Sunday, 23 February 2014

Contrast and symmetry.

Today we had fun exploring contrast and symmetry with Mr Frog. I was surprised how quickly he picked up the concepts creating black and white pictures! And using just two colours to make a picture was great fun for Mr Frog :) 

First we talked about contrast and symmetry. I explained him the concepts and we tried to find something symmetrical. He quickly found symmetry in his body (face, hands and legs). 
Then we created contrasting and symmetrical picture using the black and white card (stuck together) and pairs of black and white shapes. 

Creating contrasting and symmetrical picture
First he had to match the same shapes. Then he tried to arrange them on the card - one on each contrasting side. 
"How do I know they in the same place on each side?" he kept asking. To solve the problem he decided to use the ruler to measure the distance of each shape from the middle and then stuck it in correct place.

He did really well with his symmetrical picture! And he understood the symmetry and contrast concept easily experimenting with black and white shapes and the picture looks great :)

Monday, 17 February 2014

Painting with Natural Colourings

I remember painting with natural colourings form my childhood. My Grandma told me which ingredients to use to get the natural colourings for our Easter eggs or to dye the pieces of cloths for my dolls...oh, it was so long time ago! :) 

This activity was so much fun for us! And so much learning for Mr Frog.

First we tried to find in our kitchen some ingredients to get different colours. The coffee and tea were the most obvious. We decided to use the egg yolks for yellow, mixed kiwi and parsley leaves for green and beetroot for red (I cooked it to get red water). There are so many different things you can get colour from and change them into "paints".

home made colours

Painting with such home made paints was so much fun for Mr Frog. He was fascinated with his discovery that we can get colours from something different than paints we buy from the shop :) 

Painting with natural colourings
Mr Frog really enjoyed experimenting with our natural colours. He mixed them together to check how colour and consistency change

Experimenting with natural colours

I'm sure we will do it again to check what else in our kitchen we can turn into "paints" :)

Friday, 14 February 2014

"The Mixed-up Chameleon" by Eric Carle - evening activity

Do you remember our Silhouettes Storytelling? I have another book turned into evening activity! I love turning Mr Frog's favourite books into activities to let him rediscover the well-known stories. 
"The Mixed-up Chameleon" by Eric Carle is one of his "best of the whole wide world" books. 
This one book is perfect for lightbox activity - colorful and bright.
I used tracing paper to copy the pictures from the book. Then we painted them using watercolors and I laminated each piece. Mr Frog arranged the mixed-up chameleon while I read the story. 

To make it more fun I made some extra pieces for free play - a boy (representing Mr Frog of course :) and some more animals' parts. Mr Frog's imagination is endless! He spent all evening making crazy mixed-up animals and changing himself into something completely different :) 

I also found two great online applications that matched perfectly into our evening activity. So next day we tried Build Yourself Wild (Mr Frog had so much fun changing yourself into mixed-up animal!) and Switch Zoo (mixing animals' body parts to make completely new animal - great fun).

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Felt Tic Tac Toe game DIY - Fine Motor Skills

I love handmade toys. And I love felt. It is such a great and easy fabric to work with!
And this
handmade felt Tic Tac Toe game is super easy to make too!

Mr Frog has always had some difficulties with fine motor skills. So every prop that helps him practicing these skills is great. The felt Tic Tac Toe is so easy to make! And you don't even need any super sewing skills to make it, just basic stitching is fine :) 

All you need is:
- 9 buttons
- 1 red felt sheet
- 1 grey felt sheet
- 2 white felt sheets
- red and white thread 
- piece of ribbon

Just cut out 5 red circles and 5 grey crosses and cut a little button hole in the middle of each shape. Make 2  squares using the white felt. Take one and divide it into 9 little squares using red stitching (or you can use a permanent marker to do this). Then sew on the buttons in the middle of each little square and the ribbon on the side. Now sew the two white felt pieces together (this is to stiffen it a bit and cover the stitching).

And here it is - simple Tic Tac Toe that helps practicing fine motor skills :) 

I must say Mr Frog loves it! He really likes playing Tic Tac Toe. And every time we play his little fingers need to button all these shapes up - so much fan practicing fine motor skills. And we can take it with us everywhere as this is a travel version.
We have a game every morning before school now :)

And how about changing your felt Tic-Tac-Toe into something different? 
To have some Valentine's fun I've changed it into hearts' version for Mr Frog :) 
Quick and easy!

Friday, 7 February 2014

Valentine's Chocolate Factory - chocolate playdough

Oh, we love playdough! And this Chocolate Playdough is always a hit in our house. Smells sooo nice!

Chocolate Playdough and some plastic insides from chocolate box and here it is - the Valentines Chocolate Factory. 

To make chocolate playdough we used:
2 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1 of water
1 tbs of oil
1 tsp cream of tartar
2-3 tbs of cocoa powder 
1 tsp of vanila extract

We also used our Pink Valentine's Playdough to make chocolate fillings. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Valentine's Playdough - simple play invitation

Simple ideas work best. Mr Frog likes playdough. He likes it even if it's pink! (oh, boys, you know!)
So here it is - our simple pink Valentine's playdoug.

I used well known recipe:

1 cup of flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup of water
1 tbs of oil
1 tsp of cream of tartar 
pink food colouring

When it was cooked I added a splash of my (best) vanilla body lotion and lots of red glitter

I collected lots of different texture objects - the seashells, buttons, ribbons, sequins to experiment and explore textures and making patterns and heart shape cutters. 

Mr Frog spent long time making sequin's patterns, printing different textures on playdough and decorating his special pink hearts
This invitation to play takes just few minutes to set up and gives a child lots of opportunities to explore. 

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Simple Crafts for Valentine's Day

These simple Valentine's Crafts are perfect for little hands. And they help practice fine motor skills.

First we used our endless stock of tissue paper to make a "stained glass"-like heart. Cut out the heart template using black card and stick the tissue paper pieces to fill the frame. Nice and simple :) 

Some more tissue paper? Here it is - we made some Valentine's paper lanterns

All you need is:
-  tracing paper or contact paper or baking paper
- tissue paper hearts
- glue

It is easier to use contact paper but it's not what we always have in our drawer so we used tracing paper instead. And it worked great as well.
Covered tracing paper with glue and stick the hearts. Then leave it to dry. I put it in the book overnight  to straighten the paper. Then just staple the edges to create a tube and put some LED tea light candle inside. It looks really nice and gives nice warm light in  the evening :) 

Finally Mr Frog used his sewing kit to stitch some craft foam hearts. 
We used craft foam hearts, child needles and some colorful yarn. For younger children who can't use needles just make some holes in foam shapes and let them thread yarn to decorate hearts. 
It's great and simple activity to practice fine motor skills. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Sculpture making - "The game of sculpture" Harvey Tullet

There are some books that grow with your child. 
"The game of sculpture" by Harvey Tullet is on our favorite books list since Mr Frog was 2 years old. 

The book with no words but with endless possibilities. It gives child a chance to practice the creativeness, imagination, operate and experiment in 3d space.
I've noticed how the way Mr Frog works with the book changed in the course of time. First he used only elements available within the book. And he had no patience to build it at all by the way :) Now he incorporates many elements into his sculpture - toys, bricks, crayons, everyday objects - whatever fits into his project. He uses it in his imaginative play - builds a castle for the king or special trap for monster. And he turns into artist spending a lot of time creating his very special and unique piece of art :)