Advent Calendars

Advent Calendars

When did advent calendars change from opening a little card door to show a
Christmassy picture or a saying, to those loaded with sweeties or themed with Peppa Pig or Lego?

As an alternative place a selection of goodies appropriate to the age (children or adult!) in a bag and use either a magnetic calendar or a standard paper calendar for the month of December. Move the disc or cross off the date each day and dip into a bag or box of wrapped mini presents for the treat.

As a bonus the calendar can be used again and again and the theme can change as children grow up. 

And for those beautiful, but a little impractical wooden drawer or fabric pocket advent calendars, it saves the problem each year of finding suitably sized items!

Created On  7 Nov 2017 12:40 in Events and Activities  -  Permalink

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?  

Are we there yet? How often do we hear that when travelling? Preparation is key. Jumping in the car and setting off as you did before the family came along will no longer work! Be realistic about what you can cover with children in the party and plan for a slower pace of travel with more frequent stops.

Make ‘getting there’ part of the holiday.  By involving your children in the preparations, they will feel the journey is worthwhile to get to the next stage of the holiday.  If your child hasn’t any other concept of holiday except the destination, it’s no surprise that the journey is of less importance to them. Break down the journey into bits so that the excitement and enjoyment will be extended.

Use stops in the journey be it by car or by plane to break the pace. Get out of the car and throw a ball about or walk around the airport lounge looking at the people and place and discussing what they see and hear. An airport has an amazing number of things going on!

Many parents ensure their children have their own carry bag with a few things they want with them such as a favourite toy, but leave room for a few surprise treats, wrapped up to maintain the surprise. F
or younger children try card games like Go Fish or themed snap cards. Use them at intervals throughout the journey and don’t forget the return journey so hold some back for then. 

Entertainment on the move doesn’t have to be complicated. For babies something small and simple, even a few building blocks to put together and take apart again will entertain and can be reused later in the trip. Toddlers love picture books, pop-up books, and reusable sticker books that are not expensive and can be reused.

Although we live in an age of electronic games which are great for travelling, school age kids can still have fun with old-fashioned favourites such as Dot to Dots, Noughts and Crosses, and simple word games. In cars games that involve everyone like I-Spy, the I-Spot game (decide before you go on a few things to spot such as a green lorry, white building, blue writing) and Hangman where everyone in the party takes turns to say a letter and guess the word. And car registration plates have always provided entertainment making up words and silly sentences with the letters. 

To remember the holiday encourage children to take photographs, pick up postcards, keep tickets and keep a diary with how they felt and the emotions of the day. A scrapbook of the holiday could also be used for show and tell at school.

So for calm holiday travel, do some thinking and preparation before you go, get the kids involved on the way and have games ready to use when needed.  Simple!

Created On  18 Jul 2017 11:06 in Education and Learning  -  Permalink

Science Week

Science Week
Science Week brings attention to the STEM subjects in schools and how science affects children's futures.

Science teaching in schools starts at an early age with a few hours a week in primary schools. Science lessons should not only educate, but engage and entertain, igniting children’s imaginations and bringing learning to life. Outside school there are plenty of simple and safe science kits to do at home.

This year’s Science week focuses on Change in Colours, States, Environment, and Our World. have activity packs for preschool, primary and secondary students.

Even very young children can join in during sensory play mixing colours to make fluid patterns.Each year the lack of engineers in the UK is highlighted. Engineers need a maths and science background, so take the wrong GCSEs and the next step to qualifying is difficult.  Choices are made early – probably too early as most children won’t know what they want to do in later life.

This morning the BBC reported from Birmingham NEC where The Big Bang Young Scientists and Engineers Fair in Birmingham is taking place. This is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK with hands on activities, shows and stands to talk to engineers from leading UK companies.

The Fair also hosts the prestigious Big Bang Competition, inviting young people from across the UK to compete for lots of amazing prizes, including being crowned UK Young Scientist and UK Young Engineer of the Year.

Created On  16 Mar 2017 12:56 in Education and Learning  -  Permalink

World Book Day - Books are Good

World Book Day - Books are Good
Where would any story teller be without imagination?  How would JK Rowling have delighted so many children with Harry Potter and friends without her mind conjuring up the weird world of Potter?

Imaginative play is key and with the right stimulus kids create the most amazing stories with new characters playing alongside themselves.

World Book Day is invaluable encouraging the love of books, early learning and reading, turning the pages, firing up the imagination - and also dressing up to become part of those stories for a while!

Most children also enjoy dressing up as their favourite character, but World Book Day is the annual mum’s nightmare to produce a costume.

But don’t panic! 

Created On  1 Mar 2017 11:27 in Education and Learning  -  Permalink

Pancake Day UK, Mardi Gras USA and Celebrations

Did you know that Mardi Gras in New Orleans has the same origin as our Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day?

Shrove Tuesday is the day before the start of the Christian tradition of Lent, 40 days of fasting before Easter.

In the US it's called Mardi Gras or 'Fat Tuesday'. Originally meat was not eaten during Lent and the meat fat had to be used up before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

The French connection? A settler from France arrived in the area which is now New Orleans in 1699 the day before the Lent fast began, on Mardi Gras. In 1703 the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile held the first celebration of Mardi Gras. By 1875 ‘Fat Tuesday’ was declared a public holiday in Louisiana and the annual Mardi Gras parades with floats and a carnival atmosphere established.

Pancake Day in the UK is celebrated traditionally by making and eating a variety of pancakes, stacking and flipping competitions, and 
pancake races, all very different to the New Orleans experience!

Created On  27 Feb 2017 13:18 in Events and Activities  -  Permalink

Fuzzy Felt Traditional Imaginative Play Toy

Fuzzy Felt Traditional Imaginative Play Toy

Why is it that the ‘best’ new toys are high tech?  High tech is often stimulating with lights and sound, but it can be over stimulating leaving children excitable and fractious. So, add traditional toys into the mix of playthings allowing kids to develop their brain as well as hand eye coordination and imagination.

Where would JK Rowling be without imagination!

Imaginative play is key and with the right stimulus kids create the most amazing stories with them playing alongside new made up characters. Totally
 absorbing and fun.

Fuzzy Felt is traditional, developed in post World War II Britain to use scraps of felt, but has survived to this day.  It’s easy to use, lightweight and no mess, takes up little room to play and is great as a travel activity.

Created On  21 Feb 2017 12:46 in Education and Learning  -  Permalink