Saturday, 23 July 2011

Feet and hand painting

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Not for the faint-hearted. This really was all for the fun of it, so not much to show as a product. Be prepared to leave lots of time to clear up. Priceless and unadulterated summer fun...

You will need:
  • Wallpaper or a long roll of paper
  • Poster paint
  • Paper plates
  • Implements for printing etc (if desired)


Preparation:
  • Lay out the roll of paper on the ground. Although possible, I would NOT recommend this is done inside. Be prepared for your grass to change colour.
  • Remove or cover up any items of clothing from your child and yourself that you don't want to get covered in paint. Be realistic...
  • Get wipes/kitchen roll/a bucket of water ready.

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Activity:

  • Get your child to squeeze the different coloured paint onto separate plates.
  • Encourage them to step into the colours and then walk/run across the paper and back again.
  • Let the children try different colours, parts of the body and ways of using their body to paint. It is great fun for them to be doing this on such a big scale.
  • Look together at the prints they have made with their feet and hands. Usually, the third or fourth is the best print. See if they can see the different parts of the foot and hand and compare with the real thing.
  • Get put printing implements such as sponges and rollers to add to the fun.
  • "Spray paint" the picture with watered down paint put into plant sprayers (see 'spray painting' post).
  • Put child in the bath...
  • Clear up.

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Or you could:
  • Use all sorts of media to add to the picture. It is really nice to come back to these big paintings and stick things to them, continue painting, cut down to size to create smaller paintings to hang up.

Carrot muffins

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A trip to the countryside and to a Pick Your Own (the amazing Rectory Farm, Stanton St John, Oxfordshire www.kbsuk.com/demo/rectoryfarm/). The usual strawberries and raspberries were on offer and picked (and gorged) with the usual vigour. But this time we decided to venture into the vegetable patch and found beetroot and carrot heads peeping up through the earth. Real moments of wonder as we pulled up the orange roots by their strange green hair. The only issue was how to stop...

These muffins are a variation on Jamie Oliver's Butternut Squash Muffins (from his 'Jamie at Home' book). They lasted about half an hour, so no time to ice them, but they were eaten with the raspberries and strawberries we'd picked. Perfect.

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Makes 6 big or 12 small muffins/buns

You will need:
  • 200g carrots (obviously, you DON'T have to have picked your own, but it is quite nice to "cut the hair" of the carrots so try and get bunches of carrots that still have their stalks).
  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 2 large free-range or organic eggs
  • sea salt
  • 150g plain flour, unsifted
  • 1 heaped teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 85 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Child's scissors
  • Muffin/bun cases
  • Muffin/bun tray

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

Activity:

All of this can be done by the child but obviously with meticulous adult supervision...

  • Wash the carrots and then give them a 'haircut' using child's scissors.
  • Chop them into large pieces and put into a food processor (alternatively, you can grate the carrot).
  • Whizz up the carrots until they are finely chopped, but are still a bit chunky.
  • Transfer into a bowl and add the sugar, eggs, salt, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and olive oil. Beat until the ingredients are combined.

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  • Line the tray with the muffin or bun cases and drop the mixture into each one using a teaspoon (this can get VERY messy).
  • Put into the oven: 10-12 mins for buns, 20 mins for muffins.
  • Check with a skewer that they are ready (still a little moist inside).
  • Leave to cool in the tray.

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Eat as snacks or, as the adults did, with strawberries and raspberries and creme fraiche as a pudding.

Or you could:
  • I slightly regretted using these super fresh carrots for cakes - a fresh carrot salad or just cooked for supper would have been just as nice. I'm afraid it came down to a non-vegetable eating fussy toddler.
  • Explore your local pick your own for more interesting fruits and vegetables rather than just the strawberries and raspberries.


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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Butterflies

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The butterflies are everywhere at this time of year. Catching them always seems a bit cruel (not to mention difficult!) so we made our own. Everyone will have used the "folding" technique at one time in their lives and there is a reason for that - it produces a beautiful effect with minimum input. Perfect for the easily distracted toddler.

You will need:
  • Card
  • Paint
  • Scissors

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Activity:

  • On one side of a piece of card, get your child to squeeze blobs of paint from the bottle. This is more effective than if you use a paintbrush because the thickness of the paint creates lovely ripple/wave effects.
  • Experiment with different colours on different backgrounds.
  • Carefully fold the card in half and smooth it out together, allowing the paint to mix together inside.
  • Open out to reveal beautiful butterfly shapes.
  • Leave to dry (they will need a long time), then cut out carefully and stick on a wall or window.

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Or you could:
  • Stick small magnets on the tips of the butterflies to stick to the fridge/radiators.
  • To make really beautiful butterflies that stick on the window, use acetate (thick, clear plastic) instead of card.


Sunday, 10 July 2011

Tea-light holders

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These are just as beautiful as the expensive hanging tea light holders you can buy, in fact more so because they are home-made. You will need to collect some small jars, but they are amazingly quick and easy to make (15 minutes at the most). As long as your child can hold a paintbrush, they can do this activity. The candle light looks pretty behind any 'design'...

You will need:
  • Several small jars
  • Acrylic or glass paint
  • Thin paintbrushes
  • Tea lights
  • Wire

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Activity
  • With acrylic or glass paint, carefully paint the outside with one or two colours, trying not to mix the paint too much. Get your child to experiment with blobs, stripes, little and big brush-strokes.
  • If you like, you can paint the inside of the jar in another, lighter colour (remember that it will change the colour of the outside of the jar, so adding yellow to the inside of a jar painted blue will make a blue/green colour).
  • Once dry, your child can carefully scratch a design out on the outside paint with a cocktail stick or skewer (under strict adult supervision!).

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Adult:
  • Twist wire around the top of the jar to make a loop with which to hang the jars.
  • Put tea lights in the jars and hang on a tree or outside a window.
Beautiful to look at on a summer evening...

Or you could:
Obviously, older children can be really creative with their designs and experiment with different colours on the inside and outside of the jars.