Thursday, January 30, 2014

Christmas Stars

Well, Christmas has well and truly come and gone.  The decorations are now safely wrapped in bubble wrap, tucked in their box under the stairs.  Our lights are still up, however, because we love them so, and we've hardly used them (Christmas lights really are a waste in New Zealand - the middle of summer, it's hardly dark before we adults are going to bed, I think we should just put them up in winter so we can really enjoy them to their full extent!).

I tried to do some crafty activities with Munchkin this year, seeing as he is three and a half.  We made paper chains, we did some thumb print ornaments, we baked gingerbread stained glass stars for our neighbours, we made button ornaments and start ornaments.  I tried to find ideas that would work for small fingers and a short attention span, that didn't require me to buy very many extras, and that were hopefully encouraging Munchkin to grasp our worldview of Christmas.  Tried doing dot-to-dot pictures for instance, but I was disappointed to find that almost every available one online that had less than thirty numbers was about Santa, reindeer, stockings, or snowmen.  Just not quite what I had in mind.  Nativity or stars being more what I had in mind.  Think next year I might draw my own.  I've already got a list of possible activities for next Christmas - a combination of things I didn't get to this year, and others that seemed a little beyond Munchkin's level but might not be next time round.

I must admit that by the time Christmas Day arrived, I was a bit Christmased-out.  It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the activities.  I did.  And I think he did too.  It was just Christmas takes all this time.  Time that would usually otherwise be spent on other things, which just didn't get attention.  So I was ultimately glad to lay aside the festivities and return to 'normal' life and normal food once more.

Here's one of our activities:

Christmas Stars.
Originally found here, I simply chose a star shape from clipart online instead of a Christmas tree.

I printed it, cut it out, glued it to cardboard, and cut that out.

Then we put paint on a cheap sponge.

And used our bubble wrap star like a big stamp. We had to make sure to get paint over the whole star, and then press it carefully to get an even star on our black cardboard. 

And wa-lah!  Lots of stars (disclaimer: Munchkin did one star on his own.  Mummy did most of the rest.)

Some coloured cardboard from the cupboard matched our colours nicely.  And there was ribbon in the ribbon stash.

I made these double sided so that they can spin on the tree and we will see the patterns on both front and back.  Munchkin's one got his name and date printed.

There's something really beautiful about handmade Christmas decorations.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's a Boy's World

This is what happens when you have a boy.  Or at least when you have a boy who is as mad keen on trucks, diggers, and all other forms of machinery as our son is!

Those are baubles from his Christmas tree.  While many of the friends who visited absolutely loved hanging them on the tree, Munchkin was much more interested in carting them around in his dump truck.  His dump truck that is supposed to be used for the sandpit but is, quite obviously, not anywhere near it.  Grin.


A Simple Project

Sometimes we don't need fancy toys or carefully planned activities to have fun.  In fact, sometimes, the simplest things can give the greatest delight.  Everyday items can be used for amazing things, and imaginary adventures abound.

One day my son and I arrived at his preschool to discover a container of milk bottle lids, a reel of cellotape, some pipe cleaners, and a vivid on a table, together with an example a teacher had made.

It was fascinating watching the immense delight the children had in mastering the cellotape dispenser, pulling the tape across it, and getting it to 'cut' it with that serrated cutting edge.  I watched as chubby little fingers attempted to wrap tape around bottle tops without it getting stuck together (we forget sometimes just how incredibly HARD that can be!). 

Deep concentration.  Great purpose.

The finished product?

A caterpillar.  Well, that's what we did.  We simply copied what had been left on the table, Munchkin and I working together happily for a few minutes before I headed off and he went outside to play.

His caterpillar now sits, pride of place, in our dining room.  I love looking at it.  It's winking, you see!  It's got the happiest face, just like my son!

Got any bottle tops lying around your place?  What could you turn them into?