Letter F

This week we were looking at F.


We concentrated on two animals, frogs, and fish.

This included a trip to the frog pond..


..where unfortunately we didn’t get to see any frogs this time, but we did get to learn about the frog life-cycle.

With fish, we visited a pet shop, observed the fish, bought fish food, and some treasures for their tank, came home, and cleaned out our own fish…


We have been reading fictional books about frogs and fish….


‘Fish is fish’ (Leo Lionni) is the absolute favourite, which is great, because it is about both frogs and fish! 

We have also read some factual books about frogs…


…and done a painting craft, and a drawing of fish….


There is never enough time to cover everything. But F is covered anyway… 😂

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Great Books : ‘Purple, Green And Yellow’ By Robert Munsch

‘Purple, green and yellow’ is just a brilliant book. I love it!

I originally bought it for Alfie, who has always spent hours drawing and loves to collect pens – and he loved it!


And now we have a second child obsessed with drawing (well, mostly colouring), and he loves it just as much.

And I think I love it more than anyone! It’s just fabulous!

About a little girl who just really loves colouring pens so much, and convinces her mum to buy her some, but eventually her obsession with colouring pens goes too far, and crazy, mad things start to happen!

Of course, any great book has to have back up activities, and Ted and I did lots!

Making our own colouring books…


…experimenting with colouring pens and water…


…making painted cookies…


…coloured collages…


…and even playing with some 3D colour – although I made the first one, and Alfie the second one….



So much fun! 😄

Letter J

A VERY long time ago, Ted and did letter J, but I never posted about it.

So here goes….

We decorated our J with jewels…


We read ‘The Giant Jam Sandwich’…


…and of course ate jam on bread…


We learnt about the making of Jellybeans..


and, as we have decided to ‘research’ an animal for each letter, we learnt about Jellyfish…


Watched an easy clip about jellyfish, and drew one…


..made one…


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…and visited some jellyfish at the aquarium…. 


Letter J !

English Club : Worms!

As our attempt at ‘worm pudding’ failed when we tried to last make it, I made it for the kids ahead of time…

Chocolate pudding, crushed Oreo biscuits and gummy worms! 😆


The kids enjoyed eating this while I read them the story of ‘dirt’ – it’s importance in the world, why we need it – and about some of creatures who ‘make it happen’…

We then went outside to make a worm farm…


Taking care to layer the tank with sand and earth, we sprayed the top with water and put some old leaves and fruit on the top too.

We will be observing the tunnels they make next week (and at home this week with my own children).

The kids loved this. It was great to see their enthusiasm – and even one kid who dared to pick up a worm (albeit with a spade) who had always steered clear of them before! 😆

Animal Tales (With Alfie)

Alfie is hard to pin down – with his copious need for a social life, and with many ideas of his own, the time I get with him, is often limited to story time in the evenings!

It is in this time that I try to ‘grab his attention’….and recently it is about animals, because these are currently the stories he loves…

We started with the ‘Farthing Wood’ tales. These are really wonderful – about a group of woodland animals who take a dangerous journey from their wood, to a nature reserve, because humans are cutting their woods down. 


Alfie loved these books as you can really get in to the characters of the animals.

Then there were the London Zoo books. A family who live on the canal, and the kids whose parents work at the zoo, find out about, and save various animals. These books are fictional, but include educational facts about the specific animals, and have a little ‘kid humour’ to boot.


These had a great mix of humour and fact for Alfie, and he loved them.

Now we have started reading a book of African folk tales, chosen by Nelson Mandela. Most of these tales are about animals, and explaining to Alfie about Nelson Mandela, makes for a bonus, especially as we have been talking a lot about ‘Saints’ and ‘people who do good’ this year.



The language can be quite tricky in places, so I’ve had to simplify some words, but some of the pictures are beautiful. 👍😄

A Snowman In The Freezer…

Ted loves ‘Charlie & Lola’ books, and this one is his current favourite…..

  
…especially when they find a snowman in the freezer…. 

   

So I had gone ahead, and when it was really snowy, put a snowman in the freezer….  

….which we proceeded to experiment with….

   

  
  
  
  
Ted waited and waited for him to melt, remarking all the time about the little ‘caves’ that were beginning to appear…

….but in the end, he didn’t want him to melt, so we put him back in the freezer….

  
…just like Charlie and Lola… 😆

Learning With Alfie

Since grade 2, Alfie has been finding school hard. Having absolutely loved Kindergatan and Grade 1, he now often fights against going to school. And in Sweden it is the law to go to school.

Why does he dislike school so much? Well, he is very bright, and has no problems when it comes to academic issues (gosh, if anything, he complains that things are too easy!), and he appears to have lots of good friends. But he is born in December, which means, by Swedish terms, he is the youngest in the year group – and in grade 2, unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of sitting, and a lot of ‘table work’ – and unfortunately, he’s landed in what is a very ‘fidgety’ class. Lovely kids, but many with great difficulties in sitting still and listening, and folllowing directions.

Essentially Alfie has no problems sitting still – if he’s interested in something. He can sit literally hours at a project he has created when drawing, making bead plates or making films, for example. But when something is too easy, or is being repeated and becomes tedious, or when the children and structure around him becomes ‘busy’, I think he finds it stressful.

And in reaction, he ‘fights back’. Not physically, but with language. Testing and trying out the limits. To a certain extent this may be natural with a boy of his age – but to some extent, I think it is important for children to have a grasp and an understanding of the ‘real world’ outside their own world, in order to keep their behaviour ‘on track’, to reflect, and to think about others.

Alfie has always loved animals. Really really loved them – and he has always had an ‘understanding’ of animals – almost as if he sees their personalities and characters. He is often seen in the school yard with beetles or frogs in his hands, or with snails crawling up his arms. 😊

In August we started reading books about animals – books about animals with personalities, and animals that do things for a reason. One of the books I read to him was called ‘A Golden Land’ by James Reeves. It is very very old, and is a compilation of different stories for different ages, many about animals. Alfie loved these stories, and despite them being very old, they were written is a simple and understable way – not too fussy – often being stories which had a topic of nature.

Seeing how much Alfie enjoyed these stories, we went on to read abridged versions of the Rudyard Kipling ‘Just So’ stories, ‘How the camel got his hump…’, and so on. He loved these too.

And so we started to read some of Aesop’s fables, from different sources. Often we read two different versions of the same story, and compared them. Alfie loved these. We went on to draw pictures of the animals in these stories, to make models, or sew the animals. We didn’t read them all of course, just the more well know ones ‘The Lion and the mouse’, ‘The Grasshopper and the ant’, ‘The town mouse and the country mouse’, ‘The fox and the grapes’, ‘The sun and the wind’, ‘The fox and the stork’ and ‘The crow and the pitcher’ were the ones I remember we did.

We also have been reading chapter books about animals together – ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, ‘James and the Giant Peach’, the ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ series, an abridged (and rather easy version) of ‘The Wind in the Willows’, and more recently we have finished ‘Charlotte’s Web’.

In most of these books there is an underlying moral. I have been careful not to point out these morals to Alfie, but instead let him think about them, talk through them, and comment upon what is right or wrong, and the character’s behaviour. I think it has helped him to relect upon his own and other’s behaviour in school – why people do things, and what he himself should or should not do.

A friend of ours who teaches her children through Waldorf has since told me, that ironically, this would be part of a Waldorf curriculum in second grade. She also told me, that ‘The Saints’ is another area, in waldorf second grade, where the curriculum touches upon morals. This interested me, and I looked in the library for a relevant book. I found this one, which is in Swedish, but fortunately, my Swedish is now at a level where I can translate relatively well…..

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The book is called ‘In the Saints World’ and has simple but informative stories of many of the well known Saints.

Now I don’t want to drum in to Alfie the message of God behind the stories. Despite what I might believe, I also believe in letting my children decide on their own ‘roads’ in life – I feel my job is just to ‘steer’ them in the right direction. 😊

So, so far, we have read and talked about St Martin, who gave half his cloak to a homeless man – and we reinforced this with taking a sleeping bag to the homeless man who we have come to know, who sits outside our local shop. This was a real experience for Alfie, who chatted to him, shared his ginger biscuits with him, and who recieved a pair of (much loved) knitted bed socks from him, in return for the sleeping bag. In Germany they celebrate this Saint on November 11th with a lantern walk, which ironically we did on that very night in scouts, through the forest – and of course Alfie was with us….

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We then read the story of ‘Francis of Assisi’ who is the Saint of animals, and always took care of animals and saw that they were safe – the story with the wolf is a well known one. Here we talked about winter coming and the birds having no bird, and it only seemed natural to fill up the bird feeders and put them on the trees, to reinforce this story.

Then, being the beginning of December, it only seemed natural to read the story of St Nicholas – the ‘first’ father Christmas, who left coins in poor children’s shoes. He was happy to find a chocolate coin in his boot the next morning. 😊

Next weekend it is the festival of Saint Lucy (Lucia), which is a big festival in Sweden. We celebrate by cooking and eating saffron buns (Lussekatt) and watching children perform in Lucia concerts. This year we will be watching Ted in his playgroup Lucia concert at the church (last year it was Alfie, the year before Maya…). So of course, that reinforces the story of Saint Lucy for this week…..

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Jack And The Beanstalk

Starting with the book…

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…and a little role play…
..we went on to make a measuring chart for the wall, using the Giant’s footsteps, as well as Jack’s…

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Ted drew his own version of the giant and the beanstalk…

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(the dot at the bottom is the magic bean..)
..and then we took some beans – and a pebble, to observe and ‘compare’ growth…

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…sprayed some kitchen roll….

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…and popped them in a jar to watch them grow….

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…before reading an alternative version….

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Caterpillars & Butterflies

Despite the awful weather we’ve been having (rain, rain and more rain ☔️), we did have luck in finding a caterpillar the other day…

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…which naturally brought us to the story of ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’….

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…followed by the making of egg carton caterpillars….

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..and kitchen paper butterflies…

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With Alfie I read a more detailed fictional book – with a lot of facts in it….

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…before we all headed off to the butterfly house, where we saw both the pupas…

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..and the butterflies…

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One Hundred!

The ‘Nurture Store’ is a fabulous blog to pick up fun ideas from – and the minute I saw ‘create one hundred colours’, I knew it was for Alfie!
He decided, however, not to ‘create’ one hundred colours, but instead to ‘find’ one hundred colours – being a lover of pens means he has a lot to choose from! 😉

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He was surprised at how few ‘one hundred’ really was, and how easy it was to find one hundred colours.
He then had no problem writing numbers to 100….

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Ted of course also wanted to join in…

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Following the reading of this book…

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..Alfie then decided to make the number 100 from a bead plate…

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….before putting up a ‘100 show’…

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…with 100 ‘trash packs’. 😆
Finally came the creation of ‘100’ on Minecraft, using ten blocks of ten in different colours….

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