Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Make your own Christmas Wrapping Paper 5 simple ways!

If you are like me and have children who love to paint and are looking for ways to reduce the cost at Christmas, then this is the post for you!

Miss M loooves to paint, glue and make and is always asking to do that so I utilised this interest into a cost effectinve and fun way to make our own wrapping paper!

This was going to be '6 ways' but due to technical difficulties I am having trouble uploading pictures that were taken last year when Miss M had just turned 2 and she decorated some Christmas wrapping paper then. When it is resolved then I'll update the post!

Here are 5 fun and simple ways you can make your own wrapping paper today!!
Click on the links to see details on how to prepare each one!

3. Magic Candle Painting

4. Baking Paper Christmas Wrap

5. Baby safe Finger Paint

Which way is your favourite?


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Baby safe Christmas Wrapping Paper

With all this painting going on in our house lately H man wanted to get in on the action too! He is really bad at putting everything to his mouth. Makes him a brilliant eater but means I have to constantly sweep my floors lol!

This is an easy, simple and safe ways for young babies 6months + to paint. Using their hands and experiencing more of their senses is such an important learning tool for our young babies.

When doing this activity with your little one be prepared for them to get messy. Put them in something that is comfortable for them and you don't mind if it gets dirty. Check that they are dry, feed and rested before starting to ensure they participate more fully in the activity.

As soon as his hands were in they went straight to his mouth!
Mmmm this is not so bad! It is very sweet so they might just very well enjoy the flavour.

The recipe for baby safe finger paint

3/4 cup cornflour
6 tablespoons of sugar
4-5 cups of water

In a saucepan, stir the cornflour and sugar till well combined.
Turn on medium heat on the stove top and slowly add the water.
Heat until mixture thickens.
Cool and separate to add your colour.
To colour add a few drops of food colouring of our choice.

Creating his masterpiece!

Love it
Now I wonder who's special gift will be wrapped in this gorgeous home made/ baby made wrapping paper??? I'm thinking perhaps his sisters gift from him!


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Magic Painting ~ Christmas Wrapping Paper

I really love doing magic or surprise painting in my classrooms and my students always really enjoyed it! Not having tried it with Miss M yet I thought we'd give it a go to make some Christmas Wrappin paper seeing as we were making our own this year.

To do magic painting you will need some candles, you could use white crayons also but candles have a special Christmas feel about them!

You can't see what you have drawn or written with the candles.
For the Christmas wrapping paper you could encourage your older children to draw and write christmas themed pictures and wordss.

Depending on the ages of my students we have used this in many ways such as sending each other secret messages and pictures. It's lot's of fun and a great motivational learning tool!

You will need some edicole dye or food colouring mixed with water to paint over the
top of the candle drawings.

Demonstrate for your child how to paint long strokes of the edicole dye over the top revealling the candle markings. Magic!!

Of course your child may have other plans on how they'd like to paint like Miss M. It's wonderful that they have the opportunity to be incontrol and use the resources and equipment you've supplied in their own creative ways. Her candle markings didn't show up quiet aswell as they might have but their was plenty of magic happening regardless!

Her finished product looks fantastic and very magical.
it will make lovely Wrapping paper for some lucky gift reciever.

We will try magic painting again another day!


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Baking Paper Christmas Wrap

This is super fun, simple and a cost effective way to make Christmas wrapping paper that your children will enjoy doing .
This idea is great for wrapping your smaller sized gifts.

You will need some baking paper / waxed paper.
I purchased some of the cheapest no name branded baking paper from the super market.

To start you will need to roll out some of the baking paper.

You will need some tissue paper.
Cut out whatever shapes you like in whatever colours you like.
As we are making Christmas wrapping paper we used red and green stars.
You could use hearts, Christmas trees, snowflakes etc.

You will also need some watered down PVA glue and
a brush for spreading the glue.

Spread the glue all over the baking paper and
let your child arrange the shapes on to the baking paper.

Once the shapes have been stuck down it is a good idea to put another layer of glue on top to help the top layer of baking stick down.

Now roll a new layer of baking paper over the top so you end up with double layer.

The result is a lovely transparent affect!


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Monday, 3 December 2012

Magic Snow~ Christmas Sensory Play

We live in Australia. We also live in a part of Australia that never experiences snow!
Snow isn't something that Miss M has any tangible experience with, yet at the moment in the lead up to Christmas, she is seeing it on TV and in books and hearing about it quiet a bit! Christmas where we live is... well... mostly hot!

Her favourite DVD at the moment is Disney The Fairies, Secret of the Wings. She would happily watch it everyday and I do have to hide it away.
 Out of sight out of mind.
It is however, a lovely movie and has stunning snow scenes that make you wish you were really there! I could watch it every day too lol!

Her favourite book 'How Big is a Million?' also features a snowy, wintry landscape.

As do many of her favourite Christmas books.
We do have Australian ones also.

We have had plenty of discussions about the weather and what snow is and what it might feel like. We know it is cold. "The winter woods are too cold for the warm fairies wings Mummy". We can see in the books that you wear warm clothes and shoes when it snows and that's why Santa wears a big red cosy suit.
He will get hot when he comes to our house won't he!!

We were blessed with a wintry storm not too long ago that provided plenty of hail
and we played with ice and did ice paintings. Which let us experience how cold it might be.

Then I remembered that somewhere I had some magic snow that I had used with a class when learning about weather. This stuff was wonderful and it is reusable!
And I found it without too much looking.

As you can see it wasn't too expensive and can be used again.
I purchased it at a National Geographic Shop from memory!
I made sure to be clear with Miss M that this was not real snow but that it was only 'pretend' and that it was like magic because when you added the water it went a little bit like snow! I explained that if it were real snow it would melt like ice and turn into water because it is so warm where we live.

If you can't get a hold of anything like this but think your child would love sensory play with 'pretend' snow then you could try using cloud dough or moon sand.
Here Miss M is playing with some dinosaurs in cloud dough.
Or you could try using shaved/crushed ice!

To make cloud dough you will need

Approx 4 cups of plain flour
Mixed with 1 cup of baby oil
(you could use any oil really but baby oil is nice and light and smells nice)

Use more or less depending on the quantity you want to make.

The only thing about cloud dough is that it is not cold as like the magic snow and it doesn't feel as wet. You could perhaps put it in the fridge.

Alternatively try using crushed ice, which you can make easily if you have an ice crusher. Just be warned if you live where it is warm it will likely melt quickly, especially with warm little hands playing.

The great thing about magic snow is that it does feel cold and wet.
It feels like tiny mashed up water beads, which is likely what it is, although nowhere on the packaging mentions what it is made off.
Just be sure that your little one won't try and eat it. If they are likely to, then avoid this one. Make sure your child washes their hands after playing.

We collected a few props that she wanted to play with in the magic snow!
These little Santa and Christmas tree were perfect!

Here is the wintry scene Miss M created. As she played she wanted to add different things, like presents under the Christmas tree and we need a seal for Pipkin to play with Mummy! Lucky we had one in her Zoo set.
Fun, imagination, creativity, storytelling and retelling stories were all inspired by this sensory play!

The best part is that we can do it all again tomorrow!!


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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Magnetic Fridge Maths

I spend quite alot of my time in the kitchen doing various Mummy tasks.
Miss M is great at helping me and she often likes to be involved in cooking, preparing lunches and snacks, helping clean up dishes and putting them away etc etc.

However there are times when she wants to be near me but she won't be encourage to 'help'. I found myself turning to the TV as a babysitter more and more to get me through preparing and cooking meals. Then one day she was given some magnetic alphabet toys for the fridge which were brilliant for these times. But quickly these became 'boring' as toys often do at this age. I was reminded that I had quite a few resources I had made from my 'teaching' days that would be great as fridge games!

Having fun activities on the fridge that she can interact with
has been the perfect solution for us! 
Not only is it fun and keeps her entertained she is also learning while she is playing... and she is close to me.

I will share with you some of the simple magnetic games I have made.
I will focus on the mathematical concepts children will be developing although most are integrated with other areas such as language.

Ages: These games can be simplified or extended to suit all ages from 1-5. Miss M enjoyed some of these games from as early as 14months.

 All you need to make some simple magnetic games is,

a roll of magnetic tape (bought at Spotlight)
some coloured card/ felt /foam
Optional: laminator

1. Apple Tree

To prepare I simple printed off some apples onto red card and laminated them. I cut out a tree shaped from card and stuck some magnetic tape on the back of them all. The apples have ties as we use them for lots of different type games. Hopefully one day I'll
 get time to share.

You'll need to have some number cards. You can easily make some by writing numbers on card and cutting them out. Use numbers that are within your child's capabilities. Start with 1-5 and progress to 10. You want to provide a stimulating challenge for your little one as well as giving them the opportunity to succeed.
Your child adds how many apples the card says to the tree by counting. Use pictures on your cards as extra support if needed.

Your Child is Learning
  • Number recognition
  • Counting
  • One to one correspondence (count just once for each number)
  • Developing an understanding that the last number said tells you 'how many'.

Mr Brown's Magnificent Apple Tree is also brilliant and you can use your apple tree to act out the story and represent the mathematical concepts within the book!

The apples are laminated which means I am able to write on them with whiteboard marker and rub it off as much as I like. Recently, Miss M has used the apples to make number lines, consolidating her recognition of numbers into the teens and twenties.

You could simplify or extend this to suit the ability of your children.

2. Five Little Ducks

5 little ducks went out one day,
over the hill and far away.
Mother duck says quack quack quack
but only 4 little ducks came back.

Repeat verse until 'no little ducks came back then sing

Mother duck went out one day,
over the hill and far away.
Mother duck said quack quack quack
and all 5 little ducks came back.

 To prepare I simply printed some duck templates onto yellow card and drew a hill on green card. I cut them out, laminated them for extra durability and added a strip of magnetic tape to the back.

Your child is Learning:
Teach children the song if they aren't familiar with it. Young children will delight in simply acting out the song with the figures.
  • Counting to 5.
  • Knowing the last number tells us 'how many'.
  • Visually seeing what 5 looks like and what happens when only 4 come back and 1 is left behind 4+1=5. How this is represented visually. This continues throughout the song.
  • They will be investigating how many ways they can make 5.
  • Understanding that no matter how the ducks are arranged there is always 5 'little ducks' altogether.
  • Even if your child does not sing the song with these resources they still encourage mathematical thinking and skills. Counting the ducks, big and small, prepositions such as over, under, next to, on top.
  • Using and understanding new vocabulary: plus, add, equals and how many.
  • With older children you can show them how to represent the story with numbers and symbols. 4+1+=5 They could practise writing these sums.


3. The Bears Went Over the Mountain

The bear went over the mountain, the bear went over the mountain,
the bear went over the mountain to see what it could see.
And all that it could see, and all that it could see,
was the other side of the mountain, the other side of the mountain,
 the other side of the mountain, was all that it could see.

Your child is Learning:
Teach children the song if they aren't familiar with it. Young children will delight in simply acting out the song with the figures.

The mathematical concepts are similar to the 5 little ducks except I have extended it by including 10 bears, this involves more counting.
  • Counting to 10.
  • Knowing the last number tells us 'how many'.
  • They will be investigating how many ways they can make 10.
  • Understanding that no matter how the bears are arranged there is always 10 altogether.
  • Even if your child does not sing the song with these resources they still encourage mathematical thinking and skills. Counting the bears and prepositions such as over, under, next to, on top.
  • Using and understanding new vocabulary: plus, add, equals and how many.
  • With older children you can show them how to represent the story with numbers and symbols. 8+2=10 They could practise writing these sums.

4. Five Speckled Frogs

Five little speckled frogs sat on a speckled log
eating some most delicious bugs, yum yum!
One jumped into the pool, where it was nice and cool,
now there are 4 speckled frogs.

Keep going till all the frogs are in the pool

I apologise for the orientation of this pic

Your child is Learning:
Teach children the song if they aren't familiar with it. Young children will delight in simply acting out the song with the figures.

Unlike the last two games that focused on addition, this one focuses on subtraction or take away.
  • Using and understanding new vocabulary such as less, take one away, how many.
  • Actively being involved hands on with the skill of subtraction.

5. Patterning Match- Up

Patterning is a fundamental mathematical concept.
Only try this one if your child is able to tell you what comes next in a simple pattern.
One of the earliest patterning games to play with babies and young children, is singing songs with patterns in them such as head, shoulders knees and toes. Also try making patterns with bottle tops from milk and juice bottles, threading necklaces with coloured pasta and making patterns with your body such as clap, jump, clap, jump etc. If your child is very good at knowing what comes next in a pattern then they may be ready for this simple fridge matching game.

I made some strips with simple patterns using coloured dots...

...and shapes. I honestly made these up very quickly and you could spend more time and make some really lovely ones.
I'm planning a little activity with Miss M that involves her making her own patterns using a variety of items. She's already made patterns from pebbles, popsticks and bottles tops so this has prompted me write a post on it, which I will!.

Your child's task is to match up the end of the pattern strip to it's correct strip. This can be quite tricky especially if pieces are upside down.

6. Puzzles

This is another one I quickly put together. I apologise, I cannot remember where I sourced these images from, I just had them in my collection of resources.
I am sure that you could make something similar way better than these.
In fact I plan to do just that.
I think the imagine is fairly self explanatory and I'm sure you could use any simple image to create a puzzle.
You don't even need to cut it horizontally like these but could try more abstract ways.

I simply store all these magnetic games in a basket on top of my fridge. Many more will be added over time I am sure!

I would love to hear about any magnetic games your children enjoy so please feel free to share! I have many more language and literacy focused ideas also


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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Foorprint Reindeer ~ Christmas Wrapping Paper

This has to be the cutest idea for making your own wrapping paper and it was honestly super easy to do!!

It suits absolutely all ages from tiny newborns to big kids and even adults.
It's easy and quick to make quite a bit of wrapping paper so you'll have those presents wrapped in no time!!

You will need

long strip of paper- I used about 1.5 metres
cut off from a roll of easel paper purchased at Ikea.

Paint of whatever colours you like.
Miss selected her choice of 'Christmas colours'
which included red, green and of course pink!

Trays for the paint, big enough for your child/ren to step in.

A tub or bucket with warm soapy water for washing feet

A towel for drying feet/ optional

It was a windy day so we needed some brick pavers to hold everything down but it's a good idea anyway to place something on the strip of paper so it stays put tight as your children walk along it.

As an Early Childhood teacher I have done quite a bit of footprint art and this is the best way I have found to set it up.

Children who are walking can easily step into a tray of paint then step onto the paper and walk along it to the other side where they then step into the tub of water to clean their feet before coming back for another colour. Of course they don't have to wash their feet if your, you could make some gorgeous two toned reindeer's.

If you wanted your reindeer's facing both ways they could step into the paint and walk back.

Make sure that your strip of paper isn't too long that the paint wears of before they get to the end. 1.5metres is good.

You can easily do this with non walking children and babies also.
My 11 month old giggled the whole time as I held him as he stepped into the paint and I took prints off his feet.

I wasn't able to get a photo of the H man making his prints as you can imagine, however you can see his little footprints next to his sisters.

We had soooo much fun doing this that we made about 6metres of wrapping paper!
I just kept adding another strip from the roll!
Miss M did not want to stop but hey, now I have enough wrapping gorgeous wrapping paper to well and truly last.

Some might even get framed I think!!!

I think just like this is pretty cute and any relative would love to get a gift wrapped with these precious footprints.

You could also do hands prints!

To turn those precious footprints into reindeer's simply draw with black marker some eyes and antlers. We added sticky dots as the nose.

Personally I think this would even look better if your little one drew the antlers and the eyes. There's nothing quite like a child's representation. Miss M was happy enough sticking on her sticky dots as noses!

Of course she wanted to go swimming in the tub didn't she!
Filled it up with fresh water and there went another hour for one very happy and busy little girl!

I hope you enjoy,

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