Category Archives: things to do

A Sound Walk

girls on a sound walkAutumn walks, I believe are the best ones, such great colours to see, so many things to collect for arts and crafts and there can be such beautiful fresh days with sunshine and blue sky.

Yesterday was one of these days. The weather was great, it was cold, but gorgeous blue sky and sunshine, I couldn’t resist taking my girls for a walk. So off we went to our local lake and nature discovery centre.

We decided to do a sound walk. Whilst walking round the lake, we had to listen to see what and how many different sounds we could hear. This is what we heard…..

  1. Ducks
  2. Other children calling
  3. Various other birds, but I’m afraid I haven’t a clue what they were??!
  4. Water splashing from the birds landing in the water
  5. Dogs barking
  6. Wind rustling in the trees (I was really impressed they thought/heard that)
  7. Leaves crunching when we walked on them

I was really impressed with how well the girls listened and identified things. They enjoyed trying to work out what things were.

This walk was good fun and it is a very good exercise for little ones to practice listening and hearing different sounds, which is the start of learning phonics later on. I will definitely be having another go at this another time.

girls on a sound walksound walk by a lake

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Autumn activities list

Now summer appears to have ended rather abruptly, I need to get thinking of some more autumnal activities.

My summer holiday sanity list worked really well for us, so I thought, how about an autumn activity list? So here goes. Here is a list of 20 things I would like to do over the next few months…..

  1. Go on a leaf walk (kick about in fallen leaves)
  2. Collect conquers and play conquers
  3. Do leaf rubbings
  4. Do leaf painting
  5. Do an autumnal nature walk
  6. Do some leaf number and letter games I found from pinterest
  7. Do some simple science experiments from a book BB has
  8. Cooking
  9. Carve a pumpkin
  10. Do some autumn crafts
  11. See a firework display and bonfire
  12. Do some sparklers
  13. Jump in muddy puddles
  14. Scary face painting
  15. Fireworks pictures
  16. Make an indoor den
  17. Have a family movie afternoon
  18. Make a guy
  19. Craft with pinecones
  20. Enjoy family time together

It is important for children to get out and about whatever the weather, so I have tried to include lots of outdoor activities as well as indoor.

I look forward to starting my list.

ClarinasContemplations

 

 

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Puppet fun

Stick puppets

Now the weather has turned, autumn is here, we are returning back to thinking of activities we can do indoors and the children decided they wanted to do a puppet show.

Firstly, we had to make the puppets. With little children, the puppets needed to be very simple. Here is what we did:

What you need:

  • Lollipop sticks
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Sellotape

How to make the stick puppets:

  • Draw pictures of animals or people on some paper
  • Cut out the pictures
  • Sellotape them to the stick and voila = Stick puppet

Making stick puppets

It is very simple, but the children loved it and then of course, you have hours of fun playing with the puppets.

We made a theatre by using a large cardboard box opened out and threw a blanket over it. The children sat behind it making up stories with their puppets.

Puppet theatre play

It is such a wonderful thing to listen to your children make up stories and work together for the same goal, of entertaining mummy :)

Mum Of One
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Gruffalo Hunt

Gruffalo huntWe love getting out and about in the great outdoors, so on holiday, we love nothing more than to go on a forest walk. I like to give the children something to focus on, so this time I decided we should do a Gruffalo hunt.

We were to look for all the creatures featured in the Gruffalo story, the owl, the mouse, the snake, the fox and of course, the Gruffalo.

The first thing we came across were several ‘dens’ that had previously been made by other kids (or could have been made by adults, as they were rather good). They were made out of sticks and foliage against a tree. We suggested to the children that these could be the Gruffalo’s den. Then we found ‘scratch’ marks on the trees (actually, just sprayed, marked trees, presumably marked by the forestry commission, as trees to be cut down). These, we thought were the Gruffalo’s scratch marks to tell everyone to ‘keep out!’

grufalo hunt gruffalos den

Next we found a feather on the floor, which could have been from the owl.

gruffalo hunt owl feather

We also found a hole burrowed into the ground which we thought could be the Fox’s den.

gruffalo hunt fox den

We found a pile of logs, for the snakes log pile house.

gruffalo hunt log pile house

And lastly, we found a small opening at the bottom of a tree for the mouse to live.

gruffalo hunt mouse house

This was one of the best walks we have done, the children enjoyed it so much. It brought the Gruffalo story to life, increased their imagination and allowed them to use their memory skills to recall the story. All at the same time as getting out and about as a family in the fresh air with nature. You really can’t beat that!

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An ocean themed week

ocean themed activitiesHaving children at home for 6 weeks, means I have to come up with lots of different activities. Last week, we chose to have an ocean theme.

Firstly, we made port holes. It was so easy, but great fun. We just used a paper plate, coloured round the edge of the plate, then stuck ocean stickers in the middle, to create the picture and coloured in the sea blue.

picture of homemade port holes

After we made the port holes, we were wondering what to do with them, so I then made the children a boat out of a (very large) cardboard box. We stuck the port holes on the insides and put a pirate flag at the back. The children had great fun playing pirate games in it for days. At one point,we actually managed to fit 5 children in at the same time!picture of a large cardboard box boat

A little while ago, we collected shells from the beach. We got them out and first of all played around with them, to see what shapes and pictures we could make.

picture of shells in shapes

Next we made a beach scene, by putting sand in an old recycled plastic tub, used some foil for the sea, placed the shells around and then got the playmobil out to have a play on their new beach. It kept the children amused for ages!picture of a playmobil beach scene

Lastly, but not least, we then painted some shells. Some got painted in random colours, others had flowers or faces and a butterfly painted on them.

picture of shell painting

The children (and myself) had loads of fun with all these activities and the best part was, they were largely thought of by my children, they came up with most of the ideas themselves. I do love to let them get creative and use their imagination.

This also used up some of the activities on my summer holiday sanity list. I am progressing nicely with the list, but still lots more to do.

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Homemade sports day

One of the items on my summer holiday sanity list, was to do a sports day with my children. BB did have a sports day at school, but there were no true races, no winners, it was just about taking part in various sporting activities for x amount of time. My girls were due to take part in sports day at preschool, but it happened to fall on a day they were not normally there and right at school pick up time, so were unable to take part.

For this reason, I thought it might be nice to give them all a taste of doing some races together and have some fun. So, during a visit to my parents house, where there is a huge garden, I took the opportunity to set up a mini sorts day for them.

picture of sports day sack raceFirst, we did a bean bag toss. The child to throw the most number of bean bags into the hoop wins. They all did well, but Boo came out the winner, with 3 bean bags in the hoop.

This was followed by the sack race, where BB managed to jump out in front and beat the other two.

picture of sports day space hopper and sack race

Next, came the space hopper race. This was great fun and brought about many laughs. It was a close run race, but BB just managed to hop ahead.

picture of a sports day egg and spoon raceThen last, but not least came the egg and spoon race. There was lots of cheating going on, so we did a retake and BB and Pinky tied at the finish.

Sports day winning podium


All three children did really well and had loads of fun together. It was great to see them racing, and not minding if they didn’t win. At the finish, we made them all a medal saying well done and got them to stand on the winning podium with their medal. They thought it was great!

I did try to persuade the Twinlife daddy, grandad and uncle, they should do a dads race, but they didn’t seem too keen, maybe next time?!

That’s another item ticked off my summer holiday sanity list. I think the children are enjoying the list, but still got lots more to do :)

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Simple, fun maths games for little ones

Simple fun maths games for early years

When trying to help little children learn to count and do simple maths, it is important to make it fun. Children learn best through play. Here are a few very easy but fun ways to get little children counting and adding/subtracting.

picture of a simple addition eggbox game

Egg box game

What you need:

  1. 1 egg box (6 or 12, depending on how difficult you want to make it)
  2. 1 pen
  3. 20 coins or beans
  4. 2 players

Before you start playing, you need to write a number in every hole of the egg box.

picture of the eggbox with numbers written inside

How to play:

  1. Divide the coins/beans between the two players
  2. Place the egg box a distance away from both players
  3. Take it in turns to throw 2 coins/beans into the egg box, youngest player first
  4. See what numbers the coins/beans land on, then the player who threw them has to add the two numbers together. If they get it right, they keep the coins/beans, if they get it wrong, they are given to the other player.
  5. If a coin/bean misses the egg box, they are given to the other player
  6. The person with the most coins/beans at the end is the winner

picture of a child playing the eggbox simple addition game

You can increase the numbers in the egg box as the children get better.

You can also use the game to teach subtraction the same way. Just subtracting the two numbers instead of adding.

You could also decorate the box nicely to make it more appealing to little ones.

BB loved this game, we played several rounds of it.

picture of a simple colouring addition game

Colouring addition

What you need:

  1. 1 pen
  2. Colouring pencils/pens
  3. Paper
  4. 1 or 2 dice

Before you play, you need to draw a simple picture in pen. I drew a large ice cream as that is very simple to draw, then divide the picture into 6 or 12 sections (depending on how many dice you are using). Number each section.

How to play

  1. Player 1 rolls the dice
  2. They then have to count the number on each dice and add the numbers together
  3. They then colour in the corresponding number on their picture
  4. Player 2 does the same
  5. Player 1 rolls the dice again and so on
  6. If they have already coloured in that corresponding number, play is passed to the next player
  7. The first player to colour in the whole picture wins

For younger players, you can use just one dice, and only 6 sections on the picture. This helps little ones with counting the dots on the dice and recognising their numbers, before learning to add.

picture of a child colouring in his colouring addition game

All three of my children enjoyed playing these games and we will be playing again.

Tuesday Tots

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It’s Fete Time

Picture of a village feteThe sun is shining, the summer is here. It’s the time of year for fetes.

I love fetes, especially now I have children. Watching them enjoy all that goes on at a fete is wonderful.

My favourite type of fete has to be a village fete. Now, I was brought up in a village, but unfortunately I don’t live there any more. My parents are still living in the village and they now, almost single-handedly, (with a bit of help from other committee members of course) organise and run their local village fete. It is such hard work for them and they do an amazing job. The fete really promotes the feeling of  local community spirit.

Each year we head back to the village to help with the fete. This year was no exception. Twin life daddy was there on the village green, at 7am, with my dad, marking out all the pitches and putting up gazebos etc. It is hard work, but a local villager often brings out, all the helpers a bacon butty to refuel them.

picture of setting up a fete stall

We all came and helped the setting up of stalls, including my mums paint your own moulds and hook the duck game. It is good fun and BB loved watching the man set up the train roundabout, he did not leave his side til it was done, he was absolutely fascinated (I think he may be an engineer in the making, like his daddy).

picture of a train roundabout

Every year there is a scarecrow competition. This year, it was to be in the theme of children’s characters. My mum made Mr Strong, which the children were very impressed with. The day before the fete, we scooted round the village on a scarecrow hunt, looking for all the scarecrows. We found a gruffalo, the tin man (my kids wouldn’t stop calling him Mr Can for some reason), another Mr Strong, the BFG and another one I have not heard of before. My mum didn’t win, but I think they were all amazing. We brought Mr Strong to sit by our stall for everyone to see.Picture of children withscarecrows

Picture of scarecrows

There were lots of stalls and games. BB had a go at the coconut shy, desperate to try a coconut. He did manage to hit one, but unfortunately didn’t have the strength to knock it off, while daddy twin life didn’t even hit it, beaten by his 5 yr old son!!

I was really impressed that BB entered the children’s races. I didn’t think he would do it, but not only did he enter, he actually won the egg and spoon race! One very proud mummy and daddy!

picture of childrens bean bag race

Pinky and Boo loved painting a hello kitty mould and making it into a necklace.

picture of children paining at a fete

There was a tug of war at the end of the fete, children versus the adults, and can you believe who won?? Yes, the children won!! I couldn’t believe it. Some of the adults got so carried away though, they nearly ended up in my mums stall, knocking over a chair and  the splat the rat.

It was a really great fete, fun had by all. It truely brings a wonderful community feel. At one point, I felt like I could have been standing on the set for ‘the vicar of Dibley’. My dad should be really proud of what he achieves organising it. He didn’t get back home until 8pm for a very well-earned rest!

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Fun with nature

Picture of children looking at the ducks

A nature scavenger hunt for little ones

With all this lovely weather we are having, I am desperate to make the most of it. So last week I decided to do a nature scavenger hunt with Pinky and Boo. I thought it would be nice doing something special with my three yr olds on their own.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make my own scavenger hunt, as the children, being only three, would need pictures rather than words, which would take time. So I searched my favourite place for ideas…Pinterest! There I found a great scavenger hunt from thebirdfeedernyc.com. I printed off a copy for each of them, then found a cutting board each and some clips, to make them both a clip board.

picture of clipboards with a nature scavenger hunt on

Nature scavenger hunt for little ones

I am very lucky to have Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre just round the corner from us. It is a great place for walking and discovering nature. So we packed up a picnic, got our clipboards ready and off we went.

picture of children ticking off their scavenger hunt

Ticking off their nature findings

Pinky and Boo were loving walking around the beautiful lake with their clipboards tucked under their arms, ready to tick off their findings. They were so excited to have their first sighting of something from their list, they squealed with delight! They got their pencil and ticked off ‘bird’. Being a lake, there were many different types, from ducks to geese to small birds. I think birds got ticked off many times over!

We found ants, flying bugs, green leaves, brown leaves, flowers, sticks in the shape of a Y and many more things. We found a log to walk along and jump from, as well as tree roots to balance on. We all had a fantastic time hunting for nature and really looking at what goes on in our real natural world, that we often don’t notice.

We can all take nature for granted sometimes. Doing this activity, made me realise how little I teach my children about nature. We are often going for walks in the forest, on a beach etc, but it hadn’t occurred to me, I don’t always explain what we see, to them. I just took it for granted, they would know what a tree root was, but they didn’t. So we had lots of fun discovering the many tree roots around the lake.

picture of a child balancing on a tree root

Tree root balancing

Our nature scavenger hunt was a very basic one, which I felt was appropriate for their age, but as they get older, I will do more complex hunts for them, finding specific birds, flowers etc. But in the mean time, we had great fun looking for basic stuff, as well as looking for ‘trolls’ under the bridge.

picture of children on a little bridge

Looking for ‘trolls’ on the bridge

We didn’t manage to find all of the things on our list, even the one thing I thought, would have been a given, ‘cloud’. There was not a cloud in the sky. Never mind, it just shows how changeable nature is and gives us the incentive to go and do another hunt later in the summer. I would also like to do a scavenger hunt in each of the seasons, as there are so many different things to see in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

We enjoyed our picnic by the lake, followed by a play in the playground. It was so nice to spend some special time with my three-year olds alone, whilst getting out in the gorgeous sunshine at such a beautiful, natural, quiet location. We all loved it!

 

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Making a splash

picture of paddling pool funLast weekend saw some wonderful hot, sunny weather for the first time this year. So to celebrate, we, like thousands of other people in the country, spent the day in the garden, got the paddling pool out and had a BBQ.

One of my most favourite things, is watching the children play and have fun, so what better way to do this, than to get friends round. The children had their friends to play and splash about in the padding pool. Everyone got wet, there was water everywhere, but who cares, when it’s so gorgeously warm!

The slide even got put into the paddling pool, which was such good fun, sliding down into the water and making an enormous splash! The children ran around giggling, laughing and splashing together. To me this is what childhood is all about.

I got bubble blowing mixture out for everyone and the children all tried to see who could blow the biggest bubbles.

picture of children blowing bubbles

We followed the afternoon off with a lovely BBQ, courtesy of Twinlife daddy’s cooking. We had trouble keeping the children away from the BBQ, so I laid two long lengths of wood around the area and told them they were not to cross it. To my amazement, this worked brilliantly and no one crossed! That is definitely a tip worth remembering for future.

picture of bbq cooking

The BBQ was lovely, especially the Pimms!

We all had a really lovely spontaneous day outside on a gorgeous summers day!

This ticks an activity off my things to do in the summer holidays list. Looking forward to doing lots more.

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