Archive for ‘children’

March 25, 2012

Chunky crayon recycling

by growingpeople

Safi spends a huge amount of time drawing – which we love. But it also means that because every single crayon in her enormous box has become several little baby crayons, the flat has been taken over by nearly unusable bits of broken Crayola showing up everywhere: inside my shoes, the washing machine, our bed…and they are always the first thing to be chucked all over the floor in angry protest at not being allowed to pour water in the Marmite jar or when asked to relinquish one of the four spoons being used for potion-making.

So partly under the guise of “this looks like a fun thing to do” but mainly because I’m sick of spending half my day picking shards of wax off the floor, we made these.  They work just like normal crayons and can even do multi-coloured squiggles, so the three of us can still do as much drawing together as we like, but the best thing about them is that there are only eight of them. Brilliant.

You will need: broken crayons, cupcake moulds, one compliant toddler who doesn’t mind you nicking her toys, oven on gas mark 1 for fifteen minutes.

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March 25, 2012

I like

by growingpeople

…the way my clever students at St Mary Magdelene Primary School use egg shells, empty tins and crisp packets for starting off seedlings. Happy days. Speaking of which, now is the time for starting more or less everything (keep the beans, tomatoes and pepper seedlings inside until May though, and hold off on sowing pumpkins, squash and courgettes at all until then).

April 13, 2011

Holiday ideas for kids (free and local!)

by growingpeople

Stuck for ideas on what to do with your kids this Easter?

Aside from the usual egg-decorating and treasure hunts going on around the capital this Easter holiday, there are several more unusual activities taking place that have me wishing I were a little bit younger or that my 6-month old were just a  little bit older…

The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden opened last year but seems to have blossomed this year into something truly remarkable. Sandwiched between the new Dalston Junction Overground station and the Kingsland Shopping Centre, it’s a little oasis of greenery in an otherwise decidedly urban area of Hackney. The volunteer gardening sessions take place every Saturday morning, but over the Easter holidays, the garden is putting on a huge range of free activities and workshops for children aged 5 to 12, including Scarecrow-making, poetry, garden den design and how to make “little windmills to help keep the birds away from all our new vegetable seedlings”. I’m so curious about that last one.

Tucked alongside the London Overground railway line, meters from Shoreditch High street on the Hackney and City of London borders, Spitalfields City Farm is another pocket of paradise in the city.  The farm’s Easter Play scheme runs from the 18th -21st April for kids aged 8 to 13 and includes gardening, horse riding, feeding and caring for the farm’s many animals, plus an offsite visit to the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve. See here for the full details and timetable.

The Geffrye Museum on Kingsland Road is running several workshops including Turkish Tapestry weaving, Tea-leaf reading, and storytelling for children aged 3 to 5, 5 to 8, 8 and above and 11 and above. See here for full details.

Kentish Town City Farm is welcoming children aged 8 and above to muck in and help out at the farm over the Easter holidays.  There are also a few very reasonably priced workshops (£4 maximum), including pottery-making, singing and art for under 5s and the opportunity to help build a working clay oven for the farm.

The Museum of London is running Victorian Pharmacy workshops in which kids can explore the herbs and spices used in Victorian medicine, as well as design and make their own herbal cabinet to take home. Sessions are running for 12.30 to 2.30 on the 19th, 20th and 21st of April.

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