Nature Story Bag

A day at the beach collecting shells and building sand castles inspires children to make friends with animals like the crabs runing along the beach and to dream up a story about the inquisitive and inventive princes and princesses who live in the sand castle they have just built. Stories help children understand their outdoor... Continue Reading →

Take Me Seriously! Philosophy & Children

Big questions is what most people think that philosphy is all about. Big and hard questions that only adults can have something important to contribute to. Philosophy for children is not about teaching children about philosophy but to engage with children about philosophical questions. Children are taught how to create their own philosophical questions. Questions... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Dandelion Magic – Fly Away With Your Ideas

  Pale little dandelion, in her white shroud, Heareth the angel-breeze call from the cloud. Tiny plumes fluttering, make no delay, Little winged dandelion, soareth away. From "The Little Dandelion" by Helen Barron Bostwick. Children's knowledge of nature is dwindling. Although this in itself is sad, it is even more alarming is that children are... Continue Reading →

Running Away with My Own Questions

What does the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and the co-founders of Goolge, Sergey Brin and Larry Page have in common? A love of asking questions! And this love was nurtured from an early age. Questions such as "Why should it be like that?" may seem easy to ask, but question asking... Continue Reading →

Biomimicry Challenge – Day 7

Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment. Claude Monet Colour is important but it is rarely discussed outside the art lesson. Biomimicry offers a great opportunity to use colour in the classroom in interesting new ways to inspire creative thinking. Animals and plants may use their unique colouring for protection, attracting a partner, for... Continue Reading →

Biomimicry Challenge – Day 6

Dandelions. Everywhere! Random is often not a very positive word so we have to teach children to embrace the idea of randomness. Randomness lies at the very heart of creative thinking. A random word or picture helps us to break patterns.We can think from a new and often unusual perspective. A random word or picture... Continue Reading →

Biomimicry Challenge – Day 4

Do you love animals that look at bit creepy? This challenge is for you! The aye-aye is a gremlin-looking creature found in Madagascar. But the lemur is a harmless creature unless you are a larvae. Aye-ayes are primates and related to chimpanzees, apes, and humans. They have several unusual traits, big eyes, big ears and... Continue Reading →

Biomimicry Challenge Day 3

A curious mind asks lots of questions and then search for answers. Question asking is at the very core of thinking and innovation. A special kind of questions that can be acted upon and lead to change in the way we look at things. Question asking is a skill that is different from typing rather... Continue Reading →

Biomimicry Challenge – Day 1

Welcome to the Biomimicry challenge. Seven days filled with inspiration to observe animals and plants and to use these as a platform upon which ideas, buildings and inventions can be developed. An innovative approach to a subject requires courage to break patterns and to question ideas. The earlier children are taught this the more successful... Continue Reading →

Exploring Concepts and Building Things

The focus during the first years of formal education, is to teach children basic concepts such as height and length. Worksheets are often designed to help teach identifying what is the same and what is different, and to determine which things that go together. A concept is an abstract pattern in the brain that stands... Continue Reading →

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