Monday, 30 July 2012

Make Way For Ducklings
It's not easy for duck parents to find a safe place to bring up their ducklings, but during a rest stop in Boston's Public Garden, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard think they just might have found the perfect spot--no foxes or turtles in sight, plenty of peanuts from pleasant passers-by, and the benevolent instincts of a kindly police officer to boot. Young readers will love the mother duck's proud, loving protection of her wee webbed ones.

This book has become a favourite with Harry and we have also been reading it at bedtime. He has remembered most of it, as he does with books he likes and has been joining in with some parts when we are reading.

First of all we looked at the names of the ducklings and Harry recognised that they rhyme. He thought up 2 sets of 8 rhyming names himself, which he would use for his own ducklings. We also played a matching game with the names, which was good for Harry's letter and word recognition. 

Alongside this book we have also been reading Jemima Puddle-Duck, which helped to understand why Mrs Mallard didn't want to raise her ducklings where there might be foxes in the woods (as Mr Fox wanted to eat Jemima!).

Harry had remembered a craft he had seen on Mister Maker to soak string in paint and wrap it around a bowl to make a nest, so we did this too. He found soft things - feathers and cotton wool for the inside of the nest.....

and made 8 ducklings out of pom poms to go inside. He was very pleased with this and it looked great!

We used some peanuts to feed Mr and Mrs Mallard and the 8 ducklings. Harry said that the ducks must have strong beaks to be able to open the peanuts as he tried to do it himself! We used this activity to introduce counting in groups of 2 and 3 and then 10 and Harry understood that it helps you to count quicker.

One of the pages in our maths workbook covers counting in 10's so we did this too. Harry seemed to grasp this well and we used it again when he counted £1 in groups of 10 pennies later in the week.

I printed out the days of the week on egg shapes to use and we have pinned one to the kitchen door (being the first place we go downstairs in the morning) each day before moving it to the playroom wall at the end of the day so we ended up with all 7 days in a line. Harry has done well remembering the names of the days.

This has been a good book to row while still making our regular visits to the Washington Wetland Centre. We have been visiting the duckling nursery this month and seen tiny 3 day old ducklings, together with cygnets and goslings.

Friday, 27 July 2012

"Mummy, I learnt something!"

"I learnt something!" was the shout I heard this afternoon from the garden as I prepared tea. I was very interested to see what the revelation would be and this was it....

I am so pleased that watching water fall from holes in a plant pot fits into Harry's perception of learning! I hope he is always so engaged with the world around him and finds learning in all aspects of it.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Pirates at the lighthouse

We went to the annual pirate fun day at Souter lighthouse yesterday. It was good, but I think we prefer visiting there on a normal day as it was extremely busy and the site isn't really equipped to deal with so many visitors at once!

Harry's favourite thing was the bouncy castle slide and Peter enjoyed feeling the bouncing on his face!

We climbed to the middle light of the lighthouse - the steps up to the top were too steep (almost like a ladder) for carrying Peter. We talked lots about what a lighthouse is for.

We played pirate puzzles and dressing up in the indoor area of the lighthouse.

We enjoyed wandering around outside away from the crowded area too, watching some kites being flown.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Enjoy a Ball

Harry has been taking part in Enjoy a Ball since last year and received his certificate at the last session. I think it is a great class that has really kept him engaged and it is the first thing he has stuck with for longer than a term. There is not much sitting around waiting and a good variety of activities to build sports and ball skills. I am pleased we were able to get a place to carry on with the class from this September.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Weekend visitors

We have had a very nice weekend as my mum and Loz were visiting both days. Harry and Peter love having their family here to play with!

Peter entertained Grandad with 'drive the cars'

Harry and Granny practised some name writing

Ice lollies all round after showing off the allotment and a weeding session!

And some lovely playing together in the garden

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Allotment loganberries put to good use

A haul of loganberries from the allotment made it home yesterday...

to be turned into a tasty stack of berry flapjack, it is nice when the hard work there starts paying off!

Monday, 16 July 2012


The sun finally shone yesterday, although it was very windy as we found out in the morning when we started to turn blue at the beach, so we headed out for some strawberry and raspberry picking in the afternoon. These were turned into large portions of eton mess for pudding mmm!

We were there at the right time to see the tractor spreading straw between the rows of plants too, which Harry and Peter enjoyed watching.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Hatton Art - recycled materials

The children were shown a permanent artwork on display at the gallery today - Merzbarn Wall by Kurt Schwitters, which is partially made from recycled materials and then they made their own art inspired by the piece and/or using various recycled materials. Having looked up the Merzbarn Wall at home we found it is considered a work of international significance and was the last piece created by the artist in 1947-48.

Harry used corrugated card and tissue to make his own version of a painting in the gallery called The Trees Fight Back, which showed cars being pursued by trees

He also made a 'fancy plate'

And a flower picture which he said is a present for me :-)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Summer eating

Even though it has rained almost all summer so far, we are still eating lovely seasonal food, which should complement warm, light evenings not miserable ones! Tonight was fresh and bright broad bean, new potato and new season carrot minestrone....

...and of course ice cream!

A crafty afternoon

The constant rain today leant itself to an afternoon of craft at home. Peter wasn't really interested but thankfully he was happy driving some cars around in the kitchen. We have been doing a nest craft as part of our Five in a Row this week which Harry remembered seeing on Mister Maker and he actually told me all the instructions. The activity is here if anyone else likes the look of it! We finished off the layers of sticky, paint covered wool this afternoon and it is now drying ready to 'unmould' so I will include the final result when I post our Five in a Row.

Harry also carried on playing with the string to make painted string pictures.

He painted some canvases with acrylic paint - worm hotel and fingerprint dots

Flowers behind a fence and a rainbow

We have also been cracking some monkey nuts as part of Five in a Row and he used some to make a 'nut shell sculpture' which he painted today too

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Allotment progress - one month

I think we have achieved our goals for the first month of the allotment. Obviously we can't spend all day there at the weekend as Harry and Peter just don't last that long (and there are lots of other things we like to do!) but we have managed a couple of 2-3 hour sessions and we have been going once or twice during the week to water in the greenhouse and do some light weeding (either me with the boys or one of us in the evening). The greenhouse has several tomato varieties, pepper and chilli plants and some cucumbers already growing.

Overall everything is looking much tidier. We sieved (much harder work than it sounds!) and raked the soil in one bed to plant some carrot seeds and we have also planted some squash seeds. We were just in time to get them in this year and it will be great if they grow.

We have built a support for the loganberry bush as lots of the branches were hanging on the ground with the weight of the fruit. Harry has enjoyed collecting and eating the ripe berries.

The cabbage seedlings we were given on our first weekend are doing well.

We are really enjoying the allotment time and I am very pleased that we took it on. We need to deal with the very weedy and grassy paths between the beds and the border and rebuild the raised beds as most of the wood is rotten and falling apart. These jobs will hopefully get done between now and October/November so we can make a plan for spring and prepare for a first full year. 

Cake, glorious cake

This is from a few weeks ago but I just thought I would share a cake I made for my friend, Keri's 40th birthday. I was quite proud of it :-)

Harry used the decorations to make us some small cakes too!