A Frame Stick House

Let’s continue our practice building houses for fairies and gnomes and see if we can’t build something a little bit bigger so they can have some friends over.

You will need:

  • 4 sticks the same length
  • 1 stick a bit longer than the others
  • 5-8 pipe cleaners
  • soft ground
  • a small blanket or piece of cloth
  • clothes pegs

Last week we learned how to make a tipi style shelter.

This week we are going to start with a similar shelter but instead of 3 sticks the same length we will add one that is a bit longer. When you stand it up you can see the longer stick makes more room for storage at the back of our house. But we are going to continue and make even more room.

Watch my 6 year old build an A frame shelter. Apologies for the terrible video. New skill!

The full scale inspiration for this Woodland Forest Shelter

After you have made your modified tipi. Take your two remaining sticks and make another X in the same manner you started the tipi.

Take the end of your long stick and place it between the top of your second X and viola! A frame stick shelter.

It is going to fall down very easily until you secure the poles. You can do that by pressing the ends of the Xs into the ground or tying the ends of your ridge pole to a tree.

Now that you have a frame your next task is to build walls. You can use more sticks and bark and lean them up against the edges or you can use your bit of fabric or blanket and peg it with a clothes peg.

After you have built the walls you might want to decorate. You can use leaves, grass, flowers, pinecones. Whatever you want to lean up against the walls of your mini shelter. When you’ve done decorating it’s time to play!

Find some toy animals and see what they think of your creation.

Maybe you can build a whole town of shelters for your toys.

Tree Spirits

Once upon a time long, long ago the forest was home to many magical creatures. Before there were cars or lights or large buildings, when the world was still a wild place full of mysteries there was said to be a wild little fairy boy living in the forest outside of a very small village in a place called Scotland.

Scotland is home to many fairies and magic things and the people who lived there told stories of the incredible things they had seen. One of those wondrous things was the fairy boy. He had dark tangled hair, his face was dirty and his clothes were made from the green mosses and leaves from the birch trees in the wood where he lived. While most fairies are mischievous and to be avoided, it was said that this fairy had an unusually good nature.

Though the little fairy boy was shy and timid, many children from the village had seen him playing wildly with abandon in the forest near their homes.

One day a little girl from the village wandered too far from home after dinner and it suddenly got very dark. She soon found that she was lost in the forest and could not find her way back home. Alone and scared the little girl slumped down against the tallest and largest tree she could find and began to cry. The little girl’s sobs and tears attracted the attention of the fairy who cautiously came closer to the lost child. When he realized she was lost he stayed with her all through the dark night.

In the morning the fairy helped the little girl find her way out of the woods. From then on the fairy was known to the villagers as Ghillie Duh which is the Gaelic term for “little dark-haired lad”.

Ghillie Duh was known as a friendly tree spirit who protected children who went into the forest. Perhaps you can make a friendly tree spirit to protect you in your back yard?

You will need:

  • Clay
  • Things to decorate your face:
    • small pebbles
    • small sticks
    • leaves
    • moss
  • A tree!

Minibeasts

What is a minibeast?

Quite literally, a ‘minibeast is simply a small animal. Spiders, snails, slugs, beetles, centipedes, worms, earwigs, caterpillars……these are just a few well-known examples of the thousands and thousands of types of ‘creepy-crawlies’ that exist all over the world.

They are animals which do not have an internal skeleton technically they are called invertebrates aka…..bugs. There are more invertebrates on earth than any other type of animal.

Fact sheet

Minibeasts live all around us in a many different habitats, including our backyards and in our homes. As you explore and search for the minibeasts in your yard think about what makes a good habitat for them.

Is it wet or dry?

What is nearby?

Let’s go on a hunt to find some. Grab your magnifying glass and this beautiful scavenger hunt printout we can use by Kelly Rowe on her website Live Laugh Rowe.

To the grownups

If you child is interested in minibeasts one of the most classic and engaging projects to begin is to create a habitat for them.

A bug hotel, a bee house, a mud pit or pile, a box with grass and leaves. Simple.

These are all classic children’s activities that you probably did your fair share of as a child. You don’t need a terrarium or anything fancy. The materials you have in your home are more than enough.

The purpose is the play.

To be creative.

To explore and experiment.

To pay attention to the details.

To show care and attention to a living creature.

A fun starting place is discovering which live where. Some live on the ground some under it. Some live in the air and some in the water.

What kind of habitat might your child be interested in building?

Insects

An Invitation to Create

To the grown-up:

When setting up an invitation it is important that all the materials needed to create are easily available, accessible and asthetically pleasing.
The setup should invite your child into the activity.

You can arrange the items on a large plate or if you have a tray with dividers that also works (think ice cube trays or acrylic make-up trays).

You Will Need:

  • Card stock paper shapes – separated into categories
  • Additional coloured card stock or construction paper
  • Felts or crayons
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Heavy art paper to glue creations onto

Arrange the materials in an organized and tidy manner. Use the beautiful image by Gabriela Sa below as inspiration for your child.

Lafarufas - Gabriela Sá
Lafarufas by Gabriela Sa

American Robin

Bird of the Week

Have you ever seen this bird before?  
I bet you can find one in your backyard.

What do you notice about it?

What colour is it’s beak?

It’s legs?

What about it’s wings?

The American Robin isn’t actually a robin at all. It’s a thrush and a large one at that. It’s named after the true Robin that lives in the UK and is much smaller.

Our American Robin’s are one of the first birds to sing in the morning and sounds a bit like someone saying, “cheerily cheer up cheer up, cheerily cheer up cheer up”.

Did you know robin’s eggs are blue?

In your kit this week are some pieces to build a robin and paste it into your nature journal.
When you are done you can label your picture with the name of the bird.

Here is a picture of mine. I’d love to see yours.

Woven Butterfly

A beautiful simple project that builds the skill and awareness of wrapping and weaving. This was originally posted by The Craft Train.

You will need

  • 1 Pipe cleaner
  • 2 Popsicle sticks
  • 3 Beads
  • 2 colours of yarn

Step 1 Wind yarn around popsicle sticks to make colourful wings. Use a little bit of glue when you get to the end to keep the string from unwinding. Ask a grownup to help you tuck it in an make it stick.

Step 2 Then take a pipe cleaner and twist it around the middle for the body.        

Step 3 Take your biggest bead and put it through the two pieces at the top for the head. And the two smaller beads go at the bottom for the body.      

When you’re done you can tie a string to your butterfly and put your string on a stick to fly your butterfly all around your yard to help pollinate the plants.

I guess this doesn’t really fall into the category of process art per say…but I would say there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. You can truly ‘weave’ the yarn around the popsicle sticks or just wrap it. The more materials you offer the more this becomes truly an invitation to create.

A dish of beads.

A pile of pipe cleaners.

A stack of popsicle sticks stuck together.

Many pieces of yarn.

And if your child ends up stringing beads onto pipe cleaners and yarn that’s ok! If they decide to wrap the pipe cleaner around the popsicle sticks, also ok. The purpose is the playful exploration of materials. The point is to experiment & practice to gain confidence and competence.

Pinecone Weaving

Did you find any pine cones on your treasure hunt?

Pine cones are tons of fun because they can be used to make A LOT of different things.

When I was a preschooler my sister and I used to make pine cones into birds with leaves and tree sap.
Pine cones can be pretty pokey. You have to hold them very gently so you don’t get poked!

Can you turn a pinecone into a Easter Egg?

What about a tree?

Maybe an animal?

Ask a grownup to tie a piece of yarn onto the stem of your pine cone and see if you can wrap the whole piece around it. You can use whatever colour of yarn you like.

To the grownups:

You can use a lot of different things to challenge your little one to wrap around a pine cone.
If yarn is really easy try rubber bands or pipe cleaners.

There are quite a few wrapping activities in these pages because wrapping is an important skill to build upon. Wrapping is a foundation to knot tying which is a foundation to den building and fort building.

If your child isn’t interested in this context there are many more opportunities to practice.

Wrapping a pipe cleaner around a stick makes a caterpillar 😉