Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pizza making

Tonight we had pizza for dinner. Rather than buy a ready made one, Henry prepared and designed ours for us!

With a little guidance, he added the ingredients one by one, then proceeded to design the toppings into faces.

I expected mushroom eyes, pepper eye brows and mouth and ham nose...

Henry as unpredictable as ever created me an "alien face". Very carefully he arranged the peppers in a circle, ham in the centre and one mushroom for the mouth.

The alien!

For my pizza, he created another face of sorts!

Very excited he waited for the pizza to cook then enjoyed eating it!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Eric Carle Art project

Eric Carle books are favourites in our household. I never thought the art work in them was that impressive though. However, on a trip to the Du Page Children's museum, we created a piece of art work based loosely on Eric Carle's style of illustrations. A Fire truck.

I found out about his processes and became quite fascinated, so much so we completed the process at home.
Very simply, Eric Carle paints layers of differing colour on top of each other, letting each layer dry before adding the next. After that he draws an outline of the illustration. Then he cuts out shapes from the previously painted paper and adds them to create a design such as the Hungry Caterpillar.

If you want to follow the process in the correct order as we did, we discussed the subject that Henry wanted to create. He chose a dinosaur this time. Your choice of subject matter may influence the colour of paints you use to create your painted paper with. Henry just wanted to use every colour however and deal with what it made the dinosaur look like later!

We painted using water colour sponge brushes (the ones that already have paint in that you just dip in water). Rather than paint numerous layers, i just suggested to Henry he use a few different colours. - The paper before it dried.

Once dry, Henry cut the paper into random shaped bits. He loves cutting, and with no lines to follow, and the instruction "cut as many bits as you want" given, he was very enthusiastic about this bit!

Henry then drew the outline of the dinosaur then got sticking. To finish off the masterpiece he drew on the arms and legs with pen.

Henry's take on Eric Carle's art style!

The simple pleasures of being a child

Puddle jumping and sand pits

With so much emphasis put on our children's learning and development i think it is sometimes just great to see them enjoy those things that we as adults just don't quite get!

Our weather this week has been interesting to say the least.

With much excitement when we got home the other day after torrential rain, Henry was desperate to put on his rain boots and go jump in the puddles! Sometimes you just have to ignore the washing and mess it will cause and just take a look at the face of the child you have just made soooo happy!
Henry jumped, ran, splashed and explored the puddle for at least 20 minutes! On entry back into the house the boots emptied out at least an inch of water each and he was soaked. But he was one HAPPY Henry!

Following the rain we have had amazing weather for the last few days. Humidity like a jungle, but at least it feels like summer might be here. With that, Henry is now once again attached to his sandpit. With a new load of sand added into the tray he was occupied for hours yesterday. Digging and sand moving with his trucks and diggers!

When asked, he was building new roads and bridges. Creating foundations and earth moving...what an imagination!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Outdoor Hour - Challenge # 27 - Bees

This week's Outdoor Hour challenge for us is Challenge #27 - Bees

This week, Henry has been at camp at the Botanic gardens. Yesterday the class spent the morning studying bees and discussing bees and their activities. I thought I'd jump on Henry's enthusiasm and we could do this outdoor hour challenge with his new found knowledge.

I checked out the bee's in the Botanic garden today and found out some interesting facts and snapped a couple of good pictures.After much discussion on the subject, I thought we would start with a craft. A bee!

Using tissue paper (in balls and cut into squares), we designed our bee. I drew the basic body, head and wing shapes which Henry cut out.

I then tore tissue paper up and Henry helped me screw it into little balls; very good for developing strength and co-ordination with the hands. He drew stripes on the bee's body, the proceeded to stick the tissue paper on in stripes.

With the head, we used a more mosaic approach, using little squares of tissue paper. I offered Henry one eye or two - he chose two. For the wings, i was going to have him use tissue paper, but he announced that he would like feathers! Good thing i carry such stock!

We put the bee together, and it looks great.

After the art, we did a little writing practice and made our journal entries.
With a little help Henry drew the bee honeycomb shapes and practiced his letter b and B writing, and described bees a little.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Patio words

At every occasional glimpse of the sun at the moment, we take the opportunity to enjoy a little fun and learning out doors.

This simple idea kept us busy for about five minutes, but it was a lot of fun.

Henry is starting to recognise a few words from some reading books, so to make sure he's not just learning the book off by heart (rather than reading) we look for original ways to practice the words.

A few months back i did something similar just for letters, on the beach. I use chalk, so it washes away and we can practise new things each time.
I write letters, numbers or words on the floor, then i ask Henry to find a specific letter or number and "JUMP ON IT".

Alternatively i suggest an object and ask him to find its first letter. With the words i asked him to find specific words. Then as a follow up i asked him to randomly jump on words and tell me what they were.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Polar bear encounter

I just wanted to post this, purely for you to see the photos I took today of Henry up close & personal with a polar bear.

At Lincoln Park zoo in Chicago we visited Henry's favourite animals; giraffes, penguins and now polar bears!

We shall add an entry with follow up activities, but for now, just have a look at how close Henry got to this bear, and the amazing wonder of this huge
animal swimming so gracefully.

Peggy Notebart Nature Museum - Trip Out

One of our favourite museums in Chicago is the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum. Packed full of kid friendly exhibits and experiences it is a real treat.

Today we struck lucky and had an amazing visit.

The butterfly house was great, and Henry was far more relaxed as they fluttered by in close proximity. We went hunting for Henry's butterflies friends the painted ladies, but saw so many more. Check out the great slide show of some that i caught on camera at the bottom of this entry.

Although the butterflies are the main draw to this museum, every day, an animal that can be petted is normally on show as well. However today we found three, just waiting for us. Hen
ry, much to my amazement showed no hesitation in getting up close and personal with all three!

First he was intrigued by a HUGE python. He stroked it and described it as "warm and smooth".

Next he got down in amongst some very long suffering tortoises! He picked them up, turned them over, checked out their legs, eyes, tail, and shell. He even tried out his own experiment to see what happened when he put them on their backs....needless to say my intervention on behalf of the poor tortoise was needed at this point!

A lizard was also sat calmly (did not move a muscle) on an arm chair, so Henry checked that out "hard and rough". I'm not sure he believed me that it was real though, as it was so still.

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Create a "Twombly" - Art project

After over two years in Chicago, my husband & I finally made it to the Chicago Art Institute last week. After browsing musch of the museum, we came across a tempory exhibit by Cy Twombly. My first comment to my husband was "I have to try this with Henry...he will manage one of these easily"!

Twombly's work is bright, bold, and appears to follow a simple technique; splodging paint on paper and letting it run to the bottom!

So today, Henry and I tried to replicate this famous artist's work.

We used water colour paper as a solid base to work on. Then Henry colour washed the paper to form a colourful base on which to work.

I then provided 4 different coloured paints for him to splodge with. Using a piece of balled up kitchen roll, Henry added paint to the paper a couple of times, before returning to get more paint.

To replicate Twombly as best we could to start with, I suggested Henry use just one splodging colour.

For our last piece however, I just let him loose on all the paints, but suggested he add each colour to the paper maybe only 4-5 times before moving to the next colour.

We worked on this for about half an hour, and I think we made a pretty good attempt at creating a Twombly!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The outdoor Hour - Butterflies

This week's Outdoor hour challenge was Challenge #22 Butterflies. If you have been following the blog so far you will know that we have raised our own butterflies from Caterpillar stage.

The whole experience of watching the middle stages of the life cycle of a butterfly have been fascinating for both Henry and I. I can't think of a more engaging way to learn about this subject.

After 32 years, I saw first hand, caterpillars close up, eating leaves, spinning silk and creating a large amount of poop for such a small creature!

The change into chrysalis was fascinating, as was the change in colour of the chrysalis over the 10 days they developed. This morning, to see the chrysalis wiggle intermittently and then watch a butterfly emerge as we ate our breakfast was a unique experience.

With live creatures and detailed photos on hand. Henry went about recording the appearance of his butterflies.

We started with finger painting our painted lady. Looking carefully at the photo to add detail in the right places.

Henry then did an amazing drawing of the butterfly with its wings closed (rather than open). With little guidance from me he drew the butterfly from the photo.

He made a point of telling me what he was drawing at each stage: the wings, its head (with a x in the middle of its eye), its body. It has 4 legs. It has 2 antennae with white dots on the end. It has a long tongue. I encouraged him to look carefully at the photo and count specific features such as circles and colours. Which he then carefully added to his drawing in crayons and pencils.

In addition to recording his observations in art form, Henry and I also discussed in detail how to describe the butterfly. I captured his thoughts and he wrote the key words.

We also went over the life cycle of the butterfly once more - a process I think Henry dosn't even need to think about anymore, because he has been exposed to it in such a physical way.