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. πŸ‘πŸ˜„


House Of Cards

A fun, cheap building ‘toy’, which was easy to make…

We quite simply cut a small slit in all four long sides of each card. We used two packs of cards – but we could’ve easily gone on to use more! πŸ˜„πŸ˜†πŸ˜‰

Cutting Fun

We’ve been trying to teach Ted to use scissors properly, and not so long ago I found a fun kit just perfect for that…


The fun papers are ‘levelled’ , so I just took out numbers 1, 2 and 3 (it turned out that 3 was a little tricky still)…

‘Snipping’ was just fine, but cutting in long lines was still difficult….

Of course, the paper was too lovely to throw away, so Ted made a collage (which suited him just fine, being our current ‘glue friend’!)…


IMG_6855 πŸ˜„βœ‚οΈ

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! πŸ˜œπŸ˜„πŸš§βš οΈ

The Liquorice Festival : Stockholm 2015

Yesterday we tried a new experience in Stockholm…..The Liquorice Festival!

All the free liquorice you could ask for…and more!




…liquorice sweets, liquorice chocolate, liquorice ice-cream, liquorice cookies, liquorice tea, liquorice marmalade………and beautiful chocolate fountains too…


We learnt about the plant liquorice – and bought some seeds…

We saw liquorice paintings…




Alfie made his own lollipops…


Maya and Ted made their own liquorice sculptures….





…as did Alfie…

Maya also made a liquorice bath scrub…


There was free samples and free tasting galore! “I think I’ve gone off liquorice a bit now” said Leon when we left! πŸ˜‰
Arriving at the opening time was just about right, as it was packed with people when we left….

…and all that liquorice left us exhausted..

…but it was a great experience…

…and I recommend it! πŸ­πŸ¬πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

Pettson & Findus

Last weekend I took Alfie and Ted to see a theatre production of ‘Pettson and Findus’, who, if you don’t know, are some of Sweden’s most famous story characters – old man Pettson, a bit of an inventor and a lover of nature, and his curious cat Findus, and their adventures, written by Sven Nordqvist.

The theatre production turned out to be more of a musical – but none the less, loved by the kids…

…and when we got home it was time to treat ourselves to an array of ‘Pettson and Findus’ stories! On dvd..

…and our book ‘Pettson goes camping’…

..with its incredible detailed and wonderful pictures…


..particularly loved by Alfie.
I managed to get this fantastic book from the library, based on nature activities throughout the year, ‘Crafts With Findus’ (also available in English)…

IMG_5885 of course we looked straight at February..

…and decided to try one of February’s experiments…




IMG_5894 just to wait and see what happens!
I can recommend the ‘Pettson and Findus’ books highly. Several have been translated into english, including the above one about nature facts and crafts around the year. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘πŸŒΏπŸŒΌ

A Fabulous Book!

I got this book from the library recently. Originally I got it for Ted, but having read it, I realised it was more appropriate for Alfie (7), particularly due to the incredibly detailed, unusual pictures.
My version is in Swedish, but I’ve seen there is an english translation…

‘Where Is My Sister?’ by Sven Nordqvist, is written and illustrated by the same person who wrote the ‘Pettersson and Findus’ books ; books with crazy, old fashioned details, unexpected surprises and – in this case -fabulous colour….

The story of a brother mouse, who loses his sister mouse, in a world of imaginative wonder….

In each sentence you can feel the sense of love the brother has for his sister, and the sense of excitement he gets from his sister’s fantastical journeys….

..and as is with all the Sven Nordqvist books, one can spend ages just looking at the amazing pictures – something which of course, Alfie, our ‘detailed’ artist, certainly did! πŸ˜‰πŸŒˆπŸŽ¨

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…

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

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

….and a spinning top with different patterns…




“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‘