Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I’ve been on a creative feast lately. As I explained in my post on Solo-Parenting & Felt Dolls, I am finding creating things for my children a time of great renewal and recharge. I give myself permission to relax and yet still stay in the creative zone. I also get a pure joy watching their reactions to something I’ve made with love rather than always something bought from a store.
So making felt dolls, magnetic dress up paper dolls, fairy houses and felt fish is what I’ve been up to lately. One person recently said to me that ‘I either have a lot of time on my hands or I am just the type of person to make her look bad’ It was said in jest but I am neither…I create alongside my children’s ebbs and flows of days as well as long into the night. I do so just because it brings us joy.
Recently, and just in time it would seem for this blog carnival, I revived my idea to do a fishing game with magnetic fish and fishing lines. Well the fishing lines were already made with a piece of bamboo and some circular magnets tied on with wool and masking tape!
These were created when I first made the ‘fishing game’ with a series of cut-out shapes. This was fun to play when my children were learning about shapes and colours as we would call them out as they were caught. Also I chose to do shapes instead of fish because, and this may sound strange, we are vegan and I thought I’d like the children to catch shapes and colours rather than fish! But as soon as they started playing it they referred to the fishing game anyway so I laughed at my idea and decided to go with the fish at last!
I was TOTALLY inspired by the felt fish on Counting Coconuts with brightly coloured felt fishes marked with different amounts buttons and beads representing each number from from 1-10. I started off thinking that I would not have nearly so many little bits around the house to make each fish have different types of buttons to represent the number but I shuffled through some old bags and found some beads and crystals I use in making womb beads, buttons, small snippets of sequins and came up with a treasure trove of trinkets!
In addition to the fab Counting Coconuts design, I wanted something on the other side of the fish and decided to make felt numbers for the flip side.
I then thought that it would be cool to have each pair adding up to ten in contrasting colours. So for example in the pair of three and seven, 3 is a yellow fish with a red number and 7 is a red fish with a yellow coloured number. To that end I then added a fish with zero to pair up with the number 10. Of course this leaves 5 by its lonesome without a pair but whenever that question arises we can go into multiplication and borrow the number 2 I guess!
Each fish had its eyes sewn on in white and marked with a black permanent marker. After the number and beads were sewn on their respective sides, the two pieces were blanket stitched together with some rainbow colour thread and when the stitching was almost complete they were stuffed with some regular craft stuffing and a magnet. The sewing was then complete and voila - a fish. I thought it would be a quick craft but it took me almost a week of sewing in the evenings and I even took it sewing with on the bus on one occasion!
The magnets in the fish have their own story too! I first discovered these magnets when I was searching for some trinkets to put inside our I-spy jars. I found these crappy plastic trinkets sold for $1 in one of the Chinese stores in Roseau.
I am usually loath to go amidst the world of throwaway plastic but when I discovered that each of these little plastic pieces had a magnet on the other side that could be easily peeled off I felt like I’d discovered treasure (two mentions of the word treasure in one post…my children are into Pirates right now and I guess it’s rubbing off!). The magnets have been great to use in so many other games such as the recently created magnetic dress-up paper dolls, and to guide jars with cut up pipe-cleaners, and reviving the use of our Etch-a-Sketch as well as all the other fun you can have around the house with a bunch of magnets which seem to have magic in them!
And the plastic pieces have also turned out to be a gem in their own right! They’ve already been used as pieces for Amarii to scoop up with his bulldozers, items for the Felt Dolls to hold, playthings for Barbie dolls and we also created a really fun story game. The pieces get put in a random line and we have to make up stories for them.
The story for this would go something like ‘one day there were twin boys who took their dog for a walk to get some cherry juice. When he got there he was served by a frog who then led him down the river to the sea to swim with a whale and a shark. Then then were captured by pirates who took them out to sea to eat popcorn.’ Simple but so much fun watching Keeyah exercise her already active imagination and create some fab stories around this! The stories are getting more creative all the time and I’m going to start writing hers down as they are much more fun than my versions! Games and creativity abound! I also plan to be using these pieces for games of matching pairs, creating patterns, sticking, treasure hunts, trails around the house etc etc… It’s amazing to see the many possibilities and ways to use one item for so many uses – children are so wonderful like that!
Oh and as for coming to peace with being a pretend-fishing-vegan I’ve changed the words of a well-known children’s song to accompany our playing… ‘1,2,3,4,5 once I caught a fish alive, 6,7,8,9,10 then I let it go again. Why did you let it go? Because I am a vegetarian. And I don’t eat fish, I’d rather let them swim in the deep blue sea!’
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: