Paper Bowl Ladybird

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The kids are very excited by bugs at the moment, and they think ladybirds are particularly nice. They made a ladybird each from a paper bowl.

Painting.

Painting.

The faded colour of the painted bowls.

The faded colour of the painted bowls.

They started by painting their upside-down bowls with red paint. The tube stated “Rockin’ Red”, but it looked far more pink on the bowl. We did three coats of red paint on each bowl, but it still looked pinkish and thin. It’s a new tube of paint, and I’m quite disappointed in it, I was hoping for a more vibrant red for our ladybirds. No matter though, the kids still liked the colour!

Gluing on spots.

Gluing on spots.

I cut out the heads from some black foam, and the kids glued them onto the ladybirds’ bodies. They stuck on eye stickers, and added a curled black pipe cleaner for antennae. They also glued on lots of black paper dots that I had cut out earlier.

Sticking on the legs.

Sticking on the legs.

Six legs per ladybird made from black pipe cleaners, and sticky taped to the underside of the bowl, and they were finished. The kids are very proud of their new ladybird friends.

A's ladybird.

A’s ladybird.

L's ladybird.

L’s ladybird.

 

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Body Measurements

To practice using rulers and tape measures (and reading them accurately!) we spent an hour or so measuring different parts of our bodies.

L marking out her foot to measure it.

L marking out her foot to measure it.

Measuring A's hand with the ruler.

Measuring A’s hand with the ruler.

Both L and A stood on a sheet of paper and placed a mark along the back of their heel, and at the top of their big toes. They then used a ruler to measure how long their feet are. Both of them found their left feet to be slightly longer than the right. They also used the rulers to measure the length of their hands, from the circlet of wrinkles at the wrist to the end of the middle finger. L drew around her hand carefully and then measured the length of each of her fingers.

L tracing around her hand.

L tracing around her hand.

L measuring around her waist.

L measuring around her waist.

Measuring my ankle.

Measuring my ankle.

 

L used a tape measure to measure around her waist, but the first few times she read off the inches side, and had to try again to get centimetres. They also used the tape measure to measure around our ankles, wrists, upper arms and heads. They compared all of the measurements. They were quite amazed that the left side of the body can be different to the right side. They also discovered that my head isn’t that much bigger than L’s!

Even the bunny got in on it!

Even the bunny got in on it!

This was a simple activity that needed no preparation to organise, but it gave the kids plenty of practice measuring things. Being able to measure accurately and consistently is an important skill, and we will be practicing it more in the future.

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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

IMG_1710The Maze Runner by James Dashner, paperback novel, 371 pages, first published by Delacorte Press in 2010, this edition published by The Chicken House in 2011.

All that Thomas can remember is his first name. There are brief images from his past life, but no details, no faces, no context. He quickly discovers he is not the only boy to enter the Glade with his memories curiously removed. The Glade is situated in the middle of a vast and complicated stone maze, trapping the boys there, with no idea who sent them and why, or how to escape. The Maze crawls with horrible and deadly creatures, called grievers, by night, and sometimes during the day, preying on the boys, making it even harder to find the solution. They can’t give up though, there must be a way to escape their imprisonment, a way to make it home, even if they can’t remember where or what home is anymore. Things in the Glade have been the same day in, day out for two years, but after Thomas arrives, things begin to change. Is Thomas the cause or is he there to help them? Even Thomas doesn’t have an answer to that yet, but he will give it his all to find out.

James Dashner has created a whole new and terrifying world in The Maze Runner. It is an excellent read most suitable for upper primary and high school students, though adults are sure to enjoy it as well. I found it to be an exciting page-turner that I stayed up late to finish reading, something I don’t do much any more with three young children, but I just couldn’t put it down until I discovered what became of Thomas and the Gladers.

The world of the Gladers developed around me as I read, with the different parts of the Glade becoming clear, and the characters so life-like. The characters were easily envisioned, with Chuck’s constant chatter, Alby’s temper,  Newt’s determination, and Minho’s hope. Thomas is a little different to the other boys, but very likeable, I really wanted him to find the truth and be the one that lead the boys to victory. Theresa, the only girl in the story is a bit of an enigma, but I thought her roughness and pluck were perfectly suited to her role in the story. A wonderful cast of characters, in a truly well told tale of adventure, mystery, danger and excitement.

I bought this book thinking it was a stand-alone novel, so I was very excited to discover that it is just the first book in a series! I will be getting my hands on the sequel as soon as possible :)

 

 

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Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present by Jacqueline Harvey

IMG_1702Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present by Jacqueline Harvey, paperback novel, 147 pages, published by Random House Australia in 2013.

A huge wedding is scheduled to occur at Penberthy House, and it is all hands on deck to make it successful. Unfortunately Uncle Digby becomes ill and is taken to the hospital, accompanied by Lady Clarissa, leaving Aunt Violet in charge of the guests. Clementine Rose does her best to help Aunt Violet, but the grumpy old woman seems to find it impossible to be pleasant! Amidst the growing chaos and excitement at Penberthy House, Clemmie is feeling sad and upset because she hasn’t received an invitation to Angus’ birthday party, and she seems to be the only one in the class left out. She tries to convince herself she doesn’t want to go anyway, but deep down she knows it’s simply not true. Is it a mistake, or is Angus really that mean? And will the wedding be a success even with Aunt Violet at the helm?

Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present is the third installment of the very popular Clementine Rose series. These books are suitable for lower to middle primary age children. I am reading them to my preschooler, and she just loves them, she adores Clemmie and wishes she had a tea-cup pig just like Lavender. My preschooler often tells me that she is glad her teacher is not like Mrs Bottomley, Clemmie’s kindergarten teacher. I can scarcely think of a character less suitable for teaching five year olds than Mrs Bottomley! She is so well written that my preschooler scowls every time she is mean to Clemmie, as though she were witnessing these events in her own classroom. My favourite character is definitely Aunt Violet. She can be so obnoxious and rude, yet there is a gentle side that occasionally flashes through her outer veneer of haughtiness. She reminds me of a few old ladies I’ve met! Of course, Clemmie is a weakness for Aunt Violet, and how could she not be? So wonderfully sweet and innocent, and always trying her best, Clementine Rose is an excellent role model for children.

Clementine Rose and the Perfect Present is funny and well written with a scattering of black and white illustrations throughout. The storyline is interesting, yet not too complicated, perfect for the intended audience. My preschooler laughed so hard over Uncle Orville’s antics surrounding the wedding, especially when he hopped into Aunt Violet’s bed accidentally, thinking it was his own. And she was quite relieved that Uncle Digby was going to be okay, and that Angus is becoming nicer all the time.

I am enjoying reading the Clementine Rose books with my preschooler, I love hearing her laugh, and ask for more. She is so excited to read Clemmie, she barely lets me take a breath between books! If you haven’t tried Clementine Rose yet, what are you waiting for?

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The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

IMG_1698The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, paperback picture book, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in 2013.

Duncan’s crayons are not happy. Each of them have written him a letter explaining their grievances, and asking him to change the way he uses them. Until then, the crayons are on strike.

A wonderful book for preschool and primary school aged children, The Day the Crayons Quit, is both funny and reflective of the usage of crayons in a child’s pencil case. Each of the crayon’s letters are written with that crayon in a child-like handwriting, which suits the story perfectly. And the letters are just so funny. The crayon illustrations are brilliant, I think I’ve seen a few ‘white cat in the snow’ pictures done by my own children! I particularly love the purple dragon and wizard.

Both my preschooler and second grader love this book. It appeals to their sense of art and colour, as well as making them laugh. I like to share this story with my kids, because I love it too :) I also think my kids would secretly like their own crayons to send them some letters as well!

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Dinosaur Poo! by Diane and Christyan Fox

IMG_1695Dinosaur Poo! by Diane and Christyan Fox, hardback picture book, published by Words & Pictures in 2014.

Dinosaurs poo all over the place, but which dinosaur has the largest (and probably smelliest) poo around? Velociraptor and Pteradacyl set out to find the biggest dinosaur poo, behind rocks, in the river and even up a tree!

Dinosaur Poo! is sure to be a hit with young and old alike. This hilarious romp through the prehistoric landscape had us laughing and giggling as we lifted the flaps to see the big smelly piles of dinosaur poo. And the ending had my kids in stitches. They wanted to read it over and over! The clear, colourful illustrations combined with funny rhyming text and lift-the-flap sections, make this an awesome book for children in preschool and lower primary school.

My kids are both obsessed with toilet humour at the moment, and they both love dinosaurs, so the combination of poo and dinosaurs was sure to be a hit in our house. I borrowed this book from the library first, but we enjoyed it so much I am going to purchase it so that we can read it any time we feel like a good laugh!

 

 

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Tissue Paper Flower Art

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Sheets of tissue paper.

Sheets of tissue paper.

Spring has sprung, and A is feeling like doing lots of flowery arts and crafts at the moment. She made this delightful picture by scrunching up circular sheets of tissue paper into small balls and gluing them onto a sheet of blue paper.

Gluing down the tissue paper balls.

Gluing down the tissue paper balls.

Every time she scrunched up a piece of tissue paper, she said “Scrunching it up like I don’t want it any more.” And then she would stick it down using Clag glue. She even put a sun up in the corner to help the flowers grow. The stems, leaves and grass, she drew using green markers.

Adding grass.

Adding grass.

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Paper Weaving

IMG_1683Paper weaving is a simple activity that kids love. It can be done with just two contrasting pieces of paper. A chose a sheet of purple paper for her base, and then some green, light blue and dark blue paper for her weaving strips.

The cut base, with the edge forming the frame.

The cut base, with the edge forming the frame.

I folded the sheet of purple paper in half (short ends together), and then cut in from the folded side, leaving a couple of centimetres at the end and edges to form a frame around the edge. Each cut was about two centimetres apart, but there’s no need to be exact.

Cutting a strip of paper.

Cutting a strip of paper.

A cut some strips of coloured paper to weave through the base sheet. She made some thin and some fat. I think having uneven strips makes the finished artwork more interesting than even strips.

A started weaving strips through the cuts of the base sheet. She practiced over, under, over, under… until her strip was all the way across the base. Once she had a strip weaved through, she pushed it up against the edge of the last one, and did another one. It was a little difficult to get the last strip in, as there wasn’t much space left, so I helped her finish it off.

Weaving paper strips.

Weaving paper strips.

A added a dab of glue under the end of each strip to hold it in place. The Clag glue made the colour in the paper run a little, so we could see where the glue was even once it had dried, so next time we will use a glue stick!

Putting on some glue.

Putting on some glue.

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Tissue Paper Roses

I like having flowers on the table, it makes the house feel cheery. But then I get a bit sad when they start to wilt and go brown. Luckily, craft flowers don’t die off, so we can keep lovely bright flowers on the table at all times!

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Tissue paper circles.

Tissue paper circles.

A and I made some roses using tissue paper circles. I bought these circles in a rainbow pack, so there were lots of colours to choose from. We combined different coloured circles to make multi-coloured flowers. Each flower used five or six sheets of tissue paper.

The end of the pipe cleaner in the centre of the flower.

The end of the pipe cleaner in the centre of the flower.

The stems are half a green pipe cleaner (chenille stick). I poked the end of the pipe cleaner through the centre of the stack of tissue paper. I twisted the end of the pipe cleaner to keep it in place. Then A pushed and folded the tissue paper into a flower shape, upwards and away from the pipe cleaner stem. She twisted the base of the flower, and used sticky tape to attach it to the stem, and to keep it scrunched up in shape. We rearranged the petals of each flower to show off the different colours, and create a layered effect, like that seen on real roses.

Shaping a rose.

Shaping a rose.

Once we had a bunch of these roses, A used a cardboard roll as a makeshift vase. They look lovely sitting in the centre of our table.

Two of our roses.

Two of our roses.

Roses in a makeshift vase.

Roses in a makeshift vase.

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I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess by Heath McKenzie

IMG_1565I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.

Wanting to become a pretty princess is a dream of many young girls, but what does it really take to be one? Dresses, hair, dancing… Here are the rules for being a pretty princess.

A Princess shows the young girl what it takes to be a pretty princess, which isn’t really much fun, there’s hard work too. Some things are uncomfortable and boring, she can’t even eat all the yummy food at the tea party, and she certainly can’t just be herself.

My preschooler likes to dress up as a pretty princess a lot, so when she saw this book she was very excited. She loves it. It is very funny, and the illustrations are fantastic. The expressions of the girl are particularly well drawn, and the boy prince that comes to court her is amusing. I like that the girl discovers that being a princess isn’t all glamour and fun as they are often portrayed, there are sacrifices as well. She finds that it is far better to be herself and do the things she actually likes to do, this is a good message for our girls and boys (though I’m not sure many boys aspire to become princesses!). Pretending to be a princess, without all of the pressures and obligations of a real princess, is much more fun!

This is a nice book for preschool and lower primary school children. It probably appeals more to girls, though I won’t hesitate to read it to my son as well.

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