Jan 28, 2009

Chinese new year paper Ox

This was pretty simple really. I got the idea and the rough shape that was going to work from a book that my mate Barb sent me. It's a lovely and rather old, out of print book about paper craft for kids, called Paper Playtime. It was published in 1966 and has got a tonne of cute projects in it, most of which are to make simple animals from a sheet of card or a toilet roll tube.

I found one that was to make a buffalo and honestly it wasn't far off a shape that would work for an Ox, so I drew out the half template and let the kids paint it all red and gold, then I cut them out and we folded the ears out, the tail down and the horns up. They stood up pretty well, but they would work even better if I'd used thicker card like cereal box card or something like that.

Anyway, here are a few pics and a template if you want to make one yourself. I should say that all the pages I put up here for people to print if they want to are US letter sized paper, which has slightly different dimensions from the UK A4, because although I'm a Brit, I'm in the US, with a US printer at the mo, so make sure you check "fit to page" when you print em.

Gung hoy fat choi!

There is likely to be a bit of a surge in posting from me over the next few days, because I have a backlog of projects that I haven't managed to get up on here yet. We've all been a little under the weather on and off since Christmas and as much as we've kept up with the kiddy crafts, I've not kept up with the blogging.

Jan 26, 2009

Tag! you're it.

Well, I feel like a bit of a cop out here, because this is the first post that isn't actually a kid craft project.

I need to say thank you to Rainbowmummy you see, who writes a blog called Organising the Jellybeans. She tagged me with a sort of web award doodad, called the Proximidade Award, that is making the rounds between bloggers. I'm not sure where it originates from though, other than it must be of Portugese descent. I've seen a few of these award thingies pop up in RSS feeds, but this is the first time that someone has tagged me with an award. I'm rather flattered that you added me to your award list, especially as the award proclaims itself to be about valuing proximity, relationships and making friends over the intertubes.

I'm rather quiet in the grand scheme of bloggerdom. I started Filth Wizardry only half a year ago, as a kind of journal of the craft and art that we get up to. It encourages me to make sure the camera is around to record stuff a bit more and save up the memories. I like the idea that I can save it all for the kids to see when they are older and for me to reminise in a few years when they stop thinking I am cool.

I also hope that gradually I'll run into more people like Rainbowmummy, who will say hi and have a laugh and share ideas, so we can subject our children to more messy mayhem and buy shares in Mr Clean Magic Eraser together.

I'm supposed to pass this award on in a pyramid scheme stylee way to eight more bloggers, but honestly I'm still a bit too new at this game to point to that many people, so instead I'll make one person the most specialest one and you can all bite me for my blatant disregard for rules.

A few weeks ago I came across a blog called "Miss Smith at home". Miss smith's sense of humour really tickles me and her robots totally float my boat. When I was drawing the scribbly robot parts for the tin foil robots we made I was influenced by the bots I'd seen her sew. So go check her out, way over there in New Zealand, with her cheeky robotic creations, wholesome lifestyle, and comedic writing that delights the 95% of me that is utterly childishly daft.

I promise I'll butt out now and that the next post will be something else freaky that the kids made.

Thanks again Rainbowmummy!

Jan 21, 2009

Giant cardboard rocket ship

The kids had so much fun with the melon box wendy house/shanty town we made a few months ago, that I thought it was time to create another recycled monumental obstruction in our living room.

Being winter rather than summer this time, we ended up using a potato box instead of a watermelon box as the base for the structure. Again though, all the cardboard was brought home after a trip to Costco. It took about 15 sheets of the corrugated cardboard that they have inbetween the pallets of diaper boxes/toilet rolls/cereal boxes.

The design was limited by the irregular octagonal shape of the potato box base, so it looks like a bit of a weird rocket, but I think without that sturdy base box it wouldn't last two minutes with the number of kids that it will be subjected to.

Like the wendy house, it only took one evening after the kids were in bed to build the structure (exacto knife, stapler and duct tape), but this time I really wanted to decorate it, so the next night I stuck on a load of aluminium foil and painted the rest of it. Finished it off by trimming the door with duct tape so it wouldn't rip when being played with and printed out and stuck on some American flags and a NASA logo. The windows were from some plastic packaging that I had held onto rather than putting in the recyling bin.
The timing was pretty cool, because the kids woke up to a huge rocket ship decked out in American colours ready for Obama's inauguration. We had a load of kids over that day and they had a lot of fun playing in it. It seemed like a fitting preschool analogy for launching on a mission with a new leader.

On the inside I didn't have much time to sort out too many things, but I did glue gun some dollar store glow in the dark numbers to a panel and some other random bottle top button things. I made a safety switch "blast off" button. It's made from the lid of a coffee creamer bottle that flips up to reveal a button. The button is really a glue gunned in place old keyring that is an aeroplane and makes crazy take off noises when you press it.
Here it is in operation, sorry about the dreadful video, it's rather dark in the rocket (I have torches in there for the kids at the moment, but want to sort out some weird cabin lighting when I get the chance).

The other weird thing in there is the "Captain Pajamo, remote-control, techno-robotic, alien communicator". This is actually a second hand kid's tape deck with two microphones attached that I got from goodwill, but the kids favourite book at the moment is Captain Pajamas (another book that we picked up from Goodwill), and just having pictures of him on it and being able to amp up their voices extra loud and radio sounding is enough to get screams of laughter from them.
There were eleven kids over in total for inauguration day and we managed about five at a time in the rocket. We made some blue and red cakes with white icing and sprinkles for them to celebrate too.Even if they didn't totally get the significance, I think they had a good day.

Jan 15, 2009

Home made toy carwash

It was another day with four kids aged four and under and I had nothing planned. The two older kids started off drawing pictures of cars and trucks and then asked me to draw a carwash for them. It seems carwashes either terrify small children or excite them to the point of near barfing. These kids are in the latter group. To them a carwash is like the preschooler equivalent of Great America's bestest rollercoaster and you don't have to be over 40 inches tall to ride.

Anyway, after talking excitedly about car washes for a while they decided that it would be best if we actually made one, so I grabbed a load of stuff out of the recycling bin and pulled out a pack of those foam sheets that my friend had got for us, that were on sale because they were christmas colours.
The older kids did most of the work/help by cutting out all the foam and cutting fringes onto it to make the rollers. They also coloured in all the signage and the wheel guides for the floor of the carwash.
I hastily cut holes in a diaper box and glue gunned all the bits on. The top roller is a wooden spoon wrapped in tin foil and shoved into a paper towel tube. The cut up foam sheets were glued on top. Then there were a couple of dangly washing strip thingies made out of more foam sheets and some old packing material. There wasn't enough room to make side rollers that actually turned like the top one, so I just glued on half a cardboard tube with more of the foam frondy things the kids cut out. The kids specifically asked for a sign that said "thank you" as you were leaving, and windows so you could see the car going through (a local car wash has windows like this - seriously cheap fun, as cheap as visiting the "pauper's zoo" in fact (Petco))

Luckliy the barbie cars we have both fitted through it. Later in the day they took to sending barbie through sat in her convertable, poor lass. They even sent Polly pocket through on a scooter. We fixed up a toll booth and they played quite happily with the monstrosity for quite some time, although now they want to make an entire village out of diaper boxes. Apparently they feel that the next building we need is a Post Office. Who knew that Post Offices were next on the "exciting" list after car washes?!?

Jan 9, 2009

Colour and cut out food

My kids went a bundle for the colour and cut out robot parts. We made 2D robots on sheets of paper with aluminium foil shapes and those colour and cut out bits rather than making more from boxes.

The thing that they seemed to like about the way I had drawn the images was that it was easy to make it look good. They didn't have any frustrations about colouring inside the lines (my 4 year old really doesn't like it when she goes over the lines on something for some reason. It's probably just a phase she's going through I guess). My older daughter also was happy that the cutting out was easy because of the thick black lines. Having only just turned 4, she can use the scissors, but can't cut shapes that are too complicated yet. I guess the nature of these drawings gave them some extra confidence in their own abilities and so they liked it.

With this in mind I thought it would be nice to try another theme, making the same style of images. I settled on food as a subject and drew out three pages of food items with a sharpie, scanned them in and printed a few copies out. They spent quite some time colouring them. My older daughter wanted to keep colouring, so I cut a few of them out for my younger daughter to play with on a paper plate.
Again, in case you want to have a go, here are the three pages of drawings I did. It was kind of tricky to think of food that was recognisable with such basic line drawings, so a few you're just going to have o use your best guess on!

Just click on the iddy biddy pics on the left to see the full resolution pics and print them out for colouring and cutting food fun.

Jan 7, 2009

Drawing robots

This was a neat project because me and the man with which I am affiliated got to build it together on the weekend when the party animal children we have created finally decided it was nap time.
I'm sorry to say that we split the tasks in a very stereotypical way, in that he got the soldering iron and I got the glue gun, but it was still a lot of giggles to do.

Here is some video footage of the robotic dance of art that took place on our kitchen floor...

We used some old containers and dollar store pens to make the structure and then added a weighted motor (one from an old Nintendo rumble pack we found at Savers for $3, and the others from dollar store handifans with glue weighting one of the propellors on each motor), powered with some AAA batteries in cases repurposed from various defunct electronics and switches superglued onto the top of the motors. The flashing lights came out of some old broken toys that my mate was getting rid of.

Here is the small tripod robot...

and here is the larger double motor, 5 pen robot...

The kids thought these little robots were really funny. The older ones (4 year olds) grasped that the motor was making it vibrate and that's what was causing the drawing, but the younger ones (2 year olds) really thought the little bots were alive and were talking to them and trying to coax them in one direction or another.
Very cute and we covered a load of butcher's block paper with their artwok. Enough to keep us in wrapping paper for a while.

I realised after we built it that the little robot had the pens glued on all wrong, because once they run out we'll have to trash it and build another, so with the bigger bot I glued the pen lids onto the container, rather than the pens themselves, so that way the kids can swap out the colours that it draws with. Cunning huh!
I'm trying to encourage the husband to start up his own blog featuring the electronics projects he does for the kids. Feel free to harrass him too via the comments section of this post ;)