Wednesday, December 14, 2011

x-mas calendar

we started off by creating a A 4 sheet of paper with 2012 dates down the bottom of the page- with a space for a child's drawing at the top. You can download calendar dates from the internet- an example is here:

Then on a seperate sheet of paper I asked the children to draw a special drawing (or collage, or both), then we glued it in place and put it through the laminator. 

For hanging, we punched a hole in the top and thread some ribbon through it. 

A simple, personalised gift for friends and family.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dot Stickers

We visited mum's art class recently and out of all the amazing materials available, Finn chose the dot stickers mum uses to colour-code the children's art work into class groups.  Lots of fun and great for fine motor skills! 

Painting with Feathers

You don't always have to use paintbrushes when working with children and art. Today we experimented using twigs, feathers, sponges and anything else we found around the house and garden that helped make marks.
The effects can be quite interesting. 


Sometimes I find children need a little kick start with their drawings, and so helping them start with a little shape, or body part can help them find inspiration.  Here I drew the pink circle with a hat and ears, and Finn finished it off, turning it into 'inspector gadget'.  

Felt Faces

About a year ago I had cut out a variety of felt facial features and face shapes in different sizes, shapes and colours (noses, lips, beards, eyebrows, eyes, hair etc). I put them in a zip-lock sandwich bag and bring them out occasionally for Finn to play with.  He comes up with new, and interesting faces every time. 

A light, quiet and clean activity for when you are out and about and need to keep little hands busy. 

If the child is skilled with scissors they could make their own shapes, and glueing is also an option. 

Drivers Licence

We are buying and selling properties at the moment, and spending a lot of times talking to mortgage brokers which Finn finds incredibly boring. During a recent discussion as an attempt to keep Finn entertained, I came across a photocopied drivers licence which had been enlarged about 300%, and had my face mostly blurred out. I asked Finn to draw me my portrait in the blank spot and this is what he came up with. 

Birthday Card

I woke up last saturday morning to find the best birthday pressie- a gorgeous drawing from Finn titled 'Mummy and The Robot'. 

Ashe had found a watercolour painting that Finn had previously made, and requested Finn to draw with ink over the top.  It created a lovely effect which I will be proud to hang on my wall. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Scavenger hunt

The kids and I like going on Scavenger Hunts around the neighbourhood.

Finn and I decide what we would like to look for on our walks and we write a list together with drawings along side the words.

I find it helps with awareness of surroundings, making observations, using descriptive words and early writing and reading skills.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nanny McFee

Finn has been enjoying reading chapters from Nurse Matilda before bed at night so we hired him a copy of the DVD Nanny McFee (the movie which is inspired by the book). 

Yesterday he drew a gorgeous illustration of Nanny McFee from memory.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bottle Top Collection

"Bottle caps, gingersnaps, buttons, or rings, 
You can make families from all sorts of things!"

We've been reading a book called 'All kinds of Families' by
Mary Ann Hoberman about collections, which reminded me of Finn's own collection of beer bottle tops. He loves comparing, matching, sorting, making shapes with them.

Monday, September 5, 2011

An Egg Hunt in September

When I was cleaning out the cupboards the other day I came across a stash of plastic eggs that we used for our egg hunt on Easter this year. I thought it would be fun instead of waiting another year- to have another egg hunt with the kids in the garden. I filled the eggs with Tiny Teddy biscuits so there was some sort of chocolate reward! 


When Finn and Evie had found and collected the eggs- it was their turn to fill the eggs and hide them.

 We sometimes play a hide-and-seek game with large plastic animals hidden around the garden which is also great fun for the kids.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Money Bags

I know in most houses there are little cups of coins lying around the house, and our house is no exception. We had about 10 years worth of change sitting in tubs, so as part of my spring cleaning process I sat down with the kids and we sorted the change into separate denominations in small zip lock bags bags. The kids have been sick this week, so it was a nice quiet activity for them (just be careful of small children sucking the money).

We then went to the bank and watched the teller weigh the money to add it up, and deposit into our account.  

It is a good activity for teaching children about the basics of money, counting and categorising.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finn's Photos

I've been introducing Finn to photography, and have been letting him explore his world through the lens. It's so lovely for me to see things from his perspective, and to see what he finds visually interesting.

This was one that he look today which I thought was really sweet.

Art in the Park

We spent a beautiful (almost) spring morning in the gorgeous Enchanted Forest Park where seed pods are aplenty. I sat down with Finn and Evie and we started creating some shapes with the seed pods they had collected. A few other children joined in, and we enjoyed watching the little creations that took shape. 

Creative moments can happen anywhere and anytime.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Super-indelible-never-come-off-till-you're-dead-and-maybe-even-later colouring markers

Finn and I have had fun reading a book called "Purple, Green and Yellow", by Robert Munsch and Helene Desputeaux, about a little girl who asks to draw with some permanent markers. I decided it was a great time to bring out my own set for Finn to experiment with.

The brand I have are 'texta', but the 'sharpie' brand in a variety of colours would be just as good. 

I gave Finn a couple of sheets of good quality card stock.

He created a whole gallery of portraits, he was on such a roll he drew on a paper bag when he ran out of the card stock.


This little character is a 'ballerina'. A collaboration between Evie and Finn. 

The lovely thing about using permanent markers is the lines are so sharp, and unlikely to fade like other water based markers. You can also work over the top with a ink wash without them bleeding. They are not so great for getting off furniture, walls etc, so keep them away from very little hands.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Working with the ink blot

Last wednesday the children revisited their dry ink blot paintings, and I asked them to think about what they might see in the different shapes, and what they could turn them into (encouraging imagination and creative thinking).  Some saw birds, others saw machines. I gave them a variety of drawing implements and they worked into their blots.

If they seemed stuck with their drawing, I gently suggested things they might want to add (e.g. What do you think the bird might eat, could you draw some food for her?).

Sometimes a blank sheet of paper can seem intimidating for children, so having a starting base is sometimes helpful to get ideas flowing.

ink blot prints

We had a great time doing some ink blot paintings with a group of 2- 4 year olds. I filled two clean tomato sauce bottles (excellent for storing and distributing paint) with a mixture of tempera paint powder, water and a splash of acrylic paint to make it thicker.

I then gave the children two sheets of blank paper, one to apply to paint to, and the other to put over the top to make a print.

I asked them to move their hands over the paper, then open it up carefully to see what prints they made.

They were delighted with the results. Simple printmaking!

I waited for the paintings to dry until we worked further into them..

drawing as a form of communication

I've mentioned before how drawing can be a very powerful form of communication for young children when their language skills are still developing. I was very excited to witness a perfect example of this the other day, when Finn was trying desperately to explain a playground we visited on a recent trip to Canberra. I couldn't understand which one he meant, so he asked for a pen and paper and drew it!  When he was explaining it along with the drawing, I understood exactly what he meant (for those who know Canberra, it was a drawing of the castle playground in Commonwealth park). It was really exciting for me to witness this from Finn.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rocket Ship Fire-Engine

We seem as a species to be driven by a desire to make meanings: above all, we are surely homo significans - meaning-makers (Chandler, 2002, p. 17).

Finn (3) draws everyday for pleasure. I see improvements every time he draws. The more children can recoginise objects and shapes in their drawings, the more encouraging it is for them to keep practicing.

My biggest advice for parents is to have blank paper and good drawing materials (permanent markers, good quality crayons, and pencils & textas) easily available and accessible for children.

I have an solid art table (we chopped the legs down to size) set up on the deck, with a big pad of paper, and drawing implements ready for him when ever inspiration strikes.

I also have a beautiful artist book (made by one of my dearest friends Sarah) with blank pages to store and treasure all of his drawings, on the dining room table. When I'm on the phone or busy in the kitchen- I hand him the book and off he goes.

Talk about your child's artwork-  talk about what shapes they are drawing, ask them questions, suggest what things may look like to you (e.g that looks a bit like a wheel, is it?). Encourage and praise them for any efforts. Finn loves it when I watch him draw, and he loves it when we discuss his drawings and the stories behind them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Soap Scultpure

I've seen this activity before and had been meaning to try it at home. It was surprisingly easy and wonderfully satisfying for Finn.

I had some bars of hotel soap (left over from my days working as a Flight Attendant), but any translucent soap would work. 

I helped Finn cut the soap into small chunks of different shapes and sizes, and gave him some toothpicks to construct his masterpiece.

It was a good activity to help him learn more about object placement, balance and working in three dimensions.

I'd recommend this activity for over 3's as the toothpicks are quite sharp to work with.


This weekend Finn has been busy with his Post Office. First we started by creating some mail, by using a stack of envelopes, some stickers and a date stamp (with ink pad). Finn folded up drawings and paintings and some hand written letters.

Finn wore a little felt hat which looked like a postman's, and I cut down and stitched a canvas shoulder bag and so it was a good size for little hands to reach in to distribute the mail.

We then made a Post Box out of a cardboard box with a hole cut in the front.

A delivery van (little car or bike) is also useful for this activity. Finn spent most of the afternoon delivering, sorting and creating his mail, and his little sister also enjoyed being involved in the posting frenzy.

This is a fun activity with opportunities for language development through role play and enhancing literacy (reading and writing) skills.