Archive | May, 2012

Bug Art for kids!

30 May

I discovered this book when I was in Sydney and came home and ordered it online for $11! (The Book Depository!). It is the most delightful book I just had to have it! The author has photographed beautifully crafted felt pieces on each of the pages. When I was looking at the authors website I was amazed to see many other wonderful books that she has created I also discovered this delightful youtube interview!

It starts like this: At the bottom of the garden there is an old blanket on a bed. That is where the little bugs live. The bugs have lived there for years and years. Each little bug, snug in his hole in the rug. And as I read I started thinking about a rug I had at home and how great it would be to recreate the story in felt!

1. I started with the idea of reading the book to the children and then providing them with pencils and paper to create their own unique bug!

2. We then used old scraps of felt to make the bugs.

3.Finally we  worked on planning  where the bugs could snuggle up in a hole in the blanket! I have folded the blanket into a small section for you so see the beginning of the project!

I am off to order some more of this amazing authors creations!


Teaching: Art tips!

27 May

I have been busy working as a relief teacher all week and  I have missed writing on my blog! So I thought I would start this blog with some of my mother’s ‘everyday objects’  art tips! My mother was an amazing woman, she remembers, from a young age, her father taking her to live shows and art exhibitions in London. He had a love of the arts and obviously saw a kindred spirit in his daughter. In her teens my mother’s parents sent her to a school for gifted children. She remembers feeling as if she had come alive!  She was at the school for two years and then went back to regular schooling.  She often said that she had learnt so much in those two years that she believed in that period of time her eyes were opened to a different way of viewing the world. My mother lived through the war in England and I remember the stories she would tell me, how she would walk home from work and only her house was standing and all the other houses around had been bombed. How strange it must have been to come to Australia from England, what a culture shock!

Her love of art continued, I remember her creativity as a child,there were numerous handmade clothes and dolls. One doll I remember she made, I think it was a Raggedy Ann doll, she sewed a heart button onto her body! So when I undressed the doll countless times (as you do!) I could see her little heart! Everywhere I looked I saw her creativity in the stories she read, in her amazing drawings and paintings, in her love of nature and the unique way she viewed the world. Here are some of her techniques.

1.Shaving brush!

The tree pattern is great as with a few quick dabs of the brush: instant bushy leaves! The grass I feel is very effective and is produced by sweeping the brush across the paper! To the right and then to the left and voila: wavy grass!

2. Painting with a stick!

I remember an art unit my mother decided to enrol in and when she came home I asked her how she went with her lesson. She said the lecturer sent the students outside and said they needed to collect a stick and have some black paint ready to go! She was wondering at this stage why on earth she had enrolled in this class! It was an adult class and there was a scantily draped model posed on a chair, the students were then  asked to paint the model! She was a tad surprised but after an hour she had produced quite an amazing likeness! For the sake of this blog being about children I will include a more child friendly example! I stayed with the nature theme as I have discovered children of all ages are keenly interested and innately tuned to the outdoors.

3. Painting with a plastic knife!

My mother always believed that from an early age children should be given a range of tools to express themselves in art. As metal palette knives are quite sharp she felt plastic knives still gave children the opportunity to experiment with different ways of applying paint to paper.

4. Painting with the back of a teaspoon!

5. Bubble wand art!

A Uni friend and I put our heads together and this is what we came up with! Enter one bubble wand!

Next we carefully drew around the stencil onto a pizza tray with a pencil (good chance to recycle!)  and also drew around all the patterns. Younger children would need some help, older children could manage this by themselves.

We then loaded a paint roller with black paint, it was the only paint we had to hand at the time!

Then we turned the pizza tray over and pressed onto a piece of paper and voila! Our lovely ladybird!

My friend introduced the activity to a group of preschoolers on her practicum. They loved the idea and added lots of red for authenticity! Some children added glitter while the paint was still wet. I will try and add some of their masterpieces on to this post for you to see.

I am off to the shop as the next two everyday art tips (from my mother) require a plastic net bag and a chocolate wrapper!

See you soon!

Peter Rabbit activities

15 May

I am back again. I thought I would share with you a slightly unusual activity I came up with! I love all things to do with Beatrix Potter! I have visited her house in Hill Top several times and love her heart for children’s literature. I love the fact that she designed her books to be small so that they would fit into children’s hands. I have collected all her stories, (the books with the cream covers and paper inlays).

I came up with this idea from a teacher friend from years ago and also a Uni lecturer. They both believed that children love adults dressing up and taking on a character.  They  felt the potential for learning was increased! I wanted to share with the children how illustrators and story tellers come to write their stories and what inspires them! So………….I went to some Op shops and decided  I might dress up as one of Beatrix Potter’s  governess’s children. As Beatrix spent time with these children and they were the catalyst for her  writing,  I tried to be as authentic as possible! So as I was saying I went off to the Op shops and with the help of my amazingly understanding husband who in the end found everything I was ready to go!

Here is my outfit!

I had the boots, hat and gloves already as you do! So what I needed now was Peter Rabbit! I decided to do this activity with the encouragement of my amazing mentor teacher (in  a kindergarten class) while I was on Prac from Uni! If I could have I would have definitely looked around for a real live rabbit! But I was on Prac and it was easier to search for a toy rabbit! I didn’t want just any toy it had to be as realistic as possible!

Here he is!

I am off to take more photos and I should really fold some washing!

I’m back ! The teacher told the children that there was a visitor coming and I walked into the classroom in my finery! I put on my best english accent and sat down in a comfy chair. The children looked and looked and they said,” She looks like Morah Sue???” It was quite funny!

I sat down and we talked about Beatrix Potter and the way she wrote and  illustrated her books. I had asked my artistic son to draw a light sketch of Peter Rabbit and as I talked I pretended to draw and then apply the paint (while looking at Peter Rabbit and noting his features). I showed them the kind of paint she would have used to colour her drawings.

We also looked at her early drawings and paintings.

I am off again!

I am back again! We looked at this wonderful book that I have had for ages. It is called Beatrix Potter a  journal. I love it as it has reproduction articles such as her letters, art exhibition events and lift ups. You can take the letter out of the book and read it to the children. It feels so authentic! The book is available at for $24.00. This price is incredible as I think I paid $50 in a store!

I had purchased a set of CD’s from  a school. Many schools have companies that leave sets of books available for purchase. These books and items are considerably cheaper than regular stores.  I have looked at Fishpond and Book depository this item is currently unavailable but I have seen many ‘pop up’ shops with them.  I paid $30 for the set and they are audio stories with well known british actors lending their rich voices to the text. These I played at rest time to immerse children in the beauty and wonder of the stories.

There is also a DVD with 5 classic tales which I picked up for $5 in a book store.

When I was in England I found this amazing  cook book. It has wonderful recipes with Beatrix Potter’s illustrations to accompany the dish! I have made the fisherman’s pie, the honey cake and the apple butter pudding and they are all delicious.  There is a company called ‘ Book Found’  ( and they will search far and wide to find a book! So if you were desperate to have the book I know they will be able to find it, but it will be at a price! (I have sent out a search so I will let you know!).

For the activity time,  I showed the children different painting techniques Beatrix Potter would have used and they had a lovely time experimenting with water colours and fine brushes.

The official website of Peter Rabbit has been updated  It has always been the most beautiful, creative and engaging place for parents, teachers and children. Now it has units of study for teachers, which is such a bonus! The units have been designed to fit the Early Years curriculum in the UK.  I can’t wait to go through  all the material, adapt it to life in Australia and share it with children!

I could babble on for ages but I will stop! The website truly is a treat for teachers, parents and children! Till next time


P.S. Book found just found the cookery book! It will cost  $67.50 this includes delivery from overseas!

Teaching ideas and strategies

11 May

I thought I would include a ‘relief teacher  pack’ I made  recently.   I am so grateful to all the teachers who have shared their resources and I was looking at all the  strategies and ideas I have collected over the years. Rather than carrying around lots of bulking resources, I tried a variety of ways to reduce the size and volume of the materials. This is what I came up with:  a small pack of laminated cards. I started with learning areas, choosing quick, effective teaching ideas that I had found from highly resourceful and innovative educators. I then created a colour code system for easy reference and an index to help me flip to the learning area I wanted to use. It started small and then it just grew and grew! I put it on a lanyard (courtesy of Typo) and  attached it to my relief bag. I made one for a ‘soon to be’ teacher friend of mine and she has it on hand for reference during the day.

As I am an Early Years teacher, I decided to start with an idea I saw in a book called  ‘Question of the day’. As the name suggests, at the beginning of the day, the teacher writes a question on the board and during the day the students can ask the teacher to record their ideas . At the end of the day, a class discussion can take place about the question and possible answer. I put a few questions  together so that I didn’t have to think of an idea on the spot!

I also included a lot of strategies that I have seen relating to language; oral language, auditory ideas, listening skills and language games, mental maths, math and numbers, patterns and some science quick info about mini beasts!

I decided to include fun timed activities as I noticed that there are many times during the course of a day at school,  children finish early with their activities and these games are great to finish the lesson. They can be used to relate to the topic and as they are timed children need to search around in their mind to find the answer! An example would be,” In 10 seconds write 5 things a doctor uses in his surgery!”

I am off to make it available for you to print, laminate and enjoy! I won’t be too long!

Download Here

Have fun!