Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Christmas Traditions (Part 1)

Well it's that time of year again, Christmas is coming :)

I love the thought of making memories and family traditions with the boys, they  don't always play out as idilic in reality as they are in my head when I plan them! I suppose that's part of the memory too! lol


Each year we try to make one new Christmas decorations and this year we have been very productive. My eldest, L - 8 years old, has out done himself with Lego creations.

Some More Of This Years Creations:

We are running out of time but not ideas! 

Some of my favourite sites for ideas:

A few decorations made in previous years:

Visit Santa

We always go to see Santa in his grotto each year. The past two years we have gone to The Cocoa Bean Factory ( and been very happy with the quality and price. For £5 each they got to see Santa (we could take our own photos), get a gift (L got a summersaulting car, S got a Toy Story board game, Little Boy Blue got a teddy & they all got chocolate buttons), the older ones had a quiz sheet to fill in to get a prize (more sweets), a rub on tattoo and face painted! Well worth it. 

Little Boy Blue wasn't sure what to make of Santa that is until he got a gift!

The two older ones loved the Christmas Themed face paintings, Little Boy Blue wouldn't sit still long enough.

Best Christmas Lights Tour

Each year we always drive around to find the house with the best Christmas Lights. I know the boys would love it to be our house all lit up but this is way easier! Little Boy Blue was amazed and kept saying WOW! all the time. Here is the best we have found:

Winter Activities

So far this year we have not had snow just some frost but it hasn't stopped us from doing some winter activities like (trying to) sledge and ice skating.

(S is desperate for it to snow)

(Ok it was at an ice rink but still very cold!)

Monday, 10 December 2012

Setting Up Your Toddle School & More Busy Bags

I'm experimenting with different set ups for our Toddle School. This school year has involved us adapting to fit the situation and manage to get our work done, one of the things that have either helped or hindered this is how we set up! 
Our best days so far have been when Little Boy Blue has had plenty of choice available to do & that are ready to go. Our living & dinning room are open in an L shape so setting up the centre of the living room with 8 to 10 busy bags in a circle while we sit at the dinning table near by works quite well. This way we can all interact with each other and take turns to help with Toddle School. 

Following advice from some other home educating mummies I have learned that preparing for Little Boy Blue first helps our day go a lot smoother. So taking a little time the night before or at the start of the day pays off even if it means starting a little later than we use to.

More Busy Bags

1. Puzzle in a Bag

Wooden Fire Engine Puzzle Board - this is a good easy puzzle as the board has a copy of the finished picture on it and all the little one has to do is match the correct parts.

2. Threading Cotton Reels

 Coloured plastic cotton reels and a lace. Bought in bulk and divid into different bags for different tasks, this is just a straight forward fine motor skills lacing activity.

3. Wooden Animals

 This was a bag with wooden animal toys to play with, make animal noises and identify. However it looks as if Little Boy Blue has added to it with his toy Chameleon!

4. Links

 Multi coloured linking teddy bears which can be linked altogether or in colour sets, also good for counting. Bought these second hand over the internet.

5. Sock Pair

 For this busy bag I found some socks that no longer fit Little Boy Blue and mixed them up in the bag for him to pair together (hope this one will pay off later when it comes to household chores, lol).

6. Basket Ball

 A collection of different size & coloured balls and the basket used to collect all the busy bags in for Little Boy Blue to try and throw the balls into the basket. Daddy hopes this will foster a love of Daddies favourite sport Basket Ball.

7. Jigsaw Puzzle (Mix & Match)

This is a good first puzzle each Robot is made from 3 pieces and can be mixed & matched. Little Boy Blue loves this one. Bought from Marks & Spencers.

Dress Up Days

I just love the days when the boys dig into the dress up box and role play, so much imaginative things going on. Little Boy Blue has been included in these days since very early on and seems to love every bit of it.

So what do you think Little Boy Blue wants to be when he grows up?



Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dinner Time Distraction

I don't know about you but getting anything done especially dinner with a 2 year old around can be a challenge. Here is one of my go to activities to keep little hands busy while trying to get meals made.

Edible Dough


1 Cup Rolled Oats (I always have some Ready Brek in the cupboard so use it)
1 Cup Plain Flour
Cold Water

Put all the dry ingredients in to a mixing bowl, slowly mix in cold water till you get a desired dough consistency. Keep some plain flour around to dust with if it gets too sticky.

What I do is bring Little Boy Blues play table and chair into the kitchen (away from the cooker) and let him play with the dough, cutters, plastic toys & kitchen utensils (anything safe & washable) while I'm busy cooking. Little Boy Blue thinks he is helping, I can keep an eye on him and if he puts any of it in his mouth it wont make him ill!
Once your done it can be put in the rubbish. If you didn't want to waste anything you could make a cookie dough instead & cook it. Here is our oat cookie recipe:

Oat Cookies

100g butter
50g caster sugar
100g rolled oats
50g plain flour

1. Pre heat oven at 170c and grease a baking tray.
2. In a bowl cream the butter & sugar together.
3. Add oats and flour, knead untill smooth.
(let your little one do the kneading & play with the mix)
4. Roll out thin & cut out with cookie cutters. (another job for your little one) You can also add nuts, choc chips or raisins.
5. Bake for approx 20 mins or untill lightly golden.

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Busy Bag Bonkers

Think I have gone a little busy bag bonkers! I have spent some time putting together various busy bags for our Little Boy Blue to do either on his own while I do some work with both his brothers or with one of his brothers while i do some one on one. The bags seem to be a hit with all the boys and Little Boy Blues big brothers keep wanting to go help him!

Funny Faces Bag
This is a magnetic book with 8 different outlines of faces (cowboy, king, queen...) and we have had this since my eldest was little. Some of the eyes, noses and bits were missing so I got a sticker book we had & stuck the stickers onto card, laminated them, cut them out and stuck magnetic tape to the back. I'm sure you could find some on the internet and make your own. Check out:

Educational Aim: To learn the parts of the face, discuss feelings & expressions.

 Connect or Stack Bag (also used for water/sand play)
This is a toy I bought for the busy bags. I loved the fact it was so versatile, it contains 7 parts each one can connect to make a caterpillar or stack to make a tower, they also have different cut outs & one has a wheel in the base for water or sand play, they could also be used for counting to 7, size sorting as they decrease in size and colour sorting. All this for £2 what more can a mum ask for? (the product make is Munchkin if anyone wants to get one) 

Educational Aim: Motor skills, colour recognition.

Coin Bank
This is one of Little Boy Blues favourites. An old metal coin bank with a pop of lid, features Bill & Ben (plus Weed) who are divid into 3 sections (head, body, legs) they can be mixed up and change looks by spinning the sections. 

Educational Aim: Motor skills, matching (the characters on the tin), counting.

(I plan later to use different value coins to help with familiarising Little Boy Blue with the variety of coins we use.) 

Lid Thread
For this I collected a selection of plastic lids in a variety of colours and used my craft punch to make a whole in the middle. I then used large pipe cleaners doubled over with a knot on the end for them to be threaded on to. 

Educational Aim: Hand-eye co-ordination and colour recognition.

Button Sort
As you can see I have a container with different compartments each with individual pop up lids, in each compartment I have put a different coloured piece of card and writen the colour on it and added a selection of buttons (different colours & sizes) to be sorted into the correct compartment. It is safer at the moment for me to assist Little Boy Blue with this one as he would still put things in his mouth! We can also talk about size and shades of colour. It's also good way of getting my buttons for my crafts & sewing sorted! lol

Educational Aim: Colour recognition, motor skills, size recognition.

Thomas Character Colour Match
A while ago when my 2nd boy was little I made these flash cards & laminated them, I basically searched the internet for clip art of Thomas the Tank Engine characters and grouped the characters together by colour, typed out the colour word in that colour and printed them off. For the busy bag I added wooden pegs each one pained with a colour on it to match the cards, the correct colour peg is then clipped on to the corresponding card.

Educational Aim: Colour recognition & matching, motor skills.

This bag contains a book about shapes each page tells about a shape then show a picture made up of different things & the child has to discover where the shape talked about is found. I also included a wooden shape puzzle and some shape flash cards. The two eldest love 'teaching' Little Boy Blue his shapes.

Educational Aim: Shape recognition, motor skills, observation skills.

Tomy Aquadraw
This again is something we had already and really good for when I need to do work with both elder boys as Little Boy Blue can safely play with water (which he loves) and creates little to no mess (I don't need to worry about him eating the crayons) and because the water dries I don't need to keep replacing paper.

Educational Aim: Ceativity, independance.

Sock Sort
Sounds crazy I know but I'm preparing him for a job which the two eldest currently do to earn pocket money! I filled this bag with socks he has out grown and are very different from each other and just get Little Boy Blue to match them up!

Educational Aim: Pattern recognition, counting.

This is only a small example of some of the busy bags I have put together and alot of are made from things we already owned, so go and have a look round the cupboards and toy boxes see what you already have that you can use as a busy bag.