Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Toddle Table Tuesday (Farm)

Toddle Table Tuesday - Farm Theme

This weeks Toddle Table Tuesday followed a farm theme, with Little Boy Blues grandparents being farmers there has always been an interest in all things farming related.

I put together various toy farm animals, Mega Blok Farm House and Carousel Tractor & Trailer (which plays 'Old McDonald Had a Farm' and makes animal noises when the animals are put in the correct place) for Little Boy Blue to play with naming them and making the noises as he did.
Together with a peg puzzle and a more complicated 35 piece farm scene puzzle which we did together.

Our books: Farm board book by Bright Baby, That's not my tractor... by Usborne, A Day at Greenhill Farm by Sue Nicholson, The Story of a Tractor by Angela Royston, Farmer for a day by DK along with a couple of small board books.

This week Little Boy Blue had the opportunity for creativity with farm stencils, stickers, paper, farm colouring book and colouring pens. These were all safe for him to play on his own while I did some work with his big brothers.

I love watching to see how Little Boy Blue interacts with what is out on the table. He loved putting all the farm animals in the farm bag and matched the toy animals with the animals on the farm scene puzzle.

I also made a farm animal matching game, I traced pictures of 6 farm animals and wrote the names on & I then got all the toy farm animals and the fenced pen. The instructions were to put the fenced pen on a picture card and put those animals that belonged there into the pen. Little Boy Blue really enjoyed doing this game and each time he collected a set of animals exclaimed "Did it!"

During his break 'L' sat with Little Boy Blue and read some of the farm books from the Toddle Table, it was lovely to witness the care he has for his little brother and they both seemed to enjoy this time together.

Monday, 28 January 2013

What's in your Toddler Bag?

Since having my first baby there are few occasions when I've left the house with just my handbag! Actually over the past eight years I have gone from the big nappy bag (with no handbag!) to a toddler bag and handbag, back to big nappy bag then the toddler bag and handbag again, followed by big nappy bag and I am currently back to the toddler bag and handbag combo! 

To be honest I think once we as a family are past this stage the one thing out of these bags I will miss the most will be the baby wipes. I don't know how I managed all those years with out them, lol!

So what's in your Toddler Bag?

1. Baby wipes, nappies and disposal bags are a given - Little Boy Blue isn't toilet/potty trained yet so I still have to take a couple of nappies when ever we go out. 

2. Inhalers and spacer - Little Boy Blue suffers from asthma so I need to make sure they come with us!

3. Toddler reins - Little Boy Blue loves to be like his big brothers and walk around freely. He has taken to refusing the buggy and even the reins but at times needs must and we use these ones.

4. Snack - One thing I never want to be is stuck somewhere with a hungry toddler on my hands! I generally keep something like a cereal bar or dried fruit in the bag at all times, they keep longer and saves the smell when something perishable goes off. Phew! 

5. Books - Mini board books are a great thing to tuck into the bag and can be used in the car, the cafe or the waiting room for the doctor or dentist.

 6. Toys - Little Boy Blue loves little things like Lego mini figures, model cars, mini animals & character figures so you can add a variety of these too. Even just a magnifying glass can keep him entertained for a while.

7. Pen & Paper - This can even be handy for mummy is she needs it too! Little Boy Blue enjoys doodling away or getting mummy & daddy to draw their limited range of pictures!

Making sure I have a bag that is ready to go gives me one less thing to have to think about when heading out the door.

So what are your go to things for your bag when heading out with a toddler?

Friday, 25 January 2013

Happy Burns Night

I'm proud to be Scottish but don't normally do the whole Burns supper thing on Burns night and although I like some of his poems and songs I don't necessarily agree with celebrating his notorious life style as a drunk and a womaniser! However a home education outing to the Robert Burns Centre (http://www.dumfriesmuseum.demon.co.uk/brnscent.html) then to a workshop on Scots language using poem and song by Dr Fred Freeman changed my mind.

The classes were aimed at 5 to 8 year olds but Little Boy Blue loved it and joined in too.

So I decided to use this oppertunity to do some traditional Scottish things with the boys. 

We made shortbread

We Looked at a Sporran

We Designed a Tartan and listened to audios of Burns Poems & Songs

We made a toy haggis from socks, stuffing & string

We ate a traditional Burns Supper of Haggis, Neeps & Tatties

 Here it is all done.

Out Of My Comfort Zone

Recently I have been even more challenged (thanks to the many blogs out there) to get out of my comfort zone. 

You may wonder what I mean by this, permit me to explain a little:

Over 11 years ago I injured my back while at work as a nurse since then my life has completely altered, as you can imagine! I had been told not to have children because they were unsure how this would affect my back but I have been graciously entrusted with 3 lovely boys. 

There are physical things that I can not and will never be able to do with them like throw them in the air, roll around the floor, climb trees, do piggyback rides, play horse on my foot, teach them to ride a bike, go on bike rides with them, climb a mountain with them but I do try my best.

Unfortunately the chronic pain can leave me moody, the pain killers make me lethargic and life at time revolves around limiting how much I physically have to do so my pain is not exacerbated. So I choose things that don't involve much setting up, mess & cleaning because these would add to my physical work load. 

Underlying this is a control freak, perfectionist personality. Don't misunderstand when I say 'perfectionist', my house is not like a show home, the laundry is not always done and the dishes do pile up at the sink! What I mean is I follow instructions to the T and if I do a craft it must be picture perfect, the game must be played by the rules and so on.....


Combine all this and it could lead to a restricted and constrained learning experiences for my children. After all isn't one of the burdens of care when home educating to expose your children to as wide a variety of experiences so they can learn and not be as limited! 

So this week my challenge was to do 4 things with the children that were out of my comfort zone!

1. Played in the snow

I have a fear of falling on ice in the winter incase my back gives again but we had a great time playing in the snow in the garden throwing snow balls and even building a snowman (with the help of a dear friend). I think we used all the snow in the garden just to get a snowman (& his dog)!

2. Draw on the windows

I had got these special glass crayons ages ago but hadn't dared show them to the boys!

They had a brilliant time drawing all over the glass patio doors and it came off very easily with a damp cloth. So it wasn't as bad or as difficult to do as I had presumed! (One activity we will do again & again)

3. Bake

With it being Robert Burns Day tomorrow (Friday) we made some Scottish Shortbread.

I would not hesitate to say that the baking was one of the most difficult things to do with the children, normally it is Granny Helen who has the gift of doing baking with the boys but I'm pleased to say that it turned out hard work but delicious!

4. Acting the fool

The things you do for a 2 year old! Acting the fool is not something that comes easy to me and posting it here for all to see is even harder but Little Boy Blue got 2 Mr Potato Heads for Christmas and loves them and as you can see he loves 'being' Mr Potato Head (and making mummy be him too)!

What have am I learning in all this? It is good to let loose at times and enjoy being in the moment more!

Some stites to challenge and encourage you to get out of your comfort zone:

I could add many more to this list and may link to other sites in the future but these are the ones that spring to mind at the moment.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Toddle Table Tuesdays

It can be difficult to get toddlers to sit up nicely at the table to do anything (even eat a meal), they seem to enjoy being on the move and as you know we have been experimenting with how we set up our toddle school. So after being inspired by some of the blogs I follow with their 'invitations to play' (http://www.theimaginationtree.com/ is one of my favourites) I have come up with the idea of using Little Boy Blues train table. 

So for each Tuesday I plan to pack the train set away, turn the board over and set the table up with some themed items to attract Little boy Blue to come and spend some time. Last Tuesday was our first Toddle Table Tuesday, this was how the table looked for the start of Little Boy Blues day.

Our theme was Jungle animals and for this I used: 

1. My First Counting Animals Puzzle by M&S (10 animal, 2 piece puzzle with touchable textures)
2. A selection of toy jungle animals (including finger/hand puppets)
3. Books - Little Tigers big surprise by Julie Sykes, Animal Noises board book, Jungle Animals board book by Parragon Books, Baby Animals board book, Animals by My little pocket library and Handa's Surprise by Eileen Browne (with DVD).
4. Spin and Learn Globe from Vtech.
5. Animal Snap cards (I took out 2 cards of each animal, set out 1 of each them had the others in a pile for Little Boy Blue to match)
6. ABC Frame (to discuss starting sounds of jungle animals)

Having the toddle table time gives Little Boy Blue the freedom he seems to need to move around but also has plenty of variety to keep him engaged. It worked well for us and we were all able to participate too.

I hope to make Toddle Table Tuesday a regular post so remember to check in next week.