Sunday, 15 September 2013

Some learning activities and craft ideas to share

Here are a few learning activities we have been doing lately. 

The girls have had a lot of fun making stop motion movies recently. They simply upload pictures into movie maker, annotate them, edit them and then upload them onto a private setting at youtube! Here are a couple of examples of their work:

I thought I'd share the Garden Journals that we have been using for the past few years... Fina who is 6 just illustrates her answers with pictures and copies in the date, time and temperature as she is not yet reading and writing.
The older girls spend some time observing and trying to identify different plants insects, birds and animals using their spotter guide books that they bought this Summer.
Last year we found some great downloadable and printable spotter sheets at Wooland Trust. We used to take our sheets out with clipboards and see who would be able to tick off the most boxes on their sheet before we got home. 
To identify our cloud types I use this website.
These journals have been a simple way for the girls wot really get a feel for the seasonal changes that take place in their own back garden. It has also helped them understand how to take measurments using a thermometer.

Type of Cloud if any at all: (brief description and picture)

Any wildlife (Insects/ birds/animals spotted? What were they doing? (Brief description and picture)

Plant life observations:
(brief description, picture and/or pressed flowers and leaves)


Boo wrote the little Autumn Story below, which she read out for her sisters as I placed all our Autumn treasures on the Nature Table. 
It might also be fun to have the children make this story into a little play or use their toy animals to play out the scenes!

An Autumn Story 
Once upon a grassy meadow, little rabbit had just left the warm, snug, fur -lined nest of her Mother’s burrow and ventured out into the green meadow to make her own little home. As she was a baby rabbit she had never seen the Summer before. She was excited to see all the interesting things that grew on the edge of the woods.
One day, she saw a sapling tree bursting forth from the warm earth and she was intrigued! She thought she might plant it in her own garden to see how big it would grow.  Maybe it would it grow as big and tall as the trees that grew in the woodland beyond.
After she had planted it, she felt very proud of herself indeed.
Every week through the hot Summer, little rabbit watered the tree so it wouldn’t get thirsty.
 Then one day after a good many weeks had passed, little rabbit came to water the tree again but when she looked at it she dropped her watering can and the water spilled all over the grass.
“What has happened” she exclaimed.
The tree’s leaves were red, gold, orange and brown, not fresh and green as they had always been!
“My poor little tree, maybe I am not feeding you well, maybe you are sick” sighed rabbit sadly. Then little rabbit started to cry.
 She went to Dandelion Fairy and said, “Dandelion Fairy, please help me, something awful has happened to my tree. The leaves were green but now they are gold, orange, yellow and brown am I not feeding it well?” The Dandelion Fairy said “See how my yellow petals have turned to seed. All things change with the Autumn breeze! Come now rabbit don’t you cry, go and ask Foxy he’ll know better than I.”
 So rabbit went to ask Foxy about her tree, but Foxy said “The wind is blowing cold you see. I must dig a deep den beneath the roots of a tree. Come now rabbit don’t you cry, go and ask Squirrel she’ll know better than I.”
So rabbit went to Squirrels tree house to ask her, but she was busy collecting nuts, and not in the mood for answering questions, so little rabbit decided to ask Fawn.
“Fawn, something awful has happened to my tree, am I not feeding it well, its leaves were green but now they are gold, orange, brown and yellow. What should I do?”
“My spots are fading fast you see, all things change with the Autumn breeze. Come now rabbit don’t you cry, go and ask Primula she’ll know better than I.”
So little rabbit ran back passed Squirrel, then passed Foxy, then passed Dandelion Fairy until finally she found Primula, the Spring Fairy. “Primula what should I do, my little tree’s leaves are not green anymore! Now they are gold, orange yellow and brown, am I not feeding it well?”
Primula turned to little rabbit with a gentle smile and said “of course you are feeding it well,  the season is changing that is all. Time flows like the trickling stream that runs through the woodland. When it was Summer the leaves were green, but now it is Autumn so the leaves change colour and eventually fall to the ground. It will soon be Winter and your tree will be bare but don’t cry because Mother Nature knows what she is doing. After Winter it will be Spring once again, for Spring always follows Winter and new little baby leaves will start to grow on the tips of it’s branches.
Then it will be Summer again and your tree will be as green as it was when you first planted it in your garden.”
Little rabbit was very grateful and was also very happy. In fact she was so happy she had a party and invited all of her friends to come! They danced and sang until tea time. Every animal brought something from the Autumn harvest. Sunflower seeds, barley bread, sweet corn, ripe plums, apples, hazelnuts and camomile tea! They all had a lovely time, eating, drinking and dancing around the golden, shimmering tree. “I love my tree” said little rabbit, and she fell asleep at its roots.

THE END                         

Tilly spun this ball of wool on our drop spindle and used it to weave a book mark on her loom. 

It has been a really good experience for her to create a piece of fabric from raw fibres. I hope to recreate this next Summer but using raw fleece that will need washing, carding and hand dying with plants to extend the project even further...

Seraphina nad Matilda made these little oak leaf and strawberry babies just before the holidays. The strawberry fairy was part of our Summer nature table and the oak leaf baby is now part of our Autumn scene.

Boo and Matilda finally finished the dresses for the waldorf pocket dolls that they made over the Summer holidays. Boo named her doll Gretal and Matilda named her doll Tilly Sunshine. These dolls have taken a long time to make using small pockets of time so that the girls would not be too overwhelmed or stressed  by the intricacy of the work. One of the biggest lessons handwork can teach is perseverance and patience. These dolls are loved especially because of the time and effort put into creating them.

  Seraphina and Matilda felted some pea pod babies for our Spring Nature table.


  1. The autumn story is lovely, thank you for sharing. Your children's handwork is beautiful.

  2. What a creative, lovely and fun home you have there Suzy. It looks like your babies are as creative as you, everything is just beautiful.

  3. I love your children's handwork Suzy, I can see why they are so cherished! I think everything is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your goings on; my eldest has just started a nature journal, and I too am finding the spotters sheets useful :) xx

  4. It is so wonderful to see all that your girls have been creating! Such sweet dolls! It is much the same here with my girls... they made many little dolls this summer, and some spinning on drop spindles too, my eldest made one of her knitted cats form her own handspun yarn.
    Our nature journals are a bit neglected though.
    And I am so inspired by your daughter's autumn story!!!
    With love,

  5. What delightful activities and the girls have done very well indeed. Particularly love the waldorf dolls and the peapod baby.

  6. Such a crafty, creative post.


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