Whanau-Family Time

Coloured Paper Easter Eggs

We have been busy making coloured paper Easter Eggs today. It’s a fun way to use up any scraps of coloured paper, card or even wrapping paper. Punch out some coloured dots with a hole punch or cut mosaic shapes out of different pieces of coloured paper then glue and position on larger egg shapes to decorate, however you wish. We used some washi tape to make stripes as well. We are planning an egg hunt for the weekend so I might make some mini versions and hide them in envelopes around the house with the clues inside for my son to solve. But also we wanted to add a bit of bright and colourful cheer to our home so we may make an Easter wreath and display. There has been a call out to decorate eggs and place them in the front window of your home so children can hunt for eggs as they are out walking in the neighbourhood, which I thought was an amazing idea!

Just thought I’d share this simple little activity and what we’re up to in our lil whare today! Happy Easter crafting xx

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Whanau-Family Time

Baking up a storm!

My son found a recipe on YouTube for baguettes. So I decided to turn this curiosity into a learning opportunity. I agreed to let him try making some bread if he watched the tutorial and copied down the recipe and method. To my complete surprise he actually did it! To keep my end of the deal I set up all the ingredients and let him go for gold. I closely supervised, but I let him do the measuring, mixing, kneading and shaping. Oooooh was it hard not to step in, especially when there was flour flying everywhere in the kitchen! But you know what, he persevered and he got through. I was thoroughly impressed! 

I’ve always encouraged my babies to help out in the kitchen, its just always been that way in my family. It’s how we bond and hand down knowledge between generations. But this is the first time I’ve let my son really choose what he wanted to cook, from scratch, start to finish. In one baking session we covered procedural writing, measurement and time management as well as working on those fine motor skills. What a jam packed lesson. And he got to eat the delicious results that he worked so hard to make.

Home made bread is one of those things that conjures up all kinds of memories and nostalgia. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh bread wafting through the whare. It’s comforting and warm. But there’s also so much that can be learnt through the bread making process. It can provide an awesome opportunity to get discussing different ingredients, tools and techniques while being a highly tactile activity. And there are so many amazing recipes online to try, with only a few basic ingredients you have a whole afternoon lesson catered for. Here is our attempt at making home made baguettes.

 

 

 

 

Whanau-Family Time

Geometric Line Drawings

While completing a few tasks in one of our workbooks, I noticed on one of the activities, my son was struggling to use a ruler correctly. In school, they still rule their pages with a header and margin in red pencil, and I did see sometimes his lines would be a bit off centre but I just put it down to needing more practice. So what better time than the present to get some extra practice in!

To help him develop this skill I found a few examples of geometric drawings over on Pinterest. There truly are some amazing artists out there creating extraordinary work in this style. I saved them and had a go at drawing a few examples myself. All you need for this activity is some plain paper (or even grid paper if you have it) a ruler and a pencil. My son found using a smaller plastic ruler more manageable as you need to frequently change angles and hand positions often.

I set us up, each with our own supplies. Then I showed him what to do. For example we started with a 3-D star shape. I would demonstrate first by ruling a line on the blank page then I would get him to copy, making clear when and where we needed to join two points, just like dot to dot but with a ruler edge.

Now don’t panic if things go a bit wonky to start with. Remember practice makes perfect and if we focus on the fact that we are developing a skill, the result of the image is really secondary. The more lines ruled the better 😉

Here are a few designs that we tried, I added some shading to the lions head just for interest (I couldn’t help it). What I love most, is you only need 3 x items to complete this activity. Pencil, ruler + paper! You can get really intricate by adding more lines. I might even try this on a canvas… Anyway head over to Pinterest for even more inspiration whanau!  Enjoy, happy creating xx

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Whanau-Family Time

Amazing Mini Maze

Materials

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue
  • Small treasures

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Today we had a go at making a cardboard mini maze. It took us about 30 mins to complete. First my son sketched out the true path of the maze he wanted it to follow on a flat base piece of recycled cardboard with pencil. Then cutting thinner pieces of cardboard into strips we started constructing the maze walls.

We dabbed hot glue then positioned the wall in place holding for a few seconds to make sure it was secured in place. Then we would trim to size as per the hand drawn guidelines.

Once the true path was complete we set about constructing the dead ends of the maze and rooms. He even added a secret door complete with button which leads to the hidden treasure (also secured in place with hot glue) 

Not only can he now play with this mini maze it will work as a great adventure story writing prompt. Or he can give instructional writing a go, listing the materials and steps needed from start to finish. We can switch out the characters to make a brand new story  and maybe we will paint and decorate with different props or obstacles to start a new adventure. It really is amazing how one little project can lead to many more learning opportunities! Happy creating whanau xx

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Whanau-Family Time

Planning hints to help make the most of being home with your tamariki

I’ve been inspired by a FB Live I watched this morning, by a super woman, design & business powerhouse actually. Adrienne Whitewood of ahu boutique in my home town of Rotorua, New Zealand. I haven’t had the privilege of meeting her in person, but I have been a fan of her beautiful work in fashion for a while. What deeply resonated with me immediately while viewing the live, was her passion to give back to the community in these trying + testing times. I adore people who direct their energy towards solutions. The world is ever changing, we need to adapt and we need to do better. She offered tips on how to start an online business and various insights on how to manage an online store. This live had my brain churning all day. Making me ask ALL the questions! What can I do? What can I offer? How can I help?

We are currently in voluntary self isolation, doing our part to help flatten the curve of this virus in Western Australia. Only making essential trips out for grocery shopping and supplies. One way I thought I could ’give back’ during this time would be to share some simple ideas, activities and fun ways to help make the most of being at home with your tamariki.

We have decided to keep our children home from school until further notice. I have a 14 year old + a seven year old. As my daughter is in year 9 most of her learning resources and lessons will be completed online. My son who is in Year 2, however needs a bit more structure, planning and hands on learning experiences.

Given the current circumstances, it’s understandable things may be a bit overwhelming right now. I have to admit I had a bit of a freak out when the news first broke of what was going on. A quick phone call from Dad calmed my fears (and tears) as he helped me gain perspective and reminded me of what’s really important. Whanau and aroha. I drew strength from his words and got myself organised and drew up a plan.

I am just a Mum, sharing my experience, trying my best to support my whanau through these uncertain times. Here’s a few hints I’ve discovered, which are helping me navigate these uncharted waters. Hopefully they will be helpful for you too, if you find yourself in the same boat.

Have a daily schedule


Basing our new schedule off the regular class timetable is really working for us. It’s serving as a great guide and offers some familiarity from the school setting. My son responds well to routine and he likes to know what we will be covering and when. I have written up the daily plan on a clip board so he can see it, setting it out day by day.  It’s simple, clear and manageable.  

 

Tackle learning tasks in the morning

We do all of our school work in the morning when concentration levels are their highest. We leave the afternoons free to do family things like gardening, baking, cooking, games, chores + learning life skills.

Not everything has to be a written lesson or activity

Everyday experiences can become an opportunity for learning. Working in the garden, fixing or cleaning something or even hanging the washing can provide rich learning experiences. Use pegs to count, add and subtract to work out simple equations. Get them to hang small items by pinching and attaching the pegs to a clothes horse to strengthen their fine motor skills. Talk about the different colours they can see, can they name them all? Ask them questions like, how many socks can you find? Can you count them in two’s? Have those conversations. No doubt you will be confined to your whare and your babies will be sticking close to your side, think about how you can bring them along while you complete your daily tasks. Talk, explain, describe, demonstrate, ask questions and take turns. Allow them to teach you! It’s all valuable! 

Make lessons fun

Our lessons are short but engaging. As we are stuck at home for sometime I think it’s important to make lessons as enjoyable as possible. We get the more challenging tasks done first thing and always finish with something fun like Music, Art or Science. It really helps with motivation to have something exciting to look forward too. The amount of resources, tutorials and activities available online are almost limit less, use them!

Be prepared


We have a few supplies + some materials on hand ready to go so we aren’t wasting time finding things. It ain’t fancy, but it works! Everything is kept neat and put away ready for next time. A basic supply of pencils, a sharpener, a ruler, scissors, a glue stick and a few exercise books and we are set. 

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Improvise, invent, innovate

You don’t need a tonne of expensive supplies or resources. Use what you have at home. Collect pieces of cardboard for projects and boxes to store craft materials. Old magazines, scrap paper, cardboard tubes, cereal boxes – they are all useful.

Set up your space

Have a dedicated work space that is comfortable, with good chairs, air flow and good natural lighting. That way your children know it’s time for learning when they are in this space, I find it really helps to maintain a sense of calm in the home if everything is tidy and ready to go. We use our dining table so they have plenty of room and have a simple storage shelf which holds all of our resources. Once we are finished for the day everything gets packed away tidily ready for next time.

In all of this, it’s so important to look after yourself so you can look after the ones you love. If you need a break, allow it. Everything is changing constantly so allow flexibility to feature in your daily life. Take care, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sing songs, share stories, play games, make something together, skype friends + family. Encourage, support and nurture. We are parents first so don’t place extra stress or pressure on yourself to be the ‘perfect ‘ teacher. Stick to what you know and what interests you, share your passions with your tamariki and enjoy this time together.  While we maybe isolated physically, we have the advantage of staying connected online showing awhi and support for one another, so let’s work together and make the most of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY, Whanau-Family Time

Pantry Organization

Woweeee we have been busy lately, trying to get the kiddos settled into school and back into routine plus keeping on top of all of their appointments, homework and chores has been really taxing. It’s like notice after notice, so many requirements, so many boxes to check! How are parents surviving lol let alone the tamariki?! I have been extremely mindful of not giving in to the chaos and overwhelm this year! I have been working hard on myself to ensure our whare is organised, stocked and supportive in order for them to grow, thrive and succeed.

Whenever we have a rental inspection I take it as a good opportunity to super spring clean, declutter, refresh and re-organize. This time I decided to overhaul the pantry and label everything. It was definitely a “why haven’t I done this sooner moment?” In hopes of simplifying, I grabbed a few good storage containers (which were half price – score) I think it was a pack of 10, and made a few labels, attaching with clear tape.

The difference in space this lil act has made has been phenomenal! Now the kids just grab and go and I’m not constantly clearing out half opened boxes and packets of things. I can see at a glance what we need to top up and it just makes me personally feel more onto it, which is such a good feeling! And something I want to model for my children. We will need a few more containers to add to the mix. Old large jars with lids are also great to recycle as storage.

And I’m contemplating improved bathroom and wash house organisation too. But for now we are off to a flying start!