Tuesday, 26 February 2013

It's Bubble-tastic!!

At Little ARTventurers at Ashbrooke this morning we broke out the bubbles - popped some music on and the children had a whale of a time chasing them, popping them, dancing and trying to catch them! Any kind of activity involving bubbles is always a huge hit, from babies through to big kids (and grown ups too - don't try and deny it!), and it got me thinking about the benefits of bubble play for babies and young children.........

1. Bubbles can help to develop visual tracking skills

Watch where the bubbles are coming from and where they're going - follow the bubbles with your eyes! Are they going fast or are they floating slowly?

2. Bubbles aid sensory development

How do they feel? Wet and slimy? A bit sticky? Soft?

3. Bubbles can help develop social and communication skills

Asking for more bubbles, developing eye contact, turn taking, developing awareness of other children in a group and not knocking into each other or puching!

4. Bubbles can help develop gross motor skills

Moving, stamping, jumping, reaching, stretching, popping.....

5. Bubbles can help develop fine motor skills

For slightly older children - the dexterity needed to grasp the bubble wand and place it into the bubble container and then pull it out again - tricky! For littlies - popping bubbles, clapping bubbles, catching bubbles.....

6. Bubbles can help develop oral motor skills

Huff and puff and blow the bubbles as they float down. Blow the bubbles using the bubble wand - great exercise for little mouths!

7. Bubbles can help develop hand eye coordination

Link up what the hands and eyes are doing - see the bubble, track, move hand and pop! Or watching carefully while trying to get the bubble wand covered in mixture - not an easy thing to do!

8. Bubbles can help develop language and cognitive skills

Where are the bubbles coming from? Are they big or small? Slow or fast? Pop, clap, in front, behind, up and down......where have the bubbles gone?

9. Bubbles can help develop mathematical skills

Simple counting - 1, 2, 3.....what shape are they?

10. Bubbles can help to calm and relax

The deep breathing needed to blow the bubbles. And simply watching the bubbles floating overhead and down to the ground - never fails to bring out the smiles!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Leaves and apples - autumny fun!

Autumn is such a fab time of year for art and craft activities for little ones - lots of scrunchy textures and lovely rich colours

This week we've been exploring "Autumn" - the children had been collecting autumn leaves during the week and it was lots of fun looking through them all and seeing all the different sizes and colours!

Leaf printing is always a favourite activity - really simple and the magic of lifting up the leaf and seeing the print underneath never fails to amaze. There's all sorts of ways to print with leaves but it's great fun to use a rolling pin to roll over the leaf and make the print - makes a lovely clear print and great for coordination skills! I added a few apples too - easy for tiny hands to grip and squidge into plates of paint.

Here's some pics of what we've been up to with our leaves this week - printing, collage and making leaf prints in our glittery playdough too!


Monday, 24 September 2012

Shaving foam sensory play!

Last week at Little ARTventurers we got out the shaving foam for some fluffy sensory play!

Playing with shaving foam is a great sensory and learning experience for tots - it was "Transport" week so we filled our tuff spot with cars, trucks and diggers and lots and lots of foam!

I also popped in a range of spoons and scoops and a ladle - and at the last minute threw in a few plastic cups which proved to be a great hit!

Scooping, squishing, smearing, making tracks, drawing shapes and making ice creams and milkshakes, building foamy towers and then knocking them down......it was a huge hit with most of the children with just a couple who said that they didn't like the feel of the foam and preferring to just watch instead.

Shaving foam is a great tool for early mark making and trying out letters and shapes - children who haven't yet mastered the pencil grip can really enjoy drawing and shape making with instant results and without frustration. Plus it left our tuff spot really lovely and clean!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Little Doers craft boxes - tried and tested!

This summer there was much excitement in our house when my own two Little ARTventurers were sent a craft box from Little Doers to try and review! Little Doers supply 4 weekly childrens craft boxes by post - filled with 4 activity packs, one for each week.

You can't underestimate the delight of getting a parcel in your very own name when you're a little person (oh what a shame that changes when we grow up and have that sinking feeling instead when bills and bank statements slide through the letter box!) - and what an intriguing looking box it was!

The box was excitedly prised open and they were straight away into the first envelope. Ours was an Olympic themed month and the first activity envelope contained everything needed to complete an Olympic flag craft activity, plus some flag themed worksheets as well. All I needed to do was cover the table and grab some scissors - everything else really was included, from glue to powdered paint with little pots to mix it up in, an apron, sachets of sand and glitter and all of the materials to make the flag. The Olympic rings were pre cut from card, the flag material was supplied and it was up to the children to assemble to flag and decorate it.

Having fun making alien eyes with the little pots!

Carefully decorating one of the Olympic rings

The finished flag!
The actual craft activity was a big hit with both of my Little ARTventurers (age 4 and 6) - they enjoyed working together as a team to make their flag and the Olympic theme of our box obviously held great appeal for both of them! The materials supplied with all of the crafts were of excellent quality and the instructions sheets supplied (if you needed it) was clear and easy to read. The activity sheets included with each weekly pack are a good idea and my eldest really enjoyed them - Isaac less so but things like that rarely hold much appeal for him.
Anything that encourages childrens creativity gets the thumbs up from me and if you don't have a lot of craft materials at home or the time to plan activities (or get stuck for inspiration and ideas!) then Little Doers craft boxes are a great idea as it's all planned and provided for you. I also think that a subscription could make a lovely gift - and good for taking on a trip away too!
Getting the thumbs up from Erin!
For more information about Little Doers craft boxes visit www.littledoers.com

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Totem poles!

I have been wanting to do a Totem pole inspired activity with my Saturday art club for a while now - a group of children aged between 5 and 10 years old. I found some long thick cardboard tubes that were just right for the pole body so hey ho - off we went!

I provided the children with a few photos of totem poles and we had a quick chat about their origins ... the photos were to provide the children with some inspiration and ideas but as always it's all about them creating their own work rather than simply copying what they see.

First of all I got them to build the basic structure using the pole, card, bits of egg box, some small card cups I had lying around in my art room and lots of masking tape! We used masking tape to attach the pieces rather than normal clear tape as masking tape can easily be painted over. It was sometimes a bit of a challenge to attach the pieces really securely though!

Next we got the paint out and started painting - bright colours, some metallics and black to highlight. A couple of the group didn't want to paint theirs and used some crayons and oil pastel instead for detail.

I think they turned out really well - and it was a great one-lesson activity to kick start the new autumn term! It's something that could easily be replicated at home too on a smaller scale if you don't have any large tubes like we did - using kitchen roll inners


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Pasta collage pictures

This week we're doing a "The Tiger Who Came to Tea" theme (will blog about that seperately next week) and we've been creating some pasta pictures. Not strictly to the letter of the book - but the tiger did eat everything in the cupboards, and I certainly always have pasta in mine!!

In the past I've done pasta collage with dry pasta and have not always been impressed with the results - difficult to stick onto the card and very brittle. This time I slightly cooked the pasta and coloured it with food colouring before the kids got started. Dead easy to do - cook the pasta as usual with a splash of oil, cook til it's just the hard side of "al dente" (you don't want it too soggy) and then when drained stir in a splash of food colour and leave to dry.

We used big sheets of card for this activity - paper is always going to be a bit too flimsy for heavy pasta. I put big bowls of the coloured pasta on the table, some feathers, tissue paper, the button tray, glitter and some "gloopy glue" (PVA) and let the children start creating! It was a big hit - I had two 18 month olds starting my class today who sat for absolutely ages at this station working on their creations! The different textures of the pasta, buttons and feather are really fascinating and tactile for little ones.

Here's a couple of the fab pictures they created....


Just to add a quick word about using glitter with tots - a lot of mums I know shiver with dread at the word "glitter shaker" and glitter and carpets really don't mix well! But I absolutely LOVE glitter - any excuse to break out the sparkle in my book! In my tots classes I pour the glitter out into bowls rather than stick glitter shakers on the table. The children then use their fingers to pick up and sprinkle the glitter onto their artwork. Doing it this way encourages the development of their pincer grip  and fine motor skills and means that the glitter (hopefully!) actually goes where they want it to go on their creation.
Happy creating!


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Long time no blog - after a very busy summer!

It feels like ages since I last posted -  it's been a fab and busy summer at ARTventurers and I'm just starting to get back into the swing of things and set for the new autumn term. Although I'm sad to see the end of the holidays, I LOVE autumn - all the excitement of new pencil cases and school bags (or is that just me?!), the autumn sunshine and the sense of new beginnings...plus the countdown to the big C day!

The summer classes have been tons of fun - lots of old faces and lots of new ones too which is great. We've been fabric painting, enjoyed under the sea adventures, played fairies and superheroes and experimented with foam clay (a big success!) plus lots more - thanks to everyone who came along and joined in with the creative fun!

Here's just a little snapshot of our colourful, creative summer.....



And so this week sees the start of our Autumn term - lots of exciting activities planned and looking forward to meeting lots of new Little ARTventurers. Plus we've some new sessions to launch next month so very exciting! Hope the first weeks back into the school/nursery routine aren't too painful for everybody - see you all soon x