Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Illumination Patterns - Medieval History

medieval illuminated books

We are well and truly in the mix of Medieval Times in regards to our history reading. This year we are following along with Story Of The World Book 2 as our spine. We are using loads of great books, documentaries and activities to enhance history though, as I feel SOTW as a stand alone is somewhat lacking for us.

Marveling at the intricate and ornate work done in Illuminated books really sparked the kids interest. The attention to detail and the sheer volume of time spent on creating these stunning works of art is simply amazing.

SOTW includes a simplified colouring page for those that wish to try their hand at illuminating a letter or two.

Marguerite Makes A Book, the story of a young girl living in Paris in the early 1400's. Through a series of events she is led to assist her father, a famous manuscript illuminator to complete a very important book.

This is a long picture book, broken into chapters. This is one of the reasons why we found the book so endearing, it truly was suitable for a wide variety of ages. The stunning illustrations kept my youngest captivated and the story itself has enough adventures and accurate detailing to keep the older of my crew enthralled.

By the end of the story you really have a feel for what it was like to create a book, the amount of effort, time and perseverance that was put into each and every one of these amazing hand made books, is nothing short of amazing!

From there we went searching. We found a pretty cool pinterest board with medieval illuminations, boarders, patterns and letters.

We came across this 3 minute you tube clip which shows some reproduction work of an illuminated letter.

 I really wanted the kids to try this out for themselves, but knew I had to choose something that was achievable. This clip has full instructions on creating your own patterned monograms in a fun, easy, creative way.

And so we set to it. I grabbed pencils, rubbers, fine tip markers and gel pens (my kids absolutely love using glittery gel pens) and sketch books.

They had the option of free hand drawing their chosen letter or I had already printed a large letter that we could trace. Having the outline definitely helped the less adventurous kids.

We all enjoyed working on these, it was creative, yet simple and very meditative once you got into it. The process definitely gave us a feel for the work involved in creating illuminated manuscripts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Off The Shelf - From Our Bookshelves To Yours

~ Bear In Underwear ~ Those Darn Squirrels Fly South ~ Who Wants A Dragon ~

Off The Shelf is an opportunity for me to share with you some of the books we've been reading here in our home, especially those books that may not fit into a current theme or topic we are looking at. Those random books, the ones we read just for pure pleasure and no other reason than that!

This week's Off The Shelf is brought to you by my 5 year old, who chose all of these books himself from the library.

Goodnight Underwear is a silly, rhyming book that will have your kids giggling with laughter.

Bear in Underwear and his friends head out camping for the evening and of course nothing is smooth sailing with these guys.

They need to overcome several obstacles, such as mosquito bites, frights, noisy night time creatures and even rain, before being able to settle in for a good night's sleep.

Seasoned campers will get a laugh out of these pages. However, this may not be the best book to read if you are heading off on your first ever camping trip with young children, this coming weekend.

Finally though, Bear in Underwear and all of his friends enjoy their night of camping.

Thoughts From A 5 Year Old: "It's cool because the animals wear underpants, it's funny and made me laugh!"

Those Darn Squirrels, since reading this and laughing at all of the antics these little squirrels get up to we’ve found out that there are actually other books about ‘those darn squirrels’.

The stark contrast between the very grumpy Mr Fookwire and the pesky, little squirrels is really what makes this story such a delight.

The illustrations are bold and capture the personalities perfectly and the writing is humorous even if the story doesn’t always make sense.

We will definitely be keeping our eye out at the library for the other, "Darn Squirrels" books.

Thoughts From A 5 Year Old: "The squirrels are really funny"

This simple story with rhyming text and whimsical illustrations,

begins quite sadly, as the little dragon tries to find someone that wants him.

Of course there is really one creature that can fill those shoes.

Thoughts From A 5 Year Old: "The little dragon is so cute"

I hope these books bring as much enjoyment to your home as they have to ours.

This post is linked to :

Every bed of Roses

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ten Easy Ocean Diorama Crafts

Easy Ocean Diorama Crafts For Kids

This was another fabulous fun filled activity done with friends! We gathered over a three week period, each time for close to a full day and immersed ourselves in all things to do with Ocean Life!

As always each adult/family prepared activities and this time crafts to go along with our activities, covering a myriad of Ocean dwelling creatures. As we worked our way through the creatures, learning some pretty cool things along the way we captured them in the form of a simple craft.

The grand plan was to create a diorama to house them in. All of the kids also have a massive lapbook showing all of the cool stuff they learned but I wanted to show you inside our diorama's, they were so simple and tackling them this way made the task very doable.

The majority of the crafts are all very self explanatory, here a picture really does tell a thousand words. Our egg cup Jellyfish! The kids painted their egg cups, some added googly eyes and for tentacles we used ribbon tape, hot glued to the inside of the egg cup.

This little guy, our resident deep water Dragon Fish, was found via Google, although I can't find the link now that I want to share it with you. The original was made from a toilet paper roll, but that was simply too large for our project.

Here we cut a piece of card, rolled it to form a tube roughly 1cm in diameter and 4cms long. His tail and fins are tissue paper, crumpled for the tail and folded accordion style for the fins. Add some googly eyes (every ocean creature simply must have googly eyes) and a bead attached to a piece of craft wire for his little dangly thing.

Our cute little Green sea Turtle, once again an egg cup carton craft. His body is made of one single piece of craft foam. Far too fiddly gluing on seperate head and feet pieces. I simply drew the body shape by hand, using his 'shell' as a guide for sizing. Once I was happy with it, I traced the body several times for all of the kids.

Again, held together using a hot glue gun. This is a must for creating a project like this one. Makes the job so much easier and holds everything together nicely.

One of the mums had the cool idea of adding a whale to the background of the diorama. Here she searched google and found a simple colouring page template, they look very cool inside the finished piece.

The little egg cup crabs are delightful and each of the kids came up with their own spin on them as you can see in the images at the end of the post. Pipe cleaners, egg cartons, paint and of course googly eyes. Really couldn't be simpler.

Our Octopus, gave us a bit of challenge, when it came to attaching him to the box of the diorama. Until some one came up with the neat idea of hot gluing him straight to the top. He is simply a small styrofoam ball, painted, with pipe cleaner tentacles and don't forget the googly eyes lol!!

No ocean is complete without Sea Anemone's. Ours are a little on the largish size, you get giant one's way down below, don't you?! I was very concerned that this little craft was going to be a flop with the group, simply paints, fluffy pipe cleaners and half styrofoam balls, they loved it and thought it was a pretty cool looking anemone!

Whilst all the crafts are oh so easy, these are simply so simple that we nearly overlooked them. Twisted pipe cleaners on a pencil for seaweed or funky coloured coral. Glued to the base of the box with the trusty hot glue gun.

I grabbed a pack of cheap green kitchen scourers for this one, the kids cut them up to make another variation on seaweed.

Mr Lego Lover added this neat looking eel to the pool of ideas. Two pipe cleaners twisted together and the addition of eyes is all you need.

Whilst all of the diorama's had very similar creatures housed within they all have their own distinct style depending on who created them. Master 11 painted his ocean floor yellow and added glitter to it for an extra sparkle.

Master 5 brought his ocean floor right out to the edge (the lid is underneath) of the lid. Everything is glued in place though so he can still put the lid on the box for easy storage.

Miss 9 chose the authentic effect of raiding sand from the sand pit to complete her ocean floor.

This really was a fabulous exercise, it was quite involved and we spent a fair amount of time learning about and completing mini books on all of the animals, but working together with other families simply took any of the hard work out of it. I personally only prepared for 3 of the ocean animals yet the kids have an awesome looking diorama and a lapbook brimming with all of the fun info they covered!

This exercise really reminded me that we might be homeschooling but we certainly don't need to be doing this all on our own.

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