How We Use Posters (or Please stop the knock knock jokes!)

Recently someone on one of my social networks posted a fantastic site for finding maths posters. It’s called “A Maths Dictionary for Kids” and it is a great site for fancy, printable posters on a wide variety of maths topics. All well and good, but we don’t live in a huge  house and we haven’t got a lot of room for putting up posters around the place. And anyway, I’ve never really been a fan of classroom-style interior decor!

Nevertheless, we do use these kinds of posters – we print them, laminate them, then used them as place mats for the children. And they love them! They get to quiz each other, play games and memorise while eating – and goodness knows they do that an awful lot!

We don’t just do this with maths posters. In the past we have made place mats of the  other topics too. One of the favourites has been the periodic table.  We spent many a mealtime discussing  the pronunciation, use, and pure state of various elements. (Don’t worry, it’s all on the periodic table!) We also use it as a craft activity, where the children design their own seasonal place mats.

The same approach can be used for whatever topics and whatever level your child is interested in. And trust me, it makes for more interesting conversation than the not-quite-right knock knock jokes that have been flavour of the month here!


Welcome to Ancient Egypt!

Starting new topics is so much fun! I love getting out new books, chasing up new resources, putting up new posters. Our next topic is Ancient Egypt, and today we started.

Our starting point was the chapter in The Story of the World: Book 1. That starts talking about Ancient Egypt, and talks about the Nile and the role the Nile played, as well as the story of Osiris.

We have a lovely posters from DK Eyewitness Expert about Ancient Egypt. (These have been very sadly discontinued 😦 ) up on the wall, and my personal collection of Egyptian-y books ready to go. Yes, I spent waaaay too much time as a teenager trying to teach myself hieroglyphs, so I have a reasonable collection.

We get lots of great ideas for the younger children from the Little City Kids website. My children really enjoy the hands-on activities they offer.

Today we wrote up a lot of questions we wanted to learn the answers to. I find this a good way of judging what the prior level of knowledge is, as well as learning what topics they find interesting. Judging from our list, we have the usual morbid fascination with mummies, but also an interest in the daily life of the ordinary people.

Looking forward to a couple of outings: of course to the SA Museum’s Ancient Egypt collection, but also to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens looking at the plants of Ancient Egypt.

One of the best things is not know where exactly we will end up, Not knowing what fun rabbit trails we will follow. Will they want to learn about counting systems they used? Build something? Make models? Who knows!

Autumn at the Atelier

Here at the Creekside Atelier, changes are afoot. The mornings are crisper, and there is a lovely misty rain falling over the distant hills. The creek is flowing again and the trees are just starting to turn.


In the garden we are still harvesting tomatoes, zucchini, basil and last last few summer crops. The pumpkins are getting bigger.


All of which signals the end of the heat, and the beginning of my favourite season: Autumn.


Autumn is a great time for crafting, so I am starting to arrange my materials ready to go. Here in the Adelaide Hills we are lucky enough to have an endless supply of Autumn leaves for crafting with, as well as acorns and other assorted Autumn-y materials. This makes Autumn crafting so much easier!

This season my oldest is nearly 8, so it is time for the two of us to start knitting with needles. We are going to try to knit some of these adorable apples. The younger children might be interested in dipping leaves in wax or hearing the story of the star in the apple and doing some apple print t-shirts or experimenting with the mixing colours on leaves.

If you are interested in your own Autumn crafts, I have some lovely links on my Autumn Pinterest board.


After we spent the last few weeks learning about the introduction of agriculture, and how and why people started sowing crops, it is natural for that to flow on to harvest festivals. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post about that.

Ever season we pick one aspect of nature we are going to focus on, and we keep an eye out for opportunities to look at that area. In Summer, we went creek dipping and discovered some of the fascinating creatures in our creek. Last Autumn we examined and collected leaves. This Autumn we are going to focus on seeds. My starting point for this will be this lovely post.

In the coming term we will be exploring different bases in maths, and exploring some chemistry for science, and later we will get lost in Ancient Egypt. Don’t worry, I will tell you more about that later.


The Creekside Atelier’s new courses start this Sunday – I am really looking forward to that! I am also developing courses for the school holidays and for term 2. Sign up by email to stay in touch for these new developments.

What are you doing this Autumn, at home or school? Please share your ideas in the comments below, and if you find these ideas useful, share them around using your social networking links.

Happy Autumn!