Wednesday, 30 June 2010

OUR NATURE TABLE!


This morning "E" decided to change our Nature Table display. He has enjoyed exploring some Playscapes this week and helped me to create a lovely Duck Pond complete with Ducks, drift wood, a riverbank and even some Chickens and a Rabbit sat there watching the Ducks float about!


He has been very keen to show everyone who has come to the house, all his hard work. He takes them by the hand and says "Come see Duck pond!"
The Postman arrived at lunch with a Little packet. It was the wooden person with 2 ducks and a chicken that I won on EBay last week. What perfect timing!
"E" helped me open the packet and took the Ducks strait to the pond and put them in the water, telling me they were swimming!


 We added the musical Frogs as another dimention to the table. something to make a noise when played! They are so easy to use and the little ones love to hear them croak!


I love his enthusiasm and imagination. He has been able to really absorb himself in this new "Toy" today. Even after his sleep, he went strait to his Duck Pond and carried on where he had left everything.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

HOMECORNER FUN!

Today we spruced up the home corner a little bit and made it a bit more inviting! As a result everyone has enjoyed playing in that little area and I have had many meals and cups of Tea made for me!! I am also looking forward to the postman bringing me some lovely felt fruit and veg which I ordered off EBay today. I'm sure I could learn to make my own and I love to see the children playing with things i have made for them, but I am not very good at needle work and have not been brave enough to try yet!


Kenzie had lots of fun chopping our wooden fruit and bread!


Scooping some butter in to my Tea..... not sure why... that's not how he does it when he helps me make a real cuppa!


Time to cook some pasta! I find Macaroni is just the right size for little fingers and little spoons!


Using a ladle to put pasta in the pan. Great hand eye coordination practice and simple maths as we talked about quantities. "Did he need more or less?"


Brendan came to join us and tried some weighing with the scales. He placed one of each item in to the buckets to keep them balanced. He then added some pasta. This was harder to keep them level and took a bit more thought!



Little bit at a time!

I love to watch my boys work things out and explore new concepts while playing, without them even realising they are learning!




Monday, 28 June 2010

MY NEW ECO BLOCKS HAVE ARRIVED!!

YIPPEE!! the day has arrived and so have my Eco blocks! I couldn't wait to play with my new toy.... sorry..... I couldn't wait to see the CHILDREN play with THEIR new toy.....


They were a HUGE hit from the off! I loved watching Kenzie and "E" exploring the texture and wonderful linseed oil smell of the blocks, exploring how they could be used and what they could build with them! We built houses, towers and bridges and the finished creations looked so different from anything we have ever made with our regular building blocks!


The boys ran off to find animals and people to put in their creations and played for ages together, totally lost in this new toy!

Even Auntie Georgia got in on the building when she came to visit! Here is her creation!

Saturday, 26 June 2010

A TOWN OF OUR OWN!

This week the children and i have been very busy Junk modeling! I think its a lovely way for children to develop their imaginations and build their ideas in to a real life thing. The process of developing your ideas and problem solving as you go is something we all use in everyday life and i have noticed the children thinking in a very different way while Junk modeling!

On this particular day we made houses! Everyone got to choose a box from the junk box and I covered each box in white labels to give a neutral background for the children to decorate as they wished! Each child asked for a door so i cut a door in each box and then let them decided how their house should look. We talked about features of a house, doors, chimneys, windows, roofs etc...



















It was lovely watching the children decide how many windows their houses needed and where they should go. Some houses were tall and were given several floors and therefore lots of windows. Others were very small houses with just a few windows. The children all referred to memories of houses they knew.
"My house has a red door!" and "My house has lots of windows!"
Kenzie wanted his house to be a Blue house and decided to find as many blue pens and crayons to decorate his box. One of the little girls I look after (we will call her C) said she needed lots of flowers growing round her House so I handed her a bag of flower stickers. She spent ages carefully pealing off the backs of each sticker and placing them on her box! Great practice for her fine motor skills!!


After making our houses Kenzie said we needed some people to live in the houses. The girls both agreed, so we rummaged in the art cupboard and found some stickers, lolly pop sticks and also some felt clothes for peg dolls! We set about making some people. I drew faces on each one and they stuck them together!
 
Kenzie decided he was having a Chef and a Pirate so I had to draw a patch for one of their eyes!
We found some Plasticine and stuck it to the bottom of each little person so they would be able to stand up! 
"C" decided her girl needed bedding so went to the junk box and filled her house with some fluff she found!
We added some pets to our houses. Kenzie found a bird sticker and put it on the roof
"cos that's where birds sit!"
 And here is our finished Town!! So many different styles and ideas all put together to make a lovely scene. They played with these houses and people for most of the day!
 I hope we have inspired you to collect some junk yourselves and enjoy some building! It's a lovely peaceful activity and perfect for a rainy day ....... or even a very hot day. We did ours when the sun was too hot to be out for very long! 
Happy junk Modeling!!


“Come play at the Childhood 101 We Play link up”

FINE DINING FOR CHICKENS!

Another scorcher of a day in Oxfordshire and the boys decided to play with the chickens and enjoy the sunshine! Little did the chickens know, they were about to be treated to a freshly prepared salad!



 I gave them some slightly over ripe Lettuces but that was not enough for  our Chickens! Brendan asked for some corn and made his brother get off his tree stump so he could use it as a plate! I returned with a pot of corn for them and a little bit of fresh Basil.......  The chefs got to work!


Brendan decided we needed more treats so I showed the boys the weeds in the veg patch and asked if they wanted to help me weed it and they could feed them to the chickens..... They loved this idea and got very involved in picking out all the little weeds from the veg bed......... I shall have to remember this for future weeding!


Eventually the chickens had a wonderful salad created for them lay out on a tree stump.... the best way to serve a salad it would seem! Two very happy boys and two very happy and full chickens!!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

NEEDLE FELTING FUN!

After watching some You Tube videos on this craft, I thought I would give it a go myself. It also looked easy enough for the boys to try..... So I went on EBay and ordered a kit, which arrived this afternoon!
I thought i might make a chicken as everything this week seems to be a bit chicken focused! It didn't look very chicken like though but it did look like quite a good bird, for a first attempt! What do you think?


Brendan decided he wanted to make a Teddy and took himself off with my kit to the play room. About half hour later he returned with this......


I helped him shape a head and he attached it! (we did go through a few needles and i suspect I will need to order some more before we run out!)


He worked really hard and wanted to do as much as he could himself! He made his fingers bleed a couple of times but carried on bless him! We now have a little Bear which has been taken to bed with him! I am so proud of him!


Even Kenzie gave it a go and made a little red bird. He did need a little bit more help and I used a wooden stick to hold the wool while he stabbed it....... I value my fingers to much to try without! He is such a clever little boy!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

JUNK MODEL CHICKEN HOUSES!

We enjoyed an afternoon of junk modeling yesterday! We had no idea what we were going to make and I wanted Kenzie to be totally in control of his creation so I asked him to go to the junk box and choose his materials.

He told me we were going to make a helicopter and asked me to sellotape two pieces together. 
I could not see how this was ever going to be a helicopter but I did as I was told.... we ended up with a house shape and Kenzie suddenly announced it was going to be a house!! I said it looked like a green house and we talked about how green houses are not "green" but made of glass. We talked about how they kept plants warm and helped them to grow. That inspired Kenzie to add vines to his house by using some green silk threads. Then he needed some grapes so we used some purple Plasticine and he rolled them in to balls and taped them on the vines. He went on to add flower stickers and a sticker of a bird and a cat! 

This Greenhouse was coming on along nicely when we found some raffia!! I asked if he wanted to put some inside the house and he did. He asked what this was and I said it looked like straw.... like we have in the chicken coop.....
"It's a CHICKEN HOUSE mummy!!!!"
Our Green house was now a chicken house and I made a mad dash to the art cupboard to get some plastic eggs left over from Easter! Then we needed a chicken! I found a small plastic one but this was not going to cut it! So I made a trip to the loft to find a soft rooster that I had put in the "car boot box!" in a vain attempt to clear out some toys!

Our creation was complete!!! The Helicopter... Greenhouse... Chicken house was completed and decorated beautifully!! His imagination had made many twists and turns during our junk modeling and he had learnt a few new things he didn't know before. We had spent some lovely time together and have a chicken house to play with..... and probably the first rooster in history who lays eggs!!!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

NATURAL PLAY!

Well after a bit of thinking I have decided to try and make as many of my play resources as "open ended" as possible! I am also trying to go for as Natural as possible too. I have found some lovely websites with some beautiful wooden toys, but the price's are a little high. 
Inspiration hit me while in a pet shop this weekend!! Hamster toys!! There is a lovely range of pet products which use natural materials, wicker, grasses, loofahs, coconuts and all much cheaper than the toys i had been looking at! I also found some more drift wood in the Aquatics isle!! 
So after a little shopping spree in the pet shop I managed to come home with enough natural materials to create a nice little play scene for the kids to explore tomorrow!! I am really looking forward to seeing what they think of it and what they choose to do with it!

Update tomorrow!!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

An Ocean in the Playroom!

Thought I would share a fantastic moment the children and I shared yesterday! I think it's a lovely example of using open ended resources and child led play.

Kenzie and I have been making a number line and decided to finish it off yesterday. We lay out a big sheet of paper so we didn't get pen on the floor and finished decorating the numbers. Once we had finished another child in my care (we will call "C" ) started to colour the sheet with a blue crayon. Another child in my care (we will call "E") was lay on the floor close by with a small piece of drift wood, plastic sea creatures and some little wooden people. He used the drift wood to make a bridge and swam the creatures under it whist sitting the people on the log (They had to stay safe from the sharks!)
I asked if they wanted to colour the whole of the paper blue and we could use it as the
Sea! and everyone grabbed a blue crayon and frantically coloured away till all our paper was blue. I suddenly remembered the Sea Creature stickers I had found in the art cupboard earlier that afternoon, so lay them out and the children excitedly filled their sea with the stickers. We had Turtles, Sharks, Octopus, fish and dolphins!!
"E" brought his drift wood over and lay it on the paper and again started to swim the sharks under it and line the people on the top. All 3 children wanted to join in and Kenzie decided we needed some boats to keep everyone safe! I asked if they would like to look in the junk box and see what would make a good boat. They all came back with shallow plastic food trays and started to put people and animals in the boats. "C" told me we needed sails on the boats so off I whizzed to get some address labels and stickers, a couple of sticks left over from another art activity and some Plasticine. The children all decorated their sails and I wrapped them round the sticks. They rolled up balls of Plasticine and stuck them in the center of their boats, then stuck the masts and sail in the middle!


 Suddenly we had a full Ocean adventure going on in the playroom, totally spontaneous and only using bits and bobs we had lying about! It was so lovely to see their creativity and imaginations at work and bringing their individual activities together to make one experience that was shared by all! When The other children's parents arrived to collect them, they were pulled in to the playroom with excited "come see the boats" and "look at our sea"!!

Each child filled their boats with different things "E" put a man and a pig in his, "C" put a lady in hers and lots of stickers and Kenzie filled his Sea creatures!!

I look forward to many more play days like this!!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sandpit fun!



After all the fun the boys and I had in the sandpit at Thomley hall, i decided to get the boys some sand! We have had it every summer but this year i didn't get any. Mainly because of the arguments it always causes.

I decided that maybe 2 smaller trays with sand in, were better than a big sandpit and so trawled the garden center for something suitable. I came home with 2 large cat litter trays and a big planter tray to put them on (vain attempt to contain the sand a bit). I also came home with some new bucket and spade sets!

This little trip to the garden center resulted in 2 very happy boys and a quiet afternoon while they dug, made tunnels, castles and pies!! I gave them some little glass nuggets to bury and use as Treasure! Brendan used some to decorate his castle!

Kenzie wanted something different in his sand so i found him a pack of BIG bugs!! He loved hiding them in the sand and digging them back up again!

I'm sure this will be popular for many weeks to come and I'm sure the children I look after will enjoy hunting for treasure and bugs as well!!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

SUNFLOWERS!



This week i joined the Sunflower club over on "The Nurture store's" blog!

The boys planted their sunflowers some weeks ago but after flicking through this blog i have found some lovely ideas to extend this experience with them. We are going to make a height chart to record their growth and Kenzie is keen to make the sunflower game....as am I!!

For some reason Kenzie seems to have a couple more plants than Brendan..... but he is rather heavy handed with planting seeds so maybe he just slipped in a few extra seeds when i was not looking!
Here are my boys showing off their plants! I really hope the slugs leave them alone!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Better late than never!





















Well, we finally have the Veg bed set up. Bit late in the season I know but I still feel we should get a good crop of lovely fruit and veg!

The children I look after and my own boys have been enjoying planting seeds over the past few weeks and tending to them. Brendan is more of the natural gardener than Kenzie, but Kenzie wants to be just like his big brother so is giving it a good go.

This afternoon while I planted out some of the seedlings and fruit bushes, Kenzie enjoyed digging in the mud. He collected pebbles in a bucket and used my new big spade to dig holes in the ground to bury his treasures!

We made a cover for the veg patch together. He cut the string and I bound the canes together to make the frame for the netting. Then we hammered some hooks in to the raised bed to hook the netting on.

We decided to try out the effectiveness of our "Chicken proofing!" and let out the girls.

Gertrude, brave as ever headed straight for my flower bed and thankfully ignored the veg bed. But she did enjoy having a good scratch around the flowers, despite my complaints and removing of her. A bit later she re appeared with slugs stuck to her beak looking very pleased with herself and promptly hopped on the table to get at a pot of lettuces that Brendan is growing. Cheeky girl!

Matilda Scratched at the top of the garden for a while and behaved much better but did get a bit brave and took advantage of a lettuce leaf that was growing a bit too close to the netting.....

All in all I would say our veg bed "Chicken proofing" has been a success...... shame the rest of the garden is not so lucky! I am really looking forward to enjoying some of the fruits of our hard work!!

Friday, 4 June 2010

School holiday fun. Day 3!

Loving the weather we have today!! Woke up to clear blue sky with not a cloud in site!

First job of the morning (after letting the chickens out) was to fill the paddling pool up. It's just a very small plastic sandpit but it does the job. I fished around in the play house for the water toys...... which to my horror i found in what looked to be an old MUD PIE!!! (grrrr Kenzie and his new fad!) and proceeded to cream up 3 children who just wanted to get out side and could really not see the need for Sun tan lotion. (or sunshine lotion as Kenzie has re-named it)

I'm very glad i did persist with the lotion as despite finding swim outfits for all of them .... within and hour not one of them was wearing anything and i had 3 little bottoms running wild in the garden! Oh to be small and not care!!

The afternoon sun became too much for us and we headed in for some puzzles and Lego building. Brendan spent most of this afternoon and evening building a new creation with the Lego set he earned with his stickers from school! Hoping the next prize will be as a good an incentive for him..... yet to decided what that prize will be. Good enough that he feels it's worth working for but not so good it costs me a small fortune!

This evening my Veg bed was built! It looks lovely and i can't wait till i can get out there tomorrow and plant up some veg. we have pots and pots of veg and fruit waiting to go in. I feel another Garden Center trip coming on this weekend. I need to buy canes and netting and make the veg bed Chicken proof... and child proof for that mater as pretty flowering plants are too much of a "picking" temptation for my lot.

Really hoping tomorrow will be just as lovely. Summer has arrived and it would be great if it hung around in the UK for more than a week or two this year!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

School holiday fun Day 2. Thomley Hall!!







Today we visited our favourite play place! The local special needs play center! This place is pure heaven, for parents and children!

As a parent I can meet other parents of children with disabilities and laugh at the things we would otherwise stress over. It's lovely to know you are not alone and also to be able to relax and give the children some freedom. I don't have to worry when Brendan makes a "social boo boo!" because people understand. i don't find the need to or feeling like i should "Explaine" him to anyone!!

He loves it there because "he is FREE!" (his words not mine). he doesn't find himself being targeted by children who do not understand him and his ways. Most of the time, when we visit a soft play center he ends up in a fight with a group of other children. usually because he has just jumped in on their game and they are probably thinking "who are you and why are you talking to me?" His lack of understanding of social rules and acceptable behaviour can make him stand out and the other children can find his "in their face" approach too much. We have none of this at Thomley Hall. because all the children there have their own "difficulties" or are the siblings of a child with "difficulties"........ everyone seems to be far more understanding and tolerant....... I often wish the whole world was a big Thomley Hall!!

Today the new sandpit was open. a lovely big area covered by a wooden structure filled with wonderful soft play sand! My boys built mountains with some other children, turning them in to volcanoes or drilling tunnels in the basses to drive cars and trains through. Some mountains had dinosaurs living on them!

Brendan spent a good 4 hours solid in there and didn't even notice lunch time had been and gone. I had feed the other children their picnics and asked if he was hungry, but he was so engrossed in his play that he didn't stop until he bumped an old graze and got sand in it, at which point he ran off to wash it out!!

Today was a Sand day!!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Money doesn't grow on trees!

I am trying to teach the boys the value of money. I have been a bit of a softy and not done well with the whole "pocket money" concept to date. i always end up buying them things or giving them extra money when we are out. So i decided to get tough...... teach them the value of money and what we do to get some!!

They both have a sticker chart to keep track of how many jobs they do and each job they do earns them 25p. The idea being they can earn as much or as little as they like. The harder they work the more they earn...... seemed like a realistic view of how it works in the grown up world!
The pocket money is dished out at the weekend ready to take to the carboot sales that we like to look round on a Sunday or to save in their money boxes if they wish.

Both boys seem to be enjoying this, although Brendan is beginning to find there are jobs he is not keen on doing, like emptying the dishwasher. Kenzie however is happy to do these jobs and i suspect Brendan will see the error in turning down these jobs when his brother gets more pocket money this weekend. Although he is rather keen on hoovering.... so maybe he will not loose any money after all!!


School holiday fun!! Day 1



Well, it's been the first day of the school holiday and it rained! The boys had a late night last night and slept in. Typically Lee and I had to be up for work so could not benefit from their lazy morning. I only had one extra child with me today so it's been quite a peaceful day and not too full on.

I thought it would be nice to let Gertrude and Matilda free range round the garden and enjoy all the snails and slugs that the rain brought out...... they had other ideas though and have eaten half of all my newly growing lettuces in my pot. I had to raise them up and put them out of reach. The cheeky little things...... I will have very funny looking lettuces when they finish growing.

The boys and i enjoyed an art project today. We made stain glassed windows to put in the playroom. This was a huge hit and enjoyed by everyone. myself included! Easy enough for my "extra" little one to do as well. We took laminator Pouches and filled them with tissue paper, torn up and lay out in "Abstract art" style or more traditional pictures! Once we finished our pictures we ran the pouch through the laminator and there you have it! a lovely stained glass window! They look so bright and cheerful on the window of the Playroom and will look even better when the sun decides to return!


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