Saturday, 27 March 2010

A survey, out of curiosity

We all love Countdown, of course. We're not just so keen now that Richard and Carol have gone, but at the end of the day it's still better than all other afternoon TV, combined.

One of the particular pleasures is when you can make rude words out of the letters, not that WhyNotSmile would do that. The greatest pleasure, however, is reserved for those times when the letters come out in an order that makes the rude word irresistable, even to Aunt Maud.

My question today is, what would you do if you were on Countdown and this happened? Presumably rude words are allowed - I believe that the requirement is merely inclusion in Susie's dictionary - so you could be on a winner. Now if there was a word of equivalent length, you'd probably choose that instead, but what if there wasn't?

To be honest, I think I'd go with the swear word. But what does everyone else think?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

How To: Make Butterfly Cards With Small Children

Last week posed a dilemma: a roomful of small children, aged 12 months - 3.5 years, who have been promised Craft. Of course, once can assume that those under the age of 2 have no concept of what that means, but those older than that will remember for time and eternity, and it's not worth not doing it. Plus, it is bad to fail to keep promises to children, even if they don't remember.

And so, it behoved me to come up with something we could make which the older ones would like, the middle-aged (in toddler terms) ones could manage, and the babies couldn't eat. Essentially, it needed to involve colouring in and stickers, but not actually BE colouring in, because that's not exciting enough.

I am quite proud of what I came up with, which is why I'm sharing it. Here's what we did, and how we did it:

Butterfly Cards

You will need:
  • Thickish paper (based on experience, which we will come to presently, regular paper is not the best choice of material)
  • Paints, colouring pencils, felt tips or anything which will make patterns on the paper (based also on experience, if you have limited time, do not use paint)
  • Bendy drinking straws
  • Blank greeting-type cards (or make them from card yourself)
  • Ribbons (thickish, like at least 1cm thick. If they can match the straws, so much the better)
  • Flower stickers
  • Scissors and sellotape
What you do:

1. Get child to draw on paper with paints, felt tips etc.

2. If you have used paint, wait for the paper to dry, and then proceed to step 3, with a hyperactive/grumpy/lost interest child in tow. If you have not used paint, proceed immediately to step 3 with a happy child.

3. (Child) Attach flower stickers to card. Or draw flowers on.

4. (Adult, while child is doing 3.) Draw a butterfly on the decorated paper. Attempt to cut it out.
Note: potential pitfalls
i) If you did not previously explain to the child that you would be cutting their picture up, they may cry at this point. Unlucky.
ii) If you used paint on regular paper, this will be like cutting through mud. Return to the instructions above where I said to use thick paper.

5. (Adult) Cut straw to same length as butterfly, but with bendy bit sticking out the top. Cut into bendy bit so you can bend it outwards, to make feelers.

6. (Adult, with child hindering) Thread ribbon through straw; tie a knot in the end that's below the straw. If ribbon is thin, you may need to add a bead. The aim is to ensure that the straw can't fall off the ribbon; achieve this however you see fit.

7. Stick straw to middle of butterfly, so you have a butterfly on a ribbon.

8. Tape ribbon to card, and you have a card with a butterfly flying over flowers.

Of course, if you have many children, bear in mind that the younger ones are perfectly happy to go home with a sheet of decorated paper and a card with flowers on it, so you can stop after 3., and only proceed onward for the older ones and those with reasonable attention spans.

I would attach a picture, but someone destroyed the prototype.