You, Me and Teddy

Parenting adventures and activities in and around Neuchâtel, Switzerland.


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Walking, Running and Painting

I think I have a case of Springtime writers’ block. As the days get longer and brighter I just want to make the most of the sunshine and be out and about lest it disappears again (as here everyone is convinced it will).

This weekend I was dog sitting so we have been exploring the forests of Neuchâtel while walking him a few times a day. I found a Pro Natura walk which starts by the top of the Pertuis du Sault (you walk up the steps and carry on straight).

pronatura

It was less trod than many of the paths but you could follow a vague sort of route through the trees. Along the way there were little signs with facts about animals such as the legless lizards you can sometimes spot. There were also a few little constructions by the forest authority such as a drinking spot by a fountain for the birds and local deer and a rockery for smaller wildlife to shelter in.

SENTIER DU TEMPS

I also actually did the reverse Sentier du Temps (that I was telling you about) on Friday. I wouldn’t recommend the uphill version for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s hard work!
  2. It’s much harder to follow the route uphill as you can’t see the markers very well.

It was a good workout and it’s got to have helped my running legs. Speaking of running I started my official training this weekend with a 5km run in the forest.

We followed one of the Parcours Mesurés up at Champ-Monsieur marked out for those looking to “test their fitness” so it required very little thinking which was great for a first attempt. There is an 8km one up there too which we thought we’d test next week but try to pave ourselves better.

Ok, it wasn’t very speedy today (5km in 30 mins) but I think in 6 weeks we should be much better. It’s getting very exciting.

IMG_0079

I also spotted a Parcours Mesurés up in the forest of Peseux. It seems to start by the football club so I’m going to have a look and see if it is worth a go.

In other news we have been building a house. Well, a cardboard Wendy House for the kids. The only problem is that the paint I chose (following consultation with the paint shop) is not really suitable for the kids to go near. I attempted to let E help me but she still has paint stuck to her forehead so I’m trying to find moments when I’m alone to do it.

painting houses

Our house is starting to look pretty good and the kids love it but E has maybe become too house proud as I caught her trying to scrub her cardboard floor clean with a damp towel earlier. She found it hard to understand that cardboard, like paper, doesn’t like water.

I will of course post the finished results once we get there but renovations are hard work and E is a fussy client.

Hope you enjoyed your weekends.

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What did the bee say to the other bee in summer?

Swarm here isn’t it!

Today we learnt about bees and their important role in pollination and how they make honey. Honey is E’s “favourite food in the whole wide world” and we needed a bit of Spring in our lives today so it seemed appropriate.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 balloon
  • Vaseline
  • PVA glue
  • Newspaper
  • Black and yellow paint
  • White tissue paper
  • wire clothes hanger
  • Pipe cleaners (black and yellow)
  • Coloured block of paper
  • Masking Tape
  • Green Pencil
  • Straws (preferably green)

Last week we covered a balloon in papier maché in preparation. We stuck the balloon to a cup for extra stability and then E smothered it in some vaseline (try not to use too much as she did) and layered bits of newspaper dipped in a mix of glue and water on top. The mix was about 50/50 PVA glue to water.  The flatter you get the layers of newspaper the better for painting later but its asking a lot of a 2 year old.

balloon pm

We started today by popping our balloon and cutting our papier maché mould to fit over E’s head and adding eye holes. Then we painted what would become our bee mask yellow and left it to dry as it needed a few coats.

painting mask

Then we started making some flowers. These were simple and you just need straws masking tape and lots of coloured paper. We had giant straws which I came across in the drug store but you could use normal ones and make them a bit smaller. I then cut out centres for our flowers and lots of different coloured petals and finally some green leaves. E stuck the petals on to the centres of the flowers with some pre-cut masking tape (we are fairly impatient souls and couldn’t be doing with waiting for glue to dry but you could use glue).

sticking flowers 2

Then we stuck another circle of yellow on the back to make the flower more solid. The completed flower was then stuck to the straw. When it came to the leaves I drew a leaf design on them and then E taped them to the straw.

flower straws

In between doing flowers we added coats of paint to the bee mask. While E was making flowers I found an old wire clothes hanger and shaped it into a pair of wings with pliers. I cut off the excess wire and taped up the sharp ends with masking tape. Then we cut a couple of sheets of tissue paper in half and covered 2 in glue. I then sandwiched tissue paper over the wire wings and cut round the outline to give a neat finish.

wings

wings cut out

Once the yellow paint was dry on the bee mask I made some holes for antenna, attaching the wings and a stinger. Then while E had a snack of honey sandwiches I painted the black lines onto the bee mask. Now we just had to wait for it to dry to pop the pipe cleaners in!

holes for wings and antenna

We watched some bee cartoons and youtube videos which showed more visually than I could explain what bees do and then we had a play ourselves with the bee mask and the flowers.

E is so happy with her mask and flowers and has decided they now live in her bedroom. I wonder how long it will take before they are completely destroyed! Unfortunately she refused to be photographed so this will have to do.

bee and flowers 2

Hope you found a way to brighten your days too today. 🙂

Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzing out.


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Hey Presto: what a disaster!

Today I made a special effort to create an activity especially for my 10 month old. I was super excited as I had seen this idea on a Facebook blog I follow called Family Days. Tried and Tested. It looked fun, easy and most attractively (for me) MESS FREE! What could go wrong?

The mum that writes Family Days. Tried and Tested. is a genius and inspired me to make more of an effort with my kids. That blog is one of the reasons I started mine. Usually I do not just take ideas with out adapting them to my little terrors first, but it seemed to good to resist. So I got out the paint and spooned a few dollops of paint into a ziplock bag. Hey presto: fabulous activity prepared in under 5 minutes!

paint prep

Big grin on my face I took the bag over to M and said,

“Wow, look what I have here!”

M comes crawling over excited and grabs the bag. First he shoves it in his mouth so I pop the bag down on floor and squish the paint a bit. Then I show M how to do so. M’s mind ticks over a sec and you see the realisation dawn that it is not something fun to eat or chew. M turns around and goes to find a new toy. FAIL.

M and paint

Oh well I thought I’ll keep it for E. She’ll like to play with it later…

Later on:

“Darling?”

“Yes Mummy?”

“I’ve got a special toy for you to play with.”

“OOOOOOOH! Yaaaay! Can I have it now?”

“Yes Darling. Come here.”

E and I sit down and grab a wooden spoon as an instrument for playing with the paint bag. I show E what to do and she plays for about one minute before she goes,

“Can I play with something else now Mummy?”

“Oh ok. You sure you don’t want to play with this a bit more?”

“No, Mummy. Its not working.”

E and paint4

Off she runs. EPIC FAIL.

Now, I have figured out why the paint bag was a fail: M wants anything that goes in his mouth or he can insert in a container, as this is how he currently discovers the world, and E likes activities that leave her a bit more freedom to experiment rather than being so contained (and mess free). I knew as an activity it seem too good to be true. I guess like with anything the more effort you put in the more you get out.

Oh well, guess what I have planned for tomorrow?