Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Dotty Valentines Cards

A few weeks back I decided it was time to introduce M to the heady excitement that is arts and crafts as done at home, as opposed to anything organised by the nursery.  With this in mind, I started stocking up on suitable arts materials, aided and abetted by a 50% off sale at the Early Learning Centre.  I also started looking into potential projects or activities that would be suitable for a small person of M's age (currently nearly twenty months).

In my wanderings through the interwebs, I came across many crafty things and started cataloguing them over on Pinterest for anyone who may wish to take a look.

In particular I came across this suggestion for a Valentine's Card on Sunhats & Wellie Boots (which I highly recommend), using a simple template to stencil a design in relief onto a card.

It caught my eye, I pinned it and then I set about gathering my supplies.

Supplies needed:-
  • Card
  • Some scrap paper
  • ELC Easy Painters
  • One small child
  • An arts apron/bib for small child
  • A mummy or other suitable adult to assist
  • Scissors
  • White tack or similar temporary sticky substance
  • Glue stick
  • Lots of newspaper
I started by covering out kitchen table with a newspaper, something M immediately recognised from our earlier trial run a week or so ago with the easy painters.  Excitement filled the kitchen as she loudly declared "PAINTING! PAINTING!" and tried to climb into her booster seat. I helped her up, strapped her apron (which most definitely is NOT a bib) on and handed her the easy painters along with some sacrificial paper while I carried on preparing stencils and cards.

The ELC easy painters are an interesting idea, they're bottles of premixed and watery paint with a sponge applicator. They need shaking vigourously to mix the paint before working with them, but that's about it. The sponge applicator means the paint pretty much stays inside the bottle until applied to something; if dropped onto the floor with enough force there will be a little splatter but only a few drops which are easy to clean up. The first time I showed these to M she was a little hesitant but quickly got the idea.

Easy Painters in action

On this occasion, M got to work enthusiastically, happily decorating the newspaper covering the table and occasionally aiming at the sacrificial paper.

In the meantime, I cut out two heart templates and stuck them to the front of some folded card using some white tack. Once prepared M and I got to work spotting paint onto the cards.

There was a brief moment when M considered ripping the heart template off the card but she decided painting them was more fun once she saw me having a go as well. At that point M got stuck in, happily painting her card and even working on the inside. I gave her the heart innards which she decorated as well, and even took my card to add her touch to it, thoroughly enjoying herself in the process.

A short while later we had painted valentines cards which I duly rescued as M declared she was finished with the paints and moved onto crayons.

One of the cards just after it had been painted and before drying - you can see the heart template still in place and covered in paint
One of the heart shape cutouts which M very prettily painted - I think this one looks a bit like flowers!

We put the cards aside for a couple of hours to dry and then carefully peeled off the hearts.  I decided to use the painted template and the innards on the inside of the cards which I thought was very effective.

And this one is M's, entirely her own work except for the cutting and sticking bits.

M's card, I love the way she deliberately placed the colours
M chose to add paint to the inside of her card too

Not too bad for our first go at a 'structured' activity, as opposed to just letting M loose with her creative side and a piece of paper. 

M deep in thought choosing which colour to add next
M deliberately placed her dots with a great deal of thought and concentration, she even overlaid the heart innards to get in some additional stencilling.  She also had fun with her fingers, blurring the edges of the dots to give a softer edge. I guess this comes under colour play, colour recognition, fine motor control and sensory play since she also got stuck in with her hands.  Most of all though, it was fun and M was equally pleased with the result as I.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

If you can't beat em

Gosh, it's been a while since I posted here!

Life has been trundling on and while I have had the odd thing to post since May last year, I've lacked the fundamental time aspect to do so. I never knew that being a working mum would leave me with so little time to... well, do anything really. Typing or crafting are real problem areas for me these days as M still loves the laptop and believes that she should have a go at anything I'm doing. With computer time at a real premium I'm also very slow to upload photographs since M always tries to take over and is a dab hand at reconfiguring the laptop.  At nearly twenty months, this is impressive to behold and it can take quite a while to figure out what she did with a few swipes of the touchpad and the click of a couple of buttons!

Ahem. Onwards and upwards though.

A week late but, last weekend we had snow overnight on Saturday. This meant we headed outside for the obligatory snow sculpture.

Dave showed us how it was done, rolling huge snow balls around the lawn hoovering up all the sticks, rubble and leaves he could find, to construct his snowman who is largely hardcore.  He topped him off with his ushanka.

M says "HAT! SNOWMAN!"

A week later, while most of the snow is gone this snowman is still standing and a testament to Dave's snowman construction skills.

M and I chose a slightly more sophisticated approach, carefully collecting clean snow and packing it together to form our snowman.  She grew more slowly than Dave's and ended up a lot smaller, but both M and I liked her.

Mummy lends a hand building a snowman.

M chose to decorate the snowman with one of her old beanies.

M adds the finishing touches.

She also inserted the arms and added the eyes herself.

A week on and our snowman has taken on the delicate proportions of an Edwardian Lady.

We did of course have snow on the ground throughout December in 2010, but M was only six months old when it melted and so probably doesn't remember it.  She wasn't really mobile back then, so this was her first year of playing out in the snow and I think she enjoyed it.  M had seen snow in books before this and knew what a snowman was.  Indeed her reaction on seeing snow this year was "SNOW! WHITE" and after building the snowmen she was very excited when we came inside to warm up.  She spent a good while running up and down chattering about her "NO MAN".

The snow may have only been around for one day but it certainly impressed one small person.