Who's Down on the Farm?
I’m yet to met a toddler who doesn't squeal with delight when talking about going to visit the farm!
Our Little Starlings children absolutely love learning about what’s going on at the farm and they are always keen to create some amazing artwork while they learn about who lives on the farm.
As we’re all still in lockdown we thought you might like a few more ideas that can bring our playful farm learning to your place.
GLOVE “COW” MILKING ACTIVITY
Milk is a very familiar product for our little ones, but where does it come from? This fun activity is a great why to show little ones how we get milk from a cow. It’s also great for hand strengthening and developing hand-eye coordination.
To ‘milk’ your cow you will need:
Clean rubber glove(s)
Black Sharpie Pen
To get started decorate your glove(s) with cow print spots to get into the theme. Then using a needle, prick the end of one or two fingers of the glove.
Depending on the thickness of your gloves, you may need to stretch the hole with the needle in a circular motion to widen the hole.
Fill the glove with water and tie the open end of the glove so that it holds the liquid without spilling.
The fun part is to allow the child to grasp and squeeze the fingers downward to simulate milking a cow.
You can attempt to fill a small glass with the “milk.” This is bound to be lots of fun so please don't forget to share your giggles and videos with us.
CHICK CHICK CHICKEN
No farm would be complete without a flock of Chickens. Here is a super quick and easy craft idea to create your own flow of little baby spring chickens.
You will need:
Paint (or paint sticks for a quicker, less messy activity)
Head over to The Craft Train & print out their chick printable template.
Then cut out the beak and legs from orange card, the wing shape from yellow card and get a googly eye or sticker eye ready.
Next paint your plate yellow. Once it’s dry, cut in half then you’re ready to start assembling.
TWINKL GAMES AND ACTIVITY SHEETS
Why not see if your little ones can point out the babies and match them to their babies cow=calf
These activities encourage language and understanding of our world by explaining where our food comes from at the farm...milk from cows, honey from bees, which animals lays eggs to eat?
They may be too young to fully grasp this right now but it's never too early to start and the children love that conversation and interaction with you. You'll probably have a, much needed, giggle with some of their answers!
The Twinkl free access code during lockdown is: PARENTSTWINKLHELPS
READ ABOUT THE FARM
Here are some of our favourite books about the farm to read with little ones. Great for encouraging language development and understanding.
DEAN CITY FARM
Of course when it's safe to venture back outdoor, why not visit our lovely, local Dean city farm, which is just perfect for little ones. We’re so lucky to have this on our doorstep, it's a hidden gem in the middle of Merton SW19.
They offer meet & greets with the animals, pony rides, pig feeding and even have a wonderful riding school for adventurous older children. It's a perfect local day out with a cafe too for ice-creams.
We hope you've had as much fun as us learning about all the fun at the farm. It's a huge hit with the kiddies as well as educational.
Dean City Farm is a registered charity (no. 1008028), supported by Merton Council, but rely heavily upon donations from visitors and the local community to help us carry out the work and look after the animals. With the closures due to COVID-19 they are really struggling at the moment, if you are able to support them in anyway, they would be hugely grateful. Here’s their donation link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/savedeencityfarm
Let’s hope we can keep this amazing rural oasis on our doorstep for many years to come and enjoy.
Don't forget to share your animal stories and pictures with us. Have a great weekend and stay happy
7 Things to do with...Loo Rolls
Chances are you might have a couple of extra loo rolls around the house at the moment, so we’ve pulled together an activity a day to put them to good use.
1. SHAPE STAMPING
To get started Shape Stamping is a super simple & really quick activity to set up. Just reshape 4 or 5 rolls into shapes – square, rectangle, triangle, heart & circle are our favourites. Then dip the ends into different coloured paint and off they go.
Great for making cards to send to friends or grandparents while we’re in isolation.
2. CREATE A CREATURE
Loo Roll creatures are another quick & easy activity to pull together at a moments notice. They’re also great for getting your little ones to explore their creativity.
Bunnies, bugs or crazy monster creations, whatever your little ones would like (& craft supplies allow). You will need some coloured card & paper, googly or sticker eyes and any other decorations you have to hand. Set them out on a tray with some glue.
Then wrap the rolls in coloured paper, cut out any features like ears or antennas from card ready to glue on, then embellish however you would like.
3. CARS, ROCKETS & THINGS THAT FLY
Similar to creature creating, there is also a huge range of vehicles that can be made from loo rolls.
Why not try a racing car (check out the link below for instructions) or how about a space shuttle or our favourite a flying rocket!
To make the flying rocket you will need a loo roll, some coloured card & coloured paper, maybe some glitter pens or stickers if you have them.
Wrap the roll in coloured paper, cut out 4 rocket wings and decorate. Make a cone of card for the top of the rocket, but leave a good gap to thread the string through. Thread your rocket onto your string, then hook up your string, making sure it’s nice and tight.
Do a dramatic countdown & blast your rocket off along the string. See how far you can get it to go.
Follow this link for instruction to make racing cars: https://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2013/04/toilet-paper-roll-race-cars.html
4. BIRD FEEDER
Attract some wildlife to the garden, for little, eagle eyed nature watchers, with a homemade bird feeder. You’ll need a loo roll, some peanut butter (or coconut oil/sunflower butter), birdseed mix and some string.
Start by covering the outside of toilet paper roll with peanut butter (or substitute). Then roll the peanut butter covered toilet paper roll in the birdseed until covered. It works best if you get a really thick covering of seeds.
Finally thread a piece of twine through the toilet paper roll and hang somewhere ideally out of reach of squirrels.
5. SEEDLING PLANTER
Another quick and easy idea for the garden is to create some little biodegradable seedling pots out of loo rolls. Plant seeds in them, then as the seedlings grow you can transfer them directly into your garden as the ‘pot’ will decompose in the soil.
To make these you will need a parent to help with the snipping. Start by making four cuts in the roll about a third of the way up. Then fold the cut area on the bottom like you would to close a box. Then fill with some light potting soil and add your seeds.
Sit them in a waterproof tray or dish on a nice sunny windowsill, keep them regularly watered and watch the magic happen. Once the seedlings are strong enough you can transfer them to the garden.
6. FLYING FISH
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, why not try making some of these beautiful windsock fish from Squirrelly Minds. Little ones might need a bit more of a hand with these ones but they are a really nice thing to make together.
All you’ll need is a few toilet rolls, some coloured tissue paper (we love the craft it mini tissue squares from Baker Ross), some double sided tape or glue & some string.
You’ll find full instructions here: http://squirrellyminds.com/2013/05/03/koinobori-japanese-flying-carp-diy/
For something much more complicated, but well worth the effort, why not make your own kaleidoscope. Children will love looking at the beautiful coloured patterns they can create simply by spinning their kaleidoscopes.
This one works better with a paper towel roll but it can still work with a toilet paper roll as well. Head over to this link for detailed instructions:
We’d love to see your creations so please keep us posted on our Facebook page & group. Happy crafting x
Keeping calm & crafting on!
Wow what a week! Full of emotion and uncertainty for all of us, but do not stress the Little Starlings family is here ❤
Whilst we have had to temporarily close our Little Starlings doors for now and say goodbye to some of our truly amazing children earlier than anticipated, we will be back as soon as we are able and stronger than ever!
In the meantime, we are putting together a whole bunch of awesome activities for you to do at home for the time being. And not forgetting the importance of getting out in the fresh air, we are also sharing some exercise ideas and outdoor activates to help burn off some of the pent up energy. We hope you have fun on this unexpected adventure and stay safe.
Image credit: @simplemostsite
ANIMAL SHADOW DRAWING
Get outside in the sun and draw around some animals and dinosaur shadows. Easy peasy and will keep them entertained for a while. Be brave and get out some paints so they can be really creative!! Fingers crossed the sun shines or the shadows won't come out to play.
Image credits: www.stylemotivation.com & IG:@messylittlemonster
Rock painting is a craze that everyone is talking about & there is also a really lovely local campaign going on #TCRox which is perfect for encouraging children to get out on our local common, find painted rocks & leave own little ‘stones of cheer’ for others to find. Something we all need a bit more of at the moment.
You simply paint a rock or pebble and leave it somewhere for someone to find. A simple, but brilliant idea! Don’t forget to share photos of your creations on the @tcroxlondon Instagram page using the #TCRox & #GetOutside hashtags.
TIPS FOR PAINTING ROCKS
Rocks or Pebbles can be purchased from hardware stores and garden centres - please do not take them from beaches or river beds as this is illegal and adds to coastal erosion.
1. Smooth rocks are the best to work with
2. Wash your pebbles in a mild detergent and leave to dry
3. Use acrylic paint, nail varnish or permanent marker pens
4. Make-up brushes are good to use and can be found in pound shops
5. Protect your finished designs with a layer of PVA glue
6. Don’t forget share a photo on the @tcroxlondon Instagram page
This really is a great activity for all the family young and small. Happy painting!
Don't forget to keep checking back on our wonderful new Little Starlings Family Facebook group, along with out Facebook and Instagram pages for upcoming news, information, fun and activities.
Keep safe and see you all soon.