Sadly, I do. I know this because one of my blogging friends, Katey who used to write the blog Play to Talk, is living this nightmare, for the second time. In February 2015, her beautiful little 18 month old son Finlay was diagnosed with Stage 4 Heptablastoma – liver cancer that spread to his lungs. Finlay and his family fought this first battle with such courage and determination that I was truly humbled.
Alas, his remission was short. A week ago, just after his 3rd birthday, poor Katey and little Finlay found out they have to fight this battle all over again. A battle against odds. A battle for a miracle.
Against all that Katey and Finlay (and families like them) are facing, it seems such a small thing for me to share this gold ribbon craft idea, to help spread awareness of childhood cancer. But childhood cancer desperately needs funding. Funding begins with public awareness. Hopefully, if we all add our voice in support, we can join together to create that awareness.
We made this gold ribbon craft back around August last year, when my daughter JJ was in kindergarten. She’d started to show an interest in learning to tie shoe laces. The first step in this process is learning to tie a simple knot, and we used this craft as one of the ways to learn and practice this skill.Continue readingGold Ribbon Stick Decorations
Look what we’ve been up to! Bee has been really into maths lately, so we decided to try a little creative “reverse” geometry meets process art activity. We’re sharing the how and why of this activity over at NurtureStore – pop over and have a look!
AND, I’m so pleased to announce that this activity has been selected as one of the 40+ literacy and math activities in a brand new ebook calledABCs and 123s. So exciting!
The ABCs and 123s ebook is a resource for parents, grandparents, carers or teachers who want to introduce letters, numbers and shapes to kids in a fun, hands-on and playfulway. It’s a collaboration of over 40 like-minded kids activities bloggers, who all believe that kids learn best through play. You can read more about it, and see page examples here.
We just got back from an amazing holiday to Port Douglas and Cairns, in Australia’s far north Queensland. It’s a great place to take nature-loving kids.
One of the spots we visited was Peterson Creek, just off Gillies Hwy, Yungaburra, in the hope of spotting two of Australia’s most unusual and elusive animals – a platypus and a tree kangaroo – and simply for the opportunity to enjoy nature and the great outdoors.
Do you know all about platypuses? They are fascinating creatures, partly because they branched off from other animals quite early on in the evolutionary time-line, and so have evolved in a different ways. Here are a few fun facts:Continue readingOn platypus hunting and sorting leaves
When I saw two mirror tiles on Freecycle, I snapped them up to add to our mirror collection. Yay!
So I was wondering what to do with them first, when I remembered a fun Happy Hooligans blog post called Painting Clouds. I love the idea of looking down to paint the reflection what is actually up! The only problem is, when I wandered outside to see if there were clouds in the sky, I noticed that we don’t have much blue sky at all. In fact, this is what ‘up’ looks like at our place; lots and lots of gum leaves!
So, instead of setting up a painting clouds activity, I decided to set up a painting leaves activity instead.
I set out some yellow and green washable paints, and encouraged my 2.5 year old toddler Bee to paint what she could see.
Lots and lots of beautiful leaves!
When Bee finished painting, we just wiped the mirror clean and she started again.
Full disclosure though: at some point this may have happened…. No surprises there though, right?
You might also like these posts using mirrors:
Or these ones with more ideas for outdoor process art for kids:
What does ‘up’ look like at your place? Do you use mirrors in your play? Painted anything fun lately?
Today we decided to expand our nature art repertoire by printing with items from our nature table. (We’ve been collecting various natural items all summer long).
We started with gumnuts and seed pods. The gumnuts have twig ‘handles’, perfect for little hands to hold and stamp circles with. We tried a different technique with the middle two seed pods: rolling to make an interesting pattern.
My daughter JJ (4.5 years old) came up with the idea of painting a leaf and using it to make a print. Cool! I showed her that you can also paint around the outside, using the leaf as a stencil.
We painted collaboratively. There was no end goal in mind, the joy was simply just being in this creative moment together. Printing with nature.
gumnuts for stamping
seedpods for rolling
gum leaves for printing and stenciling
magpie feathers for printing and also as a quill
and a natural sea sponge for textured stamping
Of course, at some point along the creative process, the hands took over. This ‘is one of the reasons I love doing these activities outdoors. 🙂
This ‘Printing with Nature’ post is part of a big Painting Challenge at Messy Little Monsters, where bloggers are showcasing 35 process-oriented painting techniques for kids. The idea is to encourage kids to get messy and express their creativity. Pop over for lots of process paint-spiration!
We had lots of fun stamping with these DIY heart shaped stamps which we made from – you guessed it – toilet paper rolls!
Our two year and three month old toddler Bee has been really interested in heart and star shapes lately, and this interest is what inspired this particular process-orientated art session. (But with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, heart shapes conveniently fit with that theme too!)
Cardboard rolls, such as toilet paper, paper towel or gift wrap roll (cut to size) make really good DIY stampers for toddlers and preschoolers.
They are free.
They are readily available.
They encourage kids to think about reusing (or re-purposing), rather than buying something new.
You can create all sorts of shapes.
Their length gives enough room for little kids to use one end as a ‘handle’.
They may even be able to wield two!
And of course, no toddler painting session is complete without a bit of sensory finger painting. It’s at about this point that you can tell she’s focusing more on how the paint feels squishing under her palms, than concerning herself with such minor details as how her art project with look. (I think that’s the difference between toddlers and adults really.)
Would you like to make some heart shape stamps too? All you need is a cardboard tube and tape. Let me show you…
And then you have a beautiful piece of heart art for you to stick on the fridge door (or perhaps turn into a Valentine’s Day card??)
Here are some of our other TP roll posts:
And I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to this versatile craft material!
We’ve had glorious weather lately. The birds have been chirpy, the afternoons have been long and lazy, and the seed pods are out in abundance. We’ve been collecting some of these seed pods while on our neighbourhood walks lately. Here’s what we managed to squirrel home a few weeks back.
Gumnuts! Pine cones! Seed pods! We collected without a specific purpose – because there are so many ways to play with natural loose parts like this. Bee had the first idea. She served Daddy a gourmet dinner of gumnuts, pine cones and seed pods, served with a salad of dandelion flowers. Delicious!
Fine motor skills. All those tricky small muscle movements in the fingers, hands and wrists that are so important for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners to practise and refine, so they can develop the strength and dexterity needed for many basic life skills, including writing. Luckily, if you can present the right challenge to the right child at the right time, kids seem to love this sort of delicate ‘work’. They have an inner drive to try, repeat and perfect these skills.
You don’t need a whole host of specialised equipment and materials to give kids the opportunity to practise their fine motor skills. Indeed, there are so many things you probably already have in your own home that would be perfect for a bit of fine motor fun! My friend Devany from Still Playing School is putting together a really cool new series with 26 bloggers over 26 days, called Everyday Fine Motor Materials from A-Z.
And I’m so pleased to kick things off with the very first household item…
A is for Aluminium Foil
We all know what aluminium foil is, right? It has a few name variations. Many of us Aussies call it alfoil. Some folks (myself included) are a bit lazy and just call it plain old foil. And some call it tin foil, even though the modern stuff hasn’t had actual tin in it for a century or so. (Please note: real tin foil is thicker and stiffer, and apparently can cut little fingers, so please stick with the fake aluminium variety for these activities).
Regardless of what you call it, it’s most probably the silver roll that’s lying in your third or fourth kitchen drawer. You can tear it, scrunch it, wrap it, unwrap it, draw or paint on it, make indentations in it, glue it, cut it and lots more. It costs only a few cents per metre, is seemingly always on hand and is so shiny! What’s not to love???
I asked JJ if she would like to play with some foil (again) and she jumped at the opportunity. We love shiny things in our house! This time, JJ suggested making a starry night sky. Ummm, sure! Great idea JJ!
dark construction paper (but any kind of dark paper or cardboard would do).
kids pva glue
a sheet of aluminium foil
paint brush (optional)
I provided her with a sheet of foil, so that she could try tearing the foil up into little pieces herself. Initially JJ tried the pulling apart method. It’s hard work doing it that way!
But she soon figured out that if you use your thumbs and fingertips oppositionally, and push/pull at the same time, you can tear the foil from one edge, which is much easier. So easily in fact that she tore the foil into smaller and smaller pieces at a lightening fast pace. (So quick that it made it difficult to photograph – I have dozens of blurry photos of just like these three below. 🙂 )
She dabbed some glue onto her construction paper, and stuck on her “stars”. Some were big, some were medium sized, and some were teeny tiny. The biggest one is our sun, she tells me. (She hasn’t quite mastered the concept of relative size just yet…)
And ta da! Here’s her foil inspired starry night ready for the pool room! I love that it was JJ’s idea – she was very proud of her creation.
(PS: how do you like my dodgy attempts at facepainting? I just got some new fancy TAG paints, but apparently having the right tools is only one part of the solution… JJ was happy with it though, so that’s all that counts, right?)
For more inspiration, here’s another 19 ideas for fine motor fun that can be had with this awesome material….
2. You could snaz up some pasta like Lessons Learnt Journal did. (And bonus points if you use the pasta for more fine motor fun afterwards).
3. Scrunching is a great for strengthening hand muscles, so why not get the kids to scrunch up some space rocks to go along with these awesome Space Crazy free printables from Picklebums.
What’s your favourite foil fine motor activity? Do you call it foil, aluminium foil, alfoil or tin foil where you live? And when is too early to start planning Christmas activities?(I mean, we are technically in the second half of the year now…)
And be sure to pop over to Mama Miss tomorrow to see the next instalment of this series, B is for…..
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