Tag Archives: Mess

Contents of a Child’s Bed

I really don’t know how my daughters sleep. No matter how many times I declutter their beds, within a day or two they’re back to being a complete mess. Here is what Mighty-Girl’s bed looked like today:

MG's bed

This is what was under the pillow:

Under MG's pillow

She sneakily writes stories in bad light after she’s sent to bed. I used to read late when I was supposed to be asleep. It’s what children do, but I really need to put MG and DG in separate rooms so they stop disturbing each other!

I found this summary of Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin:

Winnie's Amazing Pumpkin

“Book called Winnie’s Amazing Pumpkin yoused magic a pumpkin grue big and shared it with the wholl town then turned it into a helecocter”

I found this start of Hansel and Gretel (there’s a book version I wanted to photograph but I couldn’t find where she’d put that one, obviously not in bed!)

Hansel and Gretel

“Once upon a time there lived a step mum a dad a boy called hansel and a girl called gretel. they were very pour so the wicked step mum told the dad we must go to the forest and leve the children there the farther said no but soon he said ok lit’s do it so they did but the children were a wake and herd so Hansel went out and got peples.”

I also found a complete version of Jack and the Beanstalk, here is the first page:

Jack and the Beanstalk

“Once there lived a boy called Jack he was paw he hat to sell his cow daysy he saw a man the man arsct Jack if the cow was for sail Jack said yes.”

Having a child who is good at writing, you don’t actually realise how good until you see writing by others of the same age. To me, it’s just her writing. Her teacher did say it was like that of a much older child in her parents’ evening. The size of her writing can be erratic, because she concentrates on writing in cursive, and she needs to work on her punctuation (and spelling!) but I do think she is pretty awesome (with the great writing or not!)

I’ve pulled out all the books, and papers, but left the soft toys. I still don’t know how she sleeps! Destructo-Girl’s bed is just filled with soft toys. And the occasional felt tip pen which destroys all the sheets and covers *cry* Aargghh, kids! 😉

[Word count: 409; November word count: 2,538]

Protected: Project Declutter: Montessori

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Cultivating Creativity – or Mess?!

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:

 Creativity or Mess

Creativity or Mess

Shame I have to tidy everything up, and all the teeny bits seem to get lost all over the house though!

Gloop

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.

Gloop

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.

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.

Gloop

For a more successful gloop session, have a look at Rainy Day Mum 🙂 There are also some interesting videos about gloop here.

Love Monster, Hate Printing

Hate is a bit of an overstatement, but I’ve gone with artistic licence for the title of this post!

Love Monster is a lovely book about being different and being loved for who you are, not for being like everyone else. I really liked the book, and enjoy reading it to the girls. But what I didn’t realise until seeing the video below is that the pictures are created by printing, which is why they have the lovely quality that they have.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e8yxqht0i0]

On seeing this, I was inspired. This is generally not a good thing, because I have the artistic talent of, um, a cluster of colour blind hedgehogs in a bag… But still, I wanted to do printing! Printing! The girls would love that. Wouldn’t they?

Light sensitive etching plates and printing presses aren’t a feasible option so I started to think lino printing because I remembered doing it at school, but didn’t think that was a particularly safe option for small children. After some great advice from Zoe at Playing by the Book I decided to get 4 colours of water based printing ink, a brayer (or roller) and tried to get the girls interested in attempting printing using biro drawings on styrofoam.

It didn’t really work very well. The girls didn’t really get the idea of drawing on the styrofoam (pizza packaging in our case); I couldn’t find a biro or the paper embossing tools that I’m sure I have somewhere and the blunt end of a paintbrush wasn’t the viable alternative I hoped it would be (although pencils worked well); and one roller between two children (and 4 colours) meant arguments and lots of roller cleaning…

I had a rethink. Foam sheets! Then the girls wouldn’t have to draw anything, just needed some foam stickers to stick on and instant printing. So I invested in 2 more rollers, thinking this would be a huge hit, and we tried again.

The girls weren’t interested. Mighty-Girl did one print, and then was far more interested in making patterns with the foam stickers (and ‘painting’ them with the ink) and although Destructo-Girl managed some prints with help, she much prefered making handprints.

Mummy got completely frustrated that her brilliant idea wasn’t appreciated, and sulked. Looking back at the pictures, it looks a lot more successful than I remembered!

On the bright side, Love Monster is a lovely book that I can read again and again. And we have all the tools we need for attempting printing again, at some point in the future…

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Love Monster by HarperCollins for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Making Paint

Both MG and DG love painting. I’m not a huge fan of clearing up the mess, and it’s never really possible for them to fully clean the mess on their own, especially as it usually descends into an emergency bath moment…

Today while MG was at school I realised that I had a perfect activity for DG (now 2 years 7 months). I’d been letting the readymix paint get used up in order to replace the bottles with mixed powder paint that I’d bought “to save money” and we now had 5 empty bottles to fill. This is an excellent activity, and if properly planned (which of course I didn’t!) covers spooning, measuring, counting, pouring, funnelling, shaking – lots of motor skills for small children plus maths and science activities for older children. In Chez Chaos, what you usually end up with is mess!

In theory the process involves:

  • Unscrewing lid of powder paint jar (depending on age of child – I did this with DG because of the mess aspect)
  • Spooning powder into measuring cup (pouring from the powder jar was far too messy)
  • Pouring powder from measuring cup into funnel
  • Shaking or stirring to get powder from funnel into paint bottle
  • Counting number of measuring cups of powder required (our instructions said 2 parts powder to 1 part water but 3 parts powder to 1 part water made a better thickness for our use – with older children experimenting with consistancies would be great fun)
  • Measuring water and pouring into funnel
  • Screwing top onto paint bottle and shaking to mix the paint
  • Admire your work 🙂

Did I mention the mess? Whilst I was taking a picture of DG spooning, she accidentally knocked the bottle and funnel over (we should have got the powder in the bottle before measuring the next cupful) and the powder went everywhere…

An emergency bath was in order, but DG loves baths so was quite happy with that.

I’m linking this up with Montessori Monday – Yes, it’s Thursday but we’re chaotic 😆
Montessori Monday

Here Come the Girls

Timothy Pope, Timothy Pope…

Yesterday evening MG found a cardboard tube and pretended it was a telescope, which led to reading Shark in the Dark by Nick Sharratt for the final bedtime story. “I want to paint my telescope” announces MG. Of course, I say, we’ll do that tomorrow…

So, as soon as she’s awake in the morning: “Can I paint my telescope? I need blue and yellow paint.” Ad nauseum, until I give in (about three minutes later, before we’ve even had breakfast…)

We have a messy art cupboard in the kitchen full of paints, paper and related paraphernalia. That “messy” belongs with “art”, not “cupboard”; it’s probably the tidiest part of the house at the moment. Generally there are things stacked in front of the cupboard door, so that DG can’t help herself to the paints 🙂

MG had her cardboard tube, so of course we had to find one for DG. Blue and Yellow were requested, so that’s 4 paint pots: blue and yellow for MG; blue and yellow for DG…

DG prefered painting on paper, and soon smeared her hands everywhere (she’s left-handed, hence the brush is in her dominant hand: I know she’s a toddler and it’s too early to tell etc but she’s been strongly left-handed from around 10 months old much like MG has been strongly right-handed from around 10 months old…)

MG painted her “telescope” to be like the one in the book, and then painted an empty milk carton before moving onto mixing paints and creating these lovely caterpillars…

…that ended up being smeared onto MG’s hands shortly after I took the picture. The girls were in a tactile painting mood today. Mess turned into running to the sink to wash hands (and bodies); then paint pots and brushes. And when all had finished, it was time for a bath 😆

I’ve recently discovered Amber Dusick’s Parenting with Crappy Pictures blog. This post on art is so true for this household; we invariably end up in scenario two…

Splodgy Cup Painting!

Todays mess art experience was the trusty paper-cup-full-of-paint-with-a-hole-in-the-bottom. It probably has a proper shorter name, but I’ve gone for “splodgy cup painting”. This time MG and DG were involved in the setup so I have no setup pictures as we were too busy doing things to take pictures.

Materials needed: paint, water, paper cups (plastic will do), string (or similar), plasticine (or similar) and pencil.

For the uninitiated: take a paper cup (or three) and punch holes in either side at the top (pencil and plasticine method), tie string (or whatever you have – in our case curling ribbon) to create a hanging cup. Repeat for however many cups you want to use – three was plenty for my two small ones.

If you’re not already outside, relocate out at this point. Or somewhere you don’t mind covering the floor in paint. Or use a VERY large plastic sheet to cover your floor…

Put cups on plasticine balls and make a hole in the bottom with a pencil. Keep the plasticine over the hole in the bottom of the cup. Partially fill cup with paint of your choice – I used premix paint but any paint that can be made into a liquid will do. Add water until the paint consistancy is enough to flow through the hole at the bottom but not too watery. Repeat for all cups, trying to keep the paint contained in the cups until everyone is ready. Spread some large sheets of paper around, let small children pick up hanging cups, whisk plasticine off bottom of cups and stand well back…

Having never done this with the girls before, they wondered what I was up to when we were preparing but soon got into the swing of it (pun not intended :lol:)

This is how i envisaged the finished product looking (I did manage to sneak away one sheet to dry at this stage):

DG decided that extra water would be good in her paint cup, and MG chose to mix the red and yellow to make orange:

The extra water made things wetter and more slippery and after some foot painting I decided that we needed a tub of water to wash feet in. My jumped in with all her clothes, therefore clothes were discarded by the children at that point. DG decided that the foot washing tub was more fun than painting:

MG decided that brushes, and hands, and feet were more fun than refilling the cups:

MG squeezed lots of paint and danced through it but it was very slippery so she fell (not hurt, phew…) and ended up covered in orange from toes to upper thigh – which she happily washed off in the tub when DG came out for some paint dancing. Once they were happy with their work, they washed the bulk of the paint off in the tub, dried and I whisked them into a quick bath (there’s a theme to our art exploration here…)

I’m not sure how other bloggers make art look so neat and tidy. We’re just messy! The aftermath wasn’t too bad really:

I think a teensy bit of preparation, rather than just deciding to do this on a whim and making it up as we went along might have made this a bit less messy… 🙂 Great fun, quick and easy to set up, best done outside in warm weather!