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Monthly Archives: January 2016

  • School events calendar 2016 (February)

    February is full of fun educational days to celebrate and be inspired by! Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day are just some of many events to look forward to this month!


    To have a go at making our Chinese New Years Dragon Puppets click here!


    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!

    Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to -  help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:

    STEM Club Week

     1st - 5th  Feb National STEM Clubs Programme website helping establish and maintain exciting science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) clubs. http://www.stemclubs.net/

    St. Brigid’s Day   

     1st Feb Celebrating the feast day of Brigit of Kildare, recognised as the patroness of Ireland, animals, dairymaids, Irish nuns and new born babies.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigit_of_Kildare


     2nd Feb Celebrating the presentation of Jesus at the temple.

    National SingUp Day                       

     3rd Feb Celebrating quality singing provision. Sing Up is an award-winning organisation providing the complete singing package for schools through resources, training and guidance.  https://www.singup.org/

    World Cancer Day 

     4th Feb Bringing the world together in the fight against cancer.  http://www.worldcancerday.org/

    Unicef Day For Change

     5th Feb Celebrating the annual fundraising campaign for Unicef’s work to keep children safe around the world.  www.unicef.org.uk/.../Your-organisation/Schools/Day-for-Change

    Charles Dickens Birthday

     7th Feb Celebrating the famous author Charles Dickens.  http://www.dickenslondontours.co.uk/dickens-birthday-walk.htm

    Chinese New Year    

     8th Feb Celebrating the Asian lunar solar year also known as the Spring festival.  Check out our Dragon Puppet making craft blog!

    Go Green Week      

     8th-14th Feb Initiated by Japan, it's a week to be as green as possible (ie, switch off computers, lights, etc when not using them) and to remember the Fukushima incident.  http://gogreenweek.dmu.ac.uk/

    Shrove Tuesday     

     9th Feb Also known as Pancake Day! It is a time also for self reflection leading up to lent and Easter.

    Safer Internet Day 

     9th Feb Insafe company promote a day of internet safety awareness.  https://www.saferinternetday.org/

    Darwin Day

     12th Feb Celebrating Charles Darwin and his work on the theory of evolution.  http://darwinday.org/

    Vasant Panchami 

     12th Feb  Hindu celebration of the fifth day of  Spring and related to the the religious festival of Saraswati Puja. (Godess of knowledge, music, arts, and learning.)

    Valentine's Day  

     14th Feb  Started off as a Christian celebration of St Valentinus  now a day world wide celebrating love.  Check out our Valentine's/ Mother's Day Collage Resource Pack! 

    Ash Wednesday

    18th Feb  A day of fasting in Christianity, leading up to Easter.

    International Mother Language Day   

     21st Feb  Celebrating multi linguistics. http://www.internationalmotherlanguageday.com/

    World Thinking Day

     22nd Feb Celebrated by Scout and Guide organisations all around the world thinking of global impact and Guiding. https://www.wagggs.org/en/what-we-do/world-thinking-day/

    Leap Day

     29th Feb  Years that are divisible by 100, but not by 400, do not contain a leap day.
    Understanding the World through creative learning and celebration every day. Understanding the World through creative learning and celebration every day.
  • Let's talk about colour...

    Most people don’t realise just how much children learn and recognise before they can even talk. Before children learn the  basics of  numbers and letters , they learn through colours and shapes. They may not know that they have a "RED" cost but they will recognise their coat because of its colour. However, they may still end up with someone else’s red coat by home time!

    When children are out and about in the world they are already starting to record lots of information such as trees and sky especially with the help of a chatty adult pointing and saying look blue sky, green apples, yellow lemon, etc.

    Looking at the world of colour, what is a young child doing?

    • Sorting and classifying building bricks
    • Organising toys, plates and cups into piles!
    • Observing differences and similarities!
    • Enjoying the sensory effects of colours - they will already have a a favourite colour that makes them happy!

    They will do all of these things without even giving a colour a word! Below are some great ways to reinforce colour names with children

    Talk about colours and play fun games

    • Colour Eye Spy - "I spy something that is red..."
    • Colour sorting - can we sort these pom poms so we have all the blue ones in one place?
    • Colour scavenger hunt - lets all see if we can find something that is blue? (especially good for outdoor play)
    • Pom Pom Easter egg hunt - hide a pack of poms around your setting, assign a colour to each child and see what they can find.
    • Sorting and naming coloured food/cereals pieces  - how about an edible rainbow cereal necklace?
    • Rainbow song and other colour songs, i.e., 'blue, blue, blue (repeat twice),  the colour of the sky is blue...'.



    Colour Mixing

    Once children have grasped primary colours, it’s time to move onto colour mixing so they can differentiate all the shades around them.

    Before we get all magical and create brand new colours, it is best to talk about shades of colour.

    Shades and Tones

    shades of blue All the shade of blue

    Ask each child to find something blue and then talk about the different shades of blue they have all found a group. You can these take these item and put  them in shade order from dark to light . Use this to  show how a colour can change but still be called, "BLUE".

    Then it is time to get the paints out! Experimenting with shades can be done with other media but paint is the easiest!

    Let's start with making colour lighter! 

    Give everyone a brush and a dollop of paint in their favourite colour. Ask them all to make one mark of their colour. Then slowly,  slowly,  add a little bit of white and ask them to mix - make a mark using this new colour. Rinse and repeat! Remembering don't add too much white early on as you will lose the colour quickly. Your should end up with a lovely tonal line.

    What about making colours darker?

    Ask the kids (and a lot of adults) and they will say "Add black!"   This is not the best way - you do tend to end up with BLACK!. There is a couple of ways to show children how the colours form.

    Get some children to repeat the colour mixing shade process in the opposite direction. Start with white and add their favrouite colour drop by drop  - it will take a longtime to get back to your original colour or go darker!

    Show another way by asking some children to take the original colour and give them a colour opposite on the colour wheel  (complementary colours), if you start with red, add green drop by drop. We talk more about colour wheels and complementary colours later on!

    Once your tone lines have dried see who has got the darkest colours!


    What are Primary Colours?

    These are the basic colours that can’t be mixed from other colours! When you mix them together you can create different colours!

    Primary Colours Primary Colours


    Mix them together and you can get some lovely colours:




    These are the secondary colours!

    We have made a great little video to show how this works - it looks great on a smart board or tablet! Feel free to share.


    What are Secondary Colours?

    Secondary colours are made by mixing two primary colours together.

    Secondary Colours Secondary Colours


    Green is quite often confused as a primary colour - even if it is not it is a nice one to buy in ready made as making a nice shade of green can be quite hard!

    The secondary colours all lay between the primary colours on the colour wheel.


    Complimentary Colours Complimentary Colours


    You can make some lovely colour combinations by mixing primary and secondary colours:




    It’s always exciting to see what children organically create and invent when in a mixed media setting! You can use ready mix paints, crayons, food dyes, play dough, powder paints, water colours and inks in water to explore all these colour rules.

    Of course when it all get a bit much, you can buy the colours ready made - Ready Mixed Poster Paints (P485)




    What is the Colour Wheel ?


    colouring mixing poster A1 Classroom Guide to Colour Mixing (P799-Colour) from BCreativetolearn.co.uk


    The colour wheel is a lovely visual representation of what happen when you mix colours together.  It is great to have a copy in the classroom so children can use it to find which colours they need to mix together.

    Choose a colour, (for example green) and the primary colours either side of it are what you need to mix to get green. In this case blue and yellow. We have a great classroom poster that includes the colour wheel.

    The colour wheel also gives some great information about complementary colours.




    What are complementary colours?


    These colours sit opposite each other on a colour wheel, for example:

    GREEN  is complementary with RED


    PURPLE is complementary with YELLOW


    ORANGE is complementary with BLUE


    Earlier on we discussed the best way to make a colour darker is to add it's complementary colour! You can get all of this information from the colour wheel.

    As well being a great teaching point, knowing complementary colours is very handy when it comes to doing your display boards. You know you are off to a good start if you poster rolls complements you border roll!


    What else do we need to know about colours?


    What about colour temperature?


    Warm and Cool Colours

    The colours  on a colour wheel can be roughly  split from warm to cold colours .

    This a lovely concept to introduce to children - show them a colour and ask them how it makes them feel?  Talk about the colour in favourite cartoons, such as Frozen, how does the world change when the world if frozen in comparison to how it looked before the coronation?

    Most warm colours will complement with cold colours and you’ll see one colour that stand out up against the other


    Ummm  - what about Black and White?


    Black and white are not colours on the colour wheel, but they are defiantly colours we see in paints, crayons and other media.

    It's fiercely debated whether they are or aren't colours, but in a teaching setting they are definitely pigments so we think they can be classed as colours used in art!

    They aren't the most popular colours in most settings but they are great for adding tone and shading to colours. It is always great to have a bit of each on hand!



    Creative Ideas with Colour


    • Mixing colours in water – use inks, food dyes, paint blocks and ready mix paint (all in small amounts) in water. Children can get their hands in the water to naturally interact with the changes in tone.
    • Colour object sorting games – you can use buttons, lego, painted stones, small sorting rubber toys, coloured clothing pegs (this also works on motor skills when they attach them to a paper plate).
    • Painted ice lollies – children love these lollies of discovery. You can use spices and flavours in your lolly for extra sensory. You can then paint them in primary colours for children to explore on paper (like paint brushes) and in their mouths! It’s inevitable!
    • Painting with ice cubes is fun in the summer! Watch as the colours appear and melt into each other!
    • Painting with sweets! – you can mix  sweet delights into your primary paints like chocolate and fizzy pop rock! This will leave a memorable fun and happy experience whilst discovering colour mixing. They will see and hear the popping and feel like scientists!


    Classroom Colour Tips


    • In Early Years use less colour selection when you put out your paint pallets. This will avoid colours turning into a mucky brown!
    • You can create areas in your class that have limited materials/paints for specific colour mixing targets of the day, ie, yellow and blue green mixing discovery day (KS1). This way the children are more independent in their discovery and sense of achievement!



    Still struggling with colours?


    Have you considered colour blindness? It is not routinely tested in schools. It's more common than we may realise but it affects 1 in 12 boys and 1 in 200 girls! Identifying colour blindness is one of many challenges in school classrooms. Look out for some of the signs if a child is:

    • using inappropriate colour choices.
    • using reoccurring dull colour choices on painted art work.
    • holding back in colour split team school sports.
    • being reluctant to make choices or voice them in colour selecting/matching.

    It’s incredible how much learning is happening through colour!!

    You can find fun ways to introduce the discovery of new mixed colours.  One example is a simple task of painting one hand yellow and one blue ...clap hands,.. and hey presto!... Wow, look a new colour and it’s green!’


    Join us next week for our blog on powder paint!

    Follow us on Pinterest for fun arts and crafts ideas throughout the year! 

  • Chinese New Year Dragon Puppets!


    It's the Asian new lunar year and Chinese New Year (Gung hay fat choy) of the Monkey! This celebration (21 Jan-20 Feb) originates from Taoism belief that our world is guided and influenced by spirits with the supreme Jade Emperor deity. People turn to the deity to bid farewell to the old and welcome the new year. In celebrations the colourful dancing dragons symbolise hopefulness, reunion and good luck!



     Dragon Paper Cup Puppet!


    This first activity is great for early years! An inclusive task which can be completed in a groups - ideal for children who attend lots of sessions and can work towards building a Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet! Once completed, children can do the famous lion dance. This delightful dance represents energy, strength and bravery needed for the new year ahead!

    Dragon Paper Cub Puppet Dragon Paper Cup Puppet

    What do we need:

    • Paper cups
    • Paint
    • Paintbrushes
    • Coloured paper
    • Marker pens
    • Sticky tape
    • Ruler
    • Stick
    • String
    • Card


    Dragon Paper Cup - What you need to use Dragon Paper Cup - What you need to use

    How to do it!

    • Give each child a cup to decorate, it's up to them how to decorate it! These handy decorating ideas are great: repeating patterns, pre-cut geometric shapes, paint and pens for mark making/ colouring, glitter glue and sugar paper collage.
    • Draw the dragon's mouth and teeth on one paper cup (this cup will need to be put on at the start of the string chain). Don't forget to spare two cups for the eyes later on!
    • After children have decorated the rest of the cups, make a small hole in the centre of the cup on its base. This will need to be done on each decorated cup, we found a sharp pencil worked best.
    • Take your long piece of string and tie a knot at the end of it, thread it through the cup hole and tie another knot on the other side of the hole. This is a great threading opportunity for children to have a go at!
    • Tie another knot in the string the length of each cup (roughly 6cm) from the base of the first cup and keep repeating the same process for each cup, always leaving an equal distance.
    • Staple two spare cups together and use sticky tape to stick them to the second to last cup of the body (these are your dragon eyes.)
    • For the eyes, you can scrunch up paper to make balls, draw the pupils with a marker and glue them to the inside of each stapled cup.
    •  Finish decorating the eyes with cut out card eye lashes and glue them around the cup lip.


    Decorating and piecing together paper cup dragon body parts Decorating and piecing together paper cup dragon body parts
    Hanging up your puppet dragon:
    • Make level holes through the eye cups and then loop through a long piece of string. Attach both ends of your string.
    • Half way through the dragon's body, pierce a second hole and feed another piece of string through. Secure by tying a knot or with tape.
    • Add more strings along the body depending on how long your dragon's body is.
    • Tie all the string pieces to your stick to create a curved shaped body.
    • Try tying strings to a withy so you can make the dragon dance!


    Making and hanging the paper cup dragon head Making and hanging the paper cup dragon head


      • Decorating each cup could be made into a sensory play experience for children. Use paints in a tray with glitter, essences and flavours!
      • Mix PVA glue with paint to give a nice shiny finish.
      • Let children get involved in choosing colours and mixing paints.
      • Let children decorate their cups with pre-cut shapes and give free range of decorating choices: paints, glitter, coloured pencils and felt tips.
      • Let  children get involved in the final stages of attaching the hanging strings (with assistance).
      • Children can hold a section of the dragon on the stick and do a group version of the traditional lion dance. Prepare familiar music so that children can sing and dance along.
      • The dragon should look curvy once tied to the string - it should have some motion.


    Areas of learning covered by the activity: Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, mark making, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics, communication, social/emotional development, SEN, problem solving and reasoning.


    Folding Paper Dragon!


    This second dragon making activity is a great individual task for Key Stage 1 & 2 pupils! They can work towards building a Chinese New Year Paper Dragon! This amazing activity encourages children to work on 3D designs and shape making within the mathematics, art and design curriculum.

    Final 5

    What do we need:

    • Thin card
    • Felt tip pens
    • Glitter
    • Glue
    • Scissors
    • Tissue paper
    • Sticky tape
    • Paper
    • Two crafting sticks
    Folding Paper Dragon - What you need to use Folding Paper Dragon - What you need to use

    How to do it!

      • Draw a small to medium size dragon's head on a piece of paper. Decorate the head with colouring pencils, felt tips and glitter.
      • Once dry, cut out the dragon head.
      • Cut out thin strips of tissue paper (a mixture of different colours looks great).
      • Glue strips of tissue paper to the dragon's head to act as flying ribbons.
      • Stick two strips of long card together (two different colours work best) in a square shape angle to make the dragon's body. Achieve a concertina effect by folding one strip on top of the other continuously.
      • Glue or stick tissue paper strips at the end for the dragon's tail.
      • Attach two crafting sticks with sticky tape, one to the back of the dragon's head and one to the tail.


    Folding Paper Dragon - step by step... Folding Paper Dragon - step by step...


      • You can have the tissue paper and paper strips already cut ready for pupils to select.
      • Children can design and draw their own dragon head.
      • Let children get involved in choosing their dragon colours.
      • You may be able to find and photocopy a pre-selected dragon head to be coloured in and cut out by pupils.
      • The springy bouncy dragon could be put into cards for a pop out 3D effect or as a wall decoration.


    Areas of learning covered by the activity: Expressive arts and design, creative development, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, SEN, knowledge and understanding of the world, mathematics (measuring - length - sequencing - shapes - ordering - analysing - 3D), communication, problem solving and reasoning.


    Join us next week for our blog on perfect paint and colour mixing !


    For more Chinese New Years craft ideas for kids follow our BCreative Pinterest board @ http://bit.ly/1Qhwq4l !

  • School Events Calendar 2016 (January)

    It's the start of a new year and school term! January is full of fun educational days to celebrate and be inspired by!


    We look forward to keeping you informed on all the days of interest each month, so you never miss out!


    Have a look at the fun things you can look forward to -  help children in understanding the world more by celebrating each special day at a time:


    New Year's Day  1st  Jan  Celebrating first day of the new year.
    World Braille Day  4th Jan  Celebrated around the world to commemorate the birthday of Louis Braille.
    Little Christmas  6th Jan Traditional name in Ireland for the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany also know as Three Kings Day.
    Epiphany  6th Jan  Christian feast day celebrating the revelation of God the Son as a human in Jesus Christ.
    Makar Sankranti  14th Jan  Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India & Nepal.
     Kid's Inventors Day  17th Jan  Day to acknowledge past and present accomplishments of kid inventors; To encourage the creativity of future kid inventors.  http://www.kidinventorsday.com/
     Winnie The Pooh Day  18th Jan  Celebrating the day (18th Jan 1882) author A.A. Milne creator of Winnie the Pooh was born.
    World Day of the Snowman  18th Jan  Celebrating one of the world's most known symbol's of winter.  http://worlddayofsnowman.com/
    Martin Luther King Day  19th Jan   Celebrating the life and work of Martin Luther King.  http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-holiday
    Farmhouse Breakfast Week  24th - 30th Jan  Part of the shake up wake up campaign, breakfast week celebrates the importance of breakfast.  http://www.shakeupyourwakeup.com/breakfast-week
    Burns Night  25th Jan  Celebrating the life and poetry of Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  http://www.robertburns.org/
    Indian Republic Day  26th Jan  Celebrating the day when Indian declared itself a Sovereign Democratic Republic State with the adoption of the Constitution in 1950. http://knowindia.gov.in/republicday/history.php
    Australia Day  26th Jan  Celebrating the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at that site by Governor Arthur Phillip.  www.australiaday.org.au
    RNLI SOS Day  30th Jan  Celebrating our UK lifeboats charity.  www.rnli.org
    RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch  30th - 31st Jan World's biggest wildlife survey, bringing people closer to nature.  www.rspb.org.uk/Birdwatch
    National Storytelling Week  30th Jan - 7th Feb  Celebrating and promoting the ancient art of oral storytelling, (established in 1993).  www.sfs.org.uk/national-storytelling-week
    Backwards Day  31st Jan  An opportunity to do something backwards for a day! (you could incorporate the book by author Marc Simont, The Backward Day')
    National Bug Busting Day  31st Jan  Celebrating the successful Bug Buster Kit led by Dr Nigel Hill of The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Sustainable method in getting rid of head lice.  http://www.chc.org/homedir/whatisbugbusting.cfm
    Understanding the World through creative learning and celebration every day. Understanding the World through creative learning and celebration every day.

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