Fun for Older Kids: Create Stop Motion on Powerpoint

Our family uses technology for all kinds of things, not just entertainment.  I wanted to share a stop motion project Miss 10 has been working on since she was 9 years old. So, that’s over a year! As the kids get older, I find it’s important to engage them on a more detailed level and also allow them to explore their own interests through activity and play.

The project wasn’t done in big chunks but off and on, mainly during school holidays over the course of a year.  A simple stop motion animation on Powerpoint is an easy process really (so I’ve discovered), but the good thing is you can get as geeky and technical about it as you like.

I didn’t know how to do this at all — that is: I didn’t teach my daughter how to to do it — so it’s all credit to her for this post.

Guest post by Pip

In general, I like to think of ways to be creative…anything from craft, games with my siblings to even animation on the computer.  I love doing this stuff, it’s so fun and it makes me smile.  I want it share it so other kids my age might discover the joy of this as well.

This is the project I’ve been working on for a while. There are 156 slides in this one. 

To make your own stop motion animation on Powerpoint, this is what you need to do.

Step 1

Open a blank Powerpoint presentation. 

Step 2

In the Transition Tab, set timings to 0.01 or 0.02 (click After)

Step 3

In the Slide Show Tab, click Set Up and make sure the use timings, if present, is on (and manual is off)

Step 4

Create your first slide. You can use shapes, clip art or anything you want.  It’s best to start simple. This is how I did my first slide using shapes and clip art.

Stop Motion on Powerpoint

Step 5

Now it’s time to start animating.  You need to click on the slide (right click it) and press duplicate to make another slide exactly the same.   Then move the objects you want to animate just a little bit at a time (the video shows it a little better).  And then duplicate that slide and do the process again and again until you have at least 10 slides.  You can take a look at how it’s going by pressing the Slide Show Tab and then from beginning (or from start if you’re using a Mac).

Tip

It’s important to move some objects off the screen. For example, if you have a cloud in the sky, and a car on the ground, it will still look good if you only move the car along. However, if you want the scenes to change, then you also need to move the cloud off the screen too.  Once you start playing around with it, you start to see what works, and what doesn’t.

Video Tutorial 

Here’s a tutorial Mum and I put together.

This is a great idea, it’s on the computer, but it’s not games.  You can still have fun but learn important skills at the same time.  A good thing about this, is you can keep on coming back to it; it’s not something you have to complete in one day. IT’S SO FUN!

More Stop Motion

My daughter has also worked on other stop motion projects using my iPhone and Lego with the Stop Motion Studio App. Below are two episodes. Again, I wasn’t involved in this project (I simply facilitated her interest buy finding an app and letting work it out). It’s great to see my kids using technology and their imagination. Most excellent.


Pin it for Later

You can re-pin this idea for later here.

More

Activity ideas for 8 – 12 year olds (that won’t break the bank)

Discovery Box

This is fun for kids and good way to recycle old shoe boxes - make a Discovery Box for kids to keep their little treasures

We love exploring as much as we can as a family.  Australia is a vast and beautiful country, and there’s so much natural wonder in our backyard.  On our many adventures, my kids enjoy collecting little bits and bobs along the way, from bottle caps for a Bottle Cap Game they made up to pretty fallen leaves.  On our last trip up the D’Aguilar Ranges, we saw a beautiful (AND HUGE!) snake on the road. There’s a video here.

Go exploring with Kids

At different times during the parenting journey — depending on how old the respective child is and their interests — I make up Discovery Boxes out of a recycled shoeboxes for the kids to keep their collections in.   

idea on using empty shoe box

I’ve wrapped shoe boxes in wrapping paper before, to make it look pretty (like this one). 

make a discovery box

This time, my youngest daughter and I made a discovery box covered in decorate tape, which matches the other little decorative projects we’ve been working on (it looks so pretty in her room which is fun).

Materials

Decorative Tape or wrapping paper  (I used Scotch® Expressions Packing Tape & Magic Tape)

White paper (if you want to cover patterns or brands on the box)

Glue

Step 1

Glue paper roughly to the box if you’re using light coloured paper or tape.   This way, you can cover any brand names and that sort of thing. I used it on the tops and sides.

This is fun for kids and good way to recycle old shoe boxes - make a Discovery Box for kids to keep their little treasures

Step 2

Cover box with pieces of tape (vertically or horizontally).  Horizontal tape around the base of the box makes it very easy because you can wrap it around the perimeter of the base until the ends meet.

This is fun for kids and good way to recycle old shoe boxes - make a Discovery Box for kids to keep their little treasures

Step 3

Add a Discovery Box label if desired. I typed the font in Word, printed it and cut to size.

This is fun for kids and good way to recycle old shoe boxes - make a Discovery Box for kids to keep their little treasures

 Just a cute box for little treasures small people find interesting.

Another idea is to have a list of prompts for children to find on a daily, weekly or whenever-you-fancy basis.  Below is some ideas I’ve jotted down that could instigate fun moments and interesting conversations.

Discovery Box

  1. Find a flower, lay between baking paper and press in a book.  Add to the box in a month. For best results, laminate the pressed flower (and you can even turn it into a bookmark).
  2. On the Internet or in a book, look for pictures of a place you would like to visit together.
  3. Go on a colour hunt: find 5 things that are yellow, blue, red, green, purple, pink or whatever colour!
  4. Look up the meaning of your name and write it on a piece of paper.
  5. Collect a cool looking stick (and paint it for something awesome).
  6. Write a letter to yourself to read a year on (remember to date it).
  7. Look for a seed pod (make into a boat on a rainy day)
  8. Go on a shape hunt: find 2 things that are triangle, round or rectangle.
  9. See how many different coins you can find around the house. Pick one. Look up the year it was made and more about the image.  Write a few key points or draw a picture on an envelope, slip the coin in and keep in the box.
  10. Go on a texture hunt: find 1 thing that is rough, smooth, soft or shiny.
  11. Cut out a picture you like from a magazine or junk mail.
  12. Something from the beach.
  13. Something from the backyard.
  14. Something recycled.
  15. Find three different types of leaves.
  16. Look for a special rock (and make it a pet by gluing on google eyes).
  17. Take a photograph, get it printed, write on the back how it made you feel.
  18. Draw something you see outside.
  19. Look up an interesting word in the dictionary and write down what it means on a piece of paper.
  20. A picture of someone you love.

You can print a PDF version by clicking the picture below.

Discovery Box Prompts

 

Other Links

5 Ways to Use Decorative Tape Around the Home

105 Ways to Enjoy Nature with Kids

9 Tips for Visiting an Art Gallery with Kids

This is a guest post by Christie from Childhood 101. Christie and I started blogging at a similar time, and I’ve met her several times.  She’s fun, smart and fabulous!  Christie is launching her first book, Time to Create, about hands-on exploration art for young children.  I’m thrilled to have her guest posting today with 9 tips for visiting an art gallery with kids.

9 Tips for Visiting an Art Gallery with Kids

Childhood 101 _ 9 Tips for Visiting the Art Gallery with Kids

Have you considered a visit to an art gallery with the kids this school holidays? My five year old daughter loves it when we head off on an outing for the day and hopping on the train to journey into the city for a visit the Art Gallery of Western Australia is high on her list of favourite excursions. Visiting an art gallery is a great way to interest children in and engage them with art, and provides the perfect springboard for the development of their own creative projects. Here are our tips for making the most of your visit…

1. Time your visit wisely

Weekdays are generally less busy than weekends and you’ll often find that most major galleries offer additional activities for children during school holidays (just be sure to check beforehand if you need to book in for these). If your children are past the age of napping, visiting just after lunch is often a quieter time for many galleries. To avoid queues and excessive waiting, pre-purchase tickets online for major exhibits when available.

2. Plan your visit

If you are visiting a large gallery, take a little time beforehand to plan your visit. Hop online to familiarise yourself with the layout of the gallery and the location of any exhibits that you think your children will be most interested in.

3. Be realistic

Young children can find the behavioural constraints of visiting an art gallery (not touching the artwork and displays, being quiet, walking, etc) quite demanding so plan to keep your visit short and take breaks as needed.  Depending upon the size of the gallery, don’t expect to see everything in one visit.

4. Start off on the right foot

Before you begin, make sure no one is hungry or thirsty and that they have used the bathroom. As we travel by public transport into the city when we visit the Art Gallery of WA, we usually stop at a cafe for morning tea or lunch before starting our tour.

5. Shake the sillies out

Wherever possible, give children a chance to have a run around or a short play outside before you begin. The aim is not to make them tired, just to work off the wiggles and fidgets! We are fortunate to have a community vegetable garden just outside the Art Gallery of WA so before starting we enjoy a little play time in the garden.

6. Prepare for take off

Take a moment to remind your children about the expectations for their behaviour within an art gallery before you begin so you can start your tour on a positive note.

7. Enjoy the journey

As your children look at the artwork displayed take a moment to read the title cards of any pieces that particularly capture their interest. Ask questions to gauge their thoughts and feelings about what they see – in my book, Time to Create, I provide lots of suggestions for talking to children about art making, the creative process and finished works of art. For example, you might ask;

  • What does this painting/drawing/sculpture remind you of?
  • Why do you think the title of the piece is ____?
  • What do you think the artist used to make this artwork?
  • Which of these artworks do you find the most interesting? Why?
  • How does this artwork make you feel?
  • Can you tell me a story about what you see?

As appropriate, let your children take the lead – stopping and spending time looking at exhibits that engage them and moving more quickly on where they appear disinterested.

8. Let them create!

Provide the opportunity for your children to create their own art. Take along a sketchbook and pencil roll for drawing their responses to the art on display, or a camera so they can take photos as a record of what they saw (be aware that some galleries will not let you use a flash when taking photographs). For something a little different, encourage your children to use their body to mimic the shapes and forms represented in the artwork they see – this can be a lot of fun when looking at sculpture.

9. Extend the learning

Try some of the strategies shared in this post, Making the Most of Outings, Day Trips and Excursions, to follow up on your visit at home. A visit to the art gallery can be the stimulus for some fabulous at-home learning and creativity.

About Christie

Christie Burnett is a qualified early childhood teacher and mum of two very busy, little girls who shares her passion for parenting adventures and passion for early childhood education on her award winning blog, childhood101.com. Her first book Time to Create: Hands-On Explorations in Process Art for Young Children is now available internationally through all major online booksellers, including The Book Depository, Amazon and Fishpond.

Time to Create_Christie Burnett

Making Maths Fun for Kids (at home)

Guest Post by Tierney Kennedy

Today on the blog I have long time Be A Fun mum reader Tierney guest posting about making Math’s fun at home. With three kids of her own, plus 50 books for teachers under her name, she’s the person to talk to!  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments at end of the post.

making maths fun for kids

As a parent I have lots of ideas about the experiences that I want to give my kids, but when it comes down to it I’m usually too tired, busy and time-poor to make them happen.  It’s hard not to feel guilty about the things that we know are important but don’t manage to get to.

Maths is one of those things that we feel guilty about.  Often we are scared of maths because of our own negative experiences, so we avoid it — and then end up passing that same fear onto our kids.  Plus, there is that feeling of not really knowing what to do anyway, so we tend to focus on reading and leave maths to teachers instead of doing much of it ourselves.

I want to share some simple ideas for changing this – for building maths into normal life in a way that doesn’t take a whole lot of time, effort or energy – for making maths fun.

Here are a few of my favourite things to do with my own kids.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!

1. High fives

We like making ‘weird high fives’ using the fingers of both hands (e.g. 4 fingers on one hand and 1 on the other), and then to play around we make other numbers such as high eights or high threes.  It usually results in lots of giggles and tends to get a bit out of control with both boys trying to outdo each other.

2. Maths at breakfast

Often we end up out for dinner or talking through how our days went, so I find breakfast a better time to bring maths into our discussions.  One of my favourites was when I cut up our toast into quarters and presented it on the one plate instead of giving it out individually.  I asked the kids to work out how many bits of bread there had been before I cut them up.  Then I had them work out how to share the pieces fairly.

3. Maths snack

Another cool idea is to give the kids a few sultanas (say 4 or 5) and get them to work out how many there are, then move the sultanas around and see if the number changes.  Don’t tell them, just ask “how many are there now?” and let them count as many times as they need to.  Eventually the idea will sink in, and you can ask “do you think that I could change how many there are by moving them or will it always be the same?”  This might sound pretty basic, but establishing what changes a number and what doesn’t is the key idea that kids need to in order to be successful at school maths and I would estimate that 80% of Prep-aged kids don’t have this concept solidly sorted.  You can play with this concept in a lot of different ways.  Try spreading the sultanas out, squashing them up, putting them in a circle and putting them in a container and shaking it to see if the number changes.

4. Maths while playing

Repetitious games, while boring for us, allow kids to predict patterns and recognise sequences.  Games which have the same answer each time, or the same sequence of actions (e.g. hop twice then blink) are great for future learning of algebra.  These are particularly helpful if you can build on a basic sequence, by repeating it back and then adding in an extra step.  They also build short-term memory retention.  For babies this can be as simple as playing “round and round the garden” and slowing down the steps until the kids are giggling in anticipation of the tickling.

Skittles is also a fantastic game for building number skills.  I used 6 plastic bottles to play with my three year old.  He used to yell out, “Mummy, I knocked 5 down.  There’s 1 left!”  In teacher-talk this is called “partitioning” and it’s about breaking a number up into smaller bits.  Kids who can break any number up into smaller parts can automatically add and subtract when the time comes.

5. Maths with my body

Lots of kids begin with a concept of 1, 2 and then “many”.  They call this many lots of different names, including rote counting, or calling any big number 100.  It can be hard for them to recognise that different amounts have different names.  So when we are introducing numbers it is important to only introduce one at a time and to relate it to what they already know.  If a child knows 1 and 2 (two is one for each hand), then three is the next number.  Three is one in each hand and one left over (or one in each hand and one on your head to make them laugh).  Four can be two in each hand, or one on each hand and one on each foot.  Five can be two in each hand with one left, or one on each hand, foot, and one on your head.  By building up knowledge of numbers as “one more than” we help kids to recognise numbers in their own right and build their confidence as they go.

Have a great time building maths into everyday life and your kids will become more confident with it too.  Look out for opportunities to talk about maths when you are in your normal routine: out for a walk (looking at house numbers), buying things from the shop (counting and weighing fruit) and setting the table (working out how many forks are needed for everyone).

Maths shouldn’t be scary for us, or for our kids.  Mostly, it is just plain fun.

About the Author

Tierney Kennedy is mum to three children, a maths consultant and author of over 50 books for teachers.  She works with teachers from around Australia to help maths actually make sense to kids.

Website: www.backtofrontmaths.com.au/teachers

Facebook page: Maths Matters

Play Scene: Dinosaur Island

play scene -- dinosaur island

Last week, my son and I spent the day at the museum.  He loved the dinosaurs the best.

{At the museum}

dinosaur at museum

I enjoy using things we do together as inspiration for facilitating play, and so we created a Dinosaur Play Scene. Come and see Dinosaur Island.

Materials

Under-bed storage plastic container (or other plastic container)

Sticks, bark and rocks

Log

Dinosaur figurines

Food colouring

Set up

1. I placed a log inside the container, with a few sticks, bark and rocks. My son filled the container with water & I added a few drops of blue food colouring (it’s very diluted so doesn’t stain hands or clothes).

dinosaur play scene

2. Add dinosaur figurines and that’s it.

play scene -- dinosaur island

play scene -- dinosaur island

More

10 Dinosaur Activites for Kids

Play scenes ideas

A Drawing Game: Collaboration

Guest Post from Fi from Destination Bali

This drawing game is a lot of fun. It doesn’t matter what age your children are, or if there are a few kids to keep busy at the same time.

Materials

Water colour paper (or any other piece of paper or cardboard)

Water colour paint and/or any other drawing materials

Instructions

1. Grab a piece of paper or even the side of a cardboard box (cereal ones are great). We like to start with paint but you can use any material: crayons, pencils, biro, texter.

2. One person starts the picture and everyone take turns at adding an element to the drawing.  In our case, it was best to start with separate works for each child (I have four children), and then they pass it on, so everyone has a piece of paper in front of them.  Collaborating is a little like sharing.

3. A round head is a great place to start (a circle) and then go from there. There is no way you can art direct this activity; you have no control which is wonderful once you embrace it. Keep going. Some creations can take days, some minutes. If you’re working with paint, once it is dry, pencils and crayons can added on top.

drawing game for siblings

drawing game for siblings

drawing game for siblings

More

See all the posts from Fi here: Family Tropical Adventure in Bali

Imaginative Play Scene: A Fairy Door

imaginative play scene -- the fairy door

I came across The Fairy Door Store  on Facebook and I fell instantly in love with the product.  The fairy doors are all kinds of magical cuteness, sure to stimulate imaginative play for kids.  I emailed Sarah from to ask her if she would work with me to do a play scene for my blog, and so here we are.

Imaginative Play Scene

Materials

Fairy Door

Shells

Decorative stones

Fairy or small doll

Ribbon or streamers (optional)

To set up this this play scene, I placed a few shells and decorative stones at the base of a tree and used blu-tack (glue to make it permanent) the fairy door to the trunk.  I also tied a few ribbons on the tree branches above the door, and it looks truly magical! I wish I could describe the gasp of delight from my daughter when she saw this.

Fairy Door in a tree

Happiness! 

playing with fairy

imaginative play scene -- fairy door

More

Imaginative Play Scenes

Nature Crafts & Activities

There is much wonder all around and endless ways to create joy. These are two things I hope my children will embrace. Our family aims to live life less compartmentalised so we look for ways to connect the things we do when we are out with things we do at home. One way to do this is to enjoy the beauty of nature and bring this into our home in various forms. Below are links to some of the nature crafts and activities we enjoy (click the pictures for more information on the relevant post).

I would love your suggestions too;  leave a comment at the end of the post.

1. Leaf Art

I can’t tell you how much I love this picture. To see how we made it, click the picture.

leaf art drawing

2. Flower Head Wreath

This wild flower head wreath was easy to made and so much fun for a summer day. We LOVED this activity and you can read more about it on the post.

Fresh flower head wreath

3. Stick Feature

This is a very simple craft. All you need to do is collect twigs (and flowers if you like) and tie them along a piece of string. This can be hung in the home as a feature.

stick hanging feature

4. Rock Towers

This doubles as both an activity and a imaginative play scene.

rock towers

5. Pebble and Stick Trail

This simple activity can lead to all sorts of play ideas.

Nature crafts -- rock and stick trail

6. Pet Rock

I love pet rocks. A lot. They are easy to make and are really so adorable.  A pet rock can be given as a gift, made for best friends (make one for each friend), used as a paper weight, placed on a shelf for decoration (make an entire family of pet rocks) or to play with.

how to make a pet rock

7.Wooden Picture

A smooth piece of wood can be turned into artwork.

nature craft and activities - wood picture

8. Discovery Box

The kids and I made a discovery box for all our collections. You can also make a treasure hunt out of this activity.

{click the picture for more ideas plus free label printouts}

nature crafts for kids -- discovery box

9. Pine Cones

Pine cones are useful for all sorts of art and craft activites.  They are fun to paint, can be displayed in a vase or used in a diorama. To see more pine cone crafts, click the picture.

how to make a christmas diorama

10. Flower Posy

Ah, yes. The simple joy of a posy in a glass is a delight.

glass juice bottle vases

11. Cinnamon Sticks in a Jar

When I was in Thailand, my room had a cinnamon sticks in a jar feature beside my bed. It was just beautiful!

nature crafts -- cinnamon sticks in a jar

12. Paint Rose Petals

Fi shared this with me one of her regular posts. The idea is to use the rose petals as inspiration for a 5 minute art project. On watercolour paper, paint a rose petal shape, using the real petals as a guide. Use a contrasting coloured pencil to add a little detail. This art project looks stunning in a simple frame.

nature crafts -- paint rose petals

Do you have other nature crafts & activities to add?

Pintrest

I have a collection of nature craft ideas on this Pintrest board: Nature Crafts

Other Posts

Favourite Outdoor Play Spaces

Playing with your kids: a confession

Living Learning and Connecting the Dots

Words As Concepts

words as concepts

It wasn’t exactly intentional, but over time, I noticed my use of certain words to describe concepts with the children. It’s interesting to see how the repetitive use of these words/concepts have come full circle and now the kids encourage me with the same.

I say things like:

“use your imagination”

“find something creative to do”

“you made a discovery”

“go on an adventure”

“choose to be happy”

“let’s hope for something”

imagine

Definition: form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case

Imagination is wonderful thing!  And children do it so well! I believe imagination is the step before creation.  It’s the ability to think outside the box and has enormous potential as a problem solving tool.  I often find myself affirming this sort of behaviour in my children, and rather than saying, “That’s good,” I say, “WOW, you’re using your imagination!”

create

Definition: make or cause to be or to become

“Find something creative to do” is a phrase I use often.  It may be when the kids have watched television for a while or if they are feeling bored. I guess what I’m trying to encourage is the ability for my children to create their own fun without the need for constant entertainment.  There is usually always something fun to discover, no matter where you are.

discover

Definition: a productive insight

Discoveries are everywhere. Many of the love the moment challenges have led to wonderful learning experiences for the children and I! Discovery for me is about being aware of what is around me and the attitude of  constantly growing and learning. This is something I want to teach my children.

adventure

Definition: an exciting undertaking

My son often comes up to me and says, “I’m going on an adventure.” True: it may be hiding behind trees in the backyard, but the excitement is there!  Our family loves adventure, and we use the word when we are doing something exciting, like 4Wheel Driving on the beach, hiking, visiting a theme park or even just taking a different road home. “Let’s go on an adventure today!” Bring. It. On.

happy

Definition: contentment

There’s a lot of noise about happiness these days.  I think happiness is  less about doing what you want and more about choosing to be content with what you have. It’s the way you look at a situation. I also see happiness as a consequence, not a goal; a natural consequence of carving a life of value is that feeling of satisfaction. That is part of the reason why I have the “Pollyanna” in the ingredients of a Fun Mum.  When my kids are all “poor me” I encourage them to make a choice to be happy. To be content, to look at things differently, to carve out a life of significance and satisfaction, even when things don’t turn out the way they expect.

hope

Definition: to be optimistic, and the general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled

Hope. Having something to look forward to is a coping mechanism I often use.  When I have a hard week ahead, or a weekend without my husband, I plan something special in the future so I can look forward to it.  This works with the children too. Just this morning, my daughter had something hard to face at school. I gave her $2 to spend at the tuck-shop (a rarity for her). It wasn’t bribery, it was hope! I  thought having something for her to look forward to would help her face the day with a little more hope.

Words. Words are wonderful! And I love how their meaning have become concepts for our family to enjoy.

  • It thrills me when my children call me to look at their game: “Mum! Come look! We used our imagination!”
  • I laugh when my children, in a forbearing tone say, “Yeah Mum, we know: Find something creative to do.” And then later I find an amazing construction craft out of packing tape and recycled boxes.
  • I feel privileged to watch my children discover the wonder around them and they encourage me to do the same.
  • I love how the children embrace adventure with open arms, and how having them with me makes me look for adventure in all sorts of places.
  • I feel proud when my children make the decision to be happy, regardless of the situation.
  • And hope. There’s always hope. And if it’s not obvious, I invent it; for me and for my kids.

I love these words, and what they mean to me:

Imagine . Create . Discover . Adventure . Happy . Hope

Oh, and I like the word brilliant too.

What words do you love?

Links

How to Be A Fun Mum

Ingredients of a Fun Mum

Make a Clothes Person

My children constantly amaze me.  I came into my 4-year-old’s room and found her working on this life-size snowman (without the snow).

She used a mask from the dress up box for the face.  A scarf from Mummy’s draw for the hair.  Her own clothes for the body and socks for the feet.  There is even a cuddly toy to hold. How cute!

I though this such a great activity and one worth sharing.

External Links

I’m joining in with Childhood101 We Play. If you want some inspiration for play activities, Childhood101 is the place to be.

Be A Fun Mum Links

Paper Dolls

3D City Skyline

The Best Dad For Me

Balloon Fight Fun

Nature Hunt

Op Shop Cubby

A Pile of Straws

We Play: Blu Tack

Inhibiting Play

Make Scramble Eggs Tonight, Have Fun Tomorrow

We Play : Blu Tack

I discoverd Blue Tack Colour.  It costs about $3 and is a fabulous moulding material.  It’s less messy than play-dough and not sticky like clay. Blue Tack holds its shape and is easy to work with.

The children I was with today (2-5 years) enjoyed this activity with little adult intervention.  My older children loved it too! When you are finished, just stick it on a wall for next time. You have to love the easy storage.

It’s a  activity.

Part of Childhood101 We Play Link-up

Missed last week’s post?  Inhibiting Play.

Vintage Mother Value

Much, if not all, of  work performed by mothers, in relation to caring for children and home-duties, is unpaid work.  In a world where money = status, bearing and caring for children is at the bottom of the pile.   I believe in the value of Motherhood as a chosen occupation or otherwise; however today’s society doesn’t.

Fifty odd years ago, although not idealistic for women, was a time when mothering was valued; it was important.   I’m under no illusions of the difficulties women faced in the 1950’s.  Just read the list in the 1954 Home Economics High School Text Book titled, How to Be a Good Wife. Today, this list may seem unachievable and downright degrading; however, when read in context with the expectation of the time, it doesn’t seem so shocking; kidna nice actually. In saying that, I wouldn’t like to go back to that time period. Instead, I’m highlighting the high value society (1950) placed on homemaking and the power a woman has to create atmosphere for her family; so much so, it was taught in school. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the same value for mothers without the expectation; to have a variety of choice without the pressure? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the best of both worlds?

It’s 2010, not the 1950’s. Roles of women and men are intermixed. Our world is fast paced and ridiculously full of stuff.  Material things are made to break, not last. We replace everything and throw out everything else.  We feel embarrassed when we say, “I’m a Mum.”  For a better response we say, “I’m a Mum but I used to be a nurse,” or “I’m a Mum but I’m working part time,” or “I’m a working Mum.” Just being one thing isn’t enough; women are pressured to ‘have it all’ in order to be valued by society.  The societal contrast between the 1950 and today is dramatic.

(I obtained data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics and various journal articles.)

When comparing the two time periods, it’s obvious the 1950 model of living was far kinder to society in general.  But really, I don’t think going back is realistic; I prefer to strive for an in-between. I like to call it Vintage Mother Value.  This is my goal.

This is not a post about working mother verses stay-at-home mothers or anywhere in-between. This is a post about valuing motherhood; valuing the essence of a woman: the heart of a family. If we could recapture 1950 value without losing modern choice, it would be a very wonderful thing.

Just Go and Play

“Will you just go and play!”

I catch myself saying this when my young children are hanging off my legs.  Sometimes a child doesn’t know where to start when it comes to play. When this happens, a little effort in terms of set-up, goes a long way.

To be honest, I often don’t want to take the time to instigate play for my children, let alone sit down and play with them.  I’m just too busy; I’ve got too much to do; I don’t feel like it.  This is truth; however, what I find is, when I take the time out to be with my children this is what happens:

1. I actually enjoy it!

2. The children play happily and independently for longer periods.

This is the secret: just decide to take the time.

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Tips for setting up toys:

1. Try setting up somewhere different. For example, a table, outdoors, in a different room or on a bright coloured picnic mat.

2. Spend 5 minutes with your child/ren before leaving them play (this may be a little tricky if you only have one child but it’s good for a child to play independently so work towards it as a goal).

3. Leave the toys set up.  I know it’s good to “pack things away after we have finished with it” but when I take the time to set up toys for the children, they tend to play with it, on and off, throughout the day.

4. Pull out toys your children haven’t played with for a while.

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If your child is stuck in terms of how to play…

It’s worth it in the long run.

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This is part of the Childhood101 We Play Linkup.

Whose House? Paper Craft

This is an easy paper craft I used to make when my kids were small. It’s so quick and easy and essentially all you need is scissors, paper and tape.

Materials

Whose House? Craft Template (click to access PDF file)

Drawing pencils

Sticky Tape

Instructions

1. Child can colour in Whose House? Page One if they like. Maybe a different colour for each door!

2. Child can colour Whose House? Page Two. Sometimes kids want to colour, sometimes they don’t.  

3. Adult to cut along three sides of all windows and door of Whose House? Page One to create openings.

4. Place Whose House? Page One on top of Whose House? Page Two and sticky tape sides (or glue).

Ideas for Games

  • Open the numbers in sequence
  • Create animal sounds at each opening
  • Make up a story
  • Sing ‘Old MacDonald’ Had a Farm’
  • Make your own Whose House?: Use the Whose House? Page One page only and sticky tape a blank piece of paper behind.  Open the windows and door and draw in the empty space

I did this craft with these two boys. It was a lot of fun and they were engaged.