Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Fun 2009: Foam Trees and Other Fun

"Welcome to Week 2 of our Christmas Fun 2009 Linky. I can't wait to see all of the fun Christmas things everyone gets up to over the coming weeks. To join in with the linky just link here to this post from your Christmas Fun Blog Post and don't forget to come back and add your link into the McLinky field at the bottom of this post.

Although not required, but it would be nice to see around the place, is the code for the Christmas Fun Button over there in the right side bar."

We didn't actually get in as much crafting this week as I would have liked but we were busy with other things. I guess there's still plenty of time left before Christmas isn't there!

The crafting highlight was definitely these,

Yet again another super simple craft that looks fabulous when finished, Craft Foam Christmas Trees.


Craft Foam
Paper (to make template)
Cardboard Rolls
Glitter Glue
Christmas Sparkles/Decorations

I just grabbed a piece of white paper and cut it to the size of my craft foam and then hand drew a Christmas Tree on it. I traced around that template onto the craft foam and cut it out so they were ready to decorate for the kids.

The decoration supplies were pretty simple as well, glitter glue in Christmas colours and some sparkle of some description.

And they were off, decorating to their hearts content. Adding a star here, an angel there and a candy cane here.

Once they were all done I just used masking tape to adhere them to a cardboard roll, you could also use glue. Or why not hang them from a garland!

This miniature forest of Christmas Trees looks great on our Christmas display table.

K did this Dot Marker Santa page. This is her first time using dot markers (I know very sad) and she had a ball. I got the page from Making Learning Fun.

I found these "Search For A Santa" activity pages in a book store a couple of weeks ago. Kinda like a Where's Wally type thing but the one page can be used twice, first by the younger kids (pre readers/early readers) and then by the older kids. Brilliant, now that's value for money!

Across the top of the page it has the pictures (with words) of what needs to be found and then down the side it has a long check list of items.

This one has grand plans but I am not sure if it will actually take shape. The kids are pin punching out each letter of MERRY CHRISTMAS, they will then decorate them with sparkles and hang them on a garland. It is a big job though, that pin punching (embossing tool punching in our case hehehe) takes a while so I'm not sure if this one will beat them. Maybe I've printed the letters too large?

We got an area in the dining/family room ready for our Christmas display table, added our Wreaths from last week, our Christmas Trees from this week and set up our Nativity. It's still looking a little bare so we need to get in some good fun crafting this week.

The highlight of or week hands down was K's Nativity Concert at kindy. She's quite shy so we really weren't sure how she would cope with this but she did a wonderful job. It took her a while to smile up on stage but she got the hang of it and thoroughly enjoyed her time in the spotlight.

She's even saying she would like to do some more things on the stage now!

Christmas is quickly approaching, there's always so much to do. Time to check my supplies box for what fun things we'll create this week. We gathered some pine cones from Nan's during the week and are hoping to find some gumnuts at Grandma's so we can also create with nature.

What kinds of Christmas Fun did you have this week?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Milestone

Albeit a small one.

Woohoo 100 Posts, now that's a little blogging milestone for me.

Nothing huge and exciting but still it is 100 posts, I wonder how long it will take to get 1000!?!

I have a couple of little things lined up for a small but fun giveaway. The posts for these are coming up this week so be on the look out.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Crazy About Construction #1: Spaceships

If you've been reading my blog for awhile now you'll know that we have a devoted Lego fan in this house. In fact I'd probably say that the word devoted doesn't even come close, obssessed may be a better way to describe it.

If I can't find B I always know where he is, down in his room constructing something. He loves to build from the instructions and always enjoys the end product after receiving a new piece but his true love is the actual constructing part, the creating, the thinking, the searching for all of those bits (even though it is frustrating at times). That is where the fun is.

I've had friends tell me over the years that their children just aren't into Lego, I guess for some kids that may very well be the case, but I wholeheartedly feel that Lego is something that needs to be 'taught', 'modelled'. Not in the sit down for a lesson sense of the word, but B's dad literally spent hours upon hours plaiyng Lego with him when he was young. Searching for the right piece to fit here or there. He also ensured when they built from instructions that B was reading the instructions as early as he could (since they are pictures anyway) and that he also had to search for the piece himself.

I think over time all of those hours add up and they begin to see things and can imagine what things will look like and what piece they need to do a certain job all in their head. This is where the real fun in Lego begins. Oh yes and a decent collection helps, they need at least enough pieces to make something quite large and then some handy add ons always help the process. You know some wheels, crocodiles, swords, people and all that jazz.

He really needs no guidance at all now and has been at that stage for quite some time. Although he still enjoys dad to play along every now and then! Spaceships and in particular Star Wars spaceships are the order of the day at the moment and I'd like to try and see him tackle other objects. Maybe he just needs a little inspiration so I have decided to set him a theme peridocially and have him build something within the themes guidelines. The theme will be relatively loose as I still want him to have as much control as possible.

To kick it off I chose the obvious and one that I knew he would get to work on immediately, Spaceships. He worked on this over a few days adding some here and a bit there. It has lots of little ships that can break off and work independently of the mother ship.

Here's a few random images of his Spaceship.

I've already set the next theme, Robots. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Free eBooks: Book Depository

Ok ok I'm probably the only person on the planet that has missed the fact that the Book Depository is currently offering FREE eBooks.

Yup, FREE, 11 000 in fact all in downloadable pdf's so you can read them right away.

Me personally, I prefer to print them out. Yes I know shame on me and all of that paper but I just can't read a book on the computer screen and there is nothing like having it sitting there on the shelves waiting to be read again and again. Plus if I didn't print them what on earth would I use my binding machine for, it certainly can't just sit there idle for the remiander of its days.

So anyway, I'm babbling. With 11 000 books to choose from you are sure to find something to please. I could have gone on and shown you heaps of images but you can click over there and see them for yourself.

To give you a bit of an idea I searched only through the children's selection at this stage and found close too 100 books. I bet though if you refine your search you can find more than that.

There appears to be quite a variety of books on offer too.

Everything from Children's Stories of the Great Scientists to The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children, even Children's Hour with Red Riding Hood.

I also noticed whilst I was browsing, titles such as, Robinson Crusoe for Children, The Tinder Box and The Boys Book of Battles.

Instead of sitting here reading my rambles why don't you get over there and check them out for yourself. I haven't been able to find anywhere on the Book Depository site details regarding when the books will be taken down. So I guess you should probably grab what interests you asap.

Have fun, happy browsing, happy downloading and enjoy your reading.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Free Printable: Letter To Santa Paper

Do your kids write letters to Santa every year?

Then hopefully they'll like some fun Christmas paper to write their letters on.

This file includes 2 different designs of writing paper and it meets 3 different levels of writing ability.

There's a full sheet of lined paper, one with half lines and a half blank page to draw Santa a picture and the other completely blank for just drawing, perfectly suited to all those little pre writers out there.

To download the file go click here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Free Book: Active Alphabet, For Toddlers and Parents

Grab yourself a copy of this FREE children's Alphabet Board Book and Parent's Guide put together by the Queensland Government.

Considering this is completely free it really is quite well put together. The parents guide book features loads of various activities (all revolving around the alphabet) for you to do with your toddler/preschooler.

The board book itself is yet another fun Alphabet Book.

Oops, sorry, once catch, this is open to Queensland residents only.

But, I may just have an extra copy that you might find available as part of my giveaways when I reach 100 posts. Make sure you're following along so you don't miss it, there's only a few posts to go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Aboriginal Dot Painting

We, had our Home School Network Art Class yesterday, Aboriginal Dot Paintings was the order for the day.

The class had kids as young as 4 and as old as 13, if you are well prepared the young ones can easily do this activity.

The younger members (or the less adventurous/confident) used a template for the border and their chosen animal. I didn't get photo's of these as I had to help K hold her templates down whilst she sponged the paint over the black card and the templates.

Once that step is complete you are ready to begin the dot painting process. Simply grab the end of paint brush, you can experiment with different sized brush tips too and start dipping them in some paint. Better quality acrylics (as opposed to watery poster paints) are recommended for a more even brighter colour.

Just keep dotting until you are happy with the results, there really aren't any rules with this step.

This is B's finished piece

And K's.

When we got home B decided that he wanted to continue on with the technique. I got him set up but basically left him to it.

This is what he ended up with, I particularly like how he chose to incorporate the scratch work into his volcano. He used wooden chopsticks for this, one end for the dots and the other to do the scratch work.

This was a fun class and certainly something we will try again.


Sites of interest

Aboriginal Dot Painting Images

Ideas For Kids

DLTK's Dot Painting Page


Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Fun 2009: Wreaths and Glitter Decorations

"Welcome to Week 1 of our Christmas Fun 2009 Linky. I can't wait to see all of the fun Christmas things everyone gets up to over the coming weeks. To join in with the linky just link here to this post from your Christmas Fun Blog Post and don't forget to come back and add your link into the McLinky field at the bottom of this post.

Although not required, but it would be nice to see around the place, is the code for the Christmas Fun Button over there in the right side bar."

Our first week of Christmas crafting, the kids (especially K) were so excited. We've started somewhat earlier this year than we normally would, simply because we are heading away on holidays for the full week before Christmas.

We spent quite a bit of time this week singing carols, listening to different versions on You Tube and trying to decide on one to learn first. Let's just say that is going to be one huge task. B wants no part of memorising a carol unless it is Frosty The Snowman and K only wants to do it when she feels like it. Which this week has been once!

I tried to start off with a few short Christmas rhymes and we nearly had one down pat:

Ring ring ring the bells
Ring them loud and clear
Tell the people everywhere
That Christmas time is here

But just as we were in the home stretch of memorisation K decided that she didn't want to do it anymore.

Any tips on ways to encourage this? I've been wandering around the house singing carols and saying a couple of the rhymes, we have spent most afternoons singing carols whilst we play outside, so maybe the subtle way is the best way to do this. I do keep hoping that someone will join in on the chorus....I guess I can keep hoping hehehe

We started the week with Christmas rubbing plates. I didn't get a photo but B actually chose one that was a frame, after he completed the rubbing he went back over it with a felt tip marker and drew a snow (with elves) scence inside the framed area. A nice little extension to a very simple activity.

Then we moved on to creating Christmas Wreaths.


Used Cereal Boxes
Plates, Bowls for tracing around
PVA Glue
Pasta Shapes
Spray Paint (christmas colours)
Old Decorations
Hot Glue Gun (handy but not essential)

For this I used old cereal boxes. The cardboard is a little flimsy though and I was concerned that it wouldn't take the weight, so I stapled two pieces together. If you do this one, I'd even recommend stapling 3 pieces just to make it extra strong.

I used a plate and bowl to draw the template on and set about cutting all of the pieces.

I layed out a few different containers of pasta shapes to choose from. Bows, Penne and Spirals. The kids set about gluing the shapes on in any design they chose. I just suggested that they cover as much of the cardboard ring as possible.

The wreaths were left to dry over night. Whilst we went to the hardware to purchase our cans of spray paint. We chose gold and silver.

The next day we took the wreaths outside to spray. Both B and K chose to use the gold paint. This part was priceless, truly it was. You know when you purchase a can of spray paint the lid is generally the colour of the paint. In this instance the gold and silver were pretty bland looking and I knew that they weren't that impressed with the colours.

As soon as the first spray of paint hit their wreaths you could see the smiles and their eyes light up. They really just could not believe how incredibly shiny it was. Such a simple experience but it was one that we'll remember and talk about for awhile to come.

B finishing off with the spray can. K found the nozzle a little tricky to use. They only took about 10 minutes to dry outside and already they looked fabulous. Whilst they were drying we went in to go through the stash of old decoarations. The kids found the pieces they wanted to use to adorn their wreaths.

We attached everything with a hot glue gun. One important point here, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to these things. I bought ours on clearance for next to nothing and it is a piece of rubbish.

This is B's finised Wreath

And K's finished Wreath. We have already had comments from family members that have seen them as to how lovely they are and did the kids really make these?! These were oh so simple and they truly look stunning.

Next it was time for some very Glittery Tree Decorations (these were a kit but you could easily do this yourself)


Cardboard cut into Christmas Shapes
Other Christmas items to decorate

The kit included Trees, Presents, Stars, Snowflakes and Rudolph.

A splattering of things to decorate with will definitely help. Be prepared for glitter everywhere and I mean everywhere.

Add some glue and start decorating.

Leave to dry overnight.

The finished decorations waiting to be hung on the tree. They just need a piece of string or something tied to the top for hanging purposes.

K enjoyed these structured crafts but letting her loose on the supplies is oh so much fun. This is where she is really in her element. She created this collage from left over (old) decorations and glitter.

Well we had a great first week of Christmas Craft. I'm trying to not do too much all at once for fear of the kids losing interest and for us running out of what shall we make this week????? Time to go back through the box.

What Christmas Fun did you get up to this week?

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