The Orionids (a Space Theme)

I’ve always been fascinated by the night sky and all the wonders and delights it brings. I am the one who when walking at night will have her gaze firmly towards the stars and sky. Thankfully I have yet to walk into a lamp post…

An event like the Orionids is a perfect way to get young ones excited by the night sky. The Orionid Meteor Shower, remnants of the comet Halley, is at its peak between the 21st and 22nd October with the possibility of seeing up to 20 shooting stars an hour. Its name comes from the fact that it seems to radiate from the Orion constellation. It can lead to great discussions about meteors and comets as well as learning to identify constellations. Many children I have taught have loved the challenge to identify all the different constellations.

However the discussion shouldn’t stop there!

Art and Craft

You could use the Orionids to inspire art work of the night sky, look at famous art works and see how the artist has portrayed the night sky (I know we are all thinking of Van Gogh here!) and I also love the idea of getting a bit creative and messy. I found these two great crafts on Pinterest!

At this time of year you might also be thinking of Autumn and Halloween and so I was pleased when I stumbled across this art project from Deep Space Sparkle!

Image used with thanks to Deep Space Sparkle.

Image used with thanks to Deep Space Sparkle.

Journaling with Kids

The theme of space could also offer some great journaling prompts!

  • What would it be like to travel in space?
  • What would you miss if you went on a mission into space?
  • What would you do if you met an alien?
  • Design your own constellation and write a story about how it was named

Books

Nuts in Space

I can’t end without recommending some great space related books.

Three that popped straight into my head were Nuts in Space by Elys Dolan, Cakes in Space by Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve and Sidney, Stella and the Moon by Emma Yarlett. They are beautiful books, Nuts in Space for its humour that will appeal to children and adults alike (seriously see how many Star Wars references you can find!), Cakes in Space from the most amazing combination of Reeve and McIntyre and Sidney, Stella and the Moon which has the most beautiful illustrations and story.

Fingers crossed for clear skies! Please leave me a comment if you manage to see any shooting stars and have fun gazing at the stars!

Nuts in Space (1)

Some Favourite Blogs and Websites (the October Edition)

rose

 

Wow what a catchy blog title! Over recent months I have discovered some absolutely fantastic blogs and websites that have become favourite regular reads and I wanted to share them with you!

  1. Mud and Nettles – I was so pleased to discover Mud and Nettles earlier in the year. Clare is a mum of three who is passionate about getting children outdoors. She is also my go to person for geocaching advice and inspiration!
  2. Moontrug – Author Abi Elphinstone has not only written a cracking book but she also writes a great blog with reviews of children’s fiction. She may be one of the reasons I have no money at the end of the month….#buyallthebooks
  3. This Little Class of Mine– Nellie Mitchell is an art teacher from the US and I could spend hours reading through her blog posts and getting ideas for art in the classroom (and many can be done at home too!)
  4. Wildlife Watch from the Wildlife Trust is a super place for kids to go if they love wildlife and nature!
  5. Sci Show Kids and Crash Course Kids- I am a huge fan of the Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green and I love the Youtube community that has sprung up around them. Sci Show Kids and Crash Course Kids are great additions to the Youtube family and a great hit for those kids who want to explore all those curious topics that make them wonder ‘why?’.

What are your current favourite blogs and websites to visit? These are just a small taster of some current favourites and I will definitely be sharing more soon! Thanks for reading! And one last thing…the Daylight Explorers are now on Bloglovin’! It would be fantastic if you could follow us on there!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Big Draw 2015

20151011_114321

Happy ‘The Big Draw’ Month! October 1st saw the start of a national campaign to celebrate all things drawing related!

“The Big Draw is the world’s biggest drawing festival with thousands of enjoyable, and mainly free, drawing activities which connect people of all ages with museums, outdoor spaces, artists, designers, illustrators – and each other.

The Big Draw is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can’t!”

If you want to find out more information have a look at the Big Draw Website. There are also lots of local events taking place around the country. Cambridge was lucky enough to see a range of events taking place at the beginning of the month and I went along to one of them. The activities were organised by Cambridge BID who “represents a collection of 1,100 shops, bars, cafés, attractions, entertainment and services in the City Centre and we strive to ensure that visitors, locals and businesses enjoy a vibrant, safe and clean environment.”

20151011_114333

I went along to the event held in the Grafton Centre and it was lovely to chat to the people leading the session and the families taking part. Aimed at both adults and children it was wonderful seeing people putting pencil (and other materials!) to paper and being creative. A huge thank you to the families below who were happy for me to take pictures as they concentrated on their art!

20151011_114249

20151011_114430

A huge thank you to Cambridge BID who were happy to share some of their own images of events I couldn’t make it to!

Guildhall 12

Round Church 2

Guildhall 2

And the beauty of the Big Draw (and art in general) is you can do it any time and any place. My favourite drawing spot at the moment is curled up on the sofa under a cosy blanket. Do you enjoy drawing? Where are your favourite spots for pulling out the sketchbook? The Daylight Explorers would love to hear about them!

Marcia Williams- Part 1

This month I am very excited to join in a celebration of the Children’s Book Illustration Autumn Exhibition. I was given the opportunity to ask the fantastic Marcia Williams some questions and discover some of her inspirations. Over the years I have built up a lovely collection of her books so I was very excited to get this opportunity to find out a little bit more about her! It also gives me a chance to share some of my favourites!

Marcia Williams

Marcia Williams is well known for her distinctive cartoon-strip style and she has written numerous books retelling classics stories, Shakespeare’s Tales and one of my favourites ‘Three Cheers for Inventors’ which is a wonderful way to look at inventors in history. Her bright and colourful pictures are humorous and it is one of those books that the children (and myself!) can’t help but pore over. When discussing her book ‘Ancient Egypt, Tales of Gods and Pharaohs’ she says, “I always think of the Ancient Egyptians as the first comic strip artists, which is probably why I so enjoyed working on the Egyptian tomb paintings in my book, Ancient Egypt, Tales of Gods and Pharaohs. It was fascinating to have the chance to interpret this unique style, adding my own quirks and humour.  It feels very atmospheric and surreal to me, as though the pictures themselves take on the ancient beliefs and powers of the gods!”

Marcia Williams Books

I was also lucky enough to get to ask Marcia some questions!

Daylight Explorers- I am a bit geeky about desks! What is your desk space like?

Marcia Williams- My desk space is an old kitchen table. I have extended it and extended it again, but still it seems too small.  Piles of books, glue, paint, brushes and bits mount up, so that I have trouble finding enough work space.

Daylight Explorers- We love exploring at the Daylight Explorers- where is your favourite place to explore?

Marcia Williams- My favourite place to explore is the beach near Lyme Regis.

Daylight Explorers- How did you get started as a writer and illustrator?

Marcia Williams- I went to a boarding school when I was very young and every Sunday we had to write a letter to our parents.  I hated writing letters, so I wrote and illustrated stories instead.  I loved doing these and just never stopped.

Daylight Explorers- Do you have any writing quirks?

Marcia Williams- I spend a great deal of time walking my dogs when I am in a writing phase.  I like to think that it is ‘thinking time’ but I am not really sure!

Daylight Explorers- If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

Marcia Williams- Difficult to collaborate with comic strips, but probably a class of school children. When I do workshops in schools the children are always so inventive, they always inspire me!

Thank you Marcia for sharing some of your thoughts and answers! The exhibition takes place Friday 23rd October – Thursday 29th October 2015, 10am – 6.30pm Mon-Sat. 11am – 4pm Sunday. “Our gallery comes offline for a magical exhibition featuring the original published artwork from some of the nation’s favourite children’s books.

You can come along and view the artwork in the Waterstones Jermyn St Cafe at any time during normal shop opening hours.”

Come back in a few days for a closer look at some of Marcia’s books!

History Fun Day- Wandlebury

As a former history undergraduate I am a bit of a history geek. I think this stems from my love of stories and I remember at school being captivated by the past and the stories we were told. So when I saw that Wandlebury were holding a History Fun Day I just couldn’t resist visiting. In this blog post I shared a little bit about what makes Wandlebury special for families and schools and events like this add wonderfully to what they do.

I arrived to find the car park bustling with activity and took a slow walk to the main Iron Age themed event. A quick snack of cake and coffee and I was ready for some daylight exploring! There was a wide array of activities on offer including bushcraft, weapon and shield making, story telling, cooking and a variety of crafts. I was also interested to see some bee keeping information as well. I dragged myself away from the bees (promising myself one day I would live somewhere I could keep bees!) and continued to look around.

20151003_134022

The staff and volunteers I spoke to were warm and welcoming and all the families I saw and spoke to were having great fun! A huge thank you to these little hands and their mum who let me take a picture of them hard at work!

20151003_133927

After I had explored the history activities I then decided to go for a walk. I am a huge walking fan and relish any chance to get out and about. As I walked and enjoyed the nature surrounding me I stumbled across a mum and daughter following a history trail that had been set up around the site.

20151003_135355

Listening to their shared conversation warmed my heart and I really wanted to tag along to hear the rest of their fascinating conversations about history. And this is the thing, whether it is at Wandlebury or a site near where you live you will find so much to explore and discuss with the kids as well as getting some fresh air and exercise!

20151003_141334

Wandlebury hold regular events and they have some Halloween and half term events coming up! Check out the website here for more information!

Do you have anywhere recommended places for history lovers to visit? If so please leave a comment below!