Sunday, 6 April 2014

March 2014: Wet Felting and Needle Felting Fun

Monday 31st March - Sunday 6th April

Summer decided to make a brief return last week, reaching a lovely 30 degrees on one day. In fact, we had our top overnight temperature ever for April during the week. Oh yes, it’s already April! I’m not sure where the year has flown by to.

We spent Monday morning at home in our usual rhythm, then spent the afternoon out and about, visiting grandparents. Tuesday we held a Mama Preserve at our house and while the mamas worked hard preserving, baking and saucing in 30 degree heat, the children played together, free-ranging outside and enjoying themselves immensely. 

We received correspondence from THEAC that our home learning application will go before the board before May 1st, and until then we continue on as we have been. We shuffled our week around a little so it won’t be quite as disruptive to our rhythm, and I think this will work better for us. Mousey Brown (5) is now attending Friday mornings at the local Steiner school while Little Deer and I are next door at Playgroup.

I’ve actually had one of those ‘epiphany' weeks, waking up in the morning and realising that this is it! This is really happening and it’s just so delightful to have my boys beside me during the day. That’s not to say we don’t have our challenging moments (or days!), but, as we spent Wednesday morning snuggled in the beanbag together listening to the rain drumming on the roof, reading chapter after chapter of 'Little House in The Big Wood’, I felt blessed. Truly blessed.

On Thursday, we trundled off to a friend’s house in decidedly chillier weather, and while the mama’s bottled and sauced and chutneyed (I’m not certain of the plural of chutney!) the children played together, sometimes inside, sometimes outside but always noisily. After lunch, out came the watercolours and blown eggs, and we made a beautiful Easter Tree together. You can find a tutorial for how we made ours <here>.

{ Circle Time & Story Time }

We’ve only sat down and done Circle Time a few times this week. The boys have been straight into crafting, handwork and activities each morning, so instead I’ve been incorporating the seasonal songs into our daily rhythm and activities.

{ Autumn Circle Time }

Opening (Action Song)
Good morning to the sun up in the sky,
Good morning to the birds as they fly on by.
Good mrning to the tree so straight and tall,
Good morning to the nest where the possum rests
Good morning everyone.

* * * * * * * *

O Dandelion (Verse)
O Dandelion, yellow as gold, what do you do all day?
“I just wait here in the tall, green grass, ’till the children come to play.”
O Dandelion, yellow as gold, what do you do all night?
“I wait and wait, while the cool dew falls, and my hair grows long and white.”
And what do you do when your hair grows white, and the children come to play?
“They take me in their little hands, and blow my hair away!”

* * * * * * * *

Wood Chopping (Standing Action Rhyme)
We are working, working hard!
Chopping firewood in the yard.
(Stomping feet moving around in a circle)

Hold the axe, grip it tight,
(Hold clenched hands togehter in front as if holding an axe)
Lift it up with all your might…
(lift “axe” above head)

Chopping, chopping, chop, chop, chop!
(Bring clenched hands down on each “chop”)
Merrily the pieces drop.
(Clench both fists and roly-poly them round each other)

Now a bundle we shall tie
and stack it in the shed to dry.

* * * * * * * *

If I were a Farmer (Standing Action Song)
If I were a farmer, a farmer, a farmer.
If I were a farmer, what would I do?
I would feed the hungry chickens/milk the cows each morning/pick the ripe red apples… etc.
That’s what I’d do!

* * * * * * * *

Scarecrow (Action Song)
When all the cows were sleeping

And the sun had gone to bed

Up jumped the scarecrow

And this is what he said!

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

With a flippy floppy hat

I can shake my hands like this

And shake my feet like that.

When all the hens were roosting

And the moon behind the cloud

Up jumped the scarecrow

And shouted very loud.

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

When the dogs were in the kennels

And the doves were in the loft

Up jumped the scarecrow

And whispered very soft.

I'm a dingle, dangle scarecrow

* * * * * * * *

Windy (Standing Action Song)
Like a leaf or a feather,
in the windy, windy, weather
We will whirl around and twirl around,
And all fall down together.

* * * * * * * *

The Appleseeds (Verse)
My nice red rosy apple has a secret midst unseen;
You'd see if you could slip inside,
five rooms so neat and clean.
In each room there are hiding
two seeds so shining bright;
Asleep they are and dreaming
of  lovely warm sunlight.
And sometimes they are dreaming
of many things to be
How some day they'll be hanging
upon an apple tree!

* * * * * * * *

Two little apples (Action Song - Tune: This old man)
Way up high, in a tree,

Two red apples smiled at me.

So I shook that tree as hard as i could.

Down came the apples.
Mmmmm, were they good!

* * * * * * * *

Pumpkin Seeds (Verse) 
One day I found two pumpkin seeds.

I planted one and pulled the weeds.

It sprouted roots and a big, long vine.

A pumpkin grew; I called it mine.

The pumpkin was quite round and fat.

(I really am quite proud of that.)

But there is something I'll admit

That has me worried just a bit.

I ate the other seed, you see.

Now will it grow inside of me?
(I'm so relieved since I have found

That pumpkins only grow in the ground!)

* * * * * * * *

Up The Tall White Candlestick 

(Action Rhyme)

Up the tall white candlestick 

(Make left arm into candlestick)

Crept little Mousie Brown

(Two fingers of fight hand run up the candlestick)

Right up to the top but he couldn't get down!
(Fingers wiggle at top)

So he called to his Grandma

(Call through cupped hands)

Grandma! Grandma!

But Grandma was in town

So he curled himself into a ball

(curl right hand into a fist)
And rolled himself right down

(Clench both fists and roly-poly them round each other)

* * * * * * *

Pygmy Possum (Fingerplay)
Here is a tree-hole.
(Bend fingers on one hand)
Inside is a Possum.
(Put thumb inside fingers.)
See she comes out
(Pop out thumb)
When Teatree blossoms.

She stays out all summer
In sunshine and heat.
She hunts in the bush
(Mimic picking and eating berries)
For berries to eat.

When snow starts to fall.
(fingers fluttering, moving side to side)
She hurries inside
(Bend fingers of one hand)
her warm little home
And there she will hide.
(Put thumb inside fingers.)

Snow covers the ground
(Place one hand over the other.)
Like a fluffy white rug.
Inside Possum sleeps
(pretend to be sleeping)
All cozy and snug.

* * * * * * * *

 Autumn (Closing Verse)
Yellow the bracken,
Golden the sheaves.
Rosy the apples,
Crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillside,
Clouds grey and white.
Autumn, good morning!
Summer good night!

* * * * * * *

We have continued with our daily Story Time however, and the boys are both enjoying the Waldorf Essentials stories immensely. We have begun beeswax modelling characters and scenes from our stories, which is another way of practising hands-on literacy, exercising comprehension, memory recall,  imagination and fine motor skills. 

{ Handwork & Artwork }

We’ve been busy with modelling beeswax and with felting this week.

Mousey Brown (5) wet felted red apples and orange pumpkins this week. Wet felting is a lot of fun and very easy. All you need is wool roving (or carded wool as it’s sometimes called) which is available from craft supply stores. You’ll also need washing up liquid or soap, and some warm water.

It’s a great tactile activity to do with young children. Little Deer (3) had a turn also, although once he got his hands soapy and wet, he decided he’d like a bath! So that activity was short lived for him! :D
<Here> is a really great tutorial on wet felting balls and some cute crafts to use them.

I’ll add a tutorial for how to make these little wet felted pumpkins and apples later in the week.

We also did some needle felting this week. Mousey Brown (5) and Little Deer (3) really enjoy needle felting. I bought a special safety needle felt tool and a mat and they are happy to sit at this activity for long periods of time, needle felting both wool roving and small pieces of coloured felt.  

Mousey Brown (5) always industrious, made himself a little walnut shell boat with old beeswax dribbles from our dinner time candle. He made a mast with a skewer and stuck on a little red sail. It’s rather cute I think :)

We also started making a knight’s shield out of cardboard this week, and will add some gum-branch swords. It’s not quite finished yet (still drying in the photo below) but the boys have already requested a knight’s helmet complete with working visor too, of course, but I’m not sure if my cardboard crafting skills are up to that challenge yet! We shall see… :D

In my own handwork, I have been continuing to finish off Little Deer’s playmat, hopefully in time for his fourth birthday at the end of April. I’ve scaled down my wildly ambitious and imaginative plans, back to something simpler and more achievable, in the hope that I’ll actually finish it!

I’m also picking up another cast aside project, finishing off a King Winter standing doll for the Nature Table. This doll will double as the Gnome King in the Crystal Palace, for those following along with the Waldrf Essentials stories :)

{ In the Kitchen }

 We have been busy preserving, canning, pickling and saucing this week. We have a larder stocked full of homemade jams, chutneys, relishes and sauces, as well as some preserves. We even made our own butter this week, although just between us, that was a little misadventure with over whipped cream that we used to our advantage! :D

And it’s soup weather again. Yum!

{ In the Garden & Nature }

Seed collecting.
Fungi spotting.
Banksia flowering.
Holly berries.
Mist in the hills.
Warm days.
Outdoor baths!
Finally, rain.
Tomato harvesting.
Bean, beans and more beans!
Blackcurrant picking
Self-seeded coriander and parsley.
Flowering basil by the armful.
Scaring away crows and currawongs.
Wasp traps.
Grasshoppers everywhere!
Chooks still laying.
Finding cocoons.
Pet snails.


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