I am delighted to be sharing with you an introduction to Nurturestore’s new book Super Sensory Invitations to Play. I have known Cathy pretty much since I started blogging and she is a fabulous educator, creative mama and also a real inspiration. We are sharing with you today just one of the 52 activities in more »
There is nothing better than receiving a kids made card and Father’s Day is no exception. I love getting creative with the MiniMads and coming up with ideas for this years card for MadDad. The boys love their father and there is something about watching the Husbeast with his boys that makes me go weak more »
How do you record your holiday memories? My boys are very fortunate, blogging has brought us so many fabulous experiences as a family and I want to make sure that we are thankful for them and also record them so we can look back at our experiences and adventures.
Not only did two years classrooms flood, but the library and ICT area also flooded. The dining hall has been turned in to a storage area and the school has been unable to serve warm meals. All this uncertainty has resulted in a very anxious Mini. This partly shows by him being filled with bravado and the other side with issues sleeping.
So in addition to working on stopping him being a reluctant sleeper and doing things to prevent nightmares, we also made a dream catcher together. When I say we, what I mean is I held the tape and chatted to him whist he made his own dream catcher.
We used, some wood from a plant in the garden with tape to make into a circle (ish) and then mini used rope to tie round it. He then strung some pretty beads on to string and attached them.
Whilst he concentrated on making the dreamcatcher we talked about their history and all the things that have been worrying him.
Inspired by the Hairy Bikers, Mini has decided that he wants to make sourdough bread, which means that we need to make a starter. So We have started the process and at the moment we are on day two and MAria (as Mini named her) is currently sat in the airing cupboard.
Mini never does things by half so we received sourdough starters on line and he decided to use one from the BBC (as they often use this site for recipes at school).
He also decided he need to keep on top of what day it was so used our new A4 flexible magnetic chalkboard from First 4 Magnets, which was only £3.49 (they send it to us free) and stuck it on the fridge so he could see it and tick off after he had done what needed to be done each day.
We would love for you to join us in learning how to make sourdough bread, like Helen at The Crazy Kitchen has. If you do, please let us know by leaving a comment and you can follow our progress over on The Mad House facebook page or Instagram.
Maggie at Red Ted Art (who has a new craft book out) hosts a weekly Google + Hangout and this weeks was all about Pine cone crafts. Mini has been studying nocturnal animals this week, so we decided to make a pine-cone owl.
This is one of those crafts that you can adjust dependent on the age of your child bu cutting out all the felt (or foam) and allowing them to glue it or they can cut it out and glue it too. I made templates for the boys to draw around on the felt with a soft pencil and they cut out the felt themselves.
Felt (or craft foam) in yellow, brown and orange
Glue gun or glue (Maxi uses a glue gun, but mini uses craft PVA)
Cut out in yellow a figure of eight shape for the base of the eyes larger than your googly eyes and stick the eyes to it.
Then using orange felt or foam cut out a small triangle for the beak and curves with points which are the owls feet.
You cut out a square in brown for the owls hat – approximately 2 inches in size, but this depends on your pine cone.
Cut two triangles for the owls wings
Both my boys love numbers and math. We have been working with Maxi and the school to show his workings out, as he has always said that he just sees the answers to math questions in his head. As he gets older points are often given for using the correct method and for showing the workings in exams.
One of the ways we do this is by playing games. I recently picked up a great little bingo set at the charity shop, which both the boys love top play. They use it for making up their own number games. They add the numbers, add up the lines when they score to work out who is the winner and just generally have fun with the numbers and the counters. When I was growing up I loved bingo too, I used to tag along with my cousins when they visited and go to the arcades to play bingo. Nowadays they play online at sites such as GoldenBingo.co.uk.
There are lots of other number games you can play with children including:
Domino’s – great for number recognition, counting and strategy
Cards – you can play lots of card games with children, from basic snap, which is great for number recognition to something more difficult such as two’s and eights. Cards are so portable and are great to have in your handbag.
Dice – a pair of dice is great to carry in your bag. You can use them for very basic sums by getting your child to throw the dice and add, subtract, divide or times the two numbers.
Monoploly is great for introducing children to the concept of money and they often do not realise they are using maths skills whilst playing.
Battleships is a fantastic game for introducing children to co-ordinates. Perfect for playing before they have to use graphs.
Skittles or ten pin bowling. You can make your own skittles from bottles and give them numbers. This can help number recognition and addition skills for scoring.
What are your favorite games to play that reinforce maths skills?
In fact it took less time and effort to make the cards than it did to hassle them to filling them in. I really do want the boys to have good manners and thank you cards are part and parcel of receiving gifts in The Mad House, but at six and seven I feel that the responsibility for writing them should come down to the boys and that I no longer should have to send them in their behalf, but what a palaver. I ended up nagging and nagging them to get them done.
Do you make your children write thank you cards? If so how do you encourage them to complete them?
So when Mini asked if he could have the watercolours out to paint and started painting concentric circles in squares, I decided to sit down and we had a fab discussion.
Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) was a Russian-French painter. His style of painting originally belonged to expressionism, and is sometimes included in symbolism. Kandinsky was one of the artists who gave shape to the abstract art in the early twentieth century.
Kandinsky was inspired by music. So whilst mini was painting I popped on Vivaldi’s four seasons. We talked about the fact Kandinsky thought that each colour has its own language and expression. Kandinsky tried to convert musical compositions into paintings. He heard colours in music and he saw music in colours. Mini told me that black must be sad music.
We also talked about the fact that paintings do not have to be of things or people and can be looked at in lots of different ways. I loved the fact that it is something that MIni could easily mimic and didn’t feel that there was a right or wrong.
I love crafting. More than crafting myself I love crafting with my boys. I love watching them get all excited about the things they make and the way that they glow with pride when they present people with their finished makes. Being creative isn’t something that should be left just to girls and I have and do encourage my boys to be as creative as possible. for me this means not only with art work, but with cooking, making music and just life in general.
Sometimes though I find that other things take over and we need something that we can fit in with Beavers, reading and being outside, this is where Yellow Moon comes in to its own. More often that not they have perfect craft activities which are quick and the boys can do with minimal or no supervision.
the brush) and placed the wrapping paper on top.
He continued to do that for all the sides of the box and then the top. I used a craft knife to cut a slit in the paper at the top so the money could still go in.
Mini then coated the money box in glue to protect the paper.
o parents, STOP IT……….. This is not about having the perfect egg, the best decorated or anything like that, this is about your children doing something. So sit on your hands and let them do it ON THEIR OWN.
A large part of simplifying Christmas for me is making it all about homemade. Homemade decorations and homemade gifts I am a great believer in that the simpler things are, the more effective they are.
One of the main ways we start the festive season is by making our advent crown or wreath. This is one of the many things I remember doing as a child, however, I remember the Blue Peter version of wire coat hangers, tinsel and open flames!!
We have decorated the kitchen this week and I have also rearranged the art corner, with the introduction of the boys small table in to the kitchen are and the addition of some great storage from Ikea for the pens etc. We have painted the kitchen Willow (a soft soothing green) after MadDad decided that more »
Materials Permenant markers Surgical Spirit (from the chemist) Jam Jars Plain Fabric Elastic Band Syringe Method Put your fabric over the jam jar and secure with the elastic band. Using your pen draw a pattern on the fabric. Circles work best, but any pattern will do. Leave a gap between the lines for the colour more »
Maxi made mugs for his teacher and teaching assistants. We used porcelain paint from my stash and some 50p mugs from Morrisons, He used his finger and thumb to make prints on them, which we turned in to pigs, beas, a caterpillar and flowers. Mini and I made lavender bags for his Preschool teacher and more »
Heart petal flowers are a really simple way to make flowers for someone special, not for any reason, just to say I love you. They would also make a really great gift to say thank you to any teacher at this time of the year. Materials Tissue Paper Heart Punch or template and scissors Paper more »
Sometimes painting with children can seem such a daunting task, it can take on a uncontrollable pace all of its own, which is why it is often great to use paint with an end in mind. So I set up the painting tings on the dining table yesterday for when I collected the minimads from more »
I dont know about your children, but my two are now obsessed with volannco’s thanks to the icelandic one. We caught them making thier own volancic ash cloud with dust and mud from the pavement and then water on Friday evening and decided that we would have a go a making our own active volcano. more »
This one goes out to all of you with little ones, ones that scribble and just love free art. Materials Paper Masking tape, as low tack as possible crayons, pens, pencils, glitter, paint I know that I keep going on about not passing your perfectionism on to your children and letting them express themselves, but more »
Well this week, we are going with a valentines theme. Yep seasonal over here at TheMadHouse. Again, I am hoping to inspire you out there with children to craft and play with them. To get over your need for perfectionism and fear of mess and just go with the flow and enjoy. If we do more »
Lets start the year with an oldie but a goodie and this is something that you can take out when you are lacking in motivation or just need a little break. Once you have made it you will never again buy it and trust me adding essential oils makes it so nice. Materials/Ingredients 1 and more »
I started the craft showcase in 2009, becuase once I had the boys I also developed the need to be more creative, which is something I have never ever been before. Rather than finding it a messy, time consuming and a chore, it is a true joy. It is helping me get over my perfectionist more »
We have been busy cooking, baking, crafting, drawing, painting and generally having fun. over the last few days. One of the tasks this week for the mini mads was to make a Christmas present for Nana and Grandma Materials Stamps (poundland have some in) Fabric paint (I got mine when MaxiMad was born over more »
Mary I’ve packed the oil And I’ve packed the grain, The water is ready Now listen again – Here are the blankets and covers And your mattress there, So please, my sweet friend, Keep warm and take care Today I have a very easy Pine Cone decoration, which I totally pinched from Sweet Paul. It more »
This is another really simple, but fun childrens craft, which will save you some pennies over the Christmas period and also over the year to come. Materials Paper – we have a roll of white paper from Ikea £2.99 Washable paints Paper plates Washing up bowl filled with soapy water Towel Now I am not more »
I think that Christmas cards that the children have made are a lovely thing to give, but often they can be messy, difficult, time consuming and complicated to make. Not these easy stenciled christmas cards that are kid made. Firstly you need: Card Masking tape Green Paint Sponges Glue Sequins or stars Glitter You start by more »
I am thinking about introducing a weekly crafting with Children Showcase. Something that we can all partake in with our little ones. I love crafting and art with the boys and often find that it is so much easier if I have something planned and prepared. I often hear from people that they dont do more »
Well today has been very wet, so I decided to do some very easy Halloween decorations with the boys that required minimal preparation or involvement on my part. So we made paper pumpkins and drew faces on orange balloons. Whilst MaxiMad was a football practice I did was cut the paper for the pumpkins and black more »
MaxiMad gets a weekend homework project each week, nothing hard, just a little something. It has been to learn his address, draw his favorite hobby, write to 20 and last week it was to draw some number and colour patterns. He gets his project on a Thursday and it is returned on a Tuesday, so more »
Linda at ‘You’ve got your hands full’ tagged me with the Picture Perfect Meme, which Tara at Sticky Fingers started. You have to show a picture that your children have drawn about you. You may remember that a little while ago MaxiMad made a trip to the local sorting office where he saw the life more »
Seen as I have the colour changing pens out already for the Autumn tree collage I did with MiniMad this morning, I decided to do some secret Halloween pictures for when the boys came home from school and preschool. Again you can not get much more simple than this. I used the white (colour changing more »
My wonderful Fly friend Wendy sent this craft all ready prepared for the minimads all I added was the colour changing felt tips which had been supplied by my mother in law earlier in the year. Basically she printed out the tree and the leaves and we coloured them in with the colour change felt more »