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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

A Rainbow Watercolour Picture

The rainbow watercolour picture was part of our Noah's Ark theme that we have been following this week, but it could be used for any rainbow/colour-related activity.  I thought it would be fun for the boys to hang up a rainbow that they had made.  To do this, I gave them some watercolour paper and asked Wugs to tell me which order the colours should come in.  We coloured our paper with felt-tip pens in the order that they appear in the rainbow and then I asked Wugs to squirt the paper with water using a squirty bottle.  Whilst he was doing this, I held the paper over the sink until all the water had run off the other end.  Then I left the picture to dry.  Unfortunately the colours didn't run as much I had hoped, but the subtle appearance of the rainbow on the page was quite realistic considering some of the rainbows I have viewed in real life.

What we used:
Watercolour paper
Felt-tip pens
Squirty bottle of water

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Sampling Olives

The dish full of green and black olives was a tasting activity that I set up for the children as part of our Noah's Ark theme.  In the story of Noah we are told that Noah sent out a dove who brought back an olive leaf in his beak indicating that the flood waters had receded and vegetation was once again growing on the earth.  I wanted to make the children's activities multi-sensory and the closest thing I had to an olive leaf or branch were olives.  Although the children had tasted olives before, they were usually part of pizza or pasta meal, so it was interesting to see whether they liked them on their own. They didn't!

I printed off the olive branch card so they could see the tasting activity in the context of the story.

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Raven and Dove Craft

The sending out of the raven and dove are important parts of the Noah's Ark story (the theme that we are following at the moment).  We are told that soon after the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, Noah sent out a raven and a dove to see whether the flood waters had sufficiently receded so that he and everybody in the ark could disembark (Genesis 8).  The significance of the two birds in the story has been debated, with some people suggesting that the raven was an impure bird (according to Hebrew tradition) and therefore did not complete its mission - it simply flew back and forth until the waters had dried up.  The dove was a pure bird and therefore returned to Noah when it could not find a place to rest (on its first mission) and when it carried an olive leaf in its beak (on its second mission) before it too left Noah.

The biggest challenge with our raven and dove craft was finding a simple way of making a raven and a dove that didn't require artistic talent or materials that I didn't have to hand.  I decided to make the birds from paper plates, with their heads, bodies and wings being of slightly different proportions - and one being black and the other white.  I painted one of the paper plates using black ink as I didn't have any black paint to hand(!) and then drew the following outlines:


I glued the wings to the birds' bodies so it was clear to the children that they were decorating a bird.  The beaks were made of black and orange foam paper and I had a stash of googly eyes which I thought the children would enjoy adding to their birds.  Finally I put out a pot of glue for the children to paste onto the bird's bodies and two bowls of feathers which the boys could stick to their birds.  I also included some pictures of a raven and dove for the children to refer to which I printed off from the free clipart website: www.allthingsclipart.com.

Wugs was eager to do the activity and decorated both the birds whilst his brother was napping, so I drew up another dove and gave it to Dooey to decorate.  After pasting the glue to the dove's body, he decided not to use the feathers, but decorated the bird with crayons instead.  Finally the olive leaves made from green pipe cleaners were fixed around the doves' beaks and we hung up the birds in the conservatory.

What we used:
Paper plates
Black ink (paint would obviously work better and the child could do the painting himself)
Orange and black foam (for the beaks)
Googly eyes
Black and white feathers
Green pipecleaners (for the olive leaves)

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

40 Days and 40 Nights Counting Activity

I created this counting activity as part of our Noah's Ark theme that we have been working on for the past week, but it could be used to accommodate any counting activity.  In the story of Noah's Ark, we are told that it rained for 40 days and for 40 nights.  I was looking for a way to represent days and nights to Wugs and decided to do this by using a clock.  He has developed an interest in clocks and reading the time at the moment.  I was hoping to build on this interest by teaching him that the small hand on the clock must go round twice to represent a day and a night.  Once it has been turned twice, he could add a small piece of straw to the pipecleaner until he had 4 sets of 10 to represent 40 days and 40 nights.  To help him out, I used 4 different colours for each set of 10 so that if he got lost in his counting, he could tell how many more he needed to add of any one colour by checking the pieces of straw of that same colour that were left in the dish.

What we used:
Paper plate
Yellow and red foam (for the clock hands and the numbers)
Black marker Pen
Metal peg (that spreads out at the back - I have no idea of the official name!)
Pipe cleaners
4 Straws

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Making Rain Shakers

We are following a Noah's Ark theme at the moment and last Friday's rainy weather couldn't have been more appropriate for the activity I had planned for the children - rain shakers!  I have seen various ways of making "rain shakers" or "rain sticks" on the internet using clear plastic containers which enables the child to see the contents of the rain shaker at the same time as shaking them, but I decided to experiment with the sound of the contents against a tin container instead.

A little while ago I was given two tins of posh biscuits which (once consumed) I saved for the purpose of making into rain shakers.  I sourced the contents to be added to the containers from things I already had in the kitchen and put them into a tub for the children to scoop out and empty into the tins as they wished. Apart from benefiting from the rainy weather that day, we also benefited from doing the activity in the conservatory where the sound of the rain hitting the roof of the conservatory could be heard loudly. I encouraged the children to listen to the sound of the rain and to compare that to the sounds of the various items they were scooping into their tins.  We tested out the sound of the pasta against the table and compared that to the sound of the rice and the lentils etc.  Wugs realised that the pasta made the loudest noise so he took a handful of it and put it in his shaker.  Dooey seemed to focus closely on how to scoop the contents into the tin, which ones required a scoop and which ones required him to use his fingers.  

Once the boys had finished filling their shakers, I put the lids on.  Wugs asked to test out his shaker before asking me to re-open it so he could add in some more items (!).  When they were finally sealed, they asked to decorate the tops with some shiny tape (which I helped them with - making sure the lids were fully sealed down) and then they spent all afternoon decorate their shakers with stickers.

Last Friday certainly felt as though we were in the ark watching torrential rain from the comfort of our conservatory and then re-creating the sound of rain inside of it.  

What we used:
Two tin biscuit tubes (a Pringle tube would also work well)
A tub
Red and green lentils, pasta shapes, spaghetti, rice, black peppercorns (beads, paper clips, toothpicks, any small objects would work)
Shiny tape

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Animal Families Cards

I used the animal families cards in conjunction with our Noah's Ark theme, but they could be used for any animal-related activity.  In the Noah's Ark story, God asks Noah to take two of every animal with him into the ark to save the animals from the impending flood that would wipe out every living thing. In this activity, I wanted Wugs to understand the importance of taking two of everything (ie that a male and female would be saved in order to preserve the species through their offspring).

I purchased the animal families cards from the Absorbent Minds shop.  Whilst the pictures on the cards are not particularly sharp and the images shown are not those of real-life animals but rather Schleich figurine models, they are helpful in portraying the distinguishing features of the male and female of each animal in a way that might not be possible if a photograph of the real thing were taken. The cards portray 5 types of animals in the categories of: male, female, young and animals.

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Matching Animals with their Fossils

I created this activity for our Noah's Ark theme, but it could be used with any animal-related activity. The ancient story of Noah and the historic traces of animal remains preserved in rock formations seemed to go together, so I thought I'd give the boys their first lesson in paleontology by creating fossils and seeing if they could match up the animals with their fossils.  I should point out that the animals I chose were not related to actual fossils that have been found (or at least not intended to be - apart from the dinosaurs of course!)

To make the fossils, I used the recipe for salt dough which I borrowed from this website, using only half of the ingredients recommended (as this activity didn't require such a large quantity of dough).  I pressed the animal figurines into the dough and gently pulled them away.  The animals with intricate features seemed to work particularly well (such as the octopus and the gecko).  I cut around the animal patterns and lifted the fossils onto a baking tray and put them into the oven at 100 degrees for about an hour and a half. The temperature should be high enough to dry out the dough, but low enough to prevent it from cooking.  

Once the dough felt hard, I removed the baking tray from the oven and let the fossils cool.

I set up the activity by presenting the boys with a basket of animals which included the animals with a matching fossil.  The activity required them to match up the animals with their corresponding fossil. To help the boys do this, I gave them a clump of playdough that they could use to test out the patterns that the animals made.

What we used:
Plain Flour
Animal Figurines

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Matching Animals with their Skin and Fur

I developed this activity to accompany our Noah's Ark theme, but it could be used with any animal-related activity.  It is a simple matching game that helped the boys appreciate and recognise the different skins/fur that animals have.

I decided to mount the patterned paper and felt onto thin wooden boards to make them more durable. I purchased all the materials for the boards from Hobbycraft.

What we used:
Thin wooden boards
Patterned felt
Decoupage paper (reptile)
Animal figurines

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Building a Rainbow

The felt rainbow activity was created as part of our Noah's Ark theme, but it could be used for any activity involving rainbows or a simple quiet time activity.  The appearance of the rainbow in the sky forms the climax of the Noah's Ark story as a reminder of God's promise not to flood the earth again. I wanted the boys to appreciate the different colours of the rainbow and the way in which one colour blends into the next.

I found an image of a rainbow on the internet and printed it out and then used it as a template for each section of the felt rainbow I was making. As red is the first colour in the rainbow, I drew around the whole template onto red felt and cut it out and then I cut off the red section of the rainbow on the paper.  Then I used the smaller paper template (minus the red section) and drew around it onto orange felt.  I cut it out.  Then I cut off the orange section of the rainbow on the paper and drew around it onto yellow felt and so on until I had all seven colours of the rainbow in felt in sizes relative to the order in which they appear with red being the largest and violet being the smallest.  I laid the different sections out on the table in front of Wugs and demonstrated how the rainbow would be built by placing one colour on top of the other.

By creating the activity in this way, it meant that if Wugs put the wrong colour first (for instance the violet before the red), he would know as the violet would be hidden by the red because it is smaller.
To make the activity more challenging, I printed out the names of the colours and asked Wugs to identify them with the colours of the rainbow.

What we used:
Different coloured felt

As this activity was too difficult for Dooey (2 years old), I brought out our wooden rainbow and mixed up the different sections of it for him to build just as Wugs had done with his felt rainbow. The only problem with this rainbow is the missing indigo colour, but it at least gave him an idea of the majority of the colours of the rainbow and the order in which they appear.

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Building and Floating an Ark

Recently we have been reading the story of Noah and whenever I read about how God asked Noah to build an ark, my three-year old pipes up and asks if he too can build an ark.  I was trying to think of how he (or anyone!) could do this in a way that wouldn't be too time-consuming and that would be successful (ie, the ark would float and not sink).  I decided the building element to the activity would involve sticking two plastic containers together - one to house the animals and one to house Noah.

To start the activity I gave the boys some foam rectangles (flags) and pens so they could identify their arks floating on the water.

Then I gave the boys the first container and a basket of animal figurines for them to choose and place in their "arks".  At first they took a handful of animals, but once they had placed the animals in their containers we tried to identify them.  This was an important part of the activity to help the boys appreciate the variety and beauty of the animals that were preserved that day.

When the arks were full, the boys chose their human figurines. Unfortunately the second container was only large enough to hold one figurine so Wugs chose Noah's wife to go in his ark and Dooey chose Noah.  We then sealed our arks with sellotape.  (Whilst pulling out the clear tape, two pairs of eyes spotted the shiny coloured tape I was saving for Christmas so they asked to decorate their arks with it which is why the arks ended up looking like two Christmas presents floating on the water!)

Once everything was sealed down I made two cuts in the flags and wedged a craft stick through them, joining the bottom of the craft sticks to bottom plastic container through an incision I made in the container lid.

We were finally ready to float our arks!

As it was a warm day, I set up the activity in the garden, filling up a large plastic tub with water and then emptying some stones into it.  The boys took their arks outside and began to float them and blew them to get them moving in different directions.  We had a funnel with small holes in it, so I encouraged the boys to lift it up to create "rain" and to see if their arks could weather the storm.

What we used:
Foam (optional)
Craft sticks (optional)
Pens (optional)
A shallow container with a lid
A deeper container upturned
Shiny coloured tape (optional)
Animal and human figurines
Large tub
Blue food colouring (optional - but effective in making the arks look like they were in the sea)

Please click here to see our other Noah's Ark-related activities.

Noah's Ark

This week we have been reading the story of Noah.  The boys love the story and the pictures of all the different animals aboard the ark.  It has generated quite a few questions, like "Did the fish go on the ark or did they swim outside it?" and "Is God making it rain?" (asked by my despondent three-year old who wanted the rain to stop the other day so he could go outside and play on his bike).  To accompany our reading, I put together a few fun activities to help the boys appreciate the different aspects of the story.