Online Art Games

We like to try to expose ourselves to lots of arty ideas and art history and this is the newest thing we are going to try. Artsology looks like it has a great collection of free games and activities, including activities for younger children.

Perhaps it will do, you know, until we visit the Louvre. 😉


Phonecian Dyed Pasta


The Phonecians were famous for the purple dye they made. It was made by boiling down a mollasc, sort of like a marine snail. Not having any of these handy, we decided to use berries. We but a good half cup of berries in a saucepan with some water. After boiling for about an hour, we strained it. My children insisted on eating the berries with some yogurt but I don’t think I would! Anyway, the resulting syrup was brightly coloured. we dropped dry pasta into it, leaving it to sit for a good ten minutes before fishing it out and placing it on a cake rack to dry. I think they came up really well, but it is tricky to tell. You see, most of them were eaten by the dog. Sigh.


The Phoenicians are not as widely studied in the primary years as say, the Greeks, but they are covered in a chapter of “The Story of the World” and so we have found our way there.

Or first activity is was to make coloured ‘glass’. Primus wanted his bottle-shaped. It is made of greaseproof paper filled with crayons shavings, ironed and cut out. We also incorporated some tissue paper. It looks very effective on the window.


Up next, making purple dye!

It’s All Greek To Me

This week we went back to Little City Kids Curriculum We are moving very slowly with this, but we are up to the topic ” It’s All Greek to Me”. We have already looked at the Minoans, and the Mycenaeans, and this unit is looking at Greek culture in general. What I love about it is that it exposes children to big ideas yet lets them work at their own level, so I can use it with both Primus and Secondus. We used some old sheets to create Ancient Greek clothes.

Dressing up ideas. There was also a whiteboard with further information about common clothes for men, women, children and babies.

For younger children, such as Secondus, doing up pegs is a challenge in itself, developing finger strength and co-ordination.

Pegging up

We also looked at some Geometric designed pottery from the Greek dark ages.

Plate decoration materials ready to go.

We have recently raided the library for books and  ideas – this is on topic that has plenty.
My current plan is to move more quickly through Little City Kids, spending about a fortnight on each topic. This will leave plenty to do when we revisit later but will help give a broad sweep of history. Later specific details can be filled in more thoroughly.

Kings, Queens, Knights, and Castles

The boys have suddenly developed an interest in kings, queens, knights and castles. It wasn’t sparked by the recent royal wedding but a combination of Mister Maker, and reacting to a book (The Knight at Dawn) we borrowed from the library.

By the way, these books are great. There is a whole series of them, and each book is set in a different time period. The language is not especially rich, but that makes it very good for beginning readers.

Anyway we needed something fun to do and we latched on to this. We aren’t tackling it in a particularly accurate way, but happily muddling fantasy in too.

So far we:

  • have made crowns, robes and swords (out of card).
  • Made a coat of arms.
  • made fantasy maps of our kingdoms.
  • are making a castle model.
  • introduced castle and knight vocabulary
  • played fantasy games in the backyard
  • building castles with our wooden blocks

I would love to introduce some architectural things, like building the Roman arch. I have some three-part cards for the parts of the arch but I need some blocks. I’m not willing to spend that much when it unlikely to be used in the long-term, though. Any ideas would be appreciated!

Some other things we may doo, as interest dictates include:

  • looking more closely at the meanings of various coat of arms
  • Investigate stories/fairy tales

The great thing about this, is that I know we can continue while the boys are interested, and then we will return to it again later. It will pop up again in our Little City Kids curriculum again, and in many other things too.