Continuing the serialisation of Mighty-Girl’s picture book: pages four and five of The Lonely Bear.
Come back tomorrow for pages six and seven!
Continuing the serialisation of Mighty-Girl’s picture book: pages four and five of The Lonely Bear.
Come back tomorrow for pages six and seven!
I seem to have developed a fairly laissez-faire approach to parenting (quickly googles laissez-faire to make sure it means what I think it means… Yeah, that’ll do.) Or maybe it’s just that I’m a terrible parent who ignores her children! I’d like to lead by example and be a wonderfully perfect person with manners and a tidy, clean house but I’m not so I do try to explain right and wrong and we have all sorts of discussions about things in the world too. But sometimes I do just hide behind a screen and leave them to it.
Which results in things like MG’s book The Lonely Bear that I’m serialising this week. And a whole bunch of paper and felt tips soaking into clothes and covers as they (the felt tips) are left with lids off leaning on them (the clothes, bedsheets etc) that are also left lying around. Not to mention the mountains of paper and other art materials that appear to breed (see Clutter Creep).
I am neglecting DG in this description. There is a reason she is called Destructo-Girl but she is also incredibly creative and imaginative. She loves small world play and will make up stories for hours on end with all her favourite toys – mixing Sylvanians and Budkins, soft toys and dolls’ clothes, wooden food and trainsets… Until the entire house hasn’t any spare floor space from top to bottom. But if you look carefully, it’s not mess. You can see her creativity shining through:
Shame I have to tidy everything up, and all the teeny bits seem to get lost all over the house though!
I’ve never really bothered with Halloween as a holiday but with children of the right sort of age, there’s so much fun to be had. Today we had a whole bunch of crafts lined up plus a party for the girls to go to and then filled with imagination MG and DG played a vampire game until bedtime
Firstly the girls decorated wooden cut out pumpkins that my mum got from a recent local craft fair, made by Artcuts.
Next we did two of the projects in this months’ Tiny Tigs craft pack (I keep meaning to review these as they are great fun. I keep most of the projects as our ‘emergency back up’ for rainy days but of course we had to do the Halloween ones today!)
The girls then had a Halloween party to go to, for two friends whose birthdays we missed in the summer so we took birthday presents too. DG wanted to be a ballet witch but MG decided she didn’t want to dress up.
While we were at the party (MG was in a clingy mood, so I had to stay with her – DG was quite happy joining in from the start!), Mr Chaos carved the pumpkins from the girls’ designs. We would have done it all together but the day ran away with us so we left Daddy to it!
MG absolutely loved the vampire teeth she got at the party (DG found a straw to use as she missed out getting the fake teeth and wanted them too!) and the time before bedtime consisted of her bossing “baby vampire” into her coffin (“coffins are where vampires sleep”) and biting her parents until we got vampire blood and turned from Breathers to Vampires (fortunately for us, kisses were used instead of bites!) Young Dracula is one of my secret TV loves (shhh, don’t tell anyone!) so their vampire mythology mainly comes from that program
Gloop is a fantastic substance. It feels solid but runs through fingers like liquid. On top of that, all it is made from is cornflour and water so is quick and easy to set up for
messy sensory play.
We currently have a ban on gloop after the mess caused by the last two sessions! One of the main problems being that I wasn’t sure on the cornflour to water ratio and when you give small children a jug of water they tend to empty the entire jug in one go so we ended up with very wet gloop.
MG and DG didn’t mind at all. They were far more interested in pretend playing cooking than feeling the sensory qualities! I added food colouring and scent to the water to make it more interesting. The trays are cat litter trays – they’ve never been used for that purpose though.
“Hugless Douglas Activities” is one of the biggest search terms to this blog, therefore I’ve been thinking about what to do for this post for a while. After several hours of often fruitless google searches, I eventually remembered Pinterest and added a whole host of eclectic ideas onto an HD springboard board A selection are included below with suggested themes.
I have included a linky at the bottom of this post for you to add any related activity posts, and please do comment to suggest themes you think should be added too.
A wonderfully simple craft that even very small children could manage (with help cutting out the circles) and added learning in the form of big/small and shapes.
No tutorial here, but I had to link to these fantastic bear arms made specifically for Hugless Douglas. Very crafty parents may be able to rustle up something similar!
A delicious looking snack to try for your little bears, look like it can be made by small children too so practical skills, cuteness and a fairly healthy snack or breakfast alternative.
I love the idea of actually using jam to make paw prints, but I don’t think I’d be able to go through with it. All small children love to make
a big mess pawprints
For older children:
Bears feature in many of David’s books. Look at the bears in the following books:
The Star-Faced Crocodile
The Kiss That Missed trilogy
Two by Two and a half
How they are different from each other and from Hugless Douglas? How are they similar? Are all the bears friendly?
Other book series bears to look out for:
Big Bear & Little Bear (Martin Waddell & Barbara Firth)
Bear (Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman)
The Bear (Jez Alborough)
The Bear with Sticky Paws (Clara Vulliamy)
George & Bartholemew (Virginia Miller)
Muffin (Clara Vulliamy)
Old Bear & Little Bear (Jane Hissey)
Paddington (Michael Bond & various)
Winnie the Pooh (A A Milne & E H Shepard)
Theme: Other Animals in the Hugless Douglas Books
For sheep, see Theme: Sheep, Wool, Knitting and Hats below
How much fun is this owl mask? Plus it’s made from leaves so can be preceeded by a nature walk in most seasons, except winter. How would it look with green leaves I wonder?
A fantastic treat for active youngsters. Krisproll, banana and chocolate buttons – who-ooo could resist? I think I must have had food on the brain when I was collecting links, but I love this owl sandwich too!
This finger puppet looks fantastic, and I’m sure the sewing parts could be replaced by glueing for very small children. For something with a template to cut round, there’s these lovely bunny tree decorations.
Theme: Hibernation (Hugless Douglas)
Why has Douglas woken up and forgotten his mum? Well, several months of sleep is enough to confuse anyone! What is hibernation, and what other animals hibernate in winter?
A complex papier-mâché and clay project to be attempted by children with a serious interest in hibernation (or making things!) and a fantastic result to be proud of when complete.
As well as this bear cave perfect for young children to make, the link also includes a hibernation song and finger play which would be lovely to do with small children. Lots of other ideas too!
Not free, but I think Montessori Print Shop’s materials are well worth the price. This downloadable pdf makes a sorting game of how different animals respond to winter: do they hibernate, migrate or adapt?
Theme: Trees, Leaves, Rocks and Seasons (Hugless Douglas)
The search for a perfect hug is also a lovely sensory experience. On a nature walk, try to collect some stones, leaves, bark (or twigs) and maybe some raw wool to feel while reading the story. Does your child think that these things are nice to hug or not?
This site has a leaf shape template to download and cut out leaf shapes for all sorts of crafts – the examples on this page are gorgeous. You could also cut out paper leaves to make a tree or animal shapes for example.
The Hugless Douglas books are full of trees and leaves, so this leaf print tree is a good expressive craft for small children to experiment with senses, colours and mess
Douglas wakes in the spring, so this fun craft project is another nice addition. When thinking about trees and leaves, the seasons come to mind as most trees change so visually throughout the seasons.
Great fun for small children – playing with stones and searching for small objects hidden in them. With added sensory feel of the rocks/pebbles – rough and smooth could be covered here too.
Theme: Sheep, Wool, Knitting & Hats (Don’t Worry Hugless Douglas)
Sheep feature throughout the Hugless Douglas books, and as an added learning link through Douglas’ hat is wooly. Conversations about how sheep are sheared for summer, how raw wool is processed and knitting and crochet can follow on from here.
Do you have any hats at home? What kind of hats are they: sun hats, winter hats, decorative hats? Why do we use hats? Can you design a hat? There are lots of hat crafts for small children, from a simple paper hat to pirate hats and beyond…
Making sheep from cotton wool is loads of fun. This is a Mary had a Little Lamb craft which in turn leads to thinking about rhymes and fairy tales that can be read after Hugless Douglas, for example Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
This cloud dough looks like wooly sheep and would be a nice sensory follow on from thinking about sheep. Compare the texture with wool too, to see how things that look similar can feel very different.
Another sensory experience, and could be combined with the sensory bin idea for trees, leaves and rocks plus roving shows the stage between raw wool and yarn wool.
I think this craft idea is really good for cementing the link between wool on sheep and the wool used for knitting etc. The link has lots of farmyard ideas which don’t quite follow for Hugless Douglas but would be fun for another day.
A fairly tenuous link here, but I thought this hat was so cute! I can’t knit or crochet but parents who can could probably make this together with children – the eyes might be good for children to make for instance. There’s some lovely hats on this site, including an owl hat.
Theme: Underground Homes (Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep)
Rabbit lives underground. What other animals can you think of that live underground? Ants, worms, moles? What are the similarities and differences between animals who make their homes under the ground?
Theme: Nocturnal and Diurnal (Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep)
Hugless Douglas goes to Rabbit’s for a sleepover. They are sleeping at night. Some animals sleep in the day. What does nocturnal mean? What does diurnal mean? What nocturnal and diurnal animals can you think of?
A simple, visual way of describing the difference between nocturnal and diurnal animals plus ideas for a sorting game to make using pictures found online and printed.
Not free, but another Montessori Print Shop sorting game perfect for Hugless Douglas follow-on and saves looking up animals and finding quality images yourself.
I couldn’t resist creating these silly songs (to the tune of well known nursery rhymes). I hope Mr Melling and Hachette Children’s Books will forgive me!
You can download the song sheet here.
Depending on the age and interest of the child, reading the Goblins books to them before or after Hugless Douglas could lead on to cross-over activities. Some questions to think about:
What would a Hug Goblin look like?
Where would it live?
What would it do?
What would happen if Hugless Douglas met a Hug Goblin? Can you write a story about this?
And now it’s your turn… Please comment or add a link below. Tomorrow I will be rounding up a selection of colouring sheets and other resources you can download.
Note: All images are © their respective websites.
There are a lot of obvious essentials for a craft box: paper, pencils, scissors, crayons, paints, glue… And less obvious but useful things like sponges, recycling for junk modelling, toothbrushes for painting… Here are a few more ideas of relatively cheap additions for craft and other play.
1p stamps are a very cheap alternative to stickers. Okay, they’re all the same but a sheet of 25 1p stamps costs 25p and can be used for pretend post-office play, patterning, badges… Much cheaper than most sticker sheets! For 50p you can get 25 dark green 2p stamps for variety. Sheets of 25 available at most post offices.
Paper plates & cups
Slightly more obvious for craft play, paper plates are great fun for painting, drawing, sticking on, using as wheels for junk model vehicles, making giant caterpillars with, for tea parties (pretend or real)… MG’s current favourite is to take a dinner order and draw what you’ve ordered on the plates – great for both writing and drawing practice. Reasonably cost effective at about £1 for 25-30 plates from pound shops & similar.
Paper cups seem less available than plastic, and plastic will do, but I prefer paper for easier crafting – making puppet legs and arms, as a base for hats and noses… But my favourite is the hole-in-the-bottom make-a-mess craft like cup painting. I also want to try out sand painting with coloured sand, if the play sand I’ve ordered ever comes back in stock and there’s some dry days! Again available in pound shops, about 20 for £1.
I never would have thought of a litter tray, but thanks to this excellent post from Two of Everything, it’s on my wish list to add to our cupboards for sensory play.
Shot glasses & sauce bowls
These are great for ‘experiments’ like mixing vinegar and baking soda, colour mixing with food dies (especially when using droppers for fine motor skills). You can get around 40 plastic shot glasses for £1 or invest in a set of glass ones for heavier use. MG & DG’s Montessori nursery used (glass) shot glasses for the babies/toddlers to drink from as they are the perfect size for small children.
Sauce/dip bowls are also good for mixing experiments if you invest in some glass ones from eBay or similar. The only ones I’ve found in a pound shop were metal ones at 6 for £1 which have been great fun for kitchen pretend play but not sure if they’re much good for ‘experiments’ being metal!
If you scour pound / cheap / charity stores you can get all sorts of different things for pretend kitchen play instead of buying a play set, and being ‘real’ they can be more fun. Milk pans are perfect as play saucepans, wooden spoons come in all sorts of sizes, silicone bakeware for mini loaves or chocolates fit with a pretend kitchen. Not to mention that a toddler will get hours of fun from a pan and wooden spoon for making noise Cutters can be used for play dough and fimo, and icing cutters give some lovely intricate craft results.
Lentils, beans, cous-cous, coffee, rice, pasta… All these dried foods are great for play kitchens and for filling trays with for sensory play. Value and own brand items can be very cheap, and in theory you can also wash and eat most of them afterwards too – they also vacuum up very easily!
What other “not-so-obvious” items do you use in craft and other play with children? Please let me know in the comments.
The very last full day of the holiday. As this is posted we’ll have packed the last few things in the car and probably just be arriving at the ferry port. I can’t help Mr Chaos with the drive because I’ve never passed a driving test. Most of the drive is on motorways, which I can’t go on with a provisional licence and besides which, my provisional licence ran out this month after ten years of attempting (on and off) to get a full one.
With a day of driving ahead of him, Mr Chaos wanted a relaxing day so we decided to climb up the 3000ft mountain behind the house…
I think we made it 30ft before I was shaking with terror and in tears. Yes, me, not the children I forgot I was scared of heights, and falling, and slippery rocks, and bugs, and heights… I thought I was braver than I used to be and started with good intentions but as soon as Mr Chaos took us to look at a rock pool, involving wading through a slippy, rocky stream I reverted to
Little Miss Old Mrs Pathetic.
On the basis that the girls are only 5 and 3, and DG had already stepped in a muddy patch up to her knees, we called it a day and climbed back down. MG was getting a little afraid of the height, but as soon as we started coming down she wanted to go back up again; and DG was utterly fearless and climbs like a mountain goat despite her small stature. I expect there will be arguments about who Mr Chaos takes up the mountain first!
Later in the day MG proved she was a mountain goat too, climbing over the rocks on the beach. Happier with these rocks, on account of them being no more than 6ft above ground level, I could follow to keep an eye on her and DG. MG kept offering me her hand to help me over the harder parts
It’s been a fantastic holiday, and I’m getting Mr Chaos to book a date for next summer with his parents as soon as possible before it gets booked up. Much as I appreciate that I’ve not had to cook or wash clothes at all this holiday, it would be nice to just have the four of us instead of living with in-laws next time
Only two more full days left, and all the packing to do in that time too. We had a small list of things to do: Boat; Fishing; Iona; Tobermory; Beach; Collecting Cockles; Roasting Marshmallows. Today completed the last of the holiday wishlist: roasting marshmallows on the beach.
Grandpa did all the work setting up the fire on the beach, and searching out some skewers for the marshmallows (which were too short, so we all got a bit hot!) MG, who specially requested this, got bored very quickly and I think the adults had more fun than the kids – oooh, fire! Children are far too sensible…
The marshmallows were very sticky and messy but despite this, MG and DG weren’t that interested in them once roasted – they prefered them ‘raw’!
Today was a trip to Tobermory, capital of Mull. It’s about a 90 minute drive each way so a once-a-holiday jaunt. DG has been asking to go to Balamory pretty much every single day since we arrived. She was expecting to meet some of the characters, which of course wasn’t going to happen as the series was recorded between 2002 and 2005, but I bought her a Balamory t-shirt to make up for it! MG has mostly grown out of Balamory now. I’ll never grow out of the Wombles…
Not many pictures today because, in summary, we had lunch and wandered around some shops! So here are MG and DG looking gorgeous (in my completely unbiased opinion of course )
And finally, an attempt to show how clear the night sky is here. Far more awe-inspiring in real life, of course!
By the way, all the decent pictures from the holiday (or on this blog in general) are probably taken by Mr Chaos. If it has depth of field, it’s definitely him
It was a beach day today. A drive to Ardalanish and a picnic lunch on the beach. I have to say I dislike sun, sea and sand so beaches aren’t my favourite thing but (after being bitten by yet another cleg, and shivering in the wind for a while, and having lunch which cheered me up!) I entered into the spirit properly making a castle with a moat and showing the girls how to fill the moat with water; burying MG’s legs in the sand and exploring the rocks around.
The girls, of course, had an absolute blast: paddling in the sea, building sand castles, ‘cooking’ with sand and water, washing their feet and hands in rock pools and then getting filthy again two seconds later…