Thursday, 11 June 2020

CREATIVE // Clip In Beaded Hair Decorations

Sometimes you need to just take a childish activity up a notch and create your own versions!

Etta and I had made some clip in beaded decorations for your hair a few weeks ago but I couldn't really get past the garish pearly colours. They just weren't the right look for a 30+ year old mum and I hadn't really shared the pictures anywhere because I knew I could do better. This last weekend I had a little sort out of my jewellery box and found two necklaces that I had seldom worn and only kept because I loved the sparkle on the beads. It suddenly dawned on me that these heavy, black tiny beads would be perfect for recreating the hair clips I had previously made with Etta.

This blog post simply exists at this point because I did in fact remake them and I decided that they looked so pretty I simple had to share.
With the summer coming up and a genuine lack of hair braiding going on in my life I feel that these clip in hair bead decorations are perfect for those summer parties, backyard festivals and general daily wear to dress up your hair!

As a mini-craft-make these hair clips took no real effort. In fact, I made them along side watching TV and drinking a coffee; a very relaxing craft to do.

The recipe

You will need: hair clips with a hole in them. Mine are from BAKER ROSS (hair grips will work too), strong thread, a thin needle (or steady hand) seed beads; similar from ETSY UK (small ones work best for effect) and if you want, jump rings for a more professional finish.

First you need to decide how your thread is attaching to your clip. You can simply tie the thread onto it, or you could use a jump ring and attach the thread to that. Both work fine as you don't want to see the clips anyway, they needn't be fancy, I tried the two different ways so I want to share that you could do it either.

 Take a length of thread that is a bit longer than the length of your hair and and tie a double knot on one end. Then using your beads thread the whole strand. You might want to double up your thread for extra strength but if you are using a needle, make sure it can be threaded on and that it fits through the eye of the beads. A needle makes threading the beads much quicker, especially small ones so I would suggest using one but it is not necessary. When you have threaded nearly the whole strand tie a knot as close to the last bead as possible. Use the remaining thread on the strand to then tie it to the hair clip. Mine have holes in them so I simply threaded through the hole and tied it off. If you are using a jump ring, tie the thread to that before you then attach the ring to the clip.

And that's it. That simple. The key is really to make something that isn't too heavy so it pulls the clip down your hair, and something that sits naturally under a layer of hair not leaving any bumps. You literally can do what you want with these, honestly, enjoy!

If you have beads left over get yourself some thin elastic and turn them back into wearable jewellery. I made myself a bracelet that I have already worn more times than I ever wore the necklaces!


Thursday, 4 June 2020

CREATIVE // Moon Phases Clay Hanger & Decorative Plates

Make your own moon phase hanging art or celestial plates out of air dry terracotta clay.

I absolutely love getting crafty with clay at the minute and I am particularly loving using clay in a terracotta colour. I find it so warming and there is something about working with terracotta clay that just seems a bit traditional.

We decided to do a bit of learning at home on moon phases. Yes, that classic Jaffa Cake biscuit eating experiment happened but we also go crafty with a bit of clay. Celestial home accessories seem quite popular at the moment with plaques like Urban Outfitters selling their own cool version of moon phases decorations but after a little Pinterest mooch and a bit of an accumulation of ideas, we decided to make some clay disks and paint the moon phases on to them. 

The Recipe

You will need;
White Acrylic Paint
Jump Hoops, String or wire
Circle cookie cutter

I pre-made the clay disks simply with a cookie cutter. I wanted them to be ready to paint by the time we got round to do the activity so I just stood one evening doing them. Having put a hole at the top and bottom I knew that I would either be connecting them to the next disk via wire or string. It turns out I actually ended up using jewellery Jump Hoops, three per join, to connect each disk.

Having done our study on the moon phases, and our biscuit eating experiment we then settled down to paint each phase on a disk. Full moon, half moon, total eclipses and all that were painted onto each disk with child like precision. We just used an acrylic white paint and a clear clay glaze to decorate ours and it has worked really well.

I have also added a tassel to the bottom of our hangings just to jazz them up a bit but for a little project to 'embiggen' learning, this was a lovely thing to do alongside.

After being so happy with how these turned out we actually got the clay out again and we made some clay moons in full and crescent shapes. We actually used these to decorate a simple plate shape that we had rolled out and used one of our own plates as a mould. 

I have done this for a few little projects and it works really well. Make sure you lightly grease your plate to start. Then you can just roll out your clay, cut around it, lay on the plate, trim neatly, and have it ready to decorate. I have learnt to use a damp sponge to smooth your clay, it leaves a more clean finish and also, if you are sticking on shapes like moons, you need a bit of water to fuse the two pieces together. 

The moons we made separately using a range of circle cutters. The different sizes lend themselves to the style and once it was dried and glazed these plates genuinely meant something to us. We made them having learnt a bit about the moon. A special keepsake for us.


Wednesday, 3 June 2020

LIFESTYLE // 5 Activities To Help Your Children With Numbers, Sums and Multiplication

Some easy ideas to help your children enjoy learning numbers and working through sums.

I have been sharing our homeschooling journey a lot on my Instagram but I thought I would share a few things that have worked with our kids on here. More than anything these are just some really easy ideas to help reinforce your children's knowledge of number and to help their speed with mental arithmetic skills.
Our daily focus has been times tables. All of these ideas were born out of finding ways to want to learn our times tables and keep the information in there. I have really focused on times tables because they really are gateway knowledge to helping with so many other mathematical areas. It also speeds up basic sums. All of these ideas work for sums too, addition and subtraction can easily be put in place of the x and all of a sudden you will find that you are encouraging 3 main areas of mathematical knowledge in primary school children in a really fun way.

So each day we start with times table app games, at the beginning we were focusing on single tables but after 8 weeks we are finding that Raph always works on mixed knowing all his times table facts (he just needs to remember them all) and Etta is at a stage where even though she hasn't done the 7s, 9s or 12s, most other timetables answer most of the sums in those groups. I love it that it has got to the stage where she can work most of them out.

Anyway, once we have done an app game; personally I would suggest MATHS SHED (super straight forward and you can work on all 4 types of equation x,+,-,/) it also is very child friendly and pre-schoolers could use it. Then we go onto paper and have been using TWINKLE website to print off all our maths worksheets. They are clear, easy to use, need very little adult input and are just there and available (you do need an account though but its the best £7.99 I have spent). Once we have done them which would usually take up about 20 mins. of our lesson time we then go onto something physical and that is what I really want to share with you.

Games to help children improve the number equations

Roll The Dice

This was one of our first methods to make maths more fun. Both children love it and it can be a completely independent task. Great for parents who have work to do whilst at home.
So at basic level simply roll two dice together and you can add, subtract or multiply the numbers. Kids can shout the answers out loud or like mine, write a number sentence in a book. e.g. 5+3=8. You can then introduce more dice, 2, 3, 4 digit numbers. Depending on where your child is at make it as hard or as easy as possible. When it gets to a stage when you are adding two two-digit numbers together get children to start writing it out in column method. Just remember with subtraction, the biggest number always has to go on top in a column method sum.

What the dice are doing is being a basic random number generator. The throwing is what makes it fun and would engage children to actually have a go. At basic level too, the dots are all there to count so even young ones can do single digits and just count the dots.

Pick A Card

Most other ideas followed on from the dice, I have come up with ways to make random number generated questions for the kids, it is that simple but still worth sharing.
For 'pick a card' I simply held the deck (remove all royalty for the deck) and offered them to the kids to pick two cards. It was then put into a number sum with a +,- or x equation.
This is particularly good for quick times tables practice, two cards multiplied together with an answer shouted or written down in a number sentence. 
They are also great for adding or subtracting as like the dice you can start at a basic level and use the dots to help or you can lay out 2, 3, 4 digit numbers in a column method for a child to work out.
* At this point if you are not sure what column method is look here; mainly used in KS2.
We have also developed this game with regards to our times table where the children now play it together, drawing a card each from their own pile and multiplying the two together to get the answer quickest.
With a deck of cards there are also numerous ways to support maths knowledge. just playing card games like pontoon (21), speed, and snap or how about your own version of 'Play Your Cards Right' and look at numbers that are higher or lower than each other.


I think these might be the kids' favourite right now usually because our sums are followed by a game. We use these very specifically for times tables. All the dominoes are in a bag and the kids pick one out and times the two numbers together. It is really easy and quick and they usually race against each other to answer the most. Our kids always write down a number sentence but this is not necessary.
Our dominoes have number 1- 6 on them but I do have a set from the game Mexican Train which has up to 12 dots per side. This will work even better to solidify knowledge on those big number times tables.
Playing a round of dominoes is already a great number recognition game and those dots are great for counting with young ones!
Our dominoes are by JOHN LEWIS

Baby Number Blocks

So you know those wooden baby block toys with letters on? Well you can get them with numbers on and even though I have no babies, re-buying a set was such a good choice. Like all of these little games the actual holding of an object is what makes the kids want to do sums. We have used number blocks in the same way as dice and cards. They are a number generator which can then be used in a range of sums. What is amazing about the wooden blocks is that you can stack them so for kids who do most sums in column form they can set out a sum physically. These are also great for developing place value knowledge, (FYI, units are now called ones!) It seems that even though these feel like they are for babies, recognising number and using them to generate numbers will suit any age of child.
Our Blocks are by Ohh Noo

Throwing Games

You really can make a number game out of anything! I have been using an old Quoits set which I have stuck numbers on in relation to times tables. If a hoop lands on it the kids have got to real off the whole times table and then they get that many points. It really is a make your own rules kinda game but I thought I would share a few other ideas that would get kids in the garden adding up numbers.
Ball in the bucket: get as many tubs as you can and number them up. You could throw balls into them and add them up as you go. 
Pebble grab: you could work out sums by grabbing pebbles or stones, you can count them up, take them away, stones are great for physical maths.
If you have hoops, trampolines, skipping ropes, rackets, most outdoor equipment can be manipulated into something maths based so even if you are just practising number bonds to 10, get physical as it is an easy way to engage children in learning.

I wanted to share these ideas because at this time I feel it's what I can offer in regards to talking about home schooling. Home schooling is such a personal choice and we all teach our children differently, but hopefully these little ideas can inspire you to play a bit more with the kids instead of worrying about teaching to school standard. All I know is that this all needs to be enjoyable, achievable and help children keep in some kind of routine of solving number puzzles.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig