Experimenting with colour – #minicreations

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Recently it’s been mostly dry and sunny enough to go out in the garden or to the park after Joel’s afternoon nap. Yesterday, however, it was pouring with rain, so I had to think of something we could do indoors other than the usual toys that Andrew had been playing with whilst little brother was asleep. We’d done baking recently, and so had Granny so we have an abundance of cakes/biscuits, so that was less appealing. The other day when I was browsing Pinterest for something, I can’t even remember what exactly, I came across a cool science experiment to teach kids about colour mixing (it certainly was nothing to do with what I’d searched for at least). I didn’t pin it at the time, but remembered the concept, and recalled it just at the right moment.

When searching for it again last night, I found the pin! As you can see, the simple experiment involves filling two glasses with water and putting a small amount of different colour food colourings in each one, then sticking a piece of kitchen roll into each glass and the other end of each piece into a third glass. Over time the coloured water seeps up into the kitchen roll and down into the empty glass, where the colours mix and create a new colour.

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The two colours that I could find in the cupboard were red and blue. The boys were fascinated to see what I was doing during the setting up, and to see that the colours were soaking up into the kitchen roll. We talked about odours and Andrew heaped me position the glasses whilst Joel flapped his arms in the high chair. It was quite a wait, however, until there was any sign of a new colour in the third glass, so we left it and went back to playing, and it had even stopped raining enough to go in the garden for a bit.

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By tea time there was enough coloured water in the third glass to see its colour, and by bedtime it was a lovely deep purple, which I dipped a piece of kitchen roll into and it came out an almost Cadbury colour (purple is on my brain at the moment 😉 ) This morning when I shows him at breakfast what had happened, Andrew was very impressed! The magic of colour mixing.

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This was an educational activity to spend some time on during a rainy afternoon. I’ve since started a ‘rainy days activities’ board on Pinterest, and will look for some more fun activities to pin. Give me a shout if you have any on Pinterest that I could add.

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Linking up with the fab mini creations linky over at KidGLloves blog
Mini Creations

Autumn leaves – #CountryKids

This week we have noticed a lot of crunchy leaves on the ground as we’ve been walking into town and back, and also right on our front doorstep (so to speak) on the driveway. Andrew loves jumping in them and making a rustling sound, and we’ve been talking about the various colours that the leaves are: lots of yellows, some orange and some brown, as well as the green ones still on the trees.

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I love the colours that are around in Autumn, especially on a sunny day as there have been quite a few this week, along with some rainier spells. I hope that by talking about this with Andrew, he will start to notice the changes that take place on a yearly cycle, and learn about the seasons through experiencing what they look/feel like outdoors.

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As well as leaves on the ground, we’ve also been spotting leaves blowing in the wind, especially on the very windy days that we’ve had recently. Not that I know much about which specific trees they’ve come from, but again I’ve been talking about the colours and shapes with Andrew.

On our travels and outside on the drive and in the garden, we’ve picked up a few different leaves, ranging from huge ones from the trees in town to tiny ones from the trees in our area. I thought it would be good to keep a record of these, something that can be stuck on the cupboard doors in the boys’ room where all our ‘artwork’ goes, so we did some leaf rubbing with wax crayons.

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This was very simple to do, but very effective in that the leaf patterns came out clearly. Andrew was interested, though he needed my help to press down hard enough with the side of the crayon so that the pattern of the leaves came through well enough for him to see. We sandwiched the leaves between 2 pieces of coloured A4 paper, and rubbed with the side of a wax crayon over the surface above the leaves. Now we can remember the leaves that we collected in autumn, even though they are all shrivelled and dried up now.

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Quite a short post for me, but still linking it up with the amazing #CountryKids linky over at Coombe Mill’s blog


Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Silk butterfly painting for kids

This morning we had a bit of free time while Joel was napping (having been up since 5am) before we went to our usual group. With all the nice weather, we’ve done less craft and baking recently because Andrew just loves being outside on his bike. So for a change I asked him if he wanted to do some painting, and he replied with a resounding ‘yes, oh thank you’!

The best paints for kids that we currently have are a set of children-friendly fabric paints, because our finger paints went a bit weird, not sure why, and I haven’t got round to buying any more like that. I have some scraps of fabric that I’ve used for various projects in the past, so I dug into it and found a small length of silk from when I did some silk painting with proper silk paints ages ago (when I was a student!)

I decided that it would be fun to do some ‘butterfly’ painting – you paint some blobs of colour on one side of a piece of paper/fabric and then fold it over on itself and squidge the paint across and along, and when you open it up again it looks a bit like a butterfly with a similar pattern on each side (or wing).

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Andrew enjoyed the blobbing (along with an enthusiastic “BLOB” for each touch of the fabric with the brush), and I held my hand on one side of the fabric so that he could only paint on one side. He also enjoyed the squidging (only the finest technical terms are found here for art work 😉 ). I then painted a couple of antennae on to each butterfly for him, and once they were dry, I trimmed them to have more of a wing shape.

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This was a quick craft idea that filled a nice amount of time and kept his attention, and afterwards he carried on colouring on the paper that we had put down to protect the table from paint. We now have some pretty butterflies, which we will stick on to cards for sending as notecards.

We have blast off! Toddler speech development

In the past couple of months my blog posts have been quite focused on pregnancy and baking. As I glance across to my sidebar whilst typing, I’m reminded that there are other categories that I like to write about. One of these is linguistics, and within the past month, just before Joel was born and since the birth, we’ve seen something that definitely fits into that category – Andrew’s speech development has suddenly hit blast off! He’s gone from saying just a few words to coming out with several new ones a day, and copying some of the words out of what we say with pretty amazing accuracy. I really need to watch what I say now, including those moments when it’s all going wrong and a potentially naughty word slips off my tongue before I know it.

In fact it’s not just us that he copies. The other day we were at a clinic to get discharged from midwife care for Joel. Andrew wasn’t the only toddler there, and at one point another little boy’s mum shouted across to him as he was messing with someone else’s car seat: “Riley, I’m watching you!” Andrew proceeded to say very loudly “Watch you!”, as I went a rather interesting shade of red and thought to myself: here beginneth years of embarrassment with toddler/child (deliberate) slips of the tongue. But hey, that’s part and parcel of having kids, and I’m sure I’ll be just as embarrassing for him one day.

Counting and naming colours whilst stacking pots - Daddy is explaining that we're currently missing number 9 of 10, a green pot, and we have no idea where it is!

Two things that he’s very into at the moment are numbers and colours. The best way to get him to demonstrate his abilities is with his set of 10 stacking pots. He happily counts the pots as he stacks them, sometimes getting carried away and counting faster than he can stack! Eight is often the number he slows down for and struggles with, though I’m not quite sure why – to me this combination of sounds doesn’t seem particularly harder than other numbers; maybe it’s the fact it starts with a vowel (? – only thing I can think of now). English is no problem for him now, and he’s even starting to say some of the French and German numbers; he can count to 10 in French, just about, though German is a bit slower to come as he only consistently says a few of those numbers (I have no idea why German should be slower than French). Another way he likes to practise counting is with the book Animal Airways – I’d definitely recommend this, it’s great! With each turn of the page, another group of animals is added, starting at one and ending up at 10.

Going back to the stacking pots, Andrew likes telling us the colours as he stacks them high. At first he started off with just the primary colours (red, blue, yellow) and green, and now he’s expanded to others including purple, orange, pink, black, white, grey etc. He’s now started putting a colour with a noun to describe objects, for example he’ll say “red car” or “blue cup” or “green tree”. To me this really makes him sound grown up!

There are other instances where he strings 2 or more words together, not just an adjective and noun pair like the colour examples. Since Tom has gone back to work after paternity leave last week, Andrew has said “Dada work” every morning when he’s gone. He’s figuring out possessives and says things like “Mama’s car” (I love the fact that he calls it my car!) and “Dada’s drink”; he’s starting to say mine and yours, but I think he gets them mixed up a lot, saying yours when he means mine and vice versa. The nicest example of word strings recently has been the phrase “Pop up and down” that he’s been saying a lot since last weekend. The story is that his paternal grandad, who he calls Pop, came to visit, and the place where we said goodbye to him when he had to catch the train back was at the lift, which Andrew calls an “up and down”, in John Lewis. So ever since, Andrew has kept saying “Pop up and down” to remind us that this is the last place he saw Pop before he left! We’ve even started to hear what is technically a full sentence: he says “It’s a [insert object name, e.g. ball]” when he’s naming some objects for us. This is probably one of the easiest sentences in English to start off with.

Until recently he didn’t say his own name, or so I thought, but it suddenly dawned on me one day that he was saying it, just not in a phonetically very accurate way! His version is something more like “A-tar” than “An-drew”. He’s learned his brother’s name very quickly, though the “J” sound is hard to say, so it sounds like “Dole”. In general, however, his pronunciation is getting more similar to adult speakers’ for the easier sounds. I was interested to hear him say “glasses” with a long “a” sound – he must have picked that up from Granny/Grandad or friends who say it like that, as both Tom and I say it with a short “a” sound, a northern rather than southern “a”.

A great action shot of the top pot falling off the stack. (The white thing in the foreground is the back of Joel's head!)

His first words were all one syllable long, and his first 2-syllable word was “flower” quite a while ago. Recently I’ve noticed many more 2-syllable words, including his name of course. Other examples include “Grandma” and “orange”. So far he’s not said any longer words, unless you count “up-and-down” as one word, which it apparently is in his mind. I find it interesting that all the 2-syllable words he says have stress on the first syllable – most English 2-syllable words have first-syllable stress – but he says “tar” for “guitar” which has second-syllable stress (it was originally from French), even when I repeat “guitar” back to him several times and ask him if he can say it, it’s still “tar” for him, so he’s basically only saying the stressed syllable.

Most words that he says are English, although he understands a lot more in French and German than he can produce. I can tell this from how he responds by pointing and talking back in English when I ask him things in French/German. Two words that he uses a lot are, however, “Baum” (German for tree) and “pap-pap” (French “papillion” for butterfly) instead of the English words. I’m guessing the “b” of Baum is easier for him than the “tr” of tree, and perhaps the song “vole, vole, vole papillion” that’s on our French CD can explain that preference?

I think that’s all I have to say about Andrew’s language for now, but I can imagine that it will continue to develop quickly over the coming months and there will be lots more to say pretty soon. I’m finding it fascinating to witness first hand the incredible journey that is a child going from gurgling baby to fully fledged chatterbox (he is my son, after all 🙂 )