Tree observation

TreeObservation

The excellent book Discovering nature with young children from The Young Scientist Series has finally made us do something we’ve been wanting to do for years: observe and document a tree in Autumn as the color of its leaves change until it has lost them all.

We have made it as a science project making it quite interesting for Gabriel: he was a scientist! We have chosen a tree which is just behind our house, because we wanted to have an easy access to it and we also chose one we knew would not lose its leaves too quickly so that we could follow its evolution, because it was protected by the surrounding buildings and trees. Having chosen it, we regularly went to observe the tree which soon became “Our tree”. Here’s the material we used for this activity

  • Markers
  • White card paper
  • Clipboard
  • Instant camera

Before leaving the house we would choose which markers we should take, having in mind the colors Gabriel thought the leaves would have. In order to document the changes, he made a drawing of the tree, focusing mostly on the leaves colors. Besides drawing it, we also took pictures with our digital camera and Gabriel also took pictures with an instant camera. The pictures were of very poor quality, but we though it was interesting for him to have another support besides the drawing.

Once at home Gabriel wrote the date and taped both the picture and the drawing on a wall, one day after the other in order to see the evolution. We have agreed to keep tracking of the tree’s changes when Spring comes and the leaves with it!

Halloween party

HalloweenParty_Fotor

As we’ve mentioned in our last post, we have celebrated Halloween for the first time this year and have invited some of our friend families with children with the same age of Gabriel to a Halloween party.

We have made some scary (funny) food inspired by a lot of things we have found on the internet like a vegetables skeleton, spider pizzas or ghost cupcakes. We have also made bat cookies with this recipe which we’ll probably use a lot in the future because it’s sooooo easy and also quite good. We have also cooked a Jack o’Lantern pumpkin pie with a recipe we’ll share in a future post (we have made its eyes, mouth and nose out of chocolat cookies, as we did for the mouth of the ghost cupcakes. The eyes of the ghost cupcakes were bought on Amazon).

To decorate the living room we have made several paper garlands with Halloween motives. Our inspiration came from the black napkins and paper glasses that we bought at Amazon and which had spiders in violet, orange and green. To fit this color scheme, we made pumpkins and bats and cut paper circles with a circle puncher. We made garlands with only pumpkins and circles, a second one with only bats and circles and a third one with both motives. To put the paper garland together we have positioned the motives and circles alternatively on a surface in order to realize the effect before actually sewing it with the machine. We have also bought ballon with the same colors which were all over the place!

We have also organized a few handcraft activities for the kids. We have asked Gabriel to make models so that the children could see what they were supposed to do, so he was quite proud to do it for them! We found inspiration for this mummy on No time for flash cards where we always find such amazing ideas: such a great site! All kids took their mummy home which we hope will be a souvenir of the good time they have spent with us.

 

 

Easy Halloween costumes: spider and bat

EasyHalloweenCostumes

2015 was the first year we celebrated Halloween with the children. To do so, we needed to find costumes which would be easy to make make and still please him (Gabriel) and be wearable (baby André). So we finally decided to make a spider costume for André and a bat costume for Gabriel.

Almost everything we used to make the spider costume was bought at H&M, online (we find it easier to buy online when we look for something very specific and going to the store almost always means finding nothing of what we’re looking for!): we used a black hoodie, 3 tights (they came in packs of black and grey-black stripes so we actually bought 2 packs) and a black baby bodysuit. We started by cutting 2 of the tights at the crotch level which we then filled with wadding so that they look like legs. To hide the place where we sewed them at the back of the hoodie we used an oval of felt with a grey cross on it, so that it looks like a cross spider. We positioned the legs so they have approximately the same distance between them and the arms (we though the baby’s arms and legs count as spider legs, so we needed 4 additional legs). To make the spider’s face we used white felt to make the eyes as well as two teeth. André was wearing black-grey striped tights so that the color of the legs alternated from black (the arms) to grey, black and again grey. We have chosen to do this so that the costume doesn’t look to dark and this is also the reason why we sewed a grey felt oval on his belly. The costume was very comfortable  (André wore it for 4 hours without complaining and he could moved as usual).

To make the bat costume we have also bought a black t-shirt and the pants online (it was amazingly difficult to find a simple black t-shirt with nothing printed on it!). We had adored this costume and we did almost the same for Gabriel. To make the mask we cut a stripe of black felt where we cut the eyes. For the ears we used black and grey felt which we have reinforced so that were stiffer. This however was not enough to hold the ears straight once they were sewed on the mask so we used a toothpick which we inserted between both felt layers and secured by sewing thoroughly with a zigzag stitch so that it doesn’t hurt when touching the skull (we also cut the toothpick ends so that they were not sharp). To make the wings we cut black felt with the wings shape and a smaller shape in grey. We sewed them together using black thread on the grey felt so that we could clearly see the seam (we though it made it look more real). Sewing the wings on the t-shirt was a bit tricky but at the end it worked out just fine! Gabriel was quite happy with his costume.

Our first Halloween celebration was quite successful and we guess it will become a tradition. Next costume sewing: Carnaval!

Welcome Autumn!

AutumnLeavesPaperGarland

It’s Autumn, Ines’s favorite season! The colors of the leaves change and have inspired us to make a paper garland with autumn colored leaves. To do so, we have cut different shapes of leaves in orange, yellow, red and some in green transparent paper (you can find the paper we used here. We advice to use paper with at least 90 g/m2). We have sewn them together with a yellow thread one after the other, changing a bit their orientation.

autumn leaves garland

 

Other then leaves with amazing colors in Autumn time, we also love going to the Kürbismarkt. It is an event that takes place once a year in our city where they sell lots of pumpkins: for decoration (by the way, that’s where we bought the ones shown in the picture above), for Halloween, to eat… Although its quite a small event we always go there because pumpkins are less expensive and they also have huge pumpkins our son loves to watch. This year we could even see them being transported using a mechanical shovel which is something all kids love to watch!

150 weeks in the daycare infographics

150 Weeks In Daycare Infographics

The thing we have enjoyed the most to do for the last day our son Gabriel spent in the daycare (called Lukids) was an infographics with some of the information we thought best represented the time he spend there. We spent a great time gathering this information and figuring out how to illustrate it in order to share it with his teachers:

  • Initial and final age (illustrated with a picture and his favorite book), total duration in weeks and days (represented by the number of Morgenkreise, the moment where children get together in the morning)
  • Main physical and cognitive milestones: walk, jump, become dry, draw and paint, ride a bicycle, count, write his name
  • Fun facts: 1 daycare move and 10 different teachers, more than 40 gathered sticks, 1 head injury, 16 new teeth, additional 10 kg and 32 cm, 2 Carnaval costumes, more than 20 times fever, the duration of his longest nap

On the backside Gabriel signed a thank you message for each of the teachers.

150 weeks in daycare infography

To do the infographics we used Inkscape (by the way, the free software we use for all graphic designs, which you can get here). In order to have Gabriel’s signature and one of his drawings in a vectorized format we have used Inkpad, a software to hand draw on the Ipad. We have also used some fun fonts we thing we’ll use a lot in the future because… they are great! There are the two stamp fonts KG Tribeca Stamp and Randy Described Eternity, the label font  fmz Embossed Label Light and the beautiful Freshman font from Jones Design Company, all of which you can use for free for non commercial use.

This post closes a series of posts where we shared all activities around this big event which was Gabriel leaving his first daycare and which we particularly enjoyed to make! (easy watercolor painting as teachers’ giftrainbow frog crayon as goodbye gift for the childrenrainbow frog cupcakes).  We keep an excellent memory of the  time Gabriel spent in LuKids and look forward to the coming time in his new kindergarten: Auf Wiedersehen Regenbogen, Hallo Frosch!

Rainbow frog cupcake

In the last day Gabriel spent in the daycare he took, as it is tradition, cupcakes to share with his teachers and friends. As we mentioned in the last post, we had chosen the theme “auf Wiedersehen Regenbogen, hallo Frosch!” (goodbye rainbow, hello frog!) for his goodbye and for this reason we decided to decorate the cupcakes with a frog and a rainbow. We used exactly the same motives we had used for the goodbye gifts. The vanilla muffins were spread with vanilla frosting and covered with a thin layer of blue fondant  on which we laid a frog (all frog parts were made of fondant, the black part of the eyes was painted with edible black ink). Because we wanted the rainbow to give a 3 dimensional effect, we made it out of paper: we taped the printed rainbow on a toothpick using white round stickers and stuck it on the cake. The cupcakes had quite a big success amongst the children and Gabriel was quite happy to have contributed to make them!

Rainbow frog crayons

RainbowFrogCrayons

We have decided to make “rainbow frog” crayons as a goodbye gift for our son Gabriel to give to his friends in his daycare center. The reason for this theme is is that he’s leaving the rainbow group in his current daycare and is going to the frog group in the kindergarten (he’s a big boy now!). To do so, we started by  taking the paper out of the crayons and then cut them in small pieces. We wanted to have a sort of rainbow effect so we cut them with the size of the silicon form where we later melt them and then filled the form with keeping the rainbow order of the colors. We let them melt in the oven at 120°C for around 15 minutes and then let them cool down. We made two of them for each kid which took a lot of time because the form only had two frogs shapes… We then put the crayons in a small plastic bag with a paper holding it where a message said “goodbye rainbow, hello frog”. On the back of the paper, a personalized message was written for every child. Gabriel was quite proud to give the crayons to each of his friends and of course, he also  got two for them. The crayon is very fun to use because of its different colors and the frog shape!

3 Easy watercolor techniques for kids

3EasyWatercolorTechniquesForKidsOur son Gabriel will soon leave the Krippe (daycare for babies) and go to the Kindergarten. This big event has been keeping us busy for a while now and we will soon share with you some of the thighs we’ve been doing. We have decided to help Gabriel make a personalized small present for him to offer to each of his teachers. Because we have appreciated so much doing this watercolor painting with him (we find it quite easy and love the result), we have looked for different negative watercolor techniques one could use to write  the teachers name (read at the bottom of the post how we made the letters out of masking tape).

Gabriel found the first watercolor painting technique quite funny because it used cotton buds (here’s where we got the inspiration). He has chosen 4 colors and started painting dots all over the surface by pressing the cotton bud vertically on the paper. We had to insist that he makes more dots on the letters so that we could read the name at the end.

In the second technique we used rubber bands to partially covered the surface on which we had already sticked the letters (here’s where we have got our inspiration). We have also asked Gabriel to choose the colors he wanted to use and then let him paint the surface by pressing a cylinder of foam (actually a small painting roll like these) on the paper. We let it dry between colors and took the rubber bands out only when it was completely dry.

The last technique didn’t quite work as planned although we also like the result at the end. It was probably Gabriel’s favorite technique because it implied using a straw to bubble a mixture of watercolor, water and dish soap on the paper or just bubbling it for the fun on the cup filled with the paint mixture (here’s where we got our inspiration). Unfortunately we didn’t take pictures of the different steps but we show here the pictures of another painting we did before the one with the name, to test the technique. We started like in the other techniques by sticking the motive on the paper. We taped 3 straws together that Gabriel used to immerse in the paint mixture and slowly blow on the paper. If no bubbles were formed, he would also try to slowly blow again on the surface of the paper which often made the mixture bubble. We let the paint dry between colors. We find that the colors effet looks great but unfortunately the paint flowed under the masking tape and the probable reason for this is the big amount of water we used every time. We like the stars painting even if the negative of the stars is hard to see but in the case of the letters it was quite difficult to read the name. For this reason, we have decided to cut the letters and put a sheet of paper in one of the colors of the painting behind it. A bit more work but it looks great!

We sincerely hope that Gabriel teachers appreciate these small pieces of art and keep them as a remembrance of the wonderful 3 years Gabriel spent in the Krippe with them! A big “Thank you” to them!!!!

This is how made the letters of their names in masking tape in order to protect the surface of the paper not to be painted. The technique we used to do it has evolved as made all three of them. Here’s are optimized method 🙂

  1. Print the letters/image you want to cut in an inverted manner (mirrored).
  2. Tape the sheet of paper on a window with the printed side against it and tape the backside of the letters.
  3. With a masking tape of a different color, tape the surface of the letters (this will help differentiate this first layer from the following one(s) which is important because the first one could be hard to stick out of the paper)
  4. Take the sheet out of the window, turn it and cut the letters (this will be easy because you’re now facing the printed side of the paper)
  5. Separate the letters in masking tape from the first layer of masking tape.
  6. Stick the letters on the paper and start painting!

Watercolor art

WatercolorArt

We have been looking for ideas for nice paintings for a future wall gallery and we were inspired by this painting made by children. We have chosen a circle size (actually a masking tape…) and prepared the paper for the painting  by dividing the surface so that the space between the circles is the same. We then drew the circles with watercolor pencils and let Gabriel do the rest! We love the result and look forward to hang in on the wall.

Colorful snapshots of our art moment..

Apple and bilberry puree

AppleAndBilberryPuree

Already two months since we started feeding solids to André! And we are enjoying a lot rediscovering or trying new tasteful recipes of baby purees. One of the newly discovered is an apple and bilberry puree. We like it so much we make it for ourselves. As all the purees we make, it is quite easy to prepare: we start by steaming the cut apples, with no water just in a closed pan over a gentle heat. Once the apples are slightly cooked (this can take more or less time depending on the type of apples you choose), we add the bilberries and wait until they are cooked (most of the berries will have “burst”). We then use a blender to grind it. Three apples and around 200 g of bilberries will give 3 doses of puree. Delicious!