A Real Farm

‘Uddby Gård’ is a real working farm, as most of the farms still are in Sweden. It’s not there for children to ride tractors or climb hay bales.

It’s real, and very rustic!

With beautiful sunsets on a cold winters day…

And no trip out could be without a visit to the farm cafe’ for a ‘fika’….

Before returning home by ‘sledge train’…

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Winter Time At ‘Alby Friluftsgård’

Alby is one of the many ‘friluftsgård’ (s) near us – a mix of nature reserve and open air recreation area really – a place where you can walk, swim, cycle, ski, skate, hike or sledge, according to season.

On a sunny snowy winters day this is a really fun place to visit…

It’s difficult to choose from the many different sized sledging hills there. The first we came across was just a yard from the car park. Leon and Maya climbed right to the top, and in a fearless instant Maya came belting down on her little plastic sledge, and within seconds was thrown off at the bottom. Tears were minimal however, and within minutes Leon and Maya were climbing back up again – this time without sledges…

Here they are… ‘chilling’ and it appears, having a chat, in the middle of the hill…

And it seems that then it was more fun to ROLL down the hill – and climb back up – and ROLL down again!

Some how those cheeky kids managed to climb up, and through the forest, over to the other bigger hill towards the lake. Richard had taken Alfie off on the snow racer to the ‘baby’ slopes, and there I stood – minute after minute – with baby Ted in the pram, waiting for those little faces to appear…

Eventually I found them – down by the big hill with Richard and Alfie – so after a little talk about safety and responsibility (:)), we continued our adventure….

The big hill is really big. Huge in fact.

And there was much discussion over which hill to go down…

And even more discussion – until it was decided that they would go down the little slope you can see on the right…

And this was Maya’s reaction when she came down…

Ans so it was decided that the biggest hill should be the next slope to take on!

And if you look closely, you can see the upside down red plastic sledge, and to the left of it, an upside down long dark coloured body…

That’s Maya!

And so, with a cut lip, and a grazed face, our sledging adventure ended, and it was time to take a stroll down to the farm….

A Surprise For Mummy

I was invited to a little ‘surprise’ from Leon and Maya…

… a banana, a yogurt, a homemade gingerbread man and a hard rye cracker with butter, set out beautifully…

…. and perhaps a cup of tea?

Or….?

And as I politely sipped the slightly cold ‘tea’, I looked around and realised it actually wasn’t tea….

Coffee!

Since finding this coffee grinder in a cheap antique shop it has been a great source of fun for all the children – and in this case Leon ground a huge amount of coffee – and the playroom smelt delicious!

Washing Baby Clothes

There’s just something so wonderful about the fact that my soon to be 7 year old still loves her baby doll so much. No Barbies for her! It’s strictly ‘Brown Baby’ in this house – though her name HAS been promoted to ‘Bella’ since Maya visited an older girl friend who deemed that a baby really COULDN’T be called ‘Brown Baby’!

I treasure each moment of her play – she is my only girl among three boys, and we are not planning on having any more kids 🙂

So here she is washing her doll’s clothes…

Her beautiful doll’s clothes have been made from scratch by my super talented mother…

Learning how to scrub and squeeze the clothes in some hand washing liquid…

Before rinsing the clothes…

And hanging them up to dry on the fantastic kid’s wooden clothes horse we found for 20 Kr (that’s about 2 pounds in the UK!) at a car boot sale (‘loppis’) in the summer…

Sensory Fishy Fun

Lately Alfie has really been in to fish.

After a trip to the aquarium

… he has really been inspired – even to the point of ‘swimming’ round the aquarium cafe´and insisting he was a stripy Alfie fish!

We took a trip to the pet shop and had a look at the fish there, and while we were there we also bought a small plastic fish tank…

…. which has been great fun with blue tinted water and lots of water creatures (and some not so suited for water!). Plopping the creatures in, sorting the water creatures from the land creatures, sorting the ones who sink and the ones who float, and masses of role play has ensued.

We also bought a couple of plastic aquarium plants, and some blue coloured aquarium gravel…

… which has been immensely popular for role play!

A trip to the fishmonger…

where we bought a fish for dinner…

… and he was able to look closely at the fish and learn about how he breathes, about fins and scales, how his tail works, and whether he has teeth or not. He was also able to smell and touch the fish, and later to taste it.

These activities were all super popular – and still continue to be!

City Bingo

“Are we in ‘stan’ now mummy?” Maya uttered as we drove in to Stockholm.

The Swedes refer to the nearest biggest city as ‘stan’ – the immediate translation being ‘town’.

Despite being born in London, UK, neither Leon nor Maya have the understanding of living in a really big town, or city, having moved to a tiny suburban area in California when Leon was just 3, and Maya only 6 months. And three years ago we moved to an even smaller suburban area, barely a village, three and a half years ago here in Sweden.

We only live 20 minutes drive from Stockholm, but we rarely go in to town with the kids – and if we do, it’s usually straight to a museum or park, and home again.

So here we have it – the concept of ‘town’. A rushing, buzzing concrete area full of shops, people, cars, lights and noise. And something very new to the kids.

So we started with ‘city bingo’…

Armed with a bingo sheet and a pen each the kids set off to find the above items – a shoe shop, a phone shop, a cafe, a clothes shop, a church, a jewelers, a restaurant, a toy shop, and an underground station.

Each item found was marked along the way…

Leon and Maya just loved this game, but Alfie, as you can imagine, was a little confused. So many people and places – like this wig shop for example, which he just could not fathom – a shop to buy hair in?!

And I just love this photo of him watching a busker – all the people rushing about, and Alfie just standing still, transfixed, in the midst of it all. Why is that man sitting on the street singing and playing a guitar?

And Leon rather liked this golden owl on the top of a chemist – it reminded him of Harry Potter and the little alley where all the shops are…

And as we passed Sergels Torg (the main city square), Leon had a vague memory of being here before – of going to the fantastic Kulturhuset! And so, it was decided that we should all have a ‘fika’ (cakes and coffee/juice) at Kulturhuset, and Leon excitedly told Alfie about all the things we would find there…

And so after we had our ‘fika’, we spent the rest of the afternoon in the children’s area, Leon reading to Alfie in the library, and Maya trying out felting in the art room…

A Recycled Puzzle

In these days of being an ‘at home dad’, my husband is proving to be something short of a pedagogic genius!

We had this puzzle. I bought it many years ago when Leon was small, but it has never been a popular one…

So Richard gave it a little spice by adding some personal photos…

Such a great idea! I have seen this idea before, but he thought of it himself, and this is what makes him, in my eyes, a genius!

Writing In The Sand

Alfie specifically asked to play with the coloured sand, remembering when we made Rangoli patterns. As he is very interested by number and letter shapes, I thought we could try with a ‘mark making’ activity.

He loved pouring out the bright colours in to a tray (our faithful CLEAN cat litter tray!) on which I had previously taped white paper, and ‘writing’ in it with his finger…

Then we added some ‘tools’ – a lollipop stick, a fork, a scoop, a spoon, a paintbrush, and a straw…

He loved making ‘tracks’, but ultimately the straw got the best use, and was used to blow the sand gently in to different shapes and patterns.  Eventually however, the colours in the sand mixed, much to Alfie’s disappointment, but this just led to another activity….

A bucket, some tiny pots (actually they were plastic snapps glasses!), some glass jars, different sized funnels and a scoop.

Colourful Snowflakes

The preschool group visited again yesterday, and I decided to continue our snowflake project. We used white coffee filters, cut in to snowflakes, wet them lightly with water, and then dabbed on watercolours…

A simple activity, which actually looks great on the windows (much better than in the photo) – despite the preschoolers attraction to black!

I got the original idea from one of my many favourite blogs here….

Her Dog Has Clothes

Maya received a barking, walking, sitting up, somersaulting toy dog for Christmas. She already had a much loved walking barking one, but so very much wanted a friend for him, and Father Christmas obliged.

She raided my fabric scraps drawer and now her dog ‘Peach’ has clothes!