Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Natural Treasure Basket for Baby

Time for baby girl to start exploring a bit more. I can't believe it's around two years to the day since I posted a picture of a similar treasure basket. 

Treasure baskets are a wonderful way for babies to explore everyday objects that you have around your home. Sometimes they have a theme - the theme of this basket is natural materials. 
'The Little Book Of Treasure Baskets' has lots more ideas and tips for putting together baskets of your own.  

Remember - safety first!  Never leave your baby alone while playing with a treasure basket and only give them objects you feel are safe for them to explore.

Monday, 15 June 2015

More Numbers!

I wonder if you remember the numbers I made a while back for my little boy's room?  

Here they are....lovely colourful numbers from 0-10.  

They hang in his room but can be taken down if he wants to play with them.  

Here's the original post here and some learning ideas for what you can do with them.

This time I was making them for my little girl's room and although I was trying not to go all pink and girly, it's difficult not to!

I still made numbers from 0-10 in co-ordinating fabrics but changed the colours on the back to pale pink or cerise pink for odd and even numbers.  
Just a little extra and self checking activity for when she's at that stage.  Ok, I know that's many years off yet!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Water Bottle Fun

I came across a couple of water bottles I bought in the winter today which were perfect for spraying onto the spider's webs we found in the garden to show them up a bit more.  Water droplets (and frost) on a web look truly beautiful wouldn't you agree?

Some of the webs we found were the biggest I've ever seen. One measured the full size of one of the playhouse windows - spectacular!
Can you see it in the picture? 

My photography skills can't seem to get a better shot.

We went off on a spider web hunt, which led to a spider hunt and then on to a full blown minibeast hunt.

And to top it off we just ended up running around the garden having a water spray chase.  Love summer!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Dinosaur Play in the Garden

The sun has come out at last and I should think so too in June!
So we've been out in the garden today and made this little dinosaur world. 
We had some trees cut recently and I asked for the offcuts for playing with - they have so many uses!
Here they've been used as platforms for the dinosaurs to climb on and jump from.  
I added a piece of shimmery blue fabric I have as a river/lake and some green mesh for grass.
Set against a leafy background it makes for lots of dino fun...

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Felt Story

Well, this has been a very long time in the making - about a whole year - which is crazy as it wasn't difficult or particularly time consuming to do.

However, throw in a pregnancy that left me absolutely exhausted, then a delicious new baby girl to go with my now three year old and it might help to explain.
She is now 7 months old and while I may be getting a little more sleep I still don't seem to manage any more free time to do much so it's a wonder I got this finished at all!

The all time classic story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is one of my favourites - who doesn't love it?  It's such a short and simple, but genius story with so many learning concepts thrown in.  

The illustrations are also a delight and if you're looking for some art lesson inspiration in the Eric Carle style I can recommend Deep Space Sparkle for some fabulous and colourful ideas.

Yes, as a teacher (and mummy) the story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar is certainly irresistible! 

So, to the felt story pieces.  

I started this project with the caterpillar which has the most detail and took the longest time to make out of everything.  

I often cut things freehand from felt but for this I knew I had to draw a paper pattern first as there was so much 'movement' in him.  

The sections had to fit together in a way that made him look like he was actually wiggling along.  I managed this by drawing and cutting sections at lots of different angles and cut them in varying tones of green.  

If you do similar, I would recommend numbering the pieces before cutting them out as it made it much easier to piece them all back together again in the correct order and ensured a variety of tones when cutting the felt. 

He took a while to come together but sewing all the pieces onto one large piece of felt (and then cutting out when complete) definitely made the job much easier and also strengthened the back a bit.

The legs were added once the caterpillar had been cut from the backing felt. 

I took all the cut out bits on holiday last year and it was the perfect thing to do in the evenings (for as long as I could stay awake - remember I was pregnant!).  If I got a bit fed up of sewing green bits of caterpillar, I moved on to cutting out fruit.  

The fruit was easy and was done quite quickly.  I made paper patterns for all these bits too so they were roughly the same size, but I added leaves or stalks on some to make them look more individual. 

The food took a little longer and some of it I kept putting off.  I couldn't seem to get motivated to make the sausage but the lollipop and cheese was fun to do.  

Funny the little mind games you play with yourself!

The butterfly could be doing with a little more detail to bring him up to the same standard as the caterpillar so maybe I will go back and add some.  Have you spotted that he's upside down? It was too late by the time I realised so he's very individual!

a handy bag to store everything

To keep all the pieces together - there are 15 pieces of fruit, 10 pieces of food, the caterpillar and the butterfly so that's a lot to lose - I made a very simple little bag that does the job perfectly.  

all the pieces on a felt board

We've just used an existing felt board (a piece of board that I covered in felt) to play with the pieces and retell the story. 

colour matching

Apart from retelling the story, you can try some maths concepts such as counting the fruit, matching groups of fruit to numerals, sorting for colour, discuss before/after/next, first/second/third (ordinals) and talk about the days of the week.  


There is also the opportunity to talk about healthy/favourite foods and even try simple recipes.  

You can see why us teachers enjoy using this story as a focus!

I've got some other classroom resources that I made and I'm happy to share once I can get my hands on them - they are in my classroom at the moment but I'm still on maternity leave.  They include counting cards and days of the week order cards.