Archive | June, 2012

Recycled newspaper activities for children

28 Jun

I recently visited a school and saw the most amazing activity using newspaper! The more I looked at it the more my mind went around all the ways this activity sends a great message!

Have a look!

I was thinking that this  is a great way to recycle newspaper and as it is a piece of artwork from Kindergarten as a parent I might laminate it and keep it forever. So this activity could have longevity! I also thought that the activity lends itself to exposing children to print in another form, and could be used for children to find numbers and letters as they paint! As a class the possibilities are endless. Children could display their artwork in a ‘gallery’ setting. They could be encouraged to go for a ‘gallery walk’ and view their friend’s artwork.  You could also suggest children paint one section of a class favourite story. The children would then have the opportunity to sequence the pages to create a collaborative book to be added to the book corner!

I played around with the idea a little more!

I would love to see what children do with a collaborative work project. I would roll out a large, very long piece of paper, provide the pens/newspaper/glue and watercolour paints and see what develops!

This is a great website with 40 newspaper craft ideas

Here is another wonderful website full of clever, innovative ideas

How is this for amazing:  a magic newspaper tree!

And just to get into the spirit of things you can watch this video!

Have Fun!


Children’s authors!

23 Jun

I recently purchased two hilarious books to read to children. I discovered them on my prac from Uni last year. They were written in 1991 and they are hysterical! I am always so impressed when authors illustrate their own books! Such talent!

 1.Beware of Girls by Tony Blundell This  is a hilarious book about a wolf that decides he is so hungry he is going to  go straight to a little girl’s cottage  and tell her he is her grandmother! The little girl happens to be extremely clever and sends the wolf off to fulfill different tasks in order for her to believe he  truly is  her grandmother. Her dog thinks she is unaware that he is a wolf and there are hilarious little asides from the dog as he tries desperately to warn her of the danger she is in! The tasks are cleverly crafted ideas that weave a web to the final punch line! I have read the story to Kindergarten children and they love the way the wolf is sent off and keeps returning in a worsened state each time! I then read the story to a group of Year 3 students and they loved all the hilarious planning on the part of the girl. Some of the children started to twig as they thought about the girl’s plan. They started nodding their heads and saying, “Oh, I know what she is doing!”.

As the wolf tires he starts to become very muddled. The girl tells him ‘if he really is her grandmother he would be wearing bright red heeled shoes,bringing a bag of sticky toffee and making a great big chocolate cake!’ The wolf returns very distressed and says, “Hello, little girl, I am your grandma in her big sticky dress and her bright-red hat and her pretty chocolate shoes, with a bag of feathery toffees and a great big high-heeled cake for you tea!!!!!!!!!!”

I had a class of Year one’s and they decided to draw their favourite part of the story. Most of the children drew pictures of the last scene!!!

(The Book Depository $9)

Image from

I thought I would add the student’s wonderful art to this blog!

(The Book Depository $10)

2. Beware of Boys is equally funny with the Wolf being outsmarted again by a clever and witty boy! The boy is actually captured by the Wolf but he uses hilarious delay tactics to avoid being eaten! The children beg me to read these two stories as they truly are ingenious.  I have found I can read them to children up to Year 4 as there are so many nuances through the story and the older the child the more they see the web the boy and girl weave around the gullible wolf! The boy thinks of different recipes for the Wolf to make Boy Pie, Boy Cake and Boy soup! The ingredients are difficult to find and yet again the Wolf is sent off to bring the ingredients back for this famous recipe, with disastrous results for the Wolf!  Recipe for Boy Pie: One boy, not too skinny, One large dish, Three foothills of plain flour, One moo-cow of milk, One large lump of lard, Six sacks of cement……!

3. I definitely must buy this soon as the other two are a riot!

(The Book Depository $7)

4. The Pig’s Knickers  by Johnathon Emmett and Vanessa Cabban. What a hilarious story! I was relieving for a teacher librarian and I had a Kindergarten group come  for a story on the mat. One of the children asked me to read the book, so I did! The story is of a pig who feels he is anything but special and a tad boring, the wind blows through and  a pair of polka dotted knickers lands on his head. The pig decides he loves them so much he wears them around the barnyard. The pig seeks approval from the barnyard animals and hopes that by wearing the knickers and performing tricks the animals will view him in a more interesting light. A calamity befalls the knickers and Pig is left with the feeling he is his old boring self yet again! The animals go to great pains to assure him he is special. The last page is a big surprise !  The boys covered their mouths and said, “Oooh Ahh!” You will have to read it yourself!!

Image from

I am off to my bookshelf to hunt out some more funny authors and stories!

(The Book Depository ($9)

5. The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson and Sue deGennaro

The Book Depository ($16)

Another funny tale, well, a fractured fairy tale! Boys love this book as the story is definitely written from their point of view! The Prince so wants to fall in love and get married but he is an outdoorsy kind of guy and he is hoping to find a Princess who loves camping and the outdoors! But as the trail of prospective young girls fail to meet his alternative desires, he begins to wonder if there is anyone special for him! But one evening…….

The illustrations are clever child like drawings and I have found children warm to them.  The girls struggle a little with the text, especially if they are a little precious themselves! I have noticed that the story line is quite an eye opener for girls and gives them lots to think about!!

6.  Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Fly and Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss

June 5 Today we made macaroni necklaces in art class. I brought mine home and we ate it for dinner!

Diary of a Fly

June 10 Things they should teach you in flight class: always have a flight plan!

Diary of a Spider

April 1 Went to the park with my sister today. We tried the seesaw. It didn’t work!

Outstanding stories with the most amazing illustrations! I worked with a Year 2 class who wrote their own little diaries of their pet class worms! The diary style writing is hilarious and each book refers to the the other characters in the story! The humor is delightful from the perspective of the worm, the fly and the spider!

(The Book Depository $15 approx)

Have fun!

Stick activities

18 Jun

I was thinking about when I was young and how sticks held a great fascination for me! They were cheap, they were everywhere and there was always some game you could play with them! I love the way schools are moving back to nature in their outdoor settings  and creating places for children to develop their imagination. I  remember using sticks for wands and I remember being with my mum and dropping them over a bridge and running to the other side to see where the water took the sticks and whose stick was the fastest! I thought I would dabble again and see if I could rediscover that fascination and in doing so create some easy stick activities for children!

Here are some of my creations!

1. A nature picture frame ( I was watching a video of an early childhood centre in Sweden and this was on the wall!)

2. Gum nut person!

Take 2 sticks (I used olive branch sticks).

Then form a star by wrapping with natural coloured wool.

Start with a new piece of wool and wind around each of the 4 sticks.

As you wind wrap the wool around the individual sticks to form the arms and legs.

Wedge a gum nut into the space between the arms. And there you have it a gum nut person!

3. My favourite:  a dragonfly. I have to admit, as the sticks were quite springy I used a little tape to keep them together.

I made the 2 sets of wings and then attached them to the body by winding the wool over and over. The more I wound the wool the more the body seem to take shape!

A little staging!

Nature and recycling activities for kids

6 Jun

I was thinking the other day how handy it is when you come across websites and blogs that list all the cool things you can do with found  objects and resources!The Artful Parent created such a  post. The post was ’39 ways to learn and play with play dough’. It was an  excellent post as the author had collected a range of people’s ideas and put them all in one spot.

I thought I would put together all things to do with nature. I don’t know about you but I have found most children just love the outdoors and all things to do with nature. I have also noticed children appear to be more absorbed with the outdoors and seem to have an endless interest in their world.

1.  I shall make a start with Andy Goldsworthy! His work is  amazing , child friendly and inspiring!

I am not sure why I started this post so late in the evening I guess I was  so inspired by the ideas that are around! I will be back very soon!

Andy Goldsworthy books are available here I have seen teachers use these books as part of a nature table display, with the addition of rocks, feathers, sticks, stones and other found objects The children  had the opportunity to  pour over the book and chat  to their friends about the designs. I have seen teachers lay out black paper on tables for  children to create their own designs. Photographs of these unique designs are then displayed above the nature table. I have to say I find this kind of art powerful as it is unique to every child, it visually displays children’s creativity and  it celebrates children’s ideas BUT best of all for children,  in a dominated world of ‘getting things right’,  it has no constraints! It is free!

2. This is a must have book for all nature and recycling loving teachers and children!

I purchased this book online from The Book Depository and it introduces and encourages children  to explore different ways  you can use and reuse found objects. The authors of the book take you on their journey with children as they rediscover the delights of creating unique art from simple, everyday things!

3. Another wonderful book is this one!

Here is a review of this important work.

Last Child in the Woods is the first book to bring together a new and growing body of research indicating that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development and for the physical and emotional health of children and adults. More than just raising an alarm, Louv offers practical solutions and simple ways to heal the broken bond—and many are right in our own backyard. As one scientist puts it, we can now assume that just as children need good nutrition and adequate sleep, they may very well need contact with nature.

4. This is another idea that caught my eye! Discovery bottles: The four seasons from Sunhats and Wellie boots

I have started my autumn bottle as it is autumn and I am moving onto the winter bottle. I have collected seed pods, beautiful coloured leaves, some with a little green on to show the changes in the seasons. Much to my adult son’s horror I collect them wherever I go! My son begs me to warn him when I about to pick up some random object and put it in my bag, so that he can walk a few paces ahead of me! Lovely! I am not sure if I want to use macaroni and rice as fillers as there is so much debate about using food in this way, given so many people go hungry every day? What do you think?

5. I shared in a recent post ideas for using paint swatches from hardware stores. Well I am off to load some photos of a group of Year 3’s I had today as a relief teacher. I gave them each a little pile of swatches and I said, ” what do you think you could make with these?” I stood back and they created the most amazing creations! They didn’t want to stop




6.  Shells are wonderful objects and are great for exploration and discovery! I love this blog

I don’t know about you but if I see a basket of shells or stones I am immediately drawn to them! I want to pick them up, touch them and turn them around in my hand!

Shell and stone people and insects are fun too!

7. Leaves are just marvelous, they lend themselves to wonderful discovery and creative ideas.  Here is an idea from

Sensory Table

Leaf Table
Give each child a paper bag and take the children for a walk. Have the children collect leaves in their paper bags. After returning to your room place all the leaves in the sand/water table. Add berry baskets (some children will tear up the leaves and place in the baskets for a play salad! This also will make your room smell wonderful!

Autumn Leaves

What you will need

Tarpaulin, room divider fences, bags of leaves

Section off a corner of your play area with fence dividers. Staple a tarp up for the dividers along the floor to create a space to contain the leaves. Then fill that corner with lots of leaves. Give children play rakes and baskets and let them play and explore! They can sort, roll in them, throw them up to catch them! How wonderful!

String leaves from the ceiling to create a feeling of being under a tree!

Leaves are great for leaf rubbing prints. I found that when I laminated the leaves I was able to preserve them forever and also when we used them for the printing, the lamination sharpened the lines on the leaves. It is of course better for children to handle the leaves and feel them, but if you want great prints then this is  a good way to get an excellent outcome! The beauty of the lamination process is that the leaf stays still under the paper!

Pressing into playdough to create a sensory print!

8. Over the last 10 years or so I have come to love wooden toys more and more! I guess it is that whole nature aspect that draws me to simple and crafted toys! This blog shows a set of story cubes Lots of fun and easy to make. The beauty of them is that you can tailor make them to your children’s interests!

9. This has to be one of my all time favorite websites The author of the website is a ‘stay at home’ dad and he just simply blows me away with his simple yet astonishing ideas and creativity! He has produced a book and he is so generous he puts his work up for anyone to download and use! A saint as well as highly creative! He has been on Martha Stewart’s television program and he is the sweetest guy!

This is his version of a doll’s house! How superb!

Some lovely scrap material people!

And a gorgeous bird design child pillow, I want it!

I can tell you how generous he is, I downloaded his mini paris artwork and I sat for hours hand painting all of the pieces with watercolours, I then laminated it and put a comment on his post. He wrote back and said he loved the idea and asked if I would send a photo!

Typo has a Paris pencil box so I keep it stored in there. It is a great mini travel toy and one that can be used for a child in a class that needs a bit of quiet on a cushion!