Here's what we made at the preschool this week. Wooden disc bunny magnets. In honor of spring and Easter and all the bunnies we see hopping through our back yard at Willow House. A sweet and simple project for children three to five years old. The kids loved making these!
I've never been to Embarrass, MN but am thinking of those who live there (about four hours drive North of me). Since we have been on break from school we have had eight days of below zero temps (with two oddball days in the 40's???) and I'm beginning to feel a little stir crazy. Nothing like being imprisoned by the cold! But at least we're not in Embarrass, where they dropped to a frigid -43 degrees last night.
Sorry about boring weather chat...but it's what we do here in the winter months.
Happy New Year!!!
The boys and I finally tried borax snowflakes...such fun! We made about a dozen, filled every available mason jar in the house. Truly a wonderful moment-each and every time-to lift that crystal crusted pipe cleaner snowflake out of the water. They gave all but this one away.
Some of the bulbs we planted finally bloomed...glorious paper whites to ring in the New Year. (Looks like it's a New Year tradition for us!)
I've got a new project in mind for 2014. It involves this beautiful soft and squishy wool osprey yarn from quince&co. Let's see if my fingers warm up enough to get it started.
Wishing you all a beautiful, happy and warm start to the New Year.
This is a sweet and simple project we made at the preschool last week. Pine cone bumblebees. Bumblebees have been very busy in our autumn garden buzzing around our second harvest of raspberries, so bees have been on the children's minds. With a small pine cone and two maple tree seeds a piece of string and a stick to hang it from, the children made these cute bumblebees that float gently about as you move the stick. The older children were able to try tying the two knots that are needed to put this project together, but other than that, it was an easy one for all the kids to make themselves.
At weaving camp last week I took down the old and tattered rooftop of our backyard playhouse and warped it. We began each day by going on a nature walk and gathered leaves and branches to weave into the roof. The results were so beautiful!! It was so much fun to watch our newly woven roof slowly grow over the week and the daily transformation as the leaves and grasses dried and new pieces were added.
I'm just in love with how this is working out! Better than I could have possibly imagined. We begin every day with a nature walk and gather branches and leaves and seed pods and race back to the backyard and weave them into our new roof. It's great practice for those little fingers.
Day one we worked with paper. This was a great way to get started with understanding the weaving process. I have a very diverse age group with 3, 5 and 6 year-old children (plus my 9 year-old son/helper). I wanted the first project to be basic enough for the very little ones, while holding the interest of the older kids. This was a great project that met every ones needs.
Day two we made weavings of strips of fabric. My idea was to warp an embroidery hoop that once was woven, could be displayed on a wall. For the younger kids, I used less string for the warp. One of my very decisive girls (who really knows what she wants and has quite a vision about it) wanted her weaving to be a doll quilt, or rug. So we cut it off the hoop and tied all the ends. Suddenly at pick up time, everyone wanted to free theirs from the hoop, so we did.
Weaving came out in the twenty minutes of free play each day too...first with the blocks, then with the chairs.
There is nothing quite like the imagination of a child.
It's been tricky finding computer time...we're full on into summer and between heading to the beach or a pool every day, soccer, biking, and me running summer camps, we have flown into the last week of June already! So hard to believe.
and we tried something new...making a cup and ball on a string game. These were fun. For instructions on how to fold a paper cup, I found this link very helpful.
Fairy Garden Camp: Always a fun and popular camp. So full of magic and surprises. The kids were chasing cottonwood seeds that have been floating all around our skies this month-and would squeal in delight as they believed them to be fairies. One of the girls even brought in some branches to shake in the back yard.
Here is a sampling of the fairy gardens that were created.
This week is weaving camp. To prep for this class I took off the worn out canvas roof to the backyard playhouse and warped it. The idea is we will begin each day in the backyard weaving bits of leaves and branches and grasses into the new roof. Come back later this week to see the finished result.
At the preschool this week, I had a small but lovely group of boys for Sea Creatures camp. Among many games, we walked like crabs, moved like jelly fish and tried our best to stick together like a school of fish as they did in the story of Swimmy (Which we read every day by-the-way).
Day one we started with a very simple project of making a sweet paper fish.
I tried, in vain, to video tape just how exciting it is to watch this fish spin through the air as it falls. It is thrilling for me, so you can imagine how fun it was for the preschoolers. And this craft takes but seconds to make...try it, you will not be sorry. (If you have a cat, I bet your cat would love chasing the paper fish as it falls). It reminds me a little of watching a maple tree seed spin to the ground (or "helicopter seed" as we called them when I was little). The kids each made about six so they could take some home and play there too. Instructions can be found at Paper Crafts For Children.
Day two was all about sharks and the kids had fun making paper plate versions of shark teeth!
Day three we talked about sea turtles and I cracked walnut shells to turn into turtle backs (don't you love the surprise heart inside the walnut? The kids sure did). With a little paint, some wool felt and a spot of glue, these little sea turtles were zooming across the table in no time.
Day four involved jellyfish making.
My biggest challenge for this project was rounding up the bottles (I found that recycling Kombucha bottles for this worked great!) (thanks Mom!). This was our most difficult project as it involved creating little jellyfish out of plastic bags, then filling it's head with a mix of water and air so that it could gracefully float back and forth as you turned the bottle. It was also the most thrilling project! The kids were memorized as they swished the water around in the bottle. Full instructions for how to make these found here at Bhoomplay. Again...I had trouble photographing the kids in action, but go to the source, you will love seeing the little video of Bhoomplays boys too.
The kids also so enjoyed hearing the story of The Sea Garden by Suzanne Down, they wanted to hear that one everyday too. The story comes from the summer 2008 issue of Living Craft magazine (which sadly is no longer in publication). If you have young children in your life I highly recommend going to Suzanne's website, Juniper Tree Puppets, and signing up for her monthly newsletter, she always includes a beautifully written story there.
For the Mother's Day gifts at the preschool this year, I revisted a craft we did three years ago (see here). Refrigerator magnets are always useful and I think the children's creations turned out beautifully! Each one as unique as the child. I'm sure their mother's loved them.
As I was already in Spain when we celebrated Mother's Day here in the states, I came home to find these two lovely cards waiting for me.
How about that? "Universe's Greatest Mom!" and Julen's card and acorn gift came with a special story that I could never retell with as much detail and enthusiam as he did.
I've been quiet here this past week. There is a post that weighs heavy on my mind that I can't seem to write, yet it stops me from moving forward on other posts...does that ever happen to you?
...but for today...
Here's a project we did at the preschool last month. I've been getting inquiries about what these were for. I crocheted twenty little baskets with long handles for hanging out of hemp cord for this project. The kids each chose a little basket to fill with nest building materials for the birds. I did this project once before at the preschool (wow! four years ago already!), click here for the details. As we've had quite a lot of snow so late in spring, I thought it would be a great idea to give the birds a little help. We talked about why birds build nests and what they use to make them and why it would be important for the nests to be filled with soft materials.
I try to trick the kids by adding a tray of pincones and shells to the mix, but I didn't fool anyone, they are all so smart and know they wouldn't make a very soft bed.
I love the flurry of excitment as the children eagerly fill their little baskets.
Some of them looked so fancy in the end several parents mentioned they couldn't stand to hang them outside and wanted to hang them in their homes.
Julen placed his on these branches outside his bedroom window and it's been such a joy watching the birds fly away with new findings. Watching the bits of yarn fly up to the nests in the gutters was especially thrilling...we're planning to climb up there and take a peek once the nests have been vacated.
We made grass baskets last week at the preschool which is our traditional craft to do to celebrate the coming of spring. We usually plant the wheat berries about a week before the kids are to take them home and try to plan it just before spring break so they can have a nice full basket of grass by Easter. I also usually have a good stash of little baskets that I am always picking up at the thrift store, but when it came time for the project, I was surprised to learn I was short about six of them. So plan B.
My boys eat a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of seaweed in our home. We buy it at Trader Joe's. Sometimes I get it at the local asian market. There is quite a bit of packaging, but as any teacher knows, good packaging can be re-used. I gathered all my little plastic trays from the seaweed and discovered that the packages from the Asian market were a bit smaller and therefore, we could wrap the larger tray in burlap and insert the smaller tray inside for planting. It worked like a charm. Best part is, when we lift out the smaller tray we could see all the little roots growing in the soil...such joy for my kiddos.