English Club : Water (Making a raft and having a race)

Our last class for the Thursday group this term. Unfortunately we only had two members – being the end of the school term, kids have started early holidays and have school trips, etc – but we had fun anyway, exploring our last element, water.

Starting with an ice-cream…

 We scooted down to the river, and I read them A.A.Milne’s excerpt from ‘The House At Pooh Corner’, about the game ‘pooh sticks’, and how to play it.

And then of course, we played it..

Having watched the flow of the river take our sticks under the bridge, we went on to make mini rafts…

..which we then floated on the river, and raced them down the river, using the flow of the water….

And Maya just couldn’t help but dance in the river afterwards! ๐Ÿ˜„


Scouts : Bridge Building

I spent a wonderful evening watching our scouts (8 – 10 year olds) building bridges with ropes and wood across our stream…

In this first picture we have Alfie and his friend Douglas who had “a great technique” – to simply throw the sticks in one place in the river! ๐Ÿ˜‚ In the fifth picture down you can see how their bridge progressed – and, yes, it actually did work to walk across – and a couple of us grown-ups did try! ๐Ÿ˜„

In the rest of the pictures, with slightly older scouts, you can see that their techniques are a little more ‘traditional’. Each bridge worked as it should, and all the kids showed amazing teamwork…

Incredible what young kids can do without an adults help when they are given the chance! ๐Ÿ‘

Half term…

We’ve had a week off school, the weather’s been terrible, some kids have been unwell, and we havn’t done much at all….a trip to the cinema, a trip to the free local theatre, a library visit, and friends to play with, is all we have managed.

But it doesn’t matter. Because, despite what we grown-ups think – that we should be rushing around doing educational trips, and entertaining the kids…all the kids want, is to be at home, take it easy, do their own thing, and occasionally play with friends. I know, because that’s what they told me.. ๐Ÿ˜Š

And what happens, is that siblings spend time together, and have fun, and laugh, and play, create…

Alfie spends hours drawing…

..as does Ted….

There has been open-ended creating from Ted….  

…from Alfie…   

..and from both of them together….  

(This is a playroom for our cat, in case you’re unsure….๐Ÿ˜‰)

There has been bread making from all of them…     

  ..and lots of cooking from Leon and Maya…homemade pizza, meringues, smoothies, vegetable soup….but let’s not forget, fishfingers and custard, inspired by Dr Who….๐Ÿ˜‚  

….and honestly, probably too much screen time too….because when you save your money for a Super Mario game, and you get to play it with your older siblings, it really is “the best day ever!!!” (Alfie). Plus he’s been ill all week. Sometimes you just have to bend the rules….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Open Ended Play

It’s soon February, and it’s dark outside, but the snow has melted, and it feels darker than it usually does at this time of year, so everyone is feeling very tired.

And having gone from -15C to +7C in a week, everyone is started to get colds too. February weather I guess.

So we’ve decided to take it easy this weekend, and other than a quick trip to the sweet shop, and a quick walk by a local lake, we were at home all day yesterday.

Often of course, being at home means being your most creative – and that is what Alfie and Ted were yesterday…..

I have a low wooden shoe-shelf down in the play room. It has different open compartments, and in each compartment I have put various open-ended things to play with – a plate of pinecones, a basket of wood blocks, a pile of wood rounds, a basket of conkers and acorns, some glass gems, etc. Most of these are nature items – but the ones that are not, are made from natural materials – and this includes a beautiful wooden ‘village’, with houses, trees, animals and people.

While I was doing one of those monthly cleans (secretly I quite enjoy doing this to the younger kids rooms, and the play room..), Ted busied himself with taking objects from the shoe-shelf, and making, what he called ‘a ghost village’….

In actual fact, it was a kind of maze, and you had to use a marble as your ‘counter’ and guide yourself through the ‘maze’ without touching anything – and if you did, you lost your life….

Ted also made an ‘easier maze’ on the train table, for people like me, with clumsy fingers….๐Ÿ˜‚

On spying this, as he came downstairs, Alfie started to make his own version with some bricks, but soon he was on to something else….’writing’ his name….

…and also in lego…..

I love this kind of open ended play, the kind where children just use their imagination to create the most amazing things – things that might seem non-sensical to an adult, but perfect sense to the child (and often perfect sense to the adult once the child has explained it to them!).

I will miss these days of children’s creativity once they’re gone – let us just hope I can keep their imaginations going as long as possible….. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Our Secret Grove

Just a short walk from our house, perhaps only five minutes, over the road, snuck down an overgrown bank, we found an overgrown path, which led to a secret grove….



A secret grove that had previously been visited by other children…

…surrounded by green ‘juicy’ vegetation…


A circle of pine trees with a floor covered by pinecones and pine needles, untouched by growing plants, yet surrounded by green vegetation such as above. A magical circle almost. If there are fairies, they certainly live here. ๐Ÿ˜
And around the secret grove there was plenty of scope for adventure. Following a down trodden ‘path’ of overgrowth, led us towards a tiny stream. Maya and Alfie jumped over, but the gap was too wide for Ted. What to do? Problem solving. Let’s build a bridge…..




The bridge held our weight and we came across, to discover a wonderful hidden trail, that led us to the swamps surrounding the lake.
I have a feeling there are going to be a few mini wildlife trips here! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Okay – so it’s not completely secret – people have been here before us…

….but it’s not completely public either – and after seven years of living here, we’re pretty excited to find this magical spot so close by! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’ซ

‘Fabulous Robots’ : English Club

‘Fabots’ is a word short for ‘fabulous robots’, made up by my oldest son and his friend. It was their wish, therefore, to be able to make ‘fabots’ in english club…
“What do we need?” I asked. Some cylindrical pieces of wood about 5cm in width, small nails, big nails and maybe some wood glue, came the reply – and then I got a little detailed plan…..


…and so, last week, we started to make ‘fabots’. ๐Ÿ˜‰



…with a fabulous outcome….




The kids then told me, while I scribed, the characters of their ‘fabots’, and the jobs the ‘fabots’ were employed to do…

The kids decided they wanted to make their own board games for these ‘fabots’, so this week we continued with that.
There was an incredible amount of discussion involved – entirely in english – pretty fantastic considering they barely spoke less than a year ago. And using words such as ‘strategies’ and ‘combat’ too!




Eventually the boys started on their game board…

…though the girls seem to be right on track with theirs….



Oh! And my Leon added a few more ‘fabots’ to the equation….๐Ÿ˜Š

To be continued next week! Great stuff guys! ๐Ÿ˜†

Constructing Straws

Alfie has always loved this straw art kit, but his construction tends to go so far as an umbrella (or any kind of spinning thing with a handle!). Ted discovered the fun of these yesterday, and went all out with his ‘machine’…



It was interesting to see how he was able to construct something, with an awareness of balance and how he needed to build it to make it stand up.
I’ve never been too impressed with this construction toy admittedly, but I guess the kids have other feelings! ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿšงโš ๏ธ