Category Archives: Play

Ice Experiment Failures

I’ve been absent from blogging for a few days, partially through feeling too tired to concentrate in the evening and partially from the last couple of art experiments not going down well with MG and DG. As it’s the summer holidays, I’ve been concentrating on outside and art projects with them.

But this blog is Child-Led Chaos. The Child-Led I’m working on; the Chaos we’re good at! So here’s some failures from the last few days…

Inspired by Share & Remember I gave the girls ice cube paints. I liked how bright the food colouring + water paints looked, and that they were given paper and cloth to paint on. MG drew half a dozen designs in about 2 minutes before she announced she was bored and went inside.

DG didn’t like the fact that the ‘paints’ were disappearing. She didn’t understand it and it upset her. As for painting on a muslin cloth – oh, no, that was not allowed! Muslins are comforters for both MG and DG and although MG understood it wasn’t permanent, DG was having none of it. Neither girl was impressed or happy, so all in all a failed project. I’ll try it again some other time though!

The second inspiration was from The Artful Parent and Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas. I prepared a few balloons full of water in the freezer the day before but wasn’t going to use them because it was pouring with rain. However, being stuck inside created two very frustrated small monsters, so I set the ice, salt and food colouring out for them.

It was such a failure, I don’t even have pictures… DG tried eating the salt; her expression on spitting it out was priceless but I didn’t have the camera on me. MG piled an entire tub of salt onto her ice block and then coloured the salt with food colouring. The ice didn’t really crack too well under the salt, I think it wasn’t frozen enough? I don’t know what I was expecting but I don’t think it ‘worked’!

Both girls ended up covered in various shades of food colouring and the kitchen ended up smelling as I decided adding bicarbonate of soda and vinegar would make things more interesting for them (it didn’t)…

As I’m doing failures, here’s how the cake the girls made ended up:

So, CBeebies has been winning the ‘child-led’ aspect this week! Onwards and upwards… 😆

Splodgy Cup Painting!

Todays mess art experience was the trusty paper-cup-full-of-paint-with-a-hole-in-the-bottom. It probably has a proper shorter name, but I’ve gone for “splodgy cup painting”. This time MG and DG were involved in the setup so I have no setup pictures as we were too busy doing things to take pictures.

Materials needed: paint, water, paper cups (plastic will do), string (or similar), plasticine (or similar) and pencil.

For the uninitiated: take a paper cup (or three) and punch holes in either side at the top (pencil and plasticine method), tie string (or whatever you have – in our case curling ribbon) to create a hanging cup. Repeat for however many cups you want to use – three was plenty for my two small ones.

If you’re not already outside, relocate out at this point. Or somewhere you don’t mind covering the floor in paint. Or use a VERY large plastic sheet to cover your floor…

Put cups on plasticine balls and make a hole in the bottom with a pencil. Keep the plasticine over the hole in the bottom of the cup. Partially fill cup with paint of your choice – I used premix paint but any paint that can be made into a liquid will do. Add water until the paint consistancy is enough to flow through the hole at the bottom but not too watery. Repeat for all cups, trying to keep the paint contained in the cups until everyone is ready. Spread some large sheets of paper around, let small children pick up hanging cups, whisk plasticine off bottom of cups and stand well back…

Having never done this with the girls before, they wondered what I was up to when we were preparing but soon got into the swing of it (pun not intended :lol:)

This is how i envisaged the finished product looking (I did manage to sneak away one sheet to dry at this stage):

DG decided that extra water would be good in her paint cup, and MG chose to mix the red and yellow to make orange:

The extra water made things wetter and more slippery and after some foot painting I decided that we needed a tub of water to wash feet in. My jumped in with all her clothes, therefore clothes were discarded by the children at that point. DG decided that the foot washing tub was more fun than painting:

MG decided that brushes, and hands, and feet were more fun than refilling the cups:

MG squeezed lots of paint and danced through it but it was very slippery so she fell (not hurt, phew…) and ended up covered in orange from toes to upper thigh – which she happily washed off in the tub when DG came out for some paint dancing. Once they were happy with their work, they washed the bulk of the paint off in the tub, dried and I whisked them into a quick bath (there’s a theme to our art exploration here…)

I’m not sure how other bloggers make art look so neat and tidy. We’re just messy! The aftermath wasn’t too bad really:

I think a teensy bit of preparation, rather than just deciding to do this on a whim and making it up as we went along might have made this a bit less messy… 🙂 Great fun, quick and easy to set up, best done outside in warm weather!

Outdoor Painting

Reading this post on Putti Prapancha reminded me that I set up something similar with MG and DG a few weeks back – and it’s about time I posted about the children on this blog!

For a change, I managed to set up whilst MG and DG were amusing themselves elsewhere (usually they help). Firstly I laid out three long strips of easel roll paper, weighted them down with bricks due to the wind and took the tops off a set of six watercolour tubes (from Poundland). I managed to choose a fairly dull and windy day (British summer!) which meant I had to use a few bricks to keep the paper from flying off.

Once the girls had started, it became apparent that two strips of paper were more than enough, so I removed one. I tried not to influence their painting but they worked out to use their feet and hands fairly quickly!

Later water became involved, to spread the thick paint around more (and mix all the colours). Most of the colours other than black had been used up at this point.

Later still sand became involved, being scattered over the wet patches of the paper – and the water and paint were added to sand on the patio too! Once the paint ran out, I whisked the girls into the bath and hung up the painted strips to dry – the wetness of the paper caused it to tear in places but the wind dried it quickly.

The end result isn’t pretty, but the girls had a great time painting (and then playing in the bath). Next time I think I’ll limit the colours available for them and probably offer acrylic paints instead of watercolour tubes to get a better spread of colours.

Here Be Dragons

Over the last fortnight, MG has watched How To Train Your Dragon four times. This might be why I have dragons on the brain, but in this post I mean it as a journey into the unknown – blogging, working towards being a stay-at-home-mum, trying to be child-led and discovering that I have to throw away a lot of what I think almost daily in the process.

I play with computers, there have been computers in my life since I was eight – which in the early 1980’s was not the norm. I potter about online and get most of my general knowledge from the internet now – I have rarely ever read newspapers and I barely watch television (apart from CBeebies, and a selection of programmes chosen by MG) these days. And yet, I like natural toys. I don’t see why small children need to be exposed to computers when my generation didn’t have them, but we still grew up to work in IT. I like rag dolls, wooden trains, building blocks, puzzles, natural materials. I avoid too much plastic (Lego doesn’t count as plastic), anything electronic, TV or film tie-ins. Montessori philosophy appeals to me because of the beautiful materials, the child-led philosophy, the nurture of courtesy and practical skills and the respect for children’s intelligence.

So… MG loves fairy tales and dressing up. She loves sparkly pink plastic tat, plastic “slippers” to play Cinderella (“You be the prince, Mummy…”), plastic jewellery, and she’ll watch television every waking moment if I let her. DG likes toys that light up and make noises, emulating her sister and is entranced by Waybuloo. Sigh… And they both love, just love, playing with my laptop.

I never let them touch the computer, I didn’t see the need for them to use one. Of course, they saw Mummy and Daddy using computers all the time. Ocassionally I’d let them play with something online (Craymachine is a favourite, as is Mister Maker Magic Painbox) but mainly the only use of the laptop for them is watching Octonauts or Doctor Who on iPlayer – and that’s only been in the last year.

Last May, on holiday, I let MG (3 years, 3 months at the time) properly use my laptop. And from only observing, she had perfect mousepad skills and could select and click with little guidance. This week, I let her on Starfall ABC’s for the first time alone (and the first time we’d looked at the site in almost a year), and she got it immediately. She could navigate to what she wanted, work through the screens and do the end puzzle – she repeatedly chose the letter K which ends with a maze, and sucessfully navigated the maze with only being told that she needed to click on the arrow pictures. I didn’t know she knew how to do mazes. I didn’t know she understood arrows as directions. I didn’t know she was that comfortable with using a mousepad as I hardly ever let her on my laptop.

I guess this is child-led. She enjoyed and got something out of using an interactive site. I want to do learning with books, with physical manipulatives, with natural materials. I think I may need to let go of some of this, and truly follow my child – even if I really didn’t want her to be a TV-obsessed computer geek (like her parents :lol:)