Children’s Art Galleries

Squiggle has been busy getting creative this week with an art box kindly sent to us by Children’s Art Galleries.​

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Children’s Art Galleries is an online space where parents (or carers, educators etc…) can upload photos of their children’s art work to share publicly. This is a brilliant solution if you are looking to save space by recycling the original version, yet still want to ‘keep’ the art available to look at somewhere. And better still, it is a place that is easily accessible. 

It is also great if, like Squiggle, your child wants to exhibit their artwork for all to see! It is a useful alternative to facebook or other social media for this because it is specifically designed for this purpose so is more child-friendly. It is also a good source of inspiration too, by browsing other mini artists!

Children’s Art Galleries costs £3 per child per year. However, it works out cheaper than this per child if you purchase a bulk package for siblings/ groups. (Note this is the cost for an annual subscription to the online art gallery, art box not included).

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Squiggle was excited to receive her art box and was keen to get started right away! She is still very much feeling the love of Valentines Day last week so she went for this theme when creating her art. She is all about the hearts and flowers at the moment! 

First she made a simple heart collage, which I uploaded onto her personal (public) gallery. It is quick and easy to use, although there is a delay before it appears because all photos have to be approved first – which is, of course, a good thing!

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She then designed her own funky pair of heart glasses – so cute!

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You can find out more about Children’s Art Galleries here:

Website: www.childrensartgalleries.com

Facebook: childrensartgalleries

Instagram: childrensartgalleries

Twitter: @childrensAG


*I received the art box and one year subscription to Children’s Art Galleries in exchange for this blog post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How Do You Entertain Your Children? 

As a home educator, I spend alot of time with my daughter. We play, talk, research and do activities together, or go to classes, out on adventures and meet up with friends. Aside from the usual parenting duties, I view my role mainly as learning facilitator and to support her development in all areas. However, for the most part, I don’t see it as my job to entertain her per se. But of course there are times when I do need to keep her entertained for one reason or another, or rather help her to entertain herself! 

So how do parents choose to do this? Do you reach for a tablet, grab a book or get out board games? Or maybe you have a different approach? Rattan Direct are conducting a survey to find out more about how parents entertain their children. (Click here to complete the survey) 

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The survey asks questions such as which room in the house do your children spend the most and least amount of time; do they tend to hide out in their bedroom or do you all socialise in the living room together? Or perhaps they are most likely to be outside in the garden rather than in any room at all! 

What do you prefer to use as entertainment at home for your children; books, board games, gaming or TV? How about on car journeys? Do you struggle to entertain your children or not? And what are your thoughts on technology; is it a good way to entertain your children, do you think it is educational and do you think it affects their sleep?

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Personally I think technology can be educational and I think whether or not it affects sleep depends on the individual child. I do not personally use it as entertainment for Squiggle but that is down to our personal preferences and mainly due to her needs too. 

We are most often in the living room or the garden. She often grabs a book or magazine to look at, or chooses to do some drawing or writing as an independent activity if I am busy for a few minutes, whereas games tend to be something that we play together. If we are going on a journey, she takes some toys to play with in the car and listens to music.

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The final questions ask about furniture; for example, what do you look for in new furniture now that you have children? For us, there are alot of factors to consider but cost is important and durable is an absolute must! 

I would love to hear your thoughts on this survey, leave your comments below!

*This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

Emmy and the Whale by Julian Burrett and Chris Clor: Book Review

They say to never judge a book by its cover, but as soon as I saw the title of this story I was very keen to get my hands on it! We adore whales – in fact we adore anything to do with nature, wildlife and our natural environment – so I figured this would be perfect for us to review.

Emmy and the Whale, Julian Burrett, Chris Clor, childrens book, book review, whale, oceans, adventure, Living Life Our Way

Emmy and the Whale is written by Julian Burrett with imagery by Chris Clor. The story follows the adventure of Emmy and a lost whale as they discover wonderfully mysterious places on their journey to find his way back home.

Emmy and the Whale, Julian Burrett, Chris Clor, book review, childrens book, oceans, whale, resources, Living Life Our Way

The wording and the storyline itself is quite simple. However, in contrast, the pictures in this book are very detailed and advanced. This means that the book would suit a variety of ages and children can get even more out of the story by using the pictures as talking point for discussion. And of course it is also great for even non-readers to look through independently too.

The imagery is somewhat unique; it is a result of days of photography in two different countries and hundreds of hours of CGI and photoshop. It is both surreal and captivating. With each turn of the page, it is almost impossible not to get drawn in by the style and quirkiness of the pictures, and become absorbed in the world that has been created.

Emmy and the Whale, Julian Burrett, Chris Clor, book review, childrens book, oceans, whale, resources, Living Life Our Way

This beautiful book is available to buy via their website at www.emmyandthewhale.com
I was sent this book for free to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sylvanian Families Photo Captions

Squiggle has been taking it easy today because her energy levels are very low at the moment. But that didn’t stop her from getting the inspiration to create some simple Sylvanian Families scenes, then take photos of them and write captions. I love how Sylvanian Families continue to inspire her in such a variety of ways! Oh and she has just discovered emojis and hashtags, as you can see from the captions lol… 😬;)😂💗

Sylvanian Families, photo caption, sports, rounders

Sylvanians love playing rounders with chacklat labrordoors #sylvaniansport #rounders!.🐶

Sylvanian Families, photo captions, Christmas

Snowy day 
In sylvania i can see santa in his slay ! #christmas eve! #sylvanians 🎅😻💟🐰🍭⛄❄🎄

Sylvanian Families, photo captions, Christmas

Christmas eve night in sylvania #santashere #christmas night #sylvanians. 🎅🎄🎁🎅🐰💗💚💟💘💟⛄❄👍💗⛄❄👍🍪👍💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💟💟💚💚💚💗💗👍👍🎅👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

Sylvanian Families, photo captions, Christmas, home education

Christmas day in sylvania hire is one of meney of my presents #ChristmasDay #merrychristmas #sylvanianfamiles .         🌹🎁🎄🐰🐱🍭💟🎅🎄🎁❄⛄💟💟💘💗💚💚👍

Sylvanian Families, photo caption, Christmas, winter, snow

Look at the snow bunny i made, ive put my hat on it #sylvanians #snow.🐰🐇⛄❄💗💚👍🎅👍

Isn’t she just adorable?! I wonder what she will come up with next! 

Review: Snap Circuits (STEM Educational Toy)

Squiggle received a Snap Circuits set for her 8th Birthday back in May from a kind family member. There are lots of different kits available, but the particular one she has is this one…

Snap circuits are designed for children aged 8 plus and are a great educational resource to help to teach STEM science. The lights set comes with 55 parts to do over 175 different projects. There is also a detailed instruction booklet that has clear diagrams and useful explanations.

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Squiggle and I really like this set. Some of the projects are quite similar but there is enough variation to keep her interested. We have used it together quite a few times since she got it and there are still plenty more projects left to do. Depending on how much discussion there is over it, how long it takes to read and follow the instructions, and how many times it is used, each project could last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours!

Whilst we have always chosen to do this activity together, it is probably suitable for most children to do independently. Some children may find the instructions difficult for some of the more complex projects, depending on age and ability, but the instructions are very child friendly with clear visual diagrams. The parts have codes on that match the pictures so this is also very helpful. Occasionally some parts can be a tiny bit tricky to snap into place at first, mainly if a child has any fine motor difficulties. But the design makes it as easy for children to do by themselves as possible, and the parts are very sturdy and well made.

Overall, it is a really good quality product with great educational value. It feels to us like a good investment and it certainly made a lovely present! We would recommend.

I also noticed that there is an eco set now available too. I have not used this one so am not able to comment but I would certainly love to add it to Squiggle’s collection! Green living is a keen interest in our family so this would be a great way to teach about alternative, clean energy sources.

If you are looking for an alternative to Snap Circuits for any reason, Cambridge Brainbox Electronics is another similar kit that I have heard other home educators recommend, but we have not tried it personally. There is a car and boat themed set for transport enthusiasts aged 8 plus…

There is also a set for older children too, Cambridge Brainbox Explorer 2. This kit is aimed for children aged 11 plus.

What other educational STEM resources have you found? We would love to hear from you!

This post contains affiliate links.

Sylvanian Families: Make Your Own Mole House (Art and Craft Activity)

Squiggle had alot of fun making a Sylvanian Families cardboard mole house using instructions from her Sylvanian Storekeepers catalogue. She loves Sylvanian Families (as I’m sure you may have noticed!) and was very excited to spot this art and craft activity.

First she made the front porch. One of the members from the mole family popped by to check out how their new home was coming along, and brought some Sylvanian friends along too!

Next she built the chimney stack and the other parts of the Sylvanian families house. (Ignore the stray tub of gooseberries photobombing my picture, this is not a poor attempt at product placement, she was just snacking whilst she worked! ;))

Next was the bit Squiggle was most looking forward to… paper mache time! We used wallpaper paste because it tends to do the job more effectively but you can also use glue and water (which also works well, as long as you get the consistency just right) or even just flour and water (but in my experience this method is sometimes abit rubbish, which can be frustrating!) Paper mache is a fun sensory activity for those sensory seekers too, Squiggle loved feeling around in it.

Next came a slight test in patience as Squiggle had to wait for the paper mache to dry before she could get painting it. At this point she decided to let her creative license run loose and chose to make the Sylvanian mole family a beautifully colourful home…

The next part was putting it all together. Somehow I managed to miss getting photos of this stage (I can only assume my camera phone was buried under a pile of cardboard by this point!)

However, here is the finished product…

A wonderful bright new home for her Sylvanian families! 

This was such a fun art and craft project, and it kept Squiggle busy over the course of several days in total. The full guide was in the Sylvanian Storekeepers catalogue but the templates can also be downloaded here.

Stay Wild: Whale Wednesday Art Activity

Creating A Whale Print:

I recently purchased nature print paper for this activity, ordered from amazon here. It was smaller than I imagined but I was impressed with the quality, I felt it was very effective and worked really well.

Final edited version of my whale art using nature print paper

 

 

Firstly, draw a simple whale or print off a (copyright free) picture to use. Cut out the outline and any details to include.
Place the picture on a sheet of print paper, out of sunlight or strong artificial lighting. Put a piece of cardboard under the paper to support it and use cling film or clear plastic to keep the picture in place (I used a reusable plastic wallet).

Place in direct sunlight for approx 2-3 minutes until the paper turns a very light blue. Move into a shaded area or indoors and carefully remove the items from the paper.

Put the paper in plain water for one minute to set the picture.

As the paper dries the picture becomes clearer.

 

Here is my finished product…

This was a fun activity- I had a whale of a time! Happy #WhaleWednesday and remember to #StayWild everybody!

Sports Challenge: A Different Kind Of Sport

Twinkl has many great resources, including plenty on the theme of sports. So today Squiggle decided to take a different approach to the Sports Challenge; she did some activities at home, including a sports themed wordsearch, some dot to dot pictures and we played finger tennis. Great fun!

Finger tennis- resources from Twinkl

Squiggle has also really enjoyed acting out different sports with her Sylvanian families, which also involved some very creative ideas to make the resources she needed…

Squiggle has played various sports with her Sylvanian families.

June Round-Up

Aside from our 30 Days Wild adventures, here are some of the other things we got up to in June…

Played games, indoors and outside…

We had lots of other garden fun too, such as painting with water…

Put on shows with her toys…

Blowing bubbles, and quality time with our pets…

Squiggle also enjoyed celebrating a friend’s birthday…

These are pictures of them celebrating together that she drew for her as a present…

She also wrote a poem about cats…

We had a lovely time at Oaklands College fun day…

She then acted it out the next day at home…

Squiggle’s love of Sylvanian families is well known! She spends alot of time using them for imaginative play; such as pretending they are on holiday at Haven, going to buy ice creams, visiting Peter Rabbit’s adventure playground and at the sylvanian families Whitchurch event meeting sylvanian characters and wearing sylvanian hats like the ones she got! Cute…

She also built them an excellent tree house independently…

Other creative activities included scratch art…

And bubble art…

She did some fun science experiments (details to follow on a separate post!)…

And we also got some cool new hexbug stuff to explore…

Lastly, she had some sensory (and therapeutic!) fun splashing around in water…

30 Days Wild- Day 29: International Mud Day

Today is International Mud Day, which is a great one to link up with 30 Days Wild! 
Mud bath, anyone?


Mud has so many wonderful benefits.  It has properties that help us to feel relaxed and happy, even smarter! It connects us to the earth and is a fantastic sensory activity. It is also great for the skin! 

Happy bathing!