An exciting thing about the Just So Festival was there was always something fabulous waiting around the next turn of the forest path. There were lots of large scale events such as a beach and a Mad Hatter’s tea party, but if you kept your eyes peeled there were lots of little secrets to discover too. [Read more…]
Following on from yesterday’s suggestion to take your art outside, today’s ideas from the Just So Festival are for imaginative outside play spaces.
The festival is set in 65 acres of oak woodland, with glades creating natural play spaces, but ideas can be borrowed and adapted to fit smaller at-home or school spaces. [Read more…]
How’s this for a dream day?
Start your morning by hugging the Gruffalo (yes, the real one), make a lantern from willow branches and a princess doll from bits of junk, practise some yoga in a woodland glade, act in a Gory Story, discover the Fairy Queen down a secret woodland path, build an enormous sandcastle with new friends and then all jump on top of it, find the perfect climbing tree, warm yourself beside a camp fire and then round off the night dancing at a retro disco to some groovy tracks (with your dad!)
All part of an ordinary day at [Read more…]
After the great pocket money debate, over the summer holiday the girls have started to earn a little money. A very exciting new thing for them, which meant on our recent trip to the zoo they had some of their own money to spend on a treat. So, we now have a family of wild animals in need of a home. On our return we transformed a humble cardboard box into not just a jungle, but a savanna and watering hole too. The hippo is very happy in her new home – and the play scene is giving the girls the chance for lots of imaginary play and chat.
How to make a jungle from a cardboard box [Read more…]
Valerie over at the Frugal Family Fun Blog has such great ideas and we love the crafts she does with her two girls. When we saw her post about a printable bird house play set we thought they were so cute we’d have to try and make some. The houses can be made from card, or even a recycled cereal box, and Valerie has given us all a template to use which means they are so easy to make.
B, who’s seven, managed to do all the stages by herself: tracing round the template, cutting, folding and sticking and she is really pleased with her birdhouse. She decided to leave the roof un-stuck so she could put some furniture inside and use it as a play house. The house was a little too tricky for L, who is four, to make by herself but she got involved drawing a pattern which we used to make the roof, and she’s really enjoying all the small world play now the houses are finished. We made some extra houses to hang in the window as decorations too and for these we stuck the roofs down. I think the co-ordinating roofs and perches make this a very stylish neighbourhood! We used recycled wrapping paper to make them but they’d be the perfect way to re-use your children’s art work too.
Of course then we decided we needed someone to come and live in our bird street so we made a little flock of birds. If you’d like to make some the same as ours you can use this Printable bird template, which works out a great size to match with Valerie’s bird house. All you need to do is draw round the bird template on card, adding a slit where you can insert the wings. The wings are made from a piece of paper folded into a concertina and pushed through the slot in the bird’s body. You can make a hole above the wings if you want to hang them up on a cotton thread, or add a base so they can stand up if you’d like to play with them. You’ll find both options available on the template.
We used the same paper for the birds wings as we did the roofs of the houses, so it turned out to be a good matching game too, making sure all the birds got back to their own house. A big thank you to Valerie for the idea and the how-to bird house template. If you don’t already know the Frugal Family Fun Blog do pop by for a visit as I know you will love her ideas.
happily shared with Kids Get Crafty, Upcycled Awesome and Works for me Wednesday and Preschool Corner and Craft Schooling Sunday and No Time For Flashcards and Making Mondays Marvellous and and Mad Skills and Mad Skills Monday and Made by You Monday and Homemaker Monday and Sumo’s Sweet Stuff and Today’s Creative Blog and ABC and 123 and Something for the Weekend
We have the great pleasure of having another guest post today. Please welcome Maggie from Red Ted Art with ideas for combining nature and art…
Over at Red Ted Art, my son (Red Ted (2)) and I (Maggy (old)) do lots of crafts projects. Sometimes Pip Squeak (0) joins us. Usually I am inspired by books that we read (the tagline from another crafty mum being – story + art = great stART). This time however, we were Inspired by Nature as well as the Arts! (come visit “Get Crafty” for a host of nature related ideas):
The V&A is running a World Beach Project with artist Sue Lawty. This is a project involving sculptures and pictures made from stones. Check out the V&A website for more info. Here is Sue Lawty’s project.
We couldn’t get to a beach, but still wanted to “take part”, so friends of ours brought us some Brighton Beach stones and we got Inspired by Nature at home… we have 6 BIG stones and lots of pebbles from the garden.
*** PLEASE TAKE CARE WITH THE PEBBLES AND SMALL CHILDREN – DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE – CHOKING HAZARD***
This is what we got up to:
Whilst playing with the stones we learnt lots of things:
“Just Feeling” – enjoying nature and playing with the pebbles. They feel nice, don’t they?!
- Big & Little. Which is the biggest? Which is the smallest?
- Counting 1-6.
- Shapes – e.g. Triangle.
- Heavy. Red Ted told me that some were “heavy”…
- Warm & Cold. He also pointed out to me, that after we had left the m in the garden overnight that they were cold (“Brrrrr, mummy, brrr”) and could I warm them up (beep beep beep – I am ashamed to admit, that that means the microwave).
And finally! Some “artwork” and some playing (Red Ted did the flower pattern when I had turned my back).
Happy & Sad! We made a stone caterpillar with petals for eyes. Turn the stone one way and he is sad (“hungry mummy”), turn the stone the other way and he is happy!
Hurray for Brighton Beach stone (and pebbles from the garden)!
If you enjoyed this post, do pop over to Red Ted Art and see what we get up to on a regular basis – Get Inspired by Nature in Nature Get Crafty or just visit for Wednesday Crafts!! We look forward to meeting you!
Maggy & Red Ted (& sometimes Pip Squeak)
Growing sunflowers with children? Download our free sunflower activities ebook.
Our sunflowers have now moved outside to our little greenhouse to enjoy the Spring sunshine and get them used to being outside. We’ve been out enjoying the garden too. Little has been especially interested to see creatures out there. She will stop in her tracks and peer at her feet, watching an ant running around. Big is interested to know which animals are goodies (that would include worms and ladybirds) or badies (which definitely includes slugs and snails). So we have decided so survey what animals we have sharing our garden with us by playing… Garden Bingo!
First we talked about what animals we might expect to see. (Sorry Little, but no elephants are likely to be found.) Then we drew pictures of them. Everyone can join in with this, no matter how young or artisically challenged they might be. Little did a great worm, ladybird and spider – with carefully counted legs. Big’s cat is very characterful and her butterfly is perfectly symmetrical. I was able to muster some greenfly and wowed everyone with my woodpigeon.
Then we stuck our animal pictures on to our bingo card and wrote their names underneath, along with a tick box for each one. Each time we spot an animal in the garden we’re going to tick them off our card. Take time to have a good look at each animal as you see them. Look at their shape, colour and patterns and count their legs (or note their lack off). Talk about their role in the garden ecosystem and decide if they are goodies or badies.
If you like a competition you could make each person a slightly different bingo card to see who can spot all their creatures first to get a ‘full house’. We like to promote harmony in our garden so we have one big bingo card to complete all together.
If you’re out in the garden and growing things with your children, come and join in with our Sunflower Club to get a Spring and Summer full of activities all linked to growing and gardening.