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 🙂

Jurassic Kingdom

We were joking earlier today that maybe the dinosaurs would come alive and chase us. My son advised us not to wear red or the dinosaurs might think we were meat and try to eat us!

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We spent the day at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham where the dinosaurs from Jurassic Kingdom have come to spend a couple of weeks. They are touring round the UK so there’s plenty of opportunities to see them.

I thought I’d share small selection ​​of pictures and video from our day. I don’t want to spoil all the fun, just give you a taster.

​​​These animatronic dinosaurs are very clever and seem very life like. Each dinosaur has an information board with interesting information… Sadly no information of how to phonetically say all of the crazy dinosaur names.​​


​It’s always lovely to spend the day with friends, though the Botanical Gardens was super busy.

Little Missy spent a long time on excavating dinosaur bones and making a sandman. All in all a good day. Well worth visiting the dinosaurs! 

Magic Lantern Festival

Looking back on these photos we took in November makes me smile 🙂

img_0367Going to the Magic Lantern Festival at the Botanical Gardens in Birmingham really was magical. Seeing the joy on the children’s faces makes everything special. There’s really not much to say, just some pretty pictures of some pretty lights.

At the time of writing the last day of the festival was actually yesterday!! doh, teach me to be so disorganised with timely blog posts! However…there is a Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House Gardens in London till the end of February! I’m guessing they’ve just transported the lanterns.img_0365

There was absolutely loads to see and this small collection of photographs really is just a snippet. There were flowers and trees, penguins and ants, reindeers and unicorns, fish and frogs, clowns and angels…the list could go on.

And a couple more pics..

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Ribbit

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And if you do go…be prepared to spend a lot on food…or just take some treats with you!

Have you ever been to anything like this? How was it for you?

 

Science Garden at the Thinktank

imageWe’ve only been to the Science Garden at the Think Tank A couple of times. We love it and are certainly planning on some return visits. The Thinktank is situated at Millennium Point in Birmingham. I love museums that are interactive and hands on. The science garden is certainly that and the children were totally engaged with it. It’s full of lots of learning activities (I’m guessing about 20). You could easily spend a couple of hours playing here. I especially loved this one where you pull, push, twist and move the balls around this crazy contraption. Part of it reminds me of a giant version of the game downfall.

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Munashe absolutely loved the duck race, the super helpful staff had many races with him! Thank you!

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We found balancing the balls on the water jets heaps of fun and a good challenge. You’ve got to love a bit of water play. On another thought, a change of clothes for your little ones may come in handy! Especially if they can’t resist a good splash!

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What’s would you prefer on your car square wheels or round wheels?

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There is even a giant hamster wheel which takes a good bit of energy to get moving. It’s tough being a hamster!!

We made a bridge from a load of blocks that weren’t stuck together, it held all of our weight. Good spot of engineering! Although I was kind of thankful it didn’t go over the real water.

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So so on more practical matters, you can enter the science garden after paying to enter the Thinktank museum or wait till 3pm (weekdays) and go for absolutely free 🙂 Well worth a visit to engage those youngens in some fun scientific play!

Which are your favorite hands on museums that you would recommend?

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Firefighters

DSC02887About a week ago I took Nashe and his best mate to the fire station. We had a fantastic time.

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They showed all the really fab stuff they keep in the fire engine, they really have thought of everything! They have massive tools to break into houses and cut the tops of cars. Lots of different size blocks to steady vehicles when they need to cut people out of them, many many hoses.

DSC02871They have different fire engines for different situations, one with a massive crane. We looked for the white glow of peoples heat, through the awesome thermal camera.

We had a tour of the station. This is the machine where all the information regarding the 999 call comes in, with a whole lot of noise too…

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Nashe’s mate really wanted to slide down the firemans pole! We didn’t to, but we did find it 🙂DSC02882We learnt a load of really interesting and useful facts and information. Here’s some of them…

Did you know firefighters can only spend 20 minutes in a burning building before they get too hot?

It only takes two breaths of smoke before you will be unconscious. If you are in a room that’s filling up with smoke then your best chance is to get down low.

Keeping your bedroom doors closed at night means that if there is a fire less smoke will get into your room, giving you more time to escape/get help.

If you are on fire. STOP. DROP and ROLL.

Have at least 2 fire alarms in your house. One in the hall way downstairs and one at the top of the stairs.

Testing fire alarms once a week. (Testing Tuesdays) or (put the bins out and test the alarm)

Plan your escape route and would you be able to find your keys?

More vital information about fire safety can be found on the Fire Safe website.

Firefighters do some really amazing work. Sharing all about fire safety with families and children is just as important as the actual work of fighting fires. It really made me think of what I need to teach my children so that they are safe and also so they know what to do in an emergency. Simple things like knowing how to phone 999 and knowing what their address is. I say simple but remembering your address and knowing how to phone 999 and having the confidence to speak on the phone is not so straightforward for a four year old. Though I hope my children wont have the need to use these skills.

On a lighter note, Munashe’s favorite part of the Fire Station adventure was definitely using the fire hose.

DSC02890A big thank you to all at Highgate Fire Station for allowing us to visit.

30 Days Wild – Day 24 – Sunrise over Birmingham

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One of the ideas on our #30DaysWild list was to watch the sunrise and listen to the Dawn Chorus. Our little Munchkins are both owls, not larks. They probably would have been more suited to watching the sunset rather than the sunrise. However there is something very special about that moment when the first bit of sunlight pops over the horizon.

I checked the weather forecast late last night and it looked like actually seeing the sunrise could be a possibility. I set the alarm for 3.30am, which is utterly ridiculous. So after about just 2 hours sleep we were up. We dragged Nash and Zori out of their beds just before 4am and with bananas in hand we set out for Beacon Hill to watch the sun rise over Birmingham.DSC02475

The sun popped over the horizon and it was pretty spectacular.  This was a real treat for Munashe, he has been fascinated with space for nearly a year. “Wow, it’s bigger, it will soon be ginormous”

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It then became so bright we were worried about our little munchkins looking directly into the sunlight. imageWe headed back to the little castle for some tea and bananas. 
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And finished off with a family selfy! Then we were back home before 6.30am!DSC02498

 

30 Days Wild – Day 20 – Searching for Treasure in a Downpour

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_20I love the idea of Geocaching. Searching for treasure, can it get anymore fun? Well the idea of Geocaching and the reality are two totally different things. We searched through the thicket. Got scratched by brambles and searched, searched, searched…

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And searched some more…

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and found NOTHING! We even attempted to find a different cache..NOTHING…We had told Munashe that we were going to search for treasure, he was extremely excited. What 4 year old boy wouldn’t be? So you can imagine the disappointment when we found NOTHING 😦

And then it started to POUR… so in true #30DaysWild style we DANCED IN A DOWNPOUR! Credit to Munashe for joining in.

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Then we found puddles. Puddles will always guarantee to cheer up a grumpy munchkin.

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We then started to head for home.

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However, Leo would not be defeated. After some research, and some encouragement we went back in search of cache number one. Geocaching Top Tip…always look at the ‘Hint’ on the app. And make sure your looking at the right hint for the right cache. This was our downfall.

So back in we went. And HOORAY…We found the treasure. Just look at the joy on Munashe’s face. Definitely worth all those prickles.

DSC02275Zori went straight for the good stuff and helped herself to some real treasure. A tricky day that ended well. I still love the idea of Geocaching…I’d love to hear other peoples successes and any Top Tips…Please comment 🙂

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30 Days Wild – Day 19 – Nature Mobile

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_19Today we took a visit to Deers Leap Wood. A lovely little woodland area about 2 miles from Birmingham City Centre.DSC02168

We spent a couple of minutes in silence in the middle of the woods. Silence is a rare commodity in our household! So those two minutes where we all tuned into the sounds of the birds were rather special.DSC02189

We enjoyed a good explore and then set to work to create a Nature Mobile.

We collected leaves, flowers, feathers and sticks. Zori got a big leaf.

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Munashe got the sticks

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And with a little bit of twine, this is what we created

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These little munchkins do love water. We found some large puddles, in went the stones. If they can’t jump into them, they have to throw something into it. There was a log across the water. Zori held my hand and must have walked over this log about twenty times.

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And of course Munashe got stuck in too!

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Sarah x

30 Days Wild – Day 12 – A two year old up a tree

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_12Today we spent sometime with some friends paddling in the River Rea.

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DSC01899It was really encouraging to see Munashe’s confidence grow as he paddled in the river. He was working out how deep the water was and if the water wouldn’t go over his wellies.

DSC01909“I washed my hands in the river and I nearly fell in. I just pushed myself back and I didn’t fall”

I love spending time with friends and their children. It really encourages mine to do things they would never usually do. Just yesterday we were at the swimming pool. Usually Munashe refuses to go under the shower afterwards, but he quickly joined his best friend. There are certain foods they will never eat when prepared by me. These will be gladly munched down in another home!!

We found a fantastic tree. It branched out so close to the ground that it made for a super doopa first tree climbing experience for Zori, my two year old.

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Munashe is enjoying drawing while out in the wild. He is documenting his experiences through pictures. His friend was enjoying to throw pebbles (or rocks) into the river. So here we have a picture of lots of pebbles, the river and Munashe’s friend.

DSC01911We had a bit more time for Wild Fun when Daddy returned home. The rain had arrived so we popped into the garden to see what Wildlife we could find. When we were about to return indoors Munashe shouted ‘look, its a frog’. He was extremely excited as he can now tick of FROG on his Mini-beast list. He was very brave and touched a frog for the first time “It was a bit slimy and wet and slippy”

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