A (Homemade) Finger Skateboard ‘Park’

Yesterday afternoon Leon spent some hours creating a skateboard ‘park’ for his finger skateboards…

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…..how nice to see a 7 year old and a 13 year old putting it to use together! 😊

Discovering Ramps

Last weekend we went to the Technical Museum…

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Despite everything there, I noticed that Alfie, specifically, was very attracted to ‘slopes’ and ‘ramps’….

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There was a lot of experimenting with the above….deciding which was the easiest to run up and which was the most difficult…
…and the more physical..

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…and the smaller ones to experiment with, and wonder about….

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The day after, we went sledging, and we talked about who went the longest, who went the fastest, and why he thought that was the case.

This week, I took out the marble run…

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..and a selection of ‘ramp’ toys that we have…

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…plus bringing in the little slide from outside, to test with balls, and assorted things that roll..

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So far it’s been Ted experimenting, as Alfie has typically been busy with school and friends – but I’m going to try to get him more involved this week with some other ‘ramp’ type experiments if he’s still interested.. πŸ˜‰

Building Marble Runs

In last weeks english club, I set the kids the task of making their own working marble runs – much more difficult than you think!

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With a variety of materials on offer, and doors as their ‘base’, the kids set to the task…

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First the beginning…

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…to the more complicated…

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…to the final structures…

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…not forgetting the added details…..

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The kids really enjoyed this – and were so proud of their completed (working) structures! I think we might be doing this again some time! πŸ™‚

Playing With Ice

If there’s one thing that my younger kids love to do, it’s play with ice. An activity that can literally last for hours!
So, after freezing a few jugs of ice (with hidden toys inside), we extradited the ice from the ‘shells’, and added some ‘polar animals’ and some glitter on a tray…

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Some time was spent trying to ‘hack’ the toys out of the ice….

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…before I added a bowl of salt and a bowl of warm water…

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It wasn’t long before both the salt and the warm water was emptied upon the ice…

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However, the ice didn’t melt quickly enough for Ted, and he wanted to add LOTS of water – so we moved to the sink..

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…where, ultimately, the ice began to melt quicker….

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Of course, it’s then a fantastic thing to be able to go outside, and see that the snowman made yesterday…..

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….had also melted….

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πŸ˜‰β›„οΈβ„οΈ

Learning About Illusions

This last week has been a slow one. Lots of hanging around at home, people for dinner, playing with friends…and it’s been quite nice. Nice to have that time to sit down with individual children and have some quality time.
This week we’ve played board games and read books, built with lego and knex, watched children’s films from long ago, made baking soda volcanoes, painted porcelain russian dolls, and so on…
The nicest thing this week, however, was having an extended time with Leon, discovering his new ‘Illusion Science’ kit…

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…a brilliant book of tricks of the eye, and tricks of the brain, with explanations included…

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…the possibility of drawing 3D pictures (3D eyeglasses included)….

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….and a spinning top with different patterns…

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“Why can’t we do this kind of thing in school?” Leon asked..
An excellent learning resource, and a lot of fun! Highly recommended! πŸ‘€πŸ‘

‘Christmas Tree’ Sensory Box

By mixing dried green split peas and dried white beans, this made for a nice ‘Christmas tree’ mix (think evergreen and snow!). I also added some Christmas sequins which added shine and a festive feel – but unfortunately they can’t be seen in the picture as they were hidden underneath…

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I also added a Christmas tree baking tray, and an uncut strip of tinsel – plus scissors…

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…a tall green tin thermos (think of that lovely clanging sound when the dried peas/beans are dropped into it), and lots of tools – a funnel, tongs, measuring cups, a spaghetti scoop and a metal ladle…

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I left it open ended to see what would happen….having the tray near the play kitchen encouraged extra role play….first he used the ladle to scoop the material into the baking tray, to make ‘goulash soup’…

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Later using fingers…and trying the tongs when he spilled (very tricky)…

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The play plates came out for serving…

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…before moving on to scooping the peas/beans through the funnel into the thermos…

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To be fair, we’ve had this sensory tray out for a week or so now, and it’s been very popular and used in many ways. Although the sense of the peas/beans spilling through hands is wonderful, the practise of using different tools is both important and fun for Ted – as well as the role play of course! πŸ˜‰

Cardboard Gingerbread Creations

The kids in ‘The English Club’ don’t stop to amaze me with their imagination!

I set them a challenge last week – to make the most creative ‘gingerbread’ construction out of cardboard – so, armed with cardboard, and anything else they might need, they started on their mission…

We had three groups – the boys, the horse-lovers (Maya & Ida-Maj), and the traditional one (Hanna).

This was the second week of the challenge, and the week to complete – and complete they did..!

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And so, the completed constructions were…
1) The Traditional Gingerbread House..

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…with pipecleaner and sequin mistletoe over the front door step…

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…and a pipecleaner Christmas tree in the attic….

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….plus decorated sides…

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2) The Castle

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…with turrets, and a pipecleaner drawbridge…

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..plus an inside courtyard with pipecleaner people, cork seats, matchstick stocks and a barrow with wooden wheels….

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Do you see the soldier at the turret with his weapon?

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….and lastly…
3) The Stable

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…with a wooden stick fence, pipecleaner separators between the stalls, sequin mistletoe decor….

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….paper horses…

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…and the use of cut yellow paper and dried spaghetti, for straw/hay….

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Aren’t they fantastic?!
I love each and every one of them! I set it as a competiton, so they’ll be finding out who won after the Christmas break.. πŸ™‚
We rounded up our English Club end of term, with a dinner, tasting the foods of England… ‘toad in the hole’ (english sausages in pancake batter), baked beans (though I think these might be American, despite the fact they’re a staple element of an english child’s diet!), Christmas pudding, and mince pies! πŸ˜‰

Animals In Winter

We’ve been talking a lot about animals in winter…about hibernation, about collecting and finding food to store, and about keeping our bodies full and fat for energy…
We made beds for bears to sleep in…

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We’ve been looking at and discovering acorns…

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I’ve been working on ‘concentrating’ with Ted, and noticed that he’s starting to enjoy fine motor, and ‘montessori’ type tasks… lots of picking up and transferring with tongs here…

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See the relief on his face in the last picture when he gets the acorn in to the jar? πŸ˜‰ It’s not easy!
…before the squirrels finally got the acorns…

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We also collected pinecones, took them home and discovered their sizes, their smells, and talked about where their seeds were, and who liked to eat them…

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Elsa Beskow’s book ‘Children of the forest’ gives a beautiful illustration of this…

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…we were even lucky enough to find an already nibbled pinecone..!

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And then of course we had to make the classic ‘ spread a pinecone with peanut butter and roll it in birdseed’ craft….

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πŸ™‚

A ‘Bear-y’ Nice Morning!

There’s a famous swedish children’s song called ‘BjΓΆrnen Sover’ – ‘the bear sleeps’…

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Today we sang the song, and pretended to be bears sleeping in our dens, before decorating and making our own dens…..

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There was lots of sleeping going on…

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…and some munching of berries in the den too…

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πŸ˜‰
We read books about animals in winter…

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…did puzzles with woodland animals in….

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…and pictures with woodland stickers…

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…and we played with woodland animals in the ‘tree house’…

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…it was a ‘bear-y’ nice morning…

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Hot Air Balloons?

Many moons ago, when Leon was very small, he had a huge interest in aeroplanes and things that fly. Being the first child, and having so much more time, we extended his interests as much as we could – and this included buying a toy experiment hot air balloon.
So deep in the depths of the cupboard, we found it the other day….

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Well, we didn’t get it floating in the sky – but it didn’t stop Maya from continuing to try flying a smaller version…an empty bin bag….

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Perhaps it’ll fly if I jump off the swing set…?

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Or perhaps if I tie it at the bottom, and hold all the warm air inside (did I tell you she used a hairdryer?) ?

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Oh well. Never mind. She gave it a good try anyway! πŸ˜‰