Tag Archive | kids activities

Short of ‘Good Ideas’?

My blogs might slow down for a bit over summer, but if you’re short of ideas dip into Michael Rosen’s book. DSC06116

This man has surely got to be a home educator at heart!

His book ‘Good Ideas – How to be your child’s (and your own) best teacher’ illustrates beautifully an approach to learning home educators already use; just being engaged with your kids.

And it shows how all parents can teach their kids and get involved with education simply by being an engaged, attentive, observational and a curious parent. A good article on what he says about that here. It’s more about parenting than teaching, how the two are intertwined, how the world is full of the best curriculum you’ll ever have, and how interacting with the children whilst you show it to them will help them learn and will build essential life skills that go beyond the academic, to application in the real world.

It’s a fabulous resource. A readable book. And a reminder how to be curious yourself so that your child will be and how this is a precursor to learning.

When you’re too tired to think up anything else, dip into Michael’s book, and you’ll be inspired and regenerated.

Living life is learning about life and Michael illustrates how easily this can happen.

Bank holidays are always better outside

I just had a short trip to Brimham Rocks in Yorkshire recently. Nice to be in the hills after the flatland walks I usually take. My poor legs were totally shocked when I took them for a clamber. It was snowing and sunny at the same time but it didn’t stop me – I love a good clamber! And it’s just so good to be outside.

As you walk round there are lots of little prompts for activities for you to do with the kids – such a great idea as I know it’s hard to think up activities all the time. And this is what prompted me to prompt you to get outdoors with your youngsters this bank holiday whatever the weather. Because whatever mood they’re in it will be improved outside – even if you’re all a bit reluctant.

You also don’t have to be in a specific reserve to enjoy many of the activities that were suggested; you’d be able to engineer some of them on your doorstep. Things like:

  • building a den
  • rolling down a hill
  • climbing a tree
  • searching for creepy-crawlies
  • making an insect home
  • looking for treasure from feathers to stones to owl pellets to bits of pot

And you also don’t have to be rural to find paces to enjoy them either; a park will do, or riverside, – most cities have a river going through. Or a wood or a bit of wasteland. And you can find all sorts or wildlife in a churchyard or cemetery!

Just be spontaneous, get outside and go to whatever places are local to you and get some space, some weather, some learning about the environment and some physical activity. And if you can do it on foot you beat the bank holiday traffic too!

You’ll come back feeling better – trust me!

Get your kids away from a screen this summer

Old materials used in new ways

Old materials used in new ways

We’re constantly told that our kids are more unfit, inactive and over weight than ever before and that easy entertainment in front of technology is much to blame. It’s a deathly habit to drop into this time stealing activity without bothering to think up something else to do.

So here are some ideas to get your kids away from screens this summer (although you might need to do a bit of sneaky research online first):

Ten things to do;

–          Grow some cress. It’s quick and easy and you can grow it in any containers including eggshells. (Draw a face underneath and the growing cress looks like green hair).

–          Potato printing. Cut in half and make shapes in the smooth side (any veg or fruit will do), paint and print onto paper.

–          Reading doesn’t have to mean heavy books; comics, magazines, Manga and graphic novels are just as valuable reading experiences.

–          Baking; brownies, flapjack, cookies, cupcakes, bread rolls, dinner!

–          Den making. Outdoors or in. Improvise with any furniture, cushions, sheets, etc you have to hand. Huge boxes are also great for endless play.

–          Collage or model making. The most famous artists use the weirdest materials. Use junk, waste, any little bits and pieces, pasta, dried pulses, off cuts of materials or string or dismantled technology.

–          Jewellery can be made from paper beads (rolled magazine/comic pages) old wire, nuts and bolts, safety pins, threads, tin foil, etc

–          Make a miniature garden in a tin or old pot/tray using cacti, sand, stones, small models and toys.

–          Origami – find books or ideas on the web, library, cheap book outlets. (Pop up card making is another idea).

–          Source old books at charity shops and use them for cutting up and making artworks.

Five places to visit:

–          Plant centres. They’re free and the big ones have more than plants. They often have pets and fish too and adventure playgrounds.

–          The library – let them browse whatever they want.

–          Different habitats you might not regularly go to like riversides, woods, church yards, cemeteries, big house or estate grounds (usually free even if the house isn’t) wetlands. Explore!

–          Local recycling centres – you get masses of materials to be inventive with.

–          Local craft centres or games shops for workshops and clubs.

Enjoy your time with your children without losing it to a screen. Not only will it help them be less sedentary, your relationships will improve too!