July 29, 2010

A Tea-ny Toy Box

A tea box makes for a very nice little storage box...

All that is required is a tea box, some paint, stickers, pens and some imagination. Oh yes, and some patience on Mommy's part!

Little One painted and decorated his box with stickers all on his own! (We did this project in May, so he was 21 months at the time.)

As you can tell, he painted a little more than just the tea box :).

Big One decided to create an alien; Little One, a frog!

Now to look for teeny toys and tiny treasures to fill the box...

July 27, 2010

Photo Stickers

I have a passion for photo-related art/crafts/projects! I simply cannot help myself and am always thinking of fun things to do with photographs. I have always wanted photo stickers and lucky for me, my father owns a business that does printing, so I asked him to whip me up some personalised photo stickers. I love these and think that they make super convenient, super special gift tags.

July 25, 2010

Adam's Art Spot : Flip-O-Ramas

I recently posted about Tony Buzan's book, Brain Child, and promised to share some more tidbits from it. Adam's Art Spot has given me the perfect opportunity to tell you a little about a brain principle called "mimicry" or good old-fashioned "copying". Tony Buzan has an interesting perspective on this and speaks of how "copying" has become associated with "cheating" and is therefore frowned upon. The brain, he says, "is designed to learn by copying" and "parents will notice that the baby is the the greatest 'copying' machine ever invented." Isn't that so true? Our babies copy everything we do... language, gestures, noises, expressions, actions...and they do it with "dazzling precision and accuracy".

I got to thinking about how we accept that a baby and tot will copy us and learn in the process, yet as our children grow older we can inadvertently discourage them from copying, for the reason cited above. Yet, this is surely the very best way to learn! So I am going to encourage Big One to "copy" and be inspired by art, books, TV, characters, ideas! Tony Buzan says to encourage copying and then to add one's own interpretation.

So how does this all tie in to Adam's Art Spot? Well, Adam has been bringing home Captain Underpants books from the school library for quite some time now. If you are familiar with these books, you will know that they have pages in the books called "Flip-O-Ramas". Two very similar pictures are drawn a page apart and the reader is encouraged to flip the page back and forth as quickly as he can to create the effect of a moving picture.  I noticed Adam drawing up a storm in some old recycled books that I had given him and discovered that he was creating his own "Flip-O-Ramas"! Some mimicry at it's creative best!

It's difficult to see the effect by looking at these photographs, but I must tell you, that when you flip the pages quickly, that little guy sure looks like he's swimming!

July 20, 2010

Ribbit Ribbit

At the beginning of March when I started blogging, I thought that it would be fun to have a colour theme every month to use as inspiration for art and crafts and other educational activities. I chose the colour green and had all sorts of wonderful colour-green related ideas, but for some reason, Big One and I got stuck on FROGS! We just couldn't get enough of them.

So here is some froggy fun we got up to. We read Axel Scheffler's book Freddy the Frog. Little One received this little pocket library for his first birthday, but these books are available individually and are cute and catchy rhyming stories.

We also made these frog masks. I saw this idea on the photo header of  Let's Explore. We used paper plates, green paint, green craft paper, green glitter glue, contact paper and pegs. We squished and smeared the glitter glue onto the craft paper, which we then covered with contact paper. The idea was to create a bit of a slimy effect. We then cut this up into squares and stuck it onto the painted paper plate. To finish off, we added eyes and the pegs. Big One decided to also add a nose and mouth. The nose is the inner seal of a milk bottle (how's that for recycling and being green).

We also decided to try our hands at origami frogs and got a pattern from Enchanted Learning. They unfortunately don't hop very well. They do do wonderful back flips though.

Well, March has long come and gone and we have of course got side-tracked by all sorts of other projects and the monthly colour theme never really got under way! We did manage to do a few other green activities that didn't involve our slimy friends, but more about these another time.

So on a "hoppy" note, have a great week!

July 16, 2010

Raising Brainy Babies

At birth most of your baby's organs are structurally complete. Their development is as it should be and they are already performing their duties. As babies grow into children and older, their organs will simply increase in size by the process of cell-division. There is one exception however, and that is of course, the amazing brain. 

What is really interesting is that your baby's brain has got it's full repertoire of cells long before birth. The number of brain cells will not increase after birth, but the interconnections between the brain's cells will increase manifold. And here's the best part. The degree to which these connections increase is very much determined by what your baby's brain is exposed to. Or put another way, what your baby's brain is taught.

These interconnections go through a phenomenal growth spurt during your child's first two years of life. At birth your baby's brain will weigh approximately 25% of it's adult weight. By the age of 2-and-a-half, the brain weighs 75% of it's adult weight. What an awesome responsibility we have as parents to feed our baby's brain and we do this by offering them a rich palette of multi-sensory experiences. 

I recently read and can highly recommend Tony Buzan's book, Brain Child. In it he speaks of the four essential "brain foods". They are Oxygen, Nutrition, Love and Information. All are essential, without which our baby simply cannot survive.

Brain child makes for worthwhile and fascinating reading. Tony Buzan not only explains how the brain works (in a very easy to understand way) but also provides lots of wonderful ideas for stimulating and feeding your baby and child's brain. Stay tuned, I'll be sharing some more insights from this book in up and coming posts.

July 14, 2010

Squeezy Pictures

This art activity has been one of Big One's favourites for a long time.

To do this activity, you need some squeezy bottles filled with different paint colours. I found these bottles at my local plastic shop and filled them with acrylic paint, using a vaccine syringe. It is a bit time-consuming, but well worth the effort.

Once done, all that is required is some squeezing , folding and fun! First squeeze and then squeeze some more. Use as many colours as you please. Fold your page in half and then carefully open your page to reveal a colour surprise!  My son enjoys this process so much, that getting him to stop is usually the only problem.

We are always left with a great number of these interesting paint surprises, so I decided to use them to make some greeting cards. To create these, I cut them into small squares and arranged them onto pre-cut coloured cardstock. I really like the end result :).

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

July 7, 2010

Sweetie Art

Beacon Sweets has a competition running at the moment in which you can win a fancy iPod, by sending them a photo of a "wacky, weird and wonderful" creation using only Liquorice Allsorts. You can check out all the rules and some awesome creations at www.beaconallsorts.co.za

I just LOVE this idea...sweetie art! I had so much fun creating these. The only problem was not eating my art supplies!

July 4, 2010

Fun with Felt

I have fallen for FELT! I just love this versatile material that can so easily be transformed into FUN. There are so many wonderful felt ideas on the many different blogs that I follow, so there is plenty of inspiration around. How fancy one gets, is also entirely up to your skill level and time available. Now I don't sew much, as I have previously mentioned (see here for another no-sew creation), so my felt creations will definitely be of the simple and easy kind for now.

I started with this very easy project (see top photo), inspired by this little puzzle, that for some reason just makes me happy.

Little One loves this puzzle, so I thought that he might be fascinated if I recreated it in felt. Well, he wasn't as excited as I was. Perhaps his interest in felt play is yet to come. I certainly hope so, or I'll be playing with it all by myself! (At 23 months he is probably a little young for felt play, so I'll be storing my felt projects for a later date.)

Now here is another easy felt idea. This super picture of two felt characters playing tennis was created by Big One. The set he used is from the Succezz Toy range and I really like it because of the black lines printed onto the felt pieces. This set however, can easily  be duplicated with ordinary felt. Simply cut out lots of different shapes and sizes from a variety of different felt colours and let your child's imagination take over.

If you don't have a felt board, you can make this quite easily too. To make a very simple and inexpensive board, lay a piece of felt onto a hard piece of cardboard (with enough felt to go over the edges) and glue at the back. An A3 size is a nice size. For a more long-lasting and durable board, use a piece of hardboard.

Have fun :).

PS. Sharing this at Show and Tell @ ABC and 123
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