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 ISSUE 07   •   27  AUGUST 2006  
   This week's theme: frogs


1. Editorial: Kids and drawing
2. MAKE: froggy footprints
3. MAKE: a dingly dangly box frog
4. MAKE: potato froggies
5. MORE: frog ideas
6. This week's featured subscriber's blog

1. Editorial: Kids and drawing

I find it fascinating that children all around the world learn to draw in the same way.  First come the crazy irregular scribbles, then the slow scribbles and circle work followed by symbolic drawing and eventually realistic pictures.

Despite this clear linear progression there is some debate over whether children should be 'shown' how to draw by an adult or left to their own devices. A lot of material that I have come across favours the latter approach.

I must admit, I wish that I had never started showing Ella how to draw because she swiftly stopped trying to draw her own way, and started trying to draw like me! 

Since then I've come across a number of ways that you can encourage kids to draw without showing them how.

For starters, you can create a beautiful space for them to sit and draw, provide good quality materials and talk to them about the movements that they're making. If you're interested in reading more about this, here is an article with good ideas on how to motivate children in different stages of creative development.

A fantastic resource for kids who love drawing are the Taro Gomi 'really giant colouring and drawing books' called 'Doodles' and 'Scribbles'.

When my sister bought Ella a copy of Doodles for her third birthday I confess that I actually considered keeping it for myself! The book features thick line drawings in Gomi's simple style and each page has instructions for the child such as 'This is an aquarium – draw something in each tank' or 'Make the sad elephant happy again'. 

I doubt that I am the only parent in the world who has secretly completed some pages while the kids are sleeping!

Happy drawing, happy crafting and see you next week.

Amber Carvan

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2. MAKE: froggy footprints

Kids love playing with sponges and paint so these froggy footprints are just the trick for crafting outside on a sunny afternoon. Hold onto your froggy feet when you're finished and you can use them to make the 'dingly dangly box frog' below.

You will need

• a thick dish sponge
acrylic paint

1. Draw several frog footprint outlines on the sponge and cut them out.

2. Dip in paint and print.

3. Hose down your child because I guarantee that by this point they will be considerably greener than when they started!

3. MAKE: a dingly dangly box frog

This box frog has dingly dangly legs and tongue that can be lengthened and shortened by your little one. Don't let the long list of supplies put you off this activity – it's actually a very simple concept and great fun too. If you don't have everything on the list just improvise.

You will need

• froggy feet (from the 'froggy footprint' craft above)
a small box (frog body)
cotton reels or ping pong balls or cut up egg carton (frog eyes)
green ribbon (frog legs)
red ribbon (frog tongue)
four buttons
two split pins (you could also use safety pins or sticky tape)
acrylic paint and brushes, or a roller
a knife
needle and thread
glue or tape

1. Paint your box green and your eyes white with black dots.

2. Paint a face on the froggy and some little hands by his side. Then attach the froggy eyes using glue or tape.

3. Attach froggy feet to green ribbons using a split pin (or tape).

4. Sew a button to one end of the red ribbon. I was lucky enough to find these cute insect buttons in my sewing basket.

5. Cut a slit in the mouth and at the back of the box, and thread through the red ribbon to form a tongue. Repeat for each of the legs. Once they're threaded, sew buttons to the ends of all the ribbons. The button prevents your little one from being able to pull the tongue straight through the slit.

6. And we all know frogs go 'Lah di dah di dah'...

4. MAKE: potato froggies

Your little ones will never look at a potato in the same way again after they've created these guys. Packed with personality, these froggy potatoes are a great 'no fuss' craft to call on in an emergency.  There are plenty of pins in this activity though so it's really only suitable for older kids.

We used

• a selection of large and small potatoes
drawing pins
rubber bands
match sticks
sewing pins
wool, feathers, pipe cleaners etc to decorate

We cut a small chat in half and pinned each half to a large potato – forming eyes and a body. Then we pinned on some buttons, used drawing pins to form nostrils and stretched a rubber band over two pins to make a big froggy mouth. Ella added some matchstick arms, wool hair, a bow and a pipe cleaner crown. For extra inspiration check out Kiddley's five minute potato people.

5. More frog ideas

•  Build a frog pond
•  Draw pictures of tadpoles
•  Make froggies from playdough
•  Hop around the room like a frog
•  Paint your face like a frog

For more ideas read my article on how to get great mileage from a weekly theme.

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6. This week's featured subscriber's blog

I love to think of kids craft weekly as a community of creative parents, grandparents and carers. This new section will link to the blog of a different subscriber each week.

Forks and chopsticks

This week's featured blog belongs to Stephanie from New Jersey in the US. Stephanie is a stay-at-home mum, graphic design student, knitter and book lover. She's also working on adopting a child from China.

Read about her adventures at:



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