Art Appreciation ~ Pollock

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I love the arts, especially the creativity it evokes in young people. However, my own artistic ability, as it relates to visual arts, is very limited, and so I thought a fun way to integrate it into our school plan for the year would be through monthly Art Appreciation projects.


We had a blast exploring a number of messy painting methods, in our attempt to emulate Jackson Pollock’s famous abstract expressionist Drip Painting style.

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To prepare I took out a variety of paint colours, some paint trays and necessary items required, which I have listed in each section. Then we put on some paint clothes and had fun getting messy!

String Art

Required Materials: paint, tray, paper, clothespins and pieces of string (approximately 5cm in length)

First up was String Art. Each child was given their materials and created a masterpiece by dragging the string, clamped in the clothespin, through paint and around the paper.

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Marble Art

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Required Materials: paint, tray, paper, marbles (we used 3)

Next up was Marble Art. Each child was given their materials and created a masterpiece by rolling the marbles through blobs of paint and around the paper.

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Splatter Art

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Required Materials: paint, paper, an assortment of “splatter” instruments (those we used are pictured above)

Finally, we had some fun with Splatter Art. For this one, a nice day and some outdoor/easily washable space is highly recommended. Each child was given their materials and access to any of the instruments. Then they each created a unique masterpiece by using their instruments to splatter paint across their paper.

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This was a fantastic art medium for those active kids, who aren’t always willing to sit still for a typical art lesson or craft.

We were also quite intrigued by the variety of outcomes, as no two masterpieces were alike!

All in all we had a great time appreciating Pollock’s art methods!

Have fun and let us know how you made out, if you decide to try it!

Feed the Birds

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It’s been a cold, long winter here and while we have been able to cozy up by the fire, the birds have been left to the elements.

And so we have been doing our part to keep them fed – here are a couple of our favourite homemade bird feeders:

 

Peanut Butter Sunflower Rolls:

The kids really enjoy making these ones. They are quick and easy and only require a few items.

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Materials:

– Peanut Butter

– Plastic Knives

– Sunflower seeds (or any birdseed)

– Bowl or plate (for rolling)

– Toilet paper rolls

– String (for hanging)

– String

IMG_3356 Method:

Allow the children to spread peanut butter onto their desired number of toilet paper rolls. Then roll in your choice of bird seed. Lace a string through the roll, tie and they are ready to hang!

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Blueberry Cheerio Hearts:

These feeders are a tasty treat for the birds and also double and triple (and even quadruple!) as a snack for the kids and a fine motor and patterning activity!

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Materials:

– pipe cleaners

– cheerios

– blueberries

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Method:

Allow kids to thread the Cheerios and blueberries onto each pipe cleaner. This is a great opportunity to encourage younger children to be more precise in their fine motor activity, especially with the blueberries, which require much less force! For older children, ask them to create and continue a pattern as they thread. Once the kids are satisfied with their creation, twist the pipe cleaner ends and bend into a cute heart shape! Hang.

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 Our finished products are loved by the birds and even make the trees look pretty, but best of all, they bring the sounds of Spring to our yard…since the snow and cold don’t seem to be in a hurry to go!

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 Do have a favourite way to feed the birds in you area? Care to share? We are always looking for new ideas!

Art Appreciation: The Group of Seven

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I love the arts, especially the creativity it evokes in young people. However, my own artistic ability, as it relates to visual arts, is very limited, and so I thought a fun way to integrate it into our school plan for the year would be through monthly Art Appreciation projects.

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October’s Art Appreciation project (albeit a little late being posted!) was a tribute to The Group of Seven, famous for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape.

We took a stroll up to the sand pit near our home and let the Fall landscape that surrounded us inspire our paintings, using tempera paints on canvas.

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The combination of Fall air and forest surroundings were the perfect muse, seeing as the kid’s both produced some pretty great masterpieces!

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Painting with nature!

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Each week on our Bush Kinder walk, I try to have the kids focused on some aspect of nature, whether it be based on observing, listening, or collecting. Their favourite, by far, is collecting pieces of nature for future crafting!

This week I had them look for natural items that could be used as paintbrushes for a painting project. They collected leaves, pine needles, a pine cone and some tree bark (my rule is that all collecting must be from that which has fallen naturally to the forest floor, this way we are minimizing our eco-footprint, as well).

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We began by heading out to the yard and setting up with a canvas, a variety of fall paint hues, and our nature finds.

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Then we got to work experimenting with the varying paint strokes, choosing from the natural items we had found.

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Even our youngest artist enjoyed this activity!

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This was a great creative experience and our completed canvases were masterpieces, in my humble opinion!

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Bush Kinder Mornings

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I follow some amazing peeps on Instagram and came across this idea of Bush Kinder from some UK mommies on there. From the moment I first saw it, I knew it was something I wanted to do in some form with my own littles.

When the decision came to homeschool Little Momma, I quickly began networking with some like-minded homeschool families and began to orchestrate a weekly gathering. My goal was to find some homeschool playmates and to spend at least one child-led morning out in nature each week.

We are only 2 weeks into the program and my goal has been achieved and then some!

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Our group focuses on one nature trail each month, with the thought that the children will have the opportunity to work towards mastery of their environment, as they explore and discover on their own terms. And let me tell you, it has been incredible to watch these little ones running wild and free, choosing when to charge forward and when to take in the beauty around them. WHAT they notice is so refreshing and eye opening, and I can only count myself blessed and priveledged to watch it unfold.

These are the moments that pull me away from my need for planning and curriculum and towards the unschooling movement. I see value in both ends of this continuum, but cannot argue the value of learning initiated and directed by a child (with some adult facilitation of course!).

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I am beyond excited to continue this adventure of learning and growing at Bush Kinder, alongside some amazing littles!

Diamond Jubilee Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!

      This week we made a pit stop at a newer splash pad and park in Findlay Creek. It would have been a trek if we weren’t already out that way, but I’m so glad we checked it out. It’s a new favourite for sure!

Location: Located off of Bank Street at 2810 Findlay Creek Drive. There is a parking lot, an adjacent skate park, gazebo, picnic tables and lots to do!

Featuring: An awesome splash pad with lots of neat features – showers, animal squirting cannons, sprayers, fountains, misting archway, water dome and jets. The ground is also more spongy than a typical splash pad surface, which was really great for running and jumping on (especially for barefooted Mr Man and newly toddling Baby Girl!).

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The two play structures also offered many opportunities for climbing, sliding, swinging and playing!

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How to turn the water on: By holding your palm over the silver sensor on the red flower post.

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Most Favourite: While the kids really enjoyed the splash pad, the biggest smiles of the day were found on the swings! There are two baby swings and 2 accessible swings.

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This Momma absolutely loved this ASL alphabet board over on the play structure, too!

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Least Favourite: Little Momma enjoyed the squirting animals, as long as they were not aimed at her…Mr Man felt the same 😉

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Verdict: { 5 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗∗

See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park

Brookshire Park

Richcraft Park

Walden Park

Water Dragon Park

Water Dragon Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!


This week we took a little trip as a fam to Water Dragon Park in Barrhaven.

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Location: Located in the heart of Barrhaven at 424 Chapman Mills Drive. This park is also known as Chapman Mills Main Street Park, not to be confused with Chapman Mills Park (which is not on Chapman Mills ;P). There is plenty of parking right beside the park, as well as a shaded gazebo with a picnic table and benches too!

Featuring: A wonderful and diverse play area, that was great for kids of all ages! A giant, climbable dragon, as well as two play structures, with a variety of slides, climbers and swinging bars.

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There were also interactive play ares and bouncy animals for the younger crowd; a cool rock climbing wall and swings, too!

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The splash pad also carries on the dragon theme, with a huge, green dragon that pours water from its snout and tail! There are also a number of ground fountains and four big, red buckets dumping water on the heads of those brave enough to stand under! The run-off water does create a slippery mud pit just beyond the dragon’s tail so beware!

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How to turn the water on: By stepping on the copper-coloured metal circle sensor, located along the edge of the splash pad near the dragon’s head. We haven’t seen this type of sensor before, but the kids thought it was great (and so did I!).

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Most Favourite: Mr Man enjoyed filling buckets with water from the dragon tail, which sprays out in a few spots with lower pressure. He then liked to use said buckets to splash Daddy – better him then me!

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Little Momma was much more into climbing than splashing today. She has become very dedicated and focused on mastering every climber we come across this summer!!

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Least Favourite: While still not brave enough ourselves, we have graduated to watching the dumping buckets soak others, and this time Mr Man tried hard to have Daddy go under 😉

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Verdict: { 4 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗

 

See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park

Brookshire Park

Richcraft Park

Walden Park

Walden Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!


We have now also visited the splash pad at Walden Park in Kanata Lakes.

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Photo Cred: Wayne Hylarides

 Location: Close to the Kanata Centrum at 243 Walden Drive in Kanata. There’s a parking lot adjacent to the park, a walking trail and lots of shade and sitting areas.

Featuring: The park had lots to offer, there are two great play structures that appeal to kids of all ages.

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A great big sandy area which encloses the smaller of the play structures, two bouncy ride-ons and lots of space for sand-play and castle building.

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The splash pad is very simple and ideal for the younger, more hesitant crowd! It has two circular misters, a few fountains, sprayers and instead of dumping buckets the tall post has three dripping shower heads.

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How to turn the water on: By pressing the black sensor on the blue post – it beeps for some added entertainment too 😉

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Most Favourite: Both kids love running through the ‘tunnel’ fountains and would hover and wait excitedly for them to come back on during each cycle.

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Least Favourite: Both kids faced some frustrations this week as they attempted to overcome their hesitancy, Mr Man with the pouring shower posts and Little Momma with the climbing web! Although the result was a dose of whining and pouting, it always makes me proud to see them pushing their limits on their own time 🙂

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Verdict: { 4 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗

See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park

Brookshire Park

Richcraft Park

Teachable Moments ~ Snails

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{Teachable Moments} 

When I was teaching in the classroom, I was always striving to be an intentional teacher, who pounced readily on teachable moments as they would arise. And now as a parent, my philosophy is much the same. I am fueled by seizing these fleeting moments and doing my best to make them memorable for my children (and me too!).

Today I had planned to get a lot of chores done around the house. Seeing as the morning was beautiful I thought I’d take the kids into the backyard and get some tidy-up and weeding done while they played. But you know how the best laid plans seem to go…

Little Momma and I came across a couple of snails in the clothes peg basket and next thing I knew we were emerged in the study and search of their species!

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We got out the magnifying glasses to get a closer look, pulled out our little bug cage and began researching the diet and habitat of snails on the iPad.

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Next we were collecting some bedding and food for our little friends to help make their new home comfy! Added learning bonus: Little Momma became quite the expert on the differences between stems, leaves and flowers!

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Little Momma was quite tickled with the end result and loved watching them glide around as they explored their new digs 🙂

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And yes, my backyard is still disorganized and my garden needs weeding, but at least I know a bit more about snails 😉

Isn’t it so freeing and refreshing to just go with the flow sometimes? Care to share one of your recent teachable moments?

 

Brookshire Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!


We spent another HOT morning visiting a great little gem of splash pad, BROOKSHIRE PARK in Kanata.

Location: Just off of March Road at 1035 Klondike Road in Kanata North. There is a fair sized parking lot and it’s tucked in nicely away from the road.

Featuring: A basketball court, soccer field, gazebo, benches.

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Swings and a central sand box (seeing as the park area is woodchips ;p).

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A great playground with lots of spinners and two play structures.

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The smaller structure is great for younger kids, with slides and small scale climbers.

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The larger one had lots of variety for climbing, swinging, playing and sliding.

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Over at the splash pad there were fountains and misting circles,

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and smaller spraying fountains in the ground. As well as a shower and water pump (pictured below!).

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How to turn the water on: By pushing the button on the red post.

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Most Favourite: Little Momma ran through the misting circles, which was a pretty huge step for her!

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Mr Man loved watching the older boys who were having a water fight with Super Soakers, longing to join in.

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And Baby Girl absolutely loved this red, see-through post. We haven’t seen one before in our splash pad travels; it fills with water and then empties like a vortex as it pumps through, also spraying out near the bottom

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 Least Favourite: Much like the dumping buckets, this big 4-spouted, high-pressure shower was too much for my kiddos!

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Verdict: {4 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗

and we even saw a rainbow!! <3

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See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park