Sunday, 29 August 2010

I found an elf!

Over the weekend, Little Bean, Little Bean's Daddy and I were out exploring the woods, when we discovered an elf in the undergrowth! Little Bean was more excited about a stick we had found earlier, so the little elf climbed into my pocket!

I found the idea for the elf after looking through some 'Etsy' shops, they looked so cute. It gave me the ideal opportunity to try needle felting again, in a different way, creating the felt clothes for the wooden head and body. I think I may make a smaller one next and make him or her a little felt leaf home to sleep in! Possibly some little red elves may appear around Christmas time too, to join in the celebrations!

I have to confess, I really got a little bit carried away with taking photographs of our elf in amongst the flora and fauna (whilst Little Bean ran around whacking things with his stick!) it was so much fun!

New to Needlefelting

Over the Summer, I tried needle felting for the first time, I found it incredibly relaxing and really enjoyed it. Maybe stabbing something with a small needle is a great form of release! ;)

My first project was a gift for my Auntie, I had to wait until she opened her birthday present before posting the photos on here! I kept the needle felting simple, creating both free hand flowers and cookie cutter flowers on a woolen scarf. I am really proud of my first attempt at needle felting. I nearly kept the scarf for myself as I did not want to part with it! However I know my Auntie will appreciate it in blustery Devon! ;)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Wind socks

Whilst walking back from lunch with a group of children at work. One of the children commented on the wind and where it was coming from; which direction. This led to a conversation about the weather forecasts, weather stations and wind socks. So I decided to make a wind sock to show the children, which led to them making their own. We did not have the resources to make an outdoor one at this stage, so we made a decorative one, to hang inside, near a door or window (the photo shows a work in progress, I have yet to take a picture of the finished product!).

One thing that concerned me, was that the group of children I have this year, copied my windsock identically, including the colour and construction. This is something I wish to change, creativity and ingenuity is important. Copying something a teacher has made exactly does not promote this, I wish for the children to try things out, use their imagination, apply their knowledge and skills. (This is not to say never, there are times when I model something for the children to learn a new skill) It will be a gradual process over the year, with lots of encouragement.

Next, we hope to make an outdoor windsock, from material and ribbons, bright and cheerful :)

Fresh air, sand cakes and rain songs

Little Bean is back to his bright and bubbly self :) so we headed out into the fresh air, to wash away the last of the chicken pox! We had a great time making sand cakes and standing on the wooden steps in the sandpit singing "Rain, rain, go away, come again another day" whilst stamping our feet! (The park was empty, so no one else was subjected to my tuneless singing!) We then marched around the sand pit singing the song "I hear thunder" with all the actions!

'I hear thunder, I hear thunder,
Hark don't you? Hark don't you? (raise hands with each line to cup hear, as if listening)
Pitter-patter raindrops, pitter-patter raindrops (wiggle fingers to indicate rain falling)
I'm wet through (shake the front of your clothing as if wet)
So are you! (Point at someone else)

Little Bean loves to sing rain songs at home now, at the top of his voice, his song words vary each time but usually go something like this " all the people, the rain, the people, in the rain, the people....!"

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Body Outline

A few weeks ago I found a crumpled up roll of wrapping paper. It came in very useful with a recovering child. Little Bean was not keen on my initial idea of drawing round him, so with Daddy's assistance, they drew around me!

Little Bean was absorbed in using the crayons to colour in his Mummy! I was able to say "Can you colour in the hands?" and away he would go to draw on that part of the body.

The artwork was proudly displayed on the hallway door, Little Bean took a photograph, it did not stay on the door for long though, Little Bean loved the crunchy sound it made when trampled on!

Got me thinking about making some sound boxes though!..... Watch this space!

Sick Little Bean :( and the finger knitted flower :)

Little Bean has chicken pox, so we have been keeping cool, running oat baths, sleeping and finding things to do which will distract Little Bean from the itchiness, poor little mite.

Whilst he was sleeping (rather than cleaning or tidying!) I made a finger knitted flower, which I attached to a piece of leather, it can be worn as a necklace, headband or as I prefer to wear it, as a bracelet. I think I will attempt this at work with some of the children, if they are interested. You can find a good video on You Tube which describes how to make a flower

Simple, fun and in my opinion, great to brighten up an outfit!

Welcome weeks at work....

For the first couple of Pre-School weeks, I like to have some activities planned to get to know the children alongside introducing them to their new environment. I have compiled my list of activity ideas here:

• Sequencing the daily routine pictorially (I take photographs over the first few days)
• Discussing hobbies and interests as a group or in pairs
• Making their name using dough (if required I make name cards)
• Playing the name game, identifying their names and where appropriate their friends names
• Clapping the syllables in their name
• Discussing their summer holiday
• Agreeing values and behaviour within the group (we write this down and the children sign a contract!)
• Playing getting to know you games, for example, favourite foods, members of the family
• Exploring body and facial expressions through drama (this can lead to mask making)
• Meeting challenges, for example, tying their shoe laces
• Learning the actions to ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’, for example, this is the way we clean our teeth
• Making hand and footprint patterns with paint
• Playing follow my leader
• Creating pictorial graphs, for example of hair colour
• Making symmetrical faces
• Exploring their height and that of others in the group
• Using their bodies to count, for example the number of eyes in their group
• Matching actions to a given number, for example, jump five times on the spot
• Making signs for use within the room
• Finger painting, looking at different finger prints
• Painting self portraits or their friends portrait
• Using their body as an instrument to make sounds
• Exploring sounds within the building and the local area, a sound hunt
• Drawing how they get to daycare in the morning
• Creating their own rag rug

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone uses this activity plan if they could refer back to this blog, thanks :)

Once I know the children these plans are based on their interests and what they wish to learn over the year, for example, last year one child wished to find out about how electricity works and another wished to learn to sew a skirt. These I developed into monthly (though the time is only loosely based) activity plans based on Houses & Homes and Clothing.

Keeping it short and to give you some ideas!

* For electricity we explored the daycare for electrical items and discussed safety. We made electrical circuits and fitted different sized batteries into different objects.....

* For sewing we used threading cards and practiced threading a needle, sorting buttons then sewing them , we explored different types of material and their uses....

I take each child as an individual and create a progression of activiities, which others are welcome to participate in. Frequently when I have worked in other places, I observed teachers fail to present the groundwork to children, expecting them to achieve without the necessary development of skills. Taking small steps is important and taking into consideration the child's learning style is vital. I can't wait to see what the children are keen to learn about this year.

Wild flower weaving

Being in Northern Finland we make the most of any sunshine offered to boost our Vitamin D levels for the long Winter! As the sun was shining and there were few children in daycare, we headed outdoors.

We began by winding the yarn around the fork in the branches we had collected from beneath the birch trees, blown down by the Summer storms. We then gathered some flowers with long stalks to weave in and out of the yarn. The children then began to add grasses and different leaves to their creations, they were very proud to display them in amongst the flower box. As they worked you could observe the intense concentration on their faces, as their fingers handled the flowers. A fun activity for fine motor control, using the nature around us.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Memory game and dancing rings...

I first saw a wooden memory game on the blog 'Childhood Magic' and stored the idea away in my head for something to make in the future. I am really pleased with how it turned out, I kept it incredibly simple and Little Bean loves it. When he matches the pictures, he cheers out "YAY" and he particularly loves the picture of the tree. When he matches the pair he walks around the room, saying "puu, puu" (Finnish for 'tree') with a big smile on his face.

The dancing rings were easy to make, I took the idea off a cover of a book I saw ( I wish I could remember which one). I just need to tidy up the ends of the ribbons to stop them fraying. I have tried to capture Little Bean dancing around with the ring of ribbons but to no avail, I am not a skilled enough photographer and Little Bean is a funky dancer! He loves to make the ribbons swish through the air and will sing a little tune along with his jig!

Here we go gathering pine cones in August?!...

Things have been hectic as I am back at work though Little Bean is settling into his new routines, however by evening we are both shattered, so we are pretty early at settling down to snooze! Urm, apologies, this relatively new blog has fallen by the wayside, at least during the week! But Little Bean comes first and foremost and I need my beauty sleep! ;)

Therefore I thought I would share some photographs from last weekend. We went to the woods to gather pine cones to make Christmas decorations, I know it seems insane to think of Christmas in August! Autumn is on it's way to Northern Finland though, the mornings are cooler and mushrooms can be found, together with blueberries ready to pick (next on my list of things to do!). Once the frost and snow sets in, the pine cones are very difficult to find.

Little Bean was so happy to be gathering the pine cones, he was squealing with delight as he wandered about :) The basket of pine cones are now out in the porch to give any little insects time to move out before Little Bean becomes a creative whirlwind!