Monday, July 30, 2012

Koala Lou - Scavenger Hunt for Kids

'Koala Lou' is a lovely story, by Australian author Mem Fox. The main character of the book, Koala Lou, decides to compete in the Bush Olympics, in an attempt to gain the attention of her busy mother. A background summary of how Mem Fox came to write this story can be read on her website

My daughter loves this book, and it has been read numerous times to her over the last three years since her grandparents gave it to her as a gift. 

Here's a Koala Lou Scavenger Hunt to do with your kids. 

Below are the verses and clues to write onto cards to use along with the book. The aim at the end will be to find and collect all of the supplies hidden, and for my daughter to decorate her own hat to wear to the Bush Olympics, just like the book characters in the below illustration by Pamela Lofts.

Clue 1 
This Bush Olympics Scavenger Hunt 
is for a 'baby koala so soft and round'.
Underneath the cushion in the playroom on the ground,
some fabric treasures can be found.

Clue 2 
'Koala Lou, I do love you',
Now look near the bookshelf
for some brightly coloured pieces of ribbon,
maybe one, maybe two

Clue 3
One night you had a 'splendid idea'.
You would enter the Bush Olympics and have no fear.
Hop on over to your cubby for a wonderful surprise,
One of your toys is inside, wearing a wonderful disguise

Clue 4 
'The spectators roared, clapped and stamped their feet'
Search near the lounge for feathers you will meet!

Clue 4 
You 'cried' your 'heart out' when you did not win
Your 'mother had flung her arms around your neck'
and she 'hugged' you 'for a very long time'.
Go to the Lego box to find lots of buttons,
all different shapes and colours, but every one divine.

To finish the activity .....
'Koala Lou, I do love you,
I always have and I always will'
Now together, let's make an exciting hat,
a decorated hat, for your head to fill!

Little Ladybird

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ikea Hack - Bookshelf Turned Dollhouse

Inspired by the picture on the far left, my daughter and I decided to make our own dollhouse. We went to Ikea and purchased one of those bookshelves divided into four sections. We were going to make a sloping rooftop out of stickers, as was done in the original picture, but it didn't fit on the wall properly. We had no space on either side of the bookshelf, so we created a 'Mary Poppins Umbrella Rooftop' instead.

We had an old piece of thin board from the back of an old bookshelf, so we cut it to the height of the new bookshelf. It then slipped down in between the shelf and the wall for the purpose of creating the back walls of the house as this shelf from Ikea has no back on it. We then picked out four different shades of patterned paper to place on the back board. Aqua for the bathroom, pink for the kitchen (only in a dollhouse), lavender for the bedroom and yellow for the lounge room.

Next step was to find furniture. We looked online and in the local toy stores, but everything seemed so expensive and it was all mostly pink. We stumbled across some cut-out furniture by mistake when I was looking for something else in the Reject Shop. We bought three packages (bathroom, bedroom and lounge room) for $2 each! For a total of $6 the beginnings of the furniture was purchased!

This turned out to be a great choice, as we built the furniture together and my daughter got to choose what colour each piece was going to be spray painted.

Now the furniture was in, but the house was looking a bit bare. Time to find some furnishings, do some sewing and decorate!

We printed some of out own photographs and designs and framed them with a few frames from Lincraft, picked up a mini tea-set at the markets and sewed a lounge room rug from bits of materials and rickrack along the edges to finish it off.

Finishing touches were made by making some curtains for the kitchen window, some matching towels, bath mat and washers for the bathroom. The towel rail was made from two old wooden buttons and a paddle pop stick.

Then it was time for a family of kangaroos to move in to their new home and the imaginative play started to happen!

The rooms are complete, the dollhouse is finished. Time to sit by the fire and enjoy a cup of tea. The side table was made from an old plastic panadol lid turned upside down with a hole in the top to poke a bunch of material flowers from Lincraft through and then covered with a small piece of fabric for the table cloth. The fireplace was found on ebay and I then painted it in white and glued a printed fire image behind it. The plate from the tea-set, was hung up in the bathroom as a mirror with some aluminium foil for some shimmer.

The best part about this dollhouse is, that my daughter and I were able to gradually build it together. We got to cut out and glue together and talk about how we would make the different items in the four rooms. And even better, I think will be that when she and her brother out grow playing with it, I won't have a big dollhouse to dispose of. It will simply be cleared and used as a bookshelf (as we never grow out of those).

Little Ladybird

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Monday, July 02, 2012

Photography Tips - Camera Angle / Cropping

I enjoy every opportunity I get to use my camera and I like to experiment with different techniques. I watched my 3 year old daughter taking photos at the museum recently. I have never shown her how to use a camera, so I was interested to see her take a shot of some crystal rocks, view it, and then rotate it to change the angle of the camera to, I'm guessing, 'get a better shot'.  And that is where it all starts. I didn't ask her what she was doing cause I knew that she was simply doing what the best photographers do .... just taking her time to enjoy and play.  Here are some examples of how you can create interest in your photos by using a few simple points.  

Tilt the camera sideways. The photo on the right is less flat and shows more of the sky, but still allows all three layers (hedge, trees, sky) to be seen. Also, try photographing side on from an angle, instead of front on, to create depth in your photos.

Move the camera around to best capture the subject and get more background in so it looks as though the background extends further than what it does. Left photo - get down low to create height. Middle photo - take from up high to show different angles. Right photo - 'off set' the subject to create interest, don't always place it in the middle. Off setting can actually make the subject stand out more than if it were in the middle, if it is done right. 

Crop with the intention to change the mood or to convey a message. In this instance, the photo on the left gives the sense of long rolls of fabric and shows more of the continued pattern, hence giving more detailed information about the product type. However, the photo on the right gives a sense of having a tall, thick, abundant stash of fabric. This is a fairly simple example, but it can be used more effectively in different situations.

Crop to draw attention to certain parts of the photo. In the photo on the left, your eyes are drawn more to what the girl may be looking towards, whilst in the photo on the right, your eyes are drawn more towards the placement of her hands and what is in her lap.

Crop out some of the subject and place it so that it is not centred. Often your eyes find it easier to look at something off to the side rather than something in the middle. With the photo on the left, you look at the subject then scan the background. This is the last thing that your eye sees and seeing as there is a fair bit of background to look at, this is the last impression you take away from this photo. In the photo on the right, you see the background and subject at the same time, as their ratio is more balanced. You don''t need to scan the background.

I hope that you can use some of these tips and keep on playing and experimenting with your photo taking!

Little Ladybird

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