Dubai is beautiful in winter. Seriously beautiful. The beaches are white-sand-and-turquiose-sea picture perfect. The parks are lush, floral and often hosting locally grown organic markets with funny shaped, vibrantly coloured vegetables of all varieties. The desert is crisp and calm and silent, apart from the faint sound of the call to prayer being carried from a distant mosque (well, thats the case in our favourite spot, anyway).
We try to make the most of the winter, since summers are so blistering. Every Friday we visit the local farmers’ market, picking up our week’s supply of veggies (which is substantial given the number of mini cucumbers and tomatoes Little Bu devours). A couple of times a week we meet up with my ‘tribe’ for playdates at the beach/in the desert/park. Every afternoon we head to our local park to play with the neighbouring tots.
(Look at all that beautiful fresh produce. Can’t get enough of those colours!)
But always, always, the priority is to find somewhere outside to spend our time during these gorgeous months.
In the mornings, Little Bu and I often take a walk around the neighbourhood and local park, and whenever we remember, we take a basket to collect the pretty little treasures we find along the way. These we lay out on her art table, and either simply enjoy examining them or use them to create something.
Yesterday, that something was a sun catcher. We’ve done small, paper plate shaped ones before, but I had the idea to make a big one, where not only does the finished piece end up on a window, but the process takes place on the window too. Definitely a winner! The process of creating on a vertical canvas (so to speak), with the light already shining through, made this activity feel really special.
So here’s how you can make one yourself.
2 pieces of contact paper, cut to exactly the same size
Washi tape (or similar easily removable tape)
A basket of nature treasures collected by you and your little ones
Remove the backing from one piece of contact paper, and use the tape to hold it to the window (sticky side facing away from the window). I found the ideal position is at their head & shoulder height so that they can get close to the paper, and really study the detail of what they’re creating.
Let your little one go crazy! Little Bu first wanted to press her hands onto it and was busy enjoying the stickiness, so I taped up a second smaller piece for her to enjoy pressing her hands onto. As soon as her interest in that had passed, we moved back over to the larger piece.
Once your little ones have finished their masterpiece, take it off the window and place it on a flat surface. Peel off two corners of backing on the second piece of contact paper, and press them on top of the first piece. Slowly pull off the backing whilst pressing the two pieces of contact paper together, hopefully pressing out any air bubbles as you go.
Now it’s ready to stick back onto the window in a position to catch as much light as possible. You can then also visit it from the other side, and point out the differences in the patterns and shapes from each side.
(n.b. whilst some of your leaves & flowers might take well to the sun catcher, others might discolour quickly. This won’t last forever, but that just means you can make another with new colours from the next season!).
Of course you can make these with a colour, theme or season in mind, such as autumn colours, or different leaf textures. Each time you do it, you could choose another aspect of our beautiful world to examine and appreciate.