Jack and the beanstalk

Today we woke up to a letter from the giant:

Little Miss 5 was so excited, the letter was huge, from floor to ceiling , her face was a picture.

This is how it came together:

I filled mini bags with jelly beans and simply printed a label that said ‘edible magic beans’, I did enough for all her friends at school as Jack and the Beanstalk is their current core story.

I had bought new gardening tools for her, as well as beans to plant and pots-I put dots on the beans which corresponds to the numbers I put on the pots I made golden eggs by painting foam eggs I bought from a craft store, I found the paint went on easier if I papier-mâchéd them first, I also papier-mâchéd a ballon too for a large golden egg-which cracked dramatically under the great British heat we’ve had over the last few days! Luckily I managed to patch it up!

I had purchased a plastic ivy plant from Amazon, plastic golden coins as well as chocolate coins (I couldn’t resist), made a harp & large footprints out of cardboard, there you have it!

So we set to work on the giants requests straight away, as the magic bean treasure was irresistible!

we planted the beans.

we had an outdoor puppet show, where little miss 5 was able to retell the story-we used the same props. She even wanted to make us tickets

Little Miss 5, then measured her toys against the giants foot prints

There is so much home learning that can be done, just by knowing what core story your child is reading at school, and it’s not ‘boring’ or ‘homework’ as such, just quality learning experiences, in a fun way, but mostly it’s about spending quality time together!

Needless to say, we ended the day with a Jack and the Beanstalk tub-time and quite simply moved the props to the bathroom! Obviously reading the story several times too!

Little Miss 5 has a splashing time!

Slime Saturday

When your plans change or the weather’s bad, simply make some slime, an open ended malleable product which lets your children’s imagination flow, and their fine motor skills develop!

I haven’t made it for a while, so today was perfect, my children then added various small-world toys to the mix such as Lego etc, oh my, they have had hours of fun!

img_5250img_5251img_5276.jpgLego men being fossilised apparently 😁

If you wish to make some the ingredients are below, adult supervision is highly recommended!

3floz of Elmer’s glue

Food colouring

Tsp baking soda

Mix thoroughly then gradually add

Optrex, mixing and kneading until you have the perfect consistency. Store in an airtight container and it will last for a while! 👍🏻😁

To make the rainbow 🌈 slime, you’ll need 6 lots of this recipe! My preferred food colouring to use is paste rather than gels or liquids as they are more vibrant.

                           

Digesting headlines

How much attention do your children pay to the news?

Do you think it’s important?

Growing up, I was never really interested in what was going on in the world, but as a parent I think it’s important that some news stories are relevant for our young ones.

My son has been receiving The Week Junior, for about a year now, it really simplifies news for them and great if your child is into fascinating facts! It is easy to read with plenty of pictures and entertaining headlines too.

This was our favourite article this week so to celebrate this great discovery we made Oreo penguins!-so simple (although ever so unhealthy)

1) dunk your Oreo in melted chocolate

2) stick on a large white button for its tummy, some edible eyes & half a skittle for it’s beak.

3) place in the fridge to set

4) Eat & enjoy!!

Making news fun……….and digestible!

Anti-bullying

First day of term and the breakfast table conversations are about reflecting on last term, what we hope to achieve this term, and our behaviours which influence our social circles.

I gave the children a plain piece of paper and told them to screw it up, I then asked them to flatten it out as much as they could…..we spoke about how the paper creases would not go away, similar to if we hurt our peers, as much as we can say sorry, the memories and scars will always be there.

I then gave them a toothpaste tube each and told them to squeeze as much out as they could……then, I gave them a spoon and told them to put the toothpaste back in the tube…..obviously they couldn’t. We compared this to the things we say, if we say unkind words, we cannot un-say them or take them back.

I do this every term with my children to reiterate the impact of our actions and words on our social circles.

Please share to support anti-bullying!

Trick or treat or not??

 I’m all up for Christmas, elves, fairy lights and tinsel tack,  but when it comes to Halloween, well, trick or  moreso, I’m a bit of a Scrooge to be honest, for several reasons really; firstly I don’t find fun or see the point in scaring people, secondly I don’t mind opening the door & handing out sweets but I don’t feel comfortable taking my own children out asking other people for sweets, almost like begging, just don’t get it? & thirdly, sweets. Need I say more. 

However, we do celebrate pumpkins.  Carving pumpkins is fantastic activity to support those early literacy, fine motor skills!! 

And love a good Pumpin soup, baked in the actual pumpkin, with warm rolls and roasted pumpkin seeds. 

Pumpkin day is our Halloween! 

The Little Red Hen

Shorter days, dark evenings, orange leaves, can only mean one thing-Autumn! 

With Autumn, comes Harvest! How many of your children are learning about Harvest at school? Generally Harvest is about thanking the lord for crops and so forth, however, I am not religious, but I do see it as a good opportunity to teach my children about counting their blessings and recognising all things good in our lives! 

Anyway…..

For Miss 4, we read The Little Red Hen (lots!), we have a couple of versions with different endings, our favourite being the one where the Little Red Hen shares her bread with the baker and the miller as they helped her, thus showing kind morals. 

This year I decided to really ‘topic’ it in our family home and yes, it started with a tub-time! A little bit of red food colouring in the water to emphasise the colour.

Foam letters are brilliant for story titles & repeatitive refrains, supporting early literacy skills, if you don’t have any, craft foam is amazing! A couple of bunches of corn to add effect, and to add a sensory approach. 

Laminated copies of relevant pages, enough to prompt the story sequence. A few Schleich figures of the animals from the story, so Miss 4 can retell the story. Laminated story characters (an alternative to Schleich figures) and of course, the book. 

Needless to say, little Miss 4 did not want to get out the bath!! 

We then took a family trip to Bircham Windmill in Norfolk.


 A lovely, family run windmill, with tea rooms, shop, farm animals, 


dairy, interactive museum, not to mention the scrumptious smell in the bakery!! 


But the main reason for us visiting, is the opportunity for children to bake their own loaf of bread, a great, realistic experience for a 4year old to understand that bread and cakes, and milk and cheese do not just come from Tesco’s! 

A fantastic, educational but fun day out and quality time together as a family!! 

Our bedtime read that night, you guessed it, was the Little Red Hen. 

Having a daughter, that is very much into her drama, the laminated characters I used for Miss 4’s bath previously, I then backed with a lollipop stick to turn them into puppets, low and behold, being one of our favourite stories, little Miss 4 was able to retell the story using her puppets. She made us tickets from scrap paper and we even had to ‘buy’ popcorn! 

Laminated puppet theatre-Such a simple, yet effective way, for children to develop their attention and recall skills! 

I then found a simple bread recipe, (with pictures so Miss 4 could follow the directions)

 and together we baked some bread rolls for her friends at school, as it just so happens to be the book they are reading at school for Harvest too!

I love little Miss 4’s enjoyment when we bake together, measuring the ingredients, mixing & kneading, so much learning, whilst having great fun, not to mention dancing to the radio! 

Huge, huge learning opportunities from just one story! 

Many of my posts mention learning and development aspects, I am by no means a ‘pushy’ parent, I strongly believe children learn from the interactions their environment presents to them, as a parent you have so much control over this and I merely aim to show you how easy it is to make it fun, so children don’t even realise they are learning! In the process you have fun too! 

Children are sponges so feed them as much as you can whilst they are still little. It’s not about them being the cleverest in their class, it’s about them recognising their abilities, consequently gaining confidence to explore, make mistakes and find their ‘niche’. 

Back to school! 

Last week of the holibobs and the craziness begins, checking you’ve got & labelled all the uniform. 

Miss 4 starts on 12th September and she’s made my life easier by insisting she labels all the clothes for me, every 4year old loves stickers, so I bought them from http://www.mynametags.com, I sit back with a cuppa 👍🏻

 Genius! 

My mother is an amazing woman, and such an inspiration to my parenting, how she managed school shopping & sewing labels for 4 children’s uniforms &  4 different schools, and work, I will never know!! 

Boredom buster

A lounge, drive in cinema.  Simple a couple of cardboard boxes, crayons or felt tips, paperplate for steering wheel, popcorn & a good film. 2 happy children 😁👌🏻

Social Media/smart phones

Child Grooming & Abduction – A True Story.

So, I read this blog & I’m not exactly naive to the World Wide Web, but I do feel I ‘avoid’ the conversations, maybe, my reasoning is that mr 8.5 does not yet have any such mobile devices, we only have a PC in the lounge which we can all see. This reason I know, still isn’t enough.

I know Mr 8.5 is aware of on-line safety and school’s are doing a fantastic job of educating our children these days, but no matter how much educating we do, my question is; are children still too ‘immature’ to have so much access to these devices? 

I don’t mean ‘immature’ in a patronising way, but the average age of a child getting a Smart mobile phone is 10. An age of where children endure major changes in their life, physically and emotionally, from beginnings of puberty and changes in their schooling-SATs, secondary school etc. Their emotions are all over the place. For me, I often call it the dark ages, you wake up with a zit and feel ugly to the rest of the world, or your best mates got a new best mate,  or you feel like a failure because you didn’t pass the 11plus! 

Such insignificant issues now I’m 35, but thinking back, these things had a real impact on my moods and my emotional well being. So if someone, anyone shows any empathy with our children on line or otherwise, for them, all they can see is maybe a light relief from the everyday pressures, which I can completely relate to, but when I was younger there was no World Wide Web, there was the longer route home from school that was a ‘no-go’ area, but I went that way on occasions, why? I don’t know, maybe I wanted my parents to worry? maybe I needed to clear my head? maybe it felt good being rebellious? I really don’t have the answer, but at age 10, 11, 12, the dangers seemed minimal in comparison to whatever dramas the day had held.

so no matter how much on-line safety education is in place, our children of ages 9,10,11,12, or 13 plus, are still so vulnerable, and are they actually in a place where they are able to make such head strong decisions regarding their own safety? 

Should there be an age band on smart phones?  

Then there’s tablets? And consoles? A topic I have discussed before! Although, I do feel parents can monitor these to more of an extent, if children aren’t bedroom-bound to them! What are your thoughts? 

I don’t know what the answer is? The World Wide Web is a wonderful, yet very dangerous place!

What age did your children get a mobile device? 

What measures have you got in place? 

Do you monitor your children’s access? 

School’s Out

So, I’m back! After a crazy term & a huge confidence knock, I’ve been reluctant to post. 

But now, it’s the holidays, I’m here again and boy, I have missed this!

So if you’re in the U.K., school’s out for summer. What are we all doing with our children?? 

I organised a walking bus from school to our house, where I provided; water bombs, lots of cardboard boxes for bases & some cheap pound-shop Nerfs. Oh my, I never seen a bunch of 8year olds have so much fun, I could’ve of easily sat back with a cuppa & let them entertain themselves, but, no way, being the biggest kid of the bunch, I joined in too! 

Then for tea, it was pizzas & moctails, ice cream factory & milkshakes. 

When the children are running past you screaming ‘this is the best party ever’! & ‘can we do it again soon’! You know it was a successful evening!!
Another £1 shop purchase was a game called mumbo jumbo, a children’s version of Big Mouth! This also went down a treat, needless to say, endless laughter and hopefully lots of happy memories!

We finished off the evening with a film and popcorn! 

It just goes to show, you don’t need to spend a fortune for a good time!