Archive | September 2009

Alphabet Wall: X is for Xebec

Now, how cool is this…you learn something new every day! 🙂
With the burgeoning pile of paper boats on DD’s table day after day that’s threatening to rival the opening scene from Troy, I’ve decided to capitalise on her current interest to teach her about a different variant of the generic “boat”. So we are going to be making a model of an eighteenth/early nineteenth century Xebec. Click here to read more about what a xebec is.

You will need the following materials:- Old magazines, blu tack, toothpicks, scissors.

X is for Xebec - materials

1. Cut out one square and two triangles from your magazines. Set aside.  [Here, we decided to make the square sail a bit fancier]…

X is for Xebec - cutouts

2. Fold one sheet of magazine paper into a basic boat shape.
3. Stick three blobs of blu tack on the inside part of the boat, at the front, middle and back.

X is for Xebec - blu tack

4. Carefully, poke a toothpick through each of the square and triangle sheets to make three sails.

X is for Xebec - sails

5. The square sail goes on the front of the boat. Bury the sharp end of the toothpick into the blu tack. Do the same for the remaining two triangle (lateen) sails.

X is for Xebec - completed

Run some water in the bathtub and have fun sailing your very own Xebec!

Definition from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Main Entry: xe•bec
Pronunciation: \’zē-,bek, zi-‘\
Etymology: modification of French chebec, from Arabic
Date: 1756
: a usually 3-masted Mediterranean sailing ship with long overhanging bow and stern

Alphabet Wall: K is for Kite and Kangaroo

K - completed

When we suggested K is for Kangaroo for alphabet art, DD replied emphatically “No, K is for Kite!”
So we did both! A kangaroo admiring a kite…or maybe if I now drew a string from the kangaroo’s paw to the kite, it would look like the kangaroo was flying the kite, heh! 🙂

You will need the following materials: Two artblock sheets, some crepe or tissue paper, marker, scissors, crayons, glue.

K - materials

1. Draw a K on the artblock sheet. Erm, in case you’re wondering why there’s a random flower on the side which has nothing to do with the letter K, DD wanted a flower at the side of the picture and there wasn’t any reason not to oblige. *shrug* 🙂

K - draw

2. From the crepe paper, cut out a few thin strips for the tail of the kite.

3. Paste on the strips of crepe paper.

K - kite strings

4. Have your child colour the K.

3. While your child is colouring, on a separate artblock sheet, quickly cut out a small sheet. Hand it to your child to colour any way they like. On the remaining piece, draw a kangaroo. Also hand it to your child to colour.

K - colouring

5. Cut out the kangaroo. From the small sheet of paper that’s been coloured, cut out a diamond shape and divide that into two large triangles and two slightly smaller ones.

K - kangaroo

6. Paste on the triangles in the shape of a kite, making sure that the bottom slightly overlaps the crepe paper strips.

K - pasting the kite

7. Lastly, paste on the kangaroo. I wanted to include this picture because I thought it looked so wonderfully busy. The hands there belong to DH, DD and DS who also wanted in on the colouring and pasting action!  Too cute! 🙂

K - many hands

“Mummy!! It’s dinnertime!”


A table setting for a pretend spaghetti dinner, prepared by DD while I was taking a bath. 🙂
I’m thinking maybe I should really grab this opportunity to teach her how to set a table for real!

Alphabet Wall: V is for Valley

DH came up with this, and I like it, because it took me only a minute to prepare the materials, and one can have great fun adding little details and stuff while explaining the contrast between mountains and valleys, with reference back to a V shape. 🙂

You will need the following materials: Artblock sheet, a sheet of coloured paper, crayons, scissors, glue.

V is for Valley-materials

1. From your coloured paper, cut out some Vs and set aside.

V is for Valley-Vs

2. Start by drawing out mountains on the artblock sheet. As we drew, we talked about how when you go up, it’s a mountain; and when you go down, it’s a valley. DD found it fun to repeat “up, down, up, down” as she drew and I think it really helps in reinforcing the concept and contrast.

3. Paste on the Vs where the valleys should be.

V is for Valley-pasting

4. Take your time colouring and have fun adding in little details to fill out the picture. 😉

V is for Valley-completed

No need no need

I choked on my soup and couldn’t help laughing when during my dinner, DH walked in with DS, who was busy demonstrating his latest learned phrase “No need”.  “No need no need no need” declared the little guy merrily, accompanying it with a broad grin, vigorous shakes of his head from side to side and enthusiastic waving of his left hand. 

But it took all my concerted effort to not fall off my chair from laughing too hard when DS responded to his grandmother’s suggestion “Okay. So no need to carry you already right?”
“Need! Need! Need! Need!”

I didn’t think he would understand the conceptual difference between “no need” and “need”, as I thought he was merely parroting what he might have overheard his sister or someone else say earlier. Could I have underestimated him?! Kids these days… 🙂