Tag Archive | art and craft

Finger painting and the champions of resourceful

poppies and girls 6-14 033Think your little ones are going to grow out of finger painting?

Not necessarily – when you forget your paintbrush fingers stand in nicely. As my grown up little one found out when we went out to do some photography and artwork. Being the resourceful girl she is, she tried grass heads and stems too.

There’s never a more valuable skill than resourcefulness. Being able to find answers, to turn whatever you have to hand to good use and to think out solutions in ways you’d never have imagined if you’d had the ready-made answer, is a skill that stands by you for life.

We can become used to money supplying a ready-made answer. We so often buy a solution instead of creating one. But with this increasingly challenging economy that option’s becoming less available. And many home educating parents, deciding to manage on one income whilst they create an education more suitable to their child than the one provided in school, become the champions of resourcefulness.

Resourcefulness is an education in itself.

When you have the skills needed to seek alternative solutions very little can stop you. Resourcefulness demonstrates to your children a mentality of not stopping at a hurdle. Of asking what could be done to get round it. Of seeing life as a surging force of possibility rather than a blocked drain.

We all get stuck at times, admittedly. But we can get unstuck and get back into the flow if we don’t take ‘stuck’ as the final word.

For example, if the budget’s a problem just take a look at all the things you actually don’t have to buy; paper towels for one – use and reuse cloths. You don’t have to buy more clothes and accessories. Or junk snacks and drinks. We don’t have to use money to give us a lift – try ‘doing’ rather than buying to get the same result. And sometimes we’re just in the habit of shopping whether we need to or not – it’s amazing how much richer you can make yourself by breaking this habit!

Another example, do you need some new shelves or storage for all your home educating bits and bobs? Don’t buy them, make them. Paint boxes you can get from markets for free. Build shelves with bits of wood (we used the slats off an old bed) and bricks, tins or jars to prop them up. Make display shelves by stacking orange boxes on their sides.

You can grow things even without a garden – any container will do; food tubs, old pottery or pans, a leaky wellie! You don’t have buy expensive planters. Use Freecycle more often and you’ll be doing the earth as well as your purse a favour.

If you make resourceful, inventive solutions part of your way of living and learning with your children you will give them skills for life that will be as useful to them as anything academic!

Not forgetting when yours are painting that even some of the most admired artists have used various body parts in their work!

And if you’ve got some resourceful ideas you’ve come up with, do please share them in the comments – I’d love to hear.


Get your kids away from a screen this summer

Old materials used in new ways

Old materials used in new ways

We’re constantly told that our kids are more unfit, inactive and over weight than ever before and that easy entertainment in front of technology is much to blame. It’s a deathly habit to drop into this time stealing activity without bothering to think up something else to do.

So here are some ideas to get your kids away from screens this summer (although you might need to do a bit of sneaky research online first):

Ten things to do;

–          Grow some cress. It’s quick and easy and you can grow it in any containers including eggshells. (Draw a face underneath and the growing cress looks like green hair).

–          Potato printing. Cut in half and make shapes in the smooth side (any veg or fruit will do), paint and print onto paper.

–          Reading doesn’t have to mean heavy books; comics, magazines, Manga and graphic novels are just as valuable reading experiences.

–          Baking; brownies, flapjack, cookies, cupcakes, bread rolls, dinner!

–          Den making. Outdoors or in. Improvise with any furniture, cushions, sheets, etc you have to hand. Huge boxes are also great for endless play.

–          Collage or model making. The most famous artists use the weirdest materials. Use junk, waste, any little bits and pieces, pasta, dried pulses, off cuts of materials or string or dismantled technology.

–          Jewellery can be made from paper beads (rolled magazine/comic pages) old wire, nuts and bolts, safety pins, threads, tin foil, etc

–          Make a miniature garden in a tin or old pot/tray using cacti, sand, stones, small models and toys.

–          Origami – find books or ideas on the web, library, cheap book outlets. (Pop up card making is another idea).

–          Source old books at charity shops and use them for cutting up and making artworks.

Five places to visit:

–          Plant centres. They’re free and the big ones have more than plants. They often have pets and fish too and adventure playgrounds.

–          The library – let them browse whatever they want.

–          Different habitats you might not regularly go to like riversides, woods, church yards, cemeteries, big house or estate grounds (usually free even if the house isn’t) wetlands. Explore!

–          Local recycling centres – you get masses of materials to be inventive with.

–          Local craft centres or games shops for workshops and clubs.

Enjoy your time with your children without losing it to a screen. Not only will it help them be less sedentary, your relationships will improve too!