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Monthly Archives: April 2016

  • Allergy Awareness Week 25th April – 1st May

    With 50% of children suffering from allergies, it is crucial to become more familiar with allergic conditions and how to deal with sudden reactions in all areas of child care. Avoiding certain ingredients in school lesson planning for instance will reduce scenarios where any child may feel excluded. Ideally you want to provide an environment where allergy sufferers can thrive and participate in as many activities as possible.

    Here are the main types of allergies to be aware of:

    • Childhood Food Allergy or Food Intolerance; this can be the most common and worrying allergy for carers and sufferers. It can involved a range of reactions for each individual when  consuming anything that is listed in the care plan as an allergenic for the individual. Allergic reactions can be caused by the proteins in foods. Bread can contain gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. It can also be  hidden in pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. There is currently no cure for food allergies. The only way to prevent a food allergy reaction from occurring is to avoid the food causing a reaction.
    • Childhood Asthma; asthma causes a range of breathing problems. These include wheezing, feeling of tightness in the lungs/chest and a cough (often in the night or early morning). When extreme it can lead to an 'asthma attack'. Most will have prescribed asthma pumps in their care plan for this scenario.
    • Allergic Rhinitis; this is the inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose. Common symptoms are an itchy nose, red eyes, watery discharge from the nose and/or eyes, a blocked nose and sneezing. There are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal allergic rhinitis (also known as hay fever) and perennial allergic rhinitis.
    • Latex Allergy; this can cause skin irritations such as rashes or swelling, breathing difficulties and rhinitis. In some extreme scenarios it can cause anaphylaxis.
    • Dermatitis/ Eczema; this is a condition causing inflammation and severe skin irritation. Dry skin patches become very hot, itchy and even red and inflamed. Breaking dry skin can cause skin to bleed and weep.
    • Oral Allergy Syndrome or Pollen Food Syndrome; usually affects people who are allergic to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Hence why they’re likely to suffer mostly in the spring/summer seasons.
    • Wasp and Bee Sting; this can cuase severe pain and swelling, some people can have an allergic reaction to the sting, leading to anaphylaxis. The person will experience breathing issues with the tightening of the chest and a swelling of the tongue.


    Teaching Allergy Awareness        

    BCreativetolearn.com Allergy Awareness Week BCreativetolearn.com Allergy Awareness Week

    Children are naturally inquisitive and will want to know why certain children can’t eat or try certain things or are excluded from some experiences. Circle time is a good setting to introduce a discussion on allergies. A child with allergies can be involved in sharing their experience. With greater class awareness children with allergies feel less excluded and other children learn when it is not the right time to share certain foods with other children. Children are taught to share but awareness of other children’s sensitivities will help them to think twice about sharing something potentially dangerous so they don’t feel left out. Group discussions will also help to inform and clarify how a child can self manage their intolerance also.

    As children grow up they can become supportive to each other’s differences in diet and environmental sensitivities.

    Things teachers and child carers can do for someone with allergies:

    • Once you know every child’s sensitivities exclude all those things from class activities. Find alternatives that are natural for all to enjoy. For example; sweet potato instead of potato, gluten free bread instead of normal bread, fruits & veg all children can play and eat, milk/butter dairy free substitutions, wheat free pastas or rice, dairy & nut free chocolate or pure cacao powder, etc.
    • Always check ingredients on labels! Stick to sensitive skin products.
    • Avoid soaps and shaving foams for skin sensitive children.
    • Use gluten free paints and glues.
    • Run a gluten free class.
    • Have a look at Allergy UK’s collection of safe cooking recipes, CLICK HERE.
    • You could always try putting materials into zip-lock sandwich bags for the children to squish and prod without skin contact - this is a great sensory activity! An alternative is to get them to wear gloves but be aware that rubber and latex can also cause a reaction in some children.
    • Keep a record of incidences where a child had a reaction to certain materials/ingredients during activities however mild. Allergy patterns can change as a child grows.


    Play & Learn with Allergy Safe Products from BCreativetolearn.com

    Ready Mix Paints – All our ready mix paints are gluten free, non toxic and made in the UK. This is the safest paint to use with educational art and craft activities.

    Soft Dough – It’s wheat free and gluten free, soft and safe to use for children. We sell a 2.4kg tub of soft dough in 8 colours. Keep in sealed container to avoid drying out.

    Have a go at our Harvest Bread Making Activity !  

    Harvest Bread Making Activity using soft modelling clay with BCreativetolearn.com Harvest Bread Making Activity using soft modelling clay

    Washable PVA Glue – This type of PVA glue is the safest for children to use as it’s gluten free and phthalate/ toxin free. You can also get gluten free gluesticks.

    Soft Clay – Daz or Scola clay is a soft, easy to use air drying clay which is acid free and nontoxic.

    Define your Allergy Management Protocols (School & Nursery provision)

    You can download and use a free copy of the Child Allergy and Anaphylaxis Protocol here: https://www.allergyuk.org/downloads/childrens-allergy-and-anaphylaxis-protocolv3.pdf .

    A specific protocol is required for each child which can be drawn up with the help of reviewing their individual care plan. It ensures that all adults caring for the child are aware of their allergies, symptoms and can help promote better understanding of the child’s needs and medical requirements.

    Regular updates of this document should be made (it is recommended that this document is read by those caring for the child between 3-6 monthly periods to ensure familiarity and up-to-date appropriate care). An annual review is recommended (unless changes need to be made as suggested by the treating doctor before this date).

    Here are some of the products you may need to watch out for:

    • Craft Paste - This may contain wheat
    • Dustless Chalk - This often contains casein (milk)
    • Crayons - These can contain soy
    • Papier-Mâché - This can contain wheat
    • Play dough - This can contain wheat
    • Finger Paints - These can contain wheat, milk, corn and oats.
    • Slime and Gloop - This can contain corn
    • Stickers and Sticky Tape - These can contain gluten
    • Pasta used for threading and collage

    It goes without saying that toddlers and young children are forever putting their fingers in their mouths so what better way to ensure peace of mind than to use products that are hypo-allergenic. Our main paint manufacturer (Brian Clegg and Scola) make certain that their products do not contain latex, nuts, wheat and gluten.

    Every setting needs some play-dough! Follow this allergy-free recipe to make your own. Or if you haven't got time, click HERE to purchase our soft dough!

    Gluten Free Play-dough Recipe


    1 cup salt
    1/2 cup cornflour
    3/4 cups cold water
    Optional: Natural food colouring and essential oils for a nice smell


    1. Pour the salt and the cornflour into a pan.
    2. If you are using food colouring and/or essential oil, mix a few drops into the cold water.
    3. Add the cold water to the cornflour and salt, and mix well.
    4. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken, starting at the bottom of the pan. Scrape the pan as you stir.
    5. When the play dough becomes very thick, take it off the heat and turn it onto the table or counter. Allow it to cool until you can handle it, then have your child knead the warm play dough until it’s smooth and pliable.
    6. When you’re finished playing with it, store it in an airtight container or zip lock bag.

    Useful Contacts and Resources

  • All you need to know about ready mix poster paint

    Bestsellers - READY MIX PAINT


    About Be Creative's Poster Paints

    We have a  huge selection of colours and styles of ready mix paints available.

    BCreativetolearn.com ready mix paint range


    1. ‘All ages’ paints (300ml bottles): These are especially designed for under 3 year olds with special flip top lids, very easy to store. They come in 13 colours, black, blue, brown, green, orange, peach, pink, purple, red, turquoise, white, yellow and orange

    2. Fully Washable paints (500ml bottles):  For extra washable paint you can get a set of 12 fully washables in green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, white, magenta, turquoise, pink, black and burnt umber.

    3. ‘Standard’ paints (600ml bottles): Some brands sell ready mix paint which isn’t washable but our BCreative poster paints are all fairly washable. Always check the label! They come in 25 colours, black, blue, brown, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow, black, bright blue, sienna, cerise, cobalt blue, crimson, bright green, lemon, yellow okra, peach, Prussian blue, sky blue, peach, turquoise and viridian.

    4. ‘Bulk’ paints (5 ltr bottles): This is a great choice for schools and settings that get through a vast amount of paint in a year. They come in 18 colours, black, crimson, bright pink, Prussian blue, burnt umber, blue, sienna, cerise, cobalt blue, bright green, lemon, orange, purple, sky blue, turquoise, meridian, white and yellow.

    5. Metallic paints (300ml bottles): These paints are available in gold, silver, copper and bronze. These have the added bonus of coming in bottles that are suitable for all ages.

    6. Scolamelt paints (150ml bottles): For an extra metallic effect, Scolamelt is a great choice. Use it in history topics for any crowns, swords and Egyptian artefacts. They will look shinny and authentic! They’re available as a set of 6 (2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze and 1 copper).

    7. Pearlescent paints: These wonderful metallic shades give a shimmering pearlescent finish. They’re available as a set of 6 300ml (blue, red, green, pink, yellow, and violet).

    8. Fluorescent paints (300ml and 600ml bottles): We sell a range of 6 special UV Reactive fluorescent poster paints (red, green, blue, pink, orange and yellow). These fluorescent paints not only give superbly bright colours but also reacts to UV light to give amazing effects. You can incorporate these paints into science topics/experiments, backdrops and theatre productions.

    9. Skintone shades (600ml bottles): We sell a 6 pack of skin tone shades which are great for multicultural work, PSED and understanding the world topics. These shades are perfect for self portrait activities!


    Ready mix paint is ready to use, water based poster paint, perfect for all learning settings. This paint is widely used in the school curriculum. You can buy it in a wide range of colours and finishes!

    Types of Ready Mix Paint

    Did you know there are many names for ready mix paint? It is also known as poster paint, liquid paint, tempera paint , squeezy paint and junior paint.

    Poster Paint has a thick, creamy and rich texture, lots of fun for children to explore and manipulate the paint on paper.

    Young learners will find it offers great tactile fun when experimenting by using their hands, objects and paint accessories. It’s great for colour mixing, marking and printing in Early Years Foundation Stage.

    Unlike acrylic paint, ready mix paint dries much faster, another useful reason to use it in a busy classroom, playgroup and workshop setting. Not to mention acrylic paint isn’t oftern washable! Poster paint can be easily diluted with water or mixed with PVA to achieve a variety of finishes. Liquid paint is fully intermixable offers great coverage and dries to an opaque finish.

    Whilst not as cost effective as powder paint, poster paint is quicker to use. You can also add small amounts of water to make it last longer. Our ready mix paints are all gluten free and non-toxic, perfect for use within children’s arts and crafts. All our ready mix paints are also made in the UK.

    Even ITV’s Coronation Street is pro ready mix paint! BCreative ready mix paints were featured during an art attack splatter session on a massive piece of paper.

    Poster Paints in The National Curriculum

    Poster paints can be used in all key stages of the Art & Design National Curriculum. During these years there are many different techniques, practices and disciplines being covered.

    Children learning about artists such as Jackson Pollock for example will find his drip painting technique involves a splatter finish, which works very well with ready mix paint. You’ll be able to thicken, thin and change the texture of paint easily. (See 'Activities' section for more info on how to cover a Jackson Pollock art lesson.)

    Jackson Pollock example on BCreativetolearn.com ready mix paint article Jackson Pollock painting example
    Example of drip art painting on BCreativetolearn.com Example of drip art painting on BCreativetolearn.com

    Handy tips when using ready mix paint  

    • Classroom set up: It’s handy to have an easel with paper set up and ready mix paints in non spill pots readily available for children to do independent painting. A reachable drying paint rack is useful for when children finish painting; it will encourage them to dry out their work independently. With simple small systems like these in your learning setting, painting doesn’t have to always be adult led. Independent discoveries will occur such as colour mixing!

    • Try to use paintbrushes with natural fibre bristles like hog hair. It grips the paint better.

    • Non-spill paint pots are the best containers to use during painting sessions. (Especially in EYFS)

    • Our paints are mostly washable, but it’s always a good idea to wash everything straight after you use them to avoid staining clothes.

    • Sugar paper is a great paper to use, especially if you are doing watery spray painting or making a mixed media/ gloopy sensory mix. Another good option is cartridge paper.

    • If children are painting at various times throughout the day, it’s handy to keep wet paint pots in a tub with a lid to stop them drying out too quickly.

    • Always store paint bottles indoors. Bottles should never be stored in frosty conditions.

    • Paint rollers are great for child lead learning (gross motor skills)(EYFS).

    • If EYFS children start mixing too many colours, use light toned colours (i.e. light blue and bright yellow paints) in the independent paint area set up to avoid sludgy dark muddy colour mix when children are colour mixing independently.


    BCreativetolearn.com ready mix paint rangeWhat can we add to ready mix paint?

    Gluten free washable PVA glue is a good paint thickener to use; it will give you a strong and solid colour finish. A mixture of washing up liquid and washable PVA glue is also a great way to thicken paint and gives you a glossy, shinny finish when dry. Washing up liquid improves wash-ability and gives a shiny plastic effect. Add the PVA slowly whilst stirring it into your paint mix. This glue thickening process increases the chance of paint sticking together instead of running off the paper! Less runny = less messy = less staining! You can even create peel-able paint with the use of medium PVA glue.

    Don’t buy wallpaper paste but fungicide free cellulose powder paste, which is otherwise known as papier mache paste. Sold in 45g sachets, one sachet can make up to 5 litres of paste. Always start with water in a tub then slowly add small amounts of cellulose powder to thicken. Add the paint once the papier mache paste is mixed. It's a great way to avoid solid lumps!

    We always advise that you stay clear of wheat thickening recipes in a group setting due to allergies - keep your mix gluten and wheat free.

    Ready mix paint is fun with mixed media! It enhances a child’s sensory exploration. From facilitating an outdoors maths game to a literacy lesson, poster paint is easy to mix into the equation. It mixes well with water, glues, sand, cornflour and shaving foam!  For the best sparkle finish always adds glitter on top of your finished painting whilst paint is wet.


    Fun & useful ways to work with poster paint!

    When it comes to mark making, messy play, making patterns, colour and texture exploration ready mix paint marries very well with these tasks. There is a great collection of accessories that work well during these learning sessions.

    Useful list of accessories and equipment to use with ready mix paint in activities:

    1. Aprons - Water proof and great for, suitable for hand wash.
      BCreativetolearn.com Paint Accessories for Ready Mix Paint article BCreativetolearn.com ready mix paint accessories
    2. Non-spill water pots - Essential for all EYFS settings. Helps a young child to stabilise their brush, prevent spills and accompanied by stoppers to store over night.
    3. Table splash mats A durable plastic mat that is super easy to wipe down after your messy art session.
    4. Deep well pallets - Deep to hold paint and help with colour mixing.
    5. Double Roller paint tray - Spacious for sponge rollers during mark making. Perfect for mixing two colours.
    6. Paint mix tray - Great for messy play and finger painting.
    7. Sponge painting dish - Once the bowls are filled with paint, children can dip their favourite craft sponges in and make amazing prints on paper.
    8. Sponge roller brushes - Easy to hold handles during mark making sessions.
    9. Foam brushes - Different shaped tips for variation in mark making. BCreativetolearn.com Paint Accessories
    10. Giant texture palm stampers - Great for sensory and for bringing the art classroom outdoors.
    11. Easy grip paint brushes - Round, chunky wooden handles that are super easy for little hands to grip.
    12. Chubby Hog Hair brushes - A great start on EYFS hand to eye co-ordination skills.
    13. Fuzzy paint dabbers - Fun variety of mark making effects.
    14. Funky paint dabbers - Fantastic special effect paint tools for mark making and patterns.
    15. Wooden templates for printing - Designed to aid with dexterity and co-ordination and multi-themed.
    16. Stencils – Alphabet, numbers, bugs, etc. - Flexible and washable, multi themed, for use with paint, chalk, crayons, colouring pencils and felt tips.
    17. Lino printing - Made out of a softer material (polymer) than traditional blocks, this super soft lino block can be used to print with ready mix paint and rollers.
    18. Safeprint - A great alternative to lino blocks for younger artists. The extruded foam tiles can be scored with pens, pencils etc or have images pressed into them. Once a design is made you can then just treat as you would lino to create stunning prints using ready mix paint and rollers.

    You will find that most of the EYFS suggestions also apply in SEN. With higher sensory needs all ready mix paints, sponge rollers, funky dabbers, roller trays and easy grip brushes for example, are a perfect match for sensory and creative ways of incorporating areas of learning within special education.

    Early childhood years are important years for children to be given the time, space and materials to explore their original ideas and build their confidence in using materials independently. Choosing the right arts and crafts materials with the right set up will play a vital role in all these key areas of development. Using the best paint and accessory set ups in a child’s learning environment will also decrease adult led or adult ‘take over’ scenarios and increase independent discoveries! This will have a very positive impact for years to come and in all aspects of a child’s journey into adulthood.


    Have you tried these fun activities?

    Monoprinting – You can use the back of a plate or a plexi glass/plastic flat surfaced box frame or the back of a baking tray dish or painting tray. Roll paint evenly across the surface then use fingers or cotton bud sticks for example to draw a picture, then place a paper gently on it and lightly rub the whole page. Peel off the paper to reveal your monoprint! Click on example of monoprinting with poster paint here.

    Cars in ready mix – You can build a cardboard platform with 3 primary colour dishes for children to dip their toy vehicles in and roll down the paper slide safely, watching the colours across the paper naturally mix. See our Pinterest board example here.

    Sponge rolling activity with paint – Giant sponge rollers are great for outdoor paint rolling on large strips of paper. Check out our giant paint rollers here.

    Sensory bubbles - Mix washing up liquid, paint and water in a deep (preferably see-through) container. Use a plastic straw to then blow bubbles. You can get some incredible geometric shapes like hexagons during this activity as the bubbles expand and join. Click on an example here.

    Mark making using cotton wool strings – Dip woollen strings in paint and spread horizontally with both hands on paper to create patterns and impressions of movement. You can also place the string in the middle of A4 paper, fold the page in half and then pull both ends off the string. Open the folded paper in the end to see what pattern and shape is left.

    Jackson Pollock – Cover the art history and technique of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock in KS1 and KS2. Get children to create their own Jackson Pollock ‘drip paintings’. You can use a variety of tools to drip the paint on the canvas such as swinging a punctured bucket of paint over a horizontal canvas, plastic syringes, sticks/sponges/brushes dipped heavily in paint, etc. Find some examples on our Pinterest pinboard name ‘Classroom Ideas & Teacher Tips’.

    Hand print calendar – You could create an original class hand print calendar with finger painting and handprints being turned into images associated with the month. For example, snowman in December, finger print chicks in March, hand print butterfly in May. These make great take home gifts. You can find ready made BCreativetolearn calendars to paint on here.

    Self portraits – Children can use mirrors and their printed pictures to create self portraits or portraits of their friends. This is handy for PSED, skin tone paints for realistic impressions of their skin tones, characters from stories or history topics. When children’s portraits are complete you could do a ‘Colours of Us’ classroom display board. See our Pinterest board for an example here.

    Try setting up specific discovery areas set up for mixing prime colours in EYFS or more complex colour mixing (secondary, tertiary, complementary colours ) for KS1 and KS2. Example, tray with only two colours out for children to mix. Sponge rollers and large pieces of sugar paper stuck to the table is always a clear invitation.

    Animal hand printing – This is a great activity to use when discussing cycles, nature, animal around the world (geography), stories (literacy),etc. Have a look at some of the ideas on our Pinterest board here.

    Spaghetti with poster paint – You can make sensory trays of cooked spaghetti with small mixing bowls for children to independently mix the paint into the spaghetti strips. You could also create spaghetti paint brushes! Tie a hand full of dry spaghetti, dip the tips of end in hot water till softened and leave for a few minutes to cool down. You can then dip the wobbly spaghetti ends in paint and explore mark making with them on paper.


    Follow Economy of Brighton BCreative's board Mark Making Activities on Pinterest.

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