Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Are you able to help a family in need?

I am linking through to a post on a blog that I read today. It is a huge give away to raise funds for a family in desperate need this Christmas, packing up to move to who knows where for the second time this year, with a three month old baby, just days before Christmas, and with not enough money to feed their family. If you feel that you can help this family, please follow the instructions at the bottom of the blog post. With love, Jenni

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Chapter Books

I have been reading 'chapter books' to the girls for years and I love it! They each have a book on the go for bedtime that I read to them, a chapter a night (or more depending on how effective the begging is or how much I want to know what happens next!). When I first started reading them to Eve when she was four, I racked my brains trying to think of suitable books and remember what I had read as a child. If you are struggling to think of any, I suggest posting the question on any e-mail home ed lists you are on as it gets everyone talking and is such good fun to reminisce, exchange opinions and gather new titles to read to your children! Not all of the books that we read can be classed as 'quality literature' but the girls enjoy them and there is room for all sorts of reading material in encouraging your children to love books!

I have always hankered after having a house with an upstairs landing large enough to house a book case with comfy chair and lamp to curl up in with a good book! As that is seeming less and less likely with our house-moving luck, I have decided to live in the moment. I put a small bookcase that we were given in the hallway and stored all the girl's chapter books on there, right by their bedrooms for them to browse and enjoy!

I have listed the books and authors where appropriate that we have enjoyed in the past or are enjoying now:
  • Eve's current reading material is the 'What Katy Did' Series which is an 1872 children's series written by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey under her pen name Susan Coolidge. We are on the second book named 'What Katy Did at School' and we have three beloved copies that were my Nana's when she was a child!
  • Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder - we have read the first five which cover the childhood years.
  • Famous Five by Enid Blyton - Faith adores these and finds them really exciting. We have the unabridged copies complete with bookworm holes munched through them which are very charming. I tweak to suit as I read though to tone down the 'girls are weaklings' vein than pops up here and there!
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Books by Dick King Smith, most notable 'The Queen's nose', 'The hodgeheg' and 'The Sheep Pig'.
  • The Sophie series, also by Dick King Smith, Faith really enjoyed these, I think she identified with the main character somewhat!
  • Before we started What Katy Did, Eve and I read through the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis, we both thoroughly enjoyed the adventure and excitement in these books. I had started the series as a child but never finished them so it was a treat to get a second go!
  • We discovered the author Noel Streatfield by chance and have read 'When the Sirens wailed' which was topical and about children and historically accurate which was great. We have a second one named 'Ballet Shoes' on the go which is just as enjoyable but we are reading it more slowly!
  • We know Roald Dahl's books very well, although they can sail a bit close to the knuckle sometimes in terms of language, the girls seem to find them gloriously funny!
  • I have Harper Cory, Wildlife Ways lined up to read to Faith.
  • On Eve's list is Heidi, again an old family copy that I read as a child too and The Secret Garden.
I'd love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Montessori Style Toddler Toys

I have posted before about how I organised my toys whilst Childminding but not what those toys were, so thought it was about time I did! I am Montessori trained but rather than using it to the letter, I apply the philosophy to what we do. I get all of my toddler toys from second hand sales and apply a simple set of rules to buying them. They need to be simple, attractive and show clear cause and effect. That is so that the child can understand that something happens because of the action that they do. Many electronic toys are so complex and have a variety of responses of lights and sounds to combinations of buttons, that they are impossible to make sense of to a small child (or often an adult!) and so have little learning value and do not keep a child occupied for very long. I personally find the cacophony of different lights and sounds very irritating and prefer the calmer environment of toddler made noises! The toy collection is about 50% wooden and 50% plastic, I have nothing against plastic, as long as it meets my criteria!
 To start the tour, this Galt toy has a piece of sprung metal inside each of the bases, when the wooden pegs are pressed down and the finger slides off the top, they pop up and out, as you can see the green one doing in the picture.
 This is for hammering the pegs through. I have watched children automatically turning the toy to the next raised peg and they can keep going round and round until they are done.
 This a chicken punch and drop, you can see one of the balls in Idris's hand, but he was experimenting using different implements to push the balls through - a wooden knife from the food basket, the bottle brush that he pinched from the kitchen, his foot and several other things that he found. the balls are pushed through and come rolling out of the front, ringing the little bell on the way.
 This dinosaur pop up is simple to work out for toddlers, each coloured button corresponds with a coloured egg, although they need different actions to make them pop up. The eggs can be bashed back down with a satisfying clump. I used to have an animal version but I quickly realised that because the mouse popped out of a wedge of cheese and it was hinged, it trapped fingers and pinched skin so we upgraded to a safer and less frustrating model!

The click clack track behind is a classic toy, with four small wheeled cars each the colour of one of the slopes and the little cars roll down clicking from slope to slope - endless fascination.
 The chicken stacker is a beautiful version of a stacking toy, I love the harmonious colours and there is a hidden egg under the bottom layer. The roller toy next to it works with a cog movement, when pushed across the floor, the cogs turn and the patterns on the other side turn around. This hasn't been the most popular toy but I'm biding my time until Idris is a bit older to see if he starts using it more, if he doesn't it will probably go back into the next sale!

 This turtle toy, modelled by our lovely one-eyed Poppy dog, is really simple. The child pushed down all five shaped buttons and the head then pings out from the body. Push the head back in and the buttons pop back up again!
 This wooden clock is one of the toys that has never been put away or rotated, children of all ages love taking the numbers in and out, stacking them up with the magnetic buttons in them, trying to swap the shapes around etc.
I also have a wooden peg puzzle which isn't getting much use at the moment but that will come, and some magnetic vehicles that can be pulled apart (these were a gift, not from the sale).

I find that there are usually several permutations of the same toy around, so have a close look and see which you think is most robust, the most well-designed and the most attractive! The only downside to these toys versus electronic ones is that you tend to spend a lot of time collecting pieces back up to return to the box, but I much prefer them and think that the children get so much from them!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

More picture problems with picasa

Just a quick note to say that I am having yet more problems with Picasa and it now appears that all photographs uploaded before the 19th November can no longer be seen, I'm struggling to sort it out as I'm not tech savvie and Picasa are really hard to get hold of! Bear with me and I'll try to sort it - someone has suggested that I jump ship to wordpress instead...... hmmmm, watch this space!

Edited to add that I have fixed the problem by laboriously copying and pasting all of the missing photos into a different Picasa album, and they now appear to be back again on the blog - hurray!!!!

There are still a few missing and I cannot find them even on Picasa so as it is only a couple of posts I will go back through my files and re-add the photos one evening this week for your viewing pleasure!!

I investigated the 'moving to wordpress' suggestion and it looks like far too much hard work to even consider it - I like comfy old slippers not new ones that rub so I'm staying!

Thanks for your patience everyone!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Nature loving Toddler!

I wanted to post this collection of photos from the Summer months. They show Idris exploring the natural world in his own way. When Eve was this age, I didn't know enough to let her do this, I thought it was bad to let her climb into a stream fully dressed and spend half an hour moving rocks around. Over the years since I have learned so much and realised just how important and valuable it is to let toddlers explore in this way when the mood takes them. I had a towel and a change of clothes handy, and the girls were hill climbing with Dewi so we sat in the stream in Carding Mill Valley in Shropshire in the remnants of early September evening sunshine and he shifted rocks and I sat quietly and let him be!
This picture was in the overflow stream at Wightwick Manor which is our magical place to spend time. It has everything a child could wish for - ponds, running water, streams, woods, fallen trees, long grass to roll in, apple trees to scrump from, a long tunnel hidden in a clipped box hedge, little secret seating areas dotted around, a hut thatched with heather, soft fruit bushes, pine cones, flowers, and a tearoom that sells tiny tubs of handmade ice cream!!
This is Idris at the foot of an enormous Beech tree at Northycote - the girls love this Beech tree as the roots curl over each other and form hollows that hold water and potions to be mixed! the branches droop right down to the floor and in full leaf hide us from passing dog walkers (until our dog ambushes them from the leafy cover and the peace is shattered for a few minutes!). Despite the crunchy beech cases underneath, Idris goes barefoot here and was happy to stir the cauldren whilst the girls fetched supplies from the surrounding plants!
These are a couple more of Idris at Wightwick on the rocks of ages, practising his balancing skills.....
......... and bonding with our dog Poppy!!
.......and running away from me as fast as little legs will carry him whilst giggling all the time!
And here is one of many shots I have from this rainy Summer that has passed of our little rain baby who made a beeline for the patio every time it rained and pottered around, looking up at the sky, holding his hands out for the drops to fall onto, stamping in the puddles that formed and having a wonderful time! Like the stream at CArding Mill, we never stopped him, just dried him off when he was you can see he thoroughly enjoys it - a slightly photo but he is rarely still long enough for crisp ones!!!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Keeping Toddlers Happy Whilst Home-Schooling

I have been cruising around the net looking for ideas to keep Idris busy whilst I do things with the girls. I was waiting until he went to sleep (around 10.30) to really get stuck in, but I have found that by then the girls are ensconced in a game or activity that they are not willingly extracted from, and also that it is too early in the day for a sleep for Idris as then he is so tired by four that making dinner is really tricky! So I have switched to trying to keep him going until after lunch, which we often have at 11.45 round here as a knock on from how early we have breakfast! He will happily go until after lunch - as long as he is entertained constantly! He is not a 'sitter and doer' as the girls used to be, he likes a playmate, or to climb onto the table and join in or to demand milk in a loud voice every five minutes if my attention is elsewhere! My goal is for him to be absorbed in something for about ten minutes, just long enough to explain and get the girls going with something before turning my attention (well half of it!) back to him! I want to intersperse these with blocks of full on fun and games just for him, which gives the girls some breathing space too.

So far I have come up with the following:

  • Give them your attention first so that they aren't trying to compete - we do this every day as we are up first and have some time together before the others are up.
  • Snacks - sit them down with a drink and something to nibble - Iddy isn't that motivated by snacks really but I could try some new ideas once his molars have finished coming through!
  • Sensory boxes/trays - Idris loves his metal treasure basket still and water pouring would keep him busy for a long time - wide splash zone needed as Idris has definite ideas of what water play entails!
  • Play dough and tools - this kept him happily occupied for ten minutes today, the end was signalled by a few pieces of blue dough being launched very accurately onto our game board!
  • Have one child play with your toddler whilst you focus with another child - Faith sat and looked at board books with him today on the sofa and he loved it!
Another tip that I read was to get the older children to get started on something by themselves at the start of your day whilst you are spending ten minutes with your toddler. They suggest making it the same thing every day to start the day off in a nice routine, I don't tend to do the same thing every day so I will think on this idea a little more!

Many of the activity ideas that I found were for older toddlers of 2 -3years and I am confident that I can sort  those activities when the time comes thanks to my Montessori training, I am off to trawl Pinterest now for some busy bag ideas that can be scaled up to engage him. The idea behind those would be that they only come out for a short time and are not on 'general release' so he won't get fed up with them so quickly. I am only thinking that I will need this level of input into keeping him busy during the Winter as when he is outside he is perfectly content, just too young to be out there on his own, all-in-one Winter suit or not!

And if you just need a little perspective, and a good laugh, then read this post from Confessions of a Homeschooler! I recognised many of these activities!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Easy Make-at-home Maths Games

I have been trying out some maths games from the book 'Games For Math' by Peggy Kaye. It fits superbly with my 2012 promise to myself to stop procrastinating being a perfectionist and start doing things right now without over planning and missing the moment! This book fits with that because the games can all be made with close to hand household materials, often simply paper and pens, no photocopying, colouring, laminating etc. You could make them pretty and permanent if you wanted to, but I have chosen to just DO them!!

This game is called 'double it'. You pick two number cards and one instruction card and move your piece around the snail board according to the answer. I tweaked it slightly to have various forms of the same instruction such as add/plus and minus/take-away/subtract. It aims to build knowledge of basic number facts. My girls are confident calculating these, currently using a range of techniques to get the answer, some 'in their head' and some on fingers etc. I thought this would help them as they don't always link the words with the actions. As I predicted, minus caused some confusion!

I have one 'happy maths' child and one more reluctant maths child and I think I made the spiral a bit too long for the reluctant maths child. The game lasted about 20 minutes and she was unhappy for at least ten minutes of that, but cheered up at the end as she won. A shorter spiral (and better counters that didn't keep falling over!) would make this more successful! Like many areas of home educating, I am constantly making little changes to help things run more smoothly!

I accidentally deleted lots of blog photos!

Just a quick post to apologise for the lack of many photos now in the early posts made on my blog. I inadvertently deleted them from the Picasa web album, not realising that they would be deleted from the blog also. I regard myself as functionally tech savvie but not top level tech savvie and this is a rookie error of cosmin proportions! I have no way of putting them back, I think I lost about 100, there is now a black space  with a question mark on it! Oh dear! I now need to purchase space from Picasa on a monthly basis in order to continue adding photographs, the lowest additional package gives me an extra 25GB of storage space which should keep me going for a few years!! I suppose it is a measure of how long I have been blogging now. I was hoping to get a more interesting post than this written whilst children were either sleeping or otherwise occupied but am sorting out Picasa instead...... *sigh*.........

Monday, 19 November 2012

An Advent Calendar of Activities!

Inspired by my sister-in-law and by these bags that I found in Ikea today (apologies for the upside down photo, I am getting to grips with drop box and an android phone - bear with me!), I have put together an advent of activities for the children and us to enjoy throughout December. I downloaded printable Christmassy labels and edited them to show all of the activities that I have come up with. I have more than 24 as I plan to tweak both the order and the activity in the bag to suit the day and the circumstances! I think that I'm going to hang them down our beautiful banister rail so they will look really decorative as well as being their advent calendar. I'm not as organised as my sister-in-law as I haven't yet GOT all the ingredients and materials needed but there's plenty of time for that! This was very spur of the moment but I had no trouble thinking of things as we always do quite a few fun activities in December and I have been thinking about doing this for several years now! Events just collided to make me do it this year! Thanks Lorri and Ikea! Here is our list - some are specific to our area, and some are general!

  • Shop for Christmas gifts for the children at The Haven
  • Put up and decorate the tree (always on the 14th after Daddy's Birthday!!)
  • Make mini gingerbread houses (a work in progress as we can't get graham crackers here and that was the idea that I saw....... watch this space!)
  • Go Ice skating or to snow play, depending on deals and offers!
  • Go for a walk to see the lighted houses near Granny and Grandpa's house
  • Make marshmallows
  • Make new ornaments for the tiny Christmas trees and decorate the trees
  • Make ice-candles
  • Make ice-cream cone Christmas trees to eat
  • Treat the birds
  • Decorate the Christmas cake
  • m&m's Christmas story
  • Christmas tree play dough
  • Write letters to Santa (something for me, something for someone else, something for the world)
  • Make reindeer food
  • Learn a new Christmas carol
  • Make hand print ornaments
  • Make paper chains (we always do this, it's a tradition in our house!)
  • Make lolly stick snowflakes for the walls
  • Have a family pow-wow and say nice things about each other - write them down to keep!
  • Make mince pies and give to the local people we know who are in need (Jack (92) is first on the list, he always carried a boneo in his pocket for our dog, and he was the only person she never barked at as she rushed out to sit and beg waiting for her treat then scuttled off again without a backward glance - pure cupboard love but we have come to love Jack and after a bout of pneumonia earlier this year, we no longer see him take his daily walk and we miss him!)
  • Go to the Christmas tree festival at Church
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Enjoy hot chocolate with all the trimmings!
I might pop the odd sweet or chocolate in there to make the children giggle, like red smarties for Rudolph's nose and chocolate coated raisins for reindeer poo! I'm really happy I did this this year and I'm looking forwards to it! Have fun making yours!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Taking a Break from Childminding.......

Changes are afoot around here - they have been brewing for a while and I am finally embracing them!

The first is that the house purchase we had been working so hard on for the last seven months fell through a couple of weeks ago. There was an access issue that we had done lots of running on to try and solve and it turned out that the owner knew all along that permanent access rights couldn't be granted because she'd had an access dispute with the Council in 2003. That is the third one this year that has gone belly up and after spending fifteen months worth of time and energy and rather a lot of money on NOT moving, we have decided to throw in the moving towel and make this house work for us instead.

I'm happy with that - we've just had to work quite hard on 'resetting' ourselves as for the last seven months it has been "when we move" and "when we have a big kitchen" and "when we have room for the piano" etc etc and have been putting things off and storing things with our thoughts pinned on the future move. With that gone, we are now doing all the things that we've been putting off and moving on all the 'large house' furniture to new homes!

This house needs some re-organisation to make it easier to live in (it's quite a little house for a family) and that takes time, and the obligatory extra mess and chaos whilst we are trying to reduce the mess and chaos. I am startled every time I walk into my bedroom now that I can see the corner again (we are unpacking boxes that have been packed since January!) It looks so much bigger! I am frequenting e-bay, Amazon, Freegle and other sites giving away and selling surplus materials.

My Dad has been and built a wall-mounted high-sleeper bed for Eve who lives in the box room - she is currently camped out in Faith's room whilst I decorate it - it is the most re-purposed room in the house that one, even though it is the smallest, it has been an office, a nursery, then an office again, then a bedroom and hopefully it will stay as it is for a good long while now! The high sleeper means there is floor space for Eve to use and we can fit some furniture in for her clothes, and the desk she would dearly like to have! Poor Faith is feeling a bit plagued as her room is stuffed full of flotsam and jetsom at the minute!

Dewi is busy digging up the garden - a herculean task as there are lots of raised veg beds made from concrete slabs - ready to make a hard-standing for the 'garden room' that I ordered this morning! It will give us much needed additional space at a much smaller cost than extending the house would be! We have lots of plans for what we could do with it but will wait and see how the space feels when it is built!

Part of all the upheaval is that I have decided to step back from child minding for a while. I have struggled to make it work for me for a while now, mainly because of the amount of gear and the amount of children in a small space. My own children were suffering and that isn't why I started to child mind. They have to come first and so it is with a little sadness that I am packing things away and moving on the majority of my resources. I was delighted to gift a local charity The Haven (it houses women and their children securely when in desperate need due to domestic violence etc) with a people carrier stuffed full of my highest quality resources from a wooden kitchen to sensory blocks to baby equipment, you name it, I hope they get a lot from it. Some has been sold and there is more to go. I am stunned at how much I have amassed over the last four years and I don't miss any of it! I have worked very hard to build my business and support others but it is time to take some space from it - I am retaining my registration though!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

An Impromptu Pumpkin Carving Session!

 These were the spooky results of our impromptu pumpkin carving session last week - courtesy of the fab offer that a certain supermarket had on! Dewi went all technical and made a spider on a web....
 I made an owl sitting on a branch with a cloud floating atmospherically past, although on reflection, it looks far more like a cat sitting on a branch, and by the time I took the pictures, it had flopped over backwards and was being propped up by an apple twig through the beak - painful!
 This is Eve's - she went to town with haunted houses, ghosts, bats etc etc - there wasn't a lot of pumpkin left really afterwards!!!!
 Faith did a special on witches hats - all carved free hand and a very impressive selection I thought!
 There were a few classic pumpkin faces just for good measure......
And they looked great all glowing away together in the gloom outside!
 This was the scene mid-carving........
 Faith wielding the pumpkin carving mini-saw like a seasoned pro!
 Eve realised that she needed a larger opening to get her pumpkin innards out of!
 Dewi being all technical about the process........
And guess who wanted a piece of the action - he was desperate to get his hands on a pumpkin saw but had to settle for a scooper instead!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Toddler Maths

Idris stunned me yesterday by easily building this huge tower!! He confidently placed one unit block on top of another, using his other hand to steady the tower when needed. I helped with a few balance adjustments as it got higher but he wasn't upset when it fell over, he laughed and rolled around on the blocks then built another. I digress....... about halfway up, I handed him a longer block and he put it on and turned for the next one - I handed him the original size and he turned to put it on........ then stopped, frowned, said 'na' and took the long one off, dropped it on the floor, did a happy wiggle then put the same sized one on top and turned for the next. It made me think back to some Penny Tassoni training I did recently where she had put a blue duck with yellow ones and noted that a toddler took it out of the bucket, showing that toddlers take notice of groupings - an early mathematical observation. It got me thinking what else I have seen Idris do that comes under the 'early maths' heading.

Here he is sitting with a metal teapot from his metallic treasure basket and he went straight for the tin that would fit inside it and popped it in and out, opening and shutting the lid - he seems to be very accurate when he chooses things to fir inside something else. He knows what will fit and what won't without using trial and error - showing that he can accurately judge size/capacity at a very young age!

This is him again exploring a similar concept to the one above with the teapot...... this is the treasure tub that came about after my post on him threading beads into plastic bottles - my parents put together a collection of plastic plumbing pipes and different threads of beads, a funnel, a few jars and bottles and a denture pot! This treasure tub is fab as it's in a round plastic bird seed tub and is easy to carry around - it has been to the bathroom many evenings at bath time! It was in the bath that I first noticed that Idris was selecting exactly the right tube to create a 'nest' of tubes with each one getting smaller. I was fascinated!

Idris finds plenty of opportunities to explore maths outdoors as well, as he carries all sorts of objects, heavy and light, and plays with his beloved collection of balls of all shapes and sizes! When you think about it, there are so many ways for toddlers to explore mathematical concepts, have a close look next time your toddlers are exploring things and see what maths they are applying without even knowing it!

Monday, 29 October 2012

All the things you can do with a slide......

Idris was being a tad grumpy and wanted to play on the slide outdoors but with the door open - and it was far too cold and gas is far too expensive to let that happen so while he was stamping his little feet and shouting about it, I took the slide inside and he was intrigued - and came along in to see what was happening! It wasn't long before he was having a brilliant time, testing out what would go down the slide and waiting while I said ready, steady........ go, then he pushed the cars down and laughed and laughed!!!
The bump balls went down it, the beads from the latest treasure tub went down it..... and of course, Idris went down it, in as many different configurations as he could conjure up.... forwards sitting, forwards lying, forwards stepping off it, sideways with one leg up, one leg down, backwards, headfirst - you name it, he did it, as well as practising going up and down the steps, each step with the next foot on it then turning around and climbing down again! Faith then joined in and got him to lie on his tummy and shouted, ready steady blast off and as she shouted blast off, she fired him down the slide with a good shove of his feet and he flew across the floor at the end.... he LOVED it!!!!

I'm sure lots of parents would be cringing at what I let him do, but he's a tough little cookie and laughs when he takes a tumble, as well as being very well co-ordinated and well developed with his physical and motor skills, so within reason, I let him explore his physical limits and satisfy his very obvious need to climb, roll, slide, jump, push, pull etc etc etc!!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Idris at 15 months...... NEVER still!!!!

 He walks everywhere that he can, last week he discovered that he walk on his toes and spent the day walking on his toes everywhere! At the pool one day he learnt to 'jump' (that is he says 'du' and steps out from the edge with a big grin and tightly shut eyes!)..... so now he climbs onto things, says 'du' and steps off the edge with his eyes shut!!!! There is no physical challenge that this boy won't take on! He still loves to be outdoors in all weathers - I love it!
 He had his first fair ground ride at Wonderland last week - and loved it! He especially liked the Alice in Wonderland rabbit cars with steering wheels - so much so that he howled when he had to come out and let someone else have a go! He's just stopped crying when it was his turn again and yes, you guessed it, he howled again when he had to come out!!!
 He loves shoes now!! He will wear anyones shoes as you can see and is very adept at getting around in even the largest of pairs - he pinched my wedding shoes from the wardrobe too (red kitten heels) and clomped around in those! He found a pair of bumper shoes in our shoe box and brings them to us, thrusts them in our hands and lifts a foot with an expectant expression on his earnest little face! He wears socks with shoes, and they have to go on in a certain order thank you very much!!!! When his shoes come off, so do his socks! We need to get him some properly fitted shoes really as I don't think the bumpers are the best fit, but considering that I thought he'd never want to wear shoes, at least he has warm toes on chilly days now! He climbs on lots of things, liking to just be off the floor!
 This is a slightly blurry photo (I told you he was never still!) of Idris with a micro-bead cushion on his head - I have no idea how this started but he thinks it is really funny to run around with this on his head!
He is fascinated with play dough as well but eats a fair amount of it so we have to be careful - a reputable source told me that blue play dough puts children off from eating it so I'll have to test that theory next time I make some!! He is going through the stages that the girls did with play dough - pushing things into it, pulling pieces off when we roll a big sausage of it.... Eve discovered he likes the dough whilst trying to distract him one day!
And he is ADORED by his big sisters!!!!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A New Toddler Posting Activity!

 I watched Idris playing with the bath plug chain in his treasure basket and dropping it in and out of a milk jug..... It gave me an idea and I fetched out the bead strings from my Christmas box and chopped them up into smaller lengths..... some about 10cm and some up to 30cm long. I then simply clamped an empty bottle between my knees, demonstrated once and he was off!
 He quickly worked out that using two hands with one very near to the end of the string was the best way to get them in. He was very steady handed, making very small adjustments to his hand position as he wavered over the neck of the bottle trying to thread them in. I used quite a narrow necked bottle but you could make it easier with a wider necked one, or even a jug as he had used originally!
 He discovered that the bottle made a great sound when shaken......
 But that you had to pull most of them out, they didn't just fall out!
 Then he threw them on the floor (doesn't he always?!) and danced on them for a bit - they made a great clacking sound as they hit the floor!
Then he went to the recycling box and helped himself to another bottle and tried again, all by himself! He took them in the bath that night too and spent ages draping them over his arms and shoulders, deep in concentration! Draping is something that he likes to do anyway, with socks or small pieces of cloth so it was interesting to see him trying his theories out on a new medium!

This would make a great discovery box with  a collection of different receptacles to put the chains in and a variety of different chains to explore - hardware shops and garden centres often stock rolls of different sizes of chains - tubes would be fun too, and funnels to explore which chains went through them and which didn't - I think I feel a new treasure basket coming on!!!!!