Monthly Archives: February 2012

Freaky Photo Splicing – comparing siblings

Just because, for no particular reason we decided to play around with photo splicing. We took photos of both our children’s faces, and using photoshop we spliced them together.

The result was very interesting. I’ve actually always thought both my children were very similar in appearance, but looking at the spliced photo they actually have a lot of differences. Their main similarities seem to be hair colour, and type, and face shape. Apart from that, their lips, eyes, eyebrows, and nose, all the main features are quite different! We were all surprised by the results, including the children. 

Activities to Help Improve Children’s Writing

If a child is having difficulties with writing, such as pen control, writing stamina, size and neatness of writing. The automatic thing that people often do is practise more writing, while this does have a place, practising more writing doesn’t always resolve the problem.

It can also become boring for the child, which can result in tension between the parent and child. Thinking laterally, it’s useful to break the skill of writing down and make sure the physical elements required for writing are present. Being able to write involves lots of different components, including fine and gross motor control. So rather than do more writing practise, try some other fun activities instead. Set up some play based activities, knowing that while being fun they may also help your child’s writing. 

To be able to write you need to have body stability, the shoulder girdle needs to be stable so that the hand is controlled enough to write. Activities that involve some weight bearing through the arms develop this, have fun doing any of these activities….

  •  Wheelbarrow walking 
  •  Crab walking on all 4s 
  •  Using monkey bars.
  •  Crawling around on all fours! My children used to play lots of animal games, pretending to be dogs, cats, or even giraffes! Be warned that this activity also helps wear out knees on trousers too!

Once body stability is developed then it’s time to work on fine motor control and there are lots of activities that can be done to help this. Activities that require using fingers to do small, detailed things, or activities that strengthen the fingers and thumb are both useful to help with writing. Below are some suggestions of different activities to try.

Threading sets – if you don’t have a specific set you can make your own with string and pasta, start with bigger pasta tubes and then you can progress onto smaller macaroni. If you want a purpose to the activity making pasta necklaces is great, you can paint the pasta once you’ve made them too, metallic paint looks particularly good. However if you do want to buy something ready made this Galt Button Threading works well.

Air dry clay Christmas decorations

Playdough – kneading, rolling, shaping all involve using the hands, which will develop strength and manipulation. You can obviously use shop bought play dough if you have it, but it’s also simple to make at home. On our main site we have a recipe for microwave play dough. If your children are a bit old for playdough try making things from Air Dry Modelling Clay instead.  

Tweezers – using tweezers like those in a stamp collectors kit, or just picking up different items with tweezers, transferring them from one place to another. The game operation is also very good for this, if you have a Toy Story fan this is great.

Toys – such as Lego, Playmobil, Polly Pocket, Sylvanian Family. Where playing involves small pieces to use, and manipulate.

Playing with playmobil space station

Head Lice – up close and personal

Todays subject, head lice. Have you started scratching yet? 

But I’m going to approach this from a slightly different perspective. We had managed to escape ever having them until last weekend, when a hair wash and conditioner with a nitty gritty comb produced ‘things’ from my daughters hair. 

It was difficult to see what exactly I had got out my daughters hair, although I couldn’t think of what else they could be?! Although I wasn’t expecting it, as there was no scratching, no signs. I tried having a look with my son’s hand held microscope but this didn’t give a clear view. 

So yes we took photos! My husband has taken some great reverse lens macro photos before in a previous post. So he worked his magic, and we could then definitely confirm they were head lice. 

WARNING – The information and photo below may make a few of you go ewww. 

At this detail the head louse looked amazing, what turned out initially to be an annoyance, turned into a positive experience. 

Head Louse – reverse lens macro photo

We were all fascinated by the little creature that had been living in my daughters hair, even down to her blood it had been drinking that we could still see inside it. It sparked off great discussion and information finding about head lice.

After studying the head louse, attached to it as we had become, it was time to clear my daughter of the head lice. A combination of a nitty gritty comband Hedrinworked well. The whole family got treated just in case they were inhabiting anyone else’s head too! 

A surprising factor was how long they stay alive for! About an hour after removing it from my daughters head,  and after being submerged in water, they were still alive. So although it’s often not cited as being necessary, I did hot wash all bedding, hats etc… items that had been in contact with the hair just to try and prevent any re infestation from those items.