A jungle scene

I was reading this article today about how New Zealand just took a huge a step forward for animal welfare by legally recognizing them as “sentient” beings. The bill also includes banning cosmetic testing on animals, which of course India has also banned in 2013. I was telling Nadia about “sentient beings” and that conversation motivated this post.

We decided to create a diorama of wild animals in their own home, free and happy. Nadia gets the concept of circle of life, though she often still questions why the lion eats the deer. I love how our conversations progress as we color, cut and stick together. It’s such good quality time.

We recycled a UPS delivery box as shows below for the diorama. Painted it green at the bottom for the grass and dark orange to show a sunset sky.

We cut out a tree and leaves and some grass for our scene. Nadia colored several animals – a lion, zebra, giraffe, rhino, deer, cheetah and a baboon.

Here’s a close-up of our scene.

There’s our giraffe behind the tree and a moon rising in the sky beyond.

Here’s a close-up of the baboon, high up on the tree.

Nadia was really proud of this one 🙂

Happy crafting.



The land before time

Nadia’s favorite (or rather only) show is “The Land before time”. It’s about a band of cute dinosaurs exploring and having great adventures. She loves each of them and will have a hard time picking a favorite character. She spends a lot of time with her dinosaur models pretending they are all having great adventures in the “Great Valley”. Those characters have motivated this post. We decided to make our very own dinosaur puppets for endless hours of storytelling and fun.

I drew them on index cards and Nadia colored them. After that we cut them up and stuck straws at the back so they can be hand-held.

Here she is coloring Cera (the three horned girl).

These are Little-Foot, Chomper and Spike.

Here’s Ducky and Spike having a great conversation.

And here’s the entire group having some argument.

Here’s a final view of the original group from the beloved children’s series.

I am thinking of making a puppet theater next so she can entertain us too with their stories. I just can’t get enough of the 56mm1.2F’s depth of focus, colors and sharpness 🙂



Happy Ramazan

During the holy month of Ramazan, I decided to do some crafts related to mosques. It’s also been a good way of explaining the concept of religion and Ramazan celebrations to Nadia. She has the best of both worlds, a good exposure to both religions as she has a Muslim father and a Hindu mother.

We started off by doing some painting.

The masjid below is a imprint of her hand, with some minarets. The night sky has a moon and stars.

We then built a masjid with lego. It has a flag and green grass at the bottom. It also has a cute door. Here is the entire scene.

Below are some close-ups of the masjid.

 Happy Ramazan to everyone.



More painting

Some more finger painting Saturday morning. The first picture below is Nadia’s hand smeared in yellow paint.

She then proceeded to fill it up with black dots once it dried and drew on an eye, nose and a mouth. Totally looks like a giraffe right?

Here’s a scene I drew for her and she added on the leaves and birds.

Here’s a card Nadia made for a friend’s first birthday. That’s her and Ozzie with a bunch of balloons…cute huh?

Yeah this was a lot of fun!!

Have a great weekend.



Autumn tree

We tried some finger painting last night. Nadia started out with just dabbing paint on paper. She always wants me to join in her crafts so she suggested that I draw something and then she would paint around it. So I drew a tree and she colored it brown. She then proceeded to use red and yellow to create an autumn scene.

Here are a few close-ups.

You can tell by that big smile, she is enjoying this very much.

I am quite impressed by how well this turned out. This one is going on my office wall.

I think we will do more finger painting over the weekend. There is something about getting the paint all over your hands that excite children a lot. Very easy to motivate a painting out of them.

Have a great weekend.



A moving bus

Nadia has been asking for a ride in a bus for the last week. That’s what motivated this post. We decided to draw a bus and then it went somewhere else. I drew a scene and Nadia colored it.

Then I drew the bus and Nadia colored and cut it out. We glued a straw to it.

Then we cut a slit into the scene where she could then insert the bus and move it back and forth. She absolutely loved it. We drew little people in the bus and then she asked for a car.

So here’s the entire scene with a bus and a car.

She spent quite some time imagining things up and playing with it. I love how these small crafts lead to so much of imaginative play.

Happy crafting!

PS: We added a night scene here on 6/28. Hope you like it.



Oil and Water

We did a science experiment today. We poured water into two bottles, then poured some oil into both. Nadia was surprised that oil and water did not mix. You can see the oil floating on top.

I started explaining about polarity…however left it at that. She now knows that it’s due to polarity which is a good start for her 🙂

Next we dropped some food coloring into both the bottles…blue and green.

They do make a pretty picture don’t they?

Nadia enjoyed shaking the bottles and watching the molecules separate back…she was quite fascinated. They remind me a bit of lava lamps.

Do share a line about your favorite science experiment.



Father’s day

Making crafts for this dad was a little challenging as he always like’s to see what we’re painting. Luckily he was traveling this week and we took advantage of that.

Here’s the card. That’s Nayeem…I am sure you recognize his hair and the look in his eyes. The orange thing is our attempt at a tie. Nadia colored and cut and stuck everything. I helped a bit. Then she decided it was too cute to give away for Father’s day so we had to make another smaller version for her.

Next we decided to make a banner to hand to hang at our breakfast nook. We cut 6 ties out of paper and I wrote things like “#1 Dad”, “Love you” etc on them.

We then made a garland and it was a good surprise for Nayeem. Typically I am the late riser so waking up early and making breakfast gave Nayeem quite a double surprise.

    Cute crafts + Poha (puffed rice breakfast dish) = 1 happy daddy

We also made a chocolate cake…our first attempt ever! Nadia helped mix all the ingredient and of course eat it too.

Happy Father’s Day to all you great dads out there. Hope you enjoy today with your precious family.



Kandinsky abstracts

I introduced Nadia to Wassily Wassilyevich Kandinsky. He was an influential Russian artist who is one of the first to produce abstract works. We observed some of his work online and then decided to make our own version of Kandinsky abstracts.

                                             I just love her focus and concentration here 🙂

    Here is her partially done print.

  Just love the colors here. Of course I am referring to the Fuji-XT1 and 56mm 1.2 🙂

 Here is Nadia posing with the finished version. She really enjoyed doing this.

I also joined her in doing some painting. Here is my boring, traditional version.

This joint venture with my daughter has been one of the best decisions I ever made. I get to spend time with her, do crafts both of us enjoy, take photographs and then create this online diary of our time spent together. I am hoping she will cherish these posts for a long time.

Thank you for reading and do drop a line or share your favorite activities with your child. I am always looking for inspiration.

Have a great weekend.


Dinosaurs and ladders

Here’s a modern take on Snakes and Ladders. I was trying to teach Nadia to play Snakes and Ladders and Ludo when she said why are there no dinosaurs in this game. I found a similar thing on pinterest and decided why don’t we make a “Dinosaurs and Ladders” game.

I sketched out the outline and here’s how it looked. I took a used ups box and inverted it for the board game. It even folds up for easy storage.

 Nadia colored the blocks, the dinos and the volcano.

Here’s how the finished version looked. We made some notes about the rules of the game and added a few ladders. Our version only has 12 steps so it’s a quick game keeping in mind the attention span of a child.

Finally, we used tiny dinosaurs as pawns and a dice to play our game. We had a blast 🙂

Definitely watch out for a challenge next time you visit.