Back in March, along with Mums and Dads the world over, I suddenly found myself needing to entertain my 5 year old son for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There have been a few activities during this lockdown period that have been huge hits with both him and us that have helped him constructively while away the hours away from screens!
First up were Hama Beads…
In those first few weeks of Lockdown, Hama Beads gave my son a real enjoyment and focus. He created endless designs either from themed kits or from the endless characters he realised he could find to copy online which pleased him no end!
A bit like a puzzle, Hama Beads require concentration and mindfulness. Apparently, when children use Hama Beads both sides of their brains are in action at the same time. It is a logical and creative activity, and therefore fantastic for developing young minds. Hama Beads also encourage children to control their fingers and train their hand-eye coordination as they move Hama Beads the correct way to be inserted on to a pegboard. Hama Beads will also help them learn to count, match colours and recognise geometric shapes. It also stimulates their imagination and improves their fine motor skills.
We are all familiar with the phrase “Buy Nice or Buy Twice” and that was certainly the case when I purchased high chairs for the children.
Our Baby Bjorn highchair has been in use for the past 6 years and I see no reason why it won’t go on and on. A couple of high chairs I purchased from a leading high street retailer went in the tip after just a few months.
Although the initial price tag was a little eye watering(!) it has proved it’s worth in the long run.
Our Baby Bjorn high chair has seated many happy babies and toddlers over the years and is still going strong.
We not only use it for snack and meal times but its used for many of our activities too. I love that the tray is removable and can be put in the dishwasher and the whole chair is made of plastic so can be wiped down and cleaned with antibacterial spray after each use. Its easily folded for easy storage too. What’s not to love?!
As a Mum and childminder, there are certain brands I find myself turning to time and time again. If I want to buy educational, long lasting, high quality games and resources there are certain brands that I know will always deliver on quality. Again, with Arts and Crafts supplies, there are certain brands that produce quality resources that will stimulate, interest and excite the children.
First up, Crayola is a brand that specializes in art supplies. It is probably a brand best known for its crayons, which we of course love but it produces a whole range of arts supplies that we have enjoyed over the years too…
Their first markers are fantastic for little ones and their very first mark making activities…
Prior to lockdown, the older kids were loving these scented pens…
These twistable crayons are fantastic and solve the issue of snapped crayons…
And as you know, we are great lovers of stickers here, fantastic for little ones developing their fine motor skills.
With our worlds turned upside down earlier this week, I have to confess Mother’s Day had slipped completely out my mind until late on Thursday. The little ones just had time to make their Mums a simple card. I am sure that now, more than ever, we are all feeling beyond lucky and grateful for the simple things in life.
I would like to wish a very Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there and particularly to all the wonderful Mothers of the children I have been lucky to care for over the past 5 years.
We’ve just experienced the wettest winter on record and with Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis bringing some high winds as well it’s possibly one of the windiest too – certainly in the lifetimes of the little ones I look after.
So, the sight of golden, yellow daffodils in the garden, parks and village have been particularly welcome. During the recent half term break we enjoyed these gorgeous daffodil wreaths which lifted our spirits in this particularly gloomy Winter and served as a reminder that Spring is on it’s way!
When I came across a large bag of out of date porridge oats at the back of my cupboard, I knew they would be perfect for a sensory play tray.
Sensory and messy play activities are important in the early years as they help to stimulate and allow children to explore their senses. This activity was great for the children to explore their sense of touch by exploring a new texture.
We started by adding some numbered cups to the oats and the children dived straight in scooping and pouring the oats….
Later on, we brought the tray out again, this time adding some small world farm animals (and some wild ones too by the looks of it!). The children had fun feeding the animals…
And, finally, we then decided to add some water to change the texture of the oats…
The children weren’t put off by the change in texture and got busy stirring the water in and squeezing and exploring handfuls of wet oats in their hands whilst continuing to feed their animals.
Activities such as this that use the senses help contribute to brain development by stimulating the neurons in the brain to make connections, and help with development in all areas of learning.
I have spoken about our love of stickers here at EY&B before! These stickers scene boards from Baker Ross in particular, are fantastic. We have enjoyed all sorts of themes – Genies, Snow Princesses, The Solar System, Spring Animals, Easter Egg Hunts and Santas Workshop to name just a few.
Children are given their own board depicting a scene to which they can add numerous stickers off a sticker sheet. It’s a great activity for developing fine motor skills. The children love having ownership of their very own board and sheet of stickers. They love to chat about where they are placing their stickers. The themes are a great topic of conversation and help extend the children’s vocabulary learning new words such as “sleigh” and “carriage”.
“I’m gonna put my Princess in the carriage here”
“I’m going to put my polar bear here”
“I’m gonna put my snowflakes in the sky”
“My snowman can go in the pond”
Little ones from as young as two can enjoy these and children up to the age of 7 in my care are currently still enjoying them very much too.
Areas of Learning Covered: Communication, Physical Development (Fine Motor Skills), Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Understanding the World.