Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Reading Pocket

Reading is one of the most important ways to enrich your child’s education. There are so many ways you can fit reading in to your everyday routine, whilst making it fun and enjoyable for you and your child. Reading can so easily be built into your child's night time routine, and become a part of the day that they really look forward to. As parents we often find it tricky to balance reading time between the kids, especially if they go to bed around the same time. Some stories can work for many age groups, more often than not, children are at different stages of their literacy development and hold different interests when it comes to reading. I know with my own two boys, one likes fiction stories and the other enjoys non-fiction books. Trying to give the boys my full attention while reading to them without the other interrupting was becoming a battle some nights. I needed to put a routine in place for our bedtime reading. This is when I found the very talented Ana from Le PetitPrincess, with an amazing creative flair and equally passionate love of books for children and she created The Reading Pocket.

How Do I Use The Book Pocket

After we have eaten our dinner, both boys go to the book shelf and choose two books that they would like me to read to them that night. They then put their books into their book pocket at the side of their bed, before we head off for bath time. After bath time, we clean teeth, say prayers and then both boys hop in to their beds and look through their books. I generally read to Master 3 first, while Master 5 looks through his books and waits for me. I read three books each night to each child, two that they have chosen and one that I have chosen. The book I read is one that I have chosen that is developmentally age appropriate, and also may have a theme or social message I'm trying to work on with that particular child. The book I choose is one that the boys have never seen. When we visit our local library I always borrow books that I choose for specific teaching points e.g sharing, loss of a pet, floods, starting school etc 

These colourful Reading pockets from Le Petit Princess are just perfect for promoting a love of books and reading with your child. There is a fabric for everyone, boys and girls, with a novelty print in 100 % quilters cotton and a block colour in 100% Cotton drill. A 1/2 metre slack tucks under the mattress making it easy to remove when washing your child's linen. Your Reading Pocket can be made personalised with yur child's name on it.These are available by ordering from Ana,  for $20.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Very Busy Spider

I adore this multi-sensory book, children can feel the pictures as well as see them, while they hear or read the easy, rhythmic text. Added to the visual excitement of Eric Carle's vibrant collages of familiar animals is the tactile experience of feeling the spider's web as it grows from a simple line into a complex and beautiful creation. Your kids will rejoice to discover that even the tiny, humble spider has an important role to play in nature's scheme of things. This is an absolute favourite in our house at any time of the year, but even more so in the lead up to Halloween.

This is a very simple yet effective craft activity to make a spooky spider's web with a spider to hang at your front door to greet your Halloween Guests!

Start by painting a paper plate. We used orange to go with the colours for Halloween.

Make sure the whole plate is covered. Then let the plate sit and dry.

While you let your plate dry, get busy making your spider. Pull out any books, pictures, or even look up a picture on google images of a spider. Be sure to point out that a spider has 8 legs. It's a great opportunity to talk about different animals and how many legs they have.

We used an old foil baking tray for the body of the spider.

Then the boys added some eyes and coloured craft match sticks for the legs. Use PVA glue as it sticks much better. You can use paper/cardboard you have to make your spider.

When the paper plate has dried, use scissors to cut slits, approx 5cm in around the plate.

To spin your web you will need some wool. Attach the start of your web to the back of the plate and attach it with some tape so it stays secured.

Then start to spin your web. Weave the wool in and out, over and under as you please.

Keep spinning until your plate resembles a web!

Then leave the end of the wool hanging from the web and attach the spider. Now you have a very cute home made Halloween Door decoration.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Organising Your Child's Week

I'm a big believer that developing good organisational skills is a key ingredient for success in school and in life. Some kids, like adults, seem naturally organised, but for the rest, organisation is a skill learned over time. With help and some practice, kids can develop an effective approach to getting things organised and done. You're the perfect person to teach your child, and if you're not an overly organised person yourself, now is the time to start. Starting school brings a whole new meaning to the term "Organisational skills and Multi-tasking" for parents. The more organised and in routine you and your family are for school, the easier the transition will be and it will reduce the level of stress that can sometimes come with this new phase in a young child's life. Help your child get organised by first getting organised yourself.

Not only do you need to be organised for school lunches, library bag day, sports uniform day, school banking day, excursion forms that need signing and returning, just to name a few, there is the organisation of the after school activities as well. There is nothing worse than fighting the school car park traffic to get to swimming on time, only to realise you walked out of the house without grabbing the kids swimmers from the pile of washing mounted in the spare room! Below I have shown you a simple and visual way of helping your child become organised for his/her week. Not only will they know in advance what is happening, but with support and over time they can become responsible for making sure they have the correct things for school on that day and after school activities.

I purchased this fun, interactive, magnetic calender, with over 100 attachable picture and matching word magnets representing special events, everyday activities, school activities and people in a child's life. I attached it to our fridge at a suitable height for my kids to be able to see. Rainbow Week gives young children a visual understanding of their own lives - at a time when most find a horizontal calender confusing. This understanding helps to promote confidence, as even very young children can predict what is about to occur in their everyday lives. Follow the link below to find out where you can purhase a Rainbow Week Wheel. 

Every Sunday night before the boys go to bed we go through our week and place the suitable magnets on the corresponding days.

From here I needed to get the "after-school" activity clothes organised. I came up with this idea which seems to work well for us. I went to the sports shop and bought these cheap drawstring sports bags. I labelled each of them with my sons name and the activity on it. Once his uniform/swimmers etc have been washed I put them straight back in the correct bag. Before we leave the house each morning it is the responsibility of Master 5 to look at the Rainbow Week Wheel and see what Sports bag he needs. He then grabs it off the hook and puts it in the car. For me this kind of routine and organisation will allow school activities (library bag day/sports uniform day) to just be added to what we have been using this year.  

I'm hoping that by instilling these routines and organisational skills into my boys that it may just save me being the mother of "the child who loses everything at school!" lol

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Under The Sea

On the weekend we had a family day out at Seaworld. One of our favourite things to do at Seaworld is to spend time looking at all the Under Sea Life. Master 3 was very little when we last visited Seaworld, so he was particularly excited about the viewing window which opened up into an underwater world alive with all sorts of coloured fish, stingrays and sharks. As Master 3 was so taken with the coloured fish he saw, I decided to re-visit a favourite story today and do some craft to go with it. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is a favourite in our house and I have to say was a favourite of mine as a child. This is another cute paining activity where your little one uses their hand and finger prints....

Paint your hand each a different colour and press them onto your page. Add a goggle eye if you have one or you can put one on with marker pen.

Then Master 3 used the bottom of a plastic cup and dipped it in blue paint and pressed on the paper around the fish to make bubbles.

Paint your fingers green and press on to the bottom of the page to represent seaweed.

I had some glitter that I gave to Master 3 to sprinkle over his fish which he thought looked very cool!

A Sunflower grown from LOVE

This is a gentle story about unhappiness, bullying and reconciliation, with an understated message which is nevertheless important to small children. With the Spring sunshine out it seemed such a perfect day to plant a sunflower and do some craft. Master 3 had a friend over so we got busy making these cute flowers. There's something really special about a painting that has your child's hand prints on them. Maybe it's that I can cherish it forever and ever and remember those chubby little hands that I love so much. 

I started by drawing a small cirlce on a sheet of paper so Master 3 could paint around it with his hand.

Cover the whole hand with yellow paint and make a hand print on your paper, make sure the hand print faces outwards to depict the petals on the sunflower.

Using green tissue paper cut up into small squares make a stem by pasting it on with glue.

Get some real seeds (whatever you have in the cupboard will do) and put some glue in the centre of the sunflower and sprinkle them to cover.

This is a great fine motor activity as you can see Master 3 and Little Miss 3 concentrating hard to pick up the little seeds in their fingers.

Paint the pointer finger green to use for printing the grass along the bottom of the page....

Here is the finished sunflower, made with love and one that I can keep forever!

Pirates Ahoy Party

A couple of weeks ago my boys were invited to a friends Pirate Party. It was so much fun,so full of Pirate activities, games and fun that I wanted to share it with you.

As we arrived at the gate we knew we were in Pirate Land!

Ahoy Me Hearties it's the Captain Birthday Boy!

My two little Prates were so excited about the day.....

Playing with some big and little Pirates!

Pretend playing with our Pirate friends!

We even walked the plank ....

What fun it was having a three-legged race!

We went fishing for treasure!

We pinned the treasure on the map!

We had a treasure hunt and finally found the treasure!

We had some face-painting and tattoos!

Love the pirate swords in the fruit!

Pirate sausages in bread and fish fingers with sauce, just what a pirate needs!

Pirate Pizzas!

Tiny Teddy Pirates on their ships!

And of course a cake fit for a Pirate!

Loved the treasure chest loot boxes!

All Pirates at the party received an eye patch and a bandanna to take home too!