Gardening with kids: Growing Sunflowers

Growing sunflowers is one of our favourite annual activities! We were a little late in sowing our sunflower seeds this year but, are hoping that, with this amazing weather we’ve been experiencing these past few weeks, that we have some lovely Sunflowers soon!

Check back to see how they get on…!

Arts and Crafts: Beautiful Butterflies

Apparently, this year, “record-breaking sunshine has encouraged midsummer butterflies to emerge unusually early, with dozens of species appearing a month before their usual flight season.” I wasn’t surprised to read this as our garden has been inundated with some beautiful butterfly species for a few months now.

We absolutely love butterflies here and they often inspire our arts and crafts. Nothing signals Summer like butterflies in the garden.  Our annual sunflowers always attract lots of beautiful butterflies and the children never fail to get excited when they spot a pretty butterfly flying by.

Brands we love…Little Tikes

Take one look around our garden and it’s clear to see which brand of outdoor play equipment we favour!

It’s not often you get childminders extolling the virtues of plastic(!) but, in the case of outdoor equipment, you really can’t beat Little Tikes in my opinion.

Little Tikes sell lots of toys which help children, grow, develop and have fun from babies through to 8 years old.

We regularly enjoy our Little Tikes slides, cosy coupe car, turtle sandpit, see-saws, ‘gas and go’ lawnmower, basketball hoop and picnic table. The children have been loving our recent additions of the Anchors Away pirate ship water table and golf set. Indoors we enjoy building with their waffle blocks and taking pictures on the fun push button camera.

All their items are made of fun, brightly coloured plastic which seems indestructible and doesn’t fade in the sun or with everyday use.

Which brands do you favour and why?

See which other brands we love and why:

Sensory play tray: Construction play tray

I was so encouraged by the success of our sensory porridge play tray a while ago that I set up another sensory play tray recently to follow the little ones interest in transport.

I currently care for 2 little ones who both love diggers and cars and can often be heard playing and making a brrrm sound* so I was hopeful that the construction play tray would be a hit.

I had filled the tray with some old ingredients left over from my sons weaning days. I added a number of diggers and sat back and let the children explore.

Whilst observing their play, I could see many areas of learning and characteristics of effective learning taking place.

  • *Early Years Outcomes; Speaking – Uses sounds in play eg. Brrrm for a car (8 -20 months)

Take a look at our other favourite sensory play trays:

Lockdown Activities: Baking

One look at the baking section in our local supermarket, tells me we are not the only ones to have enjoyed a lot of baking during lockdown! We’ve all heard stories in the last few months about the difficulty of getting hold of flour and eggs and baking ingredients. Luckily, on the times we found what we needed, we had fun with the ingredients making some of our favourite recipes.

We all know that cooking is a great learning experience for children which covers a multitude of learning areas, so whilst it may not have been so good for our waistlines, we can be satisfied in the knowledge that the children were learning!

Check out some of our other favourite lockdown activtites:

Summertime!

The blazing sunshine and scorching temperatures this week have certainly marked the arrival of Summer! The children have enjoyed shady, morning, lakeside walks, splashing in our water table, water painting, ice lollies in the garden and fun ice lolly crafts.

We always ensure in high temperatures that we have our sunhats and suncream on. We stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and ensure that we stay hydrated.

Here’s to a great Summer!

Mosaic Kits: Lockdown Activities

I recently wrote about the activities that have kept my 5 year old son occupied during lockdown and next up are these Mosaic Kits.

When they tire of screen time and their school work and your daily walk becomes a chore rather than a pleasure, I have found these to be a really good activity.

We tried some pirate and space themed ones but of course there are all manner of themes to choose from. We got ours from Baker Ross. Each kit includes 4 different design card templates & self-adhesive foam pieces.

You simply stick the coloured self-adhesive foam tiles onto the pictures. Like the Hama Beads, they are another mindful activity and require good concentration and fine motor skills.

If you’re lucky, they may buy you five minutes peace, but should you get roped in to doing them too, they are surprisingly therapeutic!

Hama Beads: Lockdown Activities

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.

Take a look at some of our other favourite lockdown activities –