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.. 😊

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….πŸ˜‰)

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….πŸ˜‚  

….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….. πŸ™‚

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Spontaneous Dinosaur Roleplay….

Ted has always loved all kinds of roleplay, and has always been quite fascinated by dinosaurs.

He took me by surprise however, when he asked to take the dinosaurs outside, and built them a ‘dinosaur land’….

  
  
  
  
  
  
I love this kind of play! πŸ˜„β€οΈ

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….πŸ˜‚

  
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….. πŸ˜‰

Advent Calendars In Our Home

Two days later and the stomach bug continues to take its toll. First Ted, then Maya, now Alfie. “Who’s next?” I hear you say….

Stuck at home, with the Christmas cards already written and sent, the house decorated but no tree yet here to complete the decorating. We can’t bake with this bug on the rampage, and we’ve seen enough Christmas films and read enough Christmas stories to keep us going for a while…..but there is one thing that give us a little positive burst each day….

….our advent calendars!

I have always tried hard to make the kids one personal advent calendar between them. We’ve had the big cardboard tree with a sweetie for every day (I WON’T be repeating this one!) ; we’ve had the one with the green handprints in the shape of a tree where you turn a hand to reveal a photo of a favourite friend or family member (wonderful!) ; we’ve had the big cardboard tree where you glue a shiny coloured star over each date as a countdown (simple!) ; we’ve had the socks with an activity a day (hard to keep up with!), and this year, we have the advent boxes – each with a small treat like a chocolate coin, Β or a small toy like a bouncy ball, or an activity, like containing a stamp each to send a card to a special friend.

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These advent calendars have always been recieved with such joy – even from our oldest, who is now 14, and one would think too old to enjoy such pleasures. Each day, a tiny spark of excitement is released from each and every child, as they ask “can I open the advent calendar?” 😊

But possibly the most fun, has been the children’s ability to repeat this joy for eachother. We have had copious years of the kids busy cutting windows, writing numbers and filling in pictures on their homemade calendars, mainly done for eachother, and sometimes done for me.

However, this year, we had something new. Advent boxes, made for eachother, obviously inspired by the boxes I made for them…….

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Alfie’s for Maya, being the top one (with the larger numbers that tend to fall off), and Maya’s for Alfie, (being the slightly more organised and neater version)!

And what do they put in them? Marbles, and rubbers, and small paper hearts with “I love you” written on them, and a small lego man or a coin. And everything just taken from bits and bobs in their own bedroom. And each and every ‘door’ recieves just as much excitement and joy, as any shop-bought calendar which might contain sweets, or chocolate, or a new toy. Now isn’t that just fabulous? πŸ˜€ And not a penny is spent!

Oh! And just for the record mum – Maya did manage to finish sewing her Advent Calendar kit you gave her last year! πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

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On Making A FilmΒ 

It’s the first week of the summer holidays, after we are home from Croatia. Overall the kids have been busy, and have been able to find things to do. 

But yesterday we had a dip. With all four children at home, from age 4 to age 13, and with no car, and the weather patchy with rain…we had a day of “what shall we do?” πŸ˜‰

I suggested to Leon and Maya that they go off and find something to do together – go for a bike ride, go fishing, go to buy flowers for their gardens, go to the play park, etc, etc. But it wasn’t until I suggested making a film, did their eyes light up! πŸ˜ƒ

And evidently, they wanted Alfie in the film too!

So here they are, making their film….

   
 

…and of course, the film was based on Alfie’s favourite character – Mario!

  
I won’t say there were not moments of bickering…but overall they worked beautifully, and I felt very proud that these three children of different ages could do this together – and I just loved the end result! πŸ‘πŸ˜€

Maya’s String Vase

Back in rainy Sweden πŸ˜‰β˜”οΈ we’ve unpacked, said hello to our animals, and settled in. Each child has already met up with a friend, Richard is back at work, and I’ve had a (failed !) driving theory test and a scout meeting to attend. Yesterday we took the little ones to an indoor play place to get rid of all their energy on a terribly rainy summer day – in short, we’re back to normal again. 😜

However, it doesn’t take Maya long to get crafting….

Using a craft book as a guide, some homemade glue (flour and water), string, and an oddly shaped balloon, she made this…..

  
She blew up the balloon, set it in a glass (to keep it still), dipped the string in the glue mixture, and wound it around the balloon. Then she left it to dry.

We didn’t know what to expect with this oddly shaped balloon. As I predicted the string probably needed more glue, and the top piece broke off easily when dry.

But that didn’t stop Maya from using her imagination….

  
…she made it into a vase….

  
πŸ‘πŸ˜Šβ€οΈ

The Magic Rectangle!

I taped a rectangle on the living room floor to see what would happen…

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..at first the rectangle became a place to jump in to from the sofa, and a ‘dangerous place’ to not be inside, and then part of a course for small cuddly toys. But then it became the basis for a shop…

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…which inspired more shops…

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..which led to a lot of buying and selling ‘unwanted’ toys from each other. Quite a nice way to recycle! πŸ˜€πŸ’·

A Valentines Week

It’s been a week of Valentines here, starting with the making and decorating of heart shape cookies in English Club….

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…with the change of the sensory tray to a Valentines theme…

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..with various books. This one, a very basic one for Ted, explaining what Valentines day is…

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..this wonderful story, also for Ted, about a baby who is just loved SO much. Alfie loved this when he was smaller, especially when the baby’s cousin loved him so much he wanted to fight him! πŸ˜‰ It seemed Ted shared this love of the book, and asked me to read it many times! Excellent!

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This one, for Alfie’s age and older, a humorous story about the facts of love. What is love? How does it feel? Who can love? What can you love? Is love a good or a bad feeling? Brilliant! And yes, there is an english translation!

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Finally, this book, for Alfie’s age and older. A factual book explaining about the organ ‘the heart’ and how it works. This was detailed, but simple, and a very good first human biology book.

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Then, of course, we painted hearts…

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…and decorated them…

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We played ‘keep the balloon off the ground’ with our lovely heart shaped balloons…

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…and had a simple Valentine themed math ‘centre’…

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I thought I had bought small decorative hearts (I found these in a garden shop), but it turned out they were made of chocolate – and it didn’t take Alfie long to find out! So now we just have the paper hearts left!
Finally, we had a Valentines waffle breakfast..

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…and our lovely Maya, arranged the traditional family Valentines dinner, all by herself….

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…burgers in heart shapes, pink pasta, red ‘love’ sauce, cherry tomatoes, and red peppers in heart shapes…

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…lets just see those heart shaped peppers again..

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What a wonderful surprise!
We hope you had a happy Valentines too! ❀️