Recycle!

Recycling ideas for small plastic bottles.

Not really suitable for young children to make but they will learn a lot from watching and will love the little doll.

Plastic bottles make really good plant holders. Use a skewer to make a small hole in the bottom for drainage.

The doll was an after thought when I was faced with five or six bottle tops! It’s made in the same way with the addition of a polystyrene ball for the head. The tops of bottles also make good funnels and can be used as slow watering devices for the garden if you drill a very tiny hole in the cap.

Jumble House. A mystery colour and number.

In this latest programme children have to find a mystery colour and number from clues provided by Lizzie Witch, Georgie and Alfie.

There’s fun with the letter Gg, counting and number patterns plus ideas for art and craft and follow-up learning activities.

LINK TO THE PROGRAMME

Hands!

Hands may look boring but just look what you can make with them!

With a little practice, young children given a chunky pencil, felt tip or crayon can draw around their hand. They will find it even easier to draw round yours.

The outlines can then be coloured or patterned and cut out to,make collages or funny people, creatures, trees or flowers. There’s no end to the creativity.

Older children can be challenged to find a different way to texture each of the fingers.

Progress from drawing round a normal hand-spread to moving some of the fingers to suggest dogs, rabbits etc. Just like when you use your hands to make shadows on the wall.

This is a fun family activity which can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities.

It improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills and creative thinking.

CIRCLE STORIES

Children love to be told stories but it’s good for them to make up stories too. The stories don’t need to be written down. They can be recorded on a phone or iPad but it’s not necessary unless you or your child would like this. It the telling and te creative thinking and the ordering of thoughts that is important.

So how do you start?

Well there are lots of ways of initiating a story telling session but here is one way which can be used for children from two to ten.

First ask the children to draw some pictures on small pieces of paper. The younger the children, the fewer pictures. For children under six I suggest two people, two animals,a super hero, and a monster. Then you need a few places ( an island, a house, a wood, and the sea always work well). Then a few objects that fit in with your places. Maybe a boat, a plane, a treasure chest and a cave) These pictures can be changed as children become familiar with them.

For tinies and for first time players, place all the pictures face up on the table.

Someone starts by picking up any picture and saying a sentence to start the story. It’s a good idea to have a few ‘Story Starters’ like:

  • Once upon a time
  • One day
  • One stormy night

The first child ( or an adult can start) May pick up a picture of a boy and say “Once upon a time there was a boy called Tim.”

Then the next child chooses a picture and carries on the storyline , ” Tim lived in a house deep in the woods.”

This continues until all the cards are used or someone can’t carry on the story. In that case they pick up the card saying ‘ The End’ and finish the story with a suitable sentence.

So a story may look like this:

Once upon a time there was a princess called Sally.

Sally lived in a green house.

The house was in the woods.

One day there was a fire in the wood.

Spider-Man flew in and rescued Sally.

He took Sally to the beach

They found a boat

And sailed off to a desert island.

And lived happily ever after.

As children became familiar with the game it can be made more difficult by having the cards face down on the table.

This can also be used as a ‘CIRCLE TIME’ activity with a group of children sat in a circle. No pictures. One child sets the scene…. the kind of story it will be ….by starting with a particular story starter and then it goes round the circle. No one is forced to supply a sentence. If someone can’t think of one then it passes to the next child in the circle. To help an object or toy is passed around. Only the person with the toy can speak. If they don’t want to they pass the object to the next child.

We call this activity a ‘ Circle story’.

Papier-mâché

Papier-mâché projects are great for any age from tinies right up to adults. They are fun learning experience to share with a young child. They also make good group projects.

Papier-mâché is messy so summer days are perfect to enjoy this out in the garden especially during holidays when you find your house full of kids. Papier-mâché will keep them entertained and happy for hours!

The paste:

There are two main types of paste.

  • White glue. For this mix one part glue with two parts water.
  • Flour and water: about equal amounts of white flour and water. I mix with a spoon; first then finish with an Electric beater to make it nice and smooth.

I always use flour and water. It’s cheap. Doesn’t drip as much and dries very quickly. Paste made with white glue dries clear whereas flour paste can be a bit yellow but if the models are going to be painted that doesn’t matter.

Method:

There are several but, for children, I recommend sticking to these two:

  • Balloons. Here a blown up balloon is covered with several layers of small pieces of overlapping newspaper. When it’s dry the balloon can be popped leaving a hollow shape. Humpty Dumpty was made using this method.

  • the rolled paper method. Here several sheets of newspaper are rolled and then wrapped in masking tape. Layers of paper and paste are then added until the required thickness is reached. The snake was made using this method.

The Octopus uses both methods.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO WATCH ME MAKING THE OCTOPUS.

Some suggestions if you decide to make the Octopus:

  • If you have a group of children doing this give them each a tentacle/leg to make.
  • It’s much easier painting the legs when they are loose. It’s difficult when they are attached to the body. So, if you can decide on colours, medium etc beforehand it helps.
  • An alternative method of decoration could be spray paint. This could be applied once the octopus has been assembled. Small pieces of pegs from a shiny magazine can also be used and stuck on with a dilute white glue which dries clear But this method takes ages ! Again the kegs need to be covered before attaching to the body.
  • After the legs have been attached and while I was waiting for it to dry, I sat the octopus body on a brick so the legs didn’t take the whole weight.
  • The ‘suckers’ need to be attached by a strong glue like Bostick.
  • If you spray the finished octopus with varnish it will withstand quite a lot of rain.

The tortoise above is half a balloon (so you can make two from one balloon.)

The face is a polystyrene ball covered in just one layer of papier-mâché then painted with acrylic mixed with white glue.

The legs are corks.

After cutting the finished papier-mâché balloon in half i wrapped it in masking tape to make a flat side and then added a couple of layers of papier-mâché.

To decorate I painted the shell first in black. Then the coloured hexagons were stuck on and finished with black permanent marker.

Once dry it received a good spray of varnish..

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Learning about Snails for Young Children 

Gardeners don’t like Snails for obvious reasons but kids are fascinated by them AND they are incredibly interesting creatures AND very gymnastic AND make very good pets!

CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO ON SNAILS

Looking at them through the eyes of a child they are quite incredible creatures with their slippery silver trails and waving tentacles.  What other creature carries its house on its back!  It’s the stuff of fairy tales.

In the video Lizzie finds a snail eating  her plants and decides to find out how she can stop this happening without hurting the snail. There is also an investigation for parents or teachers to carry out with their children.

This is the first of two programmes. In the second programme Lizzie will be looking inside the snail shell and exploring spiral shapes in nature and buildings.   Click on the link below for a programme on spirals.

SPIRALS IN ART AND NATURE

FREE ebook

IN SEARCH OF SPRING

What IS Spring? I wrote this little book for two of my grandchildren who live in Singapore. (It’s available free for four days on Amazon: amazon.com/author/judibrereton )

LINK TO MY AUTHOR PAGE

Like little JUMBLE TUFT in the story they have never experienced ‘Spring.’

In the story everyone is helping to Spring clean ‘Jumble House’ and Jumble Tuft doesn’t understand why everywhere is in such a mess. Wise Owl sends him into the woods to find out more about Spring from the woodland creatures. He learns a lot but still has some questions which Wise Owl helps to answer. All ends happily when Jumble Tuft decides he likes this thing called ‘Spring’ and helps the others with the spring cleaning. Jumble Tuft and all the woodland creatures he meets are handmade and at the end of the book there is an opportunity to make one of these characters. Children can also follow the adventures of the JUMBLES on my learning channel. The book has 38 full colour pages. Here’s an excerpt. I hope you like it!