Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds Montessori Style!

 I love sunflowers as they look so unpromising just the little stripey seed, then they don't grow very tall sometimes (like this year!) but then produce flower heads the size of plates and look absolutely beautiful!  We had ten or so heads and the seeds needed to come out so set Faith at them with a pair of tweezers!! In the picture below you can see more of the tray showing the very simple set up!  For the toddlers, I just put some heads in an empty deep tray and they sat for a long time picking them out by hand.  Faith learned that she really couldn't cut corners and get two or three seeds at once with the tweezers..... she did have to be patient!!

As the toddlers emptied the seed heads I put them on one side as I thought that they might be interesting to print with.  later on I couldn't find them until I looked at the nature table and one of my little ones had very carefully carried all the seed heads in and arranged them there.  I was so touched at her thought and care.... she isn't quite two yet!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Recharging batteries on the Beach!

We spent the weekend in Wales with my parents-in-law.  They live a five minute walk from the beach and that is where we invariably head as soon as is practically possible! The beach is pretty rocky due to the sea defences having been upgraded last year.  After all the earth movement and the importing of huge lumps of rock, I think that the beach has settled well, and the grading of pebbles from small at the top of the shore to large at the bottom has re-established itself.  The tide was out and that made for lots of small pools just perfect for rooting out unsuspecting crabs..........

Our little dog Poppy loves the beach too and runs round like a lunatic!  Here she was taking a breather and surveying the stunning view - this is her 'no-eyed' side so she could see the same part of the beach that you can see behind her in the photo!

Faith loves all God's creatures great and small..... she was particularly taken with the patterns that the little snails made all over the rocks!

We beach combed for hours, finding all sorts of things interesting for the girls such as a decaying fish with very large teeth that begged a good old poke with a stick, lots of pieces of large red crab shells and pincers to try and fit back together, many birds to watch (Cormorant, Sandpiper, Oyster Catchers and Gulls) and of course driftwood, shells, pebbles, seaweed....... we have returned home very refreshed and ready for the week ahead!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Woodland Twig People!

This was the woodland wonderland I built to greet the girls ready for Autumn.  It lasted as it was for 20 minutes then I was asked "Mummy.... is it OK if I move some of the things?" I answered that of course it was so she set to work.  She was talking to herself and I moved a bit closer to hear "Such a mess, all these leaves everywhere, I must tidy this up".  It made me smile!
This is Faith intent on adding a face to her twig person.  We made these people by taking short lengths of branch about 1/2" thick and whittling a flat section off for the face.  We then cut clothes from scraps of fabric and secured them to the twigs by 'ruching' them up around the twig and putting an elastic band around a few times to hold the fabric before tying ribbon around to hide the elastic.  We made them in Autumnal colours of oranges, browns, greens, yellows, reds and pinks.  The girls were enraptured with this and spent an hour and a half creating people!
This is the completed Woodland King surveying his Kingdom!!!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday's Favourites!

There is no photograph this Friday as although there have been lots of beautiful images this week, I have made a conscious decision not to take my camera out with me and just to enjoy being with the children!  it was the last week of summer holidays here and we spent our last day all together in the woods and at the park, playing! We tumbled home 5 1/2 hours later; dirty, sandy, sweaty, tired and just a little caught by the sun..... and very happy!  It was a lovely last day and we rounded it off with ice creams in the shade!

Bad luck is said to come in threes and we have had two rounds of it in the last few weeks!! Our luck has finally turned this week and our broken little car that I was fully expecting to cost us a new engine, has come up trumps once again with a total garage bill of £125.... I have never paid a bill with so much pleasure before!

I'm really looking forwards to having our 'weekday family' back to normal next week but with a twist to the daily routine as we will be picking one of the little one's big sister up after school.  It is such a peaceful day with the four of them... they know each other so well and it is harmonious and happy (most of the time!!).  Having four children will seem like a rest after the school hols!

Here are this weeks favourites!
  • I will definitely be making this story sack for Dog's Colourful Day from My Montessori Journey, faith loves the book and she will love the story sack!
  • This Autumn sensory tub and play dough from Counting Coconuts is fabulous..... I will so be making apple pie dough now!
  • I love Eric Carle books and these ideas from Totally Tots to go with The Mixed up Chameleon are wonderful!
  • This outdoor place to play that Tonya from Plain and Joyful Living has created for her children is beautiful.... I love the sophistication of the tablecloth!
  • For some Autumn beauty, spend time browsing through rhythm of the home's Autumn e-zine.
Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Bows and Arrows.........

I was unwell last week and whilst sleeping it off, Daddy made bows and arrows for the girls.  He was a bit sheepish about it as he thought that I would disapprove but quite the reverse in fact!!

I thoroughly APPROVE!!

There are certain things in childhood that are rites of passage like camping for instance, playing on the beach, making camp fires, climbing trees.  I consider home made bows and arrows to be part of this essential kit list, along with catapults and pen knives.... I think that they encourage children to be responsible, to assess risk, but at the same time to experience the thrill of a powerful force and the excitement of just a little twinge of danger.  They were issued with ground rules along the lines of 'no pointing them at eachother', 'no using them when the childminding children are here'........ and the best bit about them? Daddy made them!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Introducing Incy Wincy's Wives.....

We had a very wet walk home from the children's centre last week and one of the children began to sing 'Incy Wincy spider'..... at the second verse I chimed in with a silly ending and set the tone for the rest of the walk home!! Poor Incy was subjected to more and more ridiculous situations with a good dose of 'toilet humour' thrown in I'm afraid (and not all of it from the children!!).  We were in fits of giggles all the way.... I just love to hear a group of children giggling uncontrollably, it's so infectious!  It probably took us longer to walk because of the silliness but it certainly seemed a short walk! The children were brilliant at rhyming though! 

After we had shed wet coats and shoes and dried off a bit, we sat down to make some spiders for ourselves.... I accidentally erased the 'in the making' pictures, but we made them from sections of egg box with eight holes pierced round the base and lengths of pipe cleaner pushed in and folded inside to keep them in place.  Once legs were in we added red glitter to black paint and painted them all over.  Whilst they dried we made a web for them by stringing wool around a hoop and looping it backwards and forwards. 

The children decided that their spiders were called 'Wetsy Betsy' instead of Incy Wincy!!
Find some more spider activities linked to through this post