A didgeridoo just for you!

As first time revellers at the Wilderness Festival, my husband and I quickly realised that having brought our children along, we would probably be spending rather more time in the family section than we’d bargained for.

Whether it was the exotically feathered & sequinned ‘happy’ drifters, the masquerading

Skinny dippers at the Wilderness Festival

lines of males in leotards and leggings or the nudist couple casually wandering in their birthday suit that made our children a little shy, we weren’t sure. But what ever the reason, they spent much of their time attached to us by arm, hand or leg; leaving us parents precious little time to enjoy the luxuries, novelties and musical delights filling the  Wilderness air

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Nevertheless, all was not lost. Our eldest son found his calling which came in a strange guise…

As we wondered around the family tents which included many eco & bush-craft workshops such as braiding rope from stinging nettles, bow drill fire making, copper pendent metal working,  wooden spoon carving, chalk carving and so forth; we came upon a small gathering of attentive children in a colourful cloth clad hut making unspeakable noises on bamboo didgeridoos .

Both boys quickly joined in, sitting at the feet of Ganesh. Much to his glee, Adam discovered that he could make a rather more pleasing sound which caught the attention of the teacher Mark.

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Mark then invited Adam to make his own instrument and with much excitement he set to work on the task.

Step 1 was choosing the right bamboo pole for his instrument.

Step 2. Checking for any cracks and faults and sawing it off to the correct length.

Step 3. Scraping out the inner segments of the bamboo cane which took a whileIMG_1860 IMG_1861Step 4. Sanding either end of the bamboo cane.

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Step 5. Moulding the bees wax mouth piece (a natural antiseptic).

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Step 6. Rubbing the outer length of the instrument and just inside the bottom end with linseed oil.

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And lastly, here is an exhausted Adam having a lie down while still playing his new, hand made instrument.

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What was so brilliant was that throughout the festival Adam was able to return to the didgeridoo classes to improve his playing and on the spur of the moment was even asked to perform with his teacher and a few other young players to a whole crowd of the youngest Wilderness revellers at the Flying Seagull Project theatre.

So thank you to Mark for starting one little boy on a new adventure!

Exotic Beaded Bib Necklace

Here is one of my latest beaded creations. An adjustable, beaded bib necklace made with tiny seed beads, semi precious stone & hand made polymer clay cabochons, turquoise adjustable leather necklace and a soft ultra suede backing. Available to buy from here.

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Year 3 Perfect Pond Prints

20140401-212157.jpg The year threes at JHN academy in Oxford, have been learning about rivers, pollution and how it affects wildlife. I showed them the art of Ahmad Nadalian and they were inspired by some of his methods and techniques. I collected some locally source scrap and recyclables such as bubble wrap, water bottles, sequin waste scraps, sponge, netting, corks Etc and showed the children how to print with them using a small sponge to dab on the acrylic paint and then print onto A3 paper. 20140401-211914.jpg   20140401-213105.jpg 20140401-213121.jpgI took the children pond dipping which was an opportunity for them to see first hand the types of creatures that live in an outdoor water habitat. I taught them how to draw a pond creature-a damselfly nymph, which they completed on water colour paper. They then cut out their drawings and gave them a yellow ochre wash. Lastly we bent the legs and glued the feet to their pond prints to create these final pieces.                      20140401-213133.jpg20140401-221124.jpg 20140401-221248.jpg

Anubis weighs an evil heart

By the hand, the white shrouded figure is led up to the scales of Maat.  IMG_1674Jackal Headed Anubis brings forth the heart to be weighed and in the presence of the gods the Ba bird flutters above, awaiting its soul’s judgement. The feather of Truth is laid. The scale is set with exact precision and all is suspended in oppressive silence. The only sound to break the deathly hush is the drop of Ammit’s salivating jaw as she eagerly awaits her prey. Then with a clank, the heavy heart pulls down the scales with the weight of its evil, leaving the airy feather floating for all to see. It is done. The judgement has been passed and with a half starved snarl Ammit grabs what is rightfully hers. The evil heart, soul and Ba bird; all are devoured.

Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead- With a contemporary twist 

I spent a day with Windmill Primary School’s fantastic Yr 6′s who created some superb Ancient Egyptian art with a modern twist. Do have a closer look at who the white shrouded figure being led by the jackal headed Anubis actually is. A leader famous for cruelty, death and genocide.

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 Ancient Egyptian mythology provides superb opportunities for storytelling

I story told the myth of Isis and Osiris to the children and then we discussed Hunefer ‘s famous papyrus scroll commonly called Hunefer ‘s Book of the Dead. (NB this is a colour enhanced version, to see it in original click here)

Here is my fantastic interactive version https://www.thinglink.com/scene/478359226985480193

The Art Work

The children were each asked  to draw, paint and then cut out a figure, either individually or in pairs. I showed them how to draw an Egyptian figure using the Ancient Egyptian Canon. All the figures and elements in the scroll were measured according to this formula which kept everything in proportion. IMG_1673Below is the enthroned Isis, Lord of the Underworld, who will pronounce the final judgement over the soul of the deceased. This heart weighed more then the feather of Truth so the demon Ammit will consume it and the soul will not attain immortal life. IMG_1676

The All Seeing Eye of Atum

There is an intriguing creation story of the all seeing eye. It begins with the dark, swirling, chaotic mass of Nu before Creation was made. From Nu arose Atum, and he was alone. He created a hill named Ben Ben, upon which he could stand and with his shadow he created a son and a daughter. Atum spat out his son Shu, god of air and his daughter he coughed out, she was Tefnut the goddess of moisture.

Tefnut and Shu had two children. The sky goddess Nut whose star studded body arches across the sky and gives birth to the sun every day. The other child was Geb the god of the earth and growing things. Nut and Geb always wish to be together but Shu keeps them apart so that creation can exist between them.

Once, Atum lost his children Shu and Tefnut in the chaos of Nu and was frantically looking for them. He sent his ‘all seeing eye’ around Creation to look for Shu and Tefnut and eventually the eye found them and brought them back to their desperate father. He was overjoyed and cried tears of happiness. It is from these tears of joy that the first humans were created.

See this story here.

Children created the All Seeing Eye or Eye of Horus 

Having story told several myths relating to the ‘all seeing eye’, I asked the children to look at their own eye in a mirror. The concentration was almost tangible as I talked them through observing the light, shadows, reflections and shapes in their eyes. After this observation they then began to draw the outlined shape of their eye on A3 paper and worked on observing and drawing the detail. The last step was to turn it into the eye of Horus.

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The Eye of Horus

Horus is the son of Osiris who was brutally murdered by his jealous and evil brother Seth. Horus wishes to avenge his father’s murder and reclaim the throne of Egypt from his evil uncle, so he challenges Seth. An eighty year long battle ensues and in one particularly difficult fight Seth gauges out Horus ‘s left eye and breaks it into six tiny pieces. However with the help of his mother Isis and Thoth the god of medicine, the eye is restored and returned to Horus who gives it as a gift to his father Osiris. Although the eye is restored, it never regains it’s original brightness and thus represents the moon and is a symbol of protection against evil, of rebirth, regeneration and healing.

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Further useful links for teachers and anyone else interested in ancient Egyptian Mythology
For Adults:

For Children:

When in Rome do as ‘ The Rotten Romans’

Roman mosaic border

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Bring ‘The Romans’ to Life

Here are some good ideas for covering the topic of ‘The Romans’ with children, including making Roman weaponry, mosaic designs, storytelling, a class assembly, making props and displays.

Roman Mosaic Designs
I visited a Year Three class in Barton, Oxford and taught the children how to draw Roman style dolphins.
We looked at an image of Roman dolphins and I told a story about the handsome Neptune riding a sea chariot drawn by sea horses and winged cupid astride dolphins riding the frothy waves. Find a story to tell here.
Below is a drawing I did in chalks to show the children how to design a mosaic and to give them a visual idea of what I was asking them to create.
Roman mosaic design
The children began by hand drawing a border on their piece of black paper, I then showed them step-by-step, how to draw a Roman dolphin in white chalk.  I invited them to complete their design showing the idea of the tesserae by drawing little shapes for the background. They then embellished their border if they had time.
(Unfortunately the children were not able to finish their artwork with me due to time constraints and I do not have photos of their completed work.)
How to draw a Roman dolphin-step by step
Roman dolphinHere is a step by step version of what I took them through. Try it for yourself first. Children don’t need to know what part they are drawing. All they need to hear is your descriptions and copy you.
Describe the lines you draw like saying ‘now draw a gently curved line going up’ Etc.
 
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TIP:
Make sounds with your voice as you draw, the children will copy you and this helps them ‘feel’ what they are doing. It works!!! If my pencil goes up, then my voice goes up too. Try it!
 
TIP: Use your voice to describe the movement. or say ’round’ in a curvy way.
 
 
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 Remember, everyone’s will be unique and that is good!
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Roman Dolphin
The picture below was one I had on show for children to get ideas of Roman border designs, they also had access to reference books on Roman mosaics and images on the internet.Roman borders Storytelling
Every week, in two year three classes I spent half an hour storytelling Roman myths to the children. I was amazed at the way the stories really captured their imaginations and created many links and connections for them.
The myth of Pegasus’s birth is a fascinating one and involves the much loved yet feared character of Medusa (his mother).(Watch the story here-check before you show children)medusa mosaic design
The tale of poor Echo
The children’s response to the story of the unfortunate nymph Echo was amazing to see. Echo who was admired by Jupiter (king of the gods), is cursed by his jealous wife Juno (queen of the Gods) to never speak again but merely echo the sounds she hears around her. Echo falls in love with Narcissus who shuns her advances and chooses to wither away his life uselessly in love with his own reflection. Poor Echo then spurns the advances of amorous Pan the half goat half man (god of shepherding & music) and is shattered into a thousand pieces across the world where she remains to this day.
A well-chosen story
Children often came to me saying that they heard Echo under a bridge on the way home, or that they heard her in their hall at home. One child even asked how come Echo was in the school toilets. The right story can get children thinking and learning beyond the classroom and this is the most exciting kind of learning.

Class Assembly on the ‘Rotten Romans’
You may be wondering what on earth this clever recycled camera has to do with the Romans. Well, the Yr Three class I was with in Littlemore decided to do their own news round assembly of the facts they learnt about the Romans and it all began with one of the children shouting ‘Action’ and pretending to film it using this camera. IMG_1447 IMG_1446
Rat Sandwich anyone?
One of the children discovered during an internet research lession that Romans liked eating rat sandwiches. This was of great fascination to them and so we decided to make our own rat sandwich using painted sponges and pipe cleaners for the curly tails.
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We made Roman helmets, shields, swords out of cardboard boxes, paint, tissue paper and foil. We used these in our class assembly to act out a fight between a gladiator and a Roman soldier, our audience gave the thumbs down and the gladiator was slain at the Emperor’s bidding!
IMG_1454 Roman classroom display IMG_1448 IMG_1453 IMG_1443 Two wire hooks on the back of the shields for the handle.IMG_1442My favourite are the gladiator sandals!!!
Made from 100% cardboard and a few well placed staples.
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All those props made a super cool display!
Along with our non chronological reports, Roman key words, facts that the children discovered and wrote, pictures and dates.
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The children ended their class assembly with the Boudica rap from Horrible Histories. We made Boudicca head bands and the three Boudiccas wore cloth capes. All in all both classes thoroughly enjoyed the Rotten Roman topic and the creative activities, storytelling and class assembly really brought the whole topic to life.

Christmas Peg Dolls

A quick post showing a few ideas for making peg dolls. IMG_1456

This is a lovely activity to do with children, and the more adult support you have then the better the peg dolls look. The children I’ve been working with made some Christmas themed peg dolls using old fabric scraps, lots of imagination and some adult help with preparing resources. They were hoping to make the dolls to sell at the school Christmas fair.

Brain Wave: One of the teachers also had the fantastic idea of making up packs of peg doll parts so that other children could buy them and make their own at home.

Choir of angels

The angel was the most tricky to make with it’ s lace wings, under garment made of wrapped piece of cream rectangular fabric held in place with a rubber band ‘belt’. The wings and wool hair were attached with copydex, but a glue gun would have worked too.

The golden cape was a thin rectangular piece of shiny fabric, which I glued onto the chest, the pipe cleaner arms were wrapped around the neck like a scarf and then modeled into place. The paper book was first decorated and then glued to the arms with copy dex, the sequins were glued onto the skirt. Varnish face before using pen for features.

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‘Gold I bring…’

One of the three kings: the crown is made of silver paper, arms of black pipe cleaner, black string to hang him up and gold ribbon for the belt. The over coat is cut from one strip of fabric with a hole in the middle to fit over the head, this covers a rectangular piece of fabric wrapped around the peg (like an under garment) and held in place with a rubber band. The only glue needed was to attach the crown to the head and the present to the arms-prit stick works.

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Shepherd

To get a darker complexion for the shepherd you need to varnish the face/head first. Then use brown felt tip all over and put hair and features on with fine permanent black marker.

He had pipe cleaners for the arms and half a one for the shepherd’s hook. His cloak was one strip of fabric with a hole in the middle rather like the kings-just in more shepherd-like colours. He also had an undergarment held in place with a rubber band ‘belt’. Use string for the belt, no glue needed for shepherd at all.

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Black History Month-kids jewellery Workshop

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Paper plane pendent

I ran an afternoon of jewellery workshops in John Henry Newman School (Littlemore,
Oxford), and I promised the children that I would post photos of their fantastic work.

I will also post a few tips for anyone hoping to do jewellery making with children. As well as how to roll your own paper bead.

HERE YOU ARE YEAR FOUR . . . WELL DONE, I’M REALLY PROUD!

Laminated collage medallion

Children cut out chosen parts of a leaflet and stuck them to a cardboard circle. They decorated it with fine pen and then laminated it (with adult supervision). It was strung onto cord as a necklace.

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I love the choice of words on this one. Full of humour!

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Football Fan Here!!


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Paper plane pendent

Children made a paper plane out of scrap paper to practice, then made a mini one out of a small leaflet rectangle. They glued down the flaps, varnished it and punched the holes. It was then strung onto cord as a pendent.

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Paper Freedom Beads

We made ‘Freedom Beads’ from paper. We wrote a short message or word like ‘LOVE ‘ or ‘FREEDOM’ inside the paper strips, then we rolled the strip into a bead and painted them with nail varnish to waterproof them.

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Children made bracelets with their freedom beads & glass beads as presents for someone special.

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PLANNING A CHILDREN’S JEWELLERY MAKING WORKSHOP?
PREPARATION
All these pieces of jewelery were made from recycled leaflets/magazines and the jewellery materials were from PJ beads.
  • I prepared the strips of paper for the beads before the sessions, and bought glass filler beads and waxed cord for stringing, which I pre cut to bracelet/necklace size.
  • I also drew out (cereal box) card board circles which children could cut out and use as the base for their collage medallion.
MATERIALS
Beading table: glue, paper strips/leaflets, paint brushes for glue, toothpick/kebab stick for rolling bead, stringing cord, ball point/sharpie pens, clear nail varnish.
Airoplane table: scissors, scrap paper, necklace cord, nail varnish, circle punch.
Collage Medallion table: leaflets, scissors, glue, cardboard circle, necklace cord, gold/silver/black pens, circle hole punch.
You need: Two/three arty adults-ideally! Laminator and pouches, leaflets, bead stash, example beads, bracelets, paper plane and collage medallion to show children, spare cord, adult scissors, example of trade/slave beads if linking it to Black History.
PLANNING
  • If you have boys and girls together in the class you will need to plan a choice of activities to accommodate for the less dexterous, and the macho lad! (I had a few football leaflets that came in handy!)
  • Having a few arty adults to take each activity is essential.
  • Create an Interactive White board presentation that gives children the history of Slave beads.
How to roll a paper bead 
How to varnish a paper bead
If your bead is too wide to fit onto the toothpick, then hold it between your fingers and varnish it, then after it has dried you can varnish the inside of the hole.