Friday, 29 November 2013

A day with Granny

The boys have had a super day today as my mum came to look after them while Stuart and I went for lunch to celebrate our wedding anniversary. It is very rare that we go out together as we don't live near any of our family so we really enjoyed it and Harry and Peter are always really excited when they have family visitors!

They have built and played with Lego, including real water coastguard rescues and had fish and chips for their lunch! An ideal day for them.

I got back in time for Harry's enjoy-a-ball class so we said goodbye to my mum and went there this afternoon. 

Harry started a new reading book early this morning too which we will finish tomorrow. We got out the level 6 Oxford Reading Tree Read At Home books recently and he is doing really well with them. He has read Secret of the Sands already and is now reading Gran's New Blue Shoes.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Grace Darling follow up and a visit to the Hancock museum

We did the Grace Darling follow up sheets from our session yesterday this morning. Harry had to think what the people depicted in a painting of the rescue might be thinking. I also read him an extract from a newspaper article describing the shipwreck and he answered some comprehension questions. 

We then headed out to the Hancock Museum in the centre of Newcastle to look for more information about the Farne Islands, where Grace Darling lived. We haven't been for a while and we had a great time. The museum has lots of hands on exhibits and, except for a couple of school groups there were probably less than 10 people there so I could let them both wander quite freely. 

We went to the 'Natural Northumbria' gallery first and I asked Harry to find the Farne Islands section and look for the animals the islands are famous for. He found the right place and spotted the puffins and seals by using the key. He was really pleased with himself! 

Harry and Peter drew their favourite animal in the Natural History section - Peter chose an elephant (because he 'liked the trunk') and Harry chose a porcupine. His reason was a reflection of his relationship with Peter at the moment - he said if he had some, he could put them around him then he could build his Lego and they would spike Peter if he tried to come near! 

Harry made an ocean food chain and liked looking at the deep sea creatures, as he knows a lot about them from watching Octonauts! 

We played a board game.

We looked at woodland evidence such as owl pellets and gnawed pine cones and matched it up to the correct animals.

Harry built the corner of a pyramid in the Egyptian section from shaped blocks several times.

Peter liked the Anubis section. It tells the story of the afterlife with a moving floor featuring sand, snakes, feathers and fire.

We also enjoyed looking at the rocks and minerals - Harry used the number key several times to find the name of something he was looking at. Then we stayed outside for half an hour. Peter fed leaves to the Rhino sculpture and Harry and Peter pretended to be statues themselves (superheroes!).

Harry also did his cello practise today and we finished the paper mache layer on our balloon Sun and Earth, so we will be able to decorate them when they dry.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Grace Darling radio and the start of our Christmas craft

We met with our friends this morning for our usual Tuesday group activity. 

We started by practising some Christmas carols - Away in a Manger, A Starry Night and Calypso Carol. 

We did something different to the usual science activities and listened to this BBC schools radio programme about Grace Darling. This stopped at various points for the children to act out scenes from the story, think and talk. This is the whole group acting out the rescue of the shipwreck survivors from the rocks. We will be doing some follow up activities at home this week too. There were some good resources available on the RNLI website and Grace Darling museum site.

We also started some Christmas crafts - colouring Christmas cards and designing some stained glass window decorations.

We went for a brief visit to the park afterwards to feed the ducks and have a run around, before coming home for lunch. Harry and Peter are worn out after Tuesday mornings so they watched TV for an hour under blankets, before doing some drawing and colouring and then heading out to Harry's gymnastics class. He is practising a routine there for the Christmas display and I read books with Peter. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

New science books, space, paper mâché and maths

We have had a good morning today inspired by some new books. I bought a set of Wonderwise books from The Book People last week as we have borrowed two of them (Stone Age, Bone Age and Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing there is?) from the library and enjoyed them. We read these ones yesterday and today as they relate to things we have done recently - the water cycle, looking at other countries through our Box of The World and watching Richard Hammond's How To Build a Planet. 

Harry has always been interested in space so we followed this up more. We covered two balloons in paper mâché (they are still drying!) to decorate as models of the Sun and Earth. We will then be able to use them to show how Earth turns in relation to the Sun resulting in day and night. We also talked about people and animals who are awake in the night - Harry knew nocturnal animals like bats, foxes and owls and thought of emergency workers and delivery drivers.

I got out these Usborne Beginners books from our 'books that do not fit the shelves collection' and Harry read parts of them with me for his reading practise. He is doing really well at attempting new words straight away instead of huffing when he sees a new or difficult word and he read 'invisible', 'fuel', 'launch' and 'parachute' without pausing.

We also watched some of the YouTube videos by Chris Hadfield, the last commander of the International Space Station, who has recently returned to Earth. These showed how to sleep, clean your teeth and recycle water in space.

Harry finished the maths workbook we have been working towards too, by completing the test pages to revise the topics covered. Peter and I played Spotty Dogs while Harry did this and Harry and I also played Maths Dice. This game involves making the number on the white die by adding/subtracting together the numbers rolled on 5 other dice.

The boys rode their bikes to our local playground after lunch. Harry played with a small uprooted tree and Peter delighted in the fact that he can now cross the chain bridges on the climbing frame without any help! It was nice and bright but pretty chilly and we came home for hot chocolate after an hour in the playground.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Very Hungry Caterpillar activities

Peter has been asking to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar a lot recently so I did some activities based on the story with them both this week.

I drew them each a caterpillar made from circular segments to colour. Peter had a colour in each segment to match his colouring to and Harry had the colour words to read. I was really surprised that he could read them all - I thought we might need extra activities on colour words so that has saved me some work!

I also gave them each a sticking activity. I drew and cut out the fruits from the book in the correct quantities and wrote the numbers 1-5. Peter stuck the number of fruits next to the correct number.

Peter also put these caterpillar and butterfly images into order of size from largest to smallest.

For Harry, I wrote the days of the week into letter shapes (for the first letter of that day) and he read them then put them into order.

He also used these sheets to spell some of the words from the book.

I asked Harry to write a diary entry for the butterfly on the day he emerged from the cocoon. We brainstormed ideas together of how he might be feeling and came up with:

- excited, because he could now fly,
- hungry, because he had been in the cocoon,
- confused, because he went to sleep as a caterpillar and woke up as a butterfly.

He looked at the calendar to discover the date and wrote this at the top of his page. I helped him a lot as he hasn't done this before but he did well at trying to put his ideas into sentences written from the point of view of the butterfly. His writing was really sloping, but I wanted him to concentrate on thinking about the activity so I didn't mention it.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Shape activities, box of the world, baking and playdough

We have spent the whole day at home today. We usually have French on a Thursday but Stuart needed the car at the last minute today so we couldn't go. We have done lots of French counting and sung heads,shoulders, knees and toes in French several times - Peter finds this hilarious for some reason, maybe it's my singing! We rarely spend the whole day at home and enjoy it when we do as there is plenty of time for cooking, craft and anything else that the boys request to do.

We started today with some shape activities. Last night I drew shapes onto 18 pieces of card and hid them around the playroom. I asked Harry and Peter to find them all this morning (they love hunting for things!) and then we had a look at them and talked about the names. I read them Wilf's Shapes (a Biff, Chip and Kipper book I got at The Works) and asked them to take out and put back particular shapes from our shape puzzles. Harry completed the shape page from the maths workbook we are finishing.

We also played shape lotto. I made this by cutting shapes from different coloured and textured paper. One set was stuck to the board and one set used as the cards to match up to the pictures on the board. 

We played matching pairs with 3D shapes, which I also had drawn onto cards and laminated.

Harry and Peter then went off to collect different shapes from around the house. Here they are with their collection!

We also had a look at items my mum brought us back from her USA holiday in September. Harry really liked the dollar notes and coins so we talked about different currencies and looked at the images. One of the bills featured Abraham Lincoln so we also talked about the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery and I read him the Lincoln section from our Library of The Presidents book my mum had also brought. Stuart and I recently watched the film, Lincoln, so I remembered the facts from there! He also liked looking at the map of Central Park as this features in an audio book he has borrowed several times from the library - Grk and The Hot Dog Trail, which is set in New York.

We already had a few souvenirs and postcards people had brought us back from holidays and I found a good storage bag with world images at Paperchase. I have called this our Box of The World. The boys really like getting it out and playing with the bits inside while I talk to them about it and they seem to absorb lots of facts too. We now have New York, Niagara Falls, Egypt and Paris.

I made some new playdough today and Peter added stones, dinosaurs and pasta. Harry made cakes with pasta candles. They played with this for over an hour while I made gingerbread biscuit dough to keep in the fridge for later.

Peter had a nap after lunch, he has a cold and has needed a catch up of sleep all week. Harry and I did Hama beads together and he did his cello practise. We also built a marble run when Peter woke up. Harry sorted all the pieces into colours and then into 2's, declaring that we had an even number as they all went into pairs.

We also had a game of Spotty Dogs. Peter is just starting to manage the games requiring counting. Orchard Toys games helped Harry lots when he was learning to count, we love them!

We made gingerbread men and fat rascals. I have never made these before, only bought them from Betty's in Harrogate - the home-made ones were different but delicious!