Thursday, 30 June 2011

Shoe-box masks

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Shoe-boxes are the perfect size for a child's mask. Try a mixture of paint, glitter and paper to decorate the box and use pipe cleaners, straw, ribbon tissue paper for hair. Ours became a sort of monster but older children could plan their designs a bit more carefully. These can be great fun for dressing-up and afterwards hanging on the wall - if they have not been wrecked in the process!

You will need:
  • Old shoe-boxes
  • Knife
  • Paint
  • PVA glue
  • Glitter/sequins
  • Tissue paper
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Ribbon

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Preparation:
  • Put the shoe-box on your child's face and mark where the eyes will need to be. Very carefully, cut the eyes and mouth out with a sharp knife.
  • Put out paints and a selection of sponges and brushes along with some ripped up tissue paper.

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Activity:
  • Set your child off with painting the box. Encourage them to experiment with sponges for different effects.
  • Put bits of tissue paper onto the paint. It will not need any glue - the paint will be enough to hold it. Don't forget to paint and decorate the sides of the box.
  • Allow the paint to dry and then return to the mask with glitter and sequins for extra effect.
  • Pipe cleaner hair: Show your child how to wrap a pipe cleaner around your (or their) finger, then release it. The pipe cleaner will keep the curly shape.
  • Make holes for the hair with a skewer (obviously, a job for you and not your child!) and then feed the pipe cleaners through the holes. You can secure them inside with some selotape.
  • Attach pieces of ribbon or elastic to the back of the mask.

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Or you could...
  • Collect shoe boxes and make a family of masks - different animals, the characters in a story etc.
  • Take inspiration from African tribal masks, Venetian and Brazilian Carnival masks and collect more interesting items to decorate them.

Colourful Tiles

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When you keep your eyes open for things to use in activities, it is amazing what you can find. The local dump has been a great resource recently. I often stash things and wait for inspiration for how to use them. We've found an old double sink which has made a perfect sand and water tray, wallpaper, old carpet and these mosaic tiles which came in use for this activity. It was another opportunity to think about colour (painting with different colours and then sorting the tiles) and then using them to make a bigger tile. With older children, you can use (carefully) broken up china and even mirror to make really effective mosaic/collages.

You will need:
  • Mosaic tiles (you can buy these in any DIY shop)
  • Paint (poster paint is fine) in different colours
  • Large brushes
  • Plaster of paris
  • Cling film/baking parchment
  • A baking tray or the lid of a tin
  • 3 0r 4 Bowls/tins/trays for the sorting activity

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Activity
  • With the tiles still stuck to its backing gauze, paint them in large daubs of colour. With younger children, I would keep it to three or four colours only. Try and keep the colours as separate as possible (i.e. don't let them mix too much or they will go muddy).
  • Leave to dry for a couple of hours.
  • Press the tiles out of their gauze. Your child should be able to do this, although it does take a bit of effort.
  • Lay out three or four bowls or tins with colour labels inside and get your child to sort out the tiles into the appropriate container. Save any that are painted in more than one colour and put in a separate container or decide with your child which of your three colours it is closest to.

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(Adult)
  • Line the lid of a tin or a baking tray with baking parchment (slightly oiled) or cling film making sure there are no holes. The container needs to be about double the thickness of the mini tiles or it will not be able to take the weight.
  • Mix up the plaster of paris according to the instructions on the packet. Be careful not to make it too watery or it will never dry.
  • Pour the plaster of paris into the container.

  • With your child, drop the mini tiles into the plaster of paris. Try to get them to be gentle and not press the tiles in too hard.
  • You could play a game of choosing a colour (perhaps draw a coloured card out of a bag) and then finding the correct tile to put in. Don't take too long about it, however, or the plaster of paris will dry before you've finished.

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Leave your tile to dry. A perfect present for a Granny or lovely to hang on the wall.

Or you could...
  • These big tiles are a great way of displaying things you have collected. Perhaps things from a walk, pebbles, seeds, shells. We made a very similar thing in Autumn with leaves, conkers and sticks.
  • On a bigger scale, you could get really creative and make pictures and larger mosaics with your mini-tiles (you will need a lot of plaster of paris!)

Fish Puppets

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Puppets are always great to make with kids especially when they start acting things out in their play. We made fish but you could make anything you like. To make a puppet theatre you can use a sheet draped over a washing line, a table, behind the sofa - anything will do, just as long as you (or the children) are hidden from view. The material for the puppets was painted and printed before we cut out the shapes. This is ideal when working with little children who love big painting and have no patience for smaller, focused work. You can then pick out the relevant bits for your puppets.

You will need:
  • Large piece of felt or any spare material
  • Paint
  • Printers - sponges, the bottom of egg-cups, forks, lego cars - anything you can make marks with!
  • PVA glue
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Stapler or needle and thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Stuffing
  • Skewers or large lolly-sticks

For the sea:
  • Blue crepe paper
  • Long piece of material or paper

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Activity:
  • Lay out the felt and start to paint using different colours and a range of brushes.
  • Introduce printers: we used anything we could find that would make a mark with paint. A lego car was particularly popular. Paint the wheels and then roll across the material. You can also use sponges cut into shapes, the base of an eg cup, a child's fork dipped in paint and pulled across the felt.

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  • Once you are happy with the painting/printing, leave it over night to dry.
  • The next day, get out the glitter and sequins to add more texture and sparkle to the painting.

Adult:
  • Leave to dry and then draw fish shapes around the painting with a crayon. Leave enough space to fold the felt over so you cut two pieces for each shape.
  • Staple or sew the fish shapes together leaving a large hole in which to put the stuffing. Once stuffed, don't forget to put in your skewer or lollypop before closing it up completely.

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To make a 'sea' theatre:
  • Cut strips of the crepe paper by cutting small strips along the short end of the folded up paper.
  • Open out the smaller strips to reveal longer ones.
  • Staple these to a strip of material or paper.
  • Drape this over a washing line or hang in a doorway.

Use the puppets to tell a story/sing a song (we used 'Tiddler' by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler as inspiration) and then encourage your child to play and act out stories with their puppets.

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Or you could:
  • Make puppets for your child's favourite story.
  • Experiment with making puppets out of socks, paper plates, hand prints on card, pegs etc.