Mamma's School

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Tag: art and craft (Page 1 of 2)

Nature Art – Air Dry Clay Figures

Today was a gorgeous warm (ish), but sunny autumnal day, so we decided to chill out in the garden doing some nature art.  We had some air dry clay left over from a previous crafting project, so we decided to use that up and do something with it, before it completely air dried itself out in the crafting drawers!  Nature clay figures it was to be.

The only supplies you need are air dry clay and things from around the garden.  I sent my trio off to collect various items.  They headed back with leaves, grass, twigs, sticks, sloe berries, various red berries, and anything else they could lay their hands on.  I was intrigued to see twin 2 really involved in this activity, as in the past he has not been so keen.  He and our little lady spent a good hour modelling their figures, while twin 1 bashed his lump into a pancake shape, and then headed off to cause mischief while the rest of us were distracted!!!

Any art and craft activity is good for their little brains (and I find it quite restorative too!).  It helps their mental, social, and emotional development.  Whatever they have chosen to do will usually involve honing their fine motor skills.  They use their imaginations to create with their resources, and when they enjoy and like what they have made, it in turn increases their self confidence.

Some of the best supplies are outdoors in nature (and they are free too).  Doing nature art gets everyone outside in the fresh air.  Their attention to detail within nature is increased as they look and discuss what they are using, which can then lead onto other discussions about its role in nature, and open a whole new learning topic.  Nature’s supplies are often a lot more interesting with regard to colour, smell, and texture too, making it more fun.

The finished nature art products we ended up with from today’s session were 2 hedgehogs, a snowman, and a scary rabbit….oh, and a flat pancake thingy!!

Nature art, nature craft, art and craft, outdoors art, outdoors craft, www.mammasschool.co,.uk nature art, nature craft, outdoor art, outdoor craft, art and craft, www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Flower Pounding – Nature’s Art

flower pounding, nature's art, art with nature, outdoor art, flower art, www.mammasschool.co.ukFlower pounding is a very effective way of doing art with nature.  My trio love doing this because it so easy and very effective.  We also love seeing how our results change over the course of the four seasons.

 

 

 

 

So what supplies are required for flower pounding?

Very few?!  Any shape or size of cotton based material…plain is better as your results will be more visible.  You need to bear in mind that whatever you choose, the material needs to be large enough to place the flowers on one side and then fold in half.  You then need to pick a good selection of flowers and leaves.  When we pick our leaves for flower pounding we look for ones that would make good patterns.  For example, bracken with their fronds are good, or something similar.  With the flowers anything with a good solid colour will work well.  Then you just need a hammer.

Now you are all set to go….

Place your material flat, and start laying your leaves and flowers onto one half of the material.  You can either do this randomly, or think about the end result you would like and put more thought it into it.  My trio are all about the colours and patterns at the moment, so lay them out randomly.  You then need to fold the other half of the material over the top so the foliage is covered by the material.

 

Now you tap, tap, tap very gently with your hammer.  Too hard or fast and the hammer will shred the material.  Make sure you are firm enough though to see the colour coming through the material.  Go over all the edges of the leaves and flowers to get the best definition results.  You also need to do this on a firm surface.  As you can see we have chosen our garage floor, rather than the lawn (too squishy with all the moss!), or the decking (didn’t want hammer shaped dents all over it!!).  Once you think you have finished, open the material up and brush off the “crumbs” of the foliage, and you will be left with a lovely colourful pattern.  One of ours turned out very much like a butterfly but this was completely accidental!!  Nevertheless the children were very happy it did 🙂

 

 

 

Blowing Dandelion Bubbles – Nature’s Bubble Blower.

Blowing dandelion bubbles - Nature's bubble blower, nature bubbles www.mammasschool.co.ukWe have just had a lovely afternoon blowing dandelion bubbles through the plant’s stem 🙂 The trio loved making these and then experimenting with them also.

It’s a really easy activity to prepare, and because it’s outside all mess is outdoors too…bonus!  So what do you need for blowing dandelion bubbles?

Washing up liquid

Water

Bowl for mixing

Scissors

and of course….dandelions!!

Here is what you do:

Make up some soapy water

Cut the flower head off

Trim the other end of the stalk too

Swirl around one end in the soapy water (not the end you want to put up to your mouth!!).

Then gently blow through the stem, and you should see your bubble 🙂

My trio loved blowing dandelion bubbles, and then experimenting with different lengths of stem, different diameters of stem, variations of puffing, and who could make the biggest dandelion bubbles.  It was such a lovely, but chilly day, they stayed there for a good while.  Afterwards the chalks came out for drawing, and even a small potion was whipped up with the newly flowering plants.

 

 

Country Kids

Seed Bombs – The Gardening Grenade!

Seed Bombs-The gardening grenade, children gardening, gardening, seeds, wildflowers www.mammasschool.co.ukSeed bombs are a great way to introduce colour, flowers, and therefore wildlife, into corners where nobody seems to care….just go for a walk, and lob one of these creations into a place that is dull and boring and then return in the summer to see if it has worked.  They are great for brightening up places you feel are uncared for, but full of sunshine with grass or bare soil.  We had an ulterior motive though here in our Swedish garden.  It is HUGE…..I’m not boasting, as that is just the way where we live, but it’s 3 hours of lawn mowing & strimming a week huge.  Gardens here are very different from back in the UK.  Forget a lot of plants that you would have in the UK, as they won’t survive the winter.  Then there are the deer and elk that like to nibble the lovely blooms, not to mention the stony wild areas that just need to be left the way nature intended.  You need to work with the wild, and tame it where you can.  It is a whole new experience of gardening out here.  I have left a very small UK garden although it was bursting with very typical English cottage style flower beds and climbing roses, to learn very rapidly that I can’t do that here (or maintain it even if I could!).  So, we have a few “wild” areas of our own, that would benefit from the gardener’s hand grenade that is the seed bomb.

So what do you need?

1 cup of air drying clay

1 cup of compost

2 packets of seeds

(we have multiplied this to cater for the fact that I have three children doing it, and a lot of space to cover!!  However, having said that, once we had put out the supplies, the boys decided they weren’t participating today!)

So how do you make them?

Break the clay into small pieces and put into a bucket or bowl

Add the compost

Rub the 2 together

Sprinkle in your seeds and gently stir.

Roll into small balls and place on a tray to dry out (1-2 days).

 

Choose your designated area and head out for a garden grenade throwing session 🙂

 

A Fairy Garden – Make Tinkerbell and Her Friends a Home.

Hooray, spring is probably here now for good, and we can take our crafting and making back into the great outdoors 🙂  So much easier especially when your supplies come from there and are a tad messy.  Today our little lady decided she was going to build a fairy garden.  Cue 2 little boys wanting to make one as well, and before I know it we have triple the amount of fairy gardens we had before we started.  So, to lighten my load a little, I suggested the mini men worked together on this one, and then I was only being pulled in 2 directions at once (although our little lady is fairly independent!).

To start with we needed to construct the fairies a little home for their fairy garden.  You can make these very neatly with crafting lolly sticks (all the same length and easier to handle), but we decided to go for a more rustic look with twigs.  The method is the same either way.  Have 2 sticks going horizontally, and place glue on them (PVA glue just doesn’t work in these scenarios, hence why the twins need help, as we have the adult glue out!!).  Then lay your pre-broken to size twigs vertically on top.  Make as many walls/roofs as you need (you can use 2 to make a pointed roof, or one for a flat roof), and then leave them to dry in the sunshine while you work on the rest of the fairy garden.

Next you need some sort of tub, and if there are no holes in the bottom, just poke some in so there is drainage.  I was lucky and had three shallow plant bowls in the garage so I used two of these.  We filled them with soil before moving onto the next phase.  We then placed our walls into the soil, making them into a square, but you can do any shape.  You can pre-glue your walls together and make the house in its entirety before placing it in the soil, but as we’d used twigs, they pushed in really well and held firm.

Then the garden is left to your creativity and imagination!  My trio placed moss on top of the soil for a lawn, and small stones for a garden path.  We then took 2 twigs, and tied string around to make a mini washing line.  Cutting up an old duster, they made towels, blankets, dresses, and even a deckchair.  We made pegs by snapping very small twigs, and slicing a small vertical line in the middle so it would hold onto the washing line.  The trio also added pieces of fir tree (to look like trees), and the odd crocus to brighten it up!!  The sky is your limit with what you can do.  Lego birds, mini barrels, mini plastic pegs, make a mini pond etc. My trio were really chuffed with their finished results, and we’ve tucked them away somewhere that is not so exposed, for them to play with out there 🙂

Make a fairy garden mini garden make a fairy home outdoor crafts www.mammasschool.co.uk

Country Kids

Thimble and Twig

Wooden Nesting Box-How to Make a Bird House.

Our little lady came to us one sunny morning, having decided she would like to build a bird’s nesting box for our garden.  I have always been an advocate of letting children use tools such as saws, drills, and hammers (under adult supervision), so I thought this was a great little project for her to do….but not so great for me.  It involved measuring and being precise, so over to Dadda went the project!

 

So before I go into the nitty gritty about the actual nesting box build, I want to explain a little why I feel it is important for children to be able to handle these adult tools.  Mine have handled them previously doing crafts at forest school, under the supervision of forest school leaders, and also at home to build simple things under my supervision.  In fact they have a box in the garden, full of wooden, a box of nails, and three short handled hammers, just for their use.  Using such tools will require co-ordination, and having a project to build requires the use of creativity and imagination, not to mention using skills such as measuring.  Using the tools gives the children responsibility and they learn to behave accordingly, and it heightens their sense of awareness as consequences for lack of it are more serious.  Plus they lead to a real meaningful experience, it’s tangible, memorable, and the learning that comes from such an experience is immense.  With all that in mind, I sent her off with her Dadda to construct their nesting box.

First of all they drew up some basic plans.  The little lady explained the shape she wanted to have, and Dadda helped her measure, and show her how to draw a plan to work from.  Then they set off into the garage for two days.  It is a good time of year to be building this as the birds around us have just started nesting.  We are really hoping for some visitors.  In our previous garden in the UK, the only garden birds we had were oversized pigeons and starlings, but here we have such a vast variety.  Plus the wildlife surrounding us is so rich and diverse.  We have woodpeckers 100m away in the wood, herons 200m another way, and I’ve come home to see a sea eagle looking very out of place in our garden tree!!  They found some old wood in the garage and set sawing the component parts they required.  Once they had all of those, they needed to drill a front door for the home owners, and then hammer the lot together.  We have placed it in a tree near our very successful bird feeder, hoping to draw attention to it!

Both the little lady and Dadda were very proud of their “scandi” nesting box!!!  I hope we have spurred you on with our post to let you children wield a “grown up” tool or two to complete a little project 🙂

Wooden Nesting Box -How to Build a bird hows, children's woodwork, childrens carpentry, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Make a Flower Press – A Fun Way to Collect Nature’s Craft Resources

Flower pressing is hugely popular with my trio.  My little lady has a bought flower press (long before I became acquainted with sawing and drilling as something to let children use), but my mini men have to resort to a home made one of which we will show you how to do here.  Once you have pressed and preserved your pieces of nature, the ways to use them are limitless.  My trio love making and creating, and now we finally have a few flowers peeping through after the long, dark, and cold Swedish Winter, I am having to control their enthusiasm somewhat or else I’d have no flowers left in the garden!!  Flower pressing is the vogue in our home!

To make your own flower press you need to have the confidence and trust in your little people to let them wield some “grown up” tools.   I want to explain a little why I feel it is important for children to be able to handle these adult tools.  Mine have handled them previously doing crafts at forest school, under the supervision of forest school leaders, and also at home to build simple things under my supervision.  In fact they have a box in the garden, full of wood, a box of nails, and three short handled hammers, just for their use.  Using such tools will require co-ordination, and having a project to build requires the use of creativity and imagination, not to mention using skills such as measuring.  Using the tools gives the children responsibility and they learn to behave accordingly, and it heightens their sense of awareness as consequences for lack of it are more serious.  Plus they lead to a real meaningful experience, it’s tangible, memorable, and the learning that comes from such an experience is immense.  I kept this very simple for my double trouble, with no precision or measuring required…I had enough on my plate making sure they weren’t nailed to their own designs!!

You can be more precise and measure your wood etc, but we sawed roughly 2 same lengths of wood.  You need 2 pieces for each flower press.  Then drill holes through (at least 4), and insert screws and nuts (wing nuts would look nice, but we used whatever we had in our odd screws box).  Make sure you cut 4 pieces of cardboard that are the size of the wood, to place between the flowers that require pressing, and you are all set to go flower pressing!

This whole project can be done outdoors in its entirety but we had drizzle today, so headed indoors for the painting and cardboard adding!

In the past our little lady has made book marks, collages, and greetings cards, all using the flower pressing method.  Today though she was utterly engrossed in her own idea of a nature guide.  She pressed various spring flowers from around the garden.  Then she stuck them into a journal she had made from cutting paper and taping the sheets together.  Then she added a flower to a page, and using a gardening book, wrote a little piece about each flower!  This was all her own initiative and she passed a whole day away immersed in her little project.  I think she will add to it as the seasons progress as well.

Flower Pressing, flower press, how to press flowers, make a flower press, pressed flower crafts www.mammasschool.co.ukMake a flower press, flower pressing, flower pressing craft www.mammasschool.co.uk

Slippery Snails Art and Craft Ideas.

Slippery snails art and craft ideas snail craft snail art www.mammasschool.co.ukWe have been studying snails in the Nature Curriculum.  Slightly hindered by the snow on the ground, so admittedly it has been mainly theory based.  However, it hasn’t stopped us enjoying some snail art and craft.  We had lots of ideas, but just did three.  I have to rein myself in sometimes as there is so much I want to do with them, but that makes it all a rush, rather than a chilled afternoon creating.  Check out my snail pinterest board for more ideas

https://uk.pinterest.com/mammasschool/nature-curriculum-snails/

 

 

Our first idea was spotty dotty snails.  There was paint in tubs on the table, and each one had a cork in.  The children then made snails by dotting various colours of paint with the corks 🙂  I love (and so do they by the way!) using alternatives to paint brushes, just to show them that thinking outside the box is fine.  You don’t have to paint with a paint brush because that is they way everyone usually does it.  They loved the results, and we had three very different pictures, depending on how they had decided to use their corks.

Our second idea involved using paper plates for shells.  First of all the trio drew a snails body on cardboard before cutting it out.  Next they decorated the paper plate shell in any way they desired, before gluing it onto the body.  We used pipe cleaners for antennae.

slippery snail art and craft ideas snail art snail craft www.mammasschool.co.uk

The final craft was using Hama beads.  These are very popular in our home, and ours are out and used almost everyday.  It is very rare for Dadda and I to go up to bed and not find some sort of Hama bead creation gift left on our pillows by any one of the trio.  This one is our little lady’s creation…all her favourite colours!!

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our craft ideas, and will have a go yourself 🙂

 

Spring Crafts-9 Sunny Spring Craft Ideas.

Spring crafts 9 sunny spring craft ideas spring equinox www.mammasschool.co.ukHaving had the spring equinox on Monday 20th March, we have used this as our theme this week.  So all our crafting has been spring crafts.  Lots of lovely fun sunny spring craft ideas, to make us feel that we are finally saying goodbye to our long winter (and hat wearing).

 

 

 

The first of our spring crafts is a finger painted garden.  You first need to do the background.  A band of green on the bottom, a thin band of yellow above, and a wider band of blue above that for the sky with fingerprints.  You can then add thumbprints in a variety of colours for flower heads.  We have also added some dots of contrasting colour in the centre of some of ours, as well as a few random stems.  All our smaller dots were done with cotton buds.

Next up we have fork flowers!  My trio loved doing this, as they love using anything but brushes to paint with.  We painted some green stems with brushes, and then added different coloured flower heads with forks dipped in paint.  Sometimes I think these crafts are quite simple for our little lady who is 9.  However, she loves doing them, and that is the main thing.  She is learning to think outside the box a little, and then she stays on at the table being creative more at her level with everything she has just learned.

Our third craft is a very effective hand print tree.  We brushed our hands in brown paint (created by mixing red and green as we don’t have brown!).  We then did a hand print on the paper that served as the branches and tree trunk.  Next we used ear cleaners to make the blossom effect.

 

 

 

Continuing with the blossom theme, it is spring after all, our next piece was similar but using a different technique.  This time we painted a brown branch.  Then we used the bottom of a fizzy pop bottle, dipped in paint, to make the blossom print marks.  This was the first time we had used pop bottles to paint, and it was very effective.

 

 

We then went onto some spring mini beasts. We cut a leaf from green card, that we had drawn on.  We then stuck pom poms onto the leaf to make our very own hungry caterpillar.

 

 

They enjoyed making a caterpillar so much, we stuck with that mini beast, and created one from a paper plate.  We cut a section of paper plate rim and decorated it.  The trio then styled a face/antennae to their fancy, and stuck it onto the front of the plate.

 

Naturally, having done caterpillars, they wanted to move onto butterflies, so we did just one today (lots and lots of ideas!!).  My trio each drew a butterfly shape on card.  They then cut this out.  They painted one side and folded it in half to make the pattern across all of the wings.  We then sliced the top portion of a bendy straw, to pull apart for antennae, and glued the rest of the straw into the middle of the wings.

The penultimate idea for spring crafts was an egg carton flower.  We cut a four section of cups from the carton, each painting theirs to their own tastes.  We stuck a bright pom pom in the centre, and a straw as the stem.  Easy peasy!

 

 

 

The last of our spring crafts ideas was to actually use a little bit of nature itself and do some nature threading.  We collected various items from around the garden, and used a needle and thread to thread them together.  The trio made their various creations, and then we used them to decorate their bedrooms for a few days.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our spring crafts, and have as much fun doing them as we did 🙂

Spring Crafts 9 sunny spring craft ideas spring art fun www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

 

Thimble and Twig

Bird Craft Activities

Nesting bird craft activities bird feeders edible nests www.mammasschool.co.ukA new week and we have a new Nature Curriculum topic, nesting birds.  We have enjoyed a busy afternoon making and creating bird craft.  We picked three to do, but over on my Pinterest page (Mamma’s School) there are lots more ideas if you fancy a peek.  Just choosing three meant that we could take our time and enjoy our bird craft more 🙂

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