These easy to create colourful elephants (haathees) have been bringing hope to our loved ones, during these times of change.
Whilst we continue to put up colourful rainbow artwork around our home to invoke gratitude and show support, we decided to upcycle old milk cartons and deliver funky haathees with positive vibes to family and friends who are recovering from surgery, live alone and celebrate their birthdays in lock down.🌱🙌
What we used:
Lay the milk bottle on it's side and cut the entire bottom half of the bottle off with a serrated (bread) knife, just below the handle, which forms the elephant’s trunk. Cut arches on all four sides to make the legs.
Now the fun part! Decorate your haathees with different coloured paint and glue on sequins, stickers, gems with PVA glue. Glue on some (googly) eyes if you have them or paint them on, along with some ears and a tail!
Connect and Inspire...
Creating these rainbow haathees have helped the kids feel connected and purposeful, knowing they are uplifting their loved ones, during the pandemic. Needles to say, our family and friends have loved receiving their colourful inspirations of hope.
These haathees have also been great for imagination play and story-telling. In addition, the kids have practised their fine motor skills and coordination, whilst they designed and experimented with colour.
For more rainbow art ideas to bring colour to your kids days, especially during the gloomy grey winter weather, take a look at Painting with Marbles and Creating and Colouring Mandalas.
This activity was inspired by The Imagination Tree's Milk Jug Elmer Elephant. The kids enjoy reading this much-loved patchwork haathee's books!
Parent Educator and Author, Elaine Heffner once said, "The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children."
For our first big trip overseas with three young kids in tow, we stayed with family who manage a missionary hospital and orphanage in central India. The orphanage currently houses 60 girls from 6 years of age.
WHAT WE DID:
Before we embarked on this life changing journey, we decided to raise some funds for the orphanage. When my 7 and 4 year old sons brought some artwork home from school (and amazed me with their creativity), I curated a few and designed them into celebratory cards for birthdays, Christmas and the Chinese New Year with Vistaprint, online. We sold the cards at our local community group and celebrations, raising enough to pay the school fees for two of the girls for the coming year.
LET'S CREATE EXPERIENCES!
When the boys presented the cheque to the very excited girls at their annual Christmas function, I felt so proud of them and I could see they felt pretty special to have helped support the orphanage. The boys enjoyed the simple living so much that they didn't want to leave when it was time to say farewell. They were amazed at the incredibly poor conditions but still thriving people of the hospital and orphanage.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
Needless to say, this exceptionally enriching experience and many others in India gave the boys the opportunity to learn invaluable life lessons including empathy and tolerance and obtaining the virtues of kindness and humility. It was great to see their emotional intelligence kicking in when I heard the older one tell the younger one that they shouldn't eat the Cornettos that the orphanage gifted them with, in front of the girls, as the girls could not afford to eat them. They chomped down the melting ice-creams soon after we left the orphanage. Now that was some new found self-control for one of their favourite desserts right there!
We're thinking this creative project for our wider community might become an annual Christmas tradition - please email me if you would like to pursue a similar project! I would love to explore more creative ideas for community and encourage 'the art of living' to my kids. Hope to hear your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section.
Mandala is Sanskrit for ‘circle’. It represents wholeness and balance. The symbol’s purpose is to assist with healing through meditating on a central or guiding focus. Many cultures around the world use them as part of their spiritual practices and as a therapeutic art technique.
It was an honour to design hand-made mandalas for author, mama of three and creator of Happy Mama, Amy Taylor-Kabbaz. The mandalas are part of Amy's Divine Mama Circles, where mamas sit in circle together (physically or virtually, online) and hold space for each other. For more information on Matrescence and the transition to motherhood, please listen to her amazing Happy Mama Movement Podcast.
Colouring mandalas has numerous health benefits for kids and adults, used as a form of:
The psychology behind the therapeutic art effects of colouring such intricate symmetrical patterns is attributed to the use of fine repetitive motor movements that assist us to return to the central point of focus and put aside thoughts that arise.
The floral mandala pictured above was inspired by Amy's focus, 'Simplicity, Creativity, Connection' for a program currently underway. It is my hope that mamas connect with their innate creativity and feel inspired as they colour the pattern surrounding the focus. The buta mandala pictured below was inspired by Amy's affirmation, 'Rest to Rise' for another recent program. The buta is Sanskrit for ‘fire’. I hope mamas in this program feel relaxed and renewed with fiery energy as they colour and contemplate the mandala.
Colouring is one of the kids - and my - favourite activities. My kids enjoyed colouring in these mandalas over the school holidays :)
WHAT WE USE:
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
It was great to see my kids physically relax and get creative over which colours they would use. Be as creative as you like and unleash your imagination. The flowing and swirling patterns in the mandalas pictured here are especially helpful in reflective thinking and encouraged my kids to let go of the day.
To learn more about my mandala designs for your unique project or program, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below!
Painting with Marbles is an art activity for your kids that is super simple to set-up and do - again and again! So it can get a little messy...but the end result - a colourful and abstract piece of art - is totally worth it!
It's also a fun indoor play idea that combines art with movement, for kids who like to be active! This activity even encourage kids to apply basic creative skills as part of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) concepts into their play - what's not to love about it?!
To learn more about STEAM, go to Fun Marble Runs.
WHAT WE USE:
Drop a marble into each section of the muffin tray. Using a spoon, coat the marble with paint and then transfer it to the paper in the shallow dish. Lift the dish and tilt it from side to side so that the paint covered marbles roll around and leave trails of paint, creating interesting and colourful patterns on the paper.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
Depending on how much the kids are enjoying the marble painting process, more marbles can be added and can be rolled around the paper to blend colours, creating new colours and designs. Or, you can replace the painted paper with a fresh one and create multiple marble paintings for framing, along side each other. A little messy play is sometimes worth all the effort!
I would love for you to share your experiences in the comments section below and any photos you might have taken of your kids cool creations!
For some more creative STEAM activities, go to Amazing Mazes and Sensory Play with Light.
Giving a gift that is wrapped in paper that the kids made themselves has always made them feel great.
There is also an additional sense of pride in creating something that is useful and meaningful.
Over the years, it has become a tradition leading up to Christmas to make our own Christmas wrapping paper but this activity is fun to do for Easter and birthday presents as well.
WHAT WE USE:
Pour a small amount of different coloured paint onto some trays and place the stamps, sponge shapes or cookie cutters on top of the paint. Stamp these shapes all over the white paper and repeat until the paper is covered with cheerful Christmas colours and shapes. After the paper has dried, it is ready for wrapping Christmas gifts with ribbon.
Optional - For some extra bling, squeeze some glitter glue or sprinkle glitter on some clag and onto the wrapping paper.
CONNECT & INSPIRE...
My kids enjoy getting actively messy with the paints and stamps, whilst creating their personalised pieces of wrapping paper. This is also an opportune time for the kids to learn to share the stamps and paint trays amongst themselves. Mamas can enjoy hanging the kids' home-made wrapping paper up to dry and then help the kids wrap the pressies.
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