Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Learning Through Play

Kids Arts and Crafts: Blow Paint Volcano

By on February 14, 2018

"Mummy can we make something from my book?" Master A came to me with his Usborne Activities Dinosaur Things to Make and Do book desperate to make a volcano painting; he is dinosaur mad. He loves them and he loves making a mess so the two combined is just perfect! As it is half term and its raining (surprise surprise) we have plenty of time to spend indoors having fun. So we turned to page 12 in his book and a dinosaur volcano painting is exactly what we made, as well as a valentines related kitchen activity but I'll tell you about that in a different post.

Volcano Painting

Here are the step by step instructions and a video for how to create the volcano painting.

What you need

  • orange paint (if you don't have any you can improvise like we did - we planned to mix red and yellow, before we learned we didn't have any yellow paint either! So instead we mixed red and gold and tiny bit of white to get the orange colour for our lava).
  • black crayon or in our case a sharpie
  • paintbrush
  • straw

 

How-To

  • Mix your paints if you don't have any orange
  • Draw two thick lines for the sides of the volcano
  • Scribble between the two lines at the top to create the crater
  • Blob your orange paint at the top of the crater
  • Use the straw to blow the 'lava' up from the volcano like it has exploded
  • Run some orange paint down the sides of the volcano
  • Then we painted a Dinosaur sponge green and dabbed it on at the bottom of the volcano

 

Video

Learning Opportunities

As a registered childminder and a teaching assistant I often look for areas of learning in the activities I do with my littluns and this painting exercise was no different. This task is inclusive but by no means limited to the following learning areas I have identified.

Physical Development: Hand-eye coordination, control and movement is developed with an activity such as painting.

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Having confidence in their ability, as well as understanding and delivering appropriate behaviour for the task, i.e. for this task - not jumping around throwing paint every where.

Literacy: Reading and following instructions

Expressive arts: Exploring and playing with a range of materials. Learning and mixing colours.

So as you can see a simple task such as painting a volcano is not only fun but provides great learning opportunities too!

Go on, give this one a go. Its great fun and took all of 10 minutes with limited mess! I would LOVE to see your paintings over on my Facebook page 🙂

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Learning Through Play

Water Balloons and Dinosaur Eggs!

By on January 11, 2018

I saw this water balloon and dinosaur egg activity on a Facebook page run by Learning and Exploring Through Play and just had to give it a go...

So back in the summer (if you can call it that here in the UK) we hatched some dinosaurs!!

This was a really fun and great problem solving activity, which really homed in on the children's inner Palaeontologist selves. Having fun while learning...whatever next!?

So what did we do?

  • Put mini dinosaur figures in water balloons
  • Fill balloons with water
  • Put balloons in freezer
  • Once frozen take them out
  • Peel the balloon off the 'egg'
  • Get the dinosaurs out of the eggs

And that's it!!

Problem Solving

The Problem Solving is all about HOW you're going to get the dinosaurs out and this is such an important skill. No, not getting dinosuars' out of eggs but problem solving. All through our lives from a young age we are faced with situations where we must make a decision and more often than not this will involve considering damage limitation.

So this task actually provides two key features: problem solving - how will we get the dinosaurs out and damage limitation - getting the dinosaurs out without destroying them in the process. NB one or two dinosaurs may have lost a limb. Or two. Or their head. But for the most part we were successful.

Along with the above two features the children communicated with each other, worked as team as well as independently and shared their thoughts and ideas. All skills required not just through school life but well into their adult life also!

The children came up with a number of ways to approach this task. They used stones to hit the eggs to chip away at the ice, threw them on the patio, bashed the eggs together, picked at the ice and put in them some water so they would melt.

All off the above works!

This was such a fun activity to do together. As I mentioned we did this back in the summer as a fun activity to do in the garden but there are many variations to it making it a fun task to do inside the house on a rainy day. For example, as it is now winter why not have Elsa freeze her friends and have the children free them OR have farm or zoo animals caught up in an ice age! You could also think of other animals that lay eggs use the same principle as hatching the dinosaur eggs.

However you choose to tackle this family activity, just have fun with it. And why not share your pictures with me on my Instagram page using the hashtag #WaterBallonsAndDinosaurEggs

Below are some pictures of the fun we had...

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Creativity & Crafts | Family Fun | Learning Through Play | Seasonal

School Holiday Fun: Halloween

By on October 26, 2017

Keeping the kids busy during the half term

I love it when the kids are home from school but keeping them entertained can be a mammoth task, this alone leaves some parents longing for the school break to be over with quickly! (Don't worry, we've all thought this at some point).

With this is mind I have listed below 6 Halloween themed activities that have kept my little munchkins entertained. I should point out though, trying to keep them occupied from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to bed is not advisable; you'll be completely worn out two days in and your children will keep expecting more from you. Let them know its ok to be bored sometimes and teach them to find their own fun and keep themselves busy.

Here is what we have been up to

  1. Pumpkin Picking

This is something we have never done before, I didn't even go as child so we decided to make our way to Pickwell Farm and see what the fuss is all about. Whilst Pumpkin Picking at Pickwell Farm one thing was for sure, it became very clear to passers by that our children are city kids! Still, we had a great time and lots of giggles...well some of us!

2. Pumpkin Carving

This goes hand in hand with picking the pumpkins. We decided not to carve the ones we had just picked straight away as it was still a good week and a half until Halloween and they would have gone mouldy in that time. We all agreed that we would wait until the following weekend which also means it can be a daddy activity (phew). However, during the week we visited my grandparents and whilst there my auntie and my young cousins arrived with six small pumpkins.

So all the children designed their own pumpkin faces and got to work. Here are the finished items...

3. Bat Making

At the beginning of the week we made bats. An easy and effective arty crafty activity. All that was needed was black paint, black tissue paper, white card and white paper. As a variation you could make spiders.

4. Chocolate Wands

So this one didn't turn out exactly as I would have liked, mainly because I couldn't get the right coloured sprinkles in the shop and had left it too late to order anything online. Nevertheless, this quick and easy make was a fun Halloween themed activity.

As you can see by the picture - Orange and silver sprinkles would have been much more appropriate! Ah well at least we know they look good for Christmas...although not sure what kind of wand you would have at Christmas?!

5. Halloween Cup Cakes

These were delicious! I like to make my cakes from scratch and this was no exception. I had every intention of the whole task being carried out with the kids but they just weren't interested in the making part as much as they were the decorating! Once the mixture was made I poured it into a heat resistant silicone cake mould; I had a coffin mould and a pumpkin mould. Once cooked and cooled instead of using icing we smothered them in white chocolate that we had dyed with food colouring...the kids LOVED this part. Ok, I did too!

6. Castle Building

I hear you...this is totally not Halloween related but hey we can do other stuff during the October half term!

Whilst we were out failing to find orange and silver sprinkles for our chocolate wand, the children saw a build and colour your own cardboard castle and practically begged me for it. As well as the castle there was a fairy house, shop front and an igloo; I am not ready for Christmas related items so the igloo was a no go, the fairies were too girly for the boys and the shop front didn't have enough for each of them to claim some of it as their own. So what with the castle being the strongest contender for causing less arguments that's what I settled on.  We all agreed that each of them had their own side to colour in as they see fit and everyone is happy...except its now taking up my dining room!

We've had lots of fun this week, I never look forward to the kids going back to school, despite the incessant sibling rivalry and as usual their time off has flown by. So now I guess I better get planning for the Christmas break!

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Creativity & Crafts | Learning Through Play

Autumnal Sun Catcher

By on October 4, 2017

Autumn Leaf Sun Catcher

I'm sharing a fun and easy autumnal craft activity with you today, one I've not done before but one that I'll be sure to do again.

These autumn leaf suncatchers are lovely as they are suitable for children of all ages, making a great activity to welcome the new season and they really bring an autumnal feel into the house, as well as offering the chance to get outside to explore.

(Please note this post contains affiliate links)

What you will need:
  1. Paper plates
  2. Sticky back plastic
  3. Scissors
  4. Paints (in autumn colours)
  5. Leaves
  6. Hole punch
  7. String
  8. Sticky tape / blue tack (or just something that will hold it up)
How:

We started by painting the plates. ALL the children can do this from babies through to older children. Make sure you use autumnal colours - browns, greens, yellows, oranges, reds etc

Then I left them to dry. It is during this time that you can get out and explore your surroundings whilst collecting autumn leaves. My children and I have been collecting them for a little while so I already had some.

Once dry you'll need to cut out the centre of the plate. The younger ones will definitely need help with this but the older ones may like to give it a try.

Next you'll need to cut a circle out of the sticky back plastic. It'll need to be bigger than the hole in the plate. So to ensure it was I cut a circle almost as big as the plate. Again older children might like to do this bit themselves too.

Stick the plastic to the back of the plate so when you are looking at the plate on the side you painted it, the the hole is now sticky and it's here where you will stick the leaves.

Finally, using the hole punch, make one hole in the plate and pop the string through in order to hang it.

Purchase some of the items you need for this project here...

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Creativity & Crafts | Learning Through Play

Weather board fun (and its benefits)

By on October 1, 2017

I've created a weather board for my childminding setting and I just had to share it. The kids and I love it.

This post contains affiliate links and explains how I made the weather board, along with the learning benefits it has.

Not only is it fun pretending to be the weather man (or woman) from the television but it has so many learning benefits too...

Understanding the world

🍂It teaches the children to be observant and pay attention to their surroundings - the kids in my care will be able to set the weather each day and learn about the seasons, which they will also change when the time calls.

Critical Thinkers

❄️I will occasionally set the board myself, but will set it incorrectly. This will encourage the children to think critically, by not accepting what is in front of them for face value and having the confidence to constructively challenge what has been presented to them.

Physical Development

🌻the moving of the symbols will help develop fine and gross motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination.

Communication and Language

🌞speaking about the symbols will encourage language development - talking about what each symbols is & means. As well as talking about the past, present and future (what the weather was like yesterday, how it is today and what could it be like tomorrow) and talking about what we know about the seasons.

weather symbols for kids

To create this board I simply googled 'weather symbols for kids' and this came up...

I cut out the symbols and discarded the words (although they could be used to enhance learning in other areas such as reading and spelling etc), then I popped them into a and laminated them.

As well as weather symbols I wanted pictures for the seasons too

This is what I found on google images...

Again I cut out what I wanted and laminated it.

Using blue tack I stuck them to my white board and hey presto the weather board is done.

Variations

You don't need a white board screwed to your wall at home to create this. I only have one as I've set this up in my childminding room. Here are some variations I've found on Pinterest...

Such a fun and simple activity with so many educational benefits for young learners without them even realising they are learning! Perfect!

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