Archive | April, 2012

Recycled paper craft with kids (updated)

22 Apr

I was walking through a hardware store the other day and I find I  am always drawn to the paint section. Not because I want to paint my house, but because the colour swatches are so appealing! I was thinking that, children in the early years, learn red and yellow make orange and blue and yellow make green and so on, but as I looked at all the beautiful shades of colour I started thinking that it would be good to expose young children to different possibilities of colours. I was thinking I can’t just take one of every colour because that would look a lot like stealing and there is no way I could convince someone that I was painting my house with all the colours of the rainbow!
So I asked the staff if they had any swatches that they had finished with or if there were any discontinued lines. They said sure and they gave me a stack of cards. I was delighted! The reuse of materials and resources is so important and what better way to show children how they can at a young age contribute to looking after their world.
I thought I would list all the ways to reuse colour cards and in doing so expose children to the wonderful shades and hues of the colour spectrum! I saw this particular activity in the Country Living magazine.

1. Paint swatch organizers

Repurpose hardware-store color cards in seconds flat: Simply stack two same-size cards atop each other, right sides facing out, and stitch together along the bottoms and sides with contrasting thread (we opted for red). Then use flathead tacks to attach your brilliant little pocket organizers to a bulletin board, and fill them with pencils, papers, and more.

As a family we are in the throws of a wedding at the end of this week, so my plan is to add some ideas every day, so please bear with me! I am finding that I am very weepy, delighted for my son and his fiancee but sad because we will miss him! So I shall go off and take some photos and return soon!

2. Mosaic letter tiling!

3. Flowers

4. Game board

The more I ‘played ‘ with this idea the more I liked it! An adult could cut the strips for children to use. I like the way this activity is open ended, no two game boards would look the same and it encourages creativity.

5.  Flash cards

I enjoyed putting this idea together as the quality of the cards are excellent and there are such a range of colours children can use to make their very own personalized flash cards. I feel it is an excellent literacy opportunity for practicing writing. You could use any catalogue, as long as each child had two of the same magazines. You could use toy catalogues, home and hardware magazines the ideas are endless!

6. Math patterning

7. Family mobile

8. Yes/No cards

These cards are great as you can hand them out to the children at mat time after you have read a story or for a quiz and they can decide which card is the correct answer!

9. Mini Art work frames

10. Ed Emberley birds

I love Ed Emberley’s art for children

11. Frames for work samples

I like this idea for a number of reasons!

1. Each frame is  individual to each child.

2. It is a great opportunity to practice cutting skills

3. When the frame is laminated it can be used over and over to use as a display in the classroom with different pieces of work

4. It can be used as an assessment tool to follow the progress of children’s fine motor development and progression through the stages of their drawing capabilities.

5. You could also use this activity  to encourage patterning.

12. Very simple paper tole

With this activity it gives children an opportunity to see a different dimension, you could say from a 2D view to a 3D view. I used the smallest square from the paint swatches to create  a ‘raised ‘ picture. (these could be prepared for children before hand as they are quite fiddly!

13. Skyscraper art! With this activity the children could first start with the roller painting wash over the background of their picture and then cut the ‘skyscrapers into any configuration of ‘buildings’ that they liked! I must admit in my haste to put this photo up the paper was not quite dry! I like the movement of the foreground, I might investigate this process on another blog!

14. Story cards This activity gives children the opportunity to make up their own story and develop skills in sequencing a story line (beginning, middle and end). For younger children they could write a number on the back of the card to help them remember the sequence or for fun children could use the cards for stories and simply make up new ones every time!

I recently found this wonderful blog. A young mum living in London with a young child. She has added new meaning to the alphabet with her zany ideas!

Check this out  You could definitely use the paint swatches for this activity. I love it!


14. Update 6th August

I found this neat idea and had to add it for you to enjoy!


Cooking with children: insects!

17 Apr

Hi I’m back! I am still in an insect biscuit and cake making mood ! I bought a butterfly biscuit cutter and a dragonfly cutter as well and I am off again! I have been drinking this product by Charlie’s one is a Spirulina and Pear juice and the the other one is made with Acacia berries! I am amazed I was up cooking at 12 midnight! This is a good thing!

I have used the following recipe for over 20 years now and it is such a good recipe for baking for children and with children. It is one of those recipes that are almost indestructible! The great thing to is that you can make up to 70 biscuits (mini ones). I have sometimes got to the point where I have thrown the last bit away! I know shame on me! but it just goes on and on and on, a bit like the woman who used her last portion of oil and flour to bake bread for the prophet and a miracle happened and the oil and flour didn’t run out until the end of the famine! When I am using this recipe I think of this story, a lot!

Here it is:

3/4 cup of plain flour
3/4 cup of self raising flour
1 egg
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of castor sugar
175 degree oven. In a bowl cream butter and sugar. Add the egg. Sift both the flours and add to the mixture. Form into a dough and knead lightly. Place in clingwrap in fridge for 30minutes. Take out of fridge and roll thin.Cut out desired shapes. Place on greased trays. Cook for 10-15minutes. Done!

When I work with children I find it is easier to make a batch before hand so that they don’t have to wait the 30 minutes as they want to get going! It is a great recipe to follow for children and lots of language comes from cooking and talking about the procedure, the science of it all and also the pure joy of baking and spending time together. I am now off to create my butterflies and dragonflies and will return with photos!
Ok I am back!
I started with these cutters

Here is the end result! Yay!

I will be back with some info and the sweets I used to decorate!
The dragon fly I used green sugar coated jubes and cut them into thin slices! I then cut them in half and as they are sooo sticky they stick onto the biscuit, you could add a tiny bit of icing to be sure!

With the butterfly I just cut thin slices and added them to the wings, the sweets I used were mini m and m’s
The flower was me again forgetting about the insects and getting carried away with the decoration!
Insects need flowers around!
I used the red licorice again and rolled it out flat

I then cut out a petal shape

And then pinched the base of the petal and joined a few together

I need to go and buy some more different coloured jubes and experiment with them!

Cooking with children: mini beasts!

14 Apr

My friend who is about to go on prac from Uni was thinking about cooking you could do with children with a mini beast theme! We put our heads together and came up with these!

I thought this looked like ants running up and down an ant mound! I drizzled honey over the muffin and sprinkled chocolate 100’s and 1000’s over the top. We decided we like this one as it was a great recipe to do with children as they could be involved in the whole process, from the making of the muffin to the addition of the ants!
This one is the same idea, but I turned the muffin upside down for a flat mound effect!

The spider is one I have seen and adapted, I will try and find the one that inspired this little creature! I think the one I saw had jelly snake legs which looked fun! I tweaked the recipe by cutting strap licorice very thin and inserting the ‘legs’ into the side of the muffin! I added chocolate icing, 100’s and 1000’s, m and m’s and a little dot of black writing gel for the eyes.

I will have a search for the original spider and add the photo to this post (to give credit where credit is due!) I just found the website with the jelly legged spiders!
This next one was me forgetting the mini beast theme and getting carried away! An adult could make these and add them for decoration!

I used my favourite biscuit again, Arnotts Tic Toc biscuits. I was looking at some sugar coated jubes and I decided to cut them to see if a pattern emerged! I was delighted as the petals took on a stained glass effect. They are unbelievably sticky which is great, if you can get them off your finger, as they stick straight on to the surface of the biscuit! The centre of the flower is an m and m!

The other biscuit pictured is my attempt to make an ant sitting on a log! I used a chocolate covered piece of licorice for the log, you could use a mini flake which my husband believes would look more authentic! I cut little thin legs from strap licorice, 3 m and m’s as you can see, black writing gel for the eyes and stuck the whole thing together with writing gel! So fiddly! Definitely one for an adult to make for a decoration to the plate!
The muffin with the spider web I found on a blog I was looking atand adapted it. I guess you could give children the writing gel and let them make their own spider web, why not! The spider is an m and m with 2 little dots for eyes! My adult son was a bit perturbed by the fact their didn’t seem to be a body for the spider, I guess I could have used mini m and m’s to make a more realistic spider!

Alphabet activities

8 Apr

As I have been going around to different schools relief teaching, I have come across some innovative and clever ideas, strategies and resources. I thought I would share some of the ideas I have seen. My favourite would have to be an alphabet activity journal. The class was a prep class and each student had their own journal. They were working their way through the alphabet and keeping a record of their writing and activities. I have adapted the idea with a few of my own resources.

1. Start with an A3 visual diary available in Office works and other education and stationary stores.

2. I found this website and I love it! If you go to the page  there are alphabet books for every letter! So I was thinking you could have a page for every letter and the children could paste in an alphabet book in each section with their writing. I browsed this website for hours as the resources are excellent!

3. I have found that charity shops have some great children’s books which are relatively cheap and in quite good condition. I often purchase the books that are really well worn and loved as you can remove the pages, laminate them  and give them new life! I found an alphabet book in a charity shop recently by DK publishing. I took out the worn pages, laminated them and now they are ready to display in a classroom. As I was looking at the photos for each letter, I started thinking about all the activities you could make and add to the journal.  I have to say I am a bit over a for apple and b for ball!!!

4. This is how the diary would look!

(a) A for avocado ,make avocado dip and eat it of course!

(b) Depending on the age of the children you could do some modeled or shared writing of the recipe, the children could write and draw pictures of the sequence of the recipe and add this to their journal

(c) Avocado Baby by John Burningham is a great read! The children could write a story about a clever baby with pictures or have an adult scribe it for them.

(d) Literacy aprons are great, you could have objects that start with the letter ‘a’ and the children could guess the objects from clues from you and draw them in their journal

(e) Ants are great for the letter A. The children could start an ant farm and draw the ants habitat and record their movements.

(f) Apple printing looks very effective! The finished paintings could be included in the journal.

(g) Recycling plastic bottles into apples is a great way to save the environment and have a wonderful toy for the home corner!
( I know I inserted a photo from my previous post!) The children could draw a picture of the apple they made.
(h) I had this idea to make a mini apron with felt. I decided to thread a large needle with wrapping paper ribbon and it worked well. I think pre primary age children could manage it. The sewing is only on the pocket. The buttons can be glued on with pva glue as well as the straps for the apron. The pocket can hold a story children have illustrated in this case the story of Jack and the beanstalk.I used an A4 piece of paper for the apron and cut a curve along the top for the arms. I know what you are saying, “what about boys!” I think black felt with a white pocket would look good and thanks to Master Chef cooking has promoted boy’s in the kitchen! Now it is cool to wear an apron! The boys could draw pictures from the story, ‘The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon’. The apron would probably fit a doll!

5. Letter B would go something like this!

(a) B for book

(b) I would encourage the children to make their own book  and add it to their journal

(c) Baby Brains by Simon James is such a great book to read to them, then they could draw their favourite scene from the story!

(d) Paper bead making is fascinating and a great way to recycle all kinds of paper. I would photograph the children with their designs and add to their journal
(d) Some bread making would be good with the children writing the sequence of the recipe and eating the bread at the end!

(e) Some simple paper boat making with a boat race in a paddling pool would be fun! The children could make one for the journal and one for sailing in the pool!
I will be back with some other ideas!

Singing with Kids

1 Apr

I thought I would start a new post with some of the music I use with children when I am teaching. I find as a relief teacher these resources have been invaluable and I would not leave home without them!
1. Peter Combe CD’s. This talented performer has produced a variety of CD’s and I have children love them! I have found children’s favourite songs have been The Silly Postman on the Toffee Apple CD. Peter Combe still visits schools and has the ability to entrance children with his wit and clever songwriting!
This is the clip of the Toffee Apple theme song!

2. Newspaper Mama is another favourite of mine. Peter Combe again.

I will be back with some more of my favourites!

So I am back again!

3. Here are the lyrics to The Silly Postman

The postman came on a Monday
And put a letter in the letterbox
Put a letter in the letterbox

The postman came on a Tuesday
And put a letter
And a frog in the letterbox
Put a letter and a frog in the letterbox

The postman came on a Wednesday
And put a letter
And a frog
And a mouse in the letterbox
Put a letter and a frog
and a mouse in the letterbox

The postman came on a Thursday
And put a letter
And a frog
And a mouse
And a spider in the letterbox
Put a letter and a frog and a mouse
and a spider in the letterbox

The postman came on a Friday
And put a letter
And a frog
And a mouse
And a spider
And a snail in the letterbox
Put a letter and a frog and a mouse
and a spider and a snail in the letterbox

The postman never ever came again
He was fired
And he was told
That he was a very silly boy

I made some pictures for the song and laminated them. I also laminated an envelope for the first verse. I find that it is an interesting song as it so easy to adapt from Kindergarten to Year 1 or 2. The kindergarten children love seeing the pictures go up on the board and following the sequence, they also like to have a picture and listen out for their turn. I have made 5 laminated cards with the days of the week printed on them. The preps love having the words and the pictures and trying to work out what day and picture go together! Year ones and twos I just give them the cards, start the music and they sort themselves!

4. Another CD that I wouldn’t be without is Nicky Nacky Nocky Noo! It is by Colin Buchanan. There are a few favourites on there. He does a very good version of the song ‘Bingo’. I made some cards for the song again. You only need a farmer a cow a chook and a dog! I have tried to find a youtube clip of the song, but to no avail! You can purchase it here

5. Another delightful piece of music I use is the Lycra song! You can listen and buy this song here!  . I purchased 3 metres of lovely stretchy green Lycra, as on my prac, I was with a very large group of Kindergarten children. I also bought a plastic lizard for the last verse! Have a listen it is such a great song! I have to say it has been a hit every time as lycra is fairly indestructible!   Have fun!

P.S. I had a listen to the lyrics on the website and this line………. ‘My lovely lizard can play trampolines’.. is missing! I shall go and see if I can find the original! I am still looking!!!