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Chalks in the garden

If your kids like drawing with chalks but apart from a chalk board you have no space for them to go wild and your garden is covered in grass like ours – pick up a large cardboard from a recycling centre – this will do the trick!

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Spring holidays activities

We had a relaxed and at the same busy spring break. I usually plan a lot over holidays, few different holiday clubs, several outings a week on top of that (I usually get overbooked as there’s so many different interesting activities going on and I just try to fit everything in). But I just felt so exhausted that I didn’t want to go from one thing to another and I felt May can use some breathing space too. So in 2 weeks we only done 1 holiday club and one theatre outing, which was received with great excitement by the kids. Other then that – I have introduced a new word into Mya’s vocabulary. Spontaneous. This is what we were in the past 2 weeks. We did whatever came to us whenever we wanted. I think it worked wonders. Another new word she loves now is “determined”. Or, rather a phrase “small but very determined”. It is from an audio book we took from the library. It is called “Sophie’s snail”. Highly recommend. And it is also in connection to Mya conquering mount Snowdon this weekend. It took her same amount of hours as she the years she has been on Earth. Six hours from the bottom to the top and back down again. Small, but very determined was my girl!

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I have been quiet for a while, not because we haven’t done anything I’d like to share, quite the opposite – I keep taking pictures of everything we do, and I am running out of storage space, but somehow I cannot get round to post anything, I don’t understand what is happening but I just can’t bring myself to do anything at all, a complete drain of energy. Everything seems a chore…

I will post some of our favourites from the past weeks in the next post.

 
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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Nature studies

On our rumblings through a nature park with friends we picked up some frogspawn on Sunday. I have never hatched or grown frogs at home before, all I remember from my childhood there were always tons of them in the country house, and a few were always swimming in our water butt (don’t ask me how they were getting there), so I had a chance watching them develop.

I was very happy to have found the frogspawn, so after we got home – I found an empty jar, added some rainwater, some pond weed from the local pond and scoured our home library for books and our toys for frogs.

Here’s our new Nature shelf

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And here are our future froggies on their 4th day

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Some of them are out of their slimey eggs and just floating about, and the eggs are floating about by themselves. I know they are supposed to eat their eggs but that needs to happen before they are out. So either I am misinformed or I accidently forced them out of the eggs while pouring them in, adding water and weed etc. Not sure what to do with empty eggs, leave it or take it out? Maybe they still need to feed on it?

Mya is keeping a journal and drawing spawn’s progress in it, as she doesn’t like to write.

 

 

Little bit of maths

We have been trying to do a bit of maths here and there. It is not our strongest subject.

Here’s Mya’s picture using geometrical foam stickers. I bought a big bag of glitter foam stickers (yes, anything with glitter goes, no matter how much it drives me nuts!). This picture actually turned out the best and I didn’t help Mya at all. She thought it through and created a landscape with houses, trees and skies. She usually just puts stickers everywhere without a plot of a picture at all, just like a hungry person would eat anything that’s on a table. On the left – Neva 2,5 y.o. loves geometric stickers as well.

 

We’re nearing Halloween now and I dug up my last year’s activity books from Home Bargains. They didn’t attract any interest last year at all. Maybe I just didn’t open them on the right pages. This time Mya has successfully cracked the code on all four pictures and we did some maths with our trusted tiles, I explained how to do an exchange for 10’s for easy counting and seems as if some of it actually went in.

Earlier in the month we were practising Place value  and Number bonds using stickers, tiles, dominoes and a flip chart. She got bored at the end and just started to play with tiles. Ah, well, at least she understood what I was on about.

The lesson on skip counting in tens using Golden Beads made from Christmas bead garland – Mya was counting and cutting them herself!)  and flip chart went swimmingly and she was so proud of herself counting in tens so fluently that she kept telling everyone. She still keeps these on her desk and occasionally does this by herself, now backwards as well. The other day we were reading book I bought on Amazon Sir Cumference and all the kings Tens and we were using the beads and the flip chart along with the book to count the guests. I really want to buy all the books in these series!

 

We also love our 3D geometric figures. Hopefully I will install the light table for the girls so they can play with the transparent 3D shapes on it. Here – Mya made her task to match 3D shapes from all the sets we have

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Posted by on November 1, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Time for cooking with kids

Somehow, during school year we don’t have much time or imagination for cooking. It’s mostly cupcakes. This summer break we have done some more adventurous (for kids) cooking, and most of it was initiated by Mya. So far – she wanted to learn how to cook potato chips, two-colored shortbread biscuits, sugared rose petals and marshmallows.

I really like the break from cupcakes.

For Potato chips (it was late dinner and I didn’t take any pictures) – she independently peeled a potato with ceramic peeler and I showed her how dicer works. She was very exited about it and immediately peeled another potato to slice it into rings! We’ve put it in a zip-lock bag with a bit of oil and herbs and she really enjoyed shaking it before pouring the contents on the baking tray. She then helped by topping and tailing runner beans with her ceramic knife. Mya was very proud of making contribution to the dining table.

She saw a picture of sugared rose petals and wanted to make her own. We cut a couple of the prettiest roses from the garden, then I found a recipe that used syrup instead of raw egg and she enjoyed making it, but in my opinion it didn’t turn out well – the petals stuck to the baking paper and completely lost their shape. If anyone have a good recipe for that – please share.

When making two-tone shortbread I managed to squeeze some maths on measurements and fractions. Really loving this trio of books Kitchen Table Maths by Dr. Wright . Really good guide for teaching maths for someone like me who was never very good at it.

Today we made marshmallows (cheating and using a kit from Sainsbury). Surprisingly – it didn’t have any unusual or difficult ingredients, so we might attempt these again from scratch, and Mya suggested that next time we could experiment by putting some flowers or berries in it.

On the crafting front – Mya has asked me to make her a map-printed dress. I’m onto it. I think I have to research digital printing on fabric. It sounds like it might be cheaper than buying fabric with prints that interests me..

 

 
 

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Gooey Stretchy stuff

We went today to a Science Zone workshop Gooey Science today. Girls were reluctant to go (in a funny sort of mood, not sure why) but enjoyed it at the end. They did a few experiments there – girl’s favorite I think was Elephant’s toothpaste. There were a lot of ooohs and ahhs and general screeching, which always means success. At the end Mya excitedly told her dad “we were making foam from living creatures!!!” – I am not revealing any more, you have to go to their workshop!

Gooey science at Science Zone UK - little scientists at work

Gooey science at Science Zone UK

One of the experiments, however, reminded me something we made about a year ago, and I never actually published it on the blog, so here’s a copy of my old Facebook post.

We made this slime today.

We played with it for 2,5 hours! I had as much fun as Mya

This is really streeeeeeetchy And rolly and really glittery! Glitter galore!

We were watching how gravity was stretching it. We tried wrapping it round things

And were experimenting how long it will stretch before breaking off

This is what we made it from. I didn’t give it to the toddler she still puts things in her mouth.

Glittery slime supplies

Glittery slime supplies

We put it in a empty butter spread plastic tub and played with it on many occasions. It is still playable, 1 year after.

It doesn’t stick at all, the only thing that stays on the hands is glitter and it’s difficult to wash to washing liquid off the hands – they keep being “soapy”

The only fail with this is it smells a lot with washing liquid, I wouldn’t give it to a younger child due to it being made with washing liquid – prolonged contact might be not good for the skin. I chose to use Formil Non-Bio washing liquid as most of the recipes of that type call for Borax or Liquid starch, and none of them appear to be available in UK to general public nowadays, so it was interesting doing the recipe with Borax at Science Zone to see the difference. The one we made at Gooey Science today was more rubbery (some of it even bounced!), easily tear-able and less stretchy and was sticking to the hand much more initially, but still was lots of fun.

What is your slime recipe? Please share your pictures and links!

 
 

Toothpicks and packing peanuts

We spent a few minutes constructing from packing peanuts and toothpicks (supervise your child – they are quite sharp). I was hoping to give a little lesson in maths – you know, count vertices, edges and faces – have a go with building different polyhedrons, or try to get Mya to work out how many toothpicks/peanuts she needs to build something and to compare with our set of Geometric solids. I brushed up on my geometry knowledge here – Math is Fun

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Packing peanuts and toothpicks

Packing peanuts – excellent building material

I was the only one who was thinking that way. Neva enjoyed breaking the packing peanuts apart and poking them with toothpicks (they make a great popping sound when poked or snapped), then asked me to build her a cow. Mya was building her own something which she refused to identify and wanted to pull apart the shapes that I’ve build for them.

Ah, well – all fun and games. Some other time maybe…

We’ve also made some rockets – expanding our knowledge on Space after visiting Science Museum in London yesterday. We visited exhibition Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age Mya was really captivated by a talk delivered by (alas) an actress, playing role of Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova – the first woman in space. So today when building her rocket Mya asked to give her few pieces of rope “to tether Belle, Rapunzel and Hello Kitty” characters because they needed to go on a Space Walk, and she didn’t want them to float away into space.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2016 in Crafts, Maths, Uncategorized

 
 
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