Sunday, 19 December 2010

Falling back on an old standby

I haven't blogged for a few days as Riley is sick.  He's spent several days crying, drifting in and out of sleep on the sofa and doing very little else poor kid.  But by today Freya was bored, big time.  And I didn't have much time to do anything fancy with her as I was so busy looking after Riley.  So I fell back on an old standby - sensory play with our bag of Tesco's broth mix (a combination of pearl barley, red lentils, split peas and a few other bits). 

She spent a happy 15 minutes mixing and pouring them while Riley slept.  And the best part - minimal clean up.  Just pour them back into the packet!!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Dot Markers

I've been reading a lot on the web recently about do-a-dot markers, so I thought I'd try them with Riley, particularly after his dotty picture the other day.  I couldn't find the ones I'd seen online so I just bought bingo dabbers.  Riley thinks they're great.  He did a lovely dotty picture again (with more counting - the kid's obsessed with numbers!).

It started out with nice, neat dots, but then he discovered that as they were very full of ink, if he 'dotted' with more force it created a lovely splat shape.  Here it is:

I have no idea if its supposed to be something!  Afterwards we did some sensory play with Crazy Soap.  They both loved it (to the point I had to stop them redecorating the house with it!)  For those of you that don't know, Crazy Soap is a less messy, more interesting version of shaving foam!  Its the strangest stuff - it holds it's foaminess and sticks to itself, so you can model it into vague shapes, and its kind of floaty and light, not gloopy.  Best of all, it doesn't stick to you!  We had so much fun with it I forgot to take many photos, and the ones I did take aren't very good.  Here's the best of a bad bunch!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Riley does not like chalk!!!!!

So, I've kind of given up on the 12 days of Christmas thing - Riley just didn't want to know.  I'm hoping I can get a few vaguely festive art ideas in over the next 2 weeks, but nothing like I had planned.  Today (in the interests of vague festivity) I gave him some chalks and dark paper so he could draw 'snowflakes'.  However he got really cross as the chalk wouldn't go on smoothly.  I don't know if we've just got awful quality chalks or if there's some trick we don't know, but he gave up after 2 minutes as it wouldn't do what he wanted.  So I gave him some markers and used a trick I saw on the Artful Parent ages ago where you cut a shape out of the paper to encourage creativity.  He did one weird face (the photos came out all blurry - don't know why), and this dot creation:

He counted each dot as he did it - right up to 114!  While he was doing this I gave Freya some paper and crayons, though at the moment she's obsessed with taking the crayons out of the pouch and then putting them back in.  The few marks she made she was very impressed with though!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Christmas Sensory Play

Uh-oh.  Our 12 Days of Christmas Arts and Crafts isn't going as planned - Riley is in a funk and doesn't want to do any of it (he can get a bit like this towards the end of term).  Today I decided to change tack.  If art is out, we'll do some sensory play.  It didn't work.  He took one look at it and walked off without a word.  Never mind - Freya and I had a lovely time!

I got a couple of 50p packs of angel hair from Tesco (I absolutely hate it on Christmas trees, but its lovely to play with!) and added a few mini paper chains seeing as she was so fascinated with them yesterday, and that was it!

Its so twinkly and fluttery!  As you can see, she was impressed.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Paper Chains

To be honest, these weren't really part of my plans for the '12 Days of Christmas Art and Crafts' that we're doing, but when I was in Ryman's yesterday they had kits for 49p which is cheaper than getting the paper and cutting it out yourself, so I thought we'd give it a go.  (To be honest, I can't believe they make kits, but hey ho!)  In some respects, I should have gone with my original plan - Riley could not have cared less!  With a whole lot of help and encouragement he managed to string 5 or 6 loops together, then tutted at me and wandered off.

Freya on the other hand loved them.  Obviously she's not at the stage where she was making them herself, but I gave her 3 looped together to play with and she was fascinated! 

She fiddled for ages, wearing them as bracelets and just working out how they looped together.  So it wasn't quite the disaster it could have been.  I'll have to store the rest of the strips for next year and let Freya go at it again then!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas Tree Cakes

So here's the '12 Days of Christmas Arts and Crafts' Day 2!  Sadly the wreath still isn't finished - when I asked Riley if he wanted to do art this afternoon he looked at me like I was crazy and just said 'no'.  Oh well.  But he did want to bake, so we made Christmas tree cakes.  They're a great alternative to Christmas Cookies - I knew Riley wouldn't have the patience to cut out dozens of fancy shapes carefully.  They're really simple.

We made a basic sponge cake mix (4oz sugar, 4oz marg, 4oz s/r flour, 2 eggs) and baked it in a square cake pan, traybake style.  Then when it was cool, I cut it into 3 strips, then cut each strip into triangles and let Riley loose with some thick, bright green glace icing (just the icing sugar, a tiny bit of water and some green food colouring) and some silver balls.  He thought it was great!

The recipe that I got the idea from (Practical Parenting and Pregnancy, Jan '11 - though I did tweak it slightly) said to stick marshmallows on the base of the triangles for trunks, but our cake wasn't deep enough, so unless you're in the know, they just look like weird green triangles!!!!  I was really pleased with how well they came out - Riley did a really good job with them (and Freya did a very good job of eating all the offcuts!!!!)  Here's his finished plateful.....

Saturday, 4 December 2010

12 Days of Christmas Arts and Crafts - Day 1

So here is our 1st Christmas art project from our '12 Days of Christmas Arts and Crafts' thing we're doing.  Its sadly unfinished as Riley wasn't that keen on doing art today so he gave up pretty quickly.  Fortunately its a fairly quick project. 

Its a paper wreath.

I simply cut a ring out of sticky-backed plastic (using two different sized plates as a guide) and masking taped it down, then I gave Riley paper triangles (for that pointy 'fir' looks) in as many different green papers as I could find.  There's 2 different shades of green printer paper, 2 different tissue papers, some green foil sweetie wrappers and bits of a plastic nappy packet!  I wished I'd had some green fabric too, but my stash is lacking in the green department.  He stuck them down randomly - I just told him to cover the sticky!

After he gave up I added a few extra triangles to fill in the gaps (I'm sure he won't mind!) and stuck the whole thing to a matching cardboard ring cut from a cereal packet to give it some rigidity.  Hopefully tomorrow we'll stick a few red sequins on for 'berries' and then its going on our living room door.  Watch this space for the finished pics!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Jack Frost

I have a new favourite winter book.  I've been looking for wintery books as I like the idea of having a seasonal library (a la Soulemama) and I've also been looking for books with more arty illustrations, and this fits the bill on both counts.  I stumbled across it quite by accident - but I'm sure its going to become a family favourite.

Its so beautiful.  Its a very simple story about a little boy living in the woods who comes across Jack Frost one day, and plays with him until the spring.  I just love the pictures - they're fantastic.  Here's the Amazon link if anyone's interested:

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snowflake Collage

I was going to start our '12 Days of Christmas Art' project today, but our snowy weather was too good an opportunity to miss to do some snow art.  I printed the outline of a snowflake and then gave it to Riley to stick bits on - he had pale blue tissue paper, pale blue printer paper, silver foil, cotton wool and squares cut from a white plastic bag.

I was going to cut it out to make a hanging decoration out of it, but he didn't really get that he should stay inside the lines!  Never mind - the finished picture is beautiful, and is hanging on our kitchen door instead.

He then went on to do a snowy scene with the bits he hadn't used on his snowflake.  It was quite short lived though - he gave up after a couple of minutes.

I did give Freya the same snowflake outline with some crayons while Riley was gluing.  She tipped all the crayons out then decided to eat a bread roll!!!  I guess she wasn't in a creative mood!  However she did get her first ever experience of snow today.  I think she was impressed!!!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

More Snow!!

Its still not the huge amount that half our country is under, but its certainly enough for a small boy to mess about in!  (Freya is poorly, so she was inside with Daddy - she so wanted to get out in it though.)

Unfortunately the snow was reluctant to stick together, so still no snowmen (even tiny ones!), but I'm holding out hope as our cold snap is supposed to last a few more days.  Keep your fingers crossed for us!