May 31, 2010

Mosaic fridge magnets

I wanted to share this easy project. These were my Mother's day gifts to the Grannies and they both loved it. 

I used a small square piece of hardboard (available at my local craft shop), modge podge, glue, small mosaic tiles, magnets, paint and photographs. I used the modge podge to glue the photos onto the wood and then used it on top of the pictures to give them a protective layer. Once dry, I carefully glued the mosaic tiles around the photos. I glued some magnets on to the back of the hardboard and painted the sides to match the tile colour. All done!  A super fridge magnet. Now I just need to find the time to make some of my own :).

May 26, 2010

Easy Art Project: A 3D City Skyline

An easy art project for a rainy afternoon. All you need are some little boxes, an A3 page, some glue and paint. I emptied my medicine cabinet - there always seems to be some expired medicine to throw out and these boxes work well. Stick these along your page and once your glue is dry, paint your picture. A lovely 3D city skyline!

Big One did this project beautifully. I just added a little white to the sea and red to the sky to give the picture a bit more depth. I was hoping to link this art project to a book about the city. Any suggestions?

PS. I have linked this to: Show and Tell @ ABC and 123 and Kiddos Create @ Mama Jenn

May 23, 2010

Through children's eyes

One of my greatest delights is seeing the world through my children's eyes.

The other afternoon, after all the rain, I noticed that we had some mushrooms growing in our garden. I got all excited, called the children, and soon we were having a mushroom hunt! At one point, Big One pipes up with, " If you're little, it's good for shade." It was one of those moments when I just want to grab him and kiss him and tell him how cute he is. (I usually do!)

Speaking of mushrooms, I read this in Garry Landreth's book, "The Art of the Relationship": "Some children are like mushrooms, they pop forth overnight. Other children are like orchids; they take seven to twelve years to bloom." (Nutt, 1971) Garry, a play therapist, then goes on to say, that the effective play therapist will wait for orchids and be patient with mushrooms. Each child has his/her own unique approach to how life should be lived.  I think this is not only true for play therapists, but for parents too. So be patient, whether you have orchids or mushrooms!

Reference: Landreth, G. (1991). Play Therapy The Art of the Relationship. Bristol, USA: Accelerated Development Inc.

May 18, 2010

Shapes Picture: A Rainy day Art Activity

After the glorious autumn weather we had been having here in Cape Town, the rain arrived, in bucketfuls! I thought that we needed some ready-made rainy day activities, that I can  have on standby for the long winter to come. I decided to try some shape pictures with the children and also created a special shape box, so that we can do this activity whenever we are in the mood. This idea was very much inspired by a project done by Katherine Marie, which you can see here.

Art projects for under-two's are tricky, but I was hoping that Little One would be able to join in on this one. Needless to say, I was a bit too ambitious, because more glue went into his mouth than on the picture!

I think that these pictures make awesome kiddies' wall decor and I'm going to frame these for Little One's room.

PS. If you have any good ideas for under-two's art, please share these in the comment box.

May 13, 2010

No-Sew Caterpillar and Butterfly

As you may know I am a great fan of Memetales, an online e-book resource. 

Ditto The Butterfly
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Ditto The Butterfly
See more at memetales

Ditto The Butterfly is the sweetest story about a little butterfly who learns that it is important to drink from different flowers to become a beautiful multicoloured butterfly. The story aims to encourage children to have a well-balanced diet and to try out different foods.

I have been  inspired to do caterpillar crafts lately and did a post on The Very Hungry Caterpillar a little while ago. So when Big One and I read  this story about Ditto, I thought it would lend itself beautifully to this craft that we had been working on. I don't sew (except for buttons), so I needed to make this without a needle or cotton in sight. I was very pleased with the result and have put together a little tutorial for you.

You need socks (little ones), batting, elastic bands, plastic eyes and pipe cleaners. Simply take a piece of batting about the size of a golf ball and push it into the toe part of the sock. Shape it into a nice ball and when you are happy with the size, seal it off with an elastic band. I used elastic bands in colours that matched the colour of the socks. Continue until you get to the end of the sock. There will probably be a little bit of sock left at the end. Then attach the pipe cleaner, by inserting it through the top elastic band at the caterpillar's head and bend it to make two antennae. Attach some eyes and there you go...a no-sew caterpillar!

To turn your caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, cut out some wings from felt and glue onto the body of the caterpillar. You can then decorate your wings with some more coloured felt.

We, however, wanted to make a craft that we could pair with this sweet story of Ditto, so we made a garden and attached some felt flowers with velcro. We then also added velcro to our butterfly's wings, so that when she goes to drink from a flower, you can remove the flower from the garden and add it to her wings. So as she drinks from the different coloured flowers, her wings become multicoloured, just as in the story!

You could add the velcro to either side of the butterfly's wings. I think it would look nice either way.  You could also add a mouth. We thought that the sock's seam looked like a gentle smile, so we didn't add anything extra.

May 10, 2010

Colours and Feelings

I was first introduced to connecting feelings and colours in a play therapy course at University. The technique was called Color-Your-Life (See reference below) and it required that a child would connect  different feelings to specific colours. Once they had their feeling-colour pairs, they would then be asked to fill a page with these colours to  represent the feelings they had experienced in their life. For some children this is rather an abstract concept. A piece of white paper hardly represents a "life", so sometimes one needs to model it first. I must mention that the technique is usually used with children aged 6 to 12 years.

Now whether I use this technique in therapy or not, I always tell children about feelings and colours. The book Colour Me Happy by Shen Roddie and Ben Cort is a wonderful companion to have in this process and even though the pictures may seem appropriate for a younger child, I can assure you that older children are grabbed by the bold, bright colours and the humour depicted in some of the pictures. If your child doesn't immediately understand the concept of connecting a colour to a feeling, this book really helps.

Before introducing the book though, it is always interesting to see what feelings children will tell you about when asked. Sometimes they will leave out a feeling that you may consider significant, such as feeling "afraid". but will add a less discussed one, such as "confused". The choice of feelings can give you an idea of what your child may be experiencing at the moment. Remember that children for the most part operate in the here-and-now, so will probably talk about feelings that are relevant to them on that particular day.

Here are some more ideas for using colours and feelings:

Draw a picture of a feeling face or feeling person in the feeling colour that is chosen  by your child and use these pictures to make Feeling Cards. Paste them on some card stock and stick them up in your child's room. It's so easy then to point at a card and say "I'm feeling like this today!". That reminds me, remember to label your feelings out loud, so that your little one hears you acknowledging it.

The Pick-Up-Sticks Game (See reference below) is a another fun way to encourage children to talk about feelings. When your child is familiar with colour-feeling pairs, you can play a traditional game of Pick-Up-Sticks, however when you pick up a stick, you need to tell about a time when you had the feeling associated with the colour of the stick. Remember to share your feelings too. Children want to hear about Mom and Dad's feelings and it's a great time to model the appropriate sharing of feelings.

Most importantly, these games are meant to be fun! If your child resists, try again on another day or think of a different variation. I would always love to hear what colour-feeling games you have come up with. Please leave comments below. I love receiving them.

The Color-Your-Life Technique(Kevin J. O'Conner, 1983). In C.E. Schaefer and K.J. O'Conner (Eds), Handbook of Play Therapy. New York, Wiley, 252-258
The Pick-Up-Sticks Game (Barbara McDowell). In H. Kaduson and C.E. Schaefer (Eds), 101 Favorite Play Therapy Techniques. Aronson, 1997, 145-149

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

May 2, 2010

Fun with Photos : Photo Art

I just LOVE projects that involve photographs and so I thought I would share this very easy idea with you. I wish I could say that I did this art work, however all these pictures were painted by a very creative friend of mine and given to me as a gift. This first picture is one that was framed in Big One's room when he was a little younger. The rest are pages from two books that start at his birth and share moments of the first two years of his life.

first smiles...

first funnies...

first steps...

first friends...

Every page of these two dear-to-my-heart books has a different feel and theme and is as gorgeous as these I have shared with you. 

This is really a project that anybody can do. Paper, paint and a matt photograph is all that is required. I have also added some embellishments (as you may have noticed) to some of the pages, just to add some more fun!

You can also do bigger pictures using more than one photograph. Paint a boat and have the children looking out of the portholes, a train with them sitting in the carriages, or a big bus or house with lots of windows and their faces peeking out...there are so many possibilities. Just remember that when working with more than one photograph on your page, the pre-planning of your picture is a bit more important.

So here is one more from the book, one of my favourites, a special Big One-Mommy moment.

If you do decide to do this art project, please let me know. I would just love to see your masterpieces!
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