The girls and I were invited to join Wild Rumpus for a trip to The Spellbound Forest at the weekend. Created by the team behind the Just So Festival, The Spellbound Forest weaved it’s magic through Delamere Forest in Cheshire, bringing to life four English fairy tales with a mixture of story telling, theatre, music, dance, woodland crafts and toy making. The event was like a forest school on a grand scale, full of inspiration and ideas to bring back and adapt to keep the outdoor story telling alive at home.
Following on from yesterday’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar craft ideas for caterpillars, today we have a selection of butterfly crafts. The designs are all very simple again, making them easy for very young children to try.
Working with the idea of butterflies gives the opportunity to talk about symmetry and with older children you might want to encourage them to focus on creating matching patterns, as part of a more mathematical activity. With young children though I think the main purpose behind these crafts is to invite them to enjoy the colours and see what patterns they can make – so I would never give strict directions about making sure both sides match. [Read more…]
Kicking off our celebration of Eric Carle’s birthday this week we’re sharing three The Very Hungry Caterpillar craft ideas.
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar is our favourite of Eric Carle’s books and is the first book I ever read to both my girls. It’s masterpiece of a children’s story, a joy to read and look at, and bursting with possibilities to use as a spring board for lots of crafting, exploring and learning.
Mr. Carle is celebrating his birthday this week and Kate at An Amazing Child blog is hosting a week of fun, linking up many early years bloggers who are sharing ideas for activities and crafts linked to Mr. Carle’s books. We’re sharing some caterpillar craft ideas today and some butterfly crafts tomorrow. On Thursday we have a post full of ideas you can use to explore The Very Hungry Caterpillar with links to the EYFS.
Eric Carle is famous for his signature style, combining colour and texture and The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a perfect book to use to inspire children to try some art and crafting. When creating with young children I always like to give them plenty of opportunity to explore materials their way. Even though these projects are all designed to result in a caterpillar there is plenty of scope for each child to experiment and add their own style to the creations. The caterpillar crafts are all very simple to follow, inviting even very young children to have a try. [Read more…]
After a trip to the beach we returned with a bucket full of treasures and decided to make a rock pool in the garden for lots more beach play at home. You can see in the pictures some of the things we collected, and a few we already had at home: pebbles and shells, sand and seaweed and two mermaid’s purses (much to B’s delight).
The girls gave the treasures a clean and then settled them into a new home in a tub of water. They made some fish from scrunched up tinfoil and then were ready to play. Adding in some tea-strainer fishing nets was perfect.
Books about seasides and mermaids
My girls love stories about the sea. Here are two favourites which we’re reading tonight – the perfect bedtime stories after a trip to the beach.
Shirley Hughes books are favourites in our house and The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook is L’s favourite of them all. It’s a collection of short stories and poems about outdoor play and adventures. One tells the story of Bonting, Alfie’s treasured pebble who is lost (and later happily found) on a family outing to the beach. The illustrations capture the essence of a UK beach.
Can You Catch a Mermaid by Jane Ray is a wonderful story set by the sea. It’s a moving tale of a lonely little girl and a very hard decision she has to make. It’s all about friendship and features Jane Ray’s beautiful illustrations. B has a real love of mermaids so this is her top pick, and I like it because it can be read on different levels: it has a happy ending and also leaves you thinking about unanswered questions long after you’ve finished reading.
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Put down your books! You don’t often hear me actively encouraging children not to read but have you ever tried oral story telling with your children and having them make the story up? Children most often have stories told to them, so let them be the story teller for a change.
Help them stretch their imaginations, practise using words in different ways, and build their confidence to find their voice and speak up. You might also get a real insight into what’s going on in their minds and they could surprise you with what happens in their story.
Telling stories aloud is fully mobile: whether you’re cosy on the sofa on a rainy day, walking to school or waiting for an appointment in the doctor’s surgery, you can tell each other stories.
There are no rules really – take it in turns to tell the story, following on from each other, or pick one person to be the story teller this time.
Use a familiar tale and give it a twist, or make up something completely new.
If there’s pause and the children need a prompt, try asking ‘what happened next?’, ‘why did that happen?’ rather than steering the story yourself.
Try these story starters as a springboard and see where your imaginations take you:
- Once up on a time B and L went for a walk in a forest. They walked and they walked and they walked until at last they found a ….
- When I woke up this morning , you’ll never believe what I found in my bedroom. It was a great big…
- Once upon a time a witch lived in a little cottage in the middle of a wood. One day she woke up and said to herself…
Make Your Make : 30 projects that promote a love of writing, self-confidence and compassion
World Book Day is this Thursday 3rd March and it’s a fantastic opportunity to celebrate your favourite books and bring them to life with some fun activities. We love books at NurtureStore and I think one of the great pleasures as a parent is sharing cosy story times with your children.
Need some World Book Day ideas? You could…
– dress up as your favourite story character (that means you as well as the children!)
– have a bedtime story party with everyone wearing pyjamas and sharing their favourite bedtime read
– turn a great big cardboard box into a story tent and let the children climb inside and draw their own stories all over the walls and ceiling
– bring a book to life by making puppets to act out the story. We had fun with our The Tiger Who Came To Tea puppets
– turn your play space into one of your favourite stories. We’ve been indoor camping just like Alfie in the Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook. You could help the children find the props they need to re-enact a story or paint a huge picture to be the backdrop of your play-scene. How exciting to pretend to be a different character for the day and enter their world!
– eat a book themed lunch. Could you find all the things The Very Hungry Caterpillar eats?
World Book Day supports two charities with its fundraising: Book Aid International which helps bring books, literacy and education to sub-Saharan Africa and the Occupied Territories of Palestine and Readathon, a UK charity which promotes a love of reading and raises money for seriously ill children.
You can find more details of the charities as well as book themed games and more at the World Book Day website.
Story stones are a wonderful way to combine art, language and play. So making the most of our trip to the beach the girls and I collected a few smallish, flat pebbles to make our own set of story stones when we got home.