Sunday, 9 August 2015

Vehicle fun!

This week we were looking at vehicles and doing a variety of activities on this theme.  At the  beginning of the week we talked about all the different types of vehicles there are, then I made some paper aeroplanes and we had some races. Once we finished I showed them step by step how to make a paper boat (with a bit more hands on help for Alyssa!) and we talked about if it would float or sink before testing it in the sink.  We then embraced Arthur's love of Lego, which he plays with everyday now, and they made boats out of Lego to test in the bath.

Another day, another activity, and this time I thought we could practice our shapes whilst creating an art project, so I cut various shapes out of paper and spread some sticky-back plastic on the floor and after doing a quick example of a boat and a car, let them go and create.  Arthur decided to make a car, boat and a space rocket, whilst Alyssa made "an awesome thing!" (her words not mine!) whilst they were creating their art I pointed to shapes and asked questions as to what shape they were using to make wheels etc.

Any excuse to bake!! I found some transport related cookie cutters in my cupboards to we visited granny and got baking, making and icing some yummy vanilla biscuits....before eating them! Can we pretend shape recognition made this a useful addition to our activities this week? Or just admit that I really fancied some biscuits, especially as they didn't look much like their intended shapes once they came out the oven.

A visit to the mechanics.  Whilst in the garden having a picnic, Arthur decided to use the blanket to pretend to be a mechanic and look under our car, I explained the dangers of this and told him never to do it again without an adult and make sure the car is switched off etc.  We live practically next door to a mechanics garage, so I decided to take them for a little field trip to watch them mechanics from the doorway.  They were very excited to see the car lift, lifting up a car for them to work under, and looked in a bonnet of a car to see an engine being worked on, and learned the names of a couple of tools used.  Then it was time to head home, where a game of mechanics continued, along with Arthur's tool box.  

And to finish off the week we got a bit physical and went to the park to practice riding our bikes, as they are obviously a form of transport, and there should always be an excuse to get outside and get some exercise.  And this excuse was an amazingly proud moment for daddy and I as we watched Arthur use his pedals and cycle for the first time, usually he would shuffle his feet along the floor! After months of trying and showing him what to do, something just clicked and of he went, he normal isn't bothered by his bike and barely wants to be on it, but this time he kept going and going saying "i'm doing it, I'm doing it!"  And he keeps asking to go on his bike again and again now!

Our paper boat!

Testing the Lego boats.

Ahhh! It's sinking...

Sticking shapes fun

Arthur makes a boat

Space rocket

Alyssa's super awesome thing!!


More blobs than vehicles...but just as yummy!

Playing mechanics

Wheels in motion

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

fairy house mini garden

We were asked by Alyssa's nursery to create a miniture garden for a local show, so I thought I would work on our previous attempt of using a broken plant pot to create a fairy house garden.  Our last attempt ended in the mud sliding out of the pot and basically collapsing, but it was fun for the afternoon that Alyssa used it.

So my first task was to create some kind of retaining walls, and layer up the pot in three areas, I used some cardboard as I thought it would be flexible enough to create the same curve as the pot.  So as I held each layer in place Alyssa filled the area with the mud.  Then she decorated the middle layer with some glass bead paving stones and a little tree made from a christmas decoration.  I then attatched fabric sunflowers to cocktail sticks for her which she prodded into the first layer.  We then went on a little hunt around the garden for some moss and various sized and coloured ivy leaves. 

Once back inside, I covered a small plant pot in double sided sticky tape and let her loose with small fabric flowers and the ivy, I originally thought we would use the ivy on the sides and the flowers on the top like little tiles, but Alyssa started sticking them all over and it looked great!! All that was left to do then was for me to use super strong glue to attatch the moss to cover the retaining walls, and 'tadah!!' one fairy house miniture garden, job well done!

Hopefully it will survive the trip to the show and back, and possibly win?? (fingers crossed!) then we can pop it in the garden for the fairies to move in! :D

Getting there

Materials for the fairy house

Concentrating hard

Such precision


Tadah!! All finished!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Fairy hunting!!

Alyssa has a lovely book, given to her by a relative, about a girl who visits her Granny and gets taken on a fairy hunt in the woods.  The book has over 100 fairies hidden all over the pages, but the Granny and girl never find them, but still have an amazing adventure looking.  I was reading this book to the AJ's the other day, when I felt inspired to take them on a fairy hunt myself through some local woods.  Our car was having an M.O.T so I thought why not explore locally a bit more, and I am so glad I did as I have found a lovely new route to walk!!

After looking on the internet for ideas to make our fairy hunt a bit more magical, and more than just any old walk in the woods, I found a fairy hunt sheet on the Woodland trust website as well as a fairy tea party sheet.  These were wonderful for helping me get the children to slow down and look for plants in a new and interesting way, even If we only found a few items, Alyssa still shouts and points when she sees the 'trumpets.'

When we got to the woods it was great to see Alyssa gasp in suprise and say "faiwees" pointing towards where some sunlight was coming through some trees, and making bugs glisten and shimmer as the fluttered about.  From a distance they did look like they could have been teeny little fairies flying about. (maybe they were!! ;D ) They also got excited looking along the groung for some nut shells for the fairies to use as cups, and finding a ladder, a rattle and some bells!  We found some spiders webs which I told the were used as thread by the fairies as well, it is so lovely to see the awe on their faces.

We soon reached the end for the first part of the walk, and we started the next stage along the river, I was hoping this bit would be relatively short before heading to another part more in the direction of home....note the word hoping!! I really should stop saying to Arthur "do you want to keep heading this way? Or start heading back towards home?" I never plan very adventurous long trips, or really anywhere that I haven't already been.  But in my defence I am alone with two small children and a bag, and do not wish to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, especially with two tired children who want to be carried!! But then again if I never asked that question we wouldn't discover new places and have such great adventures! 

By carrying on up the hill we discovered an old mine, and a route that actually circled round and came to a place I knew anyway that led down hill (thankfully!!!!)  to home.  Although I am tempted to go there again on day and see where we end up if we go left instead of right.  I am always amazed by how far Arthur can walk, he recently walked 6 miles around an event with granny and granddad.  Alyssa though started to fade as we got towards the hill, I don't blame her I was too, so she went in the carrier for the rest of the way.

Just before we left the woods we used our little nut shells on a tree root filled with some water, and a little leaf 'salad' we made as a little gift for the fairies.  All that is left for me to do now is create some more fairy items to be left in the garden as a thank you!

Can you spot the fairies??



Racing on ahead as usual

Tree climbing

Snack time by the river

What's this we've spotted in the distance?

Exploring for a closer look

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Lego mini figure scales!

Whenever I ask Arthur what he would like to do at the moment, the answer is "play Lego!!" so I decided to try and incorporate Lego into our play a little bit, and with the help of Pinterest, found ways to make it sneakily educational too! So I attempted to add a bit of maths to our play a while back (apologies for the lack of recent postings, combination of computer in constant use/laziness/extra working hours/ toddler refusing to go to sleep!)

I took a spare coat hanger and attached two plastic cups to them to create a set of scales, then asked Arthur to collect a few small items, and some of his mini figures whilst I created a simple chart.   I then explained what we were doing and hung the "scales" to the door handle, popped the first item into one cup, and asked the children to guess how many mini figures they thought it would weigh.  I wrote the number down, then asked Arthur to copy it to practice it to practice his writing skills.  We then put the mini figures in the other cup, counting as we went until it balanced.

We did this a few times, before they both started to loose interest in the writing and counting and just wanted to put things in the cups and play, so at that point I left them to their weighing fun.  Arthur enjoyed it very much though and insisted on taking the 'scales' to nursery to show everyone and weigh things there!

Little does he know he practiced some maths!! ;D

The scales!!

Weighing Alyssa's hairbrush

the chart (note Arthur's lack of interest in writing lol)

Just hanging out!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Bank Holiday Microadventure!!

Working in retail, I don't tend always get the luxury of a three day weekend, especially as one of the days I work is a Sunday.  So I decided this Bank holiday to adopt a microadventure philosophy, the general idea is that if you work 9-5 you still have 5-9 to have an adventure.  So seeing as I finished work at 430 on the sunday, and didn't have to be in work till 1.30 the next day, I thought this would be a great opportunity to make the most of the time I had rather that say "No point doing anything, I only have half a day before work!"

So I was greeted from work with Daddy saying we were having sausages on a fire pit for tea, for the make shift campfire, followed by twists and toasted marshmallows for the authentic camping experience!  Then we borrowed granny and grandads back garden as it's a bit secluded and surrounded but trees, and set up tents to camp, me and the AJ's in one, and daddy in his solo tent as because he couldn't fit in ours.

In order to be even more authentic daddy tried showing them how to light the fire with his flint from his camping equipment, shaving the wood and scraping moss and things to set alight.  After a few attempts however, daddy sneakily cheated and used a lighter!  He then showed Arthur how to cut sticks to cook the sausages on, and with a bit of supervision and help from me Arthur used a pen knife to help me cut one stick, but daddy had to finish it as our technique wasn't quite right.

Once we had our sausage were cooked twists for the first time, a camping favourite of daddy's from his childhood camping day, using a dough of flour and water coiled around a stick then cooked till it slides off then filled with jam (or marshmallows in mummies case :) )

Then it was time to go down to camp, were the kids snuggled down in their sleeping bags, got hyper, climbed in and out of the tent, listened to the birds for a few seconds, before hiding back in the tent again at the mention of possible bats.  Then the first star appeared in the sky, and the birds went quite, and we all snuggled down and eventually went to sleep at about 1030.  Luckily I packed some books and some colouring things as Arthur woke at 5, yep 5am!!!!  So I did my best to keep Arthur quietly entertained until daddy woke up at 7, then sat in peace and listened to the birds and read till Alyssa woke, whilst daddy took Arthur in to get breakfast. 

All in all we all had an excellent evening and Arthur is desperate to do this again, he even suggested the next night!  Here's to many more microadventures in the future!!

home for the night

do you think they are excited??


Toasting marshmallows

getting a bit sticky

the early morning view!!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Nest building fun!

This week in nursery the the theme is birds, so to support their learning at home I thought we could have a little nest building fun at home!  As the were a little bit poorly Wednesday (not that you would know it with their energy!!) we decided to have a stay at home pj day nice and relaxed. 

At the weekend Arthur had his birthday, and one of his presents he received was a paddling pool, so I thought this would be a great base for a nest for role play fun and relaxing/napping if they wanted.  So we covered it in old brown curtains for a more natural look, then Arthur grabbed his pillow and duvet and jumped straight in refusing to let anyone else in as it was so comfy, I then build a separate (not so good one!) for Alyssa using blankets, and they soon set about playing their own little game, making bird noises and 'flying' around looking for food. 

after this it was lunch time, and they both seemed very tired, I tried and tried to get Arthur to have a nap but to no avail, Alyssa on the other hand put up a little fight, then slept for three hours!!! So after making Arthur lie on the sofa (so he wouldn't wake Alyssa) with his duvet and watch boring mummy telly for and hour (in the hope of making him fall asleep...honest!!) I gave up on the idea of Arthur napping and sorted the nest craft for the afternoon. 

Daddy had mixed our pva glue with water for DIY purposes, which I think may have been the first hurdle in our nest creation, but we attempted to use it anyway.  Arthur had great fun layering up bits of wool and scraps of paper onto an inflated ballon, whilst he did this we talked about what birds use to make nests and how they use mud to stick the nest together, and was very excited for it to dry and to pop the balloon.

This morning Arthur woke up, and rushed to the kitchen to see how his nest was doing, desperate to pop the balloon and try and put some eggs in it.  Unfortunately when we reached the kitchen, we found the balloon had deflated over night leaving a soggy pile of wool, and a very dissapointed Arthur, so there I was at 630 in the morning, helping him use play dough as 'mud' to create a new nest, using a small bowl for support.  It was worth it though watching his face as he put some toy eggs in, and the excitement of being able to take it to nursery to show everyone.

Nice and cosy nest

Alyssa adding some eggs

Two little birds in a nest

nest building

It's getting bigger!
Almost done!

Nest take two

complete with egg!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Easter holiday round up!!

WOW!!! What a great two weeks they were, such a shame they have to end and the reality of pre-school and work have to bring us all back to reality. 

 So what have we done on our Easter stay-cation??

In the first week we baked Easter bunny rolls, which was great fun, and a chance for the AJ's to practise their scissor skills, then eat the results after with friends. We went on a woodland adventure to build a den in the woods, but instead Arthur found this awesome tree with a space for them to climb into and have their lunch in.  We made some lovely Easter cards and biscuits to give to people, and attempted to make our own chocolate Easter eggs, very hard even with a mold as the chocolate all gathered in the bottom of the molds, but still yummy!! Then in time for Good Friday we made some scrummy Hot cross buns to eat for our breakfast.

On the Saturday we managed to get up and out the door super early to enjoy a lovely wild breakfast by the river, with the rest of the hot cross buns, watching the buzzards fly over head and listening to the sound of the river bubbling away, Arthur wanted to take a picture of me with the camera and managed to take a lovely one of me!

On the big Day itself we played some traditional Easter games, like egg and spoon races, and egg rolling.  Then the main event of the Easter egg hunt to find any eggs left by the Easter bunny, he didn't come until they helped Daddy tidy their room up though!! (well we had to distract them some how whilst the eggs appeared!!)

In the second week we became archaeologists, digging in the back garden for dinosaurs, and in the process we actually found some small bits of pottery which was very cool, and made the kiddies want to dig even more to find the rest of the pieces, but we never did!
We then went on another adventure to a local place, where we enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch, before paddling (and falling in Arthur's case!!) in the river, climbing trees, and finding a lizard, just a shame it was dead.

All this plus some other adventures in between mean that our holiday was over far to soon with still so much fun to be had!! I had planned so many other things that we just never got round to doing, I need more time with them!! Oh well,  I'll just have to save it all for next time.

Scissor practice


Lunch in a tree

Easter egg making

My favourite photo of me by Arthur

Tree climbing

River paddling

Dinosaur digging

Egg and spoon assault course