Tuesday, 22 July 2014

In the Garden we find Bugzzz !

Last year we started an alphabet scrapbook and since we finished it, J has been dwelling on it almost every day. He loved it. So we included another 2 scrapbooks for our seasonal project.  One about creatures we find in the garden and the other about creatures in the sea which will be starting next month and will include also an outing at the National Aquarium :)

I meant to start the garden scrapbook earlier, during spring but with the new job, a hurricane for a toddler and everything else in between, I had to postpone it for the summer holidays.  So first thing we did was decorate the cover of the scrapbooks.  The titles are in Maltese by the way! (Fil-Gnien - In the garden & Fil-Bahar - In the sea)

Next we started looking for pictures of the creatures we know of that can be found in the garden.  First thing J thought about was the spider as we find plenty of them in our backyard and he's quite fascinated by them (my fault :p ).  We included butterflies, bees, wasps, snails, birds, and other tiny insects that we could think of... As we went along, we searched and investigated the creatures we found and whenever someone new came to visit in our backyard we would take pictures of them and spend time observing.

 Some we also found eating!

Let the Summer fun begin!!! At the beach.

I love our little island.  Although it's very tiny (just a dot on the world map) we have lovely beaches and plenty of sunshine. As the holidays neared by and the heat was adding up we went for our first swim of the year at Riviera beach which I had never been to before.  Usually I would prefer rocky shores but children love playing with sand and to be honest I feel safer knowing that my little can play, jump, run and fall without getting hurt.

J and his auntie playing while I'm relaxing and enjoying the sun :)

Summer Solstice

I haven't written anything since last summer.  So many things happen in a year!! Doesn't mean we didn't do anything crafty however :) . Every season comes with a lot of art and crafts activities in our home along with seasonal projects and stories.  I also got back to doing some wood crafting myself and now I started needle felting too which I am really enjoying! But to include all the things we did in the past year here on this blog, will take me another year to finish!!

So I will start on what we did lately since summer began.

What I like to do as soon as the season changes is to redecorate our nature table.  Summer is the season of fire, sunflowers, lemon candles and shells and of course Sun pictures.

To celebrate the Solstice we camped out in the backyard.  We prepared lanterns, floating sunflower candles, barbecue and stocked on some fallen branches to make a little bonfire.  J really loved it and obviously wanted to participate in making the fire. He was really excited! We played with some percussion instruments and created a really summery atmosphere with the candles.  It was fun!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Summer Theme: Sea Creatures Part 2

July 23, 2013

The Fish
To end the sea creatures activities we needed some fish!!!  Painted foil fish ... I got this idea from a teacher at school but I missed something because the colouring effect was not the same.  However, they were still shiny and for J it was a good sensory experience at the same time.  

First I cut a piece of aluminum foil sheet and gave it to J to feel its smooth texture.  I used vocabulary such as shiny, smooth, flat, slippery and reflection.  Then I scrunched another piece into a ball and re-opened it carefully because it tears easily.  I managed to save most of it in fact.  Its texture was different, rough and bumpy.  I let J explore the difference by running his hands on both sheets.  Then I gave him some paint and encouraged him to smudge the paint all over the foil, but he wanted the brush as usual :) ... we used different colours.  For the fish we used a smooth sheet of foil because the scrunched one got torn in too many places.  The activity at school was made with a smooth sheet of aluminum foil and a fishing net was placed underneath it while the kids painted it so as to get the scaly effect but I did not have a fishing net for this although afterwards I found I had something of the same material....for next time!

I cut out 2 different shapes of fish templates (I usually cut my templates from cereal boxes so that they're thick) and traced them onto the back of the dried foil sheets.  Then carefully cut the foil fish and taped a string at the back of each.

 I had 3 wooden circles I had bought from a crafts shop a while ago, to make a lampshade, and though I could create a mobile effect with the sea creatures.  I only smeared them with glitters, gold on one side and silver on the other side, because I like the plain wood look.  I also wanted some blue silk ribbons to tie them together, but then I changed my mind and thought it would be best to have transparent ones instead.  Still I wasn't sure but I stuck to the transparent light blue ribbons, added plain wooden beads as stoppers and tied the sea creatures to the bottom circle.  Then I remembered I had wind chimes with some fish as well so I tied them in the middle of the mobile and voila'!!


Summer Theme: Sea Creatures Part 1

July 23, 2013

Continuing on the Summer theme, I introduced various sea creatures to J through books I bought online: ''1,2,3 Sea'' by Julie Fletcher which includes counting and bright coloured pictures and ''Under the sea'' a Peekabooks lift the flap board book which includes small and big versions of sea creatures such as fish, octopus and crabs.  He loved them both and even started pointing his finger to count with me.  

The Starfish
Back to the crafting, first we did the Starfish with shaving foam.  I drew 2 outlines of a starfish at the back of a plain white A4 paper and then I mixed the ingredients: shaving foam, glue (half the amount of shaving foam) and some paint.  Mixed them well until the texture was well foamed.  Then gave J the container and showed him how to apply the mixture with his hands on the paper... He didn't like his hand getting messy, instead he wanted to use the brush! When it was dry I cut both shapes, glued them together and J stuck the googley eyes with a little help.    I found other variations of the ingredients, instead of paint one can use food colour and as for the paper I think that sugar paper would be much better instead of printing paper.


I'm sorry I did not take pictures while doing most of these activities...

The Octopus
Next we did the Octopus out of an empty kitchen roll. J painted it, well it was a bit complicated for him to handle because of the cylindrical shape, and he got bored half way.  So I let him roll a ball of kitchen paper to put in one of the openings of the roll and painted it as well. Let it dry for a few hours and J stuck the googley eyes.  Then I cut strips half way through the roll and curled each 'tentacle' around a permanent marker to give them shape.  
 The next bit was tricky and it took me a lot of energy and patience... At first I was going to cut colourful circles out of paper so that J could stick them around the roll for spots, but then I decided that the tentacles should have suckers instead and got some Fruity loops cereal with different colours.  The tricky part was to apply the glue on the underside of the tentacles and stick each fruity loop because the tentacles were already curled!!!!!!... I had to wait for each tentacle to dry a little cos the loops kept slipping off... and little J insisted on tasting them ... I just wished I had a dozen tentacle myself at that moment, so I could stick all the loops at once and keep J from putting the ones with glue in his mouth!

When it was dry and finished I realised that our octopus had only 7 tentacles!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Crab
This activity was quick and easier.  We sponge painted a small paper plate with orange Tempera paint, left it to dry and in the meantime I drew the crab's legs and claws.  I am aware that crabs have more than 2 pairs of legs but the paper plate was too small to accommodate more.  When the paint was dry, I folded the paper plate in half and applied glue to the inside. We stuck the legs and claws around one of the halves and closed the other part onto them to dry.  J stuck the googley eyes again :) ...


The Jellyfish
This was quite easy to do and to be honest I did not feel like putting too much energy in it as well. Perhaps it's because I don't like jellyfish! I love the sea but jellyfish are top of my concern list when I'm swimming especially if I'm not wearing a mask. Well that's the only poisonous with a really painful sting sea creature one can commonly meet while swimming here in Malta.  The other is the scorpion fish but stings from it are very rare. J painted a paper plate with blue Tempera paint, he chose blue and this time he painted with his brush which is his utmost preference.  In the meantime I cut 4 pieces of crepe paper in different colours, shredded their ends and when the plate was  dry we glued them on the back along with the googley eyes by J. :D  Not much of a jellyfish but it's easy and colourful for a toddler.

.........CONTINUED here

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Summer Theme: The Beach

July 08, 2013

We started the Summer Theme with a sensory activity including sand, shells and stones found on previous snorkels.  The sand was actually from the Sahara Desert.  I brought some with me when I went on a trip about 10 years ago and as taking sand from beaches is prohibited here, I used some of this. J had already had an encounter with stones and shells while I was making preparations for an activity I did with the children at school, so he was even more eager to throw himself into this activity.  

We started out by putting everything in a container as if it was a beach.  J immediately started picking the stones, he seems to have a liking for them. 

 He noticed the markings in the sand while he was moving the items and started making circular marks with them. 


We even made numbers with his finger.

Then I transferred everything in a larger container (which was his baby tub) and he experimented with the sand, moving it from side to side with his hand, grabbing some and throwing it in another container (or on the floor), flicking it with shells, hitting stones together to make sound...


He really enjoyed himself.  Then finally we sorted them in another one of J's bath-time containers ....


To add to the Beach topic we explored sand at the beach ... digging holes and trenches, building castles....

and making footprints big and small :)