September 27, 2012

Squeezy Art {A repost}

I have never done a repost of an old post on Love and Lollipops before, but after 2 and a half years of blogging, I know that there are some oldies, but goodies, in my archives. So for those of you who happen to remember this post - firstly, thank you for still reading (!) -  and secondly, I hope you won't mind the repeat. With a short spring break coming up here in South Africa, this struck me as a super way to spend a rainy afternoon - spring may be here, but it's still raining  :).

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.

Have fun :)

PS. Shared at the Weekly Kid's Co-op.

September 19, 2012

A felt mat and an unexpected geography lesson

Who knew that making a felt play mat would lead me deeply into the world of the Artic, Antartica and the animals that live there? 

Let me share some facts.

The Artic is a sea, surrounded by pieces of land and it is in the Northern hemisphere. Antartica in contrast, is a piece of land, surrounded by sea in the Southern hemisphere. Animals found in the Artic include the polar bear, the Artic fox, seals, walrusses, the very interesting narwal whale, the snowy owl and reindeer (caribou). Penguins are found in Antartica... here in South Africa too :)... but they are not naturally found in the Northern hemisphere.  

So with this in mind, can you tell what's wrong with that top picture? Polar bears and penguins together are a no-no!

As for those orcas (killer whales), they are found in the southern and northern seas. What I actually had in mind, putting them so close to the shore line, were the orcas of Peninsula Valdes, on the coast of Argentina. These particular orcas almost beach themselves to catch seals on the shore line and it's the only place in the world where orcas hunt in this way. If you want to see more, some amazing footage is available on You Tube.

Anyway, back to my mat. As you can now tell, I have not only mixed up the 'Artics', I went and threw in some (non-icy) Argentinian coast line too. (I write this smiling sheepishly) Geography in high school? No, I did History. Having said that, this is a great example of how one learns by making mistakes. (Well, that's my positive spin on it anyway). I also shared all my mistakes with the kiddos, so hopefully they will remember some of these rather important details.

Now onto the how-tos: To make the mat, cut two biggish pieces of felt, white and blue, and either sew or glue them together. I used my good friend the glue gun - the glue dries instantly, which is the best part for me  - I'm impatient that way. 

I added a picture to show you how I cut and glued the caves. I first glued the sides of the cave and then folded and glued the back part of it. 

To make the igloo, I used a plastic ball (those that you find in ball ponds) and firstly cut the top third of the ball off with a cutting knife (be extra careful when doing this). I then cut out the door with a strong pair of scissors (a kitchen one). To finish off, paint it white and glue on some felt squares. Sweet hey? I must just add that I also painted the inside white, but only after this photograph was taken.

We have quite a nice collection of realistic looking plastic animals, but unfortunately didn't have any polar bears. I really wanted some to add to this mat, so I purchased some black bears (from a local plastic shop), painted them with white acrylic paint and then added the eyes and nose details with a permanent black marker. I thought they turned out quite nicely.

And lastly to add some extra interest to the mat, I covered some white polystyrene pieces with white felt too. These pieces were cut from a nice deep dish that some strawberries had come in. You really don't have to cover them; you could just use as is. By stacking them, it provides some extra places for the animals to walk under or over.

I do hope that you like my (not the Artic/not the Antartic) icy felt mat. Have you ever made a felt mat? Let me know, I'd love to come and see. Till next time, happy playing.

PS. This mat was inspired by the awesome mats at Shady Tree Diary.  

PPS. Shared at It's Playtime.

September 8, 2012

Pom Pom Snowmen

So easy to make, these sweet little snowmen would be cute in a Winter sensory box. 
To make:
two pom poms (different sizes)
a nice fluffy pipe cleaner for the scarf (bent to make the scarf shape)
two small black beads for the eyes
a piece of orange felt for the nose
a coloured stick/toothpick for the arms  (cut in half and pushed in the sides)

No explanation required I think. Glue these together...just like in the picture.  

Till next time :)

PS. For more snowman fun, see our sock snowmen, and our bottle top snowmen (actually people).

September 6, 2012

A mini ice rink

It's been a really cold Winter...brrrrr. One of the coldest in a few years here in South Africa. It has snowed in places that don't see snow very often. And, on our distant mountains there have been snow covered peaks almost everyday.

Having said that - we never actually got to play in any snow. Little One has yet to experience it up close and personal. Hopefully next year we will head off to those mountains and go and play.

So with all this really chilly weather, wintery activities have been on my mind. I do realize that Spring has officially sprung, but I'm going to (quickly) share some of our Winter fun in the next few posts, before the cold weather is gone for good :).

So first up is a mini ice rink, with little ice skaters as you can see. This was inspired by a similar rink at the amazing Play Create Explore blog. 

To make the rink, I used a cookie tray, added water and let it set overnight in the deep freeze. To make the ski poles, I added some masking tape to toothpicks, so that they would fit into the little men's hands. Popsicle sticks cut in half became the skis and I attached them to the men with Prestick. I must add though, that as soon as the popsicle sticks got wet, the Prestick came off. But it was fun while it lasted. 

Both boys really enjoyed this activity and Little One was fascinated by the ice and asked me to immediately go and make some more. It made me think that we definitely need to do more "ice play" - perhaps that can be on our agenda for the long hot summer that is probably on its way :). 

PS. Sharing this at It's Playtime and For the Kids Friday @ Sun Scholars

September 2, 2012

Wheat free/Egg free Crunchies

Do you have one of those recipe files? Those big thick stuffed ones...that can't even close? You go somewhere, eat something delicious and ask the hostess for the recipe. I mean, you have to have that recipe. Then you get home and you file it safely away in that nice big recipe file, for one day when you 're going to remake that awesome yummy thing...mmm, only one day never comes. Well, today I made one of those recipes :).


Place the following ingredients in a pot and heat and stir on the stove.

4 oz of marge (115 grams)
2 tbsp of syrup
1 tsp of bicarb

Add the bicarb when the margarine has melted.

Add one cup of sugar to the melted mixture, keeping it on the stove for a little while longer.

Remove from the stove and add the following:

1 cup of flour (I used Orgran Gluten Free Plain Flour)
2 cups of oats
1 cup of coconut (If you can, try to buy unsulphured coconut)
1 tsp of ginger

Spread it on a greased tray. This part is a little tricky.

Bake in the oven at 140°C for 10 minutes (approximately).

Yum Yum...enjoy! 
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