Natural Painting

We had another really lovely session this week. I thought we’d branch out and try something new with our crafty bits by making some natural paints and brushes.

After a little round of hide and seek, I told the children we were going to be doing some painting but we didn’t have any brushes. This was great because it sparked their imagination. After the initial groan of disappointment at having nothing to paint with, they all started thinking about what we could use as brushes and even had the confidence to start throwing out suggestions: leaves, feathers, ferns, sticks.

The next step was making the paint. For this we used turmeric, mud, and the seeds of a  pomegranate that had gone past its best. They loved smashing the pomegranate seeds with a cup…

and then really enjoyed experimenting to make pictures with their made brushes and paints.

 

We rounded the whole thing off with the obligatory story and cake.

 

If you have a child aged between 2 and 5 and think that they’d absolutely love to get out into the woods to be silly and get messy, why not drop me a line and we’ll get you booked up for our next run starting on March 11th.

Tree rubs and wriggly bugs

We came back this week, after having to take a surprise, one week, hiatus, following the early arrival of daughter number two. Florence was born on Sunday morning so there was no way of getting out to the woods the next day. In fact, I don’t think I even left the house until Wednesday and that was to take child one out to a toddlers group and give Mum a bit of a chance to sleep whilst the baby was.

Our focus this week was bugs so we started by getting ourselves warmed up with a bug hunt.

We searched under rocks…

and inside logs…

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to see the different bugs to live in those different habitats.

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We also looked under some dead bark to see what lived there.

After all that, we needed a bit of a rest so we read about some bugs…

and ate some cake.

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It’s always nice to see your own daughter waiting until she’s offered. Today is not that day.

After all that, we got to know the different trees, and the varying textures of their bark, by doing some tree rubbings.

And there we go. That’s our weekly round up.

We have four weeks left of this run of Tiny Acorns. The next block of six will begin on March 11th.

If you’d like to get your child involved, why not drop us a message and we’ll get you signed up.

 

Halloween fun!

Well, what a first run we’ve had! I can’t believe it’s flown by so quickly.

This week was our sixth session and, by way of celebration, we made it a super-duper Halloween special, with all the kids (and some of the adults) dressed for the occasion. I know it’s still a week until Halloween, but, we’re not there next week. We had to bring it forward a bit.

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As it was Halloween, I got to read one of my favourites: Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. (Did I mention how brilliant I think she is?) So, after a bit of a spooky run-around, playing hide and seek, we settled down to read the book. Everyone (adults included) was completely transfixed, as they tend to be when I pull out one of the many great books from JD’s back catalogue.

The main attraction, this week, was the pumpkin fun.

The children were supplied with half a pumpkin each, some lengths of bamboo, safety gloves, and access to sticks and hammers and permanent pens. (to  get the sticks in and draw eyes respectively)

This was a wonderful activity that gave the little’uns a really great opportunity to work on their fine motor skills whilst managing the risk of using something heavy to batter a small stick into something else. There was a bit of a safety talk on the importance of wearing a glove on the hand holding the stick. Many would think, “Sure, they’re only two or three years old. They’re not paying any attention.” Well, They all put their glove on. One child even told his adult off for not wearing a glove when she was holding his stick for whilst he hit it.

You’d be hard pressed to find any clearer evidence of the real benefits to allowing children, even as young as this, the opportunity to take part in “risky” activities. These children have learned responsibility, resilience, co-operation, collaboration and their imaginations have run absolutely wild in just six short weeks.

 

 

 

After the pumpkins came milk and home-made banana cake, followed by a bit of free play time. This time, with no input from the adults present, there were children drawing on trees with chalk, children heading off in search of tigers and others playing hide and seek together. It was a delight to see and further testament to the benefit that spending time in this group has brought to their confidence, self-esteem and social interaction.

 

 

As I said, we have now come to the end of this bloc of six sessions. We will, however, be returning on November 5th for the next run, which will take up up to the Christmas break.

Due to the success of this initial run, and to bring greater certainty to my planning and resourcing, this block will require pre-booking, with an upper limit of 14 children or 10 accompanying adults, whichever is the least.

The cost of this will be £24 for one child or £42 for two children.

To book on, please drop me a message and we’ll get you and your little one(s) signed up.

Hurry though, spaces are limited and I’d hate for you to miss out.

See you there.

 

Dinosaurumpus

Well, we’ve just had week five of this run of Tiny Acorns. We’ve only one more before we break for half term. The time has absolutely flown by.

They say that time flies when you’re having fun and it’s been an absolute joy getting to know all my tiny acorns.

This week, was probably my favourite week so far. I based it around a book by Tony Mitton called Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus which came highly recommended by the guy who trained me, Chris Wishart.

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The kids had a great time. They were jumping and bouncing around, doing all the actions of the “rumpus”. I had to read the book a second time and would have had to go a third if the dinosaurs hadn’t appeared to draw the kids off on a quest.

It’s so great to see this group gelling and becoming such firm friends in such a short space of time.

It’s also great to see how their imaginations are growing along with their confidence. After we found the dinosaurs and hid them a second time, the kids really let their imaginations take over. With no input from the adults present, they began hiding the dinosaurs themselves and searching for other dinosaurs from the book. They found their own clues and created their own narratives. It was really beautiful.

Next week, we’re going to have a special Halloween themed party with costumes and pumpkins and spooky stories. It’s going to be absolutely wonderful.

Hopefully we’ll see you there.

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Tigers and Dragonflies

We had another superb Tiny Acorns session this week. It was only the third week with this group and I can already see a marked difference in the group as a whole. The children are growing together as a group. They are working together, swiftly becoming good friends who care for and consider each other. They are also growing in confidence every week, each becoming more willing and able to explore and experiment with our woodland area.

Interestingly, this gelling and confidence seems to bubble over and affect anyone who comes along to the group for their first time. It’s as if it’s infectious.

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This week’s book was There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart. It’s a beautiful story about using our imagination to explore the world around us, no matter how mundane we may think that environment may be, and is a firm favourite in our household.

The children then collected leaves of lots of different shapes and sizes to use for rubbings with lots of different coloured chalks. The results were beautiful and, after tearing around these, we tied them onto sticks with coloured yarn to make dragonflies the size of birds.

Chalk rubbings

Chalk rubbings.

It was a lovely task that was enjoyed by children and adults alike.

If you have a toddler, or know a toddler that would love to come along to Tiny Acorns, we still have a few spaces left on the scheme so, why not drop us a message and get signed up.