Crafting a sensory forest

Finished craft: A sensory jungle. Image: Annalice Creighton / ANMM.

Finished craft: A sensory jungle. Image: Annalice Creighton / ANMM.

Feathers, fur or fins,

shell or skin or scale,

if it walks on legs or flys on wings,

if it runs or crawls or slithers or swims…

I’m not sure if the timeless lyricism of Don Spencer echoes in anyone else’s mind when they behold the stunning selection of images that make up this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year but they sure do for me (possibly just a side effect of life in the kids programs lane – there is a catchy tune for almost everything!) Mischievous lizards catching tiny birds on the tip of their tongues, frenzied swarms of cuttlefish, grinning foxes, a veritable feast of tones, textures, unbelievable moments so magical and yet so vivid you feel like you could reach out and touch them.

Inspired by the Wildlife Photographer exhibition and our upcoming Sea-side Strollers sessions this month’s craft spot is devoted to wilderness themed sensory play resources, it’s a craft activity that is not necessarily done with kids but crafted for very young children.

Continue reading

How to make a mini planetarium

Star light, star bright, first constellation I see tonight...

Star light, star bright, first constellation I see tonight…

There’s almost no end to the fun that can be had when kids have torches in their hands. Shadow play, bedroom projections, reading under the covers after lights out, spooky face stories, or… a handheld miniature planetarium.

This month we’ve been inspired by current exhibitions Ships Clocks and Stars, as well as our upcoming school holiday program, to make a nifty little star gazer out of some everyday items for our kids craft spot. This mini-planetarium is perfect for projecting under the covers, onto bedroom walls or with evening story time. More than just a toy, it’s also a great way to learn to identify constellations in the night sky.

Continue reading

Get ready to play!

ANMM-MiniMariners-2Things are coming together nicely for our new under 5s children’s play space – Mini Mariners Play. The space is based on the themes of by the seashore / under the sea selected based on popularity with this age group, suitability to the context of the new space, and usefulness for extending our core programs for this audience.

As mentioned in my previous post, this space has been developed to meet the needs of our youngest learners, using a mixture of visual, tactile and audio activations to inspire little ones (and their carers) to actively engage with the themes.

Most of the activities and exhibits have now been installed and today we road-tested the space with some young members. The verdict? They loved it and can’t wait to come back and play for real!

Mini Mariners Play opens on 9 December.

ANMM-MiniMariners-3

ANMM-MiniMariners-1

5 little krill and the hungry whale: How to make a finger puppet play

5 little Krill just swimming in a swarm

Along came a hungry whale (gulp, gulp, gulp) and then there were 4……

11

This month’s craft blog takes inspiration from our temporary exhibition’s Beautiful Whale and Amazing Whales as we share one of our resources created for toddlers to enjoy as part of our Mini Mariners Wonderful Whales program- a finger puppet play for 5 little Krill and the hungry whale. Continue reading

Persuasive Posters – A propaganda collage craft for the home

superhero poster

Don’t squeal, unless it’s a big deal!

Always say thankyou, don’t forget please, and always, always cover your sneeze!….

Who ever said propaganda was only useful for a war effort? It’s even better put to work on the “home front!”. This month our kids craft item is inspired by our exhibition Persuasion: US Propaganda posters from WW2. Full of vibrant colours, retro graphics and unashamed slogans it made us feel like making a very persuasive poster of our very own. And what better place to start than selling good manners, etiquette, hygiene and all such behaviours that distinguish your little “do bees” from your “don’t bees”. Here’s hoping a bit of poster magic can turn them into a food-eater, a bed-goer, a play-safe and a tooth-brusher! Continue reading

Box-board Vikings

31 (1024x872)

What’s in the box?

A warrior’s sword, a dragon’s treasure, a great castle, a fearsome sea serpent,  a beautiful crown…and a million other wonderful things…all you need is cardboard plus a little bit of imagination.

In case you also were wondering what to do with all those boxes left behind after the festive season’s gift giving, this month’s craft spot is inspired by cardboard boxes and our summer Viking Adventure!

Surely you have attempted the cardboard box car before…well here we have a how to on box-board viking armour and a wearable longship! Your little raiders and pillagers can wield their fearsome (but non-injury-causing and recyclable) armour while sailing the high seas in this swashbuckling creation. Cardboard box craft is always terrific fun and as a bonus these props will inspire hours of imaginative play- perfect for keeping them amused this school holidays.

Continue reading

Make it at home: miniature garden terrariums

Use unusual glass vessels to create a terrarium

Use unusual glass vessels to create a terrarium

For this month’s make-it-at-home craft activity we’ve taken inspiration from the beautiful landscape photographs by the American photographer Ansel Adams featured in Ansel Adams – Photography from the mountains to the sea, open at the museum on 4 July, until 8 December. We’re going to show you how to make your own mini-landscapes in glass jars, called terrariums.

Terrariums are great fun to make with children, especially when it comes to designing your landscape with plants and rocks.

We’d love to see your terrarium creations. Please do send us photos either by email at web[at]anmm.gov.au or via Instagram, just tag the photo with our username @ANMMuseum.

Let’s get started… Continue reading

Make your own potato block print pattern

Inspired by our new exhibition East of India – Forgotten trade with Australia and the traditional art of block printing, we have created step by step instructions for you to make a ‘block print’ at home, using simple house-hold materials, like potatoes! A perfect activity for the upcoming school holidays.

Wooden block printing has a long tradition in India where a design is carved into a printing block, the surface of the block is placed in dye and then printed onto the cloth. We found a great video on Youtube that shows more of the detailed process involved.

Important note: This is a great activity for children, but please make sure an adult does all of the cutting work.

All materials laid out, potatoes, knife, craft blade, chopping board, paint, paint brush, art paper

Prepare your workstation

Continue reading