Archive for July, 2012

P is for Penguin, Polar Bear, Paint and Potato

I decided to try and do the messy paint activities that I found here.  So I got out the white paint and not having black I  mixed blue and red together to create a dark purple for our penguins.

I cut the potatoes in half – if I do this again I will try and cut a bit more carefully so the potato surface is nice and flat to pick up the paint.  We dipped the potato half in the purple paint and stamped this on card to create our penguins. I put Emily in her preschool shirt because it doesn’t matter if that one gets covered in paint since it already is.

After cutting another potato in half we dipped that in white paint to create the white fronts of the penguins.

We used our little pinky fingers in the white paint to create the eyes.

We set those aside to dry to finish later and started on our polar bear prints.

Hands in the white paint and then pressed onto the black card.

We then set those aside, washed our hands and cleared up and went about another activity.

Once they were dry I cut out the penguins and the kids added orange beaks and glued them in their book talking about how some are swimming which is why they are sideways.  We didn’t cut out the polar bears but with brown or pink  pencil they added smiley faces because the bears were happy.

So here are the finished pieces.

Not feeling like the best mother at the moment while writing this.  Due to two weeks of holidays the pair have not really had a break from each other and are arguing and bickering with each other so we have told them they can’t play together for an hour, of course this means they want to so they have either been bothering me or bothering each other.  *sigh* motherhood is made up of moments like these above and now.  of course now when it is time for their hour to be up they are playing quietly by themselves and I don’t want to disturb them.



July 12, 2012 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

Maths hide and seek

Last night coming up with a quick game to keep Emily occupied while I finished making dinner I pulled out some plastic numbers and we counted and pulled out numbers in order.


I found Emily always needs to return to the beginning to count on the next number which is perfectly fine in learning numbers but I decided to see if I could extend her. Of course Alexander chimed in and did well at this game. I got Emily to close her eyes and I took one number away. When she opened them the game was to see which number was missing and retrieve it from the box.
They loved it. Emily liked taking the numbers away for Alexander to guess and vice versa.




To make it hard for mummy she takes a couple of numbers away. A very fun easy game. It could be done with playing cards or UNO cards or just cards hand written with the numbers. Also an easy game for the two to play together with limited parental help after initial game.

July 10, 2012 at 10:02 am Leave a comment


The other day I decided to try this home made watercolour recipe because ours had got muddy and I had thrown them away.  It looked quite easy, I had /most/ of the ingredients on hand – I haven’t stocked up on our food colourings due to all the other experiments we have been doing lately so we had no blue.  I had two paint trays bought from the reject shop a while ago.  Since both kids are at preschool and we go to play group as well we don’t paint as much at home so they haven’t been used much so I was ready to use them for the watercolour experiment.

First job to make the sugar syrup as I didn’t have any corn syrup.  1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water later it was done – I almost made toffee – I probably should have just scooped out the 1 1/2 tsp I needed and kept boiling to make toffee as I ended up with a lot of wastage even after I double the recipe and used 3 tsp.

I don’t actually have photos of us making and mixing, too much fun measuring and mixing and watching it bubble.  Alexander and Emily had fun scooping3 T corn flour and 3 Tbicarb (better put more on the shopping list!) into the measuring jug.  Then the 3 T vinegar.  I actually added the sugar syrup first and not last as the recip

I then used the T measure to scoop the mixture into their paint containers, Emily’s a little overful.  The kids added the colours and stirred with toothpicks.

Alexander has a funny expression here

So we left them to dry (the recipe said 3 hours)

Emily’s was overflowing so I soaked up some of the overflow with kitchen towel, part of me now wishes I didn’t, Alexander’s has a nice sheen, hers seems drier.

This is the results.

Due to being out and about and spending time waiting to see doctors we let them sit a couple of days and today having to cancel our getting out and about activities due to both children having ear infections I got out their books and watercolours.  I bought these oversized books for them to colour in but they only like painting in them.  Perhaps next time we do the water colour painting I will give them blank paper but they had fun painting.  Emily spent longer on it than Alexander, I had fun doing some of the painting too.

They seemed to have dried a little chalky but for intents and purposes just what I wanted and it suited the kids, they had fun colouring and because I know I can make it again I don’t mind them mixing the colours up and getting them murky and dirty.

July 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

P is for Polar Bear

Yesterday we got a postcard from my dad and his wife from Norway with a picture of 3 polar bears on the front and a polar bear stamp so I thought that would be a good thing to explore today.

I did my search of the net and then did my usual adaptation of what I have in my house.

I found a stencil of the polar bear and cut it out and had the kids glue it to the black background.  On the postcard their grandfather had written that the sun doesn’t go down during the summer and I talked about how during the winter it is always black and since it is winter here that is why I chose the black background and also because I thought the white snow and fur of the polar bear would show up better.

My first inspiration was here but I didn’t have any shaving cream to make puffy paint so I did a search of the house and couldn’t even find cotton wool balls but I did find make up removal wipes which were probably better as not as fluffy so the kids had fun cutting these up and sticking them to the polar bear.

Before we begun I asked the children what they thought polar bears were covered in “skin” was their answer, which of course was right and then I asked them are they covered in hair or what?  They weren’t sure so then I asked what is Molly (our cat) covered in.  Frst answer was “tail” as I asked the question wrong first, saying what does Molly have.  The second answer was fur.  So time to cut up the fur.

After the kids covered the polar bear it was time for the “snow”!  I didn’t make the gritty snow that the crafty classroom used, instead I used sea salt.  Emily loved playing with the salt (WARNING: VERY MESSY but easy to sweep up to clean) and covered her sheet with the snow.  I found the idea for the salt because I was looking at making salt glitter.  Of course because it was snow I couldn’t add any colour to it but this is fun making homemade glitter.

Emily’s finished product

Alexander is a bit more sparing with his covering of the polar bear and the snow.

I found a polar bear colouring in/pre writing worksheet and what animals live in the arctic worksheet here and the animals in the arctic was a good discussion about how cold it is in the arctic and a lot of the water is frozen – which wouldn’t be good for frogs.  We also were able to discuss and discover what polar bears eat.  Alexander has a tag map of the world so we looked at that and there was a picture of a walrus up in the arctic ocean so we knew that walruses did live up there.  The children coloured them in.

I cut out two p’s out of black card (for the polar bear is black under his white fur) and we practised rainbow writing p’s.

For cutting practise Alexander cut out the animals in the arctic and glued them around the p.  Emily wanted to cut out the large polar bear she had coloured in.

and of course she wanted to add snow…

Alexander’s cutting practise was cutting out the animals – notice the whale got his head cut off but he got tired by now (sick again!) and so mummy finished the cutting off, just like I finished cutting the rest of Emily’s polar bear out.  Alexander wanted to shade his polar bear and of course Emily did as well.

I found some other craft ideas of penguins or polar bears here – something to ponder for another day.

I liked this handprint idea but I wasn’t up to paint mess today.  (well except for trying to make our own waterpaints which you can see in the background photos of Emily but more on that later)

July 4, 2012 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Water and colour experiments

Nothing like doing the same craft again and exploring different areas or extending the exploration.

We’ve actually done that twice this week.

The first one was because on Saturday we went to the beach and explored the rock pools – lots of shells, one fish and no crabs but the children were excited by the treasure I “found” and Alexander was determined to find more chocolate coins.

We also found rubbish and we picked it up and discussed why we should put it in the bin and not in the ocean.  We then decided we would recycle the rubbish – they were empty drink bottles – by creating an ocean in the bottle.  Alexander suggested making the fish out of play doh.  So on Sunday we got out the playdoh and had fun creating.

We then filled the bottles with shells, sea glass (that we found at the beach) and treasure boxes and fish (that we made).

We then filled our bottles and coloured the water green.

I then found out my mistake – the playdoh melted in the water and turned it murky.

So I decided to do it again.  We poured the water out, washed out the bottles and then filled our bottles up with water.  This time we used a marker to make a line where the water level was and then we slowly added our beads and shells (and NO PLAY DOH!) and we watched the water level rise which was exciting and the children had fun using words such as sinking and floating.

This reminded me of the experiment where you make a diver rise and fall with a paper clip, a bendy straw and play doh.  Well I wasn’t using play doh again so I got the blue tac. ( I didn’t cut out a figure as our bottle is too small but this gives a good idea

A great hint that I didn’t follow the first time was check in a cup that the diver floats.  Mine sank so we had to tip the water out of the bottle AGAIN!!!

We finally did it but I think you really need the 2L bottles because the diver will go up and down further.  My children don’t have the hand strength to make him rise and fall but they love watching me do it.

The other craft we revised were the gel colour bags.

This time I found some bag which zipped closed and some clear packing tape.  I sealed them up and they had fun time squishing and making the colours mixed.  I used paint this time.  I had a hard time actually finding the hair gel for this, all the cheap shops around here weren’t stocking the cheap hair gel..

We then put the colours in rainbow order (like they had explored on Sesame Street earlier this morning) and then of her own accord Emily started counting them and exploring what happens when you take one away.  So it became a maths activity.

Because I was taking photos Emily wanted to as well.

July 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm Leave a comment

Simple crafts

I’m sitting in the sun listening to the conversation of my children discuss their pictures. They are using comparison words such as colours or position. They are telling each other their stories. This was actually a fill in while I set up the next activity. I gave them stickers, pencils and paper and it crested this activity that went longer than I expected. Once they stopped squabbling over the stickers, I want the punk one, I don’t want the orange one, they settled down quite happily describing what they were doing to each other.
It reminds me what I have been telling myself recently it’s the process that counts not the finished product. I remind myself of this when I recycle some of the larger box crafts that have come home from preschool recently.




July 3, 2012 at 10:12 am Leave a comment

July 2012
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