Thursday, June 30, 2011

Space Robots

Two variations of observational drawings of a 'Space Robot' from one of Finn's favourite books we made into a greeting card. 
He was determined to get all of the elements on his drawings including buttons, dials and numbers.

Bee Transformer - Watercolour Pencils

I love this little watercolour pencil drawing Finn drew over breakfast.

I gave him my own special box of pencils (watercolour pencils are beautiful for children to use, even without using them with a wash, as they are often easier to control with the thicker pencil size,  softer lead and are very rich in pigment). 

I gave him some good quality watercolour paper to use, a little jar with water and a fine paintbrush. 

He was sitting on the dining table surrounded by my own work stationary, and chose some yellow office sticker dots for eyes, and tore up a sticky-note for a mouth.

He described this drawing as being a robot transformer that turns into a bee.

invisible drawing

We did a variation of wax resist drawings with a candle (we used a tea-light) rather than coloured wax crayons. It added a element of excitement to the activity as Finn couldn't see what he was drawing, but could feel his way around the page and envisage his drawing. I then gave him some watercolour paints and he magically revealed his drawing. A strong even colour using an ink based wash (made from food colouring or edicol dye) would have been more effective in hindsight. 

Finn and I also created  secret messages and drawings for each other. After swapping, we painted over the paper to see what we received.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Earlier this week I took the kids to GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) in Brisbane for the Surrealism Exhibition.

They have a wonderful area for children to create their own artworks. One that Finn particularly enjoyed was imaginative drawing from seeing shapes in an ink blot template. This is an activity that would be really easy to do at home.

In his shape he saw a spider which he drew, including a web and water spout.

The other favourite activity was photographing your own surrealist sculpture in a light box.

Ned Kelly

There is a Ned Kelly letterbox that we walk past on the way to the park which Finn is fascinated with.

I thought it would be a good extension of learning for him to look up a bit about Ned Kelly on the internet (in a child friendly way of course!). We found lots of other images of the Ned Kelly mask, looked at some Sidney Nolan Paintings.

Naturally Finn wanted to draw his own impression of Ned Kelly (with wheels).

Mud and Slime Pies

I made a batch of cornflour 'slime' for Finn to play with in the garden, but then I thought I'd set up a little outdoor kitchen for him so he can create and make mess with other outdoor elements (dirt, sand, leaves, gum nuts). He had a wonderful morning inventing recipes for slime pies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Box train

I came across this photo that was taken when Finn was about 20 months. He had the best time in his box train. I had collected different sized boxes from the checkout at Bunnings, and joined them together with some pipe cleaners (or string). We added a smoke stack using a smaller box, and a steering wheel using a paper plate. I looped a material belt through the front of the first carriage so I could pull him along from station to station.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

Lake Wivenhoe

On the Queens Birthday long weekend this year- I discovered my new favourite place in Brisbane for a day trip. Lake Wivenhoe is not highly promoted, but it is just gorgeous. 

Drill Man

I try to give children a variety of paper sizes and shapes to draw and paint on, and today Finn was drawing on a large scale. I encourage him to use the whole page and work freely and boldly, and use his whole body.

This paper was A3 size and I set it up on an easel for him. First he drew on with a brown texta, then washed over the whole page with a edicol dye wash. Indelible markers (like sharpie) are great for children to create strong clear lines.

Little Cricket

I am trying to come up with a new logo for 'little cricket' and thought who better design it than Finn. Observational drawing is important for children to enhance their drawing skills- learning to see details and shapes. There is more information about observational drawing on this site, and extensions for drawing activities. 

This evening I set Finn up with a note book, pen and a couple of clear images of crickets/grasshoppers (DK books
are excellent references for children).

When helping children with observational drawing practice, gently mention parts of the image that they are looking at to draw (the different shapes that they may see,  and detail of the image). For example with the crickets Finn was drawing, I pointed out that legs become triangle shapes, and how you can only see one eye from the side.

I'm not sure how his drawing would transfer to a logo- but I do love it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A bag of Rice

Because both Finn (3) and Evie (1) have such different skills and interests, I try to think of activities that they can do happily together. Water, sand have always good, but I've discovered a bag of uncooked rice brought some lovely learning experiences for them.

I set them outside on the deck on a plastic mat, and gave them a variety of implements to scoop, sift and move the rice with. Finn loved moving piles of rice with his little dump trucks, and Evie loved pouring and touching and rolling around in the rice grains.

Letter box

We made a really simple mail box (inspired by the wonderfully creative blog Lila a) from a flat pack box and hung it on Finn's bedroom door. Such a simple activity created a huge amount of excitement and joy for the afternoon.

We delivered each other little surprises wrapped in newspaper and used envelopes, including letters and drawings, little toys that we found around the house, and for extra special treat I delivered Finn a couple of jelly snakes (see the beaming face below).