Tuesday 25 August 2015

Brilliant ideas for beautiful bookmarks inspired by Roald Dahl

Why not make a bookmark. They are really useful when children start reading chapter books and make a great personalised present too.

The Fairy has loved  listening to some of the easier Roald Dahl stories at bedtime - who wouldn't like hearing about a chocolate factory! We haven't moved onto some of the more challenging stories like Matilda yet but as she grows up I hope to.  

My favorite quote from Matilda is 

'The books transported her to new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives...she traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room'

such a great expression of the enjoyment and knowledge books have to offer. Something I'm keen to share with my children (though thankfully I'm a much nicer parent than Matlida's!!) 

When though about what might look good on a bookmark - the Frog thought shapes so I drew some for the children to colour in. The Fairy has a lovely stamping set and wanted to use that.

We thought abut which books we liked and why. The children drew characters from their favorite books to make 'I like reading' bookmarks- I love the Frog's Gruffallo, especially the prickles.

Afer they had gone to bed I chose two quotes that I liked - the one from Matilda and one from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

As a finishing touch I laminated the bookmarks to make them durable and added some tassels.

Have you made bookmarks with your child? Or how about making a book together?

Friday 7 August 2015

Why we think sensory play is great

Why we think sensory play is great

It's hands on learning - which is fantastic for learning language. Children are more likely to learn and retain new vocabulary if they experience these words. Talking with a child during sensory play can help new words stick in a child's memory - it makes them meaningful for the child so they are more likely to use those word again. Sensory rich = language rich.

It's great for mixed ages and abilities. This is means it's great for siblings doing an activity together (something which is very useful in the summer holidays!) or for including children who have a range of abilities

It can calm and stimulate. Depending on which activity you choose it can calm the senses or wake your child's brain. Be careful which type of activity you try before bed!

It's fun!

Some ideas for sensory play

Painting on texture
'Why paint on texture not just regular paper?' I hear you ask. Well painting on regular paper is good - we do it alot, but mixing it up adds a different sensory dimensions and it gave the kids something else to talk about -  for example they compared textures and sizes. Doing an activity in a slightly different way is great for encouraging creativity and creative thinking as you are seeing the world from a slightly different perspective. And it's fun!

Friday 26 June 2015

Information Age: The Science Museum

Do you ever wonder what the world will look like when today's children are older? Or the generation after that? The pace of change of technology can be crazy. In a recent survey children were asked about what future technology might look like. One suggestion was that smart phones might be able to communicate smells (possibly a mixed blessing if it came true!) However many of the children asked didn't recognise an original telephone.

A few weeks ago we were invited to have a sleep over at the Science museum courtesy of BT in celebration of their launching of a 7th Network. I'm really not exaggerating when I say the whole sleep over was absolutely amazing (I'll be reviewing it on the blog soon as well as our chat with Mark Champkins the inventor in residence).  Well, you maybe wondering what the 7th Network is as well as what Networks 1-6 are.
The Rugby coil

The Information age gallery at the Science museum looks to inspire children (and grown ups too) with exhibits in 6 Networks (The Cable, The Telephone Exchange, Broadcast, The Constellation, The Cell and The Web) looking at how technology has developed over the last 200 ish years.

The original server for the internet

I love how at the start of the world wide web this was the small box (I also love the sticker - the Papa is always telling me off for turn our computer off when he's doing something - imagine turning the internet off!)

Regular readers will know that being a speech and language therapist in my day job I love communication and how important I think it is, The Papa is a self confessed computer geek so the Information age gallery was a great place to hang.

This moving exhibit above explains the origins of the cable.

The gallery is interactive and contains apps you can down load. I loved 'after dark' where you can make a comic. Making comics is a great way to develop children's language and literacy skills - it encourages them to sequence events and to think about what other might think or say in a functional and  fun way.

The 7th Network is a new collaborative website aimed to share ideas about the future of communications - something which I'm sure if the last 200 years are to go by will look very different in the next 200.

The information age gallery is free permanent exhibit. We'd love to hear what you thought of it if you do visit or what you or your child's predictions are for future technology.

Friday 5 June 2015

27 Ideas for kids mini beast and bug activities

What ever you call them - bugs, mini beast, insects creepy crawlies or critters. Kids find them fascinating. Here's 27 Brilliant ideas for learning with Bugs

Sensory play

Beans and bug sensory play Sugar aunts
Digging for bugs in mud I can teach my child

Playdough minibeasts The Fairy and The Frog
Frozen ice cube bugs Exploring stories
Spaghetti mini beast play ClaresLittleTots

Art and craft
Wet felting bugs Curly birds , I've always wanted to do wet felting - now I've seen these cute critters I'm determined to give it a go.
Cardboard tube mini beast (I love the number of googly eyes on some of these!) Red Ted Art

Cork printed bugs The Fairy and the Frog, these would also look great made with finger prints

Butterfly sun catcher Kids Activities Blog
These Glitter jar lid bugs Crafts By Amanda are gorgeously bling-tastic

Hands on learning
Butterfly bird feeder Nature detectives
Make your own worm farm Let Kids Create
Ant Observation There's Just One Mommy
Involving children in growing plant to provide a good habitat is a great way to teach them about nature. Rainy Day Mum has shared a list of plants to attract ladybirds. Science Sparks shares an investigation to teach children about animal behavior and habitats.

Other play based learning
Light up bugs Mama Smiles is a great STEM project
Ladybird counting stones playful mini beast maths
Web making Boy Mama Teacher Mama this is a great opportunity to practice scissor use as well as learn about mini beasts
Going on a bug hunt? These spotter sticks from Sun Hats and Wellie Boots are great for helping you identify what you've found.

This Incy wincey spider play set above Kids Craft Room is a great visual prop for singing time
Or how about dressing up with a Ladybird costume Crafty Moms Share

Snacks and food
Jelly(o) worms Taming the Goblin
Fruit spider snack Eats Amazing
Apple bugs Eats Amazing

Book based learning
When thinking about insect The hungry caterpillar is a must read. There are loads of activities inspired by the book including

Peg caterpillar Adventures of Adam 
Sponge painted caterpillar Buggy and Buddy

What the Ladybird heard is a firm favorite in our house. How about doing some activities based on this humorous Julia Donaldson picture book
Salt dough Lady birds Damson Lane
What the ladybird heard story sack Play and Learn Everyday

Monday 1 June 2015

Cavendish Online #MakeAMascot

Sponsored post

We love a challenge so when we heard via Net Mums that the insurance comparison website Cavendish Online  were challenging bloggers to make a mascot for the company we knew we'd want to join in. Cavensdish like to keep prices low an so don't spend loads on expensive advertising so they can pass the savings onto the consumer. In fact they offer such good value have been recommended by Which and a moneysavingsexpert top pick for ten years.

As the challenge was all about saving money we thought we'd base our #MakeAMascot craft on salt dough - it a great versatile craft that doesn't cost the earth. As part of the challenge we were asked to get quotes for life insurance from Canvedish and another leading online insurance company. My quote from Cavendish was cheaper by £1.39, which although isn't a huge amount over time will add up.

After along chat with the Fairy about possible options we chose an owl. We love using salt dough and you can find the recipe we like to use by clicking on this link here.

We shaped the owl and then popped him in the oven to dry out (you can air dry but it takes ages and I'm just not that patient!) Here's the Frog painting his owl

After baking, once the owl had cooled we painted the owl and I added 'feathers' and beads for a finishing touch

The beads needed superglue so was not safe for little hands to do.

The Fairy is super keen on writing speech bubbles for everything at the moment so came up with one for our owl. 'Cavendish is the wise choice' I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post. This is a Netmum's sponsored review.To find out more click the button:

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Loom band puppets

Although the loom band craze seems to be declining ( I keep seeing them on special offer) my children still love playing with them. 

They both love looping them onto craft sticks like this.

The Fairy decided that they would make a great addition to a craft stick puppet (she makes dozens of these with various adaptations– we have so many its like we have a craft stick person city!)

She went to our craft draws and decided the pipe cleaners would make great arms (she poked them into the loom band clothes) and added a face and legs with a felt tip.

The final puppet makes a great prop for pretend play and/or retelling a story

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Colour changing flower science experiment

Why not investigate some science by doing this simple child friendly experiment and develop using language to predict at the same time.

The Frog currently at the midst of the 'why' stage and was asking 'Why plants need a drink?'. So I thought it might be a good time to do this experiment to show him that they do drink (I am aware that that it didn't actually answer his question but after a day of 'why' it seemed a welcome distraction!). I remember clearly do this experiment with my Dad (although we used celery not flowers).

Using language to predict what might happen next is a useful skill. Some children find this hard and hands on science is a great way to practice this skill.

We added food coloring to water, placed some flowers in the water and waited. We asked questions to help us think through what might happen, 'What colour is the water?', 'I wonder what will happen?' etc These are simple questions but help to encourage higher level language skills such as reasoning and prediction.

The results were clear after a few hours. We did the experiment just before bed and by the morning the flowers had changed colour. You can find more details about the science behind the experiment here at Science Sparks a fab kids science website. There are tonnes of other great experiment there too why not try some out- don't forget to ask 'I wonder what will happen....?'