Celebrating All Things British with Baker Ross Jubilee Crafts

flagsBig changes are afoot for the McClary family as we plan for our move to the US in a few months time.  Our parcel of craft goodies from Baker Ross proved timely as this month  our craft goodies followed a Diamond Jubilee theme.  We particularly liked the fabric pens and design your own flag set.  They were fun to use creating sturdy flags and at £3.96 for a pack of 6 you can allow room for a few mistakes .  I was particularly impressed by my 8 year olds attempt at drawing the Welsh Flag, but for those who are not that ambitious Baker Ross also have some that are already printed.

decorationsMy 3 year old loved the scratch art decorations   in various Royal shapes such as carriages, crowns and soldiers.  Once a pattern had been scratched onto the black surface with a wooden stick, red white or blue ribbons were threaded through the hole and the decorations  hung up.  A simple activity for decorating a Diamond Jubilee party.

crownsMy 3 year old loves collage and enjoyed sticking a variety of things to the foam crowns. The girls wore their crowns with pride. We’re going to host a children’s party during Jubilee week with a British theme, as a chance for the girls to say a proper farewell to all of their friends.  Hopefully we can keep some of the things they have made for the party and I might buy some more so that all of the children can make a crown and a flag.

The last craft activity we were given to try was a little more difficult. The instructions for the Super Shrink Keyrings explained that the children were to draw on the material provided and then placed in an electric oven where they would shrink and thicken.  We have a gas oven and it stated categorically not to try them in a gas oven or microwave.  I wasn’t tempted to try it to see what would happen, instead plumping for saving it for when we were at nanny and grandad’s.drawing keyrings After drawing their designs and punching a hole in the corner the drawings are placed in the oven for a minute and come out hard and shrunken, making perfect keyrings.



No payment was received for writing this post but all craft materials were provided free of charge.







Musical Games to Help Young Children Learn about Notes and Beats .

Last month I hosted a competition to win a copy of Justin Fletcher’s cd.  To enter the competition I asked people to ask questions about musical activities with young children.  The winner was Maya Russell who asked this question on my Facebook page.

Is there a musical game I can play with my 3 year old to help them learn about notes, beats etc?

The ability to keep a steady beat has been recognised as the single most influential factor in later academic success.  There are a number of activities you could employ to build these skills.  In fact I ran a successful project with Springboard Opportunity Group  on this topic, proving that even children with severe disabilities can benefit from and enjoy Steady Beat activities.

At the simplest level this can involve singing simple nursery rhymes and chants including, the grand old duke of york, 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed and 5 little peas in a pea pod pressed. Most traditional nursery rhymes have a strong beat and if you say them whilst tapping the rhythm on your knees the children soon follow suit.  Ros Bayley  has some wonderful resources for Steady Beat activities including Beat Baby

Beat Baby is a gorgeous fluffy creature available in a variety of colours.  The magnet in his tail allows him to curl up and he only uncurls when the children make a steady beat and chant an introductory rhyme.  There are a number of Beat Baby books with rhymes but it can also be used with well known rhymes or some you make up of your own.  Ros Bayley also has a number of rap books with accompanying cd’s.  A great idea is to have a dressing up box with baseball caps, trainers, gold chains, puffer jackets etc. and encourage children to be rappers.

3 is probably a little young to learn notes and their values but there are a number of things you could do in preparation.  Create  flash cards of notes to play snap and pairs games with, introducing the names crochet, minim, semibreve and quaver.

A good way to introduce rhythm is to use animal names for clapping out rhythms.  A steady 4/4 beat would be cat – er – pill – ar, 2/4 would be ti- ger , 3/4 el – e – phant.  Once children have been introduced to the animal names you can try clapping a rhythm and asking the children to tell you which animal you are clapping or hold up an animal and ask the children to clap the correct rhythm.