of development at 2.5 and 4.5 years and I'm also probably seeing their different personalities coming out in how they approach the project.  At 2.5 Shoeshine's picture is all about shape and colour and positioning on the page.  Whilst at 4.5 Chick's picture is about using shapes to represent things, combining shapes to form the desired compound shape and careful positioning and overlaying.  That's what makes art so exciting, give two children the same material and you get two totally different pieces of art!

Shoeshine age 2 years (above)

Little Chick age 4.5 years (Flags on flagpoles, traffic lights and a house).

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Books: Pirate stories

As it's World Book Day today, here are a few of our favourite pirate story books.

You can't beat the 'that not my' series and this is a fun book that all three of my children enjoy.

We got this one from the library, it a brilliantly funny story about a pair of pirates who aren't any good at being pirates and get thrown out of pirate school and their search to find something else to do.

A great adventure story about Tom and the little pirates' search for treasure.  The illustrations and varying fonts size combined with the atmospheric writing make for a great read.

We love Nick Sharratt books and this is another great book full of colourful illustrations.  It's a series of rhyming poems about everything piratey, a really popular book with both the girls.

A book from the Usborne Picture book series, a brilliant book with all the essentials of pirating - sailing through a storm, singing sea shanties and finding treasure with not so scary pirates.

Another good tame pirate story about Captain Pike taking his baby on a trip round the island and realising it's not easy to look after a baby and be a pirate at the same time!

The Lighthouse Keeper's Lunch is an absolute favourite with the girls and here is another in the series which has some pirating activity!  Are Mr and Mrs Grinling cut out to be pirates?

Finally one of the Barefoot sing along books all about pirates.
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