Sunday, January 12, 2014

Life in Arctic project.

Highly, highly educational project for children! And too much fun! This is probably the most favourite project of mine we have done so far.
This is our idea of what Arctic looks like :) And this is how we did it: First of all we had to suit-up for the project with our Icelandic t-shirts!
Then we took out our map to see where Arctic is.
We talked about how cold it is there and which animals lives there.
Then it was time to learn what is ice and what is it made of.
Girls learnt that ice can be frozen from a liquid to a solid. The ideal is to have an ice cube tray. That way kids can be putting blocs of ice on the top of each other and build away. Unfortunately we had only ice bags. But they were fun, too! You can have a great fun squeezing the ice between your fingers until they slips out knocking down some ice buildings :)
Girls were fascinated to follow the progress of ice forming.
They kept opening the freezer and touching ice bag to see if the bag is getting any harder.
While waiting on the ice, we watched National Geography documentary about polo bears.
It is time to build Arctic scene! We used polystyrene box. Not only it is perfectly white but it also ensured that the ice blocks stayed frozen for longer. We took the ice cubes out of the bag and learnt that ice is starting to melt once you hold it in your hands.
Great way to experiencing temperatures and textures with fingertips
Once the ice was in the box, we added polo bears and reindeers.
And then it was time to let it snow!
We got some silver, sparkling glitter and sifted it all over our Arctic scene. It was an amazing picture. Looked really, really pretty.
After our project girls asked me to watch just a bit more about polo bears :)
Science. Geography. Construction. Art. All in one project!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Capes for kids from kids!

Thanks to Craft Hope we found out about organisation called "Enchanted Makeover" and we are very much excited to support it any way we can!
Since 2007, Enchanted Makeovers' mission has been to transform homeless shelters for women and children into places that inspire behavioral and psychological change. Through their various projects, mentoring programs, and makeovers of the physical space, women and children are introduced to a way of thinking that helps to shift their outlook about their lives and possibilities for the future. The shelter is transformed into a beacon of hope. Mentoring programs such as the Sacred Sewing Room, Stepping into the Dream, and Capes for Kids develop important life and coping skills.
When I started to share this project with people, I didn't get very positive feedback.
Many people shared thoughts that "if you would be in their position - would you care if someone would give you a cape?" Yes, I would.
And I hope that if I ever have to go through an experience like that, someone will do the same to my children.
Need of play, need of pretend play, need of imagination boost that can be brought to child with a simple cape, a toy together with attention is grater that one can imagine. For a child in such harsh living conditions, the imagination become the only escape. To put on a superhero cape and run around the field, climb the tree and inform child's fellow superheros that the day have been saved, that the sun is about to unfold and the food carried by giant dragonflies has been brought to the kingdom of grate Shelter and the next task is only for the bravest and faster superheros - to make sure that food gets served to elderly and injured warriors first! And off they go flying around their great kingdom helping to bring a smile and a hope to those who have lost it... Now how can that be a silly idea, how can this not be important? When you see a laugh from a child who has been through the most desasterous experience one can imagine, when you see a child wanting to be a help not just another mouth to feed...
An innocent child should not be exposed to world's disasters, catastrophes, life long struggles... No one should... But the reality is heartbreaking. A shelter where people are united by the worst possible cause, where you breath sadness and loneliness, where you walk a road of fear and desperation, where people around you are too occupied with caring for food supplies and searching for family members, no one stops and looks at a child as a child. Child with childish needs of a silly play... In times of crises no one stops to play... and it is understandable, of course.. There are more important things to be done than play with children. And childhood slowly gets erased, a child is being dragged to the broken world before he becomes an adult. Hope for a positive future? I don't think so.. When you meet a child, have a child or work with a child - the only way to understand him/her is to try to see the world with an eye of a child. You have been one yourself, it's impossible to forget...
The designs on the capes are entirely chosen by girls. We sat down and had a look at few fabrics we had at home and talked through what could we put on the capes. There were no question about Captain Lollypops! Flower and heart was the only option :) For "Commander Cosmos" we had to brain storm a bit. And we came up with this amazing idea to create a little universe and sew our very own Planet "Strawberries" on it :) That little red planet is ours :D
My oldest daughter cut out the entire Captain Lollipops cape and proudly operated sewing machine's pedal. Both girls made all the buttons and planets.
We are happy to help any way we can. These capes will be sent on Monday together with lot of love.
Small hands shares big hearts..

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DIY fairy house.

This 2 day project was a total success!!! Girls really got into the process of creation.
To make one house you will need :
1. 6 foam sheets (any size you prefer) + extra for applications
2. Thread and needle or a sewing machine
3. Glue
4. Some cardboard. It doesn't have to be very thick and strong. We recycled some boxes that toys, puzzles etc came in . Cardboard sheets has to be just few mm smaller than walls of the house.
5. Whatever you like to use making design on the house. We used glitter glue and foam sheet.
We started with cutting out windows and door on the sheet for front of the house. Then we made a design on each of the walls. We cut out different shapes from foam sheets and glued and sewed them on.
There is no difference between sewed or glued on, they both are holding on well, my oldest daughter wanted to try to operate ( :D ) sewing machine so we sewed some on :)
We put on some curtains by attaching some lace to the windows by sewing them on from the wrong side but you can use glue if you like. Once you are happy with the designs - sew the walls together. We used sewing machine for the side walls. Next sew the floor together with the walls. For the ceiling you need to sew together only 3 sides at first. Then you need to fit 4 sheets of the cardboard for the floor and 3 sides of the walls. Just push them in so they stand against the walls supporting them.
Foam sheets are so soft that they need something to help them standing up straight or the house will bend to all directions...
Foam sheets are very flexible, they won't break. We stitched the cardboard to the wall with a quick X stitch at one random place, just to make sure it won't slip off the place. Once that is done you can close the last side of the ceiling. We stitched it by hand as it is impossible to bend the cardboard to fit in for sewing machine.
Your fairy ouse is ready!
The house is very flexible! It can't hurt even the smallest darlings - it is super soft! Your small ones can carry it around as they please because it is very light!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baking got out of control..

Bless the person who is responsible for hoover existence! This is a typical baking attempt in our house... Starting with a lovely idea of a quick muffin or a carrot cake and ends in an absolute flour hurricane! Mixing, stirring, measuring, pouring - is there anything else kids loves more! They can be at it the whole day! And when you let them dig with a spoon in a flour or sugar pack and do a bit of adjustments to the dough - they will love you even more than eating cookies :D
baking is by far one of the most fun way to learn math skills, coordination skills, visual perceptual skills and many more
But be advised - there will be flour castle building and snow storm imitation... And it will get out of control EVERY TIME!
No panic! Superhero hoover will never let you down and save your kitchen in less then 2 hours of heavy hoovering session!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dirty hands are creative hands.

My parenting philosophy is quite simple- let children get as messy as they wish, as dirty as they wish and support all the crazy ideas and projects kids are coming up with. When I say messy and dirty, I am talking about a play time not the house... Feeling texture of earth while rubbing hands in a mud, jumping in a pond after a rainy day, smell of grass while rolling down the hill, feeling sandy ground under bear feet.. No DVDs, toys and tidy house will let your child to understand the world better.
Giving no limits to child's play (as long as it's safe, of course) you are opening their imagination to the world with no impossibilities.
Fantasy and imaginative play are building blocks of children’s intellectual and creative ability. By keeping your child clean and not allowing daily messy play time, you are putting your child in a clean and neat box. The problem with the clean box is that once you are growing up with a certain vision, it becomes impossible to imagine how it looks outside the box. The imagination, wish to explore and experiment ends at the wall you have built.
All of us need access to creativity to solve the problems of daily life. Imagination helps children grow up to be adults who are creative thinkers.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

DIY egg carton colour sort activity.

Great activity for outdoors! All you need is an egg carton and paint. We painted the cartons in the evening and it was ready for the next day to go outdoors and explore! Girls had a great fun and not to mention that this activity provides an interactive, colorful way for your preschooler to practice color recognition!