April 25, 2010

Adam's Art Spot : Pizza Base Art

I have a crazy creative boy living in my house, who LOVES art and crafts and tackles them with speed and gusto! Needless to say he has many great ideas of his own. In fact, my ideas are often left by the way side and replaced with his. I must say that managing his enthusiasm and my little one at the same time, makes for very messy, high energy, disaster management art sessions. But I do it - 'cause I know it's good for them!

I previously promised to share some of my son's super art ideas, so I have decided to make this a regular feature.  So I hope you enjoy this, the first of "Adam's Art Spot".

Now I'm sure that these are not all original ideas, in that Adam may have seen the idea on TV, or in a book, or at School. I, however, am choosing to give him full credit for them, seen as he always tends to put his own spin on art. As for this idea, he claims he just got this idea from his brain! Who am I to argue! So these lovely plates are painted polystyrene pizza bases. Painted and then using the back of the paintbrush, while the paint is still wet, he has drawn his family. I'm the green one, Dad red, and Adam and his baby brother in yellow! I think these make rather attractive and modern wall art!

Now you may know of "Art Attack." I only know the books, having never seen a TV program or a DVD. My son and I can both highly recommend the Art Attack website. It is jam packed with very cool ideas. I must mention that the crafts are definitely geared towards an older child and there are not many girly crafts, but lots of fun crafts for boys.

Till Adam's next attack, I hope you are inspired!

PS. I linked this to:

April 18, 2010

Memetales and Bubble Wrap Ocean Art

As you know, I love wonderful websites and Memetales is just such a space. At Memetales, you and your child have the opportunity to read a wonderful variety of children's e-books up to eight times before you have to purchase it (should you want to keep it forever). You are also encouraged to share any ideas, arts or crafts based on the book you have read with the Memetales' audience. For me this is certainly one of the highlights of this space. Children will have the opportunity to see their very own creations online. Children are also encouraged to write book reviews.

Memetales decided to dedicate this past week to raising awareness of Autism as April is Autism Awareness Month. They have just published a new book by Tara McClintick, called  "Water".  Tara's one son is on the Autism spectrum and through her experiences with him, she has created a number of books that engage children easily and encourage participation. This book is a little different from the others that I have read on the site, in that it is a wordless picture book, with a poem to start.

So my oldest and I decided that we were up for a challenge and after reading Tara's book tackled an art project. With water as the theme, we decided on painting bubble wrap so that we could print a watery, bubbly effect and then create two underwater sea scenes. The bubble wrap print was so much fun to do and very easy. The fish, squid and submarine were all cut out from the inside wrapper of some corn thins that we eat a lot of in our home! I love the silvery shiny effect!  My son also added some white round stickers to create some extra bubbles and the squid's cave. We have submitted this as an activity to add to the "Water" book collection and we are waiting (with bated breath) to see if it is accepted.

I can highly recommend this site. My son loves it. I hope you will go and visit and let me know what your favourite books are.

PS. I have also linked this up to: Show and Tell @ ABC and 123

April 15, 2010

Cheerful Chores

"I love hugs and I love kisses,
But what I really love is help with the dishes!"
- Author Unknown 
(and the washing and the ironing and the cooking and the packing away...Author - ME!)

Chores certainly don't make my heart sing. In fact, sometimes I can really moan about them! I have to remind myself that little ears are listening and that I am setting the example for how my children will approach their chores. If I moan about them, they surely will too.

So how does one make the humdrum of daily chores fun?
  • Play a game called "It's a record!" -  Tell your child to count out loud while they are busy with their chores or set a stopwatch and see how fast they can complete them. They must remember their "record" and the next time that they do their chores, they must see if they can beat their previous record.
  • Another fun game is "It's a race against time!" - Set a timer and as each minute passes, count them down. Your child must try to complete the task before the time runs out. You can pretend that when the time runs out the house will explode, or take off to the moon...anything that will create some fun tension and speed the little racer up.
  • Sing
  • Put on some of your favourite music and dance. (Just don't forget to clean up)
  • If you are all in the same room while doing chores, play a game like eye-spy. 

    Do you know that it is so important for children to have chores and responsibilities around the home. It's a very effective "Self Esteem Builder". When we do things for our children that they can do for themselves, we are saying to them " I don't think that you can do it, or, I don't think that you can do it well enough". One of my son's responsibilities is to make his own bed in the morning. If I did it, it would take less than a minute to shake the duvet, fold the pajamas and straighten the pillows . Nice, neat and tidy, just the way I like it. When he does it, it's not always up to scratch. The pillows may be a bit crumpled, the duvet a little skew. However, by taking this responsibility away from him, I'm taking away an opportunity for him to become a more capable, independent individual. On top of that, when he completes the task and does the job well, he feels a healthy sense of pride at having done it all by himself.

    Clearly defined chores (written or verbal) are helpful for children. They act as reminders and take away any unnecessary bargaining or negotiating on your child's part. My son often asks why he needs to do chores. I have explained that we all live in our home and want it to be reasonably tidy and functional and that means that we all have to contribute to making it work properly. I have used the example of not washing dishes and the consequence being that we would not have any clean plates to eat from when we have our next meal. It's pretty basic stuff, but I keep it matter-of-fact and positive.

    I recently read an article by Dr. Ruth Peters about the importance of teaching children a work ethic. The article is an excerpt from her book called 'Laying Down the Law'. The article reveals many truths and is well worth a read. She reminds us that children do not grow up demonstrating good frustration tolerance, perseverance and self-discipline. These are characteristics that we have to take the time to teach them. You can read the article here.

    I also like the way Maria Montessori viewed it. She saw the endpoint of a child's development to be that he should be well-adjusted and self-sufficient. Therefore, any assistance we offer to a child's natural development, should foster independence and self-sufficiency. In a nutshell, we need to help our child to do it by themselves.

                                A Happy Helper - Dec 2009

    If you have any fun ideas to add to making chore-time cheerful, please leave a comment. I would love to hear it.

    April 6, 2010

    StART: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    "StART" is the brain child of Michelle at A Mommy's Adventures. She encourages you to read a story to your child and then do an art project of your choice, based on the book you have read. I just love the idea and think it's such a good one, because what can be simpler than taking a great book as inspiration for an art project. You may be thinking that arts-and-crafts are just not your thing, but the truth of the matter is that most children would be happy to simply draw a picture about a book they have read, especially if they know that Mom is a participant of sorts in the event. Without me ever formally introducing this idea, my older son has done many StART projects spontaneously. He is often inspired by a book and comes up with wonderful ideas. I will definitely be sharing some of his creations with you in future posts.

    Another fun part of StART is that after you have completed your art project, you can  link up to Michelle's blog (that is if you have a blog of your own) and share your ideas with other blogging Moms. So we are joining the fun and have decided to use " The Very Hungry Caterpillar" as our first book inspired art project.

    Both boys thoroughly enjoyed the story. I love that my Big One is not too big to enjoy stories like these. For our art project we found these super cute craft packs from Play2Learn. My lovely friend Grietjie is a consultant for these terrific products and you can email her at joyfulmama@telkomsa.net  if you would like to purchase some. They cost only R20 and you can make two caterpillars/worms from each packet.

    These were so easy to make. All you need is some thin wire, foam circles, beads and some eyes. The wire easily pierces the foam and the only tricky part was gluing the face on.

    I really love this book. It teaches children about the life cycle of the butterfly, the days of the week, counting and about healthy eating. It also has die-cut pages which allows for some interactive fun. I went and checked out Eric Carle's website and blog and was surprised to discover that the book celebrated it's fortieth anniversary last year. Eric Carle also shares that his illustrations are collages, made from his own hand-painted tissue paper. I must say that I am inspired to do some tissue paper art after reading about this. If you would like to read up more about Eric Carle, you will find his website here and his blog here. Enjoy!

    I hope that this has encouraged you to do a book and art project this week.  If you are looking for some more ideas, pop over to A Mommy's Adventures and have a look at all the StART posts.  I will also be sharing many more of these with you in future posts.

    PS. I linked this to Making the World Cuter Monday

    April 1, 2010

    Resurrection Eggs

    These little eggs are one reason why I love the internet and especially love blogging. This was a discovery I made at Carisa's site (see link below), where she shared about these little eggs and how you can use them to teach your child the story of the Resurrection. In a nutshell, each egg has a small item inside that symbolizes one part of the Resurrection story.

    Egg 1  - donkey- Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
    Egg 2  - coins   - Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 silver coins.
    Egg 3  - a cup or bread- The events at The Last Supper.
    Egg 4  - praying hands- Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
    Egg 5  - whip- Jesus was whipped after his trial.
    Egg 6  - crown of thorns- Jesus was mocked by the soldiers.
    Egg 7  - nails - Nails were driven into Jesus' hands and feet.
    Egg 8  - dice - The soldiers gambled for Jesus' robe.
    Egg 9  - spear- A spear was pierced into Jesus' side.
    Egg 10- cloth- Jesus' body was wrapped in linen cloth.
    Egg 11- stone- The tomb stone was found rolled away.
    Egg 12- empty egg- The tomb was empty because Jesus had risen!

    The original  Resurrection eggs can be purchased here. I, however, decided to make my own set and used these plastic eggs from Woolworths. I also used a combination of actual items, such as real coins, nails and a piece of cloth, as well as printed pictures for the other items, which I found at Christian Preschool Printables.

    This is the first time that I have shared the Resurrection story with my oldest son in such detail and he really loved the concept of the eggs. I think that being able to open each egg and hold and touch the items inside, really helps children remember the details of the story...and of course there is the BEST happy ending ever!

    Carisa at 1+1+1=1  also has some wonderful printables that can be used with the eggs. To see what she did, click here.  Jill at Totally Tots also shares incredible insights about what she has discovered using the eggs and you can read her post here. I will definitely be saving mine, as I know I will be using them for years to come.
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