Friday, 15 May 2015

Art with Wolves - more peaceful than it sounds!

OK so that was two days of Art in a row, but it does feel like our 'happy place': something we can all do together that is almost always relaxed, enjoyable and productive.  I knew 10yo Niece was coming to us for the day today and I like to have a couple of ideas up my sleeve.  She had already asked in advance if she could do some baking today, so that was one - and knowing that she likes wolves, I went to the Deep Space Sparkle website to see what handy lupine ideas Patty had for me, but I found none!  I think that may be the first time that has happened.  Anyway, it worked out fine as it forced me to get creative.

So, first we chatted briefly about where wolves live and what their behaviour is, and I then said we could make some silhouette art using wolves howling at the moon (that behaviour had been mentioned by the kids).  I had found some silhouettes on Google but when I tried to print them for the children to use as templates, the printer decided to go on strike, so I had to trace them myself off my laptop screen... not easy!  Still - we managed, after a bit of fiddling to make sure I got the images to the size they wanted, and off we went.  We didn't have any 'night-sky' coloured paper for the background, so we quirkly mixed some dark blue paint and covered some lighter blue card with it, to get the right colour sky.  Eldest and Youngest didn't want stars, but Middle and Niece did, so they used the toothbrush technique to splatter their paper with silver dots.  Niece's desire for stars was temporarily scuppered as she couldn't bear to get her hands dirty, so we used a pencil to rub along the bristles rather than her finger - problem solved!  Then we cut out the moon out of white/ light grey paper, and the landscape and wolves (using the templates) out of black card.  We could have done freehand drawing for the wolf outlines, but I think they found the templates challenging enough - and actually it was more of an exercise in composition: I wanted them to think about what difference it would make having a larger or smaller moon, larger or smaller wolf; one wolf or more, background details such as trees or starts... and the positioning of all of the above.  I think they all did really well and am particularly chuffed because it was a made-up project lacking handy online instructions to follow but the results look great!

by Eldest
 (the background was darker and sadly didn't come out as well in my photo but if you look closely you will see a cute wolf cub and forest trees)

by Niece - note the excellent stars

by Youngest (with only a little help cutting out the gaps in the legs)

by Middle - love how different his looks!

So including the Art, it has been a nice peaceful day.  All the boys went on MathsWhizz and Literacy Planet first thing, and Niece also went on Literacy Planet on her own computer which she brought with her (laptops make HE so easy!).  Following that, I could hear Niece watching some science videos which sounded really good, so I asked what it was and she told me it was on BrainPop, so of course I had to investigate (not least because the boys rarely complain about ANY work I ask them to do if it is computer-based).  A friend did have a discount code that I hoped to use, but unfortunately it expired today.  Still, at £40 for a year, considering the wealth of brilliant resources on there, I decided it was worth it, and paid up.  Middle came in to have a look and ended up watching something on Black Holes (his choice), followed by a quiz.  He chose to do a graded quiz, which surprised me as I thought he would go for the option where he could just keep going 'til he got it all right - but there was no problem anyway as he got nine out of ten at the first attempt!  We are definitely liking BrainPop and hoping to use it a lot in the future!

Finally over lunch we watched a TV program on Burmese wildlife (animal programs are a no-brainer when Niece comes round as she loves them as much as the boys), and then Niece and I got baking. The boys were all baked out after yesterday, so we had a nice quiet bit of girl-time in the kitchen making Toffee Squares while the boys tidied their rooms and played Pokemon games...

What a lovely day!  I am feeling the need to get outside tomorrow as we've been indorrs for two days in a row now, but what lovely days they have been - I'm not complaining at all!


  1. Fabulous artwork! Oh, we love Brainpop here, have been using it for several years, j has learnt so, so much from it! For future reference, if you email them and tell them you home ed, they will give you a discount - last time I think we got 18months for the price of 12. Their customer service is great, and there is also brainpop Jr, which youngest might like Rx

    1. Thanks Rachel, that's really helpful! Looking forward to future BrainPop exploration :)