Month: March 2017

Minibeasts: Beautiful Butterflies

Our garden is awash with lovely blooming Spring flowers at the moment and so now we are seeing some lovely minibeasts in the garden as a result. Today was our first sighting of a lovely fat bumblebee and this beautiful butterfly which landed on our outdoor kitchen earlier this week which served as the inspiration behind todays butterfly activities. The children made some lovely tissue paper butterfly sun catchers, enjoyed a lovely butterfly puzzle, had fun with butterfly stickers, looked at butterflies in books and watched an episode of Mr Tumble, who was at a butterfly farm, on CBeebies.

Areas of Learning covered: Understanding the World, Physical Development, Communication & Language, Literacy, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Expressive Arts and Design

Let’s go fly a kite!

Today’s weather wasn’t very pleasant or good for much…except flying a kite!

Late this afternoon when I finally coerced the children outside after hours of crafting and playdough we went and flew a kite out in the garden.

With two two year olds this wasn’t the easiest of tasks!  They first had to listen to instructions namely “Stand still!”, “Wait!” and “Don’t let go!” and they had to work with one another taking turns. Their faces and squeals of delight as the kite went up were priceless.

We waited for the wind to pick up so they had to practice patience waiting for the wind pressure to make the kite airborne.

Obviously at this age we didn’t go in to the ins and outs of force and gravity(!!) but this activity could easily be tailored to make it applicable to all ages but today was all about having fun.

Areas of Learning Covered: Physical Development, Understanding the world, Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development and Mathematics

Today’s lunch: Pasta and Sauce with hidden vegetables

The children were very hungry by lunchtime today after our morning at soft play. On today’s menu was pasta and hidden vegetable sauce from Annabel Karmels ‘Feeding your Baby and Toddler’ recipe book. This was another recipe I turned to when I was having problems getting my son to eat any vegetables.

In the book Annabel says that “if babies are reluctant to eat vegetables, one solution is to resort to disguise” so this blended sauce with lots of vegetables in is fantastic.

This recipe provides beta-carotene, folate, potassium and vitamins C and E.

The children loved it and ate it all, even my fussy eaters.

I awarded them at the end of the day with “clean plate” reward stickers which they loved!


Spring is here!

Here at Aston Childcare we are very excited about the arrival of Spring. Whilst we have got out every day throughout the winter there is no denying it is much nicer in warmer, drier weather!

Out in the garden this morning we were treated to a gorgeous blue sky and the lovely sound of the birds tweeting away. The lawn has had its first cut of the year, the daffodils are in bloom, green shoots are popping up on my hostas, my Camellia has got some lovely dark red buds on it, our herbs are doing nicely and the blossom on the tree is a sure sign that spring has arrived.

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

In honour of it being St Patrick’s Day I set my son and my mindee (33 and 34 months respectively) about creating a fun, simple, shamrock collage.

Whilst they are far too young to understand the significance of the occasion, the shamrock is a lovely shape which they both enjoyed talking about and exploring – “Look, I’ve got a tree!”.

This simple collage activity allowed me to stand back having given them what they would need – scissors, paper and glue and let them create their own pieces. The green glitter did need a little assistance from me however!

It also was a great colour recognition activity which I will talk about soon.

Here’s more all about St Patricks Day:

Areas of Learning covered: Physical Development, Communication & Language, Personal, Social and Emotional Development, Understanding the World, Expressive Arts and Design


Today’s lunch: Sweet potato and carrot soup

For today’s lunch I tried another soup from the Fussy Eater chapter in the Annabel Karmel ‘Feeding your Baby and Toddler’ recipe book. This time I went for Sweet potato and carrot soup with ginger and orange which I served with some fresh wholemeal bread. This recipe provides beta-carotene, folate, potassium and vitamins C and E. I thought it smelt and tasted divine and my 19 month old mindee clearly agreed with me judging by her clean bowl. I was going to freeze the rest but having tasted it I may just have it for my dinner!



Today’s lunch: Tuna Pasta Bake

Today’s lunch came courtesy of Annabel Karmel’s ‘quick and easy toddler recipes’ book.

I use this recipe book a lot and the Tuna Pasta Bake is a fab recipe packed full of a rainbow of vegetables. Unlike the ‘Feeding your Baby and Toddler’ book it doesn’t list the nutrition information for each recipe but when the meal is packed full of lots of colourful veggies such as yellow peppers, courgettes and brocolli you know it’s a great healthy meal for your child.

Today’s ‘taste tester’ was my 19 month old mindee and her finished bowl was testament to a tasty dish!


Wonderful Wildlife!

Today (3rd March) is World Wildlife Day and interestingly this year’s theme is “Listen to the young voices”. The initiative aims to “encourage young people, as the future leaders and decision makers of the world, to act at both local and global levels to protect endangered wildlife” and say “World Wildlife Day 2017 encourages youth around the world to rally together to address ongoing major threats to wildlife including habitat change, over-exploitation or illicit trafficking. Youth are the agents of change”. 


Here at Aston Childcare we have been following a wildlife theme over the past couple of weeks. The theme actually stemmed from my son showing a particular interest in our British wildlife picture poster and asking me to name the animals. I thought it was important that we learnt to recognise some of the great creatures of British Wildlife and set about some activities to ignite their enthusiasm and interest.

We took a look at Squirrels, reading Beatrix Potter’s famous Squirrel Nutkin, created a squirrel out of card and tissue paper during one of our arts and crafts sessions, looked at acorns as part of our nature tray and watching an episode of Bing on Cbeebies about Squirrels and Acorns.

We also took a look at Badgers, creating our own badger faces out of paper plates, googly eyes and pom-poms, sticking with some fun badger stickers and reading “That’s not my Badger!” which they loved.

Finally, we took a look at Foxes reading some lovely books including Foxes Socks. We enjoyed some fox stickers, our fox puppet and made some fun fox masks.

I have previously looked at hedgehogs with another mindee to compliment a theme run by his pre-school. They had been following an Autumn theme, discovering about their senses and Autumn. They had watched a film about hedgehogs and hibernation and enjoyed drawing and talking about what they had found out. My mindee excitedly came home and told me that hedgehogs hibernate during the Autumn which was like a “long sleep”. I loved this analogy and we set about making a hedgehog out of the lovely Autumn leaves found on our walk home from pre-school.