Budding Graphic Designer!

I’m so proud of Buzz today. I’ve been teaching myself to use Inkscape, a free opensource design programme. I decided it would be really useful for Buzz to learn to use it too, it could potentially open many doors in the future. As well as this, he is very creative but in a mathmatical way. He’s never been into colouring or drawing, but he loves drawing diagrams, and if he does draw a picture it has to be very precise and scientific. For example, the other day I drew a sun, you know, that typical way most people draw a sun – a round ball with lines coming out all around. He said “that’s not what a sun looks like” and proceeded to correct my drawing with a non-spiked sun with red heat spots and solar flares!

So I felt that working with vector images on a design programme might be just his cup of tea when it comes to creativity. And it turns out I was right! I spent a few minutes showing him some of the basics, then left him to have a play. Half an hour later I encouraged him to choose a youtube tutorial to work on. I’ve been using Nick Saporito‘s channel, his tutorials are excellent. Buzz chose to create this Heartbeat Design Vector. It may not look like much at first glance, but if you start watching the video you’ll realise there’s so much more to it than first meets the eye! I really didn’t believe he’d cope with it, in terms of the focus and time needed to see it through – it’s a 13 minute video (which we have to pause and rewind a lot to follow the instructions) and is created for adults or older kids, not young children. However, I was completely wrong.

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Buzz grasped the concept and the language so quickly, quicker than I had! He’d hear something once and then remember it. Or Nick would say something that wouldn’t have made sense to me if I hadn’t worked through some basic tutorials, but Buzz seemed to understand it, as if it was a language he has always known. It took about 2 hours, a he loved doing it too. He was so proud of himself, and this is really important. He struggles a huge amount in some areas, and can get very upset and cross at himself (and us!) if he can’t get something right. The world is black and white to him, and if it’s not right then it’s wrong and bad, there’s very little room for middle ground. It’s exhausting for him and for us (as it was for school) to work in the areas that don’t come naturally to him, so I’m super excited to have found another area of strength and enjoyment!

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First Day Of School (Herstmonceux Science Centre)

Not exactly Buzz’s first day of school, we’re always doing ‘school’, but his friends’ first day back to school after the summer holiday. It was the day before his birthday and I’d asked him to name any one place, and any one friend, and that would be his birthday treat instead of a party this year. He chose Herstmonceux Science Centre (yay we love it there!) and his home school friend C. Lovely day. Lovely place. Lovely friend.

Here’s to many more ‘school’ trips! 

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Explosive Fun

This was a fun little after-school science activity. I had the things I needed ready before B came home from school: a small plastic bottle, a bottle of vinegar, a jug or another old bottle, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), a teaspoon and red food colouring.

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Once B was home, we took everything outside. We put the small plastic bottle on the ground and packed some sand around it from the sand table, which made it look like a mountain, with the opening to the bottle exposed like a crater. Then I let B put a couple of heaped teaspoons of bicarb in the bottle. I poured some vinegar and food colouring into the old plastic bottle (which we used as a jug) for B to pour into the mountain. It worked a treat! We experimented with different amounts, which changed how quickly or slowly it came out. Sometimes we had quite a violent volcano, other times it was a slow ooze. Not enough of either bicarb or vinegar and it didn’t really work. We ran out of vinegar far too soon, we could have kept going for ages!

No doubt we will do this again sometime soon, and perhaps try a different shape or size bottle, maybe a bigger bottle with a thinner neck/opening. And we’ll make sure we have plenty of vinegar!