Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Lots of Art, Adventures, and Outside-ness!

Thanks to some very kind (and knowledgeable!) friends Sprout now has his DSLR back and working, so it's become a fixture around his neck again, and he's also been lending it to Squidge and a couple of his friends to take photos with, so it's been lovely looking at the results!

Sprout took these ones at the Not Back to School Picnic...




Squidge took these ones at home...






...and their friend took these...




One of the projects Squidge wanted to do this summer out of The Amazing Outdoor Activity Book was putting together an adventurer's kit, and in view of the impending loss of all the trees behind our house they had also wanted to find a 'magical forest spot' to keep going back to. So Squidge and I put together this explorer's kit...


...and off we went with Moppet for a forest adventure. The first flower Squidge noticed was this foxglove, and we talked about why you don't pick wild flowers...


...spent some time looking up to see the helicopter we could hear...


...chose our routes carefully...


...talked about what sort of trees were in the forest and looked for evidence (cones, twigs etc) of this on the ground...


...waited often for Moppet to catch up...


...looked at this panther cap (I think!) which had been nibbled on by something...


...looked at lots of rosebay willowherb...


...and stopped for a snack, where Squidge shared with Moppet the chocolate he'd packed :)


Off we went again... 


...but Squidge shortly decided he'd like to go and examine the specimens he and Moppet had collected.


He asked me to write out the names of everything they'd collected, then he looked at each of them through his magnifying glass dome.


Sprout, who hadn't wanted to go with us...


 ...was interested to see what we'd brought back, and made some really detailed observations, like caterpillar tracks on the bracken frond, and tiny fibres stuck to the blackberry.


On the way home, Sprout was back in photographer mode, capturing Gruff pulling faces... 


...and trees he found interesting.



At some point in the week we had a relatively quiet day at home, where Moppet was an Angry Bird...


...Squidge snuggled up watching Power Rangers on Netflix...


...and Sprout chilled out and read his Lego Club magazine. He's so enjoying being able to read so many more things himself now!


Squidge has been experimenting with balloon modelling. This is his model of his "grandpa with his arms around Moppet helping her in the swimming pool" (love this!!)...


...a hat he made for Moppet...


...sunglasses that I helped him make...


...and a whole array of hats, glasses and other adornments that he made to take to the park :)


We took advantage of the quieter term-time conditions at the skate park...




...and Moppet was mesmerised by the graffiti wall and spent ages looking at it and stroking the surface.


They were pleased to see the return of the big tyre swing...


...and the boys were keen to once again tackle the climbing rocks.


While I flagged slightly, they had the run of the playground...



...and we braved the wasps to sit and cool down with a drink and a snack.


A charity shop visit yielded an awesome Spiderman Webble Bubble shooter that shoots bubbles from the wrist instead of webs. Squidge had a *lot* of fun with it...


...while Moppet wandered around and checked on the cat :)


 Another day, another park with friends, and more wasps to contend with :S 






We had a trip to Come Into Play to meet friends, but Sprout didn't fancy it so he went out with his grandparents. Within about ten minutes of Sprout leaving for the day Squidge said he was missing him, so he made him an 'I missed you' card and wrote Sprout's name on the envelope himself :)


At the play area Moppet found her favourite cars again...



...and must have grown since last time as she could climb up after Squidge!


Once we went to pick Sprout up later, Moppet played with the marble run...


...Squidge found some magnetic story books he hadn't played with in a while...


...and the boys were excited to find this Secret Agent's file book, with loads more spy ideas for them inside and, best of all, a spy hole that goes right the way through the book so you can peek at people while reading!


Moppet played with the sardines puzzle where you have to try and fit them all in the can (Apparently: Tip in. Bang with hand. Squash lid on.)...


...and played with the fairytale magnet story after Squidge had finished...


...before taking up her favourite spot at Bee Bop Garden while Squidge drew pictures :)


Getting sleepy, she started looking after her baby...


...and then snuggled down to listen to a story...


...and then, in true eighteen-month-old-style, leapt up and hopped on the trampoline.


And now, one of my absolute favourite things from this week... altered art! We've been planning for ages to pick up an old picture at the charity shop and then put our own mark on it, and we finally found the perfect one...


...and here it is an hour or so later after Sprout finished with it! He turned the tree into a volcano, the lady into a fire-breathing dragon, popped some Minecraft smoke coming out of the chimney, inserted a monster peering over the tree, and the farmer and his herd were replaced by Domo. We've reframed it ready to go up on the wall, and both Sprout and Squidge are keen to get another couple of pictures to get creative with.


We did a little science experiment, putting red water in one glass, blue in another, and putting a kitchen towel 'wick' from each into an empty glass. Our hypothesis? Purple water in the middle glass.


Result? Hypothesis well and truly disproved by this layered liquid, blue on the top and yellow on the bottom! We still don't know why, whether there was some sort of chemical reaction between the colourings, or whether something separated out when they mixed. If anyone does know then we'd love to be enlightened!


We tried the much awaited crayons-as-candles experiment, but just ended up with melted crayons :/ We've watched a video of it since so it might just be the sort of crayon, or the fact we didn't melt the end off first, so we're going to try again this week.


Squidge saw a project on Art Attack that he wanted to do, so he drew a couple of elephants and a mouse and their various body parts on wrapping paper...


...then made a collage from them. I love this!


All three of them played with some ink stamps... 


...Sprout's picture (which told a story)... 


...Squidge's (which was a message/present for Gruff)...


...and Moppet's (there was more on her face).


I sat with them and made this one for Sprout, which he loved.


We'd picked up a little 'Make your own wind up robot' kit in the end of summer Tesco sale, so Sprout and Squidge both put one together and designed the outside. Moppet then ate the leftover googly eyes. But we won't talk about that. Ahem.




We're gradually managing to negotiate boardgames between Sprout (who wants to make up all his own rules) and their grandparents (who want to play by the original rules, or at the very least not have any creative brainwaves halfway through the game) to be a relatively peaceful activity ... 


...while Squidge is enjoying investigating all their various puzzles, sometimes to try and solve, and sometimes to try and make funny pictures out of.


The three of them were also building lots out of megablocks, including this robot of Squidge's 'that stores lava in its arms' :)


Moppet was fascinated by this old robot of my brother's that 'eats' coins that you put on its hand.



Squidge helped Gruff service a car...


...while Moppet drew and played...



...and then the boys returned to their much loved pursuit of cleaning their grandparents' waterfall...


...as Moppet looked on from her driver's seat :)


Squidge did some more artwork when we got home, including this fire-breathing dragon :)


Yesterday we had a trip with friends to Tittesworth where we haven't been in a couple of months, where the children played on the park, hid laughing from the frequent bucketing downpours, and Sprout buried himself in the sandpit.


As we left the cafe they noticed two daddylonglegs (or in Squidge's wordds, 'daddybiglegses') mating and we chatted about that for a bit.





In between times, as always, there's been some gaming, including Fruit Ninja...


...the brilliant The Impossible Line, where the maze disappears and you have to find your way through it from memory (the boys are both freakishly good at this!)...


...and Sprout has been whizzing his way through matches on Two Birds, using words he knows, or putting letters together to see if it does make a word.


His favourite for the week is Giant Boulder of Death, and he's been concentrating on unlocking all the achievements.


Sprout rarely watches TV but he's watched several episodes of Mythbusters this week, telling us all about them many times after. His favourite two so far involve a giant balloon and an exploding toilet. One episode led to us chatting about plastic surgery, which, after some thought, he decided was "a bit weird. Unless you could change yourself into the shape of the letter S. That'd be cool."

He's also been pondering the concept of odd and even numbers, and has asked a couple of seemingly out of the blue questions over the last couple of weeks, that give some insight into the thought process going on in the background. He then explained to Gruff the other night that an odd number was one where if you laid out all the numbers up to and including it, there would be a middle number. I love that that's the way he's visualised the concept himself, and that the process itself has led to the concept, rather than if I had tried to teach him it, in which case the process would have automatically had to have been put in place to *try* and lead to it, which it might not have.

We've also chatted about the speeds of sound and light, and how proximity affects the apparent differences, from face to face conversation, where he told me 'they're both instant', to the difference between thunder and lightning in distant storms, to the appearance of now-dead stars in the sky.

We have three tired children this morning, so one is playing retro games while wrapped in a blanket, one is watching Rock Raiders videos, and the other is asleep and keeping me warm while I plan a few things for the week ahead :)


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