Taking Pleasure in the Simple Things in Life

Further to our blackberry picking yesterday, we set off today to tick two more “must dos” off the National Trusts “things to do before you’re 11 3/4” list. Number 2 is the simple childhood pleasure of rolling down a really big hill which the children loved followed by a classic game of poohsticks (number 19 on the list). Poohsticks may be one of the simplest games invented, but with the right friends, it can be endlessly entertaining.

The ’50 Things’ campaign was originally launched in response to the Natural Childhood report, which highlighted evidence of a long-term and dramatic decline in children’s relationship with the outdoors.

The National Trust has said it intends to encourage kids to get mucky, discover their wild side and get closer to nature.


Blackberry Picking

Today I took my mindees out blackberry picking.  They had great fun and we covered lots of areas of learning – Physical development (walking, picking etc), Understanding the world (where our food comes from), Communication and Language (discussing which ones were ripe enough to pick etc) and Mathematics (counting them afterwards).

The National Trust have created a great list of “50 things to do before you’re 11 3/4” and “picking blackberries growing in the wild” comes in at number 21 so we can tick that one off. I’ve printed the list and am looking forward to ticking off some more with them.

blackberry 2  (1) blackberry 2  (2)

National Trust 50 things to do

Green Gloop!

This morning we turned our hands to making Gloop!  Gloop is an interesting mixture with a unique texture to explore and play with. Playing with Gloop is a fabulous sensory and science activity to learn about the concepts of what a solid and liquid is.



Muddy Puddles

Today we donned our waterproofs and wellies and went for a walk around the village. With the recent high rainfall this lent itself perfectly to jumping in muddy puddles!

Playing in puddles is not only a lot of fun, it is a great sensory, learning and physical experience for children. They can explore how it feels to be stuck in mud and soggy from for the water, they can listen to the splashing and squelching sounds and they can see how puddles can be muddy and clear. Playing in puddles is great for kids to investigate concepts such as floating and sinking and measuring depth and width. Playing in puddles is also a great physical workout; it can help improve balance, is great for cardiovascular health and – perhaps best of all – helps promote good sleep. Well, that’s our excuse anyway!

winnie pooh

Improving children’s literacy

The comedian David Walliams has apparently been drafted in by the government to promote a scheme to encourage primary school pupils to read. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan and David Walliams have said that improving children’s literacy should be a ‘national mission’ and say much more is needed to end the scandal of one in five children leaving primary school unable to read properly.


I loved reading as a youngster and loved nothing more than completing a series of stories by an author and hope my son will be the same. It can be hard to find the time as a busy parent to read to your child but this fact has inspired me to ensure I do –

“If you read just one story a day with your child, they will have read 1,862 books by the time they start school.  And your child will have an unshakeable love of stories.” Source Stats from School Library Journal Jan 2014

Sunflower Success!


Way back in April we planted some sunflower seeds that have recently bloomed into gorgeous bright yellow flowers. We have tracked their progress measuring and watering them. Growing plant seeds with the children teaches them how nature works, responsibility in caring for something, an interest in environmental sustainability and pride in themselves for the results. Watching plants grow is a fun and educational experience for children and we can’t wait to try some more!

P is for…


With the rain beating down outside, it seemed like the perfect day to break out the playdough! It takes just minutes to prepare and is incredibly therapeutic, not only for children but for a busy mum and childminder too!

I’ll be adding some more colours to extend our play in the coming weeks.

Pink playdough

Potentially poisonous plants

You may have seen this story in the news today –


This particular plant was by a riverbank but of course our own back gardens can contain potentially harmful plants. Here at Aston Childcare I have fully assessed the garden and noted any potentially harmful plants using the Horticultural Trades Associations (HTA) list of potentially hazardous plants.

We are all likely to have at least one of these in our own garden and common sense should prevail as, ultimately, all non-food plants contain chemicals which could potentially cause mild poisoning (e.g. stomach upset or stomach pain) if eaten (though serious poisonings remain rare), so we need to ensure we avoid those plants which are the most toxic and educating the children not to eat anything (in the playground, garden at home, park or countryside) unless an adult has said it is perfectly safe to do so.