Saturday, 3 January 2015

Decorations/secret Santa/fish and chips! (24th November 2014)

We had our last run about in the playground this year before moving to the hall to make Christmas decorations.

(At which point Lucy hot wheeled it to the best chippie in town…)






In the hall there was enough paper for everyone












to make at least 2 different decorations:










a snowflake or


a star box...














an advent paper chain with 24 links























or an angel.







Once the Elfins had finished making their decorations they chose names from the box to write on the present - and put them all in the Secret Santa pile. It was quite a tricky concept for some that they were making things to be given to each other but eventually they got used to the idea.

Meanwhile Lucy had made it back with bags of fish and chips - mightily scoffed by all.



Everyone left with the decorations their Elfin mates had made for them - and the creatures that Clare had fired (painstakingly) over the last couple of weeks.

Thanks again to Kate and Zoe for sorting out (at the last moment) such a lovely evening - and to everyone else for helping.

Woodies' season's greetings to all. Back next year when the skies turn blue...

Session Leader: Kate
Leaders: Clare, Claire, Amanda, Lucy, Catrin
Helpers: Amanda, Chris, Zoe, Tei

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Winter Lanterns (17th November 2014)

Kate came up with Winter Lanterns as a last minute replacement for our original plan. It was perfect.

We met at the Hall and in our circle ate tangerines and talked about festivals of light around this time of year. Vidar mentioned Hannukah; Connie mentioned Diwali and Seren thought of Oxford's Light Night Festival where some of the Elfins are singing in a choir next week

Then Kate introduced her friend Zoe who is going to become one of our helpers (yay!). She told the story celebrated in a Christian festival at this time of year - Martinmas - which in France is celebrated with children carrying lanterns through the streets.

The story of Martin says he was a rich Roman who one night was walking home in the cold wrapped in a warm cloak and lighting his way with a lantern. In the pool of light from his lamp he saw a beggar freezing in the snow so he tore his own cloak in half to share with the man. That night, Martin had a dream when he saw Jesus wrapped in half his cloak and it seemed to him that Jesus had been the beggar.

Then Zoe played a bent tenor recorder - which looked a bit like this...

...while she, Kate, Millie, Connie, Martha and Zena all helped us learn a Martinmas song about kindling your lantern when the sunlight is dwindling…and by then it was…




So we all got down to the serious business of making lanterns out of card and tissue paper.

We were so wrapped up in doing it that there was no time to go on our procession before parents came. So each Elfin lit their candle as they left the Hall for home.

Thank you Kate and Zoe!

Session leader: Kate
Leaders: Catrin, Lucy, Claire, Clare
Helpers: Zoe, Tei


Glazing! (10th November 2014)

We were back with Clare at the Wolvercote Young People's Centre Art room....

Everyone recognised their creations from last time - though some had come a little unstuck(!) Then Clare explained how to use the glazes safely. She made sure all the Elfins understood that they must keep their fingers away from their faces - and wash their hands well when they were finished. (In fact, the glazes Clare had chosen were non toxic and couldn't do any real harm... but we were very careful anyway - and so were the Elfins).

Pale pinks, pale blues, pale greens and pale yellows were carefully daubed into place… three layers each… when they see them next they should be a shiny riot of red, indigo, emerald and gold!

When some people had finished they went off to play Wink, Wink, Murder and Chinese Whispers with Amanda and Tei. Then finished up outside in the dark playing a loud game of Name Train.

A huge thank you to Clare who stepped in and pulled off these two sessions at very short notice.

*UPDATE*

The Elfins got back their creations at the last session of the year...after hours of patient firing by Clare...and very fine they were too.





Session lead: Clare
Leaders: Clare, AmandaKate, Catrin
Helper: Tei


Clay! (October 20th 2014)

This was Clare's first session leading - and it was fantastic. We are very lucky to have someone who really knows about pottery.

The good people at the Wolvercote Young People's Centre had given us access to their art and pottery room…..


... and we had loads of the grey stuff.










 The Elfins - as ever - loved it.


They all moulded whatever they wanted…





…. lots of pots…



…. and some people…



... and creatures….





...Some had pots with people and creatures inside them!



Elfins (and leaders) always love clay. But this clay was different than the ones we've used before. It wasn't air dried. It was fine china clay and Clare explained to the Elfins that it would have to stay at WYPC to be fired in the kiln.

Thanks Clare and roll on the week after half term and glazing!

Session leader: Clare
Leaders: Catrin, Claire, Amanda, Kate
Helper: Tei

Elfin Takeover - Den Building (13th October 2014)

We met on the Green


The weather forecast was diabolical… 

We felt proud that we had finally been hardy enough to do a proper session outside in the elements, though actually the weather calmed down considerably and we weren't braving high winds and pelting rain at all....



It was Elfin take-over, and they had chosen to do den building...

We started off with a circle, where all the kids went round and said what their favourite kind of accommodation was....we had all sorts, from tents  to houses, from tree houses to tipis, from home made dens to home made eco-houses. Nick introduced the idea of refugees who had lost their homes and we had a brief chat about why people might lose their homes and become homeless or refugees and our Elfins came up with some pretty good reasons - wars, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, when people split up, poverty....

We then went into a little wooded bit of our usual Woodcraft turf, which was a little more sheltered from the rain, and two groups set about putting up dens out of tarps, ropes, string….

and here's what we built! 















One group made a very large diamond shaped tent by tying the four corners of a large tarp to four trees and propping up the tarp with long sticks. The other group set about making a 'shed' for the large tent, which was a lot more involved with ropes and home made pegs. They didn't get quite as far as the first group, but then they were having involved discussions about refugees. 


We ate cheese and grapes and mulled on our good fortune….

…it had hardly rained at all.





Session Leader: Lucy
Leader: Amanda
Helper: Clare

Making Juggling Balls (6th October 2014)

It was the first day of rain - so we decamped to the Hall - which had had something of a face lift :( - in fact it was still in mid-lift so to speak. It definitely will be much better with its newly plastered walls and the damp gone - but just now it is a might dusty with no carpet tiles and a crumbly cement floor…

So, we avoided games and running about and got straight on with our news circle and then down to making balls with balloons.

1. make a funnel out of newspaper (or use one you already have).

2. pour rice and/or lentils and/or split peas etc into a plastic bottle.

[TIP 1: You can cut the bottom of the bottle off so that the bottle itself becomes funnel shaped.]

3. choose your first balloon colour and put the balloon over the opening of the bottle.

Then comes the tricky part...at least it was for us...

4. get the lentils into the balloon....

[TIP 3: We held the bottles upside down and shook and shook until eventually someone figured out that you have to squeeze the air from the top of the empty bottle - so inflating the balloon - and then the rice etc simply falls into the swollen balloon while the air is driven out back up into the plastic bottle!]

5. fill the balloon to the required size (bearing in mind some small hands for catching).

[TIP 3: You can measure out cups of your chosen filling - so if you're making juggling balls they all end up the same size.]

6. cut the neck off the balloon and tape closed the opening. Add on a couple of extra balloons - so if one gets punctured the ball still stays intact.

7. add your decorative layers.

Put a different coloured balloon over the ball and snip a couple of holes in it. You can do this with 1 - or 2 - or more balloons - each time cut off their necks as before and stretch over your ball. You'll end up with spotty balls with the colours of the lower balloons showing through the upper layers.







Repeat until you've made a full set of jugglers!







NB because we forgot to take photos - I've put up a couple from elsewhere so you get the idea - these are courtesy of the craftlounge.com

Session leader: Amanda
Leaders: Clare, Catrin
Helpers: Catherine, Tei, Amanda, Chris


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Woodwork (29th September 2014)

We kicked off with the Name Train game to cement some of the new names - it was so popular we had to play it twice - and we could easily have played it again and again.

Then we had a serious talk about safety. We explained that we would be using saws and drills and that it was very important that when people were using them everyone else had to keep well away. We had 4 work stations - 3 sawing benches and some wide, shallow logs to use for drilling on.

Each station had an adult attached and all the Elfins who were not using them were told to go and play games far away!



In pairs the Elfins used bow saws to cut discs of wood

  - then they made a guide hole with an auger -
- and drilled a hole near the edge using a hand drill -

- before threading string through and decorating the name discs with felt tips.

Meanwhile Chris played some great games:

She started with Tig – everyone stood in a circle with the tigger inside the circle. Anyone who was tigged also became a tigger but had to do so on their hands and knees.

The second game was Stoa – a type of tig game with one tigger, who has the ball. Anyone who is hit by the ball also joins the tigger until the last person is caught. It’s a fantastic team game as nobody is in or out, you simply switch sides and the better the co-operation the more successful the game. (It's a game Chris first came across at an Anglo-Saxon re-enactment weekend in West Stow (hence the name) about 30 years ago!)



We sang the Woodcraft Song in a circle around some Elfins who were still working on their discs before saying thanks all and goodnight.

Session Leader: Catrin
Leaders: Amanda, Kate 
Helpers: Chris, Clare, Pippa, Tei