Comic Series Galore

In his thrill of being able to read independently Leon has lately discovered ‘Kalle Anke’ (Donald Duck) comics, spending his pocket money buying second hand ones at a comic specialist shop in the Old Town.

and having received a ‘make your own’ Star Wars comic and sticker kit for his birthday last year from Maxine…

Plus making up his own using paper and pen, based on a character he has made up called ‘Snurrisar’ …

And now using a program on the computer by photographing his ‘Gogo’ character toys …

Who knows what will be next?!

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The Rules Of The Game

In these long cold days of winter, where sickness prevails (!), we have found ourselves playing a lot of card and board games. After spending a couple of hours yesterday playing various board games with Leon, he decided to invent his own!

Kid pix’ is an excellent computer drawing program which Leon and Maya have enjoyed for years – and it was with this that he invented the game….

The idea of the game is to collect 20 pennies (by landing on the pictures of money) by rolling the dice, and tallying up (in 5s) how many pennies you get, and then moving on to the winning spot.

If you land on a rainbow or a popcorn you get an extra turn, if you land on a circle you miss a turn, if you land on a square nothing happens, and if you land on an eyeball you go to the ghost house where you must remain for two throws.

I played the game with Leon, and I was truly amazed! It was great fun to play, plus also needed a certain amount of calculation and problem solving to get the coins (as you can move in whatever way you wish).

Later Leon reinvented it and played it with Maya, where he wrote down the rules to help her …

…and she loved it too!

Quick! My Cat Is Sick!

Maya and I have been planning on setting up a vet’s surgery for sometime – and yesterday we finally did it!

Reception Area

Complete with old World Wildlife magazines and books about pets, a box containing blank index cards to write pet’s names and problems upon, pens, telephone and cash register, empty medicine bottles, a bowl of treats (raisins), an empty cat food box and an empty milk carton, and some ‘dog dishes’.

Complete with weighing scales, a toy dolls bath, and some cages made from various cardboard boxes.

Operating Theatre

Complete with white sheet over a small table, doctor’s kit and trolley, and animal posters from Wildlife magazines.

Waiting Room

Complete with rather flowery sofa, and lots of soft toy cats (and some dogs!).

Maya and Alfie have both been having lots of fun in the vet’s surgery, and Leon has enjoyed making and designing some of the cages!

Children’s Winter Olympics (Inside!)

Due to an almost 5 hour power cut on Monday night, and general family life, I havn’t been able to blog for a couple of days – so here goes…!

The kids, but particularly Leon, have been extremely interested in the Winter Olympics this year, and we have spent a few family evenings watching it on television. Leon decided he would like to organize his own Winter Olympics in our garden, but at such short notice, and at -25 degrees Celsius outside, and around a metre of snow in the garden, we decided to try for an inside family Winter Olympics instead!

Leon and Maya themselves decided to make their own Olympics posters (I had printed one from the internet with information about what the rings mean)..

Having watched the opening ceremonies they thought it important we constructed a torch (using a kitchen roll tube, contruction paper and tissue paper for the flames)…

(This is how to cut the circle of paper to go around the torch handle)

And then we had to make some medals (they decided we would all represent a different country and we made colours to represent the appropriate flags)…

Leon – Great Britain

Maya – USA

Alfie & Pappa – Sweden

Me – Canada (!)

Then it was time for the Olympic feast, complete with those flag cocktail sticks we just happened to have…

Let the Olympics begin!

After a ‘showing’ of countries using our mini-flags, and the running around passing the torch from one to another in various parts of the house, the games began…

1. Bouncing of two balloons in the air at the same time without dropping them on the ground (using a timer).

2. Ice skating! Clear the living room, put on your wooliest most slippery socks and skate.. First do three perfect figure of eights, and secondly two 360 degrees jumps.

3. Bob sleigh! Using a pillow case each , compete against each other to slide from one side of the living room to the other (in pairs).

4. Skittles – using 5 balls/beanbags knock down as many  of the 5 skittles as possible.

I did try to get photos but really it was fairly impossible to get any focus, so you’ll just have to trust me that our family (yes, adults as well as children), are odd enough to take part in all of these games – and yet it was so much fun!

And the winner was…

Great Britain!

So after adding up the points, it worked out that Leon was the winner, and the kids were awarded with their paper medals, along with chocolate medals (which Richard managed to buy on the way home from work).

Leon was overjoyed, as was Alfie (who really didn’t have much of a clue what was going on!), but as you can probably see by the above photo, although Maya had a fantastic time overall, she still has problems with not winning….

Balloon Fun

Since getting their Valentine’s balloons, Leon and Maya have been enjoying using the timer to count how many times each of them can keep bouncing the balloon off the ground within a minute. A great maths activity – despite our living room looking in constant festive spirit!

So, here are some things we did today…

Crazy balloon people!

Using construction paper, wool and glue on a couple of balloons, we now have a couple of “crazy balloon people”!

We were also given a set of modeling balloons for Christmas which we attempted to use – unfortunately it was impossible to use the pump to blow up the very thin balloons completely, thus ending in lots of prematurely popped balloons! Fortunately however, my children do have a great imagination, and managed to make some things….

Leon made a cute little octopus...

'Superhero' Maya made an unusual rasta, wig type thing, and acquired mummy's 'sword' (looking rather more like a whisk)...

Whereas Alfie acquired a ..... hat?

Snowy Stuff

Three months of snow, and it shows no sign of stopping! This weekend has been a difficult one – almost too cold to be outside, people getting snowed in, and accidents on the roads. The media tells us it’s been the worst winter in Sweden for 22 years and suggested everyone stayed at home – and so we did – which was pretty well timed as Leon appeared to acquire a new tummy bug on Saturday night, which thankfully passed over today.

So hear are some of the wintery things we’ve been up to…

A little snow art

Here Maya is, making " a coloured shepherd's pie"!

I love that activity – just a little food colouring in spray bottles of water – brightens up a white white day!

And …

A winter's day picture

Having noticed how purple the sky looks on these cold mornings, we painted purple watercolour over different sized strips of masking tape, made into the picture of a tree in winter. Maya had the wonderful idea of putting a tree house up there, with a rope ladder, and Blackie the cat sitting at the top.

Step 1 : Stick on strips of masking tape to make your design.

Step 2 : Paint over with chosen watercolour paint.

Step 3 : When completely dry, carefully peel off masking tape.

I think this picture is wonderful!

Finally…

'Snow Cream'

Add 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of milk, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, to a bowl of freshly fallen snow, mix, and eat!

The kids claimed this tasted better than real ice cream! I actually thought it was surprisingly tasty – but not sure it’s better than the real thing! Probably not the greatest thing for an upset stomach either…. but so far, so good!

Traditional Swedish Sledge : ‘Sparkstötting’

Saturday morning, and a quick look out the window ensures that the weather forecast is correct. Another snowstorm.

A great day to brave the cold and take the ‘sparkstötting‘ down to the lake with Pappa….

(Yes, that’s a giant blue plaster on Maya’s face – don’t ask!)

One child pushes the sledge with one foot while resting the other (like a scooter), while the other sits on the front. Apparently Richard used to go to the shops this way as a child, with his mother pushing – does he now imagine me popping down to the shops this way I wonder?

Busy With Birds

Maya was much inspired by ‘Mister Maker’, a short craft program for young children on the BBC, and after watching it, decided to make a magnetic bird!

If was all very impressive, she just sort of, got on with it…

Here he is, in all his glory, with his ‘magnetic worms’…

This close up shows you that she drew aroung both the outside, and the inside of a roll of masking tape, allowing the circles to overlap to make the shape of the bird’s body. She glued on googly eyes and a triangle shaped beak next.

On the back she taped the feathers, the string to hold him with, and stuck on three magnets. It said to use only one, but we found one was not enough strength to pick up the worms – which are simply pipe cleaners cut into pieces!

The idea is to hold the bird over the worms and try to pick them up – a little like a fishing rod…

All this bird stuff got us thinking about the real birds outside, and we decided it was really time to make them some more food!

‘Lets Explore‘ had an original recipe for making ‘birdseed cookies’…

4 cups birdseed

3/4 cup flour

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons corn syrup

Mix it all together, and then mould it into basic cookie cutter shapes on wax paper. Make a hole in each for the string to hang on the trees, and leave to harden. We’re leaving ours overnight….

Tomorrow our birds will feast on cookies!