Sunday, June 19, 2011

Taking A Break

I'll be taking a break from Blogging for a few weeks while we move house and while Bubble adjusts to her new school. We'll be back ASAP to share more learning adventures, see you then!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Leaf Art

We collected some large fallen leaves at the park last week to add to our nature play basket but Bubble had other ideas.
She was very keen to draw some pictures on them but got frustrated when she couldn't press light enough to stop the tip of the textas making holes, so we ended up painting them instead. We attached the painted leaves to the windows with clear craft glue once they were dry (the glue peels right off when you take them down) and they look lovely!


* large dry fallen leaves
* paints or textas/markers

The leaves we found were huge and perfect for making art with.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rainbow Fish

The girls and I have been reading 'The Rainbow Fish' by Marcus Pfister and they both adore the beautiful illustrations it has. Today we made our own rainbow fish to decorate the fridge with, I think they'd look great as a mobile or a necklace too.
This was a great sensory and fine motor activity and the materials you could use are really endless.


* air drying clay
* sparkly decorations
(we used beads, scrapbook embellishments, coloured mini split pins, buttons and sequins)
* strong magnets
* craft glue
* clear varnish finish

We rolled out the clay and used a shaped play dough cutter to make our fish.

I laid a couple of clay fish each on some wax paper so they wouldn't stick to the table while the girls worked on them.

The decorations were put in heavy containers so the girls could fiddle around picking up the small pieces without it moving around to much.

Bubble had a ball and decorated three fish all up. Her favourite decorations were the fake pearls and the mini split pins which she thought were tiny nails :-)

Squeak spent a long time picking up her beads and pushing them into the clay, pulling them out again and pushing them back in again :-D

Squeak's very cute Rainbow Fish.

Once the clay had dried we attached the magnets to the back and clear finish to the front.

Our fridge friendly Rainbow Fish :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Magnifier Discovery Board

Both of our girls are in love with their magnifying glasses at the moment, we bought them about a month ago and they've been getting a daily workout ever since. At Bubble's kindy they have a great 'discovery board' toy which consists of a wooden tray with holes cut into it and tiny specimens for the kids to look at with their magnifiers. There is a sheet of perspex bolted over the top to keep all the little things inside.
I thought it was genius and wondered if we could make something similar ourselves where the things inside could be changed around regularly. It took awhile to find some cheap petri dishes but our discovery board turned out pretty well and I'm really looking forward to changing the items inside it every few weeks to fit with whatever theme it is we are learning about.


* an old wooden puzzle board
(you could also use wooden board cut to size, a chopping board, a wooden tray etc...)
* a pack of plastic petri dishes
(we sourced ours from Ebay)
* adhesive
(we used clear Liquid Nails, but any strong glue would do the trick)
* small items of interest
* magnifying glass

For the base of our discovery board I used the reverse side of a large wooden puzzle that had lost some pieces.
(see HERE for what we did with the remaining pieces)

Using clear Liquid Nails (any strong glue would work, that was just what I had on hand) I attached as many of the petri dish bases to the board as I could fit.
Once the glue was dry (overnight) I filled each one with something interesting for the girls to examine and replaced the dish lids over the top.

Newsprint and old keys.

Pencil shavings and seed beads.

A piece of clay with an imprint and a swatch of interesting fabric.

Some coloured buttons and the insides from a broken kaleidoscope toy (I knew I held onto this stuff for a reason :-D).

A circle cut from one of the girls magazines.

Bubble examining the items in the discovery board.

Other ideas for discovery boards:

Natural items : leaves (skeleton leaves especially would look great), seeds, seed pods, flowers, dead insects like bugs or butterflies, soil samples, gravel/stones, bark samples, grass blades.

Colours or shapes: small beads, felt or fabric discs, sequins, play dough or clay shapes, miniature items of certain shapes (bottle lids, buttons, stamps etc...), glitter, coloured sand, confetti.

Textures: Fabric samples like hessian, satin, velvet etc..., netting (fruit bags or stockings), course sandpaper, recycled paper, carpet swatches, ash, smooth gemstones, clay, rough and smooth tree bark.

Best toys for toddlers

We Play

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Threading Leaves

After all the rainy weather we've had here lately we took advantage of the clear day today and headed out to a reserve. This particular parkland is under the flight path of the planes coming in to land at the domestic airport so the girls had a ball running around, having a picnic lunch, playing on the swings and watching the planes flying low overhead.
We also had some quiet time sitting on the grass making leaf necklaces, both girls spent ages hunting around for leaves they liked and they were able to thread them easily using 'safe' plastic needles.


* leaves and flowers
* child safe needle
* embroidery thread
* scissors

The leaves the girls collected from the reserve.

I tied the embroidery thread to their needles so it wouldn't come loose while they made their necklaces.

The threading was great exercise for fine motor development but I also loved watching the girls exploring the textures, shapes and colours of all of the natural things they found.

Bubble's finished necklace. I tried to get a photo of Squeak's which had a flower on it but they all came out too blurry, she's too fast for me! :-D

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