Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Making letters fun!!!! - Flour.

Henry has started learning his letters at school, and we have been asked to support his learning for a few minutes each day, to help establish the letter sounds.

I'm not going to do a blog entry for every letter, just when we try something new that could be used for any of the letters.

With Henry; the hands on touchy feely approach is best. So i got out a wooden board, spread flour on it, then suggested Henry try writing the letters with his fingers in the flour.

The first time we do any letter i write it with him; i stand to his left and we write at the same time, so he can get the formation of the letter correctly. Using the flour, i then put dots where he can start his letters and let him roll with it. For the letter "t: he got very enthusiastic and i think we managed 7 of the letter "t". Henry loves to use the rolling pin to roll the flour flat and start again.

Painting without paint or a brush!!!

Outdoor Hour - Challenge #3 - Time to draw

For Henry, who doesn't go a bundle on doing art work, i try to steer away from plain drawing or painting, trying to make the experience a little more unusual if possible.

Most days we get out for a walk with our dog. So for yesterday's walk i took a bag to collect all kinds of things from nature that we might be able to use for an art project.

Henry got very into putting things into the bag...so much so we had an overflowing bag by our return home! During our walk i asked Henry to think of what we could use to draw or paint with, with some help he suggested sticks and feathers. I picked some blackberries and elderberries and got Henry to guess what we might use these for, he was very intrigued by the idea of making paint from them......even more so wh
en i told him we would paint with mud when we got home!

Back home i put all our findings out on a piece of paper and provided a fairly absorbent type of paper for Henry to create his art work on.

To start with i suggested Henry try painting with
mud, He chose a stick and created brown lines all over his page.

Next Henry tried out squashing black berries then rolling them with a stick....beautiful purple designs started to develop. Amazingly, every blackberry had a slightly different colour! Elderberries were squashed and rolled, and finally back to the mud with a rose hip and a feather to create some more brown patterns.

I was totally amazed how well this idea worked. After a good hand wash, the very unusual piece of art has pride of place on our fridge! - whoever said you needed paint and a paintbrush to create a masterpiece!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Henry starts school

This post is a little belated...but better late than never!

Henry started school on the 3rd September 2009. One very excited boy rand down to school in his very smart school uniform! Very eager to learn...or rather "play" as we were told by Henry!

Needless to say, three weeks in, he is loving it. Finally making some friends, and even coming home with homework!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Orienteering with the National Trust

Kevin thinks that i have finally admitted to being middle aged!....I have joined the National Trust. I would like to point out that i joined to gain access to the amazing gardens and estates for walks and exploration; not to spend hours looking round inside boring houses!

So our first National Trust property was Dyrham Park, near Bath. A huge country estate with large house in the valley, it is a stunning place to visit. Our specific reason for visiting however, was for a family orienteering day.

Armed with clipboard, map, compass and instructions, we were about to see if we could find our way from the top of the hill to the main Hall at the bottom of the valley.

Whilst i tried to remember how to use a compass (good thing instructions were included) Henry headed off to find the first clue with the use of the map.

At each clue we had to either write or draw the clue answer - animals of one sort or another. Henry & i took it in turns to record the 6 clues (to maintain Henry's enthusiasm levels!) In finding each clue we were making our way down the hill to the hall.

Our final clue found and my reward to Henry was an Ice cream as we explored the beautiful formal gardens of the house. A quick game of croquet on the lawn and then we made our weary way back up the very long hill.....good thing they had a shuttle bus....there is no way Henry would have made it back to the top after 3hrs of exploration at a fair pace!

A fantastic venue and great activity.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Henrys new hobby - Horse riding!

Much to my delight, Henry is showing an interest in horses! Actually at the moment it is all animals....dogs, cats, ducks, chickens, cows...you name it Henry wants to get up close and personal which is great.

Back in the UK however, i have been given a great opportunity to use a small pony to teach Henry to ride. The pony is George...a very placid and fluffy pony who seems to cope with Henry very well!

Prior to George, Henry had never been on a pony; only horses of 16hh or higher, unsurprisingly he was a little daunted by the idea of riding. It was love at first sight with George though - a pony his size and one where there was no pressure to ride if he didn't want to.

In the last month, Henry has been on George about 5 times; each time getting a little more confident. Normally his interest lasts a lap around the field (about 10 minutes) - but he has tried a little trot (with a lot of giggling) and today Henry mastered slalom around buckets and going through the mouth of a cave (between two buckets) so he is getting the steering as well!

We will take it steady, ride whenever Henry wants to and get off as soon as the interest wains...at this stage it is important to keep it fun, so he wants to come back for more!

We are back...I think!

After what seems like months away, (well it is over 2 months since we left the USA) i think we can finally get back to this blog!

We have done a fair bit over the last few months that has not been documented, so i'm going to attempt to catch up with our activities in the next few posts.

Just as an idea i'll finally get around to blogging our trip to Niagara falls, our move from the USA to the UK. A visit to the Postal museum, a fish and chips art project, Henrys first day at school and his new found hobby of horse riding........

Takes a deep breath and gets typing!

Happy reading!