Rocks, fossils & dinosaurs

Just as it takes time for children to learn hand dominance, it also takes time for them to understand their preferred learning style, for example, sometimes ‘unwanted behaviour’ is apparent because a child cannot learn by listening alone but are a strong kinaesthetic learner, they learn by ‘doing’ by ‘muscle memory’, this is why, when I plan lessons for children or even activitives for my own children, I try to include a 3D approach, involving visuals, listening opportunities and doing, this way every child will take something from what you’re teaching.

As a parent you are ‘teaching’ and ‘educating’ your child with out even realising it, from behaviours to social skills etc. Always remember that.

I always acknowledge what topics school are teaching my children, then turn it into a fun 3D approach at the weekends (gauging their enthusiasm for the topic obviously!)

This week my daughter’s loved learning about rocks, fossils and dinosaurs, so this weekend was a busy one……

We started with an archeological excavation breakfast !

Set some fossils, shells and dinosaurs on the table. Provided tools: magnifying glass, tongs, knife & fork.
Layers of a full English covering toy dinosaurs.
Excavated dinosaurs 😆

Now on to our next project, learning about different types of rocks-always fun when sweets are involved, whatever your learning style!!

We unwrapped 3 sweets of each colour and cut them into quarters, we squeezed one set together softly to represent sedimentary rock.
We then used pressure and heat from our own bodies to mould the sweets together in more of a playdough texture, to represent metamorphic rock.
We then moulded the last few sweets together and put in the microwave for a few seconds, it was hot and runny but dried hard to make igneous rock.

My daughter was inquisitive about, what would happen if we put it in the microwave longer, so we tried that too! And as you can see, it changed colour, and was bubbling with the heat, it was far too hot to touch just like real life magma!!!

Time for more excavating…..

I squeezed, and I mean squeezed toy dinosaurs into balloons, filled them with water and put them in the freezer over night.

And squeeeeeeeeze!!

Once frozen I took them out the freezer and took the balloons off.

Then, supervised, I gave my daughter a hammer and screw driver and she chiselled away at the dinosaur ‘eggs’.

Now time for a spot of lunch!

We then did a bit of research on caves, stalactites and stalagmites, we wondered how they formed, so…..

⚠️ if you do the following experiment ALWAYS wear gloves⚠️

2 cups Epsom salts, 2 cups hot water, mix thoroughly then split between 2 jars.

Soak a piece of wool in the mixture, tie a paperclip to each end and put one end in each jar.

After an hour the stalactite will start forming, this photo is after 24 hours, we can’t wait to see what happens over the next few days……

Now time to learn about rock erosion.

We discussed what erosion meant and the different ways this may happen.

Annabel didn’t think water or ice could damage rocks, because rocks are so hard, so we did a freeze/thaw experiment.

We collected a range of different types of rocks, counted them, put them in a container and took a photo of their positioning. We covered them with water and put them in the freezer.

After just 24 hours, you can see there is not much change, so we will continue to freeze and thaw for several days…..

Now time for the choc-chip cookie erosion test. Once again, always a winner when food is involved! We used toothpicks to represent human activity and water to represent weathering.

We put one cookie in a glass of water and one on a paper plater, which we prodded using the toothpick.

We prodded continuously for 1 minute, then observed the differences.

Then repeated up to 4 minutes. Annabel observed from the experiment that weathering is quicker at eroding rocks than human activity.

And now to eat a couple of cookies 😋😋.

And for the grand finale of our busy, science weekend. The volcano.

We spent Friday evening, papermache-ing around a plastic bottle, shaping our volcano.

Once dried, Annabel painted it.

Now, with plenty of baking soda, white vinegar and red food colouring, we are ready to erupt!

Wow! What a busy weekend we’ve had! So much learning, but more than that, so much fun!! We observed, questioned, experimented, talked and laughed together, this blog is a mere snippet of what went on!

Great fun!! Together time!

Elderberry Cordial

Lockdown has taught us many things. What has it taught you?

For me it’s that life’s too short, it doesn’t matter if plans go out the window, live for the moment and learn from every opportunity.

My daughter and I went for a bike ride, she saw a blackberry bush and asked if we could pick them. The old me would’ve said, “we haven’t got time, it’s nearly bed time’’.

The new me said “yes, lets’’, I’m so glad we did! We had so much fun! We collected enough backberries for a crumble then continued our bike ride.

We then came to tree with some, what looked like blackcurrents on, my daughter being Miss inquisitive wondered what they were, so I used the ‘picture this’ app to clarify, what on earth did we do before technology!! They were elderberries.

We decided to collect some of them in our baskets too. When we returned home we googled some ideas for elderberry recipes, we could make jam, syrup, gin or cordial. (Once again thank heavens for the internet!!).

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not brilliant in the kitchen, but we decided to give the cordial a go, since it was the one thing all four of us like. Plus, what did we have to loose, we either make a great cordial, or it goes a bit wrong, either outcome will give us a learning opportunity.

We started removing all the berries off their stalks. Using a fork made this a little easier, however, it was still time consuming and I did wonder why I’d even agreed to this! Ha!

Eventually, they were all stalk free and washed. We had 550g worth!

Other ingredients 1lt water, 350g castor sugar and 2 tbsp lemon juice.

We put the berries into a pan with some lemon rind and the litre of water. We simmered them on a low heat for half an hour.

We then strained the juice through a colander which was lined with fabric (you could use a muslin cloth or an old pillow case.).

Press the berries gently to extract the juice.

We then return the juice to the pan with the sugar and lemon juice. We heated it until all the sugar dissolved.

Once cooled I poured it into a decanter, we diluted it with lemonade (for the 11yr old) and water (for the 7yr old) to have with our lunch, it was definitely a winner all round!! Absolutely delicious, with water or lemonade!

I will certainly be making this again, by turning an easy ‘no we haven’t got time’ to a ‘well let’s see……’, we learnt so much and had so much fun together too!

Tooth fairy magic 🎉

Today my daughter’s tooth fell out, quite unexpectedly, mightily unprepared mum right here.

‘Bluebell’ couldn’t find her report cards she printed a few years back -put them in a safe place 🙄!. She no longer owns a printer to print more 🙄.

‘Bluebell’ quickly located some card and in tiny writing wrote a note and a report card.

Kitty is a friend of my daughter, who said her tooth fairy is called Bluebell!

It’s an ongoing tradition that many parents keep baby teeth, personally I find this quite disgusting to keep them in the house, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away either, so when my eldest first tooth fell out, I decided to start a fairy garden.

2 mini jam jars sit in the fairy garden, one for each child’s teeth.

Every time, my children loose a tooth, Bluebell delivers the expected coin, leaving a trail of fairy dust everywhere, puts the tooth in the jar and something new magically appears in the fairy garden. This time it was a little phone box

So cute!

Some of the fairy garden is getting weathered now, as it’s been growing for about 6 years, but Bluebell and her friends are still happy to live there.

Harry Potter-the understair cupboard

My boy used to read Harry Potter, but wasn’t really into it for long, now it’s hitting our household 2nd time around faster than you can say Accio …..

My daughter is about to turn 7 and has suggested to start reading Harry Potter together, but she’s a bit nervous incase it’s too scary. I think she’ll actually be ok with it, we shall see, any thoughts gratfully received! Is she too young??? What age did your children start reading it?

We started The Philosopher’s Stone just 2 days ago, with a view that if she doesn’t like it, we’ll stop but oh my she’s loving it, embracing it (only on page 77)! To the point our house is being magically transformed, we no longer have shoes in our understair cupboard, but a bedroom, her bedroom.

Simple props, such as this sign, takes seconds to make, but the memories last a lifetime.
A few fairy lights, spells on the wall. An obligatory owl!
A Spell book-just a book covered in brown paper.
A beanbag for comfort

They both slept in the understair cupboard last night and this morning recieved a few letters…

I’m not sure how long this Harry Potter phase will last, just enjoying the moment, making memories.

Feel free to share your Harry Potter ideas and activities.

Storm Dennis

The storm is rapidly approaching, what’s everyone up to?

The perfect weather for getting your children’s imaginations going…..

Get out the crafts or playdough, bake together or maybe a puppet show, or just let them lead the way…………

…..I was busy doing mum-stuff, when my daughter said ‘mum, come and visit my animal sanctuary’, her bedroom had been taken over by all her stuffed animals

They were everywhere! I replied ‘I can’t visit without a ticket and I don’t know where it is-you may need some signs’ and so she did, spent all morning together designing posters and tickets for the sanctuary.

I paid 50p for my ticket, which in turn promoted money and maths descussion, how much change? Etc.

Come lunch time, I just made my daughter a lunch suitable for her animals too, she ate the lot 😊, or maybe it was her furry friends 🤔

Sometimes mum-stuff doesn’t matter, but quality time with our children does!

Spend your storm Dennis time wisely, create your own storm of imaginitive play!

The Beauty of Children

Children aren’t born to discriminate, they are not born to be prejudiced.  It’s taught.

Children are born with beautiful souls and beautiful minds, that are inquisitive about the world around them.

Social education for parents is often about behaviours and boundaries within their society, but it’s deeper than that. Discrimination stems from naivety of our differences, predominantly from the adults around us making presumptions and stereotyping. But it’s our differences give us our individuality.

It is our job as parents to teach our children the power of our differences, educate them in understanding others, and consequently, as I found out this weekend our children will naturally want to learn more about the people around them.

I am blessed my daughter; Little Miss 5 has proved her kind self this weekend, she made a friend named  ‘I’ at the caravan.

‘I’ is a beautiful girl, well mannered and full of charisma, she has a smile that could light up the world, and such a contagious laugh that made your own belly hurt just from hearing it! This same beautiful girl, also has a brain tumour and is severely visually impaired.

However, nothing can came between this pair’s friendship.

DSCN1072    DSCN1081

They laughed together, danced and sang together, played together, shared toys and swapped toys together.

 

Little Miss 5 showed great patience as she taught ‘I’ to play snakes & ladders (large scale), while the young girl taught my daughter the true meaning of laughter, fun & friendships.

Little Miss 5, found a caterpillar and realising ‘I’ may not be able to see it, she picked it up and placed it on ‘I’s hand, ‘I’ giggled as the caterpillar crawled over her hand and said she’d never felt one before. What a lovely experience for the girls to share, one I hope they both will remember forever!

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The girls were inseparable for the entire weekend and have even swapped addresses, ‘I’ says she’s going to write a letter in Braille to Little Miss 5 (to be translated by her teacher) & Little Miss 5 will write a letter to ‘I’ (which her mum or Nana will read to her).

Little Miss 5 now wants to learn Braille too! She has her first basic braille book. 🙂

I cannot even imagine the journey ‘I’s been on over her short little 6 years, I hope one day I get to meet the mother of this truly courageous and inspirational young girl.  Meanwhile, we wish her all the best for the future and look forward to hearing from her soon!

Hopefully I can rest in the knowledge that I have given Little Miss 5 a good understanding of equality and that instead of discriminating continues to naturally embrace the learning opportunities that arise from her social interactions, to enable her to build wonderful relationships with all who cross her path as indeed she did this weekend!

So proud of both these kind-hearted souls ❤️

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!