Win a 2018 Nature Wall Planner

I can’t believe it’s only a month before 2018! Have you started planning for your 2018?

My lovely husband (aka leothexplorer) has created this nature wall planner to keep your 2018 on track. I really have benefited from being able to see our whole year at a glance. I know know exactly what we are doing each day. It has kept me from double booking and getting confused (this can easily happen!!) Our planner works well in our dining room, though I can see it brightening up the kitchen or a work room. I love having something cheery to look at.

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We are running a giveaway, you could win this inspiring planner to help make your super busy life more organised. For your chance to win please click on the link below.

Click here to Win a 2018 Wall Planner

Closing date will be midnight on Friday 15th December 2017.

We are selling these A2 Wall Planners in our Etsy shop, if you use the code BLOG2018 you can get a massive 25% off. These would make a fun and practical Christmas gift, a great blogging organiser or a family planner.

Happy Christmas 🙂

Sarah x

Congratulations to Charlotte Cooke for winning 😀

How to make a fabulous den!

Okido magazine always has some fabulous activities in. This month their magazine is all about architecture.

M and Z had loads of fun creating this den made out of newspaper. First they made 25 long tubes from large newspapers.

We the attached them together, first creating an equilateral triangle and then adding tubes to make a row of nine triangles. We attached them together using a stapler, although later we had to reinforce it with sellotape.

We then has to attach the bottom point on one end of the row to the bottom point on the other end of the row, this created the 3 dimensional structure. We added more tube to complete the first section of the structure with a pentagon on the ground and a pentagon on the second layer, this was rather tricky and this was where the sellotape reinforcements came in.

We then made the star shape with the remaining 5 tubes. And attached these to the structure to make the roof.Processed with VSCO with s1 presetNow the den was complete and M and Z spend the next hour inside it looking at Okido magazines!Processed with VSCO with s1 presetThis den is rather little! I wonder whether it could be made bigger. I’m thinking another row of triangles?! I’ll get designing and make a mini one before attempting to make a big one. I’ll let you know how I get on!

We’ve previously made a rocket out of cardboard, which could constitute as a den, you can check out the pictures here. Also we’ve made an outdoor den from sticks, you can check this out here.

Have you made any dens? What was your most successful?

Collaborative Landscape Art

I love the work by landscape artist Andy Goldsworthy. It really draws together two things that I love… nature and art. This piece of art was parcially inspired by Goldsworthy.

I absolutely loved working on this art piece with a lovely group of children (aged 4-8).  It was wonderful to get their input in how the art should look and it was amazing to see their respect for the work they were creating.

I wanted the children to be able to get on and create and not to spend the majority of our time collecting resources to make our art. I collected a load of leaves, sticks the day before and raided our home of all collections of cones, conkers, acorns etc… and also asked others to bring along some resources.

We began by raking out the area so we could begin work. We then created the shape of the star and the heart.

The children soon became interested and got creative with the leaves, cones etc… One of the children suggested we added an I, so the picture became ‘I love stars’

The small star was especially susceptible to being knocked and had to be re-made many times. It was lovely to see that whenever it got knocked one of the children would rush to fix it.

We gave the ground a final rake before our piece was finished, this really helped create a good contrast between the ground and the art.

How to make a Golden Goblet

After choosing this book by Judy Balchin at our local library M looked through it and choose to make a golden goblet.

We started by constructing the shape of the goblet. We cut a plastic bottle in half, discarding the bottom half. We used masking tape to attach a cardboard circle to the top of the bottle. We then turned it upside down, this gave us the shape.

We ripped up a lot of newspaper into tiny pieces and added mixture of PVA glue and water. We let it soak for about 30 minutes and then squeezed out the excess water. We then used this paper mâché to cover the goblet.

When the paper mâché had dried M used an acrylic gold paint to cover the inside and outside of the goblet.

When this had dried it was time to stick on the glass beads. We initially tried sticking these on with glue dots, but they kept falling off. We then used a combination of Evo Stik and super glue which seemed to work well.

Having written down the process it seems very straight forward and I’m not really sure why it took months to complete this project. Waiting between each stage meant that the process couldn’t be completed all in one day and many weeks lapsed between each stage!

M was very pleased with the final outcome. Now it’s time to get finishing some of those other projects we have lying around the house!

What projects have you undertaken with or without children that lasted way too long? I’d love to hear about them.

Thanks for reading

Sarah 🙂

Beach Art – Painting Shells 🐚 

We recently spent a few days in North Wales where we stayed right next to the beach 🙂 which always puts a smile on my face.

We loved going to the beach and collecting a multitude of shells! Shells galore. This picture is just a small selection of our collection!


M and Z were thrilled when later that day I pulled out the Posca Paint Pens and actually let them use them! Posca Paint Pens are great as they keep mess to a minimum which still being able to create, they work especially well when travelling.

We had fun creating different creatures.

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and M made this cute little fruit bowl!


The next day M bought back a huge white rock from the beach which he plans to make into a monster! Watch this space!

What are your favourite beach craft activities? We may try them next time 🙂 Please comment below.

Sarah 🙂

 

 

First hand experiences – Butterflies

M was delighted when these tiny caterpillars arrived at the door as an early birthday present. They really were itty bitty tiny. Crazy to think that in just a few weeks they would be fully fledged Painted Lady Butterflies. I wanted to record our experience so I took photographs most days. From receiving the caterpillars till they turned in to chrysalis took just 13 days. Unfortunately one little caterpillar (he was definitely the runt of the group) never made it this far.

Our caterpillars came from Insect Lore. They guarantee that at least 3 of the caterpillars will become butterflies. If they don’t they will send you more. We started off with 5 caterpillars, one died before changing into a chrysalis. One chrysalis was on the bottom of the tub and never became a butterfly. Thankfully 3 became butterflies.

It took another 12 days before the first butterfly emerged. We received the caterpillars at the end of August when it was feeling cooler. I am wondering if we’d had them earlier in the year that we’d have had more success, as in 5 butterflies.

Unfortunetly we went on holiday (really not unfortunately!) and we didn’t see the last two butterflies emerge. Our friends looked after our butterflies and we had the pleasure of setting them free when we returned. We loved having these wild creatures resting in our hands before flying away.

There’s no better way to learn about the life cycle of a butterfly than to watch it first hand. It has been a truly delightful experience, one we will definitely be repeating next year.

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Have you ever experienced anything like this? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below.

Sarah 🙂

Artist Series: Claude Monet

We love to be creative and to be inspired. We thought we’d take some time out to be inspired by some of the greats.

First stop – Claude Monet

One of Monet’s waterlily paintings was at the Barber Institute. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing it first hand. To get the children inspired we read this book by James Mayhew. They absolutely loved the book and wanted to read the rest of the Katie series. In the book Katie jumps into 5 different Monet paintings and comes up with her own Monet inspired art.

As we were on the way to the art gallery Z talked about wanting to jump into the paintings (Which Katie does in the book). I explained a bit of art gallery etiquette to ensure she didn’t attempt this!

I’d talked with M about drawing Monet’s painting and we packed his art book and pencils. M does love to draw everyday so I thought he maybe keen.

M and his friend spent nearly an hour sketching and colouring their own versions of The Waterlily Pond. It was truly lovely to see the outcome of their efforts. M was very proud of his work.

Do you have a favourite artist? Have you any ideas for encouring children to be inspired by other artists?

Thanks for reading

Sarah 🙂

Lacing the ABC’s

Today I am posting a guest post from Jessica over at education.com

“Lacing is a great way to practice hand-eye coordination, which will help later with writing. Turn it into a fun art project, by stringing up some ABCs!

What You Need:

  • 26 colored foam sheets (you can get this at any craft store, but in a pinch you can use cardboard)
  • Safety scissors
  • Lots of shoe strings (or yarn lengths, taped at the ends)
  • Hole puncher
  • Pencil
  • Lined paper

What You Do:

  1. Make the letters. Take out the first foam sheets and ask your child to use the pencil to write the letter “A” on it. Continue, using one piece of craft foam for each letter of the alphabet. As she finishes each letter, look over her work and if you see any letters written incorrectly, coach her on how to write them, using lined paper. Once she’s gotten the hang of it, you can flip over the foam and write the letter correctly on the other side. When all the letters are written she should carefully cut them out using her safety scissors.
  2. Connect the dots. Have your child draw dots along the strokes of each letter, as if she were making a “connect the dots” alphabet. Then, punch a hole in each dot, using the hole puncher. Be careful not to punch too close to the edges of the letters.
  3. Ready to lace! Help your child string each letter using the shoelaces or yarn—and don’t forget to do it in the direction she’d write. For example, for the letter A, start at the top middle, where the letter comes to a point, and lace down the left side. Then go up the back of the foam and begin at the top again so you can lace down the right side. Then string through the middle, moving left to right.

As she’s working, remember to talk to your expert lacer about the sounds each letter makes. Brainstorm words that begin with the letter she’s working one, such as A= apple, or B=bear. And don’t forget to have some fun!”

This is a fun activity that can be adapted to suit your child. We took the idea and had some fun creating some shapes and doing our own threading.

Thanks for reading

Sarah 🙂

 

Kitchen chores suitable for little ones

Hi thanks for stopping by. Who loves chores??? I know our kitchen fluctuates between super messy and near tidiness many times a day! Today I’m posting this Guest Post from Sophia over at Tidy London, Here she gives a bunch of ideas of how to get your children involved in the battle to keep the kitchen clean!

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“When it comes to chores, nobody loves doing them. But if we don’t do them regularly, we risk ending up with a really messy home. The best solution, then,is to make our chores fun so that they are more pleasant to perform. Moreover, we should indulge our children in the process.

You probably remember the time when you were a kid and your parents made you vacuum the living room or clean the refrigerator. Even though you didn’t like performing those activities, they have certainly taught you several things like how to be more responsible, for example. Also, thanks to your parents, you know how to properly clean your spaces in order to live in a healthier environment. That’s why you should pass that knowledge to your children. The best way to do it is to give them regular tasks, i.e. let them do chores.

You should bear in mind that, just like you, your children weren’t born with the knowledge how to properly sort out laundry or how to sweep the floor. That’s why you should always monitor and guide them while they are cleaning. Patience is a crucial part of the whole process; remember that if you start pushing your child, you risk making them cry, and no parent wants to make their child cry, right? You should be helping them throughout the process of cleaning too, of course.

But what kind of chores are suitable for your child? Depending on their age, we have come up with several ideas. However, remember that even if your child’s age makes them suitable for a certain chore, you shouldn’t necessarily appoint those activities for them.

The easiest way to teach your child that chores are necessary is to appoint daily cleaning chores to your child first, and work your way up to weekly and, later on, monthly cleaning chores as they grow up. Rather than simply appointing sweeping and dusting in the living room, you should consider appointing kitchen cleaning chores to your kids – most of them are daily and they are the fastest and efficient way to teach your child that cleaning is important. If you use your imagination and make the chores seem like a game, your children and even you, will eventually start loving the whole process of doing chores. Moreover, depending on their age, children must be allowed to choose among a certain number of chores. 3-4 year-olds should be appointed one chore, 5-6 year-olds – two, etc. What’s more, 2-year-olds should help you set the table, 3 to 5 year-olds should place dirty dishes on the counter and unload dishwasher. 6 to 9 year-olds should be suitable to clean kitchen appliances, etc.

You see that kitchen chores get harder as the child gets older. That’s why you shouldn’t ask your child to clean the inside of the refrigerator if they are only three years old, for example. A good idea to make chores fun is to make chore carts and let your child pick one, two or three of them, depending on their age. Cleaning the table after a meal is a habit, but your 2-3 year-olds might not have adopted it yet. Wiping appliances and washing dishes are good ideas for chore cards, too.

All in all, remember that you should teach your children the importance of chores. The way to teach them is to appoint daily chores to them, and since most of those are in the kitchen, don’t hesitate, and ask your child to wash the dishes instead of you every once in a while.”