Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Spring Blossom Craft

One of the things that tells you Spring has definitely arrived is the blossom appearing on the trees, the children love running under the trees and playing in all the blossom as it falls on them like confetti or snow. So we thought we would recreate the spring blossom branches.

First we collected some small twigs or branches from the pile offcuts pruned back earlier in the year. Then I have cut out some blossom flower shapes from pink tissue paper, the cut out flowers and the twigs can be seen above.

Then take a couple of your cut out flowers and push down in the centre with the end of something like a paint brush and twist slightly, this gives you the blossom shape, as seen above. Once the brush is removed the piece left in your hand is the piece glued on the stick.

This can be a craft adaptable for any age group, as you can see above my daughter put loads of glue and blossoms on her stick. We have just used normal PVA glue.

Or you can use less blossom and try to arrange it naturally to try and look as much like a real branch as possible.

Above is a photograph of the finished spring blossom twigs drying in a vase, I think they will look lovely on the mantelpiece or on the window ledge, they really brighten the place up. The children had a lot of fun with this.

It even looks quite realistic close up.


Sunday, 20 March 2011

Egg Shell Candles

The spring equinox falls tonight and we have decided on a craft to celebrate Ostara, although it would also be a good craft for Easter. We really loved the look of the egg shell candles but as you know, I have really small children and I was not keen on melting the wax to make the candles as they both get very enthusiastic at craft time and hot wax could be a bit dangerous for them if it spilt. So we have decided to make egg shell candles in a totally safe way even for the smallest of children.

First, save some egg shells, I tried to break the eggs in a way to leave one side slightly larger to accommodate the candle. I used a knife to try and get the right size and make it as clean a break as possible and no eggs were wasted, we used them all. I then gave them a quick rinse out and left them to dry.

We put the egg into an eggcup to steady it and to stop small fingers from accidentally crushing the delicate shell. If you choose to you can neaten the edges of the shell with some scissors but we decided to leave them.

Next we used colourful candle sand so that we did not have to use hot wax, this is available at craft shops or you could use wax beads as an alternative if you have some. Aim to fill the egg shell about half or two thirds full, my children decided to fill the shell right up.

Next is the cheating bit, everyone who has small children will have lots of these laying around in the back of the candle drawer, well if you are anything like me that is. Half used birthday candles make excellent emergency wicks, just push the candle down into the wax sand until just the wick is visible. You could use wick if you prefer but I was thinking of the simplest thing for small children.

This is what the finished multi coloured candles look like, you can't see the birthday candle at all, I think they look quite beautiful and it was absolutely safe for small children to make.

As you can see they look lovely alight too...

Friday, 4 March 2011

Crocus experiments

We recently bought a couple of new science experiment books for the children, one containing nature experiments and the other was just a general science experiment book, covering many different topics. As the sun was out today we thought we would venture out into the garden to perform one of the easy nature experiments but things did not go quite as planned! First we chose what we were going to do, gathered what the book said we needed and discussed what outcome we expected to achieve, all good so far.

The children had just chosen the perfect crocus for the experiment, then something extraordinary happened, the crocus had an encounter with our very grumpy cat who just strolled up and sat on it and then promptly tried to chase us out of the garden. So we were off to a bad start, that should have been a sign.

Another crocus was chosen and the book told us to cover the open flower with a shoe box, hence blocking out the sun and set a timer for 5 minutes, which we did. Unfortunately, the crocus did not understand the experiment and it just opened wider, so we repeated it with a different crocus and the same happened again.

As you can see in the above photograph it opened as much as it could, the book states that the flower should close, so we thought for a moment, discussed this conclusion and wondered whether the fact we had used a black shoe box had any effect. Black absorbs more heat, so we changed to a white box hoping it would now work but alas, still no joy. We had changed all variables that we could think of different flowers, different colour boxes all had the same result... the opposite to what the book said, by this time the children had got a little fed up and went off to explore the garden. The only thing left is the time, maybe 5 minutes just is not long enough to reach the desired result, so the next time the sun comes out we will test this theory out.

In the mean time the children checked the garden to see if our vegetables had started to grow, helped with some weeding and found a stash of snail shells by a rock. We assume this was left by a thrush, but it gave the children the opportunity to examine the empty shells more closely, especially the inside spirals.

So we had quite a busy day, my son was concerned that the experiment failed but it really didn't, experiments don't fail at all they give you opportunities to learn, to re-think your expectations, to test out many different theories and even if you don't get what you were expecting the journey has probably taught you a lot.