Did you know trees can talk?

 

Did you know that trees can talk?

If you enjoy this video, please consider buying me a coffee: www.buymeacoffee.com/HelenTozerTalesThanks!

This story is a brilliant way to spark kids’ interest in ecology. Best for ears aged 6 and over. An original story inspired by ecologist Suzanne Simard’s TED talk ‘How trees talk to each other’.

Incredible photography from Unsplash by: Lukasz Szmigiel, Sebastian Unrau, Steven Kamenar, Valeriy Andrushko, Gustav Gullstrand, Micah Hallahan, Dan Stark, Subtle Cinematics, Martin Sepion, John Tecuceanu, Johann Siemens, Camille Brodard, Tomas Tuma, Michael Hacker, Arnaud Mesureur, Matt Artz, Pine Watt, Johannes Plenio, Johannes Plenio, Sebastian Engler, Jan Huber, Gerrie van der Walt, Austin D, with two of my own images sneaked in.

Making gingerbread folk

Telling the gingerbread story got me hungry!

So I decided to make some gingerbread!

I found this brilliant recipe from Lovingitvegan.com

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (56g) Vegan Butter
1/2 cup (100g) Brown Sugar
1/3 cup (100g) Unsulphured Molasses
1 Flax Egg
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups (250g) All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Ground Ginger
2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves

For the Icing:

1 cup (120g) Powdered (Icing) Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Soy Milk

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

2. Add the vegan butter and brown sugar to an electric mixing bowl and cream together.

3. Prepare your flax egg by mixing 1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal with 3 Tbsp Hot Water and allowing to sit for a minute.

4. Add the molasses, vanilla and flax egg to the electric mixer and beat together with the vegan butter and brown sugar.

5. Sift the flour into a bowl and add the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves and mix together.

6. Add all the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl containing the wet ingredients and mix into a thick batter.

7. Flour a surface and your hands very generously and transfer the cookie dough onto the baking surface. Roll it into a ball, adding flour as needed so it doesn’t stick.

8. Roll out with a rolling pin to around a 1/4 inch thick and cut out some gingerbread folk. Dip your cookie cutter in flour each time so it doesn’t stick. Move the gingerbread men to a parchment lined baking tray. Gather the scraps of dough, form into a ball and roll out again, cutting out more people.

9. Don’t be shy to add more flour each time, this dough can be quite sticky and you need it not to be as you roll it, so add flour as needed. Any excess flour on the gingerbread cookies will bake off.

10. Repeat this process until you have used all the dough.

11. Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

12. After 15 minutes remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before decorating.

13. When you’re ready to decorate, mix the decorating frosting ingredients together. It should be quite thick, but when you stir it into a peak, it should hold it’s shape for a bit before melting back down and should be quite sticky.

Full recipe at: https://lovingitvegan.com/vegan-gingerbread-cookies/

Why not make your own dinosaur fossils?

Make your very own dinosaur fossils using simple kitchen ingredients.

Watch my video to learn how:

Recipe for homemade playdough from BBC Food:

Makes 1 coloured ball

Prep 10 minutes

You will need:

8 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp table salt
60ml warm water
2 tsp food colouring
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method

1. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the water, a few drops of food colouring and the oil.

2. Pour the coloured water into the flour mix and bring together with a spoon.

3. Dust a work surface with a little flour and turn out the dough. Knead together for a few minutes to form a smooth, pliable dough. If you want a more intense colour you can work in a few extra drops of food colouring.

4. Store in a plastic sandwich bag (squeeze out the air) in the fridge to keep it fresh. You can make a batch of colours and give away as kids’ party bag favours or hold a playdough party for your child’s next birthday.

Painting with coloured lava!

Looking for an easy art activity for kids?

Why not brighten up the classic baking soda and vinegar experiment with some food colouring or paint? Perfect for an outdoor activity, or indoors in a big tray or tub.

Materials:

vinegar, baking soda, trays, cups or glass jars

Method:

1. Give each child a tray

2. Put 1 tbsp (15 grams) of baking soda in each cup

3. Add a few drops of food colouring or paint to each cup

4. Pour about 3 tbsp of vinegar (60ml) into each cup and get ready for the explosions of colour and bubbles!

5. Use a paint brush to mix the colours, or dip some paper into the coloured foam. Have fun!

Story stones: spark your storytelling creativity!

Looking for some easy activities for kids? Why not make these storytelling stones from the activity book, Show Me a Story? You can use paper, fabric or anything you have lying around!
 
If you have young children around, make sure the stones are too big to be a choking hazard.
 
1. Find some stones in warm water
 
2. Choose coloured paper, fabric or paints
 
3. Think of some fun animals, people, places or magical beings that could make a fun story
 
4. Stick your creations onto the stones with glue
 
5. Once dry, give them one last coat of a clear drying glue, like PVA
 
6. Leave them to dry
 
7. You’re ready to start making stories!

Some me a Story by by Emily K. NeuburgerStones in progress

Stories from other cultures

As a child, I was always drawn to stories from faraway lands. For my baptism, aged 8, my godmother gave me an A-Z of the world. It featured disparate groups, tribes and locations, all of whom were under threat of disadvantage of some kind. I prayed for these people from my bedroom in South-East England.

My grandparents met at a hockey match in India in the 1930’s. My grandfather had been posted there with the British Army. My grandmother was working as a nanny to a British family and had required parental permission to travel overseas as an unmarried woman under  21. I’ve always marvelled at how much pluck such a trip that must have required at that time. They were married quickly on the eve of World War Two and later lived in Penang, Malaysia with their two young sons. In her 80’s, her small bungalow was filled with deep mahogany carved ornaments and furniture collected on her travels.

Whenever I travel or work as a nanny I often think of her. She was warm and patient and made friends easily with children and adults alike. Three years after her death I made my own way to India, my flight her last gift to me.

Ever since I began telling traditional tales professionally I have tried to source stories from as many diverse places as possible. Many of my favourite stories, short in length and rich in warmth, have originated from East or West Africa.

This year I finally took the plunge and made my first visit to East Africa. To Kenya, and Tanzania then onwards to the South; Zambia and Botswana. I then returned to India and visited Sri Lanka. If I hadn’t heard stories from these places it never would have occurred to me to go. I’m also aware that any stories that reach me in Britain would be told through the lens of post-colonialism, and that countless stories and cultures have been lost and brutalised by the horrors of colonialism.

I stayed with local people and taught in local schools. I travelled halfway across the world, spoke English the entire way and never once had to even drive on the opposite side of the road. I heard countless stories, both personal and traditional.

Now I’m in Australia. Back in Western society. In a country where colonialism essentially still exists. Where white people tack respects to traditional owners of the land onto their email signatures from their concrete towers built upon sacred land.

And all I can think is that I’m not ready to stop listening. I want to hear more stories from cultures other than my own. And I don’t want to hear them from someone like myself.