Every weekend Ela is doing her home work given by school.
I help with English, my husband with Maths.
All wasn't much of a big deal until last week...

Ok, this seems to be nothing to you right? :)
Ela is 6 and as much as she loves reading and writing Maths it's a different story.
And you know what, I can't blame her.
Her fingers of 
both hands just wasn't enough any more to deal with the bigger numbers.
After they've finished Grzegorz said
"I think we will need to get an abacus".

Great, I though.
A new need means a new DIY challenge to me :)
It's just no way I'm going to buy it.

As usual I was trying to think of stuff I have and could reuse to this project.
Having in mind a classic modern look of an abacus in my head, and on my laptop screen I searched our flat.

By the way, here is some interesting read about abacus for you ;)

So I had this lovely glossy picture frame which I dropped in the middle of refurbishment loosing the glass and just couldn't throw it away.
It's been waiting in my draw for about a year and now it's the time!

These are all materials I use:
- an old frame
- 10 bamboo skewers
- 100 acrylic pony beads

First I decided to paint the bamboo skewers white, I'm fussy ;)
Beside the paint will keep skewers neat for longer.
I use two coats of acrylic paint...

and clear nail polish after for a nice glossy finish.

Next I removed all unnecessary metal parts at the back of the frame. 

Then I placed all the skewers inside the frame edge and marked where to stick them later.
Bare in mind I had to trim the ends a bit, they were too long.

Next was a fun part of grouping all 100 beads into 10 for each 10 skewers.

How pretty :)

I then stick the skewers using hot glue...

After glue dried I applied some more on the top of it.

         Rudzia our cat approved :)

I only needed to attach the back of the frame.
I listened to my "What if" husband and didn't attach it with a hot glue as planned.

"What if Ela brakes one of  the skewers, think of easy removing in case"
So I did :)

I secured it with a white insulation tape instead.Nice and neat, and easy to remove:)

Ta dam!

Ela gets very excited when back from school...

At first she played with it then were counting :)

It does look stylish too :)

Ela even sang a song where you can hear a nice sound of the colourful beads,
here is the video
The next day she did some Maths again, she found it so much easier with her abacus now and what's most important
                                                FUN :)


Today I am sharing fun sprouts growing observation for kids.
This project came to live nearly a month ago to be honest, when I planted sunflower seeds in the garden.
After days of cold showers there was no sign of anything growing :/
We had some more seeds left so we get on planting at warm home.
I came across sprouting beans on wet cotton so I though of giving a try and make a fun experiment
 out of it for Ela to watch .
Do you remember when I mentioned this when we tried some experiments for the school project?
We ended up on Gummy bear growth as we wanted to keep the growing sprouts for our garden ;)

I found that I love making printable sheets for you so here you have it!
Just click the links below the images to print them out.

This one is the labels where kids can write the names of the seeds or beans they growing.
You can then cut each out and attach it to the jars.


Second one is the growing observation chart where you can write what observed including dates when you started and first sprout shooting, name of the seeds and other details of the observation.

Now lets have a look how it goes!

To make it more exciting and scientific I choose three different type of seed to compare which would be the quickest to grow.
You can do more then this if having more choices of seeds at home ;)
More types of bean maybe?

Step 1.

I first soak all of the seeds in water for a few hours but I think its not essential.

Step 2.

Next I watered a lot of kitchen towels and placed them in large jars.

Step 3.

Then I inserted seeds between a towel and a wall of the jar.
This is important, you want to see the whole growing process well.

It should look like this.

Day 3
All has began at the third day.
Well, not all but the first tiny results :)
Beans started to sprout already and the sunflower seed were slightly open too!

Day 4
Nothing could be seen on the lemon pips so I didn't bothered about the photo.
I rinsed the towels with water a bit again ;)
You can do that every couple of days.

Day 9
After day 4 I ignored the photo shooting for a few days to give a lemon pips a chance to grow...As you can see, still nothing at day 9.Hmm :/

Only a bit of a mould appear, that's about it.

But look at the beans!

We obviously see the winner of the race here :)
                                       Another week later...

After two weeks of sprouting we pick the sunny day and plant our sunflower seeds and black eyed bean plants :)
The lemon pips landed in the bin sadly :/ 

There's one more Ela :)