Sunday, 28 November 2010

Rainbow Arches

Aren't they beautiful?  They are by far my favourite toy we have at the moment.  Riley is going through a bit of an arty stage with them - he keeps arranging them in patterns on the floor.

They're so versatile - you can stack them, nest them, use them as fences, use them as caves or houses, make patterns or art with them......  I just love them!!!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

First Snowfall of the Year

The title says it all really!  We got about half an inch, which was a bit pathetic but Riley declared it was "amazing!"  He couldn't wait to get out in it.

There's more snow forecast in the coming days, so hopefully I'll be posting pictures of snowmen soon!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Sensory Play

Today we did some sensory play with beans.  I love our beans - they're so smooth and shiny.  Not to mention they were £1 for the whole lot from Asda!  I gave them a pan, a spoon and a ladle to mess about with alongside the beans.  A good time was had by all!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A Busy Day

We've done an awful lot today, so I've got two snippets of our lives to show you.  First of all, we made crispie cakes.

As with all our cooking, Riley was very pleased with himself!  And like most pre-schoolers, a good few spoonfuls never made it into the cases and went straight into his mouth!!!

Our second project of the day turned into a bit of an epic, particularly when you consider Riley's normal concentration span.  I decided to let him loose with the glitter glue again after he had so much fun a couple of weeks ago - totally open ended, no finished result in mind.  Well he squirted until the tubes were empty, then mixed it all up with a glue spreader.

Then he started asking for collagey bits - pretty much everything in the box!  Craft foam flowers, pom-poms, sequin confetti stars, foam shapes, little bits of shiny paper and foil, chocolate coin foils - he kept asking for more and more, and they all got squished into the glitter glue until you could hardly see it anymore.  He was at it for ages and thought it was absolutely wonderful.  Here's the finished piece:

And I was very happy to be informed that Mickey Mouse is in the centre of the page!  He's purple and a bit wonky, but once you know he's there you can spot him.  I'm so pleased that Riley's starting to create 'things' under his own steam finally.  I can't wait to see what he'll make next.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sunday, 21 November 2010


There's something I haven't mentioned until now - Riley is Autistic (well, we think - we're still going through the long process to get the official diagnosis, but we're virtually certain).  Fortunately, he's high-functioning, but because of the Autism, he does have a number of developmental delays.  One of these is that he never draws or paints anything.  He's very happy scribbling away and splatting paint about, but if you ever try to ask him what he's drawn/painted he looks at you like you're absolutely crazy.  Until today.

I'd bought some new markers last week, so I decided to get them out today as we don't use pens very often.  I set him up and went to stick some paper down for Freya as she was joining us and within seconds he'd drawn a face.  When I asked him who it was, he laughed and said 'Daddy.'  So I wrote 'Daddy' on the bottom of the paper and gave him some more, and he promptly drew me!  It was wonderful.  He did loads of faces.  He even tried to write a title on one - how cute is that?!  I'm so pleased, I can't tell you.  So here, in celebration, is Riley drawing and several of his 'faces'.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Old-fashioned Potato Printing

Riley was back to doing arty stuff today, and as Freya had a nice long nap we did some good old fashioned potato printing!  I cut one potato in half so it was a circle and trimmed 3 more into a triangle, a square and a star.  He chose the paint colours and off we went!

Of course, after the other day, his hands went straight into the paint!

The star was his favourite - he ended up printing for well over half an hour.  He asked for more paper numerous times, and even told me he wanted different paper at one point.  I love that he's started making these conscious decisions when he's creating something!  Finished piece:

On a completely different note, our Portage worker left us the most beautiful building blocks to play with this week. 

They're wonderful - the centres are made from coloured acrylic, and coloured sand, beads and coloured liquid (with added glitter!) trapped between clear acrylic.  We spent ages building bridges for Riley's car to go under.  And these were some Star Trek style sliding doors Riley created for his car to go through!

I can see we're going to have fun with them all week.  Aren't they great?!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Drawing with Freya

Riley is still not wanting to do any art - though he's been really poorly for the last couple of days, so I don't blame him.  So today I took the opportunity to do some drawing with Freya.  She's really gotten into our magna-doodle in the last week or so and I thought she'd love doing some scribbles with crayons, but she was far more interested in taking the crayons out of their little pouch and then putting them back in!!!

I have ascertained from some rather enthusiastic squeals and pointing that the yellow ones are her favourite!  Who knew?!?!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Making Music

When I asked Riley if he wanted to do the art project I had planned for today he simply said no.  Oh well - I guess everyone has days when they're just not in the mood.  We did have a brief music session this afternoon though, so I thought I'd show you that. 

These are our instruments - well, most of them.  A certain someone wouldn't let me photograph the castanets(!) and there was an incident with the sleigh bells a couple of weeks ago and I still haven't fixed them, but you get the picture.  We inherited most of them when someone was having a clear out and then we bought the little ukulele for Riley when he decided he liked guitars.  Its so nice to have real instruments, not just plastic-y kiddified ones (though to be honest, we do have a toy electric guitar for when Riley is performing concerts of nursery rhymes and songs from the tv!)  Anyway, our session didn't last long, but it was long enough for me to take a couple of slightly blurry action shots.....

Friday, 12 November 2010

Sewing Plans

You know those Christmas projects I mentioned I was working on yesterday?  Well I took a trip to my favourite haberdashery with Freya to stock up on some essentials.  Its such a funny little place - a little booth set off the marketplace and only open 3 days a week, but stocked from floor to ceiling with buttons, ribbons, braiding and embellishments.  I love it!  I got such a good haul - all ready to go on stockings and decorations and other Christmassy projects.  So pretty!!!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Autumn Leaf Stained Glass

We're in arty-crafty no man's land!!  Halloween and Bonfire Night are well and truly over, and I'm not about to start on Christmassy projects with the kids yet (though I'm already working on a few myself!), so today we returned to the Autumn theme we were using before Halloween and did an autumn leaf tissue paper stained glass window.  It was simple enough - I cut some leaf shapes out of autumnal coloured tissue paper and Riley stuck them to some sticky-backed plastic that I had masking taped to our patio doors.  We only did a small one as I wasn't sure how Riley's concentration was going last.

Freya was more than happy to just run around scrunching up tiny bits of tisssue paper, bless her!  I'm quite pleased with the final result though - he's really got the hang of overlapping the bits and not leaving too many gaps.  Its just a shame its such a miserable day here - there's no sun to shine through it.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Today I decided to do some bog-standard painting with Riley.  No plan of a finished result, not even a selection of seasonal colours, I just gave him a sheet of paper and let him pick two colours of paint.

It was all going well......... and then he got a tiny bit of paint on his finger.  I dabbed it off on his paper fingerpainting style, and suddenly he was fascinated.  And suddenly I realised we haven't done any fingerpainting for ages - not since before Freya was born!  How terrible is that?!  So with not really very much encouragement he was off, painting his hand with gusto and splatting it down.

It was far more interesting than 'normal' painting.  The finished results: (the oringinal looks kind of glittery - its not - its just the lights.  We're taking a mini glitter break as I'm still finding it in the kitchen!)

Sunday, 7 November 2010


My Mum brought over some books today - one that I'd asked her to dig out that I remember leafing through as a teenager, and one I've never seen before.

They're both from the 70's and the soft toy one is so battered all the pages have fallen out (I had to organize them before flicking through).  They're part of my current mission - to do some of my crafts while the kids are around.  Until recently I've always done my all my craft work after they've gone to bed, but after reading some Waldorf material about handwork a couple of months ago, I realised I was encouraging them to be arty-crafty when as far as they were concerned I never did anything like that.  So my aim now is to always have a project or two on the go that I can work on during the day.  I think a bit of sewing and toy making is in my future!

Saturday, 6 November 2010


I'm trying to take a Waldorf style approach to play - natural materials, very open ended, lots of scope for imagination.  I'm by no means an expert, in fact I'm still learning, but I'm really hoping it'll help to develop the creativity and imagination I'm aiming for with both of them.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Happy Bonfire Night!!!

Today was fireworks art round 2!  After discounting the splatter paint idea the other day, I had a stroke of genius, and today's project was born.  The idea was that I would put small blobs of paint on to some black paper and then Riley could use the edge of a glue spreader to make them look like fireworks exploding.  He, of course (as usual!), had other ideas! 

He smooshed it around until it was a beautiful, colourful mess!  The next part of the plan was glitter glue - all the fun without the twinkly kitchen afterwards (though to be honest, its still twinkly from the other day!), but at that point Freya woke up from her nap so I charged upstairs to get her, telling him to wait nicely and then we would do the glitter glue.  When I got back to the kitchen he was sitting there with the biggest grin on his face and a massive blob of red glitter glue on his picture - and he simply announced "I did it!"  He was so pleased with himself, I couldn't be cross (and it could have been much worse!)  We've not done glitter glue before, but he loved it.

He loved it so much I couldn't get him to stop.  So the finished picture (which is still drying now, 8 hours later, as it has that much glitter glue on it!).....

He was in such high spirits after all the squelching that he decided to stick masking tape on his nose!  I have no idea why, but the picture was so cute I just had to show it!


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Gluing and sticking

After I mentionned Sparklebox yesterday, I thought I'd give you a look at a couple of other projects we've done recently with their printouts.  They're nothing earth-shattering - more of the same really, but at the moment Riley loves gluing and sticking so much, I'm trying to let him do it as often as possible.

The first one we did was a football project.  I printed out, then cut out some footballs with letters on them, then Riley (with a bit of help) used them to spell his name, glued them down, and decorated with some footballs cut out from some wrapping paper.

Finished result:

The second one was an Autumn project.  I'd really hoped to get him doing leaf rubbings, but after trying and failing numerous times over several days I gave it up as a bad job and cut out the ones I'd done whilst demonstrating, which Riley stuck down along with some coloured leaf printouts, a few fallen leaves and a few conkers for good measure.

He seemed to really enjoy doing the Autumn one in particular, and its so cute its been hanging in our hall ever since!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Fireworks Collage

So, as is usual in our house, Halloween was quickly replaced with Bonfire night.  The fact that the two are so close together means that Bonfire night seems to get slightly neglected, which I always think is sad.  So the race was on to think of a firework related project for a 3 year old.  The obvious one that sprang to mind was some sort of splatter/paint throwing extravaganza, however I'm not ready to cope with that level of mess yet (and with Riley it would be epic, trust me!!!), so I decided to go with gluing.

I printed off some fireworks related pictures from Sparklebox (I love this website - in theory its designed for teachers, but it has such great stuff), cut them out, then let Riley loose.

After the printed pictures, I gave him some lick-and-stick stars, and then PVA glue and glitter.

I must be mad!!!  I haven't dared go under the kitchen table yet to clear up the excess because I know its going to be THAT BAD!  There was glitter everywhere - including on Freya and in Riley's mouth (how, I have no idea).  The finished piece isn't the prettiest he's ever produced, but its all about the process and he had so much fun.