Friday, 28 November 2014

Advent activities

It's December! Not sure how that crept up on me but we like December and we will enjoy it. We do a lot of relaxed Christmas themed activities during Advent and I will try to get them on here.

We have had more cuddles with baby cousin Jacob.

We've been to see the Alice in Wonderland themed Fenwick Christmas window and our first Christmas theatre show with friends 'The Christmas Grump', which was a reworked version of A Christmas Carol.

Harry made a Lego snow globe following the instructions in a Lego magazine.

We have finished decorating our hall, hurray! We love it and can't wait to get it decorated for Christmas at the weekend.

We have played at the (otherwise empty) park with friends and had friends round to play at our house.

I have printed some Christmas themed activity sheets from Activity Village. Peter told a story about Santa on Christmas Eve and Harry has been colouring and completing times table sheets. 

Harry has been playing lots of cello in preparation for his Christmas concert. He is doing really well at the moment and enjoying playing.

He has also been a reading machine! He can now read a Beast Quest book in one day and has done so several times. Peter is also storming through Reading Eggs and can read simple three letter words with phonic sounds. He really wants to read like Harry! I am going to work on numbers 11-20 with Peter as he gets to them in his advent calendar, which he is very fond of!

We preserved some leaves in glycerine. This is for Harry's collector badge at Beavers and his collection will be leaves preserved in different ways. He collected Autumn leaves and has rubbed some and pressed some already. He has also recently gained his faith badge.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Our busy week

Wow another week has whizzed by! We have been really busy in the evening finishing the painting in our hall, so I haven't had time for anything else. Hopefully it will be fully finished next week. My dad visited again to fit a new front door and the boys were pleased to see him!

Our best day this week was meeting our very new nephew and cousin in Harrogate, Jacob. He is my sister's first baby and the boys loved him. I am sure they will all have some great times in the future.

We have been to sit with Monty the Penguin at John Lewis and Stuart took the boys to Gibside on Sunday for some outdoor adventures.

Harry and Peter baked some cookies using the BBC's Cookie Monster recipe in aid of children in need. They sold them to friends and family and Stuart sold some at work to raise £8. 

We went to a pizza express school workshop with friends, where the boys made their own pizza. We had a bit of a travel adventure too as we went on the train. Harry bought the tickets from the machine and used a map to find the way from the train station. 

Harry completed his latest art class picture, using watercolour for the first time.

We have played at the park with friends.

Harry has been working on his faith badge at Beavers, reading and listening to the Spy Dog series of books from the library and playing cello. Peter has had his enjoy a ball class and has been playing Shut the Box lots. He has also been using magnet letters to (almost) spell his name and practise some letter sounds.

Harry also had enjoy a ball class and won the weekly trophy. He has a friend to sleep over tonight and they are currently working their way through Harry's collection of Sea Quest books: it's a very nice sight!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Maths, news and leaf collecting

Harry has been doing more Conquer Maths today; he's on a roll! We also went shopping and bought a newspaper so we could read about the Rosetta mission to the comet. I usually just read the news online but like to read to the boys from a proper paper. Harry is really interested in space so I try to spot interesting stories for him. He spent tea time telling us how he will design a craft to take humans to land on comets! 

We also went out to Jesmond Dene with friends for a couple of hours to collect leaves. Harry needs to collect something over the course of a few weeks for a Beavers badge so we are going to preserve some of them and press others.


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

WWI and the rest of the week

After visiting the war memorial in Newcastle we watched this CBeebies animation several times yesterday; Harry and Peter really liked it. It was still available on iPlayer today:

Peter also traced the word 'poppy' and Harry copied words from 'From The Fallen'.

We have been round to a friend's house this week and Harry has had his swimming lesson. 

Harry has been working through a lot of Conquer Maths lessons this week as he is enjoying it at the moment. I think we will be on track to finish year 2 by Christmas so I can start using the Galore Park textbook alongside the year 3 lessons.

Peter has done two Reading Eggs lessons and has been playing Teach Your Monster to Read.

We also had a trip out to an activity centre in Durham with the Group Scout Leader from our Scout group, in order to book the venue for a family camp next year. Harry and Peter had a good run around in the trees! 

In decorating news, the colour is starting to go on the walls in the hall and I have started the task of painting the wood on the staircase; I hope this is the only time in my life I will do this!! 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Speech therapy, war memorial and library

Harry had his speech therapy group this morning. His 'ch' sound has really improved and he will probably only go to one more group, to work on his 'j' sound.

As we were in town, we went to see the war memorial in Newcastle. Smaller poppy crosses had been planted around the area too. We talked about the WWI anniversary and the poppies and read the poem 'In Flanders Fields' at home.

We also visited City Library and Harry chose a few longer books to try in between Sea Quests. He also liked the look of some audio books from the Spy Dog series so we will be listening to those in the car.

Peter has been very under the weather today, probably caught from me, so he didn't go to his enjoy-a-ball class. Instead, the boys watched a feature length Bob The Builder DVD they had borrowed from the library. We read several of the new library books too.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Art and soft play

Harry practised cello this morning before going to art class, where he finished his latest picture.

It was far too wet and cold for the park afterwards so we arranged to meet friends after lunch at soft play. The boys had a great time. We don't go often but they love it when we do.

Harry has had a very physical afternoon as he also had his enjoy a ball class.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Schools cinema and a relaxing afternoon

We spent this morning at the cinema with friends for a free schools screening of Frozen. The Into Film Festival goes on through November and offers many different free cinema showings.

It was very cold and wet this afternoon and we had a lovely time at home. We finished reading Harry's latest Sea Quest book and a Mr Gum book, played Top Trumps and did some magnet pictures and meccano.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

We're Going on a Bear Hunt activities

We had a week of bear themed activities last week, starting from the basis of Michael Rosen's book We're Going on a Bear Hunt. We have used several other bear books alongside it.


We talked about onomatopoeia and watched these YouTube videos explaining it - here and here. Harry identified the examples of onomatopoeia as we read the book.

We also made lots of buzzing onomatopoeia sounds while reading this bear counting book.

We looked at the description of the bear in the book and came up with our own descriptions of other animals.


We talked about what bears eat and looked it up in our animal encyclopaedia. The boys thought they only eat meat and were surprised to learn that they eat berries and plants too. They liked the picture of the salmon fishing bears. We also read a book about hibernation, featuring bears as well as other hibernating animals such as wasps, toads and mice.

Harry explained very well to Peter what habitat means and included the concept of adaptation with an example - I was really impressed! He said that the habitat is a home where the animal gets the things it needs to live, such as food and shelter. Lots of animals are adapted with special features to live in certain habitats, such as very warm fur in cold places.

We played a habitat lotto game I printed from here

We talked about the different kinds of bear as we played and how they have different habitats in different parts of the world. Our wall map shows bears in Europe, North America and The Arctic too. 

We read these polar bear books and Harry answered some questions.


I asked Harry lots of mental maths questions this week with a bear theme. For example; If there are five caves and a bear family of four lives in each one, how many bears are there in total?

We used this game with Peter. One person hides the bear under a numbered cave and the other person tries to find it, saying the numbers as they turn over cards. Peter also put the cards in the right order - he did 1-10 on his own and 11-20 with help.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears 

I also had some Goldilocks and the Three Bears activities printed for Peter so we read our copy of the book and he ordered some objects by size and age. He also sequenced the story using picture cards and Harry told us the story based on the pictures in his own words.

We found this book at the library which we also read. It features a grown up baby bear meeting a grown up Goldilocks and we really liked it!

Autumn, robots and outdoors

We have been so busy over the past few weeks trying to fit decorating into our days too, it's been a bit of a whirlwind... and I am still ill! We have been doing our usual reading, cello playing and maths work and these are some of the extra things:

We have played in parks with friends.

Painted faces for a Halloween party.

Made a giant autumn tree.

Baked the first Christmas cake of the year.

Had a visit from Harry and Peter's cousins. We went to the beach and flew kites.

Attended a robot workshop at Durham University, where we learned about the different uses of robotics and tried some out. Harry had to programme a tracked vehicle to go round a cone.