London for Kids: Kew Gardens

Soooo, we have literally just finished our two week Easter holidays and living in London, we have been busy busy busy with the kids. London has SO MUCH to offer for kids – with its many galleries, museums, fountains and parks. It really is an amazing city for green spaces in particular! As my kids go to a space tight local London school, it is important for us to go out and about in the holidays and enjoy nature – whatever the weather. Luckily for us, we were blessed with fine weather, which made it even more enjoyable.

One great destination for Kids in London is, Kew Gardens in Surrey. Yes, technically it isn’t London anymore, but it is certainly is part of the “Londoner’s to do list”. The great thing about Kew Gardens is, that kids go free! Also, like many London venues and destinations, Kew Gardens has been working hard over the last few years to make it a place to go with kids all year round. It is a wonderful place to visit as an adult interested in plants and fauna, but now it is also a great place to go with kids.

Over Easter, they had a fun Timmy Trail going…

Kew Gardens for Kids - Timmy TrailThe kids had maps and had to find Timmy Stations all around the gardens. It is a great way to keep them moving and exploring, as well as learn about the gardens themselves – each station not only provides the much coveted Shaun the Sheep stamp, but also information about plants in the immediate area. We particularly enjoyed discovering the “Snake Heads” flowers.

There was also a big “attraction” tent with activities (such as wellie throwing and cabbage rolling), which looked great fun and were busy indeed, BUT we were actually so busy with the rest of the park, that we did not end up having a go.

London for Kids -  Kew Gardens in Spring

We spent a total of 5 hours at the park and visited the Tree Top walk way (be sure to go to the little “bug tunnel” at the foot of the stairs, for info on creepy crawlies.

We went to the glass houses and searched for cocoa beans and unusual flowers. We LOVED all the beautiful Spring tulips on display, as well as the stunning blossom trees. Aaaaah Spring. A truly wonderful time to visit Kew Gardens.

Having said that, there is always something to see and do at Kew Gardens – there is a play ground and soft play area if you need some “classic” child distractions. There are plenty of grassy little verges for the children to do some rolly pollies down (nothing better than rolling down a grassy hills). There are always some flowers in bloom and of course the glass houses to explore.

I am looking forward to Winter, when they have a special magical light trail on too (new last year and we missed it!!! But it looked amazing).

And whilst we enjoyed a “day out in the park”, the kids did actually get to appreciate and discover some beautiful plants too.

Disclaimer: Kew Gardens invites us to spend the day with them and write about our experiences… BUT as it happened, we had already planned to visit these holidays already! It just meant that I took more photos than usual!! šŸ˜‰

 

3D Shape Hunt – Photo Activities for Preschoolers

Pip Squeak aged 5, is now learning about 3D shapes. Well actually, she is learning about 2D shapes AND 3D shapes at school. As part of this maths learning activity, the children were asked to review the different 3D shapes with their parents and then go on a shape hunt around the house.

With the advent of smart phones, taking photos is a really easy activity for kids and a great way to get them “into photography”. Not only, are they learning about recognising and identifying basic shapes, but they also get to use modern equipment and think about their photo compositions (and whether or not their pictures are in focus in the first place!).

3D Shapes for Reception

We looked at these 3D Shapes frm JustTeachIt.co.ukĀ and talked about the properties of each. Pip Squeak then grabbed my smart phone (quite happily) and went off to find some shapes.

3D Shape HuntWe found plenty of circles:

  • Marbles
  • Juggling Ball

Some cuboids

  • lunch box
  • lego brick (we discussed whether or not this was in fact a cube, but decided that not)

And some cylinders

We didn’t get too much further than this on THIS occassion. What I should have done, I should have printed out the above sheet and got Pip Squeak to tick off the shapes as she found them. That would have encouraged her to do more I think.

Regardless, I think she did a great job – discussing and looking for 3D shapes, as well as practicing her photo skills!

 

P is for Pirate – Dress Up Pirate Craft

The Girl has been “doing” Pirates at school – they have a big ocean and under the sea theme going over the coming weeks and all the children seem to be really enjoying it! Next week they get to dress up as Pirates, Mermaids or underwater creatures and they are all looking forward to it very much! We have been exploring lovely pirates books and had a fun little pirate craft to do (as part of their homework) – the kids got to dres up their own pirates using a basking “gingerbread man template”. A simple activity, that looks wonderful. You could make a set of these and string them up as pirate bunting, or stick them onto the front of cards a pirate party invites.

Pirate Books and Crafts for Girls and Boys

We also read some lovely pirate books.. here are some of our favourite:

pirate books for girls

US ReadersĀ 

UK Readers (affiliate links)

A great book all about a little Pirate girl Molly. The meany pirates capture Molly and try and hold her for ransom.. but little do they know who her mum and her auntie and her cousin and her granny and and and.. are… they are the fiercesome pirate ladies. Ā A great story for aspiring pirate girls. You see, you don’t have to be a boy to be a pirate.

This book went down VERY well when I read it to The Girls reception class.

pirate books for girls and boys

US Readers

UK Readers

(affiliate links)

A book written in prose, this tells the story of a little girl who is the only one in town to befriend the new temporary neighbours. The rest of the town are filled with prejudices and dislike for the neighbours, only to find that they are hardworking, kind and generous. A great moral to the story.

Both really great stories!

More Pirate books to check out

10 Little Pirates (US Readers, UK Readers)

The Night Pirates (US Readers, UK Readers) – girl pirates steal the front of the house!

Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs (US Readers, UK Readers)

And here our Pirate Craft

This is super easy to set up – you will simply need some crafty bits and bobs – fabrics or coloured card, some glue (glue stick should work fine too), some gems if you have them, some foil for sorts… feathers would be great for hats or parrots…. wool for beards… see what you have and let your imagination run wild as you create your very own PIRATE! Harhar.

pirate crafts

pirate crafts for kidsAfter all our pirate girl books, The Girl, still decided on a big bearded boy pirate.. but that is just fine! Have a great piratey day!

LOTS more Pirate Crafts ideas here:

Preschooler Maths at Home

I thought I would share some of the girl’s maths homework now – she is in Reception (4-5yrs olds), which age wise, is similar to preschool age for kids in pretty much the rest of the world. This week, we share a simply activity of weighing and working out what is “heavier” and “lighter”.

maths at home

This is such a super simple activity but has so many maths and learning benefits on all sorts of levels –

* language – looking at light, lighter, lightest and heavy, heavier, heaviest

* estimating skills (get the child to guess FIRST what will be heavier and lighter)

* writing skills Ā – numeric and alphabetic (get the child to help chart what is heavier and lighter.. )

* analytically skills – get them comparing the ACTUAL result with the predicted results

* working with “bigger” numbers. Most kids at this age are comfortable with the 10s, though they can talk about 100s, they actually, always understand them. Do they know the difference between 187 and 191 and 190? etc

You will find that most children will enjoy, rushing around the home, looking for different things to weigh. We kept it simple and compared two items at a time. You can add a challenge, by getting them to order more than 2 items by weight at a time.

Easy Fondant Sheep

Oh my, we are sooooo looking forward to Spring! Yes, I know, Spring and Easter and everything that goes with it are still ages away. But that doesn’t stop us looking, right? We can still get excited about all the fluffy cuteness coming our way? Such as Bunny Crafts and Sheep Crafts? Right? AND it is The Year of the Sheep after all, which means as of 19th Feb, all Sheep Crafts are a free for all.

So. Here are some cute ideas for you – first up is this super easy Fondant Sheep – this cute little sheep is easy to make and would look great on Easter Cake or made from Marzipan “just because”! These in fact went on a Skylanders cake!!

Follow this great YouTube Channel whilst there!

Easy Shaun the Sheep TP Roll CraftTP Roll Sheep (Shaun the Sheep)

Rocking Paper Plate Sheep Craft

Paper Plate Rocking Sheep

sheep-craft

Cotton Wool Lamb

TP Roll Sheep

TP Roll Sheep Craft

Brilliant! Who would have thought you could have so much fun with sheep!!! Woohoo!