The kids have finally broken up for their Summer holidays (hooray) and though we have lots of “little things” planned, we also have a lot of time to spend at home (and so it should be, I think kids these days DESPERATELY need some down time and time to GET BORED!!!). Every so often we like to jazz things up a little.. last week, we had a go at Water Balloon Pinata.. this week, we are having fun with some ICE – the kids are doing their very own DINO ICE EXCAVATION.This is SUCH an easy activity to set up and the kids will get lots of fun out of it. All you need is a tupper ware, some plastic toys (we got some small plastic dinosaurs), popped them in some water and put it in the freezer overnight.The next day the kids attacked it with a stone and released the dinosaurs from their Ice Age prison.
This activity has SO MANY learning opportunities –
1) Learn all about different dinosaur names
2) Discuss the ice age and what happened all those years ago
3) Practice counting and adding, as you “release” the dinosaurs
4) Practce colour recognition
5) strengthen fine motor skills
So.. what are you waiting for? What is not to love……
What how much fun my daughter had with this activity!
Today, we were lucky enough to find a female Stag Beetle in our garden! Living in a very Urban environment, with a small, nature unfriendly garden, this was a very exciting discovery for us. The kids at first thought it was a Stink Beetle, which do have some similarities, but generally are much much smaller. So it was great for us to look at it and discuss.. as well as discuss that the Stag Beetle is endangered here in the UK and that we must do everything to protect it. (See our video below, too cute!).
Every year in early summer, the stag beetles emerge to find mates. They have spent the first five to seven years of their life underground as larvae and now have just a few short weeks to live as adults.
Every year I’m shocked by how many people fail to recognise these icons of British wildlife, and am saddened by how many beetles end their lives crushed underfoot. Stag beetles have been around virtually unchanged for millions of years, and are not equipped to survive in an urban environment. Their numbers have declined drastically over the past few decades and the species is seriously endangered.
If you see one on a pavement, please move it out of harm’s way. Despite being large (the male can be up to three inches long), they are placid and harmless provided you don’t stick a finger between the male’s large ‘antlers’, which can inflict quite a strong pinch. Pick them up gently with finger and thumb on either side of the thorax (the middle part of the body, behind the head) and move them into a garden or similar.
Please keep an eye open for them. In flight in the early evening they are phenomenal, flying in an upright and rather ungainly style, making a noise like a small fighter plane. They tend to make a pretty uncontrolled landing, often ending up on pavements, which is where you’re most likely to see them and where they need your help to get to safety. The recent high winds are probably giving them trouble, meaning that they could end up in particularly tricky situations.
If you have children, it would be a big help if you could make sure they know about stag beetles too. Kids probably come across them more frequently than their parents. If they know what they are and what to do, the beetles are more likely to survive the encounter!
These are spectacular animals. We really have nothing else like them. It would be a shame if we lost them forever.
Today is all about BIRTHDAYS! Have you got a little one with a Birthday coming up? Are you looking for something fun, but simple and BIRTHDAY RELATED To do? There are lots of Happy Birthday Activities out there.. but one that we love best is a simple Happy Birthday Play Dough activity – you can make your own play dough quickly and easily.. use your child’s birthday cake candles (or buy a special set to play with), add some “sprinkles” and you are off… lots of playdough birthday cake fun!
We have a little girl in our school that LOVES to climb trees, chase the boys and play pirates. Everyone says how fun she is, what a great little Tom Boy. They indulge in her love for Spiderman and her want of cars.
We also have a little boy at our school who LOVES to dress up as Elsa, adores his baby doll and loves playing with the girls. He doesn’t like fighting the boys much. The other boys call him a sissy. They tell him he can’t use the boys’ toilets as he is a GIRL.
I ask you, why is that social acceptable behavior? Why is it ok (if not grand) for a girl to act in (supposedly) boy ish ways – to love trucks, and mud and fights? To prefer pirates over princesses and mermaids? Why is it NOT ok for a boy, to act in a girl ish way?
Where did these 4yrs old boys get the notion that it is wrong for another 4yrs old boy to have other interests? How does a 4 year old boy even know that “other boys” don’t dress up or play with dolls or have tea parties? How does a 4 year old boy even notice this difference, and worse still act on it in a negative way?
It appears that we live in a society, though outwardly equal, in that it is ok for a GIRL TO ASPIRE TO BE A MAN, but it is NOT OK for a BOY TO ASPIRE TO BE A GIRL. Why is our society still implying that the male gender is something better? Why do boys have to stay boys? And why is a kind, caring and nurturing boy not something to aspire to?
Who says that “girl ish things” are for girls only? Don’t father’s change the baby’s nappies these days? Don’t fathers help their children get dressed? Don’t fathers also go and do the shopping and cook the family meals? In my house they do. And in many of my friends’ houses they do.
I am saddened and dismayed about this.. and it is something that I hope to teach my children differently. We can all do anything we want. We can all do supposedly boy ish things and we can all do supposedly girl ish things. There is no “one activity” for one gender and another for another. They both enjoy both equally.
Yes, there is a gender division as a rule.. Boys GENERALLY prefer cars and girls GENERALLY prefer dolls. But the thing to remember, is that when on or the other wants to do something that is GENERALLY speaking different, we let them and support them and accept the fact that we are different.
We live in a modern, tolerant society. My children’s school is brilliant at supporting different cultures, skin tones and social backgrounds. They are great at teaching understanding of disabilities. I really hope that they are able to embrace this difference too.
This boy in our school –
He is a child.
A child who is kind.
A child who is curious.
A child that likes to play.
A child that likes to imagine.
A child that likes to have fun.
A child that likes to learn.
He is a well behaved child.
He is a gorgeous child.
A child that eats and sleeps like every other child.
He is a child growing up.
Don’t take his childhood away, by making him feel bad about being (just a little bit) different.
Different is good. Different should be supported. Different is what makes the world exciting, unique and a wonderful place.
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…
The 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.
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!! 😉