Hands! New Sunday Challenge

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.

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Little Lizzie Lizard

Today we saw a lizard in our little garden. She was very active and very healthy. But, a year ago we found one in our cantina. She wasn’t very well at all. We christened her ‘Little LIZZIE Lizard’.

Read on to find out what happened.

Yesterday we found this little lizard in our cantina and it wasn’t very well. We called it Little Lizzie Lizard!

She looked so thin and lifeless and so dull that we were really afraid she would  die but we were determined to do our best and try to help her.  First we needed to find out some facts about lizards.  We have shared them and the story of Little Lizzie Lizard below.


Some Lizard Facts!

Lizards belong to an animal class called REPTILES.
Reptiles (with a few exceptions) are cold-blooded animals which lay eggs. They have a backbone, four legs and are covered in scales.   Lizards can be found all over the world except at the North and South Poles.

 Can you guess why? 

There are over 3,000 different types of lizards and they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes! The smallest measures a tiny 7cms whereas the largest, the Komodo Dragon can reach lengths of 3 metres.
Lizards have four legs each with five little toes and they are very fast runners and very good at climbing. They also have a very long tail part of which can detach itself if a predator grabs hold! The lizard then grows another one!

They are insectivores which means that they eat only insects but some of the larger ones are carnivores and eat small animals,
Most lizards live in trees or under rocks and are more active at night. During the day they like to sunbathe!

 Why?? .
Well, it has something to do with the fact they aren’t found at the North or South Poles !!
Do you know what the climate is like at the poles?
Yes! Ice and snow and VERY cold.
You and I and all mammals like dogs and cats and rabbits and mice and horses are warm bloodied which means we are able to control our body temperature. To keep it the same even when the temperature outside changes. But reptiles and that includes lizards, are cold bloodied which means that they can’t control their body temperature. So they need to sunbathe to warm up!

This is why our little lizard was so poorly when we found her.   She had been locked in a cold underground room with no sun and was very, very cold.  She was also very dehydrated which means her  body was lacking in water and dehydration is very serious.  We couid tell she was poorly because she was so happy to be handled and that is NOT normal.   The poor thing hadn’t the energy to run away!


So!  The Jumbles came to the rescue!!

We had to warm her up and re-hydrate her which means we had to make sure she drank some water.  We held her near a bowl of water and were really pleased because she started to lap it up !

Then we found a nice big bowl and popped her in with a shallow bowl of water and then we put it in a nice warm spot outside but not in direct sunlight because it is VERY hot here at the moment.  We also gave her a little box just in case she wanted to hide!


Then we left her in peace but kept checking every hour.

After about four hours Lizzie Lizard was looking very different. More alert and a much better colour !  So we put a few ants and maggots into the bowl to tempt her to eat.  The DOG BISCUIT was not for Lizzie Lizard! It was just a quick way to catch some insects and transport to the bowl !


By the following morning Lizzie Lizard  was anxious to get out and, instead if wanting to be handled she ran off when we tried to touch her !

That was a good sign Lizzie was feeling normal again.

It was time to let her out !


And that’s what we did!

It was such a great feeling to have helped an animal recover and to have been able to return it to the wild.

Video of Little Lizzie Lizard’s recovery!

Why is it important to develop a child’s creativity? 


Why is it important to develop a child’s creative thinking skills? 

Because creative thinking is probably the most important skill they will ever learn!
Developing creative thinking is about developing self esteem and self confidence. It is about developing a love of learning. Of having the means to deal with the confusion, risks and failures that are part of everyday life. The confidence to lead and to be different from the crowd.

I believe that all children are creative by nature but, unfortunately, many lose their creativity before reaching adulthood. In our education and social system where examination success and conformity reigns supreme, creativity seems to have been forgotten.

Creative thinking is vital in all areas of life. It is a skill which will give your children the edge over others in their chosen career enabling them to be the person who initiates new procedures rather than one of the majority who follow already established routines. It opens the door to new opportunities and new inventions.

It also makes a person interesting! Ensures they are never bored ! Someone who is popular socially and is capable of meaningful and long lasting relationships. 

So how do we recognise a creative thinker
A creative thinker is able to think out of the box. They are curious and questioning and not afraid of making crazy suggestions knowing that there may be many possible answers. They make mistakes and learn from these mistakes being happy to try and try again. Creative thinkers don’t feel guilty about daydreaming knowing that often this is when the best ideas are born and when they realise these new ideas they will push them to their limits. They are optimistic, have boundless energy and, despite accomplishing a great deal, still have free time to enjoy their family and hobbies. Last, but not least. They are never bored!

My  Free ‘ Jumble Fun’ learning programme aims at developing creative thinking by: 

Asking Open ended questions

The stories include open ended questions. You are encouraged to ask questions which require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. “What do you think we should use to make …?” “what would happen if …?” “What couid we change…..?

Making choices

The programme encourages children to make their own choices. To make decisions and try them out. If their choices fail to achieve the desired result they are encouraged to try again.  From this they learn to view making mistakes as a new beginning and not as a failure or the end of a 

Story telling and dramatic play

There are opportunities for children to make their own ‘Jumbles’ and to weave stories around them. 

Inventing

The ‘Jumble’ characters enjoy inventing things from well, …… jumble! In other words, from ordinary, everyday household items and objects they can collect in their local environment. Using the characters as inspiration and role models, children will become collectors and inventors, viewing ordinary objects as blank canvasses on which to stamp their own individuality

Fun ! 

The JUMBLES are fun and they encourage your child to have fun being creative and being active rather than passive.  

Enjoy

Floating Eggs

What? Why? How? 

Children need to e challenged not spoon-fed with facts! 

They need to question. To predict. To investigate. This is the first of a series of challenges for children. They are suitable for children from about four years upwards.  Children learn by ‘doing’ and all the challenges are simple enough for them to perform themselves with adult supervision. 

This first challenge is all about floating and density. 

The first video shows the challenge. 

The second video repeats the investigation and then answers the questions. 

My suggestion is that you watch the first video then perform the challenge asking the questions 

Later the second video giving the solutions can be watched.

 We’re all off on a snail hunt! 

 

We’re all off on a Snail Hunt ….. try putting it to the music of  ‘We’re all off to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow ….. ‘ 

It goes quite well!!! 

But, of course a snail hunt is no fun if you are not likely to find snails! 

The idea of this blog is that you choose to hunt something that you KNOW you are likely to find plus you rule out animals (and plants) that are likely to cause actual harm. That will rule out lions, tigers, rattlesnakes, poisonous jellyfish, cacti and unfriendly dogs.  Involve your children in the initial search as this will make them much more enthusiastic. Look up habitats and methods of collection just in case you do decide to take a creature home but I hope you won’t. 

So what are we left with


This depends on where you are and the time of the year so, yes you will need to do a little research 

In Europe in the spring we could be looking at :

Well yes..definitely bees and they are very interesting to observe … NOT collect obviously! Children will ask lots of questions. Try to resist spoonfeeding them the answer. Instead say, ‘What do you think? Why is that?’ Then if necessary give hints … why are they visiting the flowers? What can you see on their legs? Why are they buzzing? Why are they so brightly striped? 

In addition to bees there may be Caterpillars, butterflies, frogspawn, spring flowers, sprouting buds, blossom, lizards, birds nests, badgers, young animals like lambs and calves and ducklings.   Hedgehogs, Rabbits, Badgers, Deer. 

It doesn’t have to be something you can collect but yes, I  know children love to collect.!  But they can always take home something to remind them of an animal. Something to make a model animal from. 


Obviously from the conservation aspect there are definitely some things you must not collect or interfere with like birds nests or eggs.  If you do capture a live animal, like a Caterpillar or lizard or spider then it is very important that you only do this for a minimum observation time and return it to its habitat. If you take magnifying giasses and a sketch pad, tablet or camera then there should be no need to remove the animal at all as an observation can be done on the spot. 

So,what should you be looking at?  

Obviously features that make it an insect, reptile, amphibian, bird or mammal etc.

It’s colour . It’s shape. 

How does it move? What does it eat? How does it catch its prey? Get kids to guess what enemies it may have and how it manages to avoid these enemies. 

Is it camouflaged?  Does it have a shell, or prickles? Why? 

 Where does it live? Why does it live there? Is it more active during the night of day? How do you know? 

It will make a pleasant change for you to be asking the questions! 


So now the things you can take home: 

Budding twigs are good to collect …just one is necessary from each tree or bush.  If you take them home and place them in water it is possible to observe the changes from day to day. How the bud opens to reveal a flower or a leaf.

​Sprigs of blossom or a single flower can be taken home and used as inspiration for a model or painting. Flowers can also be pressed as can Leaves. It’s fun to make a collection of leaves mounted on cards. 

Leaves are good to take rubbings of.  They can also be  pressed into clay or plasticine to make a mould. If plaster of Paris is then used to fill the cavity you end up with some lovely leaf casts which can then be painted. 


Even spotting different colours of plants can be fun. Or, for older children, different shades of the same colour.. collecting lots of different colours of green for example. Once home you could try mixing paint to create these different shades. 

We tend not to notice the barks of trees and yet there are so many different patterns. Take chunky crayons and plain white paper with you and see how many different ones you can collect as bark rubbings. 


Fungi spotting is interesting but needs to be done with care as many are very poisonous. The rule is don’t touch, just draw or take a photograph. 

If you are near the sea then there are no end of opportunities. Shells, fish, pebbles, seaweed. Footprints of birds and animals in the wet sand. 

 Pebble collections are fun and larger ones can be painted to make great paper weights.  

Again please be sensitive to conservation and to the animal’s  needs. Collect empty shells and, although sea urchins are beautiful it is cruel to remove live ones as they will die plus they will stink the place out by the time you get home which serves you right but doesn’t help the poor creature. 

So, have fun in the great outdoors! 

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