Sunday, 29 November 2015

Our Advent Calendar

I'm trying to remember when we first came across the idea of an activity/craft advent calendar but it was a few years ago and has now become part of our family Christmas tradition.

It felt strange last year not doing one but I was recovering from surgery. So not a good time to plan lots of stuff, as I couldn't guarantee being fit enough to do them, which would of been disappointing to all.

 I always get the children to help choose the activities, we have to read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve, that's another family tradition we have. These won't be the only crafts that we will be up to over the run up to Christmas, L has already spotted a Christmas cake that she liked the look of and wants me to make. The children love to open a door, unroll a scroll etc depending on what advent calendar we have made and see what we might be doing that day.

This year M and I made an advent calender using the idea of gift tags, I had seen something similar but using bags, with a gift in each bag so we adapted it. Cutting small gift tags out of card, we put together some words that we felt are important to us at this time of year, these are Happy Christmas, peace, hope and joy.

I found the star pattern in this lovely book, Doodle Stitching Holiday Motif Collection, there are lots of lovely things I would like to make, gingerbread houses, the nativity scene figures to start with.

Once we had cut and glued all the bit together

I wrote the craft/activity on the back.

This years advent list.

Also hoping to spend some time with M looking at how Christmas is celebrated around the world and for L I have a book with a story a day for advent Advent Storybook, 24 Stories Before Christmas

Linked in with Frontier Dreams

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Bats and Straw Painting

This week we have been reading Stellaluna, a story I love and I think the children do to, though they are still enjoying the owl story box and have added a family of hedgehogs to it.
Image result for stellaluna

So today's craft was to create a picture of bats flying on a starry night , using finger prints for the stars. I used these bat printables for the bats, I stuck a small amount of blue tac on the back of bats. The children then stuck them on black paper.

We chose a mixture of paints, including some glitter paint and we are trialling some glow in the dark paint. They started of finger painting but

then decided it was much more fun to spread the paint around with their fingers.

Waiting for the bats to dry and thinking that they look good just like this, without doing anything else to them

but they also look pretty stunning with the paper bats removed and they now have some colourful paper bats to play with. Tonight with the light on you can now see all the glitter, which I can't seem to catch in a photo.

They then spotted the box of art straws and decided to try and paint with them.

They discovered it was lots of fun to mix the paint and that the straw made patterns in the paint palette but it wasn't that easy to paint with them and asked for brushes.

They then painted some monster pictures with lots of footprints.

After lunch L decided to be Santa Claus and set about using various scarves and blankets for wrapping paper put them all in a bag and went round delivery them to everyone else saying "Ho,ho,ho" as they went.  

I have planned some listening games including Listening Bingo, I also have a nursery rhyme one to, maybe a listening walk and to enjoy Oscar and The Bat story and see where their questions lead.

Image result for oscar and the bat

Monday, 23 November 2015

First Christmas Decoration

M has beaten me to it and made the first Christmas decoration of the year, I had seen several really cute felt reindeer, I showed M and she was really keen to make one. So I drew out a rough reindeer shape, then let her get on with the cutting out and sewing, though she did get me to embroider the eye. We found the cute button on a trip to Hobbycraft, luckily they came in a pack as L is asking M to make one for her too.

My first decoration is still a work in progress and we have a few more felt creations planned but I am trying to finish knitting various Christmas presents before I start on something else. 

I have finished one snood, fingerless mittens and some wrist warmers

and have just started knitting some cream wrist warmers for my Aunt. Also need to knit the sleeves for a jumper, then I can finish that off. I always do have a tendency to have more than one craft project on the go at the same time, then I can pick and choose what to do depending on how I feel and/or how much time I have to get everything out etc

Then when I have finished the above, I thought I could knit a couple of Christmas decorations and then start on the felt ones but as I was going through my patterns L found the knitting patterns for Maggie Rabbit and is after the dress for her rabbit and reindeer toy. So will do those first but as it's lots of knitting might have to do a bit of sewing too.

I have finally decided on what our activity advent calender will be this year and have assembled all the pieces, now just need to cut it all out and put it together. Already have the list of crafts and activities sorted.

Linked with Nicole at Frontier Dreams

Monday, 16 November 2015

Owl Babies

Today we have read and enjoyed Owl babies several times and they are now joining in with "I want my Mummy" said Bill. They were rather concerned that their mummy went of and left them in the dark without telling them but they are all, luckily, very sure their Mummies would never do such a thing. I did explain that this was just a story and animals do leave their young when they have to get food but the owls were safe in their nest. The also enjoyed this animation of Owl babies.

After reading the story the first time we put together a small tuff spot scene, they loved pouring out the coloured rice and adding all the bits.

I then read the story again and this time they used all the props to act out the story.
The baby owls waking up,

hopping out of their nest onto the branches.

Mummy owl flew all around the sitting room before making it back to her babies.

Bill was very pleased to see his Mummy.

Later on they asked for the mirrors to make pictures on. They loved the sound of the rice made as it was poured onto the mirror.

The wooden discs are a new addition and they have gone down well today, they have been used as stepping stones, counting them as they went,

building towers, with more counting and at one point they used the tokens as they sang 5 in the bed and the little one said roll over.

One Owl Baby story box ready for tomorrow.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Martinmas and Diwali

On the 11th November this year it was Diwali and Martinmas and I decided we would look at both festivals as they both involve lanterns and light in them. It was also Remembrance day but as we had done crafts last week, talked about it and attended the Remembrance service on Sunday, I felt we had covered everything I could with age group and could move on to something new.


We've started with Diwali, reading the story of Diwali and sharing this book Lighting a Lamp. We watched the Tweenies episode that shows the Tweenies acting out the story of Rama and Sita. We also watched part of  this clip which shows a family celebrating Diwali, talking about having new clothes, giving away the old ones to charity, giving gifts. We learnt that they give sweets to people in the hope that people will think sweet thoughts about them, we stoppered watching when we got to the retelling of Rama as it was rather too scary for the little ones, the Tweenies retelling isn't scary.

We used card board rolls to make candles and some glittery cardboard to make the flames.

We made clay lamps, usually we would decorate them with glitter and/gems but my little ones were rather tired and had a longer nap than usual, so we run out of time but they enjoyed painting them.


I told the children that St Martin was the patron saint of the poor and the outcast and his story was - on a cold night he stopped when he saw a beggar, sitting in the cold dark night. He shared his coat with a beggar by tearing it in half, so they both had warmth, he gave the beggar his lantern so he had light and could see in the dark. A time to think of those less fortunate than us. The story of St Martin

I made the lantern transparency from this book and it looks lovely on my door.

We made some lanterns using jam jars and gluing tissue and kite paper onto them, pipe cleaners for handles and then some little led tea lights so the children could safely carry them in the garden, later when it got dark.

They thoroughly enjoyed our night time lantern walk around the garden singing

I walk with my little lantern,
my lantern walks with me
Above the stars are shining
on earth we are shining to

I also had some glow sticks for the children to play with in the garden,we joined them together and made circles etc, they had great fun whirling them around etc making patterns, while I took some photos and then they enjoyed looking at the photos when we came back inside.

All this talk of light, lanterns and celebrations as got me thinking of all the Christmas crafts, can't wait to start planning the run up to Christmas.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Mirror Painting

While looking for ideas to do with our night time theme, I came across painting on mirrors and now wondering why it has taken over 25 years years in childcare to discover this fun activity! I bought some A4 mirrors from ImagiDo as I know I will use them for other activities throughout the year. The children ended up spending the morning enthralled by it, first using the mirror as a mirror, giggling at their reflections, what they could see behind them etc before deciding to try the paint.

I put out a mixture of normal paint and some glitter paint, as they started to paint they talked about how they could still see their reflection and then they would paint over their reflection, giggling saying "now I can't" and repeating this till the whole mirror was covered in paint.

They then discovered by dragging the paint brush through the paint and /or twisting it around they could produce different patterns.

Washing up produced more interest as they realised the water made different patterns as the paint was washed away and that they could see their reflection again.

It was then back to the table to start painting again, they repeated this several times.

They attempted hand prints on the mirror

which left behind an interesting pattern.

They also enjoyed writing and drawing patterns on the mirrors.

I can see this will be an activity that will be asked for again and again, also thinking how ell this would work for fire/firework patterns, will have to remember this for next year when we do fireworks. Also be good to see if the children could paint their reflection in the mirror.