Tag Archives: drawing

Playing with oats

Yesterday our friends from The Adequate Parent and 3 Kids and a Gluestick came over and I decided it would be a good opportunity to get going on our Farm topic with some more messy play in the Tuff Spot.  Owl spent a long time carefully setting up the farm animals and fences, and then I added two large bags of oats, and a few shredded wheat.  Some of the children helped to crumble the shredded wheat up; Tiddler particularly enjoyed this, and was happily occupied eating it for quite a while.

I set out some farm-themed books on the table to provide an alternative activity.  I knew we had rather a lot of farm books, as it is something we all love, but even I was a little surprised at the size of our collection.  In fact I think we probably have even more, as I only spent about 5 minutes looking and we have books in nearly every room of our house.  It was fun to gather them all together anyway, and we will be using them for inspiration over the next few weeks.  Monkey and Rabbit rediscovered some rather nice little stencil books and drew pictures of horses and farm animals.  Rabbit also drew a rather lovely picture of a horse for one of her friends.

The children played with the farm scene nicely for a while, and then a few of them decided it would be more fun to throw the oats.  So we moved the Tuff Spot outside!  This meant that the children spread out a bit and found other things to do.  They decided to fill up the play sink with water, and then inevitably decided to add some oats.  They made a lovely mess and it kept them busy all afternoon.  You can read another version of events here.

At Granny and Grandpa’s house

Last week, from Tuesday to Sunday, we were at Granny and Grandpa’s house.  During the week, Daddy and Grandpa weren’t there because they were working, but we were all together again at the weekend.  These are just a few of the things we did:

Owl and Monkey worked on their Maths and English, practised the violin and did lots of reading.  Owl did some Latin, reviewing his flashcards and teaching some of the words to Monkey.  He later had a more in-depth Latin lesson with Grandpa!

Monkey and I played Scrabble, Tiddler did puzzles and I played Frustration several times with Rabbit.  They all had a go on the NASA kids website, and did BBC Bitesize (Science and Literacy).  We read a lot of stories, including some new ones which we bought with our World book day tokens.

Rabbit and Tiddler iced fairy cakes with Granny.

Rabbit made a cafe with real and toy food, and wrote labels for the food and drinks. She also made Smarties and carried them around the house in a tray, selling them.

Rabbit wrote a pirate story.  It was all her own idea.

The cafe game was so much fun, we had to do it again the next day.  Rabbit and Monkey made some new signs.

Owl went to a church kids’ club, where they made Easter baskets, played games and ate chocolate.

We celebrated our Wedding Anniversary, and it snowed!

Rabbit and Tiddler made cards for us.  All the children performed in a show they made up for us , reading or reciting poems, and dancing.

Owl and Monkey played with Lego a lot.  Among other things, they made a statue, a swimming pool and a display of figures from my childhood collection to match a picture in their Lego book.

Lots of works of Art were created.

The last one is Rabbit’s picture of “The Whole Wide World.”

More Spring Art and Messy Play

I was already a little behind on blogging when my laptop finally broke beyond repair last week (it was around 7 years old.)  I have now borrowed a temporary replacement, so I can catch up a bit.  There are so many things that I would like to blog properly, but it is probably not going to happen.  So anyway, these are some of the things we did in the week beginning 11th March.  Having enjoyed experimenting with finger paint, we continued on our theme of writing and drawing with our fingers in a variety of materials.  At the beginning of the week we played with flour, and later in the week repeated the activity with cornflour mixed with water, which was very messy but great fun.

After the success of the daffodil pictures, I decided that we would do some more Spring drawings while we were on a roll.  Our garden has been full of beautiful crocuses for a while, and I brought some of them inside for the children to draw when we had Home Education group at our house.  I’m glad now that we got round to doing it before the snow returned.

We also had fun drawing the blossom tree in our front garden – a lovely springtime activity, though we did need to wrap up warm!  The children sat on a picnic blanket and observed the tree very carefully, taking their time over their drawings.  I think the passers-by were quite amused, by the looks we got, but the children took it very seriously and were proud of the results.  I haven’t taken photos of the drawings yet, so will have to add them later.  I was hoping to draw some more Spring flowers and create another display, but now that everything has been covered in snow again I think we will have to wait a while.

blossom tree 1

Owl goes to London

This is a guest post by Owl.

Two weeks ago I went to London with Granny.  We went on a Southern train and then on an Overground train.  We got off at London Bridge station and walked to Granny and Grandpa’s flat.  We had supper there and then Grandpa came home from work.  I went to bed and read “Secret Seven Fireworks” and then I went to sleep.  When I woke up I had breakfast and then we went out into London.  We took a bus to Trafalgar Square and went into the National Gallery.

We saw lots of paintings, including Monkey’s favourite one, “The Archers.”  My favourite was “The Cornfield” by John Constable.  We also looked at “Bathers at Asnieres” by Georges Seurat.  Granny told me about Pointillism which is using dots of different colours which merge together when you look at them from far away.  This painting was not painted with this technique, but later Seurat added dots of colour to some parts of the picture, including orange and blue dots to the boy’s hat.  I also like “The Umbrellas” by Renoir.  I like its detail and the little girl with the hoop (like Rabbit.)

I also liked “The Skiff (La Yole)” by Renoir, and we looked at the brush strokes and how the artist created the effect of the water.  After we left the gallery, we went on the train to Granny and Grandpa’s house.  When we got there Granny and I drew a picture together using pastels.  It is a picture of a boat on the water, and in the distance is the riverbank and a big hill.  We showed the reflections on the water by doing the colours faintly, using several different colours and making the strokes go sideways.  It was fun going on a trip and doing a picture with Granny.

What is your favourite picture?  Share it here!


I am too tired to write a lot tonight, but I just wanted to share one of the most wonderful projects we have done for a while.  I am very grateful to the kind aunt and uncle who gave us an Insect Lore Butterfly Garden for Christmas (the one before last) and just sorry it took us so long to get round to redeeming the voucher.  We are now hooked and will have to do this every year!

The caterpillars were tiny when they arrived, but grew amazingly quickly.  Then they attached themselves to the top of the cup, formed a J shape and transformed into cocoons.  We nervously transferred them to the pop-up habitat (well alright, Suburban dad had the honour…) and worried over the cocoon that fell down during the process.  But nature is amazing, and after the trailblazer butterfly emerged on Sunday, within 24 hours the remaining four butterflies made it as well.  The children have loved watching them and the big three have drawn them.  Tiddler has been taking it all in too, and if he sees a picture of a butterfly he says “Tatdillar cocoon butter-ly!”

Monkey goes to London

This post is written by Monkey.

On Tuesday I went to London on a train with Granny.  On the way we played I-Spy and we sang “Yellow Bird.”  When the train stopped we got off and went on an underground train.  We walked past Tower Bridge and we saw that the bridge was open so we walked nearer to it.  We saw two boats go under it and we watched it close.  I noticed there was an Olympic sign on the top part of the bridge.  We went to the flat and I saw my bed and bedroom, and also Grandpa.  Then I had supper which was pasta with cheese and tomato in.  After supper, Granny read me a story called “Katie and the British Artists” by James Mayhew, and we watched some football on the television.

Next morning at breakfast I had Oatibix and Weetabix, and then I had a bath and hair wash.  Granny checked that everything was in my backpack and then we went out.  We went on an underground train and a bus to the National Gallery.  First we went to the cafe and I had some lemon cake and juice which I shared with Granny. Then we went in a room with some pictures and we saw one which is in the book about Katie.  It is a picture of a horse and it is called “Whistlejacket.”  It is by George Stubbs.

We found all of the pictures from the book, except for “The Painter’s Daughters Chasing a Butterfly.” I also saw another picture I liked which was called “The Archers” and I decided to draw it in my notebook.  It is by Sir Henry Raeburn.

When we were going out of the gallery, we heard the sound of bagpipes, and a few minutes later we saw the piper.  Then we went home on the train.

Time for a round up…

It’s been a mad week, and I haven’t blogged anything that happened after the Museum visit on Tuesday.  I can’t remember everything we’ve done, but there are a few bits and pieces I want to record here.  On Wednesday, we had a home education group meeting at our house.  The children had a lot of fun playing in our overgrown garden, and luckily we managed not to lose any of them among the long grass and rather impressive array of weeds wild flowers we are currently cultivating.  Monkey and Owl set up a very good obstacle course and all the children had a go, the older ones helping the younger ones so that they all succeeded in completing it.  We had a teepee at the half way point, and I suggested that each child could go in there and either sing a song or count to ten before continuing.  I particularly enjoyed listening to Jingle Bells sung very quietly and sweetly by a lovely four-year old boy!  After the group left, we went to the Beavers’ Jubilee party and the children had fun playing games and eating lots of cake.  When we came home, Monkey decided he had to write a very important note for the milkman before he could go to bed.  I believe this is known as “writing for a purpose”!

On Thursday, Granny (my mum) came to visit so we had a peaceful and productive morning. In the afternoon I decided that, instead of fighting against it, I should use the overgrown garden as an educational resource, so we spent a long time drawing wild flowers and trying to identify them.  Owl, Monkey and Rabbit all did some really good drawings, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it with them.

On Friday, the other Granny (I need some granny code names…) came to take Owl for his violin lesson, and afterwards she looked after Owl and Monkey while Rabbit was at pre-school and I took Tiddler to his Musicbox class, which he loves.  Grannies may not be essential requirements for home educating, but they certainly make it easier!  Later in the day, the boys continued writing their Lego stories and worked on their Prehistory project a little.  Owl and Rabbit did reading eggs, and they all played in the garden a lot.

Today I took Rabbit and Tiddler to Dramabuds, and Suburban dad took Owl and Monkey to football.  Then they all had their haircut, before the big boys went to another Beavers and Cubs Jubilee party.  Rabbit painted a box for some treasure that she had collected on the way home from Dramabuds (sticks, leaves and a stone!), before going to her ballet lesson.  She then spent the rest of the day playing in our new train paddling pool, joined by Tiddler after his sleep.  I pottered around for a bit trying to do some domestic tasks, before admitting defeat and joining in with them.  I pulled up a chair and sat with my feet in the pool, and for a while the two of them did the same with their little chairs, which was very sweet.  It took a long time for Tiddler to decide to get in but he did in the end.  Rabbit was in and out constantly, jumping and splashing so we all got quite wet anyway!  They also spent a long time playing with the plastic balls that came with the pool (we have loads already, but there’s nothing quite so exciting as new stuff!)  When the big boys finally returned home, we had a rather late but very nice supper in the garden – although the boys had taken a packed tea with them, we guessed they would be hungry enough for a cooked meal, and they certainly were!  Banana smoothies for pudding went down well too.

British Museum

I am beyond exhausted but I really want to blog the British Museum visit that I did with the boys two days ago.  This is the kind of “home education” I want to do more of – getting out and about, and making the most of the many interesting places there are to visit, which we would not have so much time for if the kids were in school.  However, at the moment I would struggle to take all four of them up to London on the train, so we still try to fit in all the outings we want to do into the holidays, and occasionally at weekends.  I know this will get easier as the kids get older, but in the mean time I am very grateful for the help of the friends who made it possible to spend some time with the big boys, doing something just for them….

My friend collected the two little ones, and then the boys and I walked up to the station and caught the train to London.  The boys enjoyed the train ride, during which we played Thomas the Tank Engine top trumps and discussed our Prehistory topic which we are just starting.  We then had a short (thankfully) ride on a crowded tube train, and a pleasant walk in the sunshine to the museum.  By the time we had arrived, had the obligatory toilet stop and met up with Owl’s godmother, we decided we were ready for an early lunch.  We had a relaxing cup of coffee while the children ate their packed lunches, but had to speed up once they were finished as they were showing signs of needing to move on (let’s just say some running around, chasing each other and fake slipping on banana skins was involved…)

I had already identified the two rooms we wanted to go to – I knew that would be enough, and I was determined to keep it simple.  The rooms were Britain and Europe 800 BC – AD 43 and Europe and the Middle East 10,000 – 800 BC, and we spent most of the time in the first one.  I asked them to draw pictures of anything they liked, and they both spent a long time drawing the Lindow Man which was gruesome but fascinating.  They then drew a selection of other objects including shields, mirrors, coins, spoons and a helmet.  It was a successful activity, and gave them something to focus on, though it came more naturally to Monkey.  Owl likes everything to be perfect, which is quite a challenge when you are trying to draw something quite detailed and difficult, but we got there in the end.


We then had a look at the hands on table, and were able to touch and find out about several artefacts including an axe head which I think was 5000 years old.  We then went into the second room and had a look round more quickly, before giving in to demands to visit the shop!

We stepped out of the museum into a beautiful sunny afternoon, and walked up to Euston station to wait for daddy’s train to arrive.  We spent half an hour or so on the grass outside, eating the rest of our packed lunch and doing some of the Usborne Grammar and Punctuation cards which proved very popular and filled in the time peacefully.  We then walked into the station to meet daddy for a quick coffee (grown-ups) and giant chocolate coin and drink of water (children) before getting the tube and then the train back home.  It was rather hot and crowded, but not too bad and we played top trumps again (woodland animals this time) to pass the time.  We arrived home in time for the boys to have supper while daddy collected the little ones who were also worn out and happy after a busy day with their friends including a long walk and a farm visit.  It was a very tiring but lovely day.