Archive for Animals

Bath Icebergs

This is fun! We have been messing around with ice a lot. This is so easy you could do this with virtually any age children…

I got jugs of water, and I watered down some drawing inks in different colours and put them in pipet bottles, which you can buy from a chemist or pharmacy. (They are not essential at all – you could just use little cups of mixed ink, but the bottles were interesting for Sam to use and they lasted longer…)

He filled washed-out old food containers with water and ink colours. The more different shapes of containers the better as they add to the variety. Make sure they’re flexible plastic and don’t use anything precious. I used my measuring jug and it wasn’t flexible enough and it split down the side, which was quite amazing in itself to see how strong the ice can be…

The ink behaves very beautifully in the water.

Add some plastic animals…

…and you’re ready for the freezer.

Next day, head upstairs…

…pop them out…

…and take a bath!!



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Modrock Giraffe

Sam wanted to make a giraffe in the same way we made our modrock turtle recently.

So we formed the body out of brown packing paper and tape. We put wooden canes inside his legs and neck to give him strength.

Covered in modrock and drying in the sun.

He’s called Gerry!

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Remembering Summer in the Garden…

Last year I spent some time tidying our patio and making a small pond in an old half-barrel. It’s grey and cold out there at the moment, but I found these pictures taken in the summer to remind me of how beautiful it is when the sun’s shining and how lucky we are to have this space to share.

It’s just perfect for hanging out…

For sorting vehicles into colours…

And for the small creatures to have their very own bonfire party.

I love the winter too but on particularly grey days like today it’s nice to remember what’s round the corner…

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Modrock Turtle

We made this little guy from some recycled packaging and some Modrock:

Scrunch up some brown packing paper (or newspaper would probably do), into a rough ‘body’ shape. Secure with sellotape or masking tape.

Add a head.

And some legs.

This is what he looked like underneath. It definitely doesn’t need to be perfect, in fact a bit rough round the edges adds to the character…

From above.

Start cutting the modrock into small pieces.

You will need quite a few. A lot more than are shown in this photo, probably five or six times as many altogether.

Fully emerse  each piece in a bowl of cold water, and immediately stick it onto the turtle, as you rub a little, the plaster in the modrock softens and goes a little smoother.

It’s very tactile, a bit messy (but not as much as you’d expect), and really fun.

It begins to harden a little after a few minutes, but you don’t need to wait for it to dry in between layers, just keep layering it on.

After its all covered, feel for the ‘soft’ spots and add some more there…

Now leave to dry overnight. We put ours on top of the dehydrator as it was warm there.

Once dry – paint away!

We used acrylic paints as they are quick-drying and waterproof once dry. Just in case our little turtle decides to go out in the rain…

Finally, stick on some eyes! What a gloriously tactile and fun project, and what a cute little guy to add to our (growing) collection……..

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Wire Fish

We made these wire fish at our craft group recently. They look beautiful hanging under a light or in the window.

If you want to make one you will need wire of different thicknesses (we used recycled copper wire and craft shop copper wire), fine nose pliers or jewellery pliers for bending, and cutting pliers or wire cutters for cutting. Oh, and beads!

Use a thicker wire to make a body shape like this.

Start wrapping thinner wire around…

the children can then keep wrapping,

and adding in beads when they feel like it.

Add two side fins,

Twist them on,

and add a hanging wire.

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Fabulous Fimo Bird

We got carried away with some polymer clay (Fimo,Sculpy etc.) recently, and this little chap was one of the results! He definitely helps to brighten up these rather dull Winter days.

You will need: Fimo or Sculpy in 2 colours, Feathers (we used bought but you could use found), Two tiny glass beads for the eyes, Some Craft Wire (must not be plastic coated) for the legs. Oh and also a darning needle to make holes in the body.

Use your main colour to form a sausage shape with tapered ends.

Add a beak. And carefully push two small beads in for the eyes (push them well in, otherwise they can fall out after the clay is hardened).

Take a piece of wire about 30cm long. Form a foot shape in the middle something like this…

…then twist the leg. Make two.

Attach to the body by pushing carefully in the bottom. Try to  bend the feet so that s/he will stand up.

Sam pushed the feathers where he wanted them…

…then I took them out and enlarged and lengthened the holes slightly with the needle.

We did some in his back for his wings…

…and some in his bottom for his tail feathers.

He goes on the baking tray with some other treasures we made.

‘Cook’ in a low heat oven as per the instructions on the clay pack, and wait ten minutes or so for them to cool enough. Then we used UHU type glue to stick the feathers in.

He likes to sit on top of the aquarium and watch us make other things…

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Sam’s Aquarium

Thank you to Granny who suggested this project after a trip to the London Aquarium with Sam last week.

She actually suggested a tissue box, but we didn’t have one, so we improvised with a regular box:

We taped it up using masking tape (better than ordinary sellotape in this case as it’s easy to paint over later).

Sam drew a ‘window’ shape…

…then I cut it out with a craft knife.

We painted the outside, just using regular children’s paints,

Next we cut a flap in the top as shown above.

Painted the inside blue.

Drew and cut out some little sea creatures…

Found some green wool and some thread for the tiny ones, stuck a piece of thread or wool onto the back of each creature, then Sam taped them to the inside of the flap. It’s worth paying attention to which way round the creature faces before you stick it down, so you can get them all facing more or less forward.

We also taped some extra bits of wool to be water weed.

And there it is!

Sam’s mini Aquarium. We were both pretty chuffed with that. Thanks Granny!

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