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.

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 🙂

 

 

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?

 

You need to find something like this near to you.

Jungle Parc… I was really impressed and gutted that is soooo far from where we live 😦

Jungle Parc is a tree top adventure course that starts for children as young as 4. I loved the way the course started low to the ground and steady and progressively got higher and more challenging.

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Each participant is strapped into a harness which is has two straps attached that have a carabiner clip on the end. The idea is that they are always attached on to a wire with at least one of the carabiners so they won’t fall to the ground.

On this course it was the parent/guardians responsibility to ensure the child is always clipped onto the wire. However it’s the child that has to clip themselves in and out as they more around the course. This was a huge responsibility for the children as in a sense they were responsible for their own safety.

Penguin is generally very safety conscious and the harness gave him the confidence to try parts of the course he would otherwise not have tried. I could really see him concentrating over each section, some were a huge challenge, though he knew it was all up to him and did himself proud.

Jungle Parc really encourages perseverance, concentration and physical agility. It really is a mental challenge as well as a physical one. Penguin was so proud of himself for completing three of the courses. I really can’t rate this place high enough. Its just a shame we don’t live locally as I would certainly be frequenting this parc.

Jungle Parc does a fantastic job of keeping their course adventurous and exciting with lots of different elements. Penguins favourite bit was the rocket!

The staff were very good, initially helping the children into their harness and then showing them how to use the carabiners, giving them safety advice and ensuring each child was confident to use the equipment. They were on hand throughout the course when Penguin needed some extra help with reaching the wire.

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There was a small practise course where all newcomers start out. This is just about 4 feet off the ground, high enough to be challenging but manageable for learning how to use the equipment. Penguin completed two green courses and one blue course within the allotted time. There are even higher and more challenging courses for older and taller children and adults. The blue course got up to about 8 or 9 feet high.

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I am guessing Jungle Parc is very similar to Go Ape’s tree top adventures, though jungle parc has courses starting from children as young as 4. Do be aware it is based on height as well as age. You have to be at least 105cm to participate. For Go Ape their junior course is aimed at 6-12 year olds.

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Jungle Parc has centres in Liverpool, Swindon and Northampton with prices starting from £14. It takes about 1 hr 1/2 to complete the courses, be prepared for a tired child at the end of it!

What activities would you recommend for children, or adults!,  that are both a physical and mental challenge? Please comment below 🙂

Estuary Fun!

We recently visited the beautiful country of Wales. We stayed in Pembrokeshire, close to Poppit Sands where the Teifi River becomes a river estuary and meets the sea. Our son loves geography so this was fab.

Our little munchkins were both interested to see the boats floating in the estuary at one time of the day and then stuck in the sand at another time of the day. We got to see the estuary from many different angles and at different times of day.

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Our little ones are definitely explorers, loving to visit different places every day.

We found some fantastic flat stones that will be great to paint on! Have you checked out Our Pebble Family? We also found this incredibly large anchor, not sure it will fit in the boot! We will leave it for you to sit on.

We haven’t yet understood why seaweed likes to stick to stones, or exactly how the moon creates the tides, or why we found some zebra rocks, but we are having fun with it!

It’s so inspiring to be in beautiful places, couldn’t we just stay on holiday!!?

Hiding a Geocache

imageThe best way I would describe geocaching is that it is hunting for treasure. It’s an official game that is run worldwide and anyone can take part. We find that it’s a fantastic way of exploring different areas and really exciting for the children. The easiest way to play is to download the Geocaching app on your phone and search for nearby caches. You will then see a map with Geocaches marked on and a blue dot to show you your location. Click on the cache you want to find, read the description and hint, follow your way to the green dot and start searching.

We like the traditional caches that are big enough to include swappables (treasure). Being fairly new to this we aren’t interested in puzzle caches, we just want to explore, see beautiful places and find treasure. Check out our first Geocaching adventure.

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After some successful finds at various locations we thought it would be fun to share the love and create our own Geocache. Penguin had fun choosing some toys to put in the cache. We made a small log book which we are looking forward to see being filled up. We found a good hidey hole under a tree and used a few sticks to hide the cache.

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Here’s how to hide a cache…

  1. Scout for a good location to hide a cache
  2. Get a suitable container
  3. Put small log book, pencil and treasure in container
  4. Hide your cache and save coordinates
  5. Submit cache information to geocaching.com
  6. Visit cache periodically to check it’s still there and stocked with treasure

For a more detailed instructions of how to hide a geocache you can go to the official Geocaching site, follow the link. We used geogz.com to print out a label for the container.

Have you ever been Geocaching? What was your experience like?

It’s time to be WILD

Want to be WILD this June? The The Wildlife Trusts are challenging is to do something WILD everyday for a whole month. Something wild is basically something that connects us with nature. Last year, as a family, we took part in 30 Days Wild and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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If you’d like to take the challenge this year, you can get your activity pack from the Wildlife Trust here.

Here’s a list of all the wild activities and adventures we got up to last year.

Click the links for more details and lots of pics.

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Are you planning on signing up?

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