September 30, 2010

Colour Fun #8 - I like Stars

I like Stars is the sweetest little book written by Margaret Wise Brown and even though it's not a book about colours per se, it mentions different colour stars in the first few pages...

" I like stars. Yellow stars. Green stars. Red stars..."

We (Little One and I) really like this book. I have been asked to read it over and over, all in one sitting :). It also inspired this lovely art and I thought this would be an easy project to repeat, whether you have this book or not. I found a photo of Little One, where I could cut out his whole body and glued it onto a big black page. I punched out stars in different colours and explained to him that we would stick the stars onto the page (in the night sky). He wanted to hold the glue stick (and do the gluing), which wasn't ideal, so I made little glue circles on the page and then encouraged him to stick the stars to the glue spots by punching them with the side of his fist. This worked nicely!

I wasn't crazy about the end product, so  I decided to paint a different background and we re-did the stars...I think our second project came out better. (top picture)

This art project has so many possibilities. A colourful starry night (like ours); a flower garden; a garden filled with butterflies; an ocean scene with lots of different fish; birds sitting in a tree; washing hanging on a line...these are just a few ideas. Remember to add a photograph of your little one to the picture for great effect and to make it special! Remember too, that this is about colour, so name them while you do your art. If I have inspired you, please come back and let me know what colourful photo art you got up to.
I have two more "Colour Fun" posts coming up and some more fun books to share with you. Till next time:)

PS. I am linking this to Kids Get Crafty

September 22, 2010

Colour Fun #7 - Colour Photo Book

If you know me, then you will know that I don't need an excuse to do a project involving photographs! So what could be cuter than personalised colour cards, using photos of your little one and of outings or items that they are familiar with. I searched through my pictures, chose some photos and then using Picasa (a free photo-editing program), I added the colour names. I had these printed and created a little picture book, putting the photos in an inexpensive photo album. You could also laminate the photos and turn them into flashcards. (I added the "spots' and "stripes' pictures just for fun.)

Little One really likes his colour photo book and asks me about every picture. I managed to get these cute pics of him reading his book on my bed. I could just eat him up!

I plan on doing something similar for numbers and the alphabet too, but that's for another post.

PS. I'm linking this to Tot Tuesdays and Show and Tell.

September 18, 2010

Colour Fun #6 - Bottle Top Ladybugs


I have always enjoyed observing my children's unique interests. What toys they choose to play with, books they favour and what games they play. Big One has always loved characters and little men, whereas Little One is already showing a strong interest in cars and other vehicles. Our children also go through phases and what may be a big hit right now, can wane over time. I think that while they are interested in a certain subject, we as parents can use that interest to make teaching more fun. Another approach is to focus on that area of interest while you have their attention. Little One is very interested in insects right now and one of his favourite books is Roger Priddy's BUG IQ. With this in mind, I really wanted to add a colour activity involving bugs of some sort.

I wish I could say that these cute little bugs were my idea. I first saw these bottle top ladybirds at Crafts by Amanda, a super blog with many amazing craft ideas. To make these, I used a permanent black marker to draw on to the bottle top and then added the plastic eyes with glue. I didn't want to paint the eyes (like Amanda's) as I really wanted to make them quickly and not fuss with paint. I was also able to get my circles nice and round by using a stencil.  I must add though, that having played with them a bit, I now know why Amanda chose to paint them. The permanent marker is not so permanent on the smooth plastic bottle top surface. I have solved this problem by having the marker nearby and touching them up every once in awhile, but it's not ideal.

To store our sweet little ladybirds, I made this ladybird jar. Another terrific idea of Amanda's. I didn't have a jar with a red lid, so settled for this one, which I purchased at my local plastic shop. All in all a really sweet craft and another fun way to focus on colours.

One interesting game that Little One has played with these, is to swipe them across the tiled kitchen floor. They glide across the floor with great speed. This grabbed both my and Big One's attention and we all ended up on our knees on the kitchen floor racing our speedy ladybirds! Not a game that I had envisioned, but great fun nevertheless.

I still have some more colour fun activities up my sleeve, so stay tuned. (And be sure to go check out Amanda's amazing blog!)

September 14, 2010

Colour Fun #5 - A Colour Car Play Mat

Little One loves playing with cars and so I thought this would be a fun and novel way to teach colours and to match-up colours. I made the play mat out of cardboard (a big cereal box) and covered it with a piece of black cardboard and then covered that with colour squares. Simple! 

I plan on leaving it out next to his cars and occasionally modelling  the cars parking in the correctly matched parking spaces. If you do make this for your little one, please come back and tell me how it was received.

PS. I am linking this to It's Playtime, Tot Tuesdays @ My Delicious Ambiguity and ABC and 123 Show and Tell.

September 11, 2010

Colour Fun #4 - A new twist on a Posting Game

I made this simple posting game for Big One about 8 years ago...and he loved it! I kept it and introduced it to Little One before his first birthday and he enjoyed it too. It's a sure winner with any baby and so easy to make. If you don't have any baby jar lids, the flatter, wider bottle tops, like those on milk bottles, work just as well.

I am a little more creative and innovative now (thanks to all the inspiration on the internet), so saw the possibility of putting a new twist on this old game. One twist is to add punched out circles of colour to the jar lids to create a colour posting game. The other is to add photos of family members and friends, to teach your little one their names. I also added a deeper ice cream container for a longer drop, which is a little noisier - just for fun!

Some more super colour fun coming up this week. Stay tuned.

PS. I have linked this to ABC and 123 Show and Tell and Tot Tuesdays @ My Delicious Ambiguity.

September 9, 2010

Colour Fun #3 - Colour Foam Fish

If you have been following this little series so far, you will recall me mentioning playing "Red Fish, Red Fish" with Little One in the bath. I was introduced to the idea of using craft foam as a bath toy by my friend Grietjie, over at Joyful Mama's Place, so I decided to make some fish for Little One and what a hit!

Now these little fish, or "fishies" as we refer to them, are wonderful for teaching more than just colours. They are also great for counting practice and learning body parts. Little One loves it when I stick a fish somewhere on his body. I get really animated and say something like, "Here comes the fishie, he's going to sit on your....tummy, ankle, chest! Little One now pre-empts me and calls out a body part before I can...too cute!

As far as counting is concerned, Little One has been counting to 10 for a few months now, but I realize this is simply rote memory. To understand the concept of "1" is an entirely different story.  So when we count the fish, I place his hand or finger on each fish as he counts them...a good start to real counting.

To make the fish, you need to purchase some craft foam available from most craft stores or stationers. Make yourself a template out of cardboard and use this to trace your fish directly onto the craft foam with  a pen or pencil. Then simply cut out. I often use puzzle pieces, cookie cutters, even flat toys, like the threading fish seen here, as a template and trace around it.

The craft foam sticks very nicely to the sides of the bath or tiles when wet. In fact, if you leave them there, they will more than likely still be stuck on by the next bath time. If they crease (when little one's scrunch them), they are easily straightened when they are laid flat again. And the last most important instruction, "Have Fun!"

September 7, 2010

Colour Fun #2 - "Red Car, Red Car, What Do You See?"

I love to share good things and the website that I'm sharing with you today is GREAT! Shelley at has created wonderful learning activities for early childhood educators and the best of all is that she has lots of free printables here.

To continue with our colour fun this week, I want to share a free printable that I downloaded from Shelley's site. Now in my previous post on Colour Fun (which you can read here), I told you about the book "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?". This printable is based on the book, but instead of animals, there are different colour cars. The little rhyme becomes "Red car, red car, what do you see? I see a ____ car looking at me."

Here is the link for you to make your own set.
If you have a little girl and don't want to make a car set, there is a bird set available too.

I printed these out, stuck them onto cardboard (recycled boxes) and then covered them with clear sticky plastic. You could also laminate them. My first intention was to turn this into a felt board game for Little One, so I stuck sandpaper on the back of the cards to make it stick to the felt. Little One showed no interest in this, so I added magnetic strips to the back and converted them to fridge magnets. That definitely got more of his attention. I must tell you that he ruined a few of them very quickly. I only turned my back for a minute or so and some had been bent rather badly. The best part is I can simply remake them.

Some colour fishy fun coming up in the next post.

September 5, 2010

Colour Fun #1 - "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

Teaching colours is probably one of the first and most natural things to teach one's tot. Most of us do it automatically and we label colours spontaneously for our little ones. There are also many terrific books about colours and I want to share with you a "must-have" book that you need for your tot. I only discovered this absolute gem earlier this year. It's actually been around since 1984 and is very well-known.

"Brown bear, brown bear,
 what do you see?
 I see a red bird
 looking at me.
 Red bird, red bird,
 what do you see?
 I see a yellow duck
 looking at me."

 And so the book continues with rhyme, rhythm and repetition.

The best part is that once your baby or tot is familiar with it (which won't take long), you can then apply this rhythmic rhyme to just about any game. I play this game with Little One with our colour foam fish in the bath..."Red fish, red fish, what do you see? I see a yellow fish looking at me." And so on...

When I am labeling Little One's plastic animals, I also find myself chanting this little rhyme...using different voices...and always getting giggles and grins from him, as he learns and has fun at the same time!

So in my (humble) opinion, this is one of the very best gifts you can give a baby turning one or two. And just in case you are Afrikaans-speaking and reading this and thinking, "Why are all the great books only available in English?" I have a translation for you!

"Bruin beer, bruin beer, wat sien jy daar?
 Ek sien 'n rooi voël wat vir my staar."

There are many different versions of this book available, including hardcover, paperback and a board book, ideal for little hands.

Some more colour fun in up-and-coming posts this week, including a quick tutorial on how to make colour foam bath fish! Till then...

September 2, 2010

Be Inspired - Be Creative!

Inspiration is everywhere! You just have to be tuned in. It may be in a shop window, a book cover, a magazine picture, a piece of fabric, a bouquet of flowers... colour, pattern, design, texture... it's all around us. It's a matter of being on the look-out and seeing something as a creative possibility.

I haven't always looked at the world through creative eyes, but now find myself to be in this "creative space". I Iook at ALL everyday items as a possible craft project! Boxes become buildings, paper becomes a backdrop, socks become puppets. I look at colours and patterns everywhere, from nature, to packaging when I go shopping. If anything appeals to me, I try to visually capture it to memory, or I take a photograph. I have flip files of magazine pictures, swatches of paper, greeting cards, anything that's grabbed my attention. I really enjoy the process of looking for creative ideas and inspiration and so decided to write this to encourage you to look around your world in the same way.

Now this little project that I'm going to share with you was inspired by Woolworths marshmallows.  During the Soccer World Cup the marshmallow packaging were these wild african animals, which I rather liked.

One afternoon, I had two of my favourite (little) girls over for a date and I suggested to them (and Big One) that we create some masks, using these as our inspiration. I gave them paper plates and paint. I couldn't help myself, so I joined in too :). What I love is how different everyone's take on the task was. I copied the pictures exactly and used more than one plate per mask. The children, on the other hand, were far more creative with their art, but all chose to keep the paper plates round. It was a fun easy project and after we got to munch our way through some very yummy marshmallows! 

So go on, have a look around and be inspired... I'd love to hear what you get up to.
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