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.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Curve Ball

Firstly, apologies for abandoning my blog just as it was starting out! 

What do you do when life throws you a few curve balls? 

Life has thrown us a few curve balls lately and it's been hard to keep all things going, so my strategy is to dump all nonessential activities. I hear this little voice shouting retreat! I call it getting back to 'basics', once I can manage 'my basics' I can then slowly add in 'my extras'. Everyones basics and extras are different it all depends on what we prioritise as 'need to' and 'want to'! 
I guess it's all part of the great journey that is home educating, after all one of the blessings of home educating is that home is at the heart of it. I thank God for our place of refuge in difficult times. Now that I am slowly poking my head out from my hiding place I felt that I could give time to my blog!

I'm just going to start from where I am now and think it's a good spot to talk about what 'our basics' are. (Please leave a comment on what your things are)


1. Spiritual - I don't know about you but my spiritual state can fluctuate a lot especially since we had children and started home educating! There just doesn't seem enough hours in the day! You would think that it would go without saying but how often do we run on low or empty when it comes to our spiritual needs? How can we feed our children if we aren't getting fed? So 'my' basic here is helped by my husband who reads a daily devotional and prays while we eat our breakfast before he goes to work also at night we take it in turns to put our 2 eldest to bed (they share a room) and we do a bible reading and prayer time with them. My own personal time has been on an 'as I can find time' basis but this is something I want to make more of an effort to MAKE time for. Church attendance is a must for us too, the encouragement of others who love & serve God can be used to minister to our souls.

2. Household - Yes unfortunately the house will not clean it's self! My husband likes things tidy so we made an agreement that one room (the living room) would be tidy for him coming home. Due to a long standing back problem I struggle to get the house clean from top to bottom, I felt as if I was constantly chasing my tail! So I budget to have some one in once a week to clean from top to bottom. A luxury some may think but for 2hrs I pay £12. It forces me to make sure all is tidy so it can be cleaned and for the peace of mind it's a bargain! I still have to do the daily maintenance, laundry, cooking, shopping and what not that running a house entails.

3. Teaching - We have the pleasure of living in Bonnie Scotland where we are free to home educate and at the moment legally the term is 'educated otherwise' which can be open to wide interpretation. My boys are now 8, 6 and 2 so my 'basics' here are not necessarily academics I want my children to develop a love for God first and foremost and also a love of learning. So our daily family devotionals and the evening devotionals & prayer are a must and academically english and math (for those difficult times if we cover these four days out of five I'm happy). We also have many other things we do that are educational which will become more apparent as I blog about them. My main challenge this year is home educating with a toddler (our little boy blue) in tow!! More on that to come.

Our Family

(Can you believe this is the only photo of all five of us and its from 2 years ago!)