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!

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!

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! 

Seaside tub-time

That-‘Christmas is definitely over’ feeling took us to the seaside today!!!

UK weather never ceases to amaze me, it has the unique ability of being on your side one minute but not the next. With storm Doris due to visit, we presumed our trip to the sea would be an hour max! But as it turned out Doris didn’t make an appearance and the weather was almost spring-like! 🙂

The sun shone in the sky beautifully, reflecting onto the deep blue ocean, giving it shimmer and twinkle.  There’s always something most magical about being at the seaside, whatever time of year you go!

Aside the traditional Fish and Chips, we (well, when I say we, I mean the children!!) also managed to consume ice creams, yes! Ice creams on the beach in February! (Hubby and I consumed hot drinks!!)

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A few pennies spent in the arcades and cheap ‘tacky’ winnings always please the children!

 

 

 

Then we finish the day exploring rock pools and paddling in the sea (with wellies), we found a crab and some shrimps and collected many shells, unusual rocks and some seaweed.

So, tub-time tonight could only be Seaside themed!!


                      

Little Miss 3’s story was Warren and the Sandcastle.

The literacy was seaside related.

The bathwater was blue food paste and I added all our plastic sea creatures.

Then around the bath I placed all our collections from the day!

 

 

 

Whilst at the seaside, Mr. 8 showed an interest in floating and sinking regarding pirate ships being made out of wood and so on.  So his bath was a little science experiment; we made a raft out of wooden lolli-sticks, and collected many other items from around the house. Including a message in a bottle! 🙂

       

I gave him a laminated sheet of paper  and a sharpie, so he could predict, then write down his float or sink findings.

both children, needless to say had a splashing time!! Simple ways of having fun!! 🙂

 

Screen time-A barrier to communication??

A huge debate I find interesting is screen time, and how parents manage it, not just for their children, but for them too.

In my blog ‘School Ready‘, I mentioned about my research with some local primary schools and the majority of EYFS teachers had stated that many children are now starting school with limited understanding of social interactions, communication skills and struggle to follow basic 2 key word level instructions, and the general reason for this is thought to be that children AND PARENTS being exposed to too much ‘screen time’.

Technology is everywhere and I do not dispute the fact that children need to be healthily educated to use it in the appropriate circumstance, in fact it came in very handy when my children where going through the ‘why?’ stage, we just ‘Googled’ everything!! To some extent I was also educated in many subjects I had never thought to question before, but the inquisitive minds of a 2 or 3 year old is mightily fascinating.

At this stage we only owned a very slow laptop and my husband and I had smartphones, (but not for the children)

It wasn’t until Mr. 8 started school 4 years ago and was going around friends house to ‘play’ that my niggles and fears began, I’d ask him what he’d played at their house and his reply ‘play station’ *gasp* ‘You’ve been there 3 hours and only played on the Playstation??!!!’ or, depending on the friend it may have been ‘X-box’.  Either way it filled me with despair and dread, I didn’t even know what games they were playing, were they appropriate? what did a 4/5/6 year old need with a Playstation anyway??!!  What happened to imagination? Exploring? Den building? Board games?

Well, it was here that my husband and I decided, that despite Mr. 8 wanting one for Christmas, there’s certainly no reason for us to buy one if he’s accessing one regularly at his friends houses!! Secondly, how anyone affords them in the first place is beyond me!

So that Christmas we bought him a child’s tablet with one games app (I think it was Angry birds at the time), and inside the box were  ‘rules’ from Santa, such as; not to be played with before school, always ask mummy and daddy to play with it’ etc.   He loved it, and I can honestly say, he’s had a lot more use from it than he would of a Playstation/X-box. He was able to use Google, You Tube and Spotify too!  Parenting success! 🙂

As of September 2016, Mr 8’s homework was computer based, with a super slow laptop and a child’s tablet, I’m not sure there’d be much ‘home’work going on, so that Christmas we upgraded to a family computer for us all to share.

January 2017, saw a family meeting discussion on the new house rules including our ‘screen-time sticks’, pictured below.

Red are Miss 3’s and green are Mr 8’s, for each chore they complete they are allowed a screen time for the number of minutes on the stick.

Screen-time can be computer or TV it’s their choice.  Screen time is only allowed after spellings, reading and homework are completed. There is no screen-time before school.  Clear boundaries for both aged children to understand.

Weekends are more flexible as we may have film nights together etc.

This is currently working really well, although I’m finding Mr.8 is enthused to do everything, while Miss 3 has little interest in any sort of screen time but still wants to help make dinner :).

So if that’s the children, what about us parents?

Do you have concerted screen down time?

MASSIVE MASSIVE PET HATE ALERT!!!!!!

It really frustrates me when a child who has been at school all day comes running out, excited to see their parent who has a phone 3 inches from there face and their thumb going at a rapid rate of knots-for if they don’t send that most important text, or like their friends most important post on Facebook the world will end, and clearly parents are finding these things more important, than face to face interactions with their child!Grrrrrrrr!!

I know it’s hard! I have to make a concerted effort, to put (& leave!!)my phone in the kitchen while, I help the children with homework, read, spellings and have a little play together.

Screen-times at meal times??-how do you eat yours??? Ours is most definitely a screen-down-time rule and absolutely NO exceptions (my husband finds this hard).  We all eat together as often as we can (hubby works shifts and I work late some evenings).  We talk together about our day, what we liked, didn’t like and so on .  It sounds like a cliche, but it works for us and I can honestly say it is more than valuable.

So before you have more social interactions with your 200+ Facebook ‘(sort of) friends’, than you do your own child, think twice before reaching for that screen, and you need to be honest with yourself!

Listen to your child and more importantly value their conversation.

Children spell love T….I….M….E!!

P.S I’m writing this while my munchkins are in the land of nod xx