Wishlist for Christmas

The magical Christmas adventure the Nutcracker is a popular ballet with music written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. In The Nutcracker: Press the Note to Hear Tchaikovsky's Music (The Story Orchestra)  you can listen to 'The Dance of the Reed Flutes', 'The Waltz of Flowers' and 'The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy', while you read about... Continue Reading →

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Maybe ( ) Together |What is Love?

A lovely stop-motion animation by Jackie Edwards using drawings made by children. "Love is a kind thing to do!" "Love is something very powerful!" "Love is something beautiful!" "I think love is important!" What is love? Maybe ( ) Together | What is love? from Performing Lines on Vimeo.  

Inspired by Endangered Penguins

On the Tenth Day of October, we saved Ten Adorable Penguins If you are very lucky, according to Irish folklore, you might find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But what is a pot of gold compared to some Gentoo penguins with flamboyant red-orange beaks, white-feather caps, and peach-colored feet. Or... Continue Reading →

Creativity

What happens when we let external influences dim our inner light? Madrid based animators, Daniel Martinez Lara and Rafa Cano Mendez created this touching 8 minute short film that shows what happens when we let external influences dim our inner light. Copi is trying to teach his son, Paste, how to live and what is correct... Continue Reading →

Picture books that will empower

Traditionally, children's books used to reinforce messages that children are powerless and unimportant. Books for children were written with the aim of teaching children to adopt to adult's values. The underlying messages in the books were that children must change to fit into the world - the adult world. Today, more and more children's books... Continue Reading →

The Twelve Months of Endangered Animals – Hedgehogs

"What is the purpose of a Hedgehog?" This question popped up in a discussion about endangered animals and particularly endangered hedgehogs. Images of cute little hoglets flashed through my mind as well as beautiful illustrations from the book The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle  by Beatrix Potter. After cats, hedgehogs might be the internet's favourite animal.... Continue Reading →

Imagine a city! A Smart City!

  People flying with their umbrellas as the wind blows. Paintings that escape from their frames. Buses are fish and fish fly in the sky! Imagine a City by Elise Hurst is an invitation to imagine all sort of fantastic things. She encourages us to not only imainge fantastical cities but also takes the game a... Continue Reading →

Wonder Question Jigsaw

  “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” Winnie the Pooh Question Asking Let the students start the new school term by asking questions about things that take up the most room in their heart. They can ask BIG and important questions about serious things or small fuzzy questions that... Continue Reading →

Endangered Frogs and Lily Pads

What would you think if there were no frogs to kiss? In stories, frogs are often portrayed as ugly and slimy. When frogs are not hopping off lily pads, or croaking"ribbit" in the pond, they are often said to turn into a beautiful prince or princess if you dare to kiss them. And it is... Continue Reading →

Biomimicry for Young Children – Magic DinoPills

What if you were a dentist? Can you invent something inspired by dinosaurs? Magnificent plant-eating dinosaurs provided inspiration for the idea of Magic DinoPills. The long-necked, plant-eating giants such as Diplodocus and Camarasaurus grew new teeth every couple of months. Their diet consisting of plants such a trees, bushes, cycads, ginkgoes and ferns worn down... Continue Reading →

Vulnerable Giant Pandas

  Any ideas to celebrate the news that the status of giant pandas has been changed? We made a collage using photos of endangered animals. We used gelli print to make the background and then we simply cut out some distinctive panda features - black ears and eyes (go here to read more about gelli... Continue Reading →

Inspired by Vulnerable Giant Pandas

  On the Fourth Day of April We saved Four Munching Pandas 'Great news, the giant panda has moved one step away from extinction. The giant panda has been downgraded from endangered to vulnerable. The charming bear with the large black patches around its eyes and over the ears and across its almost round body... Continue Reading →

Playing a Red Pepper

  What can you do with a ripe pepper apart from eating it? Well, you can always make a wonderful harmonica. Player's Pflute is a creative musician kit.  A colourful modular system of wind instruments with different mouthpieces, hole punchers and silicone connectors. Jia Wu has created the most adorable kit that encourages children to... Continue Reading →

Be a Mindset Detective

What was the biggest challenge you faced today? How can you think about these challenges in a new way? What can we do differently tomorrow if we face similar challenges? Research conducted by Carol Dweck has found that children who believe that their brain could grow did better in school, and in life. Behind mindset... Continue Reading →

The Polar Bear By Jenni Desmond

  A wonderful exploration of polar bears and their habitat. The Polar Bear by Jenni Desmond is a rare treat, a book that is both magical and factually accurate. You are taken on a journey of polar bear bodies, habits, as well as habitats. Yet, the reading the book is a bit bittersweet. Polar bears... Continue Reading →

Slugs are Cool

Would it not be great if you could smell with your body just like a slug? Slugs are everywhere! And gooey slime is a wonderful substance that can solve many problems. Britain has ideal conditions for slugs to thrive - cool damp summers and warmish mild wet winters. Climate changes also contribute into turning our... Continue Reading →

Hunt for Straight Lines

What prevents a tree from growing in straight lines? Are there straight lines in nature? And are there right angles? The trees have lost most of their leaves and the structure of the trees are visible. So the other day we hunted for the tree with the straightest trunk and branches. When we look at... Continue Reading →

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

  "There is a hat. The turtles fund it together. But there is two of them and there is only one hat" A bear,  a fish and turtles! Jon Klassen's hat trilogy is  a lesson in minimalism. The conclusion to this trilogy, We Found a Hat, is both deliciously funny and heart-warming. And of course,... Continue Reading →

Make sure that you have a beetle spotters’ guide to hand when you start reading the exciting adventure of Beetle Boy (The Battle of the Beetles) by M.G. Leonard, charmingly illustrated by Júlia Sardà. Why has it taken so long for beetles to get a starring role in a children's book? They represent a quarter... Continue Reading →

Bring Books to Life

Be a book detective and learn to love new words and explore challenging ideas. Save the best books and read them aloud. Bring the lovely, exciting stories to life. Challenge your kids to listen to stories that boost their vocabulary. Listening to someone reading book with challenging ideas and vocabulary is not only a wonderful... Continue Reading →

Creative Approach to Reading

  How can you read creatively? And can reading creatively result in creative writing skills? I love reading. If I win the lottery I would stop doing everything else and just read marvellous books. I would be drawn into exciting stories and I would read about marvellous animals and plants. . . And I would... Continue Reading →

Build a Bridge!

In true Leonard da Vinci spirit build a bridge or structure that does not require any nails or ropes. Grimm’s Spiel und Holz Design, “Grimm’s”, has been making beautiful, natural and sustainable wooden toys since 1978. Over the years, I have bought several of their amazing toys, from rattles, to stacking towers to wonderful puzzles.... Continue Reading →

Pop-Up Paper Projects

Pop-up projects are such fun! Making a 3D birthday card is a quick and easy and will entertain children. A perfect rainy day project. But pop-up paper projects can also be taken to a completely new level. And the book, New Pop-Up Paper Projects: Step-by-step paper engineering for all ages, by Paul Johnson is a... Continue Reading →

A Summer Holiday in Books!

Ahh, summer holiday. I remember the thrill of cycling down to the little bookshop in Söderköping in Sweden to spend the money that my parents gave me on the last day of term. Eager eyes searching among the selves for something new and exciting. The bookshop, the oldest in Sweden opened in 1815, had a... Continue Reading →

Hunting for the Golden Ratio

Does the golden ratio exist in the world of art, architecture and design? Or is it a myth? Why not spend some time to check it out for yourself? The golden ratio is regarded as a way to define something beautiful. Great artists such as Salvador Dalí is said to have used the number sequence... Continue Reading →

Be Inspired by Frogs

Do you know why frogs have big eyes that bulge out? Or why frogs can walk upside down? Frog eyes are big and come in a stunning range of colors and patterns. Perhaps you have seen a frog resting in the water with only its eyes and nose above the surface. Frogs can protrude their... Continue Reading →

The Imagination Box by Martyn Ford

  What if you had the power to create whatever you imagine? What would you create? The Imagination Box by Martyn Ford is a wonderful book if you want to give the creative muscles a real workout. Instead of providing the illustrations of all the exciting things that the boy in the story creates, the... Continue Reading →

Dream up New Furnitures and Toys

Imagine a chair where you can insert your own drawings? Or a chair that just like a flower grows? Why not inspire your kids to dream up and design some cool furnitures and toys? Inventing new games, toys and furnitures are often tasks that are included in biomimicry material for young children. Milan design week... Continue Reading →

Hyacinth Macaw – Art and Science

Blue Hyacinth Macaw  is a stunningly beautiful parrot. We made a craft were we combined acrylic paint, with real hyacinths, muscari flowers, leaves, and twigs. Little notes about this brilliant-blue parrot with bright yellow rings around its eyes and on its beak were also added. Information about this bird: The tail is long and magnificent... Continue Reading →

Cool Chocolate Challenge

Chocolate Bunnies provided inspiration for this challenge. Easter is after all chocolate time. Chocolate Easter eggs are an old tradition and the first eggs were made in Europe in the early 19th century.  Some early eggs were solid, and the technique for mass-producing moulded chocolate had not been devised. France and Germany started this artistic... Continue Reading →

Inspire Creative Thinking

"Creativity is part of human nature, it can only be untaught." Ai Weiwei Creativity in schools is not only about teaching children subjects such as art and music. It is also important to teach children to be creative in subjects such as science, maths, and social science. The truth is that a creative approach to... Continue Reading →

Inspired by Montessori

  “The land is where our roots are. The children must be taught to feel and live in harmony with the Earth.” Maria Montessori Italian educator, Maria Montessori, believed that children learn best by  doing. She designed material that foster independence and a love for learning.  Maria believed that children will learn through play and... Continue Reading →

Climate Smart Fairy Houses

Nowadays even fairies need to be climate smart. So we built climate smart houses for the fairies that live in our garden. We got inspiration from studying cones. Pine cones open and close depending upon the level of moisture in the air. The scales of pine cones  open in hot and dry weather and close... Continue Reading →

Hedgehogs and Frozen Soap Bubbles

The unpredictable winter weather  is causing all sorts of problems for the hedgehogs in the UK. The wet and rainy weather in December has been followed by some colder snaps. Hedgehogs usually hibernate between mid-November and mid-March, but I neighbour I spoke to had seen a hedgehog the other day. Finding  food is not easy... Continue Reading →

Class Alien

Writing activities should be exciting and what could be more exciting than writing a journal about things that you have done together with an alien. Imagine how fun it would be to write about the day when you took an alien with you to after school activities, showed the alien what we eat for dinner... Continue Reading →

Reading the ABCs from Nature

Nature is filled with patterns and with a bit of imagination you can find all sort of interesting shapes. Like the letters of the alphabet. Wonderful images of letter like structures have been collected from space. Clouds phytoplankton blooms, and dust clouds! If you look at things carefully there are many shapes reminiscent of letters.... Continue Reading →

Big Hearts Valentine Challenges

There are many Valentine ideas and I saw yesterday challenges where children are asked to break hearts - Anti-Valentine challenges. Smashing heart with little hammers. I used a different approach in material that I developed last year. Thomas Mass suggests in the book What to Think About Machines That Think: Today’s Leading Thinkers on the Age... Continue Reading →

Build a Snow City

This Christmas has been filled with rain, rain and more rain. Sending our thoughts to families whose homes have been flooded during this Festive Season. On a more positive note, there has been plenty of chances to watch the squirrels who visit our garden more or less every day. Squirrels are quick, agile and fascinating.... Continue Reading →

A Curious Christmas Detective

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!” Dr Seuss Allowing children the joy of running away with an idea is a wonderful gift. Sadly often the most interesting ideas do not fit neatly into... Continue Reading →

Books that Allow Children to Ask Questions

Picture books that allow children to ask questions and explore a variety of answers are a great tool to encourage thinking. Recent research suggests that babies have logical reasoning before the age of one. Babies are capable of making capable of deductive problem solving. Considering the importance of continuing to developing thinking skills and using different... Continue Reading →

Short Story Dispenser For Kids

Love this idea from Grenoble, the capital of the French Alps, where a vending machine is used to provide citizens with free short stories. Christophe Sibieude, a digital publisher, says: “The idea came to us in front of a vending machine containing chocolate bars and drinks. We said to ourselves that we could do the... Continue Reading →

Bubble Froth Inspiration

What if you can use foam to protect yourself from germs? What would you look like? Foam-nesting frogs build meringue-like structures to protect their young even under the harshest of conditions. The nests look delicate but they are tough structures. These types of frogs can provide inspiration for lots of ideas. Creating a Biomimicry Journal... Continue Reading →

Patterns Everywhere! Be Inspired

Almost too perfect to be true. Like an artist has dreamed up some geometrically perfect and correct plants or sand dunes. Nature's symmetry is a subject that has fascinated philosophers, mathematicians, artists, architects, and physicists. Photo: Pixabay Patterns can be found everywhere in nature and walking around looking for pattern is a fun, imaginary activity... Continue Reading →

Wishlist for Christmas and Snow Stories

A long wishlist. . . The Jacqueline Wilson Christmas Cracker by Jacqueline Wilson Meet Tracey Beaker, Jacqueline's most famous heroine, when she gets the lead part in the Christmas play. This cracker also contains a brand new story as well as  festive puzzles, tasty Christmas recipes, and fun facts. The Snowman and the Snowdog Pop-up... Continue Reading →

Conker Fans

"Oddly oddly onker my first conker!" A collage of different treasures found on a nature walk can easily be displayed using a paper filled with autumn colours as background. A conker is  the seed of the horse-chestnut tree and in contrast to the sweet chestnut tree the cooker is not edible. Roald Dahl was a... Continue Reading →

Dyslexia Awareness Week

Words are hard I don’t mean talking I don’t mean chats, I mean when words are walking All over the page. Then they’re hard they’re bats I’m in a rage. From DyslexiaaAAARGH - by Ros Asquith Dyslexia awareness week has a special place in my heart. This year the theme is "Making Sense of Dyslexia"... Continue Reading →

A Glowing Turtle – Biofluorescence

What a magnificent and mysterious creature! Divers have found a hawksbill sea turtle who glows in the waters surrounding the Solomon Islands. The wonderful creature glows in red and green but the red colour could be a result of algae growing on the shell. The turtle can absorb certain types of light, then re-emit that... Continue Reading →

Northern Lights – Graphic Novel

Exciting News! The spellbinding first part Philip Pullman’s  fantasy His Dark Materials has been adapted as a graphic novel by Stéphane Melchoir and Clément Oubrerie - Northern Lights - The Graphic Novel. Meet Lyra Belacqua when she receives the alethiometer from Lord Asriel and follow her on her thrilling trip to the Arctic in search... Continue Reading →

Music Inspiration for Kids

“Every single young person in this country should be made – within the context of their school curriculum – to listen to the greatest classical works.” Nicola Benedetti Perhaps watching these music videos will inspire your kids to play a musical instrument. Go here to read and listen to why Nicola thinks that music education... Continue Reading →

Autumn Leaves – Colour and Shape

Being a nature detective during the autumn can be a lot of fun. Mushroom just waiting to be admired and sometimes even picked. If you walk quietly you may spot squirrels and birds. Acorns, conkers and pine cones can be collected and turned into wonderful art and craft. Piles of leaves just waiting for you... Continue Reading →

I feel. . . about shapes. . .

Shifting focus is an important skill. To be able to shift the attention from one aspect to another helps to improve learning, thinking and creative efforts. Deliberately noticing different aspects of a rather simple task may help a child to stay focused and to engage in the learning. Learning shapes are part of childhood and... Continue Reading →

Adventures in Curiosity – Autumn

Children are curious and like little question machine they love to question, explore and wonder. This attitude is vital to learning, when we are curios about something, we want to explore it. And by exploring and wondering, we discover. Nurturing this curiosity means that a child will continue to discover and question. Curiosity compels a... Continue Reading →

Mind Mapping – Habits of Mind

"How long to try when faced with a difficult maths problems?" Turning "I can't do" that to "I can do that" is the ultimate goal of learning. Many maths and science students rarely persists more that 10 seconds if they find a problem puzzling.  A habit of mind can be described as the self-discipline to... Continue Reading →

Playing with Mind Map Rules

Thoughts dance around in our head all the time, but capturing our thoughts is tricky. Just like jelly fish are mesmerizing and graceful drifters, many of us drift in our thoughts without any deeper insight into how we think. The visual tool, mind mapping, can be used by young people, even pre-school children, to visually... Continue Reading →

The Cloudspotter by Tom McLaughlin

"The Cloudspotter didn't just spot clouds. He spotted adventures in the sky."  Being open to adventures is one thing, spotting adventures is another.The Cloudspotter by Tom McLaughlin  is a delightful yet important story about one of my favourite summer pastime occupations - lying on the grass and watching the  clouds drift by. The weather this... Continue Reading →

Give Me Love

A sticker room! Sticker food! A field of giant pumpkins? How much would you pay for this? A dollar or two thousand billions dollars. . . Young art critics when they are at their very best - charming, provocative and spot-on! Yayoi Kusama's exhibition in New York Give Me Love through the eyes of some... Continue Reading →

Why is Biomimicry Important?

It might be difficult to understand why biomimicry is important and what children can learn from this approach to look at nature to find inspiration for new ideas. Most school teach children about how animals and plants grow, where they can be found, and taxonomy but nature can be used as an inspiration to solve... Continue Reading →

Foxes are fantastic. They can leap up into the air and dive into a pile a snow to catch a mouse. Inspired by foxes we made a Fox Nose Box - the food packing of the future. Just like foxes have great noses so does this food box. The black nose if filled with trillions... Continue Reading →

Alice’s Day – 4th of July

  Tomorrow, 4 July is Alice's Day How will you celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll's classic story - Alice in Wonderland? A wonderful moment in my life was when I for the first time entered the college of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the Oxford don who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll. I... Continue Reading →

  Bee a Hero this Summer and Help Save the Bees! Today, the number of bees are declining all over the world and bees are often less healthy. Bees and pollinators are vital for both food production and ornamental garden. So we need to ensure that honey bees and other pollinators are facing a better... Continue Reading →

Mind Mapping – Emotions and Feelings

Today I feel silly! Today I feel happy! Today I feel sad! Feelings and emotions are a part of everyday life. It is how a child controls and regulates these feelings and emotions that determine a child's success in any given situation. Teaching children how to talk about their feelings and exploring healthy ways to... Continue Reading →

Just Breathe – Mindfulness

  "It's like all the sparkle is at the bottom of your brain!" Some books are magical and as soon as you open them, the ideas fill you head. The book written by the couple, Myla and Jon Kabat- Zinn, - Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting - is one of those books.... Continue Reading →

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