Tag Archives: painting

Leaf Printing

Rabbit and I have been planning to do some leaf printing all through the Autumn, but somehow we have never got round to it.  So yesterday morning, when we had some time together while all the boys were out, we decided it wasn’t too late for one more Autumn craft session, before moving on to Christmas crafts.

leaf printing 1

Rabbit really enjoyed organising everything exactly the way she wanted, and having all my attention, though she didn’t really need my help.

leaf printing 2

She loved experimenting with the colours, mixing red and yellow to make orange, and adding glitter glue to brown paint to make it sparkly.

leaf printing 3

When she had finished printing with the leaves, Rabbit painted a picture of a shark in the sea, and then we went to collect Tiddler from Pre-school.  After lunch, we carried on painting, and both the children had fun mixing all the colours together and getting their hands messy.  We had a lovely time, and I think the activity could have easily carried on all day, but we had to tidy up because it was time to go and visit Father Christmas at the Garden Centre.

After painting in the garden most days in the summer, we haven’t had the paints out much this Autumn.  I’m glad we finally got round to it, and the children had such a good time, so I’m going to make sure we don’t leave it so long again.  Winter paintings next week!

Half Term

It seems a long time ago now, but we had quite a good half term, though it didn’t all go exactly as planned.  On the first Saturday, Tiddler went to Dramabuds with daddy, and then I took him to Polesden Lacey while the big boys went to choir and Rabbit went to the Garden Centre with daddy.  On Sunday after church, we spent the day doing housework and laundry and then set of to Granny and Grandpa’s house late in the afternoon.  We were supposed to be staying for four nights but on the way we could smell diesel, so we called the AA out on the Monday morning.  There was a fuel leak and it couldn’t be fixed there and then, so we arranged to be towed home on the Tuesday.


After sorting that out, we had quite a relaxing day.  I went for a short run with Owl, then went out again to take photos as the countryside was looking so beautiful.  The children set up a shop with their toys, played with Lego and drew chalk pictures in the garden.  Rabbit and I made jelly, and she and Tiddler helped Granny make a cake. Owl had a friend over for a birthday tea (he is having a very extended birthday this year!)

cake and toys

On Tuesday, Rabbit, Tiddler, daddy and I went home in the AA tow truck, and Owl and Monkey stayed for two extra days with Granny.  I made the most of the unexpected time at home and did a satisfying amount of stuff from the domestic to-do list.  Rabbit and Tiddler did lots of drawing and making things, including collages, rockets and playdough people. They also played with blocks, did some painting, including bubble painting, and drew pictures with chalk.

art and craft

bubble painting

bubble painting and chalk

paint and blocks

On Thursday, the big boys came home, and on Friday we had a lovely day in the garden.  We did bubble painting again in the morning, and in the afternoon we had our story picnic.  On Saturday, while I was at Cybher, the children went to the Science Museum with daddy.  On Sunday we went to church and then spent the afternoon in the garden playing with sand and planting seeds.  It was really relaxing and a good end to the week.

Playing with Paint

Almost two weeks ago Rabbit and Tiddler had a lovely time playing with paint in the Tuff Spot.  It was worthy of a separate blog post, but instead it got rather lost in a round up of a busy and somewhat stressful week.  We squirted blobs of paint around the Tuff Spot, and then made marks in the paint with cardboard tubes, cars and balls, and our hands too .  It was a lot of fun, and I would like to do it again soon.  We need to use heavier balls, such as marbles so that we can roll them around the Tuff Spot, and I’m sure we can think of lots of other toys to use for mark-making as well.  I will also experiment with putting paper in the Tuff Spot first, or laying paper on top of the patterns to take prints of them, although I think the process is a lot more important than the product.

Paint 1

Paint 2

Paint 3

After the painting session, we had lunch then headed out for a walk in the woods.  When we returned home, Rabbit and Tiddler decided they would like to wash the cars and balls.  I think if anything this was even more fun than the original activity.  I placed a bowl of soapy water in the middle of the Tuff Spot, gave them each a cloth and let them get on with it.  They had a wonderful time!

Paint wash 1

Paint wash 2

Paint wash 3

Paint, glitter glue and bug hunting

On Wednesday, we had home education group at our house again.  I was anxiously watching the weather, as I had planned a messy painting activity and was hoping to be able to do it in the garden.  Jennie asked earlier in the week if people could do some pink and purple messy play in the week leading up to Matilda Mae’s Mile in Memory walk which is taking place tomorrow, so I stocked up on pink and purple art and craft materials, as well as a multicoloured selection to give the children plenty of choice.  It was cloudy and wet in the morning, but by lunchtime the sun was out, and by the time everyone arrived it was warm enough to be in the garden.  There were five families this time, and a total of fourteen children ranging in age from four weeks to nearly nine years old.

I set up the pink and purple materials in one Tuff Spot and the multicoloured ones in the other.  We had glitter glue, paint, paper, feathers, foam hearts, fabric stars, pipe cleaners, water beads and a few other random bits and pieces.  I also had a big table with an assortment of boxes, cardboard tubes and glue for model-making, and a small table with finger paint and sponges for painting directly on the table as well as on paper.  And inside, I had pencils and paper on the dining room table for anyone who wanted a quiet place to sit and draw.

paint glitter bugs 1

It was a lovely afternoon, the children were busy and happy, the adults had time to chat, the artistic creations were wonderful and there was, as always, a good satisfying mess.  As well as painting and drawing, the children enjoyed climbing and swinging, scooting and riding bikes, and the inevitable bug hunting.  The children were also very excited to find a nest with four eggs in, right inside the “talking bush.”  This is a bush at the bottom of the garden which the children love to play in, and they think it is funny that from the outside we can’t see them so the bush appears to be talking.  By the end of the afternoon, the model-making had become quite elaborate and there is now an extensive and luxurious Matilda Mae Bug Hotel in our garden!  We will always remember Matilda Mae here, even if we show it in unusual ways.

paint glitter bugs 2   paint glitter bugs 3

paint glitter bugs 4  paint glitter bugs 5

paint glitter bugs 6

We are also showing our support for Jennie and her family by walking a Mile in Memory for Matilda Mae tomorrow at the Rare Breeds Centre in Kent.  If you would like to help, you can donate here to support the work of the Lullaby Trust, and you can buy something lovely in the Matilda Mae Memorial Auction which will be launched tomorrow.  Sharing this post, and any of the posts I have linked to, would also help, so please do that too as much as you can.  Thank you.



Painting stones

On Saturday, I read Jennie’s post about a brilliant messy art session, which started off with a plan to paint some stones and led to some glorious toddler body art as the twins decided it would be more interesting to paint themselves.  I tweeted Jennie saying “I love this! Wonderful how E and W took it in the direction they wanted to and you let them. Child led play is the best!”

I was thinking about this on Sunday, when I gave Rabbit and Tiddler some paint in the garden while the big boys were at choir.  I suggested that they might paint on the garage doors to start them off, and then waited to see what they would come up with next.  They enjoyed painting the doors, and even painted the handle with black paint.  (Unfortunately I forgot to warn daddy!)  After a few minutes, Rabbit asked if she could paint some stones.  We have quite a good collection of stones, rocks and shells, and they spent a lot of time painting them, and Tiddler also painted a piece of wood.  Monkey joined in when he got back from choir, and then Owl had a go later in the evening.  It didn’t lead to any total body art this time, although Rabbit did paint her hand and made a lovely gold handprint on the table!

Egg box daffodils

We made some egg box daffodils yesterday for our Spring display.

Here’s how to do it.  You will need:

  • An egg box (we used one with twelve sections which was about right for four children.)
  • Some old cereal boxes.
  • Yellow paint, paintbrushes.
  • Scissors, stapler, double-sided tape or PVA glue, normal tape.
  • Green paper (for the stems, if they are for a display.  If you want them to stand up you could use sticks, straws or pipe cleaners.)

Cut the bottom of the egg box into sections, and trim round each one to neaten it as much as possible, but don’t worry too much if they are a little rough around the edges.  Cut petal shapes out of an old cereal box.  You need six for each daffodil.  Paint everything yellow!

When they are dry, arrange 6 petals in the shape of a flower head and staple them at the centre.

Use double sided tape or PVA glue to stick the egg box trumpet to the flower head.

Tape a strip of green paper to the back of the flower head.

These are the finished daffodils, along with our daffodil drawings, on our spring display.

While I was thinking about doing this activity nearly a week ago, I saw a blog post which reminded me to get on with it.  So if you’d like to try another (more detailed) version, have a look here.

Doing nothing much

Today has been quite a hard day.  Tiddler is not well, I think he has slapped cheek, and he has been needing lots of cuddles.  This morning I had to take him and Rabbit to Granny’s house and then take the big boys to their piano lessons.  We usually have a bit of table time first, but today I got the feeling that I would have to start getting ready straight after breakfast, allowing two hours to get everyone dressed and out.  I was right!  The combination of daydreaming and distraction from the big three and a very long tantrum from Tiddler – I don’t want a jumper and socks, I don’t want to go out – meant that it really did take all morning to leave the house.  We walked to Granny’s house, which felt like a long way in the snow/sleet with Tiddler on my back, and then left the little two there and went on to the piano lesson.  Afterwards, we went back to Granny’s house for lunch and the children watched Peppa Pig.  Tiddler then reenacted his earlier tantrum for Granny to see – I don’t want to go, I want to stay here – for about half an hour, but eventually we got on our way.  At home, we had hot chocolate and a snack, and then the children watched CBeebies and played while I recovered a bit.  Some unauthorised painting occurred, resulting in rather a lot of mess, but it was quite peaceful.

Messy painting 1 Messy painting 2 Messy painting 3 Messy painting 4

Tiddler then spent another half hour, at least, trying to evade a nappy change, and when I finally succeeded I decided it might as well be bath time.  So I bathed the little two separately, trying not to rush and gave each one my attention.  We sang lots of songs, Tiddler played with bath toys, and Rabbit with a star-shaped bath melt which turned the water pink.  Daddy came home in time to help the big boys with their baths, and then we all had supper together.

I have been thinking through the day, and wondering if it was more or less productive than days in which I try to direct the children’s activities more.  I’m not really sure, but looking back I can see that a lot of thinking and learning went on without me having very much to do with it.  Owl read the Usborne version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I read some stories to Monkey, and later to Rabbit.  On the walk from piano lessons to Granny’s house, Owl said “What shall we chat about?  I know, lets do some mental Maths.”  He then asked me “What is £300.99 plus £120.99?” and then worked it out really quickly, and told me why it was easy to add on 99 to a number.  In the afternoon the children watched Nina and the Neurons, and Owl explained to me afterwards how robots work.  The two little ones did some lovely, if messy, painting, and we did lots of singing and talking together at bathtime.  Rabbit and I talked about baby Matilda Mae, and she asked about heaven and how you get there.  She said “I’m sad that she died because I wanted to play with her.”  We talked about how it’s okay to feel sad, and sometimes it helps to talk about it, and you can pray about it if you want to.  So we prayed for Matilda Mae’s family.

I’ve been reading Jennie’s tweets, as well as her blog, and what has really struck me is her grace and unselfishness, even at this time.

“If you have just half a thought of doing something with your little one, do it today!  All week I wanted to get in Matilda’s bath with her”

“Please pls hold your children and kiss them all you can. Tell them you love them many times a day. You will never get a single second back”

“Sing your baby a lullaby tonight. I can’t ever do that for M”

Even as she has been going through this devastating loss and pain, her thoughts have been with others as much as herself.  I know I am not the only one who has been moved, challenged and inspired by her words.  On Saturday morning, Rabbit asked if she could have a bath with me.  After a split second of thinking I would rather have a nice hot bath all to myself, I said yes, and it was lovely.  Every day since I read those tweets, I have done things differently.  Maybe only small things, but it adds up.  I have been more present, listened more, cuddled more, minded less about the mess.  It shouldn’t take something like this, but I am grateful to Jennie, more than I can say.

Bath melt handprint Bath melt star

So today, we did nothing much and it turned out to be quite lot, and certainly enough.  I think we might do nothing much again tomorrow.

This post is dedicated to Matilda Mae, to her selfless, loving mother, Jennie, and to all their family .

Past, Present, Future – from Jennie’s blog

Jennie Edspire – Jennie’s twitter account

Bliss – The Matilda Mae Precious Star Fund

Not bad for an off day…

… or in fact several off days.  We have all had colds and sore throats for what seems like a month but is probably just over two weeks, and mine got a little worse on Friday, and steadily worse throughout the weekend.  Surburban dad managed to run most of Sunday (between 9.30 and 4.30) without me and I went back to bed and slept for most of that time.  Sadly, that didn’t lead to the full recovery I was hoping for, but I’m sure I’d have felt much worse without the rest.  And now we have a vomiting bug, which kept Rabbit and Tiddler (and us obviously) awake most of the night, with Owl joining in at 4am.  Suburban dad has also come down with it and has come home from a training session early and spent the afternoon in bed.

Despite all this, the children have continued to do most of their normal activities (until today when we have had to cancel everything) and quite a lot of random creative and fun stuff as well.  I have just been cheering myself up by looking at the photos on my phone, and I am encouraged by what we can achieve even when we are ill.

On Friday morning, I took Rabbit and Tiddler to Musicbox, which they both enjoyed and joined in well.  The rest of the day was quiet and productive.  As well as Maths, English, music practice, Bible reading, Mathletics and Spellodrome, the older three made some cards.  Then Owl, Rabbit and Tiddler painted some Thomas the Tank Engine trains from a kit which we had been given a long time ago.


In other news, I had a very therapeutic sort out of the porch so we don’t have to step over about a hundred pairs of shoes (most of which fit nobody) when we come in, and the children helped me to clean it.

On Saturday, suburban dad took Tiddler to Dramabuds, and then we went to a Macmillan coffee morning at our friends’ house.  In the afternoon we sorted out the laundry room which was quite an obstacle course before.  There is now a path to the washing machine which helps a lot (came in handy in the night of vomit.)

On Sunday, suburban dad and Supergirl took all the children to church, and then to the Autumn fair at the local riding centre for the disabled.  We go to this most years and I was sorry to miss it but I really needed the rest.  The children had a good time, and among other things they went in a fire engine, played beat the goalie, acquired a Playmobil helicopter, watched a Punch and Judy show, had a miniature train ride, went into the stables to see the horses and made clay pots.  Monkey didn’t want to make a pot (which might be because I broke the one he made at the Environmental Fair in August – oh the guilt) but Supergirl, Owl and Rabbit did, and even Tiddler had a go with daddy’s help.

Yesterday, we did some Maths, English and music practice in the morning.  Rabbit had fun with Multilink cubes working out one more or one less than a number.


Owl and Monkey had their piano lesson, and after lunch some friends came to play.  Monkey painted his Divali candle holder from Beavers.

We tested our rock collection to see which ones would make marks.  This was quite fun as about half of them were chalk.  And we made volcanoes again!


Supergirl helped the children to wrap their shoeboxes for the Smile appeal at the church where the little ones go to Toddler group and the big ones have Beavers and Cubs (contents to be added later when we have bought the remaining items.)

Today has been quiet after an eventful night last night.  Rabbit has spent the whole day on the play room sofa, watching Cbeebies for about an hour and then watching a Charlie and Lola DVD on an endless loop.  Tiddler has been there most of the day and both of them have slept a bit.  Monkey and I went out to the deli and the shops, as he has been asking for some mummy time, and anyway he was the only one well enough to go out with me.  Owl seemed to be better by the time we came back, and the two of them have been having a big lego sort out this afternoon with help from Supergirl.  I hope they may have reunited the parts of at least some of their many jumbled up sets, but it’s a big job.

They have also done a Maxi Hama Bead set, with a little help from Tiddler, but I will blog that separately.  Rabbit has been doing her knitting most days recently, though she hasn’t been up to it today.  Tiddler really wants to join in, and today he said to me “I need to do knitting.  When am I going to be four?”  I think maybe I need to make pompoms with him tomorrow.  Or weaving perhaps?  Any other simple woolcraft ideas for a two-year old?

Sometimes it just works…


I love painting with the children, but I have to be in the right mood, and we haven’t done it for a while.  It’s one of the many things I think we “should” do more often, and wonder how I manage to make life so complicated that we can’t find time to do it.  Isn’t that why we are home educating, after all?  It can seem impossible at times to get organised and make sure everything runs smoothly, including the clearing up, so that everyone has a good time and it is not too stressful.  I often think we need to stop going out so much, so that we have time at home for activities like this, and wonder if I need to plan them to make sure they happen.

However, there are times when everything falls into place without planning, everyone is in the right mood and it seems so simple.  On Sunday after we had been out to lunch at our local Italian restaurant, we came back and sat in the garden while the children played.  They were in a good mood, and we had Granny with us which helped to keep things nice and calm, so we took the easel outside and got the paints out.  The little three were busy for a long time painting on the easel with brushes, finger painting at a low table and painting with their feet on a roll of wallpaper.  Owl didn’t join in this time because he was busy sawing wood using his own tools and daddy’s workbench.

After Sunday’s success, I even managed to get the paints out again today with three extra small children around.  The little ones enjoyed easel painting (including the easel itself as well as the paper), painting cardboard boxes, paper plates and polystyrene cups and painting on themselves (and their clothes), while Owl and Monkey painted on the garage wall.  It was fun, the mess wasn’t too bad, and I WILL do it more often.  It is only fair to add that Suburban Dad has come home from his first day back at work and spent a large part of this evening washing up the paint pots and brushes which got mixed up with the dishes somehow, in a chaotic supper time for seven children, during which water came pouring through the kitchen ceiling – but that’s another story…