Thursday, 28 February 2013

Letterland and arty pursuits

It's been a long while again since my last post, partly because I've been too busy with Iona to put anything on here, and partly because of work I've been putting into the small charity I founded and run with my brothers (Chreda). Iona has been busily working through her letter of the week curriculum, and is now keen to suggest things we can study beginning with certain letters, e.g. sweets when we were doing "s"! I've found the Letterland series of books particularly useful to "introduce" her to each letter (although she's very confident with the main letter sounds now), and I've been able to both borrow them from our home education group's resource library and buy some from charity shops, as well as getting some (like this) from Amazon. Iona has the sort of brain that loves to work in stories, so this system is ideal, giving her a story behind why, for example, s and h together make a sh sound. She is slowly getting more confident at sounding out words, and recognising more words, although she does not do much writing and when she does prefers to do it her own, artistic, way!

We hadn't put in much work until recently on her wish to make an animated film. However, I had downloaded the Android app Clayframes Lite onto my Samsung Galaxy phone a couple of weeks ago, so I told her about it on Monday and asked if she'd like to try it. As she was very keen,  I made some playdough, using the recipe here, She wanted to make an animated cartoon hippo like Harry on Abadas, so I gave her some help to do so. The biggest problem was that the dough, though a very nice texture, doesn't stick to itself very well, and was also a bit soft to support a large, fairly heavy model. I think next time we do claymation we'll have to use one of the other recipes on the site. Unfortunately the lite version of clayframes only gives you 50 frames, so it had to be a very short animation, but it was sufficient to give Iona a feel of how we create the illusion of motion, and she managed to get in her favourite "bottom dance", as well as a bit of a story, with the crocodile attacking the hippo then apologising and making friends. Apologies for the fumbling around at the start of the film: the lite version of the app doesn't allow for sharing (and my account won't let me buy the full version), so I had to film my phone.
The message on the hearts at the end was Iona's idea: Love is great!

Once we had finished making our little film Iona decided to turn the rest of the playdough into a very tasty-looking white chocolate chip cake, using chips that I'd got left from an experimental soap carving session the other week:
A little later the same day Iona spontaneously decided, while I was cooking, that she wanted to make a scene like she had seen on Mr Maker earlier in the day. She found an old receipt which she scrunched up to make a mountain, asked me for a piece of blue paper, collected some greenery from the garden, and ... hey presto! ... a landscape!
It may not look much, but I was impressed as it's the first time I can remember Iona trying on her own to copy any craft activities from the TV.