Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Pine Cone Bird Feeder

This is super easy and after exploring the gardens we found a couple of pine cones that we turned into bird feeders!.... With a smear of peanut butter and seeds to stick, hang it up and watch the birds LOVE IT!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Retail Experience

While I am doing some sign writing for a local retailer, the kids get to accompany me and help me out.  Fortunately I have known the staff for years so they love having the kids help them with the 'stock'.  They also like to see what I'm doing, help me with some of the letters, and always like doing the exclamation marks!

I think it's great practice for them so let them help me when they want (provided I have their painting clothes along with me too!) After a while Blake likes to paint his own box so that keeps him busy as he likes to paint EVERY surface!


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Word Families: Match-Up Mats

I'm sure we didn't get taught "Word Families" at school, and after doing some research it's amazing how much you learn all over again! I have found that getting the kids to do a combined game is a great way for us all to have fun together, which in turn, makes it a great positive experience that they will want to do over and over again.

We have found these Word Family games from "The Measured Mom" website which has some fantastic resources that you can print off and use.

I have printed and laminated the Word Family mats that helps you identify the word by looking at the picture, then finding the word, and placing it over the top. It was a great hit, and even Blake (4) became very good at getting the right answers too!

To download the Word Family mats, click here

Monday, 15 July 2013

Workshops on the Wharf - Crazy Corner Bookmarks

Easy and super cute, these little monsters will help you find your place every time!

Some examples from another website of some pretty cool monsters!  See the step by step instruction of these bookmarks here.

Unfortunately for the actual workshop we were resting after our ordeal with Blake and croop.  So the lovely ladies saved us some supplies to make our own Crazy Bookmarks.  It so happened that some family visited with some friends so we all sat down and made some of these amazing bookmarks together!  They are super easy, and you can make them look really scary, or very pretty!  It's totally up to you, so enjoy being creative!!

You will need:
  • Coloured paper
  • pens and pencils
  • glue
  • stick on crazy eyes
  • any additional craft accessories you may want to use ie. feathers, glitter, jewels etc
Cut out your template for the bookmark by tracing one like this one here.

Fold the 'wings' on the sides to make the 'face' of the character.  Glue the wings together but make sure you don't glue it to the back piece as this is the bit that will fit over the corner of the pages in your book.

Decorate using your items, then let dry.


We actually took this one step further and applied ice block sticks to the back to make puppets!

The possibilities are endless!!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

First Starship Hospital Visit

At midnight last night I heard a barking cough... Blake was having trouble breathing and I rang the ambulance.  They made it on board, told us to go to Starship Children's Hospital and get checked out.  Fortunately they pretty much diagnosed it as 'croop' immediately, which has been doing the rounds recently.  So, we had a trip in the ambulance, a checkup by the doctor and nurse, and then a loooong wait until the doctor discharged us (5am).  I don't wish that upon anyone and it's scary stuff.  Fortunately Blake recovered fast, and was pretty much back to normal and wanted to do 'stuff' while waiting for the doctor.  The distraction of pens and paper was a great idea as they were having far too much fun swinging the curtains back and forth!!

So from 1am until 5am Blake (now recovering well, nearly back to normal) and Freya (now having her 2nd wind), decided it was a good time for homeschooling.  Of course it's a great time! Why now!!??  The nurses gave them same paper and pens, and they coloured in some pictures, and the recycled calender on the other side was a great source of numbers for Blake to practice.  He's now very good at doing 'one to one' counting, and nearly gets to 20, (misses out 13, 17), so I didn't miss this opportunity if he wanted to do some maths!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Word Families: Family Tree

After playing the Word Family Match Up Mats I decided it would be good reinforcing to do a family 'tree'.  Each branch had a different 'family' on it, and the leaves had the words on them.  Very simple and effective. I used an old pineapple label to make the leaves for Freya's tree, so that it 'sparkled'.  Freya need a little hand to get started but was away after that.

For Blake's tree I kept it simple and went back to the beginning letter for each word. Each branch had a 'letter' instead of a 'family'.   She enjoyed putting the leaves back on the tree.  Blake enjoyed it, but got a bit confused with b and d which is quite normal, so needed a little help in the end.

Blake's simple "Family Tree" made up of the starting letters of each word

Freya's "Family Tree" showing the more complex 'families' made from a pineapple tag from the supermarket.

I loved doing this simply.  It could've been a huge thing to do a massive tree and put it on the wall, but I wanted to keep it simple, and quick.  The kids love looking in their workbooks, and over time they go back and see what they have done, so mainly everything goes in there.  I also loved that I could re-use something that was otherwise going to go in the bin.  Freya loved the 'gold' fleck on her leaves.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Workshops on the Wharf: Mini Rockets

Yet again another wonderful Workshops on the Wharf day meant the kids got off the boat and ventured to the playground where there was a nice little mini-rocket task taking place.  These super simple rockets were so quick to make, and so effective!! WOW!! Absolutely GREAT idea, for anytime!! Parties, afterschool, weekends, school holidays.  Very very easy.

You will need:

  • Small piece of paper, approx 200mm x 50mm
  • pens, felts etc
  • tape
  • straws

Basically, you get your paper, colour it in to create your own rocket, then roll it around a coloured pencil and tape to secure the shape.

"Roll" one end to make the front end of the rocket and tape.

Place over your selected 'shooter' or straw.

Point somewhere safe and blow to propel the rocket!

Told you it was easy!!! And they are great fun!
Just remember to point them to a safe place away from people!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Outside Vowel Games

Learning should be fun, right??? Well, often the kids are just plain bored with sitting at the table, so I will try to make a point of making some games out of the stuff we've recently learnt.  This week we've done 'vowels', so everywhere we went we tried to do some 'work' but make it fun too!

Swimming Time:
At the Tepid Baths Freya and I decided to have a competition to see who could find words around the pool and see whether they were short or long vowels.  We started off by using a 'little kneeboard' to throw back and forth, and as we threw it to the other person, we would have to say a word that we could see.  Some examples were: 'cap', 'swim', 'flag', 'board', 'roof', 'plant', 'lane', 'spa', 'Ben' (who happened to be the lifeguard on duty), 'togs', 'water', 'splash' etc etc

After we threw the board and said our word, we would have to decide what vowels were in the word, and whether they were short or long vowels.  This is a good game for keeping the board moving!

Speed Vowel Boxes:
 I basically thought of this game up quickly as we were walking to a flat area of paved concrete with chalk in my hand!

I drew 5 boxes, and put a large vowel in each.  We then tried to think of some words and jump to the boxes.  This wasn't exciting enough, so I then made all 3 of us stand about 2 metres away from the boxes and we made it a 'race' to try and guess the vowel and then first to run to the correct box wins.  It ended up VERY successful and even Freya and Blake got some vowels correct even before I had said them!

Blake attempting to make his 'own' vowel box!  

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Workshops on the Wharf - Matariki: Navigation Boats

With the beautiful sunny day forecast the Workshop this week was perfect for the outdoors!  Ann and Sian did their amazing Workshop building cork navigation boats.  This workshop part of the Matariki festival celebrations of the Waterfront.

What you will need:

  • corks
  • skewers
  • chopsticks
  • paper 
  • toothpicks
Basically you make anything you want, so long as it stays upright.  Corks can be quite hard and toothpicks not strong enough, so an adult might need to help with them.  Decorate your sails and away you go!

Once complete you then test your navigation boat in the water and see how you go across the pond (or bath!). 

It's great fun!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Workshops on the Wharf - Matariki: Time Capsules

What a wonderful wonderful way to start of the celebration of Matariki (Maori New Year).

Tanya ran the workshop making time capsules which I thought was a great idea!

What you will need:
  • Pieces of card, preferably coloured with printed 'slits' on them for cutting.
  • Stickers
  • Markers and pens for colouring
  • Printed stickers with the 'Do not open until 10th June 2013" on them, (or whatever the date is for the next Maori New Year).
  • Tape
So basically you get your sheet of card, and draw things that you love 'today', favourite movies, items of clothing, friends, and things that you think are important for your time today.

Then select some stickers that you love and stick them onto it on both sides.   Once complete, cut along the slits, roll up into a tube, and use the 'dated sticker' to "seal" the tube.  Then fold the end tabs (that have been formed by the slits), and use tape to seal the ends.  There you have it!

Now you have to wait until next year to open it!